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Monad (in Theosophy)

Monad (in Theosophy)

Theosophical term that literally means a unit (Greek monas ). The Monad is frequently described as a "divine spark," which is an appropriate expression, for it is a part of the logos, the divine fire. The Logos has three aspectswill, wisdom, and activity, and since the Monad is part of the logos, it also has these three aspects. It abides continually in its appropriate world, the monadic, but in order that the divine evolutionary purposes may be carried out, its ray is borne downward through the various spheres of matter when the outpouring of the third of the three life waves takes place.

It first passes into the spiritual sphere by clothing itself with an atom of spiritual matter and thus manifests itself in an atomic body, as a spirit possessing three aspects. When it passes into the next sphere, the intuitional, it leaves its aspect of will behind, and in the intuitional sphere appears in an intuitional body as a spirit possessing the aspects of wisdom and activity. On passing in turn from this sphere to the next, the higher mental, it leaves the aspect of wisdom behind and appears in a casual body as a spirit possessing the aspect of activity.

To put this somewhat abstruse doctrine in another form, the monad has, at this stage, manifested itself in three spheres. In the spiritual it has transfused spirit with will; in the intuitional it has transfused spirit with wisdom; and in the higher mental it has transfused spirit with activity or intellect; and it is now a human ego, corresponding approximately to the common term "soul," an ego which, despite all changes, remains the same until eventually the evolutionary purpose is fulfilled and it is received back again into the logos.

From the higher mental sphere, the monad descends to the lower mental sphere and appears in a mental body as possessing mind; then betakes itself to the astral sphere and appears in the astral body as possessing emotions; and finally to the physical sphere and appears in a physical body as possessing vitality. These three lower bodiesthe mental, the astral, and the physical constitute the human personality, which dies at death and is renewed when the monad in fulfillment of the process of reincarnation, again manifests itself in these bodies.

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monad

mon·ad / ˈmōˌnad/ • n. technical a single unit; the number one. ∎  Philos. (in the philosophy of Leibniz) an indivisible and hence ultimately simple entity, such as an atom or a person. ∎  dated Biol. a single-celled organism, esp. a flagellate protozoan, or a single cell. DERIVATIVES: mo·nad·ic / mōˈnadik; mə-/ adj. mon·ad·ism / -ˌizəm/ n. ( Philos. ).

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monad

monad the number one XVII; ultimate unit of being XVIII; simple organism, element, etc. XIX. — F. monade or its source late L. monas, -ad- — Gr. monás unit, f. mónos alone; see -AD1.

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monad

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monad

monadad, add, Allahabad, bad, Baghdad, bedad, begad, cad, Chad, clad, dad, egad, fad, forbade, gad, glad, grad, had, jihad, lad, mad, pad, plaid, rad, Riyadh, sad, scad, shad, Strad, tad, trad •chiliad • oread •dryad, dyad, naiad, triad •Sinbad • Ahmadabad • Jalalabad •Faisalabad • Islamabad • Hyderabad •grandad • Soledad • Trinidad •doodad • Galahad • Akkad • ecad •cycad, nicad •ironclad • nomad • maenad •monad, trichomonad •gonad • scratch pad • sketch pad •keypad • helipad • launch pad •notepad • footpad • touch pad • farad •tetrad • Stalingrad • Leningrad •Conrad • Titograd • undergrad •Volgograd • Petrograd • hexad •Mossad • Upanishad • pentad •heptad • octad

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Monad

MONAD

From the Greek, μονάς, a unit or individual entity, a monad is a simple, unextended, substantial, dynamic being of a psychical nature that reflects and represents the whole universe within itself, spontaneously and more or less consciously, without direct interaction with any other being. Monads are previously interrelated on the basis of a similarity of composition and a preestablished harmony.

The concept of the monad goes back to the later philosophy of plato, who sought an original unit (μονάς) from which to derive the many. In a similar manner, neo-platonism postulated the One (ν), a selfsubsistent principle from which numbers emanate, again to explain how many come to image the one. nicholas of cusa accepted the explanation of the School of Chartres that God is the One, who reveals Himself in the world and is above all present there and to whom all beings are related as to an original source, so that He is "all in all" (quodlibet in quolibet ). Giordano bruno also adopted the monas, but as psychically animated and spatially extended. He thought of it as an atom, a microcosm that encloses the macrocosm.

G. W. leibniz, for whom the monad became a principle of a dynamic panpsychism, began by seeking to improve upon the notion of substance as developed by R. descartes. He thought of monads as metaphysical points, psychical centers of force, and the substantial elements of which the universe is composed. They are true atoms, but at the same time overlapping units, making up "higher monads" and thus the hierarchical forms and

structures of all things, crowned by the divine monad as the source and mind of the universe. In themselves they are indestructible; according to Leibniz, they were created by God and can be destroyed only by Him. The Leibnizian monad is the recapitulation and ultimate extension of the formula of B. spinozam: Deus sive natura sive substantia; yet, because Leibniz relates all monads to the first monad (God), his theory is essentially different from that of Spinoza.

The entire monad theory is based upon the implications of the Parmenidean identification of thought and being. The result is that a similarity in image is identified with a similarity of being, an identification that is itself untenable. In Leibniz's time, those who discussed monads were H. More (161487), F. M. van Helmont (161499) and G. vico; those later influenced by Leibniz in the compilation of an inductive metaphysics include R. H. lotze, H. Driesch, and E. Becher (18821929).

See Also: monism.

Bibliography: f. c. copleston, History of Philosophy (Westminster, Md. 1946) 4:295319. a. plebe, Enciclopedia filosofica, 4 v. (VeniceRome 1957) 3:669. r. eisler, Wöterbuch der philosophischen Begriffe, 3 v. (4th ed. Berlin 192730) 2:169172. w. cramer, Die Monade: Das philosophische Problem vom Ursprung (Stuttgart 1954).

[j. hirschberger]

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