Primary Sources

TEXT: Plotinus, The Enneads 1-2 (tr MacKenna/Page)


  250 AD


  by Plotinus

    translated by Stephen MacKenna and B. S. Page




   1. Pleasure and distress, fear and courage, desire and aversion, where
   have these affections and experiences their seat?

   Clearly, either in the Soul alone, or in the Soul as employing the
   body, or in some third entity deriving from both. And for this third
   entity, again, there are two possible modes: it might be either a blend
   or a distinct form due to the blending.

   And what applies to the affections applies also to whatsoever acts,
   physical or mental, spring from them.

   We have, therefore, to examine discursive-reason and the ordinary
   mental action upon objects of sense, and enquire whether these have the
   one seat with the affections and experiences, or perhaps sometimes the
   one seat, sometimes another.

   And we must consider also our acts of Intellection, their mode and
   their seat.

   And this very examining principle, which investigates and decides in
   these matters, must be brought to light.

   Firstly, what is the seat of Sense-Perception? This is the obvious
   beginning since the affections and experiences either are sensations of
   some kind or at least never occur apart from sensation.

   2. This first enquiry obliges us to consider at the outset the nature
   of the Soul -- that is whether a distinction is to be made between Soul
   and Essential Soul [between an individual Soul and the Soul-Kind in
   itself]. [1]

   If such a distinction holds, then the Soul [in man] is some sort of a
   composite and at once we may agree that it is a recipient and -- if
   only reason allows -- that all the affections and experiences really
   have their seat in the Soul, and with the affections every state and
   mood, good and bad alike.

   But if Soul [in man] and Essential Soul are one and the same, then the
   Soul will be an Ideal-Form unreceptive of all those activities which it
   imparts to another Kind but possessing within itself that native Act of
   its own which Reason manifests.

   If this be so, then, indeed, we may think of the Soul as an immortal --
   if the immortal, the imperishable, must be impassive, giving out
   something of itself but itself taking nothing from without except for
   what it receives from the Existents prior to itself from which
   Existents, in that they are the nobler, it cannot be sundered.

   Now what could bring fear to a nature thus unreceptive of all the
   outer? Fear demands feeling. Nor is there place for courage: courage
   implies the presence of danger. And such desires as are satisfied by
   the filling or voiding of the body, must be proper to something very
   different from the Soul, to that only which admits of replenishment and

   And how could the Soul lend itself to any admixture? An essential is
   not mixed. Or of the intrusion of anything alien? If it did, it would
   be seeking the destruction of its own nature. Pain must be equally far
   from it. And Grief -- how or for what could it grieve? Whatever
   possesses Existence is supremely free, dwelling, unchangeable, within
   its own peculiar nature. And can any increase bring joy, where nothing,
   not even anything good, can accrue? What such an Existent is, it is

   Thus assuredly Sense-Perception, Discursive-Reasoning; and all our
   ordinary mentation are foreign to the Soul: for sensation is a
   receiving -- whether of an Ideal-Form or of an impassive body -- and
   reasoning and all ordinary mental action deal with sensation.

   The question still remains to be examined in the matter of the
   intellections -- whether these are to be assigned to the Soul -- and as
   to Pure-Pleasure, whether this belongs to the Soul in its solitary

   3. We may treat of the Soul as in the body -- whether it be set above
   it or actually within it -- since the association of the two
   constitutes the one thing called the living organism, the Animate.

   Now from this relation, from the Soul using the body as an instrument,
   it does not follow that the Soul must share the body's experiences: a
   man does not himself feel all the experiences of the tools with which
   he is working.

   It may be objected that the Soul must however, have Sense-Perception
   since its use of its instrument must acquaint it with the external
   conditions, and such knowledge comes by way of sense. Thus, it will be
   argued, the eyes are the instrument of seeing, and seeing may bring
   distress to the soul: hence the Soul may feel sorrow and pain and every
   other affection that belongs to the body; and from this again will
   spring desire, the Soul seeking the mending of its instrument.

   But, we ask, how, possibly, can these affections pass from body to
   Soul? Body may communicate qualities or conditions to another body: but
   -- body to Soul? Something happens to A; does that make it happen to B?
   As long as we have agent and instrument, there are two distinct
   entities; if the Soul uses the body it is separate from it.

   But apart from the philosophical separation how does Soul stand to

   Clearly there is a combination. And for this several modes are
   possible. There might be a complete coalescence: Soul might be
   interwoven through the body: or it might be an Ideal-Form detached or
   an Ideal-Form in governing contact like a pilot: or there might be part
   of the Soul detached and another part in contact, the disjoined part
   being the agent or user, the conjoined part ranking with the instrument
   or thing used.

   In this last case it will be the double task of philosophy to direct
   this lower Soul towards the higher, the agent, and except in so far as
   the conjunction is absolutely necessary, to sever the agent from the
   instrument, the body, so that it need not forever have its Act upon or
   through this inferior.

   4. Let us consider, then, the hypothesis of a coalescence.

   Now if there is a coalescence, the lower is ennobled, the nobler
   degraded; the body is raised in the scale of being as made participant
   in life; the Soul, as associated with death and unreason, is brought
   lower. How can a lessening of the life-quality produce an increase such
   as Sense-Perception?

   No: the body has acquired life, it is the body that will acquire, with
   life, sensation and the affections coming by sensation. Desire, then,
   will belong to the body, as the objects of desire are to be enjoyed by
   the body. And fear, too, will belong to the body alone; for it is the
   body's doom to fail of its joys and to perish.

   Then again we should have to examine how such a coalescence could be
   conceived: we might find it impossible: perhaps all this is like
   announcing the coalescence of things utterly incongruous in kind, let
   us say of a line and whiteness.

   Next for the suggestion that the Soul is interwoven through the body:
   such a relation would not give woof and warp community of sensation:
   the interwoven element might very well suffer no change: the permeating
   soul might remain entirely untouched by what affects the body -- as
   light goes always free of all it floods -- and all the more so, since,
   precisely, we are asked to consider it as diffused throughout the
   entire frame.

   Under such an interweaving, then, the Soul would not be subjected to
   the body's affections and experiences: it would be present rather as
   Ideal-Form in Matter.

   Let us then suppose Soul to be in body as Ideal-Form in Matter. Now if
   -- the first possibility -- the Soul is an essence, a self-existent, it
   can be present only as separable form and will therefore all the more
   decidedly be the Using-Principle [and therefore unaffected].

   Suppose, next, the Soul to be present like axe-form on iron: here, no
   doubt, the form is all important but it is still the axe, the
   complement of iron and form, that effects whatever is effected by the
   iron thus modified: on this analogy, therefore, we are even more
   strictly compelled to assign all the experiences of the combination to
   the body: their natural seat is the material member, the instrument,
   the potential recipient of life.

   Compare the passage where we read [2] that "it is absurd to suppose
   that the Soul weaves"; equally absurd to think of it as desiring,
   grieving. All this is rather in the province of something which we may
   call the Animate.

   5. Now this Animate might be merely the body as having life: it might
   be the Couplement of Soul and body: it might be a third and different
   entity formed from both.

   The Soul in turn -- apart from the nature of the Animate -- must be
   either impassive, merely causing Sense-Perception in its yoke-fellow,
   or sympathetic; and, if sympathetic, it may have identical experiences
   with its fellow or merely correspondent experiences: desire for example
   in the Animate may be something quite distinct from the accompanying
   movement or state in the desiring faculty.

   The body, the live-body as we know it, we will consider later.

   Let us take first the Couplement of body and Soul. How could suffering,
   for example, be seated in this Couplement?

   It may be suggested that some unwelcome state of the body produces a
   distress which reaches to a Sensitive-Faculty which in turn merges into
   Soul. But this account still leaves the origin of the sensation

   Another suggestion might be that all is due to an opinion or judgement:
   some evil seems to have befallen the man or his belongings and this
   conviction sets up a state of trouble in the body and in the entire
   Animate. But this account leaves still a question as to the source and
   seat of the judgement: does it belong to the Soul or to the Couplement?
   Besides, the judgement that evil is present does not involve the
   feeling of grief: the judgement might very well arise and the grief by
   no means follow: one may think oneself slighted and yet not be angry;
   and the appetite is not necessarily excited by the thought of a
   pleasure. We are, thus, no nearer than before to any warrant for
   assigning these affections to the Couplement.

   Is it any explanation to say that desire is vested in a
   Faculty-of-desire and anger in the Irascible-Faculty and, collectively,
   that all tendency is seated in the Appetitive-Faculty? Such a statement
   of the facts does not help towards making the affections common to the
   Couplement; they might still be seated either in the Soul alone or in
   the body alone. On the one hand if the appetite is to be stirred, as in
   the carnal passion, there must be a heating of the blood and the bile,
   a well-defined state of the body; on the other hand, the impulse
   towards The Good cannot be a joint affection, but, like certain others
   too, it would belong necessarily to the Soul alone.

   Reason, then, does not permit us to assign all the affections to the

   In the case of carnal desire, it will certainly be the Man that
   desires, and yet, on the other hand, there must be desire in the
   Desiring-Faculty as well. How can this be? Are we to suppose that, when
   the man originates the desire, the Desiring-Faculty moves to the order?
   How could the Man have come to desire at all unless through a prior
   activity in the Desiring-Faculty? Then it is the Desiring-Faculty that
   takes the lead? Yet how, unless the body be first in the appropriate

   6. It may seem reasonable to lay down as a law that when any powers are
   contained by a recipient, every action or state expressive of them must
   be the action or state of that recipient, they themselves remaining
   unaffected as merely furnishing efficiency.

   But if this were so, then, since the Animate is the recipient of the
   Causing-Principle [i.e., the Soul] which brings life to the Couplement,
   this Cause must itself remain unaffected, all the experiences and
   expressive activities of the life being vested in the recipient, the

   But this would mean that life itself belongs not to the Soul but to the
   Couplement; or at least the life of the Couplement would not be the
   life of the Soul; Sense-Perception would belong not to the
   Sensitive-Faculty but to the container of the faculty.

   But if sensation is a movement traversing the body and culminating in
   Soul, how the soul lack sensation? The very presence of the
   Sensitive-Faculty must assure sensation to the Soul.

   Once again, where is Sense-Perception seated?

   In the Couplement.

   Yet how can the Couplement have sensation independently of action in
   the Sensitive-Faculty, the Soul left out of count and the Soul-Faculty?

   7. The truth lies in the Consideration that the Couplement subsists by
   virtue of the Soul's presence.

   This, however, is not to say that the Soul gives itself as it is in
   itself to form either the Couplement or the body.

   No; from the organized body and something else, let us say a light,
   which the Soul gives forth from itself, it forms a distinct Principle,
   the Animate; and in this Principle are vested Sense-Perception and all
   the other experiences found to belong to the Animate.

   But the "We"? How have We Sense-Perception?

   By the fact that We are not separate from the Animate so constituted,
   even though certainly other and nobler elements go to make up the
   entire many-sided nature of Man.

   The faculty of perception in the Soul cannot act by the immediate
   grasping of sensible objects, but only by the discerning of impressions
   printed upon the Animate by sensation: these impressions are already
   Intelligibles while the outer sensation is a mere phantom of the other
   [of that in the Soul] which is nearer to Authentic-Existence as being
   an impassive reading of Ideal-Forms.

   And by means of these Ideal-Forms, by which the Soul wields single
   lordship over the Animate, we have Discursive-Reasoning,
   Sense-Knowledge and Intellection. From this moment we have peculiarly
   the We: before this there was only the "Ours"; but at this stage stands
   the WE [the authentic Human-Principle] loftily presiding over the

   There is no reason why the entire compound entity should not be
   described as the Animate or Living-Being -- mingled in a lower phase,
   but above that point the beginning of the veritable man, distinct from
   all that is kin to the lion, all that is of the order of the multiple
   brute. And since The Man, so understood, is essentially the associate
   of the reasoning Soul, in our reasoning it is this "We" that reasons,
   in that the use and act of reason is a characteristic Act of the Soul.

   8. And towards the Intellectual-Principle what is our relation? By this
   I mean, not that faculty in the soul which is one of the emanations
   from the Intellectual-Principle, but The Intellectual-Principle itself

   This also we possess as the summit of our being. And we have It either
   as common to all or as our own immediate possession: or again we may
   possess It in both degrees, that is in common, since It is indivisible
   -- one, everywhere and always Its entire self -- and severally in that
   each personality possesses It entire in the First-Soul [i.e. in the
   Intellectual as distinguished from the lower phase of the Soul].

   Hence we possess the Ideal-Forms also after two modes: in the Soul, as
   it were unrolled and separate; in the Intellectual-Principle,
   concentrated, one.

   And how do we possess the Divinity?

   In that the Divinity is contained in the Intellectual-Principle and
   Authentic-Existence; and We come third in order after these two, for
   the We is constituted by a union of the supreme, the undivided Soul --
   we read -- and that Soul which is divided among [living] bodies. For,
   note, we inevitably think of the Soul, though one undivided in the All,
   as being present to bodies in division: in so far as any bodies are
   Animates, the Soul has given itself to each of the separate material
   masses; or rather it appears to be present in the bodies by the fact
   that it shines into them: it makes them living beings not by merging
   into body but by giving forth, without any change in itself, images or
   likenesses of itself like one face caught by many mirrors.

   The first of these images is Sense-Perception seated in the Couplement;
   and from this downwards all the successive images are to be recognized
   as phases of the Soul in lessening succession from one another, until
   the series ends in the faculties of generation and growth and of all
   production of offspring -- offspring efficient in its turn, in
   contradistinction to the engendering Soul which [has no direct action
   within matter but] produces by mere inclination towards what it

   9. That Soul, then, in us, will in its nature stand apart from all that
   can cause any of the evils which man does or suffers; for all such
   evil, as we have seen, belongs only to the Animate, the Couplement.

   But there is a difficulty in understanding how the Soul can go
   guiltless if our mentation and reasoning are vested in it: for all this
   lower kind of knowledge is delusion and is the cause of much of what is

   When we have done evil it is because we have been worsted by our baser
   side -- for a man is many -- by desire or rage or some evil image: the
   misnamed reasoning that takes up with the false, in reality fancy, has
   not stayed for the judgement of the Reasoning-Principle: we have acted
   at the call of the less worthy, just as in matters of the sense-sphere
   we sometimes see falsely because we credit only the lower perception,
   that of the Couplement, without applying the tests of the

   The Intellectual-Principle has held aloof from the act and so is
   guiltless; or, as we may state it, all depends on whether we ourselves
   have or have not put ourselves in touch with the Intellectual-Realm
   either in the Intellectual-Principle or within ourselves; for it is
   possible at once to possess and not to use.

   Thus we have marked off what belongs to the Couplement from what stands
   by itself: the one group has the character of body and never exists
   apart from body, while all that has no need of body for its
   manifestation belongs peculiarly to Soul: and the Understanding, as
   passing judgement upon Sense-Impressions, is at the point of the vision
   of Ideal-Forms, seeing them as it were with an answering sensation
   (i.e., with consciousness) this last is at any rate true of the
   Understanding in the Veritable Soul. For Understanding, the true, is
   the Act of the Intellections: in many of its manifestations it is the
   assimilation and reconciliation of the outer to the inner.

   Thus in spite of all, the Soul is at peace as to itself and within
   itself: all the changes and all the turmoil we experience are the issue
   of what is subjoined to the Soul, and are, as have said, the states and
   experiences of this elusive "Couplement."

   10. It will be objected, that if the Soul constitutes the We [the
   personality] and We are subject to these states then the Soul must be
   subject to them, and similarly that what We do must be done by the

   But it has been observed that the Couplement, too -- especially before
   our emancipation -- is a member of this total We, and in fact what the
   body experiences we say We experience. This then covers two distinct
   notions; sometimes it includes the brute-part, sometimes it transcends
   the brute. The body is brute touched to life; the true man is the
   other, going pure of the body, natively endowed with the virtues which
   belong to the Intellectual-Activity, virtues whose seat is the Separate
   Soul, the Soul which even in its dwelling here may be kept apart. [This
   Soul constitutes the human being] for when it has wholly withdrawn,
   that other Soul which is a radiation [or emanation] from it withdraws
   also, drawn after it.

   Those virtues, on the other hand, which spring not from contemplative
   wisdom but from custom or practical discipline belong to the
   Couplement: to the Couplement, too, belong the vices; they are its
   repugnances, desires, sympathies.

   And Friendship?

   This emotion belongs sometimes to the lower part, sometimes to the
   interior man.

   11. In childhood the main activity is in the Couplement and there is
   but little irradiation from the higher principles of our being: but
   when these higher principles act but feebly or rarely upon us their
   action is directed towards the Supreme; they work upon us only when
   they stand at the mid-point.

   But does not the include that phase of our being which stands above the

   It does, but on condition that we lay hold of it: our entire nature is
   not ours at all times but only as we direct the mid-point upwards or
   downwards, or lead some particular phase of our nature from
   potentiality or native character into act.

   And the animals, in what way or degree do they possess the Animate?

   If there be in them, as the opinion goes, human Souls that have sinned,
   then the Animating-Principle in its separable phase does not enter
   directly into the brute; it is there but not there to them; they are
   aware only of the image of the Soul [only of the lower Soul] and of
   that only by being aware of the body organised and determined by that

   If there be no human Soul in them, the Animate is constituted for them
   by a radiation from the All-Soul.

   12. But if Soul is sinless, how come the expiations? Here surely is a
   contradiction; on the one side the Soul is above all guilt; on the
   other, we hear of its sin, its purification, its expiation; it is
   doomed to the lower world, it passes from body to body.

   We may take either view at will: they are easily reconciled.

   When we tell of the sinless Soul, we make Soul and Essential-Soul one
   and the same: it is the simple unbroken Unity.

   By the Soul subject to sin we indicate a groupment, we include that
   other, that phase of the Soul which knows all the states and passions:
   the Soul in this sense is compound, all-inclusive: it falls under the
   conditions of the entire living experience: this compound it is that
   sins; it is this, and not the other, that pays penalty.

   It is in this sense that we read of the Soul: "We saw it as those
   others saw the sea-god Glaukos." "And," reading on, "if we mean to
   discern the nature of the Soul we must strip it free of all that has
   gathered about it, must see into the philosophy of it, examine with
   what Existences it has touch and by kinship to what Existences it is
   what it is."

   Thus the Life is one thing, the Act is another and the Expiator yet
   another. The retreat and sundering, then, must be not from this body
   only, but from every alien accruement. Such accruement takes place at
   birth; or rather birth is the coming-into-being of that other [lower]
   phase of the Soul. For the meaning of birth has been indicated
   elsewhere; it is brought about by a descent of the Soul, something
   being given off by the Soul other than that actually coming down in the

   Then the Soul has let this image fall? And this declension is it not
   certainly sin?

   If the declension is no more than the illuminating of an object
   beneath, it constitutes no sin: the shadow is to be attributed not to
   the luminary but to the object illuminated; if the object were not
   there, the light could cause no shadow.

   And the Soul is said to go down, to decline, only in that the object it
   illuminates lives by its life. And it lets the image fall only if there
   be nothing near to take it up; and it lets it fall, not as a thing cut
   off, but as a thing that ceases to be: the image has no further being
   when the whole Soul is looking toward the Supreme.

   The poet, too, in the story of Hercules, seems to give this image
   separate existence; he puts the shade of Hercules in the lower world
   and Hercules himself among the gods: treating the hero as existing in
   the two realms at once, he gives us a twofold Hercules.

   It is not difficult to explain this distinction. Hercules was a hero of
   practical virtue. By his noble serviceableness he was worthy to be a
   God. On the other hand, his merit was action and not the Contemplation
   which would place him unreservedly in the higher realm. Therefore while
   he has place above, something of him remains below.

   13. And the principle that reasons out these matters? Is it We or the

   We, but by the Soul.

   But how "by the Soul"? Does this mean that the Soul reasons by
   possession [by contact with the matters of enquiry]?

   No; by the fact of being Soul. Its Act subsists without movement; or
   any movement that can be ascribed to it must be utterly distinct from
   all corporal movement and be simply the Soul's own life.

   And Intellection in us is twofold: since the Soul is intellective, and
   Intellection is the highest phase of life, we have Intellection both by
   the characteristic Act of our Soul and by the Act of the
   Intellectual-Principle upon us -- for this Intellectual-Principle is
   part of us no less than the Soul, and towards it we are ever rising.

   [1] All matter shown in brackets is added by the translator for
   clearness' sake and, therefore, is not canonical. S.M.

   [2] ";We read" translates "he says" of the text, and always indicates a
   reference to Plato, whose name does not appear in the translation
   except where it was written by Plotinus. S.M.



   1. Since Evil is here, "haunting this world by necessary law," and it
   is the Soul's design to escape from Evil, we must escape hence.

   But what is this escape?

   "In attaining Likeness to God," we read. And this is explained as
   "becoming just and holy, living by wisdom," the entire nature grounded
   in Virtue.

   But does not Likeness by way of Virtue imply Likeness to some being
   that has Virtue? To what Divine Being, then, would our Likeness be? To
   the Being -- must we not think? -- in Which, above all, such excellence
   seems to inhere, that is to the Soul of the Kosmos and to the Principle
   ruling within it, the Principle endowed with a wisdom most wonderful.
   What could be more fitting than that we, living in this world, should
   become Like to its ruler?

   But, at the beginning, we are met by the doubt whether even in this
   Divine-Being all the virtues find place -- Moral-Balance [Sophrosyne],
   for example; or Fortitude where there can be no danger since nothing is
   alien; where there can be nothing alluring whose lack could induce the
   desire of possession.

   If, indeed, that aspiration towards the Intelligible which is in our
   nature exists also in this Ruling-Power, then need not look elsewhere
   for the source of order and of the virtues in ourselves.

   But does this Power possess the Virtues?

   We cannot expect to find There what are called the Civic Virtues, the
   Prudence which belongs to the reasoning faculty; the Fortitude which
   conducts the emotional and passionate nature; the Sophrosyne which
   consists in a certain pact, in a concord between the passionate faculty
   and the reason; or Rectitude which is the due application of all the
   other virtues as each in turn should command or obey.

   Is Likeness, then, attained, perhaps, not by these virtues of the
   social order but by those greater qualities known by the same general
   name? And if so do the Civic Virtues give us no help at all?

   It is against reason, utterly to deny Likeness by these while admitting
   it by the greater: tradition at least recognizes certain men of the
   civic excellence as divine, and we must believe that these too had in
   some sort attained Likeness: on both levels there is virtue for us,
   though not the same virtue.

   Now, if it be admitted that Likeness is possible, though by a varying
   use of different virtues and though the civic virtues do not suffice,
   there is no reason why we should not, by virtues peculiar to our state,
   attain Likeness to a model in which virtue has no place.

   But is that conceivable?

   When warmth comes in to make anything warm, must there needs be
   something to warm the source of the warmth?

   If a fire is to warm something else, must there be a fire to warm that

   Against the first illustration it may be retorted that the source of
   the warmth does already contain warmth, not by an infusion but as an
   essential phase of its nature, so that, if the analogy is to hold, the
   argument would make Virtue something communicated to the Soul but an
   essential constituent of the Principle from which the Soul attaining
   Likeness absorbs it.

   Against the illustration drawn from the fire, it may be urged that the
   analogy would make that Principle identical with virtue, whereas we
   hold it to be something higher.

   The objection would be valid if what the soul takes in were one and the
   same with the source, but in fact virtue is one thing, the source of
   virtue quite another. The material house is not identical with the
   house conceived in the intellect, and yet stands in its likeness: the
   material house has distribution and order while the pure idea is not
   constituted by any such elements; distribution, order, symmetry are not
   parts of an idea.

   So with us: it is from the Supreme that we derive order and
   distribution and harmony, which are virtues in this sphere: the
   Existences There, having no need of harmony, order or distribution,
   have nothing to do with virtue; and, none the less, it is by our
   possession of virtue that we become like to Them.

   Thus much to show that the principle that we attain Likeness by virtue
   in no way involves the existence of virtue in the Supreme. But we have
   not merely to make a formal demonstration: we must persuade as well as

   2. First, then, let us examine those good qualities by which we hold
   Likeness comes, and seek to establish what is this thing which, as we
   possess it, in transcription, is virtue but as the Supreme possesses
   it, is in the nature of an exemplar or archetype and is not virtue.

   We must first distinguish two modes of Likeness.

   There is the likeness demanding an identical nature in the objects
   which, further, must draw their likeness from a common principle: and
   there is the case in which B resembles A, but A is a Primal, not
   concerned about B and not said to resemble B. In this second case,
   likeness is understood in a distinct sense: we no longer look for
   identity of nature, but, on the contrary, for divergence since the
   likeness has come about by the mode of difference.

   What, then, precisely is Virtue, collectively and in the particular?
   The clearer method will be to begin with the particular, for so the
   common element by which all the forms hold the general name will
   readily appear.

   The Civic Virtues, on which we have touched above, are a principle or
   order and beauty in us as long as we remain passing our life here: they
   ennoble us by setting bound and measure to our desires and to our
   entire sensibility, and dispelling false judgement -- and this by sheer
   efficacy of the better, by the very setting of the bounds, by the fact
   that the measured is lifted outside of the sphere of the unmeasured and

   And, further, these Civic Virtues -- measured and ordered themselves
   and acting as a principle of measure to the Soul which is as Matter to
   their forming -- are like to the measure reigning in the over-world,
   and they carry a trace of that Highest Good in the Supreme; for, while
   utter measurelessness is brute Matter and wholly outside of Likeness,
   any participation in Ideal-Form produces some corresponding degree of
   Likeness to the formless Being There. And participation goes by
   nearness: the Soul nearer than the body, therefore closer akin,
   participates more fully and shows a godlike presence, almost cheating
   us into the delusion that in the Soul we see God entire.

   This is the way in which men of the Civic Virtues attain Likeness.

   3. We come now to that other mode of Likeness which, we read, is the
   fruit of the loftier virtues: discussing this we shall penetrate more
   deeply into the essence of the Civic Virtue and be able to define the
   nature of the higher kind whose existence we shall establish beyond

   To Plato, unmistakably, there are two distinct orders of virtue, and
   the civic does not suffice for Likeness: "Likeness to God," he says,
   "is a flight from this world's ways and things": in dealing with the
   qualities of good citizenship he does not use the simple term Virtue
   but adds the distinguishing word civic: and elsewhere he declares all
   the virtues without exception to be purifications.

   But in what sense can we call the virtues purifications, and how does
   purification issue in Likeness?

   As the Soul is evil by being interfused with the body, and by coming to
   share the body's states and to think the body's thoughts, so it would
   be good, it would be possessed of virtue, if it threw off the body's
   moods and devoted itself to its own Act -- the state of Intellection
   and Wisdom -- never allowed the passions of the body to affect it --
   the virtue of Sophrosyne -- knew no fear at the parting from the body
   -- the virtue of Fortitude -- and if reason and the
   Intellectual-Principle ruled -- in which state is Righteousness. Such a
   disposition in the Soul, become thus intellective and immune to
   passion, it would not be wrong to call Likeness to God; for the Divine,
   too, is pure and the Divine-Act is such that Likeness to it is Wisdom.

   But would not this make virtue a state of the Divine also?

   No: the Divine has no states; the state is in the Soul. The Act of
   Intellection in the Soul is not the same as in the Divine: of things in
   the Supreme, Soul grasps some after a mode of its own, some not at all.

   Then yet again, the one word Intellection covers two distinct Acts?

   Rather there is primal Intellection and there is Intellection deriving
   from the Primal and of other scope.

   As speech is the echo of the thought in the Soul, so thought in the
   Soul is an echo from elsewhere: that is to say, as the uttered thought
   is an image of the soul-thought, so the soul-thought images a thought
   above itself and is the interpreter of the higher sphere.

   Virtue, in the same way, is a thing of the Soul: it does not belong to
   the Intellectual-Principle or to the Transcendence.

   4. We come, so, to the question whether Purification is the whole of
   this human quality, virtue, or merely the forerunner upon which virtue
   follows? Does virtue imply the achieved state of purification or does
   the mere process suffice to it, Virtue being something of less
   perfection than the accomplished pureness which is almost the Term?

   To have been purified is to have cleansed away everything alien: but
   Goodness is something more.

   If before the impurity entered there was Goodness, the Goodness
   suffices; but even so, not the act of cleansing but the cleansed thing
   that emerges will be The Good. And it remains to establish what this
   emergent is.

   It can scarcely prove to be The Good: The Absolute Good cannot be
   thought to have taken up its abode with Evil. We can think of it only
   as something of the nature of good but paying a double allegiance and
   unable to rest in the Authentic Good.

   The Soul's true Good is in devotion to the Intellectual-Principle, its
   kin; evil to the Soul lies in frequenting strangers. There is no other
   way for it than to purify itself and so enter into relation with its
   own; the new phase begins by a new orientation.

   After the Purification, then, there is still this orientation to be
   made? No: by the purification the true alignment stands accomplished.

   The Soul's virtue, then, is this alignment? No: it is what the
   alignment brings about within.

   And this is . . . ?

   That it sees; that, like sight affected by the thing seen, the soul
   admits the imprint, graven upon it and working within it, of the vision
   it has come to.

   But was not the Soul possessed of all this always, or had it forgotten?

   What it now sees, it certainly always possessed, but as lying away in
   the dark, not as acting within it: to dispel the darkness, and thus
   come to knowledge of its inner content, it must thrust towards the

   Besides, it possessed not the originals but images, pictures;

   and these it must bring into closer accord with the verities they
   represent. And, further, if the Intellectual-Principle is said to be a
   possession of the Soul, this is only in the sense that It is not alien
   and that the link becomes very close when the Soul's sight is turned
   towards It: otherwise, ever-present though It be, It remains foreign,
   just as our knowledge, if it does not determine action, is dead to us.

   5. So we come to the scope of the purification: that understood, the
   nature of Likeness becomes clear. Likeness to what Principle? Identity
   with what God?

   The question is substantially this: how far does purification dispel
   the two orders of passion -- anger, desire and the like, with grief and
   its kin -- and in what degree the disengagement from the body is

   Disengagement means simply that the soul withdraws to its own place.

   It will hold itself above all passions and affections. Necessary
   pleasures and all the activity of the senses it will employ only for
   medicament and assuagement lest its work be impeded. Pain it may
   combat, but, failing the cure, it will bear meekly and ease it by
   refusing assent to it. All passionate action it will check: the
   suppression will be complete if that be possible, but at worst the Soul
   will never itself take fire but will keep the involuntary and
   uncontrolled outside its precincts and rare and weak at that. The Soul
   has nothing to dread, though no doubt the involuntary has some power
   here too: fear therefore must cease, except so far as it is purely
   monitory. What desire there may be can never be for the vile; even the
   food and drink necessary for restoration will lie outside of the Soul's
   attention, and not less the sexual appetite: or if such desire there
   must be, it will turn upon the actual needs of the nature and be
   entirely under control; or if any uncontrolled motion takes place, it
   will reach no further than the imagination, be no more than a fleeting

   The Soul itself will be inviolately free and will be working to set the
   irrational part of the nature above all attack, or if that may not be,
   then at least to preserve it from violent assault, so that any wound it
   takes may be slight and be healed at once by virtue of the Soul's
   presence, just as a man living next door to a Sage would profit by the
   neighbourhood, either in becoming wise and good himself or, for sheer
   shame, never venturing any act which the nobler mind would disapprove.

   There will be no battling in the Soul: the mere intervention of Reason
   is enough: the lower nature will stand in such awe of Reason that for
   any slightest movement it has made it will grieve, and censure its own
   weakness, in not having kept low and still in the presence of its lord.

   6. In all this there is no sin -- there is only matter of discipline --
   but our concern is not merely to be sinless but to be God.

   As long as there is any such involuntary action, the nature is twofold,
   God and Demi-God, or rather God in association with a nature of a lower
   power: when all the involuntary is suppressed, there is God unmingled,
   a Divine Being of those that follow upon The First.

   For, at this height, the man is the very being that came from the
   Supreme. The primal excellence restored, the essential man is There:
   entering this sphere, he has associated himself with the reasoning
   phase of his nature and this he will lead up into likeness with his
   highest self, as far as earthly mind is capable, so that if possible it
   shall never be inclined to, and at the least never adopt, any course
   displeasing to its overlord.

   What form, then, does virtue take in one so lofty?

   It appears as Wisdom, which consists in the contemplation of all that
   exists in the Intellectual-Principle, and as the immediate presence of
   the Intellectual-Principle itself.

   And each of these has two modes or aspects: there is Wisdom as it is in
   the Intellectual-Principle and as in the Soul; and there is the
   Intellectual-Principle as it is present to itself and as it is present
   to the Soul: this gives what in the Soul is Virtue, in the Supreme not

   In the Supreme, then, what is it?

   Its proper Act and Its Essence.

   That Act and Essence of the Supreme, manifested in a new form,
   constitute the virtue of this sphere. For the Supreme is not
   self-existent justice, or the Absolute of any defined virtue: it is, so
   to speak, an exemplar, the source of what in the soul becomes virtue:
   for virtue is dependent, seated in something not itself; the Supreme is
   self-standing, independent.

   But taking Rectitude to be the due ordering of faculty, does it not
   always imply the existence of diverse parts?

   No: There is a Rectitude of Diversity appropriate to what has parts,
   but there is another, not less Rectitude than the former though it
   resides in a Unity. And the authentic Absolute-Rectitude is the Act of
   a Unity upon itself, of a Unity in which there is no this and that and
   the other.

   On this principle, the supreme Rectitude of the Soul is that it direct
   its Act towards the Intellectual-Principle: its Restraint (Sophrosyne)
   is its inward bending towards the Intellectual-Principle; its Fortitude
   is its being impassive in the likeness of That towards which its gaze
   is set, Whose nature comports an impassivity which the Soul acquires by
   virtue and must acquire if it is not to be at the mercy of every state
   arising in its less noble companion.

   7. The virtues in the Soul run in a sequence correspondent to that
   existing in the over-world, that is among their exemplars in the

   In the Supreme, Intellection constitutes Knowledge and Wisdom;
   self-concentration is Sophrosyne; Its proper Act is Its Dutifulness;
   Its Immateriality, by which It remains inviolate within Itself is the
   equivalent of Fortitude.

   In the Soul, the direction of vision towards the Intellectual-Principle
   is Wisdom and Prudence, soul-virtues not appropriate to the Supreme
   where Thinker and Thought are identical. All the other virtues have
   similar correspondences.

   And if the term of purification is the production of a pure being, then
   the purification of the Soul must produce all the virtues; if any are
   lacking, then not one of them is perfect.

   And to possess the greater is potentially to possess the minor, though
   the minor need not carry the greater with them.

   Thus we have indicated the dominant note in the life of the Sage; but
   whether his possession of the minor virtues be actual as well as
   potential, whether even the greater are in Act in him or yield to
   qualities higher still, must be decided afresh in each several case.

   Take, for example, Contemplative-Wisdom. If other guides of conduct
   must be called in to meet a given need, can this virtue hold its ground
   even in mere potentiality?

   And what happens when the virtues in their very nature differ in scope
   and province? Where, for example, Sophrosyne would allow certain acts
   or emotions under due restraint and another virtue would cut them off
   altogether? And is it not clear that all may have to yield, once
   Contemplative-Wisdom comes into action?

   The solution is in understanding the virtues and what each has to give:
   thus the man will learn to work with this or that as every several need
   demands. And as he reaches to loftier principles and other standards
   these in turn will define his conduct: for example, Restraint in its
   earlier form will no longer satisfy him; he will work for the final
   Disengagement; he will live, no longer, the human life of the good man
   -- such as Civic Virtue commends -- but, leaving this beneath him, will
   take up instead another life, that of the Gods.

   For it is to the Gods, not to the Good, that our Likeness must look: to
   model ourselves upon good men is to produce an image of an image: we
   have to fix our gaze above the image and attain Likeness to the Supreme



   1. What art is there, what method, what discipline to bring us there
   where we must go?

   The Term at which we must arrive we may take as agreed: we have
   established elsewhere, by many considerations, that our journey is to
   the Good, to the Primal-Principle; and, indeed, the very reasoning
   which discovered the Term was itself something like an initiation.

   But what order of beings will attain the Term?

   Surely, as we read, those that have already seen all or most things,
   those who at their first birth have entered into the life-germ from
   which is to spring a metaphysician, a musician or a born lover, the
   metaphysician taking to the path by instinct, the musician and the
   nature peculiarly susceptible to love needing outside guidance.

   But how lies the course? Is it alike for all, or is there a distinct
   method for each class of temperament?

   For all there are two stages of the path, as they are making upwards or
   have already gained the upper sphere.

   The first degree is the conversion from the lower life; the second --
   held by those that have already made their way to the sphere of the
   Intelligibles, have set as it were a footprint there but must still
   advance within the realm -- lasts until they reach the extreme hold of
   the place, the Term attained when the topmost peak of the Intellectual
   realm is won.

   But this highest degree must bide its time: let us first try to speak
   of the initial process of conversion.

   We must begin by distinguishing the three types. Let us take the
   musician first and indicate his temperamental equipment for the task.

   The musician we may think of as being exceedingly quick to beauty,
   drawn in a very rapture to it: somewhat slow to stir of his own
   impulse, he answers at once to the outer stimulus: as the timid are
   sensitive to noise so he to tones and the beauty they convey; all that
   offends against unison or harmony in melodies and rhythms repels him;
   he longs for measure and shapely pattern.

   This natural tendency must be made the starting-point to such a man; he
   must be drawn by the tone, rhythm and design in things of sense: he
   must learn to distinguish the material forms from the
   Authentic-Existent which is the source of all these correspondences and
   of the entire reasoned scheme in the work of art: he must be led to the
   Beauty that manifests itself through these forms; he must be shown that
   what ravished him was no other than the Harmony of the Intellectual
   world and the Beauty in that sphere, not some one shape of beauty but
   the All-Beauty, the Absolute Beauty; and the truths of philosophy must
   be implanted in him to lead him to faith in that which, unknowing it,
   he possesses within himself. What these truths are we will show later.

   2. The born lover, to whose degree the musician also may attain -- and
   then either come to a stand or pass beyond -- has a certain memory of
   beauty but, severed from it now, he no longer comprehends it:
   spellbound by visible loveliness he clings amazed about that. His
   lesson must be to fall down no longer in bewildered delight before
   some, one embodied form; he must be led, under a system of mental
   discipline, to beauty everywhere and made to discern the One Principle
   underlying all, a Principle apart from the material forms, springing
   from another source, and elsewhere more truly present. The beauty, for
   example, in a noble course of life and in an admirably organized social
   system may be pointed out to him -- a first training this in the
   loveliness of the immaterial -- he must learn to recognise the beauty
   in the arts, sciences, virtues; then these severed and particular forms
   must be brought under the one principle by the explanation of their
   origin. From the virtues he is to be led to the Intellectual-Principle,
   to the Authentic-Existent; thence onward, he treads the upward way.

   3. The metaphysician, equipped by that very character, winged already
   and not like those others, in need of disengagement, stirring of
   himself towards the supernal but doubting of the way, needs only a
   guide. He must be shown, then, and instructed, a willing wayfarer by
   his very temperament, all but self-directed.

   Mathematics, which as a student by nature he will take very easily,
   will be prescribed to train him to abstract thought and to faith in the
   unembodied; a moral being by native disposition, he must be led to make
   his virtue perfect; after the Mathematics he must be put through a
   course in Dialectic and made an adept in the science.

   4. But this science, this Dialectic essential to all the three classes
   alike, what, in sum, is it?

   It is the Method, or Discipline, that brings with it the power of
   pronouncing with final truth upon the nature and relation of things --
   what each is, how it differs from others, what common quality all have,
   to what Kind each belongs and in what rank each stands in its Kind and
   whether its Being is Real-Being, and how many Beings there are, and how
   many non-Beings to be distinguished from Beings.

   Dialectic treats also of the Good and the not-Good, and of the
   particulars that fall under each, and of what is the Eternal and what
   the not Eternal -- and of these, it must be understood, not by
   seeming-knowledge ["sense-knowledge"] but with authentic science.

   All this accomplished, it gives up its touring of the realm of sense
   and settles down in the Intellectual Kosmos and there plies its own
   peculiar Act: it has abandoned all the realm of deceit and falsity, and
   pastures the Soul in the "Meadows of Truth": it employs the Platonic
   division to the discernment of the Ideal-Forms, of the
   Authentic-Existence and of the First-Kinds [or Categories of Being]: it
   establishes, in the light of Intellection, the unity there is in all
   that issues from these Firsts, until it has traversed the entire
   Intellectual Realm: then, resolving the unity into the particulars once
   more, it returns to the point from which it starts.

   Now rests: instructed and satisfied as to the Being in that sphere, it
   is no longer busy about many things: it has arrived at Unity and it
   contemplates: it leaves to another science all that coil of premisses
   and conclusions called the art of reasoning, much as it leaves the art
   of writing: some of the matter of logic, no doubt, it considers
   necessary -- to clear the ground -- but it makes itself the judge, here
   as in everything else; where it sees use, it uses; anything it finds
   superfluous, it leaves to whatever department of learning or practice
   may turn that matter to account.

   5. But whence does this science derive its own initial laws?

   The Intellectual-Principle furnishes standards, the most certain for
   any soul that is able to apply them. What else is necessary, Dialectic
   puts together for itself, combining and dividing, until it has reached
   perfect Intellection. "For," we read, "it is the purest [perfection] of
   Intellection and Contemplative-Wisdom." And, being the noblest method
   and science that exists it must needs deal with Authentic-Existence,
   The Highest there is: as Contemplative-Wisdom [or true-knowing] it
   deals with Being, as Intellection with what transcends Being.

   What, then, is Philosophy?

   Philosophy is the supremely precious.

   Is Dialectic, then, the same as Philosophy?

   It is the precious part of Philosophy. We must not think of it as the
   mere tool of the metaphysician: Dialectic does not consist of bare
   theories and rules: it deals with verities; Existences are, as it were,
   Matter to it, or at least it proceeds methodically towards Existences,
   and possesses itself, at the one step, of the notions and of the

   Untruth and sophism it knows, not directly, not of its own nature, but
   merely as something produced outside itself, something which it
   recognises to be foreign to the verities laid up in itself; in the
   falsity presented to it, it perceives a clash with its own canon of
   truth. Dialectic, that is to say, has no knowledge of propositions --
   collections of words -- but it knows the truth, and, in that knowledge,
   knows what the schools call their propositions: it knows above all, the
   operation of the soul, and, by virtue of this knowing, it knows, too,
   what is affirmed and what is denied, whether the denial is of what was
   asserted or of something else, and whether propositions agree or
   differ; all that is submitted to it, it attacks with the directness of
   sense-perception and it leaves petty precisions of process to what
   other science may care for such exercises.

   6. Philosophy has other provinces, but Dialectic is its precious part:
   in its study of the laws of the universe, Philosophy draws on Dialectic
   much as other studies and crafts use Arithmetic, though, of course, the
   alliance between Philosophy and Dialectic is closer.

   And in Morals, too, Philosophy uses Dialectic: by Dialectic it comes to
   contemplation, though it originates of itself the moral state or rather
   the discipline from which the moral state develops.

   Our reasoning faculties employ the data of Dialectic almost as their
   proper possession for they are mainly concerned about Matter [whose
   place and worth Dialectic establishes].

   And while the other virtues bring the reason to bear upon particular
   experiences and acts, the virtue of Wisdom [i.e., the virtue peculiarly
   induced by Dialectic] is a certain super-reasoning much closer to the
   Universal; for it deals with correspondence and sequence, the choice of
   time for action and inaction, the adoption of this course, the
   rejection of that other: Wisdom and Dialectic have the task of
   presenting all things as Universals and stripped of matter for
   treatment by the Understanding.

   But can these inferior kinds of virtue exist without Dialectic and

   Yes -- but imperfectly, inadequately.

   And is it possible to be a Sage, Master in Dialectic, without these
   lower virtues?

   It would not happen: the lower will spring either before or together
   with the higher. And it is likely that everyone normally possesses the
   natural virtues from which, when Wisdom steps in, the perfected virtue
   develops. After the natural virtues, then, Wisdom and, so the
   perfecting of the moral nature. Once the natural virtues exist, both
   orders, the natural and the higher, ripen side by side to their final
   excellence: or as the one advances it carries forward the other towards

   But, ever, the natural virtue is imperfect in vision and in strength --
   and to both orders of virtue the essential matter is from what
   principles we derive them.



   1. Are we to make True Happiness one and the same thing with Welfare or
   Prosperity and therefore within the reach of the other living beings as
   well as ourselves?

   There is certainly no reason to deny well-being to any of them as long
   as their lot allows them to flourish unhindered after their kind.

   Whether we make Welfare consist in pleasant conditions of life, or in
   the accomplishment of some appropriate task, by either account it may
   fall to them as to us. For certainly they may at once be pleasantly
   placed and engaged about some function that lies in their nature: take
   for an instance such living beings as have the gift of music; finding
   themselves well-off in other ways, they sing, too, as their nature is,
   and so their day is pleasant to them.

   And if, even, we set Happiness in some ultimate Term pursued by inborn
   tendency, then on this head, too, we must allow it to animals from the
   moment of their attaining this Ultimate: the nature in them comes to a
   halt, having fulfilled its vital course from a beginning to an end.

   It may be a distasteful notion, this bringing-down of happiness so low
   as to the animal world -- making it over, as then we must, even to the
   vilest of them and not withholding it even from the plants, living they
   too and having a life unfolding to a Term.

   But, to begin with, it is surely unsound to deny that good of life to
   animals only because they do not appear to man to be of great account.
   And as for plants, we need not necessarily allow to them what we accord
   to the other forms of life, since they have no feeling. It is true
   people might be found to declare prosperity possible to the very
   plants: they have life, and life may bring good or evil; the plants may
   thrive or wither, bear or be barren.

   No: if Pleasure be the Term, if here be the good of life, it is
   impossible to deny the good of life to any order of living things; if
   the Term be inner-peace, equally impossible; impossible, too, if the
   good of life be to live in accordance with the purpose of nature.

   2. Those that deny the happy life to the plants on the ground that they
   lack sensation are really denying it to all living things.

   By sensation can be meant only perception of state, and the state of
   well-being must be Good in itself quite apart from the perception: to
   be a part of the natural plan is good whether knowingly or without
   knowledge: there is good in the appropriate state even though there be
   no recognition of its fitness or desirable quality -- for it must be in
   itself desirable.

   This Good exists, then; is present: that in which it is present has
   well-being without more ado: what need then to ask for sensation into
   the bargain?

   Perhaps, however, the theory is that the good of any state consists not
   in the condition itself but in the knowledge and perception of it.

   But at this rate the Good is nothing but the mere sensation, the bare
   activity of the sentient life. And so it will be possessed by all that
   feel, no matter what. Perhaps it will be said that two constituents are
   needed to make up the Good, that there must be both feeling and a given
   state felt: but how can it be maintained that the bringing together of
   two neutrals can produce the Good?

   They will explain, possibly, that the state must be a state of Good and
   that such a condition constitutes well-being on the discernment of that
   present good; but then they invite the question whether the well-being
   comes by discerning the presence of the Good that is there, or whether
   there must further be the double recognition that the state is
   agreeable and that the agreeable state constitutes the Good.

   If well-being demands this recognition, it depends no longer upon
   sensation but upon another, a higher faculty; and well-being is vested
   not in a faculty receptive of pleasure but in one competent to discern
   that pleasure is the Good.

   Then the cause of the well-being is no longer pleasure but the faculty
   competent to pronounce as to pleasure's value. Now a judging entity is
   nobler than one that merely accepts a state: it is a principle of
   Reason or of Intellection: pleasure is a state: the reasonless can
   never be closer to the Good than reason is. How can reason abdicate and
   declare nearer to good than itself something lying in a contrary order?

   No: those denying the good of life to the vegetable world, and those
   that make it consist in some precise quality of sensation, are in
   reality seeking a loftier well-being than they are aware of, and
   setting their highest in a more luminous phase of life.

   Perhaps, then, those are in the right who found happiness not on the
   bare living or even on sensitive life but on the life of Reason?

   But they must tell us it should be thus restricted and why precisely
   they make Reason an essential to the happiness in a living being:

   "When you insist on Reason, is it because Reason is resourceful, swift
   to discern and compass the primal needs of nature; or would you demand
   it, even though it were powerless in that domain?"

   If you call it in as a provider, then the reasonless, equally with the
   reasoning, may possess happiness after their kind, as long as, without
   any thought of theirs, nature supplies their wants: Reason becomes a
   servant; there is no longer any worth in it for itself and no worth in
   that consummation of reason which, we hold, is virtue.

   If you say that reason is to be cherished for its own sake and not as
   supplying these human needs, you must tell us what other services it
   renders, what is its proper nature and what makes it the perfect thing
   it is.

   For, on this admission, its perfection cannot reside in any such
   planning and providing: its perfection will be something quite
   different, something of quite another class: Reason cannot be itself
   one of those first needs of nature; it cannot even be a cause of those
   first needs of nature or at all belong to that order: it must be nobler
   than any and all of such things: otherwise it is not easy to see how we
   can be asked to rate it so highly.

   Until these people light upon some nobler principle than any at which
   they still halt, they must be left where they are and where they choose
   to be, never understanding what the Good of Life is to those that can
   make it theirs, never knowing to what kind of beings it is accessible.

   What then is happiness? Let us try basing it upon Life.

   3. Now if we draw no distinction as to kinds of life, everything that
   lives will be capable of happiness, and those will be effectively happy
   who possess that one common gift of which every living thing is by
   nature receptive. We could not deny it to the irrational whilst
   allowing it to the rational. If happiness were inherent in the bare
   being-alive, the common ground in which the cause of happiness could
   always take root would be simply life.

   Those, then, that set happiness not in the mere living but in the
   reasoning life seem to overlook the fact that they are not really
   making it depend upon life at all: they admit that this reasoning
   faculty, round which they centre happiness, is a property [not the
   subject of a property]: the subject, to them, must be the
   Reasoning-Life since it is in this double term that they find the basis
   of the happiness: so that they are making it consist not in life but in
   a particular kind of life -- not, of course, a species formally
   opposite but, in terminology, standing as an "earlier" to a "later" in
   the one Kind.

   Now in common use this word "Life" embraces many forms which shade down
   from primal to secondary and so on, all massed under the common term --
   life of plant and life of animal -- each phase brighter or dimmer than
   its next: and so it evidently must be with the Good-of-Life. And if
   thing is ever the image of thing, so every Good must always be the
   image of a higher Good.

   If mere Being is insufficient, if happiness demands fulness of life,
   and exists, therefore, where nothing is lacking of all that belongs to
   the idea of life, then happiness can exist only in a being that lives

   And such a one will possess not merely the good, but the Supreme Good
   if, that is to say, in the realm of existents the Supreme Good can be
   no other than the authentically living, no other than Life in its
   greatest plenitude, life in which the good is present as something
   essential not as something brought from without, a life needing no
   foreign substance called in from a foreign realm, to establish it in

   For what could be added to the fullest life to make it the best life?
   If anyone should answer, "The nature of Good" [The Good, as a Divine
   Hypostasis], the reply would certainly be near our thought, but we are
   not seeking the Cause but the main constituent.

   It has been said more than once that the perfect life and the true
   life, the essential life, is in the Intellectual Nature beyond this
   sphere, and that all other forms of life are incomplete, are phantoms
   of life, imperfect, not pure, not more truly life than they are its
   contrary: here let it be said succinctly that since all living things
   proceed from the one principle but possess life in different degrees,
   this principle must be the first life and the most complete.

   4. If, then, the perfect life is within human reach, the man attaining
   it attains happiness: if not, happiness must be made over to the gods,
   for the perfect life is for them alone.

   But since we hold that happiness is for human beings too, we must
   consider what this perfect life is. The matter may be stated thus:

   It has been shown elsewhere that man, when he commands not merely the
   life of sensation but also Reason and Authentic Intellection, has
   realised the perfect life.

   But are we to picture this kind of life as something foreign imported
   into his nature?

   No: there exists no single human being that does not either potentially
   or effectively possess this thing which we hold to constitute

   But are we to think of man as including this form of life, the perfect,
   after the manner of a partial constituent of his entire nature?

   We say, rather, that while in some men it is present as a mere portion
   of their total being -- in those, namely, that have it potentially --
   there is, too, the man, already in possession of true felicity, who is
   this perfection realized, who has passed over into actual
   identification with it. All else is now mere clothing about the man,
   not to be called part of him since it lies about him unsought, not his
   because not appropriated to himself by any act of the will.

   To the man in this state, what is the Good?

   He himself by what he has and is.

   And the author and principle of what he is and holds is the Supreme,
   which within Itself is the Good but manifests Itself within the human
   being after this other mode.

   The sign that this state has been achieved is that the man seeks
   nothing else.

   What indeed could he be seeking? Certainly none of the less worthy
   things; and the Best he carries always within him.

   He that has such a life as this has all he needs in life.

   Once the man is a Sage, the means of happiness, the way to good, are
   within, for nothing is good that lies outside him. Anything he desires
   further than this he seeks as a necessity, and not for himself but for
   a subordinate, for the body bound to him, to which since it has life he
   must minister the needs of life, not needs, however, to the true man of
   this degree. He knows himself to stand above all such things, and what
   he gives to the lower he so gives as to leave his true life

   Adverse fortune does not shake his felicity: the life so founded is
   stable ever. Suppose death strikes at his household or at his friends;
   he knows what death is, as the victims, if they are among the wise,
   know too. And if death taking from him his familiars and intimates does
   bring grief, it is not to him, not to the true man, but to that in him
   which stands apart from the Supreme, to that lower man in whose
   distress he takes no part.

   5. But what of sorrows, illnesses and all else that inhibit the native

   What of the suspension of consciousness which drugs or disease may
   bring about? Could either welfare or happiness be present under such
   conditions? And this is to say nothing of misery and disgrace, which
   will certainly be urged against us, with undoubtedly also those
   never-failing "Miseries of Priam."

   "The Sage," we shall be told, "may bear such afflictions and even take
   them lightly but they could never be his choice, and the happy life
   must be one that would be chosen. The Sage, that is, cannot be thought
   of as simply a sage soul, no count being taken of the bodily-principle
   in the total of the being: he will, no doubt, take all bravely . . .
   until the body's appeals come up before him, and longings and loathings
   penetrate through the body to the inner man. And since pleasure must be
   counted in towards the happy life, how can one that, thus, knows the
   misery of ill-fortune or pain be happy, however sage he be? Such a
   state, of bliss self-contained, is for the Gods; men, because of the
   less noble part subjoined in them, must needs seek happiness throughout
   all their being and not merely in some one part; if the one constituent
   be troubled, the other, answering to its associate's distress, must
   perforce suffer hindrance in its own activity. There is nothing but to
   cut away the body or the body's sensitive life and so secure that
   self-contained unity essential to happiness."

   6. Now if happiness did indeed require freedom from pain, sickness,
   misfortune, disaster, it would be utterly denied to anyone confronted
   by such trials: but if it lies in the fruition of the Authentic Good,
   why turn away from this Term and look to means, imagining that to be
   happy a man must need a variety of things none of which enter into
   happiness? If, in fact, felicity were made up by heaping together all
   that is at once desirable and necessary we must bid for these also. But
   if the Term must be one and not many; if in other words our quest is of
   a Term and not of Terms; that only can be elected which is ultimate and
   noblest, that which calls to the tenderest longings of the soul.

   The quest and will of the Soul are not pointed directly towards freedom
   from this sphere: the reason which disciplines away our concern about
   this life has no fundamental quarrel with things of this order; it
   merely resents their interference; sometimes, even, it must seek them;
   essentially all the aspiration is not so much away from evil as towards
   the Soul's own highest and noblest: this attained, all is won and there
   is rest -- and this is the veritably willed state of life.

   There can be no such thing as "willing" the acquirement of necessaries,
   if Will is to be taken in its strict sense, and not misapplied to the
   mere recognition of need.

   It is certain that we shrink from the unpleasant, and such shrinking is
   assuredly not what we should have willed; to have no occasion for any
   such shrinking would be much nearer to our taste; but the things we
   seek tell the story as soon as they are ours. For instance, health and
   freedom from pain; which of these has any great charm? As long as we
   possess them, we set no store upon them.

   Anything which, present, has no charm and adds nothing to happiness,
   which when lacking is desired because of the presence of an annoying
   opposite, may reasonably be called a necessity but not a Good.

   Such things can never make part of our final object: our Term must be
   such that though these pleasanter conditions be absent and their
   contraries present, it shall remain, still, intact.

   7. Then why are these conditions sought and their contraries repelled
   by the man established in happiness?

   Here is our answer:

   These more pleasant conditions cannot, it is true, add any particle
   towards the Sage's felicity: but they do serve towards the integrity of
   his being, while the presence of the contraries tends against his Being
   or complicates the Term: it is not that the Sage can be so easily
   deprived of the Term achieved but simply that he that holds the highest
   good desires to have that alone, not something else at the same time,
   something which, though it cannot banish the Good by its incoming, does
   yet take place by its side.

   In any case if the man that has attained felicity meets some turn of
   fortune that he would not have chosen, there is not the slightest
   lessening of his happiness for that. If there were, his felicity would
   be veering or falling from day to day; the death of a child would bring
   him down, or the loss of some trivial possession. No: a thousand
   mischances and disappointments may befall him and leave him still in
   the tranquil possession of the Term.

   But, they cry, great disasters, not the petty daily chances!

   What human thing, then, is great, so as not to be despised by one who
   has mounted above all we know here, and is bound now no longer to
   anything below?

   If the Sage thinks all fortunate events, however momentous, to be no
   great matter -- kingdom and the rule over cities and peoples,
   colonisations and the founding of states, even though all be his own
   handiwork -- how can he take any great account of the vacillations of
   power or the ruin of his fatherland? Certainly if he thought any such
   event a great disaster, or any disaster at all, he must be of a very
   strange way of thinking. One that sets great store by wood and stones,
   or . . . Zeus . . . by mortality among mortals cannot yet be the Sage,
   whose estimate of death, we hold, must be that it is better than life
   in the body.

   But suppose that he himself is offered a victim in sacrifice?

   Can he think it an evil to die beside the altars?

   But if he go unburied?

   Wheresoever it lie, under earth or over earth, his body will always

   But if he has been hidden away, not with costly ceremony but in an
   unnamed grave, not counted worthy of a towering monument?

   The littleness of it!

   But if he falls into his enemies' hands, into prison?

   There is always the way towards escape, if none towards well-being.

   But if his nearest be taken from him, his sons and daughters dragged
   away to captivity?

   What then, we ask, if he had died without witnessing the wrong? Could
   he have quitted the world in the calm conviction that nothing of all
   this could happen? He must be very shallow. Can he fail to see that it
   is possible for such calamities to overtake his household, and does he
   cease to be a happy man for the knowledge of what may occur? In the
   knowledge of the possibility he may be at ease; so, too, when the evil
   has come about.

   He would reflect that the nature of this All is such as brings these
   things to pass and man must bow the head.

   Besides in many cases captivity will certainly prove an advantage; and
   those that suffer have their freedom in their hands: if they stay,
   either there is reason in their staying, and then they have no real
   grievance, or they stay against reason, when they should not, and then
   they have themselves to blame. Clearly the absurdities of his
   neighbours, however near, cannot plunge the Sage into evil: his state
   cannot hang upon the fortunes good or bad of any other men.

   8. As for violent personal sufferings, he will carry them off as well
   as he can; if they overpass his endurance they will carry him off.

   And so in all his pain he asks no pity: there is always the radiance in
   the inner soul of the man, untroubled like the light in a lantern when
   fierce gusts beat about it in a wild turmoil of wind and tempest.

   But what if he be put beyond himself? What if pain grow so intense and
   so torture him that the agony all but kills? Well, when he is put to
   torture he will plan what is to be done: he retains his freedom of

   Besides we must remember that the Sage sees things very differently
   from the average man; neither ordinary experiences nor pains and
   sorrows, whether touching himself or others, pierce to the inner hold.
   To allow them any such passage would be a weakness in our soul.

   And it is a sign of weakness, too, if we should think it gain not to
   hear of miseries, gain to die before they come: this is not concern for
   others' welfare but for our own peace of mind. Here we see our
   imperfection: we must not indulge it, we must put it from us and cease
   to tremble over what perhaps may be.

   Anyone that says that it is in human nature to grieve over misfortune
   to our household must learn that this is not so with all, and that,
   precisely, it is virtue's use to raise the general level of nature
   towards the better and finer, above the mass of men. And the finer is
   to set at nought what terrifies the common mind.

   We cannot be indolent: this is an arena for the powerful combatant
   holding his ground against the blows of fortune, and knowing that, sore
   though they be to some natures, they are little to his, nothing
   dreadful, nursery terrors.

   So, the Sage would have desired misfortune?

   It is precisely to meet the undesired when it appears that he has the
   virtue which gives him, to confront it, his passionless and unshakeable

   9. But when he is out of himself, reason quenched by sickness or by
   magic arts?

   If it be allowed that in this state, resting as it were in a slumber,
   he remains a Sage, why should he not equally remain happy? No one rules
   him out of felicity in the hours of sleep; no one counts up that time
   and so denies that he has been happy all his life.

   If they say that, failing consciousness, he is no longer the Sage, then
   they are no longer reasoning about the Sage: but we do suppose a Sage,
   and are enquiring whether, as long as he is the Sage, he is in the
   state of felicity.

   "Well, a Sage let him remain," they say, "still, having no sensation
   and not expressing his virtue in act, how can he be happy?"

   But a man unconscious of his health may be, none the less, healthy: a
   man may not be aware of his personal attraction, but he remains
   handsome none the less: if he has no sense of his wisdom, shall he be
   any the less wise?

   It may perhaps be urged that sensation and consciousness are essential
   to wisdom and that happiness is only wisdom brought to act.

   Now, this argument might have weight if prudence, wisdom, were
   something fetched in from outside: but this is not so: wisdom is, in
   its essential nature, an Authentic-Existence, or rather is The
   Authentic-Existent -- and this Existent does not perish in one asleep
   or, to take the particular case presented to us, in the man out of his
   mind: the Act of this Existent is continuous within him; and is a
   sleepless activity: the Sage, therefore, even unconscious, is still the
   Sage in Act.

   This activity is screened not from the man entire but merely from one
   part of him: we have here a parallel to what happens in the activity of
   the physical or vegetative life in us which is not made known by the
   sensitive faculty to the rest of the man: if our physical life really
   constituted the "We," its Act would be our Act: but, in the fact, this
   physical life is not the "We"; the "We" is the activity of the
   Intellectual-Principle so that when the Intellective is in Act we are
   in Act.

   10. Perhaps the reason this continuous activity remains unperceived is
   that it has no touch whatever with things of sense. No doubt action
   upon material things, or action dictated by them, must proceed through
   the sensitive faculty which exists for that use: but why should there
   not be an immediate activity of the Intellectual-Principle and of the
   soul that attends it, the soul that antedates sensation or any
   perception? For, if Intellection and Authentic-Existence are identical,
   this "Earlier-than-perception" must be a thing having Act.

   Let us explain the conditions under which we become conscious of this

   When the Intellect is in upward orientation that [lower part of it]
   which contains [or, corresponds to] the life of the Soul, is, so to
   speak, flung down again and becomes like the reflection resting on the
   smooth and shining surface of a mirror; in this illustration, when the
   mirror is in place the image appears but, though the mirror be absent
   or out of gear, all that would have acted and produced an image still
   exists; so in the case of the Soul; when there is peace in that within
   us which is capable of reflecting the images of the Rational and
   Intellectual-Principles these images appear. Then, side by side with
   the primal knowledge of the activity of the Rational and the
   Intellectual-Principles, we have also as it were a sense-perception of
   their operation.

   When, on the contrary, the mirror within is shattered through some
   disturbance of the harmony of the body, Reason and the
   Intellectual-Principle act unpictured: Intellection is unattended by

   In sum we may safely gather that while the Intellective-Act may be
   attended by the Imaging Principle, it is not to be confounded with it.

   And even in our conscious life we can point to many noble activities,
   of mind and of hand alike, which at the time in no way compel our
   consciousness. A reader will often be quite unconscious when he is most
   intent: in a feat of courage there can be no sense either of the brave
   action or of the fact that all that is done conforms to the rules of
   courage. And so in cases beyond number.

   So that it would even seem that consciousness tends to blunt the
   activities upon which it is exercised, and that in the degree in which
   these pass unobserved they are purer and have more effect, more
   vitality, and that, consequently, the Sage arrived at this state has
   the truer fulness of life, life not spilled out in sensation but
   gathered closely within itself.

   11. We shall perhaps be told that in such a state the man is no longer
   alive: we answer that these people show themselves equally unable to
   understand his inner life and his happiness.

   If this does not satisfy them, we must ask them to keep in mind a
   living Sage and, under these terms, to enquire whether the man is in
   happiness: they must not whittle away his life and then ask whether he
   has the happy life; they must not take away man and then look for the
   happiness of a man: once they allow that the Sage lives within, they
   must not seek him among the outer activities, still less look to the
   outer world for the object of his desires. To consider the outer world
   to be a field to his desire, to fancy the Sage desiring any good
   external, would be to deny Substantial-Existence to happiness; for the
   Sage would like to see all men prosperous and no evil befalling anyone;
   but though it prove otherwise, he is still content.

   If it be admitted that such a desire would be against reason, since
   evil cannot cease to be, there is no escape from agreeing with us that
   the Sage's will is set always and only inward.

   12. The pleasure demanded for the life cannot be in the enjoyments of
   the licentious or in any gratifications of the body -- there is no
   place for these, and they stifle happiness -- nor in any violent
   emotions -- what could so move the Sage? -- it can be only such
   pleasure as there must be where Good is, pleasure that does not rise
   from movement and is not a thing of process, for all that is good is
   immediately present to the Sage and the Sage is present to himself: his
   pleasure, his contentment, stands, immovable.

   Thus he is ever cheerful, the order of his life ever untroubled: his
   state is fixedly happy and nothing whatever of all that is known as
   evil can set it awry -- given only that he is and remains a Sage.

   If anyone seeks for some other kind of pleasure in the life of the
   Sage, it is not the life of the Sage he is looking for.

   13. The characteristic activities are not hindered by outer events but
   merely adapt themselves, remaining always fine, and perhaps all the
   finer for dealing with the actual. When he has to handle particular
   cases and things, he may not be able to put his vision into act without
   searching and thinking, but the one greatest principle is ever present
   to him, like a part of his being -- most of all present, should he be
   even a victim in the much-talked-of Bull of Phalaris. No doubt, despite
   all that has been said, it is idle to pretend that this is an agreeable
   lodging; but what cries in the Bull is the thing that feels the
   torture; in the Sage there is something else as well, The Self-Gathered
   which, as long as it holds itself by main force within itself, can
   never be robbed of the vision of the All-Good.

   14. For man, and especially the Sage, is not the Couplement of soul and
   body: the proof is that man can be disengaged from the body and disdain
   its nominal goods.

   It would be absurd to think that happiness begins and ends with the
   living-body: happiness is the possession of the good of life: it is
   centred therefore in Soul, is an Act of the Soul -- and not of all the
   Soul at that: for it certainly is not characteristic of the vegetative
   soul, the soul of growth; that would at once connect it with the body.

   A powerful frame, a healthy constitution, even a happy balance of
   temperament, these surely do not make felicity; in the excess of these
   advantages there is, even, the danger that the man be crushed down and
   forced more and more within their power. There must be a sort of
   counter-pressure in the other direction, towards the noblest: the body
   must be lessened, reduced, that the veritable man may show forth, the
   man behind the appearances.

   Let the earth-bound man be handsome and powerful and rich, and so apt
   to this world that he may rule the entire human race: still there can
   be no envying him, the fool of such lures. Perhaps such splendours
   could not, from the beginning even, have gathered to the Sage; but if
   it should happen so, he of his own action will lower his state, if he
   has any care for his true life; the tyranny of the body he will work
   down or wear away by inattention to its claims; the rulership he will
   lay aside. While he will safeguard his bodily health, he will not wish
   to be wholly untried in sickness, still less never to feel pain: if
   such troubles should not come to him of themselves, he will wish to
   know them, during youth at least: in old age, it is true, he will
   desire neither pains nor pleasures to hamper him; he will desire
   nothing of this world, pleasant or painful; his one desire will be to
   know nothing of the body. If he should meet with pain he will pit
   against it the powers he holds to meet it; but pleasure and health and
   ease of life will not mean any increase of happiness to him nor will
   their contraries destroy or lessen it.

   When in the one subject, a positive can add nothing, how can the
   negative take away?

   15. But suppose two wise men, one of them possessing all that is
   supposed to be naturally welcome, while the other meets only with the
   very reverse: do we assert that they have an equal happiness?

   We do, if they are equally wise.

   What though the one be favoured in body and in all else that does not
   help towards wisdom, still less towards virtue, towards the vision of
   the noblest, towards being the highest, what does all that amount to?
   The man commanding all such practical advantages cannot flatter himself
   that he is more truly happy than the man without them: the utmost
   profusion of such boons would not help even to make a flute-player.

   We discuss the happy man after our own feebleness; we count alarming
   and grave what his felicity takes lightly: he would be neither wise nor
   in the state of happiness if he had not quitted all trifling with such
   things and become as it were another being, having confidence in his
   own nature, faith that evil can never touch him. In such a spirit he
   can be fearless through and through; where there is dread, there is not
   perfect virtue; the man is some sort of a half-thing.

   As for any involuntary fear rising in him and taking the judgement by
   surprise, while his thoughts perhaps are elsewhere, the Sage will
   attack it and drive it out; he will, so to speak, calm the refractory
   child within him, whether by reason or by menace, but without passion,
   as an infant might feel itself rebuked by a glance of severity.

   This does not make the Sage unfriendly or harsh: it is to himself and
   in his own great concern that he is the Sage: giving freely to his
   intimates of all he has to give, he will be the best of friends by his
   very union with the Intellectual-Principle.

   16. Those that refuse to place the Sage aloft in the Intellectual Realm
   but drag him down to the accidental, dreading accident for him, have
   substituted for the Sage we have in mind another person altogether;
   they offer us a tolerable sort of man and they assign to him a life of
   mingled good and ill, a case, after all, not easy to conceive. But
   admitting the possibility of such a mixed state, it could not be
   deserved to be called a life of happiness; it misses the Great, both in
   the dignity of Wisdom and in the integrity of Good. The life of true
   happiness is not a thing of mixture. And Plato rightly taught that he
   who is to be wise and to possess happiness draws his good from the
   Supreme, fixing his gaze on That, becoming like to That, living by

   He can care for no other Term than That: all else he will attend to
   only as he might change his residence, not in expectation of any
   increase to his settled felicity, but simply in a reasonable attention
   to the differing conditions surrounding him as he lives here or there.

   He will give to the body all that he sees to be useful and possible,
   but he himself remains a member of another order, not prevented from
   abandoning the body, necessarily leaving it at nature's hour, he
   himself always the master to decide in its regard.

   Thus some part of his life considers exclusively the Soul's
   satisfaction; the rest is not immediately for the Term's sake and not
   for his own sake, but for the thing bound up with him, the thing which
   he tends and bears with as the musician cares for his lyre, as long as
   it can serve him: when the lyre fails him, he will change it, or will
   give up lyre and lyring, as having another craft now, one that needs no
   lyre, and then he will let it rest unregarded at his side while he
   sings on without an instrument. But it was not idly that the instrument
   was given him in the beginning: he has found it useful until now, many
   a time.



   1. Is it possible to think that Happiness increases with Time,
   Happiness which is always taken as a present thing?

   The memory of former felicity may surely be ruled out of count, for
   Happiness is not a thing of words, but a definite condition which must
   be actually present like the very fact and act of life.

   2. It may be objected that our will towards living and towards
   expressive activity is constant, and that each attainment of such
   expression is an increase in Happiness.

   But in the first place, by this reckoning every to-morrow's well-being
   will be greater than to-day's, every later instalment successively
   larger that an earlier; at once time supplants moral excellence as the
   measure of felicity.

   Then again the Gods to-day must be happier than of old: and their
   bliss, too, is not perfect, will never be perfect. Further, when the
   will attains what it was seeking, it attains something present: the
   quest is always for something to be actually present until a standing
   felicity is definitely achieved. The will to life which is will to
   Existence aims at something present, since Existence must be a stably
   present thing. Even when the act of the will is directed towards the
   future, and the furthest future, its object is an actually present
   having and being: there is no concern about what is passed or to come:
   the future state a man seeks is to be a now to him; he does not care
   about the forever: he asks that an actual present be actually present.

   3. Yes, but if the well-being has lasted a long time, if that present
   spectacle has been a longer time before the eyes?

   If in the greater length of time the man has seen more deeply, time has
   certainly done something for him, but if all the process has brought
   him no further vision, then one glance would give all he has had.

   4. Still the one life has known pleasure longer than the other?

   But pleasure cannot be fairly reckoned in with Happiness -- unless
   indeed by pleasure is meant the unhindered Act [of the true man], in
   which case this pleasure is simply our "Happiness." And even pleasure,
   though it exist continuously, has never anything but the present; its
   past is over and done with.

   5. We are asked to believe, then, it will be objected, that if one man
   has been happy from first to last, another only at the last, and a
   third, beginning with happiness, has lost it, their shares are equal?

   This is straying from the question: we were comparing the happy among
   themselves: now we are asked to compare the not-happy at the time when
   they are out of happiness with those in actual possession of happiness.
   If these last are better off, they are so as men in possession of
   happiness against men without it and their advantage is always by
   something in the present.

   6. Well, but take the unhappy man: must not increase of time bring an
   increase of his unhappiness? Do not all troubles -- long-lasting pains,
   sorrows, and everything of that type -- yield a greater sum of misery
   in the longer time? And if thus in misery the evil is augmented by time
   why should not time equally augment happiness when all is well?

   In the matter of sorrows and pains there is, no doubt, ground for
   saying that time brings increase: for example, in a lingering malady
   the evil hardens into a state, and as time goes on the body is brought
   lower and lower. But if the constitution did not deteriorate, if the
   mischief grew no worse, then, here too, there would be no trouble but
   that of the present moment: we cannot tell the past into the tale of
   unhappiness except in the sense that it has gone to make up an actually
   existing state -- in the sense that, the evil in the sufferer's
   condition having been extended over a longer time, the mischief has
   gained ground. The increase of ill-being then is due to the aggravation
   of the malady not to the extension of time.

   It may be pointed out also that this greater length of time is not a
   thing existent at any given moment; and surely a "more" is not to be
   made out by adding to something actually present something that has
   passed away.

   No: true happiness is not vague and fluid: it is an unchanging state.

   If there is in this matter any increase besides that of mere time, it
   is in the sense that a greater happiness is the reward of a higher
   virtue: this is not counting up to the credit of happiness the years of
   its continuance; it is simply noting the high-water mark once for all

   7. But if we are to consider only the present and may not call in the
   past to make the total, why do we not reckon so in the case of time
   itself, where, in fact, we do not hesitate to add the past to the
   present and call the total greater? Why not suppose a quantity of
   happiness equivalent to a quantity of time? This would be no more than
   taking it lap by lap to correspond with time-laps instead of choosing
   to consider it as an indivisible, measurable only by the content of a
   given instant.

   There is no absurdity in taking count of time which has ceased to be:
   we are merely counting what is past and finished, as we might count the
   dead: but to treat past happiness as actually existent and as
   outweighing present happiness, that is an absurdity. For Happiness must
   be an achieved and existent state, whereas any time over and apart from
   the present is nonexistent: all progress of time means the extinction
   of all the time that has been.

   Hence time is aptly described as a mimic of eternity that seeks to
   break up in its fragmentary flight the permanence of its exemplar. Thus
   whatever time seizes and seals to itself of what stands permanent in
   eternity is annihilated -- saved only in so far as in some degree it
   still belongs to eternity, but wholly destroyed if it be unreservedly
   absorbed into time.

   If Happiness demands the possession of the good of life, it clearly has
   to do with the life of Authentic-Existence for that life is the Best.
   Now the life of Authentic-Existence is measurable not by time but by
   eternity; and eternity is not a more or a less or a thing of any
   magnitude but is the unchangeable, the indivisible, is timeless Being.

   We must not muddle together Being and Non-Being, time and eternity, not
   even everlasting time with the eternal; we cannot make laps and stages
   of an absolute unity; all must be taken together, wheresoever and
   howsoever we handle it; and it must be taken at that, not even as an
   undivided block of time but as the Life of Eternity, a stretch not made
   up of periods but completely rounded, outside of all notion of time.

   8. It may be urged that the actual presence of past experiences, kept
   present by Memory, gives the advantage to the man of the longer

   But, Memory of what sort of experiences?

   Memory either of formerly attained wisdom and virtue -- in which case
   we have a better man and the argument from memory is given up -- or
   memory of past pleasures, as if the man that has arrived at felicity
   must roam far and wide in search of gratifications and is not contented
   by the bliss actually within him.

   And what is there pleasant in the memory of pleasure? What is it to
   recall yesterday's excellent dinner? Still more ridiculous, one of ten
   years ago. So, too, of last year's morality.

   9. But is there not something to be said for the memory of the various
   forms of beauty?

   That is the resource of a man whose life is without beauty in the
   present, so that, for lack of it now, he grasps at the memory of what
   has been.

   10. But, it may be said, length of time produces an abundance of good
   actions missed by the man whose attainment of the happy state is recent
   -- if indeed we can think at all of a state of happiness where good
   actions have been few.

   Now to make multiplicity, whether in time or in action, essential to
   Happiness is to put it together by combining non-existents, represented
   by the past, with some one thing that actually is. This consideration
   it was that led us at the very beginning to place Happiness in the
   actually existent and on that basis to launch our enquiry as to whether
   the higher degree was determined by the longer time. It might be
   thought that the Happiness of longer date must surpass the shorter by
   virtue of the greater number of acts it included.

   But, to begin with, men quite outside of the active life may attain the
   state of felicity, and not in a less but in a greater degree than men
   of affairs.

   Secondly, the good does not derive from the act itself but from the
   inner disposition which prompts the noble conduct: the wise and good
   man in his very action harvests the good not by what he does but by
   what he is.

   A wicked man no less than a Sage may save the country, and the good of
   the act is for all alike, no matter whose was the saving hand. The
   contentment of the Sage does not hang upon such actions and events: it
   is his own inner habit that creates at once his felicity and whatever
   pleasure may accompany it.

   To put Happiness in actions is to put it in things that are outside
   virtue and outside the Soul; for the Soul's expression is not in action
   but in wisdom, in a contemplative operation within itself; and this,
   this alone, is Happiness.



   1. Beauty addresses itself chiefly to sight; but there is a beauty for
   the hearing too, as in certain combinations of words and in all kinds
   of music, for melodies and cadences are beautiful; and minds that lift
   themselves above the realm of sense to a higher order are aware of
   beauty in the conduct of life, in actions, in character, in the
   pursuits of the intellect; and there is the beauty of the virtues. What
   loftier beauty there may be, yet, our argument will bring to light.

   What, then, is it that gives comeliness to material forms and draws the
   ear to the sweetness perceived in sounds, and what is the secret of the
   beauty there is in all that derives from Soul?

   Is there some One Principle from which all take their grace, or is
   there a beauty peculiar to the embodied and another for the bodiless?
   Finally, one or many, what would such a Principle be?

   Consider that some things, material shapes for instance, are gracious
   not by anything inherent but by something communicated, while others
   are lovely of themselves, as, for example, Virtue. The same bodies
   appear sometimes beautiful, sometimes not; so that there is a good deal
   between being body and being beautiful.

   What, then, is this something that shows itself in certain material
   forms? This is the natural beginning of our enquiry.

   What is it that attracts the eyes of those to whom a beautiful object
   is presented, and calls them, lures them, towards it, and fills them
   with joy at the sight? If we possess ourselves of this, we have at once
   a standpoint for the wider survey.

   Almost everyone declares that the symmetry of parts towards each other
   and towards a whole, with, besides, a certain charm of colour,
   constitutes the beauty recognized by the eye, that in visible things,
   as indeed in all else, universally, the beautiful thing is essentially
   symmetrical, patterned.

   But think what this means.

   Only a compound can be beautiful, never anything devoid of parts; and
   only a whole; the several parts will have beauty, not in themselves,
   but only as working together to give a comely total. Yet beauty in an
   aggregate demands beauty in details; it cannot be constructed out of
   ugliness; its law must run throughout.

   All the loveliness of colour and even the light of the sun, being
   devoid of parts and so not beautiful by symmetry, must be ruled out of
   the realm of beauty. And how comes gold to be a beautiful thing? And
   lightning by night, and the stars, why are these so fair?

   In sounds also the simple must be proscribed, though often in a whole
   noble composition each several tone is delicious in itself.

   Again since the one face, constant in symmetry, appears sometimes fair
   and sometimes not, can we doubt that beauty is something more than
   symmetry, that symmetry itself owes its beauty to a remoter principle?

   Turn to what is attractive in methods of life or in the expression of
   thought; are we to call in symmetry here? What symmetry is to be found
   in noble conduct, or excellent laws, in any form of mental pursuit?

   What symmetry can there be in points of abstract thought?

   The symmetry of being accordant with each other? But there may be
   accordance or entire identity where there is nothing but ugliness: the
   proposition that honesty is merely a generous artlessness chimes in the
   most perfect harmony with the proposition that morality means weakness
   of will; the accordance is complete.

   Then again, all the virtues are a beauty of the soul, a beauty
   authentic beyond any of these others; but how does symmetry enter here?
   The soul, it is true, is not a simple unity, but still its virtue
   cannot have the symmetry of size or of number: what standard of
   measurement could preside over the compromise or the coalescence of the
   soul's faculties or purposes?

   Finally, how by this theory would there be beauty in the
   Intellectual-Principle, essentially the solitary?

   2. Let us, then, go back to the source, and indicate at once the
   Principle that bestows beauty on material things.

   Undoubtedly this Principle exists; it is something that is perceived at
   the first glance, something which the soul names as from an ancient
   knowledge and, recognising, welcomes it, enters into unison with it.

   But let the soul fall in with the Ugly and at once it shrinks within
   itself, denies the thing, turns away from it, not accordant, resenting

   Our interpretation is that the soul -- by the very truth of its nature,
   by its affiliation to the noblest Existents in the hierarchy of Being
   -- when it sees anything of that kin, or any trace of that kinship,
   thrills with an immediate delight, takes its own to itself, and thus
   stirs anew to the sense of its nature and of all its affinity.

   But, is there any such likeness between the loveliness of this world
   and the splendours in the Supreme? Such a likeness in the particulars
   would make the two orders alike: but what is there in common between
   beauty here and beauty There?

   We hold that all the loveliness of this world comes by communion in

   All shapelessness whose kind admits of pattern and form, as long as it
   remains outside of Reason and Idea, is ugly by that very isolation from
   the Divine-Thought. And this is the Absolute Ugly: an ugly thing is
   something that has not been entirely mastered by pattern, that is by
   Reason, the Matter not yielding at all points and in all respects to

   But where the Ideal-Form has entered, it has grouped and coordinated
   what from a diversity of parts was to become a unity: it has rallied
   confusion into co-operation: it has made the sum one harmonious
   coherence: for the Idea is a unity and what it moulds must come to
   unity as far as multiplicity may.

   And on what has thus been compacted to unity, Beauty enthrones itself,
   giving itself to the parts as to the sum: when it lights on some
   natural unity, a thing of like parts, then it gives itself to that
   whole. Thus, for an illustration, there is the beauty, conferred by
   craftsmanship, of all a house with all its parts, and the beauty which
   some natural quality may give to a single stone. This, then, is how the
   material thing becomes beautiful -- by communicating in the thought
   that flows from the Divine.

   3. And the soul includes a faculty peculiarly addressed to Beauty --
   one incomparably sure in the appreciation of its own, never in doubt
   whenever any lovely thing presents itself for judgement.

   Or perhaps the soul itself acts immediately, affirming the Beautiful
   where it finds something accordant with the Ideal-Form within itself,
   using this Idea as a canon of accuracy in its decision.

   But what accordance is there between the material and that which
   antedates all Matter?

   On what principle does the architect, when he finds the house standing
   before him correspondent with his inner ideal of a house, pronounce it
   beautiful? Is it not that the house before him, the stones apart, is
   the inner idea stamped upon the mass of exterior matter, the
   indivisible exhibited in diversity?

   So with the perceptive faculty: discerning in certain objects the
   Ideal-Form which has bound and controlled shapeless matter, opposed in
   nature to Idea, seeing further stamped upon the common shapes some
   shape excellent above the common, it gathers into unity what still
   remains fragmentary, catches it up and carries it within, no longer a
   thing of parts, and presents it to the Ideal-Principle as something
   concordant and congenial, a natural friend: the joy here is like that
   of a good man who discerns in a youth the early signs of a virtue
   consonant with the achieved perfection within his own soul.

   The beauty of colour is also the outcome of a unification: it derives
   from shape, from the conquest of the darkness inherent in Matter by the
   pouring-in of light, the unembodied, which is a Rational-Principle and
   an Ideal-Form.

   Hence it is that Fire itself is splendid beyond all material bodies,
   holding the rank of Ideal-Principle to the other elements, making ever
   upwards, the subtlest and sprightliest of all bodies, as very near to
   the unembodied; itself alone admitting no other, all the others
   penetrated by it: for they take warmth but this is never cold; it has
   colour primally; they receive the Form of colour from it: hence the
   splendour of its light, the splendour that belongs to the Idea. And all
   that has resisted and is but uncertainly held by its light remains
   outside of beauty, as not having absorbed the plenitude of the Form of

   And harmonies unheard in sound create the harmonies we hear, and wake
   the soul to the consciousness of beauty, showing it the one essence in
   another kind: for the measures of our sensible music are not arbitrary
   but are determined by the Principle whose labour is to dominate Matter
   and bring pattern into being.

   Thus far of the beauties of the realm of sense, images and
   shadow-pictures, fugitives that have entered into Matter -- to adorn,
   and to ravish, where they are seen.

   4. But there are earlier and loftier beauties than these. In the
   sense-bound life we are no longer granted to know them, but the soul,
   taking no help from the organs, sees and proclaims them. To the vision
   of these we must mount, leaving sense to its own low place.

   As it is not for those to speak of the graceful forms of the material
   world who have never seen them or known their grace -- men born blind,
   let us suppose -- in the same way those must be silent upon the beauty
   of noble conduct and of learning and all that order who have never
   cared for such things, nor may those tell of the splendour of virtue
   who have never known the face of Justice and of Moral-Wisdom beautiful
   beyond the beauty of Evening and of dawn.

   Such vision is for those only who see with the Soul's sight -- and at
   the vision, they will rejoice, and awe will fall upon them and a
   trouble deeper than all the rest could ever stir, for now they are
   moving in the realm of Truth.

   This is the spirit that Beauty must ever induce, wonderment and a
   delicious trouble, longing and love and a trembling that is all
   delight. For the unseen all this may be felt as for the seen; and this
   the Souls feel for it, every soul in some degree, but those the more
   deeply that are the more truly apt to this higher love -- just as all
   take delight in the beauty of the body but all are not stung as
   sharply, and those only that feel the keener wound are known as Lovers.

   5. These Lovers, then, lovers of the beauty outside of sense, must be
   made to declare themselves.

   What do you feel in presence of the grace you discern in actions, in
   manners, in sound morality, in all the works and fruits of virtue, in
   the beauty of souls? When you see that you yourselves are beautiful
   within, what do you feel? What is this Dionysiac exultation that
   thrills through your being, this straining upwards of all your Soul,
   this longing to break away from the body and live sunken within the
   veritable self?

   These are no other than the emotions of Souls under the spell of love.

   But what is it that awakens all this passion? No shape, no colour, no
   grandeur of mass: all is for a Soul, something whose beauty rests upon
   no colour, for the moral wisdom the Soul enshrines and all the other
   hueless splendour of the virtues. It is that you find in yourself, or
   admire in another, loftiness of spirit; righteousness of life;
   disciplined purity; courage of the majestic face; gravity; modesty that
   goes fearless and tranquil and passionless; and, shining down upon all,
   the light of god-like Intellection.

   All these noble qualities are to be reverenced and loved, no doubt, but
   what entitles them to be called beautiful?

   They exist: they manifest themselves to us: anyone that sees them must
   admit that they have reality of Being; and is not Real-Being, really

   But we have not yet shown by what property in them they have wrought
   the Soul to loveliness: what is this grace, this splendour as of Light,
   resting upon all the virtues?

   Let us take the contrary, the ugliness of the Soul, and set that
   against its beauty: to understand, at once, what this ugliness is and
   how it comes to appear in the Soul will certainly open our way before

   Let us then suppose an ugly Soul, dissolute, unrighteous: teeming with
   all the lusts; torn by internal discord; beset by the fears of its
   cowardice and the envies of its pettiness; thinking, in the little
   thought it has, only of the perish able and the base; perverse in all
   its the friend of unclean pleasures; living the life of abandonment to
   bodily sensation and delighting in its deformity.

   What must we think but that all this shame is something that has
   gathered about the Soul, some foreign bane outraging it, soiling it, so
   that, encumbered with all manner of turpitude, it has no longer a clean
   activity or a clean sensation, but commands only a life smouldering
   dully under the crust of evil; that, sunk in manifold death, it no
   longer sees what a Soul should see, may no longer rest in its own
   being, dragged ever as it is towards the outer, the lower, the dark?

   An unclean thing, I dare to say; flickering hither and thither at the
   call of objects of sense, deeply infected with the taint of body,
   occupied always in Matter, and absorbing Matter into itself; in its
   commerce with the Ignoble it has trafficked away for an alien nature
   its own essential Idea.

   If a man has been immersed in filth or daubed with mud his native
   comeliness disappears and all that is seen is the foul stuff besmearing
   him: his ugly condition is due to alien matter that has encrusted him,
   and if he is to win back his grace it must be his business to scour and
   purify himself and make himself what he was.

   So, we may justly say, a Soul becomes ugly -- by something foisted upon
   it, by sinking itself into the alien, by a fall, a descent into body,
   into Matter. The dishonour of the Soul is in its ceasing to be clean
   and apart. Gold is degraded when it is mixed with earthy particles; if
   these be worked out, the gold is left and is beautiful, isolated from
   all that is foreign, gold with gold alone. And so the Soul; let it be
   but cleared of the desires that come by its too intimate converse with
   the body, emancipated from all the passions, purged of all that
   embodiment has thrust upon it, withdrawn, a solitary, to itself again
   -- in that moment the ugliness that came only from the alien is
   stripped away.

   6. For, as the ancient teaching was, moral-discipline and courage and
   every virtue, not even excepting Wisdom itself, all is purification.

   Hence the Mysteries with good reason adumbrate the immersion of the
   unpurified in filth, even in the Nether-World, since the unclean loves
   filth for its very filthiness, and swine foul of body find their joy in

   What else is Sophrosyne, rightly so-called, but to take no part in the
   pleasures of the body, to break away from them as unclean and unworthy
   of the clean? So too, Courage is but being fearless of the death which
   is but the parting of the Soul from the body, an event which no one can
   dread whose delight is to be his unmingled self. And Magnanimity is but
   disregard for the lure of things here. And Wisdom is but the Act of the
   Intellectual-Principle withdrawn from the lower places and leading the
   Soul to the Above.

   The Soul thus cleansed is all Idea and Reason, wholly free of body,
   intellective, entirely of that divine order from which the wellspring
   of Beauty rises and all the race of Beauty.

   Hence the Soul heightened to the Intellectual-Principle is beautiful to
   all its power. For Intellection and all that proceeds from Intellection
   are the Soul's beauty, a graciousness native to it and not foreign, for
   only with these is it truly Soul. And it is just to say that in the
   Soul's becoming a good and beautiful thing is its becoming like to God,
   for from the Divine comes all the Beauty and all the Good in beings.

   We may even say that Beauty is the Authentic-Existents and Ugliness is
   the Principle contrary to Existence: and the Ugly is also the primal
   evil; therefore its contrary is at once good and beautiful, or is Good
   and Beauty: and hence the one method will discover to us the
   Beauty-Good and the Ugliness-Evil.

   And Beauty, this Beauty which is also The Good, must be posed as The
   First: directly deriving from this First is the Intellectual-Principle
   which is pre-eminently the manifestation of Beauty; through the
   Intellectual-Principle Soul is beautiful. The beauty in things of a
   lower order-actions and pursuits for instance -- comes by operation of
   the shaping Soul which is also the author of the beauty found in the
   world of sense. For the Soul, a divine thing, a fragment as it were of
   the Primal Beauty, makes beautiful to the fulness of their capacity all
   things whatsoever that it grasps and moulds.

   7. Therefore we must ascend again towards the Good, the desired of
   every Soul. Anyone that has seen This, knows what I intend when I say
   that it is beautiful. Even the desire of it is to be desired as a Good.
   To attain it is for those that will take the upward path, who will set
   all their forces towards it, who will divest themselves of all that we
   have put on in our descent: -- so, to those that approach the Holy
   Celebrations of the Mysteries, there are appointed purifications and
   the laying aside of the garments worn before, and the entry in
   nakedness -- until, passing, on the upward way, all that is other than
   the God, each in the solitude of himself shall behold that
   solitary-dwelling Existence, the Apart, the Unmingled, the Pure, that
   from Which all things depend, for Which all look and live and act and
   know, the Source of Life and of Intellection and of Being.

   And one that shall know this vision -- with what passion of love shall
   he not be seized, with what pang of desire, what longing to be molten
   into one with This, what wondering delight! If he that has never seen
   this Being must hunger for It as for all his welfare, he that has known
   must love and reverence It as the very Beauty; he will be flooded with
   awe and gladness, stricken by a salutary terror; he loves with a
   veritable love, with sharp desire; all other loves than this he must
   despise, and disdain all that once seemed fair.

   This, indeed, is the mood even of those who, having witnessed the
   manifestation of Gods or Supernals, can never again feel the old
   delight in the comeliness of material forms: what then are we to think
   of one that contemplates Absolute Beauty in Its essential integrity, no
   accumulation of flesh and matter, no dweller on earth or in the heavens
   -- so perfect Its purity -- far above all such things in that they are
   non-essential, composite, not primal but descending from This?

   Beholding this Being -- the Choragos of all Existence, the Self-Intent
   that ever gives forth and never takes -- resting, rapt, in the vision
   and possession of so lofty a loveliness, growing to Its likeness, what
   Beauty can the soul yet lack? For This, the Beauty supreme, the
   absolute, and the primal, fashions Its lovers to Beauty and makes them
   also worthy of love.

   And for This, the sternest and the uttermost combat is set before the
   Souls; all our labour is for This, lest we be left without part in this
   noblest vision, which to attain is to be blessed in the blissful sight,
   which to fail of is to fail utterly.

   For not he that has failed of the joy that is in colour or in visible
   forms, not he that has failed of power or of honours or of kingdom has
   failed, but only he that has failed of only This, for Whose winning he
   should renounce kingdoms and command over earth and ocean and sky, if
   only, spurning the world of sense from beneath his feet, and straining
   to This, he may see.

   8. But what must we do? How lies the path? How come to vision of the
   inaccessible Beauty, dwelling as if in consecrated precincts, apart
   from the common ways where all may see, even the profane?

   He that has the strength, let him arise and withdraw into himself,
   foregoing all that is known by the eyes, turning away for ever from the
   material beauty that once made his joy. When he perceives those shapes
   of grace that show in body, let him not pursue: he must know them for
   copies, vestiges, shadows, and hasten away towards That they tell of.
   For if anyone follow what is like a beautiful shape playing over water
   -- is there not a myth telling in symbol of such a dupe, how he sank
   into the depths of the current and was swept away to nothingness? So
   too, one that is held by material beauty and will not break free shall
   be precipitated, not in body but in Soul, down to the dark depths
   loathed of the Intellective-Being, where, blind even in the
   Lower-World, he shall have commerce only with shadows, there as here.

   "Let us flee then to the beloved Fatherland": this is the soundest
   counsel. But what is this flight? How are we to gain the open sea? For
   Odysseus is surely a parable to us when he commands the flight from the
   sorceries of Circe or Calypso -- not content to linger for all the
   pleasure offered to his eyes and all the delight of sense filling his

   The Fatherland to us is There whence we have come, and There is The

   What then is our course, what the manner of our flight? This is not a
   journey for the feet; the feet bring us only from land to land; nor
   need you think of coach or ship to carry you away; all this order of
   things you must set aside and refuse to see: you must close the eyes
   and call instead upon another vision which is to be waked within you, a
   vision, the birth-right of all, which few turn to use.

   9. And this inner vision, what is its operation?

   Newly awakened it is all too feeble to bear the ultimate splendour.
   Therefore the Soul must be trained -- to the habit of remarking, first,
   all noble pursuits, then the works of beauty produced not by the labour
   of the arts but by the virtue of men known for their goodness: lastly,
   you must search the souls of those that have shaped these beautiful

   But how are you to see into a virtuous soul and know its loveliness?

   Withdraw into yourself and look. And if you do not find yourself
   beautiful yet, act as does the creator of a statue that is to be made
   beautiful: he cuts away here, he smoothes there, he makes this line
   lighter, this other purer, until a lovely face has grown upon his work.
   So do you also: cut away all that is excessive, straighten all that is
   crooked, bring light to all that is overcast, labour to make all one
   glow of beauty and never cease chiselling your statue, until there
   shall shine out on you from it the godlike splendour of virtue, until
   you shall see the perfect goodness surely established in the stainless

   When you know that you have become this perfect work, when you are
   self-gathered in the purity of your being, nothing now remaining that
   can shatter that inner unity, nothing from without clinging to the
   authentic man, when you find yourself wholly true to your essential
   nature, wholly that only veritable Light which is not measured by
   space, not narrowed to any circumscribed form nor again diffused as a
   thing void of term, but ever unmeasurable as something greater than all
   measure and more than all quantity -- when you perceive that you have
   grown to this, you are now become very vision: now call up all your
   confidence, strike forward yet a step -- you need a guide no longer --
   strain, and see.

   This is the only eye that sees the mighty Beauty. If the eye that
   adventures the vision be dimmed by vice, impure, or weak, and unable in
   its cowardly blenching to see the uttermost brightness, then it sees
   nothing even though another point to what lies plain to sight before
   it. To any vision must be brought an eye adapted to what is to be seen,
   and having some likeness to it. Never did eye see the sun unless it had
   first become sunlike, and never can the soul have vision of the First
   Beauty unless itself be beautiful.

   Therefore, first let each become godlike and each beautiful who cares
   to see God and Beauty. So, mounting, the Soul will come first to the
   Intellectual-Principle and survey all the beautiful Ideas in the
   Supreme and will avow that this is Beauty, that the Ideas are Beauty.
   For by their efficacy comes all Beauty else, but the offspring and
   essence of the Intellectual-Being. What is beyond the
   Intellectual-Principle we affirm to be the nature of Good radiating
   Beauty before it. So that, treating the Intellectual-Kosmos as one, the
   first is the Beautiful: if we make distinction there, the Realm of
   Ideas constitutes the Beauty of the Intellectual Sphere; and The Good,
   which lies beyond, is the Fountain at once and Principle of Beauty: the
   Primal Good and the Primal Beauty have the one dwelling-place and,
   thus, always, Beauty's seat is There.



   1. We can scarcely conceive that for any entity the Good can be other
   than the natural Act expressing its life-force, or in the case of an
   entity made up of parts the Act, appropriate, natural and complete,
   expressive of that in it which is best.

   For the Soul, then, the Good is its own natural Act.

   But the Soul itself is natively a "Best"; if, further, its act be
   directed towards the Best, the achievement is not merely the "Soul's
   good" but "The Good" without qualification.

   Now, given an Existent which -- as being itself the best of existences
   and even transcending the existences -- directs its Act towards no
   other, but is the object to which the Act of all else is directed, it
   is clear that this must be at once the Good and the means through which
   all else may participate in Good.

   This Absolute Good other entities may possess in two ways -- by
   becoming like to It and by directing the Act of their being towards It.

   Now, if all aspiration and Act whatsoever are directed towards the
   Good, it follows that the Essential-Good neither need nor can look
   outside itself or aspire to anything other than itself: it can but
   remain unmoved, as being, in the constitution of things, the wellspring
   and first-cause of all Act: whatsoever in other entities is of the
   nature of Good cannot be due to any Act of the Essential-Good upon
   them; it is for them on the contrary to act towards their source and
   cause. The Good must, then, be the Good not by any Act, not even by
   virtue of its Intellection, but by its very rest within Itself.

   Existing beyond and above Being, it must be beyond and above the
   Intellectual-Principle and all Intellection.

   For, again, that only can be named the Good to which all is bound and
   itself to none: for only thus is it veritably the object of all
   aspiration. It must be unmoved, while all circles around it, as a
   circumference around a centre from which all the radii proceed. Another
   example would be the sun, central to the light which streams from it
   and is yet linked to it, or at least is always about it, irremoveably;
   try all you will to separate the light from the sun, or the sun from
   its light, for ever the light is in the sun.

   2. But the Universe outside; how is it aligned towards the Good?

   The soulless by direction toward Soul: Soul towards the Good itself,
   through the Intellectual-Principle.

   Everything has something of the Good, by virtue of possessing a certain
   degree of unity and a certain degree of Existence and by participation
   in Ideal-Form: to the extent of the Unity, Being, and Form which are
   present, there is a sharing in an image, for the Unity and Existence in
   which there is participation are no more than images of the Ideal-Form.

   With Soul it is different; the First-Soul, that which follows upon the
   Intellectual-Principle, possesses a life nearer to the Verity and
   through that Principle is of the nature of good; it will actually
   possess the Good if it orientate itself towards the
   Intellectual-Principle, since this follows immediately upon the Good.

   In sum, then, life is the Good to the living, and the
   Intellectual-Principle to what is intellective; so that

   where there is life with intellection there is a double contact with
   the Good.

   3. But if life is a good, is there good for all that lives?

   No: in the vile, life limps: it is like the eye to the dim-sighted; it
   fails of its task.

   But if the mingled strand of life is to us, though entwined with evil,
   still in the total a good, must not death be an evil?

   Evil to What? There must be a subject for the evil: but if the possible
   subject is no longer among beings, or, still among beings, is devoid of
   life . . . why, a stone is not more immune.

   If, on the contrary, after death life and soul continue, then death
   will be no evil but a good; Soul, disembodied, is the freer to ply its
   own Act.

   If it be taken into the All-Soul -- what evil can reach it There? And
   as the Gods are possessed of Good and untouched by evil -- so,
   certainly is the Soul that has preserved its essential character. And
   if it should lose its purity, the evil it experiences is not in its
   death but in its life. Suppose it to be under punishment in the lower
   world, even there the evil thing is its life and not its death; the
   misfortune is still life, a life of a definite character.

   Life is a partnership of a Soul and body; death is the dissolution; in
   either life or death, then, the Soul will feel itself at home.

   But, again, if life is good, how can death be anything but evil?

   Remember that the good of life, where it has any good at all, is not
   due to anything in the partnership but to the repelling of evil by
   virtue; death, then, must be the greater good.

   In a word, life in the body is of itself an evil but the Soul enters
   its Good through Virtue, not living the life of the Couplement but
   holding itself apart, even here.



   1. Those enquiring whence Evil enters into beings, or rather into a
   certain order of beings, would be making the best beginning if they
   established, first of all, what precisely Evil is, what constitutes its
   Nature. At once we should know whence it comes, where it has its native
   seat and where it is present merely as an accident; and there would be
   no further question as to whether it has Authentic-Existence.

   But a difficulty arises. By what faculty in us could we possibly know

   All knowing comes by likeness. The Intellectual-Principle and the Soul,
   being Ideal-Forms, would know Ideal-Forms and would have a natural
   tendency towards them; but who could imagine Evil to be an Ideal-Form,
   seeing that it manifests itself as the very absence of Good?

   If the solution is that the one act of knowing covers contraries, and
   that as Evil is the contrary to Good the one act would grasp Good and
   Evil together, then to know Evil there must be first a clear perception
   and understanding of Good, since the nobler existences precede the
   baser and are Ideal-Forms while the less good hold no such standing,
   are nearer to Non-Being.

   No doubt there is a question in what precise way Good is contrary to
   Evil -- whether it is as First-Principle to last of things or as
   Ideal-Form to utter Lack: but this subject we postpone.

   2. For the moment let us define the nature of the Good as far as the
   immediate purpose demands.

   The Good is that on which all else depends, towards which all
   Existences aspire as to their source and their need, while Itself is
   without need, sufficient to Itself, aspiring to no other, the measure
   and Term of all, giving out from itself the Intellectual-Principle and
   Existence and Soul and Life and all Intellective-Act.

   All until The Good is reached is beautiful; The Good is
   beyond-beautiful, beyond the Highest, holding kingly state in the
   Intellectual-Kosmos, that sphere constituted by a Principle wholly
   unlike what is known as Intelligence in us. Our intelligence is
   nourished on the propositions of logic, is skilled in following
   discussions, works by reasonings, examines links of demonstration, and
   comes to know the world of Being also by the steps of logical process,
   having no prior grasp of Reality but remaining empty, all Intelligence
   though it be, until it has put itself to school.

   The Intellectual-Principle we are discussing is not of such a kind: It
   possesses all: It is all: It is present to all by Its self-presence: It
   has all by other means than having, for what It possesses is still
   Itself, nor does any particular of all within It stand apart; for every
   such particular is the whole and in all respects all, while yet not
   confused in the mass but still distinct, apart to the extent that any
   participant in the Intellectual-Principle participates not in the
   entire as one thing but in whatsoever lies within its own reach.

   And the First Act is the Act of The Good stationary within Itself, and
   the First Existence is the self-contained Existence of The Good; but
   there is also an Act upon It, that of the Intellectual-Principle which,
   as it were, lives about It.

   And the Soul, outside, circles around the Intellectual-Principle, and
   by gazing upon it, seeing into the depths of It, through It sees God.

   Such is the untroubled, the blissful, life of divine beings, and Evil
   has no place in it; if this were all, there would be no Evil but Good
   only, the first, the second and the third Good. All, thus far, is with
   the King of All, unfailing Cause of Good and Beauty and controller of
   all; and what is Good in the second degree depends upon the
   Second-Principle and tertiary Good upon the Third.

   3. If such be the Nature of Beings and of That which transcends all the
   realm of Being, Evil cannot have place among Beings or in the
   Beyond-Being; these are good.

   There remains, only, if Evil exist at all, that it be situate in the
   realm of Non-Being, that it be some mode, as it were, of the Non-Being,
   that it have its seat in something in touch with Non-Being or to a
   certain degree communicate in Non-Being.

   By this Non-Being, of course, we are not to understand something that
   simply does not exist, but only something of an utterly different order
   from Authentic-Being: there is no question here of movement or position
   with regard to Being; the Non-Being we are thinking of is, rather, an
   image of Being or perhaps something still further removed than even an

   Now this [the required faint image of Being] might be the sensible
   universe with all the impressions it engenders, or it might be
   something of even later derivation, accidental to the realm of sense,
   or again, it might be the source of the sense-world or something of the
   same order entering into it to complete it.

   Some conception of it would be reached by thinking of measurelessness
   as opposed to measure, of the unbounded against bound, the unshaped
   against a principle of shape, the ever-needy against the
   self-sufficing: think of the ever-undefined, the never at rest, the
   all-accepting but never sated, utter dearth; and make all this
   character not mere accident in it but its equivalent for
   essential-being, so that, whatsoever fragment of it be taken, that part
   is all lawless void, while whatever participates in it and resembles it
   becomes evil, though not of course to the point of being, as itself is,

   In what substantial-form [hypostasis] then is all this to be found --
   not as accident but as the very substance itself?

   For if Evil can enter into other things, it must have in a certain
   sense a prior existence, even though it may not be an essence. As there
   is Good, the Absolute, as well as Good, the quality, so, together with
   the derived evil entering into something not itself, there must be the
   Absolute Evil.

   But how? Can there be Unmeasure apart from an unmeasured object?

   Does not Measure exist apart from unmeasured things? Precisely as there
   is Measure apart from anything measured, so there is Unmeasure apart
   from the unmeasured. If Unmeasure could not exist independently, it
   must exist either in an unmeasured object or in something measured; but
   the unmeasured could not need Unmeasure and the measured could not
   contain it.

   There must, then, be some Undetermination-Absolute, some Absolute
   Formlessness; all the qualities cited as characterizing the Nature of
   Evil must be summed under an Absolute Evil; and every evil thing
   outside of this must either contain this Absolute by saturation or have
   taken the character of evil and become a cause of evil by consecration
   to this Absolute.

   What will this be?

   That Kind whose place is below all the patterns, forms, shapes,
   measurements and limits, that which has no trace of good by any title
   of its own, but [at best] takes order and grace from some Principle
   outside itself, a mere image as regards Absolute-Being but the
   Authentic Essence of Evil -- in so far as Evil can have Authentic
   Being. In such a Kind, Reason recognizes the Primal Evil, Evil

   4. The bodily Kind, in that it partakes of Matter is an evil thing.
   What form is in bodies is an untrue-form: they are without life: by
   their own natural disorderly movement they make away with each other;
   they are hindrances to the soul in its proper Act; in their ceaseless
   flux they are always slipping away from Being.

   Soul, on the contrary, since not every Soul is evil, is not an evil

   What, then, is the evil Soul?

   It is, we read, the Soul that has entered into the service of that in
   which soul-evil is implanted by nature, in whose service the
   unreasoning phase of the Soul accepts evil -- unmeasure, excess and
   shortcoming, which bring forth licentiousness, cowardice and all other
   flaws of the Soul, all the states, foreign to the true nature, which
   set up false judgements, so that the Soul comes to name things good or
   evil not by their true value but by the mere test of like and dislike.

   But what is the root of this evil state? how can it be brought under
   the causing principle indicated?

   Firstly, such a Soul is not apart from Matter, is not purely itself.
   That is to say, it is touched with Unmeasure, it is shut out from the
   Forming-Idea that orders and brings to measure, and this because it is
   merged into a body made of Matter.

   Then if the Reasoning-Faculty too has taken hurt, the Soul's seeing is
   baulked by the passions and by the darkening that Matter brings to it,
   by its decline into Matter, by its very attention no longer to Essence
   but to Process -- whose principle or source is, again, Matter, the Kind
   so evil as to saturate with its own pravity even that which is not in
   it but merely looks towards it.

   For, wholly without part in Good, the negation of Good, unmingled Lack,
   this Matter-Kind makes over to its own likeness whatsoever comes in
   touch with it.

   The Soul wrought to perfection, addressed towards the
   Intellectual-Principle, is steadfastly pure: it has turned away from
   Matter; all that is undetermined, that is outside of measure, that is
   evil, it neither sees nor draws near; it endures in its purity, only,
   and wholly, determined by the Intellectual-Principle.

   The Soul that breaks away from this source of its reality to the
   non-perfect and non-primal is, as it were, a secondary, an image, to
   the loyal Soul. By its falling-away -- and to the extent of the fall --
   it is stripped of Determination, becomes wholly indeterminate, sees
   darkness. Looking to what repels vision, as we look when we are said to
   see darkness, it has taken Matter into itself.

   5. But, it will be objected, if this seeing and frequenting of the
   darkness is due to the lack of good, the Soul's evil has its source in
   that very lack; the darkness will be merely a secondary cause -- and at
   once the Principle of Evil is removed from Matter, is made anterior to

   No: Evil is not in any and every lack; it is in absolute lack. What
   falls in some degree short of the Good is not Evil; considered in its
   own kind it might even be perfect, but where there is utter dearth,
   there we have Essential Evil, void of all share in Good; this is the
   case with Matter.

   Matter has not even existence whereby to have some part in Good: Being
   is attributed to it by an accident of words: the truth would be that it
   has Non-Being.

   Mere lack brings merely Not-Goodness: Evil demands the absolute lack --
   though, of course, any very considerable shortcoming makes the ultimate
   fall possible and is already, in itself, an evil.

   In fine we are not to think of Evil as some particular bad thing --
   injustice, for example, or any other ugly trait -- but as a principle
   distinct from any of the particular forms in which, by the addition of
   certain elements, it becomes manifest. Thus there may be wickedness in
   the Soul; the forms this general wickedness is to take will be
   determined by the environing Matter, by the faculties of the Soul that
   operate and by the nature of their operation, whether seeing, acting,
   or merely admitting impression.

   But supposing things external to the Soul are to be counted Evil --
   sickness, poverty and so forth -- how can they be referred to the
   principle we have described?

   Well, sickness is excess or defect in the body, which as a material
   organism rebels against order and measure; ugliness is but matter not
   mastered by Ideal-Form; poverty consists in our need and lack of goods
   made necessary to us by our association with Matter whose very nature
   is to be one long want.

   If all this be true, we cannot be, ourselves, the source of Evil, we
   are not evil in ourselves; Evil was before we came to be; the Evil
   which holds men down binds them against their will; and for those that
   have the strength -- not found in all men, it is true -- there is a
   deliverance from the evils that have found lodgement in the soul.

   In a word since Matter belongs only to the sensible world, vice in men
   is not the Absolute Evil; not all men are vicious; some overcome vice,
   some, the better sort, are never attacked by it; and those who master
   it win by means of that in them which is not material.

   6. If this be so, how do we explain the teaching that evils can never
   pass away but "exist of necessity," that "while evil has no place in
   the divine order, it haunts mortal nature and this place for ever"?

   Does this mean that heaven is clear of evil, ever moving its orderly
   way, spinning on the appointed path, no injustice There or any flaw, no
   wrong done by any power to any other but all true to the settled plan,
   while injustice and disorder prevail on earth, designated as "the
   Mortal Kind and this Place"?

   Not quite so: for the precept to "flee hence" does not refer to earth
   and earthly life. The flight we read of consists not in quitting earth
   but in living our earth-life "with justice and piety in the light of
   philosophy"; it is vice we are to flee, so that clearly to the writer
   Evil is simply vice with the sequels of vice. And when the disputant in
   that dialogue says that, if men could be convinced of the doctrine
   advanced, there would be an end of Evil, he is answered, "That can
   never be: Evil is of necessity, for there must be a contrary to good."

   Still we may reasonably ask how can vice in man be a contrary to The
   Good in the Supernal: for vice is the contrary to virtue and virtue is
   not The Good but merely the good thing by which Matter is brought to

   How can there any contrary to the Absolute Good, when the absolute has
   no quality?

   Besides, is there any universal necessity that the existence of one of
   two contraries should entail the existence of the other? Admit that the
   existence of one is often accompanied by the existence of the other --
   sickness and health, for example -- yet there is no universal

   Perhaps, however, our author did not mean that this was universally
   true; he is speaking only of The Good.

   But then, if The Good is an essence, and still more, if It is that
   which transcends all existence, how can It have any contrary?

   That there is nothing contrary to essence is certain in the case of
   particular existences -- established by practical proof -- but not in
   the quite different case of the Universal.

   But of what nature would this contrary be, the contrary to universal
   existence and in general to the Primals?

   To essential existence would be opposed the non-existence; to the
   nature of Good, some principle and source of evil. Both these will be
   sources, the one of what is good, the other of what is evil; and all
   within the domain of the one principle is opposed, as contrary, to the
   entire domain of the other, and this in a contrariety more violent than
   any existing between secondary things.

   For these last are opposed as members of one species or of one genus,
   and, within that common ground, they participate in some common

   In the case of the Primals or Universals there is such complete
   separation that what is the exact negation of one group constitutes the
   very nature of the other; we have diametric contrariety if by
   contrariety we mean the extreme of remoteness.

   Now to the content of the divine order, the fixed quality, the
   measuredness and so forth -- there is opposed the content of the evil
   principle, its unfixedness, measurelessness and so forth: total is
   opposed to total. The existence of the one genus is a falsity,
   primarily, essentially, a falseness: the other genus has
   Essence-Authentic: the opposition is of truth to lie; essence is
   opposed to essence.

   Thus we see that it is not universally true that an Essence can have no

   In the case of fire and water we would admit contrariety if it were not
   for their common element, the Matter, about which are gathered the
   warmth and dryness of one and the dampness and cold of the other: if
   there were only present what constitutes their distinct kinds, the
   common ground being absent, there would be, here also, essence contrary
   to essence.

   In sum, things utterly sundered, having nothing in common, standing at
   the remotest poles, are opposites in nature: the contrariety does not
   depend upon quality or upon the existence of a distinct genus of
   beings, but upon the utmost difference, clash in content, clash in

   7. But why does the existence of the Principle of Good necessarily
   comport the existence of a Principle of Evil? Is it because the All
   necessarily comports the existence of Matter? Yes: for necessarily this
   All is made up of contraries: it could not exist if Matter did not. The
   Nature of this Kosmos is, therefore, a blend; it is blended from the
   Intellectual-Principle and Necessity: what comes into it from God is
   good; evil is from the Ancient Kind which, we read, is the underlying
   Matter not yet brought to order by the Ideal-Form.

   But, since the expression "this place" must be taken to mean the All,
   how explain the words "mortal nature"?

   The answer is in the passage [in which the Father of Gods addresses the
   Divinities of the lower sphere], "Since you possess only a derivative
   being, you are not immortals . . . but by my power you shall escape

   The escape, we read, is not a matter of place, but of acquiring virtue,
   of disengaging the self from the body; this is the escape from Matter.
   Plato explains somewhere how a man frees himself and how he remains
   bound; and the phrase "to live among the gods" means to live among the
   Intelligible-Existents, for these are the Immortals.

   There is another consideration establishing the necessary existence of

   Given that The Good is not the only existent thing, it is inevitable
   that, by the outgoing from it or, if the phrase be preferred, the
   continuous down-going or away-going from it, there should be produced a
   Last, something after which nothing more can be produced: this will be

   As necessarily as there is Something after the First, so necessarily
   there is a Last: this Last is Matter, the thing which has no residue of
   good in it: here is the necessity of Evil.

   8. But there will still be some to deny that it is through this Matter
   that we ourselves become evil.

   They will say that neither ignorance nor wicked desires arise in
   Matter. Even if they admit that the unhappy condition within us is due
   to the pravity inherent in body, they will urge that still the blame
   lies not in the Matter itself but with the Form present in it -- such
   Form as heat, cold, bitterness, saltness and all other conditions
   perceptible to sense, or again such states as being full or void -- not
   in the concrete signification but in the presence or absence of just
   such forms. In a word, they will argue, all particularity in desires
   and even in perverted judgements upon things, can be referred to such
   causes, so that Evil lies in this Form much more than in the mere

   Yet, even with all this, they can be compelled to admit that Matter is
   the Evil.

   For, the quality [form] that has entered into Matter does not act as an
   entity apart from the Matter, any more than axe-shape will cut apart
   from iron. Further, Forms lodged in Matter are not the same as they
   would be if they remained within themselves; they are Reason-Principles
   Materialized, they are corrupted in the Matter, they have absorbed its
   nature: essential fire does not burn, nor do any of the essential
   entities effect, of themselves alone, the operation which, once they
   have entered into Matter, is traced to their action.

   Matter becomes mistress of what is manifested through it: it corrupts
   and destroys the incomer, it substitutes its own opposite character and
   kind, not in the sense of opposing, for example, concrete cold to
   concrete warmth, but by setting its own formlessness against the Form
   of heat, shapelessness to shape, excess and defect to the duly ordered.
   Thus, in sum, what enters into Matter ceases to belong to itself, comes
   to belong to Matter, just as, in the nourishment of living beings, what
   is taken in does not remain as it came, but is turned into, say, dog's
   blood and all that goes to make a dog, becomes, in fact, any of the
   humours of any recipient.

   No, if body is the cause of Evil, then there is no escape; the cause of
   Evil is Matter.

   Still, it will be urged, the incoming Idea should have been able to
   conquer the Matter.

   The difficulty is that Matter's master cannot remain pure itself except
   by avoidance of Matter.

   Besides, the constitution determines both the desires and their
   violence so that there are bodies in which the incoming idea cannot
   hold sway: there is a vicious constitution which chills and clogs the
   activity and inhibits choice; a contrary bodily habit produces
   frivolity, lack of balance. The same fact is indicated by our
   successive variations of mood: in times of stress, we are not the same
   either in desires or in ideas -- as when we are at peace, and we differ
   again with every several object that brings us satisfaction.

   To resume: the Measureless is evil primarily; whatever, either by
   resemblance or participation, exists in the state of unmeasure, is evil
   secondarily, by force of its dealing with the Primal -- primarily, the
   darkness; secondarily, the darkened. Now, Vice, being an ignorance and
   a lack of measure in the Soul, is secondarily evil, not the Essential
   Evil, just as Virtue is not the Primal Good but is Likeness to The
   Good, or participation in it.

   9. But what approach have we to the knowing of Good and Evil?

   And first of the Evil of soul: Virtue, we may know by the
   Intellectual-Principle and by means of the philosophic habit; but Vice?

   A a ruler marks off straight from crooked, so Vice is known by its
   divergence from the line of Virtue.

   But are we able to affirm Vice by any vision we can have of it, or is
   there some other way of knowing it?

   Utter viciousness, certainly not by any vision, for it is utterly
   outside of bound and measure; this thing which is nowhere can be seized
   only by abstraction; but any degree of evil falling short of The
   Absolute is knowable by the extent of that falling short.

   We see partial wrong; from what is before us we divine that which is
   lacking to the entire form [or Kind] thus indicated; we see that the
   completed Kind would be the Indeterminate; by this process we are able
   to identify and affirm Evil. In the same way when we observe what we
   feel to be an ugly appearance in Matter -- left there because the
   Reason-Principle has not become so completely the master as to cover
   over the unseemliness -- we recognise Ugliness by the falling-short
   from Ideal-Form.

   But how can we identify what has never had any touch of Form?

   We utterly eliminate every kind of Form; and the object in which there
   is none whatever we call Matter: if we are to see Matter we must so
   completely abolish Form that we take shapelessness into our very

   In fact it is another Intellectual-Principle, not the true, this which
   ventures a vision so uncongenial.

   To see darkness the eye withdraws from the light; it is striving to
   cease from seeing, therefore it abandons the light which would make the
   darkness invisible; away from the light its power is rather that of
   not-seeing than of seeing and this not-seeing is its nearest approach
   to seeing Darkness. So the Intellectual-Principle, in order to see its
   contrary [Matter], must leave its own light locked up within itself,
   and as it were go forth from itself into an outside realm, it must
   ignore its native brightness and submit itself to the very
   contradiction of its being.

   10. But if Matter is devoid of quality how can it be evil?

   It is described as being devoid of quality in the sense only that it
   does not essentially possess any of the qualities which it admits and
   which enter into it as into a substratum. No one says that it has no
   nature; and if it has any nature at all, why may not that nature be
   evil though not in the sense of quality?

   Quality qualifies something not itself: it is therefore an accidental;
   it resides in some other object. Matter does not exist in some other
   object but is the substratum in which the accidental resides. Matter,
   then, is said to be devoid of Quality in that it does not in itself
   possess this thing which is by nature an accidental. If, moreover,
   Quality itself be devoid of Quality, how can Matter, which is the
   unqualified, be said to have it?

   Thus, it is quite correct to say at once that Matter is without Quality
   and that it is evil: it is Evil not in the sense of having Quality but,
   precisely, in not having it; give it Quality and in its very Evil it
   would almost be a Form, whereas in Truth it is a Kind contrary to Form.

   "But," it may be said, "the Kind opposed to all Form is Privation or
   Negation, and this necessarily refers to something other than itself,
   it is no Substantial-Existence: therefore if Evil is Privation or
   Negation it must be lodged in some Negation of Form: there will be no
   Self-Existent Evil."

   This objection may be answered by applying the principle to the case of
   Evil in the Soul; the Evil, the Vice, will be a Negation and not
   anything having a separate existence; we come to the doctrine which
   denies Matter or, admitting it, denies its Evil; we need not seek
   elsewhere; we may at once place Evil in the Soul, recognising it as the
   mere absence of Good. But if the negation is the negation of something
   that ought to become present, if it is a denial of the Good by the
   Soul, then the Soul produces vice within itself by the operation of its
   own Nature, and is devoid of good and, therefore, Soul though it be,
   devoid of life: the Soul, if it has no life, is soulless; the Soul is
   no Soul.

   No; the Soul has life by its own nature and therefore does not, of its
   own nature, contain this negation of The Good: it has much good in it;
   it carries a happy trace of the Intellectual-Principle and is not
   essentially evil: neither is it primally evil nor is that Primal Evil
   present in it even as an accidental, for the Soul is not wholly apart
   from the Good.

   Perhaps Vice and Evil as in the Soul should be described not as an
   entire, but as a partial, negation of good.

   But if this were so, part of the Soul must possess The Good, part be
   without it; the Soul will have a mingled nature and the Evil within it
   will not be unblended: we have not yet lighted on the Primal, Unmingled
   Evil. The Soul would possess the Good as its Essence, the Evil as an

   Perhaps Evil is merely an impediment to the Soul like something
   affecting the eye and so hindering sight.

   But such an evil in the eyes is no more than an occasion of evil, the
   Absolute Evil is something quite different. If then Vice is an
   impediment to the Soul, Vice is an occasion of evil but not
   Evil-Absolute. Virtue is not the Absolute Good, but a co-operator with
   it; and if Virtue is not the Absolute Good neither is Vice the Absolute
   Evil. Virtue is not the Absolute Beauty or the Absolute Good; neither,
   therefore, is Vice the Essential Ugliness or the Essential Evil.

   We teach that Virtue is not the Absolute Good and Beauty, because we
   know that These are earlier than Virtue and transcend it, and that it
   is good and beautiful by some participation in them. Now as, going
   upward from virtue, we come to the Beautiful and to the Good, so, going
   downward from Vice, we reach Essential Evil: from Vice as the
   starting-point we come to vision of Evil, as far as such vision is
   possible, and we become evil to the extent of our participation in it.
   We are become dwellers in the Place of Unlikeness, where, fallen from
   all our resemblance to the Divine, we lie in gloom and mud: for if the
   Soul abandons itself unreservedly to the extreme of viciousness, it is
   no longer a vicious Soul merely, for mere vice is still human, still
   carries some trace of good: it has taken to itself another nature, the
   Evil, and as far as Soul can die it is dead. And the death of Soul is
   twofold: while still sunk in body to lie down in Matter and drench
   itself with it; when it has left the body, to lie in the other world
   until, somehow, it stirs again and lifts its sight from the mud: and
   this is our "going down to Hades and slumbering there."

   11. It may be suggested that Vice is feebleness in the Soul.

   We shall be reminded that the Vicious Soul is unstable, swept along
   from every ill to every other, quickly stirred by appetites, headlong
   to anger, as hasty to compromises, yielding at once to obscure
   imaginations, as weak, in fact, as the weakest thing made by man or
   nature, blown about by every breeze, burned away by every heat.

   Still the question must be faced what constitutes this weakness in the
   Soul, whence it comes.

   For weakness in the body is not like that in the Soul: the word
   weakness, which covers the incapacity for work and the lack of
   resistance in the body, is applied to the Soul merely by analogy --
   unless, indeed, in the one case as in the other, the cause of the
   weakness is Matter.

   But we must go more thoroughly into the source of this weakness, as we
   call it, in the Soul, which is certainly not made weak as the result of
   any density or rarity, or by any thickening or thinning or anything
   like a disease, like a fever.

   Now this weakness must be seated either in Souls utterly disengaged or
   in Souls bound to Matter or in both.

   It cannot exist in those apart from Matter, for all these are pure and,
   as we read, winged and perfect and unimpeded in their task: there
   remains only that the weakness be in the fallen Souls, neither cleansed
   nor clean; and in them the weakness will be, not in any privation but
   in some hostile presence, like that of phlegm or bile in the organs of
   the body.

   If we form an acute and accurate notion of the cause of the fall we
   shall understand the weakness that comes by it.

   Matter exists; Soul exists; and they occupy, so to speak, one place.
   There is not one place for Matter and another for Soul-Matter, for
   instance, kept to earth, Soul in the air: the soul's "separate place"
   is simply its not being in Matter; that is, its not being united with
   it; that is that there be no compound unit consisting of Soul and
   Matter; that is that Soul be not moulded in Matter as in a matrix; this
   is the Soul's apartness.

   But the faculties of the Soul are many, and it has its beginning, its
   intermediate phases, its final fringe. Matter appears, importunes,
   raises disorders, seeks to force its way within; but all the ground is
   holy, nothing there without part in Soul. Matter therefore submits, and
   takes light: but the source of its illumination it cannot attain to,
   for the Soul cannot lift up this foreign thing close by, since the evil
   of it makes it invisible. On the contrary the illumination, the light
   streaming from the Soul, is dulled, is weakened, as it mixes with
   Matter which offers Birth to the Soul, providing the means by which it
   enters into generation, impossible to it if no recipient were at hand.

   This is the fall of the Soul, this entry into Matter: thence its
   weakness: not all the faculties of its being retain free play, for
   Matter hinders their manifestation; it encroaches upon the Soul's
   territory and, as it were, crushes the Soul back; and it turns to evil
   all that it has stolen, until the Soul finds strength to advance again.

   Thus the cause, at once, of the weakness of Soul and of all its evil is

   The evil of Matter precedes the weakness, the vice; it is Primal Evil.
   Even though the Soul itself submits to Matter and engenders to it; if
   it becomes evil within itself by its commerce with Matter, the cause is
   still the presence of Matter: the Soul would never have approached
   Matter but that the presence of Matter is the occasion of its

   12. If the existence of Matter be denied, the necessity of this
   Principle must be demonstrated from the treatises "On Matter" where the
   question is copiously treated.

   To deny Evil a place among realities is necessarily to do away with the
   Good as well, and even to deny the existence of anything desirable; it
   is to deny desire, avoidance and all intellectual act; for desire has
   Good for its object, aversion looks to Evil; all intellectual act, all
   Wisdom, deals with Good and Bad, and is itself one of the things that
   are good.

   There must then be The Good -- good unmixed -- and the Mingled Good and
   Bad, and the Rather Bad than Good, this last ending with the Utterly
   Bad we have been seeking, just as that in which Evil constitutes the
   lesser part tends, by that lessening, towards the Good.

   What, then, must Evil be to the Soul?

   What Soul could contain Evil unless by contact with the lower Kind?
   There could be no desire, no sorrow, no rage, no fear: fear touches the
   compounded dreading its dissolution; pain and sorrow are the
   accompaniments of the dissolution; desires spring from something
   troubling the grouped being or are a provision against trouble
   threatened; all impression is the stroke of something unreasonable
   outside the Soul, accepted only because the Soul is not devoid of parts
   or phases; the Soul takes up false notions through having gone outside
   of its own truth by ceasing to be purely itself.

   One desire or appetite there is which does not fall under this
   condemnation; it is the aspiration towards the Intellectual-Principle:
   this demands only that the Soul dwell alone enshrined within that place
   of its choice, never lapsing towards the lower.

   Evil is not alone: by virtue of the nature of Good, the power of Good,
   it is not Evil only: it appears, necessarily, bound around with bonds
   of Beauty, like some captive bound in fetters of gold; and beneath
   these it is hidden so that, while it must exist, it may not be seen by
   the gods, and that men need not always have evil before their eyes, but
   that when it comes before them they may still be not destitute of
   Images of the Good and Beautiful for their Remembrance.



   "You will not dismiss your Soul lest it go forth . . . " [taking
   something with it].

   For wheresoever it go, it will be in some definite condition, and its
   going forth is to some new place. The Soul will wait for the body to be
   completely severed from it; then it makes no departure; it simply finds
   itself free.

   But how does the body come to be separated?

   The separation takes place when nothing of Soul remains bound up with
   it: the harmony within the body, by virtue of which the Soul was
   retained, is broken and it can no longer hold its guest.

   But when a man contrives the dissolution of the body, it is he that has
   used violence and torn himself away, not the body that has let the Soul
   slip from it. And in loosing the bond he has not been without passion;
   there has been revolt or grief or anger, movements which it is unlawful
   to indulge.

   But if a man feel himself to be losing his reason?

   That is not likely in the Sage, but if it should occur, it must be
   classed with the inevitable, to be welcome at the bidding of the fact
   though not for its own sake. To call upon drugs to the release of the
   Soul seems a strange way of assisting its purposes.

   And if there be a period allotted to all by fate, to anticipate the
   hour could not be a happy act, unless, as we have indicated, under
   stern necessity.

   If everyone is to hold in the other world a standing determined by the
   state in which he quitted this, there must be no withdrawal as long as
   there is any hope of progress.




   1. We hold that the ordered universe, in its material mass, has existed
   for ever and will for ever endure: but simply to refer this perdurance
   to the Will of God, however true an explanation, is utterly inadequate.

   The elements of this sphere change; the living beings of earth pass
   away; only the Ideal-form [the species] persists: possibly a similar
   process obtains in the All.

   The Will of God is able to cope with the ceaseless flux and escape of
   body stuff by ceaselessly reintroducing the known forms in new
   substances, thus ensuring perpetuity not to the particular item but to
   the unity of idea: now, seeing that objects of this realm possess no
   more than duration of form, why should celestial objects, and the
   celestial system itself, be distinguished by duration of the particular

   Let us suppose this persistence to be the result of the
   all-inclusiveness of the celestial and universal -- with its
   consequence, the absence of any outlying matter into which change could
   take place or which could break in and destroy.

   This explanation would, no doubt, safeguard the integrity of the Whole,
   of the All; but our sun and the individual being of the other heavenly
   bodies would not on these terms be secured in perpetuity: they are
   parts; no one of them is in itself the whole, the all; it would still
   be probable that theirs is no more than that duration in form which
   belongs to fire and such entities.

   This would apply even to the entire ordered universe itself. For it is
   very possible that this too, though not in process of destruction from
   outside, might have only formal duration; its parts may be so wearing
   each other down as to keep it in a continuous decay while, amid the
   ceaseless flux of the Kind constituting its base, an outside power
   ceaselessly restores the form: in this way the living All may lie under
   the same conditions as man and horse and the rest man and horse
   persisting but not the individual of the type.

   With this, we would have no longer the distinction of one order, the
   heavenly system, stable for ever, and another, the earthly, in process
   of decay: all would be alike except in the point of time; the celestial
   would merely be longer lasting. If, then, we accepted this duration of
   type alone as a true account of the All equally with its partial
   members, our difficulties would be eased -- or indeed we should have no
   further problem -- once the Will of God were shown to be capable, under
   these conditions and by such communication, of sustaining the Universe.

   But if we are obliged to allow individual persistence to any definite
   entity within the Kosmos then, firstly, we must show that the Divine
   Will is adequate to make it so; secondly, we have to face the question,
   What accounts for some things having individual persistence and others
   only the persistence of type? and, thirdly, we ask how the partial
   entities of the celestial system hold a real duration which would thus
   appear possible to all partial things.

   2. Supposing we accept this view and hold that, while things below the
   moon's orb have merely type-persistence, the celestial realm and all
   its several members possess individual eternity; it remains to show how
   this strict permanence of the individual identity -- the actual item
   eternally unchangeable -- can belong to what is certainly corporeal,
   seeing that bodily substance is characteristically a thing of flux.

   The theory of bodily flux is held by Plato no less than by the other
   philosophers who have dealt with physical matters, and is applied not
   only to ordinary bodies but to those, also, of the heavenly sphere.

   "How," he asks, "can these corporeal and visible entities continue
   eternally unchanged in identity?" -- evidently agreeing, in this matter
   also, with Herakleitos who maintained that even the sun is perpetually
   coming anew into being. To Aristotle there would be no problem; it is
   only accepting his theories of a fifth-substance.

   But to those who reject Aristotle's Quintessence and hold the material
   mass of the heavens to consist of the elements underlying the living
   things of this sphere, how is individual permanence possible? And the
   difficulty is still greater for the parts, for the sun and the heavenly

   Every living thing is a combination of soul and body-kind: the
   celestial sphere, therefore, if it is to be everlasting as an
   individual entity must be so in virtue either of both these
   constituents or of one of them, by the combination of soul and body or
   by soul only or by body only.

   Of course anyone that holds body to be incorruptible secures the
   desired permanence at once; no need, then, to call on a soul or on any
   perdurable conjunction to account for the continued maintenance of a
   living being.

   But the case is different when one holds that body is, of itself,
   perishable and that Soul is the principle of permanence: this view
   obliges us to the proof that the character of body is not in itself
   fatal either to the coherence or to the lasting stability which are
   imperative: it must be shown that the two elements of the union
   envisaged are not inevitably hostile, but that on the contrary [in the
   heavens] even Matter must conduce to the scheme of the standing result.

   3. We have to ask, that is, how Matter, this entity of ceaseless flux
   constituting the physical mass of the universe, could serve towards the
   immortality of the Kosmos.

   And our answer is "Because the flux is not outgoing": where there is
   motion within but not outwards and the total remains unchanged, there
   is neither growth nor decline, and thus the Kosmos never ages.

   We have a parallel in our earth, constant from eternity to pattern and
   to mass; the air, too, never fails; and there is always water: all the
   changes of these elements leave unchanged the Principle of the total
   living thing, our world. In our own constitution, again, there is a
   ceaseless shifting of particles -- and that with outgoing loss -- and
   yet the individual persists for a long time: where there is no question
   of an outside region, the body-principle cannot clash with soul as
   against the identity and endless duration of the living thing.

   Of these material elements -- for example -- fire, the keen and swift,
   cooperates by its upward tendency as earth by its lingering below; for
   we must not imagine that the fire, once it finds itself at the point
   where its ascent must stop, settles down as in its appropriate place,
   no longer seeking, like all the rest, to expand in both directions. No:
   but higher is not possible; lower is repugnant to its Kind; all that
   remains for it is to be tractable and, answering to a need of its
   nature, to be drawn by the Soul to the activity of life, and so to move
   to in a glorious place, in the Soul. Anyone that dreads its falling may
   take heart; the circuit of the Soul provides against any declination,
   embracing, sustaining; and since fire has of itself no downward
   tendency it accepts that guiding without resistance. The partial
   elements constituting our persons do not suffice for their own
   cohesion; once they are brought to human shape, they must borrow
   elsewhere if the organism is to be maintained: but in the upper spheres
   since there can be no loss by flux no such replenishment is needed.

   Suppose such loss, suppose fire extinguished there, then a new fire
   must be kindled; so also if such loss by flux could occur in some of
   the superiors from which the celestial fire depends, that too must be
   replaced: but with such transmutations, while there might be something
   continuously similar, there would be, no longer, a Living All abidingly

   4. But matters are involved here which demand specific investigation
   and cannot be treated as incidental merely to our present problem. We
   are faced with several questions: Is the heavenly system exposed to any
   such flux as would occasion the need of some restoration corresponding
   to nourishment; or do its members, once set in their due places, suffer
   no loss of substance, permanent by Kind? Does it consist of fire only,
   or is it mainly of fire with the other elements, as well, taken up and
   carried in the circuit by the dominant Principle?

   Our doctrine of the immortality of the heavenly system rests on the
   firmest foundation once we have cited the sovereign agent, the soul,
   and considered, besides, the peculiar excellence of the bodily
   substance constituting the stars, a material so pure, so entirely the
   noblest, and chosen by the soul as, in all living beings, the
   determining principle appropriates to itself the choicest among their
   characteristic parts. No doubt Aristotle is right in speaking of flame
   as a turmoil, fire insolently rioting; but the celestial fire is
   equable, placid, docile to the purposes of the stars.

   Still, the great argument remains, the Soul, moving in its marvellous
   might second only to the very loftiest Existents: how could anything
   once placed within this Soul break away from it into non-being? No one
   that understands this principle, the support of all things, can fail to
   see that, sprung from God, it is a stronger stay than any bonds.

   And is it conceivable that the Soul, valid to sustain for a certain
   space of time, could not so sustain for ever? This would be to assume
   that it holds things together by violence; that there is a "natural
   course" at variance with what actually exists in the nature of the
   universe and in these exquisitely ordered beings; and that there is
   some power able to storm the established system and destroy its ordered
   coherence, some kingdom or dominion that may shatter the order founded
   by the Soul.

   Further: The Kosmos has had no beginning -- the impossibility has been
   shown elsewhere -- and this is warrant for its continued existence. Why
   should there be in the future a change that has not yet occurred? The
   elements there are not worn away like beams and rafters: they hold
   sound for ever, and so the All holds sound. And even supposing these
   elements to be in ceaseless transmutation, yet the All persists: the
   ground of all the change must itself be changeless.

   As to any alteration of purpose in the Soul we have already shown the
   emptiness of that fancy: the administration of the universe entails
   neither labour nor loss; and, even supposing the possibility of
   annihilating all that is material, the Soul would be no whit the better
   or the worse.

   5. But how explain the permanence There, while the content of this
   sphere -- its elements and its living things alike -- are passing?

   The reason is given by Plato: the celestial order is from God, the
   living things of earth from the gods sprung from God; and it is law
   that the offspring of God endures.

   In other words, the celestial soul -- and our souls with it -- springs
   directly next from the Creator, while the animal life of this earth is
   produced by an image which goes forth from that celestial soul and may
   be said to flow downwards from it.

   A soul, then, of the minor degree -- reproducing, indeed, that of the
   Divine sphere but lacking in power inasmuch as it must exercise its
   creative act upon inferior stuff in an inferior region -- the
   substances taken up into the fabric being of themselves repugnant to
   duration; with such an origin the living things of this realm cannot be
   of strength to last for ever; the material constituents are not as
   firmly held and controlled as if they were ruled immediately by a
   Principle of higher potency.

   The heavens, on the contrary, must have persistence as a whole, and
   this entails the persistence of the parts, of the stars they contain:
   we could not imagine that whole to endure with the parts in flux --
   though, of course, we must distinguish things sub-celestial from the
   heavens themselves whose region does not in fact extend so low as to
   the moon.

   Our own case is different: physically we are formed by that [inferior]
   soul, given forth [not directly from God but] from the divine beings in
   the heavens and from the heavens themselves; it is by way of that
   inferior soul that we are associated with the body [which therefore
   will not be persistent]; for the higher soul which constitutes the We
   is the principle not of our existence but of our excellence or, if also
   of our existence, then only in the sense that, when the body is already
   constituted, it enters, bringing with it some effluence from the Divine
   Reason in support of the existence.

   6. We may now consider the question whether fire is the sole element
   existing in that celestial realm and whether there is any outgoing
   thence with the consequent need of renewal.

   Timaeus pronounced the material frame of the All to consist primarily
   of earth and fire for visibility, earth for solidity -- and deduced
   that the stars must be mainly composed of fire, but not solely since
   there is no doubt they are solid.

   And this is probably a true account. Plato accepts it as indicated by
   all the appearances. And, in fact, to all our perception -- as we see
   them and derive from them the impression of illumination -- the stars
   appear to be mostly, if not exclusively, fire: but on reasoning into
   the matter we judge that since solidity cannot exist apart from
   earth-matter, they must contain earth as well.

   But what place could there be for the other elements? It is impossible
   to imagine water amid so vast a conflagration; and if air were present
   it would be continually changing into fire.

   Admitting [with Timaeus; as a logical truth] that two self-contained
   entities, standing as extremes to each other need for their coherence
   two intermediaries; we may still question whether this holds good with
   regard to physical bodies. Certainly water and earth can be mixed
   without any such intermediate. It might seem valid to object that the
   intermediates are already present in the earth and the water; but a
   possible answer would be, "Yes, but not as agents whose meeting is
   necessary to the coherence of those extremes."

   None the less we will take it that the coherence of extremes is
   produced by virtue of each possessing all the intermediates. It is
   still not proven that fire is necessary to the visibility of earth and
   earth to the solidarity of fire.

   On this principle, nothing possesses an essential-nature of its very
   own; every several thing is a blend, and its name is merely an
   indication of the dominant constituent.

   Thus we are told that earth cannot have concrete existence without the
   help of some moist element -- the moisture in water being the necessary
   adhesive -- but admitting that we so find it, there is still a
   contradiction in pretending that any one element has a being of its own
   and in the same breath denying its self-coherence, making its
   subsistence depend upon others, and so, in reality, reducing the
   specific element to nothing. How can we talk of the existence of the
   definite Kind, earth -- earth essential -- if there exists no single
   particle of earth which actually is earth without any need of water to
   secure its self-cohesion? What has such an adhesive to act upon if
   there is absolutely no given magnitude of real earth to which it may
   bind particle after particle in its business of producing the
   continuous mass? If there is any such given magnitude, large or small,
   of pure earth, then earth can exist in its own nature, independently of
   water: if there is no such primary particle of pure earth, then there
   is nothing whatever for the water to bind. As for air -- air unchanged,
   retaining its distinctive quality -- how could it conduce to the
   subsistence of a dense material like earth?

   Similarly with fire. No doubt Timaeus speaks of it as necessary not to
   the existence but to the visibility of earth and the other elements;
   and certainly light is essential to all visibility -- we cannot say
   that we see darkness, which implies, precisely, that nothing is seen,
   as silence means nothing being heard.

   But all this does not assure us that the earth to be visible must
   contain fire: light is sufficient: snow, for example, and other
   extremely cold substances gleam without the presence of fire -- though
   of course it might be said that fire was once there and communicated
   colour before disappearing.

   As to the composition of water, we must leave it an open question
   whether there can be such a thing as water without a certain proportion
   of earth.

   But how can air, the yielding element, contain earth?

   Fire, again: is earth perhaps necessary there since fire is by its own
   nature devoid of continuity and not a thing of three dimensions?

   Supposing it does not possess the solidity of the three dimensions, it
   has that of its thrust; now, cannot this belong to it by the mere right
   and fact of its being one of the corporeal entities in nature? Hardness
   is another matter, a property confined to earth-stuff. Remember that
   gold -- which is water -- becomes dense by the accession not of earth
   but of denseness or consolidation: in the same way fire, with Soul
   present within it, may consolidate itself upon the power of the Soul;
   and there are living beings of fire among the Celestials.

   But, in sum, do we abandon the teaching that all the elements enter
   into the composition of every living thing?

   For this sphere, no; but to lift clay into the heavens is against
   nature, contrary to the laws of her ordaining: it is difficult, too, to
   think of that swiftest of circuits bearing along earthly bodies in its
   course nor could such material conduce to the splendour and white glint
   of the celestial fire.

   7. We can scarcely do better, in fine, than follow Plato.


   In the universe as a whole there must necessarily be such a degree of
   solidity, that is to say, of resistance, as will ensure that the earth,
   set in the centre, be a sure footing and support to the living beings
   moving over it, and inevitably communicate something of its own density
   to them: the earth will possess coherence by its own unaided quality,
   but visibility by the presence of fire: it will contain water against
   the dryness which would prevent the cohesion of its particles; it will
   hold air to lighten its bulky matters; it will be in contact with the
   celestial fire -- not as being a member of the sidereal system but by
   the simple fact that the fire there and our earth both belong to the
   ordered universe so that something of the earth is taken up by the fire
   as something of the fire by the earth and something of everything by
   everything else.

   This borrowing, however, does not mean that the one thing taking-up
   from the other enters into a composition, becoming an element in a
   total of both: it is simply a consequence of the kosmic fellowship; the
   participant retains its own being and takes over not the thing itself
   but some property of the thing, not air but air's yielding softness,
   not fire but fire's incandescence: mixing is another process, a
   complete surrender with a resultant compound not, as in this case,
   earth -- remaining earth, the solidity and density we know -- with
   something of fire's qualities superadded.

   We have authority for this where we read:

   "At the second circuit from the earth, God kindled a light": he is
   speaking of the sun which, elsewhere, he calls the all-glowing and,
   again, the all-gleaming: thus he prevents us imagining it to be
   anything else but fire, though of a peculiar kind; in other words it is
   light, which he distinguishes from flame as being only modestly warm:
   this light is a corporeal substance but from it there shines forth that
   other "light" which, though it carries the same name, we pronounce
   incorporeal, given forth from the first as its flower and radiance, the
   veritable "incandescent body." Plato's word earthy is commonly taken in
   too depreciatory a sense: he is thinking of earth as the principle of
   solidity; we are apt to ignore his distinctions and think of the
   concrete clay.

   Fire of this order, giving forth this purest light, belongs to the
   upper realm, and there its seat is fixed by nature; but we must not, on
   that account, suppose the flame of earth to be associated with the
   beings of that higher sphere.

   No: the flame of this world, once it has attained a certain height, is
   extinguished by the currents of air opposed to it. Moreover, as it
   carries an earthy element on its upward path, it is weighed downwards
   and cannot reach those loftier regions. It comes to a stand somewhere
   below the moon -- making the air at that point subtler -- and its
   flame, if any flame can persist, is subdued and softened, and no longer
   retains its first intensity, but gives out only what radiance it
   reflects from the light above.

   And it is that loftier light -- falling variously upon the stars; to
   each in a certain proportion -- that gives them their characteristic
   differences, as well in magnitude as in colour; just such light
   constitutes also the still higher heavenly bodies which, however, like
   clear air, are invisible because of the subtle texture and unresisting
   transparency of their material substance and also by their very

   8. Now: given a light of this degree, remaining in the upper sphere at
   its appointed station, pure light in purest place, what mode of outflow
   from it can be conceived possible? Such a Kind is not so constituted as
   to flow downwards of its own accord; and there exists in those regions
   no power to force it down. Again, body in contact with soul must always
   be very different from body left to itself; the bodily substance of the
   heavens has that contact and will show that difference.

   Besides, the corporeal substance nearest to the heavens would be air or
   fire: air has no destructive quality; fire would be powerless there
   since it could not enter into effective contact: in its very rush it
   would change before its attack could be felt; and, apart from that, it
   is of the lesser order, no match for what it would be opposing in those
   higher regions.

   Again, fire acts by imparting heat: now it cannot be the source of heat
   to what is already hot by nature; and anything it is to destroy must as
   a first condition be heated by it, must be brought to a pitch of heat
   fatal to the nature concerned.

   In sum, then, no outside body is necessary to the heavens to ensure
   their permanence -- or to produce their circular movement, for it has
   never been shown that their natural path would be the straight line; on
   the contrary the heavens, by their nature, will either be motionless or
   move by circle; all other movement indicates outside compulsion. We
   cannot think, therefore, that the heavenly bodies stand in need of
   replenishment; we must not argue from earthly frames to those of the
   celestial system whose sustaining soul is not the same, whose space is
   not the same, whose conditions are not those which make restoration
   necessary in this realm of composite bodies always in flux: we must
   recognise that the changes that take place in bodies here represent a
   slipping-away from the being [a phenomenon not incident to the
   celestial sphere] and take place at the dictate of a Principle not
   dwelling in the higher regions, one not powerful enough to ensure the
   permanence of the existences in which it is exhibited, one which in its
   coming into being and in its generative act is but an imitation of an
   antecedent Kind, and, as we have shown, cannot at every point possess
   the unchangeable identity of the Intellectual Realm.



   1. But whence that circular movement?

   In imitation of the Intellectual-Principle.

   And does this movement belong to the material part or to the Soul? Can
   we account for it on the ground that the Soul has itself at once for
   centre and for the goal to which it must be ceaselessly moving; or
   that, being self-centred it is not of unlimited extension [and
   consequently must move ceaselessly to be omnipresent], and that its
   revolution carries the material mass with it?

   If the Soul had been the moving power [by any such semi-physical
   action] it would be so no longer; it would have accomplished the act of
   moving and have brought the universe to rest; there would be an end of
   this endless revolution.

   In fact the Soul must be in repose or at least cannot have spatial
   movement; how then, having itself a movement of quite another order,
   could it communicate spatial movement?

   But perhaps the circular movement [of the Kosmos as soul and body] is
   not spatial or is spatial not primarily but only incidentally.

   What, by this explanation, would be the essential movement of the
   kosmic soul?

   A movement towards itself, the movement of self-awareness, of
   self-intellection, of the living of its life, the movement of its
   reaching to all things so that nothing shall lie outside of it, nothing
   anywhere but within its scope.

   The dominant in a living thing is what compasses it entirely and makes
   it a unity.

   If the Soul has no motion of any kind, it would not vitally compass the
   Kosmos nor would the Kosmos, a thing of body, keep its content alive,
   for the life of body is movement.

   Any spatial motion there is will be limited; it will be not that of
   Soul untrammelled but that of a material frame ensouled, an animated
   organism; the movement will be partly of body, partly of Soul, the body
   tending to the straight line which its nature imposes, the Soul
   restraining it; the resultant will be the compromise movement of a
   thing at once carried forward and at rest.

   But supposing that the circular movement is to be attributed to the
   body, how is it to be explained, since all body, including fire [which
   constitutes the heavens] has straightforward motion?

   The answer is that forthright movement is maintained only pending
   arrival at the place for which the moving thing is destined: where a
   thing is ordained to be, there it seeks, of its nature, to come for its
   rest; its motion is its tendence to its appointed place.

   Then, since the fire of the sidereal system has attained its goal, why
   does it not stay at rest?

   Evidently because the very nature of fire is to be mobile: if it did
   not take the curve, its straight line would finally fling it outside
   the universe: the circular course, then, is imperative.

   But this would imply an act of providence?

   Not quite: rather its own act under providence; attaining to that
   realm, it must still take the circular course by its indwelling nature;
   for it seeks the straight path onwards but finds no further space and
   is driven back so that it recoils on the only course left to it: there
   is nothing beyond; it has reached the ultimate; it runs its course in
   the regions it occupies, itself its own sphere, not destined to come to
   rest there, existing to move.

   Further, the centre of a circle [and therefore of the Kosmos] is
   distinctively a point of rest: if the circumference outside were not in
   motion, the universe would be no more than one vast centre. And
   movement around the centre is all the more to be expected in the case
   of a living thing whose nature binds it within a body. Such motion
   alone can constitute its impulse towards its centre: it cannot coincide
   with the centre, for then there would be no circle; since this may not
   be, it whirls about it; so only can it indulge its tendence.

   If, on the other hand, the Kosmic circuit is due to the Soul, we are
   not to think of a painful driving [wearing it down at last]; the soul
   does not use violence or in any way thwart nature, for "Nature" is no
   other than the custom the All-Soul has established. Omnipresent in its
   entirety, incapable of division, the Soul of the universe communicates
   that quality of universal presence to the heavens, too, in their
   degree, the degree, that is, of pursuing universality and advancing
   towards it.

   If the Soul halted anywhere, there the Kosmos, too, brought so far,
   would halt: but the Soul encompasses all, and so the Kosmos moves,
   seeking everything.

   Yet never to attain?

   On the contrary this very motion is its eternal attainment.

   Or, better; the Soul is ceaselessly leading the Kosmos towards itself:
   the continuous attraction communicates a continuous movement -- not to
   some outside space but towards the Soul and in the one sphere with it,
   not in the straight line [which would ultimately bring the moving body
   outside and below the Soul], but in the curving course in which the
   moving body at every stage possesses the Soul that is attracting it and
   bestowing itself upon it.

   If the soul were stationary, that is if [instead of presiding over a
   Kosmos] it dwelt wholly and solely in the realm in which every member
   is at rest, motion would be unknown; but, since the Soul is not fixed
   in some one station There, the Kosmos must travel to every point in
   quest of it, and never outside it: in a circle, therefore.

   2. And what of lower things? [Why have they not this motion?]

   [Their case is very different]: the single thing here is not an all but
   a part and limited to a given segment of space; that other realm is
   all, is space, so to speak, and is subject to no hindrance or control,
   for in itself it is all that is.

   And men?

   As a self, each is a personal whole, no doubt; but as member of the
   universe, each is a partial thing.

   But if, wherever the circling body be, it possesses the Soul, what need
   of the circling?

   Because everywhere it finds something else besides the Soul [which it
   desires to possess alone].

   The circular movement would be explained, too, if the Soul's power may
   be taken as resident at its centre.

   Here, however, we must distinguish between a centre in reference to the
   two different natures, body and Soul.

   In body, centre is a point of place; in Soul it is a source, the source
   of some other nature. The word, which without qualification would mean
   the midpoint of a spheric mass, may serve in the double reference; and,
   as in a material mass so in the Soul, there must be a centre, that
   around which the object, Soul or material mass, revolves.

   The Soul exists in revolution around God to whom it clings in love,
   holding itself to the utmost of its power near to Him as the Being on
   which all depends; and since it cannot coincide with God it circles
   about Him.

   Why then do not all souls [i.e., the lower, also, as those of men and
   animals] thus circle about the Godhead?

   Every Soul does in its own rank and place.

   And why not our very bodies, also?

   Because the forward path is characteristic of body and because all the
   body's impulses are to other ends and because what in us is of this
   circling nature is hampered in its motion by the clay it bears with it,
   while in the higher realm everything flows on its course, lightly and
   easily, with nothing to check it, once there is any principle of motion
   in it at all.

   And it may very well be that even in us the Spirit which dwells with
   the Soul does thus circle about the divinity. For since God is
   omnipresent the Soul desiring perfect union must take the circular
   course: God is not stationed.

   Similarly Plato attributes to the stars not only the spheric movement
   belonging to the universe as a whole but also to each a revolution
   around their common centre; each -- not by way of thought but by links
   of natural necessity -- has in its own place taken hold of God and

   3. The truth may be resumed in this way:

   There is a lowest power of the Soul, a nearest to earth, and this is
   interwoven throughout the entire universe: another phase possesses
   sensation, while yet another includes the Reason which is concerned
   with the objects of sensation: this higher phase holds itself to the
   spheres, poised towards the Above but hovering over the lesser Soul and
   giving forth to it an effluence which makes it more intensely vital.

   The lower Soul is moved by the higher which, besides encircling and
   supporting it, actually resides in whatsoever part of it has thrust
   upwards and attained the spheres. The lower then, ringed round by the
   higher and answering its call, turns and tends towards it; and this
   upward tension communicates motion to the material frame in which it is
   involved: for if a single point in a spheric mass is in any degree
   moved, without being drawn away from the rest, it moves the whole, and
   the sphere is set in motion. Something of the same kind happens in the
   case of our bodies: the unspatial movement of the Soul -- in happiness,
   for instance, or at the idea of some pleasant event -- sets up a
   spatial movement in the body: the Soul, attaining in its own region
   some good which increases its sense of life, moves towards what pleases
   it; and so, by force of the union established in the order of nature,
   it moves the body, in the body's region, that is in space.

   As for that phase of the Soul in which sensation is vested, it, too,
   takes its good from the Supreme above itself and moves, rejoicingly, in
   quest of it: and since the object of its desire is everywhere, it too
   ranges always through the entire scope of the universe.

   The Intellectual-Principle has no such progress in any region; its
   movement is a stationary act, for it turns upon itself.

   And this is why the All, circling as it does, is at the same time at



   1. That the circuit of the stars indicates definite events to come but
   without being the cause direct of all that happens, has been elsewhere
   affirmed, and proved by some modicum of argument: but the subject
   demands more precise and detailed investigation for to take the one
   view rather than the other is of no small moment.

   The belief is that the planets in their courses actually produce not
   merely such conditions as poverty, wealth, health and sickness but even
   ugliness and beauty and, gravest of all, vices and virtue and the very
   acts that spring from these qualities, the definite doings of each
   moment of virtue or vice. We are to suppose the stars to be annoyed
   with men -- and upon matters in which men, moulded to what they are by
   the stars themselves, can surely do them no wrong.

   They will be distributing what pass for their good gifts, not out of
   kindness towards the recipients but as they themselves are affected
   pleasantly or disagreeably at the various points of their course; so
   that they must be supposed to change their plans as they stand at their
   zeniths or are declining.

   More absurdly still, some of them are supposed to be malicious and
   others to be helpful, and yet the evil stars will bestow favours and
   the benevolent act harshly: further, their action alters as they see
   each other or not, so that, after all, they possess no definite nature
   but vary according to their angles of aspect; a star is kindly when it
   sees one of its fellows but changes at sight of another: and there is
   even a distinction to be made in the seeing as it occurs in this figure
   or in that. Lastly, all acting together, the fused influence is
   different again from that of each single star, just as the blending of
   distinct fluids gives a mixture unlike any of them.

   Since these opinions and others of the same order are prevalent, it
   will be well to examine them carefully one by one, beginning with the
   fundamental question:

   2. Are these planets to be thought of as soulless or unsouled?

   Suppose them, first, to be without Soul.

   In that case they can purvey only heat or cold -- if cold from the
   stars can be thought of -- that is to say, any communication from them
   will affect only our bodily nature, since all they have to communicate
   to us is merely corporeal. This implies that no considerable change can
   be caused in the bodies affected since emanations merely corporeal
   cannot differ greatly from star to star, and must, moreover, blend upon
   earth into one collective resultant: at most the differences would be
   such as depend upon local position, upon nearness or farness with
   regard to the centre of influence. This reasoning, of course, is as
   valid of any cold emanation there may be as of the warm.

   Now, what is there in such corporeal action to account for the various
   classes and kinds of men, learned and illiterate, scholars as against
   orators, musicians as against people of other professions? Can a power
   merely physical make rich or poor? Can it bring about such conditions
   as in no sense depend upon the interaction of corporeal elements? Could
   it, for example, bring a man such and such a brother, father, son, or
   wife, give him a stroke of good fortune at a particular moment, or make
   him generalissimo or king?

   Next, suppose the stars to have life and mind and to be effective by
   deliberate purpose.

   In that case, what have they suffered from us that they should, in free
   will, do us hurt, they who are established in a divine place,
   themselves divine? There is nothing in their nature of what makes men
   base, nor can our weal or woe bring them the slightest good or ill.

   3. Possibly, however, they act not by choice but under stress of their
   several positions and collective figures?

   But if position and figure determined their action each several one
   would necessarily cause identical effects with every other on entering
   any given place or pattern.

   And that raises the question what effect for good or bad can be
   produced upon any one of them by its transit in the parallel of this or
   that section of the Zodiac circle -- for they are not in the Zodiacal
   figure itself but considerably beneath it especially since, whatever
   point they touch, they are always in the heavens.

   It is absurd to think that the particular grouping under which a star
   passes can modify either its character or its earthward influences. And
   can we imagine it altered by its own progression as it rises, stands at
   centre, declines? Exultant when at centre; dejected or enfeebled in
   declension; some raging as they rise and growing benignant as they set,
   while declension brings out the best in one among them; surely this
   cannot be?

   We must not forget that invariably every star, considered in itself, is
   at centre with regard to some one given group and in decline with
   regard to another and vice versa; and, very certainly, it is not at
   once happy and sad, angry and kindly. There is no reasonable escape in
   representing some of them as glad in their setting, others in their
   rising: they would still be grieving and glad at one and the same time.

   Further, why should any distress of theirs work harm to us?

   No: we cannot think of them as grieving at all or as being cheerful
   upon occasions: they must be continuously serene, happy in the good
   they enjoy and the Vision before them. Each lives its own free life;
   each finds its Good in its own Act; and this Act is not directed
   towards us.

   Like the birds of augury, the living beings of the heavens, having no
   lot or part with us, may serve incidentally to foreshow the future, but
   they have absolutely no main function in our regard.

   4. It is again not in reason that a particular star should be gladdened
   by seeing this or that other while, in a second couple, such an aspect
   is distressing: what enmities can affect such beings? what causes of
   enmity can there be among them?

   And why should there be any difference as a given star sees certain
   others from the corner of a triangle or in opposition or at the angle
   of a square?

   Why, again, should it see its fellow from some one given position and
   yet, in the next Zodiacal figure, not see it, though the two are
   actually nearer?

   And, the cardinal question; by what conceivable process could they
   affect what is attributed to them? How explain either the action of any
   single star independently or, still more perplexing, the effect of
   their combined intentions?

   We cannot think of them entering into compromises, each renouncing
   something of its efficiency and their final action in our regard
   amounting to a concerted plan.

   No one star would suppress the contribution of another, nor would star
   yield to star and shape its conduct under suasion.

   As for the fancy that while one is glad when it enters another's
   region, the second is vexed when in its turn it occupies the place of
   the first, surely this is like starting with the supposition of two
   friends and then going on to talk of one being attracted to the other
   who, however, abhors the first.

   5. When they tell us that a certain cold star is more benevolent to us
   in proportion as it is further away, they clearly make its harmful
   influence depend upon the coldness of its nature; and yet it ought to
   be beneficent to us when it is in the opposed Zodiacal figures.

   When the cold planet, we are told, is in opposition to the cold, both
   become meanacing: but the natural effect would be a compromise.

   And we are asked to believe that one of them is happy by day and grows
   kindly under the warmth, while another, of a fiery nature, is most
   cheerful by night -- as if it were not always day to them, light to
   them, and as if the first one could be darkened by night at that great
   distance above the earth's shadow.

   Then there is the notion that the moon, in conjunction with a certain
   star, is softened at her full but is malignant in the same conjunction
   when her light has waned; yet, if anything of this order could be
   admitted, the very opposite would be the case. For when she is full to
   us she must be dark on the further hemisphere, that is to that star
   which stands above her; and when dark to us she is full to that other
   star, upon which only then, on the contrary, does she look with her
   light. To the moon itself, in fact, it can make no difference in what
   aspect she stands, for she is always lit on the upper or on the under
   half: to the other star, the warmth from the moon, of which they speak,
   might make a difference; but that warmth would reach it precisely when
   the moon is without light to us; at its darkest to us it is full to
   that other, and therefore beneficent. The darkness of the moon to us is
   of moment to the earth, but brings no trouble to the planet above. That
   planet, it is alleged, can give no help on account of its remoteness
   and therefore seems less well disposed; but the moon at its full
   suffices to the lower realm so that the distance of the other is of no
   importance. When the moon, though dark to us, is in aspect with the
   Fiery Star she is held to be favourable: the reason alleged is that the
   force of Mars is all-sufficient since it contains more fire than it

   The truth is that while the material emanations from the living beings
   of the heavenly system are of various degrees of warmth -- planet
   differing from planet in this respect -- no cold comes from them: the
   nature of the space in which they have their being is voucher for that.

   The star known as Jupiter includes a due measure of fire [and warmth],
   in this resembling the Morning-star and therefore seeming to be in
   alliance with it. In aspect with what is known as the Fiery Star,
   Jupiter is beneficent by virtue of the mixing of influences: in aspect
   with Saturn unfriendly by dint of distance. Mercury, it would seem, is
   indifferent whatever stars it be in aspect with; for it adopts any and
   every character.

   But all the stars are serviceable to the Universe, and therefore can
   stand to each other only as the service of the Universe demands, in a
   harmony like that observed in the members of any one animal form. They
   exist essentially for the purpose of the Universe, just as the gall
   exists for the purposes of the body as a whole not less than for its
   own immediate function: it is to be the inciter of the animal spirits
   but without allowing the entire organism and its own especial region to
   run riot. Some such balance of function was indispensable in the All --
   bitter with sweet. There must be differentiation -- eyes and so forth
   -- but all the members will be in sympathy with the entire animal frame
   to which they belong. Only so can there be a unity and a total harmony.

   And in such a total, analogy will make every part a Sign.

   6. But that this same Mars, or Aphrodite, in certain aspects should
   cause adulteries -- as if they could thus, through the agency of human
   incontinence, satisfy their own mutual desires -- is not such a notion
   the height of unreason? And who could accept the fancy that their
   happiness comes from their seeing each other in this or that relative
   position and not from their own settled nature?

   Again: countless myriads of living beings are born and continue to be:
   to minister continuously to every separate one of these; to make them
   famous, rich, poor, lascivious; to shape the active tendencies of every
   single one -- what kind of life is this for the stars, how could they
   possibly handle a task so huge?

   They are to watch, we must suppose, the rising of each several
   constellation and upon that signal to act; such a one, they see, has
   risen by so many degrees, representing so many of the periods of its
   upward path; they reckon on their fingers at what moment they must take
   the action which, executed prematurely, would be out of order: and in
   the sum, there is no One Being controlling the entire scheme; all is
   made over to the stars singly, as if there were no Sovereign Unity,
   standing as source of all the forms of Being in subordinate association
   with it, and delegating to the separate members, in their appropriate
   Kinds, the task of accomplishing its purposes and bringing its latent
   potentiality into act.

   This is a separatist theory, tenable only by minds ignorant of the
   nature of a Universe which has a ruling principle and a first cause
   operative downwards through every member.

   7. But, if the stars announce the future -- as we hold of many other
   things also -- what explanation of the cause have we to offer? What
   explains the purposeful arrangement thus implied? Obviously, unless the
   particular is included under some general principle of order, there can
   be no signification.

   We may think of the stars as letters perpetually being inscribed on the
   heavens or inscribed once for all and yet moving as they pursue the
   other tasks allotted to them: upon these main tasks will follow the
   quality of signifying, just as the one principle underlying any living
   unit enables us to reason from member to member, so that for example we
   may judge of character and even of perils and safeguards by indications
   in the eyes or in some other part of the body. If these parts of us are
   members of a whole, so are we: in different ways the one law applies.

   All teems with symbol; the wise man is the man who in any one thing can
   read another, a process familiar to all of us in not a few examples of
   everyday experience.

   But what is the comprehensive principle of co-ordination? Establish
   this and we have a reasonable basis for the divination, not only by
   stars but also by birds and other animals, from which we derive
   guidance in our varied concerns.

   All things must be enchained; and the sympathy and correspondence
   obtaining in any one closely knit organism must exist, first, and most
   intensely, in the All. There must be one principle constituting this
   unit of many forms of life and enclosing the several members within the
   unity, while at the same time, precisely as in each thing of detail the
   parts too have each a definite function, so in the All each several
   member must have its own task -- but more markedly so since in this
   case the parts are not merely members but themselves Alls, members of
   the loftier Kind.

   Thus each entity takes its origin from one Principle and, therefore,
   while executing its own function, works in with every other member of
   that All from which its distinct task has by no means cut it off: each
   performs its act, each receives something from the others, every one at
   its own moment bringing its touch of sweet or bitter. And there is
   nothing undesigned, nothing of chance, in all the process: all is one
   scheme of differentiation, starting from the Firsts and working itself
   out in a continuous progression of Kinds.

   8. Soul, then, in the same way, is intent upon a task of its own; alike
   in its direct course and in its divagation it is the cause of all by
   its possession of the Thought of the First Principle: thus a Law of
   Justice goes with all that exists in the Universe which, otherwise,
   would be dissolved, and is perdurable because the entire fabric is
   guided as much by the orderliness as by the power of the controlling
   force. And in this order the stars, as being no minor members of the
   heavenly system, are co-operators contributing at once to its stately
   beauty and to its symbolic quality. Their symbolic power extends to the
   entire realm of sense, their efficacy only to what they patently do.

   For our part, nature keeps us upon the work of the Soul as long as we
   are not wrecked in the multiplicity of the Universe: once thus sunk and
   held we pay the penalty, which consists both in the fall itself and in
   the lower rank thus entailed upon us: riches and poverty are caused by
   the combinations of external fact.

   And what of virtue and vice?

   That question has been amply discussed elsewhere: in a word, virtue is
   ours by the ancient staple of the Soul; vice is due to the commerce of
   a Soul with the outer world.

   9. This brings us to the Spindle-destiny, spun according to the
   ancients by the Fates. To Plato the Spindle represents the co-operation
   of the moving and the stable elements of the kosmic circuit: the Fates
   with Necessity, Mother of the Fates, manipulate it and spin at the
   birth of every being, so that all comes into existence through

   In the Timaeus, the creating God bestows the essential of the Soul, but
   it is the divinities moving in the kosmos [the stars] that infuse the
   powerful affections holding from Necessity our impulse and our desire,
   our sense of pleasure and of pain -- and that lower phase of the Soul
   in which such experiences originate. By this statement our personality
   is bound up with the stars, whence our Soul [as total of Principle and
   affections] takes shape; and we are set under necessity at our very
   entrance into the world: our temperament will be of the stars'
   ordering, and so, therefore, the actions which derive from temperament,
   and all the experiences of a nature shaped to impressions.

   What, after all this, remains to stand for the "We"?

   The "We" is the actual resultant of a Being whose nature includes, with
   certain sensibilities, the power of governing them. Cut off as we are
   by the nature of the body, God has yet given us, in the midst of all
   this evil, virtue the unconquerable, meaningless in a state of tranquil
   safety but everything where its absence would be peril of fall.

   Our task, then, is to work for our liberation from this sphere,
   severing ourselves from all that has gathered about us; the total man
   is to be something better than a body ensouled -- the bodily element
   dominant with a trace of Soul running through it and a resultant
   life-course mainly of the body -- for in such a combination all is, in
   fact, bodily. There is another life, emancipated, whose quality is
   progression towards the higher realm, towards the good and divine,
   towards that Principle which no one possesses except by deliberate
   usage but so may appropriate, becoming, each personally, the higher,
   the beautiful, the Godlike, and living, remote, in and by It -- unless
   one choose to go bereaved of that higher Soul and therefore, to live
   fate-bound, no longer profiting, merely, by the significance of the
   sidereal system but becoming as it were a part sunken in it and dragged
   along with the whole thus adopted.

   For every human Being is of twofold character; there is that
   compromise-total and there is the Authentic Man: and it is so with the
   Kosmos as a whole; it is in the one phase a conjunction of body with a
   certain form of the Soul bound up in body; in the other phase it is the
   Universal Soul, that which is not itself embodied but flashes down its
   rays into the embodied Soul: and the same twofold quality belongs to
   the Sun and the other members of the heavenly system.

   To the remoter Soul, the pure, sun and stars communicate no baseness.
   In their efficacy upon the [material] All, they act as parts of it, as
   ensouled bodies within it; and they act only upon what is partial; body
   is the agent while, at the same time, it becomes the vehicle through
   which is transmitted something of the star's will and of that authentic
   Soul in it which is steadfastly in contemplation of the Highest.

   But [with every allowance to the lower forces] all follows either upon
   that Highest or rather upon the Beings about It -- we may think of the
   Divine as a fire whose outgoing warmth pervades the Universe -- or upon
   whatsoever is transmitted by the one Soul [the divine first Soul] to
   the other, its Kin [the Soul of any particular being]. All that is
   graceless is admixture. For the Universe is in truth a thing of blend,
   and if we separate from it that separable Soul, the residue is little.
   The All is a God when the divine Soul is counted in with it; "the
   rest," we read, "is a mighty spirit and its ways are subdivine."

   10. If all this be true, we must at once admit signification, though,
   neither singly nor collectively, can we ascribe to the stars any
   efficacy except in what concerns the [material] All and in what is of
   their own function.

   We must admit that the Soul before entering into birth presents itself
   bearing with it something of its own, for it could never touch body
   except under stress of a powerful inner impulse; we must admit some
   element of chance around it from its very entry, since the moment and
   conditions are determined by the kosmic circuit: and we must admit some
   effective power in that circuit itself; it is co-operative, and
   completes of its own act the task that belongs to the All of which
   everything in the circuit takes the rank and function of a part.

   11. And we must remember that what comes from the supernals does not
   enter into the recipients as it left the source; fire, for instance,
   will be duller; the loving instinct will degenerate and issue in ugly
   forms of the passion; the vital energy in a subject not so balanced as
   to display the mean of manly courage, will come out as either ferocity
   or faint-heartedness; and ambition . . . in love . . .; and the
   instinct towards good sets up the pursuit of semblant beauty;
   intellectual power at its lowest produces the extreme of wickedness,
   for wickedness is a miscalculating effort towards Intelligence.

   Any such quality, modified at best from its supreme form, deteriorates
   again within itself: things of any kind that approach from above,
   altered by merely leaving their source change further still by their
   blending with bodies, with Matter, with each other.

   12. All that thus proceeds from the supernal combines into a unity and
   every existing entity takes something from this blended infusion so
   that the result is the thing itself plus some quality. The effluence
   does not make the horse but adds something to it; for horse comes by
   horse, and man by man: the sun plays its part no doubt in the shaping,
   but the man has his origin in the Human-Principle. Outer things have
   their effect, sometimes to hurt and sometimes to help; like a father,
   they often contribute to good but sometimes also to harm; but they do
   not wrench the human being from the foundations of its nature; though
   sometimes Matter is the dominant, and the human principle takes the
   second place so that there is a failure to achieve perfection; the
   Ideal has been attenuated.

   13. Of phenomena of this sphere some derive from the Kosmic Circuit and
   some not: we must take them singly and mark them off, assigning to each
   its origin.

   The gist of the whole matter lies in the consideration that Soul
   governs this All by the plan contained in the Reason-Principle and
   plays in the All exactly the part of the particular principle which in
   every living-thing forms the members of the organism and adjusts them
   to the unity of which they are portions; the entire force of the Soul
   is represented in the All, but, in the parts, Soul is present only in
   proportion to the degree of essential reality held by each of such
   partial objects. Surrounding every separate entity there are other
   entities, whose approach will sometimes be hostile and sometimes
   helpful to the purpose of its nature; but to the All taken in its
   length and breadth each and every separate existent is an adjusted
   part, holding its own characteristic and yet contributing by its own
   native tendency to the entire life-history of the Universe.

   The soulless parts of the All are merely instruments; all their action
   is effected, so to speak, under a compulsion from outside themselves.

   The ensouled fall into two classes. The one kind has a motion of its
   own, but haphazard like that of horses between the shafts but before
   their driver sets the course; they are set right by the whip. In the
   Living-Being possessed of Reason, the nature-principle includes the
   driver; where the driver is intelligent, it takes in the main a
   straight path to a set end. But both classes are members of the All and
   co-operate towards the general purpose.

   The greater and most valuable among them have an important operation
   over a wide range: their contribution towards the life of the whole
   consists in acting, not in being acted upon; others, but feebly
   equipped for action, are almost wholly passive; there is an
   intermediate order whose members contain within themselves a principle
   of productivity and activity and make themselves very effective in many
   spheres or ways and yet serve also by their passivity.

   Thus the All stands as one all-complete Life, whose members, to the
   measure in which each contains within itself the Highest, effect all
   that is high and noble: and the entire scheme must be subordinate to
   its Dirigeant as an army to its general, "following upon Zeus" -- it
   has been said -- "as he proceeds towards the Intelligible Kind."

   Secondary in the All are those of its parts which possess a less
   exalted nature just as in us the members rank lower than the Soul; and
   so all through, there is a general analogy between the things of the
   All and our own members -- none of quite equal rank.

   All living things, then -- all in the heavens and all elsewhere -- fall
   under the general Reason-Principle of the All -- they have been made
   parts with a view to the whole: not one of these parts, however
   exalted, has power to effect any alteration of these Reason-Principles
   or of things shaped by them and to them; some modification one part may
   work upon another, whether for better or for worse; but there is no
   power that can wrest anything outside of its distinct nature.

   The part effecting such a modification for the worse may act in several

   It may set up some weakness restricted to the material frame. Or it may
   carry the weakness through to the sympathetic Soul which by the medium
   of the material frame, become a power to debasement, has been delivered
   over, though never in its essence, to the inferior order of being. Or,
   in the case of a material frame ill-organized, it may check all such
   action [of the Soul] upon the material frame as demands a certain
   collaboration in the part acted upon: thus a lyre may be so ill-strung
   as to be incapable of the melodic exactitude necessary to musical

   14. What of poverty and riches, glory and power?

   In the case of inherited fortune, the stars merely announce a rich man,
   exactly as they announce the high social standing of the child born to
   a distinguished house.

   Wealth may be due to personal activity: in this case if the body has
   contributed, part of the effect is due to whatever has contributed
   towards the physical powers, first the parents and then, if place has
   had its influence, sky and earth; if the body has borne no part of the
   burden, then the success, and all the splendid accompaniments added by
   the Recompensers, must be attributed to virtue exclusively. If fortune
   has come by gift from the good, then the source of the wealth is,
   again, virtue: if by gift from the evil, but to a meritorious
   recipient, then the credit must be given to the action of the best in
   them: if the recipient is himself unprincipled, the wealth must be
   attributed primarily to the very wickedness and to whatsoever is
   responsible for the wickedness, while the givers bear an equal share in
   the wrong.

   When the success is due to labour, tillage for example, it must be put
   down to the tiller, with all his environment as contributory. In the
   case of treasure-trove, something from the All has entered into action;
   and if this be so, it will be foreshown -- since all things make a
   chain, so that we can speak of things universally. Money is lost: if by
   robbery, the blame lies with the robber and the native principle
   guiding him: if by shipwreck, the cause is the chain of events. As for
   good fame, it is either deserved and then is due to the services done
   and to the merit of those appraising them, or it is undeserved, and
   then must be attributed to the injustice of those making the award. And
   the same principle holds is regards power -- for this also may be
   rightly or unrightly placed -- it depends either upon the merit of the
   dispensers of place or upon the man himself who has effected his
   purpose by the organization of supporters or in many other possible
   ways. Marriages, similarly, are brought about either by choice or by
   chance interplay of circumstance. And births are determined by
   marriages: the child is moulded true to type when all goes well;
   otherwise it is marred by some inner detriment, something due to the
   mother personally or to an environment unfavourable to that particular

   15. According to Plato, lots and choice play a part [in the
   determination of human conditions] before the Spindle of Necessity is
   turned; that once done, only the Spindle-destiny is valid; it fixes the
   chosen conditions irretrievably since the elected guardian-spirit
   becomes accessory to their accomplishment.

   But what is the significance of the Lots?

   By the Lots we are to understand birth into the conditions actually
   existent in the All at the particular moment of each entry into body,
   birth into such and such a physical frame, from such and such parents,
   in this or that place, and generally all that in our phraseology is the

   For Particulars and Universals alike it is established that to the
   first of those known as the Fates, to Clotho the Spinner, must be due
   the unity and as it were interweaving of all that exists: Lachesis
   presides over the Lots: to Atropos must necessarily belong the conduct
   of mundane events.

   Of men, some enter into life as fragments of the All, bound to that
   which is external to themselves: they are victims of a sort of
   fascination, and are hardly, or not at all, themselves: but others
   mastering all this -- straining, so to speak, by the head towards the
   Higher, to what is outside even the Soul -- preserve still the nobility
   and the ancient privilege of the Soul's essential being.

   For certainly we cannot think of the Soul as a thing whose nature is
   just a sum of impressions from outside -- as if it, alone, of all that
   exists, had no native character.

   No: much more than all else, the Soul, possessing the Idea which
   belongs to a Principle, must have as its native wealth many powers
   serving to the activities of its Kind. It is an Essential-Existent and
   with this Existence must go desire and act and the tendency towards
   some good.

   While body and soul stand one combined thing, there is a joint nature,
   a definite entity having definite functions and employments; but as
   soon as any Soul is detached, its employments are kept apart, its very
   own: it ceases to take the body's concerns to itself: it has vision
   now: body and soul stand widely apart.

   16. The question arises what phase of the Soul enters into the union
   for the period of embodiment and what phase remains distinct, what is
   separable and what necessarily interlinked, and in general what the
   Living-Being is.

   On all this there has been a conflict of teaching: the matter must be
   examined later on from quite other considerations than occupy us here.
   For the present let us explain in what sense we have described the All
   as the expressed idea of the Governing Soul.

   One theory might be that the Soul creates the particular entities in
   succession -- man followed by horse and other animals domestic or wild:
   fire and earth, though, first of all -- that it watches these creations
   acting upon each other whether to help or to harm, observes, and no
   more, the tangled web formed of all these strands, and their unfailing
   sequences; and that it makes no concern of the result beyond securing
   the reproduction of the primal living-beings, leaving them for the rest
   to act upon each other according to their definite natures.

   Another view makes the soul answerable for all that thus comes about,
   since its first creations have set up the entire enchainment.

   No doubt the Reason-Principle [conveyed by the Soul] covers all the
   action and experience of this realm: nothing happens, even here, by any
   form of haphazard; all follows a necessary order.

   Is everything, then, to be attributed to the act of the

   To their existence, no doubt, but not to their effective action; they
   exist and they know; or better, the Soul, which contains the
   engendering Reason-Principle, knows the results of all it has brought
   to pass. For whensoever similar factors meet and act in relation to
   each other, similar consequences must inevitably ensue: the Soul
   adopting or foreplanning the given conditions accomplishes the due
   outcome and links all into a total.

   All, then, is antecedent and resultant, each sequent becoming in turn
   an antecedent once it has taken its place among things. And perhaps
   this is a cause of progressive deterioration: men, for instance, are
   not as they were of old; by dint of interval and of the inevitable law,
   the Reason-Principles have ceded something to the characteristics of
   the Matter.


   The Soul watches the ceaselessly changing universe and follows all the
   fate of all its works: this is its life, and it knows no respite from
   this care, but is ever labouring to bring about perfection, planning to
   lead all to an unending state of excellence -- like a farmer, first
   sowing and planting and then constantly setting to rights where
   rainstorms and long frosts and high gales have played havoc.

   If such a conception of Soul be rejected as untenable, we are obliged
   to think that the Reason-Principles themselves foreknew or even
   contained the ruin and all the consequences of flaw.

   But then we would be imputing the creation of evil to the
   Reason-Principles, though the arts and their guiding principle do not
   include blundering, do not cover the inartistic, the destruction of the
   work of art.

   And here it will be objected that in All there is nothing contrary to
   nature, nothing evil.

   Still, by the side of the better there exists also what is less good.

   Well, perhaps even the less good has its contributory value in the All.
   Perhaps there is no need that everything be good. Contraries may
   co-operate; and without opposites there could be no ordered Universe:
   all living beings of the partial realm include contraries. The better
   elements are compelled into existence and moulded to their function by
   the Reason-Principle directly; the less good are potentially present in
   the Reason-Principles, actually present in the phenomena themselves;
   the Soul's power had reached its limit, and failed to bring the
   Reason-Principles into complete actuality since, amid the clash of
   these antecedent Principles, Matter had already from its own stock
   produced the less good.

   Yet, with all this, Matter is continuously overruled towards the
   better; so that out of the total of things -- modified by Soul on the
   one hand and by Matter on the other hand, and on neither hand as sound
   as in the Reason-Principles -- there is, in the end, a Unity.

   17. But these Reason-Principles, contained in the Soul, are they

   And if so, by what process does the Soul create in accordance with
   these Thoughts?

   It is upon Matter that this act of the Reason is exercised; and what
   acts physically is not an intellectual operation or a vision, but a
   power modifying matter, not conscious of it but merely acting upon it:
   the Reason-Principle, in other words, acts much like a force producing
   a figure or pattern upon water -- that of a circle, suppose, where the
   formation of the ring is conditioned by something distinct from that
   force itself.

   If this is so, the prior puissance of the Soul [that which conveys the
   Reason-Principles] must act by manipulating the other Soul, that which
   is united with Matter and has the generative function.

   But is this handling the result of calculation?

   Calculation implies reference. Reference, then, to something outside or
   to something contained within itself? If to its own content, there is
   no need of reasoning, which could not itself perform the act of
   creation; creation is the operation of that phase of the Soul which
   contains Ideal-Principles; for that is its stronger puissance, its
   creative part.

   It creates, then, on the model of the Ideas; for, what it has received
   from the Intellectual-Principle it must pass on in turn.

   In sum, then, the Intellectual-Principle gives from itself to the Soul
   of the All which follows immediately upon it: this again gives forth
   from itself to its next, illuminated and imprinted by it; and that
   secondary Soul at once begins to create, as under order, unhindered in
   some of its creations, striving in others against the repugnance of

   It has a creative power, derived; it is stored with Reason-Principles
   not the very originals: therefore it creates, but not in full
   accordance with the Principles from which it has been endowed:
   something enters from itself; and, plainly, this is inferior. The issue
   then is something living, yes; but imperfect, hindering its own life,
   something very poor and reluctant and crude, formed in a Matter that is
   the fallen sediment of the Higher Order, bitter and embittering. This
   is the Soul's contribution to the All.

   18. Are the evils in the Universe necessary because it is of later
   origin than the Higher Sphere?

   Perhaps rather because without evil the All would be incomplete. For
   most or even all forms of evil serve the Universe -- much as the
   poisonous snake has its use -- though in most cases their function is
   unknown. Vice itself has many useful sides: it brings about much that
   is beautiful, in artistic creations for example, and it stirs us to
   thoughtful living, not allowing us to drowse in security.

   If all this is so, then [the secret of creation is that] the Soul of
   the All abides in contemplation of the Highest and Best, ceaselessly
   striving towards the Intelligible Kind and towards God: but, thus
   absorbing and filled full, it overflows -- so to speak -- and the image
   it gives forth, its last utterance towards the lower, will be the
   creative puissance.

   This ultimate phase, then, is the Maker, secondary to that aspect of
   the Soul which is primarily saturated from the Divine Intelligence. But
   the Creator above all is the Intellectual-Principle, as giver, to the
   Soul that follows it, of those gifts whose traces exist in the Third

   Rightly, therefore, is this Kosmos described as an image continuously
   being imaged, the First and the Second Principles immobile, the Third,
   too, immobile essentially, but, accidentally and in Matter, having

   For as long as divine Mind and Soul exist, the divine Thought-Forms
   will pour forth into that phase of the Soul: as long as there is a sun,
   all that streams from it will be some form of Light.



   1. By common agreement of all that have arrived at the conception of
   such a Kind, what is known as Matter is understood to be a certain
   base, a recipient of Form-Ideas. Thus far all go the same way. But
   departure begins with the attempt to establish what this basic Kind is
   in itself, and how it is a recipient and of what.

   To a certain school, body-forms exclusively are the Real Beings;
   existence is limited to bodies; there is one only Matter, the stuff
   underlying the primal-constituents of the Universe: existence is
   nothing but this Matter: everything is some modification of this; the
   elements of the Universe are simply this Matter in a certain condition.

   The school has even the audacity to foist Matter upon the divine beings
   so that, finally, God himself becomes a mode of Matter -- and this
   though they make it corporeal, describing it as a body void of quality,
   but a magnitude.

   Another school makes it incorporeal: among these, not all hold the
   theory of one only Matter; some of them while they maintain the one
   Matter, in which the first school believes, the foundation of bodily
   forms, admit another, a prior, existing in the divine-sphere, the base
   of the Ideas there and of the unembodied Beings.

   2. We are obliged, therefore, at the start, both to establish the
   existence of this other Kind and to examine its nature and the mode of
   its Being.

   Now if Matter must characteristically be undetermined, void of shape,
   while in that sphere of the Highest there can be nothing that lacks
   determination, nothing shapeless, there can be no Matter there.
   Further, if all that order is simplex, there can be no need of Matter,
   whose function is to join with some other element to form a compound:
   it will be found of necessity in things of derived existence and
   shifting nature -- the signs which lead us to the notion of Matter --
   but it is unnecessary to the primal.

   And again, where could it have come from? whence did it take its being?
   If it is derived, it has a source: if it is eternal, then the
   Primal-Principles are more numerous than we thought, the Firsts are a
   meeting-ground. Lastly, if that Matter has been entered by Idea, the
   union constitutes a body; and, so, there is Body in the Supreme.

   3. Now it may be observed, first of all, that we cannot hold utterly
   cheap either the indeterminate, or even a Kind whose very idea implies
   absence of form, provided only that it offer itself to its Priors and
   [through them] to the Highest Beings. We have the parallel of the Soul
   itself in its relation to the Intellectual-Principle and the Divine
   Reason, taking shape by these and led so to a nobler principle of form.

   Further, a compound in the Intellectual order is not to be confounded
   with a compound in the realm of Matter; the Divine Reasons are
   compounds and their Act is to produce a compound, namely that [lower]
   Nature which works towards Idea. And there is not only a difference of
   function; there is a still more notable difference of source. Then,
   too, the Matter of the realm of process ceaselessly changes its form:
   in the eternal, Matter is immutably one and the same, so that the two
   are diametrically opposites. The Matter of this realm is all things in
   turn, a new entity in every separate case, so that nothing is permanent
   and one thing ceaselessly pushes another out of being: Matter has no
   identity here. In the Intellectual it is all things at once: and
   therefore has nothing to change into: it already and ever contains all.
   This means that not even in its own Sphere is the Matter there at any
   moment shapeless: no doubt that is true of the Matter here as well; but
   shape is held by a very different right in the two orders of Matter.

   As to whether Matter is eternal or a thing of process, this will be
   clear when we are sure of its precise nature.

   4. The present existence of the Ideal-Forms has been demonstrated
   elsewhere: we take up our argument from that point.

   If, then, there is more than one of such forming Ideas, there must of
   necessity be some character common to all and equally some peculiar
   character in each keeping them distinct.

   This peculiar characteristic, this distinguishing difference, is the
   individual shape. But if shape, then there is the shaped, that in which
   the difference is lodged.

   There is, therefore, a Matter accepting the shape, a permanent

   Further, admitting that there is an Intelligible Realm beyond, of which
   this world is an image, then, since this world-compound is based on
   Matter, there must be Matter there also.

   And how can you predicate an ordered system without thinking of form,
   and how think of form apart from the notion of something in which the
   form is lodged?

   No doubt that Realm is, in the strict fact, utterly without parts, but
   in some sense there is part there too. And in so far as these parts are
   really separate from each other, any such division and difference can
   be no other than a condition of Matter, of a something divided and
   differentiated: in so far as that realm, though without parts, yet
   consists of a variety of entities, these diverse entities, residing in
   a unity of which they are variations, reside in a Matter; for this
   unity, since it is also a diversity, must be conceived of as varied and
   multiform; it must have been shapeless before it took the form in which
   variation occurs. For if we abstract from the Intellectual-Principle
   the variety and the particular shapes, the Reason-Principles and the
   Thoughts, what precedes these was something shapeless and undetermined,
   nothing of what is actually present there.

   5. It may be objected that the Intellectual-Principle possesses its
   content in an eternal conjunction so that the two make a perfect unity,
   and that thus there is no Matter there.

   But that argument would equally cancel the Matter present in the bodily
   forms of this realm: body without shape has never existed, always body
   achieved and yet always the two constituents. We discover these two --
   Matter and Idea -- by sheer force of our reasoning which distinguishes
   continually in pursuit of the simplex, the irreducible, working on,
   until it can go no further, towards the ultimate in the subject of
   enquiry. And the ultimate of every partial-thing is its Matter, which,
   therefore, must be all darkness since light is a Reason-Principle. The
   Mind, too, as also a Reason-Principle, sees only in each particular
   object the Reason-Principle lodging there; anything lying below that it
   declares to lie below the light, to be therefore a thing of darkness,
   just as the eye, a thing of light, seeks light and colours which are
   modes of light, and dismisses all that is below the colours and hidden
   by them, as belonging to the order of the darkness, which is the order
   of Matter.

   The dark element in the Intelligible, however, differs from that in the
   sense-world: so therefore does the Matter -- as much as the
   forming-Idea presiding in each of the two realms. The Divine Matter,
   though it is the object of determination has, of its own nature, a life
   defined and intellectual; the Matter of this sphere while it does
   accept determination is not living or intellective, but a dead thing
   decorated: any shape it takes is an image, exactly as the Base is an
   image. There on the contrary the shape is a real-existent as is the
   Base. Those that ascribe Real Being to Matter must be admitted to be
   right as long as they keep to the Matter of the Intelligible Realm: for
   the Base there is Being, or even, taken as an entirety with the higher
   that accompanies it, is illuminated Being.

   But does this Base, of the Intellectual Realm, possess eternal

   The solution of that question is the same as for the Ideas.

   Both are engendered, in the sense that they have had a beginning, but
   unengendered in that this beginning is not in Time: they have a derived
   being but by an eternal derivation: they are not, like the Kosmos,
   always in process but, in the character of the Supernal, have their
   Being permanently. For that differentiation within the Intelligible
   which produces Matter has always existed and it is this cleavage which
   produces the Matter there: it is the first movement; and movement and
   differentiation are convertible terms since the two things arose as
   one: this motion, this cleavage, away from the first is indetermination
   [= Matter], needing The First to its determination which it achieves by
   its Return, remaining, until then, an Alienism, still lacking good;
   unlit by the Supernal. It is from the Divine that all light comes, and,
   until this be absorbed, no light in any recipient of light can be
   authentic; any light from elsewhere is of another order than the true.

   6. We are led thus to the question of receptivity in things of body.

   An additional proof that bodies must have some substratum different
   from themselves is found in the changing of the basic-constituents into
   one another. Notice that the destruction of the elements passing over
   is not complete -- if it were we would have a Principle of Being
   wrecked in Non-being -- nor does an engendered thing pass from utter
   non-being into Being: what happens is that a new form takes the place
   of an old. There is, then, a stable element, that which puts off one
   form to receive the form of the incoming entity.

   The same fact is clearly established by decay, a process implying a
   compound object; where there is decay there is a distinction between
   Matter and Form.

   And the reasoning which shows the destructible to be a compound is
   borne out by practical examples of reduction: a drinking vessel is
   reduced to its gold, the gold to liquid; analogy forces us to believe
   that the liquid too is reducible.

   The basic-constituents of things must be either their Form-Idea or that
   Primal Matter [of the Intelligible] or a compound of the Form and

   Form-Idea, pure and simple, they cannot be: for without Matter how
   could things stand in their mass and magnitude?

   Neither can they be that Primal Matter, for they are not

   They must, therefore, consist of Matter and Form-Idea -- Form for
   quality and shape, Matter for the base, indeterminate as being other
   than Idea.

   7. Empedokles in identifying his "elements" with Matter is refuted by
   their decay.

   Anaxagoras, in identifying his "primal-combination" with Matter -- to
   which he allots no mere aptness to any and every nature or quality but
   the effective possession of all -- withdraws in this way the very
   Intellectual-Principle he had introduced; for this Mind is not to him
   the bestower of shape, of Forming Idea; and it is co-aeval with Matter,
   not its prior. But this simultaneous existence is impossible: for if
   the combination derives Being by participation, Being is the prior; if
   both are Authentic Existents, then an additional Principle, a third, is
   imperative [a ground of unification]. And if this Creator, Mind, must
   pre-exist, why need Matter contain the Forming-Ideas parcel-wise for
   the Mind, with unending labour, to assort and allot? Surely the
   undetermined could be brought to quality and pattern in the one
   comprehensive act?

   As for the notion that all is in all, this clearly is impossible.

   Those who make the base to be "the infinite" must define the term.

   If this "infinite" means "of endless extension" there is no infinite
   among beings; there is neither an infinity-in-itself [Infinity
   Abstract] nor an infinity as an attribute to some body; for in the
   first case every part of that infinity would be infinite and in the
   second an object in which the infinity was present as an attribute
   could not be infinite apart from that attribute, could not be simplex,
   could not therefore be Matter.

   Atoms again cannot meet the need of a base.

   There are no atoms; all body is divisible endlessly: besides neither
   the continuity nor the ductility of corporeal things is explicable
   apart from Mind, or apart from the Soul which cannot be made up of
   atoms; and, again, out of atoms creation could produce nothing but
   atoms: a creative power could produce nothing from a material devoid of
   continuity. Any number of reasons might be brought, and have been
   brought, against this hypothesis and it need detain us no longer.

   8. What, then, is this Kind, this Matter, described as one stuff,
   continuous and without quality?

   Clearly since it is without quality it is incorporeal; bodiliness would
   be quality.

   It must be the basic stuff of all the entities of the sense-world and
   not merely base to some while being to others achieved form.

   Clay, for example, is matter to the potter but is not Matter pure and
   simple. Nothing of this sort is our object: we are seeking the stuff
   which underlies all alike. We must therefore refuse to it all that we
   find in things of sense -- not merely such attributes as colour, heat
   or cold, but weight or weightlessness, thickness or thinness, shape and
   therefore magnitude; though notice that to be present within magnitude
   and shape is very different from possessing these qualities.

   It cannot be a compound, it must be a simplex, one distinct thing in
   its nature; only so can it be void of all quality. The Principle which
   gives it form gives this as something alien: so with magnitude and all
   really-existent things bestowed upon it. If, for example, it possessed
   a magnitude of its own, the Principle giving it form would be at the
   mercy of that magnitude and must produce not at will, but only within
   the limit of the Matter's capacity: to imagine that Will keeping step
   with its material is fantastic.

   The Matter must be of later origin than the forming-power, and
   therefore must be at its disposition throughout, ready to become
   anything, ready therefore to any bulk; besides, if it possessed
   magnitude, it would necessarily possess shape also: it would be doubly

   No: all that ever appears upon it is brought in by the Idea: the Idea
   alone possesses: to it belongs the magnitude and all else that goes
   with the Reason-Principle or follows upon it. Quantity is given with
   the Ideal-Form in all the particular species -- man, bird, and
   particular kind of bird.

   The imaging of Quantity upon Matter by an outside power is not more
   surprising than the imaging of Quality; Quality is no doubt a
   Reason-Principle, but Quantity also -- being measure, number -- is
   equally so.

   9. But how can we conceive a thing having existence without having

   We have only to think of things whose identity does not depend on their
   quantity -- for certainly magnitude can be distinguished from existence
   as can many other forms and attributes.

   In a word, every unembodied Kind must be classed as without quantity,
   and Matter is unembodied.

   Besides quantitativeness itself [the Absolute-Principle] does not
   possess quantity, which belongs only to things participating in it, a
   consideration which shows that Quantitativeness is an Idea-Principle. A
   white object becomes white by the presence of whiteness; what makes an
   organism white or of any other variety of colour is not itself a
   specific colour but, so to speak, a specific Reason-Principle: in the
   same way what gives an organism a certain bulk is not itself a thing of
   magnitude but is Magnitude itself, the abstract Absolute, or the

   This Magnitude-Absolute, then, enters and beats the Matter out into

   Not at all: the Matter was not previously shrunken small: there was no
   littleness or bigness: the Idea gives Magnitude exactly as it gives
   every quality not previously present.

   10. But how can I form the conception of the sizelessness of Matter?

   How do you form the concept of any absence of quality? What is the Act
   of the Intellect, what is the mental approach, in such a case?

   The secret is Indetermination.

   Likeness knows its like: the indeterminate knows the indeterminate.
   Around this indefinite a definite conception will be realized, but the
   way lies through indefiniteness.

   All knowledge comes by Reason and the Intellectual Act; in this case
   Reason conveys information in any account it gives, but the act which
   aims at being intellectual is, here, not intellection but rather its
   failure: therefore the representation of Matter must be spurious,
   unreal, something sprung of the Alien, of the unreal, and bound up with
   the alien reason.

   This is Plato's meaning where he says that Matter is apprehended by a
   sort of spurious reasoning.

   What, then, is this indetermination in the Soul? Does it amount to an
   utter absence of Knowledge, as if the Soul or Mind had withdrawn?

   No: the indeterminate has some footing in the sphere of affirmation.
   The eye is aware of darkness as a base capable of receiving any colour
   not yet seen against it: so the Mind, putting aside all attributes
   perceptible to sense -- all that corresponds to light -- comes upon a
   residuum which it cannot bring under determination: it is thus in the
   state of the eye which, when directed towards darkness, has become in
   some way identical with the object of its spurious vision.

   There is vision, then, in this approach of the Mind towards Matter?

   Some vision, yes; of shapelessness, of colourlessness, of the unlit,
   and therefore of the sizeless. More than this would mean that the Soul
   is already bestowing Form.

   But is not such a void precisely what the Soul experiences when it has
   no intellection whatever?

   No: in that case it affirms nothing, or rather has no experience: but
   in knowing Matter, it has an experience, what may be described as the
   impact of the shapeless; for in its very consciousness of objects that
   have taken shape and size it knows them as compounds [i.e., as
   possessing with these forms a formless base] for they appear as things
   that have accepted colour and other quality.

   It knows, therefore, a whole which includes two components; it has a
   clear Knowledge or perception of the overlie [the Ideas] but only a dim
   awareness of the underlie, the shapeless which is not an

   With what is perceptible to it there is presented something else: what
   it can directly apprehend it sets on one side as its own; but the
   something else which Reason rejects, this, the dim, it knows dimly,
   this, the dark, it knows darkly, this it knows in a sort of

   And just as even Matter itself is not stably shapeless but, in things,
   is always shaped, the Soul also is eager to throw over it the
   thing-form; for the Soul recoils from the indefinite, dreads, almost,
   to be outside of reality, does not endure to linger about Non-Being.

   11. "But, given Magnitude and the properties we know, what else can be
   necessary to the existence of body?"

   Some base to be the container of all the rest.

   "A certain mass then; and if mass, then Magnitude? Obviously if your
   Base has no Magnitude it offers no footing to any entrant. And suppose
   it sizeless; then, what end does it serve? It never helped Idea or
   quality; now it ceases to account for differentiation or for magnitude,
   though the last, wheresoever it resides, seems to find its way into
   embodied entities by way of Matter."

   "Or, taking a larger view, observe that actions, productive operations,
   periods of time, movements, none of these have any such substratum and
   yet are real things; in the same way the most elementary body has no
   need of Matter; things may be, all, what they are, each after its own
   kind, in their great variety, deriving the coherence of their being
   from the blending of the various Ideal-Forms. This Matter with its
   sizelessness seems, then, to be a name without a content."

   Now, to begin with: extension is not an imperative condition of being a
   recipient; it is necessary only where it happens to be a property
   inherent to the recipient's peculiar mode of being. The Soul, for
   example, contains all things but holds them all in an unextended unity;
   if magnitude were one of its attributes it would contain things in
   extension. Matter does actually contain in spatial extension what it
   takes in; but this is because itself is a potential recipient of
   spatial extension: animals and plants, in the same way, as they
   increase in size, take quality in parallel development with quantity,
   and they lose in the one as the other lessens.

   No doubt in the case of things as we know them there is a certain mass
   lying ready beforehand to the shaping power: but that is no reason for
   expecting bulk in Matter strictly so called; for in such cases Matter
   is not the absolute; it is that of some definite object; the Absolute
   Matter must take its magnitude, as every other property, from outside

   A thing then need not have magnitude in order to receive form: it may
   receive mass with everything else that comes to it at the moment of
   becoming what it is to be: a phantasm of mass is enough, a primary
   aptness for extension, a magnitude of no content -- whence the
   identification that has been made of Matter with The Void.

   But I prefer to use the word phantasm as hinting the indefiniteness
   into which the Soul spills itself when it seeks to communicate with
   Matter, finding no possibility of delimiting it, neither encompassing
   it nor able to penetrate to any fixed point of it, either of which
   achievements would be an act of delimitation.

   In other words, we have something which is to be described not as small
   or great but as the great-and-small: for it is at once a mass and a
   thing without magnitude, in the sense that it is the Matter on which
   Mass is based and that, as it changes from great to small and small to
   great, it traverses magnitude. Its very undeterminateness is a mass in
   the same sense that of being a recipient of Magnitude -- though of
   course only in the visible object.

   In the order of things without Mass, all that is Ideal-Principle
   possesses delimitation, each entity for itself, so that the conception
   of Mass has no place in them: Matter, not delimited, having in its own
   nature no stability, swept into any or every form by turns, ready to go
   here, there and everywhere, becomes a thing of multiplicity: driven
   into all shapes, becoming all things, it has that much of the character
   of mass.

   12. It is the corporeal, then, that demands magnitude: the Ideal-Forms
   of body are Ideas installed in Mass.

   But these Ideas enter, not into Magnitude itself but into some subject
   that has been brought to Magnitude. For to suppose them entering into
   Magnitude and not into Matter -- is to represent them as being either
   without Magnitude and without Real-Existence [and therefore
   undistinguishable from the Matter] or not Ideal-Forms [apt to body] but
   Reason-Principles [utterly removed] whose sphere could only be Soul; at
   this, there would be no such thing as body [i.e., instead of
   Ideal-Forms shaping Matter and so producing body, there would be merely
   Reason-Principles dwelling remote in Soul.]

   The multiplicity here must be based upon some unity which, since it has
   been brought to Magnitude, must be, itself, distinct from Magnitude.
   Matter is the base of Identity to all that is composite: once each of
   the constituents comes bringing its own Matter with it, there is no
   need of any other base. No doubt there must be a container, as it were
   a place, to receive what is to enter, but Matter and even body precede
   place and space; the primal necessity, in order to the existence of
   body, is Matter.

   There is no force in the suggestion that, since production and act are
   immaterial, corporeal entities also must be immaterial.

   Bodies are compound, actions not. Further, Matter does in some sense
   underlie action; it supplies the substratum to the doer: it is
   permanently within him though it does not enter as a constituent into
   the act where, indeed, it would be a hindrance. Doubtless, one act does
   not change into another -- as would be the case if there were a
   specific Matter of actions -- but the doer directs himself from one act
   to another so that he is the Matter, himself, to his varying actions.

   Matter, in sum, is necessary to quality and to quantity, and,
   therefore, to body.

   It is, thus, no name void of content; we know there is such a base,
   invisible and without bulk though it be.

   If we reject it, we must by the same reasoning reject qualities and
   mass: for quality, or mass, or any such entity, taken by itself apart,
   might be said not to exist. But these do exist, though in an obscure
   existence: there is much less ground for rejecting Matter, however it
   lurk, discerned by none of the senses.

   It eludes the eye, for it is utterly outside of colour: it is not
   heard, for it is no sound: it is no flavour or savour for nostrils or
   palate: can it, perhaps, be known to touch? No: for neither is it
   corporeal; and touch deals with body, which is known by being solid,
   fragile, soft, hard, moist, dry -- all properties utterly lacking in

   It is grasped only by a mental process, though that not an act of the
   intellective mind but a reasoning that finds no subject; and so it
   stands revealed as the spurious thing it has been called. No bodiliness
   belongs to it; bodiliness is itself a phase of Reason-Principle and so
   is something different from Matter, as Matter, therefore, from it:
   bodiliness already operative and so to speak made concrete would be
   body manifest and not Matter unelaborated.

   13. Are we asked to accept as the substratum some attribute or quality
   present to all the elements in common?

   Then, first, we must be told what precise attribute this is and, next,
   how an attribute can be a substratum.

   The elements are sizeless, and how conceive an attribute where there is
   neither base nor bulk?

   Again, if the quality possesses determination, it is not Matter the
   undetermined; and anything without determination is not a quality but
   is the substratum -- the very Matter we are seeking.

   It may be suggested that perhaps this absence of quality means simply
   that, of its own nature, it has no participation in any of the set and
   familiar properties, but takes quality by this very non-participation,
   holding thus an absolutely individual character, marked off from
   everything else, being as it were the negation of those others.
   Deprivation, we will be told, comports quality: a blind man has the
   quality of his lack of sight. If then -- it will be urged -- Matter
   exhibits such a negation, surely it has a quality, all the more so,
   assuming any deprivation to be a quality, in that here the deprivation
   is all comprehensive.

   But this notion reduces all existence to qualified things or qualities:
   Quantity itself becomes a Quality and so does even Existence. Now this
   cannot be: if such things as Quantity and Existence are qualified, they
   are, by that very fact, not qualities: Quality is an addition to them;
   we must not commit the absurdity of giving the name Quality to
   something distinguishable from Quality, something therefore that is not

   Is it suggested that its mere Alienism is a quality in Matter?

   If this Alienism is difference-absolute [the abstract entity] it
   possesses no Quality: absolute Quality cannot be itself a qualified

   If the Alienism is to be understood as meaning only that Matter is
   differentiated, then it is different not by itself [since it is
   certainly not an absolute] but by this Difference, just as all
   identical objects are so by virtue of Identicalness [the Absolute
   principle of Identity].

   An absence is neither a Quality nor a qualified entity; it is the
   negation of a Quality or of something else, as noiselessness is the
   negation of noise and so on. A lack is negative; Quality demands
   something positive. The distinctive character of Matter is unshape, the
   lack of qualification and of form; surely then it is absurd to pretend
   that it has Quality in not being qualified; that is like saying that
   sizelessness constitutes a certain size.

   The distinctive character of Matter, then, is simply its manner of
   being -- not something definite inserted in it but, rather a relation
   towards other things, the relation of being distinct from them.

   Other things possess something besides this relation of Alienism: their
   form makes each an entity. Matter may with propriety be described as
   merely alien; perhaps, even, we might describe it as "The Aliens," for
   the singular suggests a certain definiteness while the plural would
   indicate the absence of any determination.

   14. But is Absence this privation itself, or something in which this
   Privation is lodged?

   Anyone maintaining that Matter and Privation are one and the same in
   substratum but stand separable in reason cannot be excused from
   assigning to each the precise principle which distinguishes it in
   reason from the other: that which defines Matter must be kept quite
   apart from that defining the Privation and vice versa.

   There are three possibilities: Matter is not in Privation and Privation
   is not in Matter; or each is in each; or each is in itself alone.

   Now if they should stand quite apart, neither calling for the other,
   they are two distinct things: Matter is something other than Privation
   even though Privation always goes with it: into the principle of the
   one, the other cannot enter even potentially.

   If their relation to each other is that of a snubnose to snubness, here
   also there is a double concept; we have two things.

   If they stand to each other as fire to heat -- heat in fire, but fire
   not included in the concept of heat -- if Matter is Privation in the
   way in which fire is heat, then the Privation is a form under which
   Matter appears but there remains a base distinct from the Privation and
   this base must be the Matter. Here, too, they are not one thing.

   Perhaps the identity in substance with differentiation in reason will
   be defended on the ground that Privation does not point to something
   present but precisely to an absence, to something absent, to the
   negation or lack of Real-being: the case would be like that of the
   affirmation of non-existence, where there is no real predication but
   simply a denial.

   Is, then, this Privation simply a non-existence?

   If a non-existence in the sense that it is not a thing of Real-being,
   but belongs to some other Kind of existent, we have still two
   Principles, one referring directly to the substratum, the other merely
   exhibiting the relation of the Privation to other things.

   Or we might say that the one concept defines the relation of substratum
   to what is not substratum, while that of Privation, in bringing out the
   indeterminateness of Matter, applies to the Matter in itself: but this
   still makes Privation and Matter two in reason though one in

   Now if Matter possesses an identity -- though only the identity of
   being indeterminate, unfixed and without quality -- how can we bring it
   so under two principles?

   15. The further question, therefore, is raised whether boundlessness
   and indetermination are things lodging in something other than
   themselves as a sort of attribute and whether Privation [or Negation of
   quality] is also an attribute residing in some separate substratum.

   Now all that is Number and Reason-Principle is outside of
   boundlessness: these bestow bound and settlement and order in general
   upon all else: neither anything that has been brought under order nor
   any Order-Absolute is needed to bring them under order. The thing that
   has to be brought under order [e.g., Matter] is other than the Ordering
   Principle which is Limit and Definiteness and Reason-Principle.
   Therefore, necessarily, the thing to be brought under order and to
   definiteness must be in itself a thing lacking delimitation.

   Now Matter is a thing that is brought under order -- like all that
   shares its nature by participation or by possessing the same principle
   -- therefore, necessarily, Matter is The Undelimited and not merely the
   recipient of a nonessential quality of Indefiniteness entering as an

   For, first, any attribute to any subject must be a Reason-Principle;
   and Indefiniteness is not a Reason-Principle.

   Secondly, what must a thing be to take Indefiniteness as an attribute?
   Obviously it must, beforehand, be either Definiteness or a defined
   thing. But Matter is neither.

   Then again Indefiniteness entering as an attribute into the definite
   must cease to be indefinite: but Indefiniteness has not entered as an
   attribute into Matter: that is, Matter is essentially Indefiniteness.

   Matter even of the Intellectual Realm is the Indefinite, [the
   undelimited]; it must be a thing generated by the undefined nature, the
   illimitable nature, of the Eternal Being, The One illimitableness,
   however, not possessing native existence There but engendered by The

   But how can Matter be common to both spheres, be here and be There?

   Because even Indefiniteness has two phases.

   But what difference can there be between phase and phase of

   The difference of archetype and image.

   So that Matter here [as only an image of Indefiniteness] would be less

   On the contrary, more indefinite as an Image-thing remote from true
   being. Indefiniteness is the greater in the less ordered object; the
   less deep in good, the deeper in evil. The Indeterminate in the
   Intellectual Realm, where there is truer being, might almost be called
   merely an Image of Indefiniteness: in this lower Sphere where there is
   less Being, where there is a refusal of the Authentic, and an adoption
   of the Image-Kind, Indefiniteness is more authentically indefinite.

   But this argument seems to make no difference between the indefinite
   object and Indefiniteness-essential. Is there none?

   In any object in which Reason and Matter co-exist we distinguish
   between Indeterminateness and the Indeterminate subject: but where
   Matter stands alone we make them identical, or, better, we would say
   right out that in that case essential Indeterminateness is not present;
   for it is a Reason-Principle and could not lodge in the indeterminate
   object without at once annulling the indeterminateness.

   Matter, then, must be described as Indefinite of itself, by its natural
   opposition to Reason-Principle. Reason is Reason and nothing else; just
   so Matter, opposed by its indeterminateness to Reason, is
   Indeterminateness and nothing else.

   16. Then Matter is simply Alienism [the Principle of Difference]?

   No: it is merely that part of Alienism which stands in contradiction
   with the Authentic Existents which are Reason-Principles. So
   understood, this non-existent has a certain measure of existence; for
   it is identical with Privation, which also is a thing standing in
   opposition to the things that exist in Reason.

   But must not Privation cease to have existence, when what has been
   lacking is present at last?

   By no means: the recipient of a state or character is not a state but
   the Privation of the state; and that into which determination enters is
   neither a determined object nor determination itself, but simply the
   wholly or partly undetermined.

   Still, must not the nature of this Undetermined be annulled by the
   entry of Determination, especially where this is no mere attribute?

   No doubt to introduce quantitative determination into an undetermined
   object would annul the original state; but in the particular case, the
   introduction of determination only confirms the original state,
   bringing it into actuality, into full effect, as sowing brings out the
   natural quality of land or as a female organism impregnated by the male
   is not defeminized but becomes more decidedly of its sex; the thing
   becomes more emphatically itself.

   But on this reasoning must not Matter owe its evil to having in some
   degree participated in good?

   No: its evil is in its first lack: it was not a possessor (of some
   specific character).

   To lack one thing and to possess another, in something like equal
   proportions, is to hold a middle state of good and evil: but whatsoever
   possesses nothing and so is in destitution -- and especially what is
   essentially destitution -- must be evil in its own Kind.

   For in Matter we have no mere absence of means or of strength; it is
   utter destitution -- of sense, of virtue, of beauty, of pattern, of
   Ideal principle, of quality. This is surely ugliness, utter
   disgracefulness, unredeemed evil.

   The Matter in the Intellectual Realm is an Existent, for there is
   nothing previous to it except the Beyond-Existence; but what precedes
   the Matter of this sphere is Existence; by its alienism in regard to
   the beauty and good of Existence, Matter is therefore a non-existent.



   1. A distinction is made between things existing actually and things
   existing potentially; a certain Actuality, also, is spoken of as a
   really existent entity. We must consider what content there is in these

   Can we distinguish between Actuality [an absolute, abstract Principle]
   and the state of being-in-act? And if there is such an Actuality, is
   this itself in Act, or are the two quite distinct so that this actually
   existent thing need not be, itself, an Act?

   It is indubitable that Potentiality exists in the Realm of Sense: but
   does the Intellectual Realm similarly include the potential or only the
   actual? and if the potential exists there, does it remain merely
   potential for ever? And, if so, is this resistance to actualization due
   to its being precluded [as a member of the Divine or Intellectual
   world] from time-processes?

   First we must make clear what potentiality is.

   We cannot think of potentiality as standing by itself; there can be no
   potentiality apart from something which a given thing may be or become.
   Thus bronze is the potentiality of a statue: but if nothing could be
   made out of the bronze, nothing wrought upon it, if it could never be
   anything as a future to what it has been, if it rejected all change, it
   would be bronze and nothing else: its own character it holds already as
   a present thing, and that would be the full of its capacity: it would
   be destitute of potentiality. Whatsoever has a potentiality must first
   have a character of its own; and its potentiality will consist in its
   having a reach beyond that character to some other.

   Sometimes after it has turned its potentiality into actuality it will
   remain what it was; sometimes it will sink itself to the fullest extent
   in the new form and itself disappear: these two different modes are
   exemplified in (1) bronze as potentially a statue and (2) water [=
   primal-liquid] as potentially bronze or, again, air as potentially

   But if this be the significance of potentiality, may we describe it as
   a Power towards the thing that is to be? Is the Bronze a power towards
   a statue?

   Not in the sense of an effectively productive force: such a power could
   not be called a potentiality. Of course Potentiality may be a power,
   as, for instance, when we are referring not merely to a thing which may
   be brought into actualization but to Actuality itself [the Principle or
   Abstract in which potentiality and the power of realizing potentiality
   may be thought of as identical]: but it is better, as more conducive to
   clarity, to use "Potentiality" in regard to the process of
   Actualization and "Power" in regard to the Principle, Actuality.

   Potentiality may be thought of as a Substratum to states and shapes --
   and forms which are to be received, which it welcomes by its nature and
   even strives for -- sometimes in gain but sometimes, also, to loss, to
   the annulling of some distinctive manner of Being already actually

   2. Then the question rises whether Matter -- potentially what it
   becomes by receiving shape -- is actually something else or whether it
   has no actuality at all. In general terms: When a potentiality has
   taken a definite form, does it retain its being? Is the potentiality,
   itself, in actualization? The alternative is that, when we speak of the
   "Actual Statue" and of the "Potential Statue," the Actuality is not
   predicated of the same subject as the "Potentiality." If we have really
   two different subjects, then the potential does not really become the
   actual: all that happens is that an actual entity takes the place of a

   The actualized entity is not the Matter [the Potentiality, merely] but
   a combination, including the Form-Idea upon the Matter.

   This is certainly the case when a quite different thing results from
   the actualization-statue, for example, the combination, is distinctly
   different from the bronze, the base; where the resultant is something
   quite new, the Potentiality has clearly not, itself, become what is now
   actualized. But take the case where a person with a capacity for
   education becomes in fact educated: is not potentiality, here,
   identical with actualization? Is not the potentially wise Socrates the
   same man as the Socrates actually wise?

   But is an ignorant man a being of knowledge because he is so
   potentially? Is he, in virtue of his non-essential ignorance,
   potentially an instructed being?

   It is not because of his accidental ignorance that he is a being of
   Knowledge: it is because, ignorant though he be by accident, his mind,
   apt to knowledge, is the potentiality through which he may become so.
   Thus, in the case of the potentially instructed who have become so in
   fact, the potentiality is taken up into the actual; or, if we prefer to
   put it so, there is on the one side the potentiality while, on the
   other, there is the power in actual possession of the form.

   If, then, the Potentiality is the Substratum while the thing in
   actualization -- the Statue for example a combination, how are we to
   describe the form that has entered the bronze?

   There will be nothing unsound in describing this shape, this Form which
   has brought the entity from potentiality to actuality, as the
   actualization; but of course as the actualization of the definite
   particular entity, not as Actuality the abstract: we must not confuse
   it with the other actualization, strictly so called, that which is
   contrasted with the power producing actualization. The potential is led
   out into realization by something other than itself; power
   accomplishes, of itself, what is within its scope, but by virtue of
   Actuality [the abstract]: the relation is that existing between a
   temperament and its expression in act, between courage and courageous
   conduct. So far so good:

   3. We come now to the purpose of all this discussion; to make clear in
   what sense or to what degree Actualization is predicable in the
   Intellectual Realm and whether all is in Actualization there, each and
   every member of that realm being an Act, or whether Potentiality also
   has place there.

   Now: if there is no Matter there to harbour potentiality: if nothing
   there has any future apart from its actual mode: if nothing there
   generates, whether by changes or in the permanence of its identity; if
   nothing goes outside of itself to give being to what is other than
   itself; then, potentiality has no place there: the Beings there possess
   actuality as belonging to eternity, not to time.

   Those, however, who assert Matter in the Intellectual Realm will be
   asked whether the existence of that Matter does not imply the potential
   there too; for even if Matter there exists in another mode than here,
   every Being there will have its Matter, its form and the union of the
   two [and therefore the potential, separable from the actual]. What
   answer is to be made?

   Simply, that even the Matter there is Idea, just as the Soul, an Idea,
   is Matter to another [a higher] Being.

   But relatively to that higher, the Soul is a potentiality?

   No: for the Idea [to which it is Matter] is integral to the Soul and
   does not look to a future; the distinction between the Soul and its
   Idea is purely mental: the Idea and the Matter it includes are
   conceived as a conjunction but are essentially one Kind: remember that
   Aristotle makes his Fifth Body immaterial.

   But surely Potentiality exists in the Soul? Surely the Soul is
   potentially the living-being of this world before it has become so? Is
   it not potentially musical, and everything else that it has not been
   and becomes? Does not this imply potentiality even in the Intellectual

   No: the Soul is not potentially these things; it is a Power towards

   But after what mode does Actualization exist in the Intellectual Realm?

   Is it the Actualization of a statue, where the combination is realized
   because the Form-Idea has mastered each separate constituent of the

   No: it is that every constituent there is a Form-Idea and, thus, is
   perfect in its Being.

   There is in the Intellectual Principle no progression from some power
   capable of intellection to the Actuality of intellection: such a
   progression would send us in search of a Prior Principle not
   progressing from Power to Act; there all stands ever realized.
   Potentiality requires an intervention from outside itself to bring it
   to the actualization which otherwise cannot be; but what possesses, of
   itself, identity unchangeable for ever is an actualization: all the
   Firsts then are actualizations, simply because eternally and of
   themselves they possess all that is necessary to their completion.

   This applies equally to the Soul, not to that in Matter but to that in
   the Intellectual Sphere; and even that in Matter, the Soul of Growth,
   is an actualization in its difference; it possesses actually [and not,
   like material things, merely in image] the Being that belongs to it.

   Then, everything, in the intellectual is in actualization and so all
   There is Actuality?

   Why not? If that Nature is rightly said to be "Sleepless," and to be
   Life and the noblest mode of Life, the noblest Activities must be
   there; all then is actualization there, everything is an Actuality, for
   everything is a Life, and all Place there is the Place of Life, in the
   true sense the ground and spring of Soul and of the Intellectual

   4. Now, in general anything that has a potentiality is actually
   something else, and this potentiality of the future mode of being is an
   existing mode.

   But what we think of as Matter, what we assert to be the potentiality
   of all things, cannot be said to be actually any one being among
   beings: if it were of itself any definite being, it could not be
   potentially all.

   If, then, it is not among existences, it must necessarily be without

   How, therefore, can it be actually anything?

   The answer is that while Matter can not be any of the things which are
   founded upon it, it may quite well be something else, admitting that
   all existences are not rooted in Matter.

   But once more, if it is excluded from the entities founded upon it and
   all these are Beings, it must itself be a Non-Being.

   It is, further, by definition, formless and therefore not an Idea: it
   cannot then be classed among things of the Intellectual Realm, and so
   is, once more, a Non-Being. Falling, as regards both worlds, under
   Non-Being, it is all the more decidedly the Non-Being.

   It has eluded the Nature of the Authentic Existences; it has even
   failed to come up with the things to which a spurious existence can be
   attributed -- for it is not even a phantasm of Reason as these are --
   how is it possible to include it under any mode of Being?

   And if it falls under no mode of Being, what can it actually be?

   5. How can we talk of it? How can it be the Matter of real things?

   It is talked of, and it serves, precisely, as a Potentiality.

   And, as being a Potentiality, it is not of the order of the thing it is
   to become: its existence is no more than an announcement of a future,
   as it were a thrust forward to what is to come into existence.

   As Potentiality then, it is not any definite thing but the potentiality
   of everything: being nothing in itself -- beyond what being Matter
   amounts to -- it is not in actualization. For if it were actually
   something, that actualized something would not be Matter, or at least
   not Matter out and out, but merely Matter in the limited sense in which
   bronze is the matter of the statue.

   And its Non-Being must be no mere difference from Being.

   Motion, for example, is different from Being, but plays about it,
   springing from it and living within it: Matter is, so to speak, the
   outcast of Being, it is utterly removed, irredeemably what it was from
   the beginning: in origin it was Non-Being and so it remains.

   Nor are we to imagine that, standing away at the very beginning from
   the universal circle of Beings, it was thus necessarily an active
   Something or that it became a Something. It has never been able to
   annex for itself even a visible outline from all the forms under which
   it has sought to creep: it has always pursued something other than
   itself; it was never more than a Potentiality towards its next: where
   all the circle of Being ends, there only is it manifest; discerned
   underneath things produced after it, it is remoter [from Real-Being]
   even than they.

   Grasped, then, as an underlie in each order of Being, it can be no
   actualization of either: all that is allowed to it is to be a
   Potentiality, a weak and blurred phantasm, a thing incapable of a Shape
   of its own.

   Its actuality is that of being a phantasm, the actuality of being a
   falsity; and the false in actualization is the veritably false, which
   again is Authentic Non-Existence.

   So that Matter, as the Actualization of Non-Being, is all the more
   decidedly Non-Being, is Authentic Non-Existence.

   Thus, since the very reality of its Nature is situated in Non-Being, it
   is in no degree the Actualization of any definite Being.

   If it is to be present at all, it cannot be an Actualization, for then
   it would not be the stray from Authentic Being which it is, the thing
   having its Being in Non-Beingness: for, note, in the case of things
   whose Being is a falsity, to take away the falsity is to take away what
   Being they have, and if we introduce actualization into things whose
   Being and Essence is Potentiality, we destroy the foundation of their
   nature since their Being is Potentiality.

   If Matter is to be kept as the unchanging substratum, we must keep it
   as Matter: that means -- does it not? -- that we must define it as a
   Potentiality and nothing more -- or refute these considerations.



   1. Are not Being and Reality (to on and he ousia) distinct; must we not
   envisage Being as the substance stripped of all else, while Reality is
   this same thing, Being, accompanied by the others -- Movement, Rest,
   Identity, Difference -- so that these are the specific constituents of

   The universal fabric, then, is Reality in which Being, Movement, and so
   on are separate constituents.

   Now Movement has Being as an accident and therefore should have Reality
   as an accident; or is it something serving to the completion of

   No: Movement is a Reality; everything in the Supreme is a Reality.

   Why, then, does not Reality reside, equally, in this sphere?

   In the Supreme there is Reality because all things are one; ours is the
   sphere of images whose separation produces grades of difference. Thus
   in the spermatic unity all the human members are present
   undistinguishably; there is no separation of head and hand: their
   distinct existence begins in the life here, whose content is image, not
   Authentic Existence.

   And are the distinct Qualities in the Authentic Realm to be explained
   in the same way? Are they differing Realities centred in one Reality or
   gathered round Being -- differences which constitute Realities distinct
   from each other within the common fact of Reality?

   This is sound enough; but it does not apply to all the qualities of
   this sphere, some of which, no doubt, are differentiations of Reality
   -- such as the quality of two-footedness or four-footedness -- but
   others are not such differentiations of Reality and, because they are
   not so, must be called qualities and nothing more.

   On the other hand, one and the same thing may be sometimes a
   differentiation of Reality and sometimes not -- a differentiation when
   it is a constitutive element, and no differentiation in some other
   thing, where it is not a constitutive element but an accidental. The
   distinction may be seen in the [constitutive] whiteness of a swan or of
   ceruse and the whiteness which in a man is an accidental.

   Where whiteness belongs to the very Reason-Form of the thing it is a
   constitutive element and not a quality; where it is a superficial
   appearance it is a quality.

   In other words, qualification may be distinguished. We may think of a
   qualification that is of the very substance of the thing, something
   exclusively belonging to it. And there is a qualifying that is nothing
   more, [not constituting but simply] giving some particular character to
   the real thing; in this second case the qualification does not produce
   any alteration towards Reality or away from it; the Reality has existed
   fully constituted before the incoming of the qualification which --
   whether in soul or body -- merely introduces some state from outside,
   and by this addition elaborates the Reality into the particular thing.

   But what if [the superficial appearance such as] the visible whiteness
   in ceruse is constitutive? In the swan the whiteness is not
   constitutive since a swan need not be white: it is constitutive in
   ceruse, just as warmth is constitutive of the Reality, fire.

   No doubt we may be told that the Reality in fire is [not warmth but]
   fieriness and in ceruse an analogous abstraction: yet the fact remains
   that in visible fire warmth or fieriness is constitutive and in the
   ceruse whiteness.

   Thus the same entities are represented at once as being not qualities
   but constituents of Reality and not constituents but qualities.

   Now it is absurd to talk as if one identical thing changed its own
   nature according to whether it is present as a constituent or as an

   The truth is that while the Reason-Principles producing these entities
   contain nothing but what is of the nature of Reality, yet only in the
   Intellectual Realm do the produced things possess real existence: here
   they are not real; they are qualified.

   And this is the starting-point of an error we constantly make: in our
   enquiries into things we let realities escape us and fasten on what is
   mere quality. Thus fire is not the thing we so name from the
   observation of certain qualities present; fire is a Reality [not a
   combination of material phenomena]; the phenomena observed here and
   leading us to name fire call us away from the authentic thing; a
   quality is erected into the very matter of definition -- a procedure,
   however, reasonable enough in regard to things of the realm of sense
   which are in no case realities but accidents of Reality.

   And this raises the question how Reality can ever spring from what are
   not Realities.

   It has been shown that a thing coming into being cannot be identical
   with its origins: it must here be added that nothing thus coming into
   being [no "thing of process"] can be a Reality.

   Then how do we assert the rising in the Supreme of what we have called
   Reality from what is not Reality [i.e., from the pure Being which is
   above Reality]?

   The Reality there -- possessing Authentic Being in the strictest sense,
   with the least admixture -- is Reality by existing among the
   differentiations of the Authentic Being; or, better, Reality is
   affirmed in the sense that with the existence of the Supreme is
   included its Act so that Reality seems to be a perfectionment of the
   Authentic Being, though in the truth it is a diminution; the produced
   thing is deficient by the very addition, by being less simplex, by
   standing one step away from the Authentic.

   2. But we must enquire into Quality in itself: to know its nature is
   certainly the way to settle our general question.

   The first point is to assure ourselves whether or not one and the same
   thing may be held to be sometimes a mere qualification and sometimes a
   constituent of Reality -- not staying on the point that qualification
   could not be constitutive of a Reality but of a qualified Reality only.

   Now in a Reality possessing a determined quality, the Reality and the
   fact of existence precede the qualified Reality.

   What, then, in the case of fire is the Reality which precedes the
   qualified Reality?

   Its mere body, perhaps? If so, body being the Reality, fire is a warmed
   body; and the total thing is not the Reality; and the fire has warmth
   as a man might have a snub nose.

   Rejecting its warmth, its glow, its lightness -- all which certainly do
   seem to be qualities -- and its resistance, there is left only its
   extension by three dimensions: in other words, its Matter is its

   But that cannot be held: surely the form is much more likely than the
   Matter to be the Reality.

   But is not the Form of Quality?

   No, the Form is not a Quality: it is a Reason-Principle.

   And the outcome of this Reason-Principle entering into the underlying
   Matter, what is that?

   Certainly not what is seen and burns, for that is the something in
   which these qualities inhere.

   We might define the burning as an Act springing from the
   Reason-Principle: then the warming and lighting and other effects of
   fire will be its Acts and we still have found no foothold for its

   Such completions of a Reality cannot be called qualities since they are
   its Acts emanating from the Reason-Principles and from the essential
   powers. A quality is something persistently outside Reality; it cannot
   appear as Reality in one place after having figured in another as
   quality; its function is to bring in the something more after the
   Reality is established, such additions as virtue, vice, ugliness,
   beauty, health, a certain shape. On this last, however, it may be
   remarked that triangularity and quadrangularity are not in themselves
   qualities, but there is quality when a thing is triangular by having
   been brought to that shape; the quality is not the triangularity but
   the patterning to it. The case is the same with the arts and

   Thus: Quality is a condition superadded to a Reality whose existence
   does not depend upon it, whether this something more be a later
   acquirement or an accompaniment from the first; it is something in
   whose absence the Reality would still be complete. It will sometimes
   come and go, sometimes be inextricably attached, so that there are two
   forms of Quality, the moveable and the fixed.

   3. The Whiteness, therefore, in a human being is, clearly, to be
   classed not as a quality but as an activity -- the act of a power which
   can make white; and similarly what we think of as qualities in the
   Intellectual Realm should be known as activities; they are activities
   which to our minds take the appearance of quality from the fact that,
   differing in character among themselves, each of them is a
   particularity which, so to speak, distinguishes those Realities from
   each other.

   What, then, distinguishes Quality in the Intellectual Realm from that
   here, if both are Acts?

   The difference is that these ["Quality-Activities"] in the Supreme do
   not indicate the very nature of the Reality [as do the corresponding
   Activities here] nor do they indicate variations of substance or of
   [essential] character; they merely indicate what we think of as Quality
   but in the Intellectual Realm must still be Activity.

   In other words this thing, considered in its aspect as possessing the
   characteristic property of Reality is by that alone recognised as no
   mere Quality. But when our reason separates what is distinctive in
   these ["Quality-Activities"] -- not in the sense of abolishing them but
   rather as taking them to itself and making something new of them --
   this new something is Quality: reason has, so to speak, appropriated a
   portion of Reality, that portion manifest to it on the surface.

   By this analogy, warmth, as a concomitant of the specific nature of
   fire, may very well be no quality in fire but an Idea-Form belonging to
   it, one of its activities, while being merely a Quality in other things
   than fire: as it is manifested in any warm object, it is not a mode of
   Reality but merely a trace, a shadow, an image, something that has gone
   forth from its own Reality -- where it was an Act -- and in the warm
   object is a quality.

   All, then, that is accident and not Act; all but what is Idea-form of
   the Reality; all that merely confers pattern; all this is Quality:
   qualities are characteristics and modes other than those constituting
   the substratum of a thing.

   But the Archetypes of all such qualities, the foundation in which they
   exist primarily, these are Activities of the Intellectual Beings.

   And; one and the same thing cannot be both Quality and non-quality: the
   thing void of Real-Existence is Quality; but the thing accompanying
   Reality is either Form or Activity: there is no longer self-identity
   when, from having its being in itself, anything comes to be in
   something else with a fall from its standing as Form and Activity.

   Finally, anything which is never Form but always accidental to
   something else is Quality unmixed and nothing more.



   1. Some enquiry must be made into what is known as the complete
   transfusion of material substances.

   Is it possible that fluid be blended with fluid in such a way that each
   penetrate the other through and through? or -- a difference of no
   importance if any such penetration occurs -- that one of them pass
   completely through the other?

   Those that admit only contact need not detain us. They are dealing with
   mixture, not with the coalescence which makes the total a thing of like
   parts, each minutest particle being composed of all the combined

   But there are those who, admitting coalescence, confine it to the
   qualities: to them the material substances of two bodies are in contact
   merely, but in this contact of the matter they find footing for the
   qualities of each.

   Their view is plausible because it rejects the notion of total
   admixture and because it recognizes that the masses of the mixing
   bodies must be whittled away if there is to be mixture without any gap,
   if, that is to say, each substance must be divided within itself
   through and through for complete interpenetration with the other. Their
   theory is confirmed by the cases in which two mixed substances occupy a
   greater space than either singly, especially a space equal to the
   conjoined extent of each: for, as they point out, in an absolute
   interpenetration the infusion of the one into the other would leave the
   occupied space exactly what it was before and, where the space occupied
   is not increased by the juxtaposition, they explain that some expulsion
   of air has made room for the incoming substance. They ask further, how
   a minor quantity of one substance can be spread out so as to
   interpenetrate a major quantity of another. In fact they have a
   multitude of arguments.

   Those, on the other hand, that accept "complete transfusion," might
   object that it does not require the reduction of the mixed things to
   fragments, a certain cleavage being sufficient: thus, for instance,
   sweat does not split up the body or even pierce holes in it. And if it
   is answered that this may well be a special decree of Nature to allow
   of the sweat exuding, there is the case of those manufactured articles,
   slender but without puncture, in which we can see a liquid wetting them
   through and through so that it runs down from the upper to the under
   surface. How can this fact be explained, since both the liquid and the
   solid are bodily substances? Interpenetration without disintegration is
   difficult to conceive, and if there is such mutual disintegration the
   two must obviously destroy each other.

   When they urge that often there is a mixing without augmentation their
   adversaries can counter at once with the exit of air.

   When there is an increase in the space occupied, nothing refutes the
   explanation -- however unsatisfying -- that this is a necessary
   consequence of two bodies bringing to a common stock their magnitude
   equally with their other attributes: size is as permanent as any other
   property; and, exactly as from the blending of qualities there results
   a new form of thing, the combination of the two, so we find a new
   magnitude; the blending gives us a magnitude representing each of the
   two. But at this point the others will answer, "If you mean that
   substance lies side by side with substance and mass with mass, each
   carrying its quantum of magnitude, you are at one with us: if there
   were complete transfusion, one substance sinking its original magnitude
   in the other, we would have no longer the case of two lines joined end
   to end by their terminal points and thus producing an increased
   extension; we would have line superimposed upon line with, therefore,
   no increase."

   But a lesser quantity permeates the entire extent of a larger; the
   smallest is sunk in the greatest; transfusion is exhibited
   unmistakably. In certain cases it is possible to pretend that there is
   no total penetration but there are manifest examples leaving no room
   for the pretence. In what they say of the spreading out of masses they
   cannot be thought very plausible; the extension would have to be
   considerable indeed in the case of a very small quantity [to be in true
   mixture with a very large mass]; for they do not suggest any such
   extension by change as that of water into air.

   2. This, however, raises a problem deserving investigation in itself:
   what has happened when a definite magnitude of water becomes air, and
   how do we explain the increase of volume? But for the present we must
   be content with the matter thus far discussed out of all the varied
   controversy accumulated on either side.

   It remains for us to make out on our own account the true explanation
   of the phenomenon of mixing, without regard to the agreement or
   disagreement of that theory with any of the current opinions mentioned.

   When water runs through wool or when papyrus-pulp gives up its moisture
   why is not the moist content expressed to the very last drop or even,
   without question of outflow, how can we possibly think that in a
   mixture the relation of matter with matter, mass with mass, is contact
   and that only the qualities are fused? The pulp is not merely in touch
   with water outside it or even in its pores; it is wet through and
   through so that every particle of its matter is drenched in that
   quality. Now if the matter is soaked all through with the quality, then
   the water is everywhere in the pulp.

   "Not the water; the quality of the water."

   But then, where is the water? and [if only a quality has entered] why
   is there a change of volume? The pulp has been expanded by the
   addition: that is to say it has received magnitude from the incoming
   substance but if it has received the magnitude, magnitude has been
   added; and a magnitude added has not been absorbed; therefore the
   combined matter must occupy two several places. And as the two mixing
   substances communicate quality and receive matter in mutual give and
   take so they may give and take magnitude. Indeed when a quality meets
   another quality it suffers some change; it is mixed, and by that
   admixture it is no longer pure and therefore no longer itself but a
   blunter thing, whereas magnitude joining magnitude retains its full

   But let it be understood how we came to say that body passing through
   and through another body must produce disintegration, while we make
   qualities pervade their substances without producing disintegration:
   the bodilessness of qualities is the reason. Matter, too, is bodiless:
   it may, then, be supposed that as Matter pervades everything so the
   bodiless qualities associated with it -- as long as they are few --
   have the power of penetration without disintegration. Anything solid
   would be stopped either in virtue of the fact that a solid has the
   precise quality which forbids it to penetrate or in that the mere
   coexistence of too many qualities in Matter [constitutes density and
   so] produces the same inhibition.

   If, then, what we call a dense body is so by reason of the presence of
   many qualities, that plenitude of qualities will be the cause [of the

   If on the other hand density is itself a quality like what they call
   corporeity, then the cause will be that particular quality.

   This would mean that the qualities of two substances do not bring about
   the mixing by merely being qualities but by being apt to mixture; nor
   does Matter refuse to enter into a mixing as Matter but as being
   associated with a quality repugnant to mixture; and this all the more
   since it has no magnitude of its own but only does not reject

   3. We have thus covered our main ground, but since corporeity has been
   mentioned, we must consider its nature: is it the conjunction of all
   the qualities or is it an Idea, or Reason-Principle, whose presence in
   Matter constitutes a body?

   Now if body is the compound, the thing made up of all the required
   qualities plus Matter, then corporeity is nothing more than their

   And if it is a Reason-Principle, one whose incoming constitutes the
   body, then clearly this Principle contains embraced within itself all
   the qualities. If this Reason-Principle is to be no mere principle of
   definition exhibiting the nature of a thing but a veritable Reason
   constituting the thing, then it cannot itself contain Matter but must
   encircle Matter, and by being present to Matter elaborate the body:
   thus the body will be Matter associated with an indwelling
   Reason-Principle which will be in itself immaterial, pure Idea, even
   though irremoveably attached to the body. It is not to be confounded
   with that other Principle in man -- treated elsewhere -- which dwells
   in the Intellectual World by right of being itself an Intellectual



   1. Seen from a distance, objects appear reduced and close together,
   however far apart they be: within easy range, their sizes and the
   distances that separate them are observed correctly.

   Distant objects show in this reduction because they must be drawn
   together for vision and the light must be concentrated to suit the size
   of the pupil; besides, as we are placed farther and farther away from
   the material mass under observation, it is more and more the bare form
   that reaches us, stripped, so to speak, of magnitude as of all other

   Or it may be that we appreciate the magnitude of an object by observing
   the salience and recession of its several parts, so that to perceive
   its true size we must have it close at hand.

   Or again, it may be that magnitude is known incidentally [as a
   deduction] from the observation of colour. With an object at hand we
   know how much space is covered by the colour; at a distance, only that
   something is coloured, for the parts, quantitatively distinct among
   themselves, do not give us the precise knowledge of that quantity, the
   colours themselves reaching us only in a blurred impression.

   What wonder, then, if size be like sound -- reduced when the form
   reaches us but faintly -- for in sound the hearing is concerned only
   about the form; magnitude is not discerned except incidentally.

   Well, in hearing magnitude is known incidentally; but how? Touch
   conveys a direct impression of a visible object; what gives us the same
   direct impression of an object of hearing?

   The magnitude of a sound is known not by actual quantity but by degree
   of impact, by intensity -- and this in no indirect knowledge; the ear
   appreciates a certain degree of force, exactly as the palate perceives
   by no indirect knowledge, a certain degree of sweetness. But the true
   magnitude of a sound is its extension; this the hearing may define to
   itself incidentally by deduction from the degree of intensity but not
   to the point of precision. The intensity is merely the definite effect
   at a particular spot; the magnitude is a matter of totality, the sum of
   space occupied.

   Still the colours seen from a distance are faint; but they are not
   small as the masses are.

   True; but there is the common fact of diminution. There is colour with
   its diminution, faintness; there is magnitude with its diminution,
   smallness; and magnitude follows colour diminishing stage by stage with

   But, the phenomenon is more easily explained by the example of things
   of wide variety. Take mountains dotted with houses, woods and other
   land-marks; the observation of each detail gives us the means of
   calculating, by the single objects noted, the total extent covered:
   but, where no such detail of form reaches us, our vision, which deals
   with detail, has not the means towards the knowledge of the whole by
   measurement of any one clearly discerned magnitude. This applies even
   to objects of vision close at hand: where there is variety and the eye
   sweeps over all at one glance so that the forms are not all caught, the
   total appears the less in proportion to the detail which has escaped
   the eye; observe each single point and then you can estimate the volume
   precisely. Again, magnitudes of one colour and unbroken form trick the
   sense of quantity: the vision can no longer estimate by the particular;
   it slips away, not finding the stand-by of the difference between part
   and part.

   It was the detail that prevented a near object deceiving our sense of
   magnitude: in the case of the distant object, because the eye does not
   pass stage by stage through the stretch of intervening space so as to
   note its forms, therefore it cannot report the magnitude of that space.

   2. The explanation by lesser angle of vision has been elsewhere
   dismissed; one point, however, we may urge here.

   Those attributing the reduced appearance to the lesser angle occupied
   allow by their very theory that the unoccupied portion of the eye still
   sees something beyond or something quite apart from the object of
   vision, if only air-space.

   Now consider some very large object of vision, that mountain for
   example. No part of the eye is unoccupied; the mountain adequately
   fills it so that it can take in nothing beyond, for the mountain as
   seen either corresponds exactly to the eye-space or stretches away out
   of range to right and to left. How does the explanation by lesser angle
   of vision hold good in this case, where the object still appears
   smaller, far, than it is and yet occupies the eye entire?

   Or look up to the sky and no hesitation can remain. Of course we cannot
   take in the entire hemisphere at one glance; the eye directed to it
   could not cover so vast an expanse. But suppose the possibility: the
   entire eye, then, embraces the hemisphere entire; but the expanse of
   the heavens is far greater than it appears; how can its appearing far
   less than it is be explained by a lessening of the angle of vision?



   1. We have seen elsewhere that the Good, the Principle, is simplex,
   and, correspondingly, primal -- for the secondary can never be simplex
   -- that it contains nothing: that it is an integral Unity.

   Now the same Nature belongs to the Principle we know as The One. just
   as the goodness of The Good is essential and not the outgrowth of some
   prior substance so the Unity of The One is its essential.


   When we speak of The One and when we speak of The Good we must
   recognize an Identical Nature; we must affirm that they are the same --
   not, it is true, as venturing any predication with regard to that
   [unknowable] Hypostasis but simply as indicating it to ourselves in the
   best terms we find.

   Even in calling it "The First" we mean no more than to express that it
   is the most absolutely simplex: it is the Self-Sufficing only in the
   sense that it is not of that compound nature which would make it
   dependent upon any constituent; it is "the Self-Contained" because
   everything contained in something alien must also exist by that alien.

   Deriving, then, from nothing alien, entering into nothing alien, in no
   way a made-up thing, there can be nothing above it.

   We need not, then, go seeking any other Principles; this -- the One and
   the Good -- is our First; next to it follows the Intellectual
   Principle, the Primal Thinker; and upon this follows Soul. Such is the
   order in nature. The Intellectual Realm allows no more than these and
   no fewer.

   Those who hold to fewer Principles must hold the identity of either
   Intellectual-Principle and Soul or of Intellectual-Principle and The
   First; but we have abundantly shown that these are distinct.

   It remains for us to consider whether there are more than these Three.

   Now what other [Divine] Kinds could there be? No Principles of the
   universe could be found at once simpler and more transcendent than this
   whose existence we have affirmed and described.

   They will scarcely urge upon us the doubling of the Principle in Act by
   a Principle in Potentiality. It is absurd to seek such a plurality by
   distinguishing between potentiality and actuality in the case of
   immaterial beings whose existence is in Act -- even in lower forms no
   such division can be made and we cannot conceive a duality in the
   Intellectual-Principle, one phase in some vague calm, another all
   astir. Under what form can we think of repose in the Intellectual
   Principle as contrasted with its movement or utterance? What would the
   quiescence of the one phase be as against the energy of the others?

   No: the Intellectual-Principle is continuously itself, unchangeably
   constituted in stable Act. With movement -- towards it or within it --
   we are in the realm of the Soul's operation: such act is a
   Reason-Principle emanating from it and entering into Soul, thus made an
   Intellectual Soul, but in no sense creating an intermediate Principle
   to stand between the two.

   Nor are we warranted in affirming a plurality of Intellectual
   Principles on the ground that there is one that knows and thinks and
   another knowing that it knows and thinks. For whatever distinction be
   possible in the Divine between its Intellectual Act and its
   Consciousness of that Act, still all must be one projection not unaware
   of its own operation: it would be absurd to imagine any such
   unconsciousness in the Authentic Intelligence; the knowing principle
   must be one and the selfsame with that which knows of the knowing.

   The contrary supposition would give us two beings, one that merely
   knows, and another separate being that knows of the act of knowing.

   If we are answered that the distinction is merely a process of our
   thought, then, at once, the theory of a plurality in the Divine
   Hypostasis is abandoned: further, the question is opened whether our
   thought can entertain a knowing principle so narrowed to its knowing as
   not to know that it knows -- a limitation which would be charged as
   imbecility even in ourselves, who if but of very ordinary moral force
   are always master of our emotions and mental processes.

   No: The Divine Mind in its mentation thinks itself; the object of the
   thought is nothing external: Thinker and Thought are one; therefore in
   its thinking and knowing it possesses itself, observes itself and sees
   itself not as something unconscious but as knowing: in this Primal
   Knowing it must include, as one and the same Act, the knowledge of the
   knowing; and even the logical distinction mentioned above cannot be
   made in the case of the Divine; the very eternity of its self-thinking
   precludes any such separation between that intellective act and the
   consciousness of the act.

   The absurdity becomes still more blatant if we introduce yet a further
   distinction -- after that which affirms the knowledge of the knowing, a
   third distinction affirming the knowing of the knowledge of the
   knowing: yet there is no reason against carrying on the division for
   ever and ever.

   To increase the Primals by making the Supreme Mind engender the
   Reason-Principle, and this again engender in the Soul a distinct power
   to act as mediator between Soul and the Supreme Mind, this is to deny
   intellection to the Soul, which would no longer derive its Reason from
   the Intellectual-Principle but from an intermediate: the Soul then
   would possess not the Reason-Principle but an image of it: the Soul
   could not know the Intellectual-Principle; it could have no

   2. Therefore we must affirm no more than these three Primals: we are
   not to introduce superfluous distinctions which their nature rejects.
   We are to proclaim one Intellectual-Principle unchangeably the same, in
   no way subject to decline, acting in imitation, as true as its nature
   allows, of the Father.

   And as to our own Soul we are to hold that it stands, in part, always
   in the presence of The Divine Beings, while in part it is concerned
   with the things of this sphere and in part occupies a middle ground. It
   is one nature in graded powers; and sometimes the Soul in its entirety
   is borne along by the loftiest in itself and in the Authentic Existent;
   sometimes, the less noble part is dragged down and drags the mid-soul
   with it, though the law is that the Soul may never succumb entire.

   The Soul's disaster falls upon it when it ceases to dwell in the
   perfect Beauty -- the appropriate dwelling-place of that Soul which is
   no part and of which we too are no part -- thence to pour forth into
   the frame of the All whatsoever the All can hold of good and beauty.
   There that Soul rests, free from all solicitude, not ruling by plan or
   policy, not redressing, but establishing order by the marvellous
   efficacy of its contemplation of the things above it.

   For the measure of its absorption in that vision is the measure of its
   grace and power, and what it draws from this contemplation it
   communicates to the lower sphere, illuminated and illuminating always.

   3. Ever illuminated, receiving light unfailing, the All-Soul imparts it
   to the entire series of later Being which by this light is sustained
   and fostered and endowed with the fullest measure of life that each can
   absorb. It may be compared with a central fire warming every receptive
   body within range.

   Our fire, however, is a thing of limited scope: given powers that have
   no limitation and are never cut off from the Authentic Existences, how
   imagine anything existing and yet failing to receive from them?

   It is of the essence of things that each gives of its being to another:
   without this communication, The Good would not be Good, nor the
   Intellectual-Principle an Intellective Principle, nor would Soul itself
   be what it is: the law is, "some life after the Primal Life, a second
   where there is a first; all linked in one unbroken chain; all eternal;
   divergent types being engendered only in the sense of being secondary."

   In other words, things commonly described as generated have never known
   a beginning: all has been and will be. Nor can anything disappear
   unless where a later form is possible: without such a future there can
   be no dissolution.

   If we are told that there is always Matter as a possible term, we ask
   why then should not Matter itself come to nothingness. If we are told
   it may, then we ask why it should ever have been generated. If the
   answer comes that it had its necessary place as the ultimate of the
   series, we return that the necessity still holds.

   With Matter left aside as wholly isolated, the Divine Beings are not
   everywhere but in some bounded place, walled off, so to speak; if that
   is not possible, Matter itself must receive the Divine light [and so
   cannot be annihilated].

   4. To those who assert that creation is the work of the Soul after the
   failing of its wings, we answer that no such disgrace could overtake
   the Soul of the All. If they tell us of its falling, they must tell us
   also what caused the fall. And when did it take place? If from
   eternity, then the Soul must be essentially a fallen thing: if at some
   one moment, why not before that?

   We assert its creative act to be a proof not of decline but rather of
   its steadfast hold. Its decline could consist only in its forgetting
   the Divine: but if it forgot, how could it create? Whence does it
   create but from the things it knew in the Divine? If it creates from
   the memory of that vision, it never fell. Even supposing it to be in
   some dim intermediate state, it need not be supposed more likely to
   decline: any inclination would be towards its Prior, in an effort to
   the clearer vision. If any memory at all remained, what other desire
   could it have than to retrace the way?

   What could it have been planning to gain by world-creating? Glory? That
   would be absurd -- a motive borrowed from the sculptors of our earth.

   Finally, if the Soul created by policy and not by sheer need of its
   nature, by being characteristically the creative power -- how explain
   the making of this universe?

   And when will it destroy the work? If it repents of its work, what is
   it waiting for? If it has not yet repented, then it will never repent:
   it must be already accustomed to the world, must be growing more tender
   towards it with the passing of time.

   Can it be waiting for certain souls still here? Long since would these
   have ceased returning for such re-birth, having known in former life
   the evils of this sphere; long since would they have foreborne to come.

   Nor may we grant that this world is of unhappy origin because there are
   many jarring things in it. Such a judgement would rate it too high,
   treating it as the same with the Intelligible Realm and not merely its

   And yet -- what reflection of that world could be conceived more
   beautiful than this of ours? What fire could be a nobler reflection of
   the fire there than the fire we know here? Or what other earth than
   this could have been modelled after that earth? And what globe more
   minutely perfect than this, or more admirably ordered in its course
   could have been conceived in the image of the self-centred circling of
   the World of Intelligibles? And for a sun figuring the Divine sphere,
   if it is to be more splendid than the sun visible to us, what a sun it
   must be.

   5. Still more unreasonably:

   There are men, bound to human bodies and subject to desire, grief,
   anger, who think so generously of their own faculty that they declare
   themselves in contact with the Intelligible World, but deny that the
   sun possesses a similar faculty less subject to influence, to disorder,
   to change; they deny that it is any wiser than we, the late born,
   hindered by so many cheats on the way towards truth.

   Their own soul, the soul of the least of mankind, they declare
   deathless, divine; but the entire heavens and the stars within the
   heavens have had no communion with the Immortal Principle, though these
   are far purer and lovelier than their own souls -- yet they are not
   blind to the order, the shapely pattern, the discipline prevailing in
   the heavens, since they are the loudest in complaint of the disorder
   that troubles our earth. We are to imagine the deathless Soul choosing
   of design the less worthy place, and preferring to abandon the nobler
   to the Soul that is to die.

   Equally unreasonable is their introduction of that other Soul which
   they piece together from the elements.

   How could any form or degree of life come about by a blend of the
   elements? Their conjunction could produce only a warm or cold or an
   intermediate substance, something dry or wet or intermediate.

   Besides, how could such a soul be a bond holding the four elements
   together when it is a later thing and rises from them? And this element
   -- soul is described as possessing consciousness and will and the rest
   -- what can we think?

   Furthermore, these teachers, in their contempt for this creation and
   this earth, proclaim that another earth has been made for them into
   which they are to enter when they depart. Now this new earth is the
   Reason-Form [the Logos] of our world. Why should they desire to live in
   the archetype of a world abhorrent to them?

   Then again, what is the origin of that pattern world? It would appear,
   from the theory, that the Maker had already declined towards the things
   of this sphere before that pattern came into being.

   Now let us suppose the Maker craving to construct such an Intermediate
   World -- though what motive could He have? -- in addition to the
   Intellectual world which He eternally possesses. If He made the
   mid-world first, what end was it to serve?

   To be a dwelling-place for Souls?

   How then did they ever fall from it? It exists in vain.

   If He made it later than this world -- abstracting the formal-idea of
   this world and leaving the Matter out -- the Souls that have come to
   know that intermediate sphere would have experienced enough to keep
   them from entering this. If the meaning is simply that Souls exhibit
   the Ideal-Form of the Universe, what is there distinctive in the

   6. And, what are we to think of the new forms of being they introduce
   -- their "Exiles" and "Impressions" and "Repentings"?

   If all comes to states of the Soul -- "Repentance" when it has
   undergone a change of purpose; "Impressions" when it contemplates not
   the Authentic Existences but their simulacra -- there is nothing here
   but a jargon invented to make a case for their school: all this
   terminology is piled up only to conceal their debt to the ancient Greek
   philosophy which taught, clearly and without bombast, the ascent from
   the cave and the gradual advance of souls to a truer and truer vision.

   For, in sum, a part of their doctrine comes from Plato; all the
   novelties through which they seek to establish a philosophy of their
   own have been picked up outside of the truth.

   From Plato come their punishments, their rivers of the underworld and
   the changing from body to body; as for the plurality they assert in the
   Intellectual Realm -- the Authentic Existent, the
   Intellectual-Principle, the Second Creator and the Soul -- all this is
   taken over from the Timaeus, where we read:

   "As many Ideal-Forms as the Divine Mind beheld dwelling within the
   Veritably Living Being, so many the Maker resolved should be contained
   in this All."

   Misunderstanding their text, they conceived one Mind passively
   including within itself all that has being, another mind, a distinct
   existence, having vision, and a third planning the Universe -- though
   often they substitute Soul for this planning Mind as the creating
   Principle -- and they think that this third being is the Creator
   according to Plato.

   They are in fact quite outside of the truth in their identification of
   the Creator.

   In every way they misrepresent Plato's theory as to the method of
   creation as in many other respects they dishonour his teaching: they,
   we are to understand, have penetrated the Intellectual Nature, while
   Plato and all those other illustrious teachers have failed.

   They hope to get the credit of minute and exact identification by
   setting up a plurality of intellectual Essences; but in reality this
   multiplication lowers the Intellectual Nature to the level of the
   Sense-Kind: their true course is to seek to reduce number to the least
   possible in the Supreme, simply referring all things to the Second
   Hypostasis -- which is all that exists as it is Primal Intellect and
   Reality and is the only thing that is good except only for the first
   Nature -- and to recognize Soul as the third Principle, accounting for
   the difference among souls merely by diversity of experience and
   character. Instead of insulting those venerable teachers they should
   receive their doctrine with the respect due to the older thought and
   honour all that noble system -- an immortal soul, an Intellectual and
   Intelligible Realm, the Supreme God, the Soul's need of emancipation
   from all intercourse with the body, the fact of separation from it, the
   escape from the world of process to the world of essential-being. These
   doctrines, all emphatically asserted by Plato, they do well to adopt:
   where they differ, they are at full liberty to speak their minds, but
   not to procure assent for their own theories by flaying and flouting
   the Greeks: where they have a divergent theory to maintain they must
   establish it by its own merits, declaring their own opinions with
   courtesy and with philosophical method and stating the controverted
   opinion fairly; they must point their minds towards the truth and not
   hunt fame by insult, reviling and seeking in their own persons to
   replace men honoured by the fine intelligences of ages past.

   As a matter of fact the ancient doctrine of the Divine Essences was far
   the sounder and more instructed, and must be accepted by all not caught
   in the delusions that beset humanity: it is easy also to identify what
   has been conveyed in these later times from the ancients with
   incongruous novelties -- how for example, where they must set up a
   contradictory doctrine, they introduce a medley of generation and
   destruction, how they cavil at the Universe, how they make the Soul
   blameable for the association with body, how they revile the
   Administrator of this All, how they ascribe to the Creator, identified
   with the Soul, the character and experiences appropriate to partial be

   7. That this world has neither beginning nor end but exists for ever as
   long as the Supreme stands is certainly no novel teaching. And before
   this school rose it had been urged that commerce with the body is no
   gain to a Soul.

   But to treat the human Soul as a fair presentment of the Soul of the
   Universe is like picking out potters and blacksmiths and making them
   warrant for discrediting an entire well-ordered city.

   We must recognize how different is the governance exercised by the
   All-Soul; the relation is not the same: it is not in fetters. Among the
   very great number of differences it should not have been overlooked
   that the We [the human Soul] lies under fetter; and this in a second
   limitation, for the Body-Kind, already fettered within the All-Soul,
   imprisons all that it grasps.

   But the Soul of the Universe cannot be in bond to what itself has
   bound: it is sovereign and therefore immune of the lower things, over
   which we on the contrary are not masters. That in it which is directed
   to the Divine and Transcendent is ever unmingled, knows no encumbering;
   that in it which imparts life to the body admits nothing bodily to
   itself. It is the general fact that an inset [as the Body], necessarily
   shares the conditions of its containing principle [as the Soul], and
   does not communicate its own conditions where that principle has an
   independent life: thus a graft will die if the stock dies, but the
   stock will live on by its proper life though the graft wither. The fire
   within your own self may be quenched, but the thing, fire, will exist
   still; and if fire itself were annihilated that would make no
   difference to the Soul, the Soul in the Supreme, but only to the plan
   of the material world; and if the other elements sufficed to maintain a
   Kosmos, the Soul in the Supreme would be unconcerned.

   The constitution of the All is very different from that of the single,
   separate forms of life: there, the established rule commanding to
   permanence is sovereign; here things are like deserters kept to their
   own place and duty by a double bond; there is no outlet from the All,
   and therefore no need of restraining or of driving errants back to
   bounds: all remains where from the beginning the Soul's nature

   The natural movement within the plan will be injurious to anything
   whose natural tendency it opposes: one group will sweep bravely onward
   with the great total to which it is adapted; the others, not able to
   comply with the larger order, are destroyed. A great choral is moving
   to its concerted plan; midway in the march, a tortoise is intercepted;
   unable to get away from the choral line it is trampled under foot; but
   if it could only range itself within the greater movement it too would
   suffer nothing.

   8. To ask why the Soul has created the Kosmos, is to ask why there is a
   Soul and why a Creator creates. The question, also, implies a beginning
   in the eternal and, further, represents creation as the act of a
   changeful Being who turns from this to that.

   Those that so think must be instructed -- if they would but bear with
   correction -- in the nature of the Supernals, and brought to desist
   from that blasphemy of majestic powers which comes so easily to them,
   where all should be reverent scruple.

   Even in the administration of the Universe there is no ground for such
   attack, for it affords manifest proof of the greatness of the
   Intellectual Kind.

   This All that has emerged into life is no amorphous structure -- like
   those lesser forms within it which are born night and day out of the
   lavishness of its vitality -- the Universe is a life organized,
   effective, complex, all-comprehensive, displaying an unfathomable
   wisdom. How, then, can anyone deny that it is a clear image,
   beautifully formed, of the Intellectual Divinities? No doubt it is
   copy, not original; but that is its very nature; it cannot be at once
   symbol and reality. But to say that it is an inadequate copy is false;
   nothing has been left out which a beautiful representation within the
   physical order could include.

   Such a reproduction there must necessarily be -- though not by
   deliberation and contrivance -- for the Intellectual could not be the
   last of things, but must have a double Act, one within itself and one
   outgoing; there must, then, be something later than the Divine; for
   only the thing with which all power ends fails to pass downwards
   something of itself. In the Supreme there flourishes a marvellous
   vigour, and therefore it produces.

   Since there is no Universe nobler than this, is it not clear what this
   must be? A representation carrying down the features of the
   Intellectual Realm is necessary; there is no other Kosmos than this;
   therefore this is such a representation.

   This earth of ours is full of varied life-forms and of immortal beings;
   to the very heavens it is crowded. And the stars, those of the upper
   and the under spheres, moving in their ordered path, fellow-travellers
   with the universe, how can they be less than gods? Surely they must be
   morally good: what could prevent them? All that occasions vice here
   below is unknown there evil of body, perturbed and perturbing.

   Knowledge, too; in their unbroken peace, what hinders them from the
   intellectual grasp of the God-Head and the Intellectual Gods? What can
   be imagined to give us a wisdom higher than belongs to the Supernals?
   Could anyone, not fallen to utter folly, bear with such an idea?

   Admitting that human Souls have descended under constraint of the
   All-Soul, are we to think the constrained the nobler? Among Souls, what
   commands must be higher than what obeys. And if the coming was
   unconstrained, why find fault with a world you have chosen and can quit
   if you dislike it?

   And further, if the order of this Universe is such that we are able,
   within it, to practise wisdom and to live our earthly course by the
   Supernal, does not that prove it a dependency of the Divine?

   9. Wealth and poverty, and all inequalities of that order, are made
   ground of complaint. But this is to ignore that the Sage demands no
   equality in such matters: he cannot think that to own many things is to
   be richer or that the powerful have the better of the simple; he leaves
   all such preoccupations to another kind of man. He has learned that
   life on earth has two distinct forms, the way of the Sage and the way
   of the mass, the Sage intent upon the sublimest, upon the realm above,
   while those of the more strictly human type fall, again, under two
   classes, the one reminiscent of virtue and therefore not without touch
   with good, the other mere populace, serving to provide necessaries to
   the better sort.

   But what of murder? What of the feebleness that brings men under
   slavery to the passions?

   Is it any wonder that there should be failing and error, not in the
   highest, the intellectual, Principle but in Souls that are like
   undeveloped children? And is not life justified even so if it is a
   training ground with its victors and its vanquished?

   You are wronged; need that trouble an immortal? You are put to death;
   you have attained your desire. And from the moment your citizenship of
   the world becomes irksome you are not bound to it.

   Our adversaries do not deny that even here there is a system of law and
   penalty: and surely we cannot in justice blame a dominion which awards
   to every one his due, where virtue has its honour, and vice comes to
   its fitting shame, in which there are not merely representations of the
   gods, but the gods themselves, watchers from above, and -- as we read
   -- easily rebutting human reproaches, since they lead all things in
   order from a beginning to an end, allotting to each human being, as
   life follows life, a fortune shaped to all that has preceded -- the
   destiny which, to those that do not penetrate it, becomes the matter of
   boorish insolence upon things divine.

   A man's one task is to strive towards making himself perfect -- though
   not in the idea -- really fatal to perfection -- that to be perfect is
   possible to himself alone.

   We must recognize that other men have attained the heights of goodness;
   we must admit the goodness of the celestial spirits, and above all of
   the gods -- those whose presence is here but their contemplation in the
   Supreme, and loftiest of them, the lord of this All, the most blessed
   Soul. Rising still higher, we hymn the divinities of the Intellectual
   Sphere, and, above all these, the mighty King of that dominion, whose
   majesty is made patent in the very multitude of the gods.

   It is not by crushing the divine unto a unity but by displaying its
   exuberance -- as the Supreme himself has displayed it -- that we show
   knowledge of the might of God, who, abidingly what He is, yet creates
   that multitude, all dependent on Him, existing by Him and from Him.

   This Universe, too, exists by Him and looks to Him -- the Universe as a
   whole and every God within it -- and tells of Him to men, all alike
   revealing the plan and will of the Supreme.

   These, in the nature of things, cannot be what He is, but that does not
   justify you in contempt of them, in pushing yourself forward as not
   inferior to them.

   The more perfect the man, the more compliant he is, even towards his
   fellows; we must temper our importance, not thrusting insolently beyond
   what our nature warrants; we must allow other beings, also, their place
   in the presence of the Godhead; we may not set ourselves alone next
   after the First in a dream-flight which deprives us of our power of
   attaining identity with the Godhead in the measure possible to the
   human Soul, that is to say, to the point of likeness to which the
   Intellectual-Principle leads us; to exalt ourselves above the
   Intellectual-Principle is to fall from it.

   Yet imbeciles are found to accept such teaching at the mere sound of
   the words "You, yourself, are to be nobler than all else, nobler than
   men, nobler than even gods." Human audacity is very great: a man once
   modest, restrained and simple hears, "You, yourself, are the child of
   God; those men whom you used to venerate, those beings whose worship
   they inherit from antiquity, none of these are His children; you
   without lifting a hand are nobler than the very heavens"; others take
   up the cry: the issue will be much as if in a crowd all equally
   ignorant of figures, one man were told that he stands a thousand cubic
   feet; he will naturally accept his thousand cubits even though the
   others present are said to measure only five cubits; he will merely
   tell himself that the thousand indicates a considerable figure.

   Another point: God has care for you; how then can He be indifferent to
   the entire Universe in which you exist?

   We may be told that He is too much occupied to look upon the Universe,
   and that it would not be right for Him to do so; yet, when He looks
   down and upon these people, is He not looking outside Himself and upon
   the Universe in which they exist? If He cannot look outside Himself so
   as to survey the Kosmos, then neither does He look upon them.

   But they have no need of Him?

   The Universe has need of Him, and He knows its ordering and its
   indwellers and how far they belong to it and how far to the Supreme,
   and which of the men upon it are friends of God, mildly acquiescing
   with the Kosmic dispensation when in the total course of things some
   pain must be brought to them -- for we are to look not to the single
   will of any man but to the universe entire, regarding every one
   according to worth but not stopping for such things where all that may
   is hastening onward.

   Not one only kind of being is bent upon this quest, which brings bliss
   to whatsoever achieves, and earns for the others a future destiny in
   accord with their power. No man, therefore, may flatter himself that he
   alone is competent; a pretension is not a possession; many boast though
   fully conscious of their lack and many imagine themselves to possess
   what was never theirs and even to be alone in possessing what they
   alone of men never had.

   10. Under detailed investigation, many other tenets of this school --
   indeed we might say all -- could be corrected with an abundance of
   proof. But I am withheld by regard for some of our own friends who fell
   in with this doctrine before joining our circle and, strangely, still
   cling to it.

   The school, no doubt, is free-spoken enough -- whether in the set
   purpose of giving its opinions a plausible colour of verity or in
   honest belief -- but we are addressing here our own acquaintances, not
   those people with whom we could make no way. We have spoken in the hope
   of preventing our friends from being perturbed by a party which brings,
   not proof -- how could it? -- but arbitrary, tyrannical assertion;
   another style of address would be applicable to such as have the
   audacity to flout the noble and true doctrines of the august teachers
   of antiquity.

   That method we will not apply; anyone that has fully grasped the
   preceding discussion will know how to meet every point in the system.

   Only one other tenet of theirs will be mentioned before passing the
   matter; it is one which surpasses all the rest in sheer folly, if that
   is the word.

   They first maintain that the Soul and a certain "Wisdom" [Sophia]
   declined and entered this lower sphere though they leave us in doubt of
   whether the movement originated in Soul or in this Sophia of theirs, or
   whether the two are the same to them -- then they tell us that the
   other Souls came down in the descent and that these members of Sophia
   took to themselves bodies, human bodies, for example.

   Yet in the same breath, that very Soul which was the occasion of
   descent to the others is declared not to have descended. "It knew no
   decline," but merely illuminated the darkness in such a way that an
   image of it was formed upon the Matter. Then, they shape an image of
   that image somewhere below -- through the medium of Matter or of
   Materiality or whatever else of many names they choose to give it in
   their frequent change of terms, invented to darken their doctrine --
   and so they bring into being what they call the Creator or Demiurge,
   then this lower is severed from his Mother [Sophia] and becomes the
   author of the Kosmos down to the latest of the succession of images
   constituting it.

   Such is the blasphemy of one of their writers.

   11. Now, in the first place, if the Soul has not actually come down but
   has illuminated the darkness, how can it truly be said to have
   declined? The outflow from it of something in the nature of light does
   not justify the assertion of its decline; for that, it must make an
   actual movement towards the object lying in the lower realm and
   illuminate it by contact.

   If, on the other hand, the Soul keeps to its own place and illuminates
   the lower without directing any act towards that end, why should it
   alone be the illuminant? Why should not the Kosmos draw light also from
   the yet greater powers contained in the total of existence?

   Again, if the Soul possesses the plan of a Universe, and by virtue of
   this plan illuminates it, why do not that illumination and the creating
   of the world take place simultaneously? Why must the Soul wait till the
   representations of the plan be made actual?

   Then again this Plan -- the "Far Country" of their terminology --
   brought into being, as they hold, by the greater powers, could not have
   been the occasion of decline to the creators.

   Further, how explain that under this illumination the Matter of the
   Kosmos produces images of the order of Soul instead of mere
   bodily-nature? An image of Soul could not demand darkness or Matter,
   but wherever formed it would exhibit the character of the producing
   element and remain in close union with it.

   Next, is this image a real-being, or, as they say, an Intellection?

   If it is a reality, in what way does it differ from its original? By
   being a distinct form of the Soul? But then, since the original is the
   reasoning Soul, this secondary form must be the vegetative and
   generative Soul; and then, what becomes of the theory that it is
   produced for glory's sake, what becomes of the creation in arrogance
   and self-assertion? The theory puts an end also to creation by
   representation and, still more decidedly, to any thinking in the act;
   and what need is left for a creator creating by way of Matter and

   If it is an Intellection, then we ask first "What justifies the name?"
   and next, "How does anything come into being unless the Soul give this
   Intellection creative power and how, after all, can creative power
   reside in a created thing?" Are we to be told that it is a question of
   a first Image followed by a second? But this is quite arbitrary.

   And why is fire the first creation?

   12. And how does this image set to its task immediately after it comes
   into being?

   By memory of what it has seen?

   But it was utterly non-existent, it could have no vision, either it or
   the Mother they bestow upon it.

   Another difficulty: These people come upon earth not as Soul-Images but
   as veritable Souls; yet, by great stress and strain, one or two of them
   are able to stir beyond the limits of the world, and when they do
   attain Reminiscence barely carry with them some slight recollection of
   the Sphere they once knew: on the other hand, this Image, a new-comer
   into being, is able, they tell us -- as also is its Mother -- to form
   at least some dim representation of the celestial world. It is an
   Image, stamped in Matter, yet it not merely has the conception of the
   Supreme and adopts from that world the plan of this, but knows what
   elements serve the purpose. How, for instance, did it come to make fire
   before anything else? What made it judge fire a better first than some
   other object?

   Again, if it created the fire of the Universe by thinking of fire, why
   did it not make the Universe at a stroke by thinking of the Universe?
   It must have conceived the product complete from the first; the
   constituent elements would be embraced in that general conception.

   The creation must have been in all respects more according to the way
   of Nature than to that of the arts -- for the arts are of later origin
   than Nature and the Universe, and even at the present stage the partial
   things brought into being by the natural Kinds do not follow any such
   order -- first fire, then the several other elements, then the various
   blends of these -- on the contrary the living organism entire is
   encompassed and rounded off within the uterine germ. Why should not the
   material of the Universe be similarly embraced in a Kosmic Type in
   which earth, fire and the rest would be included? We can only suppose
   that these people themselves, acting by their more authentic Soul,
   would have produced the world by such a process, but that the Creator
   had not wit to do so.

   And yet to conceive the vast span of the Heavens -- to be great in that
   degree -- to devise the obliquity of the Zodiac and the circling path
   of all the celestial bodies beneath it, and this earth of ours -- and
   all in such a way that reason can be given for the plan -- this could
   never be the work of an Image; it tells of that Power [the All-Soul]
   next to the very Highest Beings.

   Against their will, they themselves admit this: their "outshining upon
   the darkness," if the doctrine is sifted, makes it impossible to deny
   the true origins of the Kosmos.

   Why should this down-shining take place unless such a process belonged
   to a universal law?

   Either the process is in the order of Nature or against that order. If
   it is in the nature of things, it must have taken place from eternity;
   if it is against the nature of things, then the breach of natural right
   exists in the Supreme also; evil antedates this world; the cause of
   evil is not the world; on the contrary the Supreme is the evil to us;
   instead of the Soul's harm coming from this sphere, we have this Sphere
   harmed by the Soul.

   In fine, the theory amounts to making the world one of the Primals, and
   with it the Matter from which it emerges.

   The Soul that declined, they tell us, saw and illuminated the already
   existent Darkness. Now whence came that Darkness?

   If they tell us that the Soul created the Darkness by its Decline,
   then, obviously, there was nowhere for the Soul to decline to; the
   cause of the decline was not the Darkness but the very nature of the
   Soul. The theory, therefore, refers the entire process to pre-existing
   compulsions: the guilt inheres in the Primal Beings.

   13. Those, then, that censure the constitution of the Kosmos do not
   understand what they are doing or where this audacity leads them. They
   do not understand that there is a successive order of Primals,
   Secondaries, Tertiaries and so on continuously to the Ultimates; that
   nothing is to be blamed for being inferior to the First; that we can
   but accept, meekly, the constitution of the total, and make our best
   way towards the Primals, withdrawing from the tragic spectacle, as they
   see it, of the Kosmic spheres -- which in reality are all suave

   And what, after all, is there so terrible in these Spheres with which
   it is sought to frighten people unaccustomed to thinking, never trained
   in an instructive and coherent gnosis?

   Even the fact that their material frame is of fire does not make them
   dreadful; their Movements are in keeping with the All and with the
   Earth: but what we must consider in them is the Soul, that on which
   these people base their own title to honour.

   And, yet, again, their material frames are pre-eminent in vastness and
   beauty, as they cooperate in act and in influence with the entire order
   of Nature, and can never cease to exist as long as the Primals stand;
   they enter into the completion of the All of which they are major

   If men rank highly among other living Beings, much more do these, whose
   office in the All is not to play the tyrant but to serve towards beauty
   and order. The action attributed to them must be understood as a
   foretelling of coming events, while the causing of all the variety is
   due, in part to diverse destinies -- for there cannot be one lot for
   the entire body of men -- in part to the birth moment, in part to wide
   divergencies of place, in part to states of the Souls.

   Once more, we have no right to ask that all men shall be good, or to
   rush into censure because such universal virtue is not possible: this
   would be repeating the error of confusing our sphere with the Supreme
   and treating evil as a nearly negligible failure in wisdom -- as good
   lessened and dwindling continuously, a continuous fading out; it would
   be like calling the Nature-Principle evil because it is not
   Sense-Perception and the thing of sense evil for not being a
   Reason-Principle. If evil is no more than that, we will be obliged to
   admit evil in the Supreme also, for there, too, Soul is less exalted
   than the Intellectual-Principle, and That too has its Superior.

   14. In yet another way they infringe still more gravely upon the
   inviolability of the Supreme.

   In the sacred formulas they inscribe, purporting to address the
   Supernal Beings -- not merely the Soul but even the Transcendents --
   they are simply uttering spells and appeasements and evocations in the
   idea that these Powers will obey a call and be led about by a word from
   any of us who is in some degree trained to use the appropriate forms in
   the appropriate way -- certain melodies, certain sounds, specially
   directed breathings, sibilant cries, and all else to which is ascribed
   magic potency upon the Supreme. Perhaps they would repudiate any such
   intention: still they must explain how these things act upon the
   unembodied: they do not see that the power they attribute to their own
   words is so much taken away from the majesty of the divine.

   They tell us they can free themselves of diseases.

   If they meant, by temperate living and an appropriate regime, they
   would be right and in accordance with all sound knowledge. But they
   assert diseases to be Spirit-Beings and boast of being able to expel
   them by formula: this pretension may enhance their importance with the
   crowd, gaping upon the powers of magicians; but they can never persuade
   the intelligent that disease arises otherwise than from such causes as
   overstrain, excess, deficiency, putrid decay; in a word, some variation
   whether from within or from without.

   The nature of illness is indicated by its very cure. A motion, a
   medicine, the letting of blood, and the disease shifts down and away;
   sometimes scantiness of nourishment restores the system: presumably the
   Spiritual power gets hungry or is debilitated by the purge. Either this
   Spirit makes a hasty exit or it remains within. If it stays, how does
   the disease disappear, with the cause still present? If it quits the
   place, what has driven it out? Has anything happened to it? Are we to
   suppose it throve on the disease? In that case the disease existed as
   something distinct from the Spirit-Power. Then again, if it steps in
   where no cause of sickness exists, why should there be anything else
   but illness? If there must be such a cause, the Spirit is unnecessary:
   that cause is sufficient to produce that fever. As for the notion, that
   just when the cause presents itself, the watchful Spirit leaps to
   incorporate itself with it, this is simply amusing.

   But the manner and motive of their teaching have been sufficiently
   exhibited; and this was the main purpose of the discussion here upon
   their Spirit-Powers. I leave it to yourselves to read the books and
   examine the rest of the doctrine: you will note all through how our
   form of philosophy inculcates simplicity of character and honest
   thinking in addition to all other good qualities, how it cultivates
   reverence and not arrogant self-assertion, how its boldness is balanced
   by reason, by careful proof, by cautious progression, by the utmost
   circumspection -- and you will compare those other systems to one
   proceeding by this method. You will find that the tenets of their
   school have been huddled together under a very different plan: they do
   not deserve any further examination here.

   15. There is, however, one matter which we must on no account overlook
   -- the effect of these teachings upon the hearers led by them into
   despising the world and all that is in it.

   There are two theories as to the attainment of the End of life. The one
   proposes pleasure, bodily pleasure, as the term; the other pronounces
   for good and virtue, the desire of which comes from God and moves, by
   ways to be studied elsewhere, towards God.

   Epicurus denies a Providence and recommends pleasure and its enjoyment,
   all that is left to us: but the doctrine under discussion is still more
   wanton; it carps at Providence and the Lord of Providence; it scorns
   every law known to us; immemorial virtue and all restraint it makes
   into a laughing stock, lest any loveliness be seen on earth; it cuts at
   the root of all orderly living, and of the righteousness which, innate
   in the moral sense, is made perfect by thought and by self-discipline:
   all that would give us a noble human being is gone. What is left for
   them except where the pupil by his own character betters the teaching
   -- comes to pleasure, self-seeking, the grudge of any share with one's
   fellows, the pursuit of advantage.

   Their error is that they know nothing good here: all they care for is
   something else to which they will at some future time apply themselves:
   yet, this world, to those that have known it once, must be the
   starting-point of the pursuit: arrived here from out of the divine
   nature, they must inaugurate their effort by some earthly correction.
   The understanding of beauty is not given except to a nature scorning
   the delight of the body, and those that have no part in well-doing can
   make no step towards the Supernal.

   This school, in fact, is convicted by its neglect of all mention of
   virtue: any discussion of such matters is missing utterly: we are not
   told what virtue is or under what different kinds it appears; there is
   no word of all the numerous and noble reflections upon it that have
   come down to us from the ancients; we do not learn what constitutes it
   or how it is acquired, how the Soul is tended, how it is cleaned. For
   to say "Look to God" is not helpful without some instruction as to what
   this looking imports: it might very well be said that one can "look"
   and still sacrifice no pleasure, still be the slave of impulse,
   repeating the word God but held in the grip of every passion and making
   no effort to master any. Virtue, advancing towards the Term and, linked
   with thought, occupying a Soul makes God manifest: God on the lips,
   without a good conduct of life, is a word.

   16. On the other hand, to despise this Sphere, and the Gods within it
   or anything else that is lovely, is not the way to goodness.

   Every evil-doer began by despising the Gods; and one not previously
   corrupt, taking to this contempt, even though in other respects not
   wholly bad, becomes an evil-doer by the very fact.

   Besides, in this slighting of the Mundane Gods and the world, the
   honour they profess for the gods of the Intellectual Sphere becomes an
   inconsistency; Where we love, our hearts are warm also to the Kin of
   the beloved; we are not indifferent to the children of our friend. Now
   every Soul is a child of that Father; but in the heavenly bodies there
   are Souls, intellective, holy, much closer to the Supernal Beings than
   are ours; for how can this Kosmos be a thing cut off from That and how
   imagine the gods in it to stand apart?

   But of this matter we have treated elsewhere: here we urge that where
   there is contempt for the Kin of the Supreme the knowledge of the
   Supreme itself is merely verbal.

   What sort of piety can make Providence stop short of earthly concerns
   or set any limit whatsoever to it?

   And what consistency is there in this school when they proceed to
   assert that Providence cares for them, though for them alone?

   And is this Providence over them to be understood of their existence in
   that other world only or of their lives here as well? If in the other
   world, how came they to this? If in this world, why are they not
   already raised from it?

   Again, how can they deny that the Lord of Providence is here? How else
   can He know either that they are here, or that in their sojourn here
   they have not forgotten Him and fallen away? And if He is aware of the
   goodness of some, He must know of the wickedness of others, to
   distinguish good from bad. That means that He is present to all, is, by
   whatever mode, within this Universe. The Universe, therefore, must be
   participant in Him.

   If He is absent from the Universe, He is absent from yourselves, and
   you can have nothing to tell about Him or about the powers that come
   after Him.

   But, allowing that a Providence reaches to you from the world beyond --
   making any concession to your liking -- it remains none the less
   certain that this world holds from the Supernal and is not deserted and
   will not be: a Providence watching entires is even more likely than one
   over fragments only; and similarly, Participation is more perfect in
   the case of the All-Soul -- as is shown, further, by the very existence
   of things and the wisdom manifest in their existence. Of those that
   advance these wild pretensions, who is so well ordered, so wise, as the
   Universe? The comparison is laughable, utterly out of place; to make
   it, except as a help towards truth, would be impiety.

   The very question can be entertained by no intelligent being but only
   by one so blind, so utterly devoid of perception and thought, so far
   from any vision of the Intellectual Universe as not even to see this
   world of our own.

   For who that truly perceives the harmony of the Intellectual Realm
   could fail, if he has any bent towards music, to answer to the harmony
   in sensible sounds? What geometrician or arithmetician could fail to
   take pleasure in the symmetries, correspondences and principles of
   order observed in visible things? Consider, even, the case of pictures:
   those seeing by the bodily sense the productions of the art of painting
   do not see the one thing in the one only way; they are deeply stirred
   by recognizing in the objects depicted to the eyes the presentation of
   what lies in the idea, and so are called to recollection of the truth
   -- the very experience out of which Love rises. Now, if the sight of
   Beauty excellently reproduced upon a face hurries the mind to that
   other Sphere, surely no one seeing the loveliness lavish in the world
   of sense -- this vast orderliness, the Form which the stars even in
   their remoteness display -- no one could be so dull-witted, so
   immoveable, as not to be carried by all this to recollection, and
   gripped by reverent awe in the thought of all this, so great, sprung
   from that greatness. Not to answer thus could only be to have neither
   fathomed this world nor had any vision of that other.

   17. Perhaps the hate of this school for the corporeal is due to their
   reading of Plato who inveighs against body as a grave hindrance to Soul
   and pronounces the corporeal to be characteristically the inferior.

   Then let them for the moment pass over the corporeal element in the
   Universe and study all that still remains. They will think of the
   Intellectual Sphere which includes within itself the Ideal-Form
   realized in the Kosmos.

   They will think of the Souls, in their ordered rank, that produce
   incorporeal magnitude and lead the Intelligible out towards spatial
   extension, so that finally the thing of process becomes, by its
   magnitude, as adequate a representation as possible of the principle
   void of parts which is its model -- the greatness of power there being
   translated here into greatness of bulk. Then whether they think of the
   Kosmic Sphere [the All-Soul] as already in movement under the guidance
   of that power of God which holds it through and through, beginning and
   middle and end, or whether they consider it as in rest and exercising
   as yet no outer governance: either approach will lead to a true
   appreciation of the Soul that conducts this Universe.

   Now let them set body within it -- not in the sense that Soul suffers
   any change but that, since "In the Gods there can be no grudging," it
   gives to its inferior all that any partial thing has strength to
   receive and at once their conception of the Kosmos must be revised;
   they cannot deny that the Soul of the Kosmos has exercised such a
   weight of power as to have brought the corporeal-principle, in itself
   unlovely, to partake of good and beauty to the utmost of its
   receptivity -- and to a pitch which stirs Souls, beings of the divine

   These people may no doubt say that they themselves feel no such
   stirring, and that they see no difference between beautiful and ugly
   forms of body; but, at that, they can make no distinction between the
   ugly and the beautiful in conduct; sciences can have no beauty; there
   can be none in thought; and none, therefore, in God. This world
   descends from the Firsts: if this world has no beauty, neither has its
   Source; springing thence, this world, too, must have its beautiful
   things. And while they proclaim their contempt for earthly beauty, they
   would do well to ignore that of youths and women so as not to be
   overcome by incontinence.

   In fine, we must consider that their self-satisfaction could not turn
   upon a contempt for anything indisputably base; theirs is the perverse
   pride of despising what was once admired.

   We must always keep in mind that the beauty in a partial thing cannot
   be identical with that in a whole; nor can any several objects be as
   stately as the total.

   And we must recognize, that, even in the world of sense and part, there
   are things of a loveliness comparable to that of the Celestials --
   forms whose beauty must fill us with veneration for their creator and
   convince us of their origin in the divine, forms which show how
   ineffable is the beauty of the Supreme since they cannot hold us but we
   must, though in all admiration, leave these for those. Further,
   wherever there is interior beauty, we may be sure that inner and outer
   correspond; where the interior is vile, all is brought low by that flaw
   in the dominants.

   Nothing base within can be beautiful without -- at least not with an
   authentic beauty, for there are examples of a good exterior not sprung
   from a beauty dominant within; people passing as handsome but
   essentially base have that, a spurious and superficial beauty: if
   anyone tells me he has seen people really fine-looking but interiorly
   vile, I can only deny it; we have here simply a false notion of
   personal beauty; unless, indeed, the inner vileness were an accident in
   a nature essentially fine; in this Sphere there are many obstacles to

   In any case the All is beautiful, and there can be no obstacle to its
   inner goodness: where the nature of a thing does not comport perfection
   from the beginning, there may be a failure in complete expression;
   there may even be a fall to vileness, but the All never knew a
   childlike immaturity; it never experienced a progress bringing novelty
   into it; it never had bodily growth: there was nowhere from whence it
   could take such increment; it was always the All-Container.

   And even for its Soul no one could imagine any such a path of process:
   or, if this were conceded, certainly it could not be towards evil.

   18. But perhaps this school will maintain that, while their teaching
   leads to a hate and utter abandonment of the body, ours binds the Soul
   down in it.

   In other words: two people inhabit the one stately house; one of them
   declaims against its plan and against its Architect, but none the less
   maintains his residence in it; the other makes no complaint, asserts
   the entire competency of the Architect and waits cheerfully for the day
   when he may leave it, having no further need of a house: the malcontent
   imagines himself to be the wiser and to be the readier to leave because
   he has learned to repeat that the walls are of soulless stone and
   timber and that the place falls far short of a true home; he does not
   see that his only distinction is in not being able to bear with
   necessity assuming that his conduct, his grumbling, does not cover a
   secret admiration for the beauty of those same "stones." As long as we
   have bodies we must inhabit the dwellings prepared for us by our good
   sister the Soul in her vast power of labourless creation.

   Or would this school reject the word Sister? They are willing to
   address the lowest of men as brothers; are they capable of such raving
   as to disown the tie with the Sun and the powers of the Heavens and the
   very Soul of the Kosmos? Such kinship, it is true, is not for the vile;
   it may be asserted only of those that have become good and are no
   longer body but embodied Soul and of a quality to inhabit the body in a
   mode very closely resembling the indwelling. of the All-Soul in the
   universal frame. And this means continence, self-restraint, holding
   staunch against outside pleasure and against outer spectacle, allowing
   no hardship to disturb the mind. The All-Soul is immune from shock;
   there is nothing that can affect it: but we, in our passage here, must
   call on virtue in repelling these assaults, reduced for us from the
   beginning by a great conception of life, annulled by matured strength.

   Attaining to something of this immunity, we begin to reproduce within
   ourselves the Soul of the vast All and of the heavenly bodies: when we
   are come to the very closest resemblance, all the effort of our fervid
   pursuit will be towards that goal to which they also tend; their
   contemplative vision becomes ours, prepared as we are, first by natural
   disposition and afterwards by all this training, for that state which
   is theirs by the Principle of their Being.

   This school may lay claim to vision as a dignity reserved to
   themselves, but they are not any the nearer to vision by the claim --
   or by the boast that while the celestial powers, bound for ever to the
   ordering of the Heavens, can never stand outside the material universe,
   they themselves have their freedom in their death. This is a failure to
   grasp the very notion of "standing outside," a failure to appreciate
   the mode in which the All-Soul cares for the unensouled.

   No: it is possible to go free of love for the body; to be clean-living,
   to disregard death; to know the Highest and aim at that other world;
   not to slander, as negligent in the quest, others who are able for it
   and faithful to it; and not to err with those that deny vital motion to
   the stars because to our sense they stand still -- the error which in
   another form leads this school to deny outer vision to the Star-Nature,
   only because they do not see the Star-Soul in outer manifestation.

No comments:

Post a Comment