19 | CR Book VIII, Chapter 1

things tend to be one, but not the same. The second viewpoint would
restrict a thing's being to what it is now, and at the present instant. This
view was refuted in Book 5. the fourth possibility cannot justify itself.

In the third case, each thing will be all things, and all things will be
one. A thing's potentialities come out when it combines with something
else. A thing acquires properties by combining with others. Yet often it
remains essentially the same. How far do things retain their identity in
combination? How far can we stretch the unity, and how much of the
diversity can we attribute to it? How far can we alter the (internal and
external) conditions without altering the thing itself, in its being? We
showed in Book 6 that we have no standard which would allow us to
decide how long A remains essentially A. It all depends on how we
define A. As a "lump of matter", a plant is capable of infinitely more
combinations than as a Dandelion. The analysis of the levels of generality
showed that we cannot decide as what it defines itself in actual reality,
and in Book 8, Chapter 2, we shall show that it is uncertain of what
subject properties can be predicated.

If we assign to the reality underlying the combinations as few
definite properties as possible, i.e. when we define it as "This here", or
"a lump of matter", or "a chunk of being", or as completely indeter-
minate (which is equivalent to "practically nothing"), we see that every-
thing can be everything else. One has to take into account a vast variety
of circumstances, and of kinds of combinations. The possibilities latent in
the core of a thing then prove to be inexhaustible, and without limit.

The more a thing is defined, the more its possibilities are restricted,
the more it closes itself to free development. It is determined with regard
to a number of definite alternatives. Definiteness is bought at the expense
of combinability. According to the degree in which a possibility is
activated or determined, we can distinguish "passive powers",
"faculties", "active tendencies", "predispositions", "predetermined
tendencies", "latent properties", " a fixed capacity of being modified
in special ways", "plasticity" and "variability". It is questionable
whether the inability to combine in certain respects, which is a
consequence of relative definiteness in things, is a sign of being or not-
being. As a limit to its being, it has both being and not-being in it. Just
because a thing is more, it can be much less.

We call something isolated when there is a limit to the range of
things with which it can combine in co-operation. A survey of the causes
and effects of biological, and social, isolation shows that isolation
diminishes a thing's reality. Where isolated objects are capable of
cognitive processes, large parts of reality are blotted out, and distorted,
for them, as a sign of their loss of being.

To contemplate the potentialities of things diminishes the weight
of the fetters of existence. To feel the mind expand in the contemplation
of the fullness and amplitude of a thing's being, and of the spacious and
virtually unbounded expanse of its existence, frees from the obstructions
of the narrow, restricted, tight, tense, scanty and cramped appearance
which they adopt in the field of vision of a similarly shaped soul.
A realization of the fullness of being shapes that wideness (from
viduus) and vastness (perh. from vacuus) of the mind which ultimately
may lead to its emptiness. It is usually assumed that the range of
possibilities is limited by the exclusion of the combinations between