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Section 16

16. We have, of course, already seen that a secondary must follow upon the First, and that this is a power immeasurably fruitful; and we indicated that this truth is confirmed by the entire order of things since there is nothing, not even in the lowest ranks, void of the power of generating. We have now to add that, since things engendered tend downwards and not upwards and, especially, move towards multiplicity, the first principle of all must be less a manifold than any.

That which engenders the world of sense cannot itself be a sense-world; it must be the Intellect and the Intellectual world; similarly, the prior which engenders the Intellectual-Principle and the Intellectual world cannot be either, but must be something of less multiplicity. The manifold does not rise from the manifold: the intellectual multiplicity has its source in what is not manifold; by the mere fact of being manifold, the thing is not the first principle: we must look to something earlier.

All must be grouped under a unity which, as standing outside of all multiplicity and outside of any ordinary simplicity, is the veritably and essentially simplex.

Still, how can a Reason-Principle [the Intellectual], characteristically a manifold, a total, derive from what is obviously no Reason-Principle?

But how, failing such origin in the simplex, could we escape [what cannot be accepted] the derivation of a Reason-Principle from a Reason-Principle?

And how does the secondarily good [the imaged Good] derive from The Good, the Absolute? What does it hold from the Absolute Good to entitle it to the name?

Similarity to the prior is not enough, it does not help towards goodness; we demand similarity only to an actually existent Good: the goodness must depend upon derivation from a Prior of such a nature that the similarity is desirable because that Prior is good, just as the similarity would be undesirable if the Prior were not good.

Does the similarity with the Prior consist, then, in a voluntary resting upon it?

It is rather that, finding its condition satisfying, it seeks nothing: the similarity depends upon the all-sufficiency of what it possesses; its existence is agreeable because all is present to it, and present in such a way as not to be even different from it [Intellectual-Principle is Being].

All life belongs to it, life brilliant and perfect; thus all in it is at once life-principle and Intellectual-Principle, nothing in it aloof from either life or intellect: it is therefore self-sufficing and seeks nothing: and if it seeks nothing this is because it has in itself what, lacking, it must seek. It has, therefore, its Good within itself, either by being of that order- in what we have called its life and intellect- or in some other quality or character going to produce these.

If this [secondary principle] were The Good [The Absolute], nothing could transcend these things, life and intellect: but, given the existence of something higher, this Intellectual-Principle must possess a life directed towards that Transcendent, dependent upon it, deriving its being from it, living towards it as towards its source. The First, then, must transcend this principle of life and intellect which directs thither both the life in itself, a copy of the Reality of the First, and the intellect in itself which is again a copy, though of what original there we cannot know.

Next: Section 17