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Re: [GTh] Monadology and the I Ching

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  • 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 1 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

      > 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 2 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
        > 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

        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 3 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 4 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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