1. "The Intellectual-Principle" [= the Divine Mind]- we read [in the Timaeus]- "looks upon the Ideas indwelling in that Being which is the Essentially Living [= according to Plotinus, the Intellectual Realm], "and then"- the text proceeds- "the Creator judged that all the content of that essentially living Being must find place in this lower universe also."
Are we meant to gather that the Ideas came into being before the Intellectual-Principle so that it "sees them" as previously existent?
The first step is to make sure whether the "Living Being" of the text is to be distinguished from the Intellectual-Principle as another thing than it.
It might be argued that the Intellectual-Principle is the Contemplator and therefore that the Living-Being contemplated is not the Intellectual-Principle but must be described as the Intellectual Object so that the Intellectual-Principle must possess the Ideal realm as something outside of itself.
But this would mean that it possesses images and not the realities, since the realities are in the Intellectual Realm which it contemplates: Reality- we read- is in the Authentic Existent which contains the essential form of particular things.
No: even though the Intellectual-Principle and the Intellectual Object are distinct, they are not apart except for just that distinction.
Nothing in the statement cited is inconsistent with the conception that these two constitute one substance- though, in a unity, admitting that distinction, of the intellectual act [as against passivity], without which there can be no question of an Intellectual-Principle and an Intellectual Object: what is meant is not that the contemplatory Being possesses its vision as in some other principle, but that it contains the Intellectual Realm within itself.
The Intelligible Object is the Intellectual-Principle itself in its repose, unity, immobility: the Intellectual-Principle, contemplator of that object- of the Intellectual-Principle thus in repose is an active manifestation of the same Being, an Act which contemplates its unmoved phase and, as thus contemplating, stands as Intellectual-Principle to that of which it has the intellection: it is Intellectual-Principle in virtue of having that intellection, and at the same time is Intellectual Object, by assimilation.
This, then, is the Being which planned to create in the lower Universe what it saw existing in the Supreme, the four orders of living beings.
No doubt the passage: [of the Timaeus] seems to imply tacitly that this planning Principle is distinct from the other two: but the three- the Essentially-Living, the Intellectual-Principle and this planning Principle will, to others, be manifestly one: the truth is that, by a common accident, a particular trend of thought has occasioned the discrimination.
We have dealt with the first two; but the third- this Principle which decides to work upon the objects [the Ideas] contemplated by the Intellectual-Principle within the Essentially-Living, to create them, to establish them in their partial existence- what is this third?
It is possible that in one aspect the Intellectual-Principle is the principle of partial existence, while in another aspect it is not.
The entities thus particularized from the unity are products of the Intellectual-Principle which thus would be, to that extent, the separating agent. On the other hand it remains in itself, indivisible; division begins with its offspring which, of course, means with Souls: and thus a Soul- with its particular Souls- may be the separative principle.
This is what is conveyed where we are told that the separation is the work of the third Principle and begins within the Third: for to this Third belongs the discursive reasoning which is no function of the Intellectual-Principle but characteristic of its secondary, of Soul, to which precisely, divided by its own Kind, belongs the Act of division.