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Section 2

2. Enquiring, then, of Plato as to our own soul, we find ourselves forced to enquire into the nature of soul in general- to discover what there can be in its character to bring it into partnership with body, and, again, what this kosmos must be in which, willing unwilling or in any way at all, soul has its activity.

We have to face also the question as to whether the Creator has planned well or ill...... like our souls, which it may be, are such that governing their inferior, the body, they must sink deeper and deeper into it if they are to control it.

No doubt the individual body- though in all cases appropriately placed within the universe- is of itself in a state of dissolution, always on the way to its natural terminus, demanding much irksome forethought to save it from every kind of outside assailant, always gripped by need, requiring every help against constant difficulty: but the body inhabited by the World-Soul- complete, competent, self-sufficing, exposed to nothing contrary to its nature- this needs no more than a brief word of command, while the governing soul is undeviatingly what its nature makes it wish to be, and, amenable neither to loss nor to addition, knows neither desire nor distress.

This is how we come to read that our soul, entering into association with that complete soul and itself thus made perfect, walks the lofty ranges, administering the entire kosmos, and that as long as it does not secede and is neither inbound to body nor held in any sort of servitude, so long it tranquilly bears its part in the governance of the All, exactly like the world-soul itself; for in fact it suffers no hurt whatever by furnishing body with the power to existence, since not every form of care for the inferior need wrest the providing soul from its own sure standing in the highest.

The soul's care for the universe takes two forms: there is the supervising of the entire system, brought to order by deedless command in a kindly presidence, and there is that over the individual, implying direct action, the hand to the task, one might say, in immediate contact: in the second kind of care the agent absorbs much of the nature of its object.

Now in its comprehensive government of the heavenly system, the soul's method is that of an unbroken transcendence in its highest phases, with penetration by its lower power: at this, God can no longer be charged with lowering the All-Soul, which has not been deprived of its natural standing and from eternity possesses and will unchangeably possess that rank and habit which could never have been intruded upon it against the course of nature but must be its characteristic quality, neither failing ever nor ever beginning.

Where we read that the souls or stars stand to their bodily forms as the All to the material forms within it- for these starry bodies are declared to be members of the soul's circuit- we are given to understand that the star-souls also enjoy the blissful condition of transcendence and immunity that becomes them.

And so we might expect: commerce with the body is repudiated for two only reasons, as hindering the soul's intellective act and as filling with pleasure, desire, pain; but neither of these misfortunes can befall a soul which has never deeply penetrated into the body, is not a slave but a sovereign ruling a body of such an order as to have no need and no shortcoming and therefore to give ground for neither desire nor fear.

There is no reason why it should be expectant of evil with regard to such a body nor is there any such preoccupied concern, bringing about a veritable descent, as to withdraw it from its noblest and most blessed vision; it remains always intent upon the Supreme, and its governance of this universe is effected by a power not calling upon act.

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