Selection from – Ethics – Part IV. Of Human Bondage, or the Strength of the Emotions (Page 9)

Spinoza's Words: (the mind's highest good is to know (Deus sive Natura))

Proposition XXVIII. The mind's highest good is the knowledge of (Deus sive Natura), and the mind's highest virtue is to know (Deus sive Natura).

The mind is not capable of understanding anything higher than (Deus sive Natura), that is a Being absolutely infinite, and without which nothing can either be or be conceived; therefore, the mind's highest utility or good is the knowledge of (Deus sive Natura).

Again, the mind is active, only in so far as it understands, and only to the same extent can it be said absolutely to act virtuously. The mind's absolute virtue is therefore to understand. Now, as we have already shown, the highest that the mind can understand is (Deus sive Natura); therefore the highest virtue of the mind is to understand or to know (Deus sive Natura). Q.E.D.


Since (Deus sive Natura) is all that is, it is not possible for the mind to think of anything greater. And in Spinoza's view there is nothing better than knowing more of (Deus sive Natura). Thus the study of science is the highest of callings.

It is no wonder that Einstein when challenged to explain his religious belief responded, "I believe in Spinoza's God who reveals himself in the orderly harmony of what exists, not in a God who concerns himself with the fates and actions of human beings."