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Section 22

22. We may here adduce the pregnant words of Plato: "Inasmuch as Intellect perceives the variety and plurality of the Forms present in the complete Living Being...." The words apply equally to Soul; Soul is subsequent to Intellect, yet by its very nature it involves Intellect in itself and perceives more clearly in that prior. There is Intellect in our intellect also, which again perceives more clearly in its prior, for while of itself it merely perceives, in the prior it also perceives its own perception.

This intellect, then, to which we ascribe perception, though not divorced from the prior in which it originates, evolves plurality out of unity and has bound up with it the principle of Difference: it therefore takes the form of a plurality-in-unity. A plurality-in-unity, it produces the many intellects by the dictate of its very nature.

It is certainly no numerical unity, no individual thing; for whatever you find in that sphere is a species, since it is divorced from Matter. This may be the import of the difficult words of Plato, that Substance is broken up into an infinity of parts. So long as the division proceeds from genus to species, infinity is not reached; a limit is set by the species generated: the lowest species, however- that which is not divided into further species- may be more accurately regarded as infinite. And this is the meaning of the words: "to relegate them once and for all to infinity and there abandon them." As for particulars, they are, considered in themselves, infinite, but come under number by being embraced by the [total] unity.

Now Soul has Intellect for its prior, is therefore circumscribed by number down to its ultimate extremity; at that point infinity is reached. The particular intellect, though all-embracing, is a partial thing, and the collective Intellect and its various manifestations [all the particular intellects] are in actuality parts of that part. Soul too is a part of a part, though in the sense of being an Act [actuality] derived from it. When the Act of Intellect is directed upon itself, the result is the manifold [particular] intellects; when it looks outwards, Soul is produced.

If Soul acts as a genus or a species, the various [particular] souls must act as species. Their activities [Acts] will be twofold: the activity upward is Intellect; that which looks downward constitutes the other powers imposed by the particular Reason-Principle [the Reason-Principle of the being ensouled]; the lowest activity of Soul is in its contact with Matter to which it brings Form.

This lower part of Soul does not prevent the rest from being entirely in the higher sphere: indeed what we call the lower part is but an image of Soul: not that it is cut off from Soul; it is like the reflection in the mirror, depending upon the original which stands outside of it.

But we must keep in mind what this "outside" means. Up to the production of the image, the Intellectual realm is wholly and exclusively composed of Intellectual Beings: in the same way the Sensible world, representing that in so far as it is able to retain the likeness of a living being, is itself a living being: the relation is like that of a portrait or reflection to the original which is regarded as prior to the water or the painting reproducing it.

The representation, notice, in the portrait or on the water is not of the dual being, but of the one element [Matter] as formed by the other [Soul]. Similarly, this likeness of the Intellectual realm carries images, not of the creative element, but of the entities contained in that creator, including Man with every other living being: creator and created are alike living beings, though of a different life, and both coexist in the Intellectual realm.