6. The doctrine we have been considering is open, moreover, to the following objection. All the drops of water contained in the ocean resemble one another exactly and possess identically the same properties, as must necessarily be the case with the several parts of any homogeneous Whole; how is it, then, that the souls of the human race, if they are only so many drops taken out of a great ocean of intelligence, are so unlike one another? Why do we find genius side by side with stupidity? The most sublime virtues, side by side with the most ignoble vices? Kindness, gentleness, forbearance, side by side with cruelty, violence, and barbarity? How can the parts of a homogenous Whole be so different from one another? Will it be said that they are modified by education? But, if so, whence come the various qualities which they bring with them at birth, the precocious intelligence of some, the good or bad instinct of others, that are not only independent of education, but often altogether out of harmony with the surrounding amidst which they are found?
Education, most undoubtedly, does modify the intellectual and moral qualities of the soul; but here another difficulty presents itself. Who is it that gives, to each soul, the education that causes it to progress? Other souls, who—according to the doctrine that makes them out to be drops of a homogenous ocean of soul—could be no more advanced than themselves! On the other hand, if the soul, after having thus progressed during its life, returns to the Universal Whole from which it came, it gives back an improved element to that Whole; and it would therefore follow that the general Whole will be, in course of time, profoundly modified, and improved, by this educational modification of its parts. How is it, in that case, that ignorant and perverse souls are constantly being produced from it?