Literally everything is made from monads. What the fuck is a ‘monad?’ Well, (1) it’s the building block everything is made from, I just told you that, fucking pay attention, and (B) it’s the solution to literally every single problem in metaphysics, ever. All aboard the monad train, which is just a regular train, because all trains are monads, WHOO-WHOO!!
Okay, but seriously for a second. Monads are like these incredibly tiny dots. Like, Descartes’ dick but even smaller, if you can believe that. So tiny, they don’t actually take up any space at all. And they can’t be broken down any further - this is as simple as it gets. Like, remember how we used to think the atom was the simplest thing, then we discovered protons and we were like “oh, okay, so that’s it” and then we discovered quarks and we were like “well, shit.” Well, monads are the actual smallest thing. Let’s say we discover a thing and we’re all “Hey guys! We found them! Monads!” but then we discover we can break that thing up. That doesn’t mean I’M wrong, holy shit, what? No, it means it wasn’t monads we found after all. But there has to be SOMETHING that’s the smallest, right? Otherwise, its fucking parts all the way down, which seems pretty obviously like bullshit to me. Whatever that smallest, simplest thing is, that’s monads.
Also, there’s no way to change monads from the outside. What’re you going to do, shake it and hope the parts inside jiggle? Open it up, using the door that’s part of a monad? THERE AREN’T ANY PARTS, FUCKBELL. It’s like you’re not even listening. There’s no way to get inside a monad from the outside. You can try to move it if you want, but you can’t change anything about the monad itself.
Besides, monads don’t need your help to change; they’re constantly changing inside on their own, like a nuclear reactor or a freshman’s self-esteem. Yeah, monads can change! What, you think they’re just all the same, all the time, totally static? Then everything would just be a big, shitty pile of monads, like a giant universe of grey monad soup. But that’s not how shit is; there are lots of different kinds of things, like water and bros and regrets just to name a few, and they’re all made up of monads, so monads have to be different from each other in at least SOME ways. So even though they have no physical parts, monads totally have internal qualities, and those qualities can change.
I mean, just think about your mind for a second. Fuck yeah you’re monads, don’t look at me like that. Descartes was right about one thing: your mind is totally simple (but not as simple as his mind, HEY-OOO!!!) and it can’t be divided, but that doesn’t mean it can’t change inside, right? You think different shit all the time. “But my brain-” dude, fuck you. Your brain is not the same as your mind. It’s not like if we built a scale replica of your brain, like a museum or some shit that we could walk around in, we could point to a thing and say “Oh, that lever over there is his preference for Natty Light over Natty Ice, and that switch over there is a memory of second grade, and Oh! this pulley is his preference not to talk about that memory.” So your perceptions aren’t physical, mechanical parts; they’re just temporary states that every monad goes through, and they’re constantly changing. Yeah! That’s right! Every monad has perceptions. You know how when you get blackout drunk and the next morning you’re going through your phone like “well, I mean, I must have perceived SOME of this shit but fucked if I remember any of it, I was obviously just doing stupid shit without any reflection whatsoever. GOD my life rules.” That’s more like what other monads go through - just complete unawareness of anything going on inside, moving from state to state, in a permanent blackout.
Obviously, some monads get a little “something extra” on top of perceptions, because we’re not always blacked out. Perceptions aren’t what make us special; it’s our consciousness, or awareness of our own perceptions, that most other monads lack. I like to call monads with self-awareness “souls,” because it pretty much perfectly accounts for what we mean by that word, so you’re welcome for answering THAT question. We also have memories and the power to reason about our perceptions, but that’s this whole other fucking THING, so I guess we’ll talk about that next.
You can find The Monadology all over the place online, and for pretty cheap online if you prefer hardcopy.
Early Modern Texts, which is just generally a great resource, has a bunch of Leibniz, including a clarified version of the Monadology.