When the Father begot all creatures, he begot me, and I flowed forth with all creatures while remaining within the Father.
In the Father are the primal images of all creatures. This bit of wood has a rational image in God. It is not only rational, it is pure reason. —Meister Eckhart Sermon 53, page 279.
The soul is a rational image in God; by obvious logic, all of God is conscious; and the wood, like all of creation, must share in this property to one degree or another.
Thus all things have a soul; this mystery has dimension not fully revealed to us. We mistake what "soul" means. Technically and functionally, the word has meaning well beyond our narrow concerns for the individual "I," an egoistic piece of territory which is the turf religious practice has usually assigned to it. This term is connected to the doctrines of the Names of God (al Arabi) and correspondences (Swedenborg) which are actually complementary expositions. The sermon is a ligament that connects these two doctrines.
Note that the outward flow (for us, the inward flow) does not separate itself from God. (Quote 1.) We remain within the father; perceptions to the contrary are erroneous.
Said perceptions serve a purpose, however; Eckhart, Swedenborg and al Arabi all assign them the ultimate role of being intended as a spur to drive us towards a will to return to the Lord. This striving of all creation is remarked on in other sermons (see the previous post, comments on sermon 42.)
Gurdjieff's cosmology as described in Beelzebub proposes an identical purpose and action of a universal wish to return to the "prime source of arising."
Note that "soul" has properties according to the level it expresses in. This question can be examined in much greater detail using the enneagram, which describes the applicable hierarchies.
The nothingness is the action of pouring into, the inflow. This is Eckhart's perfect nature, which becomes at once "contaminated", that means, partial. Correspondences and Names are by their nature degraded forms of The Reality (al Arabi's Name for the unknowable and transcendent God.)
Thus, in a certain sense, everything that can be known is "corrupted," although once again this term has multiple levels of meaning. Ultimately one might say that it is an expression of the polarizations that instantly arise as the perfect initially pours itself outward.
On our level we divide these into "good" and "bad"- originally, according to involutionary and evolutionary tendencies (the esoteric view) but now commonly to moral choices, the exoteric view.