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Thomas Taylor: Tactate 27 (IV, 3, 18-19) — A DISCUSSION OF DOUBTS RELATIVE TO THE SOUL.

sexta-feira 25 de março de 2022


XVIII. Again, shall we say that the soul   employed the discursive energy of reason, before she came into body, and will also after her departure from it ? Or shall we say that a reasoning process is employed by her here, in consequence of her being involved in doubt and filled with care, through which she becomes debilitated in a greater degree ? For through a diminution of intellect, she requires the discursive energy of reason in order to be sufficient to herself ; just as reasoning is requisite in the arts, through the artists being involved in doubts. But when there is no difficulty, then art-subdues [its subject matter] and operates. If, however, souls live in the intelligible world without reasoning, how can they he any longer rational ? In answer to this, it may be said, that they are still rational, because they are able to employ a reasoning process whenever circumstances render it necessary. It is necessary, however, to assume a ratiocination of this kind; since if some one should consider the discursive energy of reason as a disposition always subsisting from intellect in souls, and a stable energy which is as it were an evolution of intellectual light, and if in the intelligible souls also use the reasoning power, yet as it appears to me, we must not think that voice is employed by them there, so long as they entirely subsist in the intelligible world. But when they have bodies in the heavens, they do not use the dialect which they employ here through indigence or ambiguity; but performing every thing in an orderly manner, and according to nature, they neither command any thing to be done, nor consult about it. They also mutually know the objects of their knowledge through a consciousness   of perception; since even here likewise we know many things through the eyes, pertaining to those that are silent. There, however, every body is pure, and each inhabitant as it were an eye. Nothing likewise is there concealed, or fictitious, but before one can speak to another, the latter knows what the former intended to say. But there is no absurdity in admitting that daemons   and souls that dwell in the air use voice; for such as these are animals.

XIX. Shall we however say that the impartible and partible, are to be considered according to the same thing [in the soul], as if they were mingled together; or that the impartible is to be assumed according to one thing, but the partible as something successive, and another part of the soul ? Just as we say the rational part is one thing, but the irrational another. This, however, will be known, when we have explained what we say each of these is. The impartible, therefore, is simply assumed by Plato, but the partible not simply; [for he says that the soul is a medium   between an essence impartible] and an essence which is divisible about bodies, and that the soul is not on this account generated. It is requisite, therefore, to consider after what manner the nature of body is indigent of soul for the purposes of living; and to see that it is necessary the soul should every where be present with the body, and also with the whole of it. Every sensitive power indeed, if it perceives through the whole body, arrives at the whole by being divided. For being every where in the body, it may be said to be divided ; but appearing every where a whole, it may be said that it is not entirely distributed into parts; but that it becomes partible about bodies.

If, however, some one should say that the soul is not divided in the other senses, but in the touch alone, to this we reply, that the soul is also divided in the other senses, since it is the body which receives it, but that it is less divided than in the touch. The physical and augmentative powers also of the soul, are divided in a similar manner. And if desire dwells about the liver, but anger about the heart, the same thing must also be asserted of these. Perhaps however, these were not assumed in that mixture; or perhaps they were assumed, but after another manner, and these were produced from some one of the assumed particulars. But the reasoning power and intellect, do not give themselves to body; for their work is not effected through corporeal instruments; since these are an impediment when they are employed in contemplations. Hence the impartible is different from the partible, and they are not mingled as one thing, but as a whole consisting of parts, each of which is pure, and separate in power. If, however, that which becomes partible about bodies, has the impartible from a more sublime power, this very same thing may be both impartible and partible, as being mingled from the partible, and the power which proceeds into it from on high.