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Monadology and the I Ching

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  • Michael Grondin
    ... There s a conceptual problem here, because this makes the monad logically dependent upon the existence of Yin and Yang. That is to say, if Yin and Yang
    Message 1 of 3 , Mar 31, 2005
      Tom Saunders writes:

      > 1. The monad in the I Ching is the polaric force between the dualistic
      > points of Yin and Yang.

      There's a conceptual problem here, because this makes the monad logically
      dependent upon the existence of Yin and Yang. That is to say, if Yin and
      Yang didn't exist, then, by definition, neither would your suggested
      "monad". But if the concept of "monad" means anything, it's that it must
      exist independently of everything else. Take for example the concept of the
      monad in ApocJn. First, the monad exists independently, then it brings
      Barbelo into existence. (The number one "emanates", as it were.) Barbelo,
      being the "mother-father" is comparable to Yin-Yang. I don't think it could
      be rightly said that ApocJn's Monad was identical with the relationship
      between the male and female components of Barbelo. I question, then, whether
      the Yin-Yang dualism can be considered to contain a true "monad".

      More generally, your response indicates to me that the concept of
      "monadology" as applied to texts is pretty useless, because (among other
      things) you've used the concept of "monad" in a very shifting and subjective
      way. If you've gotten the word 'monadology' from elsewhere, please indicate
      where that is, so that one can check what that author says about it. If it's
      your own word, it needs to be clearly defined before being tossed about.
      (BTW, as Plato said long ago, giving an example is not defining.)

      As to the I Ching, I didn't find your lengthy discussion (especially where
      it gratuitously diverted into martial arts) very helpful or relevant. What I
      had in mind - as I said - was _structural features_, as from the
      Encyclopaedia Britannica:

      "The uniqueness of the I Ching consists in its presentation of 64 symbolic
      hexagrams ... [These] hexagrams are formed by joining in pairs, one above
      the other, eight basic trigrams ... In practice, one 'creates' a hexagram by
      casting lots ... The hexagram is built up from the bottom, line by line, by
      successive lots. Solid lines have the number nine, broken lines have the
      number six. Solid lines represent _yang_ (the cosmic male principle), while
      broken lines represent _yin_ (the female cosmic principle)."

      Among other things, I'd like to know what's meant by "solid lines" and
      "broken lines", since CGTh has a textual feature that some of its 668 lines
      are "broken" in the sense of containing one or more apostrophes, while
      others are "solid" in the sense that they don't contain an apostrophe. And,
      of course, male and female is a common theme. So I'm interested in knowing
      more about the structural features of I Ching to see if there might be some
      analogue in the textual features of the Coptic GThom.

      Mike Grondin
      Mt. Clemens, MI
    • Tom Saunders
      I do not see the Ap of Jn as a monadology, please explain. Then perhaps I can address the difference. The entire Table of Numbers in the Pythagorean system is
      Message 2 of 3 , Apr 3, 2005
        I do not see the Ap of Jn as a monadology, please explain. Then perhaps I can address the difference.

        The entire Table of Numbers in the Pythagorean system is based on the idea that the monad is the central force and remains such in forms, 1-10. The study of this 'polarity' is in both the Oriental and Pythagorean models. Why is something so obvious, so hard to manage? Like, Holy Spirit.

        Heracleaon Fragment 24, on John 4:24 (In John 4:24a, it says,) "God is spirit." Undefiled, pure, and invisible is his divine nature. Wu Chi is pure, invisible, and of a divine nature. God=Wu Chi. God = Holy Spirit. (But although everything has this divine nature within it, everything is not 'divine.' "God is in everything, but everything is not God." {McGinn} )

        "What about the Christian trinity? Is that not conceived as a TRIADIC monad?"

        Yes, and Evagrius Ponticus says, "Trinity is realized by the mind (nous) when is has been restored to absolute simplicity. Naked mind is that which through the contemplation which concerns it is united with the Science of the Trinity." United with the science of the trinity, is uniting with the Holy Spirit." (McGinn, p. 52)

        "Thus one who hears the word "God" does not perceive what is correct, but perceives what is incorrect. So also with "the Father" and "the Son" and "the Holy Spirit" and "life" and "light" and "resurrection" and "the Church (Ekklesia)" and all the rest - people do not perceive what is correct but they perceive what is incorrect, unless they have come to know what is correct." (Gospel of Phillip)

        Thank you for correcting me.

        Tom Saunders
        Platter, OK

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      • Tom Saunders
        Leibnitz says, the Monad means that which is one, has no parts and is therefore indivisible. http://www.iep.utm.edu/l/leib-met.htm#Substance%20as%20Monad
        Message 3 of 3 , Apr 4, 2005
          Leibnitz says, "the 'Monad' means that which is one, has no parts and is therefore indivisible." http://www.iep.utm.edu/l/leib-met.htm#Substance%20as%20Monad

          Where Leibnitz got these ideas is not clear. It does seem to me that his ideas are not going to align with all aspects of other monadologies. In other ways they will. Monads will not replace atoms, and Leibnitz's ideas of matter are not going to coincide with Thomas in many ways. The concept of monad or One in the I Ching may also play out in many different ways. Matter disappears in these systems while Leibnitz makes the monad matter. There are some things he says that seem to be aligned with other ideas about monadic properties.

          "Just as in the analysis of space and time we discovered that all relational predicates are actually interior predicates of some complete concept, so the monad's properties will include all of its 'relations' to every other monad in the universe. A monad, then, is self-sufficient. Having all these properties within itself, it doesn't 'need' to be actually related to or influenced by another other monad." Leibniz writes: (IEP)
          So if I were capable of considering distinctly everything which is happening or appearing to me now, I would be able to see in it everything which will ever happen or appear to me for all time. And it would not be prevented, and would still happen to me, even if everything outside me were destroyed, so long as there remained only God and me. ('Discourse on Metaphysics', ยง14)
          Monad--1--is so called because it remains always in the same condition--that is, separate from multitude. Its attributes are as follows: It is called mind, because the mind is stable and has preeminence; hermaphrodism, because it is both male and female; odd and even, for being added to the even it makes odd, and to the odd, even; God, because it is the beginning and end of all, but itself has neither beginning nor end; good, for such is the nature of God; the receptacle of matter, because it produces the duad, which is essentially material. (Pythagorean Table of Numbers)

          The schema of the I Ching is that Wu chi, becomes the Tai chi, the empty circle becoming the Yin-Yang duality. This is essentially the idea that the duad, or in terms of the I Ching, the Tai chi is essentially material. The polarity in the duality between Yin and Yang, means "Everything remains in a constant state of flux between these polarities." They are not seen in opposition. (Craze, I Ching, p. 9-11)

          Yin and Yang are considered as both being representative of Greater and Lesser Yin and Yang. While Yin and Yang represent a line from N. to S., yin and yang is seen to represent E. and West, as well as seasons, and other component natural things that have four 'essential' components. The polarity from the duality remains in the essential form of the four.

          The four, becomes the eight trigrams of the I Ching. The eight, becomes the 64, the polarity between the duad can be seen to migrate through the various forms, one thru 64. Lao Tzu said, "The Tao begot one. One begot two. Two begot three. And three begot the ten thousand things." (42, Tao Te Ching) "The great Tao flows everywhere, both to the left and to the right. The ten thousand things depend upon it......"(34)

          While reading the IEP, I read monadology into what was being said about Pythagoras, Empedocles, and others, and I did see the term monadology used in reference to Pythagorean philosophy, somewhere. I don't apologize for 'seeing' monadologies everywhere, but I do apologize for 'no citation' for Pythagoras using the term.

          I see the same polarity in the Pythagorean concepts as with the I Ching's concept of "One" and the Pythagorean concept of the 'monad.' Perhaps referring to Pythagoreans I have used polarity instead of monadic force, but I see these as the same thing. I was being an Aphorist, and neglected being a Scientist, in the sense that Pythagoreans realized these two forms of philosophy. ( Early Greek Philosophy, Fifth C. Pythagoreans, p.162)

          An Aphorist might be thought to be prone to seeing forms, like Origen describes the allegorical values of scripture. Aphorisms like Thomas. And, the Pythagorean numerical values, polarizing to the "One." The Scientist, might be thought of to be the analytical thinker prone to the values of measurement, like the right angles of triangles. Like religious literalists, or legalists see scripture. Somewhere there must be a balance between the two. Whether Aphorist or Scientist, everything begins with one, and the polarity it has in form.

          I will consider how the Ap of Jn, is also a monadology in the same way, and address that question in another post.

          The following Thomas sayings indicate to me that Thomas is a monadology because Jesus is seen as the 'fire,' "One" and the monadic force, or the 'one' polarity.

          Thomas Saying 82. Jesus said, "Whoever is near me is near the fire, and whoever is far from me is far from the (Father's) kingdom."

          30. Jesus said, "Where there are three deities, they are divine. Where there are two or one, I am with that one."

          23. Jesus said, "I shall choose you, one from a thousand and two from ten thousand, and they will stand as a single one."

          18. The disciples said to Jesus, "Tell us, how will our end come?" Jesus said, "Have you found the beginning, then, that you are looking for the end? You see, the end will be where the beginning is. Congratulations to the one who stands at the beginning: that one will know the end and will not taste death."

          108. Jesus said, "Whoever drinks from my mouth will become like me; I myself shall become that person, and the hidden things will be revealed to him."

          50. Jesus said, "If they say to you, 'Where have you come from?' say to them, 'We have come from the light, from the place where the light came into being by itself, established [itself], and appeared in their image.' If they say to you, 'Is it you?' say, 'We are its children, and we are the chosen of the living Father.' If they ask you, 'What is the evidence of your Father in you?' say to them, 'It is motion and rest.'"

          51. His disciples said to him, "When will the rest for the dead take place, and when will the new world come?" He said to them, "What you are looking forward to has come, but you don't know it."

          113. His disciples said to him, "When will the kingdom come?" "It will not come by watching for it. It will not be said, 'Look, here!' or 'Look, there!' Rather, the Father's kingdom is spread out upon the earth, and people don't see it." (Also 77, and 3)

          Considering the idea that Jesus is the guiding force in Thomas and the formation of the kingdom(s), or the science of the trinity, or creation, I see this force as similar to polarity or driving energy, similar in the I Ching, and the Pythagorean systems. This force may be described in different ways, with some differences in the conception of the nature of things, but I essentially see this force or polarity as essential to understanding balance and harmony in the structure of forms.

          Tom 'The Aphorist' Saunders

          Platter, OK

          [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
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