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Spinoza – Signs and wonders

December 14, 2014

“The human mind is readily swayed this way or that in times of doubt…. Anything which excites their astonishment [people] believe to be a portent signifying the anger of the gods or of the Supreme Being, and, mistaking superstition for religion, account it impious not to avert the evil with prayer and sacrifice. Signs and wonders of this sort they conjure up perpetually, till one might think Nature as made as themselves, they interpret her so fantastically.”

(from Tractatus theologico-politicus [1670], translated by R. H. M. Elwes)

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