Selection from – Ethics – Part II. On the Nature and Origin of the Mind (Page 5)

Spinoza's Words: (all existence necessarily follows from the essence of (Deus sive Natura)

Proposition III. In God there is necessarily the idea not only of his essence, but also of all things which necessarily follow from his essence.

A note follows this proposition.. The note is involved and needs a logician to unpack it but it ends with this warning...

No one will be able to follow my meaning, unless he is scrupulously careful not to confound the power of (Deus sive Natura) with the human power and right of kings.


The statement of proposition III that all things follow or flow from (Deus sive Natura) seems obvious but the addition of the word necessarily reminds us that the Laws of Nature have no exceptions. Spinoza looks at the world with his eyes wide open and sees no favoritism for humans.

As for the warning – he wants us to remember that human power and the power of Nature are two different things. Kings and human beings act with purpose, for their own benefit. Nature has no purpose.

We seem to be headed toward a harsh view of existence. Gone is any fuzzy warmth of belief in the existence of a benign power in the universe. It is the view as from a mountain top facing into the cold wind of reality. One must be strong to stand with Spinoza.