|Spinoza's personal symbol and motto|
The first is a simple and straightforward call to be careful, i.e. to do your work carefully and not to be over-eager to rush ahead carelessly or foolishly into publishing what are really only half-baked thoughts.
|My own stamp based on Spinoza's |
made for me by Nell Latimer in 2020
So to the image of the rose. It's a symbol which speaks of the beautiful and the sensuous. But roses, remember, have thorns - with them you must always be careful. To enjoy their beauty to the full you need to take care how your approach, touch, tend and pluck them. All ideas, not just those which you feel are beautiful but also those which you feel are good and true, need to be handled with the greatest of care and caution.
I adopted the word "Caute" as the name for my blog for two reasons. The first is that Spinoza remains one of liberal religion's greatest exemplars and I heartily recommend to you Steven Nadler's excellent biography of him.
The second reason is that many years ago I inherited from my Uncle Ed (from Norwich) a small seal with a rose on it (see picture here). Why he had it and quite why I ended up with it is lost in time but what I can say is that it helped seal (pun intended) my personal relationship with the symbol of the rose which, in turn, meant that when I stumbled upon Spinoza's use of it along with the word "Caute" it resonated very powerfully with me.
Coincidentally, whilst I was living and working in London in the 1980's trying to make my way as a young musician, I managed to get myself a job as one of the picture researchers for Dorling Kindersley's Royal Horticultural Society's Encyclopedia of Garden Plants. One of the sections for which I sourced the pictures was that on roses. I very much enjoyed that gig.
Now I can't say that this blog (and my life) fully lives up to the ideal gestured to by the word "Caute" and the symbol of the rose but a genuine intention to try to live up to it is most certainly present.