MacKenna: Tractate 2,3 (IV,7,3) — Refutação das definições epicuriana e estoica da alma

3. Anyone who rejects this view, and holds that either atoms or some entities void of part coming together produce soul, is refuted by the very unity of soul and by the prevailing sympathy as much as by the very coherence of the constituents. Bodily materials, in nature repugnant to unification and to sensation, could never produce unity or self-sensitiveness, and soul is self-sensitive. And, again, constituents void of part could never produce body or bulk.

Perhaps we will be asked to consider body as a simple entity [disregarding the question of any constituent elements]: they will tell us, then, that no doubt, as purely material, it cannot have a self-springing life - since matter is without quality - but that life is introduced by the fact that the Matter is brought to order under Forming-Idea. But if by this Forming-Idea they mean an essential, a real being, then it is not the conjoint of body and idea that constitutes soul: it must be one of the two items and that one, being [by hypothesis] outside of the Matter, cannot be body: to make it body would simply force us to repeat our former analysis.

If on the contrary they do not mean by this Forming-Idea a real being, but some condition or modification of the Matter, they must tell us how and whence this modification, with resultant life, can have found the way into the Matter: for very certainly Matter does not mould itself to pattern or bring itself to life.

It becomes clear that since neither Matter nor body in any mode has this power, life must be brought upon the stage by some directing principle external and transcendent to all that is corporeal.

In fact, body itself could not exist in any form if soul-power did not: body passes; dissolution is in its very nature; all would disappear in a twinkling if all were body. It is no help to erect some one mode of body into soul; made of the same Matter as the rest, this soul body would fall under the same fate: of course it could never really exist: the universe of things would halt at the material, failing something to bring Matter to shape.

Nay more: Matter itself could not exist: the totality of things in this sphere is dissolved if it be made to depend upon the coherence of a body which, though elevated to the nominal rank of "soul," remains air, fleeting breath [the Stoic pneuma, rarefied matter, "spirit" in the lower sense], whose very unity is not drawn from itself.

All bodies are in ceaseless process of dissolution; how can the kosmos be made over to any one of them without being turned into a senseless haphazard drift? This pneuma - orderless except under soul - how can it contain order, reason, intelligence? But: given soul, all these material things become its collaborators towards the coherence of the kosmos and of every living being, all the qualities of all the separate objects converging to the purposes of the universe: failing soul in the things of the universe, they could not even exist, much less play their ordered parts.