Spinoza’s goal was the very practical one of how a person ought to live in the world. He sought a good, or a value, that would allow independence from the unpredictable, unpleasant, and uncontrollable aspects of human life, and he concluded that the ultimate good was awareness of one’s place in nature, together with an acceptance of the natural order. Natural science, politics, ethics, education, and even technology were part of what had to be understood to achieve this complete understanding. Before such understanding, Spinoza said that the human mind was like a worm in a bloodstream that thought each drop of blood was an isolated thing, instead of part of a system within an organism. His philosophical task was to describe the whole in which individual humans were parts.
Benedict de Spinoza concluded that the ultimate good was to discover one’s place in nature (iStock).