The War & Peace of a New Metaphysical Perception : Book 1
Resolving Paradoxes of the Distant Past - An Alien Conversation
Tractate 5 : The Error of Leibniz
1716 AD Leibniz - The Error of: Perfection
The Error: The paradox of Theodicy Omnibenevolence
The perception: Leibniz moves our perceptual understanding regarding the system being filled with both imperfection and perfection into that of being the system filled with imperfection and perfection being found elsewhere. As such, imperfection and perfection, with the help of Leibniz, now have a location within which they can be found. However, the understanding regarding the role of imperfection and perfection as well as the understanding regarding the interrelationship between imperfection and perfection not only remain in a state of confusion but even more disconcerting, the existence of such a interrelationship is not recognized as a significant aspect of the larger system.
It is this state of confusion which will be specifically addressed within this tractate.
Part I: Creating the paradox of a Perfect System
Errors created through the passive process of definition:
Error through the active process of extrapolation as opposed to the passive process of definition
Part II: Resolving the issue with a new metaphysical perception
The Core: Omniscience
The first shell: Omnipotence and Omnipresence
Leibniz and the error of addition
The Second Shell: Answers to three questions
The location of imperfection
The Location of perfection
Minimal extreme of knowing
Puristic non-relativistic values of abstraction
Sub unit of knowing
Leibniz - The Error of Perfection
Part I: Creating the paradox of a Perfect System
This tractate, Tractate 5: Leibniz and Theodicy, appears relatively unimportant when compared to the voluminous material found within the previous tractates. One must not forget, however, that we are dealing with abstractual concepts within the complete work of The War and Peace of a New Metaphysical Perception of which this tractate is an element.
Abstractual concepts are not measured in terms of physical dimensions and thus cannot be compared one to another in our customary fashion. Abstractual concepts just are and as such abstractual concepts have not only no relative value of physical size one to the other but have no relative value of importance one to the other.
Why then examine the concept of Theodicy which was introduced so eloquently by Leibniz rather than other more important aspects of Leibniz work? There it is again, the almost inescapable desire to place relative value upon one idea as opposed to another.
So again we will ask the question but remove the concept of relative value from the question:
Why then examine the concept of Theodicy?
The concept of theodicy, as introduced by Leibniz, created a beacon which metaphysicians felt obliged to follow as they worked throughout the following centuries. Metaphysicians, by embracing the concept that perfection as defined by ontologists, in truth lost their way and simply perceived themselves to be metaphysicians when in actuality they became ontologists masquerading as metaphysicians.
Such metaphysicians examined the personality of God versus the fundamental characteristics of the whole system within which we, elements of perceptual knowing, find ourselves to exist. Metaphysics does not deal with the personality of the whole but rather metaphysics deals with the basics, with what is. Ontology deals with the abstractual personality of the whole which emerges from the existence of the whole itself.
So for a third time:
Why then examine the concept of Theodicy?
It is theodicy we must examine in order to understand how we are to redirect the masquerading metaphysician back to becoming a purist, a legitimate metaphysician as opposed to being a ontologist masquerading as a metaphysician.
It is Leibniz who introduced the concept of perfection and imperfection and labeled such a concept with a unique term of its own, theodicy.
At first glance, one will notice that this tractate is shorter than the previous tractates. Upon closer scrutiny one will also notice this tractate does not take on the same unemotional dialectic approach as the first four tractates.
In terms of the shortness of the tractate, there is no doubt the tractate is shorter. The concepts with which the work, The War and Peace of a New Metaphysical Perception, deals are abstractual in nature and as such perfection and imperfection are found to be, metaphysically speaking, non-relativistic in nature.
Should one feel uncomfortable with the concept of puristic non-relativistic values of abstraction, one may find comfort in reexamining the diagram introducing this tractate. Upon doing so, admirers of Leibniz may find comfort in observing that although the tractate regarding Leibniz may be shorter than the other tractates of this work, The War and Peace of a New Metaphysical Perception, Leibniz and the concept with which he dealt take up more space within the diagram and require the listing of his name more frequently than any other philosopher. In addition, the diagram credits Leibniz with having established the first thought of there being a distinctly separate and independent location (Location here is different than what most of us are accustomed to for location here refers to an abstractness such as love, joy hate, evil, etc. which do not take up any space or time. This is unlike concrete items such as chairs, electrons, light, magnetic forces etc.,which occupy both space or time or both. simply where knowledge, knowing exists.) existing isolated from the physical.
So much for the shortness of the Leibniz tractate, but what of the emotional approach versus the less objective approach found within the tractate itself as compared to the first four tractates? Leibniz introduced a very emotional concept, the concept of humanity, the concept of all forms of abstractual knowing being imperfect versus simply being in the puristic sense of the word. Such personal re-characterization of our very essence deserves its own unique emotional response. Leibniz, through his work, re-characterizes our, humanitys, actions as being imperfect.
Leibniz creates the concept of imperfection becoming a location of the lack of perfect quality through the emergence of a new location. As the new location emerges, its characteristic becomes defined: Perfection exists. As such the concept of omni
spreads to action as well as knowledge, power, and presence. Through Leibniz, Separation through exclusion (Separation through exclusion versus separation through inclusion will be fully addressed in Tractate 8: Russell) becomes a necessity.
And where will examining Leibniz and theodicy take us? It will take us to the metaphysician who perhaps was the first philosopher since Leibniz to discard the façade of being an ontologist working in the guise of a metaphysician. It will take us to the work of Immanuel Kant himself.
Leibniz attempted to create a term to resolve what he considered to be a paradox underscoring religious and philosophical thought.
Theodicy, a term introduced by Leibniz to characterize the topic of Gods government of the world in relation to the nature of man. The problem is the justification of Gods goodness and justice in view of the evil in the world. (William L. Reese, Dictionary of Philosophy and religion, Humanities Press, 1996.)
He attempted to compartmentalize the contradictory discussion regarding the concept of a perfect Being being perfectly good while allowing evil to exist, while allowing evil to take place, while allowing evil to be created within Its personal creation which lesser beings call the universe.
But Leibniz failed to recognize that as soon as he accepted the first three forms of omni-, omniscience, omnipotence, and omnipresence, than the fourth form, omnibenevolence, became an invalid concern to both religion and philosophy.
Error created through the passive process of definition:
The concept of omnibenevolence is irrational if one accepts the first three forms of omni-, omniscience, omnipotence, and omnipresence. But, one may say, what if I do not accept these three characteristics of God? Then the question becomes, Just which one of the omni- does one not accept?
If we begin with the whole, God, not only does a definition emerge but the concept of definition itself emerges.
By definition, God exists and is simply (yes, it is simple) the whole: all knowledge omniscience, all power (Knowledge is power) omnipotence, and all presence (Where there is any knowledge by definition it becomes part of the presence of God.) omnipresent. So the question restated, now becomes, If you are rejecting any one of the three, which omni- concept would you reject? Would you reject: omniscience - the summation of knowledge, or omnipotence - the summation of power, or omnipresence - the summation of presence.
Should one dismiss any one of the three forms of omni-, one by definition no longer has the concept of God in mind, rather one has some other concept in mind.
Leibniz made an error when he assumed the existence of omnibenevolence was one of the omni- traits of the whole, of God. He did not examine the rationality of such an existence. He did not examine its impact upon the other three forms of omni-existence. Had he done so, he would have immediately concluded that the concept he was about to label was incompatible with the other forms of omni-existence. As such, he would have led the discussion of theodicy in the direction of demonstrating the irrationality regarding the concept of God allowing evil to occur. Had Leibniz been more conscientious, he would have lead the direction away from blaming God for allowing evil to occur, to placing the blame where it belonged, with you and I, not God.
Leibniz was wrong on two accounts. He was wrong both in terms of defining theodicy and in terms of the process he used in establishing the legitimacy of theodicy. This mistake was one that led to many misperceptions over the next three centuries and it was often these perceptions, which lead to misguided actions, abusive actions, inhumane action, we inflicted upon each other. Many abusive actions have taken place because of our misperceptions that it is God who allows evil to exist and descend upon humanity.
Such a perception allows us to shirk our sense of responsibility for our own actions.
It was our misperception that we were not responsible for evil, which allowed many abuses to be generated by society, governments, religions, sciences, philosophies, and individuals while the rest of us shrugged our shoulders and went on about what we considered to be more important business.
Because of this, it is important to reexamine Leibnizs development of the term theodicy. It is time we reexamine our presumptions regarding the legitimacy of the idea that God allows bad things to happen to good people. With this reexamination will come the understanding that it is you and I, not God, who allow evil to happen to good people. With this reexamination will come an understanding that some evils are not evils but rather simply experiences and natural processes. These natural evil events we are forced to experience we label as evil when in fact they are simply random natural events.. This is not going to be a pleasant process to follow for it will end in our understanding what it is we do not want to accept. It will lead to the understanding that we, you and I, are responsible for evil, not God. It will do something, which the work of Leibniz did not do, it will force us to grow up and take responsibility for ourselves.
Lets examine the irrelevance of theodicy from both the perspective of definition and then from the perspective of process.
In order to examine the flaw regarding the concept of theodicy one must first understand where the heart of the matter lies. The heart of this concept lies in the Greek prefix, omni- meaning all.
By definition, theodicy defines God as having a fourth characteristic. Defining theodicy is an attempt to expand our knowledge of what God is. Religions say God is omnipresent (all-present), omnipotent (all-powerful), and omniscient (all-knowing). Now along comes Leibniz who introduces a fourth omni into the equation. Because of the prominence of Leibniz, everyone says, Oh, yeah that is a problem." And no one stands up and says, Wait a minute, Leibniz, this fourth Omni- term is irrelevant and therefore your development of the term theodicy is irrelevant.
The problem with Leibnizs definition is threefold:
If God is omnipresent as all major religions of the world today say, then God is everywhere. If God is everywhere then we are in God. As such we are a part of God. Objections immediately arise, No, we are a part of the universe. But if God is omnipresent all present, then the universe is inside God, a part of God and you, being within the universe, must be considered a part of God.
Metaphysically as opposed to Ontologically such a concept graphically becomes:
Once again the objections drown out the discussion, There is evil in the universe and God is a perfect being therefore the universe.must lie outside God. God must transcend the universe. It is the only way to resolve this paradox. But is it? Could it not be resolved by perceptualizing the universe being within God but God not being within the universe? In this particular reference to God, we are not speaking of Gods presence; rather we are speaking of the whole of God. In other words, we are simply acknowledging the validity of omnipresence being one of the characteristics of God. At the same time, we are stating there is more to God than what is found, sensed, and experiences within the limitation of our universe. If one is to accept this concept of the omnipresence of God, then one can accept the concept that the universe must be within God. Thus one may remain committed to the concept that part of the definition of God incorporates the concept of omnipresence and thus understand how it is that God, as a whole, is not in the universe.
Leibniz accepted the concept that evil could not exist in a perfect being and proceeded from there.. But if we are to accept the main premises of religions, including the concept of omnipresence, than there is nowhere else for evil to exist. Evil as well as goodness must exist within God. As such, humanly judgmental forms of omnis are not forms we can assign as basic characteristics of God.
The major religions of the world believe the universe was made from nothing. Interestingly enough, science itself, through quantum mechanics, is leaning in this direction. As such the physical, having been created from nothing, is nothing. Therefore, what we perceive to be, what we perceive as being the physical, is in actually a form of nothing just as Eastern religions have always stipulated. Such a concept was addressed in detail in Tractate 1: Zeno and Multiplicity and Seamlessness.
Does such a concept imply you are nothing? Absolutely not, unless one perceives ones essence to be the physical, as opposed to the spiritual, the soul, an abstract form of existence. It is abstraction, which now takes on the form of true reality, rather than what we call the concreteness of our perceived universe being the totality of Reality.
If one accepts the concept of the soul being abstract and thus ones true essence being abstract, as all major religions profess, than it can readily be seen that the very dissolving of the universe, the dissolving of matter, energy, space, and time, back into its original form of nothingness leaves ones essence, the abstract, as an entity existing within the omnipresent whole, within God. Again we come back to the concept of your being an abstraction and God being an abstraction. Again we come back to the concept of your being a part of the whole, of total abstraction. Again we come back to the concept of your being a part of God, for how can total abstraction be total without including your abstraction? How can the whole be whole without you? How can God be all knowing, omniscient, without your knowledgeyoure your experiences? Knowledge is power, so how can God be all powerful, omnipotent, without your knowledge? In other words God cannot be God without you. You are definitely important to God for you, by definition, are what make God, God.
But what does this have to do with good and evil and the paradox of a perfect being containing evil or allowing evil to take place within It?
If the universe originated from nothing and can regress back to nothing than it is, in essence, nothing. You are in the universe. As such, the physical form you take, takes on the form of the universe, the characteristics of the universe, is in essence nothing. On the other hand, the abstractual form you take, takes on the characteristics of God, your abstraction, your awareness of your every experience gleaned from the universe, your awareness of the universe itself, is a part of God. As such, you and I, others, may be pieces of God, made in the image of God. Granted you are temporarily isolated from the whole, but you remain a part of the whole nevertheless. When it is understood that you and others are cut off from and then separated from the whole, from God, through a process of inclusion (Separation through exclusion versus separation through inclusion will be fully addressed in Tractate 8: Russell) by the void of space and time (The concept regarding the void of space and time will be fully addressed in Tractate 6: Kant), by emptiness, is it any wonder so many of us feel isolated from God.
Definition leads to understanding of evil and our creating it. We affect God for we carry awareness of action generated from within a physical existence obtained within an existence of space, time, matter, and energy, into the real world of God. We, as individual units of knowing, as individual units of action directed by free will (See Tractate 3: Boethius and Free Will), are responsible for all the evil, which exists in God.
The same argument applies to the good. But it is not the good with which the concept of theodicy is concerned. It is the debate regarding the relationship between evil and God and how such a relationship affects humankind with which theodicy is concerned. And it is here that Leibniz erred. It is at this point that Leibniz, having defined theodicy, should have turned the debate away from the concept of the relationship between evil and God and how this relationship affects humanity and into the direction of the relationship between evil and humanity and how the relationship affects God rather than how it affects ourselves.
To create a term, which accelerates a paradoxical dilemma, embracing the very soul of the individual, is one thing, but to develop such a term based upon the foundation of another obscure term, omnibenevolence is quite another. Such obscurity does nothing but distance the concept of the original term, theodicy, from the ensuing chaos. As soon as one begins to formulate a discussion regarding theodicy that in any way proves threatening, the term of omnibenevolence is thrown into the fray and focuses the attention away from theodicy. And as soon as one switches to the concept of omnibenevolence the term theodicy is thrown into the fray and focuses the attention away from omnibenevolence..
So as not to fall into this trap, lets instead steadfastly focus in on omnibenevolence, the foundation of theodicy itself. Lets examine just why it is that omnibenevolence is not one of the omni- characteristics of God.
By definition God is the whole. Unless religions are willing to let go of the three characteristics they have associated as characteristics of God, omniscience all knowing - knowing all, omnipotence all powerful - having the power to do anything, and omnipresence all presence - present everywhere, then we will have to assume they are part of the definition of God. Science and philosophy use this definition as their starting point when debating religion regarding the legitimacy of the concept of God. Since religions have not unilaterally agreed to change their primary definition of God, we have no choice but to proceed from there. To proceed with this dialectic on any other basis would undermine not only religions but the very purpose of discussing this issue.
With this established lets examine the implications of the concepts of omni- and then examine why it is relevant to apply the prefix omni to knowledge, power, and presence but irrelevant to apply the prefix omni to benevolence.