m of care – jan 13
13 -01-2022 2nd seminar of #MuseumofCare about Spinoza, Facilitation by Simona Ferlini
reading spinoza’s political treatise via simona ferlini (2nd one about spinoza)
David Graeber ain’t easy, despite the amazingly clear, reader-respectful and pleasant way in which he writes: he takes you in incredible explorations, but only a small part the careful preparation he made for the journey appears on the surface; reading his book is a series of epiphanies, and, as David Wengrow recounts, he sprinkled fairy dust on every dialogue, yet these incredibly new perspectives are not just epiphanies: they also are incredibly coherent, and rooted in a reasoning, an interpretive labor, a conversation that is sometimes made explicit (for example in Lost, or in Bullshit Jobs), sometimes not.To better understand David’s thought, and in addition to collective readings of his works, at Museum of Care we have thought of exploring some of the philosophers with whom he was in conversation, starting from those he declared in this tweet:
notes/quotes from meeting (11 here):
simona: david: there is no great man.. there are people who are able to express i concise form what was going on.. public debate .. this aspect of dialogue of co creation of ideas is crucial for spinoza.. and.. and for david..
simona: on 1st 5 ch of political treatise.. i picked it because it is the simplest.. expresses what he says in the ethics.. same as ch 10 of doe.. and that a community can self org.. w/o opposition
dang. i didn’t get that in this reading
vassily in chat: David Graeber’s favourite philosophers: https://twitter.com/davidgraeber/status/1198017757201219585
simona: as i mentioned this is the work when spinoza does most on work of multitude.. toni negri’s et al.. and constituent power.. same idea.. but in my opinion.. toni takes this concept and uses it in diff way than spinoza.. more about physics of power/capabilities.. when spinoza says power.. it’s never dominion.. it’s always ability to do.. the ability to be a cause.. as the infinite creative power of god
yeah.. didn’t get that
simona: in first reading group.. i said in my opion david had never read spinoza.. i stand corrected.. via tweet vassily shared of spinoza at top of his list.. and w nika.. power is both power to act but power to acted on .. to act and be affected at the same time.. requires a deep knowledge of spinoza.. at first read.. it’s opposite of what it sounds.. actually translated to agreement/agreeing..
ok.. that.. yeah..
simona: so when one looks more on this idea.. becomes clear that relationship w external things can be mutual empowerment.. which is key to relationships between human beings..
11 min – simona: to better understand these concepts.. need to look back to the ethics.. starting w 18th proposition of 4th part.. i’ll share those notes.. so you don’t need.. in this column s overthrows idea of being free is as a cause on one’s own.. the value of our relationship w external things becomes value of coop.. not just that he says we can never arrive w/o externals.. not just we can’t help but having relationships outside ourselves.. also that (s from ethics) ‘if we consider our mind.. we see intellect would be more imperfect if mind were alone.. and could see nothing besides itself.. there are many things outside ourselves which are useful to us.. and therefore to be desired.. ie: if 2 individuals of same nature united.. twice as powerful as either of them singly.. ‘.. t
thurman interconnectedness law
simona: same quote in political treatise.. ‘if 2 come together’.. ness.. it’s about a union of forces.. in political treatise it’s quite mechanical.. about proving.. discussing how this union of individual strength works.. how it happens that a multitude can act as if guided by one mind.. how it happens that we can coop.. t
‘in undisturbed ecosystems ..the average individual, species, or population, left to its own devices, behaves in ways that serve and stabilize the whole..’ –Dana Meadows
simona: and what happens when there is a division.. only happens when authority (s saying this in political treatise)
dang..didn’t read it this way at all..
simona: difficult to translate.. i was a bit bewildered when reading doe ch 10.. the concept that state is not origin is a matter of fact for me.. start in italian means condition.. state of facts.. machiavelli in the prince uses this term as a neutral terms.. he wants to say any kind of human uses of forces.. this is the very way spinoza uses the term *imperium.. in so doing he changes the meaning of the word.. it meant command/authority/power/domination.. while s imperium is just the city state and the ability to join forces.. we constitute an imperium when we join forces.. that’s why he says the power.. has to be all .. imperium means common power.. doesn’t mean to be free from transcendent power/flow.. the idea of god as a ruler/legislature is just superstition.. **the only natural law is the human capability.. those that create/reproduce together.. the only place for wrong/right is the civil rule.. the rules we agree together.. so the only power that is total.. has no internal limits.. is the power of a multitude that is not fragmented in relationships of dominion
** so like on each heart ness?
sinona: so going back to the notion of power.. power is the ability to be a cause.. and misery is the absence of need.. to be alone and not consider anything outside ourselves.. what we need is the multiplicity of togetherness and plurality of forces that we join/create together.. that comes the power of human mind..
simona: in proposition 14 2nd part of ethics s says ‘human mind of capable of great number of things/impressions.. we don’t know what body is capital.. a body is a multiplicity of things.. and the more this multiplicity increases and join forces.. the more the mind is powerful.. the very knowledge of god is the lasting increase of the capabilities and mind
simona: the reason i thought david never read s.. is that this concept resonates so much w what he said and he never mentions s when discussing such ideas.. ie: bs jobs.. on pleasure of being a cause and misery of not being a cause.. the very violence of prison is to isolate people and prevent them from being causes of others.. he’s stating same things s says here and in ethics.. but he doesn’t even mention s..
so.. did he not get the translation? and just used it to sharpen his pov? why wouldn’t he acknowledge him.. (ah.. see her reason below – he never makes argument of authority.. of one person saying something)
simona: prison strips people of being together and being a cause together.. this is very same as what s said.. but david doesn’t mention him.. inside he mentions carl kroos.. i think this not mentioning s tells u more about his knowledge and david’s method/style.. he never makes an argument of authority.. he never says this is true because this great philosopher said so.. ie: s said so.. he always relies as much as possible on empirical/archeo evidence.. this avoiding authority and relying on experience is really a style/method.. but *at same time makes it more difficult at times to understand where he is aiming to.. this is particularly true for me in this ch about the state (10 of doe).. i really can’t see the point of proving state has no origins when the egyptians had not a state.. but what’s very important in this ch.. just as in ch 8 about original cities.. is the fact that we better understand how a multitude can constitute its power in a renegotiation/rearrangement much better w/o an authority
*which to me is part of his point too.. there is no aim.. all is possible.. otherwise authority et al.. people telling other people what to do
simona: something s says in ch’s you didn’t read.. is that at the end of the day all states are aristocracy.. and it’s interesting concerning refugees/migrants.. newcomers made it an aristocracy.. on other side wasn’t monarchy
but nika saying later that david always said it really was an aristocracy.. one person elected to lead et al..
simona: on s saying ‘you can unite forces’.. is a mocking.. really saying it doesn’t work.. so reality of that is that we obey/comply .. only when we want to.. when we have a good reason to.. can be fear.. reward.. but it doesn’t last.. only way is to have a consensus.. union thru agreement
i don’t know.. whales.. socrates supposed to law
public consensus always oppresses someone(s).. nothing w that will last .. to me..
nick: on s saying authority is what you abide by.. wondering if he thought you could think thru these things rather than by experience
simona: rather than relying on experience.. s is opposing the transcendental idea of human being w experience.. it’s rather an appeal to materiality.. he’s totally relying on machiavelli and humanistic traditions.. s can be considered a reaction of the humanistic tradition.. and modern kind of authority.. even if he uses math insights.. he writes and ethics demo’d thru geometrical order.. he uses a lot of logic and math.. so when he says experience has shown everything.. he’s not quite saying i will discuss these experiences.. he’s just saying.. what i’m stating is coherent w experiences.. while the idea that there is a law that we should abide.. but we can disobey.. and work is what i am against.. it’s superstition.. so s claims on experience against transcend of human being.. but he doesn’t rely very much on experience.. which david does very much..
simona: in s’s time .. as in rousseau’s time.. we didn’t have wealth of recorded experiences as we do now.. no anthro researcher.. no collective of evidences.. there were just tails of voyagers.. but not much more
simona: speaking of voyagers.. there’s a letter in s’.. about imagination and he tells us about a nightmare he had about a brazilian.. and there’s a whole history behind this nightmare.. dutch were in power in brazil.. portuguese made this war using the rebellions of slaves against dutch.. so this nightmare tell us about rebellion against slavery.. debt produced slavery historically.. this is very interesting of his work..
michael: just on relying on experience.. funny in doe.. saying primitives did indeed have lots of experiences.. is this word.. experience.. a claim that we should be experience.. is s not in some way a reaction to descartes.. moves away from scholastic and to science (paraphrase).. descartes broke people down and built this system that could be used for science.. but s is.. one substance in the world.. you’re always the same substance w everybody else.. whole world is divine.. like animism.. how does that relate to way philosophy was written at time.. is he a reaction to descartes
organism as fractal.. interconnectedness .. et al.. vs of math and men et al
simona: most definitely in the descartes frame.. s takes it to the extreme consequences.. at same time he goes against core of capitalism on separation of .. he says when you divide body/spirits there is no way to put them together again.. he’s contesting descartes.. s says i make nothing of plato/artistotles.. my sources are rather.. materialist.. but his idea of materialism is that of something alive.. what descartes did was divide natural from human world.. because human has rational/soul part.. while natural world is all on the side of material things.. s focuses on ethics.. destroys traditional conditions.. ie: plato.. aristotle had problem w change.. if something true today and not tomorrow was not really true.. what’s really true is what lies behind changes.. what doesn’t change.. the substance.. s says no.. only thing that doesn’t change is change.. the very essence of world is this infinite production.. very reality of world is change/creation
simona: no such thing as experience w/o theory.. only diff.. you can have it.. but not consciously.. and david says something about theory and experience .. you always make theory and you always cut some part of your experience outside the frame.. because if you don’t.. you cannot make sense of what you are experiencing.. what david always makes is ‘to suggest’.. can be interp’d this/that way.. he always declares what he’s doing and relies on common sense from people.. ie: in bs jobs.. very interesting on side of method.. because he’s so strictly relying on what people think.. only thing you can make as a theory is the theory people make about their experiences.. there is always a theory/interp.. the interp level is the very essence of our mental life.. this is my opinion/suggestion-for-interp
same with lost people
nika: maybe in future we can extend this also to philosophers david didn’t like..
michael: philosophers fight club.. s vs descartes
nika: on talking about refugees destroy democracy.. david was always saying we always live in aristocracy.. ie: best leaders.. so we don’t even pretend it was democracy.. maybe in future we can have more a seminar about politics for what it is saying right now.. so maybe another hour in future to summarize where david was connected to s.. but also about what s proposed.. what he understand
simona: as for hobbes.. not sure i’m able.. but would be fun to do.. because always making fun of hobbes.. what david said about.. we’re living in aristocracy.. was more.. as far as i can get from does.. more about elections.. they are aristocracy.. to select the best.. while s’s pt is incomplete.. most interesting ch about democracy wasn’t written.. what is left 2 pages that were horribile.. that i hoped wasn’t written by s
oh.. good.. yeah..
simona: what he meant.. always need to be surrounded by people helping .. so doesn’t exist like a monarchy.. this criticism of monarchy is interesting.. because the solution of the legislature.. the one man.. able to order everything was a wet dream of machiavelli.. and his most important contribution.. m was a republican.. he was for freedom.. he wrote to prove that it’s conflict that kept rome free.. and to explain how our republic came.. but he couldn’t solve the problem of how the good orders that masters make community work can be written.. he said.. only a single man prince/authority could arrange this.. that’s why he wrong the prince.. et al.. s notes the contradiction in this.. legislatures will always write laws that will sustain their power.. no way monarch will write laws to sustain common power.. the problem is how it can be that a multitude writes its own rules.. s doesn’t tell us how.. david and david do in doe.. and they do .. by relying on experience.. they prove it happened and how it happened..
next on feb 10 w maxine robair.. and doe group on jan 20..
vassily: feb 7 marcus reddiger.. talk about .. on a monday at 6 london time