Human Immortality Part SixUnderstanding

Human Immortality Part Six

Understanding the division of matter and form in man

(an excerpt from “The Meaning Of Nature” By Sheilah O’Flynn Brennan)

…Nature is a principle of movement in that which is. It is therefore a principle of motion in the mobile…

A mobile thing implies potency. It does not necessarily imply activity; this is the mark of the mover. Nature then is intimitely related to matter- even though form is nature more perfectly than matter is, since

a.) matter would not be a principle of movement without its relation to form, and
b.) no being would be a natural being in act except through its form

nevertheless, form is nature only insofar as it determines matter, for otherwise it would not be a principle of movement at all.

Where there is no matter, there is no nature.

In the measure that form rises above matter it rises beyond nature, it becomes

first a principle not only of being moved but of moving, and
then a principle not only of moving but of operations that are not strictly speaking motions at all.
(n.b. in living things, the words “form” and “soul” are synonymous and can be used interchangeably– Shulamite.)

…a more perfect soul, the rational, can be the principle of intellection which, since it does not require an organ, does not involve movement at all… the rational soul as its principle, considered precisely in this way, is nature only in an improper or extended sense.

(but the soul can also be considered natural for three reasons:

1.) The proportionate object for the human soul, in the state of union, is a material quiddity, attained through the senses, and the senses are dependent on material organs
2.) Some motions / changes are properly human, and therefore proper to the soul in the state of union, e.g. laughing, talking.
3.) The human soul is the act of a human body, essentially ordered to being in the body for its perfection– me again)

Hence, as the form emerges from matter, the thing which it determines rises above passivity, and then above movement, and therefore above mere nature also. Not that it loses what belongs to nature, it has all this and something more.


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