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Section 16

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.