Translated by Stephen MacKenna and B. S. Page.
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2. It is of this Soul especially that we read “All Soul has care for the Soulless” — though the several Souls thus care in their own degree and way. The passage continues — “Soul passes through the entire heavens in forms varying with the variety of place” — the sensitive form, the reasoning form, even the vegetative form — and this means that in each “place” the phase of the soul there dominant carries out its own ends while the rest, not present there, is idle.
Now, in humanity the lower is not supreme; it is an accompaniment; but neither does the better rule unfailingly; the lower element also has a footing, and Man, therefore, lives in part under sensation, for he has the organs of sensation, and in large part even by the merely vegetative principle, for the body grows and propagates: all the graded phases are in a collaboration, but the entire form, man, takes rank by the dominant, and when the life-principle leaves the body it is what it is, what it most intensely lived.
This is why we must break away towards the High: we dare not keep ourselves set towards the sensuous principle, following the images of sense, or towards the merely vegetative, intent upon the gratifications of eating and procreation; our life must be pointed towards the Intellective, towards the Intellectual-Principle, towards God.
Those that have maintained the human level are men once more. Those that have lived wholly to sense become animals — corresponding in species to the particular temper of the life — ferocious animals where the sensuality has been accompanied by a certain measure of spirit, gluttonous and lascivious animals where all has been appetite and satiation of appetite. Those who in their pleasures have not even lived by sensation, but have gone their way in a torpid grossness become mere growing things, for this lethargy is the entire act of the vegetative, and such men have been busy be-treeing themselves. Those, we read, that, otherwise untainted, have loved song become vocal animals; kings ruling unreasonably but with no other vice are eagles; futile and flighty visionaries ever soaring skyward, become highflying birds; observance of civic and secular virtue makes man again, or where the merit is less marked, one of the animals of communal tendency, a bee or the like.
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