I haven’t found a philosopher before that at least from what I’ve seen on the surface, reflects my thoughts so closely. Studying his writings more seems like a wise idea.

subversive book was published in Amsterdam: “Tractatus Theologico-Politicus,” an anonymous Latin treatise that declared the best policy in religious matters to be “allowing every man to think what he likes, and say what he thinks.”

“rare happiness of living in a republic, where everyone’s judgment is free and unshackled, where each may worship God as his conscience dictates, and where freedom is esteemed before all things dear and precious.”

Spinoza, then in his late thirties, had previously published only one book, a guide to the fashionable philosophy of René Descartes, he was one of Amsterdam’s most notorious freethinkers.

Ministers in several cities immediately forbade booksellers to carry the “Tractatus,” and, in 1674, it was officially banned in the Netherlands, along with Thomas Hobbes’s “Leviathan.” Under the circumstances, Spinoza’s praise of Dutch freedom might well sound sarcastic. But the truth is that, compared with most of Europe in the seventeenth century, the Netherlands really was a haven of tolerance.

Spinoza’s dedication to freedom of thought—what he called libertas philosophandi—that makes him a thinker for our moment.

intellectual freedom has once again become an important issue, even in countries, such as the United States, that pride themselves on being uniquely free.

liberal thinking is being challenged from many sides where ideologies are increasingly entrenched, by bigoted reactionaries as well as by progressives who believe there can be no deviation from their chosen paths to justice.

what the community objected to was not any personal misdeed but Spinoza’s “evil opinions” and “abominable heresies,” which he refused to recant under pressure.

Spinoza’s excommunication was like being “ ‘canceled,’ as people might now say,” but this was a retribution that a Twitter mob could only dream of.

Spinoza was willing to sacrifice everything for his right to think

He chose to think freely, and that made his tribal membership impossible.

Spinoza writes that democracy is “of all forms of government the most natural, and the most consonant with individual liberty,”

since the less men know of nature the more easily can they coin fictitious ideas,

his magnum opus, the “Ethics,” promises that his ideas will be “ordine geometrico demonstrata,” “demonstrated in the manner of geometry,” and, like Euclid, he presents his arguments in the form of numbered axioms and propositions

Spinoza sees true understanding as the key to happiness that he insists on freedom of thought

The basis and aim of a democracy is to avoid the desires as irrational, and to bring men as far as possible under the control of reason, so that they may live in peace and harmony.

“Ultimi barbarorum,” “the lowest of barbarians.”

Spinoza was willing to sacrifice everything for his right to think and speak freely shows how seriously he took libertas philosophandi, before he had published a word of philosophy.

When the “Tractatus” provoked a hostile reaction anyway, Spinoza decided not to publish anything else

the “Caute” on his ring referred to “the caution that the philosopher needs in his intercourse with non-philosophers.”

Baruch Spinoza and the Art of Thinking in Dangerous Times