10. In view of all this we must now work back from the items to the unit, and consider the entire scheme as one enduring thing.
We ascend from air, light, sun- or, moon and light and sun- in detail, to these things as constituting a total- though a total of degrees, primary, secondary, tertiary. Thence we come to the [kosmic] Soul, always the one undiscriminated entity. At this point in our survey we have before us the over-world and all that follows upon it. That suite [the lower and material world] we take to be the very last effect that has penetrated to its furthest reach.
Our knowledge of the first is gained from the ultimate of all, from the very shadow cast by the fire, because this ultimate [the material world] itself receives its share of the general light, something of the nature of the Forming-Idea hovering over the outcast that at first lay in blank obscurity. It is brought under the scheme of reason by the efficacy of soul whose entire extension latently holds this rationalizing power. As we know, the Reason-Principles carried in animal seed fashion and shape living beings into so many universes in the small. For whatsoever touches soul is moulded to the nature of soul's own Real-Being.
We are not to think that the Soul acts upon the object by conformity to any external judgement; there is no pause for willing or planning: any such procedure would not be an act of sheer nature, but one of applied art: but art is of later origin than soul; it is an imitator, producing dim and feeble copies- toys, things of no great worth- and it is dependent upon all sorts of mechanism by which alone its images can be produced. The soul, on the contrary, is sovereign over material things by might of Real-Being; their quality is determined by its lead, and those elementary things cannot stand against its will. On the later level, things are hindered one by the other, and thus often fall short of the characteristic shape at which their unextended Reason-Principle must be aiming; in that other world [under the soul but above the material] the entire shape [as well as the idea] comes from soul, and all that is produced takes and keeps its appointed place in a unity, so that the engendered thing, without labour as without clash, becomes all that it should be. In that world the soul has elaborated its creation, the images of the gods, dwellings for men, each existing to some peculiar purpose.
Soul could produce none but the things which truly represent its powers: fire produces warmth; another source produces cold; soul has a double efficacy, its act within itself, and its act from within outwards towards the new production.
In soulless entities, the outgo [natural to everything] remains dormant, and any efficiency they have is to bring to their own likeness whatever is amenable to their act. All existence has this tendency to bring other things to likeness; but the soul has the distinction of possessing at once an action of conscious attention within itself, and an action towards the outer. It has thus the function of giving life to all that does not live by prior right, and the life it gives is commensurate with its own; that is to say, living in reason, it communicates reason to the body- an image of the reason within itself, just as the life given to the body is an image of Real-Being- and it bestows, also, upon that material the appropriate shapes of which it contains the Reason-Forms.
The content of the creative soul includes the Ideal shapes of gods and of all else: and hence it is that the kosmos contains all.