6. Si el alma es un cuerpo, no habrá ni sensación , ni pensamiento, ni ciencia, ni virtud, ni nada realmente hermoso. Todo ello está claro por lo que vamos a decir. Pues si el alma, en efecto, ha de tener sensación, conviene que sea una y que todo el objeto sea recibido por el mismo ser, incluso aunque muchas sensaciones penetren por varios órganos, o aun cuando varias cualidades se den en un solo ser o sensaciones diversas lleguen por un solo sentido, cual ocurre en la percepción de un rostro. Porque no es una cosa la que percibe la nariz, y otra los ojos, sino que es la misma la que percibe a la vez todos los rasgos de la cara. Y si en verdad unas impresiones penetran por los ojos y otras por los oídos, esto no quiere decir que no lleguen ambas a algo que es uno. ¿Cómo podría afirmarse entonces que las impresiones son diferentes, si no llegan conjuntamente a una misma cosa? Será preciso, pues, que ésta sea como un centro y que las sensaciones provenientes de todas partes se terminen en ella como si fuesen radios de la circunferencia de un círculo. Tal es la imagen del ser que percibe, ser que es real y verdaderamente uno. Porque si estuviese dividido y si las sensaciones se aplicasen a él como a los dos extremos de una línea, o bien tenderían a encontrarse en un punto, como es el medio, o bien cada extremo recibiría la sensación de una de las dos cosas, esto es, yo sentiría una y tú sentirías otra.
Si el objeto sentido es uno, como por ejemplo el rostro, tendrá que contraerse en una unidad, lo cual es manifiesto, según ocurre con las mismas pupilas; pues, de otro modo, ¿cómo podría verse con ellas los objetos que son mayores? Con más razón aún, al penetrar en el principio dirigente se convierte en un pensamiento indivisible , lo que indica que el principio también lo es. Pues si tuviese una magnitud, podría dividirse al igual que ella, con lo cual cada una de sus partes percibiría una parte del objeto, pero nada de nosotros, en cambio, percibiría el objeto en su totalidad. Y es porque ese principio debe ser todo él uno. Verdaderamente, ¿cómo podría ser dividido? En realidad, una parte igual del principio no podría acomodarse a otra parte igual del objeto, por no ser aquél igual en dimensión a todas las cosas sensibles. ¿Cómo, pues, tendría que realizarse la división? Acaso, podríamos responder, el principio se dividiese en tantas partes cuantos fuesen también los elementos del objeto que entrasen en él. Pero entonces cada una de las partes del alma sentiría por sí misma, o, en otro caso, se volvería insensible, lo cual resulta imposible. Por tanto, si cualquiera de las partes del alma puede sentir, ya que la magnitud es por naturaleza divisible hasta el infinito , se seguirá de aquí que a cada objeto sensible corresponde también una infinidad de sensaciones, tantas como imágenes del objeto se den en nuestro propio principio.
Pero supongamos que lo que siente es un cuerpo. En ese caso, la sensación no se producirá de otro modo que las improntas dejadas en la cera por los anillos, y los objetos sensibles imprimirán su señal en la sangre o en aire. Ahora bien; si, como es lógico, ocurre lo que en los cuerpos líquidos, la impronta se disipará como hecha en el agua, con lo cual se perderá la memoria. Si, pues, las improntas persisten, no será posible imprimir otras mientras aquéllas subsistan, por lo que tampoco podrá haber nuevas sensaciones, o, en el supuesto que otras aparezcan, las primeras tendrán que desaparecer, en cuyo caso la memoria no existirá. Si damos por buena la existencia de la memoria y que unas sensaciones pueden añadirse a otras, sin que las primeras sirvan de impedimento a las siguientes, entonces es imposible que el alma sea un cuerpo.
THE BODY COULD NOT POSSESS SENSATION.
6. (k.) (The body could not possess either sensation, thought, or virtue.) If the soul were a body, she would not possess either sensation, thought, science, virtue, nor any of the perfections that render her more beautiful. Here follows the proof.
IMPOSSIBILITY FOR THE BODY TO HAVE SENSATION.
The subject that perceives a sense-object must itself be single, and grasp this object in its totality, by one and the same power. This happens when by several organs we perceive several qualities of a single object, or when, by a single organ, we embrace a single complex object in its totality, as, for instance, a face . It is not one principle that sees the face, and another one that sees the eyes; it is the «same principle» which embraces everything at once. Doubtless we do receive a sense-impression by the eyes, and another by the ears; but both of them must end in some single principle. How, indeed, could any decision be reached about the difference of sense-impressions unless they all converged toward the same principle? The latter is like a centre, and the individual sensations are like radii which from the circumference radiate towards the centre of a circle. This central principle is essentially single. If it was divisible, and if sense-impressions were directed towards two points at a distance from each other, such as the extremities of the same line, they would either still converge towards one and the same point, as, for instance, the middle (of the line), or one part would feel one thing, and another something else. It would be absolutely as if I felt one thing, and you felt another, when placed in the presence of one and the same thing (as thought Aristotle , de Anima). Facts, therefore, demonstrate that sensations centre in one and the same principle; as visible images are centred in the pupil of the eye; otherwise how could we, through the pupil, see the greatest objects? So much the more, therefore, must the sensations that centre in the (Stoic) «directing principle» (Eneada IV, 2, 2) resemble indivisible intuitions and be perceived by an indivisible principle. If the latter possessed extension, it could, like the sense-object, be divided; each of its parts would thus perceive one of the parts of the sense-object, and nothing within us would grasp the object in its totality. The subject that perceives must then be entirely one; otherwise, how could it be divided? In that case it could not be made to coincide with the sense-object, as two equal figures superimposed on each other, because the directing principle does not have an extension equal to that of the sense-object. How then will we carry out the division ? Must the subject that feels contain as many! parts as there are in the sense-object? Will each part of the soul, in its turn, feel by its own parts, or will (we decide that) the parts of parts will not feel? Neither is that likely. If, on the other hand, each part feels the entire object, and if each magnitude is divisible to infinity, the result is that, for a single object, there will be an infinity of sensations in each part of the soul; and, so much the more, an infinity of images in the principle that directs us. (This, however, is the opposite of the actual state of affairs.)
AGAINST THE STOICS, SENSATIONS ARE NOT IMPRESSIONS OF A SEAL ON WAX.
Besides, if the principle that feels were corporeal, it could feel only so long as exterior objects produced in the blood or in the air some impression similar to that of a seal on wax.f If they impressed their images on wet substances, as is no doubt supposed, these impressions would become confused as images in water , and memory would not occur. If, however, these impressions persisted, they would either form an obstacle to subsequent ones, and no further sensation would occur; or they would be effaced by the new ones, which would destroy memory. If then the soul is capable of recalling earlier sensations, and having new ones, to which the former would form no obstacle, it is because she is not corporeal.
6. It is easy to show that if the Soul were a corporeal entity, there could be no sense-perception, no mental act, no knowledge, no moral excellence, nothing of all that is noble.
There can be no perception without a unitary percipient whose identity enables it to grasp an object as an entirety.
The several senses will each be the entrance point of many diverse perceptions; in any one object there may be many characteristics; any one organ may be the channel of a group of objects, as for instance a face is known not by a special sense for separate features, nose, eyes; etc., but by one sense observing all in one act.
When sight and hearing gather their varying information, there must be some central unity to which both report. How could there be any statement of difference unless all sense-impressions appeared before a common identity able to take the sum of all?
This there must be, as there is a centre to a circle; the sense-impressions converging from every point of occurrence will be as lines striking from a circumference to what will be a true centre of perception as being a veritable unity.
If this centre were to break into separate points - so that the sense-impressions fell upon the two ends of a line - then, either it must reknit itself to unity and identity, perhaps at the mid-point of the line, or all remains unrelated, every end receiving the report of its particular field exactly as you and I have our distinct sense experiences.
Suppose the sense-object be such a unity as a face: all the points of observation must be brought together in one visual total, as is obvious since there could be no panorama of great expanses unless the detail were compressed to the capacity of the pupils.
Much more must this be true in the case of thoughts, partless entities as they are, impinging upon the centre of consciousness which [to receive them] must itself be void of part.
Either this or, supposing the centre of consciousness to be a thing of quantity and extension, the sensible object will coincide with it point by point of their co-expansion so that any given point in the faculty will perceive solely what coincides with it in the object: and thus nothing in us could perceive any thing as a whole.
This cannot be: the faculty entire must be a unity; no such dividing is possible; this is no matter in which we can think of equal sections coinciding; the centre of consciousness has no such relation of equality with any sensible object. The only possible ratio of divisibility would be that of the number of diverse elements in the impinging sensation: are we then to suppose that each part of the soul, and every part of each part, will have perception? Or will the part of the parts have none? That is impossible: every part, then, has perception; the [hypothetical] magnitude, of soul and each part of soul, is infinitely divisible; there will therefore be in each part an infinite number of perceptions of the object, and therefore an infinitude of representations of it at our centre of consciousness.
If the sentient be a material entity sensation could only be of the order of seal-impressions struck by a ring on wax, in this case by sensible objects on the blood or on the intervenient air.
If, at this, the impression is like one made in liquids - as would be reasonable - it will be confused and wavering as upon water, and there can be no memory. If the impressions are permanent, then either no fresh ones can be stamped upon the occupied ground - and there can be no change of sensations - or, others being made, the former will be obliterated; and all record of the past is done away with.
If memory implies fresh sensations imposed upon former ones, the earlier not barring their way, the soul cannot be a material entity.
VI. But that if soul is body, it will not be possible to perceive either sensibly or intellectually, or to know scientifically, and that there will neither be virtue, nor any thing beautiful [in human conduct,] will be manifest from the following considerations. Whatever is able to have a sensible perception of any thing, ought itself to be one, and to apprehend every thing by one and the same power. This will also be the case, if many things enter through many organs of sense, or there are many qualities about one thing, and likewise when there is a variegated appearance such as that of the face, through one thing. For one thing does not perceive the nose, and another the eyes, but the same thing perceives at once all the parts of the face. And though one thing proceeds through the eyes, but another through the ears, yet it is necessary there should be one thing at which both these arrive. Or how could the soul say that these are different, unless the perceptions of sense at once terminated in the same thing ? It is necessary, therefore, that this should be as it were a centre, that the senses should on all sides be extended to this, like lines from the circumference of a circle, and that a thing of this kind which apprehends the perceptions of sense should be truly one. For if it were any thing divisible, and the informations of the senses arrived at this as at the two extremities of a line, they must either again concur in one and the same thing as a middle, or there would be another thing there and another, and each would have a sensible perception of each; just as if I should perceive one thing, but you another, even though the object of sense should be one thing, such as the face; or they must be collected into one. And this indeed appears to be the case. For visible forms are collected in the pupils of the eyes; or how through these could the greatest things be seen ? Hence, in a still greater degree the forms which arrive at the ruling part of the soul, become as it were conceptions; and therefore this part also must be impartible. For if it had magnitude, it would be co-divided with the object of sensible perception. Hence, one part of it would perceive a part of the sensible object, and nothing in us would have the apprehension of the whole of a sensible thing. But the whole is one thing. For how can it be divided ? For in the division, equal cannot be adapted to equal, because the ruling part is not equal to every sensible thing. Into how many parts, therefore, must the division of it be made ? Must it be divided into as many parts, as the sensible perception which is introduced to it, is divided into ? And will each of the parts of the soul, therefore, perceive the parts of the sensible object ? Or shall we say that the parts of the soul will not have a sensation of the parts of the thing perceived ? This however is impossible. But if any part whatever perceives the whole of the sensible object, since magnitude is adapted to be divided infinitely, it will happen that infinite sensible perceptions will be produced about each part; so that, for instance, there will be infinite images of the same thing in our ruling part. Moreover, if that which perceives is body, it will not be able to perceive in any other way, than as if certain images were impressed from wax in a seal; whether the sensible forms are impressed in blood, or in air. And if, indeed, they are impressed as in moist bodies, which it is reasonable to suppose they will be, if as in water, they will be confounded, and there will be no memory. But if the impressions remain, either it will not be possible for others to be impressed while they remain, so that there will be no other sensible perceptions, or if others are produced, the former will be destroyed, so that there will not be a remembrance of anything. But if it is possible to remember, and to have a sensible perception of other things after others, the former not impeding the latter, it is impossible for the soul to be body.