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Leibniz - The Monadology - 06



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THE MONADOLOGY - by Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz  - translated by Robert Latta

49. A created thing is said to act outwardly in so far as it has perfection, and to suffer [or be passive, patir] in relation to another, in so far as it is imperfect. Thus activity [action] is attributed to a Monad, in so far as it has distinct perceptions, and passivity [passion] in so far as its perceptions are confused. (Theod. 32, 66, 386.)

50. And one created thing is more perfect than another, in this, that there is found in the more perfect that which serves to explain a priori what takes place in the less perfect, and it is on this account that the former is said to act upon the latter.

51. But in simple substances the influence of one Monad upon another is only ideal, and it can have its effect only through the mediation of God, in so far as in the ideas of God any Monad rightly claims that God, in regulating the others from the beginning of things, should have regard to it. For since one created Monad cannot have any physical influence upon the inner being of another, it is only by this means that the one can be dependent upon the other. (Theod. 9, 54, 65, 66, 201. Abrege, Object. 3.)

52. Accordingly, among created things, activities and passivities are mutual. For God, comparing two simple substances, finds in each reasons which oblige Him to adapt the other to it, and consequently what is active in certain respects is passive from another point of view; active in so far as what we distinctly know in it serves to explain [rendre raison de] what takes place in another, and passive in so far as the explanation [raison] of what takes place in it is to be found in that which is distinctly known in another. (Theod. 66.)

53. Now, as in the Ideas of God there is an infinite number of possible universes, and as only one of them can be actual, there must be a sufficient reason for the choice of God, which leads Him to decide upon one rather than another. (Theod. 8, 10, 44, 173, 196 sqq., 225, 414-416.)

54. And this reason can be found only in the fitness [convenance], or in the degrees of perfection, that these worlds possess, since each possible thing has the right to aspire to existence in proportion to the amount of perfection it contains in germ. (Theod. 74, 167, 350, 201, 130, 352, 345 sqq., 354.)

55. Thus the actual existence of the best that wisdom makes known to God is due to this, that His goodness makes Him choose it, and His power makes Him produce it. (Theod. 8, 78, 80, 84, 119, 204, 206, 208. Abrege, Object. 1 and 8.)

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Leibniz, Gottfried Wilhelm von

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