Sacred Texts  Classics  Index  Previous  Next 

Section 39

39. We cannot, then, refer all that exists to Reason-Principles inherent in the seed of things [Spermatic Reasons]; the universe is to be traced further back, to the more primal forces, to the principles by which that seed itself takes shape. Such spermatic principles cannot be the containers of things which arise independently of them, such as what enters from Matter [the reasonless] into membership of the All, or what is due to the mere interaction of existences.

No: the Reason-Principle of the universe would be better envisaged as a wisdom uttering order and law to a state, in full knowledge of what the citizens will do and why, and in perfect adaptation of law to custom; thus the code is made to thread its way in and out through all their conditions and actions with the honour or infamy earned by their conduct; and all coalesces by a kind of automatism.

The signification which exists is not a first intention; it arises incidentally by the fact that in a given collocation the members will tell something of each other: all is unity sprung of unity and therefore one thing is known by way of another other, a cause in the light of the caused, the sequent as rising from its precedent, the compound from the constituents which must make themselves known in the linked total.

If all this is sound, at once our doubts fall and we need no longer ask whether the transmission of any evil is due to the gods.

For, in sum: Firstly, intentions are not to be considered as the operative causes; necessities inherent in the nature of things account for all that comes from the other realm; it is a matter of the inevitable relation of parts, and, besides, all is the sequence to the living existence of a unity. Secondly, there is the large contribution made by the individual. Thirdly, each several communication, good in itself, takes another quality in the resultant combination. Fourthly, the life in the kosmos does not look to the individual but to the whole. Finally, there is Matter, the underlie, which being given one thing receives it as something else, and is unable to make the best of what it takes.

Next: Section 40