The hope of Leibnitz & philosophy | Teen Ink

The hope of Leibnitz & philosophy

August 2, 2021
By hornyavan2333 BRONZE, Shenzhen, Other
hornyavan2333 BRONZE, Shenzhen, Other
3 articles 6 photos 0 comments

     The meaning of life has always been one of the ultimate topics that human beings have talked about. From Socrates to contemporary philosophers and you and I, we the mankind are always trying to discuss the topic and find out the meaning of our lives. After reading several literary works which discuss the complexities of humanity, I found the philosophical theory of Leibnitz appliable to my analysis and explanation of the topic.

   Before introducing Leibnitz, I would like to introduce the philosopher first. When talking about Leibnitz, what comes to most people’s minds is his achievements in mathematics or calculus. However, Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz from Germany who was born in 1646 was addressed as Aristotle in the seventeenth century since he also made great achievements in philosophy. More interestingly, he was a lawyer who traveled from town to town, writing many of his formulas on a bumping carriage, and he called himself a baron. Now I intend to focus on his accomplishments in philosophy and how he explains the world and meaning of life.

He presented monadism in the face of the world. Leibniz was familiar with ancient Greek and Roman philosophies, scholasticism, and the philosophical theories and scientific achievements of his time. In his opinion, neither the ancient Greek and Roman philosophers nor Descartes, Spinoza, Bacon, Locke, and others have ever solved the problem of “one” and “many”, which philosophers have always been faced with. Leibniz was inclined towards believing in atomic theory, but he did not accept Democritus’s atomic theory. Democritus believes that atoms are the indivisible material objects from which all things are made. However, in Leibniz’s view, atoms as material entities, no matter how small, are all part of space, and things that occupy a part of space cannot be indivisible, while divisible things must be composed of parts, so they cannot be the ultimate reality. So, Leibniz holds that everything is made of atoms, not Democritus’ matter atoms, but mental atoms, which Leibniz called “monads”. What’s more, as a devout believer, he claims that the god is omnipotent, merciful, and benevolent. The laws between monads are predetermined by God, which is called “predetermined harmony”.

Leibnitz’s philosophical point of view about the world which derives from his monadism seems to be positive compared with the Buddhism. The Buddhist religious system believes in the duhkha-satya, samudaya-satya, and the magga-sacca. The duhkha-satya is Sakyamuni’s value judgment of human phenomena after thorough understanding, that the real world is full of pains, which makes the system seem pessimistic. As one sentence says, life is like sailing a boat on the ocean full of bitterness. According to samudaya-satya, the pains that humans have been through are caused by subjective confusion and doubt. All the sufferings of all living beings can be traced to three fundamental causes, greed, hate, and ignorance. If we want to get rid of pains and sufferings, we have to cultivate ourselves according to the religious doctrines and experience a hard practice. However, in Leibnitz’s ideology, the world is perfect. Anything that seems bad to humans has a purpose in God and is good because it is the result of God’s perfect combination of wisdom, kindness, and power. The world is like an oil painting, where there is a light there is a shadow. It is the combination of lights and shadows that can help achieve the flawlessness of paintings and the world. What’s more, there are innumerable possible worlds in the idea of God, and God, in his goodwill, has chosen the single best world as the real world. As a result, our world is the best world among the innumerable choices. Everything that happens in our lives is the best arrangement. Leibnitz’s ideology, compared with Buddhism, is more positive and hopeful.

After reading the literature discussing the complexities in humanity such as The boy’s life which states “My father once said that people knowing one’s face does not mean knowing their hearts. Everyone has a hidden side in his heart more or less. So, everyone in the town of Strange Wind could be him” – the murder in the story. I believe the statement is right because everything has two sides, the world and humans’ souls are both complicated by nature. However, it doesn’t mean that this world is horrible. Like what Leibnitz proposed in his theory, everything is the best arrangement, and even what we see as bad has its positive meanings. For example, some people find boredom negative and meaningless, but Schopenhauer claims that boredom can inspire creativities needed to fight against the boredom. What’s more, in my opinion, boredom can make us have a quiet period to think about our lives and what we really want. Even when it comes to deep boredom, we can take this opportunity to reflect on our past and try to figure out the future paths. In conclusion, we can find a positive side to some so-called bad stuff, and we should try to look at the bright side as always.

There are many different types of philosophies, and they can be roughly put into two groups, positive philosophy, and relatively negative philosophy. As what I write in the front, Leibnitz’s hope is a kind of positive theory, and the Buddhism system is an example of negative philosophy in terms of its ways to view life. A negative philosophy of life gives us comfort and encouragement in times of disappointment. A positive philosophy of life allows us to look at life with optimism and hope – “everything is for the best”. I used to wonder which philosophical system I should use after I took some classes, but now I have become sure that we can use multiple theories to support us and help us know the world.

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