Charles Freeland: Variations on a Theme by Spinoza


Variations on a Theme by Spinoza. A free e-chapbook from Red Ceilings Press. MMXI. To access, click on the image.

"In Charles Freeland's Variations on a Theme by Spinoza, the poet makes flesh the 16th-century philosopher's mind/body/emotions-as-divine issues for an audience familiar with the significance of `unguarded messages on the phone.' Fascinating parts – the piety of lust, an impartial, broken-hearted God – strive to equal the sublime oneness that consumed one of our greatest minds. Badass, but also a little lonely, no?" [Chris Vola, Deadly Chaps Press].

An emotion is a confused idea in that it arises from the mind but believes itself subject to the body. Any idea I have of a body arises not, per Spinoza, from the idea I have of my own body, but that I have of yours. The resulting emotion is no more idea than it is confused. If I remain passive before the emotion that is the memory of your body (and not the body itself) I do so only until such time as that memory is no longer just memory, but the fact of your body like the fact of my own.