Great Throughts Treasury

A database of quotes

Anne Conway

English Philosopher

"(Mathematical Division of Things, is never made in Minima; but Things may be Physically divided into their least parts; as when Concrete Matter is so far divided that it departs into Physical Monades, as it was in the first State of its Materiality...) Moreover the consideration of this Infinite Divisibility of every thing, into parts always less, is no unnecessary or unprofitable Theory, but a thing of great moment; viz. that thereby may be understood the Reasons and Causes of Things; and how all Creatures from the highest to the lowest are inseparably united with one another, by means of Subtiler Parts interceding or coming in between, which are the Emanations of one Creature into another, by which also they act one upon another at the greatest distance; and this is the Foundation of all Sympathy and Antipathy which happens in Creatures: And if these things be well understood of any one, he may easily see into the most secret and hidden Causes of Things, which ignorant Men call occult Qualities."

"In every visible Creature there is a Body and a Spirit... or, more Active and more Passive Principle, which may fitly be termed Male and Female, by reason of that Analogy a Husband hath with his Wife. For as the ordinary Generation of Men requires a Conjunction and Co-operation of Male and Female; so also all Generations and Productions whatsoever they be, require an Union, and conformable Operation of those Two Principles, to wit, Spirit and Body; but the Spirit is an Eye or Light beholding its own proper Image, and the Body is a Tenebrosity or Darkness receiving that Image, when the Spirit looks thereinto, as when one sees himself in a Looking-Glass; for certainly he cannot so behold himself in the Transparent Air, nor in any Diaphanous Body, because the reflexion of an Image requires a certain opacity or darkness, which we call a Body: Yet to be a Body is not an Essential property of any Thing; as neither is it a Property of any Thing to be dark; for nothing is so dark that nothing else, neither differs any thing from a Spirit, but in that it is more dark; therefore by how much the thicker and grosser it is become, so much the more remote it is from the degree of Spirit, so that this distinction is only modal and gradual, not essential or substantial."