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Section 10

10. When it takes lot with multiplicity, Being becomes Number by the fact of awakening to manifoldness;- before, it was a preparation, so to speak, of the Beings, their fore-promise, a total of henads offering a stay for what was to be based upon them.

Here with us a man will say "I wish I had such and such a quantity of gold"- or "such and such a number of houses." Gold is one thing: the wish is not to bring the numerical quantity into gold but to bring the gold to quantity; the quantity, already present in the mind, is to be passed on to the gold so that it acquire that numerical value.

If the Beings preceded the number and this were discerned upon them at the stirring, to such and such a total, of the numbering principle, then the actual number of the Beings would be a chance not a choice; since that total is not a matter of chance, Number is a causing principle preceding that determined total.

Number then pre-exists and is the cause by which produced things participate in quantity.

The single thing derives its unity by participation in Unity-Absolute; its being it derives from Being-Absolute, which holds its Being from itself alone; a unity is a unity in virtue of Being; the particular unity- where the unity is a multiple unity- is one thing only as the Triad is; the collective Being is a unity of this kind, the unity not of the monad but of the myriad or any such collective number.

Take a man affirming the presence of ten thousand things; it is he that produces the number; he does not tell us that the ten thousand have uttered it; they merely exhibit their several forms; the enumerator's mind supplies the total which would never be known if the mind kept still.

How does the mind pronounce?

By being able to enumerate; that is by knowing Number: but in order to this, Number must be in existence, and that that Principle should not know its own total content is absurd, impossible.

It is with Number as with Good. When we pronounce things to be good either we mean that they are in their own nature so or we affirm goodness as an accidental in them. Dealing with the primals, the goodness we have in mind is that First Hypostasis; where the goodness is an accidental we imply the existence of a Principle of Good as a necessary condition of the accidental presence; there must be some source of that good which is observed elsewhere, whether this source be an Absolute Good or something that of its own nature produces the good. Similarly with number; in attributing the decad to things we affirm either the truly existent decad or, where the decadhood is accidental, we necessarily posit the self-subsistent decad, decad not associated; if things are to be described as forming a decad, then either they must be of themselves the decad or be preceded by that which has no other being than that of decadhood.

It must be urged as a general truth that anything affirmed of a subject not itself either found its way in from outside or is the characteristic Act of that subject; and supposing the predicated attribute to show no variation of presence and absence but to be always present, then, if the subject is a Real Being so also is the accidental in an equal degree; or, failing Real Being, it at least belongs to the existents, it exists. In the case when the subject can be thought of as remaining without its Act, yet that Act is inbound with it even though to our minds it appears as a later; when on the contrary the subject cannot be conceived without the attribute-man, for example, without unity- then the attribute is either not later but concomitant or, being essential to the existence, is precedent. In our view, Unity and Number are precedent.

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