Monday, November 12, 2012

When the agents of the soul contact creatures

When the agents of the soul contact creatures, they take and make ideas and likenesses of them and bear them back again into the self.  It is by means of these ideas that the soul knows about external creatures.  Creatures cannot approach the soul except in this way and the soul cannot get at creatures except, on its own initiative, it first conceive ideas of them.  Thus the soul gets at things by means of ideas and the idea is an entity created by the soul's agents.  Be it a stone, or a rose, or a person, or whatever it is that is to be known, first an idea is taken and then absorbed, and in this way the soul connects with the phenomenal world.

Text:  Meister Eckhart, Sermon 1 (excerpt).

From:  Meister Eckhart, A Modern Translation by Raymond B. Blackney, New York, Harper & Row, 1941.

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