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Section 8

8. E. (13) We come to the doctrine of the Entelechy, and must enquire how it is applied to soul.

It is thought that in the Conjoint of body and soul the soul holds the rank of Form to the Matter which here is the ensouled body- not, then, Form to every example of body or to body as merely such, but to a natural organic body having the potentiality of life.

Now; if the soul has been so injected as to be assimilated into the body as the design of a statue is worked into the bronze, it will follow that, upon any dividing of the body, the soul is divided with it, and if any part of the body is cut away a fragment of soul must go with it. Since an Entelechy must be inseparable from the being of which it is the accomplished actuality, the withdrawal of the soul in sleep cannot occur; in fact sleep itself cannot occur. Moreover if the soul is an Entelechy, there is an end to the resistance offered by reason to the desires; the total [of body and Entelechy-Soul] must have one-uniform experience throughout, and be aware of no internal contradiction. Sense-perception might occur; but intellection would be impossible. The very upholders of the Entelechy are thus compelled to introduce another soul, the Intellect, to which they ascribe immortality. The reasoning soul, then, must be an Entelechy- if the word is to be used at all- in some other mode.

Even the sense-perceiving soul, in its possession of the impressions of absent objects, must hold these without aid from the body; for otherwise the impression must be present in it like shape and images, and that would mean that it could not take in fresh impressions; the perceptive soul, then, cannot be described as this Entelechy inseparable from the body. Similarly the desiring principle, dealing not only with food and drink but with things quite apart from body; this also is no inseparable Entelechy.

There remains the vegetal principle which might seem to suggest the possibility that, in this phase, the soul may be the inseparable Entelechy of the doctrine. But it is not so. The principle of every growth lies at the root; in many plants the new springing takes place at the root or just above it: it is clear that the life-principle, the vegetal soul, has abandoned the upper portions to concentrate itself at that one spot: it was therefore not present in the whole as an inseparable Entelechy. Again, before the plant's development the life-principle is situated in that small beginning: if, thus, it passes from large growth to small and from the small to the entire growth, why should it not pass outside altogether?

An Entelechy is not a thing of parts; how then could it be present partwise in the partible body?

An identical soul is now the soul of one living being now of another: how could the soul of the first become the soul of the latter if soul were the Entelechy of one particular being? Yet that this transference does occur is evident from the facts of animal metasomatosis.

The substantial existence of the soul, then, does not depend upon serving as Form to anything: it is an Essence which does not come into being by finding a seat in body; it exists before it becomes also the soul of some particular, for example, of a living being, whose body would by this doctrine be the author of its soul.

What, then, is the soul's Being? If it is neither body nor a state or experience of body, but is act and creation: if it holds much and gives much, and is an existence outside of body; of what order and character must it be? Clearly it is what we describe as Veritable Essence. The other order, the entire corporeal Kind, is process; it appears and it perishes; in reality it never possesses Being, but is merely protected, in so far as it has the capacity, by participating in what authentically is.

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