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Spinoza and the the Black Limos

by PETER LINEBAUGH

The black limos on 17th street and the gray suits touching one another’s back, ever so lightly, “Oh no, you first,” across the entry portico in to the World Bank.

The mind can imagine nothing, nor can it recollect anything that is past, except while the body exists.

The male bodies carried by the black limos carry brief cases or clutch leather folders as they stretch to lengthen their stride to ascend the first step into the Bank.

The human mind cannot be absolutely destroyed with the body, but something of it remains which is eternal.

The black limos not yet feeling the pinch of Bush’s faux directive that government servants bike or use public [sic] transport, the black limos crowd about a no parking zones because of the diplomatic plates,

The more we understand individual objects, the more we understand God.

The black limos lazily lined up waiting on curbside, the chauffeurs enjoying a smoke, or chatting with one another.

The highest effort of the mind and its highest virtue is to understand things by the third kind of knowledge.

The black limos drove the finance ministers of the Group of Eight, led by the U.S. Treasurer, Snow, who offers “debt relief” while greedily cutting back on loans to low-income countries.

Our mind, in so far as it knows itself and the body under the form of eternity, necessarily has a knowledge of God, and knows that it is in God and is conceived through Him.

A million people live in Dubai and four-fifths are Pakistani and Philippino proletarians who struck the week of the demo against wages months’ in arrears and for water. The more objects the mind understands by the second and third kind of knowledge, the less it suffers from those emotions which are evil, and the less it fears death.

Black limos are mere machines and cannot be compared to the alligators in some parts of New Orleans swimming hungrily in the streets of the town where the people are wet, wageless, and homeless, though the men in the machines are predators.

The more perfection a thing possesses, the more it acts and the less it suffers; and conversely the more it acts, the more perfect it is.

“Make Levees not War” was one of the demo slogans harking back to the days of Spock and SANE when they said “Make Love Not War”

Blessed is not the reward of virtue, but is virtue itself; nor do we delight in blessedness because we restrain our lusts, but, on the contrary, because we delight in it, therefore are we able to restrain them.

We had to walk via the Bank to get back to the main stage to meet up with my brother and the brothers and sisters, at the moment not thirsty, wageless, homeless, or lifeless, and, though marching eternally,

marching the Constitution Avenue,

we were not yet in our own perfect floods the black limos’ lusts

de-constituting.

PETER LINEBAUGH teaches history at the University of Toledo. He is the author of two of CounterPunch’s favorite books, The London Hanged and (with Marcus Rediker) The Many-Headed Hydra: the Hidden History of the Revolutionary Atlantic. His essay on the history of May Day is included in Serpents in the Garden. He can be reached at: plineba@yahoo.com

 

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Peter Linebaugh teaches history at the University of Toledo. His books included: The London Hanged,(with Marcus Rediker) The Many-Headed Hydra: the Hidden History of the Revolutionary Atlantic and Magna Carta Manifesto. His essay on the history of May Day is included in Serpents in the Garden. His latest book is Stop Thief! The Commons, Enclosures and Resistance.  He can be reached at:plineba@gmail.com

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