Translated by Stephen MacKenna and B. S. Page.
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18. Souls vary in worth; and the difference is due, among other causes, to an almost initial inequality; it is in reason that, standing to the Reason-Principle, as parts, they should be unequal by the fact of becoming separate.
We must also remember that every Soul has its second grade and its third, and that, therefore, its expression may take any one of three main forms. But this point must be dealt with here again: the matter requires all possible elucidation.
We may perhaps think of actors having the right to add something to the poet’s words: the drama as it stands is not perfectly filled in, and they are to supply where the Author has left blank spaces here and there; the actors are to be something else as well; they become parts of the poet, who on his side has a foreknowledge of the word they will add, and so is able to bind into one story what the actors bring in and what is to follow.
For, in the All, the sequences, including what follows upon wickedness, become Reason-Principles, and therefore in right reason. Thus: from adultery and the violation of prisoners the process of nature will produce fine children, to grow, perhaps, into fine men; and where wicked violence has destroyed cities, other and nobler cities may rise in their place.
But does not this make it absurd to introduce Souls as responsible causes, some acting for good and some for evil? If we thus exonerate the Reason-Principle from any part in wickedness do we not also cancel its credit for the good? Why not simply take the doings of these actors for representative parts of the Reason-Principle as the doings of stage-actors are representative parts of the stage-drama? Why not admit that the Reason-Principle itself includes evil action as much as good action, and inspires the precise conduct of all its representatives? Would not this be all the more Plausible in that the universal drama is the completer creation and that the Reason-Principle is the source of all that exists?
But this raises the question: “What motive could lead the Logos to produce evil?”
The explanation, also, would take away all power in the Universe from Souls, even those nearest to the divine; they would all be mere parts of a Reason-Principle.
And, further — unless all Reason-Principles are Souls — why should some be souls and others exclusively Reason-Principles when the All is itself a Soul?
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