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Re: [GTh] Monadology and the I Ching

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  • 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 1 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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