volition of the 'wise man' made their Divinity (for logical thinkers) a subject for compliments, rather than a power to be reckoned with. In Hindu speculation the 'Arahat,' still more the 'Buddha,' becomes the superior of Brahma: the stoical 'wise man' is, at least, the equal of Zeus.
Berkeley affirms over and over again that no idea can be formed of a soul or spirit—"If any man shall doubt of the truth of what is here delivered, let him but reflect and try if he can form any idea of power or active being; and whether he hath ideas of two principal powers marked by the names of will and understanding distinct from each other, as well as from a third idea of substance or being in general, with a relative notion of its supporting or being the subject of the aforesaid power, which is signified by the name soul or spirit. This is what some hold: but, so far as I can see, the words will, soul, spirit, do not stand for different ideas or in truth, for any idea at all, but for something which is very different from ideas, and which, being an agent, cannot be like unto or represented by any idea whatever [though it must be owned at the same time, that we have some notion of soul, spirit and the operations of the mind, such as willing, loving, hating, inasmuch as we know or understand the meaning of these words."] (The Principles of Human Knowledge, lxxvi.)
It is open to discussion, I think, whether it is possible to have 'some notion' of that of which we can form no 'idea.'
Berkeley attaches several predicates to the "perceiving active being mind, spirit, soul or myself" (Part I. II.). It is said, for example, to be "indivisible, incorporeal, unextended and incorruptible." The predicate indivisible, though negative in form has highly positive consequences. For, if 'perceiving active being' is strictly indivisible, man's soul must be one with the Divine spirit: which is good Hindu or Stoical doctrine, but hardly orthodox Christian philosophy. If, on the other hand, the 'substance' of active perceiving 'being' is actually divided into the one Divine and innumerable human entities, how can the predicate 'indivisible' be rigorously applicable to it?
- See also §lxxxix., cxxxv., xclv.