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Section 22

22. Passivity, thus, implies the existence within of a motion functioning somehow or other in the direction of alteration. Action too implies motion within, whether the motion be aimless or whether it be driven by the impulse comported by the term "Action" to find its goal in an external object. There is Motion in both Action and Passion, but the differentia distinguishing Action from Passion keeps Action impassive, while Passion is recognised by the fact that a new state replaces the old, though nothing is added to the essential character of the patient; whenever Being [essential Being] is produced, the patient remains distinct.

Thus, what is Action in one relation may be Passion in another. One same motion will be Action from the point of view of A, Passion from that of B; for the two are so disposed that they might well be consigned to the category of Relation- at any rate in the cases where the Action entails a corresponding Passion: neither correlative is found in isolation; each involves both Action and Passion, though A acts as mover and B is moved: each then involves two categories.

Again, A gives motion to B, B receives it, so that we have a giving and a receiving- in a word, a relation.

But a recipient must possess what it has received. A thing is admitted to possess its natural colour: why not its motion also? Besides, independent motions such as walking and thought do, in fact, involve the possession of the powers respectively to walk and to think.

We are reminded to enquire whether thought in the form of providence constitutes Action; to be subject to providence is apparently Passion, for such thought is directed to an external, the object of the providential arrangement. But it may well be that neither is the exercise of providence an action, even though the thought is concerned with an external, nor subjection to it a Passion. Thought itself need not be an action, for it does not go outward towards its object but remains self-gathered. It is not always an activity; all Acts need not be definable as activities, for they need not produce an effect; activity belongs to Act only accidentally.

Does it follow that if a man as he walks produces footprints, he cannot be considered to have performed an action? Certainly as a result of his existing something distinct from himself has come into being. Yet perhaps we should regard both action and Act as merely accidental, because he did not aim at this result: it would be as we speak of Action even in things inanimate- "fire heats," "the drug worked."

So much for Action and Passion.

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