Sacred Texts  Classics  Index  Previous  Next 

Section 10

10. The ordering principle is twofold; there is the principle known to us as the Demiurge and there is the Soul of the All; we apply the appellation "Zeus" sometimes to the Demiurge and sometimes to the principle conducting the universe.

When under the name of Zeus we are considering the Demiurge we must leave out all notions of stage and progress, and recognize one unchanging and timeless life.

But the life in the kosmos, the life which carries the leading principle of the universe, still needs elucidation; does it operate without calculation, without searching into what ought to be done?

Yes: for what must be stands shaped before the kosmos, and is ordered without any setting in order: the ordered things are merely the things that come to be; and the principle that brings them into being is Order itself; this production is an act of a soul linked with an unchangeably established wisdom whose reflection in that soul is Order. It is an unchanging wisdom, and there can therefore be no changing in the soul which mirrors it, not sometimes turned towards it, and sometimes away from it- and in doubt because it has turned away- but an unremitting soul performing an unvarying task.

The leading principle of the universe is a unity- and one that is sovereign without break, not sometimes dominant and sometimes dominated. What source is there for any such multiplicity of leading principles as might result in contest and hesitation? And this governing unity must always desire the one thing: what could bring it to wish now for this and now for that, to its own greater perplexing? But observe: no perplexity need follow upon any development of this soul essentially a unity. The All stands a multiple thing no doubt, having parts, and parts dashing with parts, but that does not imply that it need be in doubt as to its conduct: that soul does not take its essence from its ultimates or from its parts, but from the Primals; it has its source in the First and thence, along an unhindered path, it flows into a total of things, conferring grace, and, because it remains one same thing occupied in one task, dominating. To suppose it pursuing one new object after another is to raise the question whence that novelty comes into being; the soul, besides, would be in doubt as to its action; its very work, the kosmos, would be the less well done by reason of the hesitancy which such calculations would entail.

Next: Section 11