I’m running my work bookclub. We’re a small, tight-knit group and are going to read Jonathan Haidt’s “The Righteous Mind: Why Good People are Divided by Politics and Religion.”
The book’s epigraph is a quote from Spinoza:
I have striven not to laugh at human actions, not to weep at them, not to hate them, but to understand them. (Baruch Spinoza, 1676)
I think a question I’d like to ask the group (and myself) is: in a time like ours, is Spinoza’s “understand them” goal appropriate? If understanding is still a goal, what is our obligation to understand? How much understanding am I required to seek, of an ideology or morality that I find repugnant? And what should follow understanding? Does understanding necessarily bring sympathy? Acceptance? Toleration? Or something else?
Not sure how I’d answer this yet. But excited to talk about it.