Sacred Texts  Classics  Index  Previous  Next 

Section 1

1. We have to examine the question whether there exists an ideal archetype of individuals, in other words whether I and every other human being go back to the Intellectual, every [living] thing having origin and principle There.

If Socrates, Socrates' soul, is external then the Authentic Socrates- to adapt the term- must be There; that is to say, the individual soul has an existence in the Supreme as well as in this world. If there is no such permanent endurance and what was Socrates may with change of time become another soul and be Pythagoras or someone else- then the individual Socrates has not that existence in the Divine.

But if the Soul of the individual contains the Reason-Principles of all that it traverses, once more all men have their [archetypic] existence There: and it is our doctrine that every soul contains all the Reason-Principles that exist in the Kosmos: since then the Kosmos contains the Reason-Principles not merely of man, but also of all individual living things, so must the Soul. Its content of Reason-Principles, then, must be limitless, unless there be a periodical renovation bounding the boundlessness by the return of a former series.

But if [in virtue of this periodic return] each archetype may be reproduced by numerous existents, what need is there that there be distinct Reason-Principles and archetypes for each existent in any one period? Might not one [archetypal] man suffice for all, and similarly a limited number of souls produce a limitless number of men?

No: one Reason-Principle cannot account for distinct and differing individuals: one human being does not suffice as the exemplar for many distinct each from the other not merely in material constituents but by innumerable variations of ideal type: this is no question of various pictures or images reproducing an original Socrates; the beings produced differ so greatly as to demand distinct Reason-Principles. The entire soul-period conveys with it all the requisite Reason-Principles, and so too the same existents appear once more under their action.

There is no need to baulk at this limitlessness in the Intellectual; it is an infinitude having nothing to do with number or part; what we may think of it as its outgoing is no other than its characteristic Act.

Next: Section 2