While reading Gottfried Leibniz's "Monadology," I was struck by the way his explanation of the structure of the physical world agrees with the phenomena observed in science, mathematics and nature.
I will begin by showing the agreement between Leibniz and science. Second, I will show his agreement with mathematics. Lastly, and through use of the previous two arguments, I will show Leibniz's agreement with observations of nature.
Throughout the history of science, investigations of physical objects have shown them to be divisible into portions of ever decreasing size. Biologists discovered that living organisms are made up of cells. They then discovered that cells contain organelles. Through the years the finally came to the finding that atoms are the final building blocks of living creatures. Chemists and physicists discovered that all matter is composed of atoms. Atoms, in turn, were shown to be composed of a positively charged nucleus and a negatively charged shell. The nucleus was then shown to be made of protons and neutrons. The negatively charged shell was shown to be composed of electrons. These small, seemingly indivisible, particles were more recently discovered to be composed of even smaller particles, quarks and leptons. These newly discovered particles each have many varieties, or "flavors." Along with these tiny bits of matter are other particles as well: photons, muons, mesons, bosons, gluons, etc... Even these specks have subtypes and varieties. As if this wasn't enough, quarks and leptons are suspected to have even smaller components. "Where does it all end?" an exasperated reader might ask. Most physicists will admit that they don't ...
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...ve in common: dualism and unity at the same time. This may seem like a contradiction but it is demonstrated easily with an example: light and dark are dual, that is they are separate and opposing, but they are also unified in that they cannot exist without each other. Light isn't light without dark and vice versa. Only by comparison with the other can there be a conception of both. There are numerous examples of this from human experience: night and day, matter and void, good and evil, heat and cold, order and chaos, infinite divisibility and self-similarity. I feel that this is the essence of the universe, an opposition and togetherness at the same time.
This is why I feel Leibniz had a good grasp of what is going on. He understood, at least in part, these contradictions and agreements. Although he may not have been totally right, he did have a good beginning.
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