25. Now comes the question, equally calling for an answer, whether those souls that have quitted the places of earth retain memory of their lives- all souls or some, of all things, or of some things, and, again, for ever or merely for some period not very long after their withdrawal.
A true investigation of this matter requires us to establish first what a remembering principle must be- I do not mean what memory is, but in what order of beings it can occur. The nature of memory has been indicated, laboured even, elsewhere; we still must try to understand more clearly what characteristics are present where memory exists.
Now a memory has to do with something brought into ken from without, something learned or something experienced; the Memory-Principle, therefore, cannot belong to such beings as are immune from experience and from time.
No memory, therefore, can be ascribed to any divine being, or to the Authentic-Existent or the Intellectual-Principle: these are intangibly immune; time does not approach them; they possess eternity centred around Being; they know nothing of past and sequent; all is an unbroken state of identity, not receptive of change. Now a being rooted in unchanging identity cannot entertain memory, since it has not and never had a state differing from any previous state, or any new intellection following upon a former one, so as to be aware of contrast between a present perception and one remembered from before.
But what prevents such a being [from possessing memory in the sense of] perceiving, without variation in itself, such outside changes as, for example, the kosmic periods?
Simply the fact that following the changes of the revolving kosmos it would have perception of earlier and later: intuition and memory are distinct.
We cannot hold its self-intellections to be acts of memory; this is no question of something entering from without, to be grasped and held in fear of an escape; if its intellections could slip away from it [as a memory might] its very Essence [as the Hypostasis of inherent Intellection] would be in peril.
For the same reason memory, in the current sense, cannot be attributed to the soul in connection with the ideas inherent in its essence: these it holds not as a memory but as a possession, though, by its very entrance into this sphere, they are no longer the mainstay of its Act.
The Soul-action which is to be observed seems to have induced the Ancients to ascribe memory, and "Recollection," [the Platonic Anamnesis] to souls bringing into outward manifestation the ideas they contain: we see at once that the memory here indicated is another kind; it is a memory outside of time.
But, perhaps, this is treating too summarily a matter which demands minute investigation. It might be doubted whether that recollection, that memory, really belongs to the highest soul and not rather to another, a dimmer, or even to the Couplement, the Living-Being. And if to that dimmer soul, when and how has it come to be present; if to the Couplement, again when and how?
We are driven thus to enquire into these several points: in which of the constituents of our nature is memory vested- the question with which we started- if in the soul, then in what power or part; if in the Animate or Couplement- which has been supposed, similarly to be the seat of sensation- then by what mode it is present, and how we are to define the Couplement; finally whether sensation and intellectual acts may be ascribed to one and the same agent, or imply two distinct principles.