17. But in what mode are these secondaries, and Intellectual-Principle itself, within the First? They are not in the Filling Principle; they are not in the filled since before that moment it did not contain them.
Giving need not comport possessing; in this order we are to think of a giver as a greater and of a gift as a lower; this is the meaning of origin among real Beings. First there must be an actualized thing; its laters must be potentially their own priors; a first must transcend its derivatives; the giver transcends the given, as a superior. If therefore there is a prior to actuality, that prior transcends Activity and so transcends Life. Our sphere containing life, there is a Giver of Life, a principle of greater good, of greater worth than Life; this possessed Life and had no need to look for it to any giver in possession of Life's variety.
But the Life was a vestige of that Primal not a life lived by it; Life, then, as it looked towards That was undetermined; having looked it had determination though That had none. Life looks to unity and is determined by it, taking bound, limit, form. But this form is in the shaped, the shaper had none; the limit was not external as something drawn about a magnitude; the limit was that of the multiplicity of the Life There, limitless itself as radiated from its great Prior; the Life itself was not that of some determined being, or it would be no more than the life of an individual. Yet it is defined; it must then have been defined as the Life of a unity including multiplicity; certainly too each item of the multiplicity is determined, determined as multiple by the multiplicity of Life but as a unity by the fact of limit.
As what, then, is its unity determined?
As Intellectual-Principle: determined Life is Intellectual-Principle. And the multiplicity?
As the multiplicity of Intellectual-Principles: all its multiplicity resolves itself into Intellectual-Principles- on the one hand the collective Principle, on the other the particular Principles.
But does this collective Intellectual-Principle include each of the particular Principles as identical with itself?
No: it would be thus the container of only the one thing; since there are many Intellectual-Principles within the collective, there must be differentiation.
Once more, how does the particular Intellect come to this differentiation?
It takes its characteristic difference by becoming entirely a unity within the collective whose totality could not be identical with any particular.
Thus the Life in the Supreme was the collectivity of power; the vision taking place There was the potentiality of all; Intellectual-Principle, thus arising, is manifested as this universe of Being. It stands over the Beings not as itself requiring base but that it may serve as base to the Form of the Firsts, the Formless Form. And it takes position towards the soul, becoming a light to the soul as itself finds its light in the First; whenever Intellectual-Principle becomes the determinant of soul it shapes it into Reasoning Soul, by communicating a trace of what itself has come to possess.
Thus Intellectual-Principle is a vestige of the Supreme; but since the vestige is a Form going out into extension, into plurality, that Prior, as the source of Form, must be itself without shape and Form: if the Prior were a Form, the Intellectual-Principle itself could be only a Reason-Principle. It was necessary that The First be utterly without multiplicity, for otherwise it must be again referred to a prior.