The Spinoza Problem: A Novel

The Spinoza Problem - Irvin D. Yalom This is not my first book by Yalom and it will definitely not be the last. I love his style – it's fluid, it molds on every type of subject and it somehow incorporates scientific or historical information in such a way that you don't even realize anymore which is fact and which is fiction. I learned a lot from his books and he is a man to be listened to when it comes to psychological problems or philosophic questions about life. Unlike us, the rest of the human population that reads his books, the man has done his research.

“The Spinoza Problem” is probably his best book so far when it comes to the life and ideology of certain men that had a great impact on our world. I have also read by him “When Nietzche Wept” and “The Schopenhauer Cure” and though they were amazing books (both I rated 5 stars and would've rated them 10 if GR provided that), this one right here managed to surpass that. I find it thrilling that n author can surpass his own works, and Yalom proves that even when it comes to a philosopher that didn't come out too much to the world, he can still put his story up together and give it to us in a form simple enough to understand but complicated enough to make us wonder.

The book is divided in chapters which alternate between two men that had a massive effect on the course of history as we know it today : Benedict (Bento, or Baruch as called by friends or in the Jewish language) Spinoza and Alfred Rosenberg. Spinoza was a philosopher and a great thinker that created a basis for a certain type of idea that involved not believing in afterlife and not believing in that irrational fear that all priests try to inflict upon their listeners that God is revengeful and wants everyone to be submissive. He believed that God was Nature, because rationally, if God was the all-powerful, all-knowing existence and Nature was all-powerful and impossible to influence, they must be one and the same type of divinity.

Personally, I completely agree with Spinoza. This is not the first time I have heard about his ideas and each time he popped up in my researches about something I would find his ideas more and more logical . What I like about him is even though he had a larger-than-life intellect and could probably swipe off of their feet every other great thinker there was, he was still a simple man, a man of his own mind, that refused to believe that only God could give the moral values a man should have. He thought that a humble man, a simple man, a “normal” man, I'd like to say, wold have to live his life after a not-at-all complicated code that involved honesty, modesty, love, respect and good will towards other people. Pretty damn normal, right?!

Now, speaking of Alfred Rosenberg. He is a completely different mare. He was an antisemit that believed jews were parasites upon our race (the Arian race, which all white people are) and that they should be sent off out of Europe so we wouldn't be contaminated anymore. Very infuriated that his name was a Jewish one and he might have been himself Jewish, he ignored everything that was good at those people and saw only evil and bad deeds, which Jews did as any other race on this planet has. By an unfortunate twist of fate, Rosenberg met the last man on this earth he should have met – Adolf Hitler. Which evidently caused them to get close because of their common stupid hate towards Jews and planted in Hitler's mind many ideas he shouldn't have had.

The book develops beautifully and flawlessly towards the ending, and I found the writing to be impeccable, with not one page I didn't want to read, not one boring description, nothing that could make me want to let it out of my hands.. except the need for sleep, food and friends.

A great book that Yalom invested a lot of soul in, a great subject he talked about and I'm pretty sure this is one of those must-reads in somebody's life.