4. These reflections should show that there is nothing strange in that reduction of all souls to one. But it is still necessary to enquire into the mode and conditions of the unity.
Is it the unity of origin in a unity? And if so, is the one divided or does it remain entire and yet produce variety? and how can an essential being, while remaining its one self, bring forth others?
Invoking God to become our helper, let us assert, that the very existence of many souls makes certain that there is first one from which the many rise.
Let us suppose, even, the first soul to be corporeal.
Then [by the nature of body] the many souls could result only from the splitting up of that entity, each an entirely different substance: if this body-soul be uniform in kind, each of the resultant souls must be of the one kind; they will all carry the one Form undividedly and will differ only in their volumes. Now, if their being souls depended upon their volumes they would be distinct; but if it is ideal-form that makes them souls, then all are, in virtue of this Idea, one.
But this is simply saying that there is one identical soul dispersed among many bodies, and that, preceding this, there is yet another not thus dispersed, the source of the soul in dispersion which may be thought of as a widely repeated image of the soul in unity- much as a multitude of seals bear the impression of one ring. By that first mode the soul is a unit broken up into a variety of points: in the second mode it is incorporeal. Similarly if the soul were a condition or modification of body, we could not wonder that this quality- this one thing from one source- should be present in many objects. The same reasoning would apply if soul were an effect [or manifestation] of the Conjoint.
We, of course, hold it to be bodiless, an essential existence.