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Section 11

11. To this end we must go back to the state we affirmed of Eternity, unwavering Life, undivided totality, limitless, knowing no divagation, at rest in unity and intent upon it. Time was not yet: or at least it did not exist for the Eternal Beings, though its being was implicit in the Idea and Principle of progressive derivation.

But from the Divine Beings thus at rest within themselves, how did this Time first emerge?

We can scarcely call upon the Muses to recount its origin since they were not in existence then- perhaps not even if they had been. The engendered thing, Time, itself, can best tell us how it rose and became manifest; something thus its story would run:

Time at first- in reality before that "first" was produced by desire of succession- Time lay, self-concentrated, at rest within the Authentic Existent: it was not yet Time; it was merged in the Authentic and motionless with it. But there was an active principle there, one set on governing itself and realizing itself [= the All-Soul], and it chose to aim at something more than its present: it stirred from its rest, and Time stirred with it. And we, stirring to a ceaseless succession, to a next, to the discrimination of identity and the establishment of ever-new difference, traversed a portion of the outgoing path and produced an image of Eternity, produced Time.

For the Soul contained an unquiet faculty, always desirous of translating elsewhere what it saw in the Authentic Realm, and it could not bear to retain within itself all the dense fullness of its possession.

A Seed is at rest; the nature-principle within, uncoiling outwards, makes way towards what seems to it a large life; but by that partition it loses; it was a unity self-gathered, and now, in going forth from itself, it fritters its unity away; it advances into a weaker greatness. It is so with this faculty of the Soul, when it produces the Kosmos known to sense- the mimic of the Divine Sphere, moving not in the very movement of the Divine but in its similitude, in an effort to reproduce that of the Divine. To bring this Kosmos into being, the Soul first laid aside its eternity and clothed itself with Time; this world of its fashioning it then gave over to be a servant to Time, making it at every point a thing of Time, setting all its progressions within the bournes of Time. For the Kosmos moves only in Soul- the only Space within the range of the All open to it to move in- and therefore its Movement has always been in the Time which inheres in Soul.

Putting forth its energy in act after act, in a constant progress of novelty, the Soul produces succession as well as act; taking up new purposes added to the old it brings thus into being what had not existed in that former period when its purpose was still dormant and its life was not as it since became: the life is changed and that change carries with it a change of Time. Time, then, is contained in differentiation of Life; the ceaseless forward movement of Life brings with it unending Time; and Life as it achieves its stages constitutes past Time.

Would it, then, be sound to define Time as the Life of the Soul in movement as it passes from one stage of act or experience to another?

Yes; for Eternity, we have said, is Life in repose, unchanging, self-identical, always endlessly complete; and there is to be an image of Eternity-Time- such an image as this lower All presents of the Higher Sphere. Therefore over against that higher life there must be another life, known by the same name as the more veritable life of the Soul; over against that movement of the Intellectual Soul there must be the movement of some partial phase; over against that identity, unchangeableness and stability there must be that which is not constant in the one hold but puts forth multitudinous acts; over against that oneness without extent or interval there must be an image of oneness, a unity of link and succession; over against the immediately infinite and all-comprehending, that which tends, yes, to infinity but by tending to a perpetual futurity; over against the Whole in concentration, there must be that which is to be a Whole by stages never final. The lesser must always be working towards the increase of its Being, this will be its imitation of what is immediately complete, self-realized, endless without stage: only thus can its Being reproduce that of the Higher.

Time, however, is not to be conceived as outside of Soul; Eternity is not outside of the Authentic Existent: nor is it to be taken as a sequence or succession to Soul, any more than Eternity is to the Divine. It is a thing seen upon Soul, inherent, coeval to it, as Eternity to the Intellectual Realm.

Next: Section 12