Wednesday, August 3, 2016

The Accursed

His hobby was watching spiders chase flies. Spiders wove their webs and waited. Sooner than later some fly was sure to be trapped in the treacherously gossamer web. There’s a preordained affinity between flies and spider webs, he thought as he watched the spider rush with the glee of a conqueror to devour the trapped fly.

‘I’m like this fly,’ he muttered to himself. His religion was the spider web and its priests were the spiders.

The Lords of the Ma’amad, having known of the evil opinions and acts of Baruch de Spinoza, have endeavoured by various means and promises, to turn him from his evil ways...

He remembered the verdict passed on him by the Ma’amad, the Council of Elders, when he was just 23 years old. His crime was that he had questioned their truths. Their truths were falsehoods for him. Their truths were illusions. Their truths were fabricated gossamer webs. He showed them the real truths. Truths, naked and unembellished, which would set them free from the webs. Set the people free too.

But they did not want such freedom. They wanted power.

They created angels as the sentinels of their truths. Their God was already trapped in their webs.

By the decree of the angels, and by the command of the holy men, we excommunicate, expel, curse and damn Baruch de Spinoza, with the consent of God...

He wanted to laugh and cry at the same time.

Cursed be he by day and cursed be he by night; cursed be he when he lies down, and cursed be he when he rises up; cursed be he when he goes out, and cursed be he when he comes in...

The Council of Elders cursed him.  The people repeated the curse like a mantra.

Am I the really damned one? He asked himself. Am I damned because I see the light clearly?

He pondered and pondered. Over the years. Then he wrote Ethics.  The book of Light.

They cursed him again.

The Catholic Church banned his Ethics describing it as “forged in Hell by a renegade Jew and the Devil.”

What is good and what is evil is a matter of perception, he had written in Ethics. The less you are able to perceive and understand, the more the gap between the good and the evil in your mind. Real blessedness is clear perception and understanding of reality. The noblest virtue is intellectual love, untainted by emotions. Intellectual love is nothing but knowledge of reality. Understanding of truth.

I am the accursed one, he chuckled. How limited is your perception, my friends! How constricted is your understanding! I pity you.


  1. Brilliant. Sheer brilliance of your writing :) But the question on morality still remains to be understood well, by me.

    1. Morality is complex unless we choose to see the reality in black and white, good and evil polarities. Writer Francois Mauriac said that God is able to tolerate us because He can see everything. That's the kind of morality which Spinoza advocated though he didn't believe in God in the traditional sense.

      Truths assume so many contrasting forms for people simply because they look at them from limited perspectives.

  2. Very nicely written.

  3. Grt I am becoming a great fan of urs

  4. Our frames of reference are different. Our life experiences, upbringing, education and religion directly or indirectly shapes our thoughts. Ancient India was famous for "tarka" or debates. Great men debate. Lesser mortals engage in fisticuffs.

    Once I heard an interesting definition of lies. This industry executive said that if someone doesn't have the right to know something, and still if he/she asks a question, and if you give an incorrect answer then it would not be construed as lies.

    So in one stroke the tenet "lying is a sin" is circumvented and the person won't face pangs of guilt. Morality is a complex subject. If during times of religious riots, gangs are chasing a person and he/she seeks your shelter. And if the gangs ask you whether you have seen that person and you answer it as NO, then have you committed the sin of lying? One can say that you have ensured the greater good ie saved the life of a person by uttering a lie.

  5. Of course, there is something called situational ethics and its foundations are in tune with traditional morality. But we live in a world whose morality is like what your example illustrates. Lie becomes truth! and vice versa.


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