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Precursors of Samaelism: Baruch Spinoza

The Samaelite Farmacon and the Spinozian Divine Substance

Curia Europae - Ordo Adamantis Atri


This article reviews the relations and tensions between the Samaelite concept of Farmacon, understood as an all-encompassing whole of all the potentialities of existence and omnipresent to a greater or lesser extent in all that exists, and the concept of Divine Substance present in the work of the philosopher Baruch Spinoza, equally all-encompassing and omnipresent in all that exists, to which, however, he denies any form of personification, although not of self-consciousness.

Keywords: Farmacon, Divine Substance, potency, Spinoza.

In the Treatise on Samaelite Doctrine (2023) we come across a core concept that is the origin and end of all his thought: The Concept of Farmacon. This term, which has its origins in classical philosophy, is revisited in contemporary thought by authors such as Jacques Derrida and is defined as follows.

«In the samaelite doctrine the Farmacon is the pre-logical but yet ontological stage of the Creation, only deducted by logic but never perceivable by human beings. Farmacon is a neutral word that means both cure and poison, being so a linguistical tool to describe the totality of the Universe. The Farmacon is everything and it is seen, in Samaelism, as the zero point in which all the powers of existence coincide. For this reason, the Farmacon is also interpreted, in a very Aristotelian way, as the power of powers, in which everything exists without existing.» [1]

For his part, Spinoza comes to speak of the concept of Divine Substance in the following manner:

«By Substance I understand that which exists in itself and is conceived by itself, that is to say, that whose concept does not require the concept of something else from which it must be formed. Therefore, Substance is a nature subsistent by its own immanent active power and intelligible by itself. That is, the divine naturing nature itself.» [2]

For Samaelism, this all-embracing concept of both matter and antimatter is not only pre-logical, but it is their presence to some extent, the very reason for bringing into becoming the corporeal substances, what we come to designate as reality, is directly related to the presence of the Farmacon in every contingent being.

The "zero" point is the Farmacon, self-substantiated substance emanating from Nothingness, the constituent of all forms of existence.

In the same sense, Baruch Spinoza comes to consider the Divine Substance also as the constituent of all existing realities, even without being able to comprehend or perceive this Divine Substance in its totality.

And he will say further on:

«That which is common to all things, which exists equally in part and in whole, does not constitute the essence of any singular thing» [3].

(Ethics II, Proposition 39)".

Therefore, the active essence of the divine nature is common to all things, is expressed in all things, but is not confounded or limited to any thing existing in nature.

«Every idea of every singular body or thing existing in action necessarily implies the eternal and infinite essence of God.» [4]

This concept of Samaelite Farmacon has evident relations with that of Spinozian Divine Substance, not only in terms of its conceptualisation, but also as the principal constituent element of the contigent real beings.

In this sense, both conceptions of the world also coincide in the impossibility of contingent beings to embrace and conceive the totality of the Divine Substance, although they are constituted by it to a greater or lesser extent.

In Spinoza's case, we can only know the Divine Substance by two of its attributes, having infinite attributes: Thought and extension.

For example, in nature, each thing that exists expresses a degree of potency through which it perseveres in existence. But this degree of potency - we would say the degree of Farmacon - is not produced by the finite thing itself, because no finite thing exists by its own exclusive potency.

Therefore, all finite things express a little of the power through which the divine nature acts and exists.

Spinoza wrote:

«That which is common to all things, which exists equally in part and in whole, does not constitute the essence of any singular thing». [5]

Similarly, we can draw a parallel between Samaelite and Spinozist eschatology. Whereas, for Samaelism after death, the Farmacon that spiritually animated that contingent body returns to its origin, so for Spinoza after death there remains that which is part of the Divine Substance in man:

«This something is our deepest essence which cannot be destroyed by death, since it is bound up with the immanent and unceasing causality of the divine Substance.

The human mind cannot be destroyed absolutely with the body, but something remains of it which is eternal and which proceeds from the Divine Substance.» [6]

In no way, contrary to popular belief, does Spinoza hold a pantheistic position. In fact, he refuses to identify all reality as all Divine Substance.

The essence of the divine nature is never confused with the essence of things produced, for it expresses infinite ways of existing, producing and understanding.

The essence of each produced thing expresses, to a certain specific and particular degree, the potency and complexity of only two attributes of the divine Substance: extension and thought.

The being of substance does not belong to the essence of man, i.e. substance does not constitute the form of man. (cfr. Proposition 10 of Ethics).

Therefore, according to Spinoza, those who confuse the human essence (or any singular existing thing) with the divine, will never have an adequate understanding of man, things or God.

Further, for Spinoza, there is a direct identification of Divine Substance with God, without any personification. For him any personification of the Divine Substance proceeds only from the activity of man's finite intellect, and it is at this point that he definitely departs from all the religious cults of his time. Personification corresponds to the human conceptualization of God through the only two attributes of His which we are capable of knowing: Extension and thought.

It is here perhaps that the major difference between Spinozist and Samaelite concepts lies. Spinoza would identify himself with the Samaelite concept of Farmacon, which he would already endow with self-consciousness since he is the engrosser of everything, including God, being God himself, nothing self-conscious could be engendered from unconsciousness. It is not necessary to personify in order to be self-conscious.

The origin of this divergence may lie precisely in the differences between Spinoza's and Plotinus' thinking

The philosophy of Plotinus and Spinoza share several elements and have a mutual influence on each other. Plotinus was one of the leading Neoplatonic philosophers of Late Antiquity and his theory of the One had a considerable influence on Spinoza's philosophy.

One of the main elements of Plotinus' philosophy is his idea of the One as the supreme, transcendental principle. For Plotinus, the One is the source of all being and reality, and the supreme goal of the human being is to achieve union with it. This conception of the One as supreme principle influenced Spinoza's idea of the one substance as the cause and foundation of all being


The concept of substance is also present in Plotinus' philosophy, although not in the same way as in Spinoza's. For Plotinus, substance is the cause and foundation of all being. For Plotinus, substance is the divine reality and the basis of all existence, whereas in Spinoza, substance is the only complete and autonomous reality. However, the idea of the unity and oneness of substance in both philosophies is evident.

Another point in common between the two philosophies is their ethical goal. Both Plotinus and Spinoza conceive the supreme good as union with the divine reality or the one substance. For Plotinus, contemplation of the One is the way to mystical union with it, while for Spinoza, knowledge and contemplation of reality is the way to attain supreme happiness.

Plotinus' philosophy also had an impact on Spinoza's theory of human freedom and necessity. For Plotinus, human freedom is to be found in the capacity to rise towards and unite with the divine reality. For Spinoza, on the other hand, human freedom is intrinsically linked to the understanding of universal necessity. Man, according to Spinoza, is free only to the extent that he acts in accordance with reason and the laws of nature.

In any case, although Samaelism speaks of a personification of the Farmacon in order to speak of God: SamaEl, curiously enough, it never speaks of him except to proclaim his existence, so that I understand, as a conclusion, that there is a practical similarity originating from a mere speculative difference.

The Farmacon is thus the Spinozist Divine Substance, and is reflected in the human being through that which is Eternal.

[1] Ordo Adamantis Atri, quoted text, Amazon 2023, p.109

[2] B. Spinoza, Ethics I, Definition 3

[3] B. Spinoza., Ethics II, Proposition 39

[4] Ibid., Proposition 45

[5] Ibid., Propositon 39

[6] ibid.

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