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Section 3

3. (A)... How, then, does Unity give rise to Multiplicity?

By its omnipresence: there is nowhere where it is not; it occupies, therefore, all that is; at once, it is manifold- or, rather, it is all things.

If it were simply and solely everywhere, all would be this one thing alone: but it is, also, in no place, and this gives, in the final result, that, while all exists by means of it, in virtue of its omnipresence, all is distinct from it in virtue of its being nowhere.

But why is it not merely present everywhere but in addition nowhere-present?

Because, universality demands a previous unity. It must, therefore, pervade all things and make all, but not be the universe which it makes.

(B) The Soul itself must exist as Seeing- with the Intellectual-Principle as the object of its vision- it is undetermined before it sees but is naturally apt to see: in other words, Soul is Matter to [its determinant] the Intellectual-Principle.

(C) When we exercise intellection upon ourselves, we are, obviously, observing an intellective nature, for otherwise we would not be able to have that intellection.

We know, and it is ourselves that we know; therefore we know the reality of a knowing nature: therefore, before that intellection in Act, there is another intellection, one at rest, so to speak.

Similarly, that self-intellection is an act upon a reality and upon a life; therefore, before the Life and Real-Being concerned in the intellection, there must be another Being and Life. In a word, intellection is vested in the activities themselves: since, then, the activities of self-intellection are intellective-forms, We, the Authentic We, are the Intelligibles and self-intellection conveys the Image of the Intellectual Sphere.

(D) The Primal is a potentiality of Movement and of Repose- and so is above and beyond both- its next subsequent has rest and movement about the Primal. Now this subsequent is the Intellectual-Principle- so characterized by having intellection of something not identical with itself whereas the Primal is without intellection. A knowing principle has duality [that entailed by being the knower of something) and, moreover, it knows itself as deficient since its virtue consists in this knowing and not in its own bare Being.

(E) In the case of everything which has developed from possibility to actuality the actual is that which remains self-identical for its entire duration- and this it is which makes perfection possible even in things of the corporeal order, as for instance in fire but the actual of this kind cannot be everlasting since [by the fact of their having once existed only in potentiality] Matter has its place in them. In anything, on the contrary, not composite [= never touched by Matter or potentiality] and possessing actuality, that actual existence is eternal... There is, however, the case, also in which a thing, itself existing in actuality, stands as potentiality to some other form of Being.

(F)... But the First is not to be envisaged as made up from Gods of a transcendent order: no; the Authentic Existents constitute the Intellectual-Principle with Which motion and rest begin. The Primal touches nothing, but is the centre round which those other Beings lie in repose and in movement. For Movement is aiming, and the Primal aims at nothing; what could the Summit aspire to?

Has It, even, no Intellection of Itself?

It possesses Itself and therefore is said in general terms to know itself... But intellection does not mean self-ownership; it means turning the gaze towards the Primal: now the act of intellection is itself the Primal Act, and there is therefore no place for any earlier one. The Being projecting this Act transcends the Act so that Intellection is secondary to the Being in which it resides. Intellection is not the transcendently venerable thing- neither Intellection in general nor even the Intellection of The Good. Apart from and over any Intellection stands The Good itself.

The Good therefore needs no consciousness.

What sort of consciousness can be conceived in it?

Consciousness of the Good as existent or non-existent?

If of existent Good, that Good exists before and without any such consciousness: if the act of consciousness produces that Good, then The Good was not previously in existence- and, at once, the very consciousness falls to the ground since it is, no longer consciousness of The Good.

But would not all this mean that the First does not even live?

The First cannot be said to live since it is the source of Life.

All that has self-consciousness and self-intellection is derivative; it observes itself in order, by that activity, to become master of its Being: and if it study itself this can mean only that ignorance inheres in it and that it is of its own nature lacking and to be made perfect by Intellection.

All thinking and knowing must, here, be eliminated: the addition introduces deprivation and deficiency.