8. These considerations, amounting to the settlement of the question, are not countered by the phenomenon of sympathy; the response between soul and soul is due to the mere fact that all spring from that self-same soul [the next to Divine Mind] from which springs the Soul of the All.
We have already stated that the one soul is also multiple; and we have dealt with the different forms of relationship between part and whole: we have investigated the different degrees existing within soul; we may now add, briefly, that differences might be induced, also, by the bodies with which the soul has to do, and, even more, by the character and mental operations carried over from the conduct of the previous lives. "The life-choice made by a soul has a correspondence"- we read- "with its former lives."
As regards the nature of soul in general, the differences have been defined in the passage in which we mentioned the secondary and tertiary orders and laid down that, while all souls are all-comprehensive, each ranks according to its operative phase- one becoming Uniate in the achieved fact, another in knowledge, another in desire, according to the distinct orientation by which each is, or tends to become, what it looks upon. The very fulfillment and perfectionment attainable by souls cannot but be different.
But, if in the total the organization in which they have their being is compact of variety- as it must be since every Reason-Principle is a unity of multiplicity and variety, and may be thought of as a psychic animated organism having many shapes at its command- if this is so and all constitutes a system in which being is not cut adrift from being, if there is nothing chance- borne among beings as there is none even in bodily organisms, then it follows that Number must enter into the scheme; for, once again, Being must be stable; the members of the Intellectual must possess identity, each numerically one; this is the condition of individuality. Where, as in bodily masses, the Idea is not essentially native, and the individuality is therefore in flux, existence under ideal form can rise only out of imitation of the Authentic Existences; these last, on the contrary, not rising out of any such conjunction [as the duality of Idea and dead Matter] have their being in that which is numerically one, that which was from the beginning, and neither becomes what it has not been nor can cease to be what it is.
Even supposing Real-Beings [such as soul] to be produced by some other principle, they are certainly not made from Matter; or, if they were, the creating principle must infuse into them, from within itself, something of the nature of Real-Being; but, at this, it would itself suffer change, as it created more or less. And, after all, why should it thus produce at any given moment rather than remain for ever stationary?
Moreover the produced total, variable from more to less, could not be an eternal: yet the soul, it stands agreed, is eternal.
But what becomes of the soul's infinity if it is thus fixed?
The infinity is a matter of power: there is question, not of the soul's being divisible into an infinite number of parts, but of an infinite possible effectiveness: it is infinity in the sense in which the Supreme God, also, is free of all bound.
This means that it is no external limit that defines the individual being or the extension of souls any more than of God; on the contrary each in right of its own power is all that it chooses to be: and we are not to think of it as going forth from itself [losing its unity by any partition]: the fact is simply that the element within it, which is apt to entrance into body, has the power of immediate projection any whither: the soul is certainly not wrenched asunder by its presence at once in foot and in finger. Its presence in the All is similarly unbroken; over its entire range it exists in every several part of everything having even vegetal life, even in a part cut off from the main; in any possible segment it is as it is at its source. For the body of the All is a unit, and soul is everywhere present to it as to one thing.
When some animal rots and a multitude of others spring from it, the Life-Principle now present is not the particular soul that was in the larger body; that body has ceased to be receptive of soul, or there would have been no death; what happens is that whatsoever in the product of the decay is apt material for animal existence of one kind or another becomes ensouled by the fact that soul is nowhere lacking, though a recipient of soul may be. This new ensouling does not mean, however, an increase in the number of souls: all depend from the one or, rather, all remains one: it is as with ourselves; some elements are shed, others grow in their place; the soul abandons the discarded and flows into the newcoming as long as the one soul of the man holds its ground; in the All the one soul holds its ground for ever; its distinct contents now retain soul and now reject it, but the total of spiritual beings is unaffected.