Anima Mundi

Anima Mundi "the soul of the world," accords ing to some philosophical systems, a soul- substance penetrating the entire world in a similar way as the human soul penetrates the body. Whether the Pythagoreans assumed a particular anima mundi is not certain; but Plato regards the existence of the cosmos as essentially mediated through the anima mundi. To him it is a product of the architect of the world, of the highest reason, as a connecting link between pure reason and the sensuous, which gives measure and order to the latter. Aristotle did not assume a particular anima mundi. With the Stoics, the conception of it coincides with that of a primitive divine power producing every thing from itself. With Plotin and the Neo-Platonists the anima mundi is not an immediate product of the highest primitive unit, but emanates from it through the νοῦς (reason). Plotin sometimes distinguished between a higher anima mundi, which is a being absolutely non-sensuous and separated from the corporeal world, and a lower anima mundi, which is connected with the bodies of the universe in a similar manner as the individual soul is connected with its body. The origin of this philosophical opinion must be sought in the desire to find between the primitive cause of all things and the phenomenal world connecting links which are to make the origin of the latter from the former more easily comprehensible. Christianity, which derives the origin of the world from an immediate creative act of God, rejects altogether the notion of a particular anima mundi. — Pierer, 19, 89. SEE PANTHEISM.

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