Monday, November 25, 2013


It’s also true that to attack Spinozism is considered on par with wanting to kill innocent life itself – this poor wastrel of a man, this “innocent life,” as Deleuze puts it. We philosophers and theorists admire those who have been threatened and excommunicated, those who have done their philosophy under the most arduous and dangerous conditions, and by this move we flatter our- selves to think that we too brave the worst in merely being philosophers. It seems rude to our self-understanding to attack a Socrates or a Spinoza, as if they didn’t face enough in their own lives, and especially if that means siding with those reactionary dogmatists who excoriated “Spinozism” for centuries after Spinoza died having left unfinished his chapter on democracy in the Political Treatise. And now, centuries later, he is tellingly judged to be an “innocent life,” as if life itself were a matter of guilt or innocence, or a matter of those “suffused with life itself” or those who are not – as if one can make any such juridical distinctions independent of a fully biopoliticized logic.  

--Peter Gratton, "Spinoza and the Biopolitical Roots of Modernity."