Translated by Stephen MacKenna and B. S. Page.
» Contents of this EnneadII: 69 pages - You are on Page 64
2. Now to begin with, the unity of soul, mine and another’s, is not enough to make the two totals of soul and body identical. An identical thing in different recipients will have different experiences; the identity Man, in me as I move and you at rest, moves in me and is stationary in you: there is nothing stranger, nothing impossible, in any other form of identity between you and me; nor would it entail the transference of my emotion to any outside point: when in any one body a hand is in pain, the distress is felt not in the other but in the hand as represented in the centralizing unity.
In order that my feelings should of necessity be yours, the unity would have to be corporeal: only if the two recipient bodies made one, would the souls feel as one.
We must keep in mind, moreover, that many things that happen even in one same body escape the notice of the entire being, especially when the bulk is large: thus in huge sea-beasts, it is said, the animal as a whole will be quite unaffected by some membral accident too slight to traverse the organism.
Thus unity in the subject of any experience does not imply that the resultant sensation will be necessarily felt with any force upon the entire being and at every point of it: some transmission of the experience may be expected, and is indeed undeniable, but a full impression on the sense there need not be.
That one identical soul should be virtuous in me and vicious in someone else is not strange: it is only saying that an identical thing may be active here and inactive there.
We are not asserting the unity of soul in the sense of a complete negation of multiplicity — only of the Supreme can that be affirmed — we are thinking of soul as simultaneously one and many, participant in the nature divided in body, but at the same time a unity by virtue of belonging to that Order which suffers no division.
In myself some experience occurring in a part of the body may take no effect upon the entire man but anything occurring in the higher reaches would tell upon the partial: in the same way any influx from the All upon the individual will have manifest effect since the points of sympathetic contact are numerous — but as to any operation from ourselves upon the All there can be no certainty.
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