10. Perhaps the reason this continuous activity remains unperceived is that it has no touch whatever with things of sense. No doubt action upon material things, or action dictated by them, must proceed through the sensitive faculty which exists for that use: but why should there not be an immediate activity of the Intellectual-Principle and of the soul that attends it, the soul that antedates sensation or any perception? For, if Intellection and Authentic-Existence are identical, this "Earlier-than-perception" must be a thing having Act.
Let us explain the conditions under which we become conscious of this Intellective-Act.
When the Intellect is in upward orientation that [lower part of it] which contains [or, corresponds to] the life of the Soul, is, so to speak, flung down again and becomes like the reflection resting on the smooth and shining surface of a mirror; in this illustration, when the mirror is in place the image appears but, though the mirror be absent or out of gear, all that would have acted and produced an image still exists; so in the case of the Soul; when there is peace in that within us which is capable of reflecting the images of the Rational and Intellectual-Principles these images appear. Then, side by side with the primal knowledge of the activity of the Rational and the Intellectual-Principles, we have also as it were a sense-perception of their operation.
When, on the contrary, the mirror within is shattered through some disturbance of the harmony of the body, Reason and the Intellectual-Principle act unpictured: Intellection is unattended by imagination.
In sum we may safely gather that while the Intellective-Act may be attended by the Imaging Principle, it is not to be confounded with it.
And even in our conscious life we can point to many noble activities, of mind and of hand alike, which at the time in no way compel our consciousness. A reader will often be quite unconscious when he is most intent: in a feat of courage there can be no sense either of the brave action or of the fact that all that is done conforms to the rules of courage. And so in cases beyond number.
So that it would even seem that consciousness tends to blunt the activities upon which it is exercised, and that in the degree in which these pass unobserved they are purer and have more effect, more vitality, and that, consequently, the Sage arrived at this state has the truer fulness of life, life not spilled out in sensation but gathered closely within itself.