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Baruch Spinoza

Quote of Baruch Spinoza - I have laboured carefully, not to...

Biography - Baruch Spinoza:

Dutch philosopher.
Born: 1632 - Died: 1677
17th century
Place of birth: Netherlands

I have laboured carefully, not to mock, lament, or execrate, but to understand human actions.



"I have laboured carefully, not to mock, lament, or execrate human actions, but to understand them; and, to this end, I have looked upon passions, such as love, hatred, anger, envy, ambition, pity, and the other perturbations of the mind, not in the light of vices of human nature, but as properties, just as pertinent to it, as are heat, cold, storm, thunder, and the like to the nature of the atmosphere, which phenomena, though inconvenient, are yet necessary, and have fixed causes, by means of which we endeavour to understand their nature, and the mind has just as much pleasure in viewing them aright, as in knowing such things as flatter the senses."

Other Version: "I have carefully endeavoured not to deride, or deplore or detest human actions, but to understand them;"

Source: Tractatus politicus

Internet Archive - Treatise on Politics by Benedictus de Spinoza (en) 

Wikisource - Benedictus de Spinoza - Tractatus Politicus - CAPUT I. IV. (la) 

Wikisource - Œuvres de Spinoza (fr) 



(German, French, Latin)

Ich habe mich bemüht, die menschlichen Handlungen nicht zu belachen, nicht zu betrauern und nicht zu verabscheuen, sondern zu verstehen.

En ce qui concerne les actions humaines, je me suis soigneusement efforcé de ne pas railler, ne pas pleurer, ne pas même détester, mais de comprendre.

Sedulo curavi, humanas actiones non ridere, non lugere, neque detestari, sed intelligere.

See also 

See also...

Yet it is better to accept public morals and human vices calmly without bursting into either laughter or tears.

The contempt of our nature is an error of our reason.

Anger and intolerance are the enemies of correct understanding.

I am human, and I think that nothing of that which is human is alien to me.

Everything that irritates us about others can lead us to an understanding of ourselves.

When someone opposes me, he arouses my attention, not my anger. I go to greet a man who contradicts me, who instructs me.

What is tolerance? It is the endowment of humanity. We are all steeped in weakness and error; let us forgive each other our stupidities, that is the first law of nature.

Perhaps men entertain as many truths as falsehoods; have as many good qualities as bad; feel as many pleasures as pains. But we like to malign human nature, in order to try to raise ourselves above the common level, and to acquire for ourselves the respect of which we strive to rob it. We are so presumptuous, that we imagine we can separate our own personal interests from those of humanity in general, and malign the human race without implicating ourselves. This absurd vanity has filled books of philosophy with diatribes against human nature. Man is in disgrace with all thinkers, who rival one another in accusing him of depravity. But perhaps he may be about to rise again and recover all his virtues; nothing is permanent, and philosophy, like clothes, music, architecture, &c, has its vogues.

Be a philosopher; but, amidst all your philosophy, be still a man.

True artists scorn nothing: they are obliged to understand rather than to judge.

Quotes for: to understand


Quotes for: to understand

Painters understand nature and love her and teach us to see.

The highest forms of understanding we can achieve are laughter and human compassion.

The best means of learning to know oneself is seeking to understand others.

Joy in looking and comprehending is nature's most beautiful gift.

It is perfectly true, as the philosophers say, that life must be understood backwards. But they forget the other proposition, that it must be lived forwards.

In youth we learn; in age we understand.

Quotes for: Human nature


Quotes about human nature:

Humanity takes itself too seriously. It is the world's original sin. If the caveman had known how to laugh, History would have been different.

Nature has placed mankind under the governance of two sovereign masters, pain and pleasure.

Be humanity evermore our goal.

Why should the law refuse its protection to any sensitive being? The time will come when humanity will extend its mantle over everything which breathes.

The dignity of mankind is in your hands; protect it!
It sinks with you! With you it will ascend.

Every man bears the whole stamp of the human condition.

Quotes for: action


Quotes about action:

One should be light like a bird, and not like a feather.

I have always thought the actions of men the best interpreters of their thoughts.

Forgiveness is the key to action and freedom.

Act only according to that maxim whereby you can, at the same time, will that it should become a universal law.

Think like a man of action, act like a man of thought.

To act freely is to retake possession of oneself; it is to place oneself back in pure duration.


Baruch Spinoza also said...

Happiness is a virtue, not its reward.

Fear cannot be without hope nor hope without fear.

All things excellent are as difficult as they are rare.

Joy is the transition of man from a less to a greater perfection.

Humility is not a virtue; that is, it does not arise from reason.

A free man thinks of nothing less than of death, and his wisdom is a meditation, not on death, but on life.

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