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Re: [GTh] Monadology and the I Ching

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  • Tom Saunders
    Jim Bauer writes, A quick search of monadology on the Google search engine turned up nothing but page after page on Leibnitz, so as far as I can tell, the
    Message 1 of 11 , Apr 3, 2005
      Jim Bauer writes,

      "A quick search of "monadology" on the Google search engine turned up nothing but page after page on Leibnitz, so as far as I can tell, the concept originated with him, & therefore has little or nothing to do with Gnostic conceptions....... Could you please explain how ancient Greeks got a hold of a philosophical conception that wasn't published until 1714, & was largely a response to Descartes & Newton?"

      I don't see Leibnitz(?) or anybody after Pythagoras as having any right to the origination of the study of 'one' or the monad. We had this same problem with the word Gnostic, being a word coined, as I recall in the 12th c., by French scholars.

      "Oneology' would be fine, but one means monad, and monadology is used in the Encyclopedia of Philosophy,(online) in the description of Pythagorean principles. This is where I picked up the term, like I picked up the idea of Matthew being in Alexandria from Jack. (Is nobody to be trusted?) Monadology means the study of the power of one. That simple.

      Monadic polarity in Pythagorean model is too much like the 'polarity' model of Wu chi, the empty circle, to Tai Chi, the circle with the Yin-Yang symbol, the polarity between Yin and Yanng, and then the formation of the I Ching, ( 8 trigrams) to see as anything but the same structure/phase/analysis in both, and Thomas.

      The polarity of Jesus sayings are rooted in the idea that "Jesus Wisdom' is the Holy Spirit, or what Origen called the Word Incarnate, what Mary calls the Vision, and what Phillip calls the 'living resurrection,' all wrapped in the concept of transcendence. All based upon the concept that this power is like the "Wu and Tai Chi" (Great Power), is power in all forms. Wu chi: This form is thought of as the source or 'void of emptiness' from which all creation springs, or the essence of vital or primal energy. Wu chi (Wu Ji) means limitless power. Like, Tao, Logos, All, Light, or Pleroma.

      A rose by any other name..........

      Tom Saunders
      Platter, OK














      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
    • Michael Grondin
      ... Curious, then, that the IEP article on Pythagoras contains none of the terms monad , monadology , or polarity . So what IEP article are you referring
      Message 2 of 11 , Apr 3, 2005
        Tom Saunders writes:

        > ... monadology is used in the Encyclopedia of Philosophy,(online) in the
        > description of Pythagorean principles. This is where I picked up the term
        > ...

        Curious, then, that the IEP article on Pythagoras contains none of the terms
        'monad', 'monadology', or 'polarity'. So what IEP article are you referring
        to?

        > Monadology means the study of the power of one. That simple.

        Simple enough, yes, but you fail to properly apply this definition in
        practice. Under this definition, for example, it seems clear that ApocJn is
        a monadology and Thomas is not. Strangely enough, however, you deny this,
        because you seem to think that any system that involves _duality_ is a
        monadology. That, in turn, seems to be because you equate "monadology" with
        "monadic polarity".

        > Monadic polarity in Pythagorean model ...

        Where exactly do you find this "monadic polarity" in the "Pythagorean
        model"? It looks like you're simply _assuming_ that ANY "monadlogy" - i.e.,
        any "study of the power of one" - will conclude that the monad is dualistic.
        What about the Christian trinity? Is that not conceived as a TRIADIC monad?

        > The polarity of Jesus sayings are rooted in the idea that "Jesus Wisdom'
        > is the Holy Spirit ...

        Besides the fact that no one besides yourself EVER said or thought that
        "Jesus wisdom _is_ the Holy Spirit" (which would be false theology), the
        "reasoning" in your last paragraph doesn't provide the slightest support for
        your claim that there's some "polarity of Jesus sayings" (awful wording,
        that) comparable to what you call the "monadic polarity in [the] Pythagorean
        model." There is certainly much dualism in Thomas, but there's no indication
        at all that it's a "study of the power of one".

        Mike Grondin
        Mt. Clemens, MI
      • sarban
        ... From: Jim Bauer To: Sent: Saturday, April 02, 2005 7:39 PM Subject: Re: [GTh] Monadology and the I Ching
        Message 3 of 11 , Apr 3, 2005
          ----- Original Message -----
          From: "Jim Bauer" <jbauer@...>
          To: <gthomas@yahoogroups.com>
          Sent: Saturday, April 02, 2005 7:39 PM
          Subject: Re: [GTh] Monadology and the I Ching


          >
          >
          >
          >
          > A quick search of "monadology" on the Google search engine turned up
          nothing
          > but page after page on Leibnitz, so as far as I can tell, the concept
          > originated with him, & therefore has little or nothing to do with Gnostic
          > conceptions. A search for both the keywords "monadology" & "pleroma"
          mostly
          > turned up some rather suspect material, & a few analogies by philosophers,
          > but I am unconvinced that the two actually have anything to do with each
          > other. Could you please explain how ancient Greeks got a hold of a
          > philosophical conception that wasn't published until 1714, & was largely a
          > response to Descartes & Newton?
          >
          Although the word monadology may be recent there are
          similar concepts in Antiquity.

          Eg Clement of Alexandria 'Stromateis' Book 3 chapter 2
          speaking of the Gnostic Epiphanes the son of Carpocrates
          'he was instructed in the knowledge of the Monad' (Greek
          THS MONADIKHS GNWSEWS)

          Andrew Criddle
        • Michael Grondin
          ... As you said, Why is something so obvious, so hard to manage? Not only does ApocJn posit the existence of a monad (which seems a minimal requirement of a
          Message 4 of 11 , Apr 3, 2005
            Tom Saunders writes:

            > I do not see the Ap of Jn as a monadology, please explain.

            As you said, "Why is something so obvious, so hard to manage?" Not only does
            ApocJn posit the existence of a monad (which seems a minimal requirement of
            a "monadology", even though some of the systems that you consider to be
            monadologies don't do even that), but it then proceeds to tell a story about
            how everything emanated from the monad. ApocJn's cosmogony is thus similar
            to Pythagorean cosmology. (And if you're still thinking that "polarity" is
            essential to "monadology" - which it isn't - ApocJn features the central
            polar figure Barbelo.) ApocJn doesn't explicitly involve numbers, of course,
            but - like the Pythagorean system - an explanation is offered for how the
            universe is built up from a monad. What more could be asked of a
            "monadology" of the "ascending type" (your earlier distinction).

            Now having answered your question, may I ask why you didn't answer mine
            about where you found this idea of "monadology"? May I assume that you can't
            find it in the IEP (where you said it was), and that you no longer remember
            where you got it from? (This is annoying, since I would like to read a
            competent explanation of the concept of "monadology".)

            > 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.

            As I said in my earlier note, "polarity" is not to be confused with - or
            considered an essential part of - "monadology". A generative monad
            need not be dualistic. It only has to have _some way_ of generating
            everything else. Intrinsic polarity is only one possible way. There are
            others. (The Christian generative monad is triadic, e.g.) Furthermore, not
            all dualistic systems were _harmonious_ (which is what the equation of
            "monadology" with "polarity" requires - contra, e.g., the Zoroastrian
            system.) Yet whenever you compare Pythagorean cosmology to Oriental
            systems, you always switch from 'monad' to 'polarity' - as if the two were
            interchangeable. Surely there's some direct textual evidence you could
            cite that shows that what's involved in some of the Oriental systems you
            mention is the same kind of thing as in Pythagorean cosmology and
            ApocJn? (Speculating on what might constitute a "monad" in a particular
            system isn't sufficient to establish that that system is a "monadology".
            One can find some candidate for monadhood just about anywhere.)

            Mike Grondin
            Mt. Clemens, MI
          • Michael Grondin
            ... To me, it s very clear. He meant that a monad has no parts which can exist independently of each other. For if it did, then each of those parts would
            Message 5 of 11 , Apr 5, 2005
              Tom Saunders writes:

              > Leibnitz says, "the 'Monad' means that which is one, has no parts and is
              > therefore indivisible."

              > Where Leibnitz got these ideas is not clear.

              To me, it's very clear. He meant that a monad has no parts which can exist
              independently of each other. For if it did, then each of those parts would
              itself be a monad, and the thing of which they were "parts" wouldn't be a
              "monad" - it would be a composite. Yin and Yang, for example, cannot exist
              independently of each other. Neither can the three persons of the Christian
              trinity. Unlike the parts of a hammer, for example, the "parts" of a monad
              can't come into existence at different times independently of each other,
              and then be joined together. If they could, then each of those "parts" would
              itself be a monad.

              Consider the number one as the prototype of a monad. The ancients knew, of
              course, that the number 1 could be further divided, but not in the same
              sense that the number 2, for example, can be separated into two "monads". It
              might be expressed as the difference between a conceptual "part" (e.g., 1/2)
              and an existential "part" (e.g., two 1's within the number 2). In terms of
              Yin and Yang, for example, they're conceptually different (hence conceptual
              "parts" of a whole), and yet one can't exist without the other (hence
              they're not true existential "parts" of a composite thing). So Leibniz was
              in the mainstream of monadological thinking, even though his system differed
              from others.

              > The four, becomes the eight trigrams of the I Ching.

              I don't know why you say this. The trigrams are composed of two types of
              lines, not four.

              With respect to Empedocles, I don't see how he can be treated as a
              monadologist. As I understand it, his system was based on four elements
              driven by two _opposing_ (not harmonious) forces - love and strife.

              The relevance of this discussion of monadology to Thomas is rather indirect.
              You've called it a "descending monadology" - which I suppose expresses the
              intuition that it envisages that the complexity of creation will be rolled
              back into the single spiritual thing from which it arose. Saying 77 ("I am
              everything; everything came out of me."), taken together with the "roll
              back" sayings supports that view. As do Crossan and Davies in separate
              essays. If that's what you're saying, then, it's certainly well-supported
              within the scholarly community. The question of HOW this will come about (in
              the estimation of GThom's authors) is a separate question. We might be
              tempted to think that it has something to do with individual human beings
              transforming themselves, but presumably that wouldn't effect the rest of the
              material world. (If human beings die out, you've still got rocks and plants
              and other animals, right?) So they were probably thinking not that
              individual transformation would _cause_ the "roll back" of the world, but
              that individual transformation was something that one should undergo in
              preparation for the transformation of the world. It should be noted,
              however, that if saying 77 and the "roll back" sayings weren't original to
              Thomas, then this analysis wouldn't necessarily hold for the original.

              Mike Grondin
              Mt. Clemens, MI
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