Re: [GTh] Monadology and the I Ching
- Tom Saunders writes:
> ... monadology is used in the Encyclopedia of Philosophy,(online) in theCurious, then, that the IEP article on Pythagoras contains none of the terms
> description of Pythagorean principles. This is where I picked up the term
'monad', 'monadology', or 'polarity'. So what IEP article are you referring
> 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 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'Besides the fact that no one besides yourself EVER said or thought that
> is the Holy Spirit ...
"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".
Mt. Clemens, MI
----- Original Message -----
From: "Jim Bauer" <jbauer@...>
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
> 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"
> 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)
- 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 ideaAs I said in my earlier note, "polarity" is not to be confused with - or
> 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.
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.)
Mt. Clemens, MI
- Tom Saunders writes:
> Leibnitz says, "the 'Monad' means that which is one, has no parts and isTo me, it's very clear. He meant that a monad has no parts which can exist
> therefore indivisible."
> Where Leibnitz got these ideas is not clear.
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
> 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.
Mt. Clemens, MI