Leibniz's cosmology and definition of life

The account below was sifted and reconstructed from Leibniz's


Unlike the materialists, Leibniz rejected material atomism in favor of 
conceptual atoms called simple substances or monads, which are mental,
not physical. These are soul-like entities, which are conceptual wholes 
(but which can, and usually do, contain other monads). Monads 
cannot be created or destroyed unless by divine action, so are 
constant in number over the life of the universe. Because they
are mental and are not inhabitants of physical space, they are 
dimensionless, logical points. Thus another way of describing 
Leibniz's universe is that it can be represented on a 
spread sheet or categories and subcategories.

Because each monad is alive (over a wide range of degrees of
awareness and physical capability), the definition of a monad is
tantamount to his definition of life, thus each monad is a type of living cell. 
As Leibniz put it, "The  universe is totally composed of simple substances 
(wholes or souls), in each of which are perceptions and appetites."  
These perceptions and appetites (entelechies) imply that each monad 
is alive (although there is a spectrum of degrees of awarenesses), 
so that Leibniz's definition of a monad is also his definition of life.

Since monads are conceptual, not physical, they cannot directly (physically)
interact. Thus each monad is isolated, there being no windows in the monads.
But it knows the perceptions of all of the other monads
in the universe (from its own point of view) indirectly through being 
continusouly and rapidly updated by the Supreme Monad, which is
similar to the Platonic One or a divinity in that it alone can 
perceive (and perceive the universe of monads) and 
perform actions among them.  Thus each monad in effect
can perceive the universxe indirecty and is continuously aware
of all of the actions and states of the universe. - Roger Clough

Dr. Roger Clough NIST (ret.) 3/26/2013 
"Coincidences are God's way of remaining anonymous."
- Albert Einstein

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