Sacred Texts  Classics  Index  Previous  Next 

Section 4

4. But how explain beings by the side of Being, and the variety of intelligences and of souls, when Being has the unity of omnipresent identity and not merely that of a species, and when intellect and soul are likewise numerically one? We certainly distinguish between the soul of the All and the particular souls.

This seems to conflict with our view which, moreover, for all its logical necessity, scarcely carries conviction against our mental reluctance to the notion of unity identically omnipresent. It would appear more plausible to suppose a partition of the All-the original remaining undiminished- or, in a more legitimate phrase, an engendering from the All.

Thus the Authentic would be left self-gathered, while what we think of as the parts- the separate souls- would come into being to produce the multiple total of the universe.

But if the Authentic Being is to be kept unattached in order to remove the difficulty of integral omnipresence, the same considerations must apply equally to the souls; we would have to admit that they cannot be integrally omnipresent in the bodies they are described as occupying; either, soul must be distributed, part to body's part, or it is lodged entire at some one point in the body giving forth some of its powers to the other points; and these very powers, again, present the same difficulty.

A further objection is that some one spot in the body will hold the soul, the others no more than a power from it.

Still, how account for the many souls, many intelligences, the beings by the side of the Being?

No doubt the beings proceed from the Priors in the mode only of numerical distinction and not as concrete masses, but the difficulty remains as to how they come to constitute the plenitude of the material universe.

This explanation by progression does not clear the problem.

We are agreed that diversity within the Authentic depends not upon spatial separation but sheerly upon differentiation; all Being, despite this plurality, is a unity still; "Being neighbours Being"; all holds together; and thus the Intellectual-Principle [which is Being and the Beings] remains an integral, multiple by differentiation, not by spatial distinction.

Soul too? Souls too. That principle distributed over material masses we hold to be in its own nature incapable of distribution; the magnitude belongs to the masses; when this soul-principle enters into them- or rather they into it- it is thought of as distributable only because, within the discrimination of the corporeal, the animating force is to be recognised at any and every point. For soul is not articulated, section of soul to section of body; there is integral omnipresence manifesting the unity of that principle, its veritable partlessness.

Now as in soul unity does not debar variety, so with Being and the Beings; in that order multiplicity does not conflict with unity. Multiplicity. This is not due to the need of flooding the universe with life; nor is the extension of the corporeal the cause of the multiplicity of souls; before body existed, soul was one and many; the many souls fore-existed in the All not potentially but each effectively; that one collective soul is no bar to the variety; the variety does not abrogate the unity; the souls are apart without partition, present each to all as never having been set in opposition; they are no more hedged off by boundaries than are the multiple items of knowledge in one mind; the one soul so exists as to include all souls; the nature of such a principle must be utterly free of boundary.

Next: Section 5