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Section 9

9. But we must examine how soul comes to inhabit the body- the manner and the process- a question certainly of no minor interest.

The entry of soul into body takes place under two forms.

Firstly, there is the entry- metensomatosis- of a soul present in body by change from one [wholly material] frame to another or the entry- not known as metensomatosis, since the nature of the earlier habitacle is not certainly definable- of a soul leaving an aerial or fiery body for one of earth.

Secondly, there is the entry from the wholly bodiless into any kind of body; this is the earliest form of any dealing between body and soul, and this entry especially demands investigation.

What then can be thought to have happened when soul, utterly clean from body, first comes into commerce with the bodily nature?

It is reasonable, necessary even, to begin with the Soul of the All. Notice that if we are to explain and to be clear, we are obliged to use such words as "entry" and "ensoulment," though never was this All unensouled, never did body subsist with soul away, never was there Matter unelaborate; we separate, the better to understand; there is nothing illegitimate in the verbal and mental sundering of things which must in fact be co-existent.

The true doctrine may be stated as follows:

In the absence of body, soul could not have gone forth, since there is no other place to which its nature would allow it to descend. Since go forth it must, it will generate a place for itself; at once body, also, exists.

While the Soul [as an eternal, a Divine Being] is at rest- in rest firmly based on Repose, the Absolute- yet, as we may put it, that huge illumination of the Supreme pouring outwards comes at last to the extreme bourne of its light and dwindles to darkness; this darkness, now lying there beneath, the soul sees and by seeing brings to shape; for in the law of things this ultimate depth, neighbouring with soul, may not go void of whatsoever degree of that Reason-Principle it can absorb, the dimmed reason of reality at its faintest.

Imagine that a stately and varied mansion has been built; it has never been abandoned by its Architect, who, yet, is not tied down to it; he has judged it worthy in all its length and breadth of all the care that can serve to its Being- as far as it can share in Being- or to its beauty, but a care without burden to its director, who never descends, but presides over it from above: this gives the degree in which the kosmos is ensouled, not by a soul belonging to it, but by one present to it; it is mastered not master; not possessor but possessed. The soul bears it up, and it lies within, no fragment of it unsharing.

The kosmos is like a net which takes all its life, as far as ever it stretches, from being wet in the water, and has no act of its own; the sea rolls away and the net with it, precisely to the full of its scope, for no mesh of it can strain beyond its set place: the soul is of so far-reaching a nature- a thing unbounded- as to embrace the entire body of the All in the one extension; so far as the universe extends, there soul is; and if the universe had no existence, the extent of soul would be the same; it is eternally what it is. The universe spreads as broad as the presence of soul; the bound of its expansion is the point at which, in its downward egression from the Supreme, it still has soul to bind it in one: it is a shadow as broad as the Reason-Principle proceeding from soul; and that Reason-Principle is of scope to generate a kosmic bulk as vast as lay in the purposes of the Idea [the Divine forming power] which it conveys.

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