Call the world if you Please ‘The Vale of Soul-making’

by John Keats (1891), Letter to his brother

Call the world if you Please ‘The Vale of Soul-making.’ Then you will find out the use of the world… I say ‘Soul making’ Soul as distinguished from an Intelligence – There may be intelligences or sparks of the divinity in millions – but they are not Souls till they acquire identities, till each one is personally itself. Intelligences are atoms of perception – they know and they see and they are pure, in short they are God – How then are souls to be made? How then are these sparks which are God to have identity given to them – so as ever to possess a bliss peculiar to each ones individual existence? How, but by a medium of a world like this? … Do you not see how necessary a World of Pains and troubles is to school an Intelligence and make it a soul? A Place where the heart must feel and suffer in a thousand diverse ways! … As various as the Lives of Men are – so various become their souls, and thus does God make individual beings, Souls, … of the sparks of his own essence. This appears to me to be a faint sketch of a system of Salvation which does not affront our reason and humanity.