My Perspective on Sub Specie Aeternitatis

Written by Tuan Giang on June 6, 2018


When I think of philosophy, the only question comes to mind is how to live a life with integrity. Whenever I learn something new about philosophy, it always brings a new perspective to my mind. But, nothing ever came close to the perspective of the three latin words uttered by Baruch Spinoza, "Sub Specie Aeternitatis".

A translation of Sub Specie Aeternitatis define the phrase as with the perspective of eternity. Many of you guys (if anyone even reading this at all) might not know who Baruch Spinoza is but his philosophy is one of the most intriguing to me. I will also not deny whether or not I completely understand the extent of his philsophy so I just try to understand three words.

To me, there has always been three dominant sectors of beliefs. By no definition but my own that I will try to define them - Spiritual, Empirical, and Romantics. The easiest to define is by the far is the Empiricals which are the ones whose logic define the reality around them. The next belief is the Romantics, based on the popular movement Romanticism, and these are the ones whose emotions and passions compel to interpret and shape their surroundings. I won't even attempt to define the last because the best definition of Spirituality for me came from Soren Kierkegaard who popularized the phrase "leap of faith". It is only through faith that can extends someone's belief past measurement and feelings. 

I believe that there have been many attempts to tie in the schools of beliefs but it was Spinoza's phrase that gave me a defining definition of the beyond. Perspectives are a gateway to new realities. Imagine yourself to be in the shoes of a beggar. What kind of outlook would one have towards ones' ordinary life from the perspective of a beggar? Would you still be concerned on whether or not your chair is leathered or not? Our perspectives shape our comprehension of the reality around us. Spinoza made a statement by saying those three words. He was essentially saying why not try to understand the universe. To take on the perspective beyond our imagination. 

It is hard to comprehend what does it means to be in the aspect of eternity. Connections in a person's neural network are infinitely countable. Decisions trees branch infinitely from one decision made by a person. The very reality that we live in are made of countless variables from faces we know and the forces that we do not. And at the end of the day, we have to understand that moments pass and planets rotate. 

As I have said, I am still learning and trying understand three words. Whenever I perceive that life has been unfair to me, I try to think about the bigger picture. It is just a moment in time and humans are linear beings in the perspective of time, thus it will pass. I do not always do this but I want to keep on trying to understand this perpsective. Perspectives are meant to be shared and I hope that through reading this, you might take a glimpse in my perspective on Sub Specie Aeternitatis.