“(The following outline of the Pythagorean numbers is a paraphrase of the writings of Nicomachus, Theon of Smyrns, …, Aristotle, and other early authorities.)
“Monad – 1 – is so called because it always remains in the same condition—that is, separate from multitude.Its attitudes are as follows: It is called mind, because it is stable. … It is both male and female; odd and even; … God because it is the beginning and end of of all. …
“The following symbolic names were given to the duad – 2 – because it has been divided, and is two rather than one: … genius, evil, darkness, inequality, instability, … matter, indefinite. While the monad is the symbol of wisdom, the duad is the symbol of ignorance. … The Pythagoreans revered the monad but despised the duad, because it was the symbol of polarity.” ~Manly P Hall
Monad and Duad
The number one represents unity, God, the All because it is a single unit. Two, on the other hand, represents the world of duality where male is separate from female, hot from cold, light from dark, positive from negative. If you read that carefully, you should get one important fact from it: God is not male or female. God is beyond such distinctions of duality because He is Unity.
The attributes the ancients wise men assigned to the monad tell us a lot about the true nature of the universe, of God, and of reality.
First, it “remains in the same condition”. In other words, the world of spirit is a world that doesn’t change. God doesn’t get bigger, older, grow a beard or any of the other silly things often depicted. God doesn’t get cancer or have a heart attack. God just is. The same now as a million years ago. And the same is true of his world.
The Monad is mind in the sense that the mind of God being the one the creates all THAT IS REAL, and therefore all that is real (spirit) remains part of the Monad, part of God.
The Duality of the Duad
Two represents the beginning of division, the great Fall. It is the first number where things are divided, sides are taken.
When one becomes two, things happen, and mostly bad things. Each half of what should be one is weakened, lowered in energy. Those halves try to regain that energy, often by taking it from others. Instead of getting together and sharing energy, they take it. This results in illness, aging, and death. Deep down, it is probably the real reason most wars happen. We are all trying to get back what we lost in the Fall, without realizing the solution is to be together, not to fight each other.
The duad represents matter and the worlds of matter because it is duality that allows matter to exist. Mater is simply divided spirit. When split, it slows down, becomes dense, changes constantly. That is exactly what matter does.
The Duad and the Pythagoreans
Mr. Hall says the Pythagoreans “revered the monad but despised the duad.” I think despised is probably too strong a word to use for it. They considered the duad, and the material world of duality, an error. But you don’t despise error, you dislike it and try to correct it.
The goal is not to destroy the world of matter, but to redeem it. It will be “saved” by being returned to its original state of spirit and as part of the Monad. You don’t try to save something you despise, but the Pythagoreans, as with all real spiritual schools, were trying to save the material world. That should be the goal of all of us.