Impressions: WTF. Yes, much like others, I was left speechless. I couldn’t make heads or tails of what the hell I saw. The last time I had that disconcerting feeling was the first time I watched End of Evangelion. Given the amazing levels of awesome Evangelion 2.0 You Can (Not) Advance reached, I was geeked for more of the same, but I was left reeling with confusion, full of questions, and a slow burn that ended in anger.
In his philosophical system, Leibniz tried to juggle God and the monads. He claimed that monads are both eternal & indestructible, yet also with the same breath, he claimed that God is capable of creating them or destroying them in a jiffy. Monads are supposedly free, which is a must for all substances, but not so in God’s eyes.
Now, just exactly what is God in this system of monadology? Is God a monad Himself? Leibniz only goes far enough to assert that God is the “monad of monads.” Interesting, isn’t it?
If God isn’t a monad, then that would explain for God’s existence before he “flashes” the monads into existence. However, that means monads exist, and consists of properties only in virtue of the properties of this flashing, non-monadic entity. Then if monads depends on another entity, then they are not substances. The definition of substance is something that does not depend on anything else to be what it is. If monads depends on God, then they are only “modes” of a substance. If God is the only entity that does not depend on anything else to be what it is, then God is the only substance.
Hegel observed this: “There is a contradiction present. If the monad of monads, God, is the absolute substance, and individual monads are created through his will, their substantiality comes to an end.” (Lectures on the History of Philosophy, 3rd section)
If God is not a monad, then Leibniz is basically a Spinozist.
On the other hand, let’s say the “monad of monads” is a monad. However, if God is a monad, then by definition he cannot interact with other monads, or he would determine their essence, and/or they, his. At best, God as monad may be involved with his creation only virtually, which is the pre-established harmony Leibniz often writes about. Thus, if God acts through this pre-established harmony, then he could not have created that either. FWIW, whatever God does, it follows with absolute, logical necessity from his monadic essence. The idea that God will “create” this universe is already contained within the concept of God, much like “got shot in Dallas” is a necessary predicate of “JFK.” Given the hypothesis that to choose one monad is to choose the entire universe, then therefore, once God exists, then the universe such as it is, exists with utter necessity. God could not have had a choice about anything – except like JFK, he is ignorant of his true nature.
Bottom line: if God is a monad, then he isn’t God, but someone like us. If God is a monad, then Leibniz was an atheist.
If philosophy cannot guide our conduct, much less change behavior, then why should we bother read philosophy at all? Curiosity, perhaps? If philosophy can help guide conduct, then let’s look at conduct. At the bare minimum, our actions are the result of character, which is what we fundamentally will as motivation. Then it follows that a change in motives will result in a change in action. Then it is reasonable that philosophy can at least produce a change in the information we have about the world that is relevant to how we act.
I have been thinking about the best or most appropriate way to tackle the relationship between Christ and the gods of Pantheon, and recently I came across a potential approach in Sloterdijk’s “Cabinet of Cynics” chapter from Critique of Cynical Reason where he goes through the five embodiment of cynicism through history. The first suspect is none other than Diogenes, who embodied the low theory version in his decided opposition to the all-too serious discourse of Socrates & Plato. Kynicism was based on the animal nature of man, where the gestures of the body were framed as arguments (farting or shitting or whacking off in public). In other words Diogenes poked fun at his grave opponents, but instead of talking against such idealism, he lived in opposition in an anti-theoretical, anti-dogmatic and anti-scholastic way. ↓ Read the rest of this entry…
After reviewing the best of anime of 2011, I realized that ranking great masterpieces was a disservice to each other, and to everyone, so I decided to pick only the best two of each season, and leave out the subjective, inconstant ranking. As always, they are based on my mixture of subjective preferences of philosophical depth and aesthetics appeal, but I try to leave room for the unexpected, which allows me to learn how to enjoy despite my worst habits. ↓ Read the rest of this entry…