Translated by Stephen MacKenna and B. S. Page.
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3. But if life is a good, is there good for all that lives?
No: in the vile, life limps: it is like the eye to the dim-sighted; it fails of its task.
But if the mingled strand of life is to us, though entwined with evil, still in the total a good, must not death be an evil?
Evil to What? There must be a subject for the evil: but if the possible subject is no longer among beings, or, still among beings, is devoid of life . . . why, a stone is not more immune.
If, on the contrary, after death life and soul continue, then death will be no evil but a good; Soul, disembodied, is the freer to ply its own Act.
If it be taken into the All-Soul — what evil can reach it There? And as the Gods are possessed of Good and untouched by evil — so, certainly is the Soul that has preserved its essential character. And if it should lose its purity, the evil it experiences is not in its death but in its life. Suppose it to be under punishment in the lower world, even there the evil thing is its life and not its death; the misfortune is still life, a life of a definite character.
Life is a partnership of a Soul and body; death is the dissolution; in either life or death, then, the Soul will feel itself at home.
But, again, if life is good, how can death be anything but evil?
Remember that the good of life, where it has any good at all, is not due to anything in the partnership but to the repelling of evil by virtue; death, then, must be the greater good.
In a word, life in the body is of itself an evil but the Soul enters its Good through Virtue, not living the life of the Couplement but holding itself apart, even here.
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