Spring 2013

Dissertation on Monads

What is there? There is God. What else is there?

Louis Riel

Signed “Louis ‘David’ Riel,” this short text, titled “Mémoire sur les monades,” was written when Riel was in prison awaiting execution in Regina, Saskatchewan, in 1885.

What is there? There is God. What else is there? There are the things that God created.

The essences of created and possible things have always been.

Essences are composed of “Monads.” “Monads” are of such a fineness that they are imperceptible to our senses.

“Monads” are tender, soft, and polished. These three qualities, combined in “Monads,” are the principle of sensibility.

“Monads” are of two genders; some are male, and others female.

For each male monad, there is a female monad. That is to say that there are in these essences as many males as there are females.

A monad is an electricity. Certain monads are certain electricities. Monads are electricities.

A male monad is a positive electricity.

A female monad is a negative electricity.

Male monads are more firm. When they touch, their firmness even causes them to repel one another. This is what science discovered when it established that electricities of the same name repel one another.

Female monads are softer, more polished, and more tender. When they come into contact with others, their sensibility is affected to such a degree that at first they experience a quiver that soon transforms into a stirring. When it is prolonged, this stirring itself becomes intolerable. In this way repulsion occurs between female monads.

This is what science found when through experimentation it saw that negative electricities repel one another.

Male monads and female monads attract one another.

Because male monads are less soft, less polished, less tender, they do not offend the sensibility of female monads when they encounter them. Female monads are at ease in their presence. It is for this reason that they seek out male monads.

Because female monads are less firm, they do not push the firmness of male monads to the limit when they touch them. Thus male monads conserve a surfeit of energy in their contact with female monads. This surfeit of energy or of firmness is the cause of their well-being. This is what makes male monads seek out female monads.

The male monad experiences an initial affection in touching the female monad, and a second affection in being touched by it. But between these two affections, there is a difference. Sensibility causes it to grasp this difference. Here lies the principle of pleasure between male and female monads.

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