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Plotinus, The Divine Mind; being the Treatises of the Fifth Ennead [253]

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Plotinus, The Divine Mind; being the Treatises of the Fifth Ennead, translated from Greek by Stephen Mackenna (Boston: Charles T. Branford, 1918). http://oll.libertyfund.org/titles/1275

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About this Title:

Plotinus is primarily remembered for his teachings, which were collected by Porphyry into a volume called the Enneads. This work gives Plotinus’s accounts of the religions and cults of his age. He was interested in the occult but only in a detached and speculative way. He was indifferent to traditional paganism but critical of the Gnostic Christian heretics who preached the mystical dualism of the divine, which he regarded as antiphilosophical, un-Greek, and emotional superstition. His own religious beliefs inclined toward the idea that one could achieve a spiritual union with the good (understood as the Platonic idea of a perfect realm of the ideal) through philosophic reflection.

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Table of Contents:

Edition: current; Page: [i]

Do ċum glóire Dé & onóra na n-Éireann,

Stíofán mac-Enna.

Edition: current; Page: [ii]
PLOTINUS THE DIVINEMIND, BEING THE TREATISES OF THE FIFTH ENNEAD,
TRANSLATED FROM THE GREEK BY STEPHEN MACKENNA
CHARLES T. BRANFORD COMPANY
BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS
Edition: current; Page: [iii] Edition: current; Page: [iv]

CONTENTS: THE BOOKS OF THE FIFTH ENNEAD

  • I. The Three Initial Hypostases page 1
  • II. The Origin and Order of the Beings Following on the First 16
  • III. The Knowing Hypostases and the Transcendent 18
  • IV. How the Secondaries rise from The First: and on The One 43
  • V. That the Intellectual Beings are not Outside the Intellectual-Principle: and on the Nature of The Good 47
  • VI. That the Principle Transcending Being has no Intellectual Act. What being has intellection primally and what being has it secondarily 63
  • VII. Is there an Ideal Archetype of Particular Beings? 69
  • VIII. On the Intellectual Beauty 73
  • IX. The Intellectual-Principle, the Ideas and the Authentic Existence 89
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THE FIFTH ENNEAD

FIRST TRACTATE
The Three Initial Hypostases

1.

What can it be that has brought the souls to forget the father, God, and, though members of the Divine and entirely of that world, to ignore at once themselves and It?

The evil that has overtaken them has its source in self-will, in the entry into the sphere of process, and in the primal differentiation with the desire for self ownership. They conceived a pleasure in this freedom and largely indulged their own motion; thus they were hurried down the wrong path, and in the end, drifting further and further, they came to lose even the thought of their origin in the Divine. A child wrenched young from home and brought up during many years at a distance will fail in knowledge of its father and of itself: the souls, in the same way, no longer discern either the divinity or their own nature; ignorance of their rank brings self-depreciation; they misplace their respect, honouring everything more than themselves; all their awe and admiration is for the alien, and, clinging to this, they have broken apart, as far as a soul may, and they make light of what they have deserted; their regard for the mundane and their disregard of themselves bring about their utter ignoring of the divine.

Admiring pursuit of the external is a confession of inferiority; and nothing thus holding itself inferior to things that rise and perish, nothing counting itself less honourable and less enduring than all else it admires could ever form any notion of either the nature or the power of God.

A double discipline must be applied if human beings in this pass are to be reclaimed, and brought back to their origins, lifted once more towards the Supreme and One and First.

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There is the method, which we amply exhibit elsewhere, declaring the dishonour of the objects which the Soul holds here in honour; the second teaches or recalls to the soul its race and worth; this latter is the leading truth, and, clearly brought out, is the evidence of the other.

It must occupy us now for it bears closely upon our enquiry (as to the Divine Hypostases) to which it is the natural preliminary: the seeker is soul and it must start from a true notion of the nature and quality by which soul may undertake the search; it must study itself in order to learn whether it has the faculty for the enquiry, the eye for the object proposed, whether in fact we ought to seek; for if the object is alien the search must be futile, while if there is relationship the solution of our problem is at once desirable and possible.

2.

Let every soul recall, then, at the outset the truth that soul is the author of all living things, that it has breathed the life into them all, whatever is nourished by earth and sea, all the creatures of the air, the divine stars in the sky; it is the maker of the sun; itself formed and ordered this vast heaven and conducts all that rhythmic motion: and it is a principle distinct from all these to which it gives law and movement and life, and it must of necessity be more honourable than they, for they gather or dissolve as soul brings them life or abandons them, but soul, since it never can abandon itself, is of eternal being.

How life was purveyed to the universe of things and to the separate beings in it may be thus conceived:—

That great soul must stand pictured before another soul, one not mean, a soul that has become worthy to look, emancipate from the lure, from all that binds its fellows in bewitchment, holding itself in quietude. Let not merely the enveloping body be at peace, body’s turmoil stilled, but all that lies around, earth at peace, and sea at peace, and air and the very heavens. Into that heaven, all at rest, let the great soul be conceived to roll inward at every point, penetrating, permeating, from all sides pouring in its light. As the rays of the sun throwing their brilliance upon a lowering cloud make it gleam all gold, so the soul entering the Edition: current; Page: [3] material expanse of the heavens has given life, has given immortality: what was abject it has lifted up; and the heavenly system, moved now in endless motion by the soul that leads it in wisdom, has become a living and a blessed thing; the soul domiciled within, it takes worth where, before the soul, it was stark body—clay and water—or, rather, the blankness of Matter, the absence of Being, and, as an author says, “the execration of the Gods.”

The Soul’s nature and power will be brought out more clearly, more brilliantly, if we consider next how it envelops the heavenly system and guides all to its purposes: for it has bestowed itself upon all that huge expanse so that every interval, small and great alike, all has been ensouled.

The material body is made up of parts, each holding its own place, some in mutual opposition and others variously interdependent; the soul is in no such condition; it is not whittled down so that life tells of a part of the soul and springs where some such separate portion impinges; each separate life lives by the soul entire, omnipresent in the likeness of the engendering father, entire in unity and entire in diffused variety. By the power of the soul the manifold and diverse heavenly system is a unit: through soul this universe is a God: and the sun is a God because it is ensouled; so too the stars: and whatsoever we ourselves may be, it is all in virtue of soul; for “dead is viller than dung.”

This, by which the gods are divine, must be the oldest God of them all: and our own soul is of that same Ideal nature, so that to consider it, purified, freed from all accruement, is to recognise in ourselves that same value which we have found soul to be, honourable above all that is bodily. For what is body but earth, and, taking fire itself (the noblest of material things), what (but soul) is its burning power? So it is with all the compounds of earth and fire, even with water and air added to them?

If, then, it is the presence of soul that brings worth, how can a man slight himself and run after other things? You honour the Soul elsewhere; honour then yourself.

Edition: current; Page: [4]

3.

The Soul once seen to be thus precious, thus divine, you may hold the faith that by its possession you are already nearing God: in the strength of this power make upwards towards Him: at no great distance you must attain: there is not much between.

But over this divine, there is a still diviner: grasp the upward neighbour of the soul, its prior and source.

Soul, for all the worth we have shown to belong to it, is yet a secondary, an image of the Intellectual-Principle: reason uttered is an image of the reason stored within the soul, and in the same way soul is an utterance of the Intellectual-Principle: it is even the total of its activity, the entire stream of life sent forth by that Principle to the production of further being; it is the forthgoing heat of a fire which has also heat essentially inherent. But within the Supreme we must see energy not as an overflow but in the double aspect of integral inherence with the establishment of a new being. Sprung, in other words, from the Intellectual-Principle, Soul is intellective, but with an intellection operating by the method of reasonings: for its perfecting it must look to that Divine Mind, which may be thought of as a father watching over the development of his child born imperfect in comparison with himself.

Thus its substantial existence comes from the Intellectual-Principle; and the Reason within it becomes Act in virtue of its contemplation of that prior; for its thought and act are its own intimate possession when it looks to the Supreme Intelligence; those only are soul-acts which are of this intellective nature and are determined by its own character; all that is less noble is foreign (traceable to Matter) and is accidental to the soul in the course of its peculiar task.

In two ways, then, the Intellectual-Principle enhances the divine quality of the soul, as father and as immanent presence; nothing separates them but the fact that they are not one and the same, that there is succession, that over against a recipient there stands the ideal-form received; but this recipient, Matter to the Supreme Intelligence, is also noble as being at once informed by divine intellect and uncompounded.

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What the Intellectual-Principle must be is carried in the single word that Soul, itself so great, is still inferior.

4.

But there is yet another way to this knowledge:—

Admiring the world of sense as we look out upon its vastness and beauty and the order of its eternal march, thinking of the gods within it, seen and hidden, and the celestial spirits and all the life of animal and plant, let us mount to its archetype, to the yet more authentic sphere: there we are to contemplate all things as members of the Intellectual—eternal in their own right, vested with a self-springing consciousness and life—and, presiding over all these, the unsoiled Intelligence and the unapproachable wisdom.

That archetypal world is the true Golden Age, age of Kronos, who is the Intellectual-Principle as being the offspring or exuberance of God. For here is contained all that is immortal: nothing here but is Divine Mind; all is God; this is the place of every soul. Here is rest unbroken: for how can that seek change, in which all is well; what need that reach to, which holds all within itself; what increase can that desire, which stands utterly achieved? All its content, thus, is perfect, that itself may be perfect throughout, as holding nothing that is less than the divine, nothing that is less than intellective. Its knowing is not by search but by possession, its blessedness inherent, not acquired; for all belongs to it eternally and it holds the authentic Eternity imitated by Time which, circling round the Soul, makes towards the new thing and passes by the old. Soul deals with thing after thing—now Socrates; now a horse: always some one entity from among beings—but the Intellectual-Principle is all and therefore its entire content is simultaneously present in that identity: this is pure being in eternal actuality; nowhere is there any future, for every then is a now; nor is there any past, for nothing there has ever ceased to be; everything has taken its stand for ever, an identity well pleased, we might say, to be as it is; and everything, in that entire content, is Intellectual-Principle and Authentic Existence; and the total of all is Intellectual-Principle entire and Being entire. Intellectual-Principle Edition: current; Page: [6] by its intellective act establishes Being, which in turn, as the object of intellection, becomes the cause of intellection and of existence to the Intellectual-Principle—though, of course, there is another cause of intellection which is also a cause to Being, both rising in a source distinct from either.

Now while these two are coalescents, having their existence in common and are never apart, still the unity they form is two-sided; there is Intellectual-Principle as against Being, the intellectual agent as against the object of intellection; we consider the intellective act and we have the Intellectual-Principle; we think of the object of that act and we have Being.

Such difference there must be if there is to be any intellection; but similarly there must also be identity (since, in perfect knowing, subject and object are identical).

Thus the Primals (the first “Categories”) are seen to be: Intellectual-Principle; Existence; Difference; Identity: we must include also Motion and Rest: Motion provides for the intellectual act, Rest preserves identity as Difference gives at once a Knower and a Known, for, failing this, all is one, and silent.

So too the objects of intellection (the ideal content of the Divine Mind)—identical in virtue of the self-concentration of the principle which is their common ground—must still be distinct each from another; this distinction constitutes Difference.

The Intellectual Kosmos thus a manifold, Number and Quantity arise: Quality is the specific character of each of these ideas which stand as the principles from which all else derives.

5.

As a manifold, then, this God, the Intellectual-Principle, exists within the Soul here, the Soul which once for all stands linked a member of the divine, unless by a deliberate apostasy.

Bringing itself close to the divine Intellect, becoming, as it were, one with this, it seeks still further: What Being, now, has engendered this God, what is the Simplex preceding this multiple; what the cause at Edition: current; Page: [7] once of its existence and of its existing as a manifold; what the source of this Number, this Quantity?

Number, Quantity, is not primal: obviously before even duality, there must stand the unity.

The Dyad is a secondary; deriving from unity, it finds in unity the determinant needed by its native indetermination: once there is any determination, there is Number, in the sense, of course, of the real (the archetypal) Number. And the soul is such a number or quantity. For the Primals are not masses or magnitudes; all of that gross order is later, real only to the sense-thought; even in seed the effective reality is not the moist substance but the unseen—that is to say Number (as the determinant of individual being) and the Reason-Principle (of the product to be).

Thus by what we call the Number and the Dyad of that higher realm, we mean Reason Principles and the Intellectual-Principle: but while the Dyad is, as regards that sphere, undetermined—representing, as it were, the underly (or Matter) of The One—the later Number (or Quantity)—that which rises from the Dyad (Intellectual-Principle) and The One—is not Matter to the later existents but is their forming-Idea, for all of them take shape, so to speak, from the ideas rising within this. The determination of the Dyad is brought about partly from its object—The One—and partly from itself, as is the case with all vision in the act of sight: intellection (the Act of the Dyad) is vision occupied upon The One.

6.

But how and what does the Intellectual-Principle see and, especially, how has it sprung from that which is to become the object of its vision?

The mind demands the existence of these Beings, but it is still in trouble over the problem endlessly debated by the most ancient philosophers: from such a unity as we have declared The One to be, how does anything at all come into substantial existence, any multiplicity, dyad, or number? Why has the Primal not remained self-gathered so Edition: current; Page: [8] that there be none of this profusion of the manifold which we observe in existence and yet are compelled to trace to that absolute unity?

In venturing an answer, we first invoke God Himself, not in loud word but in that way of prayer which is always within our power, leaning in soul towards Him by aspiration, alone towards the alone. But if we seek the vision of that great Being within the Inner Sanctuary—self-gathered, tranquilly remote above all else—we begin by considering the images stationed at the outer precincts, or, more exactly to the moment, the first image that appears. How the Divine Mind comes into being must be explained:—

Everything moving has necessarily an object towards which it advances; but since the Supreme can have no such object, we may not ascribe motion to it: anything that comes into being after it can be produced only as a consequence of its unfailing self-intention; and, of course, we dare not talk of generation in time, dealing as we are with eternal Beings: where we speak of origin in such reference, it is in the sense, merely, of cause and subordination: origin from the Supreme must not be taken to imply any movement in it: that would make the Being resulting from the movement not a second principle but a third: the Movement would be the second hypostasis.

Given this immobility in the Supreme, it can neither have yielded assent nor uttered decree nor stirred in any way towards the existence of a secondary.

What happened, then? What are we to conceive as rising in the neighbourhood of that immobility?

It must be a circumradiation—produced from the Supreme but from the Supreme unaltering—and may be compared to the brilliant light encircling the sun and ceaselessly generated from that unchanging substance.

All existences, as long as they retain their character, produce—about themselves, from their essence, in virtue of the power which must be in them—some necessary, outwardfacing hypostasis continuously attached to them and representing in image the engendering archetypes: thus fire gives out its heat; snow is cold not merely to itself; fragrant substances Edition: current; Page: [9] are a notable instance; for, as long as they last, something is diffused from them and perceived wherever they are present.

Again, all that is fully achieved engenders: therefore the eternally achieved engenders eternally an eternal being. At the same time, the offspring is always minor: what then are we to think of the All-Perfect but that it can produce nothing less than the very greatest that is later than itself. This greatest, later than the divine unity, must be the Divine Mind, and it must be the second of all existence, for it is that which sees The One on which alone it leans while the First has no need whatever of it. The offspring of the prior to Divine Mind can be no other than that Mind itself and thus is the loftiest being in the universe, all else following upon it—the soul, for example, being an utterance and act of the Intellectual-Principle as that is an utterance and act of The One. But in soul the utterance is obscured, for soul is an image and must look to its own original: that Principle, on the contrary, looks to the First without mediation—thus becoming what it is—and has that vision not as from a distance but as the immediate next with nothing intervening, close to the One as Soul to it.

The offspring must seek and love the begetter; and especially so when begetter and begotten are alone in their sphere; when, in addition, the begetter is the highest good, the offspring (inevitably seeking its Good) is attached by a bond of sheer necessity, separated only in being distinct.

7.

We must be more explicit:—

The Intellectual-Principle stands as the image of The One, firstly because there is a certain necessity that the first should have its offspring, carrying onward much of its quality, in other words that there be something in its likeness as the sun’s rays tell of the sun. Yet The One is not an Intellectual-Principle; how then does it engender an Intellectual-Principle?

Simply by the fact that in its self-quest it has vision: this very seeing is the Intellectual-Principle. Any perception of the external Edition: current; Page: [10] indicates either sensation or intellection, sensation symbolised by a line, intellection by a circle . . . [corrupt passage].

Of course the divisibility belonging to the circle does not apply to the Intellectual-Principle; all, there too, is a unity, though a unity which is the potentiality of all existence.

The items of this potentiality the divine intellection brings out, so to speak, from the unity and knows them in detail, as it must if it is to be an intellectual principle.

It has besides a consciousness, as it were, within itself of this same potentiality; it knows that it can of itself beget an hypostasis and can determine its own Being by the virtue emanating from its prior; it knows that its nature is in some sense a definite part of the content of that First; that it thence derives its essence, that its strength lies there and that its Being takes perfection as a derivative and a recipient from the First. It sees that, as a member of the realm of division and part, it receives life and intellection and all else it has and is, from the undivided and partless, since that First is no member of existence, but can be the source of all on condition only of being held down by no one distinctive shape but remaining the undeflected unity.

Corrupt:—Thus it would be the entire universe but that . . .

And so the First is not a thing among the things contained by the Intellectual-Principle though the source of all. In virtue of this source things of the later order are essential beings; for from that fact there is determination; each has its form: what has being cannot be envisaged as outside of limit; the nature must be held fast by boundary and fixity; though to the Intellectual Beings this fixity is no more than determination and form, the foundations of their substantial existence.

A being of this quality, like the Intellectual-Principle, must be felt to be worthy of the all-pure: it could not derive from any other than from the first principle of all; as it comes into existence, all other beings must be simultaneously engendered—all the beauty of the Ideas, all the Gods of the Intellectual realm. And it still remains pregnant with this offspring; for it has, so to speak, drawn all within itself again, holding them lest they fall away towards Matter to be “brought up in the House Edition: current; Page: [11] of Rhea” (in the realm of flux). This is the meaning hidden in the Mysteries, and in the Myths of the gods: Kronos, as the wisest, exists before Zeus; he must absorb his offspring that, full within himself, he may be also an Intellectual-Principle manifest in some product of his plenty; afterwards, the myth proceeds, Kronos engenders Zeus, who already exists as the (necessary and eternal) outcome of the plenty there; in other words the offspring of the Divine Intellect, perfect within itself, is Soul (the life-principle carrying forward the Ideas in the Divine Mind).

Now, even in the Divine the engendered could not be the very highest; it must be a lesser, an image; it will be undetermined, as the Divine is, but will receive determination, and, so to speak, its shaping idea, from the progenitor.

Yet any offspring of the Intellectual-Principle must be a Reason-Principle; the thought of the Divine Mind must be a substantial existence: such then is that (Soul) which circles about the Divine Mind, its light, its image inseparably attached to it: on the upper level united with it, filled from it, enjoying it, participant in its nature, intellective with it, but on the lower level in contact with the realm beneath itself, or, rather, generating in turn an offspring which must lie beneath; of this lower we will treat later; so far we deal still with the Divine.

8.

This is the explanation of Plato’s Triplicity, in the passage where he names as the Primals the Beings gathered about the King of All and establishes a Secondary containing the Secondaries and a Third containing the Tertiaries.

He teaches, also, that there is an author of the Cause, that is of the Intellectual-Principle, which to him is the Creator who made the Soul, as he tells us, in the famous mixing bowl. This author of the causing principle, of the divine mind, is to him the Good, that which transcends the Intellectual-Principle and transcends Being: often too he uses the term “The Ideas” to indicate Being and the Divine Mind. Thus Plato knows the order of generation—from the Good, the Intellectual-Principle; Edition: current; Page: [12] from the Intellectual-Principle, the Soul. These teachings are, therefore, no novelties, no inventions of to-day, but long since stated, if not stressed; our doctrine here is the explanation of an earlier and can show the antiquity of these opinions on the testimony of Plato himself.

Earlier, Parmenides made some approach to the doctrine in identifying Being with Intellectual-Principle while separating Real Being from the realm of sense.

“Knowing and Being are one thing,” he says, and this unity is to him motionless in spite of the intellection he attributes to it: to preserve its unchanging identity he excludes all bodily movement from it; and he compares it to a huge sphere in that it holds and envelops all existence and that its intellection is not an outgoing act but internal. Still, with all his affirmation of unity, his own writings lay him open to the reproach that his unity turns out to be a multiplicity.

The Platonic Parmenides is more exact; the distinction is made between the Primal One, a strictly pure Unity, and a secondary One which is a One-Many and a third which is a One-and-Many; thus he too is in accordance with our thesis of the Three Kinds.

9.

Anaxagoras, again, in his assertion of a Mind pure and unmixed, affirms a simplex First and a sundered One, though writing long ago he failed in precision.

Herakleitos, with his sense of bodily forms as things of ceaseless process and passage, knows the One as eternal and intellectual.

In Empedocles, similarly, we have a dividing principle, “Strife,” set against “Friendship”—which is The One and is to him bodiless, while the elements represent Matter.

Later there is Aristotle; he begins by making the First transcendent and intellective but cancels that primacy by supposing it to have self-intellection. Further he affirms a multitude of other intellective beings—as many indeed as there are orbs in the heavens; one such principle as mover to every orb—and thus his account of the Intellectual Realm differs from Plato’s and, failing reason, he brings in necessity; though Edition: current; Page: [13] whatever reasons he had alleged there would always have been the objection that it would be more reasonable that all the spheres, as contributory to one system, should look to a unity, to the First.

We are obliged also to ask whether to Aristotle’s mind all these Intellectual Beings spring from one, and that one their First; or whether the Principles in the Intellectual are many.

If from one, then clearly the Intellectual system will be analogous to that of the universe of sense—sphere encircling sphere, with one, the outermost, dominating all—the First (in the Intellectual) will envelop the entire scheme and will be an Intellectual (or Archetypal) Kosmos; and as in our universe the spheres are not empty but the first sphere is thick with stars and none without them, so, in the Intellectual Kosmos, those principles of Movement will envelop a multitude of Beings, and that world will be the realm of the greater reality.

If on the contrary each is a principle, then the effective powers become a matter of chance; under what compulsion are they to hold together and act with one mind towards that work of unity, the harmony of the entire heavenly system? Again what can make it necessary that the material bodies of the heavenly system be equal in number to the Intellectual moving principles, and how can these incorporeal Beings be numerically many when there is no Matter to serve as the basis of difference?

For these reasons the ancient philosophers that ranged themselves most closely to the school of Pythagoras and of his later followers and to that of Pherekudes, have insisted upon this Nature, some developing the subject in their writings while others treated of it merely in unwritten discourses, some no doubt ignoring it entirely.

10.

We have shown the inevitability of certain convictions as to the scheme of things:—

There exists a Principle which transcends Being; this is The One, whose nature we have sought to establish in so far as such matters lend themselves to proof. Upon The One follows immediately the Principle Edition: current; Page: [14] which is at once Being and the Intellectual-Principle. Third comes the Principle, Soul.

Now just as these three exist for the system of Nature, so, we must hold, they exist for ourselves. I am not speaking of the material order—all that is separable—but of what lies beyond the sense realm in the same way as the Primals are beyond all the heavens; I mean the corresponding aspect of man, what Plato calls the Interior Man.

Thus our soul, too, is a divine thing, belonging to another order than sense; such is all that holds the rank of soul, but (above the life-principle) there is the soul perfected as containing Intellectual-Principle with its double phase, reasoning and giving the power to reason. The reasoning phase of the soul, needing no bodily organ for its thinking but maintaining, in purity, its distinctive Act that its thought may be uncontaminated—this we cannot err in placing, separate and not mingled into body, within the first Intellectual. We may not seek any point of space in which to seat it; it must be set outside of all space: its distinct quality, its separateness, its immateriality, demand that it be a thing alone, untouched by all of the bodily order. This is why we read of the universe, that the Demiurge cast the soul around it from without—understand that phase of soul which is permanently seated in the Intellectual—and of ourselves that the charioteer’s head reaches upwards towards the heights.

The admonition to sever soul from body is not, of course, to be understood spatially—that separation stands made in Nature—the reference is to holding our rank, to use of our thinking, to an attitude of alienation from the body in the effort to lead up and attach to the over-world, equally with the other, that phase of soul seated here and, alone, having to do with body, creating, moulding, spending its care upon it.

11.

Since there is a Soul which reasons upon the right and good—for reasoning is an enquiry into the rightness and goodness of this rather than that—there must exist some permanent Right, the source and foundation of this reasoning in our soul; how, else, could any such Edition: current; Page: [15] discussion be held? Further, since the soul’s attention to these matters is intermittent, there must be within us an Intellectual-Principle acquainted with that Right not by momentary act but in permanent possession. Similarly there must be also the principle of this principle, its cause, God. This Highest cannot be divided and allotted, must remain intangible but not bound to space, it may be present at many points, wheresoever there is anything capable of accepting one of its manifestations: thus a centre is an independent unity; everything within the circle has its term at the centre; and to the centre the radii bring each their own. Within our nature is such a centre by which we grasp and are linked and held; and those of us are firmly in the Supreme whose collective tendency is There.

12.

Possessed of such powers, how does it happen that we do not lay hold of them, but for the most part, let these high activities go idle—some, even, of us never bringing them in any degree to effect?

The answer is that all the Divine Beings are unceasingly about their own act, the Intellectual-Principle and its Prior always self-intent; and so, too, the soul maintains its unfailing movement; for not all that passes in the soul is, by that fact, perceptible; we know just as much as impinges upon the faculty of sense. Any activity not transmitted to the sensitive faculty has not traversed the entire soul: we remain unaware because the human being includes sense-perception; man is not merely a part (the higher part) of the soul but the total.

None the less every being of the order of soul is in continuous activity as long as life holds, continuously executing to itself its characteristic act: knowledge of the act depends upon transmission and perception. If there is to be perception of what is thus present, we must turn the perceptive faculty inward and hold it to attention there. Hoping to hear a desired voice we let all others pass and are alert for the coming at last of that most welcome of sounds: so here, we must let the hearings of sense go by, save for sheer necessity, and keep the soul’s perception bright and quick to the sounds from above.

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SECOND TRACTATE
The Origin and Order of the Beings following on the First

1.

The One is all things and no one of them; the source of all things is not all things; all things are its possession—running back, so to speak, to it—or, more correctly, not yet so, they will be.

But a universe from an unbroken unity, in which there appears no diversity, not even duality?

It is precisely because there is nothing within the One that all things are from it: in order that Being may be brought about the source must be no Being but Being’s generator, in what is to be thought of as the primal act of generation. Seeking nothing, possessing nothing, lacking nothing, the One is perfect and, in our metaphor, has overflowed, and its exuberance has produced the new: this product has turned again to its begetter and been filled and has become its contemplator and so an Intellectual-Principle.

That station towards the one (the fact that something exists in presence of the One) establishes Being; that vision directed upon the One establishes the Intellectual-Principle; standing towards the One to the end of vision, it is simultaneously Intellectual-Principle and Being; and, attaining resemblance in virtue of this vision, it repeats the act of the One in pouring forth a vast power.

This second outflow is a Form or Idea representing the Divine Intellect as the Divine Intellect represented its own prior, The One.

This active power sprung from essence (from the Intellectual-Principle considered as Being) is Soul.

Soul arises as the idea and act of the motionless Intellectual-Principle—which itself sprang from its own motionless prior—but the soul’s operation is not similarly motionless; its image is generated from its movement. It takes fulness by looking to its source; but it generates its image by adopting another, a downward, movement.

This image of Soul is Sense and Nature, the vegetal principle.

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Nothing, however, is completely severed from its prior. Thus the human Soul appears to reach away as far down as to the vegetal order: in some sense it does, since the life of growing things is within its province; but it is not present entire; when it has reached the vegetal order it is there in the sense that having moved thus far downwards it produces—by its outgoing and its tendency towards the less good—another hypostasis or form of being just as its prior (the loftier phase of the Soul) is produced from the Intellectual-Principle which yet remains in untroubled self-possession.

(From end of second chapter)

But does this Soul-phase in the vegetal order, produce nothing?

It engenders precisely the Kind in which it is thus present: how, is a question to be handled from another starting-point.

2.

To resume: there is from the first principle to ultimate an outgoing in which unfailingly each principle retains its own seat while its offshoot takes another rank, a lower, though on the other hand every being is in identity with its prior as long as it holds that contact.

In the case of soul entering some vegetal form, what is there is one phase, the more rebellious and less intellectual, outgone to that extreme; in a soul entering an animal, the faculty of sensation has been dominant and brought it there; in soul entering man, the movement outward has either been wholly of its reasoning part or has come from the Intellectual-Principle in the sense that the soul, possessing that principle as immanent to its being, has an inborn desire of intellectual activity and of movement in general.

But, looking more minutely into the matter, when shoots or topmost boughs are lopped from some growing thing, where goes the soul that was present in them? Simply, whence it came: soul never knew spatial separation and therefore is always within the source. If you cut the root to pieces, or burn it, where is the life that was present there? In the soul, which never went outside of itself.

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No doubt, despite this permanence, the soul must have been in something if it reascends; and if it does not, it is still somewhere; it is in some other vegetal soul: but all this means merely that it is not crushed into some one spot; if a Soul-power reascends, it is within the Soul-power preceding it; that in turn can be only in the soul-power prior again, the phase reaching upwards to the Intellectual-Principle. Of course nothing here must be understood spatially: Soul never was in space; and the Divine Intellect, again, is distinguished from soul as being still more free.

Soul thus is nowhere but in the Principle which has that characteristic existence at once nowhere and everywhere.

If the soul on its upward path has halted midway before wholly achieving the supreme heights, it has a mid-rank life and has centred itself upon the mid-phase of its being. All in that mid-region is Intellectual-Principle not wholly itself—nothing else because deriving thence (and therefore of that name and rank) yet not that because the Intellectual-Principle in giving it forth is not merged into it.

There exists, thus, a life, as it were, of huge extension, a total in which each several part differs from its next, all making a self-continuous whole under a law of discrimination by which the various forms of things arise with no effacement of any prior in its secondary.

(See end of Section I)

THIRD TRACTATE
The Knowing Hypostases and the Transcendent

1.

Are we to think that a being knowing itself must contain diversity, that self-knowledge can be affirmed only when some one phase of the self perceives other phases, and that therefore an absolutely simplex entity would be equally incapable of introversion and of self-awareness?

No: a being that has no parts or phases may have this consciousness; in fact there would be no real self-knowing in an entity presented as knowing itself in virtue of being a compound—some single element in Edition: current; Page: [19] it perceiving other elements—as we may know our own form and entire bodily organism by sense-perception: such knowing does not cover the whole field; the knowing element has not had the required cognisance at once of its associates and of itself; this is not the self-knower asked for; it is merely something that knows something else.

Either we must exhibit the self-knowing of an uncompounded being—and show how that is possible—or abandon the belief that any being can possess veritable self-cognition.

To abandon the belief is not possible in view of the many absurdities thus entailed.

It would be already absurd enough to deny this power to the soul or mind, but the very height of absurdity to deny it to the nature of the Intellectual-Principle, presented thus as knowing the rest of things but not attaining to knowledge, or even awareness, of itself.

It is the province of sense and in some degree of understanding and judgement, but not of the Intellectual-Principle, to handle the external, though whether the Intellectual-Principle holds the knowledge of these things is a question to be examined, but it is obvious that the Intellectual-Principle must have knowledge of the Intellectual objects. Now, can it know those objects alone or must it not simultaneously know itself, the being whose function it is to know just those things? Can it have self-knowledge in the sense (dismissed above as inadequate) of knowing its content while it ignores itself? Can it be aware of knowing its members and yet remain in ignorance of its own knowing self? Self and content must be simultaneously present: the method and degree of this knowledge we must now consider.

2.

We begin with the soul, asking whether it is to be allowed self-knowledge and what the knowing principle in it would be and how operating.

The sense-principle in it we may at once decide, takes cognisance only of the external; even in any awareness of events within the body it occupies, this is still the perception of something external to a principle dealing with those bodily conditions not as within but as beneath itself.

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The reasoning-principle in the Soul acts upon the representations standing before it as the result of sense-perception; these it judges, combining, distinguishing: or it may also observe the impressions, so to speak, rising from the Intellectual-Principle, and has the same power of handling these; and reasoning will develop to wisdom where it recognises the new and late-coming impressions (those of sense) and adapts them, so to speak, to those it holds from long before—the act which may be described as the soul’s Reminiscence.

So far as this, the efficacy of the Intellectual-Principle in the Soul certainly reaches; but is there also introversion and self-cognition or is that power to be reserved strictly for the Divine Mind?

If we accord self-knowing to this phase of the soul we make it an Intellectual-Principle and will have to show what distinguishes it from its prior; if we refuse it self-knowing, all our thought brings us step by step to some principle which has this power, and we must discover what such self-knowing consists in. If, again, we do allow self-knowledge in the lower we must examine the question of degree; for if there is no difference of degree, then the reasoning principle in soul is the Intellectual-Principle unalloyed.

We ask, then, whether the understanding principle in the soul has equally the power of turning inwards upon itself or whether it has no more than that of comprehending the impressions, superior and inferior, which it receives.

The first stage is to discover what this comprehension is.

3.

Sense sees a man and transmits the impression to the understanding. What does the understanding say? It has nothing to say as yet; it accepts and waits; unless, rather, it questions within itself “Who is this?”—someone it has met before—and then, drawing on memory, says, “Socrates.”

If it should go on to develop the impression received, it distinguishes various elements in what the representative faculty has set before it; supposing it to say “Socrates, if the man is good,” then, while it has Edition: current; Page: [21] spoken upon information from the senses, its total pronouncement is its own; it contains within itself a standard of good.

But how does it thus contain the good within itself?

It is, itself, of the nature of the good and it has been strengthened still towards the perception of all that is good by the irradiation of the Intellectual-Principle upon it; for this pure phase of the soul welcomes to itself the images implanted from its prior.

But why may we not distinguish this understanding phase as Intellectual-Principle and take soul to consist of the later phases from the sensitive downwards?

Because all the activities mentioned are within the scope of a reasoning faculty, and reasoning is characteristically the function of soul.

Why not, however, absolve the question by assigning self-cognisance to this phase?

Because we have allotted to soul the function of dealing—in thought and in multiform action—with the external, and we hold that observation of self and of the content of self must belong to Intellectual-Principle.

If any one says, “Still; what precludes the reasoning soul from observing its own content by some special faculty?” he is no longer positing a principle of understanding or of reasoning but, simply, bringing in the Intellectual-Principle unalloyed.

But what precludes the Intellectual-Principle from being present, unalloyed, within the soul? Nothing, we admit; but are we entitled therefore to think of it as a phase of soul?

We cannot describe it as belonging to the soul though we do describe it as our Intellectual-Principle, something distinct from the understanding, advanced above it, and yet ours even though we cannot include it among soul-phases: it is ours and not ours; and therefore we use it sometimes and sometimes not, whereas we always have use of the understanding; the Intellectual-Principle is ours when we act by it, not ours when we neglect it.

But what is this acting by it? Does it mean that we become the Intellectual-Principle so that our utterance is the utterance of the Intellectual-Principle, or that (at best) we represent it?

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We are not the Intellectual-Principle; we represent it in virtue of that highest reasoning faculty which draws upon it.

Still; we perceive by means of the perceptive faculty and are, ourselves, the percipients: may we not say the same of the intellective act?

No: our reasoning is our own; we ourselves think the thoughts that occupy the understanding—for this is actually the We—but the operation of the Intellectual-Principle enters from above us as that of the sensitive faculty from below; the We is the soul at its highest, the mid-point between two powers, between the sensitive principle, inferior to us, and the intellectual principle superior. We think of the perceptive act as integral to ourselves because our sense-perception is uninterrupted; we hesitate as to the Intellectual-Principle both because we are not always occupied with it and because it exists apart, not a principle inclining to us but one to which we incline when we choose to look upwards.

The sensitive principle is our scout; the Intellectual-Principle our King.

4.

But we, too, are king when we are moulded to the Intellectual-Principle.

That correspondence may be brought about in two ways: either the radii from that centre are traced upon us to be our law or we are filled full of the Divine Mind, which again may have become to us a thing seen and felt as a presence.

Hence our self-knowing comes to the knowing of all the rest of our being in virtue of this thing patently present; or by that power itself communicating to us its own power of self-knowing; or by our becoming identical with that principle of knowledge.

Thus the self-knower is a double person: there is the one that takes cognisance of the principle in virtue of which understanding occurs in the soul or mind; and there is the higher, knowing himself by the Intellectual-Principle with which he becomes identical: this latter knows the self as no longer man but as a being that has become something other through and through: he has thrown himself as one thing over into Edition: current; Page: [23] the superior order, taking with him only that better part of the soul which alone is winged for the Intellectual Act and gives the man, once established There, the power to appropriate what he has seen.

We can scarcely suppose this understanding faculty to be unaware that it has understanding; that it takes cognisance of things external; that in its judgements it decides by the rules and standards within itself held directly from the Intellectual-Principle; that there is something higher than itself, something which, moreover, it has no need to seek but fully possesses. What can we conceive to escape the self-knowledge of a principle which admittedly knows the place it holds and the work it has to do? It affirms that it springs from Intellectual-Principle whose second and image it is, that it holds all within itself, the universe of things, engraved, so to say, upon it as all is held There by the eternal engraver. Aware so far of itself, can it be supposed to halt at that? Are we to suppose that all we can do is to apply a distinct power of our nature and come thus to awareness of that Intellectual-Principle as aware of itself? Or may we not appropriate that principle—which belongs to us as we to it—and thus attain to awareness, at once, of it and of ourselves? Yes: this is the necessary way if we are to experience the self-knowledge vested in the Intellectual-Principle. And a man becomes Intellectual-Principle when, ignoring all other phases of his being, he sees through that only and sees only that and so knows himself by means of the self—in other words attains the self-knowledge which the Intellectual-Principle possesses.

5.

Does it all come down, then, to one phase of the self knowing another phase?

That would be a case of knower distinguished from known, and would not be self-knowing.

What, then, if the total combination were supposed to be of one piece, knower quite undistinguished from known, so that, seeing any given part of itself as identical with itself, it sees itself by means of itself, knower and known thus being entirely without differentiation?

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To begin with, the distinction in one self thus suggested is a strange phenomenon. How is the self to make the partition? The thing cannot happen of itself. And, again, which phase makes it? The phase that decides to be the knower or that which is to be the known? Then how can the knowing phase know itself in the known when it has chosen to be the knower and put itself apart from the known? In such self-knowledge by sundering it can be aware only of the object, not of the agent; it will not know its entire content, or itself as an integral whole; it knows the phase seen but not the seeing phase and thus has knowledge of something else, not self-knowledge.

In order to perfect self-knowing it must bring over from itself the knowing phase as well: seeing subject and seen objects must be present as one thing. Now if in this coalescence of seeing subject with seen objects, the objects were merely representations of the reality, the subject would not possess the realities: if it is to possess them it must do so not by seeing them as the result of any self-division but by knowing them, containing them, before any self-division occurs.

At that, the object known must be identical with the knowing act (or agent), the Intellectual-Principle, therefore, identical with the Intellectual Realm. And in fact, if this identity does not exist, neither does truth; the Principle that should contain realities is found to contain a transcript, something different from the realities; that constitutes non-Truth; Truth cannot apply to something conflicting with itself; what it affirms it must also be.

Thus we find that the Intellectual-Principle, the Intellectual Realm and Real Being constitute one thing, which is the Primal Being; the primal Intellectual-Principle is that which contains the realities or, rather, which is identical with them.

But taking Primal Intellection and its intellectual object to be a unity, how does that give an Intellective Being knowing itself? An intellection enveloping its object or identical with it is far from exhibiting the Intellectual-Principle as self-knowing.

All turns on the identity. The intellectual object is itself an activity, not a mere potentiality; it is not lifeless; nor are the life and intellection Edition: current; Page: [25] brought into it as into something naturally devoid of them, some stone or other dead matter; no, the intellectual object is essentially existent, the primal reality. As an active force, the first activity, it must be, also itself, the noblest intellection, intellection possessing real being since it is entirely true; and such an intellection, primal and primally existent, can be no other than the primal principle of Intellection: for that primal principle is no potentiality and cannot be an agent distinct from its act and thus, once more, possessing its essential being as a mere potentiality. As an act—and one whose very being is an act—it must be undistinguishably identical with its act: but Being and the Intellectual object are also identical with that act; therefore the Intellectual-Principle, its exercise of intellection and the object of intellection all are identical. Given its intellection identical with intellectual object and the object identical with the Principle itself, it cannot but have self-knowledge: its intellection operates by the intellectual act which is itself upon the intellectual object which similarly is itself. It possesses self-knowing, thus, on every count; the act is itself; and the object seen in that act-self, is itself.

6.

Thus we have shown that there exists that which in the strictest sense possesses self-knowing.

This self-knowing agent, perfect in the Intellectual-Principle, is modified in the Soul.

The difference is that, while the soul knows itself as within something else, the Intellectual-Principle knows itself as self-depending, knows all its nature and character, and knows by right of its own being and by simple introversion. When it looks upon the authentic existences it is looking upon itself; its vision is its effective existence, and this efficacy is itself since the Intellectual-Principle and the Intellectual Act are one: this is an integral seeing itself by its entire being, not a part seeing by a part.

But has our discussion issued in an Intellectual-Principle having a persuasive activity (furnishing us with probability)?

No: it brings compulsion not persuasion; compulsion belongs to Edition: current; Page: [26] the Intellectual-Principle, persuasion to the soul or mind, and we seem to desire to be persuaded rather than to see the truth in the pure intellect

As long as we were Above, collected within the Intellectual nature, we were satisfied; we were held in the intellectual act; we had vision because we drew all into unity—for the thinker in us was the Intellectual-Principle telling us of itself—and the soul or mind was motionless, assenting to that act of its prior. But now that we are once more here—living in the secondary, the soul—we seek for persuasive probabilities: it is through the image we desire to know the archetype.

Our way is to teach our soul how the Intellectual-Principle exercises self-vision; the phase thus to be taught is that which already touches the intellective order, that which we call the understanding or intelligent soul, indicating by the very name that it is already of itself in some degree an Intellectual-Principle or that it holds its peculiar power through and from that Principle. This phase must be brought to understand by what means it has knowledge of the thing it sees and warrant for what it affirms: if it became what it affirms, it would by that fact possess self-knowing. All its vision and affirmation being in the Supreme or deriving from it—There where itself also is—it will possess self-knowledge by its right as a Reason-Principle, claiming its kin and bringing all into accord with the divine imprint upon it.

The soul therefore (to attain self-knowledge) has only to set this image (that is to say, its highest phase) alongside the veritable Intellectual-Principle which we have found to be identical with the truths constituting the objects of intellection, the world of Primals and Reality: for this Intellectual-Principle, by very definition, cannot be outside of itself, the Intellectual Reality: self-gathered and unalloyed, it is Intellectual-Principle through all the range of its being—for unintelligent intelligence is not possible—and thus it possesses of necessity self-knowing, as a being immanent to itself and one having for function and essence to be purely and solely Intellectual-Principle. This is no doer; the doer, not self-intent but looking outward, will have knowledge, in some kind, of the external, but, if wholly of this practical order, need have no self-knowledge; where, on the contrary, there is no action—and of course Edition: current; Page: [27] the pure Intellectual-Principle cannot be straining after any absent good—the intention can be only towards the self; at once self-knowing becomes not merely plausible but inevitable; what else could living signify in a being immune from action and existing in Intellect?

7.

The contemplating of God, we might answer.

But to admit its knowing God is to be compelled to admit its self-knowing. It will know what it holds from God, what God has given forth or may; with this knowledge, it knows itself at the stroke, for it is itself one of those given things—in fact is all of them. Knowing God and His power, then, it knows itself, since it comes from Him and carries His power upon it; if, because here the act of vision is identical with the object, it is unable to see God clearly, then all the more, by the equation of seeing and seen, we are driven back upon that self-seeing and self-knowing in which seeing and thing seen are undistinguishably one thing.

And what else is there to attribute to it?

Repose, no doubt; but to an Intellectual-Principle Repose is not an abdication from intellect; its Repose is an Act, the act of abstention from the alien: in all forms of existence repose from the alien leaves the characteristic activity intact, especially where the Being is not merely potential but fully realised.

In the Intellectual-Principle, the Being is an Act and in the absence of any other object it must be self-directed; by this self-intellection it holds its Act within itself and upon itself; all that can emanate from it is produced by this self-centering and self-intention; first-self-gathered, it then gives itself or gives something in its likeness; fire must first be self-centred and be fire, true to fire’s natural Act; then it may reproduce itself elsewhere.

Once more, then; the Intellectual-Principle is a self-intent activity, but soul has the double phase, one inner, intent upon the Intellectual-Principle, the other outside it and facing to the external; by the one it holds the likeness to its source; by the other, even in its unlikeness, it still comes to likeness in this sphere, too, by virtue of action and production; Edition: current; Page: [28] in its action it still contemplates, and its production produces Ideal-forms—divine intellections perfectly wrought out—so that all its creations are representations of the divine Intellection and of the divine Intellect, moulded upon the archetype, of which all are emanations and images, the nearer more true, the very latest preserving some faint likeness of the source.

8.

Now comes the question what sort of thing does the Intellectual-Principle see in seeing the Intellectual Realm and what in seeing itself?

We are not to look for an Intellectual realm reminding us of the colour or shape to be seen on material objects: the intellectual antedates all such things; and even in our sphere the production is very different from the Reason-Principle in the seeds from which it is produced. The seed principles are invisible and the beings of the Intellectual still more characteristically so; the Intellectuals are of one same nature with the Intellectual Realm which contains them, just as the Reason-Principle in the seed is identical with the soul, or life-principle, containing it.

But the Soul (considered as apart from the Intellectual-Principle) has no vision of what it thus contains, for it is not the producer but, like the Reason-Principles also, an image of its source: that source is the brilliant, the authentic, the primarily existent, the thing self-sprung and self-intent; but its image, soul, is a thing which can have no permanence except by attachment, by living in that other; the very nature of an image is that as a secondary it shall have its being in something else, if at all it exist apart from its original. Hence this image (soul) has not vision, for it has not the necessary light, and if it should see, then, as finding its completion elsewhere, it sees another, not itself.

In the pure Intellectual there is nothing of this: the vision and the envisioned are a unity; the seen is as the seeing and seeing as seen.

What, then, is there that can pronounce upon the nature of this all-unity?

That which sees: and to see is the function of the Intellectual-Principle. Even in our own sphere (we have a parallel to this self-vision Edition: current; Page: [29] of a unity), our vision is light or rather becomes one with the light, and it sees light for it sees colours. In the intellectual, the vision sees not through some medium but by and through itself alone, for its object is not external: by one light it sees another not through any intermediate agency; a light sees a light, that is to say a thing sees itself. This light shining within the soul enlightens it; that is, it makes the soul intellective, working it into likeness with itself, the light above.

Think of the traces of this light upon the soul, then say to yourself that such, and more beautiful and broader and more radiant, is the light itself; thus you will approach to the nature of the Intellectual-Principle and the Intellectual Realm, for it is this light, itself lit from above, which gives the soul its brighter life.

It is not the source of the generative life of the soul which, on the contrary, it draws inward, preserving it from such diffusion, holding it to the love of the splendour of its Prior.

Nor does it give the life of perception and sensation, for that looks to the external and to what acts most vigorously upon the senses whereas one accepting that light of truth may be said no longer to see the visible, but the very contrary.

This means in sum that the life the soul takes thence is an intellective life, a trace of the life in the (divine) Intellect, in which alone the authentic exists.

The life in the Divine Intellect is also an Act: it is the primal light outlamping to itself primarily, its own torch; lightgiver and lit at once; the authentic intellectual object, knowing at once and known, seen to itself and needing no other than itself to see by, self-sufficing to the vision, since what it sees it is; known to us by that very same light, our knowledge of it attained through itself, for from nowhere else could we find the means of telling of it. By its nature, its self-vision is the clearer but, using it as our medium, we too may come to see by it.

In the strength of such considerations we lead up our own soul to the Divine, so that it poses itself as an image of that Being, its life becoming an imprint and a likeness of the Highest, its every act of thought making it over into the Divine and the Intellectual.

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If the soul is questioned as to the nature of that Intellectual-Principle—the perfect and all-embracing, the primal self-knower—it has but to enter into that Principle, or to sink all its activity into that, and at once it shows itself to be in effective possession of those priors whose memory it never lost: thus, as an image of the Intellectual-Principle, it can make itself the medium by which to attain some vision of it; it draws upon that within itself which is most closely resemblant, as far as resemblance is possible between divine Intellect and any phase of soul.

9.

In order, then, to know what the Divine Mind is we must observe soul and especially its most God-like phase.

One certain way to this knowledge is to separate first, the man from the body—yourself, that is, from your body—next to put aside that soul which moulded the body, and, very earnestly, the system of sense with desires and impulses and every such futility, all setting definitely towards the mortal: what is left is the phase of the soul which we have declared to be an image of the Divine Intellect, retaining some light from that sun, while it pours downward upon the sphere of magnitudes (that is, of Matter) the light playing about itself which is generated from its own nature.

Of course we do not pretend that the sun’s light (as the analogy might imply) remains a self-gathered and sun-centred thing: it is at once outrushing and indwelling; it strikes outward continuously, lap after lap, until it reaches us upon our earth: we must take it that all the light, including that which plays about the sun’s orb, has travelled; otherwise we would have a void expanse, that of the space—which is material—next to the sun’s orb. The Soul, on the contrary—a light springing from the Divine Mind and shining about it—is in closest touch with that source; it is not in transit but remains centred there, and, in likeness to that principle, it has no place: the light of the sun is actually in the air, but the soul is clean of all such contact so that its immunity is patent to itself and to any other of the same order.

And by its own characteristic act, though not without reasoning Edition: current; Page: [31] process, it knows the nature of the Intellectual-Principle which, on its side, knows itself without need of reasoning, for it is ever self-present whereas we become so by directing our soul towards it; our life is broken and there are many lives, but that principle needs no changings of life or of things; the lives it brings to being are for others not for itself: it cannot need the inferior; nor does it for itself produce the less when it possesses or is the all, nor the images when it possesses or is the prototype.

Anyone not of the strength to lay hold of the first soul, that possessing pure intellection, must grasp that which has to do with our ordinary thinking and thence ascend: if even this prove too hard, let him turn to account the sensitive phase which carries the ideal forms of the less fine degree, that phase which, too, with its powers, is immaterial and lies just within the realm of Ideal-principles.

One may even, if it seem necessary, begin as low as the reproductive soul and its very production and thence make the ascent, mounting from those ultimate ideal principles to the ultimates in the higher sense, that is to the primals.

10.

This matter need not be elaborated at present: it suffices to say that if the created were all, these ultimates (the higher) need not exist: but the Supreme does include primals, the primals because the producers. In other words, there must be, with the made, the making source; and, unless these are to be identical, there will be need of some link between them. Similarly, this link which is the Intellectual-Principle demands yet a Transcendent. If we are asked why this Transcendent also should not have self-vision, our answer is that it has no need of vision; but this we will discuss later: for the moment we go back, since the question at issue is gravely important.

We repeat that the Intellectual-Principle must have, actually has, self-vision, firstly because it has multiplicity, next because it exists for the external and therefore must be a seeing power, one seeing that external; in fact its very essence is vision. Given some external, there must be vision; and if there be nothing external the Intellectual-Principle Edition: current; Page: [32] (Divine Mind) exists in vain. Unless there is something beyond bare unity, there can be no vision: vision must converge with a visible object. And this which the seer is to see can be only a multiple, no undistinguishable unity; nor could a universal unity find anything upon which to exercise any act; all, one and desolate, would be utter stagnation; in so far as there is action, there is diversity. If there be no distinctions, what is there to do, what direction in which to move? An agent must either act upon the extern or be a multiple and so able to act upon itself: making no advance towards anything other than itself, it is motionless and where it could know only blank fixity it can know nothing.

The intellective power, therefore, when occupied with the intellectual act, must be in a state of duality, whether one of the two elements stand actually outside or both lie within: the intellectual act will always comport diversity as well as the necessary identity, and in the same way its characteristic objects (the Ideas) must stand to the Intellectual-Principle as at once distinct and identical. This applies equally to the single object; there can be no intellection except of something containing separable detail and, since the object is a Reason-principle (a discriminated Idea), it has the necessary element of multiplicity. The Intellectual-Principle, thus, is informed of itself by the fact of being a multiple organ of vision, an eye receptive of many illuminated objects. If it had to direct itself to a memberless unity, it would be dereasoned: what could it say or know of such an object? The self-affirmation of (even) a memberless unity implies the repudiation of all that does not enter into the character: in other words, it must be multiple as a preliminary to being itself.

Then, again, in the assertion “I am this particular thing,” either the “particular thing” is distinct from the assertor—and there is a false statement—or it is included within it, and, at once, multiplicity is asserted: otherwise the assertion is “I am what I am,” or “I am I.”

If it be no more than a simple duality able to say “I and that other phase,” there is already multiplicity, for there is distinction and ground of distinction, there is number with all its train of separate things.

In sum, then, a knowing principle must handle distinct items: its Edition: current; Page: [33] object must, at the moment of cognition, contain diversity; otherwise the thing remains unknown; there is mere conjunction, such a contact, without affirmation or comprehension, as would precede knowledge, the intellect not yet in being, the impinging agent not percipient.

Similarly the knowing principle itself cannot remain simplex, especially in the act of self-knowing: all silent though its self-perception be, it is dual to itself. Of course it has no need of minute self-handling since it has nothing to learn by its intellective act; before it is (effectively) Intellect it holds knowledge of its own content. Knowledge implies desire, for it is, so to speak, discovery crowning a search; the utterly undifferentiated remains self-centred and makes no enquiry about that self: anything capable of analysing its content, must be a manifold.

11.

Thus the Intellectual-Principle, in the act of knowing the Transcendent, is a manifold. It knows the Transcendent in very essence but, with all its effort to grasp that prior as a pure unity, it goes forth amassing successive impressions, so that, to it, the object becomes multiple: thus in its outgoing to its object it is not (fully realised) Intellectual-Principle; it is an eye that has not yet seen; in its return it is an eye possessed of the multiplicity which it has itself conferred: it sought something of which it found the vague presentment within itself; it returned with something else, the manifold quality with which it has of its own act invested the simplex.

If it had not possessed a previous impression of the Transcendent it could never have grasped it, but this impression, originally of unity, becomes an impression of multiplicity; and the Intellectual-Principle in taking cognisance of that multiplicity knows the Transcendent and so is realised as an eye possessed of its vision.

It is now Intellectual-Principle since it actually holds its object, and holds it by the act of intellection: before, it was no more than a tendance, an eye blank of impression: it was in motion towards the transcendental; now that it has attained, it has become Intellectual-Principle henceforth Edition: current; Page: [34] absorbed; in virtue of this intellection it holds the character of Intellectual-Principle, of Essential Existence and of Intellectual Act where, previously, not possessing the Intellectual Object, it was not Intellectual Perception, and, not yet having exercised the Intellectual Act, it was not Intellectual-Principle.

The Principle before all these principles is no doubt the first principle of the universe, but not as immanent: immanence is not for primal sources but for engendering secondaries; that which stands as primal source of everything is not a thing but is distinct from all things: it is not, then, a member of the total but earlier than all, earlier, thus, than the Intellectual-Principle—which in fact envelops the entire train of things.

Thus we come, once more, to a Being above the Intellectual-Principle and, since the sequent amounts to no less than the All, we recognise, again, a Being above the All. This assuredly cannot be one of the things to which it is prior. We may not call it Intellect; therefore, too, we may not call it the Good, if the Good is to be taken in the sense of some one member of the universe; if we mean that which precedes the universe of things, the name may be allowed.

The Intellectual-Principle is established in multiplicity; its intellection, self-sprung though it be, is in the nature of something added to it (some accidental dualism) and makes it multiple: the utterly simplex, and therefore first of all beings, must, then, transcend the Intellectual-Principle; and, obviously, if this had intellection it would no longer transcend the Intellectual-Principle but be it, and at once be a multiple.

12.

But why, after all, should it not be such a manifold as long as it remains one substantial existence, having the multiplicity not of a compound being but of a unity with a variety of activities?

Now, no doubt, if these various activities are not themselves substantial existences—but merely manifestations of latent potentiality—there is no compound; but, on the other hand, it remains incomplete until its substantial existence be expressed in act. If its substantial Edition: current; Page: [35] existence consists in its Act, and this Act constitutes multiplicity, then its substantial existence will be strictly proportioned to the extent of the multiplicity.

We allow this to be true for the Intellectual-Principle to which we have allotted (the multiplicity of) self-knowing; but for the first principle of all, never. Before the manifold, there must be The One, that from which the manifold rises: in all numerical series, the unit is the first.

But—we will be answered—for number, well and good, since the suite makes a compound; but in the real beings why must there be a unit from which the multiplicity of entities shall proceed?

Because (failing such a unity) the multiplicity would consist of disjointed items, each starting at its own distinct place and moving accidentally to serve to a total.

But, they will tell us, the Activities in question do proceed from a unity, from the Intellectual-Principle, a simplex.

By that they admit the existence of a simplex prior to the Activities; and they make the Activities perdurable and class them as substantial existences (hypostases); but as Hypostases they will be distinct from their source, which will remain simplex; while its product will in its own nature be manifold and dependent upon it.

Now if these activities arise from some unexplained first activity in that principle, then it too contains the manifold: if on the contrary they are the very earliest activities and the source and cause of any multiple product and the means by which that Principle is able, before any activity occurs, to remain self-centred, then they are allocated to the product of which they are the cause; for this principle is one thing, the activities going forth from it are another, since it is not, itself, in act. If this be not so, the first act cannot be the Intellectual-Principle: the One does not provide for the existence of an Intellectual-Principle which thereupon appears; that provision would be something (an Hypostasis) intervening between the One and the Intellectual-Principle its offspring. There could, in fact, be no such providing in The One, for it was never incomplete; and such provision could name nothing that ought to be Edition: current; Page: [36] provided. It cannot be thought to possess only some part of its content, and not the whole; nor did anything exist to which it could turn in desire. Clearly anything that comes into being after it, arises without shaking to its permanence in its own habit. It is essential to the existence of any new entity that the First remain in self-gathered repose throughout: otherwise, it moved before there was motion and had intellectual act before any intellection—unless, indeed, that first act (as motionless and without intelligence) was incomplete, nothing more than a tendency. And what can we imagine it lights upon to become the object of such a tendency?

The only reasonable explanation of act flowing from it lies in the analogy of light from a sun. The entire intellectual order may be figured as a kind of light with the One in repose at its summit as its King: but this manifestation is not cast out from it: we may think, rather, of the One as a light before the light, an eternal irradiation resting upon the Intellectual Realm; this, not identical with its source, is yet not severed from it nor of so remote a nature as to be less than Real-Being; it is no blind thing, but is seeing and knowing, the primal knower.

The One, as transcending Intellect, transcends knowing: above all need, it is above the need of the knowing which pertains solely to the Secondary Nature. Knowing is a unitary thing, but defined: the first is One, but undefined: a defined One would not be the One-Absolute: the absolute is prior to the definite.

13.

Thus The One is in truth beyond all statement: any affirmation is of a thing; but the all-transcending, resting above even the most august divine Mind, possesses alone of all true being, and is not a thing among things; we can give it no name because that would imply predication: we can but try to indicate, in our own feeble way, something concerning it: when in our perplexity we object, “Then it is without self-perception, without self-consciousness, ignorant of itself”; we must remember that we have been considering it only in its opposites.

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If we make it knowable, an object of affirmation, we make it a manifold; and if we allow intellection in it we make it at that point indigent: supposing that in fact intellection accompanies it, intellection by it must be superfluous.

Self-intellection—which is the truest—implies the entire perception of a total self formed from a variety converging into an integral: but the Transcendent knows neither separation of part nor any such enquiry; if its intellectual act were directed upon something outside, then, the Transcendent would be deficient and the intellection faulty.

The wholly simplex and veritable self-sufficing can be lacking at no point: self-intellection begins in that principle which, secondarily self-sufficing, yet needs itself and therefore needs to know itself: this principle, by its self-presence, achieves its sufficiency in virtue of its entire content (it is the all): it becomes thus competent from the total of its being, in the act of living towards itself and looking upon itself.

Consciousness, as the very word indicates, is a conperception, an act exercised upon a manifold: and even intellection, earlier (nearer to the divine) though it is, implies that the agent turns back upon itself, upon a manifold, then. If that agent says no more than “I am a being,” it speaks (by the implied dualism) as a discoverer of the extern; and rightly so, for being is a manifold; when it faces towards the unmanifold and says, “I am that being,” it misses both itself and the being (since the simplex cannot be thus divided into knower and known): if it is (to utter) truth it cannot indicate by “being” something (single) like a stone; in the one phrase multiplicity is asserted; for the being thus affirmed—(even) the veritable, as distinguished from such a mere container of some trace of being as ought not to be called a being since it stands merely as image to archetype—even this must possess multiplicity.

But will not each item in that multiplicity be an object of intellection to us?

Taken bare and single, no: but Being itself is manifold within itself, and whatever else you may name has Being.

This accepted, it follows that anything that is to be thought of as the most utterly simplex of all, cannot have self-intellection; to have Edition: current; Page: [38] that would mean being multiple. The Transcendent, thus, neither knows itself nor is known in itself.

14.

How, then, do we ourselves come to be speaking of it?

No doubt we deal with it, but we do not state it; we have neither knowledge nor intellection of it.

But in what sense do we even deal with it when we have no hold upon it?

We do not, it is true, grasp it by knowledge, but that does not mean that we are utterly void of it; we hold it not so as to state it, but so as to be able to speak about it. And we can and do state what it is not, while we are silent as to what it is: we are, in fact, speaking of it in the light of its sequels; unable to state it, we may still possess it.

Those divinely possessed and inspired have at least the knowledge that they hold some greater thing within them though they cannot tell what it is; from the movements that stir them and the utterances that come from them they perceive the power, not themselves, that moves them: in the same way, it must be, we stand towards the Supreme when we hold the Intellectual-Principle pure; we know the divine Mind within, that which gives Being and all else of that order: but we know, too, that other, know that it is none of these, but a nobler principle than anything we know as Being; fuller and greater; above reason, mind and feeling; conferring these powers, not to be confounded with them.

15.

Conferring—but how? As itself possessing them or not? How can it convey what it does not possess, and yet if it does possess how is it simplex? And if, again, it does not, how is it the source of the manifold?

A single, unmanifold emanation we may very well allow—how even that can come from a pure unity may be a problem, but we may always explain it on the analogy of the irradiation from a luminary—but a multitudinous production raises question.

The explanation is, that what comes from the Supreme cannot be Edition: current; Page: [39] identical with it and assuredly cannot be better than it—what could be better than The One or the utterly transcendent? The emanation, then, must be less good, that is to say, less self-sufficing: now what must that be which is less self-sufficing than The One? Obviously the Not-One, that is to say, multiplicity but a multiplicity striving towards unity; that is to say, a One-that-is-many.

All that is not One is conserved by virtue of the One, and from the One derives its characteristic nature: if it had not attained such unity as is consistent with being made up of multiplicity we could not affirm its existence: if we are able to affirm the nature of single things, this is in virtue of the unity, the identity even, which each of them possesses. But the all-transcendent, utterly void of multiplicity, has no mere unity of participation but is unity’s self, independent of all else, as being that from which, by whatever means, all the rest take their degree of unity in their standing, near or far, towards it.

In virtue of the unity manifested in its variety it exhibits, side by side, both an all-embracing identity and the existence of the secondary: all the variety lies in the midst of a sameness, and identity cannot be separated from diversity since all stands as one; each item in that content, by the fact of participating in life, is a One-many: for the item could not make itself manifest as a One-and-all.

Only the Transcendent can be that; it is the great beginning, and the beginning must be a really existent One, wholly and truly One, while its sequent, poured down in some way from the One, is all, a total which has participation in unity and whose every member is similarly all and one.

What then is the All?

The total of which the Transcendent is the Source.

But in what way is it that source? In the sense, perhaps, of sustaining things as bestower of the unity of each single item?

That too; but also as having established them in being.

But how? As having, perhaps, contained them previously?

We have indicated that, thus, the First would be a manifold.

May we think, perhaps, that the First contained the universe as an Edition: current; Page: [40] indistinct total whose items are elaborated to distinct existence within the Second by the Reason-Principle there? That Second is certainly an Activity; the Transcendent would contain only the potentiality of the universe to come.

But the nature of this contained potentiality would have to be explained: it cannot be that of Matter, a receptivity, for thus the Source becomes passive, the very negation of production.

How then does it produce what it does not contain? Certainly not at haphazard and certainly not by selection. How then?

We have observed that anything that may spring from the One must be different from it. Differing, it is not One, since then it would be the Source. If unity has given place to duality, from that moment there is multiplicity; for there is variety side by side with identity, and this imports quality and all the rest.

We may take it as proved that the emanation of the Transcendent must be a Not-One something other than pure unity: but that it is a multiplicity, and especially that it is such a multiplicity as is exhibited in the sequent universe, this is a statement worthy of deliberation: some further enquiry must be made, also, as to the necessity of any sequel to the First.

16.

We have, of course, already seen that a secondary must follow upon the First, and that this is a power immeasurably fruitful; and we indicated that this truth is confirmed by the entire order of things since there is nothing, not even in the lowest ranks, void of the power of generating. We have now to add that, since things engendered tend downwards and not upwards and, especially, move towards multiplicity, the first principle of all must be less a manifold than any.

That which engenders the world of sense cannot itself be a sense-world; it must be the Intellect and the Intellectual world; similarly, the prior which engenders the Intellectual-Principle and the Intellectual world cannot be either, but must be something of less multiplicity. The manifold does not rise from the manifold: the intellectual multiplicity Edition: current; Page: [41] has its source in what is not manifold; by the mere fact of being manifold, the thing is not the first principle: we must look to something earlier.

All must be grouped under a unity which, as standing outside of all multiplicity and outside of any ordinary simplicity, is the veritably and essentially simplex.

Still, how can a Reason-Principle (the Intellectual), characteristically a manifold, a total, derive from what is obviously no Reason-Principle?

But how, failing such origin in the simplex, could we escape (what cannot be accepted) the derivation of a Reason-Principle from a Reason-Principle?

And how does the secondarily good (the imaged Good) derive from The Good, the Absolute? What does it hold from the Absolute Good to entitle it to the name?

Similarity to the prior is not enough, it does not help towards goodness; we demand similarity only to an actually existent Good: the goodness must depend upon derivation from a Prior of such a nature that the similarity is desirable because that Prior is good, just as the similarity would be undesirable if the Prior were not good.

Does the similarity with the Prior consist, then, in a voluntary resting upon it?

It is rather that, finding its condition satisfying, it seeks nothing: the similarity depends upon the all-sufficiency of what it possesses; its existence is agreeable because all is present to it, and present in such a way as not to be even different from it (Intellectual-Principle is Being).

All life belongs to it, life brilliant and perfect; thus all in it is at once life-principle and Intellectual-Principle, nothing in it aloof from either life or intellect: it is therefore self-sufficing and seeks nothing: and if it seeks nothing this is because it has in itself what, lacking, it must seek. It has, therefore, its Good within itself, either by being of that order—in what we have called its life and intellect—or in some other quality or character going to produce these.

If this (secondary principle) were The Good (The Absolute) nothing could transcend these things, life and intellect: but, given the existence Edition: current; Page: [42] of something higher, this Intellectual-Principle must possess a life directed towards that Transcendent, dependent upon it, deriving its being from it, living towards it as towards its source. The First, then, must transcend this principle of life and intellect which directs thither both the life in itself, a copy of the Reality of the First, and the intellect in itself which is again a copy, though of what original there we cannot know.

17.

But what can it be which is loftier than that existence—a life compact of wisdom, untouched by struggle and error, or than this Intellect which holds the Universe with all there is of life and intellect?

If we answer “The Making Principle,” there comes the question, “making by what virtue?” and unless we can indicate something higher there than in the made, our reasoning has made no advance: we rest where we were.

We must go higher—if it were only for the reason, that the maker of all must have a self-sufficing existence outside of all things—since all the rest is patently indigent—and that everything has participated in The One and, as drawing on unity, is itself not unity.

What then is this in which each particular entity participates, the author of being to the universe and to each item of the total?

Since it is the author of all that exists, and since the multiplicity in each thing is converted into a self-sufficing existence by this presence of The One, so that even the particular itself becomes self-sufficing, then clearly this principle, author at once of Being and of self-sufficingness, is not itself a Being but is above Being and above even self-sufficing.

May we stop, content, with that? No: the Soul is yet, and even more, in pain. Is she ripe, perhaps, to bring forth, now that in her pangs she has come so close to what she seeks? No: we must call upon yet another spell if anywhere the assuagement is to be found. Perhaps in what has already been uttered, there lies the charm if only we tell it over often? No: we need a new, a further, incantation. All our effort may well skim over every truth, and through all the verities in which we have Edition: current; Page: [43] part, and yet the reality escape us when we hope to affirm, to understand: for the understanding, in order to its affirmation, must possess itself of item after item; only so does it traverse all the field: but how can there be any such peregrination of that in which there is no variety?

All the need is met by a contact purely intellective. At the moment of touch there is no power whatever to make any affirmation; there is no leisure; reasoning upon the vision is for afterwards. We may know we have had the vision when the Soul has suddenly taken light. This light is from the Supreme and is the Supreme; we may believe in the Presence when, like that other God on the call of a certain man, He comes bringing light: the light is the proof of the advent. Thus, the Soul unlit remains without that vision; lit, it possesses what it sought. And this is the true end set before the Soul, to take that light, to see the Supreme by the Supreme and not by the light of any other principle—to see the Supreme which is also the means to the vision; for that which illumines the Soul is that which it is to see just as it is by the sun’s own light that we see the sun.

But how is this to be accomplished?

Cut away everything.

FOURTH TRACTATE
How the Secondaries rise from The First: and on The One

1.

Anything existing after The First must necessarily arise from that First, whether immediately or as tracing back to it through intervenients; there must be an order of secondaries and tertiaries, in which any second is to be referred to The First, any third to the second.

Standing before all things, there must exist a Simplex, differing from all its sequel, self-gathered not interblended with the forms that rise from it, and yet able in some mode of its own to be present to those others: it must be authentically a unity, not merely something elaborated into unity and so in reality no more than unity’s counterfeit; it will Edition: current; Page: [44] debar all telling and knowing except that it may be described as transcending Being—for if there were nothing outside all alliance and compromise, nothing authentically one, there would be no Source. Untouched by multiplicity, it will be wholly self-sufficing, an absolute First, whereas any not-first demands its earlier, and any non-simplex needs the simplicities within itself as the very foundations of its composite existence.

There can be only one such being: if there were another, the two (as indiscernible) would resolve into one, for we are not dealing with two corporal entities.

Our One-First is not a body: a body is not simplex and, as a thing of process cannot be a First, the Source cannot be a thing of generation: only a principle outside of body, and utterly untouched by multiplicity, could be The First.

Any unity, then, later than The First must be no longer simplex; it can be no more than a unity in diversity.

Whence must such a sequent arise?

It must be an offspring of The First; for suppose it the product of chance, that First ceases to be the Principle of All.

But how does it arise from The First?

If The First is perfect, utterly perfect above all, and is the beginning of all power, it must be the most powerful of all that is, and all other powers must act in some partial imitation of it. Now other beings, coming to perfection, are observed to generate; they are unable to remain self-closed; they produce: and this is true not merely of beings endowed with will, but of growing things where there is no will; even lifeless objects impart something of themselves, as far as they may; fire warms, snow chills, drugs have their own outgoing efficacy; all things to the utmost of their power imitate the Source in some operation tending to eternity and to service.

How then could the most perfect remain self-set—the First Good, the Power towards all, how could it grudge or be powerless to give of itself, and how at that would it still be the Source?

If things other than itself are to exist, things dependent upon it for Edition: current; Page: [45] their reality, it must produce since there is no other source. And further this engendering principle must be the very highest in worth; and its immediate offspring, its secondary, must be the best of all that follows.

2.

If the Intellectual-Principle were the engendering Source, then the engendered secondary, while less perfect than the Intellectual-Principle, would be close to it and similar to it: but since the engendering Source is above the Intellectual-Principle, the secondary can only be that principle.

But why is the Intellectual-Principle not the generating source?

Because (it is not a self-sufficing simplex): the Act of the Intellectual-Principle is intellection, which means that, seeing the intellectual object towards which it has turned, it is consummated, so to speak, by that object, being in itself indeterminate like sight (a vague readiness for any and every vision) and determined by the intellectual object. This is why it has been said that “out of the indeterminate dyad and The One arise the Ideas and the numbers”: for the dyad is the Intellectual-Principle.

Thus it is not a simplex; it is manifold; it exhibits a certain composite quality—within the Intellectual or divine order, of course—as the principle that sees the manifold. It is, further, itself simultaneously object and agent of intellection and is on that count also a duality: and it possesses besides another object of intellection in the Order following upon itself.

But how can the Intellectual-Principle be a product of the Intellectual Object?

In this way: the intellectual object is self-gathered (self-compact) and is not deficient as the seeing and knowing principle must be—deficient, I mean, as needing an object—it is therefore no unconscious thing: all its content and accompaniment are its possession; it is self-distinguishing throughout; it is the seat of life as of all things; it is, itself, that self-intellection which takes place in eternal repose, that is to say, in a mode other than that of the Intellectual-Principle.

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But if something comes to being within an entity which in no way looks outside itself—and especially within a being which is the sum of being—that entity must be the source of the new thing: stable in its own identity, it produces; but the product is that of an unchanged being: the producer is unchangeably the intellectual object, the product is produced as the Intellectual Act, an Act taking intellection of its source—the only object that exists for it—and so becoming Intellectual-Principle, that is to say, becoming another intellectual being, resembling its source, a reproduction and image of that.

But how from amid perfect rest can an Act arise?

There is in everything the Act of the Essence and the Act going out from the Essence: the first Act is the thing itself in its realised identity, the second Act is an inevitably following outgo from the first, an emanation distinct from the thing itself.

Thus even in fire there is the warmth comported by its essential nature and there is the warmth going instantaneously outward from that characterising heat by the fact that the fire, remaining unchangeably fire, utters the Act native to its essential reality.

So it is in the divine also: or rather we have there the earlier form of the double act: the divine remains in its own unchanging being, but from its perfection and from the Act included in its nature there emanates the secondary or issuing Act which—as the output of a mighty power, the mightiest there is—attains to Real Being as second to that which stands above all Being. That transcendent was the potentiality of the All; this secondary is the All made actual.

And if this is all things, that must be above and outside of all, and, so, must transcend real being. And again, if that secondary is all things, and if above its multiplicity there is a unity not ranking among those things, once more this unity transcends Real Being and therefore transcends the Intellectual-Principle as well. There is thus something transcending Intellectual-Principle, for we must remember that real being is no corpse, the negation of life and of intellection, but is in fact identical with the Intellectual-Principle. The Intellectual-Principle is not something taking cognisance of things as sensation deals with sense objects Edition: current; Page: [47] existing independently of sense: on the contrary, it actually is the things it knows: the ideas constituting them it has not borrowed: whence could it have taken them? No: it exists here together with the things of the universe, identical with them, making a unity with them; and the collective knowledge (in the divine mind) of the immaterial is the universe of things.

FIFTH TRACTATE
That the Intellectual Beings are not outside the Intellectual-Principle and on The Nature of The Good

1.

The Intellectual Principle, the veritably and essentially intellective, can this be conceived as ever falling into error, ever failing to think reality?

Assuredly no: it would no longer be intelligent and therefore no longer Intellectual-Principle: it must know unceasingly and never forget; and its knowledge can be no guess-work, no hesitating assent, no acceptance of an alien report. Nor can it call on demonstration or, if we are told it may at times act by this method, at least there must be something patent to it in virtue of its own nature. In actual fact reason tells us that all its knowledge is thus inherent to it, for there is no means by which to distinguish between the spontaneous knowledge and the other. But, in any case, some knowledge, it is conceded, is inherent to it. Whence are we to understand the certainty of this knowledge to come to it or how do its objects carry the conviction of their reality?

Consider sense-knowledge: its objects seem most patently certified, yet the doubt returns whether the apparent reality may not lie in the states of the percipient rather than in the material before him; the decision demands intelligence or reasoning. Besides, even granting that what the senses grasp is really contained in the objects, none the less what is thus known by the senses is an image: sense can never grasp the thing itself; this remains for ever outside.

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Now, if the Intellectual-Principle in its act—that is in knowing the intellectual—is to know these its objects as alien, we have to explain how it makes contact with them: obviously it might never come upon them, and so might never know them; or it might know them only upon the meeting: its knowing, at that, would not be an enduring condition. If we are told that the Intellectual-Principle and the Intellectual Objects are linked in a standing unity, we demand the description of this unity.

Next, the intellections would be impressions, that is to say not native act but violence from without: now how is such impressing possible and what shape could the impressions bear?

Intellection, again, becomes at this a mere handling of the external, exactly like sense-perception. What then distinguishes it unless that it deals with objects of less extension? And what certitude can it have that its knowledge is true? Or what enables it to pronounce that the object is good, beautiful, or just, when each of these ideas is to stand apart from itself? The very principles of judgement, by which it must be guided, would be (as Ideas) excluded: with objects and canons alike outside it, so is truth.

Again; either the objects of the Intellectual-Principle are senseless and devoid of life and intellect or they are in possession of Intellect.

Now, if they are in possession of Intellect, that realm is a union of both, and is Truth. This combined Intellectual realm will be the Primal Intellect: we have only then to examine how this reality, conjoint of Intellectual-Principle and its object, is to be understood, whether as combining self-united identity with yet duality and difference, or what other relation holds between them.

If on the contrary the objects of Intellectual-Principle are without intelligence and life, what are they? They cannot be premises, axioms or predicates: as predicates they would not have real existence; they would be affirmations linking separate entities, as when we affirm that justice is good though justice and good are distinct realities.

If we are told that they are self-standing entities—the distinct beings Justice and Good—then (supposing them to be outside) the Intellectual Realm will not be a unity nor be included in any unity: all Edition: current; Page: [49] is sundered individuality. Where, then, are they and what spatial distinction keeps them apart? How does the Intellectual-Principle come to meet with them as it travels round; what keeps each true to its character; what gives them enduring identity; what conceivable shape or character can they have? They are being presented to us as some collection of figures, in gold or some other material substance, the work of some unknown sculptor or graver: but at once the Intellectual-Principle which contemplates them becomes sense-perception; and there still remains the question how one of them comes to be Justice and another something else.

But the great argument is that if we are to allow that these objects of Intellection are in the strict sense outside the Intellectual-Principle which therefore must see them as external, then inevitably it cannot possess the truth of them.

In all it looks upon, it sees falsely; for those objects must be the authentic things; yet it looks upon them without containing them and in such knowledge holds only their images; that is to say, not containing the authentic, adopting phantasms of the true, it holds the false; it never possesses reality. If it knows that it possesses the false, it must confess itself excluded from the truth; if it fails of this knowledge also, imagining itself to possess the truth which has eluded it, then the doubled falsity puts it the deeper into error.

It is thus, I suppose, that in sense-perception we have belief instead of truth; belief is our lief; we satisfy ourselves with something very different from the original which is the occasion of perception.

In fine, there would be on the hypothesis no truth in the Intellectual-Principle. But such an Intellectual-Principle would not be truth, nor truly an Intellectual-Principle. There would be no Intellectual-Principle at all (no Divine Mind): yet elsewhere truth cannot be.

2.

Thus we may not look for the Intellectual objects (the Ideas) outside of the Intellectual-Principle, treating them as impressions of reality upon it: we cannot strip it of truth and so make its objects unknowable and Edition: current; Page: [50] non-existent and in the end annul the Intellectual-Principle itself. We must provide for knowledge and for truth; we must secure reality; being must become knowable essentially and not merely in that knowledge of quality which could give us a mere image or vestige of the reality in lieu of possession, intimate association, absorption.

The only way to this is to leave nothing outside of the veritable Intellectual-Principle which thus has knowledge in the true knowing (that of identification with the object), cannot forget, need not go wandering in search. At once truth is there, this is the seat of the authentic Existents, it becomes living and intellective: these are the essentials of that most lofty Principle; and, failing them, where is its worth, its grandeur?

Only thus (by this inherence of the Ideas) is it dispensed from demonstration and from acts of faith in the truth of its knowledge: it is its entire self, self-perspicuous: it knows a prior by recognising its own source; it knows a sequent to that prior by its self-identity; of the reality of this sequent, of the fact that it is present and has authentic existence, no outer entity can bring it surer conviction.

Thus veritable truth is not accordance with an external; it is self-accordance; it affirms and is nothing other than itself and is nothing other; it is at once existence and self-affirmation. What external, then, can call it to the question and from what source of truth could the refutation be brought? Any counter affirmation (of truth) must fall into identity with the truth which first uttered itself; brought forward as new it has to appear before the Principle which made the earlier statement and to show itself identical with that: for there is no finding anything truer than the true.

3.

Thus we have here one identical Principle, the Intellect, which is the universe of authentic beings, the Truth: as such it is a great god or, better, not a god among gods but the Godhead entire. It is a god, a secondary god manifesting before there is any vision of that other, the Supreme which rests over all, enthroned in transcendence upon that splendid pediment, the Nature following close upon it.

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The Supreme in its progress could never be borne forward upon some soulless vehicle nor even directly upon the soul: it will be heralded by some ineffable beauty: before the great King in his progress there comes first the minor train, then rank by rank the greater and more exalted, closer to the King the kinglier; next his own honoured company until, last among all these grandeurs, suddenly appears the Supreme Monarch himself, and all—unless indeed for those who have contented themselves with the spectacle before his coming and gone away—prostrate themselves and hail him.

In that royal progress the King is of another order from those that go before him, but the King in the Supreme is no ruler over externs; he holds that most just of governances, rooted in nature, the veritable kingship, for he is King of Truth, holding sway by all reason over a dense offspring his own, a host that shares his divinity, King over a king and over kings and even more justly called father of Gods.

[Interpolation:—Zeus (Universal Soul) is in this a symbol of him, Zeus who is not content with the contemplation of his father (Kronos, divine Intellect) but looks to that father’s father (to Ouranos, the Transcendent) as what may be called the divine energy working to the establishment of real being.]

4.

We have said that all must be brought back to a unity: this must be an authentic unity, not belonging to the order in which multiplicity is unified by participation in what is truly a One; we need a unity independent of participation, not a combination in which multiplicity holds an equal place: we have exhibited, also, the Intellectual Realm and the Intellectual-Principle as more closely a unity than the rest of things, so that there is nothing closer to The One. Yet even this is not The purely One.

This purely One, essentially a unity untouched by the multiple, this we now desire to penetrate if in any way we may.

Only by a leap can we reach to this One which is to be pure of all else, halting sharp in fear of slipping ever so little aside and impinging on Edition: current; Page: [52] the dual: for if we fail of the centre, we are in a duality which does not even include The authentic One but belongs, on both sides, to the later order. The One does not bear to be numbered in with anything else, with a one or a two or any such quantity; it refuses to take number because it is measure and not the measured; it is no peer of other entities to be found among them; for thus, it and they alike would be included in some container and this would be its prior, the prior it cannot have. Not even essential (ideal or abstract) number can belong to The One and certainly not the still later number applying to quantities; for essential number first appears as providing duration to the divine Intellection, while quantitative number is that (still later and lower) which furnishes the Quantity found in conjunction with other things or which provides for Quantity independent of things, if this is to be thought of as number at all. The Principle which in objects having quantitative number looks to the unity from which they spring is a copy (or lower phase) of the Principle which in the earlier order of number (in essential or ideal number) looks to the veritable One; and it attains its existence without in the least degree dissipating or shattering that prior unity: the dyad has come into being, but the precedent monad still stands; and this monad is quite distinct within the dyad from either of the two constituent unities, since there is nothing to make it one rather than the other: being neither, but simply that thing apart, it is present without being inherent.

But how are the two unities distinct and how is the dyad a unity, and is this unity the same as the unity by which each of the constituents is one thing?

Our answer must be that the unity is that of a participation in the primal unity with the participants remaining distinct from that in which they partake; the dyad, in so far as it is one thing, has this participation, but in a certain degree only; the unity of an army is not that of a single building; the dyad, as a thing of extension, is not strictly a unit either quantitatively or in manner of being.

Are we then to take it that the monads in the pentad and decad differ while the unity in the pentad is the same as that in the decad?

Yes, in the sense in which, big and little, ship is one with ship, army Edition: current; Page: [53] with army, city with city; otherwise, no. But certain difficulties in this matter will be dealt with later.

5.

We return to our statement that The First remains intact even when other entities spring from it.

In the case of numbers the unit remains intact while something else produces, and thus number arises in dependence on the unit: much more then does the unit, The One, remain intact in the principle which is before all beings; especially since the entities produced in its likeness, while it thus remains intact, owe their existence to no other, but to its own all-sufficient power.

And just as there is, primarily or secondarily, some form or idea from the monad in each of the successive numbers—the later still participating, though unequally, in the unit—so the series of Beings following upon The First bear, each, some form or idea derived from that source. In Number the participation establishes Quantity; in the realm of Being, the trace of The One establishes reality: existence is a trace of The One—our word for entity may probably be connected with that for unity.

What we know as Being, the first sequent upon The One, advanced a little outward, so to speak, then chose to go no further, turned inward again and comes to rest and is now the reality and hearth (ousia and hestia) of the universe. Pressing (with the rough breathing) on the word for Being (on) we have the word hen (one), an indication that in our very form of speech we tell, as far as may be, that Being (the weaker) is that which proceeds from (the stronger), The One. Thus both the thing that comes to be and Being itself are carriers of a copy, since they are outflows from the power of The primal One: this power sees and in its emotion tries to represent what it sees and breaks into speech “On; einai; ousia, hestia” (Existent: Existence: Essence: Hestia or Hearth), sounds which labour to express the essential nature of the universe produced by the travail of the utterer and so to represent, as far as sounds may, the origin of reality.

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6.

All this, however, we may leave to individual judgement: to proceed:—

This produced reality is an Ideal form—for certainly nothing springing from the Supreme can be less—and it is not a particular form but the form of all, beside which there is no other; it follows that The First must be without form, and, if without form, then it is no Being; Being must have some definition and therefore be limited; but the First cannot be thought of as having definition and limit, for thus it would be not the Source but the particular item indicated by the definition assigned to it. If all things belong to the produced, which of them can be thought of as the Supreme? Not included among them, this can be described only as transcending them: but they are Being and the Beings; it therefore transcends Being.

Note that the phrase “transcending Being” assigns no character, makes no assertion, allots no name, carries only the denial of particular being; and in this there is no attempt to circumscribe it: to seek to throw a line about that illimitable Nature would be folly, and anyone thinking to do so cuts himself off from any slightest and most momentary approach to its least vestige.

As one wishing to contemplate the Intellectual Nature will lay aside all the representations of sense and so may see what transcends the sense-realm, in the same way one wishing to contemplate what transcends the Intellectual attains by putting away all that is of the intellect, taught by the intellect, no doubt, that the Transcendent exists but never seeking to define it.

Its definition, in fact, could be only “the indefinable”: what is not a thing is not some definite thing. We are in agony for a true expression; we are talking of the untellable; we name, only to indicate for our own use as best we may. And this name, The One, contains really no more than the negation of plurality: under the same pressure the Pythagoreans found their indication in the symbol “Apollo” (α=not; pollon=of many) with its repudiation of the multiple. If we are led to think positively of The One, name and thing, there would be more truth in silence: the Edition: current; Page: [55] designation, a mere aid to enquiry, was never intended for more than a preliminary affirmation of absolute simplicity to be followed by the rejection of even that statement: it was the best that offered, but remains inadequate to express the Nature indicated. For this is a principle not to be conveyed by any sound; it cannot be known on any hearing but, if at all, by vision; and to hope in that vision to see a form is to fail of even that.

7.

Consider the act of ocular vision:—

There are two elements here; there is the form perceptible to the sense and there is the medium by which the eye sees that form. This medium is itself perceptible to the eye, distinct from the form to be seen, but the cause of the seeing; it is perceived at the one stroke in that form and on it and hence is not distinguished from it, the eye being held entirely by the illuminated object. When on the contrary this medium presents itself alone it is seen directly—though even then actual sight demands some solid base; there must be something besides the medium which unless embracing some object eludes perception; thus the light inherent to the sun would not be perceived but for the solidity of the mass. If it is objected that the sun is light entire, this would only be a proof of our assertion: no other visible form will contain light which must, then, have no other property than that of visibility, and in fact all other visible objects are something more than light alone.

So it is with the act of vision in the Intellectual Principle.

This vision sees, by another light, the objects illuminated by the First Principle: setting itself among them, it sees veritably; declining towards the lower Nature, that upon which the light from above rests, it has less of that vision. Passing over the visible and looking to the medium by which it sees, then it holds the Light and the source of Light.

But since the Intellectual-Principle is not to see this light as something external we return to our analogy; the eye is not wholly dependent upon an outside and alien light; there is an earlier light within itself, a more brilliant, which it sees sometimes in a momentary flash. At night Edition: current; Page: [56] in the darkness a gleam leaps from within the eye: or again we make no effort to see anything; the eyelids close; yet a light flashes before us; or we rub the eye and it sees the light it contains. This is sight without the act, but it is the truest seeing, for it sees light whereas its other objects were the lit not the light.

It is certainly thus that the Intellectual-Principle, hiding itself from all the outer, withdrawing to the inmost, seeing nothing, must have its vision—not of some other light in some other thing but of the light within itself, unmingled, pure, suddenly gleaming before it;

8.

so that we are left wondering whence it came, from within or without; and when it has gone, we say, “It was here. Yet no; it was beyond!” But we ought not to question whence; there is no whence, no coming or going in place; now it is seen and now not seen. We must not run after it, but fit ourselves for the vision and then wait tranquilly for its appearance, as the eye waits on the rising of the sun, which in its own time appears above the horizon—out of the ocean, as the poets say—and gives itself to our sight.

This Principle, of which the sun is an image, where has it its dawning, what horizon does it surmount to appear?

It stands immediately above the contemplating Intellect which has held itself at rest towards the vision, looking to nothing else than the good and beautiful, setting its entire being to that in a perfect surrender, and now tranquilly filled with power and taking a new beauty to itself, gleaming in the light of that presence.

This advent, still, is not by expectation: it is a coming without approach; the vision is not of something that must enter but of something present before all else, before the Intellect itself made any movement. Yet it is the Intellect that must move, to come and to go—going because it has not known where it should stay and where that presence stays, the nowhere contained.

And if the Intellect, too, could hold itself in that nowhere—not that it is ever in place; it too is uncontained, utterly unplaced—it would Edition: current; Page: [57] remain for ever in the vision of its prior, or, indeed, not in vision but in identity, all duality annulled. But it is Intellect (having a sphere of its own) and when it is to see it must see by that in it which is not Intellect (by its divinest power).

No doubt it is wonderful that The First should thus be present without any coming, and that, while it is nowhere, nowhere is it not: but wonderful though this be in itself, the contrary would be more wonderful to those who know. Of course neither this contrary nor the wonder at it can be entertained. But we must explain:—

9.

Everything brought into being under some principle not itself is contained either within its maker or, if there is any intermediate, within that: having a prior essential to its being, it needs that prior always, otherwise it would not be contained at all. It is the order of nature:—The last in the immediately preceding lasts, things of the order of the Firsts within their prior-firsts, and so thing within thing up to the very pinnacle of source.

That Source, having no prior, cannot be contained: uncontained by any of those other forms of being, each held within the series of priors, it is orbed round all, but so as not to be pointed off to hold them part for part; it possesses but is not possessed. Holding all—though itself nowhere held—it is omnipresent, for where its presence failed something would elude its hold. At the same time, in the sense that it is nowhere held it is not present: thus it is both present and not present; not present as not being circumscribed by anything; yet, as being utterly unattached, not inhibited from presence at any point. That inhibition would mean that the First was determined by some other being; the later series, then, would be without part in the Supreme; God has His limit and is no longer self-governed but mastered by inferiors.

While the contained must be where its container is, what is uncontained by place is not debarred from any: for, imagine a place where it is not and evidently some other place retains it; at once it is contained and there is an end of its placelessness.

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But if the “nowhere” is to stand and the ascription of a “where,” implying station in the extern, is to fall, then nothing can be left void; and at once—nothing void, yet no point containing—God is sovranly present through all. We cannot think of something of God here and something else there, nor of all God gathered at some one spot: there is an instantaneous presence everywhere, nothing containing and nothing left void, everything therefore fully held by the divine.

Consider our universe. There is none before it and therefore it is not, itself, in a universe or in any place—what place was there before the universe came to be?—its linked members form and occupy the whole. But Soul is not in the universe, on the contrary the universe is in the Soul; bodily substance is not a place to the Soul; Soul is contained in Intellectual-Principle and is the container of body. The Intellectual-Principle in turn is contained in something else; but that prior principle has nothing in which to be: the First is therefore in nothing, and, therefore, nowhere. But all the rest must be somewhere; and where but in the First?

This can mean only that the First is neither remote from things nor directly within them; there is nothing containing it; it contains all. It is The Good to the universe if only in this way, that towards it all things have their being, all dependent upon it, each in its mode, so that thing rises above thing in goodness according to its fuller possession of authentic being.

10.

Still, do not, I urge you, look for The Good through any of these other things; if you do, you will see not itself but its trace: you must form the idea of that which is to be grasped cleanly standing to itself not in any combination, the unheld in which all have hold: for no other is such, yet one such there must be.

Now it is clear that we cannot possess ourselves of the power of this principle in its concentrated fulness: so to do one must be identical with it: but some partial attainment is within our reach.

You who make the venture will throw forward all your being but Edition: current; Page: [59] you will never tell it entire—for that, you must yourself be the divine Intellect in Act—and at your utmost success it will still pass from you or, rather, you from it. In ordinary vision you may think to see the object entire: in this intellective act, all, less or more, that you can take to mind you may set down as The Good.

It is The Good since, being a power (being effective outwardly), it is the cause of the intelligent and intellective life as of life and intellect: for these grow from it as from the source of essence and of existence, the Source as being One (where all else has duality), simplex and first because before it was nothing. All derives from this: it is the origin of the primal movement which it does not possess and of the repose which is but its absence of need; for neither rest nor movement can belong to that which has no place in which either could occur; centre, object, ground, all are alike unknown to it, for it is before all. Yet its Being is not limited; what is there to set bounds to it? Nor, on the other hand, is it infinite in the sense of magnitude; what place can there be to which it must extend, or why should there be movement where there is no lacking? All its infinitude resides in its power: it does not change and will not fail; and in it all that is unfailing finds duration.

11.

It is infinite also by right of being a pure unity with nothing towards which to direct any partial content. Absolutely One, it has never known measure and stands outside of number, and so is under no limit either in regard to any extern or within itself; for any such determination would bring something of the dual into it. And having no constituent parts it accepts no pattern, forms no shape.

Reason recognising it as such a nature, you may not hope to see it with mortal eyes, nor in any way that would be imagined by those who make sense the test of reality and so annul the supremely real. For what passes for the most truly existent is most truly non-existent—the thing of extension least real of all—while this unseen First is the source and principle of Being and sovran over Reality.

You must turn appearances about or you will be left void of God. Edition: current; Page: [60] You will be like those at the festivals who in their gluttony cram themselves with things which none going to the gods may touch; they hold these goods to be more real than the vision of the God who is to be honoured and they go away having had no share in the sanctities of the shrine.

In these celebrations of which we speak, the unseen god leaves those in doubt of his existence who think nothing patent but what may be known to the flesh: it happens as if a man slept a life through and took the dream world in perfect trust; wake him, and he would refuse belief to the report of his open eyes and settle down to sleep again.

12.

Knowing demands the organ fitted to the object; eyes for one kind, ears for another: similarly some things, we must believe, are to be known by the Intellectual-Principle in us. We must not confuse intellection with hearing or seeing; this would be trying to look with the ears or denying sound because it is not seen. Certain people, we must keep in mind, have forgotten that to which from the beginning onwards, their longing and effort are pointed: for all that exists desires and aspires towards the Supreme by a compulsion of nature, as if all had received the oracle that without it they cannot be.

The perception of Beauty and the awe and the stirring of passion towards it are for those already in some degree knowing and awakened: but the Good, as possessed long since and setting up a natural tendency, is inherently present to even those asleep and brings them no wonder when some day they see it, since it is no occasional reminiscence but is always with them though in their drowse they are not aware of it: the love of Beauty on the contrary sets up pain when it appears, for those that have seen it must pursue. This love of Beauty then is later than the love of Good and comes with a more sophisticated understanding; hence we know that Beauty is a secondary: the more primal appetition, not patent to sense, our movement towards our good, gives witness that The Good is the earlier, the prior.

Again; all that have possessed themselves of The Good feel it Edition: current; Page: [61] sufficient; they have attained the end: but Beauty not all have known and those that have judge it to exist for itself and not for them, as in the charm of this world the beauty belongs only to its possessor.

Then, too, it is thought enough to appear loveable whether one is so or not: but no one wants his Good in semblance only. All are seeking The First as something ranking before aught else, but they struggle venomously for beauty as something secondary like themselves: thus some minor personage may perhaps challenge equal honour with the King’s right-hand man on pretext of similar dependence, forgetting that, while both owe their standing to the monarch, the other holds the higher rank.

The source of the error is that while both The Good and The Beautiful participate in the common source, The One precedes both; and that, in the Supreme also, The Good has no need of The Beautiful, while the Beautiful does need The Good.

The Good is gentle and friendly and tender, and we have it present when we but will. Beauty is all violence and stupefaction; its pleasure is spoiled with pain, and it even draws the thoughtless away from The Good as some attraction will lure the child from the father’s side: these things tell of youth. The Good is the older—not in time but by degree of reality—and it has the higher and earlier power, all power in fact, for the sequent holds only a power subordinate and delegated of which the prior remains sovereign.

Not that God has any need of His derivatives: He ignores all that produced realm, never necessary to Him, and remains identically what He was before He brought it into being. So too, had the secondary never existed, He would have been unconcerned, exactly as He would not have grudged existence to any other universe that might spring into being from Him, were any such possible; of course no other such could be since there is nothing that has not existence once the All exists.

But God never was the All; that would make Him dependent upon the universe: transcending all, He was able at once to make all things and to leave them to their own being, He above.

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13.

The Supreme, as the Absolute Good and not merely a good being or thing, can contain nothing, since there is nothing that could be its good.

Anything it could contain must be either good to it or not good; but in the supremely and primally Good there can be nothing not good; nor can the Absolute Good be a container to the Good: containing, then, neither the good nor the not good it contains nothing and, containing nothing, it is alone: it is void of all but itself.

If the rest of being either is good—without being the absolute good—or is not good while on the other hand the Supreme contains neither what is good nor what is not good, then, containing nothing, it is The Good by that very absence of content.

Thus we rob it of its very being as The Absolute Good if we ascribe anything to it, existence or intellect or goodness. The only way is to make every denial and no assertion, to feign no quality or content there but to permit only the “It is” in which we pretend to no affirmation of non-existent attribute: there is an ignorant praise which, missing the true description, drags in qualities beneath the real worth and so abases; philosophy must guard against attaching to the Supreme what is later and lower: moving above all that order, it is the cause and source of all these, and is none of them.

For, once more, the nature of the Good is not such as to make it all things or a thing among all: that would range it under the same classification with them all and it would differ, thus, only by its individual quality, some speciality, some addition. At once it becomes not a unity but a duality; there is one common element not good and another element that is good; but a combination so made up of good and not good cannot be the purely good, the primarily good; the primarily good must be that principle in which the better element has more effectively participated and so attained its goodness. Any good thing has become so by communion; but that in which it has communion is not a thing among the things of the all; therefore the Good is not a thing of the All.

Since there is this Good in any good thing—the specific difference by which the combination becomes good—it must enter from elsewhere Edition: current; Page: [63] than the world of things: that source must be a Good absolute and isolated.

Thus is revealed to us the Primarily existent, the Good, above all that has being, good unalloyed, containing nothing in itself, utterly unmingling, all-transcending, cause of all.

Certainly neither Being nor Beauty springs from evil or from the neutral; the maker, as the more consummate, must surpass the made.

SIXTH TRACTATE
That the Principle transcending Being has no Intellectual Act. What being has intellection primally and what being has it secondarily

1.

There is a principle having intellection of the external and another having self-intellection and thus further removed from duality.

Even the first mentioned is not without an effort towards the pure unity of which it is not so capable: it does actually contain its object, though as something other than itself.

In the self-intellective there is not even this distinction of being: self-conversing, the subject is its own object, and thus takes the double form while remaining essentially a unity. The intellection is the more profound for this internal possession of the object.

This principle is the primally intellective since there can be no intellection without duality in unity. If there is no unity, perceiving principle and perceived object will be different, and the intellection, therefore, not primal: a principle concerned with something external cannot be the primally intellective since it does not possess the object as integrally its own or as itself; if it does possess the object as itself—the condition of true intellection—the two are one. Thus (in order to primal intellection) there must be a unity in duality, while a pure unity with no counterbalancing duality can have no object for its Edition: current; Page: [64] intellection and ceases to be intellective: in other words the primally intellective must be at once simplex and something else.

But the surest way of realising that its nature demands this combination of unity and duality is to proceed upwards from the Soul where the distinction can be made more clearly since the duality is exhibited more obviously.

We can imagine the Soul as a double light, a lesser corresponding to the soul proper, a purer representing its intellective phase; if now we suppose this intellective light equal to the light which is to be its object, we no longer distinguish between them; the two are recognised as one: we know, indeed, that there are two, but as we see them they have become one: this gives us the relation between the intellective subject and the object of intellection (in the duality and unity required by that primal intellection): in our thought we have made the two into one; but on the other hand the one thing has become two, making itself into a duality at the moment of intellection, or to be more exact, being dual by the fact of intellection and single by the fact that its intellectual object is itself.

2.

Thus there is the primally intellective and there is that in which intellection has taken another mode; but this indicates that what transcends the primarily intellective has no intellection; for, to have intellection, it must become an Intellectual-Principle, and, if it is to become that, it must possess an intellectual object and, as primarily intellective, it must possess that intellectual object as something within itself.

But it is not inevitable that every intellectual object should both possess the intellective principle in itself and exercise intellection: at that, it would be not merely object but subject as well and, besides, being thus dual, could not be primal: further, the intellectual principle that is to possess the intellectual object could not cohere unless there existed an essence purely intellectual, something which, while standing as intellectual object to the intellectual principle, is in its own essence Edition: current; Page: [65] neither an agent nor an object of intellection. The intellectual object points to something beyond itself (to a percipient); and the intellectual agent has its intellection in vain unless by seizing and holding an object—since, failing that, it can have no intellection but is consummated only when it possesses itself of its natural term.

There must have been something standing consummate independently of any intellectual act, something perfect in its own essence: thus that in which this completion is inherent must exist before intellection; in other words it has no need of intellection, having been always self-sufficing: this, then, will have no intellectual act.

Thus we arrive at:—a principle having no intellection, a principle having intellection primarily, a principle having it secondarily.

It may be added that, supposing The First to be intellective, it thereby possesses something (some object, some attribute): at once it ceases to be a first; it is a secondary, and not even a unity; it is a many; it is all of which it takes intellectual possession; even though its intellection fell solely upon its own content, it must still be a manifold.

3.

We may be told that nothing prevents an identity being thus multiple. But there must be a unity underlying the aggregate: a manifold is impossible without a unity for its source or ground, or at least failing some unity related or unrelated. This unity must be numbered as first before all and can be apprehended only as solitary and self-existent.

When we recognise it, resident among the mass of things, our business is to see it for what it is—present to the items but essentially distinguished from them—and, while not denying it there, to seek this underly of all no longer as it appears in those other things but as it stands in its pure identity by itself. The identity resident in the rest of things is no doubt close to authentic identity but cannot be it; and if the identity of unity is to be displayed beyond itself it must also exist within itself alone.

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It may be suggested that its existence takes substantial form only by its being resident among outside things: but, at this, it is itself no longer simplex nor could any coherence of manifolds occur. On the one hand things could take substantial existence only if they were in their own virtue simplex. On the other hand, failing a simplex, the aggregate of multiples is itself impossible: for the simplex individual thing could not exist if there were no simplex unity independent of the individual, (a principle of identity) and, not existing, much less could it enter into composition with any other such: it becomes impossible then for the compound universe, the aggregate of all, to exist; it would be the coming together of things that are not, things not merely lacking an identity of their own but utterly non-existent.

Once there is any manifold, there must be a precedent unity: since any intellection implies multiplicity in the intellective subject, the non-multiple must be without intellection; that non-multiple will be the First: intellection and the Intellectual-Principle must be characteristic of beings coming later.

4.

Another consideration is that if The Good (and First) is simplex and without need, it can neither need the intellective act nor possess what it does not need: it will therefore not have intellection. (Interpolation or corruption:—It is without intellection because, also, it contains no duality.)

Again; an Intellectual-Principle is distinct from The Good and takes a certain goodness only by its intellection of The Good.

Yet again:—In any dual object there is the unity (the principle of identity) side by side with the rest of the thing; an associated member cannot be the unity of the two and there must be a self-standing unity (within the duality) before this unity of members can exist: by the same reasoning there must be also the supreme unity entering into no association whatever, something which is unity-simplex by its very being, utterly devoid of all that belongs to the thing capable of association.

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How could anything be present in anything else unless in virtue of a source existing independently of association? The simplex (or absolute) requires no derivation; but any manifold, or any dual, must be dependent.

We may use the figure of, first, light; then, following it, the sun; as a third, the orb of the moon taking its light from the sun: Soul carries the Intellectual-Principle as something imparted and lending the light which makes it essentially intellective; Intellectual-Principle carries the light as its own though it is not purely the light but is the being into whose very essence the light has been received; highest is That which, giving forth the light to its sequent, is no other than the pure light itself by whose power the Intellectual-Principle takes character.

How can this highest have need of any other? It is not to be identified with any of the things that enter into association; the self-standing is of a very different order.

5.

And again:—the multiple must be always seeking its identity, desiring self-accord and self-awareness: but what scope is there within what is an absolute unity in which to move towards its identity or at what term may it hope for self-knowing? It holds its identity in its very essence and is above consciousness and all intellective act. Intellection is not a primal either in the fact of being or in the value of being; it is secondary and derived: for there exists The Good; and this moves towards itself while its sequent is moved and by that movement has its characteristic vision. The intellective act may be defined as a movement towards The Good in some being that aspires towards it; the effort produces the fact; the two are coincident; to see is to have desired to see: hence again the Authentic Good has no need of intellection since itself and nothing else is its good.

The intellective act is a movement towards the unmoved Good: thus the self-intellection in all save the Absolute Good is the working of the imaged Good within them: the intellectual principle recognises the likeness, sees itself as a good to itself, an object of attraction: it Edition: current; Page: [68] grasps at that manifestation of The Good, and in holding that holds self-vision: if the state of goodness is constant, it remains constantly self-attractive and self-intellective. The self-intellection is not deliberate: it sees itself as an incident in its contemplation of The Good; for it sees itself in virtue of its Act; and in all that exists the Act is towards The Good.

6.

If this reasoning is valid, The Good has no scope whatever for intellection which demands something attractive from outside. The Good, then, is without Act. What Act indeed, could be vested in Activity’s self? No activity has yet again an activity; and whatever we may add to such Activities as depend from something else, at least we must leave the first Activity of them all, that from which all depend, as an uncontaminated identity, one to which no such addition can be made.

That primal Activity, then, is not an intellection, for there is nothing upon which it could exercise intellection since it is The First; besides, intellection itself does not exercise the intellective act; this belongs to some principle in which intellection is vested. There is, we repeat, duality in any thinking being; and the First is wholly above the dual.

But all this may be made more evident by a clearer recognition of the twofold principle at work wherever there is intellection:—

When we affirm the reality of the Real Beings and their individual identity of being and declare that these Real Beings exist in the Intellectual Realm, we do not mean merely that they remain unchangeably self-identical by their very essence as contrasted with the fluidity and instability of the sense-realm; the sense-realm itself may contain the enduring. No; we mean rather that these principles possess, as by their own virtue, the consummate fulness of being. The Essence described as the primally existent cannot be a shadow cast by Being, but must possess Being entire; and Being is entire when it holds the form and idea of intellection and of life. In a Being, then, the existence, Edition: current; Page: [69] the intellection, the life are present as an aggregate. When a thing is a Being, it is also an Intellectual-Principle, when it is an Intellectual-Principle it is a Being; intellection and Being are co-existents. Therefore intellection is a multiple not a unitary and that which (like the Good) does not belong to this order can have no Intellection. And if we turn to the partial and particular, there is the Intellectual form of man, and there is man, there is the Intellectual form of horse and there is horse, the Intellectual form of Justice, and Justice.

Thus all is dual: the unit is a duality and yet again the dual reverts to unity.

That, however, which stands outside all this category can be neither an individual unity nor an aggregate of all the duals or in any way a duality. How the duals rose from The One is treated elsewhere.

What stands above Being stands above intellection: it is no weakness in it not to know itself, since as pure unity it contains nothing which it needs to explore. But it need not even spend any knowing upon things outside itself: this which was always the Good of all gives them something greater and better than its knowledge of them in giving them in their own identity to cling, in whatever measure be possible, to a principle thus lofty.

SEVENTH TRACTATE
Is there an Ideal Archetype of Particular Beings?

1.

We have to examine the question whether there exists an ideal archetype of individuals, in other words whether I and every other human being go back to the Intellectual, every (living) thing having origin and principle There.

If Socrates, Socrates’ soul, is eternal then the Authentic Socrates—to adapt the term—must be There; that is to say, the individual soul has an existence in the Supreme as well as in this world. If there is no such permanent endurance—and what was Socrates may with change of Edition: current; Page: [70] time become another soul and be Pythagoras or someone else—then the individual Socrates has not that existence in the Divine.

But if the Soul of the individual contains the Reason-Principles of all that it traverses, once more all men have their (archetypic) existence There: and it is our doctrine that every soul contains all the Reason-Principles that exist in the Kosmos: since then the Kosmos contains the Reason-Principles not merely of man, but also of all individual living things, so must the Soul. Its content of Reason-Principles, then, must be limitless, unless there be a periodical renovation bounding the boundlessness by the return of a former series.

But if (in virtue of this periodic return) each archetype may be reproduced by numerous existents, what need is there that there be distinct Reason-Principles and archetypes for each existent in any one period? Might not one (archetypal) man suffice for all, and similarly a limited number of souls produce a limitless number of men?

No: one Reason-Principle cannot account for distinct and differing individuals: one human being does not suffice as the exemplar for many distinct each from the other not merely in material constituents but by innumerable variations of ideal type: this is no question of various pictures or images reproducing an original Socrates; the beings produced differ so greatly as to demand distinct Reason-Principles. The entire soul-period conveys with it all the requisite Reason-Principles and so too the same existents appear once more under their action.

There is no need to baulk at this limitlessness in the Intellectual; it is an infinitude having nothing to do with number or part; what we may think of it as its outgoing is no other than its characteristic Act.

2.

But individuals are brought into being by the union of the Reason-Principles of the parents male and female: this seems to do away with a definite Reason-Principle for each of the offspring: one of the parents—the male let us say—is the source; and the offspring is determined not by Reason-Principles differing from child to child but by one only, the father’s or that of the father’s father.

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No: a distinct Reason-Principle may be the determinant for the child since the parent contains all: they would become effective at different times.

And so of the differences among children of the same parents: it is a matter of varying dominance: either the offspring—whether it so appears or not—has been mainly determined by, now, the male, now, the female or, while each principle has given itself entire and lies there within, yet it effectively moulds one portion of the bodily substance rather than another.

And how (by the theory of a divine archetype of each individual) are the differences caused by place to be explained?

Is the differentiating element to be found in the varying resistance of the material of the body?

No: if this were so, all men with the exception of one only would be untrue to nature.

Difference everywhere is a good, and so there must be differing archetypes, though only to evil could we attribute any power in Matter to thwart nature by overmastering the perfect Reason-Principles, hidden but given, all.

Still, admitting the diversity of the Reason-Principles, why need there be as many as there are men born in each Period, once it is granted that different beings may take external manifestation under the presence of the same principles?

Under the presence of all; agreed: but with the dominance of the very same? That is still open to question.

May we not take it that there may be identical reproduction from one Period to another but not in the same Period?

3.

In the case of twin birth among human beings how can we make out the Reason-Principles to be different; and still more when we turn to the animals and especially those with litters?

Where the young are precisely alike, there is one Reason-Principle.

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But this would mean that after all there are not as many Reason Principles as separate beings?

As many as there are of differing beings, differing by something more than a mere failure in complete reproduction of their Idea.

And why may not this (sharing of archetype) occur also in beings untouched by differentiation, if indeed there be any such?

A craftsman even in constructing an object identical with a model must envisage that identity in a mental differentiation enabling him to make a second thing by bringing in some difference side by side with the identity: similarly in nature, where the new thing comes about not by reasoning but in sole virtue of Reason-Principles, that differentiation must be included in the archetypal idea, though it is not in our power to perceive the difference.

The consideration of Quantity brings the same result:

If production is undetermined in regard to Quantity, each thing has its distinct Reason-Principle: if there is a measured system the Quantity has been determined by the unrolling and unfolding of the Reason-Principles of all the existences.

Thus when the universe has reached its term, there will be a fresh beginning, since the entire Quantity which the Kosmos is to exhibit, every item that is to emerge in its course, all is laid up from the first in the Being that contains the Reason-Principles.

Are we, then, looking to the brute realm, to hold that there are as many Reason-Principles as distinct creatures born in a litter?

Why not? There is nothing alarming about such limitlessness in generative forces and in Reason-Principles, when Soul is there to sustain all.

As in Soul (principle of Life) so in Divine Mind (principle of Idea) there is this infinitude of recurring generative powers; the Beings there are unfailing.

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EIGHTH TRACTATE
On the Intellectual Beauty

1.

It is a principle with us that one who has attained to the vision of the Intellectual Beauty and grasped the beauty of the Authentic Intellect will be able also to come to understand the Father and Transcendent of that Divine Being. It concerns us, then, to try to see and say, for ourselves and as far as such matters may be told, how the Beauty of the divine Intellect and of the Intellectual Kosmos may be revealed to contemplation.

Let us go to the realm of magnitudes:—Suppose two blocks of stone lying side by side: one is unpatterned, quite untouched by art; the other has been minutely wrought by the craftsman’s hands into some statue of god or man, a Grace or a Muse, or if a human being, not a portrait but a creation in which the sculptor’s art has concentrated all loveliness.

Now it must be seen that the stone thus brought under the artist’s hand to the beauty of form is beautiful not as stone—for so the crude block would be as pleasant—but in virtue of the form or idea introduced by the art. This form is not in the material; it is in the designer before ever it enters the stone; and the artificer holds it not by his equipment of eyes and hands but by his participation in his art. The beauty, therefore, exists in a far higher state in the art; for it does not come over integrally into the work; that original beauty is not transferred; what comes over is a derivative and a minor: and even that shows itself upon the statue not integrally and with entire realisation of intention but only in so far as it has subdued the resistance of the material.

Art, then, creating in the image of its own nature and content, and working by the Idea or Reason-Principle of the beautiful object it is to produce, must itself be beautiful in a far higher and purer degree since it is the seat and source of that beauty, indwelling in the art, which Edition: current; Page: [74] must naturally be more complete than any comeliness of the external. In the degree in which the beauty is diffused by entering into matter, it is so much the weaker than that concentrated in unity; everything that reaches outwards is the less for it, strength less strong, heat less hot, every power less potent, and so beauty less beautiful.

Then again every prime cause must be, within itself, more powerful than its effect can be: the musical does not derive from an unmusical source but from music; and so the art exhibited in the material work derives from an art yet higher.

Still the arts are not to be slighted on the ground that they create by imitation of natural objects; for, to begin with, these natural objects are themselves imitations; then, we must recognise that they give no bare reproduction of the thing seen but go back to the Ideas from which Nature itself derives, and, furthermore, that much of their work is all their own; they are holders of beauty and add where nature is lacking. Thus Pheidias wrought the Zeus upon no model among things of sense but by apprehending what form Zeus must take if he chose to become manifest to sight.

2.

But let us leave the arts and consider those works produced by Nature and admitted to be naturally beautiful which the creations of art are charged with imitating, all reasoning life and unreasoning things alike, but especially the consummate among them, where the moulder and maker has subdued the material and given the form he desired. Now what is the beauty here? It has nothing to do with the blood or the menstrual process: either there is also a colour and form apart from all this or there is nothing unless sheer ugliness or (at best) a bare recipient, as it were the mere Matter of beauty.

Whence shone forth the beauty of Helen, battle-sought; or of all those women like in loveliness to Aphrodite; or of Aphrodite herself; or of any human being that has been perfect in beauty; or of any of these gods manifest to sight, or unseen but carrying what would be beauty if we saw?

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In all these is it not the Idea, something of that realm but communicated to the produced from within the producer just as in works of art, we held, it is communicated from the arts to their creations? Now we can surely not believe that, while the made thing and the Idea thus impressed upon Matter are beautiful, yet the Idea not so alloyed but resting still with the creator—the Idea primal, immaterial, firmly a unity—is not Beauty.

If material extension were in itself the ground of beauty, then the creating principle, being without extension, could not be beautiful: but beauty cannot be made to depend upon magnitude since, whether in a large object or a small, the one Idea equally moves and forms the mind by its inherent power. A further indication is that as long as the object remains outside us we know nothing of it; it affects us by entry; but only as an Idea can it enter through the eyes which are not of scope to take an extended mass: we are, no doubt, simultaneously possessed of the magnitude which, however, we take in not as mass but by an elaboration upon the presented form.

Then again the principle producing the beauty must be, itself, ugly, neutral or beautiful: ugly, it could not produce the opposite; neutral, why should its product be the one rather than the other? The Nature, then, which creates things so lovely must be itself of a far earlier beauty; we, undisciplined in discernment of the inward, knowing nothing of it, run after the outer, never understanding that it is the inner which stirs us; we are in the case of one who sees his own reflection but not realising whence it comes goes in pursuit of it.

But that the thing we are pursuing is something different and that the beauty is not in the concrete object is manifest from the beauty there is in matters of study, in conduct and custom; briefly in soul or mind. And it is precisely here that the greater beauty lies, perceived whenever you look to the wisdom in a man and delight in it, not wasting attention on the face, which may be hideous, but passing all appearance by and catching only at the inner comeliness, the truly personal; if you are still unmoved and cannot acknowledge beauty under such conditions, then looking to your own inner being you will find no beauty Edition: current; Page: [76] to delight you and it will be futile in that state to seek the greater vision, for you will be questing it through the ugly and impure.

This is why such matters are not spoken of to everyone; you, if you are conscious of beauty within, remember.

3.

Thus there is in the Nature-Principle itself an Ideal archetype of the beauty that is found in material forms and, of that archetype again, the still more beautiful archetype in Soul, source of that in Nature. In the proficient soul this is brighter and of more advanced loveliness: adorning the soul and bringing to it a light from that greater light which is beauty primally, its immediate presence sets the soul reflecting upon the quality of this prior, the archetype which has no such entries, and is present nowhere but remains in itself alone, and thus is not even to be called a Reason-Principle but is the creative source of the very first Reason-Principle which is the Beauty to which Soul serves as Matter.

This prior, then, is the Intellectual-Principle, the veritable, abiding and not fluctuant since not taking intellectual quality from outside itself. By what image thus, can we represent it? We have nowhere to go but to what is less. Only from itself can we take an image of it; that is, there can be no representation of it, except in the sense that we represent gold by some portion of gold—purified, either actually or mentally, if it be impure—insisting at the same time that this is not the total thing gold, but merely the particular gold of a particular parcel. In the same way we learn in this matter from the purified Intellect in ourselves or, if you like, from the Gods and the glory of the Intellect in them.

For assuredly all the gods are august and beautiful in a beauty beyond our speech. And what makes them so? Intellect; and especially Intellect operating within them (the divine sun and stars) to visibility. It is not through the loveliness of their corporeal forms: even those that have body are not gods by that beauty; it is in virtue of Intellect that they, too, are gods, and as gods beautiful. They do not veer between wisdom and folly: in the immunity of Intellect unmoving Edition: current; Page: [77] and pure, they are wise always, all-knowing, taking cognisance not of the human but of their own being and of all that lies within the contemplation of Intellect. Those of them whose dwelling is in the heavens, are ever in this meditation—what task prevents them?—and from afar they look, too, into that further heaven by a lifting of the head. The Gods belonging to that higher Heaven itself, they whose station is upon it and in it, see and know in virtue of their omnipresence to it. For all There is heaven; earth is heaven, and sea heaven; and animal and plant and man; all is the heavenly content of that heaven: and the Gods in it, despising neither men nor anything else that is there where all is of the heavenly order, traverse all that country and all space in peace.

4.

To “live at ease” is There; and to these divine beings verity is mother and nurse, existence and sustenance; all that is not of process but of authentic being they see, and themselves in all: for all is transparent, nothing dark, nothing resistant; every being is lucid to every other, in breadth and depth; light runs through light. And each of them contains all within itself, and at the same time sees all in every other, so that everywhere there is all, and all is all and each all, and infinite the glory. Each of them is great; the small is great; the sun, There, is all the stars; and every star, again, is all the stars and sun. While some one manner of being is dominant in each, all are mirrored in every other.

Movement There is pure (as self-caused) for the moving principle is not a separate thing to complicate it as it speeds.

So, too, Repose is not troubled, for there is no admixture of the unstable; and the Beauty is all beauty since it is not merely resident (as an attribute or addition) in some beautiful object. Each There walks upon no alien soil; its place is its essential self; and, as each moves, so to speak, towards what is Above, it is attended by the very ground from which it starts: there is no distinguishing between the Being and the Place; all is Intellect, the Principle and the ground on which it Edition: current; Page: [78] stands, alike. Thus we might think that our visible sky (the ground or place of the stars), lit, as it is, produces the light which reaches us from it, though of course this is really produced by the stars (as it were, by the Principles of light alone not also by the ground as the analogy would require).

In our realm all is part rising from part and nothing can be more than partial; but There each being is an eternal product of a whole and is at once a whole and an individual manifesting as part but, to the keen vision There, known for the whole it is.

The myth of Lynceus seeing into the very deeps of the earth tells us of those eyes in the divine. No weariness overtakes this vision which yet brings no such satiety as would call for its ending; for there never was a void to be filled so that, with the fulness and the attainment of purpose, the sense of sufficiency be induced: nor is there any such incongruity within the divine that one Being there could be repulsive to another: and of course all There are unchangeable. This absence of satisfaction means only a satisfaction leading to no distaste for that which produces it; to see is to look the more, since for them to continue in the contemplation of an infinite self and of infinite objects is but to acquiesce in the bidding of their nature.

Life, pure, is never a burden; how then could there be weariness There where the living is most noble? That very life is wisdom, not a wisdom built up by reasonings but complete from the beginning, suffering no lack which could set it enquiring, a wisdom primal, unborrowed, not something added to the Being, but its very essence. No wisdom, thus, is greater; this is the authentic knowing, assessor to the divine Intellect as projected into manifestation simultaneously with it; thus, in the symbolic saying, Justice is assessor to Zeus.

(Perfect wisdom) for all the Principles of this order, dwelling There, are as it were visible images projected from themselves, so that all becomes an object of contemplation to contemplators immeasurably blessed. The greatness and power of the wisdom There we may know from this, that it embraces all the real Beings, and has made all and all follow it, and yet that it is itself those beings, which sprang into being Edition: current; Page: [79] with it, so that all is one and the essence There is wisdom. If we have failed to understand, it is that we have thought of knowledge as a mass of theorems and an accumulation of propositions, though that is false even for our sciences of the sense-realm. But in case this should be questioned, we may leave our own sciences for the present, and deal with the knowing in the Supreme at which Plato glances where he speaks of “that knowledge which is not a stranger in something strange to it”—though in what sense, he leaves us to examine and declare, if we boast ourselves worthy of the discussion. This is probably our best starting-point.

5.

All that comes to be, work of nature or of craft, some wisdom has made: everywhere a wisdom presides at a making.

No doubt the wisdom of the artist may be the guide of the work; it is sufficient explanation of the wisdom exhibited in the arts; but the artist himself goes back, after all, to that wisdom in Nature which is embodied in himself; and this is not a wisdom built up of theorems but one totality, not a wisdom consisting of manifold detail co-ordinated into a unity but rather a unity working out into detail.

Now, if we could think of this as the primal wisdom, we need look no further, since, at that, we have discovered a principle which is neither a derivative nor a “stranger in something strange to it.” But if we are told that, while this Reason-Principle is in Nature, yet Nature itself is its source, we ask how Nature came to possess it; and, if Nature derived it from some other source, we ask what that other source may be; if, on the contrary, the principle is self-sprung, we need look no further: but if (as we assume) we are referred to the Intellectual-Principle we must make clear whether the Intellectual-Principle engendered the wisdom: if we learn that it did, we ask whence: if from itself, then inevitably, it is itself Wisdom.

The true Wisdom, then (found to be identical with the Intellectual-Principle) is Real Being; and Real Being is Wisdom; it is wisdom that gives value to Real Being; and Being is Real in virtue of its origin in Edition: current; Page: [80] wisdom. It follows that all forms of existence not possessing wisdom are, indeed, Beings in right of the wisdom which went to their forming, but, as not in themselves possessing it, are not Real Beings.

We cannot therefore think that the divine Beings of that sphere, or the other supremely blessed There, need look to our apparatus of science: all of that realm (the very Beings themselves), all is noble image, such images as we may conceive to lie within the soul of the wise—but There not as inscription but as authentic existence. The ancients had this in mind when they declared the Ideas to be Beings, Essentials.

6.

Similarly, as it seems to me, the wise of Egypt—whether in precise knowledge or by a prompting of nature—indicated the truth where, in their effort towards philosophical statement, they left aside the writing-forms that take in the detail of words and sentences—those characters that represent sounds and convey the propositions of reasoning—and drew pictures instead, engraving in the temple-inscriptions a separate image for every separate item: thus they exhibited the mode in which the Supreme goes forth.

For each manifestation of knowledge and wisdom is a distinct image, an object in itself, an immediate unity, not an aggregate of discursive reasoning and detailed willing. Later from this wisdom in unity there appears, in another form of being, an image, already less compact, which announces the original in an outward stage and seeks the causes by which things are such that the wonder rises how a generated world can be so excellent.

For, one who knows must declare his wonder that this Wisdom, while not itself containing the causes by which Being exists and takes such excellence, yet imparts them to the entities produced in Being’s realm. This excellence, whose necessity is scarcely or not at all manifest to search, exists, if we could but find it out, before all searching and reasoning.

What I say may be considered in one chief thing, and thence applied to all the particular entities:—

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7.

Consider the universe: we are agreed that its existence and its nature come to it from beyond itself; are we, now, to imagine that its maker first thought it out in detail—the earth, and its necessary situation in the middle; water and, again, its position as lying upon the earth; all the other elements and objects up to the sky in due place and order; living beings with their appropriate forms as we know them, their inner organs and their outer limbs—and that having thus appointed every item beforehand, he then set about the execution?

Such designing was not even possible; how could the plan for a universe come to one that had never looked outward? Nor could he work on material gathered from elsewhere as our craftsmen do, using hands and tools; feet and hands are of the later order.

One way, only, remains: all things must exist in something else; of that prior—since there is no obstacle, all being continuous within the realm of reality—there has suddenly appeared a sign, an image, whether given forth directly or through the ministry of soul or of some phase of soul, matters nothing for the moment: thus the entire aggregate of existence springs from the divine world, in greater beauty There because There unmingled but mingled here.

From the beginning to end all is gripped by the Forms of the Intellectual Realm: Matter itself is held by the Ideas of the elements and to these Ideas are added other Ideas and others again, so that it is hard to work down to crude Matter beneath all that sheathing of Idea. Indeed since Matter itself is, in its degree, an Idea—the lowest—all this universe is Idea and there is nothing that is not Idea as the archetype was. And all is made silently, since nothing had part in the making but Being and Idea—a further reason why creation went without toil. The Exemplar was the Idea of an All and so an All must come into being.

Thus nothing stood in the way of the Idea, and even now it dominates, despite all the clash of things: the creation is not hindered on its way even now; it stands firm in virtue of being All. To me, moreover, it seems that if we ourselves were archetypes, Ideas, veritable Being, and the Idea with which we construct here were our veritable Essence, then Edition: current; Page: [82] our creative power too would toillessly effect its purpose: as man now stands, he does not produce in his work a true image of himself: become man, he has ceased to be the All; ceasing to be man—we read—“he soars aloft and administers the Kosmos entire”; restored to the All he is maker of the All.

But—to our immediate purpose—it is possible to give a reason why the earth is set in the midst and why it is round and why the ecliptic runs precisely as it does, but, looking to the creating principle, we cannot say that because this was the way therefore things were so planned: we can say only that because the All is what it is, therefore there is a total of good; the causing principle, we might put it, reached the conclusion before all formal reasoning and not from any premises, not by sequence or plan but before either, since all of that order is later, all reason, demonstration, persuasion.

Since there is a Source, all the created must spring from it and in accordance with it; and we are rightly told not to go seeking the causes impelling a Source to produce, especially when this is the perfectly sufficient Source and identical with the Term: a Source which is Source and Term must be the All-Unity, complete in itself.

8.

This then is Beauty primally: it is entire and omnipresent as an entirety; and therefore in none of its parts or members lacking in beauty; beautiful thus beyond denial. Certainly it cannot be anything (be, for example, Beauty) without being wholly that thing; it can be nothing which it is to possess partially or in which it utterly fails (and therefore it must entirely be Beauty entire).

If this principle were not beautiful, what other could be? Its prior does not deign to be beautiful; that which is the first to manifest itself—Form and object of vision to the intellect—cannot but be lovely to see. It is to indicate this that Plato, drawing on something well within our observation, represents the Creator as approving the work he has achieved: the intention is to make us feel the lovable beauty of Edition: current; Page: [83] the autotype and of the Divine Idea; for to admire a representation is to admire the original upon which it was made.

It is not surprising if we fail to recognise what is passing within us: lovers, and those in general that admire beauty here, do not stay to reflect that it is to be traced, as of course it must be, to the Beauty There. That the admiration of the Demiurge is to be referred to the Ideal Exemplar is deliberately made evident by the rest of the passage: “He admired; and determined to bring the work into still closer likeness with the Exemplar”: he makes us feel the magnificent beauty of the Exemplar by telling us that the Beauty sprung from this world is, itself, a copy from That.

And indeed if the divine did not exist, the transcendently beautiful, in a beauty beyond all thought, what could be lovelier than the things we see? Certainly no reproach can rightly be brought against this world save only that it is not That.

9.

Let us, then, make a mental picture of our universe: each member shall remain what it is, distinctly apart; yet all is to form, as far as possible, a complete unity so that whatever comes into view shall show as if it were the surface of the orb over all, bringing immediately with it the vision, on the one plane, of the sun and of all the stars with earth and sea and all living things as if exhibited upon a transparent globe.

Bring this vision actually before your sight, so that there shall be in your mind the gleaming representation of a sphere, a picture holding all the things of the universe moving or in repose or (as in reality) some at rest, some in motion. Keep this sphere before you, and from it imagine another, a sphere stripped of magnitude and of spatial differences; cast out your inborn sense of Matter, taking care not merely to attenuate it: call on God, maker of the sphere whose image you now hold, and pray Him to enter. And may He come bringing His own Universe with all the Gods that dwell in it—He who is the one God and all the gods, where each is all, blending into a unity, distinct in powers but all one god in virtue of that one divine power of many facets.

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More truly, this is the one God who is all the gods; for, in the coming to be of all those, this, the one, has suffered no diminishing. He and all have one existence, while each again is distinct. It is distinction by state without interval: there is no outward form to set one here and another there and to prevent any from being an entire identity; yet there is no sharing of parts from one to another. Nor is each of those divine wholes a power in fragment, a power totalling to the sum of the measurable segments: the divine is one all-power, reaching out to infinity, powerful to infinity: and so great is God that his very members are infinites. What place can be named to which He does not reach?

Great, too, is this firmament of ours and all the powers constellated within it, but it would be greater still, unspeakably, but that there is inbound in it something of the petty power of body; no doubt the powers of fire and other bodily substances might themselves be thought very great, but in fact, it is through their failure in the true power that we see them burning, destroying, wearing things away, and slaving towards the production of life; they destroy because they are themselves in process of destruction, and they produce because they belong to the realm of the produced.

The power in that other world has merely Being and Beauty of Being. Beauty without Being could not be, nor Being voided of Beauty: abandoned of Beauty, Being loses something of its essence. Being is desirable because it is identical with Beauty; and Beauty is loved because it is Being. How then can we debate which is the cause of the other, where the nature is one? The very figment of Being needs some imposed image of Beauty to make it passable, and even to ensure its existence; it exists to the degree in which it has taken some share in the beauty of Idea; and the more deeply it has drawn on this, the less imperfect it is, precisely because the nature which is essentially the beautiful has entered into it the more intimately.

10.

This is why Zeus, although the oldest of the gods and their sovereign, advances first (in the Phaidros myth) towards that vision, followed by Edition: current; Page: [85] gods and demigods and such souls as are of strength to see. That Being appears before them from some unseen place and rising loftily over them pours its light upon all things, so that all gleams in its radiance; it upholds some beings, and they see; the lower are dazzled and turn away, unfit to gaze upon that sun, the trouble falling the more heavily on those most remote.

Of those looking upon that Being and its content, and able to see, all take something but not all the same vision always: intently gazing, one sees the fount and principle of Justice, another is filled with the sight of Moral Wisdom, the original of that quality as found, sometimes at least, among men, copied by them in their degree from the divine virtue which, covering all the expanse, so to speak, of the Intellectual Realm is seen, last attainment of all, by those who have known already many splendid visions.

The gods see, each singly and all as one. So, too, the souls; they see all There in right of being sprung, themselves, of that universe and therefore including all from beginning to end and having their existence There if only by that phase which belongs inherently to the Divine, though often too they are There entire, those of them that have not incurred separation.

This vision Zeus takes and it is for such of us, also, as share his love and appropriate our part in the Beauty There, the final object of all seeing, the entire beauty upon all things; for all There sheds radiance, and floods those that have found their way thither so that they too become beautiful; thus it will often happen that men climbing heights where the soil has taken a yellow glow will themselves appear so, borrowing colour from the place on which they move. The colour flowering on that other height we speak of is Beauty; or rather all There is light and beauty, through and through, for the beauty is no mere bloom upon the surface.

To those that do not see entire, the immediate impression is alone taken into account; but those drunken with this wine, filled with the nectar, all their soul penetrated by this beauty, cannot remain mere gazers: no longer is there a spectator outside gazing on an outside Edition: current; Page: [86] spectacle; the clear-eyed hold the vision within themselves, though, for the most part, they have no idea that it is within but look towards it as to something beyond them and see it as an object of vision caught by a direction of the will.

All that one sees as a spectacle is still external; one must bring the vision within and see no longer in that mode of separation but as we know ourselves; thus a man filled with a god—possessed by Apollo or by one of the Muses—need no longer look outside for his vision of the divine being; it is but finding the strength to see divinity within.

11.

Similarly any one, unable to see himself, but possessed by that God, has but to bring that divine-within before his consciousness and at once he sees an image of himself, himself lifted to a better beauty: now let him ignore that image, lovely though it is, and sink into a perfect self-identity, no such separation remaining; at once he forms a multiple unity with the God silently present; in the degree of his power and will, the two become one; should he turn back to the former duality, still he is pure and remains very near to the God; he has but to look again and the same presence is there.

This conversion brings gain: at the first stage, that of separation, a man is aware of self; but retreating inwards, he becomes possessor of all; he puts sense away behind him in dread of the separated life and becomes one in the Divine; if he plans to see in separation, he sets himself outside.

The novice must hold himself constantly under some image of the Divine Being and seek in the light of a clear conception; knowing thus, in a deep conviction, whither he is going—into what a sublimity he penetrates—he must give himself forthwith to the inner and, radiant with the Divine Intellections (with which he is now one), be no longer the seer, but, as that place has made him, the seen.

Still, we will be told, one cannot be in beauty and yet fail to see it. The very contrary: to see the divine as something external is to be outside of it; to become it is to be most truly in beauty: since sight Edition: current; Page: [87] deals with the external, there can here be no vision unless in the sense of identification with the object.

And this identification amounts to a self-knowing, a self-consciousness, guarded by the fear of losing the self in the desire of a too wide awareness.

It must be remembered that sensations of the ugly and evil impress us more violently than those of what is agreeable and yet leave less knowledge as the residue of the shock: sickness makes the rougher mark, but health, tranquilly present, explains itself better; it takes the first place, it is the natural thing, it belongs to our being; illness is alien, unnatural and thus makes itself felt by its very incongruity, while the other conditions are native and we take no notice. Such being our nature, we are most completely aware of ourselves when we are most completely identified with the object of our knowledge.

This is why in that other sphere, when we are deepest in that knowledge by intellection, we are aware of none; we are expecting some impression on sense, which has nothing to report since it has seen nothing and never could in that order see anything. The unbelieving element is sense; it is the other, the Intellectual-Principle, that sees; and if this too doubted, it could not even credit its own existence, for it can never stand away and with bodily eyes apprehend itself as a visible object.

12.

We have told how this vision is to be procured, whether by the mode of separation or in identity: now, seen in either way, what does it give to report?

The vision has been of God in travail of a beautiful offspring, God engendering a universe within himself in a painless labour and—rejoiced in what he has brought into being, proud of his children—keeping all closely by Him, for the pleasure He has in his radiance and in theirs.

Of this offspring—all beautiful, but most beautiful those that have remained within—only one has become manifest without; from him (Zeus, sovran over the visible universe) the youngest born, we may Edition: current; Page: [88] gather, as from some image, the greatness of the Father and of the Brothers that remain within the Father’s house.

Still the manifested God cannot think that he has come forth in vain from the father; for through him another universe has arisen, beautiful as the image of beauty, and it could not be lawful that Beauty and Being should fail of a beautiful image.

This second Kosmos at every point copies the archetype: it has life and being in copy, and has beauty as springing from that diviner world. In its character of image it holds, too, that divine perpetuity without which it would only at times be truly representative and sometimes fail like a construction of art; for every image whose existence lies in the nature of things must stand during the entire existence of the archetype.

Hence it is false to put an end to the visible sphere as long as the Intellectual endures, or to found it upon a decision taken by its maker at some given moment.

That teaching shirks the penetration of such a making as is here involved: it fails to see that as long as the Supreme is radiant there can be no failing of its sequel but, that existing, all exists. And—since the necessity of conveying our meaning compels such terms—the Supreme has existed for ever and for ever will exist.

13.

The God fettered (as in the Kronos Myth) to an unchanging identity leaves the ordering of this universe to his son (to Zeus), for it could not be in his character to neglect his rule within the divine sphere, and, as though sated with the Authentic-Beauty, seek a lordship too recent and too poor for his might. Ignoring this lower world, Kronos (Intellectual-Principle) claims for his own father (Ouranios, the Absolute, or One) with all the upward-tending between them: and he counts all that tends to the inferior, beginning from his son (Zeus, the All-Soul), as ranking beneath him. Thus he holds a mid position determined on the one side by the differentiation implied in the severance from the very highest and, on the other, by that which keeps him apart from the link between Edition: current; Page: [89] himself and the lower: he stands between a greater father and an inferior son. But since that father is too lofty to be thought of under the name of Beauty, the second God remains the primally beautiful.

Soul also has beauty, but is less beautiful than Intellect as being its image and therefore, though beautiful in nature, taking increase of beauty by looking to that original. Since then the All-Soul—to use the more familiar term—since Aphrodite herself is so beautiful, what name can we give to that other? If Soul is so lovely in its own right, of what quality must that prior be? And since its being is derived, what must that power be from which the Soul takes the double beauty, the borrowed and the inherent?

We ourselves possess beauty when we are true to our own being; our ugliness is in going over to another order; our self-knowledge, that is to say, is our beauty; in self-ignorance we are ugly.

Thus beauty is of the Divine and comes Thence only.

Do these considerations suffice to a clear understanding of the Intellectual Sphere or must we make yet another attempt by another road?

THE NINTH TRACTATE
The Intellectual-Principle, the Ideas and the Authentic Existence

1.

All human beings from birth onward live to the realm of sense more than to the Intellectual.

Forced of necessity to attend first to the material, some of them elect to abide by that order and, their life throughout, make its concerns their first and their last; the sweet and the bitter of sense are their good and evil; they feel they have done all if they live along pursuing the one and barring the doors to the other. And those of them that pretend to reasoning have adopted this as their philosophy; they are like the heavier birds which have incorporated much from the earth and are so weighted down that they cannot fly high for all the wings Nature has given them.

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Others do indeed lift themselves a little above the earth; the better in their soul urges them from the pleasant to the nobler, but they are not of power to see the highest and so, in despair of any surer ground, they fall back in virtue’s name, upon those actions and options of the lower from which they sought to escape.

But there is a third order—those godlike men who, in their mightier power, in the keenness of their sight, have clear vision of the splendour above and rise to it from among the cloud and fog of earth and hold firmly to that other world, looking beyond all here, delighted in the place of reality, their native land, like a man returning after long wanderings to the pleasant ways of his own country.

2.

What is this other place and how is it accessible?

It is to be reached by those who, born with the nature of the lover, are also authentically philosophic by inherent temper; in pain of love towards beauty but not held by material loveliness, taking refuge from that in things whose beauty is of the soul—such things as virtue, knowledge, institutions, law and custom—and thence, rising still a step, reach to the source of this loveliness of the Soul, thence to whatever be above that again, until the uttermost is reached, The First, the Principle whose beauty is self-springing: this attained, there is an end to the pain inassuageable before.

But how is the ascent to be begun? Whence comes the power? In what thought is this love to find its guide?

The guiding thought is this:—that the beauty perceived on material things is borrowed.

The pattern giving beauty to the corporeal rests upon it as Idea to its Matter and the substrate may change and from being pleasant become distasteful, a sign, in all reason, that the beauty comes by participation.

Now, what is this that gives grace to the corporeal?

Two causes in their degree; the participation in beauty and the power of Soul, the maker, which has imprinted that form.

We ask then is soul, of itself, a thing of beauty: we find it is not Edition: current; Page: [91] since differences are manifest, one Soul wise and lovely, another foolish and ugly: soul-beauty is constituted by wisdom.

The question thus becomes, What principle is the giver of wisdom to the soul: and the only answer is “The Intellectual-Principle,” the veritably intellectual, wise without intermission and therefore beautiful of itself.

But does even this suffice for our First?

No; we must look still inward beyond the Intellectual, which, from our point of approach, stands before the Supreme Beginning, in whose forecourt, as it were, it announces in its own being the entire content of the Good, that prior of all, locked in unity, of which this is the expression already touched by multiplicity.

3.

We will have to examine this Nature, the Intellectual, which our reasoning identifies as the authentically existent and the veritable ssential: but first we must take another path and make certain that such a principle does necessarily exist.

Perhaps it is ridiculous to set out enquiring whether an Intellectual-Principle has place in the total of being: but there may be some to hesitate even as to this and certainly there will be the question whether it is as we describe it, whether it is a separate existence, whether it actually is the real beings, whether it is the seat of the Ideas; to this we now address ourselves.

All that we see, and describe as having existence, we know to be compound; hand-wrought or compacted by nature, nothing is simplex. Now the hand-wrought, with its metal or stone or wood, is not realised out of these materials until the appropriate craft has produced statue, house or bed, by imparting the particular idea from its own content. Similarly with natural forms of being; those including several constituents, compound bodies as we call them, may be analysed into the materials and the Idea imposed upon the total; the human being, for example, into soul and body; and the human body into the four elements. Finding everything to be a compound of Matter and shaping principle—since Edition: current; Page: [92] the Matter of the elements is of itself shapeless—you will enquire whence this forming idea comes; and you will ask whether in the soul we recognise a simplex or whether this also has constituents, something representing Matter and something else—the Intellectual-Principle in it—representing Idea, the one corresponding to the shape actually on the statue, the other to the artist giving the shape.

Applying the same method to the total of things, here too we discover the Intellectual-Principle and this we set down as veritably the maker and creator of the All. The underly has adopted, we see, certain shapes by which it becomes fire, water, air, earth; and these shapes have been imposed upon it by something else. This other is Soul which, hovering over the Four (the elements), imparts the pattern of the Kosmos, the Ideas for which it has itself received from the Intellectual-Principle as the soul or mind of the craftsman draws upon his craft for the plan of his work.

The Intellectual-Principle is in one phase the Form of the soul, its shape; in another phase it is the giver of the shape—the sculptor, possessing inherently what is given—imparting to soul nearly the authentic reality while what body receives is but image and imitation.

4.

But, soul reached, why need we look higher; why not make this The First?

A main reason is that the Intellectual-Principle is at once something other and something more powerful than Soul and that the more powerful is in the nature of things the prior. For it is certainly not true, as people imagine, that the soul, brought to perfection, produces Intellect. How could that potentiality come to actuality unless there be, first, an effective principle to induce the actualisation which, left to chance, might never occur?

The Firsts must be supposed to exist in actuality, looking to nothing else, self-complete. Anything incomplete must be sequent upon these, and take its completion from the principles engendering it which, like fathers, labour in the improvement of an offspring born imperfect: the Edition: current; Page: [93] produced is as Matter to the producing principle and is worked over by it into a shapely perfection.

And if, further, soul is passible while something impassible there must be or by the mere passage of time all wears away, here too we are led to something above soul.

Again there must be something prior to Soul because Soul is in the world and there must be something outside a world in which, all being corporeal and material, nothing has enduring reality: failing such a prior, neither man nor the Ideas would be eternal or have true identity.

These and many other considerations establish the necessary existence of an Intellectual-Principle prior to Soul.

5.

This Intellectual-Principle, if the term is to convey the truth, must be understood to be not a principle merely potential and not one maturing from unintelligence to intelligence—that would simply send us seeking, once more, a necessary prior—but a principle which is intelligence in actuality and in eternity.

Now a principle whose wisdom is not borrowed must derive from itself any intellection it may make; and anything it may possess within itself it can hold only from itself: it follows that, intellective by its own resource and upon its own content, it is itself the very things on which its intellection acts.

For supposing its essence to be separable from its intellection and the objects of its intellection to be not-itself, then its essence would be unintellectual; and it would be intellectual not actually but potentially. The intellection and its object must then be inseparable—however the habit induced by our conditions may tempt us to distinguish, There too, the thinker from the thought.

What then is its characteristic Act and what the intellection which makes knower and known here identical?

Clearly, as authentic Intellection, it has authentic intellection of the authentically existent, and establishes their existence. Therefore it is the Authentic Beings.

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Consider:—It must perceive them either somewhere else or within itself as its very self: the somewhere else is impossible—where could that be?—they are therefore itself and the content of itself.

Its objects certainly cannot be the things of sense, as people think: no First could be of the sense-known order; for in things of sense the Idea is but an image of the authentic and every Idea thus derivative and exiled traces back to that original and is no more than an image of it.

Further, if the Intellectual-Principle is to be the maker of this All, it cannot make by looking outside itself to what does not yet exist. The Authentic Beings must, then, exist before this All, no copies made on a model but themselves archetypes, primals, and the essence of the Intellectual-Principle.

We may be told that Reason-Principles suffice (to the subsistence of the All): but then these, clearly, must be eternal; and if eternal, if immune, then they must exist in an Intellectual-Principle such as we have indicated, a principle earlier than condition, than nature, than soul, than anything whose existence is potential (or contingent).

The Intellectual-Principle, therefore, is itself the authentic existences, not a knower knowing them in some sphere foreign to it. The Authentic Beings, thus, exist neither before nor after it: it is the primal legislator to Being or, rather, is itself the law of Being. Thus it is true that “Intellection and Being are identical”; in the immaterial the knowledge of the thing is the thing. And this is the meaning of the dictum “I sought myself,” namely as one of the Beings: it also bears on reminiscence.

For none of the Beings is outside the Intellectual-Principle or in space; they remain for ever in themselves, accepting no change, no decay, and by that are the authentically existent. Things that arise and fall away draw on real being as something to borrow from; they are not of the real; the true being is that on which they draw.

It is by participation that the sense-known has the being we ascribe to it; the underlying nature has taken its shape from elsewhere; thus bronze and wood are shaped into what we see by means of an image introduced by sculpture or carpentry; the craft permeates the materials Edition: current; Page: [95] while remaining integrally apart from the material and containing in itself the reality of statue or couch. And it is so, of course, with all corporeal things.

This universe, characteristically participant in images, shows how the image differs from the authentic beings: against the variability of the one order, there stands the unchanging quality of the other, self-situate, not needing space because having no magnitude, holding an existence intellective and self-sufficing. The body-kind seeks its endurance in another kind; the Intellectual-Principle, sustaining by its marvellous Being, the things which of themselves must fall, does not itself need to look for a staying ground.

6.

We take it, then, that the Intellectual-Principle is the authentic existences and contains them all—not as in a place but as possessing itself and being one thing with this its content. All are one there and yet are distinct: similarly the mind holds many branches and items of knowledge simultaneously, yet none of them merged into any other, each acting its own part at call quite independently, every conception coming out from the inner total and working singly. It is after this way, though in a closer unity, that the Intellectual-Principle is all Being in one total—and yet not in one, since each of these beings is a distinct power which, however, the total Intellectual-Principle includes as the species in a genus, as the parts in a whole. This relation may be illustrated by the powers in seed; all lies undistinguished in the unit, the formative ideas gathered as in one kernel; yet in that unit there is eye-principle, and there is hand-principle, each of which is revealed as a separate power by its distinct material product. Thus each of the powers in the seed is a Reason-Principle one and complete yet including all the parts over which it presides: there will be something bodily, the liquid for example, carrying mere Matter; but the principle itself is Idea and nothing else, idea identical with the generative idea belonging to the lower soul, image of a higher. This power is sometimes designated as Nature in the seed-life; its origin is in the divine; and, outgoing from Edition: current; Page: [96] its priors as light from fire, it converts and shapes the matter of things, not by push and pull and the lever work of which we hear so much, but by bestowal of the Ideas.

7.

Knowledge in the reasoning soul is on the one side concerned with objects of sense, though indeed this can scarcely be called knowledge and is better indicated as opinion or surface-knowing; it is of later origin than the objects since it is a reflection from them: but on the other hand there is the knowledge handling the intellectual objects and this is the authentic knowledge; it enters the reasoning soul from the Intellectual-Principle and has no dealing with anything in sense. Being true knowledge it actually is everything of which it takes cognisance; it carries as its own content the intellectual act and the intellectual object since it carries the Intellectual-Principle which actually is the primals and is always self-present and is in its nature an Act, never by any want forced to seek, never acquiring or traversing the remote—for all such experience belongs to soul—but always self-gathered, the very Being of the collective total, not an extern creating things by the act of knowing them.

Not by its thinking God does God come to be; not by its thinking Movement does Movement arise. Hence it is an error to call the Ideas intellections in the sense that, upon an intellectual act in this Principle, one such Idea or another is made to exist or exists. No: the object of this intellection must exist before the intellective act (must be the very content not the creation of the Intellectual-Principle). How else could that Principle come to know it: certainly not (as an external) by luck or by haphazard search.

8.

If, then, the Intellection is an act upon the inner content (of a perfect unity), that content is at once the Idea (as object: eidos) and the Idea itself (as concept: idéa).

What, then, is that content?

An Intellectual-Principle and an Intellective Essence, no concept Edition: current; Page: [97] distinguishable from the Intellectual-Principle, each actually being that Principle. The Intellectual-Principle entire is the total of the Ideas, and each of them is the (entire) Intellectual-Principle in a special form. Thus a science entire is the total of the relevant considerations each of which, again, is a member of the entire science, a member not distinct in space yet having its individual efficacy in a total.

This Intellectual-Principle, therefore, is a unity while by that possession of itself it is, tranquilly, the eternal abundance.

If the Intellectual-Principle were envisaged as preceding Being, it would at once become a principle whose expression, its intellectual Act, achieves and engenders the Beings: but, since we are compelled to think of existence as preceding that which knows it, we can but think that the Beings are the actual content of the knowing principle and that the very act, the intellection, is inherent to the Beings, as fire stands equipped from the beginning with fire-act; in this conception, the Beings contain the Intellectual-Principle as one and the same with themselves, as their own activity. Thus, Being is itself an activity: there is one activity, then, in both or, rather, both are one thing.

Being, therefore, and the Intellectual-Principle are one Nature: the Beings, and the Act of that which is, and the Intellectual-Principle thus constituted, all are one: and the resultant Intellections are the Idea of Being and its shape and its act.

It is our separating habit that sets the one order before the other: for there is a separating intellect, of another order than the true, distinct from the intellect, inseparable and unseparating, which is Being and the universe of things.

9.

What, then, is the content—inevitably separated by our minds—of this one Intellectual-Principle? For there is no resource but to represent the items in accessible form just as we study the various articles constituting one science.

This universe is a living thing capable of including every form of life; but its Being and its modes are derived from elsewhere; that Edition: current; Page: [98] source is traced back to the Intellectual-Principle: it follows that the all-embracing archetype is in the Intellectual Principle, which, therefore, must be an intellectual Kosmos, that indicated by Plato in the phrase “The living existent.”

Given the Reason-Principle (the outgoing divine Idea) of a certain living thing and the Matter to harbour this seed-principle, the living thing must come into being: in the same way once there exists an intellective Nature, all powerful, and with nothing to check it—since nothing intervenes between it and that which is of a nature to receive it—inevitably the higher imprints form and the lower accepts it. The recipient holds the Idea in division, here man, there sun, while in the giver all remains in unity.

10.

All, then, that is present in the sense realm as Idea comes from the Supreme. But what is not present as Idea, does not. Thus of things conflicting with nature, none is There: the inartistic is not contained in the arts; lameness is not in the seed; for a lame leg is either inborn through some thwarting of the Reason-Principle or is a marring of the achieved form by accident. To that Intellectual Kosmos belong qualities, accordant with Nature, and quantities; number and mass; origins and conditions; all actions and experiences not against nature; movement and repose, both the universals and the particulars: but There time is replaced by eternity and space by its intellectual equivalent, mutual inclusiveness.

In that Intellectual Kosmos, where all is one total, every entity that can be singled out is an intellective essence and a participant in life: thus, identity and difference, movement and rest with the object resting or moving, essence and quality, all have essential existence. For every real being must be in actuality not merely in potentiality and therefore the nature of each essence is inherent in it.

This suggests the question whether the Intellectual Kosmos contains the forms only of the things of sense or of other existents as well. But first we will consider how it stands with artistic creations: there is no Edition: current; Page: [99] question of an ideal archetype of evil: the evil of this world is begotten of need, privation, deficiency, and is a condition peculiar to Matter distressed and to what has come into likeness with Matter.

11.

Now as to the arts and crafts and their productions:—

The imitative arts—painting, sculpture, dancing, pantomimic gesturing—are, largely, earth-based; on an earthly base; they follow models found in sense, since they copy forms and movements and reproduce seen symmetries; they cannot therefore be referred to that higher sphere except indirectly, through the Reason-Principle in humanity.

On the other hand any skill which, beginning with the observation of the symmetry of living things, grows to the symmetry of all life, will be a portion of the Power There which observes and meditates the symmetry reigning among all beings in the Intellectual Kosmos. Thus all music—since its thought is upon melody and rhythm—must be the earthly representation of the music there is in the rhythm of the Ideal Realm.

The crafts such as building and carpentry which give us Matter in wrought forms, may be said, in that they draw on pattern, to take their principles from that realm and from the thinking There: but in that they bring these down into contact with the sense-order, they are not wholly in the Intellectual: they are founded in man. So agriculture, dealing with material growths: so medicine watching over physical health; so the art which aims at corporeal strength and well-being: power and well-being mean something else There, the fearlessness and self-sufficing quality of all that lives.

Oratory and generalship, administration and sovereignty—under any forms in which their activities are associated with Good and when they look to that—possess something derived thence and building up their knowledge from the knowledge There.

Geometry, the science of the Intellectual entities, holds place There: so, too, philosophy, whose high concern is Being.

For the arts and products of art, these observations may suffice.

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12.

It should however be added that if the Idea of man exists in the Supreme, there must exist the Idea of reasoning man and of man with his arts and crafts; such arts as are the offspring of intellect must be There.

It must be observed that the Ideas will be of universals; not of Socrates but of Man: though as to man we may enquire whether the individual may not also have place There. Under the heading of individuality there is to be considered the repetition of the same feature from man to man, the simian type, for example, and the aquiline: the aquiline and the simian must be taken to be differences in the Idea of Man as there are different types of the animal: but Matter also has its effect in bringing about the degree of aquilinity. Similarly with difference of complexion, determined partly by the Reason-Principle, partly by Matter and by diversity of place.

13.

It remains to decide whether only what is known in sense exists There or whether on the contrary, as Absolute-Man differs from individual man, so there is in the Supreme an Absolute-Soul differing from Soul and an Absolute-Intellect differing from Intellectual-Principle.

It must be stated at the outset that we cannot take all that is here to be image of archetype, or Soul to be an image of Absolute-Soul: one soul, doubtless, ranks higher than another, but here too, though perhaps not as identified with this realm, is the Absolute-Soul.

Every soul, authentically a soul, has some form of rightness and moral wisdom; in the souls within ourselves there is true knowing: and these attributes are no images or copies from the Supreme, as in the sense-world, but actually are those very originals in a mode peculiar to this sphere. For those Beings are not set apart in some defined place; wherever there is a soul that has risen from body, there too these are: the world of sense is one-where, the Intellectual Kosmos is everywhere. Whatever the freed soul attains to here, that it is There.

Thus, if by the content of the sense-world we mean simply the Edition: current; Page: [101] visible objects, then the Supreme contains not only what is in the realm of sense but more: if in the content of the kosmos we mean to include Soul and the Soul-things, then all is here that is There.

14.

There is, thus, a Nature comprehending in the Intellectual all that exists, and this Principle must be the source of all. But how, seeing that the veritable source must be a unity, simplex utterly?

The mode by which from the unity arises the multiple, how all this universe comes to be, why the Intellectual-Principle is all and whence it springs, these matters demand another approach.

But on the question as to whether the repulsive and the products of putridity have also their Idea—whether there is an Idea of filth and mud—it is to be observed that all that the Intellectual-Principle derived from The First is of the noblest; in those Ideas the base is not included: these repulsive things point not to the Intellectual-Principle but to the Soul which, drawing upon the Intellectual-Principle, takes from Matter certain other things, and among them these.

But all this will be more clearly brought out, when we turn to the problem of the production of multiplicity from unity. Compounds, we shall see—as owing existence to hazard and not to the Intellectual-Principle, having been fused into objects of sense by their own impulse—are not to be included under Ideas.

The products of putrefaction are to be traced to the Soul’s inability to bring some other thing to being—something in the order of nature, which, else, it would—but producing where it may. In the matter of the arts and crafts, all that are to be traced to the needs of human nature are laid up in the Absolute Man.

And before the particular Soul there is another Soul, a universal, and, before that, an Absolute-Soul, which is the Life existing in the Intellectual-Principle before Soul came to be and therefore rightly called (as the Life in the Divine) the Absolute-Soul.