Spinoza’s bed

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Hierna neem ik een stukje tekst op dat de Poolse dichter Zbigniew Herbert in zijn reeks Dutch Apocrypha schreef over ‘Spinoza’s bed’. Maar ik begin met een paar alinea’s uit de bespreking van Jessa Crispin die gisteren verscheen in The Smart Set from Drexels University: “Must Love Kids. How do you determine the success of a woman? For many, the answer lies in the children,” zijnde de bespreking van twee boeken: Susan Hertog, Dangerous Ambition: Rebecca West and Dorothy Thompson: New Women in Search of Love and Power [Ballantine Books, 2011] en Barbara Almond,The Monster Within: The Hidden Side of Motherhood. [University of California Press, 2011]

Ze citeert van Barbara Almond: “We expect everything from mothers, and we excuse little.” Moeders blijven een eeuwig thema. Aan het eind van haar bespreking geeft ze dan de volgende ontboezeming over Spinoza:

“Doing a little daytime drinking with a friend recently, the conversation circled around to our mothers. We went through the usual list of complaints, dredging up old hurts and comparing stories. My friend told me he had recently read that Spinoza, through his entire life, carried with him the bed in which his mother died. He carted it from residence to residence, sleeping every night literally in his own mother’s deathbed. Sure, it was a different world, before IKEA and constantly renewing mattress technology, but come on. He surely could have swapped or sold the bed, but he held onto it. And if Spinoza — fucking Spinoza, man! my friend said, shaking his head — couldn’t let go of his mother issues, then we must be doing all right, him and me.

There’s another side to that, of course: That if Spinoza — fucking Spinoza, man! — couldn’t get over his mother issues, then surely we are all doomed to the same fate, no matter how much psychotherapy or how many philosophical structures we go through. I didn’t say it out loud then, because really, there’s not enough alcohol in the world to make that all right.” [van hier]