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Section 26

26. Now if sensations of the active order depend upon the Couplement of soul and body, sensation must be of that double nature. Hence it is classed as one of the shared acts: the soul, in the feeling, may be compared to the workman in such operations as boring or weaving, the body to the tool employed: the body is passive and menial; the soul is active, reading such impressions as are made upon the body or discerned by means of the body, perhaps entertaining only a judgement formed as the result of the bodily experiences.

In such a process it is at once clear that the sensation is a shared task; but the memory is not thus made over to the Couplement, since the soul has from the first taken over the impression, either to retain or to reject.

It might be ventured that memory, no less than sensation, is a function of the Couplement, on the ground that bodily constitution determines our memories good or bad; but the answer would come that, whether the body happens or not to be a hindrance, the act of remembering would still be an act of the soul. And in the case of matters learned [and not merely felt, as corporeal experiences], how can we think of the Couplement of soul and body as the remembering principle? Here, surely, it must be soul alone?

We may be told that the living-being is a Couplement in the sense of something entirely distinct formed from the two elements [so that it might have memory though neither soul nor body had it]. But, to begin with, it is absurd to class the living-being as neither body nor soul; these two things cannot so change as to make a distinct third, nor can they blend so utterly that the soul shall become a mere faculty of the animate whole. And, further, supposing they could so blend, memory would still be due to the soul just as in honey-wine all the sweetness will be due to the honey.

It may be suggested the while the soul is perhaps not in itself a remembering principle, yet that, having lost its purity and acquired some degree of modification by its presence in body, it becomes capable of reproducing the imprints of sensible objects and experiences, and that, seated, as roughly speaking it is, within the body, it may reasonably be thought capable of accepting such impressions, and in such a manner as to retain them [thus in some sense possessing memory].

But, to begin with, these imprints are not magnitudes [are not of corporeal nature at all]; there is no resemblance to seal impressions, no stamping of a resistant matter, for there is neither the down-thrust [as of the seal] nor [the acceptance] as in the wax: the process is entirely of the intellect, though exercised upon things of sense; and what kind of resistance [or other physical action] can be affirmed in matters of the intellectual order, or what need can there be of body or bodily quality as a means?

Further there is one order of which the memory must obviously belong to the soul; it alone can remember its own movements, for example its desires and those frustrations of desire in which the coveted thing never came to the body: the body can have nothing to tell about things which never approached it, and the soul cannot use the body as a means to the remembrance of what the body by its nature cannot know.

If the soul is to have any significance- to be a definite principle with a function of its own- we are forced to recognize two orders of fact, an order in which the body is a means but all culminates in soul, and an order which is of the soul alone. This being admitted, aspiration will belong to soul, and so, as a consequence, will that memory of the aspiration and of its attainment or frustration, without which the soul's nature would fall into the category of the unstable [that is to say of the undivine, unreal]. Deny this character of the soul and at once we refuse it perception, consciousness, any power of comparison, almost any understanding. Yet these powers of which, embodied it becomes the source cannot be absent from its own nature. On the contrary; it possesses certain activities to be expressed in various functions whose accomplishment demands bodily organs; at its entry it brings with it [as vested in itself alone] the powers necessary for some of these functions, while in the case of others it brings the very activities themselves.

Memory, in point of fact, is impeded by the body: even as things are, addition often brings forgetfulness; with thinning and dearing away, memory will often revive. The soul is a stability; the shifting and fleeting thing which body is can be a cause only of its forgetting not of its remembering- Lethe stream may be understood in this sense- and memory is a fact of the soul.

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