Archive for the ‘monad’ Category

Maybe a Monad (Phaedrus by the river)

July 15, 2007

My Alter Ecko has recently published two posts around Phaedrus – this beautiful dialogue between Socrates and his beloved one, with the impeccable scenery of a mythological river, an oak and a rock, an idyllic setup for discours amoureux.

Yet, while tapping into the conversation between the two, I felt a growing uneasiness. Maybe it was the merciless manner by which Socrates slaughtered Lysias’ speech, unwrapping it from its content (utilitarian love), from its style (rhetoric), from its medium (written on scroll) and [implicitly] from its audience (the crowds), leaving nothing behind, not even some grains of Lysiasian ashes for a hasty funeral.

But most probably it was the erotic love praised by Socrates through never ending parabolas [although beautifully narrated: the black horse, the white horse etc.] that evoked my discontent. For through the mists of heavenly passions I saw a stream, an oak and a rock. By the stream sat Narcissus; by the rock stood Echo [I was hiding behind the oak]. Narcissus-Socrates was looking at Phaedrus, through the watery reflection, remembering the lost heavens of his fallen soul; and Phaedrus, standing by the rock, his heart engulfed with emotions, was watching the figure that was Socrates, seeing nothing but his own image, Phaedrus holding a scroll, echoed back onto his eyes, again and again and again and again.

Echo and Narcissus by Waterhouse

No, this was not a dream: I have it all well written.

The Lover is his mirror.

“And thus he [the beloved one] loves, but he knows not what; he does not understand and cannot explain his own state; he appears to have caught the infection of blindness from another; the lover is his mirror in whom he is beholding himself, but he is not aware of this”.

The Beloved is his clone.

The qualities of their god they attribute to the beloved, wherefore they love him all the more… wanting to make him as like as possible to their own god… for no feelings of envy or jealousy are entertained by them towards their beloved, but they do their utmost to create in him the greatest likeness of themselves and of the god whom they honour.

Oh boy! A mirror and a clone, a love for oaks and rocks.

I’m not sure about my above distribution of the Echo-Narcissus roles; I do feel, though, that this erotic love, although praising the other, is deeply ego-centric to the point that I am willing to concede that indeed each and every one of us is a self-contained monad, all the others being eventually nothing but reflections of one’s own self.


The Metaphor of the Hidden Interlocutor

March 30, 2007

I’m always very happy with ecko4inc’s comments, as they form a very special continuation of a dialogue. By “very special” I mean that they cannot be seen as a common feedback in which the interlocutor feeds back her reactions or her anti-thesis or her bifurcated, parallel thesis (as it is too often the case) into the fireplace of the dialogue; rather ecko’s comments should be seen as a genre, having probably the margins of philosophy as its lieu of happening.

[ The margins of philosophy

Following my thoughts on the word “minor” – that word used by Kant to signify an immature human being not using his reason; that word used by Poe and {jump through hyperspace} Foucault to signify the only possible, or valuable, spatio-temporal frame of reference; that word practiced by Deleuze in his way of teaching the different philosophies, the different philosophers – I got an official feedback to the above minor associations by a Philosophy professor [Philosophy with a capital P], who laconically said that Derrida made a career out of analyzing footnotes (This Professor doesn’t like Derrida in particular and post-modernism in general, because, he says, they don’t offer any hope. Indeed, Deleuze and many others maintained that “there’s nothing behind the curtain”, if hope is to be associated with the discovery of a hidden reality. Surprisingly, this Professor, who dismisses Derrida for he brings no hope, happened to devote his entire life to Leibniz, being the first official “Leibniz Professor”. What puzzles me here is my intuitive association between “there’s nothing behind the curtain” and the Monadology – I don’t remember anything substantial behind the Monad’s curtain…)


So ecko4inc is not feeding back; ecko feeds on, feeds further. He joins the flow of thoughts, expressed in the post’s words and images, and uses them as ad-hoc rafts, on top of which he jumps and flows-on in that great {collective [but private (but collective)]} stream of consciousness, showing where else those ideas could have streamed, are streaming. I become a hidden interlocutor for ecko, my stream of consciousness finds itself included in his stream of consciousness in a most natural way, an echo for ecko, an echo for inclusion.

The only real thing is the interaction among people; all the rest is an illusion. Any monad includes and relates to all other monads – and this inclusion and that interaction is the only real thing in a monad’s life.


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