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Section 4

4. Let us consider, then, the hypothesis of a coalescence.

Now if there is a coalescence, the lower is ennobled, the nobler degraded; the body is raised in the scale of being as made participant in life; the Soul, as associated with death and unreason, is brought lower. How can a lessening of the life-quality produce an increase such as Sense-Perception?

No: the body has acquired life, it is the body that will acquire, with life, sensation and the affections coming by sensation. Desire, then, will belong to the body, as the objects of desire are to be enjoyed by the body. And fear, too, will belong to the body alone; for it is the body's doom to fail of its joys and to perish.

Then again we should have to examine how such a coalescence could be conceived: we might find it impossible: perhaps all this is like announcing the coalescence of things utterly incongruous in kind, let us say of a line and whiteness.

Next for the suggestion that the Soul is interwoven through the body: such a relation would not give woof and warp community of sensation: the interwoven element might very well suffer no change: the permeating soul might remain entirely untouched by what affects the body- as light goes always free of all it floods- and all the more so, since, precisely, we are asked to consider it as diffused throughout the entire frame.

Under such an interweaving, then, the Soul would not be subjected to the body's affections and experiences: it would be present rather as Ideal-Form in Matter.

Let us then suppose Soul to be in body as Ideal-Form in Matter. Now if- the first possibility- the Soul is an essence, a self-existent, it can be present only as separable form and will therefore all the more decidedly be the Using-Principle [and therefore unaffected].

Suppose, next, the Soul to be present like axe-form on iron: here, no doubt, the form is all important but it is still the axe, the complement of iron and form, that effects whatever is effected by the iron thus modified: on this analogy, therefore, we are even more strictly compelled to assign all the experiences of the combination to the body: their natural seat is the material member, the instrument, the potential recipient of life.

Compare the passage where we read* that "it is absurd to suppose that the Soul weaves"; equally absurd to think of it as desiring, grieving. All this is rather in the province of something which we may call the Animate.

* "We read" translates "he says" of the text, and always indicates a reference to Plato, whose name does not appear in the translation except where it was written by Plotinus. S.M.

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