Comment on the significance of the passage below from Leibniz’s Monadology, and discuss its relationship to Enlightenment philosophy. "69. Thus there is nothing fallow, nothing sterile, nothing dead in the universe, no chaos, no confusion save in appearance, somewhat as it might appear to be in a pond at a distance, in which one would see a confused movement and, as it were, a swarming of fish in the pond, without separately distinguishing the fish themselves. (Theod. Pref. [E. 475 b; 477 b; G. vi. 40, 44])"

In this passage, Leibniz asserts that apparent chaos in the universe is, in fact, orderly and necessary when seen from the proper perspective. This Enlightenment theodicy sees the Biblical fall of man as the "felix culpa," the fortunate fall which allowed for Christian redemption and the development of civilization.

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Those who have not studied Leibniz are often most familiar with his worldview from Voltaire's satirical depiction of Dr. Pangloss in Candide. Pangloss espouses the philosophy that "all is for the best in the best of all possible worlds." It is passages such as this which clearly irritated Voltaire. Leibniz tells the reader that wherever they think they see chaos, they are merely failing to discern a divine cosmic order which is not immediately apparent.

This view of the world is an Enlightenment attempt to "justify the ways of God to men," as Milton puts it in Paradise Lost, a process known as theodicy. The problem of evil is an ancient one, put by Epicurus in the following terms: if God is both omnipotent and completely benevolent, then why is there suffering in the world? Leibniz's theodicy offers the following answer: What you perceive as suffering, chaos, or evil, is not what you think it is. If you had a divine perspective, you would see that it is necessary for a plan that is, overall, benevolent and wise. Even an event such as the fall of man is described by Leibniz as the "felix culpa," (the fortunate fall) because it allowed both the redemption of humanity through the love of Christ, and the development of a complex postlapsarian civilization, which includes the Enlightenment itself.

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