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Section 1

1. How are we to explain the omnipresence of the soul? Does it depend upon the definite magnitude of the material universe coupled with some native tendency in soul to distribute itself over material mass, or is it a characteristic of soul apart from body?

In the latter case, soul will not appear just where body may bring it; body will meet soul awaiting it everywhere; wheresoever body finds place, there soul lay before ever body was; the entire material mass of the universe has been set into an existent soul.

But if soul spread thus wide before material extension existed, then as covering all space it would seem to be of itself a thing of magnitude, and in what mode could it exist in the All before the All was in being, before there was any All? And who can accept a soul described as partless and massless and yet, for all that absence of extension, extending over a universe? We may perhaps be told that, though extended over the corporeal, it does not itself become so: but thus to give it magnitude as an accidental attribute leaves the problem still unsolved: precisely the same question must in all reason arise: How can the soul take magnitude even in the move of accident?

We cannot think of soul being diffused as a quality is, say sweetness or colour, for while these are actual states of the masses affected so that they show that quality at every point, none of them has an independent existence; they are attributes of body and known only as in body; such quality is necessarily of a definite extension. Further, the colour at any point is independent of that at any other; no doubt the Form, White, is the same all over, but there is not arithmetical identity; in soul there is; it is one soul in foot and in hand, as the facts of perception show. And yet in the case of qualities the one is observably distributed part for part; in the soul the identity is undistributed; what we sometimes call distribution is simply omnipresence.

Obviously, we must take hold of the question from the very beginning in the hope of finding some clear and convincing theory as to how soul, immaterial and without magnitude, can be thus broad-spread, whether before material masses exist or as enveloping them. Of course, should it appear that this omnipresence may occur apart from material things, there is no difficulty in accepting its occurrence within the material.

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