Gottfried Wilhelm von Leibniz

Copyright Michael D. Robbins 2005


Astro-Rayological Interpretation & Charts
Images and Physiognomic Interpretation

to Volume 3 Table of Contents


Gottfried Wilhelm von Leibniz
Philosopher, Metaphysician, Scientist and Mathematician


Michael Robbins © 2003

July 1, 1646, NS, Leipzig, Germany, 6:15 PM, LMT. (Source: Ebertin’s book on Pluto. Various other times are given elsewhere, thus, the data is conflicting. Also, Leibniz’s father.) Died, November 14, 1716, Hanover, Germany.

Ascendant, Sagittarius and Neptune also in Sagittarius; MC in Libra; Sun conjunct Jupiter in Cancer; Moon square Mars conjunct Saturn in Taurus; Uranus in Scorpio.

We are forced to begin our inquiry with some degree of ambiguity. Reinhold Ebertin gives us a time of birth at 6:15 PM, local time, in Leipzig. Gottfried Wilhelm von Leibniz’s father Johann Friedrich Leibniz entered the following notes in his family journal: “On Sunday 21 June [NS: 1 July] 1646, my son Gottfried Wilhelm is born into the world after six in the evening, ¼ to seven, Aquarius rising.”

While we have no reason to dispute the time offered by the father (i.e., 6:45 PM), that time certainly does not yield Aquarius as the Ascendant, but rather the 20th degree of Sagittarius rather than the 14th (Ebertin’s presumably rectified time). Not until nearly 9:18 PM (about three hours after the Ebertin time, and some two hours and a half after the Johann Friedrich’s diary entry) would Aquarius reach the Ascendant.

The course of wisdom in this regard would be to proceed with Ebertin’s rectified time, while paying some attention to the implications of the later time given by Johann Friedrich Leibniz. It is far more likely that Johann Friedrich would make a mistake regarding his son’s Ascendant than his time of birth.

We, therefore, seem to have a Sagittarius Ascendant and a MC in Libra—in both cases. The esoteric significances will hold despite the discrepancy in proposed time, which, perhaps, can be satisfactorily resolved.

Gottfried Wilhelm von Leibniz was one of the great geniuses of the modern era. Wisdom Magazine estimated his I.Q. in the middle to high 180s. He was a genuine polymath (to a degree by necessity), extraordinarily capable in a diversity of areas of enquiry and application. He contributed significantly to the fields of metaphysics, theology, philosophy, mathematics, logic, philology, physics, geology, political theory, law, diplomacy and history.

Leibniz is known especially for the discovery of the differential and integral calculus independently of (and some say prior to) a similar discovery by Sir Isaac Newton, and for his profound metaphysical theories, including the theory of the Monad. He upheld a consistently demanding career as a civil servant while, in his precious spare time, making an abundance of noteworthy contributions to the advancement of thought in many fields. No merely speculative thinker, he entered avidly into scientific research and practical invention.

While he had been offered an academic position in recognition of his considerable abilities, he refused it, perhaps because of the limitations it would have imposed upon his freedom of thought. That thought was extraordinary in its depth and scope, and contributed significantly to the illumination of his era.

The Ray of Leibniz’s Soul

Given the tremendous depth, diversity and abstraction of Leibniz’s contribution to human thought, there can be little doubt that his soul ray is the third ray of “Abstract Intelligence”, “Active Intelligence”, or “Creative Intelligence”. Leibniz was one of the great kings of thought produced by the historical period known as the “Age of Reason” or the “Enlightenment”.

The philosophical mode of enquiry was predominantly Rationalism—the rigorous use of reason in the quest for truth. Descartes and Spinoza were also products of this movement. Rationalism was a third ray method rather than the empiricism of the fifth ray.

Above all Leibniz was a philosopher—a metaphysician of the first rank. His thought process is at once comprehensive, holistic, subtle, intricate, ingenious and scrupulously rational (though, naturally, philosophers make it their business to find flaws in the arguments of other philosophers, and so Leibniz has had his fair share of detractors, most notably Voltaire who subjected him, albeit posthumously, to devastating satire for his dictum that God had created “the best of all possible worlds”).

The Tibetan Teacher has the following to say about the third ray metaphysician:

“This is the ray of the abstract thinker, of the philosopher and the metaphysician, of the man who delights in the higher mathematics but who, unless modified by some practical ray, would hardly be troubled to keep his accounts accurately. His imaginative faculty will be highly developed, i.e., he can by the power of his imagination grasp the essence of a truth; his idealism will often be strong; he is a dreamer and a theorist, and from his wide views and great caution he sees every side of a question equally clearly….In all walks of life he is full of ideas, but is too impractical to carry them out.” (EP I 204-205)

Some of this description was eminently true of Leibniz, except that he was also a very practical man, a resourceful civil servant who was forced to become “jack of all trades” in order stay in the good graces (and employ) of his noble patrons. His delight was certainly in philosophy and the higher mathematics, but his many duties required that he participate in more mundane activities which could not have been much to his liking.

Of his approach to his work, he give the following revealing account—showing his third ray in conflict with the requirements of his various more mundane duties:

“It cannot be said how extraordinarily distracted I am. I dig things out of the archives, I inspect old papers, I search for unknown manuscripts. From these I try to throw light on the history of Brunswick. I send and receive a great number of letters. I truly have so many new results in mathematics, so many philosophical ideas, so many other scholarly observations which I would not want to lose, that I often hesitate, wavering between tasks, and feel almost like that line from Ovid: Inopem me copia fecit .... Nevertheless, all these labors of mine, if you exclude the historical, are almost clandestine, for you know that at the Court something far different is sought and expected.” Letter to Placcius, 5 September 1695 (Dutens VI.1, 59-60)

Let us look for astrological conduits for Leibniz’s very dominating third ray. Of the three signs/constellations which transmit this ray, only Cancer is tenanted, though Libra occupies the MC. In Cancer we find the Sun conjuncted, within six degrees to Jupiter (the planet of philosophy and broadened perspective).

The Cancerian energy playing through Jupiter adds to the breadth of any inquiry, and tends towards the consideration of entirety. Chiron, a planetoid of ‘astute guidance’ is conjuncted to the Sun.

As Leibniz was an advanced soul (though Mme. Blavatsky, correctly or incorrectly, insists that he was not an initiate), it may be justifiable to consider the esoteric ruler of the Sun Sign which is Neptune, placed in Sagittarius, a sign over which Jupiter rules. This Sagittarian Neptune no doubt contributed to the generation of his transcendent metaphysical doctrines. Neptune, itself, (with its trident) can be reasonably related to the third ray. H.P.B. calls it the “god of reasoning”—though, in this case, it is probably “pure reason” which is meant.

The orthodox ruler of Cancer is the Moon, which is placed in Aquarius. Aquarius is a sign associated with universality, eclecticism and a dispersion of interests and involvements. Aquarius is also associated with networks and ‘webs’ of relationships. From this is might be adduced that there is a third ray quality associated with Aquarius and this can be argued reasonably. Aquarius is the third sign on the clockwise wheel, and the Tibetan does relate it closely to the third ray (EA 138).

In Leibniz case, his proposed Sagittarian Ascendant contributes powerfully to the expansion of his abstract mind. In an advanced individual, the third ray expresses through wide views and a broadened perspective. This is also true of the manner in which Sagittarius works for the advanced type—especially for an individual in whom the third ray is already extremely pronounced. Although Sagittarius does not, constellationally, express the third ray, there would, nevertheless, be a strong mutual reinforcement between these two energies.

Interestingly, in Leibniz’s case, the esoteric ruler of the Ascendant, the Earth, will be seen to be of considerable importance. The Earth (at its present stage of development) must be considered a third ray planet—the ray of its personality (as it is not yet a fully sacred planet). The only way to place the Earth in a sign of the zodiac is by considering its heliocentric position, which happens to be Capricorn, since the Earth will always be seen, heliocentrically, in the sign opposite the Sun. Capricorn is a most practical earth sign, and transmits the first, third and seventh ray. In the case of disciples (and Leibniz was certainly a disciple—though he would not have used that terminology), Capricorn is the main transmitter of the third ray—not Cancer (his Sun Sign).

We can begin to see another reason for the practicality and ‘earthiness’ of this great abstract thinker—his principal ruling planet is in an earth sign, and this planet is trine to earthy Saturn (another third ray planet) placed in the earth sign, Taurus, and conjunct Mars in Taurus as well as Venus in Taurus (by “translation of light”).

As well, the two other ‘Co-Ascendants’—the East Point and the Anti-Vertex are both placed in Capricorn, making third ray Saturn (their ruler) of importance as a subtone in the general harmony of the chart.

In pursuing conduits for the third ray, we cannot fail to mention the position of Mercury (whose personality ray is arguably the third), placed in the third sign of the zodiac, Gemini, at the cusp of the seventh house, generically associated with Libra, whose ray is the third. If one were to think of a planet which most described Leibniz’s principal quality, that planet would have to be Mercury (or, perhaps, Jupiter in combination with Mercury).

Leibniz wrote voluminously, though by far the greater part of his writings have not been published or translated. We can see the easy flow of thoughts and words through the trine of Mercury to the spontaneous Moon, and the trine of both of them to the Libran MC. (This grand trine holds whether the MC is in the fifteenth degree of Libra or the twenty-third—actually tightening somewhat, overall, with the later time suggested by Leibniz’s father).

It cannot be overlooked that the grand trine, as a figure, is based upon the number three (thus numerically resonant to the third ray), and that air signs (as usually considered) are related to the mind, the third principle counting from below. While at first we may have thought that the conduits for the third ray in the proposed chart for Leibniz were not many, further examination reveals a plentitude of possibilities for third ray access.

The Ray of the Monad

Although it is not possible for us to determine with accuracy the “unknown quantity” in Leibniz’s ray constitution, he seems to have been so supremely identified with the Principle of Intelligence, that the third ray seems to most felicitous choice for the primary or major ray of the monad, though subrays will qualify the life demonstration. Because, Leibniz, of all philosophers, thought most and wrote most on the Monad, determining its ray seems of vital importance.

The contrast of Leibniz’s metaphysics with that of Spinoza (discussed in the analysis of Spinoza’s chart) gives an important hint. Spinoza’s (whose monadic ray may very reasonably be construed to be the second) believed in only one universal Substance—God—with which all entities were identical.

He was thus, with latter day occultists, a true philosophical pantheist. Leibniz, however is a ‘substantial pluralist’, believing in an infinitude of monads, ever distinct, “created” by God (Who is the highest of all possible Monads)—a God Who is other than the monads He creates. Leibniz, therefore, is not an emanationist, whereas Spinoza (though he did not use this term) might have no other choice than to embrace all things as God, and emanatorily derived from God, the One Substance.

With Leibniz, the emphasis is upon an infinitude of distinct, immortal substances, rather than upon the One Substance. In this emphasis, Leibniz signals the essential presence of the third ray of Active Intelligence at the monadic level, the quality of which is discrimination with its inevitable result—distinction and individualism.

The Ray of the Personality

This is somewhat difficult to assess. Leibniz was a character so many-sided, that a number of ray qualities seem to be demonstrating through his personality.

The Case for the Seventh Ray

Leibniz was, by worldly profession, a professor of law, a counselor to royalty, a librarian, archivist, and a civil servant. He was also, at length, a gentleman of means. Given his flights of abstraction (rarefied in the extreme), he was surprisingly at home in the physical world, and had constantly to attend to mundane duties, a number of which included genealogical research (to reinforce the claims of his royal employers to further privileges). Genealogy, we know, is related to the seventh ray, as are all manner of duties associated with the civil service.

Leibniz was also associated for a short time with an alchemical society, and alchemy is a seventh ray discipline. Further, he was circumspect, diplomatic and polite both in his manner and his writings, preferring to conciliate rather than criticize and attack. His prose is polished and his tone, ever in good form and respectful. To stay in the good graces of his patrons, he would need all the appropriateness and discretion characteristic of the seventh ray.

Unlike Voltaire, who fell out of favor with royal sponsors, Leibniz maintained his positions and the respect of his noble employers. It is said of him that he was an indefatigable worker. This corresponds well with one of the major virtues of the seventh ray—especially on the personality level.

Astrologically the seventh ray has a number of conduits. The Sun Sign Cancer distributes the seventh ray, as does Jupiter (exalted in Cancer and conjunct the Sun). Capricorn, the sign which heliocentrically holds the Earth, (the esoteric ruler of the proposed Ascendant, Sagittarius), is the major constellational conduit of the seventh ray during this World Period.

The principal seventh ray planet, Uranus, is the esoteric ruler of the Libran MC.

These facts, notwithstanding, the personality must convincingly demonstrate the presence of the seventh ray before we can judge it to be so.

The Case Against the Seventh Ray

Leibniz however, was not a man of regular habits. He was either sedentary at his writing desk for days at a time, or “on the road”, energetically traveling on various commissions ordered by his sponsors. A comment by a nobleman of the period, also gives us pause if we intend to assign the well-groomed seventh ray to the personality.

“It is rare to find learned men who are clean, do not stink and have a sense of humour.”[attributed variously to Charles Louis de Secondat Montesquieu and to the Duchess of Orléans]

Here we may wonder if the third ray (which like Dr. Samuel Johnson, is “no friend to clean linen”) was more in effect than the seventh. If the ray of the physical-etheric body was the third, the influence of the seventh ray upon the physical plane would be modified.

The Case for the Second Ray

In Leibniz’s chart we find a Sun/Jupiter conjunction (which though somewhat wide, is effective). Both of these are second ray ‘planets’. Jupiter is also the orthodox ruler of the Ascendant. Chiron (the second ray Mentor) is also conjunct the Sun.

The prominent, angular Mercury of the proposed chart is in a second ray sign, Gemini. Leibniz was a great student, a collector of information. Not only was he eclectic (a quality of the third ray) but he found something to appreciate in a wide variety of views on a given subject, always finding a degree of value and usefulness in apparently contradictory approaches. He sought to unify the field of knowledge, and the word “reconcile” was a consistent part of his thought and speech.

The principal reconciliation which he sought was between Protestantism and Catholicism, and to a lesser extent, between the different divisions within Protestantism. This urge could speak for the presence of the fourth ray as well as the second. His ability to be tactful and diplomatic (avoiding argument and controversy where possible) correlate with the second ray, and to a degree, with the seventh. His many relationships (via correspondence) would be well-supported by this major ray of relationship (as well as by his prominent air signs).

The Case Against the Second Ray

While he could be sedentary (as both those upon the second and third ray can be) his activity level and indefatigability seem uncharacteristic of the second ray on the personality level. As well, there is something about the description of his appearance, which does not suggest the second ray, but, of course, various astrological factors have to be taken into consideration, among them the Capricornian sub-tone of his two alternative Ascendants, as well as his dominating third ray.

“Leibniz was a man of medium height with a stoop, broad-shouldered but bandy-legged, as capable of thinking for several days sitting in the same chair as of travelling the roads of Europe summer and winter. He was an indefatigable worker, a universal letter writer (he had more than 600 correspondents), a patriot and cosmopolitan, a great scientist, and one of the most powerful spirits of Western civilisation.”

The Case for the Fourth Ray

This ray is unquestionably present in Leibniz—at least astrologically and, if nowhere else in the ray chart, at least as a subray of the mental body. In the Catholic Encyclopedia we read:

“As a philosopher Leibniz exhibited that many-sidedness which characterized his mental activity in general. His sympathies were broad, his convictions were eclectic, and his aim was not so much that of the synthetic thinker who would found a new system of philosophy, as that of a philosophic diplomatist who would reconcile all existing systems by demonstrating their essential harmony.”

Pivotal to his philosophical system was the doctrine of “pre-existing harmony”, by means of which he sought to explain the manner in which God correlated the perceptions and action of all monads. The factor of reconciliation was essential to his thinking.

Astrologically, the three signs which transmit the fourth ray are all powerfully represented in his chart. Sagittarius rises; Taurus holds three planets (Saturn, Mars and Venus—the orthodox ruler of Taurus), and Scorpio (the most powerful of the fourth ray signs) holds Uranus, the esoteric ruler of the Libran MC.

As well the fourth ray Moon is the orthodox ruler of his Cancer Sun Sign, and his prominent Mercury is a fourth ray planet in trine with the fourth ray Moon. Leibniz also wrote poetry—in Latin! Perhaps it has yet to be translated.

The design of the chart can be seen as a kind of “see-saw” pattern, the dynamics of which would express the oscillation of the fourth ray. But from another perspective, the chart form would appear as divided in three parts, with the majority of planets lying to the west, and Uranus and Neptune, relatively together, and the Moon—all governing their own areas.

This, in the terminology of Marc Edmund Jones, has been called the “splay pattern”, and indicates a “creative disjunction” more characteristic of the third ray. If the heliocentric Earth is included, however, (as esoterically it must be), then the design is more the “seesaw” than the “splay”.

The Case Against the Fourth Ray

While the fourth ray is unquestionably present, it can be doubted that the fourth ray is the personality ray. A fourth ray personality would be too inconsistent and full of fluctuation to carry on the type of life Leibniz chose to lead and, indeed, was required to lead. We do not find him to be an especially colorful character, nor dramatic. His life seems devoid of those conflicts (sometimes followed by harmonization) which plague the life of the usual fourth ray personality types.

The following quotation on the nature of music may caution us from assigning too quickly the fourth ray as the personality ray:

“The pleasure we obtain from music comes from counting, but counting unconsciously. Music is nothing but unconscious arithmetic.” Quoted in O Sacks, The Man who Mistook his Wife for a Hat.

This is hardly the statement of a man who is moved in his soul by the beauty of music, though it is difficult to judge accurately from one statement.

We will for the moment suspend judgment concerning the personality ray. If two rays were to be chosen, the seventh and second would be the most likely candidates (in the opinion of the author). While Leibniz’s many scientific interests and pursuits suggest the presence of the fifth ray, the note of specialization which it so often sounds when qualifying the personality was not characteristic of his eclectic approach.

It is far more likely to see an individual on the seventh ray handling a diversity of contrasting duties on the physical plane than it would be to see the fifth ray individual doing so. The fifth ray insists upon patient focus and seeks to limit the field for the sake of clarity. Leibniz did not have that privilege—nor, perhaps, the predilection.

The Choice of the Ray of the Lower Mind

Leibniz was a many-sided, eclectic individual, and his thought life was rich and diverse. At his stage of evolution, which one can argue was close to the third degree, the influence of the soul ray (the third) and of the higher or abstract mind (colored by the same ray—as all the triadal vehicles would necessarily be) would fuse and blend with the concrete mind, coloring it accordingly.

Nevertheless, the at least partial presence of the fifth “Ray of Concrete Knowledge” must be argued—perhaps as the predominant ray of the lower mind, but at least as the subray.

Leibniz was surely a scientist as well as a metaphysician, and his thought was precise, analytical and practically inventive. He did love to “count”. He was at home with all manner of calculation.

Just as we cannot imagine Sir Isaac Newton (one of the discoverer’s of the calculus and the formulator of an approach to the science of physics which held undisputed sway for over two centuries) without the fifth ray in his ray formula, so the same should be true for Leibniz—equally a mathematician of the first rank and the co-discoverer of the calculus.

With the decline of interest in metaphysics, Leibniz is today remembered even more for his contributions to science than to philosophy and metaphysics (his deeper callings), but his scientific work was significant. It is perhaps not realized that Leibniz contributed much to the science of geology, and proposed that the Earth, at some stage of its development, must necessarily have been in a molten state. According to the Encyclopedia Britannica,

“he worked on hydraulic presses, windmills, lamps, submarines, clocks, and a wide variety of mechanical devices; he devised a means of perfecting carriages and experimented with phosphorus. He also developed a water pump run by windmills, which ameliorated the exploitation of the mines of the Harz Mountains, and he worked in these mines as an engineer frequently from 1680 to 1685.”

These are all clearly pursuits necessitating a prominent fifth ray.

The following is a notable fifth ray statement, surprising coming from one who was so much conditioned by the third ray:

“I prefer, a Leeuwenhoek who tells me what he sees to a Cartesian who tells me what he thinks.”

Leibniz was named a foreign member by the French Academy of Sciences in 1700, and in that same year, with the help of royal patronage, he engineered the founding of the German Academy of Sciences (of which he became the first president).

Astrologically, two of the three signs transmitting the fifth ray are powerful — Sagittarius, his Ascendant, and Aquarius, the sign in which his Moon is placed. As well, the North Node is placed in fifth ray Leo and the South, of course, in fifth ray Aquarius.

Also, we find Uranus, opposing Saturn, Mars and fifth ray Venus. Uranus, Saturn and Mars can, all of them, be reasonably associated with the fifth ray — Saturn as ruler of the concrete mind, Mars as the ruler of the five senses and the material sciences, and Uranus as the ruler of orthodox science.

Thus, this grouping of four planets offer conduits for the fifth ray. This opposition takes places between the fifth and eleventh houses, which are resonant to Leo and Aquarius—two signs distributing the fifth ray.

Leibniz’s lower mind, however, seems to carry a certain fourth ray quality as well, for he was fluid and diplomatic in his writings, and rather more interested in the commonalties between philosophies than in their differences. A mind colored, at least in part by the fourth ray, would be an excellent instrument of reconciliation both in philosophy and theology. One area to which the reconciling fourth ray was applied was to create a bridge between mind and matter, spanning the gulf created by Cartesian philosophy.

The prominence of Mercury (a planet resonant, justifiably, with the fourth, third and fifth rays) would give great diversity to his lower mind, making it possible for him to use, skillfully, any of these rays in his thought process. A study of his writings demonstrates, however, very little use of the first ray in the mind. For the most part his writings do not transmit the quality of simple assertion, as we might expect to find when the first ray colors the lower mind; rather, his writings are logically reasoned and eminently reasonable, polished, polite, fluid.

One remembers that the Tibetan has said that a combination of the third and fifth rays makes one a “master of the pen”. This was true in the case of Leibniz. The “bridging” quality is, however, noticeably present, and hence the probable presence of the bridging, reconciling fourth ray of harmony. Harmony was such a dominating thought in his philosophical system; without recourse to the doctrine of “pre-existent harmony” Leibniz could not have created his Monadology.

The Ray of the Emotional Nature

Leibniz was one of those who had conquered his passions. Emotion did not interfere with the clarity of thought, and so the second ray may well have been conditioning the astral nature. His sympathies were broad. For a pronouncedly third ray type, he was not critical. Sagittarius, however, is the primary sixth ray sign, and its orthodox ruler, Jupiter, is placed in the water sign, Cancer, ruled by sixth ray Neptune.

Further, Neptune is found is sixth ray Sagittarius—a very idealistic position. So Leibniz certainly had access to the sixth ray if he chose. His level of activity suggests a certain drivenness characteristic of that ray, and on more than one occasion he was called upon to write patriotic tracts for political purposes.

One feels that he could do almost anything by design. He had no great sympathy for Louis XIV, and on one occasion wrote a “violent” pamphlet against that king and his policies. One suspects, however, a kind of ‘violence-by-design’—simply because his duties required a violent pamphlet. Such a passionate approach was uncharacteristic of his usual writings.

The Ray of the Physical Nature

Judging from his activity level, his constant travels, his diverse and incessant occupations and preoccupations, his ability to endure long hours of labor without fatigue—even the fact that he often slept in his chair and resumed writing as soon as he awoke—all these point to the presence of the third ray etheric-physical body. The third ray conduits have already been described and may be applied to the manner in which that ray could reach the physical nature—astrologically.

Certain Astrological Features of Leibniz’s Chart

1. Leibniz Sun Sign is Cancer. Exoterically, we find him working for royal households and having many duties concerned with the upholding of the status and image of the household. Cancer is a sign of protection, and he was certainly was under the protectorship of his royal patrons.

From a pragmatic perspective, we find three planets, and asteroid and Chiron in the seventh house, the house of the law. Leibniz received a doctor of law degree in 1666, and was utilized as a diplomat and political advisor. He thought and wrote extensively in the fields of law and politics.

Cancer, especially with a powerful third ray emphasis, represents, in this case, a deep interest in history. Exoterically, Leibniz’s duties required creating and managing libraries (collecting many old books), supervising archives, researching the records of the past to justify the political and property claims of his patrons. Esoterically, he was fascinated with the history of the Earth (geologically considered) and with the racial, ethnic, social and political development of the human race. Still more deeply, he sought to understand history from a sacred perspective, never losing sight of the interdependence of all factors within a whole. His universal history was never written but his original perspectives served as a stimulus to other thinkers. In relation to this historical approach we find the mantram “The Whole is Seen as One” significant.

Leibniz’s eclecticism (under a highly stimulated Mercury in Gemini) was remarkable, but he never lost sight of the whole context in which all disparate factors had their proper place and function. We find Cancer promoting universality of mind.

The influence of the sign Cancer is also noteworthy when considering one of his foremost doctrines—the existence of an infinitude of individual “substances” known as Monads. These monads exist insulated from one another, each in its own world and incapable of interactivity with other monads. The notable insularity of the monad is a Cancerian concept.

“Monads have no windows, through which anything could enter or leave. Accidents cannot be separated from substances or go about outside of them, as the sensible species of the Scholastics used to do. Thus neither substance nor accident can enter a monad from without.” Monadology, sec. 7.

This is a remarkable doctrine with unforeseen metaphysical consequences.

2. Jupiter is conjunct the Sun and also in Cancer. That Jupiter is exalted in this position (and is, as well, the exoteric ruler of the Sagittarian Ascendant) further promotes his desire to grasp and understand wholes. We should note that Jupiter is placed in the Scorpio decanate of Cancer, and so this Scorpionic coloring (conferring added psychological intensity and a willingness to go deeply into matters, as well as registering physically in his physiognomy) is a significant qualitative strand to his character. The sign placement and decanate placement within that sign of a ruling planet is usually influential as regards both character and appearance.

Jupiter, in advanced persons, is a philosophical planet representing a philosophical, speculative sign, Sagittarius. Philosophy is, literally, the “love of wisdom”. We have a strong second ray conjunction here, contributing to Leibniz desire for a completed, rounded-out perspective. This conjunction certainly contributes to the second ray component of his nature.

Jupiter is also a planet of protection, placed in a protective sign. This position is one of those factors which contributed to Leibniz’s conviction of the benevolence of God and of the infallibility of Divine Providence. In his writings, he strikes a high tone of morality and piety—the gifts of Jupiter. Moreover, he is renowned (and ridiculed) for his philosophical optimism, also a Jupiterian quality.

3. Practical Saturn, working through a sign of materiality, Taurus, is closely sextile Jupiter, conferring a much needed strand of earthy realism to his hopeful, Jupiterian nature. Leibniz, beset by unavoidable mundane duties, would have considered himself a realist about the world, despite his essentially sanguine view. Depending upon which chart is used, Saturn is operating from the fifth or perhaps late fourth house. Saturn in Taurus works for the acquisition (Taurus) of knowledge (Taurus), and in the fifth house related to one’s inner talents, forces the individual to use in a practical manner all the accumulations of the causal body.

4. Jupiter, the orthodoxly ruling planet of the Sagittarius Ascendant, is conjunct the collection of stars knows as “Castor”. Castor is linked to writers, and speaks of a creativity which flows easily and relatively devoid of struggle. Leibniz had a remarkably fluid pen, and was able to write with ease on all manner of subjects. Jupiter and Castor together promoted these abilities, and contributed to the sheer volume (Jupiter) of his output.

5. Chiron is closely conjunct Sun. Although this planet has only recently been discovered, its influence has certainly been present in our planetary system. Chiron is closely connected to the Sagittarian Rising Sign, just as is Jupiter.

Mythologically, Chiron represents many things, but mentorship and advisorship are significant in Leibniz’s case. With all tact and diplomacy, his function was to be a voice of influence in the lives and affairs of his patrons, and to steer them into channels of intelligent and useful action—for the sake of their household and in relation to the welfare of the larger socio-political context. Of this, Leibniz was eminently capable, and he practiced it constantly.

Chiron is closely connected with guidance and a sense of direction. It also represents the individual who is notably self-directing. Leibniz had two agendas—the agenda of necessity (required by his position as civil servant) and the agenda of illumination. His was one of the most brilliant minds of Europe, and he certainly knew what he wanted to accomplish in his spare time.

6. The Sun is conjunct both Canopus and Sirius (interestingly, as in the case of the Dalai Lama—but the major ray is different). Leibniz lived during the “Age of Reason” as it prepared the way for what has been known as the “Enlightenment”. Many regard him as the foremost thinker of the late seventeenth and early eighteenth century. The influence of these two luminous stars (the most visually luminous from the perspective of Earth) certainly contributed to the enlightening effect of his thought.

7. The Sagittarian Ascendant (whether in the Aries decanate or early into the Leo decanate) spurred Leibniz on in his persistent search for understanding and a vision of reality. Three planets in Taurus (the sign of the “Greatest Light”) also assisted. Under the Sagittarian Ascendant, Leibniz was on a great quest for truth. This quest took him into extraordinarily diverse areas of inquiry (augmented by Mercury in Gemini), but, above all, it led him into the realm of metaphysics and theology. The essence of his philosophy is based upon sight—the major Sagittarian theme. Perception and apperception (for Leibniz, apperception is self-perception) hold the key to the nature of the primary substance—the monad. All the monad can really do is perceive or apperceive, sharpening its registration of reality until it sees clearly exactly what it is and what place it holds in the God-created universe.

In the Monadology, the influences of Sagittarius and Cancer are readily seen. The monad is insular (Cancer) and sheltered from (Cancer) the external impact of all other monads. Within the monad’s individual world, its one action is perception/apperception (Sagittarius) by means of which the totality of Creation is registered as a “representation” of ever-increasing accuracy.

Leibniz also believed that he could demonstrate the ordering of all nature towards a final goal or cause. The energy of the sign Sagittarius is prominent in this thought.

8. Pallas Athene rising, in both the earlier and later chart, speaks to the resourcefulness and strategy which were constantly required of him.

9. Mercury in Gemini at the seventh house cusp, trine the Moon and MC is for Leibniz a profoundly important placement. Leibniz was an inveterate letter-writer. His correspondence was truly voluminous and his correspondents numbered over 600. One can only imagine the situation had he had access to today’s computer technology. His correspondence was his way of staying in touch with the best minds in Europe. With some correspondents he carried on a lengthy dialogue, looking deeply into the metaphysical (and mathematical) questions which concerned him most.. Several of these extended exchanges are books in themselves, and admirably reveal the subtlety, finesse and scope of his reasoning.

Like so many third ray individuals, Leibniz was most alive on the plane of mind and the physical plane. It would seem that the life of the emotions required less attention. (For this reason, third and fifth ray types more easily pass the second initiation with its emphasis upon emotional control.)

Something of the considerable energy he invested in the process of meaningful correspondence can be seen by the sextile and semi-sextile configuration between Mercury and Jupiter, and the midpoint of the Saturn/Mars conjunction. Corresponding was a kind of compulsive duty—both an enjoyment (Jupiter) and a burden (Mars/Saturn). He met the world as an intelligent, communicative mind, and the field of energy which he most influenced was the mental field.

10. The asteroid Vesta in also in Gemini in the seventh house, and speaks to the intensity of his commitment to the process of exchanging thought. Although for much of his life physically isolated in Hanover, through his relentless correspondence (Mars semi-sextile Mercury), he became an intellectual presence throughout Europe.

11. Uranus is opposed Mars/Venus, involving Saturn by translation of light. The opposition of transformative Uranus to two planets which so often express as the relation between the sexes may indicate the transmutation of sexual energy into creative mentality in the search for light. Both Mars and Uranus are associated with the sacral center, and Venus (when in relation to Taurus) with sex. Saturn, of course, is a restraining and disciplining energy.

Venus in Taurus (the orthodox ruler of the Libran MC) represents the quest for light. In this case, it appears that Venus is the master of Mars, which is also subdued by is conjunction with Saturn. Mars in Taurus represents a considerable amount of instinctual power, placed (because of is position between Venus and Saturn) at the disposal of the higher creative process.

Saturn represents the throat center in disciples; Venus is the ruler of Taurus which is always associated with the throat; for more advanced disciples, the seventh ray (distributed by Uranus) rules the throat center. One can see in this configuration, the transfer of sacral energies to the throat center, thus releasing a great deal of energy for personal creativity of the kind indicated by the fifth house. Such creativity need not always be artistic in the usual sense.

At the age of fifty, Leibniz proposed marriage to a woman, who said she needed time to contemplate her decision. While she was contemplating, he thought better on the idea, and was, apparently, never bothered by the matrimonial urge again. It is said, however, that Leibniz had the highest respect for women and, especially, for their mental abilities.

A Uranus/Mars opposition can be difficult to handle, as can an opposition of Uranus to Saturn or Venus. As stated, this opposition has much to do with the transmutation of energy from the sacral center (and in general from sub-diaphragmatic areas) to the throat. It would also give a high level tension to the life, and incline towards abruptness within the field of personal relations represented orthodoxly by Mars and Venus. Probably these tendencies were moderated by the diplomatic Leibniz, and the effect of this opposition was used to intensify his labors.

12. We find transformational Uranus square to the Moon in Aquarius. Really, there is a kind of T-Square with the Moon on the short leg and the opposition between Uranus and the three planets—Saturn, Mars and Venus, representing the long arm of the T-Square. The Moon in Aquarius in the second house reveals the diversity of pursuits at which Leibniz had to labor to bring sufficient resources. He had to use all his ingenuity (Uranus) and simple hard labor (Saturn/Mars) as well as charm, and presumably, a well-spoken manner (so evident in his letters).

13. The Moon is the “prison of the soul”. In this case it contributed to a diffusion of energies which may have prevented the consolidation of his gains, making it necessary for others to gather up many threads of his life and present them favorably to the world.

The Moon, however, is also a point of transformation, and if we consider the planet which it veils, it is certainly scientific, innovative Uranus. Leibniz was always forced to use the ‘materials and hand’ to advance his ends. This position contributes to his resourcefulness. Uranus, transposed to this house of wisdom, light and prana (the second house), contributed to the ability to transform all materials into usefulness.

Reading the chart in this way, we have a trine between Moon-as-Uranus, Mercury and the MC which is esoterically ruled by natal Uranus. The second house is the “occult treasury” where the contents of the causal body are represented, and Uranus is the planet of genius (square to its own natal position, if it is substituted for the Moon).

If his personality did have strong elements of the seventh ray, this second house position would be one of the important places of application. He surely earned his living using the planet Uranus—a genius in a mundane setting, having to do all manner of things which geniuses usually do not do. We can also think of this position as indicating one who comes forth with a new form of enlightenment, to which his novel metaphysical theories attest. Leibniz’s Monadology is to this day strikingly original and fresh.

14. Neptune is in the twelfth house opposed to Pluto. Though diligently rational in his approach to metaphysical thought, one cannot help but suspect the presence of deep almost mystical intuitions underlying the tightly reasoned metaphysical systems which Leibniz proposed.

Neptune in Sagittarius is the visionary mystic, the transcendentalist, seeking a vision of sublime heights beyond the earthly sphere. The twelfth house is a house of psychism and sensitivity. The position of Neptune here promotes the functioning of the intuition and promotes the essential idealism and pan-psychism of Leibniz philosophy .

The dramatic interplay between faith and reason which exercised so many of his contemporaries, was vividly alive in his thought process. Mercury (in relation to the other air signs) represents his rationality, offered voluminously to the world. Any sincere reader of his work will, however, quickly encounter the depth of faith, hope and optimism by which he was animated.

Although the opposition between Mercury in Gemini and Neptune in Sagittarius is too wide to be judged effective under normal circumstances, it is an important polarity in the dynamics of his chart. Neptune is easily pulled into the opposition because of its wide conjunction with the earlier of the Sagittarian Ascendants.

Once Leibniz had a most impressive dream—a “philosophical dream”. It will be offered below, and the reader will see how the great Sagittarian quest for transcendental truth (Neptune) was foundational to his psychological dynamics.

15. Lion, Isis and Morya are among the hypothesized, yet undiscovered planets. Astrologers, as well as some mathematicians and astronomers believe they are ‘there’, but no unquestionably reliable orbits have yet been determined, because no true sightings have been achieved. However, those who study their effects in charts, judge them to be relatively well-located and effective even with circular rather than elliptical orbital elements.

The extremely remote planet Lion (with a period of approximately 1600 years) is conjunct with Leibniz’s Sun in Cancer within a little more than a degree. In principle, aspects with these undiscovered or unseen planets must be quite close (though in practice it may not always be so). In any case, 1º22’ is close enough. Lion (according to the astrologer Niklas Nihlen) represents all that distinguishes.

It is closely associated with civilization, culture and refinement. Leibniz (it would seem) is at work within the Department of Civilization, under the Mahachohan. Further, it has much to do with learning, libraries, books, history and education. Leibniz was hired as a librarian and archivist and he was constantly surrounded by books (another hint for the prominence of the second ray energy).

The undiscovered planet Isis (there is also an asteroid called Isis) is even more closely conjunct the Sun. Nihlen writes of Isis as follows:

“X-, New, Freshness, Pioneering, Trail-blazing, Aspiration, Unveiling, Seeing through the veils, Incandescent light, Reality, Restlessness,…”

We can see Leibniz, ever driven by divine discontent, blazing trails in the field of thought, unveiling that which obscures the truth.

The planet Morya is closely conjunct Leibniz’s all important Mercury in Gemini. Morya is a planet of power, emphasizing essence, being, purpose, and will. As a metaphysician Leibniz sought for the fundamental substance, essential being—in short, the monad. His thought was also powerful, impressive, a force with which to reckon.

16. The “Uranian” (or Trans-Neptunian) planets Kronos, Admetus, Hades, Cupido, Zeus, Transpluto are also prominent—some of them in the chart for the earlier time and some for the later.

Kronos, the planet of eminence, superiority, prestige, and “high places” is within a few degrees of the MC is both charts, and speaks of the influence with royalty, nobility and those positioned authoritatively played in Leibniz’s life.

Admetus, which represents rotary resistance and repetitive tasks, would only be effective in the later chart. Certainly, there was much in Leibniz’s career which called for repetitive actions—those which inhibited his sense of arriving at his own self-selected goals.

Hades is quite close to his Mercury, and would involve him with old books, antiques, and, in general, promote a respect for antiquity.

Cupido (a planet of union, amity, empathy, identification and reconciliation) would be exactly conjunct his Part of Fortune in the earlier chart. This position fits well with his desire to unite Catholicism and Protestantism, and, in general, to be a unitive thinker and an agent of reconciliation in the world of thought.

Transpluto would closely conjoin the Ascendant of the earlier chart, and Zeus the Ascendant of the later. Transpluto has to do with the sudden release of transformative energy and Zeus with great control and with mechanism. Both would contribute to the high tension under which he undoubtedly worked, and Zeus to his experiments with various kinds of machinery.

Certain Philosophical Doctrines
and their Ray and Astrological Correlations

Let us review a few of the principal thoughts which characterized Leibniz’s approach to philosophical thought, seeking to determine the ray and astrological constituents which contributed to the formulation of this thought.

1. The Doctrine of the Monads: Leibniz believed in an infinitude of essential, simple substances called monads. Monads, each characterized by a greater or lesser degrees of perception (relatively developed monads, for instance, human monads, possessing apperception or self-perception), are harmoniously related by the will of God, are indivisible and devoid of extension.

Substance (or that which stands beneath—‘sub-stance’) is defined in terms of action. To be is to act. The action of the monad is not to act upon an external world, but to represent or reflect the entirety of the world (the infinite aggregation of other monads) with ever-increasing degrees of clarity and accuracy.

Leibniz’s basic ontological thesis, appearing in a letter to de Volder, is as follows:

“considering matters accurately, it must be said that there is nothing in things except simple substances, and, in them, nothing but perception and appetite. Moreover, matter and motion are not so much substances or things as they are the phenomena of percipient beings, the reality of which is located in the harmony of each percipient with itself (with respect to different times) and with other percipients.”

Each state of a created monad is a causal consequence of its preceding state, and each individual substance (or monad) is the cause of its own (internal) states. External or inter-substantial causality is impossible; intra-substantial causality governs the monad.

According to the Oxford Companion two principle theses lie at the heart of Leibniz’s philosophy:

“(1) the thesis that each created monad perceives every other monad with varying levels of distinctness; (2) the thesis that God so programmed the monads at creation that, although none causally interacts with any other, each has the perceptions we would expect it to have, were they to interact, and each has the perceptions we would expect it to have, were there extended material objects that are perceived. The first is the thesis of universal expression; the second, the thesis of the pre-established harmony”.

Astro-rayologically, we can see the importance of the sign Sagittarius in this doctrine. All true beings (“actual existents” or monads), are principally “percipients”—perceivers. Their principal function is sight and appetite.

The two mantrams of Sagittarius apply here. The first mantram emphasizes sight: “I see the goal. I reach the goal. Then I see another”. The second mantram emphasizes appetite: “Let food be sought”. “Food” here symbolizes that which fulfills any desire.

The following excerpt from Monadologie emphasizes the importance of perception and perspective in relation to the dynamics of monads:

“so through the infinite multitude of simple substances, it is as if there were so many different universes, which nevertheless are only perspectives on a single universe, according to the different point of view of each monad.” (sec. 147)

The third ray is also powerfully emphasized, as reality is defined both in terms of perception/cognition and action—the two major qualities of the third ray.

The doctrine of intra-substantial causality rather than inter-substantial causality is, as stated, promoted by the insular energy of Cancer.

2. The Doctrine of Pre-Existent Harmony: “The soul follows its own laws, and the body has its laws. They are fitted to each other in virtue of the pre-established harmony among all substances, since they are all representations of one and the same universe.” (Monadologie, thesis lxxviii)

All activity of the monad is immanent activity (occurring intra-substantially, within the monad itself). The essential action of substance is “representation” (universal perception at greater and lesser degrees of clarity and accuracy).

Each monad is causally independent of every other monad, and represents the universe of monads independently of the influence of other monads. But if each monad is its own world, and proceeds with its activity as if within its own world, some (divinely) masterful correlation of monadic process would be needed if a monad is to faithfully (rather than chaotically) represent that which is occurring in or with respect to the other monads which it perceives.

If this correlation does not occur, each monad will remain forever deluded concerning the true activities of the universe and the other members of the universe. For in a way, the monad is forever in its own world, ‘blind’ to the actual presence of other monads and incapable of registering the impacts of other monads.

What then, will faithfully reveal the condition of those other monads if not the intervention of a God Who arranges that the revelation occur?

For all practical purposes, according to Leibniz’s view, no monad actually ‘sees’ another monad, for this sight would be a kind of interaction with or communication from another monad, and would be causal in the life of the monad which ‘saw’. Instead, God, must arrange it so that the infinitude of other, ‘unseen’ monads (with whom no real or direct interaction is possible) are “represented” within the perception of any given monad—and represented accurately. Each monad thus keeps distinctly to its own world, aware of an infinitude of other monads but not registering them directly.

The Doctrine of Pre-Established Harmony is explained in the following manner:

“God so programmed the monads at creation that, although none causally interacts with any other, each has the perceptions we would expect it to have, were they to interact, and each has the perceptions we would expect it to have, were there extended material objects that are perceived.”

Critique of the Doctrine of Pre-Established Harmony

The concept of Pre-Established Harmony sounds innocuous enough, but it is a difficult concept which seems to fly in the face of common sense. From the Catholic Encyclopedia we read:

“We must, therefore, conceive that God at the beginning of creation so arranged things that the changes in one monad correspond perfectly to those in the other monads which belong to its system. In the case of the soul and body, for instance, neither has a real influence on the other: but, just as two clocks may be so perfectly constructed and so accurately adjusted that, though independent of each other, they keep exactly the same time, so it is arranged that the monads of the body put forth their activity in such a way that to each physical activity of the monads of the body there corresponds a psychical activity of the monad of the soul.

This is the famous doctrine of pre-established harmony. ‘According to this system’, says Leibniz, ‘bodies act as if (to suppose the impossible) there were no souls at all, and souls act as if there were no bodies, and yet both body and soul act as if the one were influencing the other’ ”. (op. cit., thesis lxxxii)

By a “monad which belongs to its system”, Leibniz may mean a lesser monad (incapable of apperception) which belongs to the body of a greater monad (capable of apperception). The cells and atoms of our body are presumably animated by such lesser monads. But, in a way, all monads perceived by any monad constitute its body. “Body” and “representation” are really identical. Something must coordinate these representations so they are relatively faithful to the condition of that which they represent—namely the host of other monads.

Any individual trained in occultism will immediately see problems with the Doctrine of Pre-Established Harmony as Leibniz conceives it. It seems to require too much intervention on the part of God. It abrogates the occult Doctrine of Identification and leaves “God” forever at a distance—ever transcendent; never immanent. Because Leibniz feels the necessity to assert both monadic isolation and a plurality of individual substances (rather than—as the occultist would insist—the One Substance of which all substances are an inherent part), his thesis demands a condition in which all created entities are eternally isolated from each other, a condition in which each monad is forever separated from communication or interaction with every other monad (at least in the usual worlds of interaction) .

In the opinion of the author, the whole scheme proves labored, unwieldy, inelegant, unnatural and even ugly. It lacks simplicity and seems to require of God a kind of divine ‘trick’ whereby at the outset of Creation, He ‘so arranges things’, that each of His creations should forever live in its own world without any possibility of real communication, interchange or communion, yet, somehow, although no interaction is occurring, every change in the state ‘within’ each of an infinitude of monads is registered, reflected or represented (with greater or lesser clarity) within the perception of every other monad.

The means whereby God accomplishes this monumental supernatural feat cannot even be suggested, but is allowed as possible because man cannot possibly understand the greatness of God nor His abilities.

This doctrine impresses the author as the apotheosis of artificiality—created by a brilliant mind in which the principle of distinction dominates the principle of unity. Why should an Infinite God ‘wish’ to maintain such a system which guarantees the perpetually inviolate distinction of an infinitude of indivisible substances?

Astro-rayologically, the intricacy of third ray thought (abetted by fifth ray analysis) seems to be at work in conceiving this doctrine. The insularity of Cancer (which at the beginning of human evolution contributes to a condition in which “the blind unit is lost”) (EA 332) reappears on a much higher turn of the spiral as, shall we say, ‘the encapsulated unit (i.e., monad) is forever distinct and isolated’. Psychologically, Leibniz seems to fear the possibility of merging with God as leading to a loss of distinct identity.

The Cancerian “shell” is maintained forever, with no possibility of dissolution (though the entirety of the universe is “reflected” or “represented” within it. One can forever be only the limited individual (however relatively glorious), reflecting an infinitude of other limited individuals, each reflecting each other. One can never actually be the Whole. Perhaps, in this condition of ‘self-contained universal perception’, it is possible that the “whole is seen as one’, but one never becomes the whole. One merely perceives it.

If the Doctrine of Cyclically Recurring Universes had occurred to Leibniz and seemed acceptable, his metaphysical conception of the monad and its place in universe would probably have been altered considerably. Because, however, he did not consider the universe as cyclic, he embraced the idea of an infinite, God-created universe with an infinitude of permanent substances—i.e., monads

Though Leibniz was an extremely advanced thinker in every respect (some say the greatest thinker of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries), his propagation of this psychologically separative doctrine suggests that he was, in this particular conception at least, subject to illusion. It is illusion which must be overcome before it is possible to take the third initiation. An initiate of the third degree is capable of revealing the reality of the “One”.

Though it is inadvisable to oversimplify the situation or to underestimate the subtlety of Leibniz’s thought, Leibniz, in his deepest metaphysics, seems intent on revealing the eternally unchangeable existence of the “Many”—even though each of the “Many” is, he would say, a ‘One Alone’. It is apparently abhorrent to him to resolve the many into One, as the individual would be lost. He abhors the fact that Spinoza has done this, saying that he merely brought to explicit expression that which Descartes implied.

The Fundamental Principles of the Secret Doctrine simply do not enter into his thought. One cannot reasonably expect that they would, for they are primarily an Eastern Teaching and were not brought to the West until more than one hundred fifty years after his death (though Leibniz was aware of Chinese metaphysics and respected it).

Had he taken these Three Fundamentals into consideration, they would have helped to resolve many of the difficulties present in his Doctrine of the Monad. It is likely, however, that even if Leibniz had known of these Principles, he would have rejected them as fundamentally flawed, illusory.

These principles are:

a. The existence of a Boundless Immutable Principle
b. The adherence of all entities to the Law of Periodicity
c. The identity of every soul with the Oversoul.

These Fundamentals necessitate unity, fusion, merging and identification and do not permit of a permanent individuality. The individual becomes a temporary structure superceded inevitably by a Greater Identity—that of the Whole. Eternally encapsulated individualism has no place in the Ageless Wisdom Doctrine.

3. The Doctrine of Continuity: “Nature Makes no Leaps”: Monads appear in an infinite continuum—the upper reach of which, at least, is infinite. The continuum ranges from the monads who are incapable of apperception (for instance, the monads associated with the lesser, unselfconscious lives), and proceeds towards those monads capable of apperception (the monads of human beings, capable of self-reflection). Presumably, monads more advanced than the human are capable of ever-increasing degrees of apperception. Leibniz would have had the problem of how to determine when God created this infinitude of monads—at a single “Creation”, with man being the leading monadic type? Many metaphysical problems arise should this be the case.

If “Creation” had occurred as a single Event and a definite Time, it is inconceivable how there could presently exist an infinite continuum of monads existing in infinitudinous gradations of perceptions. But his is not the place to enter into possible discrepancies or inconsistencies in Leibniz’s metaphysics. Suffice it to say that, through his Doctrine of Continuity, he attempted to overcome the sharp Cartesian “split” between mind and matter, demonstrating, thereby, the presence of the softer or bridging rays such as the second and fourth, and the effectiveness of Mercurian linking and Jupiterian fusion in his thought process.

As well, a vision of a distant, sublime (even infinite) goal is suggested, and this is promoted by indefinite Neptune in Sagittarius. Neptune is a planet which has much to do with the indefinite and, thus, with the concept of Infinity.

4. Optimism: Leibniz’s view of God and the universe is optimistic. All monads are organized by God into a vast and harmonious system, over which God, the Infinite Monad and Creator, presides. The power, wisdom and goodness of God are infinite. The monads which God created are as good as they can possibly be and the world (or universe) is the “best of all possible worlds”. The law which governs this universe is, as well, the best possible law. While evil does exist in the world, it exists so that a greater good may be accomplished. God has so arranged the world that evil is made to serve the purpose of harmony, symmetry and beauty. Because we are only related to a small portion of the universe, that portion makes the greatest demands upon our sympathies. We do not understand the larger context or the larger purpose, and so misjudge as evil that which serves to accomplish a greater good than we can conceive.

Leibniz’s Sagittarian/Jupiterian optimism emerges in his doctrine of “the best of all possible worlds”. His meticulous reasoning is based upon a profound faith in God’s transcendent Goodness. Mystical Neptune in optimistic Sagittarius placed in the twelfth house of faith contributes to his positivity concerning God and Creation. Under the influence of Jupiter and the Sun in Cancer, Leibniz embraces wholeness, and under Sagittarius, Jupiter and Neptune he sees that wholeness, not only as good, but as good as it can possibly be—maximally good.

A great subtlety of intellect (for instance, the pondering of the possibility of multiple universes—and such related questions as now occupy the speculations of quantum physicists) was at work behind Leibniz’s sanguine and apparently naive doctrine of “the best of all possible worlds”, which he understood as a philosophical necessity given a morally perfect God animated by the principle of “sufficient reason”.

Out of all the infinitude of universes which God might choose to actuate, according to the principle of sufficient reason, a morally perfect God would have to have a “sufficient reason” for choosing exactly this universe, hence the superiority of this particular universe over every other possible universe. This universe, then, would be the best possible. A morally perfect God could choose to create no less than the best possible universe. This doctrine is absolutely positive—a supremely appreciative affirmation relating to the second ray even more than to the sixth.

Leibniz’s Philosophical Dream
Translated by Donald Rutherford

There follows an account of a most revealing dream. We find in this dream super-conscious factors at work. Leibniz’s deeper motivations are revealed as well as numinous contacts with those higher aspects of his nature which served to guide him. This dream establishes him as a confirmed seeker of truth and enlightenment, longing for the “supernal light”.

One cannot help but compare the substance of this dream to Plato’s “Allegory of the Cave”. It is a dream which charts the course towards enlightenment and confirms Leibniz as a disciple intent on following the dictates of his Sagittarian Rising Sign and thus approaching more closely to the source of illumination.

I was satisfied with what I was among men, but I was not satisfied with human nature. I often considered with chagrin the hardships to which we are subjected, the shortness of our life, the vanity of glory, the improprieties that are born of sensual pleasure, the illnesses that overwhelm even our spirit; finally, the annihilation of all our greatness and all our perfections in the moment of death, which appears to reduce to nothing the fruits of our labors. These meditations left me full of melancholy. I naturally loved to act well and to know the truth. Yet it appeared that I punished myself unnecessarily, that a successful crime was worth more than an oppressed virtue, and that a madness that is content is preferable to an aggrieved reason.

However, I resisted these objections and directed my spirit on the right course by thinking about the divinity who must have given a proper order to everything and who sustained my hopes with the expectation of a future capable of redressing everything. This conflict was renewed in me by the sight of some great disturbance, either among men, when I saw injustice triumph and innocence chastened, or in nature, when hurricanes or earthquakes destroyed cities and provinces and caused thousands to die without distinguishing the good from the wicked, as though nature cared no more for us than we trouble ourselves about ants or worms that we encounter in our path. I was greatly moved by these spectacles and could not stop myself pitying the condition of mortals.

One day, being fatigued from these thoughts, I fell asleep and found myself in a dark place which resembled an underground cavern. It was vast and very deep and everywhere there swarmed men who strangely rushed into the darkness in pursuit of luminous trifles they called "honors," or glittering little flies they called "riches." There were many who searched the ground for bright bits of rotten wood they called "sensual pleasures." Each of these evil lights had its followers; there were some who had changed parties and others who had quit the chase altogether because of exhaustion or despair. Some of those who ran blindly and often believed they had reached their goal fell into crevasses, out of which only moans were heard. Some were bitten by scorpions and other venomous creatures that left them wretched and often mad. Yet neither these examples nor the arguments of persons better informed stopped others from chasing the same hazards and even entering into fights in order to forestall rivals or keep themselves from being forestalled.

In the vault of this huge cavern there were little holes and almost imperceptible cracks. Here a trace of daylight entered; yet it was so weak that it required careful attention to notice it. One frequently heard voices which said, "Stop you mortals, or run like the miserable beings you are." Others said, "Raise your eyes to the sky." But no one stopped and no one raised their eyes except in pursuit of these dangerous trinkets. I was one of those who was greatly struck by these voices. I began often to look above me and finally recognized the small light which demanded so much attention. It seemed to me to grow stronger the more I gazed steadily at it. My eyes were saturated with its rays, and when, immediately after, I relied on it to see where I was going, I could discern what was around me and what would suffice to secure me from dangers. A venerable old man who had wandered for a long time in the cave and who had had thoughts very similar to mine told me that this light was what is called "intelligence" or "reason" in us. I often changed position in order to test the different holes in the vault that furnished this small light, and when I was located in a spot where several beams could be seen at once from their true point of view, I found a collection of rays which greatly enlightened me. This technique was of great help to me and left me more capable of acting in the darkness.

After testing many positions, I was at last led by my good fortune to a place which was unique and the most advantageous in the cave, a place reserved for those whom the divinity wished to remove completely from this darkness. Hardly had I begun to look upward than I was surrounded by a bright light shining from all sides: the whole cave and its miseries were fully disclosed to my eyes. But a moment later a dazzling clarity surprised me. It soon expanded and I saw before me the image of a young man whose beauty enchanted my senses. There seemed a majesty about him, which produced a veneration mixed with apprehension; yet the gentleness of his gaze reassured me. I began, however, to be aware of myself weakening and was about to faint, when I felt myself touched by a bough imbued with a marvelous liquor. I could compare it to nothing I had ever felt before and it gave me the strength to endure the presence of this celestial messenger. He called me by name and spoke to me in a charming voice: "Give thanks to the divine goodness which releases you from this madness." At the same time he touched me again and at that instant I felt myself rise. I was no longer in the cavern; I no longer saw the vault above me. I found myself on a high mountain, which revealed to me the face of the earth. I saw at a distance what I only wanted to consider in general; yet when I studied some spot in a determined way, it at once grew and I needed no other telescopic vision than my own attention to see it as though it were next to me. This gave me a marvelous pleasure and emboldened me to say to my guide: "Mighty spirit--for I cannot doubt that you are of the number of those celestial figures who make up the court surrounding the sovereign of the universe--since you have wanted to clarify to my eyes, will you do as much for my mind?"

It seemed to me that he smiled at this speech and took pleasure in hearing of my desire. "Your wish is granted," he said to me, "since you hold wisdom above the pleasure of those vain spectacles the world presents to your eyes. However, you will lose nothing that is substantial in those same spectacles. You will see everything with eyes clarified in a completely different way. Your understanding being fortified from above, it will discover everywhere the brilliant illumination of the divine author of things. You will recognize only wisdom and happiness, wherever men are accustomed to find only vanity and bitterness. You will be content with your creator; you will be enraptured with the vision of his works. Your admiration will not be the effect of ignorance as it is with the vulgar. It will be the fruit of knowledge of the grandeur and marvels of God. Instead of scorning with men the unraveled secrets, which in earlier times they regarded with astonishment, you will find that when you are admitted into the interior of nature your raptures, you will go on growing the farther you advance.

For you will only be at the beginning of a chain of beauties and delights that go on growing into infinity. The pleasures that enchain your senses and that Circe of your legends who changes men into beasts will have no hold on you, so long as you attach yourself to the beauties of the soul, which never die and never disappoint. You will belong to our fold and will go with us from world to world, from discovery to discovery, from perfection to perfection. With us you will pay court to the supreme being, who is beyond all worlds and fills them without being divided. You will be at once before his throne and among those who are distant from it. For God will establish his siege in your soul and heaven follows him everywhere. Go, therefore, and raise your spirit above all that is mortal and perishable, and cleave only to the eternal truths of the light of God. You will not always live here below, this mortal life which sufficiently approaches that of beasts. There will come a time when you will be delivered entirely of the chains of this body. Use well, therefore, the time that providence gives you here, and seek that your perfections to come will be proportional to the cares you give yourself here in achieving them."

Those who have studied the third initiation carefully will recognize that Leibniz is dealing with precisely those themes which indicate its achievement. He was certainly passionately concerned with exactly those recognitions which distinguish a third degree initiate.


Gottfried Wilhelm von Leibniz once said “He who knows me by my published works alone does not know me at all.”(Qui me non nisi editis novit, non novit).

In 1903 there were discovered 15,000 letters and unedited fragments of his work. Many of these still have neither been published or translated. The fact that we know as much about Leibniz as we do is the result of the work of one of his followers, Christian Wolfe (1679-1754) who reduced the diffusion of a portion of Leibniz’s work into more compact and readable form. Perhaps for this reason alone, Leibniz’s influence was able to reach a wider public and was able to have an important impact on the Enlightenment—particularly in Germany where it influenced a movement known as “German Illumination”.

Even what we have of Leibniz’s work is so extensive, rich and varied that few minds can assay to understand it in its completeness. Perhaps some understand his mathematics; others perhaps are more attuned to his metaphysics or his theology. It is a rare individual whose philosophical-mathematical-spiritual-scientific embrace is sufficient for full comprehension. Such an individual would perhaps have to be a genuine polymath as Leibniz was.

From the occult perspective, we can view Leibniz as a member of the third ray Ashram under the direction of the Mahachohan. His driving purpose was to explain the nature of reality and man’s place in the universe. Only an advanced soul can undertake such a quest with any hope of success, and it must be judged that Leibniz was relatively successful.

Should he be considered an initiate? Surely, it could be said that he was at least an initiate of the second degree. As perhaps the greatest thinker of the sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries, he would have to be. Far lesser thinkers than he judge themselves to have passed the Baptism Initiation. Surely, the quality of Leibniz’s emotional life was sufficiently serene, his idealism sufficiently strong, and his aspiration sufficiently keen to indicate that he had (however unconsciously) passed the test of purification.

As well it may be said that he passed the tests of temptation, encountered according to the esoteric doctrine, midway between the second and third degrees.. He worked within a worldly setting, amongst royalty and nobility, but he seems to have keep his motives pure and lofty. He was not compromised to any significant extent by “the world, the flesh and the devil”. His eyes were fastened upon the elevation of thought and the betterment of humanity, and there they remained.

It seems that he was speeding fast (Sagittarius) towards the Mountain of Illumination, and surely experienced the quality of that illumination from time to time—the “light supernal”. His alternative Capricorn Rising Signs (the East Point and the Anti-Vertex) would indicate this possibility as would the heliocentric Earth (the esoteric ruler of his Sagittarian Ascendant) in Capricorn.

His revelatory “Philosophical Dream” shows his motivation beyond question, as a committed, one-pointed seeker of truth, regardless of the diversity of fields in which he sought. In Leibniz, genius served both God and a lofty morality befitting his strong Sagittarian and Jupiterian influence.

His legacy certainly includes the calculus—an invaluable mathematical tool, but even more a metaphysics in which the essential nature of the human being (the monadic nature) was established as immortal and inviolate, and the goodness of an infinite God was held before the eyes of humanity as a philosophical certainty.

In many respects, Leibniz’s philosophy solved, to his satisfaction, the problems of the nature of Time and Space, reducing them to phenomenological illusions—certainly the task of an initiate consciousness. The noblest thought of the great metaphysician, Gottfried Wilhelm von Leibniz, was a highly intelligent affirmation of God, man and the universe.


Some quotations by Leibniz qualified by the second ray:

“I read books not to criticize them but to profit from them. The result is that I find good everywhere, though not equally.” Letter to Morell, 10/20 December 1696 (A I.13, 398)

“Provided that something of importance is achieved, I am indifferent whether it is done in Germany or France, for I seek the good of mankind. I am neither a phil-Hellene nor a philo-Roman but a phil-anthropos.” Letter to Gilles des Billettes, 11/21 October 1697 (G VII 456/L 475)

The following quotation from the Catholic Encyclopedia demonstrates Leibniz’s tolerant attitude compared to that of Descartes, suggesting the importance of the second and fourth rays in his approach:

“His sympathies were broad, his convictions were eclectic, and his aim was not so much that of the synthetic thinker who would found a new system of philosophy, as that of a philosophic diplomatist who would reconcile all existing systems by demonstrating their essential harmony. Consequently, his starting-point is very different from that of Descartes. Descartes believed that his first duty was to doubt all the conclusions of all his predecessors; Leibniz was of the opinion that his duty was to show how near all his predecessors had come to the truth. Descartes was convinced, or at least assumed the conviction, that all the philosophers who went before him were in error, because they appeared to be involved in inextricable contradictions- Leibniz was equally well convinced that all the great systems agree fundamentally, and that their unanimity on essentials is a fair indication that they are in the right. Leibniz therefore resolved, not to isolate himself from the philosophical, scientific, and literary efforts of his predecessors and contemporaries, but, on the contrary, to utilize everything that the human mind had up to his time achieved, to discover agreement where discord and contradiction seemed to reign, and thus to establish a permanent peace among contending schools.”


And as every state of a simple substance is a natural consequence of its preceding state, so that the present state of it is big with the future.

But in simple substances the influence of one monad over another is ideal only.

Finally there are simple ideas of which no definition can be given; there are also axioms or postulates, or in a word primary principles, which cannot be proved and have no need of proof.

For since it is impossible for a created monad to have a physical influence on the inner nature of another, this is the only way in which one can be dependent on another.

God alone is the primary Unity, or original simple substance, from which all monads, created and derived, are produced.
(Sun in Cancer. Neptune in Sagittarius in 12th house.)

I also take it as granted that every created thing, and consequently the created monad also, is subject to change, and indeed that this change is continual in each one.

I do not conceive of any reality at all as without genuine unity.

I hold that the mark of a genuine idea is that its possibility can be proved, either a priori by conceiving its cause or reason, or a posteriori when experience teaches us that it is in fact in nature.
(Mercury in Gemini conjunct Descendant. Pluto in Gemini. Moon in Aquarius.)

I maintain also that substances, whether material or immaterial, cannot be conceived in their bare essence without any activity, activity being of the essence of substance in general.

Indeed every monad must be different from every other. For there are never in nature two beings, which are precisely alike, and in which it is not possible to find some difference which is internal, or based on some intrinsic quality.

It can have its effect only through the intervention of God, inasmuch as in the ideas of God a monad rightly demands that God, in regulating the rest from the beginning of things, should have regard to itself.

It follows from what we have just said, that the natural changes of monads come from an internal principle, since an external cause would be unable to influence their inner being.

It is a good thing to proceed in order and to establish propositions. This is the way to gain ground and to progress with certainty.

It is this way that in mathematics speculative theorems and practical canons are reduced by analysis to definitions, axioms and postulates.

Men act like brutes in so far as the sequences of their perceptions arise through the principle of memory only, like those empirical physicians who have mere practice without theory.

Music is the pleasure the human mind experiences from counting without being aware that it is counting.
(Venus, Mars & Saturn in Taurus)

Now where there are no parts, there neither extension, nor shape, nor divisibility is possible. And these monads are the true atoms of nature and, in a word, the elements of things.

The ultimate reason of things must lie in a necessary substance, in which the differentiation of the changes only exists eminently as in their source; and this is what we call God.
(Sun in Cancer)

There are also two kinds of truths: truth of reasoning and truths of fact. Truths of reasoning are necessary and their opposite is impossible; those of fact are contingent and their opposite is possible.

There is no way in which a simple substance could begin in the course of nature, since it cannot be formed by means of compounding.

This is why the ultimate reason of things must lie in a necessary substance, in which the differentiation of the changes only exists eminently as in their source; and this is what we call God.

When a truth is necessary, the reason for it can be found by analysis, that is, by resolving it into simpler ideas and truths until the primary ones are reached.

Whence it follows that God is absolutely perfect, since perfection is nothing but magnitude of positive reality, in the strict sense, setting aside the limits or bounds in things which are limited.

Where there are no bounds, that is to say in God, perfection is absolutely infinite.

Thus I believe that without doing violence to the ancient doctrine of the Chinese, one can say that the Li has been brought by the perfection of its nature to choose, from several possibilities, the most appropriate; and that by this means it has produced the Ki (Ch’i) or matter with dispositions such that all the rest has come about by natural propensities, in the same way that Monsieur Descartes claims to bring forth the present order of the world as a consequence of a small number of initially generated assumptions. Thus the Chinese, far from being blameworthy, merit praise for their ideas of things being created by their natural propensity and by a pre-established harmony.
ATTRIBUTION: Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz (1646–1716), German 17th century philosopher. This passage illustrates Leibniz’s equating his own philosophy with what he mistook to be ancient Chinese philosophy. Li and Ki (Ch’i) are neo-Confucian concepts which cannot be equated with the western concept of mind and matter. However, as twin concepts, they have similar philosophical functions. Neo- Confucianism first flourished in China in the 11th and 12th centuries.

I consider it a singular plan of the fates that human cultivation and refinement should today be concentrated, as it were, in the two extremes of our continent, in Europe and in Tschina (as they call it), which adorns the Orient as Europe does the opposite edge of the earth. Perhaps supreme Providence has ordained such an arrangement, so that, as the most cultivated and distant peoples stretch out their arms to each other, those in between may gradually be brought to a better way of life.

“To love is to place our happiness in the happiness of another.”

“Music is a secret arithmetical exercise and the person who indulges in it does not realize that he is manipulating numbers.”

“Every soul is as a world apart, independent of everything else except God.”

“Although the whole of this life were said to be nothing but a dream and the physical world nothing but a phantasm, I should call this dream or phantasm real enough, if, using reason well, we were never deceived by it.”

“Music is a secret and unconscious mathematical problem of the soul.”

“[Wisdom is] the science of happiness or of the means of attaining the lasting contentment which consists in the continual achievement of a greater perfection or at least in variations of the same degree of perfection.”

“Although the world is not perfect, it is yet the best that is possible.”

“In whatever manner God created the world, it would always have been regular and in a certain general order. God, however, has chosen the most perfect, that is to say, the one which is at the same time the simplest in hypothesis and the richest in phenomena.”

“A great doctor kills more people than a great general.”

Philosopher and mathematician Gottfried Leibniz speculated on the possibility of "intermediate species" over a century before the publication of Darwin's theory: "All advances by degrees in Nature, and nothing by leaps, and this law as applied to each, is part of my doctrine of Continuity. Although there may exist in some other world species intermediate between Man and the Apes, Nature has thought it best to remove them from us, in order to establish our superiority beyond question. I speak of intermediate species, and by no means limit myself to those leading to Man. I strongly approve of the research for analogies; plants, insects, and Comparative Anatomy will increase these analogies, especially when we are able to take advantage of the microscope more than at present."

I hold that the mark of a genuine idea is that its possibility can be proved, either a priori by conceiving its cause or reason, or a posteriori when experience teaches us that it is in fact in nature.

Indeed in general I hold that there is nothing truer than happiness, and nothing happier and sweeter than truth.

I agree with you that it is important to examine our presuppositions, thoroughly and once for all, in order to establish something solid. For I hold that it is only when we can prove all that we bring forward that we perfectly understand the thing under consideration. I know that the common herd takes little pleasure in these researches, but I know also that the common herd take little pains thoroughly to understand things.

It is a good thing to proceed in order and to establish propositions. This is the way to gain ground and to progress with certainty.

... a distinction must be made between true and false ideas, and that too much rein must not be given to a man's imagination under pretext of its being a clear and distinct intellection.

But it is the knowledge of necessary and eternal truths which distinguishes us from mere animals, and gives us reason and the sciences, raising us to knowledge of ourselves and God. It is this in us which we call the rational soul or mind.

When a truth is necessary, the reason for it can be found by analysis, that is, by resolving it into simpler ideas and truths until the primary ones are reached. It is this way that in mathematics speculative theorems and practical canons are reduced by analysis to definitions, axioms and postulates.

..This is why the ultimate reason of things must lie in a necessary substance, in which the differentiation of the changes only exists eminently as in their source; and this is what we call God.

Thus God alone is the primary Unity, or original simple substance, from which all monads, created and derived, are produced.

Now this connection or adaption of all created things with each, and of each with all the rest, means that each simple substance has relations which express all the others, and that consequently it is a perpetual living mirror of the universe.

Leibniz agrees with Kant in conceding to Locke that all knowledge must start with sense-experience, and also in denying that it can be wholly derived from sense-experience. He goes further and makes the pregnant suggestion, nihil est in intellectu quod non fuerit in sensu, excipe, nisi ipse intellectus- there is nothing in the understanding which was not previously in the senses, except the understanding itself. (Introduction to Philosophical Investigations, p28)

Leibniz further shows the way to Kant by emphasising the distinction between truths of reason on the one hand, which are a priori, in the sphere of necessity, and concerned with general notions of possibilities, and on the other, truths of fact, which are a posteriori, in the sphere of contingency, and concerned with individuals or real existences.

1. The monad, of which we shall speak here, is nothing but a simple substance which enters into compounds; simple, that is to say, without parts.

2. And there must be simple substances, because there are compounds; for the compound is nothing but a collection or aggregatum of simples.

3. Now where there are no parts, there neither extension, nor shape, nor divisibility is possible. And these monads are the true atoms of nature and, in a word, the elements of things.

5. There is no way in which a simple substance could begin in the course of nature, since it cannot be formed by means of compounding.

9. Indeed every monad must be different from every other. For there are never in nature two beings, which are precisely alike, and in which it is not possible to find some difference which is internal, or based on some intrinsic quality.

10. I also take it as granted that every created thing, and consequently the created monad also, is subject to change, and indeed that this change is continual in each one.

11. It follows from what we have just said, that the natural changes of monads come from an internal principle, since an external cause would be unable to influence their inner being.

22. And as every state of a simple substance is a natural consequence of its preceding state, so that the present state of it is big with the future

28. Men act like brutes in so far as the sequences of their perceptions arise through the principle of memory only, like those empirical physicians who have mere practice without theory. We are all merely empiricists as regards three-fourths of our actions. For example, when we expect it to be day tomorrow, we are behaving as empiricists, because until now it has always happened thus. The astronomer alone knows this by reason.

31. Our reasonings are based on two great principles: the principle of contradiction, by virtue of which we judge to be false that which involves a contradiction, and true that which is opposed or contradictory to the false;

32. and the principle of sufficient reason, by virtue of which we consider that no fact can be real or existing and no proposition can be true unless there is a sufficient reason, why it should be thus and not otherwise, even though in most cases these reasons cannot be known to us.

33. There are also two kinds of truths: truth of reasoning and truths of fact. Truths of reasoning are necessary and their opposite is impossible; those of fact are contingent and their opposite is possible. When a truth is necessary, the reason for it can be found by analysis, that is, by resolving it into simpler ideas and truths until the primary ones are reached. (Leibniz, p9)

34. It is this way that in mathematics speculative theorems and practical canons are reduced by analysis to definitions, axioms and postulates.

35. Finally there are simple ideas of which no definition can be given; there are also axioms or postulates, or in a word primary principles, which cannot be proved and have no need of proof.

38. This is why the ultimate reason of things must lie in a necessary substance, in which the differentiation of the changes only exists eminently as in their source; and this is what we call God.

41. Whence it follows that God is absolutely perfect, since perfection is nothing but magnitude of positive reality, in the strict sense, setting aside the limits or bounds in things which are limited. And there, where there are no bounds, that is to say in God, perfection is absolutely infinite.

47. Thus God alone is the primary Unity, or original simple substance, from which all monads, created and derived, are produced

51. But in simple substances the influence of one monad over another is ideal only; it can have its effect only through the intervention of God, inasmuch as in the ideas of God a monad rightly demands that God, in regulating the rest from the beginning of things, should have regard to itself. For since it is impossible for a created monad to have a physical influence on the inner nature of another, this is the only way in which one can be dependent on another.

56. Now this connection or adaption of all created things with each, and of each with all the rest, means that each simple substance has relations which express all the others, and that consequently it is a perpetual living mirror of the universe.

60... In a confused way they all go towards the infinite, or towards the whole; but they are limited and distinguished from one another by the degrees of their distinct perceptions.

61... For as the whole is a plenum, which means that the whole of matter is connected, and as in a plenum every movement has some effect on distant bodies in proportion to their distance, so that each body not only is affected by those which touch it, and is in some way sensitive to whatever happens to them, but also by means of them is sensitive to those to those which touch the first bodies by which it is itself directly touched; it follows that this communication stretches out indefinitely. Consequently every body is sensitive to everything which is happening in the universe, so much so that one who saw everything could read in each body what is happening everywhere, and even what has happened or what will happen, by observing in the present the things that are distant in time as well as space.

62. Thus although each created monad represents the whole universe, it represents more distinctly the body which is particularly affected by it

68. And although the earth and the air interspersed between the plants in the garden, or the water interspersed between the fish in the pond, are neither plant nor fish, yet they still contain them, though most usually of a subtlety which renders them imperceptible to us.

Monas is a Greek word which signifies unity or that which is one.

For the simplicity of substance does not preclude the possibility of a multiplicity of modifications, which indeed necessarily exist together in the same simple substance, and these modifications must consist in the variety of the relations of the simple substance to things that are outside. Just as in a centre or a point, in itself perfectly simple, are found an infinite number of angles formed by the lines which meet there.

3. All nature is a plenum. Everywhere there are simple substances, effectively separated from one another by actions of their own which are continually altering their relations; and each simple substance or distinct monad, which forms the centre of a compound substance (eg. of an animal) and the principle of its oneness, is surrounded by a mass composed of an infinite number of other monads which constitute the body belonging to this central monad; corresponding to the affections of its body it represents, as in a kind of centre, the things that are outside of it. And this body is organic, when it forms a kind of automaton or natural machine, which is a machine not only as a whole but also in its smallest observable parts. And since the world is a plenum everything is connected together, and each body acts on every other body more or less according to the distance, and is affected by it by reaction, it follows that every monad is a mirror that is alive or endowed with inner activity, is representative of the universe from its own point of view, and is as much regulated as the universe itself. The perceptions in the monad spring from one another according to the laws of the or the final causes of good and evil, which consist in the observable perceptions, regulated or unregulated- in the same way as the changes of the bodies and the phenomena outside spring from one another according to the laws of efficient causes, that is to say of motions. Thus there is a perfect harmony between the perceptions of the monad and the motions of the bodies, pre-established at the outset between the system of efficient causes and the system of final causes. Herein consists the concord and the physical union of the soul and the body, which exists without the one being able to change the laws of the other.

There is a connection between the perceptions of animals, which bears some resemblance to reason: but it is based only on the memory of facts or effects, and not at all on the knowledge of causes. Thus a dog runs away from the stick with which he has been beaten, because memory represents to him the pain that was caused by that stick. And men, in so far as they are empiricists, that is to say in three-fourths of their actions, only act like brutes. For example, we expect that the day will dawn tomorrow, because we have always experienced it to be so; it is only the astronomer who foresees it by reason, and even this prediction will ultimately fail when the cause of daylight, which is not eternal, ceases. But true reasoning depends on necessary or eternal truths (like the truths of logic, numbers and geometry) which make the connection of ideas indubitable, and the sequences inevitable. Animals in which such sequences cannot be observed are called brutes; but those which know these necessary truths are called rational animals, and their souls are called minds. These souls are capable of performing acts of reflection, and of considering what is called self, substance, soul, mind- those things and truths, in short, which are immaterial. It is this which makes us capable of understanding science or demonstrative knowledge.

Thus the sufficient reason, which needs no further reason, must be outside this series of contingent things, and must lie in a substance which is the cause of this series, or which is a being that bears the reason of its existence within itself; otherwise we should still not have a sufficient reason, with which we could stop. And this final reason is called God.

It is the same with each monad. God alone has a distinct knowledge of everything, for He is the source of everything. It has been very well said that as a centre He is everywhere; but His circumference is nowhere, since everything is present to Him immediately, without being removed from this centre.

For the dominant Unity of the universe not only rules the world, but also constructs or makes it; and it is higher than the world and, if I may so put it, extramundane; it is thus the ultimate reason of things.

Indifference arise from ignorance, and the wiser the man is, the more is he determined to that action which is most perfect.

For since in the series a reason cannot be found, as I have shown above, but must be sought in metaphysical necessities or eternal truths; since, too, existent things cannot come into being except from existent things, as I have explained previously; it follows that eternal truths must have their existence in some subject which is absolutely or metaphysically necessary, that is in God, through whom these truths, which would otherwise be imaginary, are (to use a barbarous but expressive word ) realised.

And indeed in actual fact we find that everything in the world takes place in accordance with the laws of the eternal truths, not only geometrical but also metaphysical laws; that is, not only according to material necessities, but also according to formal necessities.

It cannot be found except in one single source, because of the interconnection of all these things with one another.

On the same principle it has an insipid effect if we always eat sweet things; sharp, acid, and even bitter things should be mixed in to stimulate the taste. He who has not tasted what is bitter has not earned what is sweet, not will he appreciate it. This is the very law of enjoyment, that positive pleasure does not come from an even course; such things produce weariness, and make men dull not joyful.

Indeed in general I hold that there is nothing truer than happiness, and nothing happier and sweeter than truth.

I agree with you that it is important to examine our presuppositions, thoroughly and once for all, in order to establish something solid. For I hold that it is only when we can prove all that we bring forward that we perfectly understand the thing under consideration. I know that the common herd takes little pleasure in these researches, but I know also that the common herd take little pains thoroughly to understand things.

Now this possibility or necessity forms or composes what are called essences or natures, and the truths which we are accustomed to call eternal; and we are right so to call them, for nothing is so eternal as what is necessary. Thus the nature of the circle with its properties is something which exists and is eternal: that is to say there is some constant cause outside us which makes all those who think about it carefully discover the same thing, and not merely that their thoughts disagree with one another; this might be attributed simply to the nature of the human mind, but for the fact that phenomena or experiences confirm them whenever some appearance of a circle strikes our senses. And these phenomena necessarily have some cause outside us.

But though the existence of necessities comes first of all in itself and in the order of nature, I agree none the less that it is not the first in the order of our knowledge. For you see that in order to prove its existence I have taken for granted that we think and that we have sensations. Here then are two absolute general truths, truths that is to say which treat of the actual existence of things: the one that we think, the other that there is a great variety in our thoughts. From the first it follows that we are, from the other it follows that there is something other than us; something other, that is to say, than that which thinks, which is the cause of the variety of our appearances.

But the greatest genius of the world is unable to force matters, and we must of necessity enter by the gates provided by nature if we are not to go astray. Moreover, one man alone cannot do everything at the outset; and for my part when I consider all the fine things M. Descartes has said, and said by himself, I marvel rather at what he has done than that there is something he has failed to do.

It is true I have often glanced at Galileo and Descartes, but as I have only recently become a geometrician, I was soon put off by their manner of writing, which necessitated serious thought. And personally, although I have always taken pleasure in meditations of my own, I have always found it difficult to read books which cannot be understood without much thought; for in following one's own meditations one follows a certain natural bent, and gains profit and pleasure at the same time, whereas one is terribly put out at having to follow the meditations of another.

I always liked books which, while containing some fine thoughts, could be read straight through without stopping, for they gave rise in me to ideas which I followed at fancy, and pursued as the spirit moved me.

I have learnt from experience that this method in general a good one, but I have also learnt none the less that an exception must be made in the case of some authors, such as PLato and Aristotle among the ancient philosophers, and Galileo and M. Descartes among those of our day.

For at bottom, all our experiences assure us of two things only, namely that there is a connection in our appearances which gives us a means of successfully predicting future appearances; and secondly that this connection must have a constant cause. But from all this it does not strictly follow that there is matter or that there are bodies, but only that there is something which presents us with appearances which follow properly on one another. (p49 L)

It is true the more we see a connection in what happens to us, the more we are confined in the opinion that there is reality in our appearances; and it is true also that the more nearly we examine appearances, the better connected we find them to be, as microscopes and other ways of making experiments show us. This perpetual agreement gives us great assurance; but after all it will be no more than a moral assurance until somebody discovers a priori the origin of the world which we see, and probes in the depths of its essence to find the reason why things are as they seem. When that is done, it will be proved that what appears to us is a reality, and that it is impossible that we should ever be disabused about it. (p50 L) is a good thing to proceed in order and to establish propositions. This is the way to gain ground and to progress with certainty. (p51 L)
9. That each single substance expresses the whole universe in its own way, and that in its notion are included all the events which will happen to it with all their circumstances, and the whole series of things outside it. (p53 L)

17. An example of a subordinate maxim of the law of nature, in which it is shown that God always regularly conserves the same force, but not the same quantity of motion, contrary to the teaching of the Cartesians and some others. (p55 L)

In fact the wiser the man is, the less does he have detached acts of will, and the more do his views and his acts of will become comprehensive and connected. (p60 L)

..Every man who acts wisely considers all the circumstances and connections of the decision he is taking, and the more so in proportion to his capacity. (p61 L)

That is why in the case of individual considerations, or considerations of practice, quae versantur circa singularia*, besides the form of the sphere there enter in the matter of which it is made, the place, the time, and the other circumstances, which by a continual chain would in the end cover the whole series of the universe, if it were possible to follow out all that these notions include. (p63 L)
* 'which are concerned with individuals', what is individual being opposed to what is general.

...As regards the objection that possibles are independent of the decisions of God, I grant that they are so actual decisions (though the Cartesians do not agree with this); but I hold that possible individual notions include a number of possible free decisions. (p63 L)

For everything must be explained by its cause; and the cause of the universe is the ends of God. Now each individual substance, according to my view, expresses the whole universe from a certain point of view. (p64 L)

I hold that the mark of a genuine idea is that its possibility can be proved, either a priori by conceiving its cause or reason, or a posteriori when experience teaches us that it is in fact in nature. (p74-5 L)

...a distinction must be made between true and false ideas, and that too much rein must not be given to a man's imagination under pretext of its being a clear and distinct intellection. (p75 L)

We must then come down to either the mathematical points, out of which some authors compound extension, or to the atoms of Epicurus and M. Cordemoy (which are things that you and I alike reject ), or else we must acknowledge that no reality can be found in bodies; or finally we must recognise some substances as having genuine unity. (p78 L)

You say you do not see what leads me to admit that there are such substantial terms, or rather corporeal substances, endowed with a genuine unity. It is because I do not conceive of any reality at all as without genuine unity. (p80 L)

We may say then of these composites and of similar things what Democritus so well said of them, namely, esse opinione, lege vo..*

* 'they depend for their existence on opinion or custom' (p81 L)

If on the other hand we prefer the unity based on contact, we are faced with other difficulties. Hard bodies have perhaps nothing uniting their parts except the pressure of surrounding bodies and of themselves, and in their substance are no more united than a heap of sand, arena sine calce*

* ' sand without lime' , i.e. without anything to bind it into mortar. (p82 L) long as we do not distinguish what is genuinely a complete entity, or substance, we shall never have any fixed point at which we can stop; and such fixed point is the one and only means of establishing solid and real principles.

In conclusion, nothing should be taken as certain without foundations; it is therefore those who manufacture entities and substances without genuine unity to prove that there is more to reality than I have just said; and I am waiting for the notion of a substance, or of an entity, which successfully comprehends all these things; after which parts and perhaps even dreams will be able one day to lay claim to reality ... (p83 L)

In natural perception and in sensation it is sufficient that what is divisible and material, and is to be found dispersed in a number of entities, should be expressed or represented in a single indivisible entity, or in a substance possessing a genuine unity. (p84 L)

Thus our body must be affected to some extent by the changes in all the others. (p85 L)

It must be the case that I have some perception of the movement of each wave on the shore if I am able to apperceive that which results from the movements of all the waves put together, namely the mighty roar which we hear by the sea. (p85 L)

With regard to minds, that is to say substances which think, and are capable of knowing God and of discovering eternal truths, I hold that God governs them by laws different from those by which He governs the rest of substances. (p86 L)

The fact is, I think, that my objection is so simple that its very simplicity operated to deceive him, since he could not believe that a comment which was so easy could have escaped the notice of so many able people. (p90 L)

.. I\ shall always be very happy to receive, provided the love of truth appears therein, and not merely a passion for preconceived opinions. Although I am one of those who have done much work on mathematics, I have constantly meditated on philosophy from my youth up, for it has always seemed to me that in philosophy there was a way of establishing something solid by means of clear proofs. (p97-8 L)

.. when I tried to get to the bottom of the actual principles of mechanics in order to give an explanation of the laws of nature which are known through experience, I became aware that the consideration of an extended mass is not of itself enough, and that use must also be made of the notion of force, (p98 L)

At first, when I had freed myself from the yoke of Aristotle, I had believed in the void and atoms, for it is this which best satisfies the imagination. But returning to this view after much meditation, I perceived that it is impossible to find the principles of a true unity in matter alone, or in what is merely passive, since everything in it is but a collection or accumulation of parts ad infinitum. Now a multiplicity can be real only if it is made up of true unities which come from elsewhere and are altogether different from mathematical points, which are nothing but extremities of the extended and modifications out of which it is certain that nothing continuous could be compounded. Therefore, to find these real unities, I was constrained to have recourse to what might be called a real and animated point or to an atom of substance which must embrace some element of form or of activity in order to make a complete being. (p98-9 L)

But atoms of matter are contrary to reason, besides the fact that they also are composed of parts, since the invincible attachment of one part of another (granted that this could be reasonably conceived or supposed) would not destroy their diversity. It is only atoms of substance, that is to say unities which are real and absolutely without parts, which can be the sources of actions, and the absolute first principles of the composition of things, and as it were the ultimate elements into which substantial things, and as it were the ultimate elements into which substantial things can be analysed. They might be called metaphysical points; there is about them something vital and a kind of perception, and mathematical points are their points of view for expressing the universe. (p103 L)

Since each mind is as it were a world apart, sufficient unto itself, independent of all other created things, including the infinite, expressing the universe, it is as lasting, as subsistent, and as absolute as the very universe of created things itself. We must therefore conclude that it must always play its part in the way most suited to contribute to the perfection of that society of all minds which constitutes their moral union in the City of God. Here, too, is a new and wonderfully clear proof of all the existence of God. For this perfect agreement of all these substances, which have no point of communication with one another, could only come from the one common cause. (p107 L)

It is true that we can easily conceive of matter both as giving out and as taking parts; and it is in this way that we rightly explain in terms of mechanics all the phenomena of physics (p108 L)

It was my aim here to expound, not the principles of extension, but the principles of that which is in fact extended, or of bodily mass. These principles, according to me, are the real units, that is to say the substances that possess a true unity. (p109 L)

Imagine two clocks or watches which are in perfect agreement. Now this agreement may come about in three ways. The first consists of a natural influence. This is what M. Huygens tried with a result that surprised him. He suspended two pendulums from the same piece of wood; the continual strokes of the pendulums communicated similar vibrations to the particles of the wood; but since these different vibrations could not well persist independently and without interfering with one another, unless the pendulums were in agreement, it happened by some sort of miracle that even when their strokes had been purposely disturbed, they soon went back to swinging together, rather like two strings* which are in unison.
* i.e. strings of a musical instrument (p115 L)

However, I do not consider the hardness or consistency of bodies as a primary quality, but as a consequence of motion. (p118 L)

Leibniz and Locke
It is true that I am often of another opinion from him, but, far from denying the merit of famous writers, we bear witness to it by showing wherin and wherefore we differ from them, since we deem it necessary to prevent their authority from prevailing against reason in certain important points; besides the fact that, in convincing such excellent men, we make the truth more acceptable, and it is to be supposed that it is chiefly for truth's sake that they are labouring. (p142)
The senses, although they are necessary for all our actual knowledge, are not sufficient to give us the whole of it, since the senses never give anything but instances, that is to say particular or individual truths. Now all the instances which confirm a general truth, however numerous they may be, are not sufficient to establish the universal necessity of this same truth, for it does not follow what happened before will happen the same way again. (p144 L)

The success of experiments serves also as a confirmation of reason, more or less as verifications serve in arithmetic to help us avoid erroneous calculation when the reasoning is long. It is in this also that the knowledge of men differs from that of the brutes: the latter are purely empirical, and guide themselves solely by particular instances; for, as far as we can judge, they never go so far as to form necessary propositions; whereas men are capable of the demonstrative sciences. This also is why the faculty the brutes have of making sequences of ideas is something inferior to the reason which is in man. The sequences of the brutes are just like those of the simple empiricists who claim that what has happened sometimes will happen again in a case where what strikes them is similar, without being capable of determining whether the same reasons hold good. It is because of this that it is so easy for men to catch animals, and so easy for pure empiricists to make mistakes. (p145 L)

For reason alone is capable of setting up rules which are certain, and of supplying what is lacking to those which are not certain, by inserting the exceptions, and in short of finding connections which are certain in the force of necessary consequences. This often provides the means of foreseeing the event, without its being necessary to experience the sensible connections between iimages which is all that the brutes can do; so that to vindicate the existence within us of the principles of necessary truths is also to distinguish man from the brutes. (p146 L)

..ideas whose origin is not in sensation arise from reflection. Now reflection is nothing but an attention to what is in us, and the senses do not give us what we already bring with us. This being so, can we deny that there is a great deal that is innate in our mind, (p146 L)

It is thus that habituation causes us not to notice the motion of a mill or waterfall, after we have lived near by for some time. It is not that the motion does not continue to affect our organs, and that something does not still take place in the soul to correspond to it, on account of the harmony of the soul and the body; it is that these impressions which are in the soul and in the body, when they are devoid of the attractions of novelty, are not strong enough to attract our attention and memory, when these are attached to more absorbing objects. (p149 L)

It may be even be said that as a result of these minute perceptions the present is big with the future and laden with the past, that everything is in league together, and that in the smallest substance eyes as piercing as those of God could read the whole sequence of things in the universe:

Quae sint, quae fuerint, quae mox futura trahantur
[the things that are, the things that have been, and those that are presently to come.](p150 L)

..observable perceptions come by degrees from those which are too small to be observed (p152)

This means that it has throughout a degree of rigidity as well as of fluidity, and that there does not exist any body which is absolutely hard or absolutely fluid; that is to say that it is impossible to find in any body any atom whose hardness is indefeasible (p156 L)

It is true, I say, " that bodies operate by impulse, and nothing else ". And so I thought when I writ it, and can yet conceive no other way of their operation. But I am since convinced by the judicious Mr Newton's incomparable book, that it is too bold a presumption to limit God's power, in this point, by my narrow conceptions. The gravitation of matter towards matter, by ways inconceivable to me, is not only a demonstration that God can, if he pleases, put into bodies powers and ways of operation, above what can be derived from our idea of body or can be explained by what we know of matter .. (p157 L)

It is evident, at least as far as we can conceive it, that bodies act upon one another by impulse and not otherwise; for it is impossible for us to understand that a body can act upon that which it does not touch, which is as much as to imagine that it can act where it is not. (p158 L)

The question he is discussing with the celebrated prelate, who has attacked him, is whether matter can think, and as this is an important point, even for the present work, I cannot avoid going into the subject a little and taking some account of their dispute. (p159 L)

I maintain also that substances, whether material or immaterial, cannot be conceived in their bare essence without any activity, activity being of the essence of substance in general ... (p163 L)

For it is incontestable that the senses are not sufficient to make us see their necessity, and so the mind has the dispositions (as much active as passive) to draw them itself out of its own depths; though the senses are necessary to give to it the occasion and the attention required for this, and to lead it rather to the one sort than to the other. (p170 L)

The original proof of necessary truths comes from the understanding alone, and all other truths come from experiences or from observations of the senses. Our mind is capable of knowing both the one sort and the other, but it is the source of the first; whatever number of particular experiences we may have of a universal truth, we cannot assure ourselves of it for always by induction, without apprehending its necessity by reason. (p170 L)

They are either truths of reason or truths of fact. Truths of reason are necessary, those of fact are contingent. (p182 L)

As regards the proposition that three is equal to two and one, which you adduce, Sir, as an example of intuitive knowledge, my comment is that it is simply the definition of the term three; for the simplest definitions of numbers are formed in this manner- two is one and one, three is two and one, four is three and one, and so on. (p185 L)

It is true that a man of judgement, that is to say, one who is capable of attention and restraint, and who has the necessary leisure and patience and is open-minded enough, can understand the most difficult demonstration if it is properly put to him. (p187 L)

Often beautiful truths are arrived at by Synthesis, by passing from the simple to the compound. (p187 L)

..thus there will be two sorts of knowledge as there are two sorts of proofs, of which the one produces certainty, while the other arrives at probability only. (p189 L)

..the connection of phenomena, which guarantees truths of fact with regard to sensible things outside us, is verified by means of truths of reason (p191 L)

Mr Newton says that space is the organ which God makes use of to perceive things by. (p192 L)

It is said expressively in the Appendix to Mr Newton's Optics that space is God's sensorium. Now the word sensorium has always meant the organ of sensation. Let him and his friends now give a quite different explanation of their meaning: I shall not object. (p195 L) (2nd letter)

Something quite other than mere presence is needed for one thing to represent what takes place in another. For this some explicable communication is necessary, some kind of influence either of the things upon one another or of a common cause. (p195 L)

3. These gentlemen maintain, then, that space is a real absolute being; but this leads them into great difficulties. For it appears that this being must be eternal and infinite. This is why there have been some who believed that it was God Himself, or else His attribute, His immensity. But as it has parts, it is not a thing which can be appropriate to God.

4. As for me, I have more than once stated that I held space to be something purely relative, like time; space being an order of co-existences as time is an order of successions. For space denotes in terms of possibility an order of things which exist at the same time, in so far as they exist together, and is not concerned with their particular ways of existing: and when we see several things together we perceive this order of things among themselves.
5. I have several proofs for refuting the conception of those who take space to be a substance, or at least as absolute being of some kind. But here I only wish to make use of the one which the present occasion requires. I say then that if space were an absolute being, there would happen something for which it would be impossible that there should be a sufficient reason, and this is contrary to our axiom. (p199 L)

The supernatural surpasses all the powers of created things. We must take an example. Here is one which I have often made use of with success. If God wished to cause a free body to circle in the ether round about a given fixed center, without any other created thing acting on it, this, I say, could only occur by miracle, not being explicable by the nature of bodies. For a free body naturally departs from a curve along the tangent. It is in this sense that I maintain that the attraction of bodies, properly so called, is a miraculous thing, since it cannot be explained by their nature. (p203 L)

10. If space is an absolute reality, far from being a property or accident opposed to substance, it will have more subsistence than substance; God will be unable to destroy it, or even to change it in any respect. It will be not only immense in the whole, but also immutable and eternal in each of its parts. There will be an infinity of eternal things besides God. (p205 L)

16. If space and time were something absolute, that is to say if they were something other than certain orders of things, what I am saying would be a contradiction. But since this is not the case, the hypothesis is contradictory, that is to say it is an impossible fiction.(p206 L)

Thus the fiction of a finite material universe, the whole of which moves about in an infinite empty space, cannot be admitted. It is altogether unreasonable and impractical. For besides the fact that there is no real space outside the material universe, such an action would be without purpose; it would be working without doing anything, agendo nihil agere. No change which could be observed by any one whatever would be occurring. Such things are the imaginings of philosophers with incomplete notions, who make of space an absolute reality. (215 L)

The Aristotelians and the Cartesians, who do not admit the existence of a true void, replied to this experiment of M.Guericke's as well as to the experiment made by M. Torricelli of Florence (who emptied the air out of a glass tube by means of mercury), by saying that there is no vacuum at all in the tube or in the container since the glass has subtle pores, through which rays of light, magnetic rays, and other very fine things can pass. And I am of their opinion. (p217 L)

36. As I objected that space, taken as something real and absolute without bodies, would be a thing eternal, impassive, and independent of God, our author has tried to elude this difficulty by saying that space is a property of God. (p218 L)
( Clarke as ‘our author’) order to have the idea of place, and consequently of space, it is enough to consider these relations and the rules of their changes, without needing to picture any absolute reality beyond the things whose situation is being considered. (p221 L)

But I grant that there is a difference between a genuine absolute movement of a body and a simple relative change of its situation with respect to another body. (p225 L)

And as to this objection that space and time are quantities, or rather things having quantity, and that situation and order are not such, I reply that order also has its quantity: there is that which precedes and that which follows, there is distance or interval. Relative things have their quantity as well as absolutes: for example, ratios or proportions in mathematics have their quantity and are measured by logarithms, and yet they are relations. Thus although time and space consist in relations, they have their quantity none the less. (p225 L)

63. But it is nowise follows that matter is eternal and necessary, unless we suppose that space is eternal and necessary: an altogether ill-founded supposition. (p226 L)

..whatever renders us more capable of reflecting on more perfect objects and in a more perfect manner, also makes us naturally perfect. But the present condition of our life forces us to have a great number of confused thoughts which do not make us naturally perfect. Such is the knowledge of customs, genealogies and languages, and indeed all historical knowledge of facts both civil and natural. (p233 L)

In a word, the only knowledge which can make us perfect is the knowledge of reasons in themselves, or of eternal and necessary truths, especially those truths which are most comprehensive and which bear most relation to the Sovereign Being. (p234 L)

The human race, considered in relation to the sciences which minister to our happiness, appears to me like a disorderly rabble marching in the darkness, having neither leader nor order, without password or other signals to regulate their march, or by which to know themselves. Instead of holding one another by the hand so as to guide one another and make sure of our way, we run about at random and to and fro, and even hurl ourselves one against another, far from helping and supporting each other. This means that we advance but little, or else that we know not where we are. We even plunge into morasses and shifting sands of doubt without end, wherein is nothing solid nor firm, or else we drag ourselves into the principles of very dangerous errors. Talibus in tenebris vitae tantisque periclis, it is given to no mortal to light a torch capable of dispersing this obscurity. Sects and leaders of sects serve merely to seduce us like the false lights of marsh fires; and it is left to the sun of our souls to enlighten us utterly, but in another life. Nevertheless, what we can do here is march together and in order, to share our journeyings, to make known the roads and to repair them: and finally to travel slowly, but with a firm unwavering tread, by the side of that pure and living stream of clear and simple knowledge, which has its source among us, which can serve as a comfort on our painful march, and as a thread which grows gradually larger and increases our knowledge, until at last it leads us, albeit by a roundabout way, to a delightful plain- I mean the most important practical truths which serve to content the mind and to preserve the health of the body, as far as this can be done by reason. (p238 L)

But at the present, men barely touch what is difficult and has not yet been attempted; but all run in crowds to what others have already done, where they cease not from copying and even from striving with one another. What one has built is first overthrown by another, who claims to found his reputation on the ruin of someone else's; but his own reign is no better established nor of longer duration. The fact is that they seek glory much more than truth, and seek rather to dazzle others than to enlighten themselves. To escape from this unhappy position, we must abandon the spirit of sect, and the affectation of novelty. We must imitate the geometers, who are not Euclideans nor Archimedeans. They are all for Euclid and all for Archimedes, because they are all for their common master, that is, divine truth .. (p238 L)

The death of the illustrious M. Huygens is an inestimable loss. Few know this as well as I do. He equalled, in my opinion, the reputation of Galileo and Descartes, and, with the help of what they had done, he surpassed their discoveries. In a word, he was one of the chief ornaments of our time. (p242 L)

We rightly regard bodies as being things, for even phenomena are real. But if any one seeks to regard bodies as being substances he will surely need some new principle of real unity. The man in Ireland (Berkeley) who impugns the reality of bodies seems neither to give adequate reasons nor to explain sufficiently what is in his mind. I suspect that he is one of those people who seek to become famous by their paradoxes. (p243 L)

I have learnt from experience that nothing defeats courage and removes the taste for beautiful things more than the importunate reflections we make on human misery, and on the vanity of our undertakings. It is the sole stumbling block of noble minds, on which it is all the easier to fail the more exhaulted one's genius. For ordinary minds do not pause over this great consideration about the future which in some sort includes the whole universe: but in compensation they are happier, for they taste apparent goods, without its occurring to them to destroy the pleasure by too exact a reflection. And since a happy folly is better than a bitter prudence, I think we should do well to turn deaf ears to reason and give ourselves up to custom, or else to reason for our diversion only, if there be no means of reconciling wisdom with contentment. But, God be praised, we are not so unfortunate, and Nature would be a stepmother, if that which makes our perfection were the cause of our wretchedness. (p248 L)

I was happy to be among men, but not happy about human nature. Often I thought with sorrow of the evils to which we are subjected, of the short duration of our life, the vanity of glory, the inconveniences which spring from pleasure, the illnesses which crush our very spirit; finally the annihilation of all our glories and all our perfections in the moment of death, which seems to reduce to nothing the fruits of our labours. These meditations made me melancholy. I had a natural love of doing good and knowing the truth. Yet it looked as though I were taking pains to no purpose, and as though a fortunate crime were better than a oppressed virtue, and the folly which satisfies preferable to the reason which gives pain. But I resisted these objections, and the better part triumphed in my mind through the consideration of the Divinity, who kept up my hopes by the expectation of a future capable of making up for everything. (p253 L)

Leibniz, Gottfried, Philosophical Writings, (1670) Everyman 1934


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