Ideology & Ism


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Understanding Monism

Feelosofi –  Monism is a concept in philosophy which assumes that everything in the universe has the same origin or basis. In this context, monism argues that all forms of diversity that we observe in this world actually originate from a single source or basic principle. In other words, monism seeks to unify multiple realities or entities into one larger whole.

There are two main types of monism known in philosophy : material monism and spiritual monism. Material monism holds that everything in the universe, including human thought and consciousness, can be explained through matter or physical elements. This concept sparked the view that everything is the result of various interactions of different materials. On the other hand, spiritual monism focuses on the idea that everything can ultimately be reduced to spiritual or mental reality. Spiritual monism is often rooted in an understanding of consciousness, soul, or spirit as the basis of all that exists.

The concept of monism has played an important role in various philosophical and religious schools, and the debate surrounding monism versus dualism (the view that there are two distinct bases: matter and spirit) has influenced philosophical thought for centuries. Thus, monism is a deep understanding of the basic nature of the universe and how everything is interconnected in a larger unity.

History Of Monism

The history of monism is a reflection of the development of philosophical thought and views about the basic nature of the universe. Monism has deep roots in the history of human thought, with the concept of monism having existed in various forms across various cultures and time periods. Below, we will discuss several important points in the history of monism:

  1. Ancient Greek Philosophy : Monism appears in ancient philosophical thought, especially in the teachings of Presocratic philosophers such as Thales, Anaximander, and Heraclitus. They tried to explain the origin of the universe by identifying one basic element as the root of everything. Thales , for example, believed that water was the basic element from which all things originated.
  2. Vedanta in Indian Culture : In the context of Indian culture, monism has a special place in the Vedanta tradition. Adi Shankaracharya, an Indian scholar who lived in the 8th century, promoted the concept of Advaita Vedanta which teaches that there is only one absolute entity, Brahman, which is the origin of all things.
  3. Medieval Western Influence : The concept of monism in the Western tradition also experienced development during the Middle Ages. Christian theologians such as Meister Eckhart and John Scotus Eriugena incorporated monistic elements in their thinking, especially regarding the relationship between God, the universe, and humans.
  4. Modern and Contemporary Influence : In modern philosophical thought , Baruch Spinoza is one of the famous thinkers who developed the view of monism. Spinoza viewed the universe, God, and humans as expressions of the same substance, which he called “infinite substance.”

The history of monism reflects the evolution of human thought in an attempt to understand the fundamental nature of reality. Various views and philosophical schools have emerged over time, forming a deeper understanding of the concept of monism and its impact on worldviews and philosophies of life. Although varying in expression, monism continues to play an important role in philosophical discussions of the relationships between things in the universe.

Main Figures Of Monism

Some of the main figures of monism who were influential in the history of human thought include:

  1. Thales : A Presocratic philosopher from ancient Greece, Thales is considered one of the early figures in the history of monist thought. He stated that water is the basic element that makes up everything in the universe.
  2. Anaximander : A fellow Presocratic philosopher , Anaximander developed the concept of the “apeiron,” which is the infinite or limitless substance from which all things originate.
  3. Heraclitus : Another philosopher from ancient Greece, Heraclitus believed that fire was the basic element of the universe and that everything in the world was always changing.
  4. Baruch Spinoza : Spinoza was a philosopher from the 17th century who was known for his monist views. In his famous work, “ Ethics ,” Spinoza argued that there is only one infinite substance from which all things originate, and this substance is known as “God or Nature.
  5. Adi Shankaracharya : In the Vedanta tradition in India, Adi Shankaracharya is a figure who popularized the Monist view of Advaita Vedanta. He taught that the only absolute reality is Brahman, which is the origin of everything.
  6. Meister Eckhart : A medieval Christian theologian and philosopher , Meister Eckhart incorporated monistic elements in his thought. He explores the relationship between humans and God in the context of spiritual monism.
  7. John Scotus Eriugena : Another Christian philosopher and theologian of the Middle Ages, Eriugena developed the view that the universe is a manifestation of God, creating a monistic connection between God, the universe, and humans.

These figures have made important contributions to the development of monistic thought, both in material and spiritual contexts. Their thoughts have been influential in the history of philosophy and understanding of the basic nature of the universe and the relationships between everything in it.

Monism Vs Dualism

The comparison between monism and dualism is at the heart of debates in philosophy throughout history. These two views regarding the fundamental nature of the universe and the relationships between various entities have marked differences. Below, we will discuss the main differences between monism and dualism :

  1. Basic Properties of the Universe :
    • Monism : Monism believes that there is one basic source or substance that is the origin of everything in the universe. These can be physical matter (material monism) or spiritual entities (spiritual monism).
    • Dualism : Dualism, on the other hand, believes that there are two different basic substances: physical matter and spirit or mind. In dualism , there is a separation between physical matter and non-physical entities, such as the soul or mind.
  2. Views on Humans :
    • Monism : Monism assumes that humans consist of one type of substance, whether physical or spiritual matter, depending on the type of monism adopted. In material monism, humans are only the result of the interaction of physical matter, while in spiritual monism, humans have a spiritual core.
    • Dualism : Dualism states that humans consist of two different components, namely the physical body (material) and the soul or mind (non-physical entity). Dualism presupposes a separation between the physical and mental aspects of humans.
  3. Interaction Problems :
    • Monism : In monism, the problem of interactions between different aspects of the universe is not so prominent because they all originate from a single source. However, in spiritual monism, there may be debate about how mind and matter interact.
    • Dualism : Dualism often faces challenges related to the way the physical body and spirit or mind interact. How these different entities can coexist and influence each other is one of the classic problems in dualist thinking .
  4. Understanding of God or Divine Existence :
    • Monism : In some forms of monism, such as Advaita Vedanta in the Indian Vedanta tradition, God and the universe are considered to be one inseparable unit. God and the universe are manifestations of the same substance.
    • Dualism : Dualism tends to further separate God or divine existence from the universe. In dualist thought , there is a sharp distinction between divine reality and the universe.

The comparison between monism and dualism reflects fundamental differences in understanding of the fundamental nature of the universe, humans, and the relationships between various entities.

Theories In Monism

Monism Materialism

The theory in materialist monism states that the only basic substance in the universe is physical matter. This theory expresses a view that prioritizes matter as the main element that makes up everything in this world. Some important points in the theory of materialism monism are:

  1. Everything is Material : According to the theory of materialism , there are no non-physical entities, spiritual entities, or divine existences that contribute to the existence of the universe. All phenomena, including thoughts, feelings, and other mental phenomena, can be explained as products of evolving and interacting physical matter.
  2. Reductionist Explanation : Materialist theories are often reductionist in nature. This means that everything, including complex entities such as the human mind, can be explained by reducing them to simpler basic entities in the context of physical matter. For example, human thought and consciousness can be thought of as the result of physical processes in the brain.
  3. Deterministic View : Materialism tends to support a deterministic view of the universe. That is, all actions and events are governed by natural laws inherent in physical matter. In this view, there is no absolute freedom in human action, and everything can be explained as the result of causes and effects that apply to matter.
  4. Science and the Empirical Method : Materialism supports the empirical method of science as the primary way to understand the universe. Research and observation in various fields of science, such as physics, chemistry, and biology, are considered as a means of revealing the basics of physical matter and the natural laws that govern it.
  5. Criticism of Spiritualism : Materialism is often at odds with the view of spiritualism which assumes that there are non-physical entities, such as souls or spirits, that have a role in reality. Materialism is skeptical of such ideas and tries to explain everything in terms of physical matter.

The theory of materialism in monism has played an important role in the development of modern science and understanding of the fundamental nature of the universe. Despite the differences of opinion and controversy surrounding this theory, materialism remains a significant philosophical approach in explaining our world.

Monism Idealism

The theory in idealistic monism is a view that states that the only basic substance in the universe is ideas or consciousness. This theory emphasizes that everything, including physical matter, is a product of thought processes or mental existence. The following are several important points in the theory of idealism within the framework of monism:

  1. Everything is an Idea : According to idealism theory, reality itself is the result of ideas, thoughts, or consciousness. Physical matter and everything we observe in this world are considered mental constructs or ideas that exist in the mind or consciousness.
  2. Non-Material View : Idealism asserts that no material substance has an independent existence. In this view, physical matter is simply an illusion or manifestation of ideas existing in the mind or consciousness.
  3. Subjective View : Idealism is often subjective, meaning that reality is interpreted and understood through individual subjectivity. This means that personal experience and subjective interpretation dominate the understanding of reality.
  4. Constructivist View : In idealist theory, the world is considered a mental construction. This means that everything, including the concepts of time, space, and physical objects, is constructed by thought or consciousness.
  5. Relationship between Ideas and Matter : Idealism asks questions about the relationship between ideas or consciousness and physical matter. Whether physical matter is a manifestation of ideas or whether ideas are produced by physical matter is a frequent debate in this theory.
  6. Influence on Philosophy and Art : Idealism has made an important contribution to the development of philosophical and artistic thought. This view influenced various thinkers and artists who saw reality as the result of thought or consciousness.

The theory of idealism in monism is a view that places a strong emphasis on mental properties or ideas in explaining reality. This differs from materialism , which considers physical matter to be the basic substance. These two views are central points in the debate in philosophy surrounding the nature of the universe and the nature of existence.

Neoplatonism Monism

Neoplatonism was a form of monism, meaning that it emphasized the view that all entities and origins of the universe came from a single source or basic substance. In the context of monism, “the One” or “the Good” in Neoplatonism is a divine entity that is the origin of all things.

In the theory of monism, as represented by neoplatonism, there is the belief that everything in the universe, including physical matter, soul, and spiritual reality, comes from one transcendent and infinite source. In neoplatonism, this view of monism is reflected in the concept of “the One” which is the basic substance that flows or produces all other realities.

In the understanding of monism, “the One” in neoplatonism acts as the center or starting point of everything. All realities, levels, or entities that exist in the universe are thought to originate from emanations from “the One.” This concept illustrates how neoplatonism understands the interconnectedness of everything in the universe within the framework of strong monism.

Moreover, in neoplatonism, man’s understanding of himself and his spiritual quest are also placed in the context of this monism. Humans are considered to have the potential to return to “the One” through spiritual development and contemplation. Thus, neoplatonism views that humans are part of a larger hierarchy that involves all entities and existences in the universe.

Thus, Neoplatonism is an interesting example of how the theory of monism is applied in understanding the nature of the universe and the position of humans within the framework of philosophical thought.


In conclusion, monism is a philosophical framework of thought which assumes that all entities, substances, or origins of the universe come from a single source or the same basis. There are several forms of monism, including materialism monism which prioritizes physical matter as the basic source, as well as spiritualism monism which emphasizes spiritual or mental entities. Monism offers a different perspective on the interconnectedness and unity between various aspects of the universe.

In history, there are various figures and schools that have influenced monist thinking, such as the Presocratic philosophers in ancient Greek philosophy, Adi Shankaracharya in the Indian Vedanta tradition, and Baruch Spinoza in modern Western philosophy. Monism has also played an important role in the development of thought in various fields, such as science, philosophy , and religion.

The comparison of monism with dualism , the view that recognizes two basic substances (matter and spirit), has been a topic of ongoing philosophical debate. Monism, in its various forms, has formed the basis for deep thinking about the fundamental nature of the universe and how everything is connected within a larger whole. Even though differences and controversies still exist, the understanding of monism remains relevant in human thinking about the universe and existence.


What Is Monism In Philosophy?

Monism is a philosophical framework that assumes that everything in the universe has the same origin or basis. This means that the various entities or entities in the universe are considered to originate from one single source.

What Is The Difference Between Monism And Dualism?

The main difference between monism and dualism lies in the views on the origin of the universe. Monism assumes there is one basic source, while dualism recognizes two different sources, such as matter and spirit.

Which Famous Figure To Monism?

Some famous figures in history who adhered to monist views include Baruch Spinoza in Western philosophy, Adi Shankaracharya in the Indian Vedanta tradition, and Presocratic philosophers such as Thales and Heraclitus in ancient Greek philosophy.

How Does Monism Affect The Understanding Of Humans’ Relationship To The Universe?

Monism influences the way we view the relationship between humans and the universe by proposing that all entities share a common source of origin. This often impacts the view of the unity of the universe and humanity’s quest to align itself with that unity.

What Are The Implications Of Monism In The Context Of Science And Religion?

The implications of monism can vary widely in different contexts. In science, monism can support reductionist explanations and seek unification of theories in various fields. In religion, the view of monism can influence the understanding of divine existence and humans’ relationship to that existence.


  • “ Spinoza’s Ethics ” by Benedict de Spinoza (1677).
  • “ The Advaita Vedanta of Adi Shankaracharya: A Philosophical Introduction ” by Arvind Sharma (1962).
  • “ Heraclitus: The Cosmic Fragments ” by Heraclitus and G.S. Kirk (1979).
  • “ The Presocratic Philosophers ” by GS Kirk and JE Raven (1950).
  • “ A History of Philosophy: Volume 1: Greece and Rome ” by Frederick C. Copleston (1946).
  • “ The One and Its Relation to Intellect in Plotinus: A Commentary on Selected Texts ” by Panayiota Vassilopoulou (2008).

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Raymond Kelvin Nando
Writer, Researcher, & Philosophy Enthusiast