Spinoza als dichterlijk filosoof

Op mijn zwertochten door het wereldwijde web kom ik soms verrassende dingen tegen. Vandaag stuitte ik op een boek waarin Spinoza in zijn filosofie poëtisch wordt genoemd. Dat inzicht was ik nog niet eerder tegen het lijf gelopen - om het eens lekker onspinozistisch uit te drukken.

De esthetisch filosoof George Lansing Raymond (1839 - 1929) noemt in zijn boek The representative significance of form; an essay in comparative aesthetics (1900), één keer Spinoza:

"Imagination is a forerunner of investigation; and investigation furnishes an impetus to imagination. For this reason a great thinker, whether a poet or a philosopher, although he will incline to the one method or to the other, according to the bent of his genius, must not be wholly deficient in the qualities that go to make up either. Nor, so far as education can atone for deficiency, will his education be complete until he has cultivated the powers that go to make up both. Goethe was a student of science; and his poetry owes much to his scientific studies. Dante and Milton were scientific in their poetry, and Plato and Spinoza were poetic in their philosophies.

As Sir Wm. Hamilton says, in the thirty-third of his "Lectures on Metaphysics”: "A vigorous power of representation is as indispensable a condition of success in the abstract sciences as in the poetical and plastic arts; and it may accordingly be reasonably doubted whether Aristotle or Homer were possessed of the more powerful imagination."

Volume 2 of 7 The System of COMPARATIVE AESTHETICS, G. P. PUTNAM'S SONS, NEW YORK AND LONDON, The Nickerbocker Press, 1900, p. 154 - als pdf te downloaden 

Over G.L. Raymond op wiki. Daaruit dit citaat: 

Poetry As A Representative Art: An Essay In Comparative Aesthetics (large Print Edition), George Lansing Raymond, 0554996685His basic approach is as stated in his summary one-volume book Essentials of Esthetics: "The phenomena of the arts of the highest class have been traced [in this book] to their sources in material nature and in the human mind; the different arts have been shown to be developed by exactly similar methods; and these methods have been shown to characterize the entire work of artistic imagination, from the formulation of psychical concepts to that of their most physical expressions in rhythm, proportion and harmony."

Dat besef van 'eenheid van alles' spreekt bijvoorbeeld uit de volgende tekst in het vierde hoofdstuk (Spinoza had het kunnen schrijven):

WHEN we speak of the forms or appearances of nature, as in the preceding chapter, we are using terms that are necessarily indefinite in meaning. Nothing except our own choice or ability need limit the extent in time or in space of that which we designate by them. A man may look at a drop of dew. It alone is an appearance.

But while he looks at it, he may look also at the rose on which it rests, or enlarge his field of vision till it embrace the bush, the ground, the ledge beneath it, and, possibly, the whole scope of the horizon. But all this, in spite of many appearances, may still, in a sense, be considered an appearance ; and if one could stretch his comprehension far enough, he might extend the outlines to embrace the world, its planetary system, and the universe ; and these as developed, too, not only in one moment of time, but through all time. In fact, though our own choice, or the limitations of our physical or mental powers, in view of certain arrangements of outline, color, or tone, may cause an object to seem separate from others, there is a sense in which it may be said that no actual separation, isolation, self-sufficiency, exists in nature. Every smallest object is a partner of all space and a product of all time. What is the little rosebud, which one plucks upon the meadow, but the blossoming of material forces which have been at work on every side of it since the first day of creation?

But if this be so, if every appearance in nature, however small or large our choice or circumstance may make it, be a portion of all the universe, it follows that the apprehension of the method of operation in this single portion must involve some apprehension of the method of operation in the whole. Each thing is an effect, and when thought searches for the cause of this effect, it journeys sideward toward infinity in space and backward toward eternity in time. This fact suggests the inquiry, how much nature, fully interrogated, has the power to teach us. Must we stop at limits of the finite, the transient, the concrete, or can our investigation pass beyond these to that which is not finite, but infinite ; not transient, but eternal ; not concrete, but absolute ? This is asked, of course, because of the necessary correspondence that must exist between conceptions like these, as represented through the forms of nature and as represented through the forms of art.

It is a simple fact of history that men of every age have drawn from nature inferences that warrant an affirmative reply to our inquiry. There is no need here of recalling the myths, theories, and various imaginings that prove this to be true of the poet and the artist. But it is equally true of the philosopher and the scientist.