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Section 4

4. We have said that all must be brought back to a unity: this must be an authentic unity, not belonging to the order in which multiplicity is unified by participation in what is truly a One; we need a unity independent of participation, not a combination in which multiplicity holds an equal place: we have exhibited, also, the Intellectual Realm and the Intellectual-Principle as more closely a unity than the rest of things, so that there is nothing closer to The One. Yet even this is not The purely One.

This purely One, essentially a unity untouched by the multiple, this we now desire to penetrate if in any way we may.

Only by a leap can we reach to this One which is to be pure of all else, halting sharp in fear of slipping ever so little aside and impinging on the dual: for if we fail of the centre, we are in a duality which does not even include The authentic One but belongs on both sides, to the later order. The One does not bear to be numbered in with anything else, with a one or a two or any such quantity; it refuses to take number because it is measure and not the measured; it is no peer of other entities to be found among them; for thus, it and they alike would be included in some container and this would be its prior, the prior it cannot have. Not even essential [ideal or abstract] number can belong to The One and certainly not the still later number applying to quantities; for essential number first appears as providing duration to the divine Intellection, while quantitative number is that [still later and lower] which furnishes the Quantity found in conjunction with other things or which provides for Quantity independent of things, if this is to be thought of as number at all. The Principle which in objects having quantitative number looks to the unity from which they spring is a copy [or lower phase] of the Principle which in the earlier order of number [in essential or ideal number] looks to the veritable One; and it attains its existence without in the least degree dissipating or shattering that prior unity: the dyad has come into being, but the precedent monad still stands; and this monad is quite distinct within the dyad from either of the two constituent unities, since there is nothing to make it one rather than the other: being neither, but simply that thing apart, it is present without being inherent.

But how are the two unities distinct and how is the dyad a unity, and is this unity the same as the unity by which each of the constituents is one thing?

Our answer must be that the unity is that of a participation in the primal unity with the participants remaining distinct from that in which they partake; the dyad, in so far as it is one thing, has this participation, but in a certain degree only; the unity of an army is not that of a single building; the dyad, as a thing of extension, is not strictly a unit either quantitatively or in manner of being.

Are we then to take it that the monads in the pentad and decad differ while the unity in the pentad is the same as that in the decad?

Yes, in the sense in which, big and little, ship is one with ship, army with army, city with city; otherwise, no. But certain difficulties in this matter will be dealt with later.

Next: Section 5