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On The Soul   


what is sharp really moves fast, and what is grave, slowly, but that

the difference in the qualities of the one and the other movement is

due to their respective speeds. There seems to be a sort of

parallelism between what is acute or grave to hearing and what is

sharp or blunt to touch; what is sharp as it were stabs, while what is

blunt pushes, the one producing its effect in a short, the other in

a long time, so that the one is quick, the other slow.

Let the foregoing suffice as an analysis of sound. Voice is a kind

of sound characteristic of what has soul in it; nothing that is

without soul utters voice, it being only by a metaphor that we speak

of the voice of the flute or the lyre or generally of what (being

without soul) possesses the power of producing a succession of notes

which differ in length and pitch and timbre. The metaphor is based

on the fact that all these differences are found also in voice. Many

animals are voiceless, e.g. all non-sanuineous animals and among

sanguineous animals fish. This is just what we should expect, since

voice is a certain movement of air. The fish, like those in the

Achelous, which are said to have voice, really make the sounds with

their gills or some similar organ. Voice is the sound made by an

animal, and that with a special organ. As we saw, everything that

makes a sound does so by the impact of something (a) against something

else, (b) across a space, (c) filled with air; hence it is only to

be expected that no animals utter voice except those which take in

air. Once air is inbreathed, Nature uses it for two different

purposes, as the tongue is used both for tasting and for articulating;

in that case of the two functions tasting is necessary for the

animal's existence (hence it is found more widely distributed),

while articulate speech is a luxury subserving its possessor's

well-being; similarly in the former case Nature employs the breath

both as an indispensable means to the regulation of the inner

temperature of the living body and also as the matter of articulate

voice, in the interests of its possessor's well-being. Why its

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