Posted By zeteticus on February 22, 2013
|Cyclops, by Odilon Redon|
As early as the Presocratic philosophers, the idea of non-reducible, indivisible units had been expressed as monads. For Pythagoras, it was the “all-including ONE” (Manly P. Hall). The universe is also a monad, but all the individual parts are as well. For Plato, the monads were likened to the Ideas. So, it is directly in line with this tradition to suggest that monads are indeed archetypal images, and therefore irreducible, and that everything derives from them.
It is fitting to match god with the monad, since god is in a seminal way (spermatikos) all beings in nature, as the monad is [potentially all things] in number; for things which appear in actuality to be extreme opposites, in absolutely every mode of opposition, are potentially contained within it, just as we saw, throughout the Introduction to the Arithmetic, that the monad took on every form, by a certain ineffable nature…The monad is absolutely the most authoritative of all things, like a pure light, sunlike and governing, (hegemonikos), so that it may resemble god in these respects, and above all in being a source of friendship and union for things multifarious most diverse, as god has harmonized and unified this universe from things similarly opposed (Nicomachus, qtd. by Charles H. Kahn, Pythagoras and the Pythagoreans: A Brief History, p. 116-117).
I propose that these Pythagorean monads that I refer to as images, as in archetypal images, are the bases for, not only all empirical experiences, but any and all experiences we have in this life. I would equate the archetypes, as in Jung’s archetypes of the collective unconscious, with monads and atoms (not the physical balls of matter we are so familiar with, but atoms in the ancient sense, as being indivisible and irreducible). These are the gods of Greek mythology.
What are archetypes images of? Of this we can only say, “All Monads are mirrors of the Universe. ” (Galileo, Giordano Bruno, and Goethe, A Lecture given by Rudolf Steiner, Berlin, Architektenhaus, January 26, 1911). This was also the opinion of Giordano Bruno. Steiner goes on to explain that,
Such a Monad is the human soul, and they are many. Indeed, the human body itself is composed of many Monads, not of one. If we understand the truth about the physical body according to the ideas of Giordano Bruno, we shall not see the fleshly human body, but a system of Monads; these Monads cannot be clearly seen, just as we cannot distinguish the separate midges in a swarm; the chief Monad is the human soul. When the human soul comes into existence at birth, so said Giordano Bruno, the other Monads which belong to the soul collect together and, by this, the existence of the Chief-Monad, of the Soul Monad, is made possible (ibid).
Fascinating, no? So, now we know, according to Bruno, the so-called Chief-Monad is the Soul in each of us. Not only are the archetypes monads, but Soul is Monad. The main point in all of this is to link Soul to the ancient idea of monad. This was the view of the Pythagoreans. They believed all things emanated from the monad. An idea that has endured for over two millennia deserves to be reexamined.