Therefore, the tormented spirit that glared out of bodily eyes, when what seemed Ahab rushed from his room, was for the time but a vacated thing, a formless somnambulistic being, a ray of living light, to be sure, but without an object to colour, and therefore a blankness in itself.
Albert and Aquinas agree in declaring that the principle of individuation is to be found in matter, not, however, in matter as a formless substrate but in determinate matter (materia signata), which is explained to mean matter quantitatively determined in certain respects.
Regarding evil simply as privation, Eckhart does not make it the pivot of his thought, as was afterwards done by Boehme; but his notion of the Godhead as a dark and formless essence is a favourite thesis of theosophy.
They believed that there were in the beginning no heavenly bodies, air or earth, only water everywhere, over which at first hovered a formless Supreme Being called Pha.
The early Christians had naturally preferred the formless marriage of the Roman law as being free from all taint of pagan idolatry; and the ecclesiastical authorities recognized concubinage also.
This group of ideas culminated in the Logos of Philo, expressing the world of divine ideas which God first of all creates and which becomes the mediating and formative power between the absolute and transcendent deity and passive formless matter, transmuted thereby into a rational, ordered universe.
Finally, it brought the simplest living matter or formless protoplasm before the mental vision as the startingpoint whence, by the operation of necessary mechanical causes, the highest forms have been evolved, and it rendered unavoidable the conclusion that this earliest living material was itself evolved by gradual processes, the result also of the known and recognized laws of physics and chemistry, from material which we should call not living.
When I next saw her she was a formless heap of cotton, which I should not have recognized at all except for the two bead eyes which looked out at me reproachfully.
Lamarck, Treviranus, Erasmus Dar win, Goethe, and Saint-Hilaire preached to deaf ears, for they advanced the theory that living beings had developed by a slow process of transmutation in successive generations from simpler ancestors, and in the beginning from simplest formless matter, without being able to demonstrate any existing mechanical causes by which such development must necessarily be brought about.
It belongs to this view to regard the imperfection of things as devoid of real being, and so incapable of being definitely thought or known; accordingly, we find that Plato has no technical term for that in the concrete sensible world which hinders it from perfectly expressing the abstract ideal world, and which in Aristotle's system is distinguished as absolutely formless matter (An).