Technically, The New Yorker’s Baruch Spinoza and the Art of Thinking in Dangerous Times reviews a book on Spinoza. It is so well conceived that it also offers a practical primer on the philosopher’s thoughts on God, nature, democracy, religion and their interaction.

A few steps into his public philosopher career, Spinoza found himself exiled from his Jewish community in Amsterdam. That made him cautious and adept at avoiding an even worse fate, which was entirely possible in the mid-1600s.

Although Spinoza was certainly a champion of political and intellectual freedom, he had no interest in being a martyr for them, and, if his life teaches anything about thinking in dangerous times, it is how prudence and boldness can go hand in hand. Not for nothing did he wear a ring inscribed with the Latin word “Caute”: “Be cautious.”

Full article here.