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Section 13

13. The Spheral Circuit, then, performed in Time, indicates it: but when we come to Time itself there is no question of its being "within" something else: it must be primary, a thing "within itself." It is that in which all the rest happens, in which all movement and rest exist smoothly and under order; something following a definite order is necessary to exhibit it and to make it a subject of knowledge- though not to produce it- it is known by order whether in rest or in motion; in motion especially, for Movement better moves Time into our ken than rest can, and it is easier to estimate distance traversed than repose maintained.

This last fact has led to Time being called a measure of Movement when it should have been described as something measured by Movement and then defined in its essential nature; it is an error to define it by a mere accidental concomitant and so to reverse the actual order of things. Possibly, however, this reversal was not intended by the authors of the explanation: but, at any rate, we do not understand them; they plainly apply the term Measure to what is in reality the measured and leave us unable to grasp their meaning: our perplexity may be due to the fact that their writings- addressed to disciples acquainted with their teaching- do not explain what this thing, measure, or measured object, is in itself.

Plato does not make the essence of Time consist in its being either a measure or a thing measured by something else.

Upon the point of the means by which it is known, he remarks that the Circuit advances an infinitesimal distance for every infinitesimal segment of Time so that from that observation it is possible to estimate what the Time is, how much it amounts to: but when his purpose is to explain its essential nature he tells us that it sprang into Being simultaneously with the Heavenly system, a reproduction of Eternity, its image in motion, Time necessarily unresting as the Life with which it must keep pace: and "coeval with the Heavens" because it is this same Life [of the Divine Soul] which brings the Heavens also into being; Time and the Heavens are the work of the one Life.

Suppose that Life, then, to revert- an impossibility- to perfect unity: Time, whose existence is in that Life, and the Heavens, no longer maintained by that Life, would end at once.

It is the height of absurdity to fasten on the succession of earlier and later occurring in the life and movement of this sphere of ours, to declare that it must be some definite thing and to call it Time, while denying the reality of the more truly existent Movement, that of the Soul, which has also its earlier and later: it cannot be reasonable to recognize succession in the case of the Soulless Movement- and so to associate Time with that- while ignoring succession and the reality of Time in the Movement from which the other takes its imitative existence; to ignore, that is, the very Movement in which succession first appears, a self-actuated movement which, engendering its own every operation, is the source of all that follows upon itself, to all which, it is the cause of existence, at once, and of every consequent.

But:- we treat the Kosmic Movement as overarched by that of the Soul and bring it under Time; yet we do not set under Time that Soul-Movement itself with all its endless progression: what is our explanation of this paradox?

Simply, that the Soul-Movement has for its Prior Eternity which knows neither its progression nor its extension. The descent towards Time begins with this Soul-Movement; it made Time and harbours Time as a concomitant to its Act.

And this is how Time is omnipresent: that Soul is absent from no fragment of the Kosmos just as our Soul is absent from no particle of ourselves. As for those who pronounce Time a thing of no substantial existence, of no reality, they clearly belie God Himself whenever they say "He was" or "He will be": for the existence indicated by the "was and will be" can have only such reality as belongs to that in which it is said to be situated:- but this school demands another type of argument.

Meanwhile we have a supplementary observation to make.

Take a man walking and observe the advance he has made; that advance gives you the quantity of movement he is employing: and when you know that quantity- represented by the ground traversed by his feet, for, of course, we are supposing the bodily movement to correspond with the pace he has set within himself- you know also the movement that exists in the man himself before the feet move.

You must relate the body, carried forward during a given period of Time, to a certain quantity of Movement causing the progress and to the Time it takes, and that again to the Movement, equal in extension, within the man's soul.

But the Movement within the Soul- to what are you to (relate) refer that?

Let your choice fall where it may, from this point there is nothing but the unextended: and this is the primarily existent, the container to all else, having itself no container, brooking none.

And, as with Man's Soul, so with the Soul of the All.

"Is Time, then, within ourselves as well?"

Time in every Soul of the order of the All-Soul, present in like form in all; for all the Souls are the one Soul.

And this is why Time can never be broken apart, any more than Eternity which, similarly, under diverse manifestations, has its Being as an integral constituent of all the eternal Existences.