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Section 25

25. It is in view, probably, of this difficulty that Plato, in the Philebus, makes pleasure an element in the Term; the good is not defined as a simplex or set in Intellectual-Principle alone; while he rightly refrains from identifying the good with the pleasant, yet he does not allow Intellectual-Principle, foreign to pleasure, to be The Good, since he sees no attractive power in it. He may also have had in mind that the good, to answer to its name, must be a thing of delight and that an object of pursuit must at least hold some pleasure for those that acquire and possess it, so that where there is no joy the good too is absent, further that pleasure, implying pursuit, cannot pertain to the First and that therefore good cannot.

All this was very well; there the enquiry was not as to the Primal Good but as to ours; the good dealt with in that passage pertains to very different beings and therefore is a different good; it is a good falling short of that higher; it is a mingled thing; we are to understand that good does not hold place in the One and Alone whose being is too great and different for that.

The good must, no doubt, be a thing pursued, not, however, good because it is pursued but pursued because it is good.

The solution, it would seem, lies in priority:

To the lowest of things the good is its immediate higher; each step represents the good to what stands lower so long as the movement does not tend awry but advances continuously towards the superior: thus there is a halt at the Ultimate, beyond which no ascent is possible: that is the First Good, the authentic, the supremely sovereign, the source of good to the rest of things.

Matter would have Forming-Idea for its good, since, were it conscious, it would welcome that; body would look to soul, without which it could not be or endure; soul must look to virtue; still higher stands Intellectual-Principle; above that again is the principle we call the Primal. Each of these progressive priors must have act upon those minors to which they are, respectively, the good: some will confer order and place, others life, others wisdom and the good life: Intellectual-Principle will draw upon the Authentic Good which we hold to be coterminous with it, both as being an Activity put forth from it and as even now taking light from it. This good we will define later.

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