2. But if perception does not go by impression, what is the process?
The mind affirms something not contained within it: this is precisely the characteristic of a power- not to accept impression but, within its allotted sphere, to act.
Besides, the very condition of the mind being able to exercise discrimination upon what it is to see and hear is not, of course, that these objects be equally impressions made upon it; on the contrary, there must be no impressions, nothing to which the mind is passive; there can be only acts of that in which the objects become known.
Our tendency is to think of any of the faculties as unable to know its appropriate object by its own uncompelled act; to us it seems to submit to its environment rather than simply to perceive it, though in reality it is the master, not the victim.
As with sight, so with hearing. It is the air which takes the impression, a kind of articulated stroke which may be compared to letters traced upon it by the object causing the sound; but it belongs to the faculty, and the soul-essence, to read the imprints thus appearing before it, as they reach the point at which they become matter of its knowledge.
In taste and smell also we distinguish between the impressions received and the sensations and judgements; these last are mental acts, and belong to an order apart from the experiences upon which they are exercised.
The knowing of the things belonging to the Intellectual is not in any such degree attended by impact or impression: they come forward, on the contrary, as from within, unlike the sense-objects known as from without: they have more emphatically the character of acts; they are acts in the stricter sense, for their origin is in the soul, and every concept of this Intellectual order is the soul about its Act.
Whether, in this self-vision, the soul is a duality and views itself as from the outside- while seeing the Intellectual-Principal as a unity, and itself with the Intellectual-Principle as a unity- this question is investigated elsewhere.