Spinoza and Roxy Music

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This is a shameless stall for time, as we are hard at work doing development and I don’t have anything to show you yet. But there’s been something odd on my mind I might as well share. It’s about this:

Those of you who, like me, grew up in the 80s, has this song woven in their DNA. I’ve never given it much thought, but for no reason in particular, I decided to explore its meaning.

On the surface, I bet a lot of folks think it’s a love song – – like you’re with a new girlfriend, and you’re saying there’s “nothing more than this” to life. It’s an idealization of fresh love.

Surprise, surprise, my view is a different one. Allow me:

Spinoza reminds us that God’s existence is necessary. It pertains to the very nature of substance to exist. Furthermore, since each and every mode follows from the necessity of the divine nature, either from the absolute nature of one or another of God’s attributes, as is the case with the infinite and eternal modes, or from one or another of God’s attributes insofar as it is modified by a modification that is finite, as is the case with the finite modes, they are all necessary as well. Since there is nothing other than the divine substance and its modes, there is nothing that is contingent. Any appearance of contingency is the result of a defect in knowledge, either of God or of the order of causes. Accordingly, Spinoza makes it central to his theory of knowledge that to know a thing adequately is to know it in its necessity, as it has been fully determined by its causes.

https://www.iep.utm.edu/spinoza/#SSH3b.iii

Let’s look at the lyrics (the emphasis above and below is my own):

I could feel at the time
There was no way of knowing
Fallen leaves in the night
Who can say where they’re blowing
As free as the wind
And hopefully learning
Why the sea on the tide
Has no way of turning

More than this, there is nothing
More than this, tell me one thing
More than this, there is nothing
It was fun for a while
There was no way of knowing
Like dream in the night
Who can say where we’re going

No care in the world
Maybe I’m learning
Why the sea on the tide
Has no way of turning
More than this, you know there is nothing
More than this, tell me one thing
More than this, you know there is nothing

In a nutshell:

  1. The nature of all things drive their causes and effects;
  2. The collective individual determinism creates the determinism of all things, including our lives;
  3. You might as well enjoy the ride.
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