14. But would this mean that if there were no Matter nothing would exist?
Precisely as in the absence of a mirror, or something of similar power, there would be no reflection.
A thing whose very nature is to be lodged in something else cannot exist where the base is lacking- and it is the character of a reflection to appear in something not itself.
Of course supposing anything to desert from the Authentic Beings, this would not need an alien base: but these Beings are not subject to flux, and therefore any outside manifestation of them implies something other than themselves, something offering a base to what never enters, something which by its presence, in its insistence, by its cry for help, in its beggardom, strives as it were by violence to acquire and is always disappointed, so that its poverty is enduring, its cry unceasing.
This alien base exists and the myth represents it as a pauper to exhibit its nature, to show that Matter is destitute of The Good. The claimant does not ask for all the Giver's store, but it welcomes whatever it can get; in other words, what appears in Matter is not Reality.
The name, too [Poverty], conveys that Matter's need is never met. The union with Poros, Possession, is designed to show that Matter does not attain to Reality, to Plenitude, but to some bare sufficiency- in point of fact to imaging skill.
It is, of course, impossible that an outside thing belonging in any degree to Real-Being- whose Nature is to engender Real-Beings- should utterly fail of participation in Reality: but here we have something perplexing; we are dealing with utter Non-Being, absolutely without part in Reality; what is this participation by the non-participant, and how does mere neighbouring confer anything on that which by its own nature is precluded from any association?
The answer is that all that impinges upon this Non-Being is flung back as from a repelling substance; we may think of an Echo returned from a repercussive plane surface; it is precisely because of the lack of retention that the phenomenon is supposed to belong to that particular place and even to arise there.
If Matter were participant and received Reality to the extent which we are apt to imagine, it would be penetrated by a Reality thus sucked into its constitution. But we know that the Entrant is not thus absorbed: Matter remains as it was, taking nothing to itself: it is the check to the forthwelling of Authentic Existence; it is a ground that repels; it is a mere receptacle to the Realities as they take their common path and here meet and mingle. It resembles those reflecting vessels, filled with water, which are often set against the sun to produce fire: the heat rays- prevented, by their contrary within, from being absorbed- are flung out as one mass.
It is in this sense and way that Matter becomes the cause of the generated realm; the combinations within it hold together only after some such reflective mode.