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Complete Works

In Chronological Order, Grouped in Four Periods;

BIOGRAPHY by Porphyry, Eunapius, & Suidas,
COMMENTARY by Porphyry,
ILLUSTRATIONS by Jamblichus & Ammonius,
STUDIES in Sources, Development, Influence;
INDEX of Subjects, Thoughts and Words.

Kenneth Sylvan Guthrie,
Professor in Extension, University of the South, Sewanee;
A.M., Sewanee, and Harvard; Ph.D., Tulane, and Columbia.
M.D., Medico-Chirurgical College, Philadelphia.

Vol. III
Porphyrian Books, 34–45.


P. O. Box 42, ALPINE, N.J., U.S.A.

Copyright, 1918, by Kenneth Sylvan Guthrie.
All Rights, including that of Translation, Reserved.

Entered at Stationers' Hall, by
George Bell and Sons, Portugal Street, Lincoln's Inn, London.


Of Numbers.


1. Does manifoldness consist in distance from unity? Is infinity this distance carried to the extreme, because it is an innumerable manifoldness? Is then infinity an evil, and are we ourselves evil when we are manifold? (That is probable); or every being becomes manifold when, not being able to remain turned towards itself, it blossoms out; it extends while dividing; and thus losing all unity in its expansion, it becomes manifoldness, because there is nothing that holds its parts mutually united. If, nevertheless, there still remain something that holds its parts mutually united, then, though blossoming out, (the essence) remains, and becomes manifoldness.


But what is there to be feared in magnitude? If (the essence) that has increased could feel (it would feel that which in itself has become evil; for) it would feel that it had issued from itself, and had even gone to a great distance (from itself). No (essence), indeed, seeks that which is other than itself; every (essence) seeks itself. The movement by which (an essence) issues from itself is caused either by "audacity," or necessity. Every (being) exists in the highest degree not when it becomes manifold or great, but when it belongs to itself; now this occurs when it concentrates upon itself. That which desires to become644 great in some other manner is ignorant of that in which true greatness consists; instead of proceeding towards its legitimate goal, it turns towards the outside. Now, on the contrary, to turn towards oneself, is to remain in oneself. The demonstration of this may be seen in that which participates in greatness; if (the being) develop itself so that each of its parts exist apart, each part will indeed exist, but (the being) will no longer be what it originally was. To remain what it is, all its parts must converge towards unity; so that, to be what it was in its being, it should not be large, but single. When it possesses magnitude, and quantity inheres in it, it is destroyed, while when it possesses unity, it possesses itself. Doubtless the universe is both great and beautiful; but it is beautiful only so far as the unity holds it in from dissipating into infinity. Besides, if it be beautiful, it is not because it is great, but because it participates in beauty; now, if it need participation in beauty, it is only because it has become so large. Indeed, isolated from beauty, and considered in itself as great, it is ugly. From this point of view, what is great is with beauty in the relation obtaining between matter and form, because what needs adornment is manifold; consequently, what is great has so much more need of being adorned and is so much more ugly (as it is great).


2. What opinion should we hold of that which is called the number of infinity? We must begin by examining how it can be a number, if it be infinite. Indeed, sense-objects are not infinite; consequently, the number which inheres in them could not be infinite, and he who numbers them, does not number infinity. Even if they were multiplied by two, or by more, they still could always be determined; if they were multiplied in respect of the past or the future, they would645 still be determined. It might be objected that number is not infinite in an absolute manner, but only (in a relative manner) in this sense, that it is always possible to add thereto. But he who numbers does not create numbers; they were already determined, and they existed (before being conceived by him who was numbering them). As beings in the intelligible world are determined, their number is also determined by the quantity of beings. Just as we make man manifold by adding to him the beautiful, and other things of the kind, we can make an image of number correspond to the image of every intelligible being. Just as, in thought, we can multiply a town that does not exist, so can we multiply numbers. When we number the parts of time, we limit ourselves to applying to them the numbers that we have in ourselves, and which, merely on that account, do not cease remaining in us.


3. How did the infinite, in spite of its infiniteness, reach existence? For the things which have arrived at existence, and which subsist, have been preparatorily contained in a number. Before answering this question, we must examine whether, when it forms part of veritable essences, multitude can be evil. On high, the manifoldness remains united, and is hindered from completely being manifoldness, because it is the one essence; but this is inferior to unity by this very condition that it is manifoldness, and thus, is imperfect in respect to unity. Therefore, though not having the same nature as the One, but a nature somewhat degraded (in comparison with unity), manifoldness is inferior to unity; but, by the effect of the unity which it derives from the One (since it is the one essence), it still possesses a venerable character, reduces to unity the manifold it contains, and makes it subsist in an immutable manner.



How can infinity subsist in the intelligible world? Either it exists among the genuine essences, and then is determined; or it is not determined, and then it does not exist among the veritable essences, but it must be classified among the things which exist in perpetual becoming, such as time.1 The infinite is determinate, but it is not any the less infinite; for it is not the limit2 which receives the determination, but the infinite3; and between the boundary and the infinite there is no intermediary that could receive the determination. This infinite acts as if it were the idea of the boundary, but it is contained by what embraces it exteriorly. When I say that it flees, I do not mean that it passes from one locality to another, for it has no locality; but I mean that space has existed from the very moment that this infinite was embraced.4 We must not imagine that what is called the movement of the infinite consists in a displacement, nor admit that the infinite by itself possesses any other of the things that could be named; thus the infinite could neither move, nor remain still. Where indeed would it halt, since the place indicated by the word "where" is posterior to infinity? Movement is attributed to infinity only to explain that the infinite has no permanency. Should we believe that the infinite exists on high in one only and single place, or that it arises there, and descends here below? No: for it is in respect to one only and single place that we are enabled to conceive both what has risen and does not descend, as well as that which descends.5


How then can we conceive the infinite? By making abstraction of form by thought. How will it be conceived?647 We may conceive of the infinite as simultaneously being the contraries, and not being them. It will have to be conceived as being simultaneously great and small; for the infinite becomes both of these.6 It may also be conceived as both being moved, and being stable7; for the infinite becomes these two things also. But before the infinite becomes these two contraries, it is neither of them in any determinate manner; otherwise, you would have determined it. By virtue of its nature, the infinite is these things therefore in an indeterminate and infinite manner; only on this condition will it appear to be these contrary things. If, by applying your thought to the infinite, you do not entice it into a determination, as into a net, you will see the infinite escaping you, and you will not find anything in it that would be a unity; otherwise, you would have determined it. If you represented to yourself the infinite as a unity, it would seem to you manifold; if you say that it is manifold, it will again make game of you; for, all things do not form a manifold where no one thing is one. From still another standpoint, the nature of the infinite is movement, and according to another nature, stability; for its property of being invisible by itself constitutes a movement which distinguishes it from intelligence8; its property of not being able to escape, of being exteriorly embraced, of being circumscribed within an unescapable circle constitutes a sort of stability. Movement therefore cannot be predicated of infinity, without also attributing stability to it.


4. Let us now examine how the numbers form part of the intelligible world. Are they inherent in the other forms? Or are they, since all eternity, the648 consequences of the existence of these forms? In the latter case, as the very essence possessed primary existence, we would first conceive the monad; then, as movement and stability emanated from it, we would have the triad; and each one of the remaining intelligible entities would lead to the conception of some of the other numbers. If it were not so, if a unity were inherent in each intelligible entity, the unity inherent in the first Essence would be the monad; the unity inherent in what followed it, if there be an order in the intelligible entities, would be the "pair"; last, the unity inhering in some other intelligible entity, such as, for instance, in ten, would be the decad. Nevertheless this could not yet be so, each number being conceived as existing in itself. In this case, will we be compelled to admit that number is anterior to the other intelligible entities, or posterior thereto? On this subject Plato9 says that men have arrived to the notion of number by the succession of days and nights, and he thus refers the conception of number to the diversity of (objective) things. He therefore seems to teach that it is first the numbered objects that by their diversity produce numbers, that number results from movement of the soul, which passes from one object to another, and that it is thus begotten when the soul enumerates; that is, when she says to herself, Here is one object, and there is another; while, so long as she thinks of one and the same object, she affirms nothing but unity. But when Plato says that being is in the veritable number, and that the number is in the being,10 he intends to teach that by itself number possesses a hypostatic substantial existence, that it is not begotten in the soul which enumerates, but that the variety of sense-objects merely recalls to the soul the notion of number.



5. What then is the nature of number? Is it a consequence, and partially an aspect of each being, like man and one-man, essence and one-essence? Can the same be said for all the intelligibles, and is that the origin of all numbers? If so, how is it that on high (in the intelligible world) the pair and triad exist? How are all things considered within unity, and how will it be possible to reduce number to unity, since it has a similar nature? There would thus be a multitude of unities, but no other number would be reduced to unity, except the absolute One. It might be objected that a pair is the thing, or rather the aspect of the thing which possesses two powers joined together, such as is a composite reduced to unity, or such as the Pythagoreans conceived the numbers,11 which they seem to have predicated of other objects, by analogy. For instance, they referred to justice as the (Tetrad, or) group-of-four,12 and likewise for everything else. Thus a number, as for instance a group-of-ten, would be considered as a single (group of) unity, and would be connected with the manifold contained in the single object. This, however, is an inadequate account of our conception of "ten"; we speak of the objects after gathering (ten) separate objects. Later, indeed, if these ten objects constitute a new unity, we call the group a "decad." The same state of affairs must obtain with intelligible Numbers. If such were the state of affairs (answers Plotinos), if number were considered only within objects, would it possess hypostatic existence? It might be objected, What then would hinder that, though we consider white within things, that nevertheless the White should (besides) have a hypostatic substantial existence? For movement is indeed considered within essence, and yet (it is agreed650 that) movement possesses a "hypostatic" substantial existence within essence. The case of number, however, is not similar to that of movement; for we have demonstrated that movement thus considered in itself is something unitary.13 Moreover, if no more than such a hypostatic substantial existence be predicated of number, it ceases to be a being, and becomes an accident, though it would not even then be a pure accident; for what is an accident must be something before becoming the accident (of some substance). Though being inseparable therefrom, it must possess its own individual nature in itself, like whiteness; and before being predicated of something else, it already is what it is posited. Consequently, if one be in every (being), one man is not identical with man; if "one" be something different from "man"14 and from every other (being), if it be something common to all (beings), one must be anterior to all men and to all other (beings), so that man and all other beings may be one. The one is therefore anterior to movement, since movement is one, and likewise anterior to essence, to allow for essence also being one. This of course does not refer to the absolute Unity that is recognized as superior to essence, but of the unity which is predicated of every intelligible form. Likewise, above that of which the decad is predicated subsists the "Decad in itself," for that in which the decad is recognized could not be the Decad in itself.


Does unity therefore inhere in essences, and does it subsist with them? If it inhere in essences, or if it be an accident, as health is an accident of man, it must be something individual (like health). If unity be an element of the composite, it will first have to exist651 (individually), and be an unity in itself, so as to be able to unify itself to something else; then, being blended with this other thing that it has unified, it will not longer remain really one, and will thereby even become double. Besides, how would that apply to the decad? What need of the (intelligible) Decad has that which is already a decad, by virtue of the power it possesses? Will it receive its form from that Decad? If it be its matter, if it be ten and decad only because of the presence of the Decad, the Decad will have first to exist in itself, in the pure and simple state of (being a) Decad.


6. But if, independently of the things themselves, there be an One in itself, and a Decad in itself; and if the intelligible entities be unities, pairs, or triads, independently of what they are by their being, what then is the nature of these Numbers? What is their constitution? It must be admitted that a certain Reason presides over the generation of these Numbers. It is therefore necessary clearly to understand that in general, if intelligible forms at all exist, it is not because the thinking principle first thought each of them, and thereby gave them hypostatic existence. Justice, for instance, was not born because the thinking principle thought what justice was; nor movement, because it thought what movement was. Thus thought had to be posterior to the thing thought, and the thought of justice to justice itself. On the other hand, thought is anterior to the thing that owes its existence to thought, since this thing exists only because it is thought. If then justice were identical with such a thought, it would be absurd that justice should be nothing else than its definition; for in this case, the thinking of justice or movement, would amount to a652 conception of these objects (by a definition). Now this would be tantamount to conceiving the definition of a thing that did not exist, which is impossible.


The statement that in what is immaterial, knowledge and the known thing coincide,15 must not be understood to mean that it is the knowledge of the thing which is the thing itself, nor that the reason which contemplates an object is this object itself, but rather, conversely, that it is the thing which, existing without matter, is purely intelligible and intellection. I do not here mean the intellection which is neither a definition nor an intuition of a thing; but I say that the thing itself, such as it exists in the intelligible world, is exclusively intelligence and knowledge. It is not (the kind of) knowledge that applies itself to the intelligible, it is the (actual) thing itself which keeps that knowledge (thereof possessed by reason) from remaining different from it, just as the knowledge of a material object remains different from that object; but it is a veritable (kind of) knowledge, that is, a knowledge which is not merely a simple image of the known thing, but really is the thing itself. It is not therefore the thought of the movement which produced movement in itself, but the movement in itself which produced the thought, so that the thought thinks itself as movement, and as thought. On the one hand, intelligible movement is thought by the intelligible Essence; on the other hand, it is movement in itself because it is first—for there is no movement anterior thereto; it is real movement, because it is not the accident of a subject, but because it is the actualization of the essence which moves, and possesses actualized (existence); it is therefore "being," though it be conceived as different from essence.653 Justice, for instance, is not the simple thought of justice; it is a certain disposition of Intelligence, or rather it is an actualization of a determinate nature. The face of Justice is more beautiful than the evening or morning stars, and than all visible beauty.16 Justice may be imagined as an intellectual statue which has issued from itself and which has manifested itself such as it is in itself; or rather, which subsists essentially in itself.


7. We must, in fact, conceive intelligible essences as subsisting in one nature, and one single nature as possessing and embracing all (things). There no one thing is separated from the others, as in the sense-world, where the sun, moon, and other objects each occupy a different locality; but all things exist together in one unity; such is the nature of intelligence. The (universal) Soul imitates it, in this respect, as does also the power called Nature, conformably to which, and by virtue of which individuals are begotten each in a different place, while she remains in herself. But, although all things exist together (in the unity of Intelligence), each of them is none the less different from the others. Now, these things which subsist in Intelligence and "being," are seen by the Intelligence that possesses them, not because it observes them, but because it possesses them without feeling the need of distinguishing them from each other; because from all eternity they have dwelt within it distinct from each other. We believe in the existence of these things on the faith of those who admire them, because they have participated therein. As to the magnitude and beauty of the intelligible world, we can judge of it by the love which the Soul feels for it, and if other things feel love for the Soul, it is because she herself654 possesses an intellectual nature, and that by her the other things can, to some extent, become assimilated to Intelligence. How indeed could we admit that here below was some organism gifted with beauty, without recognizing that the Organism itself (the intelligible world17) possesses an admirable and really unspeakable beauty? Further, the perfect Organism is composed of all the organisms; or rather it embraces all the organisms; just as our Universe is one, yet simultaneously is visible, because it contains all the things which are in the visible universe.


8. Since then the (universal) Organism possesses primary existence, since it is simultaneously organism, intelligence, and veritable "Being"; and as we state that it contains all organisms, numbers, justice, beauty, and the other similar beings—for we mean something different by the Man himself, and Number itself, and Justice itself—we have to determine, so far as it is possible in such things, what is the condition and nature of each intelligible entity.


(To solve this problem) let us begin by setting aside sensation, and let us contemplate Intelligence by our intelligence exclusively. Above all, let us clearly understand that, as in us life and intelligence do not consist of a corporeal mass, but in a power without mass, likewise veritable "Being" is deprived of all corporeal extension, and constitutes a power founded on itself. It does not indeed consist in something without force, but in a power sovereignly vital and intellectual, which possesses life in the highest degree, intelligence, and being. Consequently, whatever touches this power participates in the same characteristics according to the manner of its touch; in a higher655 degree, if the touch be close; in a lower degree, if the touch be distant. If existence be desirable, the completest existence (or, essence) is more desirable still. Likewise, if intelligence deserve to be desired, perfect Intelligence deserves to be desired above everything; and the same state of affairs prevails in respect to life. If then we must grant that the Essence is the first, and if we must assign the first rank to Essence, the second to Intelligence, and the third to the Organism,18 as the latter seems already to contain all things, and Intelligence justly occupies the second rank, because it is the actualization of "Being"—then number could not enter into the Organism, for before the organism already existed one and two ("Being" and Intelligence). Nor could number exist in Intelligence, for before Intelligence was "Being," which is both one and manifold. (Number therefore must exist, or originate, in the primary Being.)


9. It remains for us to discover whether it were "Being," in the process of division, that begat number, or whether it be the number that divided "Being." (This is the alternative:) either "being," movement, stability, difference and identity produced number, or it is number that produced all these (categories, or) genera. Our discussion must start thus. Is it possible that number should exist in itself, or must we contemplate two in two objects, three in three objects, and so forth? The same question arises about unity as considered within numbers; for if number can exist in itself independently of numbered things,19 it can also exist previously to the essences. Can number therefore exist before the essences? It might be well preliminarily to assert that number is posterior to the Essence, and proceeds therefrom. But then if essence be one essence, and if two essences be two essences,656 one will precede essence, and the other numbers will precede the essences. (Would number then precede the essences) only in thought and conception, or also in the hypostatic existence? We should think as follows. When you think of a man as being one, or the beautiful as being one, the one that is thus conceived in both (beings) is something that is thought only afterward. Likewise, when you simultaneously consider a dog and a horse, here also two is evidently something posterior. But if you beget the man, if you beget the horse or the dog, or if you produce them outside when they already exist in you, without begetting them, nor producing them by mere chance (of seeing them), you will say, "We should go towards one (being), then pass to another, and thus get two; then make one more being, by adding my person." Likewise, (beings) were not numbered after they were created, but before they were created, when (the creator) decided how many should be created.


The universal Number therefore existed before the essences (were created); consequently, Number was not the essences. Doubtless, Number was in Essence; but it was not yet the number of Essence; for Essence still was one. But the power of Number, hypostatically existing within it, divided it, and made it beget the manifold. Number is either the being or actualization (of Essence); the very Organism and Intelligence are number. Essence is therefore the unified number, while the essences are developed number; Intelligence is the number which moves itself, and the Organism is the number that contains. Since therefore Essence was born from Unity, Essence, as it existed within657 Unity, must be Number. That is why (the Pythagoreans20) called the ideas unities and numbers.


Such then is "essential" Number (number that is "Being"). The other kind of number, which is called a number composed of digits, or "unities," is only an image of the former. The essential Number is contemplated in the intelligible forms, and assists in producing them; on the other hand, it exists primitively in essence, with essence, and before the essences. The latter find therein their foundation, source, root and principle.21 Indeed, Number is the principle of Essence, and rests in it, otherwise it would split up. On the contrary, the One does not rest upon essence; otherwise essence would be one before participating in the One; likewise, what participates in the decad would be the decad already before participating in the decad.


10. Subsisting therefore in the manifold, Essence therefore became Number when it was aroused to multiplicity, because it already contained within itself a sort of preformation or representation of the essences which it was ready to produce, offering the essences, as it were, a locality for the things whose foundation they were to be. When we say, "so much gold," or, "so many other objects," gold is one, and one does not thereby intend to make gold out of the number, but to make a number out of the gold; it is because one already possesses the number that one seeks to apply it to gold, so as to determine its quality. If essences were anterior to Number, and if Number were contemplated in them when the enumerating power enumerates the objects, the number of the658 (beings), whatever it is, would be accidental, instead of being determined in advance. If this be not the case, then must number, preceding (the beings) determine how many of them must exist; which means that, by the mere fact of the primitive existence of the Number, the (beings) which are produced undergo the condition of being so many, and each of them participates in unity whenever they are one. Now every essence comes from Essence because essence, by itself, is Essence; likewise, the One is one by itself. If every (being) be one, and if the multitude of (beings) taken together form the unity that is in them, they are one as the triad is one, and all beings also are one; not as is the Monad (or Unity), but as is a thousand, or any other number. He who, while enumerating, produced things, proclaims that there are a thousand of them, claims to do no more than to tell out what he learns from the things, as if he was indicating their colors, while really he is only expressing a condition of his reason; without which, he would not know how much of a multitude was present there. Why then does he speak so? Because he knows how to enumerate; which indeed he knows if he know the number, and this he can know only if the number exist. But not to know what is the number, at least under the respect of quantity, would be ridiculous, and even impossible.


When one speaks of good things, one either designates objects which are such by themselves, or asserts that the good is their attribute. If one designate the goods of the first order,22 one is speaking of the first Hypostasis, or rank of existence; if one designate the things of which the good is the attribute, this implies the existence of a nature of the good which has been659 attributed to them, or which produces this characteristic within them, or which is the Good in itself, or which, producing the good, nevertheless dwells in its own nature. Likewise, when, in connection with (beings), we speak of a decad, (or, group of ten), one is either referring to the Decad in itself, or, referring to the things of which the decad is an attribute, one is forced to recognize the existence of a Decad in itself, whose being is that of a decad. Consequently, the conferring of the name "decad" implies either that these (beings) are the Decad in itself, or above them in another Decad whose being is that of being a Decad in itself.


In general, everything which is predicated of an object either comes to it from without, or is its actualization. Unless by nature it be inconstant, being present now, and absent then, if it be always present, it is a being when the object is a being. If it be denied that its nature were that of a being, it will surely be granted that it is a part of the essences, and that it is an essence. Now, if the object can be conceived without the thing which is its actualization, this thing nevertheless exists contemporaneously with it, even though in thought it be conceived posteriorily. If the object cannot be conceived without this thing, as man cannot be conceived of without one, in this case one is not posterior to man, but is simultaneous, or even anterior, since the man's subsistence is entirely dependent thereon. As to us, we recognize that Unity and Number precede (Essence and the essences).


11. It may be objected that the decad is nothing else than ten unities. If the existence of the One be660 granted, why should we not also grant the existence of ten unities? Since the supreme Unity (the unity of the first Essence), possesses hypostatic existence, why should the case not be the same with the other unities (the complex unities contained within each of the essences)? It must not be supposed that the supreme Unity is bound up with a single essence; for in this case each of the other (beings) would no longer be one. If each of the other (beings) must be one, then unity is common to all the (beings); that is that single nature which may be predicated of the multiple (beings), and which must, as we have explained it, subsist in itself (in the primary essence) before the unity which resides in the multiple (beings).


As unity is seen in some one (being), and then in some other, if the second unity possess hypostatic existence also, then the supreme Unity (of the first Essence) will not alone possess hypostatic existence, and there will be thus a multitude of unities (as there is a multitude of beings). If the hypostatic existence of the first Unity be alone acknowledged, this will exist either in the Essence in itself, or in the One in itself. If it exist in the Essence in itself, the other unities (which exist in the other beings) will then be such merely by figure of speech, and will no longer be subordinated to the primary unity; or number will be composed of dissimilar unities, and the unities will differ from each other in so far as they are unities. If the primary unity exist already in the Unity in itself, what need would that Unity in itself have of that unity to be one? If all that be impossible, we shall have to recognize the existence of the One which is purely and simply one, which, by its "being" is entirely independent of all the other beings, which is named the chief661 Unity, and is conceived of as such. If unity exist on high (in the intelligible world) without any object that may be called one, why might not another One (the one of the first Being) subsist on high also? Why would not all the (beings), each being a separate unity, not constitute a multitude of unities, which might be the "multiple unity"? As the nature (of the first Being) begets, or rather, as it has begotten (from all eternity); or at least, as it has not limited itself to one of the things it has begotten, thus rendering the unity (of the first Being) somewhat continuous; if it circumscribe (what it produces) and promptly ceases in its procession, it begets small numbers; if it advance further, moving alone not in foreign matters, but in itself, it begets large numbers. It thus harmonizes every plurality and every being with every number, knowing well that, if each of the (beings) were not in harmony with some number, either they would not exist, or they would bear neither proportion, measure, nor reason.


12. (Aristotle23) objects that "One" and "Unity" have no hypostatic (or, genuine) existence. Everywhere the One is something that is one. That is nothing but a simple modification experienced in our soul in presence of each essence. We might as easily affirm that when we assert "essence," this is but a simple modification of our soul, Essence (in itself) being absolutely nothing. If it be insisted that Essence exists because it excites and strikes our soul, which then represents it to herself, we see that the soul is equally impressed by the One, and represents Him to herself. Besides, we should ask (Aristotle) if this modification or conception of our soul do not bear to us the aspect of unity or the manifold? So much662 the more, we often say that an object is not one; evidently we then are not deriving the notion of unity from the object, because we are affirming that there is no unity in it. Unity therefore dwells within us, and it is in us without the object of which we predicate that it is some one thing.


It may be objected that having this unity in our soul depends on receiving from the exterior object a notion and an image, which is a conception furnished by this object. As the philosophers who profess this opinion do not differentiate the species of one and of number, and as they allow them no other hypostatic existence (than to be conceived by our soul), if they (practically do) allow them any sort of hypostatic existence, it will be very interesting to scrutinize the opinions of these.24 They then say that the notion or conception that we have of the one or of the number derives from the objects themselves, is a notion as much "a posteriori" as those of "that,"25 "something," "crowd," "festival," "army," or of "multitude"; for, just as the manifold is nothing without the multiple objects, nor a festival without the men gathered to celebrate the religious ceremony, thus "the One" is nothing without the one object, when we posit the one, conceiving it alone, having made an abstraction of everything else. The partisans of this opinion will cite many examples of the same kind, as the "right hand side," "the upper part," and their contraries. What reality indeed (to speak as they do), can the "right hand side" possess outside of a person who stands or sits here or there26? The case is similar with "the upper side," which refers to a certain part of the universe, and the "lower side" to another.27 Our first answer to this argument is that we will allow663 that there is a certain kind of existence in the things themselves of which we have just spoken; but that this mode of existence is not identical in all things, considered either in respect to each other, or each in respect to the One which is in all. Further, we intend to refute one by one these arguments that have been opposed to us.


13. To begin with, it is unreasonable to insist that the notion of the subject one comes to us from the subject itself (which is one), from the visible man, for instance, or from some other animal, or even some stone. Evidently the visible man and the One are things entirely different, which could not be identified28; otherwise, our judgment would not be able (as it is) to predicate unity of the non-man. Besides, as the judgment does not operate on emptiness for the right side, and other such things, seeing a difference of position when it tells us that an object is here, or there; likewise, it also sees something when it says that an object is one; for it does not experience there an affection that is vain, and it does not affirm unity without some foundation. It cannot be believed that the judgment says that an object is one because it sees that it is alone, and that there is no other; for, while saying that there is no other, the judgment implicitly asserts that the other is one. Further, the notions of "other" and "different" are notions posterior to that of unity; if the judgment did not rise to unity, it would not assert either the "other" nor the "different"; when it affirms that an object is alone, it says, "there is one only object"; and therefore predicates unity before "only." Besides, the judgment which affirms is itself a substantial (being) before affirming unity of some other (being); and the (being) of which it speaks is664 one likewise before the judgment either asserts or conceives anything about it. Thus (being) must be one or many; if it be many, the one is necessarily anterior, since, when the judgment asserts that plurality is present, it evidently asserts that there is more than one; likewise, when it says that an army is a multitude, it conceives of the soldiers as arranged in one single corps. By this last example, it is plain that the judgment (in saying one body), does not let the multitude remain multitude, and that it thus reveals the existence of unity; for, whether by giving to the multitude a unity which it does not possess, or by rapidly revealing unity in the arrangement (which makes the body of the multitude), the judgment reduces multitude to unity. It does not err here about unity, any more than when it says of a building formed by a multitude of stones that it is a unity; for, besides, a building is more unified than an army.29 If, further, unity inhere in a still higher degree in that which is continuous, and in a degree still higher in what is not divisible,30 evidently that occurs only because the unity has a real nature, and possesses existence; for there is no greater or less in that which does not exist.


Just as we predicate being of every sense-thing, as well as of every intelligible thing, we predicate it in a higher degree of intelligible things, attributing a higher degree (of substantiality) to the (beings that are veritable than to sense-objects), and to sense-objects than to other genera (of physical objects); likewise, clearly seeing unity in sense-objects in a degree higher than in the intelligible (essences), we recognize the existence of unity in all its modes, and we refer them all to Unity in itself. Besides, just as "being and essence"31 are nothing sensual, though sense-objects665 participate therein, so unity, though by participation it inhere in sense-objects, is not any the less an intelligible Unity. Judgment grasps it by an intellectual conception; by seeing one thing (which is sensual) it also conceives another which it does not see (because it is intelligible); it therefore knew this thing in advance; and if judgment knew it in advance, judgment was this thing, and was identical with that whose existence it asserted. When it says, "a certain" object, it asserts the unity, as, when it speaks of "certain" objects, it says that they are two or more. If then one cannot conceive of any object whatever without "one," "two," or some other number, it becomes possible to insist that the thing without which nothing can be asserted or conceived, does not at all exist. We cannot indeed deny existence to the thing without whose existence we could not assert or conceive anything. Now that which is everywhere necessary to speak and to conceive must be anterior to speech and conception, so as to contribute to their production. If, besides, this thing be necessary to the hypostatic existence of every essence—for there is no essence that lacks unity—it must be anterior to being, and being must be begotten by it. That is why we say "an essence" instead of first positing "essence," and "a" only thereafter, for there must be "one" in essence, to make "several" possible; but (the converse is not true; for) unity does not contain essence, unless unity itself produce it by applying itself to the begetting of it. Likewise, the word "that" (when employed to designate an object) is not meaningless; for instead of naming the object, it proclaims its existence, its presence, its "being," or some other of its kinds of "essence." The word "that" does not therefore express something without reality, it does not proclaim an empty conception, but it designates an object as definitely as some proper name.



14. As to those who consider unity as relative, they might be told that unity could not lose its proper nature merely as a result of the affection experienced by some other being without itself being affected. It cannot cease being one without experiencing the privation of unity by division into two or three. If, on being divided, a mass become double without being destroyed in respect to its being a mass, evidently, besides the subject, there existed unity; and the mass lost it because the unity was destroyed by the division. So this same thing which now is present, and now disappears, should be classified among essences wherever it be found; and we must recognize that, though it may be an accident of other objects, it nevertheless exists by itself, whether it manifest in sense-objects, or whether it be present in intelligent entities; it is only an accident in posterior (beings, namely, the sense-objects); but it exists in itself in the intelligible entities, especially in the first Essence, which is One primarily, and only secondarily essence.


The objection that unity, without itself experiencing anything, by the mere addition of something else, is no longer one, but becomes double, is a mistake.32 The one has not become two, and is not that which has been added to it, nor that to which something has been added. Each of them remains one, such as it was; but two can be asserted of their totality, and one of each of them separately. Two therefore, not any more than "pair," is by nature a relation. If the pair consisted in the union (of two objects), and if "being united" were identical with "to duplicate," in this case the667 union, as well as the pair, would constitute two. Now a "pair" appears likewise in a state contrary (to that of the reunion of two objects); for two may be produced by the division of a single object. Two, therefore, is neither reunion nor division, as it would have to be in order to constitute a relation.


What then is the principal cause (by virtue of which objects participate in numbers)? A being is one by the presence of one; double, because of the presence of the pair; just as it is white because of the presence of whiteness; beautiful, because of the presence of beauty; and just by that of justice. If that be not admitted, we shall be reduced to asserting that whiteness, beauty and justice are nothing real, and that their only causes are simple relations; that justice consists in some particular relation with some particular being; that beauty has no foundation other than the affection that we feel; that the object which seems beautiful possesses nothing capable of exciting this affection either by nature, or by acquirement. When you see an object that is one, and that you call single, it is simultaneously great, beautiful, and susceptible of receiving a number of other qualifications. Now why should unity not inhere in the object as well as greatness and magnitude, sweetness and bitterness, and other qualities? We have no right to admit that quality, whatever it be, forms part of the number of beings, whilst quantity is excluded; nor to limit quantity to continuous quantity, while discrete quantity is excluded from the conception of quantity; and that so much the less as continuous quantity is measured by discrete quantity. Thus, just as an object is great because of the presence of magnitude, as it is one by the presence of unity; so668 is it double because of the presence of being a pair, and so forth.33


Should we be asked to describe the operation of the participation of objects in unity and in numbers, we shall answer that this question connects with the more general problem of the participation of objects in intelligible forms. Besides, we shall have to admit that the decad presents itself under different aspects, according as it is considered to exist either in discrete quantities, or in continuous quantities, or in the reduction of many great forces to unity, or, last, into the intelligible entities to which we are later raised. It is among them, indeed, that are found the veritable Numbers (spoken of by Plato,10) which, instead of being considered as discovered in other (beings), exist within themselves; such is the Decad-in-itself, which exists by itself, instead of simply being a decad34 composed of some intelligible entities.


15. (From the above discussion about the intelligibility of numbers) let us now return to what we said in the beginning. The universal (Being) is veritable Essence, Intelligence, and perfect living Organism; and at the same time contains also all the living organisms. Our universe, which also is an organism, by its unity imitates so far as it can the unity of the perfect living Organism. I say, to the extent of its capacity, because, by its nature, the sense-world has departed from the unity of the intelligible world; otherwise, it would not be the sense-world. Moreover, the universal living Organism must be the universal669 Number; for if it were not a perfect number, it would lack some number; and if it did not contain the total number of living organisms, it would not be the perfect living Organism. Number therefore exists before every living organism, and before the universal living Organism. Man and the other living organisms are in the intelligible world; so far as they are living organisms, and so far as the intelligible world is the universal living Organism; for man, even here below, is a part of the living Organism, so far as itself is a living organism, and as the living Organism is universal; the other living organisms are also in the living Organism, so far as each of them is a living organism.


Likewise, Intelligence, as such, contains all the individual intelligences as its parts.35 These, however, form a number. Consequently, the number which is in the Intelligence does not occupy the first degree. So far as the number is in Intelligence, it is equal to the quantity of the actualizations of Intelligence. Now, these actualizations are wisdom, justice, and the other virtues, science, and all the (ideas) whose possession characterizes it as veritable Intelligence. (If then science exist in the Intelligence) how does it happen that it is not there in some principle other than itself? In Intelligence the knower, the known, and science are one and the same thing; and with everything else within it. That is why every (entity) exists in the intelligible world in its highest degree. For instance, within it, Justice is no accident, though it be one in the soul, as such; for intelligible entities are in the soul (only in) potential condition (so long as she remains no more than soul); and they are actualized when the soul rises to Intelligence and dwells with it.67036


Besides Intelligence, and anterior thereto, exists Essence. It contains Number, with which it begets (beings); for it begets them by moving according to number, determining upon the numbers before giving hypostatic existence to the (beings), just as the unity (of essence) precedes its (existence), and interrelates it with the First (or, absolute Unity). Numbers interrelate nothing else to the First; it suffices for Essence to be interrelated with Him, because Essence, on becoming Number, attaches all (beings) to itself. Essence is divided not so far as it is a unity (for its unity is permanent); but having divided itself conformably to its nature in as many things as it decided on, it saw into how many things it had divided itself; and through this (process) it begat the number that exists within itself; for it divided itself by virtue of the potentialities of number, and it begat as many (beings) as number comported.


The first and veritable Number is therefore the source and principle21 of hypostatic existence for beings. That is the reason that even here below, the classified both discrete and continuous quantity38 and, with a different number, it is some other thing that is begotten, or nothing more can be begotten. Such are the primary Numbers, so far as they can be numbered. The numbers that subsist in other things play two parts. So far as they proceed from the First, they can be numbered; so far as they are below them, they measure other things, they serve to enumerate both numbers and things which can be enumerated. How indeed could you even say "ten" without the aid of numbers within yourself?



16. The first objection might be, Where do you locate, or how do you classify these primary and veritable Numbers? All the philosophers (who follow Aristotle) classify numbers in the genus of quantity. It seems that we have above treated of quantity, and classified both discrete and continuous quantity38 among other "beings." Here however we seem to say that these Numbers form part of the primary Essences, and add that there are, in addition, numbers that serve for enumerations. We are now asked how we make these statements agree, for they seem to give rise to several questions. Is the unity which is found among sense-beings a quantity? Or is unity a quantity when repeated, while, when considered alone and in itself, it is the principle of quantity, but not a quantity itself? Besides, if unity be the principle of quantity, does it share the nature of quantity, or has it a different nature? Here are a number of points we ought to expound. We shall answer these questions, and here is what we consider our starting-point.


When, considering visible objects, by which we ought to begin, we combine one (being) with another, as for instance, a horse and a dog, or two men, and say that they form two; or, when considering a greater number of men we say they are ten, and form a group of ten, this number does not constitute being, nor an (accident) among sense-objects; it is purely and simply a quantity. Dividing this group of ten by unity, and making unity of its parts, you obtain and constitute the principle of quantity (unity) for a unity thus derived from a group of ten.



But when you say that the Man considered in himself is a number, as, for instance, a pair, because he is both animal and reasonable, we have here no more than a simple modality. For, while reasoning and enumerating we produce a quantity; but so far as there are here two things (animal and reasonable), and as each of them is one, as each completes the being of the man, and possesses unity; we are here using and proclaiming another kind of number, the essential Number. Here the pair is not posterior to things; it does not limit itself to expressing a quantity which is exterior to essence; it expresses what is in the very being of this essence, and contains its nature.


Indeed, it is not you who here below produce number when you by discursive reason range through things that exist by themselves, and which do not depend for their existence on your enumeration; for you add nothing to the being of a man by enumerating him with another. That is no unity, as in a "choric ballet." When you say, ten men, "ten" exists only in you who are enumerating. We could not assert that "ten" exists in the ten men you are enumerating, because these men are not co-ordinated so as to form a unity; it is you yourself who produce ten by enumerating this group of ten, and by making up a quantity. But when you say, a "choric ballet," an "army," there is something which exists outside of these objects, and within yourself.39 How are we to understand that the number exists in you? The number which existed in you before you made the enumeration has another mode (of existence) (than the number that you produce by673 enumeration). As to the number which manifests itself in exterior objects and refers to the number within yourself, it constitutes an actualization of the essential numbers, or, is conformable to the essential Numbers; for, while enumerating you produce a number, and by this actualization you give hypostatic existence to quantity, as in walking you did to movement.


In what sense does the number which is within us (before we enumerate) have a mode (of existence) other (than the one we produce in enumeration)? Because it is the number constitutive of our being, which, as Plato says,40 participates in number and harmony, and is a number and harmony; for the soul is said to be neither a body nor an extension; she therefore is a number, since she is a being. The number of the body is a being of the same nature as the body; the number of the soul consists in the beings which are incorporeal like souls. Then, for the intelligible entities, if the animal itself be plurality, if it be a triad, the triad that exists in the animal is essential. As to the triad which subsists, not in the animal, but in essence, it is the principle of being. If you enumerate the animal and the beautiful, each of these two in itself is a unity; but (in enumerating them), you beget number in yourself, and you conceive a certain quantity, the pair. If (like the Pythagoreans) you say that virtue is a group of four, or tetrad, it is one so far as its parts (justice, prudence, courage, and temperance) contribute to the formation of a unity; you may add that this group of four, or tetrad, is a unity, so far as it is a kind of substrate; as to you, you connect this tetrad with the one that is inside of you.67441


17. As the reasons here advanced would seem to imply that every number is limited, we may ask in which sense may a number be said to be infinite? This conclusion is right, for it is against the nature of number to be infinite. Why do people then often speak of a number as infinite? Is it in the same sense that one calls a line infinite? A line is said to be infinite, not that there really exists an infinite line of this kind, but to imply the conception of a line as great as possible, greater than any given line. Similarly with number. When we know which is the number (of certain objects), we can double it by thought, without, on that account, adding any other number to the first. How indeed would it be possible to add to exterior objects the conception of our imagination, a conception that exists in ourselves exclusively? We shall therefore say that, among intelligible entities, a line is infinite; otherwise, the intelligible line would be a simple quantative expression. If however the intelligible line be not this, it must be infinite in number; but we then understand the word "infinite" in a sense other than that of having no limits that could not be transcended. In what sense then is the word "infinite" here used? In the sense that the conception of a limit is not implied in the being of a line in itself.


What then is the intelligible line, and where does it exist? It is posterior to number43; for unity appears in the line, since this starts from the unity (of the point), and because it has but one dimension (length); now the measure of dimension is not a quantative (entity). Where then does the intelligible Line exist?675 It exists only in the intelligence that defines it; or, if it be a thing, it is but something intellectual. In the intelligible world, in fact, everything is intellectual, and such as the thing itself is. It is in this same world, likewise, where is made the decision where and how the plane, the solid, and all other figures are to be disposed. For it is not we who create the figures by conceiving them. This is so because the figure of the world is anterior to us, and because the natural figures which are suitable to the productions of nature, are necessarily anterior to the bodies, and in the intelligible world exist in the state of primary figures, without determining limits, for these forms exist in no other subjects; they subsist by themselves, and have no need of extension, because the extension is the attribute of a subject.


Everywhere, therefore, in essence, is a single (spherical) figure,44 and each of these figures (which this single figure implicitly contained) has become distinct, either in, or before the animal. When I say that each figure has become distinct, I do not mean that it has become an extension, but that it has been assigned to some particular animal; thus, in the intelligible world, each body has been assigned its own characteristic figure, as, for instance, the pyramid to the fire.45 Our world seeks to imitate this figure, although it cannot accomplish this, because of matter. There are other figures here below that are analogous to the intelligible figures.


But are the figures in the living Organism as such, or, if it cannot be doubted that they are in the living Organism, do they anteriorly exist in the Intelligence?676 If the Organism contained Intelligence, the figures would be in the first degree in the Organism. But as it is the Intelligence that contains the Organism, they are in the first degree in Intelligence. Besides, as the souls are contained in the perfect living Organism, it is one reason more for the priority of the Intelligence. But Plato says,46 "Intelligence sees the Ideas comprised within the perfect living Organism." Now, if it see the Ideas contained in the perfect living Organism, Intelligence must be posterior to the latter. By the words "it sees" it should be understood that the existence of the living Organism itself is realized in this vision. Indeed, the Intelligence which sees is not something different from the Organism which is seen; but (in Intelligence) all things form but one. Only, thought has a pure and simple sphere, while the Organism has an animated sphere.47


18. Thus, in the intelligible world, every number is finite. But we can conceive of a number greater than any assigned number, and thus it is that our mind, while considering the numbers, produces the (notion of the) infinite. On the contrary, in the intelligible world, it is impossible to conceive a number greater than the Number conceived (by divine Intelligence); for on high Number exists eternally; no Number is lacking, or could ever lack, so that one could never add anything thereto.


Nevertheless, the intelligible Number might be called infinite in the sense that it is unmeasured. By what,677 indeed, could it be measured? The Number that exists on high is universal, simultaneous one and manifold, constituting a whole circumscribed by no limit (a whole that is infinite); it is what it is by itself. None of the intelligible beings, indeed, is circumscribed by any limit. What is really limited and measured is what is hindered from losing itself in the infinite, and demands measure. But all of the intelligible (beings) are measures; whence it results that they are all beautiful. So far as it is a living organism, the living Organism in itself is beautiful, possessing an excellent life, and lacking no kind of life; it does not have a life mingled with death, it contains nothing mortal nor perishable. The life of the living Organism in itself has no fault; it is the first Life, full of vigor and energy, a primary Light whose rays vivify both the souls that dwell on high, and those that descend here below. This Life knows why it lives; it knows its principle and its goal; for its principle is simultaneously its goal. Besides, universal Wisdom, the universal Intelligence, which is intimately united to the living Organism, which subsists in it and with it, still improves it; heightening its hues as it were by the splendor of its wisdom, and rendering its beauty more venerable. Even here below, a life full of wisdom is that which is most venerable and beautiful, though we can hardly catch a glimpse of such a life. On high, however, the vision of life is perfectly clear; the (favored initiate) receives from Life both capacity to behold and increased vitality; so that, thanks to a more energetic life, the beholder receives a clearer vision, and he becomes what he sees. Here below, our glance often rests on inanimate things, and even when it turns towards living beings, it first notices in them that which lacks life. Besides, the life which is hidden in them is already mingled with other things. On high, on the contrary, all the (beings) are alive, entirely678 alive, and their life is pure. If at the first aspect you should look on something as deprived of life, soon the life within it would burst out before your eyes.


Contemplate therefore the Being that penetrates the intelligibles, and which communicates to them an immutable life; contemplate the Wisdom and Knowledge that resides within them, and you will not be able to keep from deriding this inferior nature to which the vulgar human beings attribute genuine "being." It is in this supreme "Being" that dwell life and intelligence, and that the essences subsist in eternity. There, nothing issues (from Essence), nothing changes or agitates it; for there is nothing outside of it that could reach it; if a single thing existed outside of ("being"), ("being") would be dependent on it. If anything opposed to (essence) existed, this thing would escape the action of ("being"); it would no longer owe its existence to ("being"), but would constitute a common principle anterior to it, and would be essence. Parmenides48 therefore was right in saying that the Essence was one; that it was immutable, not because there was nothing else (that could modify it), but because it was essence. Alone, therefore, does Essence possess self-existence. How then could one, to Essence, refuse to attribute existence, or any of the things of which it is an actualization, and which it constitutes? So long as it exists, it gives them to itself; and since it exists always, these things therefore eternally subsist within it.


Such are the power and beauty of Essence that it (charms and) attracts all things, holding them as it679 were suspended, so that these are delighted to possess even a trace of its perfection, and seek nothing beyond, except the Good. For Essence is anterior to the Good in respect to us (when we climb up from here below to the intelligible world). The entire intelligible world aspires to the Life and Wisdom so as to possess existence; all the souls, all the intelligences likewise aspire to possess it; Essence alone is fully self-sufficient.


Of Sight; or of Why Distant Objects Seem Small.49


1. What is the cause that when distant visible objects seem smaller, and that, though separated by a great space, they seem to be close to each other, while if close, we see them in their true size, and their true distance? The cause of objects seeming smaller at a distance might be that light needs to be focussed near the eye, and to be accommodated to the size of the pupils50; that the greater the distance of the matter of the visible object, the more does its form seem to separate from it during its transit to the eyes; and that, as there is a form of quantity as well as of quality, it is the reason (or, form) of the latter which alone reaches the eye. On the other hand, (Epicurus) thinks that we feel magnitude only by the passage and the successive introduction of its parts, one by one; and that, consequently, magnitude must be brought within our reach, and near us, for us to determine its quantity.


(Do objects at a distance seem smaller) because we perceive magnitude only by accident, and because color is perceived first? In this case, when an object is near, we perceive its colored magnitude; when at a distance, we perceive first its color, not well enough distinguishing its parts to gather exact knowledge of its quantity, because its colors are less lively. Why should681 we be surprised at magnitudes being similar to sounds, which grow weaker as their form decreases in distinctness? As to sounds, indeed, it is the form that is sought by the sense of hearing, and here intensity is noticed only as an accident. But if hearing perceive magnitude only by accident, to what faculty shall we attribute the primitive perception of intensity in sound, just as primitive perception of magnitude in the visible object is referable to the sense of touch? Hearing perceives apparent magnitude by determining not the quantity but the intensity of sounds; this very intensity of sounds, however, is perceived only by accident (because it is its proper object). Likewise, taste does not by accident feel the intensity of a sweet savor. Speaking strictly, the magnitude of a sound is its extent. Now the intensity of a sound indicates its extent only by accident, and therefore in an inexact manner. Indeed a thing's intensity is identical with the thing itself. The multitude of a thing's parts is known only by the extent of space occupied by the object.


It may be objected that a color cannot be less large, and that it can only be less vivid. However, there is a common characteristic in something smaller and less vivid; namely, that it is less than what it is its being to be. As to color, diminution implies weakness; as to size, smallness. Magnitude connected with color diminishes proportionally with it. This is evident in the perception of a varied object, as, for instance, in the perception of mountains covered with houses, forests, and many other objects; here the distinctness of detail affords a standard by which to judge of the whole. But when the view of the details does not impress itself on the eye, the latter no longer grasps682 the extent of the whole through measurement of the extent offered to its contemplation by the details. Even in the case where the objects are near and varied, if we include them all in one glance without distinguishing all their parts, the more parts our glance loses, the smaller do the objects seem. On the contrary, if we distinguish all their details, the more exactly do we measure them, and learn their real size. Magnitudes of uniform color deceive the eye because the latter can no longer measure their extent by its parts; and because, even if the eye attempt to do so, it loses itself, not knowing where to stop, for lack of difference between the parts.


The distant object seems to us close because our inability to distinguish the parts of the intervening space does not permit us to determine exactly its magnitude. When sight can no longer traverse the length of an interval by determining its quality, in respect to its form, neither can it any longer determine its quantity in respect to magnitude.


2. Some51 hold that distant objects seem to us lesser only because they are seen under a smaller visual angle. Elsewhere52 we have shown that this is wrong; and here we shall limit ourselves to the following considerations. The assertion that a distant object seems less because it is perceived under a smaller visual angle supposes that the rest of the eye still sees something outside of this object, whether this be some other object, or something external, such as the air. But if683 we suppose that the eye sees nothing outside of this object, whether this object, as would a great mountain, occupy the whole extent of the glance, and permit nothing beyond it to be seen; or whether it even extend beyond the sweep of the glance on both sides, then this object should not, as it actually does, seem smaller than it really is, even though it fill the whole extension of the glance. The truth of this observation can be verified by a mere glance at the sky. Not in a single glance can the whole hemisphere be perceived, for the glance could not be extended widely enough to embrace so vast an expanse. Even if we grant the possibility of this, and that the whole glance embraces the whole hemisphere; still the real magnitude of the heaven is greater than its apparent magnitude. How then by the diminution of the visual angle could we explain the smallness of the apparent magnitude of the sky, on the hypothesis that it is the diminution of the visual angle which makes distant objects appear smaller?


Does Happiness Increase With Time?53


1. Does happiness increase with duration of time? No: for the feeling of happiness exists only in the present. The memory of past happiness could not add anything to happiness itself. Happiness is not a word, but a state of soul. But a state of soul is a present (experience), such as, for instance, the actualization of life.


2. Might happiness not be the satisfaction of the desire of living and activity, inasmuch as this desire is ever present with us? (Hardly). First, according to this hypothesis, the happiness of to-morrow would ever be greater than that of to-day, and that of the following day than that of the day before, and so on to infinity. In this case, the measure of happiness would no longer be virtue (but duration). Then, the beatitude of the divinities will also have to become greater from day to day; it would no longer be perfect, and could never become so.54 Besides, desire finds its satisfaction in the possession of what is present, both now, and in the future. So long as these present circumstances exist, their possession constitutes happiness. Further, as the desire of living can be no more685 than the desire to exist, the latter desire can refer to the present only, inasmuch as real existence (essence) inheres only in the present. Desire for a future time, or for some later event, means no more than a desire to preserve what one already possesses. Desire refers neither to the future nor the past, but to what exists at present. What is sought is not a perpetual progression in the future, but the enjoyment of what exists from the present moment onward.


3. What shall be said of him who lived happily during a longer period, who has longer contemplated the same spectacle? If such longer contemplation resulted in a clearer idea thereof, the length of time has served some useful purpose; but if the agent contemplated it in the same manner for the whole extent of time, he possesses no advantage over him who contemplated it only once.


4. It might be objected that the former of these men enjoyed pleasure longer than the other. This consideration has nothing to do with happiness. If by this (enjoyed) pleasure we mean the free exercise (of intelligence), the pleasure referred to is then identical with the happiness here meant. This higher pleasure referred to is only to possess what is here ever present; what of it is past is of no further value.


5. Would equal happiness be predicated of three men, one who had been happy from his life's beginning686 to its end, the other only at its end, and the third, who had been happy, but who ceased being such.55 This comparison is not between three men who are happy, but between one man who is happy, with two who are deprived of happiness, and that at the (present moment) when happiness (counts most). If then one of them have any advantage, he possesses it as a man actually happy compared with such as are not; he therefore surpasses the two others by the actual possession of happiness.


6. (It is generally agreed that) all calamities, sufferings, griefs and similar evils are aggravated in proportion to their duration. If then, in all these cases, evil be increased with time, why should not the same circumstance obtain in the contrary case? Why should happiness also not be increased?56 Referring to griefs and sufferings, it might reasonably be said that they are increased by duration. When, for example, sickness is prolonged, and becomes a habitual condition, the body suffers more and more profoundly as time goes on. If, however, evil ever remain at the same degree, it does not grow worse, and there is no need of complaining but of the present. Consideration of the past evil amounts to considering the traces left by evil, the morbid disposition whose intensity is increased by time, because its seriousness is proportionate to its duration. In this case it is not the length of time, but the aggravation of the evil which adds to the misfortune. But the new degree (of intensity) does not subsist simultaneously with the old, and it is unreasonable to predicate an increase as summation of what is no more to what now is. On the contrary, it is the fixed characteristic of happiness to have a fixed term, to remain ever687 the same. Here also the only increase possibly due to duration of time depends on the relation between an increase in virtue and one in happiness; and the element to be reckoned with here is not the number of years of happiness, but the degree of virtue finally acquired.


7. It might be objected that it is inconsistent to consider the present only, exclusive of the past (as in the case of happiness), when we do not do so in respect of time. For the addition of past to present unquestionably lengthens time. If then we may properly say that time becomes longer, why may we not say the same of happiness?—Were we to do so, we would be applying happiness to divisions of time, while it is precisely to bring out the indivisibility of happiness that it is considered to be measured by the present exclusively. While considering time, in respect of things that have vanished, such as, for instance, the dead, it is perfectly reasonable to reckon the past; but it would be unreasonable to compare past happiness with present happiness in respect to duration, because it would be treating happiness as something accidental and temporary. Whatever might be the length of time that preceded the present, all that can be said of it is, that it is no more. To regard duration while considering happiness is to try to disperse and fraction something that is one and indivisible, something that exists only in the present. That is why time is called an image of eternity, inasmuch as it tends to destroy eternity's permanence through its own dispersion.57 By abstracting permanence from eternity, and appropriating it, time destroys eternity; for a short period, permanence may survive in association with688 time; but as soon as it becomes fused with it, eternity perishes. Now as happiness consists in the enjoyment of a life that is good, namely in that which is proper to Essence (in itself), because none better exists, it must, instead of time, have, as a measure, eternity itself, a principle which admits neither increase nor diminution, which cannot be compared to any length, whose nature it is to be indivisible, and superior to time. No comparison, therefore, should be instituted between essence and non-essence, eternity and time, the perpetual and the eternal; nor should extension be predicated of the indivisible. If we regard existence of Essence in itself, it will be necessary to regard it entire; to consider it, not as the perpetuity of time, but as the very life of eternity, a life which instead of consisting of a series of centuries, exists entire since all centuries.


8. Somebody might object that by subsisting till the present, the memory of the past adds something more to him who has long lived happily. In this case it will be necessary to examine what is meant by this memory. If it mean the memory of former wisdom, and if it mean that he who would possess this memory would become wiser on account of it, then this memory differs from our question (which studies happiness, and not wisdom). If it mean the memory of pleasure, it would imply that the happy man has need of much pleasure, and cannot remain satisfied with what is present. Besides, there is no proof that the memory of a past pleasure is at all pleasant; on the contrary, it would be entirely ridiculous to remember with delight having tasted a delicious dish the day before, and still more ridiculous remembering such an enjoyment ten689 years ago. It would be just as ridiculous to pride one self on having been a wise man last year.


9. Could not the memory of virtuous actions contribute to happiness? No: for such a memory cannot exist in a man who has no virtue at present, and who thereby is driven to seek out the memory of past virtues.


10. Another objection is that length of time would give opportunity for doing many beautiful deeds; while this opportunity is denied him who lives happily only a short period. This may be answered by denying happiness to a man on the grounds of having done many beautiful deeds. If several parts of time and several actions are to constitute happiness, then it would be constituted by things that are no more, that are past, and by present things; whereas our definition of happiness limits it exclusively to the present. Then we considered whether length of time add to happiness. There remains only to examine whether happiness of long duration be superior because of yielding opportunities of doing more beautiful deeds. To begin with, the man who is inactive may be just as happy, if not more happy than he who is active. Besides, it is not actions themselves which yield happiness; (the sources of happiness) are states of mind, which are the principles of beautiful actions. The wise man enjoys welfare while active, but not because of this activity; he derives (this welfare) not from contingent things, but from what he possesses in himself. For it might happen even to a vicious man to save his fatherland, or to feel pleasure in seeing it saved by some690 other. It is not then these activities which are the causes of the enjoyment of happiness. True beatitude and the joys it yields must be derived from the constant disposition of the soul. To predicate it of activity, would be to make it depend on things alien to virtue and the soul. The soul's actualization consists in being wise, and in exercising her self-activity; this is true happiness.


About Mixture to the Point of Total Penetration.


1. The subject of the present consideration is mixture to the point of total penetration of the different bodies. This has been explained in two ways: that the two liquids are mingled so as mutually to interpenetrate each other totally, or that only one of them penetrates the other. The difference between these two theories is of small importance. First we must set aside the opinion of (Anaxagoras and Democritus58), who explain mixture as a juxtaposition, because this is a crude combination, rather than a mixture.59 Mixture should render the whole homogeneous, so that even the smallest molecules might each be composed of the various elements of the mixture.


As to the (Peripatetic) philosophers who assert that in a mixture only the qualities mingle, while the material extension of both bodies are only in juxtaposition, so long as the qualities proper to each of them are spread throughout the whole mass, they seem to establish the rightness of their opinion by attacking the doctrine which asserts that the two bodies mutually interpenetrate in mixture.60 (They object) that the molecules of both bodies will finally lose all magnitude692 by this continuous division which will leave no interval between the parts of either of the two bodies; for if the two bodies mutually interpenetrate each other in every part, their division must become continuous. Besides, the mixture often occupies an extent greater than each body taken separately, and as great as if mere juxtaposition had occurred. Now if two bodies mutually interpenetrate totally, the resulting mixture would occupy no more place than any one of them taken separately. The case where two bodies occupy no more space than a single one of them is by these philosophers explained by the air's expulsion, which permits one of the bodies to penetrate into the pores of the other. Besides, in the case of the mixture of two bodies of unequal extent, how could the body of the smaller extend itself sufficiently to spread into all the parts of the greater? There are many other such reasons.


We now pass to the opinions of (Zeno and the other Stoic) philosophers,61 who assert that two bodies which make up a mixture mutually interpenetrate each other totally. They support this view by observing that when the bodies interpenetrate totally, they are divided without the occurrence of a continuous division (which would make their molecules lose their magnitude). Indeed, perspiration issues from the human body without its being divided or riddled with holes. To this it may be objected that nature may have endowed our body with a disposition to permit perspiration to issue easily. To this (the Stoics) answer that certain substances (like ivory62), which when worked into thin sheets, admit, in all their parts, a liquid (oat-gruel) which passes from one surface to the other. As these substances are bodies, it693 is not easy to understand how one element can penetrate into another without separating its molecules. On the other hand, total division must imply mutual destruction (because their molecules would lose all magnitude whatever). When, however, two mingled bodies do not together occupy more space than either of them separately (the Stoics) seem forced to admit to their adversaries that this phenomenon is caused by the displacement of air.


In the case where the compound occupies more space than each element separately, it might (though with little probability), be asserted, that, since every body, along with its other qualities, implies size, a local extension must take place. No more than the other qualities could this increase perish. Since, out of both qualities, arises a new form, as a compound of the mixture of both qualities; so also must another size arise, the mixture combining the size out of both. Here (the Peripatetics) might answer (the Stoics): "If you assert a juxtaposition of substances, as well as of the masses which possess extension, you are actually adopting our opinions. If however one of the masses, with its former extension, penetrate the entire mass of the other, the extension, instead of increasing, as in the case where one line is added to another by joining their extremities, will not increase any more than when two straight lines are made to coincide by superimposing one on the other."


The case of the mixture of a smaller quantity with a greater one, such as of a large body with a very small one, leads (the Peripatetics) to consider it impossible694 that the great body should spread in all the parts of the small one. Where the mixture is not evident, the (Peripatetics) might claim that the smaller body does not unite with all the parts of the greater. When however the mixture is evident, they can explain it by the extension of the masses, although it be very doubtful that a small mass would assume so great an extension, especially when we attribute to the composite body a greater extent, without nevertheless admitting its transformation, as when water transforms itself into air.


2. What happens when a mass of water transforms itself into air? This question demands particular treatment; for how can the transformed element occupy a greater extension? (We shall not try to explain it on either the Peripatetic or Stoic principles) because we have sufficiently developed above the numerous reasons advanced by both those schools. We had better now consider which of the two systems we ourselves might adopt, and on which side lies reason. Besides, we should consider whether, besides these both, there be not place for a third opinion.


When water flows through wool, or when paper allows water to filter through it, why does not the whole of the water pass through these substances (without partly remaining within them)? If the water remain therein partially, we shall not be able to unite the two substances or masses. Shall we say that the qualities alone are confused (or, mingled)? Water is not in juxtaposition with the paper, nor is lodged in its695 pores; for the whole paper is penetrated thereby, and no portion of the matter lacks that quality. If matter be united to quality everywhere, water must everywhere be present in the paper. If it be not water that everywhere is present in the paper, but only (humidity which is) the quality of the water, where then is the water itself? Why is not the mass the same? The matter that has insinuated itself into the paper extends it, and increases its volume. Now this augmentation of volume implies augmentation of mass; and the latter implies that the water has not been absorbed by the book, and that the two substances occupy different places (and do not interpenetrate each other). Since one body causes another to participate in its quality, why would it not also make it participate in its extension? By virtue of this union with a different quality, one quality, united with a different one, cannot, either remain pure, or preserve its earlier nature; it necessarily becomes weaker. But one extension, added to another extension, does not vanish.


One body is said to divide another, by penetrating it. This assertion, however, demands demonstration, for it is more reasonable to suppose that qualities may penetrate a body without dividing it. Such demonstration is attempted by the claim that qualities are incorporeal.63 But if matter itself be as incorporeal as the qualities, why could not some qualities along with the matter penetrate into some other body? That some solids do not penetrate other bodies, is due to their possession of qualities incompatible with that of penetration. The objection that many qualities could not, along with matter, penetrate some body, would be justified only if it were the multitude of qualities that produced density; but if density be as much of a quality696 as corporeity, the qualities will constitute the mixture not in themselves alone, but only as they happen to be determined. On the other hand, when matter does not lend itself to mixture, this occurs not by virtue of its being matter, but as matter united to some determinative quality. That is all the truer as matter is receptive to any magnitude, not having any of its own. But enough of this.


3. Since we have spoken of corporeity, it must be analyzed. Is it a composite of all qualities, or does it constitute a form, a "reason," which produces the body by presence in matter? If the body be the composite of all the qualities together with matter, this totality of qualities will constitute corporeity. But if corporeity be a reason which produces the body by approaching matter, doubtless it is a reason which contains all the qualities. Now, if this reason be not at all a definition of being, if it be a reason productive of the object, it will not contain any matter. It is the reason which applies itself to matter, and which, by its presence, produces the body there. Body is matter with indwelling "reason." This "reason," being a form, may be considered separately from matter, even if it were entirely inseparable therefrom. Indeed, "reason" separated (from matter), and residing in intelligence, is different (from "reason" united to matter); the "Reason" which abides within Intelligence is Intelligence itself. But this subject (I shall) refer to elsewhere.64


How Ideas Multiplied, and the Good.65



1. When the (higher) Divinity, or (some lower) divinity,66 sent souls down into generation, He gave to the face of man eyes suitable to enlighten him,67 and placed in the body the other organs suited to the senses, foreseeing that (a living organism) would be able to preserve itself only on condition of seeing, hearing and touching contiguous objects, to enable it to select some, and to avoid others.


But can you explain this divine foresight? You must not believe that He would have begun by making (animals) who perished for lack of senses, and that later (the divinity) gave senses to man and other animals so that they could preserve themselves from death.68


It might, indeed, be objected that (the divinity) knew that the living organism would be exposed to heat, cold, and other physical conditions; and that as698 a result of this knowledge, to keep them from perishing, He granted them, as tools, senses and organs. In our turn we shall ask whether the divinity gave the organs to the living organisms that already possessed the senses, or whether, He endowed souls with senses and organs simultaneously. In the latter case, though they were souls, they did not previously possess the sensitive faculties. But if the souls possessed the sensitive faculties since the time they were produced, and if they were produced (with these faculties) in order to descend into generation, then it was natural for them to do so. In this case it seems that it must be contrary to their nature to avoid generation, and to dwell in the intelligible world. They would seem made to belong to the body, and to live in evil. Thus divine Providence would retain them in evil, and the divinity would arrive at this result by reasoning; in any case, He would have reasoned.


If the divinity reason, we are forced to wonder what are the principles of this reasoning; for, if it were objected that these principles are derived from some other reasoning, we shall, nevertheless, in the process of ascending, have to find something anterior to all reasoning; namely, a point of departure. Now from whence are the principles of reasoning derived? Either from the senses or the intelligence. (Could the divinity have made use of principles derived from the senses?) (When God created) there were no senses in existence yet; therefore (the divinity must have reasoned) from principles derived from Intelligence. But if the premises were conceptions of Intelligence, then it was impossible for knowledge and reasoning to have some sense-thing as object, as reasoning that has intelligible principles and conclusion could not result in producing699 a conception of the sense-(world). Therefore the foresight which presided over the creation of a living being or of a whole world could not have been the result of reasoning.69


There is indeed no reasoning in the divinity. When we speak of it, in connection with the divinity, it is only to explain that He has regulated everything as might have been done by some wise man, who would have reasoned about results. Attributing foresight to the divinity indicates merely that He has disposed everything as might have been done by some wise man who had foreseen results.70 Indeed the only use of reasoning is to put in order things whose existence is not anterior to that of reasoning, every time that that (Intelligence), the power superior to reasoning, is not strong enough. Likewise, prevision is necessary in this case, because he who makes use of it does not possess a power that would enable him to forego or do without it. Prevision proposes to effect some one thing instead of another, and seems to fear that that which it desires might not occur. But, for a (being) which can do but one thing, both foresight and the reasoning that decides between contraries, are useless; for there is no need of reasoning when, of two contrary courses of action, one only is possible. How would the Principle which is single, unitary and simple, have need to reflect that He must do one thing, so that some other might not take place, or to judge that the second would occur as alternative to the first? How could He say that experience has already demonstrated the utility of some one thing, and that it is well to make use of it? If the divinity acted thus, then indeed would He have had recourse to prevision, and consequently, to reasoning. It is on this hypothesis that we said700 above that the divinity gave animals senses and faculties; but it is quite a problem to know what and how He really gave them.


Indeed, if it be admitted that in the divinity no actualization is imperfect, if it be impossible to conceive in Him anything that is not total or universal, each one of the things that He contains comprises within Himself all things. Thus as, to the divinity, the future is already present, there could not be anything posterior to Him; but what is already present in Him becomes posterior in some other (being). Now if the future be already present in the divinity, it must be present in Him as if what will happen were already known; that is, it must be so disposed as to find itself sufficiently provided for, so as not to stand in need of anything. Therefore, as all things existed already within the divinity (when living beings were created), they had been there from all eternity; and that in a manner such that it would later be possible to say, "this occurred after that." Indeed, when the things that are in the divinity later develop and reveal themselves, then one sees that the one is after the other; but, so far as they exist all together, they constitute the universal (Being), that is, the principle which includes its own cause.


2. (By this process) we also know the nature of Intelligence, which we see still better than the other things, though we cannot grasp its magnitude. We admit, in fact, that it possesses the whatness (essence71), of everything, but not its "whyness" (its cause); or, if we grant (that this "cause" be in Intelligence),701 we do not think that it is separated (from its "whatness" (or, essence72). Let us suppose that, for instance, the man, or, if possible, the eye, should offer itself to our contemplation (in the intelligible world) as a statue, or as a part of it, would do. The man that we see on high is both essence73 and cause. As well as the eye, he must be intellectual, and contain his cause. Otherwise, he could not exist in the intelligible world. Here below, just as each part is separated from the others, so is the cause separated (from the essence). On high, on the contrary, all things exist in unity, and each thing is identical with its cause. This identity may often be noticed even here below, as for instance, in eclipses.74 It would therefore seem probable that in the intelligible world everything would, besides the rest, possess its cause, and that its cause constitutes its essence. This must be admitted; and that is the reason why those who apply themselves to grasp the characteristic75 of each being succeed (in also grasping its cause). Indeed that which each (being) is, depends on the "cause of such a form."76 To repeat: not only is a (being's) form its cause, (which is incontestable), but yet, if one analyses each form considered in itself, its cause will be found. The only things which do not contain their causes are those whose life is without reality, and whose existence is shadowy.


What is the origin of the cause of what is a form, which is characteristic of Intelligence? It is not from Intelligence, because the form is not separable from Intelligence, combining with it to form one single and same thing. If then Intelligence possess the forms in their fulness, this fulness of forms implies that they contain their cause. Intelligence contains the cause702 of each of the forms it contains. It consists of all these forms taken together, or separately. None of them needs discovery of the cause of its production, for simultaneously with its production, it has contained the cause of its hypostatic existence. As it was not produced by chance, it contains all that belongs to its cause; consequently, it also possesses the whole perfection of its cause. Sense-things which participate in form do not only receive their nature from it, but also the cause of this nature. If all the things of which this universe is composed be intimately concatenated; and if the universe, containing all things, also contain the cause of each of them; if its relation with them be the same as that of the body with its organs, which do not mature successively, but which, towards each other, are mutually related as cause and effect; so much the more, in the intelligible world, must things have their "causes," all of them in general in respect to the totality, and each independently in respect to itself.


Since all intelligible (entities) have a hypostatic consubstantial existence affording no room for chance; and as they are not separated from each other, things that are caused must bear these their causes within themselves, and each of them has some sort of a cause, though without really possessing one. If there be no cause for the existence of the intelligibles; and if, though isolated from all causes, they be self-sufficient; it can only be because they carry their cause along with them, when they are considered in themselves. As they contain nothing fortuitous, and as each of them is manifold, and as its cause is all that they contain, we might assign this cause to themselves. Thus in the intelligible world "being" is preceded, or rather accompanied by its cause, which is still more "being"703 than cause, or rather which becomes identified with it. What superfluousness, indeed, could there be in intelligence, unless its conceptions resemble imperfect productions? If its conceptions be perfect, one could neither discover what they lack, nor define their cause, and, since they possess everything, they also possess their cause. There, "being" and cause are united; the presence of both is recognized in each conception, in each actualization of intelligence. Let us, for instance, consider the intelligible Man; he seems complete, in his totality; all his attributes were his simultaneously from the beginning; he was always entirely complete. It is the characteristic of that which is generated not always to be what it ought to be, and to need to acquire something. The intelligible Man is eternal; he is therefore always complete; but that which becomes man must be generated (being).


3. But why could Intelligence not have deliberated before producing the sense-man? The (man we know by our senses) was (created) by similitude to the (intelligible Man), nothing can be added to him, nothing subtracted. It is a mere supposition to say that Intelligence deliberates and reasons. The theory that things were created, implies preliminary deliberation and reasoning; but (the latter becomes impossible) in the case of eternal generation, for that which originates eternally,77 cannot be the object of a deliberation. Intelligence could not deliberate without having forgotten the course it had followed before; it cannot improve later on without implying that its beginnings were not perfectly beautiful; had they been this, they would have remained so. If things be beautiful, it is that they represent their cause well; for even here below an object is beautiful only if it possess all its704 legitimate possessions; that is, if it possess its proper form. It is the form that contains everything; the form contains the matter, in the sense that it fashions matter, and leaves nothing formless therein. But it would contain something formless if a man lacked some part, as, for instance, an organ such as the eye.


Thus, a thing is fully explained by the clearing up of its cause. Why should there be eyebrows above the eye? That it may possess all that is implied in its being. Were these parts of the body given to man to protect him from dangers? That would be to establish within being a principle charged to watch over being. The things of which we speak are implied in the being that existed before them. Consequently, being contains within itself the cause which, if distinct from being, is nevertheless inseparable therefrom. All things are implied in each other100; taken together, they form the total, perfect and universal Being; their perfection is bound up with, and is inherent in their cause; thus a (creature's) "being," its "characteristic" (to ti ên einai), and its "cause" (why-ness) fall together. (Before asking an important question we must premiss that) in the intelligible world the cause that is complementary to a being is ultimately united to it. We must also premiss that, by virtue of its perfection, divine Intelligence contains the causes (as well as the beings78), so that it is only "a posteriori" that we observe that things are well regulated. If then the possession of senses, and indeed of particular ones, be implied in the form of man by the eternal necessity and perfection of divine Intelligence, then the intelligible Man was by no means mere intelligence, receiving the senses when descending into generation. (If then having senses be implied in the form of man), does not Intelligence incline towards the things here705 below? In what do these senses (which are attributed to the intelligible Man) consist? Are these senses the potentiality of perceiving sense-objects? But it would be absurd that, on high, man should from all eternity possess the potentiality of feeling, yet feel only here below, and that this potentiality should pass to actualization only when the soul became less good (by its union to the body).


4. To answer these questions, we would have to go back to the nature of the intelligible Man. Before defining the latter, however, it would indeed be far better to begin by determining the nature of the sense-man, on the supposition that we know the latter very well, while perhaps of the former, we have only a very inexact notion.


But there are some (Aristotelians or Peripatetics) who might think that the intelligible Man and the sense-man form but one. Let us first discuss this point. Does the sense-man have a being different from the soul which produces him, and makes him live and reason? Is he the soul that is disposed in some special manner? Is he the soul that uses the body in some particular way? If man be a reasonable living organism, and if the latter be composed of soul and body, this definition of man will not be identical with that of the soul. If the man be defined as being the composite of the reasonable soul and the body, how can he be an immortal hypostatic existence? This definition suits the sense-man only from the moment that the union of the soul and the body has occurred; it expresses706 what will be, instead of setting forth what we call the Man-in-himself; rather than being a real determination of his characteristics, it would be only a description which would not reveal the original being. Instead of defining form engaged in matter, it indicates what is the composite of soul and body, after the union has occurred. In this case, we do not yet know what is man considered in his being, which is intelligible. To the claim that the definition of sense-things should express something composite, it might be answered, that we do acknowledge that we must not determine the consistence of each thing. Now if it be absolutely necessary to define the forms engaged in matter, we must also define the being that constitutes the man; that is necessary especially for those (Peripateticians) who, by a definition, mean a statement of a being's original "characteristics."


What then is the "being" of man? This really is asking for the "man-ness" of a man, something characteristic of him, and inseparable from him. Is the genuine definition of a man that "he is a reasonable animal"? Would not this rather be the definition of the composite man? What is the being that produces the reasonable animal? In the above definition of man, "reasonable animal" means "reasonable life"; consequently, man may be called the "reasonable life." But can life exist without a soul? (No), for the soul will give the man reasonable life; and in this case, instead of being a substance, man will be only an actualization of the soul; or even, the man will be the soul herself. But if man be the reasonable soul, what objection will there be to his remaining man even when his soul should happen to pass into a different body (as that of a brute animal)?



5. Man must therefore have as "reason" (or, as essence), something else than the soul. Still, in this case, man might be something composite; that is, the soul would subsist in a particular "reason," admitting that this "reason" was a certain actualization of the soul, though this actualization could not exist without its producing principle. Now such is the nature of the "seminal reasons." They do not exist without the soul; for the generating reasons are not inanimate; and nevertheless they are not the soul purely and simply. There is therefore nothing surprising in the statement that these (human) beings are ("seminal) reasons."


Of which soul are these reasons,79 which do not beget the man (though they do beget the animal), then the actualization? Not of the vegetative soul; they are the actualizations of the (reasonable) soul which begets the animal,80 which is a more powerful, and therefore a more living soul. Man is constituted81 by the soul disposed in some manner, when present to matter disposed in some particular fashion—since the soul is some particular thing, according as she is in some particular disposition—even in the body. In the bodies, she fashions a resembling form. So far as the nature of the body allows it, she thus produces an image of the man, as the painter himself makes an image of the body; she produces, I repeat, an inferior man (the sense-man, the animal), which possesses the form of man, his reasons, morals, dispositions, faculties, although in an imperfect manner, because he is not the first man (the intellectual man). He has708 sensations of another kind; sensations which, though they seem clear, are obscure, if they be compared to the superior sensations of which they are the images. The superior man (the reasonable man) is better, has a diviner soul, and clearer sensations. It is he doubtless to whom Plato refers (when he says, Man is the soul82); in his definition he adds, "which makes use of the body," because the diviner man dominates the soul which uses the body, and thus uses the body only in an indirect manner.83


In fact, the soul attaches herself to the thing begotten by the soul, because she was capable of feeling. The soul does this by vivifying it more; or rather, the soul does not attach herself thereto, but draws it to herself. She does not depart from the intelligible world, but even while remaining in contact with it, she holds the inferior soul (which constitutes the sense-man) suspended to herself; and by her reason she blends herself with this reason (or, she unites herself to this being by her "being"). That is why this man (known by the senses), who by himself is obscure, is enlightened by this illumination.


6. What is the relation of the sense-power within the superior Soul (or, in the rational soul)? Intelligible sensation perceives (intelligible) objects that, speaking strictly, are not sensible, and corresponds to the (intelligible) manner in which they are perceivable. Thus (by this intelligible sense-power) the Soul perceives the supersensual harmony and also the sensual, but in a manner such as the sense-man perceives it, relating it so far as possible to the superior709 harmony,99 just as he relates the earthly fire to the intelligible Fire, which is above, and which the superior Soul felt in a manner suitable to the nature of this fire. If the bodies which are here below were up there also, the superior Soul would feel them and perceive them. The man who exists on high is a Soul disposed in some particular manner, capable of perceiving these objects; hence the man of the last degree (the sense-man) being the image of the intelligible Man, has reasons (faculties) which are also images (faculties possessed by the superior Man). The man who exists in the divine Intelligence constitutes the Man superior to all men. He illuminates the second (the reasonable man), who in his turn illuminates the third (the sense-man). The man of this last degree somewhat possesses the two others; he is not produced by them, he is rather united to them. The man who constitutes us actualizes himself as the man of the last degree. The third receives something of the second; and the second is the actualization of the first.84 Each man's nature depends on the "man" according to whom he acts (the man is intellectual, reasonable, or sensual according as he exercises intelligence, discursive reason, or sensibility). Each one of us possesses the three men in one sense (potentially); and does not possess them in another (in actualization; that is, he does not simultaneously exercise intellect, reason, or sense).


When the third life (the sense-power) which constitutes the third man, is separated from the body, if the life that precedes it (the discursive reason) accompany it without nevertheless being separated from the intelligible world, then one may say that the second is everywhere the third is. It might seem surprising that the latter, when passing into the body of a brute,710 should drag along that part which is the being of man. This being was all beings (potentially); only, at different times, it acts through different faculties. So far as it is pure, and is not yet depraved, it wishes to constitute a man, and it is indeed a man that it constitutes; for to form a man is better (than to form a brute), and it does what is best. It also forms guardians of the superior order, but such as are still conformable to the being constituent of manhood. The (intellectual) Man, who is anterior to this being, is of a nature still more like that of the guardians, or rather, he is already a divinity. The guardian attached to a divinity is an image of him, as the sense-man is the image of the intellectual man from whom he depends; for the principle to which man directly attaches himself must not be considered as his divinity. There is a difference here, similar to that existing between the souls, though they all belong to the same order.86 Besides, those guardians whom Plato simply calls "guardians" (demons), should be called guardian-like, or "demonic" beings.87 Last, when the superior Soul accompanies the inferior soul which has chosen the condition of a brute, the inferior soul which was bound to the superior soul—even when she constituted a man—develops the ("seminal) reason" of the animal (whose condition she has chosen); for she possesses that "reason" in herself; it is her inferior actualization.


7. It may however be objected that if the soul produce the nature of a brute only when she is depraved and degraded, she was not originally destined to produce an ox or a horse; then the ("seminal) reason" of the horse, as well as the horse itself, will be contrary to the nature (of the soul). No: they are711 inferior to her nature, but they are not contrary to her. From her very origin, the soul was (potentially) the ("seminal) reason" of a horse or a dog. When permitted, the soul which was to beget an animal, produces something better; when hindered, she (only) produces what accords with the circumstances. She resembles the artists who, knowing how to produce several figures, create either the one they have received the order to create, or the one that is most suited to the material at hand. What hinders the (natural and generative) power of the universal Soul, in her quality of universal ("seminal) Reason," from sketching out the outlines of the body, before the soul powers (or, individual souls) should descend from her into matter? What hinders this sketch from being a kind of preliminary illumination of matter? What would hinder the individual soul from finishing (fashioning the body sketched by the universal Soul), following the lines already traced, and organizing the members pictured by them, and becoming that which she approached by giving herself some particular figure, just as, in a choric ballet, the dancer confines himself to the part assigned to him?


Such considerations have been arrived at merely as result of scrutiny of the consequences of the principles laid down. Our purpose was to discover how sensibility occurs in the man himself, without intelligible things falling into generation. We recognized and demonstrated that intelligible things do not incline towards sense-things, but that, on the contrary, it is the latter that aspire and rise to the former, and imitate them; that the sense-man derives from the intellectual man the power of contemplating intelligible entities,712 though the sense-man remain united to sense-things, as the intellectual man remains united to the intelligible entities. Indeed, intelligible things are in some respects sensual; and we may call them such because (ideally) they are Bodies, but they are perceived in a manner different from bodies. Likewise, our sensations are less clear than the perception which occurs in the intelligible world, and that we also call Sensation, because it refers to Bodies (which exist on high only in an ideal manner). Consequently, we call the man here below sensual because he perceives less well things which themselves are less good; that is, which are only images of intelligible things. We might therefore say that sensations here below are obscure thoughts, and that the Thoughts on high are distinct Sensations. Such are our views about sensibility.


8. (Now let us pass to the other question we asked). How does it happen that all the Animals who, like the Horse itself, are contained in divine Intelligence, do not incline towards the things here below (by generating them)? Doubtless, to beget a horse, or any other animal here below, divine Intelligence must hold its conception; nevertheless it must not be believed that it first had the volition of producing the horse, and only later its conception. Evidently, it could not have wished to produce the horse, but because it already had the conception thereof; and it could not have had the conception thereof but because it had to produce the horse. Consequently, the Horse who was not begotten preceded the horse who later was to be begotten. Since the first Horse has been anterior to all generation, and was not conceived to be begotten,713 it is not because the divine Intelligence inclines towards the things here below, nor because it produces them, that it contains the intelligible Horse and the other beings. The intelligible entities existed already in Intelligence (before it begat) and the sense-things were later begotten by necessary consequence; for it was impossible that the procession should cease with the intelligibles. Who indeed could have stopped this power of the (Intelligence) which is capable of simultaneous procession, and of remaining within itself?


But why should these Animals (devoid of reason) exist in the divine Intelligence? We might understand that animals endowed with reason might be found within it; but does this multitude of irrational animals seem at all admirable? Does it not rather seem something unworthy of the divine Intelligence? Evidently the essence which is one must be also manifold, since it is posterior to the Unity which is absolutely simple; otherwise, instead of being inferior to it, it would fuse with it. Being posterior to that Unity, it could not be more simple, and must therefore be less so. Now as the unity was the One who is excellent, essence had to be less unitary, since multiplicity is the characteristic of inferiority. But why should essence not be merely the "pair" (instead of the manifold)? Neither of the elements of the Pair could any longer be absolutely one, and each would itself become a further pair; and we might point out the same thing of each of the new elements (in which each element of the primary Pair would have split up). Besides, the first Pair contains both movement and stability; it is also intelligence and perfect life. The character of Intelligence is not to be one, but to be universal; it therefore contains all the particular intelligences; it is all the intelligences, and714 at the same time it is something greater than all. It possesses life not as a single soul, but as a universal Soul, having the superior power of producing individual souls. It is besides the universal living Organism (or, Animal); consequently, it should not contain man alone (but also all the other kinds of animals); otherwise, man alone would exist upon the earth.


9. It may be objected that Intelligence might (well) contain the ideas of animals of a higher order. But how can it contain the ideas of animals that are vile, or entirely without reason? For we should consider vile every animal devoid of reason and intelligence, since it is to these faculties that those who possess them owe their nobility. It is doubtless difficult to understand how things devoid of reason and intelligence can exist in the divine Intelligence, in which are all beings, and from which they all proceed. But before beginning the discussion of this question, let us assume the following verities as granted: Man here below is not what is man in the divine Intelligence, any more than the other animals. Like them, in a higher form, he dwells within (the divine Intelligence); besides, no being called reasonable may be found within it, for it is only here below that reason is employed; on high the only acts are those superior to discursive reason.88

Why then is man here below the only animal who makes use of reason? Because the intelligence of Man, in the intelligible world, is different from that of other animals, and so his reason here below must differ from their reason; for it can be seen that many actions of other animals imply the use of judgment.

(In reply, it might be asked) why are not all animals equally rational? And why are not all men also equally rational? Let us reflect: all these lives,715 which represent as many movements; all these intelligences, which form a plurality; could not be identical. Therefore they had to differ among each other, and their difference had to consist in manifesting more or less clearly life and intelligence; those that occupy the first rank are distinguished by primary differences; those that occupy the second rank, by secondary differences; and so forth. Thus, amidst intelligences, some constitute the divinities, others the beings placed in the second rank, and gifted with reason; further, other beings that we here call deprived of reason and intelligence really were reason and intelligence in the intelligible world. Indeed, he who thinks the intelligible Horse, for instance, is Intelligence, just as is the very thought of the horse. If nothing but thought existed, there would be nothing absurd in that this thought, while being intellectual, might, as object, have a being devoid of intelligence. But since thought and the object thought fuse, how could thought be intellectual unless the object thought were so likewise? To effect this, Intelligence would, so to speak, have to render itself unintelligent. But it is not so. The thing thought is a determinate intelligence, just as it is a determinate life. Now, just as no life, whatever it be, can be deprived of vitality, so no determinate intelligence can be deprived of intellectuality. The very intelligence which is proper to an animal, such as, for instance, man, does not cease being intelligence of all things; whichever of its parts you choose to consider, it is all things, only in a different manner; while it is a single thing in actualization, it is all things in potentiality. However, in any one particular thing, we grasp only what it is in actualization. Now what is in actualization (that is, a particular thing), occupies the last rank. Such, in Intelligence, for instance, is the idea of the Horse. In its procession, Intelligence continues towards a less perfect life, and at a certain716 degree constitutes a horse, and at some inferior degree, constitutes some animal still inferior; for the greater the development of the powers of Intelligence, the more imperfect these become. At each degree in their procession they lose something; and as it is a lower degree of essence that constitutes some particular animal, its inferiority is redeemed by something new. Thus, in the measure that life is less complete in the animal, appear nails, claws, or horns, or teeth. Everywhere that Intelligence diminishes on one side, it rises on another side by the fulness of its nature, and it finds in itself the resources by which to compensate for whatever it may lack.


10. But how can there be anything imperfect in the intelligible world? Why does the intelligible Animal have horns? Is it for its defense?89 To be perfect and complete. It is to be perfect as an animal, perfect as intelligence, and perfect as life; so that, if it lack one quality, it may have a substitute. The cause of the differences, is that what belongs to one being finds itself replaced in another being by something else; so that the totality (of the beings) may result in the most perfect Life, and Intelligence, while all the particular beings which are thus found in the intelligible essence are perfect so far as they are particular.


The essence must be simultaneously one and manifold. Now it cannot be manifold if all the things that exist within it be equal; it would then be an absolute unity. Since therefore (essence) forms a composite unity, it must be constituted by things which bear to717 each other specific differences, such that its unity shall allow the existence of particular things, such as forms and reasons (beings). The forms, such as those of man, must contain all the differences that are essential to them. Though there be a unity in all these forms, there are also things more or less delicate (or highly organized), such as the eye or the finger. All these organs, however, are implied in the unity of the animal, and they are inferior only relatively to the totality. It was better that things should be such. Reason (the essence of the animal) is animal, and besides, is something different from the animal. Virtue also bears a general character, and an individual one. The totality (of the intelligible world) is beautiful, because what is common (to all beings), does not offer any differences.


11. (The Timaeus of Plato90) states that heaven has not scorned to receive any of the forms of the animals, of which we see so great a number. The cause must be that this universe was to contain the universality of things. Whence does it derive all the things it contains? From on high? Yes, it received from above all the things that were produced by reason, according to an intelligible form. But, just as it contains fire and water, it must also contain plant-life. Now, how could there be plant-life in the intelligible world? Are earth and fire living entities within it? For they must be either living or dead entities; in the latter case, not everything would be alive in the intelligible world. In what state then do the above-mentioned objects find themselves on high (in the intelligible world)?

First it can be demonstrated that plants contain nothing opposed to reason; since, even here below, a718 plant contains a "reason" which constitutes its life.91 But if the essential "reason" of the plant, which constitutes it, is a life of a particular kind, and a kind of soul, and if this "reason" itself be a unity, is it the primary Plant? No: the primary Plant, from which the particular plant is derived, is above that "reason." The primary Plant is unity; the other is multiple, and necessarily derives from this unity. If so, the primary Plant must possess life in a still higher degree, and be the Plant itself from which the plants here below proceed, which occupy the second or third rank, and which derive from the primary Plant the traces of the life they reveal.


But how does the earth exist in the intelligible world? What is its essence? How can the earth in the intelligible world be alive there? Let us first examine our earth, that is, inquire what is its essence? It must be some sort of a shape, and a reason; for the reason of the plant is alive, even here below. Is there then a living ("seminal) reason" in the earth also? To discover the nature of the earth, let us take essentially terrestrial objects, which are begotten or fashioned by it. The birth of the stones, and their increase, the interior formation of mountains, could not exist unless an animated reason produced them by an intimate and secret work. This reason is the "form of the earth,"92 a form that is analogous to what is called nature in trees. The earth might be compared to the trunk of a tree, and the stone that can be detached therefrom to the branch that can be separated from the trunk. Consideration of the stone which is not yet dug out of the earth, and which is united to it as the uncut branch is united to the tree, shows that the earth's nature, which is a productive force, constitutes719 a life endowed with reason; and it must be evident that the intelligible earth must possess life at a still higher degree, that the rational life of the earth is the Earth-in-itself, the primary Earth, from which proceeds the earth here below.


If fire also be a reason engaged in matter, and in this respect resemble the earth, it was not born by chance. Whence would it come?93 Lucretius thought it came from rubbing (sticks or stones). But fire existed in the universe before one body rubbed another; bodies already possess fire when they rub up against one another; for it must not be believed that matter possesses fire potentially, so that it is capable of producing it spontaneously. But what is fire, since the principle which produces the fire, giving it a form, must be a "reason"? It is a soul capable of producing the fire, that is, a "reason" and a life, which (fuse) into one thing. That is why Plato says that in every object there is a soul94; that is, a power capable of producing the sense-fire. Thus the principle which produces the fire in our world is a "fiery life," a fire that is more real than ours. Since then the intelligible Fire is a fire more real than ours, it also possesses a moral life. The Fire-in-itself therefore possesses life. There is a similar "reason" in the other elements, air and water. Why should not these things be as animated as earth is? They are evidently contained in the universal living Organism, and they constitute parts thereof. Doubtless life is not manifest in them, any more than in the earth; but it can be recognized in them, as it is recognized in the earth, by its productions; for living beings are born in the fire, and still more in the water, as is better known; others also are formed in the air. The flames that we daily see lit and extinguished do720 not manifest in the universal Soul (because of the shortness of their duration); her presence is not revealed in the fire, because she does not here below succeed in reaching a mass of sufficient permanency.


It is not otherwise with water and air. If by their nature these elements were more consistent, they would reveal the universal Soul; but as their essence is dispersed, they do not reveal the power that animates them. In a similar case are the fluids occurring in our body, as, for instance, the blood; the flesh, which seems animated, is formed at the expense of the blood.95 The latter must therefore enjoy the presence of the soul, though it seem deprived of the (soul) because (the blood) manifests no sensibility, opposes no resistance, and by its fluidity easily separates itself from the soul that vivifies it, as happens to the three elements already mentioned. Likewise the animals which Nature forms out of condensed air feel without suffering.96 As fixed and permanent light penetrates the air so long as the air itself is permanent, the soul also penetrates the atmosphere surrounding her without being absorbed by it. Other elements are in the same case.


12. We therefore repeat that since we admit that our universe is modeled on the intelligible World, we should so much the more recognize that the latter is the universal living Organism, which constitutes all things because it consists of perfect essence. Consequently in the intelligible world, the heavens also are an animated being, not even lacking what here below are called the stars; indeed the latter are what constitutes the heavens' essence. Neither is the Earth721 on high something dead; for it is alive, containing all the Animals that walk on the ground, and that are named terrestrial, as well as Vegetation whose foundation is life. On high exist also the Sea and the Water in universal condition, in permanent fluidity and animation, containing all the Animals that dwell in the water. Air also forms part of the intelligible world, with the Animals that inhabit the air, and which on high possess a nature in harmony with it. How indeed could the things contained in a living being not also themselves be living beings? Consequently they are also such here below. Why indeed should not all the animals necessarily exist in the intelligible World? The nature of the great parts of this world indeed necessarily determines the nature of the animals that these parts contain. Thus from the "having" and "being" (existence and nature) of the intelligible world is derived that of all the beings contained therein. These things imply each other. To ask the reason for the existence of the Animals contained in the intelligible world, is to ask why exists this very world itself, or the universal living Organism, or, what amounts to the same thing, why exist the universal Life, the universal Soul, in which are found no fault, no imperfection, and from which everywhere overflows the fulness of life.


All these things derive from one and the same source; it is neither a breath nor a single heat; but rather a single quality, which contains and preserves within itself all the qualities, the sweetness of the most fragrant perfumes, the flavor of the wine, and of the finest tasty juices, the gleam of the most flashing colors, the softness of the objects which flatter touch with the greatest delicacy, the rhythm and harmony of all the kinds of sounds which can charm the hearing.



13. Neither Intelligence, nor the Soul that proceeds therefrom, are simple; both contain the universality of things with their infinite variety, so far as these are simple, meaning that they are not composite, but that they are principles and actualizations; for, in the intelligible world, the actualization of what occupies the last rank is simple; the actualization of what occupies the first rank is universal. Intelligence, in its uniform movement, always trends towards similar and identical things; nevertheless, each of them is identical and single, without being a part; it is on the contrary universal, because what, in the intelligible world, is a part, is not a simple unit, but a unity that is infinitely divisible. In this movement, Intelligence starts from one object, and goes to another object which is its goal. But does all that is intermediary resemble a straight line, or to a uniform and homogeneous body? There would be nothing remarkable about that; for if Intelligence did not contain differences, if no diversity awoke it to life, it would not be an actualization; its state would not differ from inactivity. If its movement were determined in a single manner, it would possess but a single kind of (restricted) life, instead of possessing the universal Life. Now it should contain an universal and omnipresent Life; consequently, it must move, or rather have been moved towards all (beings). If it were to move in a simple and uniform manner, it would possess but a single thing, would be identical with it, and no longer proceed towards anything different. If however it should move towards something different, it would have to become something different, and be two things. If these two things were then to be identical, Intelligence would still remain one, and there would be no progress left;723 if, on the contrary, these two things were to be different, it would be proceeding with this difference, and it would, by virtue of this difference joined to its divinity, beget some third thing. By its origin, the latter is simultaneously identical and different; not of some particular difference, but of all kinds of difference, because the identity it contains is itself universal. Thus being universal difference as well as universal identity, this thing possesses all that is said to be different; for its nature is to be universal differentiation (to spread over everything, to become everything else). If all these differences preceded this (Intelligence), the latter would be modified by them. If this be not the case, Intelligence must have begotten all the differences, or rather, be their universality.


Essences ("beings") therefore cannot exist without an actualization of Intelligence. By this actualization, after having produced some ("being"), Intelligence always produces some other one, somehow carrying out the career which it is natural for veritable Intelligence to carry out within itself; this career is that of the beings, of which each corresponds to one of its evolutions, (or, it roams around among beings, so that through its roaming around these beings unite and form.) Since Intelligence is everywhere identical, its evolutions imply permanence, and they make it move around the "field of truth"97 without ever issuing therefrom. It occupies this whole field, because Intelligence has made itself the locality where its evolutions operate, a locality which is identical with what it contains. This field is varied enough to offer a career to be fulfilled; if it were not universally and eternally varied, there would be a stopping-place where variety724 would cease; and, were Intelligence to stop, it would not think; and if it had never stopped, it would have existed without thought (or, it would not exist). This however, is not the case; therefore thought exists, and its universal movement produces the fulness of universal "Being." Universal "Being," however, is the thought that embraces universal Life, and which, after each thing, ever conceives some other; because, since that which within it is identical is all so different. It continually divides and ever finds something different from the others. In its march, Intelligence ever progresses from life to life, from animated (beings) to animated (beings); just as some traveller, advancing on the earth, finds all that he travels through to be earth, whatever variations thereof there may have been. In the intelligible world, the life whose field one traverses is always self-identical, but it is also always different. The result is that (this sphere of operations) does not seem the same to us, because in its evolution, which is identical, life experiences (or, traverses) things which are not the same. That however does not change this life, for it passes through different things in a uniform and identical manner. If this uniformity and identity of Intelligence were not applied to different things, Intelligence would remain idle; it would no longer exist in actualization, and no more be actualization. Now these different things constitute Intelligence itself. Intelligence is therefore universal, because this universality forms its very nature. Being thus universal, Intelligence is all things; there is nothing in it which does not contribute to its universality; and everything is different, so as to be able still to contribute to totality, by its very difference. If there were no difference, if everything in it were identical, the being of Intelligence would be diminished, inasmuch as its nature would no more co-operate towards its harmonic consummation.



14. By intellectual examples we can understand the nature of Intelligence, and see that it could not be a unity which does not admit any kind of difference. As example, consider the ("seminal) reason" of a plant, and that of an animal. If it be only a unity, without any kind of variety, it is not even a "reason," and what is born will be no more than matter. This "reason" must therefore contain all the organs; and, while embracing all matter, it must not leave any part of it to remain identical with any other. For instance, the face does not form a single mass; it contains the nose and the eyes. Nor is even the nose something simple; it contains different parts whose variety make of it an organ; if it were reduced to a state of absolute simplicity, it would be no more than a mass. Thus Intelligence contains the infinite, because it is simultaneously one and manifold; not indeed like a house, but as is a ("seminal) reason" which is manifold interiorly. It contains within, therefore, a sort of figure (or scheme) or even a picture, on which are interiorly drawn or inscribed its powers and thoughts; their division does not take place exteriorly, for it is entirely interior. Thus the universal living Organism embraces other living beings, within which may be discovered still smaller living beings, and still smaller powers, and so on till we arrive at the "atomic form."98 All these forms are distinguished from each other by their division, without ever having been confounded together, though they all occur in the constitution of a single unity. Thus exists in the intelligible world that union (by Empedocles) called "friendship"; but such union is very different from that which exists in the sense-world.163 In fact, the latter is only the image of the726 first, because it is formed of completely disparate elements. Veritable union however consists in forming but a single (thing) without admitting of any separation between (elements). Here below, however, objects are separated from each other.



15. Who then will be able to contemplate this multiple and universal Life, primary and one, without being charmed therewith, and without scorning every other kind of life? For our lives here below, that are so weak, impotent, incomplete, whose impurity soils other lives, can be considered as nothing but tenebrous. As soon as you consider these lives, you no longer see the others, you no longer live with these other lives in which everything is living; which are relieved of all impurity, and of all contact with evil. Indeed, evil reigns here below only164; here where we have but a trace of Intelligence and of the intelligible life. On the contrary, in the intelligible world exists "that archetype which is beneficent (which possesses the form of Good"), as says Plato,101 because it possesses good by the forms (that is, by the ideas). Indeed, the absolute Good is something different from the Intelligence which is good only because its life is passed in contemplating the Good. The objects contemplated by Intelligence are the essences which have the form of Good, and which it possesses from the moment it contemplates the Good. Intelligence receives the Good, not such as the Good is in itself, but such as Intelligence is capable of receiving it. The Good is indeed the supreme principle. From the Good therefore,727 Intelligence derives its perfection; to the Good Intelligence owes its begetting of all the intelligible entities; on the one hand, Intelligence could not consider the Good without thinking it; on the other, it must not have seen in the Good the intelligible entities, otherwise, Intelligence itself could not have begotten them. Thus Intelligence has, from the Good, received the power to beget, and to fill itself with that which it has begotten.102 The Good does not Himself possess the things which He thus donates; for He is absolutely one, and that which has been given to Intelligence is manifold. Incapable in its plenitude to embrace, and in its unity to possess the power it was receiving, Intelligence split it up, thus rendering it manifold, so as to possess it at least in fragments. Thus everything begotten by Intelligence proceeds from the power derived from the Good, and bears its form; as intelligence itself is good, and as it is composed of things that bear the form of Good, it is a varied good. The reader may be assisted in forming a conception of it by imagining a variegated living sphere, or a composite of animated and brilliant faces. Or again, imagine pure souls, pure and complete (in their essence), all united by their highest (faculties), and then universal Intelligence seated on this summit, and illuminating the whole intelligible region. In this simile, the reader who imagines it considers it as something outside of himself; but (to contemplate Intelligence) one has to become Intelligence, and then give oneself a panorama of oneself.


16. Instead of stopping at this multiple beauty, it must be abandoned to rise (to the Good), the supreme principle. By reasoning not according to the nature of our world, but according to that of the universal728 Intelligence, we should with astonishment ask ourselves which is the principle that has begotten it, and how it did so.103 Each one (of the essences contained in the Intelligence) is a (particular) form, and somehow has its own type. As their common characteristic is to be assimilated to the Good, the consequence is that Intelligence contains all the things conformable to the Good. It possesses therefore the essence which is in all things; it contains all the animals, as well as the universal Life within them, and all the rest.


Why must these things be considered as goods, when considered from this point of view? The solution of this problem may be arrived at from the following consideration. When for the first time Intelligence contemplated the Good, this its contemplation split the Good's unity into multiplicity. Though itself were a single being, this its thought divided the unity because of its inability to grasp it in its entirety. To this it may be answered that Intelligence was not yet such the first time it contemplated the Good. Did it then contemplate the Good without intelligence? Intelligence did not yet see the Good; but Intelligence dwelt near it, was dependent on it, and was turned towards it.104 Having arrived at its fulness, because it was operating on high, and was trending towards the Good, the movement of Intelligence itself led it to its fulness; since then it was, no longer a single movement, but a movement perfect and complete. It became all things, and possessing self-consciousness, it recognized that itself was all things. It thus became intelligence, which possesses its fulness so as to contain what it should see, and which sees by the light that it receives from Him from whom it derives what it sees. That is why the Good is said to be not only the cause of729 "being," but rather the cause of the vision of "being." As for sense-objects, the sun is the cause that makes them exist, and renders them visible, as it is also the cause of vision, and as however the sun is neither the vision nor the visible objects, likewise the Good is the cause of being and of intelligence,105 it is a light in respect of the beings that are seen and the Intelligence that sees them; but it is neither the beings nor the Intelligence; it is only their cause; it produces thought by shedding its light on the beings and on Intelligence. It is thus that Intelligence has arrived to fulness, and that on arriving at fulness it has become perfect and has seen. That which preceded its fulness is its principle. But it has another principle (which is the Good), which is somewhat exterior to it, and which gave it its fulness, and while giving it this fulness impressed on it the form (of itself, the Good).


17. How can (these beings) exist within Intelligence, and constitute it, if they were neither in that which has given, nor in that which has received this fulness, since, before receiving its fulness from the Good, Intelligence had not yet received (these beings)? It is not necessary that a principle should itself possess what it gives; in intelligible things, it suffices to consider the giver superior, and the receiver inferior; that (giving and receiving) is the content of generation in the order of veritable beings.106 What occupies the front rank must be in actualization; posterior things must be in potentiality of what precedes them. What occupies the front rank is superior to what occupies the second rank; the giver, likewise is superior to the gift, because it is better. If then there be a Principle anterior to actualization, it must be superior both to actualization and to life; and because it gave life to730 Intelligence it is more beautiful, still more venerable than Life. Thus Intelligence received life, without necessity for the principle from which it received life having had to contain any variety. Life is the impress of Him who gave it, but it is not his life. When Intelligence glanced towards Him, it was indeterminate; as soon as it fixed its glance on Him, it was determined by Him, although He himself had no determination. As soon indeed as Intelligence contemplated the One, Intelligence was determined by Him, and from Him it received its determination, limit and form. The form exists in the receiver; the giver has none of it. This determination has not been imposed from without on Intelligence as is the case for the limit imposed on some magnitude; it is the determination characteristic of that Life, which is universal, multiple and infinite, because it has radiated from the supreme Nature. That Life was not yet the life of any particular principle; otherwise, it would have been determined as an individual life. Nevertheless it has been determined, and by virtue of that determination it is the life of a multiple unity. Each one of the things that constitute its multiplicity has likewise been determined. Indeed, life has been determined as multiplicity (of beings) because of its own multiplicity; as unity, because of the very determination it has received. What has been determined as unity? Intelligence, because it is the determined life. What was determined as multiplicity? The multiplicity of intelligences. Everything therefore is intelligence; only, the Intelligence that is one is universal; while the intelligences which form multiplicity are individual.


If universal Intelligence comprises all the individual intelligences, might not the latter all be identical? No,731 for then there would be but one of them. The multiplicity of the intelligences implies therefore a difference between them.107 But how does each differ from the others? Its difference resides in its being one; for there is no identity between the universal Intelligence, and any particular intelligence. Thus, in Intelligence, life is universal power; the vision which emanates from it is the power of all things; and then Intelligence itself, when it is formed, manifests all these things to us. He who is seated above all of them is their principle, though they do not serve Him as foundation; for, on the contrary, He is the foundation of the form of the first forms, without Himself having any forms. In respect to the Soul, Intelligence plays the part that the First plays in respect to Intelligence; Intelligence sheds its light on the Soul, and, to determine her, rationalizes her by communicating that of which itself is the trace. The Intellect, therefore, is the trace of the First; and while it is a form which develops in plurality, the First has no shape nor form, so as to give form to all the rest. If itself were a form, Intelligence would be nothing more than the "reason" (the soul).108 That is why the First could not have contained any multiplicity; otherwise, its multiplicity itself would have had to be traced to some superior principle.


18. In what respects do the (entities) which are contained by Intelligence seem to bear the form of the Good? Is it because each of them is a form, or because each is beautiful, or perhaps for some other reason? All that proceeds from the Good bears its characteristics or impressions, or at least bears something derived from it, just as that which is derived from the fire bears a trace of the fire,109 and as that which732 is derived from sweetness somehow betrays it. Now that, which, in Intelligence, is derived from the Good is life, for life is born from the actualization of the Good, and from Him again is derived the beauty of forms. Therefore all these things, life, intelligence, and idea will bear the form of Good.


But what element is common to them? It does not suffice for them to proceed from the Good to have something identical; they must also have some common characteristic; for a same principle may give rise to different things; or again, one and the same thing may become different while passing from the giving principle into the receivers; for there is a difference between that which constitutes the first actualization, and that which is given thereby. Thus, that which is in the things of which we speak is already different. Nothing hinders the characteristic of all these things (in life, intelligence and idea) from being the form of Good, but this form exists at different degrees in each of them.


In which of these things does the form of the Good inhere in the highest degree? The solution of this problem depends on the following one. Is life a good merely as such, even if it were life pure and simple? Should we not rather limit that word "life" to the life which derives from the Good, so that mere proceeding from the Good be a sufficient characterization of life? What is the nature of this life? Is it the life of the Good? No: life does not belong to the Good; it only proceeds therefrom. If the characteristic of life be proceeding from the Good, and if it be real life, evidently733 the result would be that nothing that proceeds from the Good would deserve scorn, that life as life should be considered good, that the same condition of affairs obtains with the primary and veritable Intelligence, and that finally each form is good and bears the form of Good. In this case, each of these (life, intelligence and idea) possess a good which is either common, or different, or which is of a different degree. Since we have admitted that each of the above-mentioned things contains a good in its being, then it is good chiefly because of this good. Thus life is a good, not in so far as it is merely life, but in so far as it is real life and proceeds from the Good. Intelligence likewise is a good so far as it essentially is intelligence; there is therefore some common element in life and intelligence. Indeed, when one and the same attribute is predicated of different beings, although it form an integral part of their being, it may be abstracted therefrom by thought; thus from "man" and "horse" may be abstracted "animal"; from "water" and "fire," "heat"; but what is common in these beings is a genus, while what is common in intelligence and life, is one and the same thing which inheres in one in the first degree, and in the other in the second.


Is it by a mere play on words that life, intelligence and ideas are called good? Does the good constitute their being, or is each good taken in its totality? Good could not constitute the being of each of them. Are they then parts of the Good? The Good, however, is indivisible. The things that are beneath it are good for different reasons. The primary actualization (that proceeds from the Good) is good; likewise, the determination it receives is good, and the totality of both734 things is good. The actualization is good because it proceeds from the Good; the determination, because it is a perfection that has emanated from the Good; and the combination of actualization and determination because it is their totality. All these things thus are derived from one and the same principle, but nevertheless they are different. Thus (in a choric ballet) the voice and the step proceed from one and the same person, in that they are all perfectly regulated. Now they are well regulated because they contain order and rhythm. What then is the content in the above-mentioned things that would make them good? But perhaps it may be objected that if the voice and step are well regulated, each one of them entirely owes it to some external principle, since the order is here applied to the things that differ from each other. On the contrary, the things of which we speak are each of them good in itself. And why are they good? It does not suffice to say that they are good because they proceed from the Good. Doubtless we shall have to grant that they are precious from the moment that they proceed from the Good, but reason demands that we shall determine that of which their goodness consists.


19. Shall the decision of what is good be entrusted to the desire of the soul?110 If we are to trust this affection of the soul, we shall be declaring that whatever is desirable for her is good; but we would not be seeking why the Good is desired. Thus, while we use demonstrations to explain the nature of every entity, we would be trusting to desire for the determination of the Good. Such a proceeding would land us in several absurdities. First, the Good would only be an attribute. Then, since our soul has several desires, and each of the latter has different objects, we would not be able to decide735 which of these objects would be the best, according to desire. It would be impossible to decide what would be better before we know what is good.


Shall we then define the good as the virtue characteristic of each being (as say the Stoics)? In this case, by strictly following (the course of dialectics) we would reduce the Good to being a form and a reason. But, having arrived there, what should we answer if we were asked on what grounds these things themselves are good? In imperfect things, it seems easy to distinguish the good, even though it be not pure; but in intelligible things we may not immediately succeed in discovering the Good by comparison with the inferior things. As there is no evil on high (in the intelligible world), and as excellent things exist in themselves, we find ourselves embarrassed. Perhaps we are embarrassed only because we seek the cause ("whyness") (of the good), whereas the cause ("whyness") is here identical with the nature ("whatness"), as intelligible entities are good in themselves. Nor would we have solved the problem if we were to assign some other cause (of the Good), such as the divinity, to which our reason has not yet forced us to repair. However, we cannot retire, and we must seek to arrive by some other road to something satisfactory.


20. Since therefore we have given up desires as forms in the determination of the nature and quality (of the good), shall we have recourse to other rules,736 such as, for instance (the Pythagorean104) "oppositions," such as order and disorder, proportion and disproportion, health and sickness, form and formlessness, being and destruction, consistence and its lack? Who indeed would hesitate to attribute to the form of good those characteristics which constitute the first member of each of these opposition-pairs? If so, the efficient causes of these characteristics will also have to be traced to the good; for virtue, life, intelligence and wisdom are comprised within the form of good, as being things desired by the soul that is wise.


It will further be suggested (by followers of Aristotle) that we stop at Intelligence, predicating goodness of it. For life and soul are images of Intelligence. It is to Intelligence that the soul aspires, it is according to Intelligence that the soul judges, it is on Intelligence that the soul regulates herself, when she pronounces that justice is better than injustice, in preferring every kind of virtue to every kind of vice, and in holding in high estimation what she considers preferable. Unfortunately, the soul does not aspire to Intelligence exclusively. As might be demonstrated in a long discussion, Intelligence is not the supreme goal to which we aspire, and not everything aspires to Intelligence, whilst everything aspires to the Good. The (beings) which do not possess intelligence do not all seek to possess it, while those who do possess it, do not limit themselves to it. Intelligence is sought only as the result of a train of reasoning, whilst Good is desired even before reason comes into play. If the object of desire be to live, to exist always, and to be active, this object is not desired because of Intelligence, but because of its being good, inasmuch as the Good is its737 principle and its goal. It is only in this respect that life is desirable.


21. What then is the one and only cause to whose presence is due the goodness (of life, intelligence and idea)? Let us not hesitate to say: Intelligence and primary Life bear the form of Good; it is on this account alone that they are desirable; they bear the form of Good in this respect, that the primary Life is the actualization of the Good, or rather the actualization that proceeds from the Good, and that intelligence is determination of this actualization. (Intelligence and primary Life) are fascinating, and the soul seeks them because they proceed from the Good; nevertheless the soul aspires to them (only) because they fit her, and not because they are good in themselves. On the other hand, the soul could not disdain them because they bear the form of good; though112 we can disdain something even though it be suitable to us, if it be not a good besides.112 It is true that we permit ourselves to be allured by distant and inferior objects, and may even feel for them a passionate love; but that occurs only when they have something more than their natural condition, and when some perfection descends on them from on high. Just as the bodies, while containing a light mingled with their (substance), nevertheless need illumination by some other light to bring out their colors,113 so the intelligible entities, in spite of the light that they contain, need to receive some other more powerful light, so as to become visible, both for themselves, and for others.


22. When the soul perceives the light thus shed by the Good on the intelligible entities, she flies towards738 them, tasting an indescribable bliss in the contemplation of the light that illuminates them. Likewise here below, we do not like the bodies for themselves, but for the beauty that shimmers in them.114 Each intelligible entity owes its nature to none but to itself; but it only becomes desirable when the Good, so to speak, illuminates and colors it, breathing grace into the desired object, and inspiring love into the desiring heart. As soon as the soul reacts to the influence of the Good, she feels emotion, swells with fancy, is stung by desire, and love is born within her.115 Before reacting to the influence of good she feels no transports when facing the beauty of Intelligence; for this beauty is dead so long as it is not irradiated by the Good. Consequently the soul still remains depressed and bowed down, cold and torpid, in front of Intelligence. But as soon as she feels the gentle warmth of the Good, she is refreshed, she awakes, and spreads her wings; and instead of stopping to admire the Intelligence in front of her, she rises by the aid of reminiscence to a still higher principle (the First). So long as there is anything superior to what she possesses, she rises, allured by her natural leaning for the Inspirer of love; so she passes through the region of Intelligence, and stops at the Good because there is nothing beyond. So long as she contemplates Intelligence, she surely enjoys a noble and magnificent spectacle, but she does not yet fully possess the object of her search. Such would be a human countenance, which, in spite of its beauty, is not attractive, for lack of the charm of grace. Beauty is, indeed, rather the splendor that enhalos proportion, than proportion itself; and it is properly this splendor which challenges love. Why indeed does beauty shine radiantly on the face of a living person, and yet leave hardly a trace after death, even when the complexion and features are not yet marred? Why, among different statues, do the most life-like ones seem more739 beautiful than others that may be better proportioned? Why is a living being, though ugly, more beautiful than a pictured one, even though the latter were the most handsome imaginable? The secret is that the living form seems to us most desirable, because it possesses a living soul, because it is most assimilated to the Good; because the soul is colored by the light of the Good, and because, enlightened by the Good she is more wakeful and lighter, and because in her turn she lightens the burdens, awakes, and causes participation of the Good, so far as she may be able, in the body within which she resides.


23. Since it is this Principle which the soul pursues, which illuminates Intelligence, and whose least trace arouses in us so great an emotion, there is no ground for astonishment if it possess the power of exerting its fascination on all beings, and if all rest in Him without seeking anything beyond. If indeed everything proceeds from this principle, then there is nothing better, and everything else is below Him. Now, how could the best of beings fail to be the Good? If the Good be entirely self-sufficient, and have need of nothing else, what could it be except the One who was what He is before all other things, when evil did not yet exist? If all evils be posterior to Him, if they exist only in the objects that in no way participate in the Good, and which occupy the last rank, if no evil exist among the intelligibles, and if there be nothing worse than evil (just as there is nothing better than the Good), then evils are in complete opposition to this principle, and it could be nothing else. To deny the existence of the Good, we would also have to deny the existence of evil; and the result would be a complete indifference of choice between any two particular740 things; which is absurd. All other things called good refer to Him, while He refers to nothing else.


But if this be the nature of the Good, what does He do? He made Intelligence, and life. By the intermediation of Intelligence, He made the souls and all the other beings that participate in Intelligence, in Reason, or in Life. Moreover, who could express the goodness of Him who is their source and principle? But what is He doing at the present time? He preserves what He has begotten, He inspires the thought in those who think, He vivifies the living, by His spirit,116 He imparts to all (beings) intelligence and life, and to those who are unable to receive life, at least existence.


24. And what is He doing for us? To answer this question, we would still have to explain the light by which Intelligence is illuminated, and in which the Soul participates. But we shall have to postpone this discussion, and mention various other questions which may be asked. Is the Good goodness, and does it receive this name because it is desirable for some being? Is that which is desirable for some being the good of this being, and do we call the Good that which is desirable for all beings? Is being desirable not rather a simple characteristic of the Good, and must not that which is desirable have a nature such that it would deserve the name of Good?117 Besides, do the beings that desire the Good desire it because they receive from it something, or merely because possession thereof causes bliss? If they do receive something from it, what does it consist of? If the possession of the Good give them joy, why should their joy come from possession741 of the Good, rather than from possession of anything else? ls the Good such by what is characteristic of it, or by something else? Is the Good an attribute of some other being, or is the Good good for itself? Must not the Good rather be good for others, without being good for itself? For whom anyway is the Good good? For there is a certain nature (matter) for which nothing is good.


Nor can we ignore an objection raised by an opponent who is difficult to convince (Plato's Philebus): "Well, my friends, what then is this entity that you celebrate in such pompous terms, ceaselessly repeating that life and intelligence are goods, although you said that the Good is above them? What sort of a good might the Intellect be? What sort of a good should (a man) have, who thinks the Ideas themselves, contemplating everything in itself? Perhaps, indeed, a man, when he enjoys these (Ideas and contemplations), might be deceived into calling them a good merely because he happened to be in pleasant circumstances; but should these circumstances become unpleasant, on what grounds would he call them a good? Merely because they (possess) existence? But what pleasure or benefit could this afford him? If he did not consider self-love as the foundation thereof, what difference could there be for him between existence and non-existence? It is therefore to this natural physical error (of self-love), and to the fear of death, that we must trace the cause of the ascription of good to intelligence and life."118


25. Plato therefore mingled the Good with pleasure, and did not posit the Good exclusively in742 Intelligence, as he wrote in the Philebus.119 Appreciating this difficulty, he very rightly decided on one hand that good did not consist in pleasure alone, and on the other, that it did not consist in intelligence alone, inasmuch as he failed to discover in it anything to arouse our desire. Perhaps Plato had still another motive (in calling the Good a mixture), because he thought that, with such a nature, the Good is necessarily full of charm, desirable both for the seeker and the finder; whence it would result that he who is not charmed has not found the Good, and that, if he who desires be not happy, he evidently does not yet possess the Good. It is not without a reason (that Plato formed this conception of the Good); for he was not seeking to determine the universal Good, but the good of man; and as such human good refers to (man, who is) a being different from the absolute Good, then it becomes for him something different from the Good in itself; and would therefore be defective and composite. That is why (according to Plato), that which is alone and single has no good, but is good in another and a higher sense.


The good must then be desirable; but it is good not because it is desirable, but it is desirable because it is good.121 Thus in the order of beings, rising from the last to the First, it will be found that the good of each of them is in the one immediately preceding, so long as this ascending scale remain proportionate and increasing. Then we will stop at Him who occupies the supreme rank, beyond which there is nothing more to seek. That is the First, the veritable, the sovereign Good, the author of all goodness in other beings. The good of matter is form; for if matter became capable of sensation it would receive it with pleasure. The good of the body is the soul; for without her it could neither743 exist nor last. The good of the soul is virtue; and then higher (waits), Intelligence. Last, the good of Intelligence is the principle called the Primary nature. Each of these goods produces something within the object whose good it is. It confers order and beauty (as form does on matter); or life (as the soul does on the body); or wisdom and happiness (as intelligence does on soul). Last, the Good communicates to Intelligence its influx, and actualization emanating from the Good, and shedding on Intelligence what has been called the light of the Good. The nature of this we shall study later.


26. Recognition of goodness and so-called "possession" thereof consist of enjoyment of the presence of good by the being who has received from nature the faculty of sensation. How could it make a mistake about the matter? The possibility of its being deceived implies the existence of some counterfeit; in this case, the error of this being was caused by that which resembled its good; for this being withdraws from what had deceived it as soon as the Good presents itself. The existence of a particular good for each being is demonstrated by its desire and inclination. Doubtless, the inanimate being receives its good from without; but, in the animated being, the desire spontaneously starts to pursue the Good. That is why lifeless bodies are the objects of solicitude and care of living beings, while the living beings watch over themselves.


Now when a being has attained the good it was pursuing it is sure of possessing it as soon as it feels744 that it is better, feels no regret, is satisfied, takes pleasure therein, and seeks nothing beyond. What shows the insufficiency of pleasure is that one does not always like the same thing; doubtless pleasure ever charms, but the object which produces it is not the same; it is always the newest object that pleases most. Now the good to which we aspire must not be a simple affection, existing only in him who feels it; for he who mistakes this affection for the Good remains unsatisfied, he has nothing but an affection that somebody else might equally feel in presence of the Good. Consequently no one will succeed in making himself enjoy a pleasure he has not achieved122; such as, for instance, rejoicing in the presence of an absent son; or, for a glutton to relish imaginary food; or, for a lover, to tremble at the touch of his absent mistress, or (to thrill in a theoretic) orgasm.


27. What is the essential of a being's nature? Form. Matter achieves (recognition) through its form; and a soul's destiny is realized by the virtue which is its form. Next we may ask whether this form be a good for a being merely because it suits its (nature)? Does desire pursue that which is suitable to it, or not? No: a being is suited by its like; now, though a being seek and love its like, its possession does not imply the possession of its good. Are we then not implying that something is suitable to a being, on the strength of its being the good of that being? The determination of what is suitable to a being belongs to the superior Being of whom the lower being is a potentiality. When a being is the potentiality of some other, the being needs the other; now the Being which it needs because it is superior is, by that very fact, its good. Of all things matter is the most indigent, and the form suitable to745 it is the last of all; but, above it, one may gradually ascend. Consequently, if a being be good for itself, so much the more will it consider good what is its perfection and form, namely, the being that is better than it, because of a superior nature, and of supplying the good (of the lower being). But why should that which a being receives from a superior Being be its good? Is it not this because it is eminently suited to it? No: It is so merely because it is a portion of the Good. That is why the purest and best Beings are those that have most intimacy with themselves.124 Besides it is absurd to seek the cause why what is good, is good for itself; as if, by the mere fact of its being good, it should betray its own nature and not love itself. Nevertheless, speaking of simple beings, it might be asked whether a being which does not contain several things different from each other either possesses intimacy with itself, or can be good for itself.


Now, if all that has been said be right, it is only a gradual upward analysis that reveals the good that is suitable to the nature of any being. Desire does not constitute the good, but is born from its presence. Those who acquire the good receive something from it. Pleasure accompanies the acquirement of good; but even should pleasure not accompany the good, the good should, none the less be chosen, and sought for its own sake.


28. Let us consider the implications of the principles we have studied. If that which a being receives as good be everywhere a form, if the good of matter746 be a form, we might ask ourselves whether matter, granting it here the faculty of volition, would even wish to be a form? Such a wish would be tantamount to a wish to be destroyed. (But matter could not wish this), for every being seeks its own good. But perhaps matter might not wish to be matter, but simply to be essence; possessing which, matter would wish to free itself from all the evil within it. But how can that which is evil (for such is the nature of matter) desire the good?125 Besides, we are not attributing desire to matter itself. It was only to meet the exigencies of the discussion that we employed the hypothesis which accorded sensibility to matter, if indeed it can be granted to matter without destroying its nature. We have at least shown that when form has come, as a dream of the Good,126 to unite itself to matter, the latter found itself in a better condition.


All we have said above goes on the assumption that matter is the evil. But if it were something else, as, for instance, malice, and if the essence of matter were to receive sensation, would intimacy with what is better still be the good of matter? But if it were not the malice itself of matter which choose the good, it was what had become evil in matter. If the essence (of matter) were identical with evil, how could matter wish to possess this good? Would evil love itself, if it had self-consciousness? But how could that which is not lovable be loved? For we have demonstrated that a being's good does not consist in that which is suitable to it. Enough about this, however.


But if the good be everywhere a form; if, in the measure that one rises (along the ladder of beings),747 there is a progression in the form—for the soul is more of a form than the form of the body; in the soul herself there are graduated forms, and intelligence is more of a form than the soul—the good follows a progression evidently inverse to that of matter; the Good exists in that which is purified and freed from matter, and exists there in proportion to its purity (from matter); so it exists in the highest degree in that which lays aside all materiality. Finally, the Good in itself, being entirely separated from all matter; or rather, never having had any contact with it, constitutes a nature which has no kind of form, and from which proceeds the first form (Intelligence). But of this more later.127


29. Supposing then that the pleasure does not accompany the good, but that anterior to pleasure there have existed something which would have naturally given rise to it (because of its goodness); why then might not the good be considered lovable? But the mere assertion that good is lovable, already implies that it is accompanied by pleasure. But supposing now that the good could exist without being lovable (and consequently not accompanied by pleasure). In that case, even in presence of the good, the being that possesses sensibility will not know that the good is present. What would however hinder a being from knowing the presence of the good without feeling any emotion at its possession, which would exactly represent the case of the temperate man who lacks nothing? The result would be that pleasure could not be suitable to the First (being), not only because He is simple, but also because pleasure results from the acquisition of what is lacking (and the First lacks nothing, therefore could not feel pleasure).



But, in order that this truth may appear in its full light, we shall first have to clear away all the other opinions, and especially have to refute the teaching opposite to ours. This is the question asked of us: "What will be the fruit gathered by him who has the intelligence necessary to acquire one of these goods (such as existence and life), if on hearing them named, he be not impressed thereby, because he does not understand them, either because they seem to him no more than words, or because his conception of each of these things should differ (from our view of them), or because in his search for the Good he seeks some sense-object, such as wealth, or the like?" The person who thus scorns these things (existence and life), thereby implicitly recognizes that there is within him a certain good, but that, without knowing in what it consists, he nevertheless values these things according to his own notion of the Good; for it is impossible to say, "that is not the good," without having some sort of knowledge of the good,128 or acquaintance therewith. The above speaker seems to betray a suspicion that the Good in itself is above Intelligence. Besides, if in considering the Good in itself, or the good which most approaches it, he do not discern it, he will nevertheless succeed in getting a conception of it by its contraries; otherwise, he would not even know that the lack of intelligence is an evil, though every man desire to be intelligent, and glory in being such, as is seen by the sensations which aspire to become notions. If intelligence, and especially primary Intelligence, be beautiful and venerable, what admiration might not then be felt by him who could contemplate the generating principle, the Father of Intelligence?129 Consequently, he who affects to scorn existence and life749 receives a refutation from himself and from all the affections he feels. They who are disgusted of life are those who consider not the true life, but the life which is mingled with death.


30. Now, rising in thought to the Good, we must examine whether pleasure must be mingled with the Good to keep life from remaining imperfect, even if we should, besides, contemplate the divine things, and even Him who is their principle. When (Plato119) seems to believe that the good is composed of intelligence, as subject, and also of affection which wisdom makes the soul experience, he is not asserting that this blend (of intelligence and pleasure) is either the goal (of the soul), or the Good in itself. He only means that intelligence is the good, and that we enjoy its possession. This is a first interpretation of (Plato's) opinion about the Good. Another interpretation is that to mingle intelligence with pleasure is to make a single subject of both of them, so that in acquiring or in contemplating such an intelligence we possess the good; for (according to the partisans of this opinion), one of these things could not exist in isolation, nor, supposing that it could so exist, it would not be desirable as a good. But (shall we ask them), how can intelligence be mingled with pleasure so as to form a perfect fusion therewith? Nobody could be made to believe that the pleasure of the body could be mingled with Intelligence; such pleasure is incompatible even with the joys of the soul.


The element of truth in all this, however, is that every action, disposition and life is joined by some750 accessory (pleasure or pain) that unites with it. Indeed, sometimes action meets an obstacle to its natural accomplishment, and life is affected by the mixture of a little of its contrary, which limits its independence; sometimes, however, action is produced without anything troubling its purity and serenity, and then life flows along a tranquil course. Those who consider that this state of intelligence is desirable, and preferable to everything else, in their inability to express their thoughts more definitely, say that it is mingled with pleasure. Such likewise is the meaning of expressions used by those who apply to divine things terms intended to express joy here below, and who say, "He is intoxicated with nectar! Let us to the banquet! Jupiter smiles!"130 This happy state of intelligence is that which is the most agreeable, the most worthy of our wishes, and of our love; nor is it transitory, and does not consist in a movement; its principle is that which colors intelligence, illumines it, and makes it enjoy a sweet serenity. That is why Plato131 adds to the mixture truth, and puts above it that which gives measure. He also adds that the proportion and the beauty which are in the mixture pass from there into the beautiful. That is the good that belongs to us, that is the fate that awaits us. That is the supreme object of desire, an object that we will achieve on condition of drawing ourselves up to that which is best in us. Now this thing full of proportion and beauty, this form composed (of the elements of which we have spoken), is nothing else but a life full of radiance, intelligence and beauty.


31. Since all things have been embellished by Him who is above them, and have received their light from Him; since Intelligence derives from Him the splendor751 of its intellectual actualization; by which splendor it illuminates nature; since from Him also the soul derives her vital power, because she finds in Him an abundant source of life; consequently, Intelligence has risen to Him, and has remained attached to Him, satisfied in the bliss of His presence; consequently also the soul, to the utmost of her ability, turned towards Him, for, as soon as she has known Him and seen Him, she was, by her contemplation, filled with bliss; and, so far as she could see Him, she was overwhelmed with reverence. She could not see Him without being impressed with the feeling that she had within herself something of Him; it was this disposition of hers that led her to desire to see Him, as the image of some lovable object makes one wish to be able to contemplate it oneself. Here below, lovers try to resemble the beloved object, to render their body more gracious, to conform their soul to their model, by temperance and the other virtues to remain as little inferior as possible to Him whom they love, for fear of being scorned by Him; and thus they succeed in enjoying intimacy with Him.132 Likewise, the soul loves the Good, because, from the very beginning she is provoked to love Him. When she is ready to love, she does not wait for the beauties here below to give her the reminiscence of the Good; full of love, even when she does not know what she possesses, she is ever seeking; and inflamed with the desire to rise to the Good, she scorns the things here below. Considering the beauties presented by our universe, she suspects that they are deceptive, because she sees them clothed upon with flesh, and united to our bodies, soiled by the matter where they reside, divided by extension, and she does not recognize them as real beauties, for she cannot believe that the latter could plunge into the mire of these bodies, soiling and obscuring themselves.133 Last, when the soul observes that the beauties here below752 are in a perpetual flux, she clearly recognizes that they derive this splendor with which they shine, from elsewhere.134 Then she rises to the intelligible world; being capable of discovering what she loves, she does not stop before having found it, unless she be made to lose her love. Having arrived there, she contemplates all the true beauties, the true realities135; she refreshes herself by filling herself up with the life proper to essence. She herself becomes genuine essence. She fuses with the Intelligible which she really possesses, and in its presence she has the feeling (of having found) what she was seeking so long.


32. Where then is He who has created this venerable beauty, and this perfect life? Where is He who has begotten "being"? Do you see the beauty that shines in all these forms so various? It is well to dwell there; but when one has thus arrived at beauty, one is forced to seek the source of these essences and of their beauty. Their author Himself cannot be any of them; for then He would be no more than some among them, and a part of the whole. He is therefore none of the particular forms, nor a particular power, nor all of the forms, nor all the powers that are, or are becoming, in the universe; He must be superior to all the forms and all the powers. The supreme Principle therefore has no form; not indeed that He lacks any; but because He is the principle from which all intellectual shapes are derived. Whatever is born—that is, if there be anything such as birth—must, at birth, have been some particular being, and have had its particular shape; but who could have made that which was not made by anybody? He therefore is all beings, without being any of them; He is none of the other beings because He is anterior to all of them; He is all other753 beings because He is their author. What greatness shall be attributed to the Principle who can do all things? Will He be considered infinite? Even if He be infinite, He will have no greatness, for magnitude occurs only among beings of the lowest rank. The creator of magnitude could not himself have any magnitude; and even what is called magnitude in "being" is not a quantity. Magnitude can be found only in something posterior to being. The magnitude of the Good is that there be nothing more powerful than He, nothing that even equals Him. How indeed could any of the beings dependent on Him ever equal Him, not having a nature identical with His? Even the statement that God is always and everywhere does not attribute to Him any measure, nor even, a lack of measure—otherwise, He might be considered as measuring the rest; nor does it attribute to Him any figure (or, outward appearance).


Thus the Divinity, being the object of desire, must be the most desired and the most loved, precisely because He has no figure nor shape. The love He inspires is immense; this love is limitless, because of the limitlessness of its object. He is infinite, because the beauty of its object surpasses all beauty. Not being any essence, how indeed could the (divinity) have any determinate beauty? As supreme object of love, He is the creator of beauty.136 Being the generating power of all that is beautiful, He is at the same time the flower in which beauty blooms137: for He produces it, and makes it more beautiful still by the superabundance of beauty which He sheds on her. He is therefore simultaneously the principle and goal of beauty.138 As principle of beauty, He beautifies all that of which He is the principle. It is not however by shape that He beautifies; what He produces has no shape, or, to speak754 more accurately, He has a shape in a sense different from the habitual meaning of this term. The shape which is no more than a shape is a simple attribute of some substance, while the Shape that subsists in itself is superior to shape. Thus, that which participates in beauty was a shape; but beauty itself has none.


33. When we speak of absolute Beauty, we must therefore withdraw from all determinate shape, setting none before the eyes (of our mind); otherwise, we would expose ourselves to descending from absolute beauty to something which does not deserve the name of beauty but by virtue of an obscure and feeble participation139; while absolute Beauty is a shapeless form, if it be at all allowed to be an idea (or form). Thus you may approach the universal Shape only by abstraction. Abstract even the form found in the reason (that is, the essence), by which we distinguish one action from another. Abstract, for instance, the difference that separates temperance from justice, though both be beautiful. For by the mere fact that intelligence conceives an object as something proper, the object that it conceives is diminished, even though this object were the totality of intelligible entities; and, on the other hand, if each of them, taken apart, have a single form, nevertheless all taken together will offer a certain variety.


We still have to study the proper conception of Him who is superior to the Intelligence that is so universally beautiful and varied, but who Himself is not varied. To Him the soul aspires without knowing why she wishes to possess Him; but reason tells us He is essential beauty, since the nature of Him who is excellent755 and sovereignly lovable cannot absolutely have any form. That is why the soul, whatever object you may show her in your process of reducing an object to a form, ever seeks beyond the shaping principle. Now reason tells us in respect to anything that has a shape, that as a shape or form is something measured (or limited), (anything shaped) cannot be genuinely universal, absolute, and beautiful in itself, and that its beauty is a mixture. Therefore though the intelligible entities be beautiful (they are limited); while He who is essential beauty, or rather the super-beautiful, must be unlimited, and consequently have no shape or form. He who then is beauty in the first degree, and primary Beauty, is superior to form, and the splendor of the intelligible (world) is only a reflection of the nature of the Good.


This is proved by what happens to lovers; so far as their eyes remain fixed on a sense-object, they do not yet love genuinely. Love is born only when they rise above the sense-object, and arrive at representing in their indivisible soul an image which has nothing more of sensation. To calm the ardor that devours them they do indeed still desire to contemplate the beloved object; but as soon as they come to understand that they have to rise to something beyond the form, they desire the latter; for since the very beginning they felt within themselves the love for a great light inspired by a feeble glow. The Shape indeed is the trace of the shapeless. Without himself having any shape, He begets shape whenever matter approaches Him. Now matter must necessarily be very distant from Him, because matter does not possess forms of even the last degree. Since form inherent in matter is derived from the soul, not even mere form-fashioned756 matter is lovable in itself, as matter; and as the soul herself is a still higher form, but yet is inferior to and less lovable than intelligence, there is no escape from the conclusion that the primary nature of the Beautiful is superior to form.


34. We shall not be surprised that the soul's liveliest transports of love are aroused by Him, who has no form, not even an intelligible one, when we observe that the soul herself, as soon as she burns with love for Him, lays aside all forms soever, even if intelligible; for it is impossible to approach Him so long as one considers anything else. The soul must therefore put aside all evil, and even all good; in a word, everything, of whatever nature, to receive the divinity, alone with the alone. When the soul obtains this happiness, and when (the divinity) comes to her, or rather, when He manifests His presence, because the soul has detached herself from other present things, when she has embellished herself as far as possible, when she has become assimilated to Him by means known only to the initiated, she suddenly sees Him appear in her. No more interval between them, no more doubleness; the two fuse in one. It is impossible to distinguish the soul from the divinity, so much does she enjoy His presence; and it is the intimacy of this union that is here below imitated by those who love and are loved, when they consummate union. In this condition the soul no longer feels (her body); she no more feels whether she be alive, human, essence, universality, or anything else. Consideration of objects would be a degradation, and the soul then757 has neither the leisure nor the desire to busy herself with them. When, after having sought the divinity, she finds herself in His presence, she rushes towards Him, and contemplates Him instead of herself.140 What is her condition at the time? She has not the leisure to consider it; but she would not exchange it for anything whatever, not even for the whole heaven; for there is nothing superior or better; she could not rise any higher. As to other things, however elevated they be, she cannot at that time stoop to consider them. It is at this moment that the soul starts to move, and recognizes that she really possesses what she desired; she at last affirms that there is nothing better than Him. No illusion could occur there; for where could she find anything truer than truth itself? The soul then is what she affirms; (or rather), she asserts it (only), later, and then she asserts it by keeping silence. While tasting this beatitude she could not err in the assertion that she tastes it. If she assert that she tastes it, it is not that her body experiences an agreeable titillation, for she has only become again what she formerly used to be when she became happy. All the things that formerly charmed her, such as commanding others, power, wealth, beauty, science, now seem to her despicable; she could not scorn them earlier, for she had not met anything better. Now she fears nothing, so long as she is with Him, and contemplates Him. Even with pleasure would she witness the destruction of everything, for she would remain alone with Him; so great is her felicity.


35. Such, then, is the state of the soul that she no longer values even thought, which formerly excited her admiration; for thought is a movement, and the soul would prefer none. She does not even assert758 that it is Intelligence that she sees, though she contemplate only because she has become intelligence, and has, so to speak, become intellectualized, by being established in the intelligible place. Having arrived to Intelligence, and having become established therein, the soul possesses the intelligible, and thinks; but as soon as she achieves the vision of the supreme Divinity, she abandons everything else. She behaves as does the visitor who, on entering into a palace, would first admire the different beauties that adorn its interior, but who regards them no longer as soon as she perceives the master; for the master, by his (living) nature, which is superior to all the statues that adorn the palace, monopolizes the consideration, and alone deserves to be contemplated; consequently the spectator, with his glance fixed on Him, henceforward observes Him alone. By dint of continual contemplation of the spectacle in front of him, the spectator sees the master no longer; in the spectator, vision confuses with the visible object. What for the spectator first was a visible object, in him becomes vision, and makes him forget all that he saw around himself. To complete this illustration, the master here presenting himself to the visitor must be no man, but a divinity; and this divinity must not content Himself with appearing to the eyes of him who contemplates Him, but He must penetrate within the human soul, and fill her entirely.


Intelligence has two powers: by the first, which is her own power of thinking, she sees what is within her. By the other she perceives what is above her by the aid of a kind of vision and perception; by the vision, she first saw simply; then, by (perceptive) seeing, she received intellection and fused with the One. The first kind of contemplation is suitable to759 the intelligence which still possesses reason; the second is intelligence transported by love. Now, it is when the nectar intoxicates her,141 and deprives her of reason, that the soul is transported with love, and that she blossoms into a felicity that fulfils all her desires. It is better for her to abandon herself to this intoxication than to remain wise. In this state does intelligence successively see one thing, and then another? No: methods of instruction (or, constructive speech) give out everything successively; but it is eternally that intelligence possesses the power of thought, as well as the power not to think; that is, to see the divinity otherwise than by thought. Indeed, while contemplating Him, she received within herself germs, she felt them when they were produced and deposited within her breast; when she sees them, she is said to think; but when she sees the divinity, it is by that superior power by virtue of which she was to think later.


As to the soul, she sees the divinity only by growing confused, as it were by exhausting the intelligence which resides in her; or rather, it is her first intelligence that sees; but the vision the latter has of the divinity reaches down to the soul, which then fuses with intelligence. It is the Good, extending over intelligence and the soul, and condescending to their level, which spreads over them, and fuses them; hovering above them, it bestows on them the happy vision, and the ineffable feeling of itself. It raises them so high that they are no more in any place, nor within anything whatever, in any of the senses in which one thing is said to be within another. For the Good is not within anything; the intelligible location is within it, but it is not in anything else. Then the soul moves no more,760 because the divinity is not in motion. To speak accurately, she is no longer soul, because the divinity does not live, but is above life; neither is she intelligence, because the divinity is above intelligence; because there must be complete assimilation (between the soul and the divinity). Finally, the soul does not think even the divinity, because in this condition she does not think at all.


36. The remainder is plain. As to the last point, it has already been discussed. Still it may be well to add something thereto, starting from the point reached, and proceeding by arguments. Knowledge, or, if it may be so expressed, the "touch of the Good," is the greatest thing in the world. Plato142 calls it the greatest of sciences, and even so he here applies this designation not to the vision itself of the Good, but to the science of the Good that may be had before the vision. This science is attained by the use of analogies,143 by negations (made about the Good), by the knowledge of things that proceed from it, and last by the degrees that must be taken (or, upward steps that must be climbed to reach up to Him.165) (These then are the degrees) that lead up (to the divinity): purifications, virtues that adorn the soul, elevation to the intelligible, settling in the intelligible, and then the banquet at which nectar feeds him who becomes simultaneously spectator and spectacle, either for himself, or for others.144 Having become Being, Intelligence, and universal living Organism, (the initiate) no longer considers these things as being outside of him; having arrived at that condition, she approaches Him who is immediately above all the intelligible entities, and who already sheds His radiance over them. (The initiate) then leaves aside all the science that has led him till761 there; settled in the beautiful, he thinks, so long as he does not go beyond that (sphere of) being. But there, as it were raised by the very flood of intelligence, and carried away by the wave that swells, without knowing how, he suddenly sees. The contemplation which fills his eye with light does not reveal to him anything exterior; it is the light itself that he sees. It is not an opposition between light on one side, and the visible object on the other; nor is there on one side intelligence, and on the other the intelligible entity; there is only the (radiation) which later begets these entities, and permits them to exist within it. (The divinity) is no more than the radiation that begets intelligence, begetting without being consumed, and remaining within itself. This radiation exists, and this existence alone begets something else. If this radiation were not what it was, neither would the latter thing subsist.


37. They who attributed thought to the First Principle have at least not attributed to Him the thought of things that are inferior to Him, or which proceed from Him.145 Nevertheless some of them claimed that it was absurd to believe that the divinity ignored other things. As to the former, finding nothing greater than the Good, they attributed to (the divinity) the thought of Himself,146 as if this could add to His majesty, as if even for Him, thinking were more than being what He is, and it were not the Good Himself which communicates His sublimity to intelligence. But from whom then will the Good derive His greatness? Would it come from thought, or from Himself? If He derive it from thought, He is not great by himself; or at least, He is no more sovereignly great. If it be from Himself that He derives His greatness, He is perfectly anterior to thought, and it is not thought that renders Him perfect. Is He forced to think because He is762 actualization, and not merely potentiality? If He is a being that ever thinks, and if this be the meaning of actualization,147 we would be attributing to the Good two things simultaneously: "being" and thought; instead of conceiving of Him as a simple Principle, something foreign is added to Him, as to eyes is added the actualization of sight,148 even admitting that they see continually. (The divinity) is in actualization, in the sense that He is both actualization and thought, is He not? No, for being thought itself, He must not be thinking, as movement itself does not move.149 But do not you yourselves say that (the divinity) is both being and actualization? We think that being and actualization are multiple and different things, whilst the First is simple. To the principle that proceeds from the First alone belongs thought, a certain seeking out of its being, of itself, and of its origin. It deserves the name of intelligence only by turning towards (the First) in contemplation, and in knowing Him. As to the unbegotten Principle, who has nothing above Him, who is eternally what He is, what reason might He have to think?


That is why Plato rightly says that the Good is above Intelligence. To speak of an "unthinking" intelligence would be a self-contradiction; for the principle whose nature it is to think necessarily ceases to be intelligent if it does not think. But no function can be assigned to a principle that has none, and we cannot blame it for idleness because it does not fulfil some function; this would be as silly as to reproach it for not possessing the art of healing. To the first Principle then should be assigned no function, because there is none that would suit Him. He is (self) sufficient, and there is nothing outside of Him who is above all; for, in763 being what He is, He suffices Himself and everything else.


38. Of the First we may not even say, "He is." (He does not need this), since we do not either say of Him, "He is good." "He is good" is said of the same principle to which "He is" applies. Now "He is" suits the (divinity) only on the condition that He be given no attribute, limiting oneself to the assertion of His existence. He is spoken of as the Good, not as predicating an attribute or quality of Him, but to indicate that He is the Good itself. We do not even approve of this expression, "He is the Good," because we think that not even the article should be prefixed thereto; but inasmuch as our language would fail to express an entire negation or deprivation, then, to avoid introducing some diversity in it, we are forced to name it, but there is no need to say "it is," we simply call it, "the Good."


But how could we admit (the existence of) a nature without feeling or consciousness of itself? We might answer this, What consciousness of self can (the divinity) have? Can He say, "I am?" But (in the above-mentioned sense), He is not. Can He say, "I am the Good"? Then He would still be saying of Himself "I am" (whereas we have just explained that this He cannot do150). What then will He add (to his simplicity) by limiting Himself to saying, "The Good"? For it is possible to think "the Good" apart from "He is" so long as the Good is not, as an attribute, applied to some other being. But whoever thinks himself764 good will surely say "I am the good"; if not, he will think the predicate "good," but he will not be enabled to think that he is so himself. Thus, the thought of good will imply this thought, "I am the good." If this thought itself be the Good, it will not be the thought of Him, but of the good, and he will not be the Good, but the thought.151 If the thought of good is different from the Good itself, the Good will be prior to the thought of the good. If the Good be self-sufficient before the thought, it suffices to itself to be the Good; and in this respect has no need of the thought that it is the Good.


39. Consequently, the Good does not think itself either as good, nor as anything else; for it possesses nothing different from itself. It only has "a simple perception of itself in respect to itself"; but as there is no distance or difference in this perception it has of itself, what could this perception be but itself? That is why it perceives a difference where being and intelligence appear. In order to think, intelligence must admit identity and difference simultaneously. On the one hand, without the relation between the Intelligible and itself, the (mind) will not distinguish itself from (the intelligible); and on the other, without the arising of an "otherness" which would enable it to be everything, it would not contemplate all (earthly) entities. (Without this difference), intelligence would not even be a "pair." Then, since intelligence thinks, if it think really, it will not think itself alone, for why should it not think all things? (Would it not do so) because it was impotent to do so? In short, the principle which thinks itself ceases to be simple, because in thinking itself it must think itself as something different, which is the necessary condition of thinking765 itself.152 We have already said that intelligence cannot think itself without contemplating itself as something different. Now in thinking, intelligence becomes manifold (that is, fourfold): intelligible object (thing thought) and intelligent subject (thinker); movement (or, moved153), and everything else that belongs to intelligence. Besides, it must be noticed, as we have pointed out elsewhere, that, to be thought, any thought, must offer variety154; but (in the divinity) this movement is so simple and identical that it may be compared to some sort of touch, and partakes in nothing of intellectual actualization (therefore, thought cannot be attributed to the divinity). What? Will (the divinity) know neither others nor Himself, and will He remain immovable in His majesty? (Surely). All things are posterior to Him; He was what He is before them. The thought of these things is adventitious, changeable, and does not apply to permanent objects. Even if it did apply to permanent objects, it would still be multiple, for we could not grant that in inferior beings thought was joined to being, while the thoughts of intelligence would be empty notions. The existence of Providence is sufficiently accounted for by its being that from which proceed all (beings). How then (in regard to all the beings that refer to Him) could (the divinity) think them, since He does not even think Himself, but remains immovable in His majesty? That is why Plato,149 speaking of "being," says that it doubtless thinks, but that it does not remain immovable in its majesty. By that he means that, no doubt, "being" thinks, but that that which does not think remains immovable in its majesty; using this expression for lack of a better one. Thus Plato considers the Principle which is superior to thought as possessing more majesty, nay, sovereign majesty.



40. That thought is incompatible with the first Principle is something well known by all those who have (in ecstasy) risen to Him.155 To what we have already said, we shall however add several arguments, if indeed we succeed in expressing thought comprehensibly; for conviction should be fortified by demonstration.156 In the first place, observe that all thought exists within a subject, and proceeds from some object. Thought that is connected with the object from which it is derived, has the being to which it belongs, as subject. It inheres in him because it is his actualization, and completes his potentiality, without, itself, producing anything; for it belongs exclusively to the subject whose complement it is. Thought that is hypostatically united with "being," and which underlies its existence, could not inhere in the object from which it proceeds; for, had it remained in him, it would not have produced anything. Now, having the potentiality of producing, it produced within itself; its actualization was "being," and it was united thereto. Thus thought is not something different from "being"; so far as this nature thinks itself, it does not think itself as being something different; for the only multiplicity therein is that which results from the logical distinction of intelligent subject (thinker) and intelligible object (the being thought), as we have often pointed out. That is the first actualization which produced a hypostasis (or, form of existence), while constituting "being"; and this actualization is the image of a Principle so great that itself has become "being." If thought belonged to the Good, instead of proceeding therefrom, it would be no more than an attribute; it would not, in itself, be a hypostatic form of existence. Being the first actualization and the first thought, this767 thought has neither actualization nor thought above it. Therefore, by rising above this "being" and this thought, neither further "being" nor thought will be met with; we would arrive to the Principle superior to "being," and thought, an admirable principle, which contains neither thought nor being, which in solitary guise dwells within itself, and which has no need of the things which proceed from Him. He did not first act, and then produce an actualization (he did not begin by thinking in order later to produce thought); otherwise, he would have thought before thought was born. In short, thought, being the thought of good, is beneath Him, and consequently does not belong to Him. I say: "does not belong to Him," not denying that the Good can be thought (for this, I admit); but because thought could not exist in the Good; otherwise, the Good and that which is beneath it—namely, the thought of Good—would fuse. Now, if the good be something inferior, it will simultaneously be thought and being; if, on the contrary, good be superior to thought, it must likewise belong to the Intelligible.157


Since therefore thought does not exist in the Good, and since, on the contrary, it is inferior to the Good, and since it must thus worship its majesty, (thought) must constitute a different principle, and leaves the Good pure and disengaged from it, as well as from other things. Independent of thought, the Good is what it is without admixture. The presence of the Good does not hinder it from being pure and single. If we were to suppose that Good is both thinking subject and thought object (thinker and thought) or "being," and thought connected with "being," if thus768 we make it think itself,158 it will need something else, and thus things will be above it. As actualization and thought are the complement or the consubstantial hypostasis (or, form of existence) of another subject, thought implies above it another nature to which it owes the power of thinking; for thought cannot think anything without something above it. When thought knows itself, it knows what it received by the contemplation of this other nature. As to Him who has nothing above Him, who derives nothing from any other principle, what could He think, and how could He think himself? What would He seek, and what would He desire? Would He desire to know the greatness of His power? But by the mere fact of His thinking it, it would have become external to Him; I call it exterior, if the cognizing power within Him differed from that which would be known; if on the contrary they fuse, what would He seek?


41. It would seem that thought was only a help granted to natures which, though divine, nevertheless do not occupy the first rank; it is like an eye given to the blind.159 But what need would the eye have to see essence, if itself were light? To seek light is the characteristic of him who needs it, because he finds in himself nothing but darkness.159 Since thought seeks light, while the light does not seek the light, the primary Nature, not seeking the light (since it is light itself), could not any more seek thought (since it is thought that seeks light); thinking could not suit it, therefore. What utility or advantage would thought bring him, inasmuch as thought itself needs aid to think? The Good therefore has not self-consciousness, not having need thereof; it is not doubleness; or rather, it is not double as is thought which implies (besides769 intelligence) a third term, namely, the intelligible (world). If thought, the thinking subject (the thinker) and the thought object (the thought) be absolutely identical, they form but one, and are absolutely indistinguishable; if they be distinct, they differ, and can no more be the Good. Thus we must put everything aside when we think of this "best Nature," which stands in need of no assistance. Whatever you may attribute to this Nature, you diminish it by that amount, since it stands in need of nothing. For us, on the contrary, thought is a beautiful thing, because our soul has need of intelligence. It is similarly a beautiful thing for intelligence, because thought is identical with essence, and it is thought that gave existence to intelligence.


Intelligence must therefore fuse with thought, and must always be conscious of itself, knowing that each of the two elements that constitute it is identical with the other, and that both form but a single one. If it were only unity, it would be self-sufficient, and would have no further need of receiving anything. The precept "know thyself" applies only to natures which, because of their multiplicity, need to give an account of themselves, to know the number and the quality of their component elements, because they either do not know them entirely, or even not at all; not knowing what power in them occupies the first rank, and constitutes their being.160 But if there be a Principle which is one by itself, it is too great to know itself, to think itself, to be self-conscious, because it is nothing determinate for itself. It receives nothing within itself, sufficing itself. It is therefore the Good not for itself, but for other natures; these indeed need the Good,770 but the Good has no need of itself; it would be ridiculous, and would fail to stand up to itself. Nor does it view itself; for, from this look something would arise, or exist for Him. All such things He left to the inferior natures, and nothing that exists in them is found in Him; thus (the Good) is not even "being." Nor does (the Good) possess thought, since thought is united to being, and as primary and supreme thought coexisted with essence. Therefore, one can not (as says Plato150), express (the divinity) by speech, nor have perception nor science of Him, since no attribute can be predicated of Him.


42. When you are in doubt about this matter, and when you wonder how you should classify these attributes to which reasoning has brought you, reject from among the things of the second order what seems venerable; attribute to the First none of the things that belong to the second order; neither attribute to those of the second order (that is, to Intelligence), what belongs to those of the third (that is, to the Soul); but subsume under the first Principle the things of the second order, and under the second principle the things of the third. That is the true means of allowing each being to preserve its nature, and at the same time to point out the bond that connects the lower things with the higher, and showing thus that the inferior things depend on the superior ones, while the superior ones remain in themselves. That is why (Plato) was right in saying,161 "All things surround the King of all, and exist on his account." "All things" means "all beings." "All things exist on his account" means that He is the cause of their existence, and the object of their desire, because His nature is different from theirs, because in Him is nothing that is in them, since they771 could not exist if the First possessed some attribute of what is inferior to Him. Therefore, if Intelligence be comprised within what is meant by "all things," it could not belong to the First. When (in the same place Plato calls the divinity) "the cause of all beauty," he seems to classify beauty among the Ideas, and the Good above the universal beauty.162 After thus having assigned the intelligible (entities) to the second rank, he classifies, as dependent on them, the things of the third order, which follow them. Last, to that which occupies the third rank, to the universal Soul, he subsumes the world that is derived therefrom. As the Soul depends on the Intelligence, and as Intelligence depends on the Good, all things thus depend from the Good in different degrees, mediately or immediately. In this respect, the things which are the most distant from the Good are the objects of sense, which are subsumed under the Soul.


Of the Will of the One.



1. Do the divinities themselves possess free will, or is this limited to human beings, because of their many weaknesses and uncertainties? (For we assume that) the divinities possess omnipotence, so that it would seem likely that their actions were free and absolutely without petty restrictions. Or must we hold that the (supreme) One alone possesses omnipotence, and unhampered free will, while in other beings (free will and opportunity) either ignore each other, or conflict? We shall therefore have to determine the nature of free will in first rank beings (the divinities) and also the supreme Principle (the One), although we acknowledge that both of them are omnipotent. Besides, in respect to this omnipotence, we shall have to distinguish possibility from actualization, present or future.


Before attacking these questions, we must, as is usual, begin by examining whether we ourselves possess774 freedom of will.166 First then, in what sense do we possess free will (or, responsibility, "that something depends on us"); or rather, what conception we should form of it? To answer this question will be the only means of arriving at a conclusion about whether or not freedom of will should be ascribed to the divinities, let alone (the supreme) Divinity. Besides, while attributing to them freedom of will, we shall have to inquire to what it applies, either in the other beings, or in the Beings of the first rank.


What are our thoughts when we inquire whether something depends on us? Under what circumstances do we question this responsibility? We ask ourselves whether we are anything, and whether really anything depends on us when undergoing the buffets of fortune, of necessity, of violent passions that dominate our souls, till we consider ourselves mastered, enslaved, and carried away by them? Therefore we consider as dependent on ourselves what we do without the constraint of circumstances, necessity, or violence of passions—that is, voluntarily, and without an obstacle to our will.167 Hence the following definition: We are responsible for that which depends on our will, which happens or which is omitted according to our volition.168 We indeed call voluntary what we unconstrainedly do and consciously.169 On us depends only that of which we are the masters to do or not to do. These two notions are usually connected, though they differ theoretically. There are cases when one of them is lacking; one might, for instance, have the power to commit a murder; and nevertheless if it were one's own father that he had ignorantly killed, it would not be a voluntary act.170 In this case, the action was free, but not voluntary. The voluntariness of an action depends775 on the knowledge, not only of the details, but also of the total relations of the act.171 Otherwise, why should killing a friend, without knowing it, be called a voluntary action? Would not the murder be equally involuntary if one did not know that he was to commit it? On the contrary hypothesis, it may be answered that one had been responsible for providing oneself with the necessary information172; but nevertheless it is not voluntarily that one is ignorant, or that one was prevented from informing oneself about it.173


2. But to which part of ourselves should we refer free will? To appetite or desire, to anger or sex passion, for instance? Or shall it be to the reason, engaged in search after utility, and accompanied by desire? If to anger or sex passion,174 we should be supposed to grant freedom of will to brutes, to children, to the angry, to the insane, to those misled by magic charms, or suggestions of the imagination, though none of such persons be master of himself? If again (we are to ascribe freedom of will) to reason accompanied by desire, does this mean to reason even when misled, or only to right reason, and right desire?175 One might even ask whether reason be moved by desire, or desire by reason.176 For, admitting that desires arise naturally, a distinction will nevertheless have to be established: if they belong to the animal part, and to the combination (of soul and body), the soul will obey the necessity of nature; if they belong to the soul alone, many things which are generally attributed to the domain of our free will will have to be withdrawn therefrom. Besides, passions are always preceded by some sort of abstract reasoning. Further, how can imagination itself—which constrains us; and776 desire—which drags us whither Necessity compels, make us "masters of ourselves"177 under these circumstances? Besides, how can we be "masters of ourselves" in general when we are carried away? That faculty of ours which necessarily seeks to satisfy its needs, is not mistress of the things towards which it is compelled to move.177 How should we attribute freedom of will to (a soul) that depends on something else? (To a soul) which, in this thing, holds the principle of her own determinations? (To a soul) that regulates her life thereby, and derives therefrom her nature? (To a soul) that lives according to the instructions received therefrom? Freedom of will would then have to be acknowledged even in inanimate things; for even fire acts according to its inborn nature.


Some person might try to establish a distinction founded on the fact that the animal and the soul do not act unconsciously. If they know it by mere sensation, how far does that sensation contribute to the freedom of will? For sensation, limiting itself to perception, does not yield the percipient mastery over anything.179 If they know it by knowledge, and if this knowledge contain only the accomplished fact, their actions are then determined by some other principle. If, even independently of desire, reason or knowledge make us perform certain actions, or dominate us,180 to what faculty shall the action be ascribed, and how does it occur? If reason produce another desire, how does it do so? If reason manifest itself and liberate us by the process of calming our desires, the free will lies no longer in the action, but in intelligence; for every action, however much directed by777 reason, would then be something mixed, not revealing an unconfused free will.


3. The question must be examined carefully, for it will later be applied to the divinities. Responsibility has been traced to the will, and this to reason first, and later to right reason. Better, to reason enlightened by knowledge; for freedom of will is not possessed incontestably if one be ignorant of why his decision or action is good, if one have been led to do the right thing by chance, or by some sensible representation. Since the latter is not within our power, we could not impute to free will the actions it inspired. By "sensible representation," or, "phantasy,"181 we mean the imagination excited within us by the passions of the body; for it offers us different images according as the body has need of food, of drink, or of sensual pleasures. Those who act according to the "sensible representations" excited within them by divers qualities of the humors of the body are not wholly responsible for their actions. That is why depraved men, who usually act according to these images, do not, according to us, perform actions that are free and voluntary. We ascribe free will only to him who, enfranchised from the passions of the body, performs actions determined solely by intelligence. We refer liberty, therefore, to the noblest principle, to the action of the intelligence182; we regard as free only the decisions whose principle it is, and as voluntary, only the desires it inspires. This freedom is that which we ascribe to the divinities, who live in conformity with Intelligence, and with the Desire of which it is the principle.778183


4. We might ask how that which is produced by a desire could be autocratically free, since the desire implies a need, and drags us towards something exterior; for whoever desires really yields to an inclination, even though the latter should lead him to the Good. We might further ask whether intelligence, doing that which is in its nature to do, in a manner conformable to its nature, is free and independent, since it could have done the opposite. Further, we may ask whether we have the right to attribute free will to that which does not do any deeds; last, whether that which does a deed, is not, by the mere fact that every action has a purpose, subject to an external necessity. How indeed could one attribute freedom to a being that obeys its nature?

We (might answer), how can one say of this being that it obeys, if it be not constrained to follow something external? How would the being that directs itself towards the Good be constrained, if its desire be voluntary, if it direct itself towards the Good, knowing that it is such? Only involuntarily does a being depart from the Good, only by constraint does it direct itself towards that which is not its good; that is the very nature of servitude, not to be able to reach one's own good, and to be thwarted by a superior power to which obedience is compulsory. Servitude displeases us, not because it deprives us of the liberty to do evil, but because it hinders us going towards our own, from ensuing our own good, forced as we are to work at the good of someone else. When we speak of "obeying our nature," we distinguish (in the being that obeys its nature) two principles, the one which commands, and the other which obeys.182

779 But when a principle has a simple nature, when it is a single actualization, when it is not other in potentiality than it is in actualization, how would it not be free? It cannot be said to be acting conformably to its nature, because its actualization is not different from its being, and because, within it, essence and action coincide. It surely is free, if it act neither for another, nor in dependence on another. If the word "independent" be not suitable here, if it be too weak, we must at least understand that this Principle does not depend on any other, does not recognize it as the ruler of its actions, any more than of its being, since it itself is principle.

Indeed, if Intelligence depend upon a further principle, at least this one is not external, but is the Good itself. If then it be in the Good itself that it finds its welfare, so much the more does it itself possess independence and liberty, since it seeks them only in view of the Good. When therefore Intelligence acts in conformity with the Good, it has a higher degree of independence; for it possesses already the "conversion to the Good," inasmuch as it proceeds from the Good, and the privilege of being in itself, because Intelligence is turned towards the Good; now it is better for Intelligence to remain within itself, since it is thus turned towards the Good.


5. Do autocratic freedom and independence inhere in pure and thinking Intelligence exclusively, or are they also found in the soul which applies its contemplative activity to intelligence, and its practical activity to virtue? If we grant liberty to the practical activity of the soul, we will not extend it to its results; for of this we are not always masters. But if liberty is780 attributed to the soul which does good, and which, in everything acts by herself, we are near the truth.

How would that depend on us? As it depends on us to be courageous when there is a war. Nevertheless, admitting that it then depends on us to be courageous, I observe that, if there were no war, we could not perform any action of this nature. Likewise, in all other virtuous deeds, virtue always depends on accidental circumstances which force us to do some particular thing.182 Now if we were to give virtue the liberty of deciding whether it desired a war, so as to be able to offer a proof of courage; or desired injustices, as opportunities to define and to respect rights; or wished that people might be poor to be able to show forth its liberality; or whether it preferred to remain at rest, because everything was in order; might virtue not prefer to remain inactive in case nobody needed her services.183 Similarly a good physician, such as Hippocrates, for instance, would wish that his professional services should not be needed by anybody. If then virtue when applied to actions be forced to engage in such activities, how could it possess independence in all its purity? Should we not say that actions are subject to Necessity, whilst the preliminary volition and reasoning are independent? If this be so, and since we locate free will in that which precedes its execution, we shall also have to locate autocratic freedom and independence of virtue outside of the (actual) deed.


What shall we now say of virtue considered as "habit" or disposition? Does it not occupy itself with regulating and moderating the passions and desires when the soul is not healthy? In what sense do we781 then say that it depends on us to be good, and that "virtue has no master?"184 In this sense, that it is we who will and choose; more, in the sense that virtue, by its assistance, yields us liberty and independence, and releases us from servitude. If then virtue be another kind of intelligence, "a habit that intellectualizes the soul," even in this respect must liberty be sought not in practical activity, but in the intelligence divorced from activity.


6. How then did we previously refer liberty to volition, saying that "that which depends on us, our responsibility, is that which occurs according to our will"? Yes, but we added, "or does not occur." If indeed we be right, and if we continue to support our former opinion, we shall have to recognize that virtue and intelligence are their own mistresses, and that it is to them that we must refer our free will and independence. Since they have no master, we shall admit that (our) intelligence remains within itself, that virtue must equally remain calm in itself, regulating the soul so as to make her good, and that in this respect it itself is both free, and enfranchises the soul. If passions or necessary actions arise, (virtue) directs them automatically; nevertheless she still preserves her independence (or, freedom) by getting into relations with everything. For instance, (virtue) does not engage in exterior things to save the body in times of danger; on the contrary, she abandons it, if it seem advisable; she orders the man to renounce even life, wealth, children, and fatherland; for her object is to be honorable, relinquishing anything beneath her dignity. This evidently shows that our liberty of action and independence do not refer to practical matters,782 nor to external occupations, but to interior activity, to thought, to the contemplation of virtue itself. This virtue must be considered as a kind of intelligence, and must not be confused with the passions that dominate and govern reason; for these, as (Plato185) says, seem to derive something from the body, though trained by exercise and habit.


Liberty therefore belongs to the immaterial principle, and to this should be traced our free will. This principle is the volition which rules itself, and which remains within itself; even when by necessity compelled to take some resolution affecting external affairs. All that proceeds from (the immaterial principle) and exists by it, depends on us, and is free; what is outside of it, and with it; what it itself wills and carries out unhindered, also constitutes what primarily depends on us. The contemplative and primary Intelligence therefore possesses independence, because in the accomplishment of its function it depends on no other being, because fulfilling (its function, Intelligence) remains entirely turned towards itself, exclusively engaged with itself, resting in the Good, living according to its will, satisfied, and without needs. Besides, will is nothing more than thought; but it was called "will" because it was conformed to intelligence; for will imitates what conforms to intelligence. On the one hand, will desires the Good; on the other, for Intelligence to think truly, is to abide within the Good. Intelligence therefore possesses what the will desires, and, in attaining these its desires, will becomes thought. Since, therefore, we define liberty as the will's achievement of the Good, why should not liberty also be predicated of the Intelligence which is founded on (the Good) that is the object of the desire783 of our will? If, however, there should still be objection to ascribing liberty to intelligence, this could be the case only by ascribing it to something still higher (namely, super-Intelligence).


7. The soul therefore becomes free when, by the aid of intelligence, she defies all obstacles in her ascent to the Good; and whatever she does for the sake of the Good is responsible action. Intelligence, however, is free by itself.


(Let us now consider the free will of the Good.)


8. The nature of the Good is that which is desirable for its own sake. It is by the Good that the Soul and Intelligence exercise liberty when the Soul can attain the Good without obstacle, and when Intelligence can enjoy its possession. Now since the Good's empire extends over all lower treasures; since He occupies the front rank; since He is the Principle to which all beings wish to rise, on whom they all depend, and from whom all derive their power and liberty; it would be difficult to attribute to Him a liberty similar to our human freedom of will, when we can hardly, with propriety, predicate such a human liberty of Intelligence.


Here some rash person,186 drawing his arguments from some other school of thought, may object that, "If the Good be indeed good, this occurs only by784 chance. A man is not master of what he is (that is, of his own nature), because his own nature does not depend on himself (that is, is not due to self-determination). Consequently, he enjoys neither freedom nor independence, as he acts or withholds action as he is forced by necessity." Such an assertion is gratuitous, and even self-contradictory. It destroys all conception of will, liberty and independence, reducing these terms to being labels, and illusions. He who advances such an opinion is forced to maintain not only that it is not within the power of anybody to do or not to do some thing, but also that the word "liberty" arouses no conception in his mind, and is meaningless. If however he insist that he does understand it, he will soon be forced to acknowledge that the conception of liberty bears a conformity with the reality which he at first denied. The conception of a thing exerts no interference on its substance ("being"); it can do nothing by itself, nor can it lead to hypostatic existence. It is limited to pointing out to us which being obeys others, which being possesses free will, which being depends on no other, but is master of its own action, a privilege characteristic of eternal beings so far as they are eternal, or to beings which attain the Good without obstacle (like the Soul), or possess it (like Intelligence). It is therefore absurd to say that the Good, which is above them, seeks other higher good beyond itself.


Nor is it any more accurate to insist that the Good exists by chance. Chance occurs only in the lower and multiple things. We on the contrary insist that the First does not exist by chance, and that one cannot say that He is not master of His birth, since He was not785 born.187 It is not any less absurd to assert that He is not free because He acts according to His nature; for such an assertion would seem to imply that freedom consists in actions contrary to one's nature. Last, His solitariness (or, unity) does not deprive Him of liberty, because this unity does not result from His being hindered by anybody else (from having anything else), but from His being what He is, from His satisfying (or, pleasing) Himself, as He could not be any better; otherwise, it would be implied that one would lose one's liberty on attaining the Good. If such an assertion be absurd, is it not the summit of absurdity to refuse to predicate autocratic liberty of the Good because of His being good, because He remains within Himself and because since all beings aspire towards Him, He Himself aspires to nothing else than Himself, and has no need of anything? As His higher hypostatic existence is simultaneously His higher actualization—for in Him these two aspects fuse into one, since they do so even in Intelligence—His essence is no more conformed to His actualization, than His actualization to His essence. He cannot be said to actualize according to His nature, nor that His actualization and His higher life are traced up into His higher being (so to speak). But as His higher being and His higher (actualization) are intimately united, and coexist since all eternity, the result is that these two entities constitute a single Principle, which depends on itself, and nothing else.


8. We conceive of the self-rule as no accident of the Good; but, from the self-rule proper to (all) beings, we rise, by abstraction of the contraries, to Him who Himself is liberty and independence, thus applying786 to this Principle the lower attributes that we borrow from inferior beings (that is, the Soul and Intelligence), because of our impotence to speak properly of Him. Such indeed are the terms that we could use in referring to Him, though it would be absolutely impossible to find the proper expression, not only to predicate anything of Him, but even to say anything whatever about Him. For the most beautiful and venerable things do no more than imitate Him, who is their principle. Nevertheless, from another standpoint, He is not their principle, since this their imitation must be denied, and we must withdraw, as too inferior, even the terms "liberty" and "self-rule," for these terms seem to imply a tendency towards something else, an obstacle, even if only to avoid it; the coexistence of other beings, even if only to imitate Him uninterruptedly. Now no tendency should be attributed to the Good. He is what He is before all other things, since we do not even say of Him, "He is," so as not to establish any connection between Him and "beings." Neither can we say of Him, "according to His nature"; for this expression indicates some later relation. It is indeed applied to intelligible entities, but only so far as they proceed from some other principle; that is why it is applied to "being," because it is born of the (Good). But if we refer "nature" to temporal things, it could not be predicated of "being"; for to say that "being" does not exist by itself would be to affect its existence; to say that it derives its existence from something else is equivalent to asserting that it does not exist by itself. Nor should we say of the Good that "His nature is accidental," nor speak of contingency in connection with (the Divinity); for He is contingent neither for Himself nor for other beings; contingency is found only in the multiple beings which, already being one thing, have accidentally become some other. How indeed could the First exist accidentally?787 for He did not reach His present condition fortuitously enough to enable us even to ask, "How did He become what He is?" No chance led Him (to become His present self), nor led Him to hypostatic existence; for chance and luck did not exist anteriorly to Him, since even they proceed from a cause, and exist only in things that grow188 (or, "become").


9. If however anybody applied the term "contingency" to the Divinity, we should not dispute about the word, but go back of it to its underlying meaning. Do you, by it, mean that the First is a principle of particular nature and power; and that if He had had a different nature, He would still, as principle, have conformed to the nature He would have had? Also, that if He had been less perfect, He would still have actualized in conformity with His being? We should answer such an assertion thus: it was impossible for the higher Principle of all things to be contingent; or to be less perfect accidentally, or good in some other manner, as some higher thing that was less complete. As the principle of all things must be better than they, He must be determinate; and by this is here meant that He exists in an unique manner. This, however, not by necessity; for necessity did not exist before Him. Necessity exists only in the beings that follow the first Principle, though the latter impose no constraint upon them. It is by Himself that the First exists uniquely. He could not be anything but what He is; He is what He ought to have been; and not by accident. He is that; He had to be what He was. So "He who is what He ought to have been" is the principle of the things that ought to exist. Not by accident, nor contingently, therefore, is He what He is; He is what He had to be;788 though here the term "had to be" is improper. (If we be permitted to explain what we mean by an illustration, we may say that) the other beings have to await the appearance of their king—which means, that He shall posit Himself as what He really is, the true King, the true Principle, the true Good. Of Him it must not even be said that He actualizes in conformity with the Good, for then He would seem subordinate to some other principle; we must say only that He is what He is. He is not conformed to the Good, because He is the Good itself.


Besides, there is nothing contingent, even in (that which is beneath the First), namely, Essence-in-itself; for if any contingency inhered in it, it itself would be contingent. But Essence cannot be contingent, for not fortuitously is it what it is; nor does it derive what it is from anything else, because the very nature of Essence is to be Essence. This being the case, how could "He who is above Essence" be considered as being what He is fortuitously? For He begat Essence, and Essence is not what it is fortuitously, since it exists in the same manner as "Being," which is what is "Being" and Intelligence—otherwise, one might even say that Intelligence was contingent, as if it could have been anything but what is its nature. Thus He who does not issue from Himself, and does not incline towards anything whatever, is what He is in the most special sense.


What now could be said (to look down) from some (peak) overhanging (Essence and Intelligence), upon789 (their principle)? Could you describe what you saw from there as being what it is fortuitously? Certainly not! Neither His nature nor His manner would be contingent. He is merely (an absolute, unexplainable) existence (a "thus"). Even this term "thus," however, would be improper, for, on applying it to the First, it would become determinate, and become "such a thing." Whoever has seen the First would not say He was, or was not that; otherwise, you would be reducing Him to the class of things which may be designated as this or that; but the First is above all these things. When you shall have seen Him who is infinite ("indefinite"), you will be able to name all the things that are after Him (you will be able to name Him whom all things follow); but you must not classify Him among these. Consider Him as the universal Power essentially master (of himself), which is what He wishes; or rather, who has imposed His will upon (all) beings, but who Himself is greater than all volition, and who classifies volition as below Himself. (To speak strictly therefore) He did not even will to be what He is (he did not even say, I shall be that); and no other principle made Him be what He is.


10. He (Strato the Peripatetic?) who insists that the Good is what it is by chance, should be asked how he would like to have it demonstrated to him that the hypothesis of chance is false—in case it be false—and how chance could be made to disappear from the universe? If there be a nature (such as the nature of the one Unity), which makes (chance) disappear, it itself could not be subject to chance. If we subject to chance the nature which causes other beings not to be what they are by chance, nothing will be left790 that could have been derived from chance. But the principle of all beings banishes chance from the universe by giving to each (being) a form, a limitation, and a shape; and it is impossible to attribute to chance the production of beings thus begotten in a manner conforming to reason. A cause exists there. Chance reigns only in things that do not result from a plan, which are not concatenated, which are accidental. How indeed could we attribute to chance the existence of the principle of all reason, order, and determination? Chance no doubt sways many things188; but it could not control the production of intelligence, reason, and order. Chance, in fact, is the contrary of reason; how then could (chance) produce (reason)? If chance do not beget Intelligence, so much the more could it not have begotten the still superior and better Principle; for chance had no resources from which to produce this principle; chance itself did not exist; and it would not have been in any manner able to impart eternal (qualities). Thus, since there is nothing anterior to the (Divinity), and as He is the First, we shall have to halt our inquiry about this Principle, and say nothing more about Him, rather examining the production of the beings posterior to Him. As to Him himself, there is no use considering how He was produced, as He really was not produced.


Since He was not produced, we must suppose that He is the master of His own being. Even if He were not master of His own being, and if, being what He is, He did not endow Himself with "hypostatic" form of existence, and limited Himself to utilizing His resources, the consequence is that He is what He is necessarily, and that He could not have been different from what He is. He is what He is, not because He could have791 been otherwise, but because His nature is excellent. Indeed, even if one be sometimes hindered from becoming better, no one is ever hindered by any other person from becoming worse. Therefore, if He did not issue from Himself, He owes it to Himself, and not to any outside hindrance; He must essentially be that which has not issued from itself. The impossibility of becoming worse is not a mark of impotence, because, if (the Divinity) do not degenerate, He owes it to Himself, (and derives it) from Himself. His not aspiring to anything other than Himself constitutes the highest degree of power, since He is not subjected to necessity, but constitutes the law and necessity of other beings. Has necessity then caused its own (hypostatic) existence? No, it has not even reached there, inasmuch as all that is after the First achieved (hypostatic) existence on His account. How then could He who is before (hypostatic) existence (or, which has achieved a form of existence), have derived His existence from any other principle, or even from Himself?


11. What then is the Principle which one cannot even say that it is (hypostatically) existent? This point will have to be conceded without discussion, however, for we cannot prosecute this inquiry. What indeed would we be seeking, when it is impossible to go beyond, every inquiry leading to some one principle, and ceasing there? Besides, all questions refer to one of four things: existence, quality, cause and essence. From the beings that follow Him, we conclude to the essence of the First, in that sense in which we say He exists. Seeking the cause of His existence, however, would amount to seeking an (ulterior) principle, and the Principle of all things cannot Himself have a principle. An effort to determine His quality would amount to seeking what accident inheres in Him in792 whom is nothing contingent; and there is still more clearly no possible inquiry as to His existence, as we have to grasp it the best we know how, striving not to attribute anything to Him.


(Habitually) we are led to ask these questions about the nature (of the divinity) chiefly because we conceive of space and location as a chaos, into which space and location, that is either presented to us by our imagination, or that really exists, we later introduce the first Principle. This introduction amounts to a question whence and how He came. We then treat Him as a stranger, and we wonder why He is present there, and what is His being; we usually assume He came up out of an abyss, or that He fell from above. In order to evade these questions, therefore, we shall have to remove from our conception (of the divinity) all notion of locality, and not posit Him within anything, neither conceiving of Him as eternally resting, and founded within Himself, nor as if come from somewhere. We shall have to content ourselves with thinking that He exists in the sense in which reasoning forces us to admit His existence, or with persuading ourselves that location, like everything else, is posterior to the Divinity, and that it is even posterior to all things. Thus conceiving (of the Divinity) as outside of all place, so far as we can conceive of Him, we are not surrounding Him as it were within a circle, nor are we undertaking to measure His greatness, nor are we attributing to Him either quantity or quality; for He has no shape, not even an intelligible one; He is not relative to anything, since His hypostatic form of existence is contained within Himself, and before all else.



Since (the Divinity) is such, we certainly could not say that He is what He is by chance. Such an assertion about Him is impossible, inasmuch as we can speak of Him only by negations.189 We shall therefore have to say, not that He is what He is by chance; but that, being what He is, He is not that by chance, since there is within Him absolutely nothing contingent.


12. Shall we not even refuse to say that (the divinity) is what He is, and is the master of what He is, or of that which is still superior? Our soul still moots this problem, because she is not yet entirely convinced by what we have said. Our considerations thereof are as follows. By his body, each one of us is far separated from "being"; but by his soul, by which he is principally constituted, he participates in "being," and is a certain being; that is, he is a combination of "difference" and "being." Fundamentally, we are therefore not a "being"; we are not even "being"; consequently, we are not masters of our "being"; "being" itself rather is master of us, since it furnishes us with "difference" (which, joined with "being," constitutes our nature). As, in a certain degree, we are nevertheless the "being" that is master of us, we may, in this respect, even here below, be called masters of ourselves. As to the Principle which absolutely is what He is, which is "Being" itself, so that He and His being fuse, He is master of Himself, and depends on nothing, either in His existence or "being." He does not even need to be master of Himself since (He is being), and since all that occupies794 the first rank in the intelligible world is classified as "being."


As to Him who made "being" (equivalent to) freedom, whose nature it is to make free beings, and who (therefore) might be called the "author of liberty"—excuse the expression—to what could He be enslaved? It is His being (or, nature) to be free; or rather, it is from Him that being derives its freedom; for (we must not forget that) "being" is posterior to Him, who Himself (being beyond it), "has" none. If then there be any actualization in Him, if we were to consider that He was constituted by an actualization, He would nevertheless contain no difference, He will be master of His own self that produces the actualization, because He Himself and the actualization fuse (and are identical). But if we acknowledge no actualization whatever (in the Divinity), if we predicate actualization only of the things that tend towards Him, and from Him derive their hypostatic existence, we should still less recognize in Him any element that is master, or that masters. We should not even say that He was master of Himself, nor that He had a master, but because we have already predicated of "being" what is meant by being master of oneself. We therefore classify (the Divinity) in a rank higher still.

But how can there be a principle higher than the one that is master of Himself? In the Principle which is master of Himself, as being and actualization are two (separate) entities, it is actualization that furnishes the notion of being master of oneself. As however we saw that actualization was identical with "being," in order to be called master of itself, actualization must have differentiated itself from being. Therefore (the795 Divinity), which is not constituted by two things fused into unity, but by absolute Unity, being either only actualization, or not even mere actualization, could not be called "master of Himself."


13. Although the above expressions, when applied to the (divinity), are really not exact, we are nevertheless forced to use them in connection with this disquisition. We therefore repeat what was above rightly stated, that no doubleness, not even if merely logical, should be admitted to our idea of the Divinity. Nevertheless, that we may be better understood, we shall for a moment lay aside the strictness of language demanded by reason.


Now supposing the existence of actualizations in the divinity, and that these actualizations depend on His will—for he could not actualize involuntarily—and that simultaneously they constitute His being; in this case, His will and His being will be identical (that is, will fuse). Such as He wished to be, He is. That He wills and actualizes in conformity to His nature, will not be said in preference to this, that His being conforms to His will and His actualization. He is absolutely master of Himself, because His very essence depends on Himself.


Here arises another consideration. Every being, that aspires to the Good, wishes to be the Good far more than to be what it is; and thinks itself as existing796 most, the more it participates in the Good. Its preference is to be in such a state, to participate in the Good as much as possible, because the nature of the Good is doubtless preferable in itself. The greater the portion of good possessed by a being, the freer and more conformable to its will is its nature (being); then it forms but one and the same thing with its will, and by its will achieves hypostatic existence (or, a form of existence). So long as a being does not possess the Good, it wishes to be different from what it is; so soon as the being possesses it, the being wishes to be what it is. This union, or presence of the Good in a being, is not fortuitous; its "being" is not outside of the Will (of the Good); by this presence of the Good it is determined, and on that account, belongs to itself. If then this presence of the Good cause every being to make and determine itself, then evidently (the Divinity) is primarily and particularly the principle through which the rest may be itself. The "being" (of the Good) is intimately united with the will (the Divinity) has to be such as He is—if I may be permitted to speak thus—and He cannot be understood unless He wishes to be what He is. As in Him everything concurs (in a consummation), He wishes to be, and is what He wishes; His will and Himself form but one (are identical, or, fuse). He is not any the less one, for He finds that He is precisely what He may have wished to be. What indeed could He have wished to be, if not what He is?


Now supposing that (the divinity) were given the chance to choose what He would like to be, and that He were permitted to change His nature, He would not desire to become different from what He is; He would not find in Himself anything that displeased797 Him, as if He had been forced to be what He is; for He as ever willed, and still wills to be what He is. The nature of Good is really His will; He has neither yielded to a lure, nor (blindly) followed his own nature, but He preferred Himself, because there was nothing different that He could have wished to be. With this, contrast that other beings do not find implied in their own being the reason of pleasing themselves, and that some of them are even dissatisfied with themselves. In the hypostatic existence of the Good, however, is necessarily contained self-choice, and self-desire; otherwise, there would be nothing in the whole universe that could please itself, since one pleases himself only inasmuch as he participates in the Good, and possesses an image of it within oneself.


We must, however, ask indulgence for our language; when speaking of the (divinity) we are, by the necessity of being understood, obliged to make use of words which a meticulous accuracy would question. Each of them should be prefixed by a (warning) particle, (meaning "somewhat," or) "higher."


The subsistence of the Good implies that of choice and will, because He could not exist without these two. But (in the Divinity) (these three, choice, being and will) do not form a multiplicity; they must be considered as having fused. Since He is the author of will, He must evidently also be the author of what is called798 self-direction ("being for oneself"). This leads us to say that He made Himself; for, since He is the author of will, and as this will is more or less His work, and as it is identical with His essence, (we may say that) He gave himself the form of (hypostatic) existence. Not by chance therefore is He what He is; He is what He is because He wished to be such.


14. Here is still another point of view from which the subject under discussion may be regarded. Each one of the beings that are said to be existent, is either identical with its essence, or differs from it. Thus, some particular man differs from the Man-essence, only participating therein. On the contrary, the soul is identical with the Soul-essence, when she is simple, and when she is not predicated of anything else. Likewise, the Man-in-himself is identical with the Man-essence. The man who is other than the Man-essence is contingent; but the Man-essence is not contingent; the Man-in-himself exists in himself. If then the essence of man exist by itself, if it be neither fortuitous nor contingent, how could contingency be predicated of Him who is superior to Man in himself, and who begat him, from whom all beings are derived, since His is a nature simpler than the Man-essence, and even of essence in general? If, in ascending towards greater simplicity, contingency decreases, so much the more impossible is it that contingency could extend to the Nature that is the simplest (namely, the Good).


Let us also remember that each of the beings which exist genuinely, as we have said, and which have received their form of hypostatic existence from the799 Good, likewise owe it to Him that they are individual, as are the similarly situated sense-beings. By such individual beings is here meant having in one's own being the cause of his hypostatic existence. Consequently, He who then contemplates things can give an account of each of their details, to give the cause of the individuality of eyes or feet, to show that the cause of the generation of each part is found in its relations with the other parts, and that they have all been made for each other. Why are the feet of a particular length? Because some other organ is "such"; for instance, the face being such, the feet themselves must be such. In one word, the universal harmony190 is the cause on account of which all things were made for each other.191 Why is the individual such a thing? Because of the Man-essence. Therefore the essence and the cause coincide. They issued from the same source, from the Principle which, without having need of reasoning, produced together the essence and the cause. Thus the source of the essence and the cause produces them both simultaneously. Such then are begotten things, such is their principle, but in a much superior and truer manner; for in respect of excellence, it possesses an immense superiority over them. Now since it is not fortuitously, neither by chance, nor contingently, that the things which bear their cause in themselves, are what they are; since, on the other hand, (the Divinity) possesses all the entities of which He is the principle, evidently, being the Father of reason, of cause, and of causal being—all of them entities entirely free from contingence—he is the Principle and type of all things that are not contingent, the Principle which is really and in the highest degree independent of chance, of fortune, and of contingency; He is the cause of Himself, He is He by virtue of Himself; for He is Self in a primary and transcendent manner.



15. He is simultaneously the lovable and love; He is love of himself; for He is beautiful only by and in Himself. He coexists with Himself only on condition that the thing, which exists in Himself, is identical with Him. Now as in Him the thing that coexists is identical with Him, and as in Him also that which desires, and that which is desirable play the part of hypostasis and subject, here once more appears the identity of desire and "being." If this be so, it is evidently again He who is the author of Himself, and the master of Himself; consequently, He was made not such as some other being desired it, but He is such as He Himself desires.


When we assert that (the Divinity) Himself receives nothing, and is received by no other being, we thereby in another way prove that He is what He is, not by chance. This is the case because He isolates Himself, and preserves Himself uninfected from all things. Besides, we sometimes see that our nature possesses something similar, when it finds itself disengaged from all that is attached to us, and subjects us to the sway of fortune and fatality—for all the things that we call ours are dependent, and undergo the law of fortune, happening to us fortuitously. Only in this manner is one master of himself, possessing free will, by virtue of an actualization of the light which has the form of the Good, of an actualization of the Good, which is superior to intelligence; of an actualization which is not adventitious, and which is above all thought.801 When we shall have risen thither, when we shall have become that alone, leaving all the rest, shall we not say that we are then above even liberty and free will? Who then could subject us to chance, to fortune, to contingency, since we shall have become the genuine life, or rather, since we shall be in Him who derives nothing from any other being, who is solely himself? When other beings are isolated, they do not suffice themselves; but He is what He is, even when isolated.


The first hypostatic form of existence does not consist in an inanimate entity or in an irrational life; for an irrational life is but weak in essence, being a dispersion of reason, and something indeterminate. On the contrary, the closer life approaches reason, the further is it from contingency, for that which is rational has nothing to do with chance. Ascending then (to the Divinity) He does not seem to us to be Reason, but what is still more beautiful than Reason; so far is He from having arisen by chance! Indeed, He is the very root of Reason, for it is the goal at which all things find their consummation. He is the principle and foundation of an immense Tree which lives by reason; He remains in Himself, and imparts essence to the Tree by the reason He communicates.


16. As we assert, and as it seems evident that (the Divinity) is everywhere and nowhere, it is necessary thoroughly to grasp and understand this conception, as it applies to the subject of our studies. Since (the Divinity) is nowhere, He is nowhere fortuitously; since He is everywhere, He is everywhere what He is. He himself is therefore what is named omnipresence,802 and universality. He is not contained within omnipresence, but is omnipresence itself, and He imparts essence to all the other beings because they are all contained within Him who is everywhere. Possessing the supreme rank, or rather Himself being supreme, He holds all things in obedience to Himself. For them He is not contingent; it is they that are contingent to Him, or rather, that connect with Him; for it is not He who contemplates them, but they who look at Him. On His part, He, as it were, moves towards the most intimate depths within Himself, loving Himself, loving the pure radiance of which He is formed, Himself being what He loves, that is, giving Himself a hypostatic form of existence, because He is an immanent actualization, and what is most lovable in Him constitutes the higher Intelligence. This Intelligence being an operation, He himself is an operation; but as He is not the operation of any other principle, He is the operation of Himself; He therefore is not what chance makes of Him, but what He actualizes. He is the author of Himself, inasmuch as He exists particularly because He is His own foundation, because He contemplates Himself, because, so to speak, He passes His existence in contemplating Himself. He therefore is, not what He fortuitously found Himself to be, but what He himself wishes to be, and as His will contains nothing fortuitous, He is even in this respect independent of contingency. For, since His will is the will of the Best that is in the universe, it could not be fortuitous. If one were to imagine an opposite movement, one will easily recognize that His inclination towards Himself, which is His actualization, and His immanence in Himself make of Him what He is. Indeed, should (the divinity) incline towards what is outside of Himself, He would cease being what He is. His actualization, in respect to Himself, is to be what He is; for He and that actualization coincide. He therefore gives Himself803 a hypostatic form of existence, because the actualization that He produces is inseparable from Himself. If then the actualization of (the divinity) did not merely commence, but if, on the contrary, it dated from all eternity; if it consist in an exciting action,192 identical to Him who is excited; and if, besides this exciting action, He be ever-being super-intellection, then (the divinity) is what He makes himself by His exciting action. The latter is superior to "Being," to Intelligence, and to the Life of Wisdom; it is Himself. He therefore is an actualization superior to Life, Intelligence and Wisdom; these proceed from Him, and from Him alone. He therefore derives essence from Himself, and by Himself; consequently, He is, not what He fortuitously found Himself to be, but what He willed to be.


17. Here is another proof of it. We have stated that the world and the "being" it contains are what they would be if their production had been the result of a voluntary determination of their author, what they would still be if the divinity exercising a prevision and prescience based on reasoning, had done His work according to Providence. But as (these beings) are or become what they are from all eternity, there must also, from eternity—within the coexistent beings, exist ("seminal) reasons" which subsist in a plan more perfect (than that of our universe); consequently, the intelligible entities are above Providence, and choice; and all the things which exist in Essence subsist eternally there, in an entirely intellectual existence. If the name "Providence" be applied to the plan of the universe, then immanent Intelligence certainly is anterior to the plan of the universe, and the latter proceeds from immanent Intelligence, and conforms thereto.804193


Since Intelligence is thus anterior to all things, and since all things are (rooted) in such an Intelligence as principle, Intelligence cannot be what it is as a matter of chance. For, if on one hand, Intelligence be multiple, on the other hand it is in perfect agreement with itself, so that, by co-ordination of the elements it contains, it forms a unity. Once more, such a principle that is both multiple and co-ordinated manifoldness, which contains all ("seminal) reasons" by embracing them within its own universality, could not be what it is as a result of fortune or chance. This principle must have an entirely opposite nature, as much differing from contingency, as reason from chance, which consists in the lack of reason. If the above Intelligence be the (supreme) Principle, then Intelligence, such as it has been here described, is similar to this Principle, conforms to it, participates in it, and is such as is wished by it and its power. (The Divinity) being indivisible, is therefore a (single) Reason that embraces everything, a single (unitary) Number, and a single (Divinity) that is greater and more powerful than the generated (universe); than He, none is greater or better. From none other, therefore, can He have derived His essence or qualities. What He is for and in Himself, is therefore derived from Himself; without any relation with the outside, nor with any other being, but entirely turned towards Himself.


18. If then you seek this (Principle), do not expect to find anything on the outside of Him; in Him seek all that is after Him, but do not seek to penetrate805 within Him; for He is what is outside (of everything), the comprehension of all things, and their measure.194 Simultaneously, He is the internal, being the most intimate depth of all things; (in which case) the external would be (represented by) Reason and Intelligence, which like a circumference fit around Him and depend from Him. Indeed, Intelligence is such only because it touches Him, and so far as it touches Him, and depends from Him195; for it is its dependence from Him that constitutes its intelligence. It resembles a circle which is in contact with its centre. It would be universally acknowledged that such a circle would derive all its power from the centre, and would, in a higher sense, be centriform. Thus the radii of such a circle unite in a single centre by extremities similar to the distal and originating (extremities). These (distal) extremities, though they be similar to the centric ones, are nevertheless but faint traces thereof; for the latter's potentiality includes both the radii and their (distal) extremities; it is everywhere present in the radii, manifests its nature therein, as an immature development. This is an illustration how Intelligence and Essence were born from (the divinity) as by effusion or development; and by remaining dependent from the intellectual nature of the Unity, it thereby manifests an inherent higher Intelligence, which (speaking strictly), is not intelligence, since it is the absolute Unity. A centre, even without radii or circumference, is nevertheless the "father" of the circumference and the radii, for it reveals traces of its nature, and by virtue of an immanent potency, and individual force, it begets the circumference and the radii which never separate from it. Similarly, the One is the higher archetype of the intellectual power which moves around Him, being His image. For in the Unity there is a higher Intelligence which, so to speak, moving in all directions and manners, thereby becomes Intelligence; while the806 Unity, dwelling above Intelligence, begets it by its power. How then could fortune, contingency and chance approach this intelligence-begetting Power, a power that is genuinely and essentially creative? Such then is what is in Intelligence, and such is what is in Unity, though that which is in Him is far superior.


(As illustration), consider the radiance shed afar by some luminous source that remains within itself; the radiation would represent the image, while the source from which it issues would be the genuine light.196 Nevertheless, the radiation, which represents the intelligence, is not an image that has a form foreign (to its principle), for it does not exist by chance, being reason and cause in each of its parts. Unity then is the cause of the cause; He is, in the truest sense, supreme causality, simultaneously containing all the intellectual causes He is to produce; this, His offspring, is begotten not as a result of chance, but according to His own volition. His volition, however, was not irrational, fortuitous, nor accidental; and as nothing is fortuitous in Him, His will was exactly suitable. Therefore Plato197 called it the "suitable," and the "timely," to express as clearly as possible that the (Divinity) is foreign to all chance, and that He is that which is exactly suitable. Now if He be exactly suitable, He is so not irrationally. If He be timely, He must (by a Greek pun), also be "supremely sovereign" over the (beings) beneath Him. So much the more will He be timely for Himself. Not by chance therefore is He what He is, for He willed to be what He is; He wills suitable things, and in Him that which is suitable, and the actualization thereof, coincide. He is the suitable, not as a subject, but as primary actualization807 manifesting Him such as it was suitable for Him to be. That is the best description we can give of Him, in our impotence to express ourselves about Him as we should like.198


19. By the use of the above indications (it is possible), to ascend to Him. Having done so, grasp Him. Then you will be able to contemplate Him, and you will find no terms to describe His (greatness). When you shall see Him, and resign any attempt at spoken description, you will proclaim that He exists by Himself in a way such that, if He had any being, it would be His servant, and would be derived from Him. No one who has ever seen Him would have the audacity to maintain that He is what He is by chance; nor even to utter such a blasphemy, for He would be confounded by his own temerity. Having ascended to Him, the (human observer) could not even locate His presence, as it were rising up everywhere before the eyes of his soul. Whichever way the soul directs her glances, she sees Him, unless, on considering some other object, she abandons the divinity by ceasing to think of Him.


The ancient (philosophers), in enigmatical utterances, said that (the divinity) is above "being."199 This must be understood to mean not only that He begets being, but because He is not dependent on "being" or on Himself. Not even His own "being" is to Him a principle; for He himself is the principle of "being." Not for Himself did he make it; but,808 having made it, He left it outside of Himself, because He has no need of essence, since He himself made it. Thus, even though He exist, He does not produce that which is meant by that verb.


20. It will be objected that the above implies the existence (of the Divinity) before He existed; for, if He made Himself, on the one hand, He did not yet exist, if it was Himself that He made; and on the other, so far as it was He who made, He already existed before Himself, since what has been made was Himself. However, (the Divinity) should be considered not so much as "being made" but as "making," and we should realize that the actualization by which He created Himself is absolute; for His actualization does not result in the production of any other "being." He produces nothing but Himself, He is entirely Himself; we are not dealing here with two things, but with a single entity. Neither need we hesitate to admit that the primary actualization has no "being"; but that actualization should be considered as constituting His hypostatic form of existence. If within Him these two were to be distinguished, the superlatively perfect Principle would be incomplete and imperfect. To add actualization to Him would be to destroy His unity. Thus, since the actualization is more perfect than His being, and since that which is primary is the most perfect, that which is primary must necessarily be actualization. He is what He is as soon as He actualizes. He cannot be said to have existed before He made Himself; for before He made Himself He did not exist; but (from the first actualization) He already existed in entirety. He therefore is an actualization which does not depend on being, (an actualization) that is809 clearly free; and thus He (originates) from Himself. If, as to His essence, He were preserved by some other principle, He himself would not be the first proceeding from Himself. He is said to contain Himself because He produces (and parades) Himself; since it is from the very beginning that He caused the existence of what He naturally contains. Strictly, we might indeed say, that He made Himself, if there existed a time when He himself began to exist. But since He was what He is before all times, the statement that He made Himself means merely that "having made" and "himself" are inseparable; for His essence coincides with His creative act, and, if I may be permitted to speak thus, with his "eternal generation."


Likewise, the statement that the (divinity) commands Himself may be taken strictly, if in Him be two entities (the commander and the commanded); but if (we may not distinguish such a pair of entities) there is only one entity within Him, and He is only the commander, containing nothing that obeys. How then, if He contain nothing that was commanded, could He command Himself? The statement that He commands Himself means that, in this sense, there is nothing above Him; in which case He is the First, not on account of the numerical order, but by His authority and perfectly free power. If He be perfectly free, He cannot contain anything that is not free; He must therefore be entirely free within Himself. Does He contain anything that is not Himself, that He does not do, that is not His work? If indeed He contained anything that was not His work, He would be neither perfectly free nor omnipotent; He would not be free, because He would not dominate this thing; nor would810 He be omnipotent, because the thing whose making would not be in His power would even thereby evade His dominion.


21. Could (the divinity) have made Himself different from what He made Himself? (If he could not, He would not have been omnipotent). If you remove from Him the power of doing evil, you thereby also remove the power of doing good. (In the divinity), power does not consist in the ability to make contraries; it is a constant and immutable power whose perfection consisted precisely in not departing from unity; for the power to make contraries is a characteristic of a being incapable of continuously persisting in the best. Self-creation (the actualization by which the divinity created Himself) exists once for all, for it is perfect. Who indeed could change an actualization produced by the will of the Divinity, an actualization that constitutes His very will? But how then was this actualization produced by the volition (of the divinity) which did not yet exist?

What could be meant by the "volition of (the Divinity") if He had not yet willed hypostatic form of existence (for Himself)? Whence then came His will? Would it have come from His being (which, according to the above objection) was not yet actualized? But His will was already within His "being." In the (Divinity), therefore, there is nothing which differs from His "being." Otherwise, there would have been in Him something that would not have been His will. Thus, everything in Him was will; there was in Him nothing that did not exercise volition; nothing which, therefore, was anterior to His volition. Therefore, from the very beginning, the will was He; therefore,811 the (Divinity) is as and such as He willed it to be. When we speak of what was the consequence of the will (of the Divinity), of what His will has produced, (we must indeed conclude that) His will produced nothing that He was not already. The statement that (the Divinity) contains Himself means (no more than that) all the other beings that proceed from Him are by Him sustained. They indeed exist by a sort of participation in Him, and they relate back to Him. (The Divinity) Himself does not need to be contained or to participate; He is all things for Himself; or rather, He is nothing for Himself, because He has no need of all the other things in respect to Himself.


Thus, whenever you wish to speak of (the Divinity), or to gain a conception of Him, put aside all the rest. When you will have made abstraction of all the rest, and when you will thus have isolated (the Divinity), do not seek to add anything to Him; rather examine whether, in your thought, you have not omitted to abstract something from Him. Thus you can rise to a Principle of whom you could not later either assert or conceive anything else. Classify in the supreme rank, therefore, none but He who really is free, because He is not even dependence on Himself; and because he merely is Himself, essentially Himself, while each of the other beings is itself, and something else besides.


Of the Heaven.200


1. Nothing will be explained by the perfectly true (Stoic) statement that the world, as corporeal being that ever existed and that will ever exist, is indebted for the cause of its perpetuity to the volition of the divinity. We might find an analogy between the change of the elements, and the death of animals without the perishing of the form of the species here below, and the universe above, whose body is subject to a perpetual flux and flow. Thus the divine volition could preserve for it the same specific form in spite of successive alterations, so that, without perpetually retaining numerical unity, it would ever preserve the specific unity of form. It would indeed be a remarkable discrepancy in the methods of nature that here below in animals the form alone should be perpetual, while in the heaven and the stars their individuality should be considered as perpetual as their form.


The incorruptibility of the heaven has been ascribed to its containing within its breast all things,201 and to the non-existence of any other thing into which it could change, as well as to the impossibility of its meeting anything exterior that could destroy it. These814 theories would indeed, in a reasonable manner, explain the incorruptibility of heaven considered as totality, and universe; but would fail to explain the perpetuity of the sun and of the other stars which are parts of heaven, instead of being the whole universe, as is the heaven. It would seem more reasonable that, just like the fire and similar things, the stars, and the world considered as universe would possess a perpetuity chiefly of form. It is quite possible that the heaven, without meeting any destructive exterior thing, should be subjected to a perpetual destruction such that it would preserve nothing identical but the form, from the mere mutual destruction of its parts. In this case its substrate, being in a perpetual flux, would receive its form from some other principle; and we would be driven to recognize in the universal living Organism what occurs in man, in the horse, and in other animals; namely, that the man or horse (considered as species) lasts forever, while the individual changes. (According to this view, then) the universe will not be constituted by one ever permanent part, the heaven, and another ceaselessly changing one, composed of terrestrial things. All these things will then be subject to the same condition though they might differ by longer or shorter duration, since celestial bodies are more durable. Such a conception of the perpetuity characteristic of the universe and its parts contains less ambiguity (than the popular notion), and would be freed from all doubt if we were to demonstrate that the divine power is capable of containing the universe in this manner. The theory that the world contains something perpetual in its individuality would demand not only a demonstration that the divine volition can produce such an effect, but also an explanation why certain things (according to that theory) are always identical (in form and individuality), while other things are identical only by their form. If the parts815 of the heaven alone remained identical (by their individuality), all other things also should logically remain (individually) identical.


2. An admission that the heaven and the stars are perpetual in their individuality, while sublunary things are perpetual only in their form, would demand demonstration that a corporeal being can preserve its individuality as well as its form, even though the nature of bodies were a continual fluctuation. Such is the nature that the physical philosophers,202 and even Plato himself, attribute not only to sublunar bodies, but even to celestial ones. "For," asks (Plato203), "how could corporeal and visible objects subsist ever immutable and identical with themselves?" (Plato) therefore admits the opinion of Heraclitus that "the sun itself is in a state of perpetual becoming (or, growth)."204


On the contrary, in the system of Aristotle, the immutability of the stars is easily explained, but only after accepting his theory of a fifth element (the quintessence205). If, however, it be rejected, it would be impossible to demonstrate that the heaven, let alone its parts, the sun and the stars, do not perish, while (as Aristotle does) we regard the body of the heaven as being composed of the same elements as terrestrial animals.


As every animal is composed of soul and body, the heaven must owe the permanence of its individuality816 to the nature either of its soul, or of its body; or again, to that of both. On the hypothesis that its incorruptibility is due to the nature of its body, the Soul's only function will be to animate it (by uniting with the body of the world). On the contrary hypothesis that the body, by nature corruptible, owes its incorruptibility exclusively to the Soul, there is need of demonstration that the state of the body does not naturally oppose this constitution and permanence (for, naturally constituted objects admit of no disharmony); but that, on the contrary, here matter, by its predisposition, contributes to the accomplishment of the divine volition.


3. (It might however be objected) that the body of the world could not contribute to the immortality of the world, since the body itself fluctuates perpetually. But this fluctuation does not take place in an outward direction, while the body (of the world) remains ever the same because this fluctuation occurs so entirely within the world that nothing issues therefrom. The world therefore could neither increase nor diminish, nor further grow old. (As proof of this we may) consider how, from all eternity, the earth constantly preserves the same shape and mass; similarly, the air never diminishes, any more than the water. The changes within them do not affect the universal living Organism. Even we human beings subsist a long while, in spite of the perpetual change of our constituent parts, and though some of these parts even issue from the body. So much the more will the world's nature, from which nothing issues, sufficiently harmonize with the nature of the universal Soul to form along with her an organism which ever remains the same, and subsists for ever.



For example, fire (as the principal element of the heaven), is both lively and swift, and cannot remain in the inferior regions, any more than the earth can abide in the superior regions. When it has reached these regions where it is to remain, it becomes established in the most suitable place. But even so, like all other bodies, it still seeks to extend in all directions. However, it cannot ascend, since there is no place higher than the one it occupies; nor can it descend, because of the opposition of its own nature. The only thing left for it to do is to yield to the guidance and natural impulsion of the life-imparting universal Soul, that is, to move into the most beautiful place, in the universal Soul. Its falling from here is prevented by the universal Soul's circular movement which dominates and supports it, as well as by its innate indisposition to descend, so that its continuance in the higher regions is unopposed. (The fire has no similarity with) the constitutive parts of our body which are forced to derive their suitable form from elsewhere. If unaided, they are not even capable of preserving their organization. Merely to subsist, they are forced to borrow parts from other objects. The case is entirely different with the fire of the heaven, which needs no food because it loses nothing. If indeed it allowed anything to escape, we might indeed be forced to state that when in the heaven a fire is extinguished, a substitute must be lit. But in such a case the universal living Organism would no more remain identical.


4. Apart from the exigencies of our argument, it may be interesting to consider whether there be any818 wastage off from heaven, so as to create a need of being (replenished or) fed, so to speak; or whether all its contents, being once for all established, subsist there naturally, without allowing any of their substance to escape. In the latter case we would be driven further to inquire whether the heaven be composed of fire exclusively or principally213; and whether, while dominating the other elements, the fire engages them in its course. Were we to associate (with fire) the Soul, which is the most powerful of all causes, so as to unite her with elements so pure and excellent (just as, in other animals, the soul chooses the best parts of the body as dwelling-place), we would have produced a solid argument for the immortality of the heaven. Aristotle indeed says that the flame surges, and that the fire devours everything with an insatiable avidity206; but he was evidently speaking only of the terrestrial fire, for the celestial fire is calm, immovable, and in harmony with the nature of the stars.


A still more important reason for the immortality of the heaven is that the universal Soul, moving with remarkable spontaneity, immediately succeeds the most perfect principles (such as the Good, and Intelligence). She could not therefore allow the annihilation of anything which had once been posited within her. Ignorance of the cause that contains the universe could alone permit denial that the universal Soul which emanates from the divinity excels all other bonds in strength. It is absurd to believe that after having contained something during a certain period, she could ever cease doing so. This would imply that she had done so till now by some violence; which would again infer the existence of some plan more natural than the819 actual state, and actual admirable disposition of beings within the very constitution of the universe; which would lastly suggest a force capable of destroying the organization of the universe, and of undermining the sovereignty of the governing Soul.


We have elsewhere207 shown that it would be absurd to suppose that the world ever had a beginning. This however implies that it will never cease to exist. Why indeed should it not continue to do so? Its component elements are not, like wood, and similar things, exposed to wastage. Their continued subsistence, however, implies that the universe that they form must also ever subsist. On the other hand, even if they were subject to a perpetual change, the universe must still subsist because the principle of this change subsists continually. Moreover, it has elsewhere been shown224 that the universal Soul is not subject to repentance, because she governs the universe without difficulties or fatigue, and that even in the impossible case that the body of the universe should happen to perish, she would not thereby be altered.


5. The reason why celestial things endure beyond terrestrial animals and elements has been thus stated by Plato225: "Divine animals were formed by the divinity Himself, while the animals here below were formed by the divinities, His offspring." What the divinity (Himself) does could not possibly perish. This implies the existence, below the demiurge (Intelligence), of the celestial Soul, with our souls.208 From the celestial820 Soul derives and flows an apparent-form-of-an-image,209 which forms terrestrial animals. This inferior soul imitates her intelligible principle (the celestial Soul), without, however, being able to resemble her completely—because she employs elements which are less good (than the celestial elements); because the place where she operates with them is less good (than heaven)—and because the materials that she organizes could not remain united. Consequently, terrestrial animals could not last for ever. For the same reason this soul does not dominate terrestrial bodies with as much power (as the celestial Soul dominates celestial things), because each of them is governed by another (human) soul.


If we be right in attributing immortality to the heaven, we shall have to extend that conception to the stars it contains; for unless its parts endured, neither could the heaven. However, the things beneath the heaven do not form part of it. The region which constitutes the heaven does not extend further down than the moon. As to us, having our organs formed by the (vegetative) soul which was given us by the celestial divinities (the stars), and even the heaven itself,210 we are united to the body by that soul. Indeed, the other soul (the reasonable soul), which constitutes our person, our "me,"211 is not the cause of our being,212 but of our well-being (which consists in our intellectual life). She comes to join our body when it is already formed (by the vegetative soul), and contributes to our being only by one part, by giving us reason (in making of us reasonable beings, and men).



6. Is the heaven composed exclusively of fire? Does the fire allow any of its substance to flow off, or escape? Does it, therefore, need being fed? (Plato213) thinks the body of the universe is composed of earth and fire; fire to explain its being visible, and earth to explain its being tangible. This would lead us to suppose that the stars are composed of fire not exclusively, but predominatingly, since they seem to possess a tangible element. This opinion is plausible because Plato supports it with reasonable grounds. Sense, sight and touch would lead us to believe that the greater part, if not the whole, of the heaven, is fire. But reason suggests that the heaven also contains earth, because without earth it could not be tangible.214 This however does not imply that it contains also air and water. It would seem absurd to think that water could subsist in so great a fire; nor could air survive therein without immediately being transformed to steam. It might be objected that two solids which play the parts of extremes in a proportion, cannot be united without two means.213 This objection, however, might have no cogency, for this mathematical relation might not apply to natural things, as indeed we are led to surmise by the possibility of mingling earth and water without any intermediary. To this it may be answered that earth and water already contain the other elements. Some persons might think that the latter could not effectually unite earth and water; but this would not disturb our contention that the earth and water are related because each of these two elements contains all the others.


Besides, we shall have to examine whether the earth be invisible without fire, and the fire intangible without822 the earth. Were this the case, nothing would possess its own proper being. All things would be mixed; each would reclaim its name only by the element preponderating in it; for it has been claimed that the earth could not exist without the humidity of water, which alone keeps all its parts united. Even were this granted, it would, none the less, remain absurd to say that each of these elements is something, while claiming that it does not possess any characteristically individual constitution, except by its union with the other elements, which, nevertheless, would not, any the more, exist individually, each in itself. What reality, indeed, would inhere in the nature or being of the earth, if none of its parts were earth except because the water that operated as a bond? Besides, with what could water unite without the preliminary existence of an extension whose parts were to be bound together for the formation of a continuous whole? The existence of an extension, however small it be, will imply the self-existence of earth, without the assistance of water; otherwise, there would be nothing for water to bind together. Nor would the earth have any need of air, since the air exists before the observation of any change within it. Nor is fire any more necessary to the constitution of the earth; fire only serves in making it visible, like all other objects. It is indeed reasonable to assert that it is fire which renders objects visible, and it is a mistake215 to state that "one sees darkness," which cannot be seen any more than silence can be heard. Besides, there is no necessity for fire to be in earth; light suffices (to make it visible). Snow, and many other very cold substances are, without any fire, very brilliant—that is, unless we say that the fire approached them, and colored them before leaving them.



As to the other elements, could not water exist without participating in the earth? Air could certainly not be said to participate in earth, because of its penetrability. It is very doubtful that the fire contains any earth, because it does not seem continuous, and does not, by itself, seem to be tri-dimensional. True, fire does seem to contain solidity, but not of a tri-dimensional kind; it seems rather to be a sort of resistance corporeal nature214). Only of earth may hardness be predicated; indeed, gold, in liquid state, is dense; not because it is earth, but because it possesses density, and is solidified. It would therefore not be unreasonable that fire, apart by itself, could subsist by the power of the Soul which sustains it by her presence. The bodies of (certain among) the guardian spirits consist of fire.216


It is unlikely that the universal Organism is composed of universal elements. That terrestrial animals are thus composed is certain; but to introduce the terrestrial element into the composition of the heaven would be to admit something contrary to nature, and to the order thereby established. (Epicurus's opinion that) the stars carry terrestrial bodies along in their rapid flight is undemonstrable. Besides, the presence of the earth would be an obstacle to the shine and splendor of the celestial fire.


7. Plato's view217 is to be accepted. The universe must contain something solid, impenetrable, so that the earth, when established in the middle of the universe,824 might offer a firm foundation for all the animals that walk on it, and that these animals might possess a certain solidity by the very fact of their terrestriality; so that the earth might, by itself, possess the property of continuousness; that it might be illuminated by fire, might also participate in water, so as not to be desiccated, and so that its parts might unite, and that the air might somewhat lighten its mass.


The earth was mingled with the upper fire not to produce the stars, but because fire has something terrestrial, as earth has something igneous, as a result of all the bodies being contained within the body of the universe. In short, every one of the elements includes mixture of itself and of the other with which it participates. This results from the interrelating community existing within the universe (the "sympathy"). So each element, without combining with any other, borrows some of its properties. For example, water participates in the fluidity of the air, without however mingling therewith; so the earth does not possess the fire, but derives its brightness from it. On the other hand, a mixture would render all properties common to both elements, confounding them together,218 and would not limit itself to merely approximating earth and fire, that is, a certain solidity with a certain density. On this subject we can invoke the authority of (Plato219), "The divinity lit this light in the second circle above the earth," thereby referring to the sun, which he elsewhere calls "the most brilliant star."

By these words he hinders us from admitting that the sun is anything else than fire. He also indicates that fire has no quality other than light, which he considers as distinct from flame, and as possessing only a gentle heat. This light is a body.825 From it emanates another being that we, by verbal similarity, also call light, and which we acknowledge to be incorporeal. This second kind of light derives from the former, being its flower and brightness, and constitutes the essentially white (that is, brilliant) body (of lightning, or comets). (Unfortunately, however), the word "terrestrial" (which designates the element allied to the fire, as we have said above), we are wont to regard unfavorably because Plato makes the earth consist of solidity, while we speak of the earth as a unity, though (Plato) distinguishes several qualities within this element.


The fire of which we speak above emits the purest light, and resides in the highest region, by virtue of its nature. These celestial flames are entirely distinct from the earthly flame, which after ascending to a certain height, and meeting a greater quantity of air, becomes extinguished. After ascending, it falls back on to the earth, because (as a comet) it cannot rise any further; it stops in the sublunar regions, though rendering the ambient air lighter. In those cases in which it continues to subsist in higher regions, it becomes weaker, gentler, and acquires a heatless glow, which is but a reflection of the celestial light. The latter, on the other hand, is divided partly among the stars in which it reveals great contrasts of magnitude and color, and partly in the atmosphere. Its invisibility to our eyes is caused both by its tenuity, and transparence, which causes it to become as tangible as pure air, and also because of its distance from the earth.



8. Since this light subsists in elevated regions, because the purity of its nature forces it to remain in pure regions, it cannot be subject to any wastage (or, leakage). Such a nature could not allow any escape either downwards or upwards, nor could it meet anything that would force it to descend. Moreover, it will be remembered that there is a great difference of condition in a body united to, or separated from a soul; and in this case the body of the heaven is everywhere united to the (universal) Soul.


Besides, all that approaches the heaven is either air or fire. What of it is air cannot affect the heaven. What of it is fire can neither influence the heaven, nor touch it, to act on it. Before acting on the heaven, it would have to assume its nature; besides, fire is less great or powerful than the heaven. Moreover, the action of fire consists in heating; whereas, 1, that which is to be heated cannot have been hot by itself; and as, 2, that which is to be dissolved by fire must first be heated, inasmuch as it is this heating which causes a change of nature. No other body is needed for either the subsistence of the heaven, or for the functioning of its natural revolutions.220 Moreover, the heaven does not move in a straight line, because it is in the nature of celestial things to remain immovable, or to move in a circular orbit, and not to assume any other kind of movement without compulsion by some superior force.



Stars, therefore, stand in need of no feeding,221 and we should not judge them according to our own circumstances. Indeed, our (human) soul, which contains our bodies, is not identical with the Soul that contains the heaven; our soul does not reside in the same place, while the world-Soul does not, like our composite bodies lose (excreta). Not as our bodies do the stars need continual metabolic replacing food. From our conception of celestial bodies we should remove all ideas of a change that could modify their constitution. Terrestrial bodies are animated by an entirely different nature222; which though because of its weakness is incapable of insuring them a durable existence, nevertheless imitates the superior nature (of the celestial Soul) by birth and generation. Elsewhere223 we have shown that even this very celestial Soul cannot partake of the perfect immutability of intelligible things.


Of Sensation and Memory.


If we deny that sensations are images impressed on the soul, similar to the impression of a seal,226 we shall also, for the sake of consistency, have to deny that memories are notions or sensations preserved in the soul by the permanence of the impression, inasmuch as, according to our opinion, the soul did not originally receive any impression. The two questions, therefore, hang together. Either we shall have to insist that sensation consists in an image impressed on the soul, and memory, in its preservation; or, if either one of these opinions be rejected, the other will have to be rejected also. However, since we regard both of them as false, we shall have to consider the true operation of both sensation and memory; for we declare that sensation is as little the impression of an image as memory is its permanence. The true solution of the question, on the contrary, will be disclosed by an examination of the most penetrating sense,227 and then by induction transferring the same laws to the other senses.



In general the sensation of sight consists of perception of the visible object, and by sight we attain it in830 the place where the object is placed before our eyes, as if the perception operated in that very place, and as if the soul saw outside of herself. This occurs, I think, without any image being produced nor producing itself outside of the soul, without the soul receiving any impression similar to that imparted by the seal to the wax. Indeed, if the soul already in herself possessed the image of the visible object, the mere possession of this image (or type) would free her from the necessity of looking outside of herself. The calculation of the distance of the object's location, and visibility proves that the soul does not within herself contain the image of the object. In this case, as the object would not be distant from her, the soul would not see it as located at a distance. Besides, from the image she would receive from within herself, the soul could not judge of the size of the object, or even determine whether it possessed any magnitude at all. For instance, taking as an example the sky, the image which the soul would develop of it would not be so great (as it is, when the soul is surprised at the sky's extent). Besides, there is a further objection, which is the most important of all. If we perceive only the images of the objects we see, instead of seeing the objects themselves, we would see only their appearances or adumbrations. Then the realities would differ from the things that we see. The true observation that we cannot discern an object placed upon the pupil, though we can see it at some little distance, applies with greater cogency to the soul. If the image of the visible object be located within her, she will not see the object that yields her this image. We have to distinguish two things, the object seen, and the seeing subject; consequently, the subject that sees the visible object must be distinct from it, and see it as located elsewhere than within itself. The primary condition of the act of vision therefore is, not that the831 image of the object be located in the soul, but that it be located outside of the soul.


2. After denying that sensation consists of such an operation, it is our duty to point out the true state of affairs. Though it be objected that thus the soul would be considered as judging of things she does not possess, it is nevertheless plain that it is the characteristic of a power, not to experience or suffer, but to develop its force, to carry out the function to which it is destined. If the soul is to discern a visible or audible object the latter must consist of neither images nor experiences, but actualizations relative to the objects which naturally belong to the domain of these actualizations of the soul. Those who deny that any faculty can know its object without receiving some impulsion from it imply that the faculty suffers, without really cognizing the object before it; for this soul-faculty should dominate the object instead of being thereby dominated.


The case of hearing is similar to that of sight. The impression is in the air; the sounds consist in a series of distinct vibrations, similar to letters traced by some person who is speaking. By virtue of her power and her being, the soul reads the characters traced in the air, when they present themselves to the faculty which is suitable to reception of them. As to taste and smell also, we must distinguish between the experience and the cognition of it; this latter cognition constitutes sensation, or a judgment of the experience, and differs therefrom entirely.832228


The cognition of intelligible things still less admits of an experience or impression; for the soul finds the intelligible things within herself, while it is outside of herself that she contemplates sense-objects. Consequently the soul's notions of intelligible entities are actualizations of a nature superior to those of sense-objects, being the actualizations of the soul herself, that is, spontaneous actualizations. We shall however have to relegate to another place229 the question whether the soul sees herself as double, contemplating herself as another object, so to speak, and whether she sees intelligence as single in a manner such that both herself and intelligence seem but one.



3. Treating of memory, we must begin by attributing to the soul a power which, though surprising, is perhaps really neither strange nor incredible. The soul, without receiving anything, nevertheless perceives the things she does not have. The (secret of this) is that by nature the soul is the reason of all things, the last reason of intelligible entities, and the first reason of sense-objects.230 Consequently the soul is in relation with both (spheres); by the intelligible things the soul is improved and vivified; but she is deceived by the resemblance which sense-objects bear to intelligible entities, and the soul descends here below as if drawn by her alluring charm. Because she occupies a position intermediary between intelligible entities and sense-833objects, the soul occupies a position intermediary between them. She is said to think intelligible entities when, by applying herself to them, she recalls them. She cognizes them because, in a certain manner, she actually constitutes these entities; she cognizes them, not because she posits them within herself, but because she somehow possesses them, and has an intuition of them; because, obscurely constituting these things, she awakes, passing from obscurity to clearness, and from potentiality to actualization. For sense-objects she acts in the same way. By relating them to what she possesses within herself, she makes them luminous, and has an intuition of them, possessing as she does a potentiality suitable to (a perception of) them; and, so to speak, to begetting them. When the soul has applied the whole force of her attention to one of the objects that offer themselves to her, she, for a long while, thereby remains affected as if this object were present; and the more attentively she considers it, the longer she sees it.231 That is why children have a stronger memory; they do not quickly abandon an object, but lingeringly fix their gaze upon it; instead of allowing themselves to be distracted by a crowd of objects, they direct their attention exclusively to some one of them. On the contrary, those whose thought and faculties are absorbed by a variety of objects, do not rest with any one, and do no more than look them over.


If memory consisted in the preservation of images,232 their numerousness would not weaken memory. If memory kept these images stored within itself, it would have no need of reflection to recall them, nor could memory recall them suddenly after having forgotten834 them. Further, exercise does not weaken, but increases the energy and force of memory, just as the purpose of exercise of our feet or hands is only to put ourselves in a better condition more easily to accomplish certain things which are neither in our feet nor our hands, but to which these members become better adapted by habit.

Besides (if memory be only storage of images), why then does one not remember a thing when it has been heard but once or twice? Why, when it has been heard often, is it long remembered, although it was not retained at first? This can surely not be because at first only some part of the images had been retained; for in that case those parts would be easily recalled. On the contrary, memory is produced suddenly as a result of the last hearing or reflexion. This clearly proves that, in the soul, we are only awaking the faculty of memory, only imparting to it new energy, either for all things in general, or for one in particular.

Again, memory does not bring back to us only the things about which we have reflected; (by association of ideas) memory suggests to us besides a multitude of other memories through its habit of using certain indices any one of which suffices easily to recall all the remainder233; how could this fact be explained except by admitting that the faculty of memory had become strengthened?

Once more, the preservation of images in the soul would indicate weakness rather than strength, for the reception of several impressions would imply an easy yielding to all forms. Since every impression is an experience, memory would be measured by passive receptivity; which, of course, is the very contrary of the state of affairs. Never did any exercise whatever render the exercising being more fitted to suffering (or, receptive experience).

835 Still another argument: in sensations, it is not the weak and impotent organ which perceives by itself; it is not, for instance, the eye that sees, but the active potentiality of the soul. That is why old people have both sensations and memories that are weaker. Both sensation and memory, therefore, imply some energy.

Last, as we have seen that sensation is not the impression of an image in the soul, memory could not be the storage-place of images it could not have received.


It may be asked however, why, if memory be a "faculty" (a potentiality) or disposition,234 we do not immediately remember what we have learned, and why we need some time to recall it? It is because we need to master our own faculty, and to apply it to its object. Not otherwise is it with our other faculties, which we have to fit to fulfil their functions, and though some of them may react promptly, others also may need time to gather their forces together. The same man does not always simultaneously exercise memory and judgment, because it is not the same faculty that is active in both cases. Thus there is a difference between the wrestler and the runner. Different dispositions react in each. Besides, nothing that we have said would militate against distinguishing between the man of strong and tenacious soul who would be inclined to read over what is recalled by his memory, while he who lets many things escape him would by his very weakness be disposed to experience and preserve passive affections. Again, memory must be a potentiality of the soul, inasmuch as the soul has no extension (and therefore could not be a storage-place for images which imply three dimensions).



In general all the processes of the soul occur in a manner very different from that conceived by unobservant men. Psychic phenomena occur very differently from sense-phenomena, the analogy of which may lead to very serious errors. Hence the above unobservant men imagine that sensations and memories resemble characters inscribed on tablets or sheets of paper.235 Whether they consider the soul material (as do the Stoics), or as immaterial (as do the Peripatetics), they certainly do not realize the absurd consequences which would result from the above hypothesis.


Of the Ten Aristotelian and Four Stoic Categories.


1. Very ancient philosophers have investigated the number and kinds of essences. Some said there was but one;296 others, that there was a limited number of them; others still, an infinite number. Besides, those who recognized but a single (essence) have advanced opinions very different, as is also the case with those who recognized a limited or unlimited number of essences. As the opinions of these philosophers have been sufficiently examined by their successors, we shall not busy ourselves therewith. We shall study the doctrine of those who, after having examined the opinions of their predecessors, decided on determinate numbers (of essences); admitting neither a single essence, because they recognized that there was a multiplicity even in the intelligibles; nor an infinite number of essences, because such an infinity could not exist, and would render all science impossible; but who, classifying the essences whose number is limited, and seeing that these classifications could not be considered elements, looked on them as "kinds." Of these, some (the Peripatetic Aristotelians) proposed ten, while others proposed a lesser number (the Stoics taught four), or a greater number (the Pythagorean "oppositions," for instance). As to the kinds, there is also difference of opinions: some looked upon the kinds as principle (Plotinos himself); while others (Aristotle) held that they formed classes.




Let us first examine the doctrine that classifies essence into ten (kinds). We shall have to investigate whether it be necessary to acknowledge that its partisans recognize ten kinds, all of which bear the name of essence, or ten categories; for they say237 that essence is not synonymous in everything, and they are right.


Let us begin by asking these philosophers whether the ten kinds apply equally to sense-(essences), and intelligible (essences), or whether they all apply to the sense-(essences), and some only to the intelligible (essences); for here there are no longer mutual relations. We must therefore inquire which of those ten kinds apply to intelligible essences, and see whether intelligible essences can be reduced to one single kind, that would also apply to sense-essences; and whether the word "being"238 can be applied simultaneously to intelligible and sense-entities, as a "homonymous" label. For if "being" be a homonym,239 there are several different kinds. If, however, it be a synonym (or, name of common qualities) it would be absurd that this word should bear the same meaning in the essences which possess the highest degree of existence, and in those which possess its lower degree; for the things among which it is possible to distinguish both primary and lower degrees could not belong to a common kind. But these (Aristotelian) philosophers do not, in their division, regard the (Platonic) intelligible entities. They therefore did not mean to classify all beings; they passed by those that possess the highest degree of existence.839295

1. Being.240

2. Let us further examine if these ten divisions be kinds, and how being could form a kind; for we are forced to begin our study here.


We have just said that intelligible being and sense-being could not form a single kind.241 Otherwise, above both intelligible being, and sense-being, there might be some third entity which would apply to both, being neither corporeal nor incorporeal; for if it were incorporeal, the body would be incorporeal; and if it were corporeal, the incorporeal would be corporeal.


In the first place, what common element is there in matter, form, and the concretion of matter and form? The (Aristotelians) give the name of "being" alike to these three entities, though recognizing that they are not "being" in the same degree. They say that form is more being than is matter,242 and they are right; they would not insist (as do the Stoics) that matter is being in the greater degree. Further, what element is common to the primary and secondary beings, since the secondary owe their characteristic title of "being" to the primary ones?


In general, what is being? This is a question to which the (Aristotelians) could find no answer; for such mere indication of properties is not an essential definition of what it is, and it would seem that the840 property of being a thing that is susceptible of successively admitting their contraries, while remaining identical, and numerically one,243 could not apply to all (intelligible) beings.

3. Can we assert that "being" is a category that embraces simultaneously intelligible being, matter, form, and the concretion of form and matter, on the same justification that one may say that the race of the Heraclidae form a kind, not because all its members possess a common characteristic, but because they are all descended from a common ancestry? In such case, the first degree thereof will belong to this being (from which all the rest is derived), and the second degree to the other things which are less beings. What then hinders that all things form a single category, since all other things of which one may say, "they subsist," owe this property to "being?"

Might it then be said that the other things are affections (or, modifications),232 and that the beings are (hierarchically) subordinated to each other in a different manner? In this case, however, we could not stop at (the conception of) "being," and determine its fundamental property so as to deduce from it other beings. Beings would thus be of the same kind, but then would possess something which would be outside of the other beings.244 Thus the secondary substance would be attributed to something else, and leave no meaning to "whatness" (quiddity or quality), "determinate form" (thatness), "being a subject," "not being a subject," "being in no subject," and "being attributed to nothing else,"245 (as, when one says, whiteness is a quality of the body, quantity is something of substance, time is something of movement, and movement is something of mobility), since the secondary "being" is attributed to something else.246 Another objection would be, that the secondary being is attributed to the primary Being, in another sense (than841 quality is to being), as "a kind," as "constituting a part," as "being thus the essence of the subject," while whiteness would be attributed to something else in this sense that it is in a subject.247 Our answer would be that these things have properties which distinguish them from the others; they will consequently be gathered into a unity, and be called beings. Nevertheless, no kind could be made up out of them, nor thus arrive at a definition of the notion and nature of being. Enough about this; let us pass to quantity.


4. The Aristotelians call quantity first "number," then "continuous size," "space," and "time."248 To these concepts they apply the other kinds of quantity; as for instance, they say that movement is a quantity measured by time.249 It might also be said reciprocally, that time receives its continuity from movement.


If continuous quantity be quantity as far as it is continuous, then definite quantity will no longer be quantity. If, on the contrary, continuous quantity be quantity only accidentally, then there is nothing in common between continuous and definite quantity. We will grant that numbers are quantities, although if their nature of being quantities were plain, one would not see why they should be given that name. As to the line, the surface, and the body, they are called sizes and not quantities; and the latter name is given them only when they are estimated numerically; as when, for instance, they are measured by two or three feet.249 A body is a quantity only in so far as it is measured, just as space is a quantity only by accident,842 and not by its spatiality. We must here not consider what is quantity by accident, but by its quantitativeness, quantity itself. Three oxen are not a quantity; in this case, the quantity is the number found in them. Indeed, three oxen belong already to two categories. The case is similar with the line, and the surface, both of which possess such quantity. But if the quantity of surface be quantity itself, why would surface itself be a quantity? It is no doubt only when determined by three or four lines that the surface is called a quantity.


Shall we then say that numbers alone are quantity? Shall we attribute this privilege to Numbers in themselves, which are beings, because they exist in themselves?250 Shall we grant the same privilege to numbers existing in things which participate in them, and which serve to number, not unities, but ten oxen, for example, or ten horses? First, it would seem absurd that these numbers should not be beings, if the former ones be such. Then, it will seem equally absurd that they should exist within the things they measure, without existing outside them,251 as the rules and instruments which serve to measure exist outside of the objects they measure. On the other hand, if these numbers that exist in themselves serve to measure, and nevertheless do not exist within the objects that they measure, the result will be that these objects will not be quantities since they will not participate in quantity itself.


Why should these numbers be considered quantities? Doubtless because they are measures. But are843 these measures quantities, or quantity itself? As they are in the order of beings, even if they should not apply to any of the other things, the numbers will nevertheless remain what they are, and they will be found in quantity. Indeed, their unity designates an object, since it applies to another; then the number expresses how many objects there are, and the soul makes use of number to measure plurality. Now, when measuring thus, the soul does not measure the "whatness" (or, quality) of the object, since she says "one," "two," whatever be their objects, even if of opposite nature; she does not determine the character of each thing, for instance, if it be warm or beautiful; she limits herself to estimating its quantity. Consequently, whether we take Number in itself, or in the objects which participate therein, quantity exists not in these objects, but in the number; quantity finds itself not in the object three feet long, but in the number three.


Why then should sizes also be quantities? Probably because they approximate quantities, and because we call quantities all objects that contain quantities, even though we do not measure them with quantity in itself. We call large what numerically participates in much; and small what participates in little. Greatness and smallness are quantities, not absolute, but relative; nevertheless the Aristotelians say that they are relative quantities so far as they seem to be quantities.252 That is a question to be studied; for, in this doctrine, number is a kind apart, while sizes would hold second rank; it is not exactly a kind, but a category which gathers things which are near each other, and which may hold first or second rank. As to us, we shall have to844 examine if the Numbers which exist in themselves be only substances, or if they be also quantities. In either case, there is nothing in common between the Numbers of which we speak, and those which exist in things which participate therein.253


5. What relation to quantity exists in speech, time, and movement?

First, let us consider speech. It can be measured.254 In this respect, speech is a quantity, but not in so far as it is speech, whose nature is to be significant, as the noun, or the verb.255 The vocal air is the matter of the word, as it also is of the noun and the verb, all which constitute the language. The word is principally an impulse launched on the air, but it is not a simple impulse; because it is articulated it somehow fashions the air; consequently it is a deed, but a significant one. It might be reasonably said that this movement and impulse constitute a deed, and that the movement which follows is a modification, or rather that the first movement is the deed, and the second movement is the modification of another, or rather that the deed refers to the subject, and the modification is in the subject. If the word consisted not in the impulse, but in the air, there would result from the significant characteristic of the expressive impulse two distinct entities, and no longer a single category.


Let us pass to time.256 If it exist in what measures, that which measures must be examined; it is doubtless the soul, or the present instant. If it exist in what is measured, it is a quantity so far as it has a quantity; as, for instance, it may be a year. But, so far as it is845 time, it has another nature; for what has such a quantity, without (essentially) being a quantity, is not any the less such a quantity.


As to (Aristotle's) assertion that the property of quantity is to be both equal and unequal,257 this property belongs to quantity itself, and not to the objects which participate in quantity, unless it be by accident, so far as one does not consider these objects in themselves. A three foot object, for instance, is a quantity so far as it is taken in its totality; but it does not form a kind with quantity itself; only, along with it, it is traced back to a kind of unity, a common category.


6. Let us now consider relation. Let us see whether, in relative matters, there be something common that constitutes a kind, or which is a point of union in any other manner. Let us, before everything else, examine whether relation (as, for example, left and right, double and half, and so forth) be a kind of "hypostasis," or substantial act, or an habituation; or, whether it be a kind of hypostatic existence in certain things, while in others it is not so; or whether it be this under no circumstances. What is there indeed that is particular in relations such as double and half; surpasser and surpassed; in possession, and in disposition; lying down, standing, sitting; in the relation of father and son; of master and slave; in the like and different; the equal and unequal; the active and passive; measurer and measured; sensation and knowledge? Knowledge, for instance, relates to the object which can be known, and sensation to sense-object; for the relation of knowledge to the object which can846 be known has a kind of hypostatic existence in the actualization relative to the form of the object which can be known; likewise with the relation of sensation to the sense-object. The same may be said about the relation of the "active" to the "passive," which results in a single actualization, as well as about the relation between the measure and the measured object, from which results mensuration. But what results from the relation of the similar to the similar? If in this relation there be nothing begotten, one can at least discover there something which is its foundation, namely, the identity of quality; nevertheless, neither of these two terms would then have anything beside their proper quality. The same may be said of equal things, because the identity of quantity precedes the manner of being of both things; this manner of being has no foundation other than our judgment, when we say, This one or that one are of the same size; this one has begotten that one, this one surpasses that one. What are standing and sitting outside of him who stands or sits? As to the possession, if it apply to him who possesses, it rather signifies the fact of possession; if it apply to what is possessed, it is a quality. As much can be said of disposition. What then exists outside of the two relative terms, but the comparison established by our judgment? In the relation of the thing which surpasses the thing which is surpassed, the first is some one size, and the second is some other size; those are two independent things, while as to the comparison, it does not exist in them, except in our judgment. The relation of left to right and that of the former to the latter consist in the different positions. It is we who have imagined the distinction of right to left; there is nothing in the objects themselves that answers thereto. The former and the latter are two relations of time, but it is we who have established that distinction.



7. If, when we speak of things, we utter nothing true, then there is nothing real in the relation, and this kind of being has no foundation. But if, when we compare two moments, we say, This one is anterior, and that one is posterior, we speak truly, then we conceive that the anterior and the posterior are something independent of the subjects in which they exist. Likewise with the left and the right, as well as with sizes; we admit that in these, besides the quantity which is suitable to them, there is a certain habituation, as far as the one surpasses and the other is surpassed. If, without our enunciating or conceiving anything, it be real that such a thing is the double of another; if the one possess while the other is possessed, even if we had known nothing about it; if the objects had been equal before we had noticed them; if they be likewise identical in respect of quality; finally if, in all relative things, there be a habituation which is independent of the subjects in which it is found; and if we limit ourselves to noticing its existence (without creating it); if the same circumstances obtain in the relation of knowledge to what can be known, a relation which evidently constitutes a real habituation; if it be so, there is nothing left to do but to ask whether this habituation (named a relation) be something real. We shall have to grant, however, that this habituation subsists in certain subjects as long as these subjects remain such as they were, and even if they were separate; while, in other subjects, this habituation is born only when they are brought together. We shall also have to grant that, in the very subjects that remain, there are some in which this habituation is annihilated or altered (such as, for example, the left848 direction, or proximity). This has led people to believe that in all these relations there is nothing real. This point having been granted, we shall have to seek what common element there is in all these relations, and to examine whether what is common to them all constitutes a kind, or an accident; and last, we shall have to consider how far that which we have discovered corresponds to reality.


We should call relative not what is said absolutely of another thing, such as, for instance, the habits of the soul and the body; nor what belongs to such a thing, nor what is in such a thing (as for instance the soul is said to be the soul of such an individual, or to be in such a subject), but what wholly derives its existence from this habit (called relation). By "hypostatic existence" I here mean not the existence which is proper to subjects, but the existence which is called relative; as, for instance, the double causes the (correlative) existence of the half; while it does not cause the existence of the two foot object, nor of two in general, nor the one foot object, nor one in general. The manner of existence of these objects consists in that this one is two, and that one one. As a result of this, when these objects exist, the first is called double, and is such in reality; and the second is half. These two objects have therefore simultaneously and spontaneously effected that the one was double, and the other half. They have been correlatively begotten. Their only existence lies in their correlation, so that the existence of the double lies in its surpassing the half, and the half derives its existence from its being surpassed by the double. Consequently these two objects are not, the one anterior, and the other posterior, but simultaneous.259 We might also examine whether or849 not other things do not also possess this simultaneity of existence, as happens with father and son, and other similar cases. The son continues to exist, indeed, even after the death of the father; brother also survives brother, since we often say that some one person resembles some other deceased person.


8. The above digression gives us the opportunity of investigating why there should be a difference between these relations, and those of which we spoke above. However, we should be glad to have the Aristotelians first state what community of existence obtains in this correlation. It would be impossible to claim that this community was anything corporeal. If then it be corporeal, it must exist either within the very subjects, or without them. If such a habituation be identical among all, it is a synonym. If it be a habituation which differs according to the subjects in which it exists, it is a homonym; for the mere name of "habituation" (in different things) does not always correspond to the existence of any genuine similarity. Should we then divide the habituations into two classes, recognizing that certain objects have an inert and inactive habituation, implying simultaneity of existence, and that other objects have a habituation always implying "potentiality" and "actualization," so that before "actualizing" the "potentiality" be already ready to exert itself, and to pass from "potentiality" to "actualization" in the approximation of relative conditions? Must we assert that in general certain things actualize, while others limit themselves to existing? Must we also assert that that which limits itself to existence only gives its correlative a name, while that which actualizes gives it existence? Of this latter850 kind of things are the father and son, the "active" and "passive," for such things exert a kind of life and action. Must we then divide habituation in several kinds, not as possessing something similar and common in the differences, but as having a nature different in each member of the division, and thus constituting a "homonym" (or, mere verbal label)? In this case, we would apply to the active habituation the names of "doing" and "suffering," because both imply an identical action. Further, we will have to posit another "habituation" which, without itself actualizing, implies something which acts in two relative terms. For example, there is equality; which equates two objects; for it is equality which renders things equal, just as identity makes them identical; just as the names "great" and "small" are derived one from the presence of greatness, and the other from that of smallness. But if we should consider greatness and smallness in the individuals which participate therein, it must be acknowledged that such individual is greater by the act of greatness which manifests in him, and that another is smaller because of the inherent act of littleness.


9. It must therefore be granted that in the things of which we first spoke, such as knowing and doing (active being), there is an actualization, an habituation, and an actualizing reason; while in the other things there is a participation in form and reason. For indeed, if the bodies were the only essences, the relative habituations would bear no reality. If, on the contrary, we assign the first rank in existence to incorporeal things, and to the reasons, and if we define the habituations as reasons that participate in the forms, we should say that what is double has the double for its cause, and what is half, has the half as851 its cause; and that other things are what they are named because of the presence of the same, or of the contrary form. Now either two things simultaneously receive one the double, and the other the half, and one greatness, and the other smallness; or contraries such as resemblance and dissimilarity are to be found in each thing, as well as identity and difference; and everything finds itself simultaneously similar and dissimilar, identical and different. It might be objected that if one object were ugly, and another uglier still, they are such because they participate in a form. Not so; for if these two objects be equally ugly, they are equal in the absence of the form. If they be unequally ugly, the least ugly is such because it participates in a form which does not sufficiently subdue matter, and the uglier is such because it participates in a form which does so still less. They could, besides, be judged from the standpoint of deprivation, comparing them to each other as if they contained some form. The sensation is a form that results from two things (of that which feels, and that which is felt); so also with knowledge. In respect to the thing possessed, possession is an act which contains, which has a kind of efficacy. As to mensuration, which is an actualization of measure, in respect of the measured object, it consists in a reason.


If then, considering the constitution of the relative relations as a generic form, it be admitted that it constitutes an unity, it forms a classification; consequently it constitutes an existence and a form in all things. But if the reasons (or, relations) be opposed to each other, if the above-mentioned differences obtain among them, they do not constitute a class, and everything must be852 reduced to a resemblance, or category. Now, even if we admit that the things of which we have spoken can be reduced to a unity, it does not follow that all the things gathered under the same category by the Aristotelians, could be reduced to a single sort. Indeed, they lump together into the same classification, both objects and mere statements of their absence, as well as the objects which derive their appellation from them; as, for instance, doubleness itself, and the double object. Now how is it possible to reduce to the same classification both a thing and the mere lack of it, as, for instance, doubleness and the non-double, the relative and the non-relative? This is as absurd as it would be to gather into the same classification the living "being," and the non-living "being." Worse yet, how could one assort together duplication and the double object, whiteness and the white object? Such things could not possibly be identical.


10. We are now to consider quality, on account of which a being is said to be "such." What can be the nature of this quality that it exerts the power of deciding of the phenomena of objects? Is there a same, single quality which is something common to all qualities, and which, by its differences, forms classifications? Or are the qualities so different that they could not constitute one and the same classification? What is there in common between capacity and disposition261 (that is, the physical power), the affective quality, the figure, and the exterior form?262


What shall be said of thickness and thinness, of fatness and leanness? If the element common to these853 conceptions be a power belonging to the capacities, dispositions, and physical powers, which gives to each object the power it possesses, the statements of the absence of power will no longer be classified along with (the powers). Besides, in what sense can we call the figure and form of each thing a "power?" Further, essence would have been deprived of all powers that were essential, retaining only those it might have received. Then, quality would comprehend all actualizations of the beings, which, properly, are actualizations only so far as they act spontaneously; and also all actualizations of these properties, but only so far as they really exist. But quality consists in (unessential) powers (such as habituations and dispositions) classified below beings.263 For instance, boxing ability does not belong among necessary human qualifications, such as rational functions. The latter would not be called a quality (as we would speak of boxing ability); and reasoning would be considered a quality only figuratively.


A quality is therefore a power which adds (essential) characteristics to already existing beings. These characteristics which differentiate beings can therefore be called qualities only figuratively. Qualities are, rather, actualizations and reasons, or parts of reasons, which proclaim the "whatness," though the latter seem to qualify being. As to the qualities which really deserve this name, which "qualify" things, which we generally call "potentialities," they are the reasons and shapes, either of the soul or the body, such as beauty or ugliness.854264


How can all qualities be potentialities? It is easy to see that beauty and health are qualities. But how could ugliness and sickness, weakness and general impotence, be qualities? Is it because they qualify certain things? But what hinders the qualified things from being called such by mere nomenclature, as homonyms, and not because of a single (all-sufficient) reason? Besides, what would hinder them from being considered not only according to one of the four modes,265 but even after each one of the four, or at least after any two of them? First, the quality does not consist in "acting" and "experiencing";266 so that it is only by placing oneself at different viewpoints that one could call what "acts" and "experiences" a quality, in the same sense as health and sickness, disposition and habitude, force and weakness. Thus power is no longer the common element in these qualities, and we shall have to seek something else possessing this characteristic, and the qualities will no longer all be reasons. How indeed could a sickness, become a habituation, or be a reason?


Shall the affections which consist in the forms and powers, and their contraries, the privations, be called qualities?267 If so, one kind will no longer exist; and we shall have to reduce these things to a unity, or category; that is why knowledge is called a form and a power, and ignorance a privation and impotence. Must we also consider impotence and sickness a form, because sickness and vice can and do accomplish many things badly? Not so, for in this case he who missed855 his aim would be exerting a power. Each one of these things exerts its characteristic activity in not inclining towards the good; for it could not do what was not in its power. Beauty certainly does have some power; is it so also with triangularity? In general, quality should not be made to consist in power, but rather in the disposition, and to consider it as a kind of form of character. Thus the common element in all qualities is found to be this form, this classification, which no doubt is inherent in being, but which certainly is derivative from it.


What part do the powers (or, potentialities) play here? The man who is naturally capable of boxing owes it to a certain disposition. It is so also with somebody who is unskilful in something. In general, quality consists in a non-essential characteristic; what seems to contribute to the being, or to add to it, as color, whiteness, and color in general, contributes to the beings as far as it constitutes something distinct therefrom, and is its actualization; but it occupies a rank inferior to being; and though derived therefrom, it adds itself thereto as something foreign, as an image and adumbration.


If quality consist in a form, in a character and a reason, how could one thus explain impotence and ugliness? We shall have to do so by imperfect reasons, as is generally recognized in the case of ugliness.268 But how can a "reason" be said to explain sickness? It contains the reason of health, but somewhat856 altered. Besides, it is not necessary to reduce everything to a reason; it is sufficient to recognize, as common characteristic, a certain disposition foreign to being, such that what is added to being be a quality of the subject. Triangularity is a quality of the subject in which it is located, not by virtue of its triangularity, but of its location in this subject, and of enduing it with its form. Humanity has also given to man his shape, or rather, his being.


11. If this be so, why should we recognize several kinds of qualities? Why should we distinguish capacity and disposition? Whether quality be durable or not, it is always the same; for any kind of a disposition is sufficient to constitute a quality; permanence, however, is only an accident, unless it should be held that simple dispositions are imperfect forms, and that capacities are perfect forms. But if these forms be imperfect, they are not qualities; if they be already qualities, permanence is but an accident.


How can physical powers form a secondary kind of qualities? If they be qualities only so far as they are powers, this definition would not suit all qualities, as has been said above. If boxing ability be a quality as far as it is a disposition, it is useless to attribute to it a power, since power is implied in habituation. Further, how should we distinguish the natural boxing ability from that which is scientifically acquired? If both be qualities, they do not imply any difference so far as one is natural, and the other acquired; that857 is merely an accident, since the capacity of boxing is the same form in both cases.


What does it matter that certain qualities are derived from an affection, and that others are not derived therefrom? The origin of qualities contributes nothing to their distinction or difference. If certain qualities be derived from an affection, and if others do not derive therefrom, how could they be classified as one kind? If it be said that some imply "experiencing" while others imply "action," they can both be called qualities merely by similarity of appellation (homonymy).


What could be said of the shape of every thing? If we speak of the shape as far as something has a specific form, that has no regard to quality; if it be spoken of in respect to beauty or ugliness, together with the form of the subject, we there have a reason.


As to rough, united, rare and dense269 these could not be called qualities; for they do not consist only in a relative separation or reapproximation of the parts of a body, and do not proceed everywhere from the inequality or equality of position; if they did, they might be regarded as qualities. Lightness and weight, also, could be correctly classified, if carefully studied. In any case, lightness is only a verbal similarity (a858 "homonym") unless it be understood to mean diminution of weight. In this same class might also be found leanness and slimness, which form a class different from the four preceding ideas.


12. What other scheme of analysis of quality could we find, if the above were declared unsatisfactory? Must we distinguish first the qualities of the soul from those of the body, and then analyse the latter according to the senses, relating them to sight, hearing, taste, smell and touch?

To begin with, how can the qualities of the soul be divided? Will they be related to the faculty of desire, to anger, or reason? Will they be divided according to their suitable operations, or according to their useful or harmful character? In this case, would we distinguish several ways of being useful or harmful? Should we then likewise divide the properties of the bodies according to the difference of their effects, or according to their useful or harmless character, since this character is a property of quality? Surely; to be useful or harmful seems to be the property of both the quality, and the thing qualified. Otherwise, we should have to seek some other classification.


How can the thing qualified by a quality refer to the quality? This must be studied, because the thing qualified and the quality do not belong to a common kind. If the man capable of boxing be related to the quality, why should not the same quality obtain between the active man and activity? If then the active man be859 something qualified, "activity" and "passivity" should not be referred to relation. It would seem preferable to relate the active man to the quality if he be active by virtue of a power, for a power is a quality; but if the power be essential, in so far as it is a power, it is not something relative, nor even something qualified. We should not consider that activity corresponds to increase; for the increase, so far as it increases, stands in relation only to the less; while activity is such by itself. To the objection that activity, so far as it is such, is something qualified, it might be answered that, at the same time, as far as it can act on something else, and that it is thus called active, it is something relative. In this case the man capable of boxing and the art of boxing itself must be in relation. For the art of boxing implies a relation; all the knowledge it imparts is relative to something else. As to the other arts, or at least, as to the greater number of other arts, it may, after examination, be said that they are qualities, so far as they give a disposition to the soul; as far as they act, they are active, and, from this standpoint, they refer to something else, and are relative; and besides, they are relative in the sense that they are habituations.


Will we therefore have to admit that activity, which is activity only because it is a quality, is something substantially different from quality? In animated beings, especially in those capable of choice because they incline towards this or that thing, activity has a really substantial nature. What is the nature of the action exercised by the inanimate powers that we call qualities? Is it participation in their qualities by whatever approaches them? Further, if the power which acts on something else simultaneously experiences (or860 "suffers"), how can it still remain active? For the greater thing, which by itself is three feet in size, is great or small only by the relation established between it, and something else (smaller). It might indeed be objected that the greater thing and the smaller thing become such only by participation in greatness or smallness. Likewise, what is both "active" and "passive" becomes such in participating in "activity" and "passivity."


Can the qualities seen in the sense-world, and those that exist in the intelligible world, be classified together in one kind? This question demands an answer from those270 who claim that there are also qualities in the intelligible world. Should it also be asked of those who do not admit of the existence on high of kinds, but who limit themselves to attributing some habit to Intelligence? It is evident that Wisdom exists in Intelligence; if this Wisdom be homonymous (similar in name only) with the wisdom which we know here below, it is not reckoned among sense-things; if, on the contrary it be synonymous (similar in nature also) with the wisdom which we know here below, quality would be found in intelligible entities, as well as in sense-things (which is false); unless indeed it be recognized that all intelligible things are essences, and that thought belongs among them.

Besides, this question applies also to the other categories. In respect to each of them it might be asked whether the sensible and the intelligible form two different kinds, or belong to a single classification.

4. WHEN.

13. As to the category of time, "when," the following thoughts are suggested.



If to-morrow, to-day, and yesterday, as well as other similar divisions of time, be parts of time, why should they not be classed in the same classification as time itself, along with the ideas "it has been," "it is," and "it will be?" As they are kinds of time, it seems proper that they should be classified along with time itself. Now time is part of quantity. What then is the use of another category? If the Aristotelians say that not only "it has been" and "it will be" are time-concepts, but "yesterday" and "formerly," which are varieties of "there has been" are also time-concepts (for these terms are subordinated to "there has been"), that it is not only "now" that is time, but that "when" is such also, they will be forced to answer as follows: First, if "when" be time, time exists; then, as "yesterday" is past time, it will be something composite, if the past be something else than time; we will have to erect two categories, not merely a simple category. For instance, they say both that "when" is in time, without being time, and say that "when" is that which is in time. An example of this would be to say that Socrates existed "formerly," whereby Socrates would really be outside of (present) time. Therefore they are no longer expressing something single. But what is meant by Socrates "being in time," and that some fact "is in time?" Does it mean that they are "part of time?" If, in saying "a part of time," and "so far as it is a part of time," the Aristotelians believe that they are not speaking of time absolutely, but only of a past part of time, they are really expressing several things. For this "part," so far as it is a part, is by them referred to something; and for them the past will be some thing added (to Time), or it will become identified with "there has been," which is a kind of862 time. But if they say that there is a difference, because "there has been" is indeterminate, while "formerly" and "yesterday" are determinate, we shall be deciding something about "there has been;" then "yesterday" will be the determination of "there has been," so that "yesterday" will be determined time. Now, that is a quantity of time; so that if time be a quantity, each one of these two things will be a determined quantity. But, if, when they say "yesterday" they mean thereby that such an event has happened in a determined past time, they are still expressing several things. Therefore, if some new category is to be introduced whenever one thing acts in another, as here happened of what occurred in time, we might have to introduce many additional categories, for in a different thing the action is different. This will, besides, become clearer in what is to follow on the category of place.



14. The Aristotelians (while treating of this category) say, Where? For instance, "to the Lyceum," or, "to the Academy." The Academy and the Lyceum are then places and parts of places, as the "top," the "bottom," and "here" are parts or classes of place. The only difference consists in a greater determination. If then the top, the bottom, and the middle be places, as, for instance, "Delphi is the middle of the earth," and, "the Lyceum and other countries are near the middle of the earth," what else but place do we have to seek, since we have just said that each of these things denotes a place? If, when we say "where?" we assert that one thing is in another place, we are not expressing863 something single and simple. Besides, each time that we affirm that such a man is there, we are creating a double relation, namely, the relation of the man who is there, with the place where he is, and the relation of the containing place and the contained man. Why therefore should we not reduce this to the class of relations, since the relation of both terms with each other produces something? Besides, what is the difference between "here" and "at Athens?" The Aristotelians grant that "here" indicates the place; consequently, the same is true of "in Athens." If, "in Athens" be equivalent to "being in Athens," this latter expression contains two categories, that of place, and that of being. Now, this should not be the case; for as one should not say "Quality exists," but only, "quality." Besides, if being in place and being in time presuppose categories other than place and time, why would "being in a vase" not also constitute a separate category? Why would it not be so with "being in matter," with "being in the subject," and in general of a part "being in the whole," or the "whole in the parts," the "genus in the species," and the "species in the genus?" In this manner we would have a far greater number of categories.


The subject of action gives rise to the following considerations.


15. The Aristotelians hold that number and quantity, and other things referring to being should be subordinated to being; thus they classify quantity as in a genus different from being. Quality also refers864 to being, it also is erected into a separate genus. Consequently, as action also refers to being, it is also considered a separate genus. Must then "acting," or rather "action," from which "acting" is derived, be considered a separate genus, as we consider that quality, from which qualification is derived, is a separate genus? (As to these derivations), it might be asked whether there were no distinction between "action," "to act," and "active," or between "to act," and "action?" "To act" expresses the idea of "active," while "action" does not express it. "To act" means "to be in some action;" or rather, "in actualization." Consequently, "actualization" expresses a category rather than "action;" since actualization is predicated of being, like quality, as was said above; and actualization, like movement, also relates to being; but movement necessarily constitutes a class of essence. How indeed could we admit that quantity, quality and relation each form a genus, in respect to being, and yet refuse to movement, which equally refers to being, the privilege of also forming a genus of being?


16. It may be objected that movement is an imperfect actualization.272 In that case actualization should be given the first rank; and under that genus would follow the species of movement, with the quality of imperfection, by saying that movement is an actualization, and adding (the specific difference) that it is imperfect. To say that movement is an imperfect actualization does not deprive it of being an actualization, but implies that though it be actualization, there is in it succession, not to arrive at being actualization, (which it is already), but to accomplish something from which it is yet entirely distinct. Then (when that865 goal is reached), it is not the movement that becomes perfect, but the thing which was the goal. For instance, walking is walking from the very first step; but if there be a mile to go, and the mile be not yet finished, what is lacking of the mile is not lacking to the walking or to movement (taken absolutely), but to that particular walk. For the walk was walking and movement from the very first step; consequently, he who is moving has already moved, and he who cuts has already cut.273 Just as actualization, movement has no need of time; it needs time only to become such an action. If then actualization be outside of time, movement, taken absolutely, must also be outside of time. The objection that movement is in time because it implies continuity (proves too much; for in that case) intuition itself, if prolonged, would also imply continuity, and therefore would be in time. Reasoning by induction, it may be seen, 1, that one can always distinguish parts in any kind of movement; 2, that it would be impossible to determine when and since when the movement began, or to assign the definite point of departure; 3, that it is always possible to divide movement by following it up to its origin, so that in this manner movement that has just begun would find itself to have begun since infinite time, and, 4, that movement would be infinite in regard to its beginning. The fact is that the Aristotelians distinguish movement from actualization; they affirm that actualization is outside of time, but that time is necessary to movement; not indeed to some particular movement, but to movement in itself, because, according to their views, it is a quantity. Nevertheless, they themselves acknowledge that movement is a quantity only by accident, as, for instance, when it is a daily movement, or when it has some particular duration. Just as actualization is outside of time, nothing hinders movement from having begun outside of time, and time866 from being connected with movement only because the movement has a certain duration. Indeed, it is generally granted that changes occur outside of time, for it is usual to say, The changes occur either suddenly or successively. Now if change can occur outside of time, why should it not be so also with movement? We here speak of change, and not of "having changed;" for change does not necessarily have to be accomplished (while "having changed" signifies an accomplished fact, and consequently implies the notion of time).


17. It may be objected that actualization and movement do not, by themselves, form a genus, but belong to the genus of relation, because actualization exists through the power of something active, and movement exists by the power of some motor, as such. We might answer that relative conceptions are produced by habituation (the manner of being) even of things, and not only through the relation established between them by the mind. As the habituation is a mode of "hypostatic" existence, although it be the "thing of something else," or although it refer to something else,274 it nevertheless possesses its nature before being a relation. Now this actualization, this movement, this habituation, which is the "thing of some other thing" nevertheless possesses the property of existing and of being conceived by itself before being a relation; otherwise, all things would be relative conceptions; for there is nothing, not excluding the soul herself, which does not bear some relation to something else. Moreover, why are "action" and "acting" not relatives? For they necessarily are either a movement867 or an actualization. If the Aristotelians consider "action" a relative, and make a genus of "acting," why then do they not also place "movement" among the relatives, and make a genus of "moving?" They might, indeed, have subsumed under the genus "movement" the two species "action" and "reaction" (or, "suffering"); but they have no right to make two distinct genera of "acting" and "reacting," as they generally do.


18. We must further examine if the Aristotelians have the right to say that acting contains both actualizations and movements, the actualizations producing themselves instantaneously, and the movements successively; as, for instance, dividing implies time. Or will they say that all actualizations are movements, or, at least, are accompanied by movements? Will they trace all actions to "experiencing" (or, reactions), or will they acknowledge absolute actions, like walking or speaking? Or will they distinguish all actions that relate to "experiencing" as movements, and all absolute actions as actualizations? Or will they place actions of both kinds among movements, and among actualizations? They would no doubt classify walking, which is an absolute thing, as movement; and thinking, which is a verb without passive voice, as an actualization.275 Otherwise the Aristotelians will be obliged to insist that there is nothing active in walking or thinking. But if walking and thinking do not belong to the category of acting, it will be necessary to explain to what they do belong. Will it be said that thinking relates to the thinkable (the intelligible), as intellection does,276 because sensation relates to the sense-object? If sensation be related868 to the sense-object, why do they not equally relate "sensing" (feeling) to the sense-object? Sensation, relating to something else, has a relation with that thing; but, besides that relation, it has the property of being an "action" or an "experience" (or, reaction). If therefore reaction (or, suffering), besides belonging to something else, or depending on something else, has the property of itself being something, like actualization, then walking, besides belonging to something else (to the feet), and depending on something else (on the motive power), nevertheless by itself possesses the property of being movement. In this case, it will have to be recognized that intellection, besides being a relation, by itself also is a movement or an actualization.


19. Let us now examine if certain actualizations seem to be imperfect when they are not joined to time, thus identifying themselves with movements, as life identifies itself with living. For (according to the Aristotelians) the life of each (being) is accomplished in a perfect time, and happiness is an actualization; not an individual one, indeed, but a sort of movement.277 Consequently we will have to call life and happiness movements, and movement will have to be made a genus, though recognizing that movement forms a genus very different from quantity and quality; and, like them, relates to being. This genus could be divided into two species, movements of body and movements of soul, or movements spontaneous and communicated; or again, movements proceeding from the beings themselves, or movements proceeding from others. In this case, the movements proceeding from the beings themselves are actions, whether they communicate to others, or remain absolute in themselves869 (and not communicating to others, like speaking and walking); and the movements proceeding from others are "reactions" though the communicated movements seem to be identical with the movements proceeding from others. For example, division is one and the same thing, whether it be considered within him who divides, or in that which is divided; nevertheless dividing is something different from being divided. Or again, division is not one and the same thing according as it proceeds from him who divides, or as it is received by him who is divided; to divide means to cause in the divided thing another movement, which is the result of the dividing action or movement. Perhaps, indeed, the difference does not lie in the very fact of being divided, but in the movement which results from the division, as for instance, in suffering; for this is what constitutes reaction (or "passion").

What are we to say if there be no suffering? We might answer that the actualization of him who acts is simply present in such a thing (without correlative reaction). There are thus two manners of acting; to act within oneself, and to act outside of oneself. No more will it then be said that the first mode is proper acting, and the second reacting, but that there are two ways of acting outside of oneself, acting and reacting. For instance, writing is an operation in which one acts on something else without a correlative reaction, because in writing one produces nothing but the very actualization of writing, and not something else, like experiencing; for the quality of writing that has been produced is nothing that reacts (or, experiences). As to walking, though the earth be stepped on by the feet, it does not react (or, experience) as a consequence. On the contrary, if it be the body of an animal that is trod under feet, it may be conceived that there is reaction, because one then thinks of the suffering endured by the animal thus trod on, and not of the walking;870 otherwise, this reaction would have been conceived before (the notion of this reaction would have been implied in the very notion of walking).


Thus, in everything, acting forms but a single genus along with reacting, which (by the Aristotelians) is considered its opposite. Reacting is what follows acting, without being its contrary; to be burnt, for instance, follows burning, but is not its contrary. In this case, the reaction is what results in the object itself from the fact of burning, or of being burnt, which form but one (process), whether the result be suffering, or something else, as, for instance, depreciation. It might be objected, When one (being) makes another suffer, is it not true that the one acts, and the other reacts? Here from a single actualization result two facts, an action, and a reaction. Besides, it is not necessary to include in the action the will to cause suffering; it has only produced something else as a result of which it causes suffering, something which occurring in the being that suffers, and being one single (occurrence), that causes suffering. What then is this one identical thing which is anterior to the suffering? When there is no suffering, is there not nevertheless a reaction in him in whom is the modification? For instance, in him who hears? No: to hear is not to react, and sensation is not really a reaction;278 but to suffer is to experience a reaction, and the reaction is not the contrary of the action (in the sense we have explained).


20. Let it be granted, then, that reaction is not the contrary of action. Nevertheless, as it differs871 therefrom, it could not share the same genus. If both reaction and action be movements, they share the same genus, that of alteration, which is a movement, as respects quality.279 When alteration proceeds from the being endowed with quality, is there any action, though this being remain impassible? Yes, for though impassible, it is active. It may be asked, is this being no longer active when it acts on some other object, as, for instance, by striking it, and then reacts? The answer is, that it would be active and passive simultaneously. If it be active, when it reacts—when, for instance, it rubs—why is it considered active rather than passive? Because it reacts in being rubbed while it rubs. Could we say that, because it is moved while moving, there were in it two movements? But how could there be two movements in it? Shall we assert that there is but one? In this case, how could the same movement be action and reaction simultaneously? Doubtless, it will be considered action, in so far as it proceeds from the mover; and reaction, inasmuch as it passes from the mover into the moved; and this, without ceasing to be one and the same thing. Would you say that reaction was a movement of a kind different from action? How then would the altering movement in a certain manner modify what reacts without an equal reaction in what is acting? But how (can we conceive) of reaction in that which acts on another object? Is the mere presence of the movement in the moved sufficient to constitute reaction?280 But if, on one hand, the ("seminal) reason" of the swan whitens, and on the other hand the swan that is being born becomes white, shall we say that the swan is passive in becoming what it is his nature to be? If he becomes white even after his birth, is he still passive? If one thing increase, and another thing be increased, will we admit that the thing that increases reacts? Will we rather attribute reaction872 to the thing qualified? If one thing be embellished, and another thing embellishes it, could we say that the embellished thing reacts?281 If however, the embellishing thing decreases, and, like tin, tarnishes, or on the contrary, like copper, takes on polish; shall we say that the tin acts, and the copper reacts (that is, "suffers")? Besides, it would be impossible to say that that which learns is passive (suffering)? Would this be because the action of him who acts passes into him? But how could there be any reaction ("suffering") since there is nothing there but an act? This action, no doubt, is not a reaction ("suffering"); but he who receives it is passive, because he participates in passivity. Indeed, from the fact that the learner does not himself act, it does not necessarily result that he is passive; for learning is not being struck, but grasping and discerning, as takes place with the process of vision.


21. How may we define the fact of "reaction"? We do not approve of the definition that it is the passing of the actualization from one being into another, if its receiver appropriate it. Shall we say that a (being) reacts when there is no actualization, but only an effective experience? But is it not possible that the being that reacts becomes better; while, on the contrary, the one who acts, loses? A (being) may also act in an evil manner, and exercise on another a harmful influence; and the actualization may be shameful, and the affective experience be honorable. What distinction shall we then establish (between action and reaction)? Shall we say that an action is to cause (an actualization) to pass from self into others, and that reaction is to receive in oneself (an action) from someone else? But then what about the (actualizations)873 produced in oneself which do not pass into others, such as thought and opinion? One can even excite oneself by a reflection or opinion of emotive value, without this emotion having been aroused by anybody else. We shall therefore define an action as a spontaneous movement, whether this movement remain in the being who produces it, or whether it pass into somebody else.

What then are the faculty of desire, and desire in general? If desire be excited by the desired thing (it is an experience, or passion), even if we should not take into consideration the cause of its excitement, and even if we only noticed that it arose later than the object; for this desire does not differ from an impression or an impulsion.

Shall we then, among desires, distinguish actions when they proceed from intelligence, and experiences when they invoke and draw (on the soul), so that the being be less passive by what it receives from others, than by what it receives from itself? Doubtless a being can act upon itself. (We can then define) an affective experience, and a being's experience, as follows. They consist of undergoing, without any contribution from oneself, a modification which does not contribute to "being," and which, on the contrary, alters, or at least, does not improve.

To this (definition) it may be objected that if warming oneself consist in receiving such heat as partially contributes to the subject's being, and partly does not do so, then we have here one and the same thing which both is, and is not an experience. To this it may be answered that there are two ways of warming oneself. Besides, even when the heating contributes to the being, it does so only in the degree that some other object experiences. For instance, the metal will have to be heated, and undergo an experience, for the production of the being called statue,874 although this statue itself be heated only incidentally. If then the metal become more beautiful by the effect of that which heats it, or by the effect of the heating itself, it undergoes an experience; for there are two manners of (undergoing an experience, or) suffering: the one consists in becoming worse, and the other in becoming better—or at least, in not altering.


22. The cause that a being undergoes an experience is that it contains the kind of movement called alteration, whichever way it modify him; on the contrary, action means to have in oneself a definite movement, derived from oneself, or a movement which has its goal in some other being, and its origin in self. In both cases there is movement; but with this distinction: that action, so far as it is action, is impassible; while an experience consists in the experiencer's reception of a disposition new to him, without the reception of anything that contributes towards his being; so as to avoid (the case of the statue, above, where) the experience happened to one being (the metal), while it was another being that was produced (the statue). Consequently, the same thing will in one state be an action, and in other, an experience. Thus the same movement will in one being be an action, because it is considered from a certain viewpoint; and from another it will be an experience, because it is disposed some other way. Action and experience seem therefore to be relative, if one consider the action in its relation with experience, since the same thing is action in the one, and experience in the other. Also, because neither of these two can be considered in itself, but only in him who acts, or experiences, when the one moves, and the other is moved.875 Each of these terms therefore implies two categories; one gives the movement, the other receives it; consequently we have transmission and reception, which result in relation. If he who received the movement possesses it as he possesses color, why could it not also be said that he possessed movement? Absolute movements, such as walking (and thinking) possess steps and thought.


Let us now consider whether prediction be an action, and whether adapting one's course to the prediction of somebody else would constitute experiencing; for prediction comes from one being and applies to another. However, although prediction apply to some other, we would not consider prediction an action, nor being directed by the prediction of somebody else an experience. In general, not even thought is an action; thought, indeed, does not pass in to the object thought, but functions within itself; it is not at all an action. Actualizations are not at all actions, and not all of them perform actions; indeed, they may do so only accidentally. It might be objected that a man who was walking would certainly impress on the ground the trace of his steps, and would thereby perform an action. Such an action would be the consequence of something else, or the man would act accidentally; and it would be accidental, because the man was not thinking of it. It is in this way that even inanimate things perform some action, that fire heats, and medicine cures. But enough of this.



23. Let us now examine the category of "having" (possession).


If the verb "to have" be used in several senses, why might we not apply to this category all the various uses of the word; for instance, quantity, because quantity has size; quality, because it has color; the father, because he has a son; the son, because he has a father; and, in general, all kinds of possession? Will it be said that the other things that can be possessed have already been classified under the categories considered above, and that the category of "having" comprises only arms, foot-wear, and clothing? This might be answered by the question why "having" these objects should constitute a category, and why burning them, cutting them, burying them, or throwing them away, would not equally constitute one or more categories? If the answer be that all these things form one category because they refer to the body, this would then also make another category if we placed a garment over a litter; or likewise if someone were covered with clothing. If another answer be that the category of "having" consists in the "manner of containing,"282 and in possession,283 then all things which are possessed will have to be reduced to this category, which will thus contain all possession, whatever it be, since the nature of the possessed object could not here prevail to form some distinction. On the other hand, if the category of "having" must exclude having a quantity or quality, because the latter ideas already form their own categories; nor having parts, because877 of the category of being (which includes parts); why should this category contain having arms, when arms, as well as foot-wear, belong to the category of being? In any case, how could the statement, "He has arms" be considered something simple, which could be reduced to any one category? That statement expresses the same idea as "He is armed." Can this expression ("he has arms") refer only to a man, or even to his statue? The living man possesses very differently from possession by a statue, and the verb "to have" is used only as a verbal label (a homonym), just as the verb "to stand up" would mean something very different according as it referred to a man or a statue. Besides, is it reasonable to make a generic category of some merely incidental characteristic?


24. As to the category of situation, it contains also such incidental characteristics as being raised, or seated. Here the Aristotelians do not make a category of situation, by itself, but of the kind of situation, as when it is said, "He is placed in such a posture"—a phrase in which "to be placed" and "in such a posture" express two entirely different ideas—or again, "he is in such a place." Now, as posture and location have already been studied, what is the use in here combining two categories into one? If, on the other hand, the expression "he is seated" indicate an action or an experience, must it not then be reduced to the category of action or experience? It would moreover amount to the same thing to say "he is raised," as to say, "he is situated above;" just as we say he is situated in the middle, or, he is situated below. Besides, being seated has already been treated of under the category of relation; why should, "being raised" not also be a relative entity, since the category of878 relation includes the thing to the left, and the thing to the right, as well as the left and right hand themselves?

Enough of these reflections (about Aristotelian categories).


25. Let us now pass to the (Stoic) philosophers284 who, recognizing four categories only, divide everything into "substances," "qualities," "modes," and "relations;" and who, attributing to all (beings) something common, thus embrace them into a single genus.


This doctrine raises a great number of objections, especially in that it attributes to all beings something in common, and thus embraces them in a single class. Indeed, this "something" of which they speak is quite incomprehensible; as also is how it could adapt itself equally to bodies and to incorporeal beings, between which they do not allow for sufficient distinction to establish a distinction in this "something." Besides, this something either is, or is not an essence; if it be an essence, it must be a form; if it be not an essence, there result a thousand absurdities, among which would be that essence is not an essence. Let us therefore leave this point, and devote ourselves to the division into four categories.


The Stoics assign the first rank to substances, and place matter before the other substances. From this it results that the Stoics assign to the same rank their879 first Principle, and with it the things which are inferior thereto. First, they reduce to a single class both anterior and posterior things, though it be impossible to combine them in this manner. In fact, every time that things differ from each other in that some are anterior, and others posterior, those which are posterior owe their essence to those which are anterior. On the contrary, when things are comprised within one and the same class, all equally owe their essence to this class, since a class is "what is affirmed of kinds of things in regard to essence." The Stoics themselves recognize this by saying that all things derive their essence from matter.

Besides, when they count but a single substance, they do not enumerate the beings themselves, but they seek their principles. Now there is a great difference between treating of principles and treating of beings. If the Stoics recognize no essence other than matter, and think that other things are modifications of matter, they are wrong in reducing essence and other things to a common class; they should rather say that essence is being, and that other things are modifications, and then distinguish between these modifications. Further, it is absurd to assert that (among essences), some should be substances, and others should be other things (such as qualities, modes and relations); for the Stoics recognize but a single substance, which does not contain any difference, unless by division as of mass into parts; besides, they should not attribute divisibility to their substance, because they teach that it is continuous. They should therefore say, "substance" (and not "substances").


26. What is most shocking in the Stoic doctrine, is that they assign the first rank to what is only a potentiality,880 matter, instead of placing actualization before potentiality.285 It is impossible for the potential to pass to actualization if the potential occupy the first rank among beings. Indeed, the potential could never improve itself; and it implies the necessary anteriority of actualization; in which case potentiality is no longer a principle. Or, if it be insisted that actualization and potentiality must be simultaneous, both principles will be found depending on chance. Besides, even if actualization be contemporaneous with potentiality, why should not the first rank be assigned to actualization? Why should this (matter) be an essence, rather than those (forms)? Whoever asserts that form is posterior bears the burden of proof; for matter does not beget form, and quality could not arise from what has no quality; nor actualization from what is potential; otherwise, actualization would have existed anteriorly, even in the system of the Stoics. According to them, even God is no longer simple: He is posterior to matter; for He is a body constituted by form and matter.286 Whence then does He derive His form? If the divinity exist without matter, He is incorporeal, by virtue of His being principle and reason, and the active principle would thus be incorporeal. If, even without having matter, the divinity be composite in essence, by virtue of His body, the Stoics will have to postulate some other kind of matter which may better suit the divinity.


Besides, how could matter be the first Principle, if it be a body? If the body of which the Stoics speak be of another nature, then matter can be called a body only figuratively.287 If they say that the common property of the body is to have three dimensions, they881 are speaking of the mathematical body. If on the contrary they join impenetrability to the three dimensions, they are no more talking about something simple. Besides, impenetrability is a quality, or is derived from a quality; but what is the source of impenetrability? Whence comes tri-dimensional extension? Who endued matter with extension? Matter, indeed, is not contained in the idea of tri-dimensional extension any more than the latter is contained in the notion of matter. Consequently, since matter thus participates in size,288 it is no longer a "simple" matter.


Moreover, whence is derived the unification of matter? Matter is not unity, but it participates in unity. They would have had to realize that the material mass is not anterior to everything, and that the first rank pertains to what is not one mass, to Unity itself. Then they would have to descend from Unity to multiplicity, from what is size-less to actual sizes; since, if size be one, it is not because it is Unity itself, but only because it participates in unity. We must therefore recognize that what possesses primary and absolute existence is anterior to what exists contingently. But how does contingency itself exist? What is its mode of existence? If the Stoics had examined this point, they would have finally hit upon (the absolute Unity) which is not unity merely contingently. By this expression is here meant what is not one by itself, but by others.


27. The Stoics did well, indeed, to assign the principle of everything to the first rank; but they should not have recognized as principle, and accepted882 as "being" what was shapeless, passive, devoid of life and intelligence, dark, and indefinite. Because of the universe's beauty, they are forced to introduce within it a divinity; but the latter derives His very essence from matter; He is composite and posterior (to matter); rather, He is no more than "modified matter."288 Consequently, if matter be the subject, there must necessarily be outside of it some other principle which, acting upon matter, makes of it the subject of the qualities which He imparts thereto. If this principle resided in matter, and Himself were the subject; if, in other words, He were contemporaneous with matter, He could not reduce matter to the state of a subject. Now it is entirely impossible (for this principle) to constitute a subject concurrently with matter; for in such a case both would have to serve as subject to something higher; and what could it be, since there could be no further principle to make a subject of them, if all things had already been absorbed into this (concurrent) subject? A subject is necessarily subject to something; not to what it has in itself, but to that whose action it undergoes. Now, it undergoes the action of that which itself is not subject by itself; consequently, of that which is outside of itself. This point has evidently been overlooked by the Stoics.


On the other hand, if matter and the active principle need nothing exterior, if the subject that they constitute can itself become all things by assuming different forms, as a dancer, who can assume all possible attitudes, this subject would no longer be a subject, but He will be all things. Just as the dancer is not the subject of the attitudes (for they are his actualizations), likewise the "matter" of the Stoics will no883 longer be the subject of all things, if all things proceed from matter; or rather, the other things will no longer really exist, they will be nothing but "modified matter," just as the attitudes are nothing but the "modified dancer." Now if the other things no longer really exist, matter is no longer a subject; it is no longer the matter of the essences, but is matter exclusively. It will no longer even be matter, because what is matter must be matter of something; but that which refers to something else belongs to the same classification as that thing, just as half belongs to the same classification as the double, and is not the being of the double. But how could non-essence, except by accident, refer to essence? But the absolute Essence and matter itself refer to essence by virtue of being essence. Now if that which is to be is a simple potentiality, it cannot constitute "being," which consequently matter could not be.289


Consequently, the Stoics, who reproach other philosophers (such as Plato) for making up beings out of non-beings,290 themselves make up a non-being out of a being.291 Indeed (in the system of the Stoics), the world, such as it is, is not being. It is certainly unreasonable to insist that matter, which is a subject, should nevertheless be "being," and that bodies should not, any more than matter be "being"; but it is still more unreasonable to insist that the world is "being," not by itself, but only by one of its parts (namely, matter); that the organism does not owe its being to the soul, but only to matter; and last, that the soul is only a modification of matter, and is something posterior to others. From whom then did matter receive animation? Whence comes the hypostatic existence884 of the soul? How does, matter receive form? For, since matter becomes the bodies, the soul is something else than matter. If the form came from something else than the soul, quality, on uniting to matter, would produce not the soul, but inanimate bodies. If something fashion matter and create the soul, the created soul would have to be preceded by a "creating soul."


28. The Stoic theory raises numberless further objections; but we halt here lest we ourselves incur ridicule in combating so evident an absurdity. It suffices if we have demonstrated that these philosophers mistake non-essence for absolute essence; (putting the cart before the horse), they assign the First rank to what should occupy the last. The cause of their error is that they have chosen sensation as guide, and have consulted nothing else in determining both their principles, and consequences. Being persuaded that the bodies are genuine essences,292 and refusing to believe that they transform themselves into each other, they believed that what subsisted in them (in the midst of their changes) is the real essence, just as one might imagine that place, because it is indestructible, is more essential than (metabolic) bodies. Although in the system of the Stoics place remain unaltered, these philosophers should not have regarded as essence that which subsists in any manner soever; they should, first, have considered what are the characteristics necessarily possessed by essence, the presence of which (characteristics) makes it subsist without undergoing any alteration. Let us indeed suppose that a shadow would continuously subsist by following something which changes continuously; the shadow, however,885 would not be no more real than the object it follows. The sense-world, taken together with its multiple objects, is more of an essence than the things it contains, merely because it is their totality. Now if this subject, taken in its totality, be non-essence, how could it be a subject? The most surprising thing, however, is that the (Stoics), in all things following the testimony of sensation, should not also have affirmed that essence can be perceived by sensation; for, to matter, they do not attribute impenetrability, because it is a quality (and because, according to them, matter has no quality). If they insist that matter is perceived by intelligence,293 it could only be an irrational intelligence which would consider itself inferior to matter, and attribute to it, rather than to itself, the privilege of constituting genuine essence. Since in their system intelligence is non-essence, how could any credibility attach to that intelligence when it speaks of things superior to it, and with which it possesses no affinity? But we have said enough of the nature of these subjects, elsewhere.294



29. Since the Stoics speak of qualities, they must consider these as distinct from subjects; otherwise, they would not assign them to the second rank. Now, to be anything else than the subjects, qualities must be simple, and consequently, not composite; that is, they must not, in so far as they are qualities, contain any matter. In this case, the qualities must be incorporeal and active; for, according to the Stoics, matter is a passive subject. If, on the contrary, the qualities themselves be passive, the division into subjects and qualities is absurd, because it would classify separately886 simple and composite things, and then reunite them into one single classification. Further, it is faulty in that it locates one of the species in another (matter in the qualities), as if science were divided into two kinds, of which one would comprise grammar, and the other grammar with something additional.


If the Stoics say that the qualities are "qualified matter," then their ("seminal) reasons" being not merely united to nature, but (fully) material, will no doubt form a composite; but before forming this composite they themselves will already be composed of matter and forms; they themselves will therefore be neither reasons nor forms.


If the (Stoics) say that the "reasons" are only modified matter, they then admit that qualities are modes, and the (Stoics) should locate the reasons in the fourth category, of relation. If however relation be something different from modality, in what does that difference consist? Is it that modality here possesses greater reality? But if modality, taken in itself, be not a reality, why then make of it a category? Surely it would be impossible to gather in a single category both essence and non-essence. In what then does this modification of matter consist? It must be either essence or non-essence. If it be essence, it is necessarily incorporeal. If it be non-essence, it is nothing but a word, and matter alone exists. In this case, quality is nothing real, and modality still less. As to the fourth category, relation, absolutely no887 reality whatever will inhere in it. This Stoic system, therefore, contains nothing else but matter.


But on whose authority do we learn this? Surely, not on that of matter itself, unless that, because of its modification, it becomes intelligence; but this (alleged) modification is but a meaningless addition; it must therefore be matter which perceives these things, and expresses them. If we should ask whether matter utter sensible things, we might indeed ask ourselves how matter thinks and fulfils the functions of the soul, although matter lacks both soul and intelligence. If, on the contrary, matter utter something nonsensical, insisting that it is what it is not, and what it could not be, to whom should this silly utterance be ascribed? Surely only to matter, if it could speak. But matter does not speak; and he who speaks thus does so only because he has borrowed much from matter, that he has become its slave, though he have a soul. The fact is that he is ignorant of himself, as well as of the nature of the faculty which can divulge the truth about this subject (intelligence).



30. It is absurd to assign the third rank to modalities, and even assign to them any place whatever; for all modalities refer to matter. It may however be objected to this that there are differences between the modalities; the various modifications that matter undergoes are not the same thing as the modalities; the qualities are doubtless modalities of matter, but the888 modalities, in the strict sense of the word, refer to qualities. (The answer to this is that) since the qualities are only modalities of matter, the technical modalities mentioned by the (Stoics) themselves reduce to matter, and necessarily relate thereto. In view of the many differences obtaining between them, how otherwise could modalities form a category? How could one reduce to a single classification the length of three feet, and whiteness—since one is a quantity, and the other a quality? How could time and place be reduced thereto? Besides, how would it be possible to consider as modalities such expressions as "yesterday," "formerly," "in the Lyceum," and, "in the Academy"? How could time be explained as a modality? Neither time, nor things which are in time, nor place, nor the things which are in place, could be modalities. How is "to act" a modality, since he who acts is not himself a modality, but rather acts within some modality, or even, acts simply? Nor is he who undergoes an experience any more of a modality; he experiences something rather in a modality, or rather, he undergoes some experience in such a manner. Modality rather suits the (Aristotelian) categories of situation and possession; and as to possession, no man even possesses "in such or such a modality," but possesses purely and simply.


31. If the Stoics did not, along with the other discussed categories, reduce relation to a common kind, there might be good grounds to examine whether they attributed substantial (or, hypostatic) reality to these manners of "being"; for often, they do not attribute to them any. But what is to be said of their confusing things new and anterior in one same classification?889 This is evidently an absurdity; for surely one and two must exist before the half or the double.

As to the philosophers (Plato, for instance), who have taught other opinions about essences and their principles, considered as finite or infinite, corporeal or incorporeal, or both simultaneously corporeal or incorporeal, we will examine each of these opinions separately, considering also the historic objections of the ancient (philosophers).


The Categories of Plotinos.297

1. After having discussed the doctrine of the ten categories (of Aristotle), and spoken of the (Stoics) who reduce all things to a single genus, and then distribute them in four species, we must still set forth our own opinion on the subject, striving however to conform ourselves to the doctrine of Plato.


If it were our opinion that essence was one, we would not need to study whether there was one single genus for all things, whether all genera could not be reduced to a single one; whether there were principles; whether the genera were at the same time principles; or whether all principles are genera, without saying conversely that all genera are principles; or, if we must distinguish between them, say that some principles are simultaneously genera, or some genera are principles, or, finally, whether all principles be genera without the genera being principles, and conversely. But, since we do not acknowledge that essence is one, the reasons298 for which were advanced by Plato and other philosophers, we find ourselves forced to treat all these questions, and first to explain why we recognize genera of essences, and what number we decide on.



As we are going to treat of essence or essences, we must before everything else clear up the significance of essence, which we are now considering, and distinguish it from what other people mean by that word, which we would more likely call that which becomes, what is never genuine essence. And besides, it must be clearly understood that in making this distinction, we do not intend to divide a genus in species of the same nature; as Plato tried to do.299 For it would be ridiculous to subsume under the same genus both essence and non-essence, or Socrates, and the image of Socrates. The kind of divisions here attempted will therefore only consist in separating things essentially different, as, for instance, explaining that apparent essence is not the same as the veritable Essence, by demonstrating that the latter's nature is entirely different. To clarify this its nature, it will be necessary to add to the idea of essence that of eternity, and thus to demonstrate that the nature of being could never be deceptive. It is of this kind of essence (that is, of the intelligible Essence), that we are going to treat, admitting that it is not single. Later300 we shall speak of generation, of what becomes, and of the sense-world.


2. Holding as we do that the world-Essence is not one, we must face the question whether the number of beings is determinate, or infinite. To say that world-Essence is not one, however, is to say that it is both one and multiple, a varied unity that embraces a multitude. It is therefore necessary that the One,893 so conceived, be one so far as it forms a single genus, containing as species the essences by which it is simultaneously one and multiple; or there must be several genera, but that they all be subsumed under the single one; or again, that there be several genera which however be not mutually subsumed, of which each, being independent of the others, may contain what is below it, consisting of less extended genera, or species below which there are no more than individuals; so that all these things may contribute to the constitution of a single nature, together making up the organization of the intelligible world, which we call world-Essence (or "being").


Under these circumstances, the divisions that we establish are no more only genera, they are simultaneously the very principles of world-Essence; on the one hand they are genera, because they contain less extended genera, beneath which are species, which end in individuals; they are also principles, because world-Essence is composed of multiple elements, and because these elements constitute the totality of Essence. If it were only stated that world-Essence is composed of several elements, and that these elements, by co-operation, constitute the All, without adding that they branch out into lower species, our divisions would indeed be principles, but they would no longer be genera. For instance, if it be said that the sense-world is composed of four elements, such as fire, or other elements, these elements are indeed principles, but not genera, unless this name be used as a verbal similarity (or, homonym, or pun).



Admitting therefore the existence of certain genera, which are simultaneously principles, we must still consider whether they should be conceived so that these genera, along with the things contained by each of them, commingle, fuse, and form the whole by their blending. If so, the genera would exist potentially, but not in actualization; none would have anything characteristic. Further, granting the distinctness of the genera, can we grant that the individuals blend? But what then would become of the genera themselves? Will they subsist by themselves, and will they remain pure, without mutual destruction of the mingled individuals? Later we shall indicate how such things could take place.


Now that we have explained the existence of genera, which, besides, are principles of being, and that from another point of view there are principles (or elements), and compounds, we shall have to set forth the criterion by which we constitute these genera; we shall have to ask how they may be distinguished from each other, instead of reducing them to a single (principle), as if they had been united by chance, although it does indeed seem more rational to reduce them to a single (principle). It would be possible to reduce them in this way if all things were species of essence, if the individuals were contained within these species, and if there were nothing outside of these species. But such a supposition would destroy the species—for such species would no longer be species, or forms;—and895 from that moment there would be no further need for reducing plurality to unity, and everything forming a single unity; so that, all things belonging to this One, no being outside of the One would exist, as far as it was something else.

How indeed could the One have become manifold, and how could it have begotten the species, if nothing but it existed? For it would not be manifold if there were not something to divide it, such as a size; now that which divides is other than that which is divided. The mere fact that it divides itself, or imparts itself to others, shows that it was already divisible before the division.


For this and other reasons, therefore, we must take good care to avoid assertion of a single genus; for it would be impossible to apply to everything the denominations of "being" and essence.342 If indeed there be very different objects called essence, this is only accidentally, just as if one called the color white a being; for strictly we cannot apply "being" to white, as considered alone.301


3. We therefore assert the existence of several genera, and that this plurality is not accidental. These divers genera, however, depend from the One. But even though they do depend from the One, if the One be not something which may be affirmed of each of them as considered in its being, then nothing hinders each of them, having nothing similar to the others,896 from constituting a genus apart. We also grant that the One, existing outside of the genera which are begotten of Him, is their cause, although the other essences considered in their being do not proclaim this. Yes indeed, the One is outside of the other essences. Besides, He is above them; so much so, that He is not counted as one of them; for it is through Him that the other essences exist, which, so far as they are genera, are equal.


Still, it will be asked, Of what nature is the One which does not count among the genera? This (absolute One) is outside of our present consideration; for we are not studying Him who is above essence,342 but the essences themselves. We must therefore pass by the absolute One, and seek the one which is counted among the genera.


To begin with (if we consider the related One from this point of view), it will seem astonishing to see the cause numbered along with the effects. It would indeed be unreasonable to cram into a single genus both superior and inferior things. If nevertheless, on counting the one amidst the essences of which He is the cause, He was to be considered as a genus to which the other essences were to be subordinated, and from which they differed; if, besides, the one was not to be predicated of the other essences either as genus, or in any other respect, it would still be necessary that the genera which possessed essence subsume species under them; since, for instance, by moving, you produce897 walking, and yet walking cannot be considered a genus subordinate to you; but above the walking there existed nothing else that could, in respect to it, operate as a genus; and if nevertheless there existed things beneath walking, walking would, in respect to them, be a genus of the essences.


Perhaps, instead of saying that the one is the cause of the other things, we would have to admit that these things are as parts and elements of the one; and that all things form a single nature in which only our thought establishes divisions; so that, by virtue of its admirable power, this nature be unity distributed in all things, appearing and becoming manifold, as if it were in movement, and that the one should cease being unity as a result of the fruitfulness of its nature. If we were to enumerate successively the parts of such a nature, we would grant to each of them a separate existence, ignoring that we had not seen the whole together. But after thus having separated the parts, we would soon reapproximate them, not for long being able to keep apart the isolated elements which tend to reunite. That is why we could not help making a whole out of them, letting them once more become unity, or rather, be unity. Besides, this will be easier to understand when we shall know what these essences are, and how many are the genera of essences; for we shall then be able to conceive their mode of existence. And as, in these matters, it is not well to limit oneself to negations, but to aim at positive knowledge, and at the full intelligence of the subject here treated, we shall have to make this inquiry.



4. If, on occupying ourselves with this sense-world, we wished to determine the nature of bodies, would we not begin by studying some part thereof, such as a stone? We could then distinguish therein substance, quantity—such as dimension—and quality, such as color; and after having discovered these same elements in other bodies, we could say that the elements of the corporeal nature are being, quantity, and quality; but that these three coexist; and that, though thought distinguish them, all three form but one and the same body. If, besides, we were to recognize that movement is proper to this same organization, would we not add it to the three elements already distinguished? These four elements, however, would form but a single one, and the body, though one, would, in its nature, be the reunion of all four. We shall have to take the same course with our present subject, intelligible Being, and its genera and principles. Only, in this comparison, we shall have to make abstraction of all that is peculiar to bodies, such as generation, sense-perception, and extension. After having established this separation, and having thus distinguished essentially different things, we shall arrive at the conception of a certain intelligible existence, which possesses real essence, and unity in a still higher degree. From this standpoint, one might be surprised how the (substance which is thus) one can be both one and many. In respect to bodies, it is generally recognized that the same thing is both one and many; the body can indeed be divided infinitely; color and appearance, for instance, are therein very differing properties, since they are separated here below. But in respect to the soul, if she be conceived as one, without899 extent, dimension and absolutely simple, as it appears at first sight, how could we, after that, believe that the soul were manifold? We should have here expected to reach unity, all the more as, after having divided the animal in body and soul, and after having demonstrated that the body is multiform, composite and diverse, one might well, on the contrary, have expected to find the soul simple; and to have accepted this conclusion as final, as the end of our researches. We would thus have taken the soul as a sample of the intelligible world, just as the body represents the sense-world. Having thus considered this soul, let us examine how this unity can be manifold; how, in its turn, the manifold can be unity; not indeed a composite formed of separable parts, but a single nature simultaneously one and manifold. For, as we have already said, it is only by starting from this point and demonstrating it, that we will establish solidly the truth about the genera of essence.


5. The first consideration that meets us is that each body, whether of animals or plants, is multiple, by virtue of its colors, forms, dimensions, the kinds of parts, and diversity of their position; and that nevertheless all things derive from unity, whether from the absolutely simple Unity, or from the habituation of the universal Unity, or from some principle having more unity—and consequently more essence—than the things it produces; because, the further the distance from unity, the less the essence. The principle which forms the bodies must therefore be one, without either being absolutely one, nor identical with the One; otherwise, it would not produce a plurality that was distant from unity; consequently, it must be a plural-unity. Now this principle is the soul; therefore she900 must be a plural unity. This plurality, however, consists of the ("seminal) reasons" which proceed from the soul. The reasons, indeed, are not other than the soul; for the soul herself is reason, being the principle of the reasons; the reasons are the actualization of the soul which acts according to her being; and this being is potentiality of the reasons.303 The soul is therefore plurality simultaneously with unity; which is clearly demonstrated by the action she exerts on other things.


But what is the soul considered apart from all action, if we examine in her the part which does not work at formation of the bodies?304 Will not a plurality of powers still be found therein? As to world-Essence, nobody even thinks of depriving the soul of it. But is her acknowledged essence the same as that predicated of a stone? Surely not. Besides, even in the essence of the stone, "being" and "being a stone" are inseparable concepts, just as "being" and "being a soul" are, in the soul, but one and the same thing.305 Must we then regard as different in her essence on one side, and on the other the remainder (what constitutes the being); so that it would be the difference (proper to being) which, by being added to her, constituted the soul? No: the soul is no doubt a determinate essence; not as a "white man," but only as a particular being; in other words, she has what she has by her very being.


6. However, could we not say that the soul does not have all that she has through her being, in this901 sense, that in her we must distinguish on one hand essence, and on the other some kind of essence? If the soul possess such a kind of essence, and if this kind of essence come to her from without, the whole will no longer be the being of the soul so far as she is soul; only partially will it be the being of the soul, and not in totality. Besides, what would be the essence of the soul without the other things which constitute her being? Will the essence be the same for the soul as for the stone? Will we not rather have to insist that this essence of the soul derives from her very being; that this essence is her source and principle; or rather, that it is all that the soul is, and consequently is life; and finally that in the soul life and essence fuse?


Shall we say that this unity resembles that of a "reason" (of a form)? No. The substance of the soul is one; but such unity does not exclude duality or even plurality; for it admits of all the attributes essential to the soul.


Should we say that the soul is both being and life, or that she possesses life? To say that the soul possesses life would mean that the possessor is not inherently alive, or that life does not inhere in her "being." If then we cannot say that one of the two possesses the other, we shall have to recognize that both are identical, or that the soul is both one and manifold, in her unity embracing all that appears in her; that in herself she is one, but manifold in respect to other things; that, although she be one by herself, she makes herself multiple by her movement;902 that, while forming a whole which is one, she seeks to consider herself in her multiplicity. So Essence also does not remain unitary, because its potentiality extends to all it has become. It is contemplation that makes it appear manifold, the necessary thought has multiplied it. If it appear as one only, it is only because it has not yet thought, and it really is still only one.


7. What and how much can be seen in the soul? Since we have found in the soul both being and life, and as both being and life are what is common in every soul, and as life resides in intelligence, recognizing that there is (besides the soul and her being) intelligence and its life, we shall posit as a genus what is common in all life; namely, movement; consequently, being and movement, which constitute primary life, will be our first two categories. Although (in reality) they fuse, they are distinguished by thought, which is incapable of approaching unity exclusively; and whose exercise compels this distinction. Besides, it is possible, you can, in other objects, clearly see essence, as distinct from movement or life, although their essence be not real, and only shadowy or figurative.306 Just as the image of a man lacks several things, and, among others, the most important, life; likewise, the essence of sense-objects is only an adumbration of the veritable essence, lacking as it does the highest degree of essence, namely, vitality, which appears in its archetype. So you see it is quite easy to distinguish, on one hand, essence from life, and, on the other, life from essence. Essence is a genus, and contains several species; now movement must not be subsumed under essence, nor be posited within essence, but should be903 equated with essence. When we locate movement within essence, it is not that we consider life is the subject of movement, but because movement is life's actualization; only in thought can either exist separately. These two natures, therefore, form but a single one; for essence exists not in potentiality, but in actualization; and if we conceive of these two genera as separated from each other it will still be seen that movement is within essence, and essence within movement. In the unity of essence, the two elements, when considered separately, imply each other reciprocally; but thought affirms their duality, and shows that each of the two series is a double unity.


Since then it is in the sphere of essence that movement appears, and since movement manifests its perfection far rather than it divides its being; and since essence, in order to carry out the nature here assigned to it, must always persevere in movement, it would be still more absurd to deny it stability, than to refuse it movement. The notion and the conception of stability are still more in harmony with the nature of essence than are those of movement; for it is in essence that may be found what is called "remaining in the same state," "existing in the same manner," and "being uniform." Let us therefore assert that stability is a genus different from movement, of which it seems to be the opposite.


In many ways it can be shown that stability must be kept apart from essence. In the first place, if stability were identical with essence, why should it be so, rather than movement, which is life, the actualization904 of being, and of essence itself? Since we have distinguished between movement and essence, and since we have said that it is both identical therewith, and still at the same time different from it; and because essence and movement are different from each other from one viewpoint, but from another, are identical; we must also (in thought) distinguish stability from essence without separating it (in existence); and by separating it in thought, we shall be making a distinct genus of it. Indeed, if stability and essence were to be confused together in a perfect union, if we were to acknowledge no difference between them, we would still be obliged to identify stability with movement by the intermediation of essence; in this way stability and movement would together form but one and the same thing.307


8. We must posit these three genera (essence, movement, and stability) because intelligence thinks each of them separately. By thinking them simultaneously, Intelligence posits them; and, as soon as Intelligence thinks them, they are (in existence). The things whose existence ("essence") implies matter do not exist in Intelligence; for otherwise they would be immaterial. On the contrary, immaterial things come into existence by merely being thought. So then contemplate pure Intelligence, instead of seeking it with your bodily eyes, fix on it your interior gaze. Then will you see the hearth of "Being," where shines an unsleeping light; you will see therein how essences subsist as simultaneously divided and united; you will see in it an abiding life, the thought which applies not to the future, but to the present; which possesses it already, and possesses it for ever; which thinks what is intimate to it, and not what is foreign. Intelligence905 thinks: and you have actualization and movement. Intelligence thinks what is in itself: and you have "being" and essence; for, by merely existing, Intelligence thinks: Intelligence thinks itself as existing, and the object to which Intelligence applies its thought exists also. The actualization of Intelligence on itself is not "being"; but the object to which it refers, the Principle from which it derives, is essence. Essence, indeed, is the object of intuition, but not intuition itself; the latter exists (has "essence") only because it starts from, and returns thereto. Now as essence is an actualization, and not a potentiality, it unites both terms (existence and intuition, object and subject), and, without separating them, it makes of intuition essence, and of essence intuition. Essence is the unshakable foundation of all things, and support of their existence; it derives its possessions from no foreign source, holding them from itself, and within itself. It is simultaneously the goal of thought, because it is stability that never needed a beginning, and the principle from which thought was born, because it is unborn stability; for movement can neither originate from, nor tend towards movement. The idea also belongs to the genus of stability, because it is the goal (or limit) of intelligence; but the intellectual actualization by which it is thought constitutes movement. Thus all these things form but one thing; and movement, stability, and the things which exist in all essences constitute genera (or classifications). Moreover, every essence posterior to these genera is, in its turn, also definite essence, definite stability, and definite movement.


Summing up what we have discovered about the nature of Essence, we find first three genera. Then,906 these three, Essence, Movement and Stability were contemplated respectively by the essence, movement and stability within ourselves, which we also harmonized with those intelligibles. Then again we lost the power of distinguishing them by uniting, confusing, and blending these three genera. But a little later we divided, extricated and distinguished them so as again to see essence, movement and stability; three things, of which each exists apart. The result of this process then is that they are regarded as different, discerning them by their differences, and recognizing difference in essence by positing three things each of which exists apart. On the other hand, if they be considered in their relation with unity and in unity, if they be all reduced to being something single and identical, one may see the arising, or rather the existing of identity. To the three genera already recognized, therefore, we shall have to add identity or difference, or (in Platonic language308), "sameness and other-ness." These two classifications added to the three others, will in all make five genera for all things. Identity and difference (are genuine genera, indeed, because they) also communicate their characteristics to inferior (beings), each of which manifests some such element.


These five genera that we thus recognize are primary, because nothing can be predicated of them in the category of existence (being). No doubt, because they are essences, essence might be predicated of them; but essence would not be predicated of them because "being" is not a particular essence. Neither is essence to be predicated of movement or stability, for these are species of essence. Neither does essence participate in these four genera as if they were superior907 genera under which essence itself would be subsumed; for stability, movement, identity and difference do not protrude beyond the sphere of essence, and are not anterior thereto.


9. These and similar (Platonic) arguments demonstrate that those are genuinely primary genera; but how are we to prove they are exclusive? Why, for example, should not unity, quantity, quality, relation, and further (Aristotelian) categories, be added thereto?


Unity (may mean two things). The absolute Unity, to which nothing may be added, neither Soul, nor Intelligence, nor anything else, cannot be predicated as attribute of anything, and therefore cannot be a genus. But if we are referring to the unity which we attribute to essence, when we say that essence is one, it is no longer the original Unity. Besides, how could the absolute One, which within itself admits of no difference, beget species? If it cannot do this, it cannot be a genus. How indeed could you divide unity? By dividing it, you would multiply it; and thus Unity-in-itself would be manifold, and in aspiring to become a genus it would annihilate itself. Besides, in order to divide this unity into species, you would have to add something to unity, because it does not contain differences such as exist in being. Intelligence might well admit differences between essences, but this could not possibly be the case with unity. The moment you add a single difference, you posit duality, and consequently destroy unity; for everywhere the addition of a single908 unity causes any previously posited number to disappear.


It may be objected that the unity which is in essence, in movement, and the remainder of the genera, is common to all of them, and that one might therefore identify unity with essence.309 It must then be answered that, just as essence was not made a genus of other things because they were not what was essence, but that they were called essences in another sense, here likewise unity could not be a common attribute of other things, because there must be a primary Unity, and a unity taken in a secondary sense. If, on the other hand, it be said that unity should not be made a genus of all things, but something which exists in itself like the others, if afterwards unity be identified with essence, then, as essence has already been listed as one of the genera, we would be merely uselessly introducing a superfluous name.310 Distinguishing between unity and essence is an avowal that each has its separate nature; the addition of "something" to "one" makes a "certain one"; addition of nothing, on the other hand, allows unity to remain absolute, which cannot be predicated of anything. But why could this unity not be the First Unity, ignoring the absolute Unity? For we use "first Unity" as a designation of the essence which is beneath the "absolute Unity." Because the Principle anterior to the first Essence (that is, the first and absolute Unity) is not essence; otherwise, the essence below Him would no longer be the first Essence; here, on the contrary, the unity which is above this unity is the absolute Unity. Besides, this unity which would be separated from essence only in thought, would not admit of any differences.

Besides, there are three alternatives. Either this unity alleged to inhere in essence will be, just like all other909 essences, a consequence of the existence of essence; and consequently, would be posterior to it. Or, it will be contemporaneous with essence and the other (categories); but a genus cannot be contemporaneous with the things of which it is the genus. The third possibility is that it may be anterior to essence; in which case its relation to Essence will be that of a principle, and no longer a genus containing it. If then unity be not a genus in respect to essence, neither can it be a genus in respect of other things; otherwise, we would have to say of essence also that it was a genus embracing everything else.


Considering unity according to its essence, it seems to fuse and coincide with absolute Essence, for essence, so far as it trends towards unity, is a single essence; but in so far as it is posterior to unity, it becomes all things it can be, and becomes manifold. Now, so far as essence remains one and does not divide, it could not constitute a genus.


10. In what sense, therefore, could each of the elements of essence be called "one"? In that it is something unitary, without being unity itself; for what is a "certain one" is already manifold. No species is "one" except figuratively306; for in itself it is manifold. It is in the same sense that, in this sense-world, we say that an army, or a choric ballet, constitute a unity. Not in such things is absolute unity; and therefore it may not be said that unity is something common. Neither does unity reside in essence itself, nor in the910 individual essences; therefore, it is not a genus. When a genus is predicated of something, it is impossible to predicate of the same thing contrary properties; but of each of the elements of universal essence it is possible to assert both unity and its opposite. Consequently (if we have called unity a genus), after having predicated of some essence unity as a genus, we would have affirmed, of the same essence, that unity was not a genus. Unity, therefore, could not be considered one of the primary genera; for essence is no more one than it is manifold. As to the other genera, none of them is one without being manifold; much less could unity be predicated of the secondary genera of which each is quite manifold. Besides, no genus, considered in its totality, is unitary; so that if unity were a genus, it would merely thereby cease being unity; for unity is not a number, and nevertheless it would become a number in becoming a genus. Of course, numbers include an alleged unity, as soon as we try to erect it into a genus, it is no longer a unity, in a strict sense. Among numbers unity is not applied to them as would have been a genus; of such unity it is merely said that it is among numbers, not that it is a genus; likewise, if unity were among the essences, it would not be there as genus of essence, nor of anything else, nor of all things. Again, just as the simple is the principle of the composite without being considered a genus in respect to it—then it would be simultaneously simple and composite—so, if one were considered to be a principle, it could not be a genus in respect to things subsumed under it; and therefore will be a genus neither for essence, nor for other (categories or things).


If unity were to be considered a genus, it could be that only in respect to the things of which each is911 said to be one;309 as if, for instance, one should, from "being," deduce the unity contained within it. Unity would then be the genus of certain things; for just as essence is a genus, not in respect to all things, but in respect to those species that possess essence, so unity would be a genus in respect to the species that possess unity. This, however, is impossible; for things do not differ in respect to unity, as they do in respect to essence.

It might further be objected that if the same divisions which were applied to essence were applied to unity, and if essence be a genus because it divides itself, and manifests itself as the same in a number of things, why then should unity also not be a genus, since it appears in as many things as essence, and similarly divides itself? Mere recurrence of something in several essences is no proof it is a genus; whether in respect to the essences in which it occurs, or to others. Merely being common to several essences by no means constitutes a genus. No one will claim that a point is a genus for lines or for anything else, though points be found in all lines. As said, unity is found in every number, and nevertheless it is not a genus for any number, or for anything else. The formation of a genus demands that what is common to several things show specific differences, constituting species, and be predicated of what exists. But what are the specific differences within unity? What species does it form? If to this it be answered that it forms the same species as essence, then it blends with essence, and (unity) is (as said above), only another name for essence; and essence, as category, suffices.


11. The questions here to be solved are, how unity subsists within essence, how they both divide, and in912 general how any genera divide; and whether their two divisions be identical, or different. To solve these questions, we shall first have to ask how in general any thing whatever is said to be one, and is one; then, if it can be said in the same sense that essence is one, in what sense this is said. Evidently, unity is not the same for everything. It cannot even be understood in the same sense in respect to sense-things, and intelligible things; not any more than essence is identical for these two order of (beings), or even for sense-things compared to each other. The idea of unity is not the same in reference to a choric ballet, an army, a vessel or a house; it is even less so in respect of one of these things, and when it deals with continuous objects. And nevertheless, by their unity all these things imitate the same archetype, some from far, some from near. Intelligence, surely, is assuredly that which most approaches absolute Unity; for although the soul already possess unity, Intelligence possesses it far more intensely; for it is the one essence.


Is the expression of the essence of something simultaneously the expression of its unity, so that it possesses as much unity as it possesses essence? Or does this simultaneousness exist without any direct proportion between the amount of unity and essence? Yes; for it is possible that something have less unity without, on that account, having any the less essence; an army, a choric ballet have not less essence than a house, though far less unity. The unity present in each thing seems therefore to aspire to the Good, which has the most unity;311 for the closer something approaches the Good, the greater unity does it achieve; that is the criterion of greater or less unity. Indeed, every (being) desires not only merely to be (alive), but to enjoy the913 Good. That is why everything, so far as it can, hastens to become one, and those (beings) which by nature possess unity naturally trend towards Him by desiring to unite with themselves. For every (being) hastens not to separate from others, but on the contrary their tendency is to tend towards each other and themselves. That is why all souls, while preserving their individual nature, would like to fuse into a single soul. The One reigns everywhere in the sense-world, as well as in the Intelligible. It is from Him that everything originates, it is towards Him that everything trends. In Him do all (beings) seek their principle and their goal; for only therein do they find their good; only by that does each (being) subsist, and occupies its place in the universe; once that it exists, no (being) could help trending towards the One. This occurs not only in nature, but even in the arts; where each art seeks, to the extent of its ability, to conform its works to unity, to the extent of its ability, and to the possibilities of its works. But that which succeeds best, is Essence itself, which is quite close to unity.


Consequently, in speaking of (beings) other than (essence itself), as, for instance, of man, we say simply "man" (without adding to it the idea of unity312); if however we say "a man," it is to distinguish him from two; if however we use the word one in still another sense, it is by adding to it "some" (as, "someone"). Not so is it with essence; we say, "being one," conceiving of "being" ("essence") and one, as if forming a single whole, and in positing essence as one, we emphasize its narrow affinity with the Good. Thus conceived, essence becomes one;313 and in the one finds its origin and goal. Nevertheless it is not one as914 unity itself, but rather in a different manner, in this sense that the (unity of essence) admits priority and posteriority. What then is (the unity of essence)? Must it not then be considered similar in all the parts (of essence), as something common to all (and consequently, as forming a genus)? But in the first place, the point is also something common to all the lines, and nevertheless it is not a genus; in the numbers, unity is something common to all, and is not any more of a genus. Indeed, the unity which is found in the monad, in the dyad (or pair), and in other numbers, cannot be confused with unity in itself. Then, nothing hinders there being in essence some anterior, and other posterior parts, both simple and compound ones (which would be impossible for the One in itself). Even if the unity found everywhere in all the parts of essence were everywhere identical, by the mere fact that it would offer no difference, it could not give rise to species, and consequently, it could not be a genus.


12. We therefore assert (that by moving towards unity everything moves towards the Good). How can it be, however, that Goodness should consist in coming closer to unity, even for number, which is inanimate?314 This question might as well be asked about any inanimate object whatever. If we were told that such (beings) do not enjoy (existence), we might answer that we are here treating of beings according to their proximity to unity only. If, for instance, we were asked how a point can participate in the Good, we might answer by a retort, asking whether we are dealing with the Point in itself. Then we would answer by the observation that the state of affairs was the same for all things of the same kind. If however we915 were pressed about the point considered as existing in some object, as, for instance, in the circle, we would answer that for such a point, the Good is the good of the circle (of which it forms part); that such is the Good towards which it aspires, and that it seeks that as far as possible through the intermediation of the circle.


But how could we realize such genera? Are all these genera susceptible of division, or do they lie entire within each of the objects they comprehend? If so, how does this unity find itself? Unity exists therein as a genus, just as the whole exists within the plurality.

Does unity exist only in the objects that participate therein? Not only in these objects, but also in itself. This point will be studied later.


13. Now why should we not posit quantity among the primary genera? And why not also quality? Quantity is not one of the primary genera like those we have posited, because the primary genera coexist with essence (which is not the case with quantity). Indeed, movement is inseparable from essence; being its actualization and life. Stability is implied in being; while identity and difference are still more inseparable from essence; so that all these (categories) appear to us simultaneously. As to number (which is discrete quantity), it is something posterior. As to (mathematical) numbers, far more are they posterior both to these genera, and themselves; for the numbers follow916 each other; the second depends on the first, and so forth; the last are contained within the first. Number, therefore, cannot be posited among the primary genera. Indeed, it is permissible to doubt whether quantity may be posited as any kind of a genus. More even than number, extension (which is continuous quantity), shows the characteristics of compositeness, and of posteriority. Along with number, the line enters into the idea of extension. This would make two elements. Then comes surface, which makes three. If then it be from number that continuous dimension derives its quantitativeness, how could this dimension be a genus, when number is not? On the other hand, anteriority and posteriority exist in dimension as well as in numbers. But if both kinds of quantities have in common this, that they are quantities, it will be necessary to discover the nature of quantity. When this will have been found, we shall be able to make of it a secondary genus; but it could not rank with the primary genera. If, then, quantity be a genus without being a primary one, it will still remain for us to discover to which higher genus, whether primary or secondary, it should be subsumed.


It is evident that quantity informs us of the amount of a thing, and permits us to measure this; therefore itself must be an amount. This then is the element common to number (the discrete quantity), and to continuous dimension. But number is anterior, and continuous dimension proceeds therefrom; number consists in a certain blending of movement and stability; continuous dimension is a certain movement or proceeds from some movement; movement produces it in its progress towards infinity, but stability917 arrests it in its progress, limits it, and creates unity. Besides, we shall in the following explain the generation of number and dimension; and, what is more, their mode of existence, and how to conceive of it rightly. It is possible that we might find that number should be posited among the primary genera, but that, because of its composite nature, continuous dimension should be posited among the posterior or later genera; that number is to be posited among stable things, while dimension belongs among those in movement. But, as said above, all this will be treated of later.


14. Let us now pass on to quality. Why does quality also fail to appear among the primary genera? Because quality also is posterior to them; it does indeed follow after being. The first Being must have these (quantity and quality) as consequences, though being is neither constituted nor completed thereby; otherwise, being would be posterior to them. Of course, as to the composite beings, formed of several elements, in which are both numbers and qualities, they indeed are differentiated by those different elements which then constitute qualities, though they simultaneously contain common (elements). As to the primary genera, however, the distinction to be established does not proceed from simpleness or compositeness, but of simpleness and what completes being. Notice, I am not saying, "of what completes 'some one' being"; for if we were dealing with some one being, there would be nothing unreasonable in asserting that such a being was completed by a quality, since this being would have been in existence already before having the quality, and would receive from the exterior only the property of being such or such. On918 the contrary, absolute Being must essentially possess all that constitutes it.


Besides, we have elsewhere pointed out315 that what is a complement of being is called a quality figuratively only;306 and that what is genuinely quality comes from the exterior, posteriorly to being. What properly belongs to being is its actualization; and what follows it is an experience (or, negative modification). We now add that what refers to some being, cannot in any respect be the complement of being. There is no need of any addition of "being" (existence) to man, so far as he is a man, to make of him a (human) being. Being exists already in a superior region before descending to specific difference; thus the animal exists (as being) before one descends to the property of being reasonable, when one says: "Man is a reasonable animal."316


15. However, how do four of these genera complete being, without nevertheless constituting the suchness (or, quality) of being? for they do not form a "certain being." The primary Essence has already been mentioned; and it has been shown that neither movement, difference, nor identity are anything else. Movement, evidently, does not introduce any quality in essence; nevertheless it will be wise to study the question a little more definitely. If movement be the actualization of being, if essence, and in general all that is in the front rank be essentially an actualization, movement cannot be considered as an accident. As919 it is, however, the actualization of the essence which is in actualization, it can no longer be called a simple complement of "being," for it is "being" itself. Neither must it be ranked amidst things posterior to "being," nor amidst the qualities; it is contemporaneous with "being," for you must not suppose that essence existed first, and then moved itself (these being contemporaneous events). It is likewise with stability; for one cannot say that essence existed first, and then later became stable. Neither are identity or difference any more posterior to essence; essence was not first unitary, and then later manifold; but by its essence it is one manifold. So far as it is manifold, it implies difference; while so far as it is a manifold unity, it implies identity. These categories, therefore, suffice to constitute "being." When one descends from the intelligible world to inferior things, he meets other elements which indeed no longer constitute absolute "being," but only a "certain being," that possesses some particular quantity or quality; these are indeed genera, but genera inferior to the primary genera.


16. As to relation, which, so to speak, is only an offshoot or appendage,317 it could certainly not be posited amidst the primary genera. Relation can exist only between one thing and another; it is nothing which exists by itself; every relation presupposes something foreign.


The categories of place and time are just as unable to figure among the primary genera. To be in a place, is to be in something foreign; which implies two920 consequences:319 a genus must be single, and admits of no compositeness. Place, therefore, is no primary genus. For here we are dealing only with veritable essences.

As to time, does it possess a veritable characteristic? Evidently not. If time be a measure, and not a measure pure and simple, but the measure of movement,320 it also is something double, and consequently composite. (This, as with place, would debar it from being ranked among the primary genera, which are simple). Besides, it is something posterior to movement; so that it could not even be ranked along with movement.


Action and experience equally depend on movement. Now, as each of them is something double, each of them, consequently, is something composite. Possession also is double. Location, which consists in something's being in some definite way in something else, actually comprises three elements. (Therefore possession and location, because composite, are not simple primary genera).


17. But why should not the Good, beauty, virtues, science, or intelligence be considered primary genera? If by "good" we understand the First, whom we call the Good itself, of whom indeed we could not affirm anything, but whom we call by this name, because we have none better to express our meaning, He is not a genus; for He cannot be affirmed of anything else. If indeed there were things of which He could be predicated, each of them would be the Good Himself.921 Besides, the Good does not consist in "being," and therefore is above it. But if by "good" we mean only the quality (of goodness), then it is evident that quality cannot be ranked with primary genera. Does this imply that Essence is not good? No; it is good, but not in the same manner as the First, who is good, not by a quality, but by Himself.

It may however be objected that, as we saw above, essence contains other genera, and that each of these is a genus because it has something in common, and because it is found in several things. If then the Good be found in each part of "being" or essence, or at least, in the greater number of them, why would not also the Good be a genus, and one of the first genera? Because the Good is not the same in all parts of Essence, existing within it in the primary or secondary degree; and because all these different goods are all subordinate to each other, the last depending on the first, and all depending from a single Unity, which is the supreme Good; for if all participate in the Good, it is only in a manner that varies according to the nature of each.


If you insist that the Good must be genus, we will grant it, as a posterior genus; for it will be posterior to being. Now the existence of (the Aristotelian) "essence,"321 although it be always united to Essence, is the Good itself; while the primary genera belong to Essence for its own sake, and form "being." Hence we start to rise up to the absolute Good, which is superior to Essence; for it is impossible for essence and "being" not to be manifold; essence necessarily includes the above-enumerated primary genera; it is the manifold unity.



But if by Good we here mean the unity which lies in Essence, we would not hesitate to acknowledge that the actualization by which Essence aspires to Unity is its true good, and that that is the means by which it receives the form of Good. Then the good of Essence is the actualization by which it aspires to the Good; that act constitutes its life; now this actualization is a movement, and we have already ranked movement among the primary genera. (It is therefore useless to make a new genus of "Good conceived as unity").


18. As to the beautiful, if that be taken to mean the primary and supreme Beauty, we would answer as about the Good, or at least, we would make an analogous answer. If however we mean only the splendor with which the Idea shines, it may be answered that that splendor is not the same everywhere; and that, besides, it is something posterior.322 If the beautiful be considered as absolute Being, it is then already comprised with the "Being" already considered (and consequently does not form a separate genus323). If it be considered in respect to us human beings, who are spectators, and if it be explained as producing in us a certain emotion, such an actualization is a movement; but if, on the contrary, it be explained as that tendency which draws us to the beautiful, this still is a movement.



Knowledge is pre-eminently movement; for it is the intuition of essence; it is an actualization, and not a simple habit. It should, therefore, also be reduced to movement.299 It may also be reduced to stability (if considered as a durable actualization); or rather, it belongs to both genera. But if it belong to two different genera, it is something of a blend; but anything blended is necessarily posterior (to the elements which enter into the blend, and it cannot therefore either be a primary genus).


Intelligence is thinking essence, a composite of all genera, and not a single genus. Veritable Intelligence is indeed essence connected with all things; consequently it is all essence. As to essence considered alone, it constitutes a genus, and is an element of Intelligence. Last, justice, temperance, and in general all the virtues are so many actualizations of Intelligence. They could not, therefore, rank amidst the primary genera. They are posterior to a genus, and constitute species.


19. Since these four categories (which complete essence, namely, movement, stability, identity and difference) (with Essence as a fifth) constitute the primary genera, it remains to be examined whether each of them, by itself, can beget species; for instance,924 whether Essence, entirely by itself, could admit divisions in which the other categories would have no share whatever. No: for, in order to beget species, the genus would have to admit differences derived from outside; these differences would have to be properties belonging to Essence as such, without however being Essence. But from where then would Essence have derived them? Impossibly from what does not exist. If then they were necessarily derived from that which exists, as only three other genera of essences remain,324 evidently, Essence must have derived its differences from these genera, which associate themselves with Essence, while yet enjoying a simultaneous existence. But from this very fact that these genera enjoy an existence simultaneous (with Essence), they serve to constitute it, as it is composed of the gathering of these elements. How then could they be different from the whole that they constitute? How do these genera make species out of all (these beings)? How, for instance, could pure movement produce species of movement? The same question arises in connection with the other genera. Besides, we must avoid (two dangers:) losing each genus in its species, and, on the other hand, reducing it to the state of a simple predicate, by considering it only in its species. The genus must exist both in its species and in itself. While blending (with the species), it must in itself remain pure and unblended; for, if it should contribute to "being" otherwise (by blending with its species), it would annihilate itself. Such are the questions that must be examined.


Now, we have above posited certain premises. Intelligence, and even every intelligence, includes within925 itself all (essences). We ranked (Essence or Being) above all species that are parts thereof. Essence is not yet Intelligence. From these it results that already developed Intelligence is already something posterior. We shall therefore make use of this study to achieve the goal we had set ourselves (namely, to determine the relation of the genus to its contained species). We shall therefore make use of Intelligence as an example to extend our knowledge of this subject.


20. Let us, therefore, suppose that Intelligence was in a state in which it did not yet attach itself to anything in particular, so that it had not yet become an individual intelligence. Let us conceive it similar to knowledge considered by itself before the notions of the particular species, or to the knowledge of a species taken before the notions of the contained parts. Universal Knowledge, without (in actualization) being any particular notion, potentially lies within all notions, and reciprocally, each particular notion is one single thing in actualization, but all things in potentiality; likewise with universal Knowledge. The notions which thus refer to a species exist potentially in universal Knowledge, because, while applying itself to a species, they potentially are also universal Knowledge. Universal Knowledge is predicated of each particular notion, without the particular notion being predicated of universal Knowledge; but universal Knowledge must none the less subsist in itself without blending (with anything else325).


The case is similar with Intelligence. There is a kind of existence of universal Intelligence, which is located926 above the particular actualized intelligences, and is different from that of the particular intelligences. These are filled with universal notions: universal Intelligence furnishes to the particular intelligences the notions they possess. It is the potentiality of these intelligences all of which it contains in its universality; on their side, these, in their particularity, contain universal Intelligence just as a particular science implies universal science. The great Intelligence exists in itself, and the particular intelligences also exist in themselves; they are implied in universal Intelligence, just as this one is implied in the particular intelligences. Each one of the particular intelligences exists simultaneously in itself, and in something else (in the universal Intelligence), just as universal Intelligence exists simultaneously in itself and in all the others. In universal Intelligence, which exists in itself, all particular intelligences exist potentially, because it actually is all the intelligences, and potentially each of them separately. On the contrary, these are actualizations of the particular intelligences, and potentially universal Intelligence. Indeed, so far as they are what is predicated of them, they are actualizations of what is predicated; so far as they exist in the genus that contains them, they are this genus potentially.326 Genus, as such, is potentially all the species it embraces; it is none of them in actuality; but all are implied therein. So far as genus is in actualization what exists before the species, it is the actualization of the things which are not particular. As occurs in the species, these particular things achieve such actualization only by the actualization which emanates from the genus, and which, with regard to them, acts as cause.


21. How then does Intelligence, though remaining one, by Reason produce particular things? This really927 amounts to asking how the inferior genera derive from the four Genera. We shall then have to scrutinize how this great and ineffable Intelligence, which does not make use of speech, but which is entire intelligence, intelligence of all, universal, and not particular or individual intelligence, contains all the things which proceed therefrom.

(Of the essences it contains) it possesses the number, as it is both one and many. It is many, that is, (it is) many potentialities, which are admirable powers, full of force and greatness, because they are pure; powers that are vigorous and veritable because they have no goal at which they are forced to stop; consequently being infinite, that is, supreme Infinity, and Greatness. If then we were to scrutinize this greatness and beauty of being, if by the splendor and light which surround it, we were to distinguish what Intelligence contains, then would we see the efflorescing of quality. With the continuity of actualization we would behold greatness, in quiescent condition. As we have seen one (number), two (quality), and three (greatness), greatness, as the third thing, presents itself with universal quantity. Now, as soon as quality and quantity show themselves to us, they unite, blend into one and the same figure (outward appearance). Then comes difference, which divides quality and quantity, whence arise different qualities, and differences of figure. The presence of identity produces equality, and that of difference, inequality, both in quantity, number, and dimension; hence the circle, the quadrilateral, and the figures composed of unequal things; hence numbers that are similar, and different, even and uneven.


Thus intellectual Life, which is the perfect actualization, embraces all the things that our mind now conceives,928 and all intellectual operations. In its potentiality it contains all things as essences, in the same manner as Intelligence does. Now Intelligence possesses them by thought, a thought which is not discursive (but intuitive). The intellectual life therefore possesses all the things of which there are "reasons" (that is, ideas); itself is a single Reason, great, perfect, which contains all reasons,327 which examines them in an orderly fashion, beginning with the first, or rather, which has ever examined them, so that one could never really tell that it was examining them.328 For all things that we grasp by ratiocination, in whatever part soever of the universe they may be located, are found as intuitively possessed by Intelligence. It would seem as if it was Essence itself which, (being identical with Intelligence), had made Intelligence reason thus (by producing its conceptions),329 as appears to happen in the ("seminal) reasons" which produce the animals.330 In the (ideas, that is in the "seminal) reasons" which are anterior to ratiocination, all things are found to possess a constitution such that the most penetrating intelligence would have considered best, by reasoning.331 We should therefore expect (great and wonderful things) of these Ideas, superior and anterior to Nature and ("seminal) reasons." There Intelligence fuses with "Being;"329 neither in essence nor intelligence is there anything adventitious. There everything is smoothly perfect, since everything there is conformable to intelligence. All Essence is what Intelligence demands; it is consequently veritable primary Essence; for if it proceeded from some other (source), this also would be Intelligence.


Thus Essence reveals within itself all the Forms and universality. This could not have been particular;929 for it could not be single, the double presence of difference and identity demanding it to be simultaneously one and many. Since, from its very origin, Essence is one and many, all the species it contains must consequently simultaneously contain unity and plurality, revealing dimensions, qualities, and different figures; for it is impossible that Essence should lack anything, or should not be complete universality; for it would no longer be universal, if it were not complete. Life, therefore, penetrates every thing; is everywhere present within it. Hence results that from that Life must have been born all living organisms, for since matter and quality are found within their bodies, these also are not lacking. Now, as all living organisms are born within it, and have ever subsisted within it, they were essentially embraced within eternity, yet, taken separately, each of them is a different essence. Taken together they form a unity. Consequently, the complex and synthetic totality of all these living organisms is Intelligence, which, thus containing all (beings), is the perfect and essential living Organism. When Intelligence allows itself to be contemplated by what derives existence from it, Intelligence appears thereto as the intelligible, and receives this predicate properly and truly.332


22. This was what Plato meant, when he said, enigmatically, "Intelligence contemplates the Ideas contained within the perfect living Organism; it sees what they are, and to how many they amount."333 Indeed, the (universal) Soul, which ranks immediately after Intelligence, possesses the Ideas in herself inasmuch as she is a soul; but she sees them better in the Intelligence which is above her.334 Likewise, our own930 intelligence, which also contains the ideas, sees them better when it contemplates them in the superior Intelligence; for, in itself, it can only see; but in the superior Intelligence it sees that it sees.335 Now this intelligence that contemplates the ideas is not separated from the superior Intelligence, for it proceeds therefrom; but as it is the plurality that has proceeded from the unity, because it adds difference (to identity), it becomes manifold unity. Being thus both unity and plurality, Intelligence, by virtue of its multiple nature, produces the plurality (of beings). Besides, it would be impossible to discover therein anything that was numerically unitary, or anything that might be called individual. Whatever be contemplated in it, it is always a form, for it contains no matter. That is why, again, Plato, referring to this truth, said that "being" was divided to infinity.336 Descending from genus to species, we have not yet arrived at infinity; for that which thus arises is defined by the species that have been begotten by a genus; the name of infinity applies better to the last species, which can no longer be divided into species. That is why (as Plato teaches), "when one has arrived at individuals, they must be abandoned to infinity."337 Thus, the individuals are infinite so far as they are considered in themselves; but, in so far as they are embraced by unity, they are reduced to a number.

Intelligence therefore embraces what comes after it, the Soul; so that the Soul, till the last of her powers, is contained by a number; as to the last power (matter), it is entirely infinite338 Considered in this condition (where, turning towards what is below it, it begets the Soul), Intelligence is a part (because it applies itself to something particular), though it possess all things, and though, in itself, it be universal; the intelligences which compose it are each a part (each constituting a particular intelligence by virtue of the931 actualization of Intelligence which exists (and thus exists in itself). As to the Soul, she is the part of a part (that is, a part of the Intelligence which itself is a part, as has just been said), but exists by virtue of the actualization of the Intelligence which acts outside of itself. Indeed, when Intelligence acts in itself, the actualizations it produces are the other intelligences; when it acts outside of itself, it produces the Soul. When in her turn, the Soul acts as genus or species, she begets the other souls which are her species. These souls themselves have two actualizations; the one, directed towards what is above them, constitutes their intelligence; the other, directed towards what is below them, gives birth to the other rational powers, and even to a last power which is in contact with matter, and which fashions it.339 The inferior part of the soul does not hinder the whole remainder from remaining in the superior region.340 Besides, this inferior part is only the very image of the soul; it is not separated from her,341 but it resembles the image reflected by a mirror, an image which persists only so long as the model remains before the mirror. What should be our conception of the model placed before the mirror? Down through what is immediately above the image (that is, down through the soul herself), we have the intelligible world, composed of all the intelligible entities, where everything is perfect. The sense-world is no more than the imitation thereof, and it imitates that intelligible world so far as it can, in that it itself is a living organism which is the image of the perfect living Organism. The sense-world imitates it as the portrait that is painted, or reflected by the surface of water reproduces the person situated before the painter, or above the water. This portrait obtained by the painting, or reflected by the surface of the water is not the image of the composite which constitutes the man (the soul and body), but of one or two parts only, the932 body which was fashioned by the soul. Likewise, therefore, the sense-world, which was made to resemble the intelligible world, offers us images, not of its creator, but of the (essences) contained within its creator, among which is man, along with all other animals. Now, in common with its creator, each living organism possesses life, though each possess it differently; both, besides, equally form part of the intelligible world.


Plotino's Own Sense-Categories.


1. We have thus declared our views about (intelligible) Being, and shown how they agree with the doctrines of Plato. Now we have to study the "other nature" (the Being of the sense-world); and we shall have to consider whether it be proper to establish here the same genera as for the intelligible world, or to posit a greater number, by adding some to those already recognized; or whether the genera differ in each being entirely, or only partially, some remaining identical, while others differ. If any of them be identical in both beings, that can be understood only by analogy;343 that is what will become evident when each of these beings are fully understood.


This is by what we must begin. Having to speak of sense-objects, and knowing that all of them are contained in this world here below, we must first scrutinize this world, establish within it divisions according to the nature of the (beings) which compose it, and then distribute them into genera, just as we would do if we had to analyze the voice whose nature is infinite (by the diversity of sounds it produces),934 reducing it to a definite number of kinds.344 Observing the elements common to many sounds, we would reduce them to one unity, then, to a superior unity, further to a supreme unity, in which these sounds appear as a small number of classes. Then, the elements common to these individuals would be called "species," and that common to various species would be called a genus. As to the voice, it is easy enough to discover each species, to reduce all the species to unity, and to predicate of all of them (as highest genus or category) the general element, the voice. But an analysis as summary as this is impossible with the (more complicated universe). In the sense-world we will have to recognize several genera, which will differ from those of the intelligible world, since the sense-world itself differs from the intelligible world so much that it is not its counterpart, but only its image, whose only element common (to its model) is the name.


As here below in the "mixture" (or blend, the soul), and the composition (the body) (which form our nature) there are two parts, soul and body, the totality of which forms the living organism;345 as the nature of the soul belongs to the intelligible world, and consequently does not belong to the same order of things as the sense-world, we shall, however difficult it may be, have to separate the soul346 from the sense-objects which we are here alone to consider. (We shall illustrate this by a parable). He who would wish to classify the inhabitants of a town according to their dignities and professions, would have to leave aside the foreign residents. As to the passions which arise from the union of the soul with the body, or, that the soul experiences because of the body,347 we shall later935 examine how they should be classified.348 This however must follow our study of the sense-objects.


2. First let us consider what mundane name "Being" must be applied to. To begin with, it must be explained that physical nature can receive the name of "being" only as a figure of speech;343 or rather, should not receive it at all, since it implies the idea of perpetual flowing (that is, change349); so, the more suitable denomination would be "generation."350 We shall also have to acknowledge that the things that belong to generation are very different; nevertheless all bodies, some simple (such, as elements), the others composite as mixtures), together with their accidents and effects, must, during the process of classification, be reduced to a single genus.

In bodies, one may besides distinguish on one hand matter, on the other, the form imprinted thereon; and we designate each of these separately as a genus, or subsume both under a unity, inasmuch as we designate both by the common label343 of "being," or rather, "generation." But what is the common element in matter and form? In what manner, and of what is matter a genus? For what difference inheres in matter? In what sequence could we incorporate that which is composed of both? But in the case that that which is composed of both be itself corporeal being, while neither of the two is a body, how then could either be incorporated in a single genus, or within the same genus along with the compound of both? How (could this incorporation into a single genus be effected with) the elements of some object and the object itself? To answer that we should begin by the (composite) bodies: which would be tantamount to learning to read by beginning with syllables (and not with letters).



Let us now grant that symmetrical analysis by individual objects is impossible. Might we not, as a means of classification, then employ analogy? In this case the (intelligible, higher) "being" would here be represented by matter; and movement above, by form here, which would thus quicken and perfect matter. The inertia of matter would correspond to rest above, while the (intelligible) identity and difference would correspond to our earthly manifold resemblance and differences.351 (Such an analogic method would misrepresent the state of affairs in this world). To begin with, matter does not receive form as its life or actualization, but (form) approaches and informs (matter) as something foreign (form deriving from being, while matter is only a deception; so that there is no kinship between them). Then in the (intelligible world) form is an actualization and motion, while here below movement is different, being accidental; we might far rather call form the halting or rest of matter, for form defines that which in itself is indefinite (unlimited). There (in the intelligible world) identity and difference refer to a single essence, which is both identical and different. Here below, essence differs only relatively, by participation (in the difference) for it is something identical and different, not by consequence, as above, but here below, by nature. As to stability, how could it be attributed to matter, which assumes all dimensions, which receives all its forms from without, without itself ever being able to beget anything by means of these forms? Such a division, therefore, will have to be given up.



3. What classification shall we adopt? There is first matter, then form, and further the combination which results from their blending. Then we have a number of conceptions which refer to the three preceding classes, and are predicated of them; the first, simply, as attributes; the others, besides, as accidents. Among the latter, some are contained within the things, while others contain them; some of them are actions, and the others experiences (passions) or their consequences.


Matter is something common which is found in all things;352 nevertheless it does not form a genus because it does not admit of any differences, unless its differences consist in appearing in different forms; as, here, fire, and there, air. Philosophers who consider that matter is a genus base this opinion on the fact that matter is common to all the things in which it exists, or that it stands in the relation of the whole to the parts of particular objects (or, "matters"). In this case, however, the term "genus" would be used in a sense differing from the one it bears usually. It would then be no more than an only or single element, if we admit that an element can be a genus. If, conceiving that matter is united to matter, or exists within it, we add form to matter, matter would thereby be differentiated from the other forms, but it will not comprehend every being-like form. Were we to call the generating principle of being "form," and were we to call the reason which constitutes the form "being-like938 reason," we shall not yet have clearly defined the nature of "being." Finally, if we give the name of "being" only to the combination of matter and form, the result will be that neither of these two (matter or form taken separately) will themselves be "being." If, however, we were to assert that not only their combination, but also each of them separately were "being," we then would be faced with the problem of what is common to all three.


As to the things which are simply posited as attributes, they should, as principles or elements, be classified under relation. Among the accidents of things, some, like quantity and quality, are contained within them; while others contain them, as time and place. Then there are actions and experiences, as movements; then their consequences, as "being in time," and "being in place"; the latter is the consequence of the combination, the former is the consequence of movement.


We decide, therefore, that the three first things (matter, form, and their combination) contribute to the formation of a single genus, which, by a figure of speech, we call ("corporeal) Being," a genus which is common to them, and whose name applies to all three. Then come the other genera; such as relation, quantity and quality; the (relation of) being "contained in place," and "in time"; movement; and place and time. But as the category of "time" and "place" would render superfluous that of "being in place" and of "being in time,"353 we should limit ourselves to the recognition of five genera, of which the first ("being") comprises matter, form and the combination.354 If,939 however, we should not count matter, form and combination as a single genus, our analysis will assume the following shape: matter, form, combination, relation, quantity, quality, and movement. Otherwise, the latter three might be subsumed under relation, which possesses more extension than they.


4. What is the common element in these three things (matter, form and their combination)? What constitutes their (sublunary, mundane or) earthly "being"? Is it because matter, form and their combination form a foundation for other things? In that case, as matter is the foundation, or seat of form, then form will not be in the genus of "being." But, as the combination also forms foundation for other things, then form united to matter will be the subject of the combinations, or rather, of all the things which are posterior to the combination, as quantity, quality, and movement.


It would seem that (physical) "being" is that which is not predicated of anything else;355 for whiteness and blackness may, for instance, be predicated of some white or black subject. Likewise with the idea of "doubleness";—I mean here not the doubleness which is the opposite of one half, but the doubleness predicated of some subject, as when one says "this wood is double." So also paternity, and science, are attributes of another subject, of which that is said. So space is that which limits, and time that which measures something else. But fire, or wood considered as such, are not attributes. Neither are Socrates, nor composite940 being (composed of matter and form), nor form which is in the "being," because it is not a modification of any other subject. Indeed, form is not an attribute of matter; it is an element of the combination. "Man" and "form of man" are one and the same thing.356 Matter also is an element of the combination; under this respect, it may be predicated of a subject, but this subject is identical with itself. On the contrary, whiteness, considered in itself, exists only in the subject of which it may be predicated. Consequently, the thing which exists only in the subject of which it is predicated is not (physical) "being."356 "Being," on the contrary, is that which is what it is by itself. In case it form part of some subject, then it completes the combination; whose elements exist each in itself, and which are predicated of the combination only in a condition other than that of existing in it. Considered as a part, "being" is relative to something other than itself; but considered in itself, in its nature, in what it is, it is not predicable of anything.357


To be a subject is then a property common to matter, to form, and to the combination. But this function of subject is fulfilled differently by matter in respect to form, and by form in respect to the modifications, and by the combination; or rather, matter is not a subject in respect to form; form is the complement which completes it when it still is only matter, and when it exists only potentially.358 To speak strictly, form is not in matter; for when one thing forms only a unity with something else, one cannot say that one is in the other (as some accident in its subject). Only when both are taken together do matter and form form a subject for other things;359 thus Man941 in general, and a particular man constitute the subject of passive modifications; they are anterior to the actions and consequences which relate to them. "Being" therefore is the principle from which all other things derive, and by which they exist; that to which all passive modifications relate, and from which all actions proceed.360


5. Such are the characteristics of sense-being. If in any way they also suit intelligible "being," it is only by analogy,343 or by figure of speech (homonymy).361 So, for instance, the "first" is so called in respect of the remainder; for it is not absolutely first, but only in respect to the things which hold an inferior rank; far more, the things which follow the first are also called first in respect to those which follow. Likewise, in speaking of intelligible things, the word "subject" is used in a different sense. It may also be doubted that they suffer ("experience"), and it is evident that if they do suffer, it is in an entirely different manner.362


Not to be in a subject is then the common characteristic of all "being," if, by "not being in a subject," we mean "not to form part of any subject," and "not to contribute to the formation of a unity therewith." Indeed, that which contributes to the formation of a composite being, with something else, could not be in that thing as in a subject; form therefore is not in matter as in a subject, and neither is "man" in Socrates as in a subject, because "man" forms part of Socrates.363 Thus, "being" is that which is not in a942 subject. If we add that "being" is not predicated of any subject, we must also add, "insofar as this subject is something different from itself;" otherwise "man," predicated of some one man, would not be comprised within the definition of "being," if (in asserting that "being" is not predicated of any subject), we did not add, "so far as this subject is something different from itself." When I say, "Socrates is a man," I am practically saying, "White is white," and not, "wood is white." While actually asserting that "Socrates is a man," I am asserting that a particular man is a man, and to say "The man who is in Socrates is a man," amounts to saying "Socrates is Socrates," or, "that particular reasonable living organism is a living organism."


It might however be objected that the property of "being" does not consist in being a subject; for the difference (as, for instance, a biped), is also one of those things which are not in a subject.363 If "biped" be considered as a part of being, we are compelled to recognize that "biped" is not in a subject; but if by "biped" we do not mean some particular "being" but the property of being a biped, then we are no longer speaking of a being, but of a quality, and "biped" will be in a subject.

But time and place do not seem to be in a subject! If we define time as "the measure of movement,"364 (there are two possibilities). First, time might be measured movement; and then it will be in movement as in a subject, while movement itself will be in the moved thing. Or, time will be what measures (the soul, or the present moment), and then it will be in what measures as in a subject. As to space, as it is943 the limit of what contains, it will also reside in what contains.365 It is otherwise with the "being" that we are here considering. "Being," then, will have to be considered as consisting in either one, or in several, or in all the properties of which we are speaking; because these properties simultaneously suit matter, form, and the combination.


6. It may perhaps be objected that we have here indicated the properties of "being," but we have not described its nature. Such a request amounts to asking to see what sense-being is; now sense-being is, and "being" is not something which can be seen.

What then? Are fire and water not beings? Doubtless, they are. But are they beings merely because they are visible? No. Is it because they contain matter? No. Is it because they have a form? No. Is it because they are combinations? No. They are "beings," because they "are."

But one can also say that quantity, as well as that quality "is!" Yes, doubtless, but if we speak thus about quantity and quality, it is only by a figure of speech.343,361, 366

Then, in what consists the being of earth, fire, and other similar things? What is the difference between the being of these things and of others? The essence of the earth, of the fire, and so forth, exists in an absolute manner, while the essence of other things (is relative) and for instance, means merely being white. "Is" added to white is not the same thing as "essence" taken absolutely; is it? Certainly not. Essence taken absolutely is essence in the first degree; "to be" added to white, is essence by participation, essence in the second degree; for "to be," added to white, makes944 white an essence; and white added to essence makes the being white; that is why white is an accident for essence, and "to be" an accident to white. It is not the same thing as if we said, Socrates is white, and, the White is Socrates; for in both cases Socrates is the same being; but it is not thus with whiteness; for, in the second case, Socrates is contained in the white, and in the first case, white is a pure accident. When we say, the being is white, the white is an accident of being; but when we say, the White is essence, the white contains essence. In short, white possesses existence only because it refers to "being," and is in "being." It is therefore from "being" that it receives its existence. On the contrary, essence draws its existence from itself; and from white it receives whiteness, not because it is in the white, but because the white is within it.366 As the essence which is in the sense-world is not Essence by itself, we must say that it draws its existence from the veritable Essence, in itself; and, finally, the White in itself possesses essence because it participates in the intelligible Essence.


7. If somebody should object that material things derive their essence from matter, we should have to ask from whence matter itself draws its essence and existence; for we have elsewhere demonstrated that matter does not hold the first rank.367

If, however, it be further objected, that the other things could not exist without being in matter, we will answer that that is true only for sense-things. But if matter be anterior to sense-things, that does not hinder itself being posterior to many other things, and to all intelligible things; for the existence of matter is far more obscure than the things in matter, if these things be ("seminal) reasons," which participate945 deeper in essence, while matter is completely irrational, being an adumbration, and a decay of reason.368

It may further be objected that matter gives essence to material things, as Socrates gives essence to the white that is in him. We will answer that what possesses a superior degree of Essence may well confer a lesser degree of essence to what possesses a still inferior degree thereof, but that the reciprocal or converse condition is impossible. Now, as form is more essence than matter,369 essence cannot be predicated equally of matter and form, and "being" is not a genus whose species is matter, form and the combination.370 These three things have several common characteristics, as we have already said, but they differ in respect to essence; for when something which possesses a superior degree of essence approaches something which possesses an inferior degree (as when form approaches matter), this thing, although anterior in (the ontological) order, is posterior in respect to being; consequently, if matter, form and the combination be not "beings" equally, no longer is being for them something common, like a genus. Nevertheless, "being" will be in a less narrow relation with things which are posterior to matter, to form, and to the combination, though it gives each of them the property of belonging to themselves. It is thus that life has different degrees, one stronger, the other weaker, and that the images of a same object are some more lively, others more obscure.371 If essence be measured by a lower degree of essence, and if the superior degree which exists in other things be omitted, essence thus considered will be a common element. But that is not a good way of procedure. Indeed, each whole differs from the others, and the lesser degree of essence does not constitute something that was common to all; just as, for life, there is not something common to vegetative life, to sensitive life, and rational life.371



Consequently, essence differs both in matter and in form; and these two (entities) depend from a third (intelligible Being), which communicates itself to them unequally. The anterior Being possesses a better nature ("essence") than any posterior being, not only when the second proceeds from the first, and the third from the second; but when two things proceed from one and the same thing, the same (condition of affairs) may be observed. Thus does the clay (when fashioned by the potter) become a tile not only according as it participates in the fire more or less (is more or less thoroughly baked). Besides, matter and form do not proceed from the same intelligible principle;372 for the intelligibles also differ among each other.


8. Besides, it is not necessary to divide the combination in form and matter, now that we speak of sense-being, a "being" which has to be perceived by the senses, rather than by reason. Neither is it necessary to add of what this being is composed; for the elements which compose it are not beings, or at least not sense-beings. What has to be done here is to embrace in a single genus what is common to stone, to earth, to water, and to the things compounded of them; namely, to plants and animals so far as they respond to sensation. In this way, we shall consider both form and matter; for sense-being contains them both. Thus fire, earth, and their intermediaries are both matter and form; as to the combinations, they contain several947 beings united together. What then is the common characteristic of all these beings, which separates them from other things? They serve as subjects to other things, and are not contained in one subject, and do not belong to something else;373 in short, all the characteristics we have enumerated above suit sense-being.


But how shall we separate the accidents from sense-being, if it have no existence without dimension or quality? Of what will sense-being consist, if we remove from it dimension, figure (or outward appearance), color, dryness, and humidity? For sense-beings are qualified. The qualities which change simple into qualified "being" refer to something. Thus, it is not the entire fire which is being, but something of the fire, one of its parts. Now what is this part, if it be not matter? Sense-being, therefore, consists in the reunion of quality and matter; and being is constituted by the totality of these things blended in a single matter. Each thing taken separately will be quality or quantity, and so forth; but the thing whose absence makes "being" incomplete is a part of that being. As to the thing which is added to already complete being, it has its own place;374 and it is not lost in the blending which constitutes "being." I do not say that such a thing, taken with others, is a being when it completes a matter of some particular size and quality, and that it is no more than a quality when it does not complete this mass; I say that even here below not everything is "being," and that only the totality which embraces everything is "being." Let none complain that we are constituting "being" as of that which is not being; for even the totality is not a veritable "being." (Here this word is used in both sensual and intelligible senses, as948 a pun), and only offers the image of the veritable (Being), which possesses essence independently of all that refers to it, and itself produces the other things because it possesses veritable (Existence). Here below the substrate possesses essence only incompletely, and, far from producing other things, is sterile; it is only an adumbration, and onto this adumbration are reflected images which have only the appearance (instead of real existence.)375


9. So much then for what we had to say of sense-being, and the genus it constitutes. It remains to analyze it into species. Every sense-being is a body; but there are elementary and organized bodies; the former are fire, earth, water and air; the organized bodies are those of plants and animals, which are distinguished from each other by their forms. The earth and the other elements may be divided into species. Plants and bodies of animals may be classified according to their forms; or we could classify apart the terrestrial animals, that inhabit the earth, and those which belong to some other element. We might also analyze bodies into those that are light, heavy, or intermediary; the heavy bodies remaining in the middle of the world, the light bodies in the superior region which surrounds the world, and the intermediary bodies dwelling in the intermediary region. In each one of these regions the bodies are distinguished by their exterior appearance (or, figure); thus there exist the bodies of the (stars, or) celestial bodies, and then those that belong to particular elements. After having distributed the bodies according to the four elements, they could be blended together in some other manner, and thus beget their mutual differences of location, forms, and mixtures. Bodies could also be distinguished as fiery,949 terrestrial, and so forth, according to their predominating element.


As to the distinction drawn between primary and secondary being,376 it must be admitted that some particular fire, and the universal Fire differ from each other in this, that the one is individual, and the other universal; but the difference between them does not seem to be essential. Indeed, does the genus of quality contain both White, and a particular white; or Grammar, and some particular grammatical science? How far does Grammatical science then have less reality than some particular grammatical science, and Science, than some particular science? Grammatical science is not posterior to some particular grammatical science; Grammatical science must already have existed before the existence of the grammatical science in you, since the latter is some grammatical science because it is found in you; it is besides identical with universal Grammatical science. Likewise, it is not Socrates that caused him who was not a man to become a man; it is rather the universal Man who enabled Socrates to be a man; for the individual man is man by participation in the universal Man. What then is Socrates, if not some man? In what does such a man contribute to render "being" more "being"? If the answer be that he contributes thereto by the fact that the universal Man is only a form, while a particular man is a form in matter, the result will only be that a particular man will be less of a man; for reason (that is, essence) is weaker when it is in matter. If the universal Man consist not only in form itself, but is also in matter, in what will he be inferior to the form of the man who is in matter, since it will be the reason of the man which is950 in matter? By its nature the universal is anterior, and consequently the form is anterior to the individual. Now that which by its nature is anterior is an absolute anterior. How then would the universal be less in being? Doubtless the individual, being better known to us, is anterior for us; but no difference in the things themselves results.377 Besides, if we were to admit the distinction between primary and secondary beings, the definition of "being" would no longer be one; for that which is first and that which is second are not comprised under one single definition, and do not form a single and same genus.


10. Bodies may also be distinguished by heat or dryness, wetness or cold, or in any other desired manner, by taking two qualities simultaneously, then considering these things as a composition and mixture, and ceasing at the combination thereof. Or, bodies may be divided in terrestrial bodies, that dwell on the earth, or distribute them according to their forms, and the differences of animals; by classifying not the animals themselves, but their bodies, which are their instruments,378 as it were. It is proper to establish a classification according to the forms, as it is equally reasonable to classify bodies according to their qualities, such as heat, cold, and so forth. If it be objected that bodies are constituted rather by their qualities, it may be answered that they are just as much classified by their blends, their colors, and their figures. When analyzing sense-being, it is not unreasonable to classify it according to the differences that appear to the senses.379 This ("being") does not possess absolute (Essence); it is the totality of the matter and qualities which constitutes the sense-being, since we have said951 that its hypostatic existence consists in the union of the things perceived by the senses, and that it is according to the testimony of their senses that men believe in the existence of things.


The composition of the bodies being varied, they may also be classified according to the specific forms of the animals. Such, for instance, would be the specific form of a man united to a body; for this form is a quality of body, and it is reasonable to analyze it according to the qualities. If it should be objected that we have said above that some bodies are simple, while others are composite, thus contrasting the simple and the composite, we shall answer that, without regarding their composition, we have also said that they are either brute or organized. The classification of bodies should not be founded on the contrast between the simple and the composite, but, as we first did, we may classify the simple bodies in the first rank. Then, by considering their blendings, one may start from another principle to determine the differences offered by the composites under the respect of their figure or their location; thus, for instance, bodies might be classified in celestial and terrestrial. This may close our consideration of sense-being, or generation.


11. Let us now pass to quantity and quantitatives. When treating of quantity, we have already said that it consists in number and dimension, in so far as some thing possesses such a quantity, that is, in the number of material things, and in the extension of the subject.380 Here indeed we are not treating of abstract quantity, but of a quantity which causes a piece of wood to measure three feet, or that horses are five952 in number. Consequently, as we have said, we should call extension and number (considered from the concrete viewpoint) "quantitatives"; but this name could could be applied neither to time nor space; time, being the measure of movement,381 re-enters into relation; and place, being that which contains the body,382 consists of a manner of being, and consequently, in a relation. (So much the less should we call time and place "quantitatives," as) movement, though continuous, does not either belong to the genus of quantity.


Should "large" and "small" be classified within the genus of quantity? Yes: for the large is large by a certain dimension, and dimension is not a relation. As to "greater" and "smaller," they belong to relation; for a thing is greater or smaller in relation to something else, just as when it is double. Why then do we sometimes say that a mountain is large, and that a grain of millet is small? When we say that a mountain is small, we use the latter term instead of smaller; for they who use this expression themselves acknowledge that they call a mountain small only by comparing it to other mountains, which implies that here "little" stands for "smaller." Likewise, when we say that a grain of millet is large, this does not mean "large" in any absolute sense, but large only for a grain of millet; which implies that one compares it to things of the same kind, and that here "large" means "larger."383


Why then do we not also classify the beautiful among the relatives? Because beauty is such by itself,953 because it constitutes a quality, while "more beautiful" is a relative. Nevertheless the thing which is called beautiful would sometimes appear ugly, if it were compared to some other, as, for instance, if we were to contrast the beauty of men with that of the gods; hence the expression (of Heraclitus's384): "The most beautiful of monkeys would be ugly if compared with an animal of a different kind." When beauty is predicated of something, it is considered in itself; it might perhaps be called more beautiful or more ugly if it were compared to another. Hence it results that, in the genus of which we are treating, an object is in itself great because of the presence of greatness, but not in respect to some other. Otherwise, we would be obliged to deny that a thing was beautiful because of the existence of some more beautiful one. Neither therefore must we deny that a thing is great because there is only one greater than it; for "greater" could not exist without "great," any more than "more beautiful" without "beautiful."


12. It must therefore be admitted that quantity admits of contraries. Even our thought admits of contraries when we say "great" and "small," since we then conceive of contraries, as when we say, "much and little"; for much and little are in the same condition as great and small. Sometimes it is said, "At home there are many people," and by this is intended a (relatively) great number; for in the latter case it is a relative. Likewise it is said, "There are few people in the theatre," instead of saying, "there are less people," (relatively); but when one uses the word "many" a great multitude in number must be understood.



How then is multitude classified among relatives? It forms part of relatives in that multitude is an extension of number, while its contrary is a contraction. Likewise is it with continuous dimension; we conceive of it as prolonged. Quantity therefore has a double origin: progression of unity, and of the point. If either progression cease promptly, the first one produces "little," and the second, "small." If both be prolonged, they produce "much," and "large." What then is the limit that determines these things? The same question may be asked about the beautiful, and about warmth; for there is also "warmer"; only, the latter is a relative, while Warm, taken absolutely, is a quality. As there is a "reason" of the beautiful (a reason that would produce and determine the beautiful), likewise there must be a reason for the Great, a reason by participation in which an object becomes great, as the reason of the Beautiful makes beautiful. Such are the things for which quantity admits contraries.


For space, there is no contrary, because strictly space does not belong to the genus of quantity. Even if space were part of quantity, "high" would not be the contrary of anything unless the universe contained also "low." The terms high and low, applied to parts, signify only higher and lower than something else. It is so also with right and left, which are relatives.


Syllables and speech are quantitatives; they might be subjects in respect to quantity, but only so by accident.955 Indeed, the voice, by itself, is a movement,386 it must therefore be reduced to movement and action.


13. We have already explained that discrete quantity is clearly distinguished from continuous quantity, both by its own definition, and the general definition (for quantity).387 We may add that numbers are distinguished from each other by being even and odd. If besides there be other differences amidst the even and odd numbers, these differences will have to be referred to the objects in which are the numbers, or to the numbers composed of unities, and not any more to those which exist in sense-beings. If reason separate sense-things from the numbers they contain, nothing hinders us then from attributing to these numbers the same differences (as to the numbers composed of unities).388


What distinctions are admitted by continuous quantity? There is the line, the surface, and the solid; for extension may exist in one, two or three dimensions (and thus count the numerical elements of continuous size) instead of establishing species.389 In numbers thus considered as anterior or posterior to each other, there is nothing in common, which would constitute a genus. Likewise in the first, second and third increases (of a line, surface, and solid) there is nothing in common; but as far as quantity is found, there is also equality (and inequality), although there be no extension which is quantitative more than any other.390 However, one may have dimensions greater than another. It is therefore only in so far as they are all numbers, that numbers can have anything in common.956 Perhaps, indeed, it is not the monad that begets the pair, nor the pair that begets the triad, but it may be the same principle which begets all the numbers. If numbers be not derivative, but exist by themselves, we may, at least within our own thought, consider them as begotten (or, derivative). We conceive of the smaller number as the anterior, the greater as posterior. But numbers, as such, may all be reduced to unity.


The method of classification adopted for numbers may be applied to sizes, and thus distinguish the line, the surface, and the solid or body, because those are sizes which form different species. If besides each of these species were to be divided, lines might be subdivided into straight, curved and spiral; surfaces into straight and curved; solids into round or polyhedral bodies. Further, as geometers do, may come the triangle, the quadrilateral, and others.


14. But what about the straight line? Is it not a magnitude? Possibly; but if it be a magnitude, it is a qualified one.391 It is even possible that straightness constitutes a difference of the (very nature of the) line, as line, for straightness refers solely to a line; and besides, we often deduce the differences of "Essence" from its qualities. That a straight line is a quantity added to a difference does not cause its being composed of the line, and of the property of straightness; for, were it thus composed, straightness would be its chief difference.


Now let us consider the triangle, which is formed of three lines. Why should it not belong to quantity?957 Would it be so, because it is not constituted by three lines merely, but by three lines arranged in some particular manner? But a quadrilateral would also be constituted by four lines arranged in some particular manner. (But being arranged in some particular manner does not hinder a figure from being a quantity). The straight line, indeed, is arranged in some particular manner, and is none the less a quantity. Now if the straight line be not simply a quantity, why could this not also be said of a limited line? For the limit of the line is a point, and the point does not belong to any genus other than the line. Consequently, a limited surface is also a quantity, because it is limited by lines, which even more belong to quantity. If then the limited surface be contained in the genus of quantity, whether the surface be a triangle, a quadrilateral, a hexagon, or any other polygon, all figures whatever will belong to the genus of quantity. But if we assigned the triangle or quadrilateral to the genus of quality merely because we are speaking of some one definite triangle or quadrilateral, nothing would hinder one and the same thing from being subsumed under several categories. A triangle would then be a quantity so far as it was both a general and particular magnitude, and would be a quality by virtue of its possessing a particular form. The same might be predicated of the Triangle in itself because of its possessing a particular form; and so also with the sphere. By following this line of argument, geometry would be turned into a study of qualities, instead of that of quantities, which of course it is. The existing differences between magnitudes do not deprive them of their property of being magnitudes, just as the difference between essences does not affect their essentiality. Besides, every surface is limited, because an infinite surface is impossible. Further, when I consider a difference that pertains to essence, I call it an essential difference. So much the958 more, on considering figures, I am considering differences of magnitude. For if the differences were not of magnitude, of what would they be differences? If then they be differences of magnitude, the different magnitudes which are derived from differences of magnitude should be classified according to the species constituted by them (when considered in the light of being magnitudes).


15. But how can you qualify the properties of quantity so as to call them equal or unequal?392 Is it not usual to say of two triangles that they are similar? Could we not also predicate similarity of two magnitudes? Doubtless, for what is called similarity,393 does not conflict with similarity or dissimilarity in the genus of quantity.394 Here, indeed, the word "similarity" is applied to magnitudes in a sense other than to quality. Besides, if (Aristotle) said that the property characteristic of quantities is to enable them to be called equal or unequal, this does not conflict with predicating similarity of some of them. But as it has been said that the special characteristic of qualities is to admit of being called similar or dissimilar, we must, as has already been explained, understand similarity in a sense other than when it is applied to magnitudes. If similar magnitudes be identical, we must then consider the other properties of quantity and quality which might be present in them (so as clearly to contrast their differences). It may also be said that the term "similarity" applies to the genus of quantity so far as this contains differences (which distinguish from each other similar magnitudes).



In general, the differences which complete a being should be classified along with that of which they are the differences, especially when a difference belongs to a single subject. If a difference complete the being of a subject, and do not complete the being of another, this difference should be classified along with the subject whose being it completes, leaving that whose being it does not complete for separate consideration. By this we do not mean completing the Being in general, but completing some particular being, so that the subject spoken of as a particular one admits no further essential addition. We therefore have the right to say that triangles, or that quadrilaterals, as well as surfaces and solids, are equal, and to predicate equality or inequality of quantitative entities. But we yet have to study whether quality only can be said to be similar or dissimilar.395


When we were treating of things that were qualified, we had already explained that matter, united to quantity, and taken with other things, constitutes sense-being; that this "being" seems to be a composite of several things, that it is not properly a "whatness,"396 but rather qualification (or, qualified thing). The ("seminal) reason," for instance that of fire, has more of a reference to "whatness," while the form that the reason begets is rather a qualification. Likewise, the ("seminal) reason" of man is a "whatness," whilst the form that this reason gives to the body, being only an image of reason, is rather a qualification. Thus if the Socrates that we see was the genuine Socrates, his960 mere portrait composed of no more than colors would also be called Socrates. Likewise, although this ("seminal) reason" of Socrates be that which constitutes the genuine Socrates, we nevertheless also apply the name of Socrates to the man that we see; yet the colors, or the figure of the Socrates we see, are only the image of those which are contained by his ("seminal) reason." Likewise, the reason of Socrates is itself only an image of the veritable reason (of the idea) of the man. This is our solution of the problem.397


16. When we separately consider each of the things which compose sense-being and when we wish to designate the quality which exists among them, we must not call it "whatness," any more than quantity or movement, but rather name it a characteristic, employing the expressions "such," "as," and "this kind." We are thus enabled to indicate beauty and ugliness, such as they are in the body. Indeed, sense-beauty is no more than a figure of speech,343 in respect to intelligible beauty; it is likewise with quality, since black and white are also completely different (from their "reason," or their idea).


Is the content of ("seminal) reason" and of a particular reason, identical with what appears, or does it apply thereto only by a figure of speech?343 Should it properly be classified among the intelligible, or the sense-objects? Sensual beauty of course evidently differs from intelligible beauty; but what of ugliness—in which classification does it belong? Must virtue be classified among intelligible or sensual qualities, or961 should we locate some in each class? (All this uncertainty is excusable, inasmuch) as it may be asked whether even the arts, which are "reasons," should be classified among sense-qualities? If these reasons be united to a matter, they must have matter as their very soul. But what is their condition here below, when united to some matter? These reasons are in a case similar to song accompanied by a lyre;398 this song, being uttered by a sense-voice, is in relation with the strings of the lyre, while simultaneously being part of the art (which is one of these "seminal reasons"). Likewise, it might be said that virtues are actualizations, and not parts (of the soul). Are they sense-actualizations? (This seems probable), for although the beauty contained in the body be incorporeal, we still classify it among the things which refer to the body, and belong to it. As to arithmetic, and geometry, two different kinds must be distinguished: the first kind deals with visible objects, and must be classified among sense-objects; but the second kind deals with studies suitable to the soul, and should therefore be classified among intelligible entities. Plato399 considers that music and astronomy are in the same condition.


Thus the arts which relate to the body, which make use of the organs, and which consult the senses, are really dispositions of the soul, but only of the soul as applied to corporeal objects; and consequently, they should be classified among sense-qualities.400 Here also belong practical virtues, such as are implied by civil duties, and which, instead of raising the soul to intelligible entities, fructify in the actions of political life, and refer to them, not as a necessity of our condition, but as an occupation preferable to everything962 else.401 Among these qualities we shall have to classify the beauty contained in the ("seminal) reason," and, so much the more, black and white.


But is the soul herself a sense-being, if she be disposed in a particular way, and if she contain particular "reasons" (that is, faculties, virtues, sciences and arts, all of which refer to the body, and which have been classified as sense-qualities)?402 It has already been explained that these "reasons" themselves are not corporeal; but that they have been classified among sense-qualities only because they referred to the body, and to the actions thereby produced. On the other hand, as sense-quality has been defined as the meeting of all the above enumerated entities, it is impossible to classify incorporeal Being in the same genus as the sensual being. As to the qualities of the soul, they are all doubtless incorporeal, but as they are experiences (or, sufferings, or, passions) which refer to terrestrial things, they must be classified in the genus of quality, just as the reasons of the individual soul. Of the soul we must therefore predicate experience, however dividing the latter in two elements, one of which would refer to the object to which it is applied, and the other to the subject in which it exists.403 Though then these experiences cannot be considered as corporeal qualities, yet it must be admitted they relate to the body.404 On the other hand, although we classify these experiences in the genus of quality, still the soul herself should not be reduced to the rank of corporeal being. Last, when we conceive of the soul as without experiences, and without the "reasons" above-mentioned, we are thereby classifying her along with the World from which she descends,405 and we leave here below no intelligible being, of any kind whatever.



17. Qualities, therefore, should be classified as of the body, and of the soul.406 Even though all the souls, as well as their immaterial qualities, be considered as existing on high, yet their inferior qualities must be divided according to the senses, referring these qualities either to sight, hearing, feeling, taste, or smell. Under sight, we will classify the differences of colors; under hearing, that of the sounds; and likewise, with the other senses. As to the sounds, inasmuch as they have but a single quality, they will have to be classified according to their being soft, harsh, agreeable, and the like.


It is by quality that we distinguish the differences which inhere in being, as well as the actualizations, the beautiful or ugly actions, and in general, all that is particular. Only very rarely do we discover in quantity differences which constitute species; so much is this the case, that it is generally divided by its characteristic qualities. We must therefore leave quantity aside, and that leads us to wonder how we may divide quality itself (since it is made use of to distinguish other things).407


What sort of differences, indeed, might we use to establish such divisions, and from what genus would we draw them? It seems absurd to classify quality by964 quality itself. This is just as if the difference of "beings" were to be called "beings." By what indeed could one distinguish white from black, and colors from tastes and sensations of touch? If we distinguish the difference of these qualities by the sense-organs, these differences would no longer exist in the subjects. How indeed could one and the same sense distinguish the difference of the qualities it perceives? Is it because certain things exercise an action that is constructive or destructive on the eyes, or the tongue? We would then have to ask what is the constructive or destructive element in the sensations thus excited? Yet, even were this answered, such an answer would not explain wherein these things differ.407


A further possibility is that these things should be classified according to their effects, and that it is reasonable to do so with invisible entities, such as sciences; but this would not be applicable to sense-objects. When indeed we divide sciences by their effects, and when, in general, we classify them according to the powers of the soul, by concluding from the diversity of their effects that they differ, our mind grasps the difference of these powers, and it determines not only with what objects they deal, but it also defines their reason (or, essence). Let us admit that it is easy to distinguish arts according to their reasons, and according to the notions they include; but is it possible to divide corporeal qualities in that manner? Even when one studies the intelligible world, there is room for doubt as to how the different reasons distinguish themselves from each other; it is easy enough to see that white differs from black; but in what does it do so?



18. All the questions we have asked show that we doubtless must seek to discover the differences of the various (beings), so as to distinguish them from each other; but that it is as impossible as it is unreasonable to inquire what are the differences of the differences themselves.408 Being of beings, quantities of quantities, qualities of qualities, differences of differences cannot be discovered; but we should, wherever possible, classify exterior objects, either according to their effects, or according to salient characteristics. When this is impossible, objects should be distinguished, as for instance dark from light green.

But how is white distinguished from black? Sensation or intelligence tell us that those things are different without informing us of their reason; either sensation, because its function is not to set forth the reason of things, but only to bring them somehow to our attention; or intelligence, because it discerns things that are simple by intuition, without having to resort to ratiocination, and limits itself to the statement that something is such or such. Besides, in each one of the operations of intelligence there is a difference (a special distinctive characteristic) which enables it to distinguish different things, without this difference (which is proper to each of the operations of intelligence) itself having need to be discerned by the help of some other difference.


Are all qualities differences, or not? Whiteness, colors, qualities perceived by touch and taste, may become differences between different objects, though966 they themselves be species. But how do the sciences of grammar or of music constitute differences? The science of grammar renders the mind grammatical, and the science of music renders the mind musical, especially if they be untaught; and these thus become specific differences. Besides, we have to consider whether a difference be drawn from the same genus (from which the considered things are drawn), or from some other genus. If it be drawn from the same genus, it fulfils, for the things of this genus, the same function as does a quality to the quality to which it serves as difference. Such are virtue and vice; virtue is a particular habit, and vice is also a particular habit; consequently, as habits are qualities, the differences of these habits (either of virtue or vice) will be qualities. It may perhaps be objected that a habit without difference is not a quality, and that it is the difference alone which constitutes the quality.409 We will answer that it is (commonly) said that sweet is good, and that bitter is bad; this then implies a recognition of their difference by a habit (a manner of being), and not by a quality.

What if sweet be said to be "crude," or thick and bitter, thin or refined? The answer is that coarseness does not inform us of the nature of sweetness, but indicates a manner of being of what is sweet; and similarly, with what is refined.


There remains for us to examine if a difference of a quality never be a quality, as that of a being is not a being, nor that of a quantity, a quantity. Does five differ from three by two? No: five does not differ from three, it only exceeds it by two. How indeed could five differ from three by two, when five contains967 two? Likewise, a movement does not differ from a movement by a movement. As to virtue and vice, here is one whole opposed to another whole, and it is thus that the wholes are distinguished. If a distinction were drawn from the same genus, that is, from quality, instead of founding itself on another genus; as, for instance, if one said that such a vice referred to pleasures, some other to anger, some other to acquisitiveness, and if one were to admit that such a classification was good; it would evidently result that there are differences that are not qualities.


19. As has been indicated above, the genus of quality contains the (beings) which are said to be qualified (qualitative entities), inasmuch as they contain some quality (as, for instance, the handsome man, so far as he is endowed with beauty).410 These (beings) however do not properly belong to this genus, for otherwise there would here be two categories. It suffices to reduce them to the quality which supplies their name.

So non-whiteness, if it indicate some color other than white, is a quality; if it express merely a negation, or an enumeration, it is only a word, or a term which recalls the object; if it be a word, it constitutes a movement (so far as it is produced by the vocal organ); if it be a name or a term, it constitutes, so far as it is a significative, a relative. If things be classed not only by genera, if it be admitted that each assertion and expression proclaim a genus, our answer must be that some affirm things by their mere announcement, and that others deny them. It may perhaps be best not to include negations in the same genus as things themselves, since, to avoid mingling several genera, we often do not include affirmations.

968 As to privations, it may be remarked that if the things of which there are privations are qualities, then the privations themselves are qualities, as "toothless," or "blind."411 But "naked" and (its contrary) "clothed" are neither of them qualities; they rather constitute habits, and thus belong among relatives.

Passion, at the moment it is felt, does not constitute a quality, but a movement; when it has been experienced, and has become durable, it forms a quality;410 further, if the (being) which has experienced the passion have kept none of it, it will have to be described as having been moved, which amounts to the same thing as really being moved. However, in this case, the conception of time will have to be abstracted from that of movement; for we must not add the conception of the present to that of movement.412

Finally, (the adverb) "well," and the other analogous terms may be reduced to the simple notion of the genus of quality.

It remains to examine if we must refer to the genus of quality "being red" without also doing so for "reddening"410 for "blushing" does not belong to it, because he who blushes suffers (experiences), or is moved. But as soon as he ceases blushing, if he have already blushed, this is a quality; for quality does not depend on time, but consists in being such or such; whence it follows that "having blushed" is a quality. Therefore we shall regard as qualities only habits, and not mere dispositions;410 being warm, for instance, and not warming up; being sick, but not becoming sick.


20. Does every quality have an opposite?410 As to vice and virtue, there is, between the extremes, an intermediary quality which is the opposite of both,411969 but, with colors, the intermediaries are not contraries. This might be explained away on the ground that the intermediary colors are blends of the extreme colors. However, we ought not to have divided colors in extremes and intermediaries, and opposed them to each other; but rather have divided the genus of color into black and white, and then have shown that other colors are composed of these two, or differentiated another color that would be intermediate, even though composite. If it be said that intermediary colors are not opposite to the extremes because opposition is not composed of a simple difference, but of a maximal difference,413 it will have to be answered that this maximal difference results from having interposed intermediaries; if these were removed, the maximal difference would have no scale of comparison. To the objection that yellow approximates white more than black, and that the sense of sight supports this contention; that it is the same with liquids where there is no intermediary between cold and hot; it must be answered that white and yellow and other colors compared to each other similarly likewise differ completely; and, because of this their difference, constitute contrary qualities; they are contrary, not because they have intermediaries, but because of their characteristic nature. Thus health and sickness are contraries, though they have no intermediaries. Could it be said that they are contraries because their effects differ maximally? But how could this difference be recognized as maximal since there are no intermediaries which show the same characteristics at a less degree? The difference between health and sickness could not therefore be demonstrated to be maximal. Consequently, oppositeness will have to be analyzed as something else than maximal difference. Does this mean only a great difference? Then we must in return ask whether this "great" mean "greater by opposition to970 something smaller," or "great absolutely"? In the first case, the things which have no intermediary could not be opposites; in the second, as it is easily granted that there is a great difference between one nature and another, and as we have nothing greater to serve as measure for this distance, we shall have to examine by what characteristics oppositeness might be recognized.


To begin with, resemblance does not mean only belonging to the same genus, nor mere confusion from more or less numerous characteristics, as, for instance, by their forms. Things that possess resemblance, therefore, are not opposites. Only things which have nothing identical in respect to species are opposites;414 though we must add that they must belong to the same genus of quality. Thus, though they have no intermediaries, we can classify as opposites the things which betray no resemblance to each other; in which are found only characteristics which do not approximate each other, and bear no kind of analogy to each other. Consequently, objects which have something in common in the respect of colors could not be contraries. Besides, not everything is the contrary of every other thing; but one thing is only the contrary of some other; and this is the case with tastes as well as with colors. But enough of all this.


Does a quality admit of more or less?410 Evidently the objects which participate in qualities participate therein more or less. But the chief question is whether there be degrees in virtue or justice? If these habits971 possess a certain latitude, they have degrees. If they have no latitude, they are not susceptible of more or less.


21. Let us pass to movement.415 Admittedly movement is a genus with the following characteristics: first, movement cannot be reduced to any other genus; then, nothing higher in the scale of being can be predicated of it; last, it reveals a great number of differences which constitute species.


To what genus could (movement) be reduced? It constitutes neither the being nor the quality of the (being) in which it exists. It is not even reducible to action, for in passion (or, experience) there are several kinds of movements; and it is the actions and passions which are reducible to movement. Further, movement need not necessarily be a relative merely because movement does not exist in itself, that it belongs to some being, and that it exists in a subject; otherwise, we should have to classify quality also as a relation; for quality belongs to some (being) and exists in a subject; it is not so however, with a quantity. It might be objected that, though each of them exist in some subject, the one by virtue of its being a quality, and the other, of being a quantity, they themselves are not any the less species of essences. The same argument would apply to movement; though it belong to some subject, it is something before belonging to a subject, and we must consider what it is in itself. Now what is relative is not at first something by itself, and then the predicate of something else;416 but what is972 born of the relation existing between two objects, is nothing else outside the relation to which it owes its name; thus the double, so far as it is called doubleness, is neither begotten, nor exists except in the comparison established between it and a half, since, not being conceived of before, it owes its name and its existence to the comparison thus established.


What then is movement? While belonging to a subject, it is something by itself before belonging to a subject, as are quality, quantity, and being. To begin with, nothing is predicated before it, and of it, as a genus. Is change417 anterior to movement? Here change is identical with movement, or if change is to be considered a genus, it will form a genus to be added to those already recognized. Besides, it is evident that, on this hypothesis, movement will become a species, and to it will be opposed, as another species, "generation," as, for instance, "generation" is a change, but not a movement.418 Why then should generation not be a movement? Is it because what is generated does not yet exist, and because movement could not exist in non-being? Consequently, neither will generation be a change. Or is this so because generation is an alteration and increase, and because it presupposes that certain things are altered, and increase? To speak thus is to busy ourselves with things that precede generation. Generation presupposes production of some other form; for generation does not consist in an alteration passively undergone, such as being warmed, or being whitened; such effects could be produced before realization of the generation. What then occurs in generation? There is alteration. Generation consists in the production of an animal or plant, in the reception of a form. Change is much more reasonably973 to be considered a species, than movement; because the word change means that one thing takes the place of another, while movement signifies the actualization by which a being passes from what is proper to it, to what is not, as in the translation from one place to another. If that be not admitted (to define movement), it will at least have to be acknowledged that the action of studying it, as that of playing the lyre, and in general, all the movements that modify a habit, would be subsumed within our definition. Alteration therefore could not be anything else but a species of movement; since it is a movement which produces passage from one state to another.419


22. Granting that alteration is the same thing as movement, so far as the result of movement is to render something other than it was, (we still have to ask) what then is movement? To indulge in a figurative expression,343 it is the passage of potentiality to the actualization of which it is the potentiality.420


Let us, indeed, suppose, that something which formerly was a potentiality succeeds in assuming a form, as "potentiality that becomes a statue," or that passes to actualization, as a man's walk.421 In the case where the metal becomes a statue, this passage is a movement; in the case of the walking, the walk itself is a movement, like the dance, with one who is capable of it. In the movement of the first kind, where the metal passes into the condition of being a statue, there is the production of another form which is realized by the movement.422 The movement of the second kind, the dance, is a simple form of the potentiality, and,974 when it has ceased, leaves nothing that subsists after it.423


We are therefore justified in calling movement "an active form that is aroused," by opposition to the other forms which remain inactive. (They may be so named), whether or not they be permanent. We may add that it is "the cause of the other forms," when it results in producing something else. This (sense-) movement may also be called the "life of bodies." I say "this movement," because it bears the same name as the movements of the intelligence, and those of the soul.


What further proves that movement is a genus, is that it is very difficult, if not impossible, to grasp it by a definition. But how can it be called a form when its result is deterioration, or something passive? It may then be compared to the warming influence of the rays of the sun, which exerts on some things an influence that makes them grow, while other things it shrivels. In both cases, the movement has something in common, and is identical, so far as it is a movement; the difference of its results is due to the difference of the beings in which it operates. Are then growing sick and convalescence identical? Yes, so far as they are movements. Is their difference then due to their subjects, or to anything else? This question we will consider further on, while studying alteration. Now let us examine the elements common to all movements; in that way we shall be able to prove that movement is a genus.



First, the word "movement" can be used in different senses, just as essence, when considered a genus. Further, as we have already said, all the movements by which one thing arrives at a natural state, or produces an action suitable to its nature, constitute so many species. Then, the movements by which one thing arrives at a state contrary to its nature, have to be considered as analogous to that to which they lead.

But what common element is there in alteration, growth and generation, and their contraries? What is there in common between these movements, and the displacement in space, when you consider the four movements, as such?425 The common element is that the moved thing, after the movement, is no longer in the former state; that it no more remains quiet, and does not rest so long as the movement lasts. It ceaselessly passes to another state, alters, and does not remain what it was; for the movement would be vain if it did not make one thing other than it was. Consequently "otherness" does not consist in one thing becoming other than it was, and then persisting in this other state, but in ceaseless alteration. Thus, time is always different from what it was because it is produced by movement; for it is movement measured in its march and not in its limit of motion, or stopping point; it follows, carried away in its course. Further, one characteristic common to all kinds of movement is that it is the march (or process) by which potentiality and possibility pass into actualization; for every object in movement, whatever be the nature of this movement, succeeds in moving only because it formerly possessed the power of producing an action, or of experiencing the passion of some particular nature.



23. For sense-objects, which receive their impulse from without, movement is a stimulus which agitates them, excites them, presses them, prevents them from slumbering in inertia, from remaining the same, and makes them present an image of life by their agitation and continual mutations. Besides, one must not confuse the things that move with movement; walking is not the feet, but an actualization of the power connected with the feet. Now as this power is invisible, we perceive only the agitation of the feet; we see that their present state is quite different from that in which they would have been, had they remained in place, and that they have some addition, which however, is invisible. Thus, being united to objects other than itself, the power is perceived only accidentally, because one notices that the feet change place, and do not rest. Likewise, alteration in the altered object, is recognized only by failure to discover in it the same quality as before.


What is the seat of a movement acting on an object by passing from internal power to actualization? Is it in the motor? How will that which is moved and which suffers be able to receive it? Is it in the movable element? Why does it not remain in the mover? Movement must therefore be considered as inseparable from the mover, although not exclusively; it must pass from the mover into the mobile (element) without ceasing to be connected with the mover, and it must pass from the mover to the moved like a breath (or influx).426 When the motive power produces locomotion, it gives us an impulse and makes us change place ceaselessly; when it is calorific, it heats; when,977 meeting matter, it imparts thereto its natural organization, and produces increase; when it removes something from an object, this object decreases because it is capable thereof; last, when it is the generative power which enters into action, generation occurs; but if this generative power be weaker than the destructive power, there occurs destruction, not of what is already produced, but of what was in the process of production. Likewise, convalescence takes place as soon as the force capable of producing health acts and dominates; and sickness occurs, when the opposite power produces a contrary effect. Consequently, movement must be studied not only in the things in which it is produced, but also in those that produce it or transmit it. The property of movement consists therefore in being a movement endowed with some particular quality, or being something definite in a particular thing.


24. As to movement of displacement, we may ask if ascending be the opposite of descending, in what the circular movement differs from the rectilinear movement, what difference obtains in throwing an object at the head or at the feet. The difference is not very clear, for in these cases the motive power is the same. Shall we say that there is one power which causes raising, and another that lowers, especially if these movements be natural, and if they be the result of lightness or heaviness? In both cases, there is something in common, namely, direction towards its natural place, so that the difference is derived from exterior circumstances. Indeed, in circular and rectilinear movement, if someone move the same object in turn circularly and in a straight line, what difference is there in the motive power? The difference could be derived only from the figure (or outward appearance) of the978 movement, unless it should be said that the circular movement is composite, that it is not a veritable movement, and that it does not produce any change by itself. In all of these cases, the movement of displacement is identical, and presents only adventitious differences.


25. Of what do composition (blending, or mixture) and decomposition consist? Do they constitute other kinds of movement than those already noticed, generation and destruction, growth and decrease, movement of displacement and alteration? Shall composition and decomposition be reduced to some one of these kinds of motion, or shall we look at this process inversely? If composition consist in approximating one thing to another, and in joining them together; and if, on the other hand, decomposition consist in separating the things which were joined, we have here only two movements of displacement, a uniting, and a separating one. We should be able to reduce composition and decomposition to one of the above recognized kinds of motion, if we were to acknowledge that this composition was mingling,427 combination, fusion, and union—a union which consists in two things uniting, and not in being already united. Indeed, composition includes first the movement of displacement, and then an alteration; just as, in increase, there was first the movement of displacement, and then movement in the kind of the quality.428 Likewise, here there is first the movement of displacement, then the composition or decomposition, according as things approximate or separate.429 Often also decomposition is accompanied or followed by a movement of displacement, but the things which separate undergo979 a modification different from the movement of displacement; similarly, composition is a modification which follows the movement of displacement, but which has a different nature.


Shall we have to admit that composition and decomposition are movements which exist by themselves, and analyze alteration into them? Condensation is explained as undergoing an alteration; that means, as becoming composite. On the other hand, rarefaction is also explained as undergoing an alteration, namely, that of decomposition; when, for instance, one mingles water and wine, each of these two things becomes other than it was, and it is the composition which has operated the alteration. We will answer that here composition and decomposition no doubt precede certain alterations, but these alterations are something different than compositions and decompositions. Other alterations (certainly) are not compositions and decompositions, for neither can condensation nor rarefaction be reduced to these movements, nor are they composed of them. Otherwise, it would be necessary to acknowledge the (existence of) emptiness. Besides, how could you explain blackness and whiteness, as being composed of composition and decomposition? This doctrine would destroy all colors and qualities, or at least, the greater part of them; for if all alteration, that means, all change of quality, consisted in a composition or decomposition, the result would not be the production of a quality, but an aggregation or disaggregation. How indeed could you explain the movements of teaching and studying by mere "composition"?



26. Let us now examine the different kinds of movements. Shall we classify movements of displacement in movements upwards and downwards, rectilinear or curvilinear, or in movements of animate and inanimate beings? There is indeed a difference between the movement of inanimate beings, and that of animate beings; and these latter have different kinds of motion, such as walking, flying, and swimming. Their movements could also be analyzed in two other ways, according as it was conformable to, or against their nature; but this would not explain the outer differences of movements. Perhaps the movements themselves produce these differences, and do not exist without them; nevertheless, it is nature that seems to be the principle of the movements, and of their exterior differences. It would further be possible to classify movements as natural, artificial, and voluntary; of the natural, there are alteration and destruction; of the artificial, there are the building of houses, and construction of vessels; of the voluntary, there are meditation, learning, devoting oneself to political occupations, and, in general, speaking and acting. Last, we might, in growth, alteration and generation, distinguish the natural movement, and that contrary to nature; or even establish a classification founded on the nature of the subjects in which these movements occur.


27. Let us now study stability or stillness, which is the contrary of movement.425 Are we to consider it itself a genus, or to reduce it to some one of the known genera? First, stability rather suits the intelligible981 world, and stillness the sense-world. Let us now examine stillness. If it be identical with stability, it is useless to look for it here below where nothing is stable, and where apparent stability is in reality only a slower movement. If stillness be different from stability, because the latter refers to what is completely immovable, and stillness to what is actually fixed, but is naturally movable even when it does not actually move, the following distinction should be established. If stillness here below be considered, this rest is a movement which has not yet ceased, but which is imminent; if by stillness is understood the complete cessation of movement in the moved, it will be necessary to examine whether there be anything here below that is absolutely without movement. As it is impossible for one thing to possess simultaneously all the species of movement, and as there are necessarily movements that are not realized in it—since it is usual to say that some particular movement is in something—when something undergoes no displacement, and seems still in respect to this movement, should one not say about it that in this respect it is not moving? Stillness is therefore the negation of movement. Now no negation constitutes a genus. The thing we are considering is at rest only in respect to local movement; stillness expresses therefore only the negation of this movement.


It may perhaps be asked, why is movement not rather the negation of rest? We shall then answer that movement (is something positive), that it brings something with it; that it has some efficiency, that it communicates an impulsion to the subject, that produces or destroys many things; stillness, on the contrary,982 is nothing outside of the subject which is still, and means no more than that the latter is still.


But why should we not regard the stability of intelligible things also as a negation of movement? Because stability is not the privation of movement; it does not begin to exist when movement ceases, and it does not hinder it from simultaneous existence with it. In intelligible being, stability does not imply the cessation of movement of that whose nature it is to move.430 On the contrary, so far as intelligible being is contained in (or, expressed by) stability, it is stable; so far as it moves, it will ever move; it is therefore stable by stability, and movable by movement. The body, however, is no doubt moved by movement, but it rests only in the absence of movement, when it is deprived of the movement that it ought to have. Besides, what would stability be supposed to imply (if it were supposed to exist in sense-objects)? When somebody passes from sickness to health, he enters on convalescence. What kind of stillness shall we oppose to convalescence? Shall we oppose to it that condition from which that man had just issued? That state was sickness, and not stability. Shall we oppose to it the state in which that man has just entered? That state is health, which is not identical with stability. To say that sickness and health are each of them a sort of stability, is to consider sickness and health as species of stability, which is absurd. Further, if it were said that stability is an accident of health, it would result that before stability health would not be health. As to such arguments, let each reason according to his fancy!



28. We have demonstrated that acting and experiencing were movements; that, among the movements, some are absolute, while others constitute actions or passions.431

We have also demonstrated that the other things that are called genera must be reduced to the genera we have set forth.432

We have also studied relation, defining it as a habit, a "manner of being" of one thing in respect of another, which results from the co-operation of two things; we have explained that, when a habit of being constitutes a reference, this thing is something relative, not so much as it is being, but as far as it is a part of this being, as are the hand, the head, the cause, the principle, or the element.433 The relatives might be divided according to the scheme of the ancient (philosophers), by saying that some of them are efficient causes, while others are measures, that the former distinguish themselves by their resemblances and differences, while the latter consist in excess or in lack.

Such are our views about the (categories, or) genera (of existence).


Of Time and Eternity.435



(1.)436 When saying that eternity and time differ, that eternity refers to perpetual existence, and time to what "becomes" (this visible world), we are speaking off-hand, spontaneously, intuitionally, and common language supports these forms of expression. When however we try to define our conceptions thereof in greater detail, we become embarrassed; the different opinions of ancient philosophers, and often even the same opinions, are interpreted differently. We however shall limit ourselves to an examination of these opinions, and we believe that we can fulfil our task of answering all questions by explaining the teachings of the ancient philosophers, without starting any minute disquisition of our own. We do indeed insist that some of these ancient philosophers, these blessed men437 have achieved the truth. It remains only to decide which of them have done so, and how we ourselves can grasp their thought.


First, we have to examine that of which eternity consists, according to those who consider it as different from time; for, by gaining a conception of the model986 (eternity), we shall more clearly understand its image called time.438 If then, before observing eternity, we form a conception of time, we may, by reminiscence, from here below, rise to the contemplation of the model to which time, as its image, resembles.


1. (2). How shall we define the aeon (or, eternity)? Shall we say that it is the intelligible "being" (or, nature) itself, just as we might say that time is the heaven and the universe, as has been done, it seems, by certain (Pythagorean) philosophers?439 Indeed, as we conceive and judge that the aeon (eternity) is something very venerable, we assert the same of intelligible "being," and yet it is not easy to decide which of the two should occupy the first rank; as, on the other hand, the principle which is superior to them (the One) could not be thus described, it would seem that we would have the right to identify intelligible "being" (or, nature), and the aeon (or, eternity), so much the more as the intelligible world and the aeon (age, or eternity), comprise the same things. Nevertheless, were we to place one of these principles within the other, we would posit intelligible nature ("being") within the aeon (age, or eternity). Likewise, when we say that an intelligible entity is eternal, as (Plato) does:346 "the nature of the model is eternal," we are thereby implying that the aeon (age or eternity) is something distinct from intelligible nature ("being"), though referring thereto, as attribute or presence. The mere fact that both the aeon (eternity) and intelligible nature ("being"), are both venerable does not imply their identity; the venerableness of the one may be no more than derivative from that of the other. The argument that both comprise the same entities would987 still permit intelligible nature ("being") to contain all the entities it contains as parts, while the aeon (or age, or eternity) might contain them as wholes, without any distinctions as parts; it contains them, in this respect, that they are called eternal on its account.


Some define eternity as the "rest"440 of intelligible nature ("being"), just like time is defined as "motion" here below. In this case we should have to decide whether eternity be identical with rest in general, or only in such rest as would be characteristic of intelligible nature ("being"). If indeed eternity were to be identified with rest in general, we would first have to observe that rest could not be said to be eternal, any more than we can say that eternity is eternal, for we only call eternal that which participates in eternity; further, under this hypothesis, we should have to clear up how movement could ever be eternal; for if it were eternal, it would rest (or, it would stop). Besides, how could the idea of rest thus imply the idea of perpetuity, not indeed of that perpetuity which is in time, but of that of which we conceive when speaking of the aeonial (or, eternal)? Besides, if the rest characteristic of intelligible "being" in itself alone contain perpetuity, this alone would exclude from eternity the other genera (or categories) of existence. Further yet, eternity has to be conceived of as not only in rest, but (according to Plato438) also in unity, which is something that excludes every interval—otherwise, it would become confused with time;—now rest does not imply the idea of unity, nor that of an interval. Again, we assert that eternity resides in unity; and therefore participates in rest without being identified therewith.



2. (3). What then is that thing by virtue of which the intelligible world is eternal and perpetual? Of what does perpetuity consist? Either perpetuity and eternity are identical, or eternity is related to perpetuity. Evidently, however, eternity consists in an unity, but in an unity formed by multiple elements, in a conception of nature derived from intelligible entities, or which is united to them, or is perceived in them, so that all these intelligible entities form an unity, though this unity be at the same time manifold in nature and powers. Thus contemplating the manifold power of the intelligible world, we call "being" its substrate; movement its life; rest its permanence; difference the manifoldness of its principles; and identity, their unity.441 Synthesizing these principles, they fuse into one single life, suppressing their difference, considering the inexhaustible duration, the identity and immutability of their action, of their life and thought, for which there is neither change nor interval. The contemplation of all these entities constitutes the contemplation of eternity; and we see a life that is permanent in its identity, which ever possesses all present things, which does not contain them successively, but simultaneously; whose manner of existence is not different at various times, but whose perfection is consummate and indivisible. It therefore contains all things at the same time, as in a single point, without any of them draining off; it resides in identity, that is, within itself, undergoing no change. Ever being in the present, because it never lost anything, and will never acquire anything, it is always what it is. Eternity is not intelligible existence; it is the (light) that radiates from this existence, whose identity completely excludes the future and admits nothing but present existence, which remains what it is, and does not change.



What that it does not already possess could (intelligible existence) possess later? What could it be in the future, that it is not now? There is nothing that could be added to or subtracted from its present state; for it was not different from what it is now; and it is not to possess anything that it does not necessarily possess now, so that one could never say of it, "it was"; for what did it have that it does not now have? Nor could it be said of it, "it will be"; for what could it acquire? It must therefore remain what it is. (As Plato thought438), that possesses eternity of which one cannot say either "it was," or "will be," but only, "it is;" that whose existence is immutable, because the past did not make it lose anything, and because the future will not make it acquire anything. Therefore, on examining the existence of intelligible nature, we see that its life is simultaneously entire, complete, and without any kind of an interval. That is the eternity we seek.


3. (4). Eternity is not an extrinsic accident of (intelligible) nature, but is in it, of it, and with it. We see that it is intimately inherent in (intelligible nature) because we see that all other things, of which we say that they exist on high, are of and with this (intelligible) nature; for the things that occupy the first rank in existence must be united with the first Beings, and subsist there. Thus the beautiful is in them, and comes from them; thus also does truth dwell in them. There the whole in a certain way exists within the part; the parts also are in the whole; because this990 whole, really being the whole, is not composed of parts, but begets the parts themselves, a condition necessary to its being a whole. In this whole, besides, truth does not consist in the agreement of one notion with another, but is the very nature of each of the things of which it is the truth. In order, really to be a whole, this real whole must be all not only in the sense that it is all things, but also in the sense that it lacks nothing. In this case, nothing will, for it, be in the future; for to say that, for it, something "will be" for it implies that it lacked something before that, that it was not yet all; besides, nothing can happen to it against nature, because it is impassible. As nothing could happen to it, for it nothing "is to be," "will be," or "has been."


As the existence of begotten things consists in perpetually acquiring (something or another), they will be annihilated by a removal of their future. An attribution of the future to the (intelligible) entities of a nature contrary (to begotten things), would degrade them from the rank of existences. Evidently they will not be consubstantial with existence, if this existence of theirs be in the future or past. The nature ("being") of begotten things on the contrary consists in going from the origin of their existence to the last limits of the time beyond which they will no longer exist; that is in what their future consists.442 Abstraction of their future diminishes their life, and consequently their existence. That is also what will happen to the universe, in so far as it will exist; it aspires to being what it should be, without any interruption, because it derives existence from the continual production of fresh actualizations; for the same reason, it moves in a circle991 because it desires to possess intelligible nature ("being"). Such is the existence that we discover in begotten things, such is the cause that makes them ceaselessly aspire to existence in the future. The Beings that occupy the first rank and which are blessed, have no desire of the future, because they are already all that it lies in them to be, and because they possess all the life they are ever to possess. They have therefore nothing to seek, since there is no future for them; neither can they receive within themselves anything for which there might be a future. Thus the nature ("being") of intelligible existence is absolute, and entire, not only in its parts, but also in its totality, which reveals no fault, which lacks nothing, and to which nothing that in any way pertains to nonentity could be added; for intelligible existence must not only embrace in its totality and universality all beings, but it must also receive nothing that pertains to nonentity. It is this disposition and nature of intelligible existence that constitutes the aeon (or eternity); for (according to Aristotle)443 this word is derived from "aei on," "being continually."


4. (5). That this is the state of affairs appears when, on applying one's intelligence to the contemplation of some of the intelligible Entities, it becomes possible to assert, or rather, to see that it is absolutely incapable of ever having undergone any change; otherwise, it would not always exist; or rather, it would not always exist entirely. Is it thus perpetual? Doubtless; its nature is such that one may recognize that it is always such as it is, and that it could never be different in the future; so that, should one later on again contemplate it, it will be found similar to itself (unchanged).992 Therefore, if we should never cease from contemplation, if we should ever remain united thereto while admiring its nature, and if in that actualization we should show ourselves indefatigable, we would succeed in raising ourselves to eternity; but, to be as eternal as existence, we must not allow ourselves to be in anyway distracted from contemplating eternity, and eternal nature in the eternal itself. If that which exists thus be eternal, and exists ever, evidently that which never lowers itself to an inferior nature; which possesses life in its fulness, without ever having received, receiving, or being about to receive anything; this nature would be "aidion," or perpetual. Perpetuity is the property constitutive of such a substrate; being of it, and in it.443 Eternity is the substrate in which this property manifests. Consequently reason dictates that eternity is something venerable, identical with the divinity.444 We might even assert that the age ("aion," or eternity) is a divinity that manifests within itself, and outside of itself in its immutable and identical existence, in the permanence of its life. Besides, there is nothing to surprise any one if in spite of that we assert a manifoldness in the divinity. Every intelligible entity is manifoldness because infinite in power, infinite in the sense that it lacks nothing; it exercises this privilege peculiarly because it is not subject to losing anything.


Eternity, therefore, may be defined as the life that is at present infinite because it is universal and loses nothing, as it has no past nor future; otherwise it would no longer be whole. To say that it is universal and loses nothing explains the expression: "the life that is at present infinite."



5. (6). As this nature that is eternal and radiant with beauty refers to the One, issues from Him, and returns to Him, as it never swerves from Him, ever dwelling around Him and in Him, and lives according to Him, Plato was quite right438 in saying not casually, but with great profundity of thought, that "eternity is immutable in unity." Thereby Plato not only reduces the eternity to the unity that it is in itself, but also relates the life of existence to the One itself. This life is what we seek; its permanence is eternity. Indeed that which remains in that manner, and which remains the same thing, that is, the actualization of that life which remains turned towards, and united with the One, that whose existence and life are not deceptive, that truly is eternity. (For intelligible or) true existence is to have no time when it does not exist, no time when it exists in a different manner; it is therefore to exist in an immutable manner without any diversity, without being first in one, and then in another state. To conceive of (existence), therefore, we must neither imagine intervals in its existence, nor suppose that it develops or acquires, nor believe that it contains any succession; consequently we could neither distinguish within it, or assert within it either before or after. If it contain neither "before" nor "after," if the truest thing that can be affirmed of it be that it is, if it exist as "being" and life, here again is eternity revealed. When we say that existence exists always, and that there is not one time in which it is, and another in which it is not, we speak thus only for the sake of greater clearness; for when we use the word "always," we do not take it in an absolute sense; but if we use it to show that existence is incorruptible, it might well mislead the mind in leading it to issue out from the unity (characteristic of eternity) to make it run994 through the manifold (which is foreign to eternity). "Always" further indicates that existence is never defective. It might perhaps be better to say simply "existence." But though the word "existence" suffices to designate "being," as several philosophers have confused "being" with generation, it was necessary to clear up the meaning of existence by adding the term "always." Indeed, though we are referring only to one and the same thing by "existence" and "existing always," just as when we say "philosopher," and "the true philosopher," nevertheless, as there are false philosophers, it has been necessary to add to the term "philosophers" the adjective "true." Likewise, it has been necessary to add the term "always" to that of "existing," and that of "existing" to that of "always;" that is the derivation of the expression "existing always," and consequently (by contraction), "aion," or, eternity. Therefore the idea "always" must be united to that of "existing," so as to designate the "real being."


"Always" must therefore be applied to the power which contains no interval in its existence, which has need of nothing outside of what it possesses, because it possesses everything, because it is every being, and thus lacks nothing. Such a nature could not be complete in one respect, but incomplete in another. Even if what is in time should appear complete, as a body that suffices the soul appears complete, though it be complete only for the soul; that which is in time needs the future, and consequently is incomplete in respect to the time it stands in need of; when it succeeds in enjoying the time to which it aspires, and succeeds in becoming united thereto, even though it995 still remain imperfect it still is called perfect by verbal similarity. But the existence whose characteristic it is not to need the future, not to be related to any other time—whether capable of being measured, or indefinite, and still to be indefinite—the existence that already possesses all it should possess is the very existence that our intelligence seeks out; it does not derive its existence from any particular quality, but exists before any quantity. As it is not any kind of quantity, it could not admit within itself any kind of quantity. Otherwise, as its life would be divided, it would itself cease to be absolutely indivisible; but existence must be as indivisible in its life as in its nature ("being"). (Plato's expression,446) "the Creator was good" does indeed refer to the notion of the universe, and indicates that, in the Principle superior to the universe, nothing began to exist at any particular time. Never, therefore, did the universe begin to exist within time, because though its Author existed "before" it, it was only in the sense that its author was the cause of its existence. But, after having used the word "was," to express this thought, Plato immediately corrects himself, and he demonstrates that this word does not apply to the Things that possess eternity.


6. (7). Speaking thus of eternity, it is not anything foreign to us, and we do not need to consult the testimony of anybody but ourselves. For indeed, how could we understand anything that we could not perceive? How could we perceive something that would be foreign to us? We ourselves, therefore, must participate in eternity. But how can we do so, since we are in time? To understand how one can simultaneously be in time and in eternity, it will be necessary to996 study time. We must therefore descend from eternity to study time. To find eternity, we have been obliged to rise to the intelligible world; now we are obliged to descend therefrom to treat of time; not indeed descending therefrom entirely, but only so far as time itself descended therefrom.



If those blessed ancient philosophers had not already uttered their views about time, we would only need to add to the idea of eternity what we have to say of the idea of time, and to set forth our opinion on the subject, trying to make it correspond with the already expressed notion of eternity. But we now must examine the most reasonable opinions that have been advanced about time, and observe how far our own opinion may conform thereto.


To begin with, we may divide the generally accepted opinions about time into three classes: time as movement, as something movable, or as some part of movement. It would be too contrary to the notion of time to try to define it as rest, as being at rest, or as some part of rest; for time is incompatible with identity (and consequently with rest, and with what is at rest). Those who consider time as movement, claim that it is either any kind of movement, or the movement of the universe. Those who consider it as something movable are thinking of the sphere of the universe; while those who consider time as some part of movement997 consider it either as the interval of movement, or as its measure, or as some consequence of movement in general, or regular movement.


7. (8). Time cannot (as the Stoics claim,447) be movement. Neither can we gather together all movements, so as to form but a single one, nor can we consider the regular movement only; for these two kinds of motion are within time. If we were to suppose that there was a movement that did not operate within time, such a movement would still be far removed from being time, since, under this hypothesis, the movement itself is entirely different from that in which the movement occurs. Amidst the many reasons which, in past and present, have been advanced to refute this opinion, a single one suffices: namely, that movement can cease and stop, while time never suspends its flight. To the objection that the movement of the universe never stops, we may answer that this movement, if it consist in the circular movement (of the stars, according to Hestius of Perinthus; or of the sun, according to Eratosthenes447) operates within a definite time, at the end of which it returns to the same point of the heavens, but it does not accomplish this within the same space of time taken up in fulfilling the half of its course. One of these movements is only half of the other, and the second is double. Besides, both, the one that runs through half of space, and the one that runs through the whole of it, are movements of the universe. Besides, it has been noticed that the movement of the exterior sphere is the swiftest. This distinction supports our view, for it implies that the movement of this sphere, and the time used to operate it, are different entities; the most998 rapid movement is the one that takes up the least time, and runs through the greatest amount of space; the slowest movements are those that employ the longest time, and run through only a part of that space.448


On the other hand, if time be not the movement of the sphere, evidently it is far less (than that which is movable, as thought the Pythagoreans,449) or (as Pythagoras thought), the sphere (of heaven) itself, as some have thought, because it moves. (This fact alone is sufficient to refute the opinion that confuses time with that which is movable).


Is time then some part of movement? (Zeno450) calls it the interval of movement; but the interval is not the same for all movements, even if the latter were of similar nature; for movements that operate within space may be swifter or slower. It is possible that the intervals of the most rapid and of the slowest movement might be measured by some third interval, which might far more reasonably be considered time. But which of these three intervals shall be called time? Rather, which of all the intervals, infinite in number as they are, shall time be? If time be considered the interval of the regular movement, it will not be the particular interval of every regular movement; otherwise, as there are several regular movements, there would be several kinds of time. If time be defined as the interval of movement of the universe, that is, the interval contained within this movement, it will be nothing else than this movement itself.



Besides, this movement is a definite quantity. Either this quantity will be measured by the extension of the space traversed, and the interval will consist in that extension; but that extension is space, and not time. Or we shall say that movement has a certain interval because it is continuous, and that instead of stopping immediately it always becomes prolonged; but this continuity is nothing else than the magnitude (that is, the duration) of the movement. Even though after consideration of a movement it be estimated as great, as might be said of a "great heat"—this does not yet furnish anything in which time might appear and manifest; we have here only a sequence of movements which succeed one another like waves, and only the observed interval between them; now the sequence of movements forms a number, such as two or three; and the interval is an extension. Thus the magnitude of the movement will be a number, say, such as ten; or an interval that manifests in the extension traversed by the movement. Now the notion of time is not revealed herein, but we find only a quantity that is produced within time. Otherwise, time, instead of being everywhere, will exist only in the movement as an attribute in a substrate, which amounts to saying that time is movement; for the interval (of the movement) is not outside of movement, and is only a non-instantaneous movement. If then time be a non-instantaneous movement, just as we often say that some particular instantaneous fact occurs within time, we shall be forced to ask the difference between what is and what is not instantaneous. Do these things differ in relation to time? Then the persisting movement and its interval are not time, but within time.



Somebody might object that time is indeed the interval of movement, but that it is not the characteristic interval of movement itself, being only the interval in which movement exerts its extension, following along with it. All these terms lack definition. This (extension) is nothing else than the time within which the movement occurs. But that is precisely the question at issue, from the very start. It is as if a person who had been asked to define time should answer "time is the interval of the movement produced within time." What then is this interval called time, when considered outside of the interval characteristic of movement? If the interval characteristic of time be made to consist in movement, where shall the duration of rest be posited? Indeed, for one object to be in motion implies that another (corresponding object) is at rest; now the time of these objects is the same, though for one it be the time of movement, and for the other the time of rest (as thought Strato451). What then is the nature of this interval? It cannot be an interval of space, since space is exterior (to the movements that occur within it).


8. (9). Let us now examine in what sense it may be said (by Aristotle452) that time is the number and measure of movement, which definition seems more reasonable, because of the continuity of movement. To begin with, following the method adopted with the definition of time as "the interval of movement," we might ask whether time be the measure and number of any kind of movement.453 For how indeed could we give a numerical valuation of unequal or irregular1001 movement. What system of numbering or measurement shall we use for this? If the same measure be applied to slow or to swift movement, in their case measure and number will be the same as the number ten applied equally to horses and oxen; and further, such measure might also be applied to dry and wet substances. If time be a measure of this kind, we clearly see that it is the measure of movements, but we do not discover what it may be in itself. If the number ten can be conceived as a number, after making abstraction of the horses it served to measure, if therefore a measure possess its own individuality, even while no longer measuring anything, the case must be similar with time, inasmuch as it is a measure. If then time be a number in itself, in what does it differ from the number ten, or from any other number composed of unities? As it is a continuous measure, and as it is a quantity, it might, for instance, turn out to be something like a foot-rule. It would then be a magnitude, as, for instance, a line, which follows the movement; but how will this line be able to measure what it follows? Why would it measure one thing rather than another? It seems more reasonable to consider this measure, not as the measure of every kind of movement, but only as the measure of the movement it follows.452 Then that measure is continuous, so far as the movement it follows itself continue to exist. In this case, we should not consider measure as something exterior, and separated from movement, but as united to the measured movement. What then will measure? Is it the movement that will be measured, and the extension that will measure it? Which of these two things will time be? Will it be the measuring movement, or the measuring extension? Time will be either the movement measured by extension, or the measuring extension; or some third thing which makes use of extension, as one makes use of a1002 foot-rule, to measure the quantity of movement. But in all these cases, we must, as has already been noticed, suppose that movement is uniform; for unless the movement be uniform, one and universal, the theory that movement is a measure of any kind whatever will become almost impossible. If time be "measured movement," that is, measured by quantity—besides granting that it at all needs to be measured—movement must not be measured by itself, but by something different. On the other hand, if movement have a measure different from itself, and if, consequently, we need a continuous measure to measure it, the result would be that extension itself would need measure, so that movement, being measured, may have a quantity which is determined by that of the thing according to which it is measured. Consequently, under this hypothesis, time would be the number of the extension which follows movement, and not extension itself which follows movement.


What is this number? Is it composed of unities? How does it measure? That would still have to be explained. Now let us suppose that we had discovered how it measures; we would still not have discovered the time that measures, but a time that was such or such an amount. Now that is not the same thing as time; there is a difference between time and some particular quantity of time. Before asserting that time has such or such a quantity, we have to discover the nature of that which has that quantity. We may grant that time is the number which measures movement, while remaining exterior thereto, as "ten" is in "ten horses" without being conceived with them (as Aristotle claimed, that it was not a numbering, but a numbered1003 number). But in this case, we still have to discover the nature of this number that, before numbering, is what it is, as would be "ten" considered in itself.454 It may be said that it is that number which, by following number, measures according to the priority and posteriority of that movement.452 Nor do we yet perceive the nature of that number which measures by priority and posteriority. In any case, whatever measures by priority or posteriority, or by a present moment,455 or by anything else, certainly does measure according to time. Thus this number (?) which measures movement according to priority or posteriority, must touch time, and, to measure movement, be related thereto. Prior and posterior necessarily designate either different parts of space, as for instance the beginning of a stadium, or parts of time. What is called priority is time that ends with the present; what is called posteriority, is the time that begins at the present. Time therefore is something different from the number that measures movement according to priority or posteriority,—I do not say, any kind of movement, but still regular movement. Besides, why should we have time by applying number either to what measures, or to what is measured? For in this case these two may be identical. If movement exist along with the priority and posteriority which relate thereto, why will we not have time without number? This would amount to saying that extension has such a quantity only in case of the existence of somebody who recognizes that it possesses that quantity. Since (Aristotle456) says that time is infinite, and that it is such effectually, how can it contain number without our taking a portion of time to measure it? From that would result that time existed before it was measured. But why could time not exist before the existence of a soul to measure it? (Aristotle) might have answered that it was begotten by the soul. The1004 mere fact that the soul measures time need not necessarily imply that the soul produced the time; time, along with its suitable quantity, would exist even if nobody measured it. If however it be said that it is the soul that makes use of extension to measure time, we will answer that this is of no importance to determine the notion of time.


9. (10). When (Epicurus457) says that time is a consequence of movement, he is not explaining the nature of time; this would demand a preliminary definition of the consequence of movement. Besides, this alleged consequence of movement—granting the possibility of such a consequence—must be prior, simultaneous, or posterior. For, in whatever way we conceive of it, it is within time. Consequently, if the consequence of movement be time, the result would be that time is a consequence of movement in time (which is nonsense).


Now, as our purpose is to discover, not what time is not, but what it really is, we notice that this question has been treated at great length by many thinkers before us; and if we were to undertake to consider all existing opinions on the subject, we would be obliged to write a veritable history of the subject. We have here, however, gone to the limit of our ability in treating it without specializing in it. As has been seen, it is easy enough to refute the opinion that time is the measure of the movement of the universe, and to raise against this opinion the objections that we have raised against the definition of time as the1005 measure of movement in general, opposing thereto the irregularity of movement, and the other points from which suitable arguments may be drawn. We are therefore free to devote ourselves to an explanation of what time really is.


10. (11). To accomplish this we shall have to return to the nature which, as we pointed out above, was essential to eternity; that immutable life, wholly realized all at once, infinite and perfect, subsisting in, and referring to unity. Time was not yet, or at least, it did not yet exist for the intelligible entities. Only, it was yet to be born of them,458 because (as was the world), time, by both its reason and nature, was posterior to the (intelligible entities459). Are we trying to understand how time issued from among intelligible entities while these were resting within themselves? Here it would be useless to call upon the Muses, for they did not yet exist. Still this might perhaps not be useless; for (in a certain sense, that time had already begun, then, so far as they existed within the sense-world) they existed already. In any case, the birth of time will be plain enough if we consider it only as it is born and manifested. Thus much can be said about it.


Before priority and posteriority, time, which did not yet exist, brooded within existence itself. But an active nature (the universal Soul), which desired to be mistress of herself, to possess herself, and ceaselessly to add to the present, entered into motion, as did time,1006 along with (the Soul). We achieve a representation of the time that is the image of eternity, by the length that we must go through with to reach what follows, and is posterior, towards one moment, and then towards another.460


As the universal Soul contained an activity that agitated her, and impelled her to transport into another world what she still saw on high, she was willing to retain all things that were present at the same time. (Time arose not by a single fiat, but as the result of a process. This occurred within the universal Soul, but may well be first illustrated by the more familiar process within) Reason, which distributes unity, not indeed That which remains within itself, but that which is exterior to itself. Though this process seem to be a strengthening one, reason developing out of the seed in which it brooded unto manifoldness, it is really a weakening (or destructive one), inasmuch as it weakened manifoldness by division, and weakened reason by causing it to extend. The case was similar with the universal Soul. When she produced the sense-world, the latter was animated by a movement which was only an image of intelligible movement. (While trying to strengthen) this image-movement to the extent of the intelligible movement, she herself (weakened), instead of remaining exclusively eternal, became temporal and (involuntarily) subjected what she had produced to the conditions of time, transferring entirely into time not only the universe, but also all its revolutions. Indeed, as the world moves within the universal Soul, which is its location, it also moves within the time that this Soul bears within herself.461 Manifesting her power in a varied and successive manner,1007 by her mode of action, the universal Soul begat succession. Indeed, she passes from one conception to another, and consequently to what did not exist before, since this conception was not effective, and since the present life of the soul does not resemble her former life. Her life is varied, and from the variety of her life results the variety of time.462


Thus, the extension of the life of the soul produces time, and the perpetual progression of her life produces the perpetuity of time, and her former life constitutes the past. We may therefore properly define time as the life of the soul considered in the movement by which she passes from one actualization to another.


We have already decided that eternity is life characterized by rest, identity, immutability and infinity (in intelligence). It is, further, (admitted that) this our world is the image of the superior World (of intelligence). We have also come to the conclusion that time is the image of eternity. Consequently, corresponding to the Life characteristic of Intelligence, this world must contain another life which bears the same name, and which belongs to that power of the universal Soul. Instead of the movement of Intelligence, we will have the movement characteristic of a part of the soul (as the universal Soul ceaselessly passes from one thought to another). Corresponding to the permanence, identity, and immutability (of Intelligence), we will have the mobility of a principle1008 which ceaselessly passes from one actualization to another. Corresponding to the unity and the absence of all extension, we will have a mere image of unity, an image which exists only by virtue of continuity. Corresponding to an infinity already entirely present, we will have a progression towards infinity which perpetually tends towards what follows. Corresponding to what exists entirely at the same time, we will have what exists by parts, and what will never exist entire at the same time. The soul's existence will have to be ceaseless acquiring of existence; if it is to reveal an image of the complete, universal and infinite existence of the soul; that is the reason its existence is able to represent the intelligible existence.


Time, therefore, is not something external to the soul, any more than eternity is exterior to existence. It is neither a consequence nor a result of it, any more than eternity is a consequence of existence. It appears within the soul, is in her and with her, as eternity is in and with existence.


11. (12). The result of the preceding considerations is that time must be conceived of as the length of the life characteristic of the universal Soul; that her course is composed of changes that are equal, uniform, and insensible, so that that course implies a continuity of action. Now let us for a moment suppose that the power of the Soul should cease to act, and to enjoy the life she at present possesses without interruption or limit, because this life is the activity characteristic of an eternal Soul, an action by which the Soul does not1009 return upon herself, and does not concentrate on herself, though enabling her to beget and produce. Now supposing that the Soul should cease to act, that she should apply her superior part to the intelligible world, and to eternity, and that she should there remain calmly united—what then would remain, unless eternity? For what room for succession would that allow, if all things were immovable in unity? How could she contain priority, posteriority, or more or less duration of time? How could the Soul apply herself to some object other than that which occupies her? Further, one could not then even say that she applied herself to the subject that occupied her; she would have to be separated therefrom in order to apply herself thereto. Neither would the universal Sphere exist, since it does not exist before time, because it exists and moves within time. Besides, even if this Sphere were at rest during the activity of the Soul, we could measure the duration of her rest because this rest is posterior to the rest of eternity. Since time is annihilated so soon as the Soul ceases to act, and concentrates in unity, time must be produced by the beginning of the Soul's motion towards sense-objects, by the Soul's life. Consequently (Plato463) says that time is born with the universe, because the Soul produced time with the universe; for it is this very action of the Soul which has produced this universe. This action constitutes time, and the universe is within time. Plato does indeed call the movements of the stars, time; but evidently only figuratively, as (Plato) subsequently says that the stars were created to indicate the divisions of time, and to permit us to measure it easily.


Indeed, as it was not possible to determine the time itself of the Soul, and to measure within themselves the1010 parts of an invisible and uncognizable duration, especially for men who did not know how to count, the (world) Soul created day and night so that their succession might be the basis of counting as far as two, by the aid of this variety. Plato464 indicates that as the source of the notion of number. Later, observing the space of time which elapses from one dawn to another, we were able to discover an interval of time determined by an uniform movement, so far as we direct our gaze thereupon, and as we use it as a measure by which to measure time. The expression "to measure time" is premeditated, because time, considered in itself, is not a measure. How indeed could time measure, and what would time, while measuring, say? Would time say of anything, "Here is an extension as large as myself?" What indeed could be the nature of the entity that would speak of "myself"? Would it be that according to which quantity is measured? In this case, time would have to be something by itself, to measure without itself being a measure. The movement of the universe is measured according to time, but it is not the nature of time to be the measure of movement; it is such only accidentally; it indicates the quantity of movement, because it is prior to it, and differs from it. On the other hand, in the case of a movement produced within a determinate time, and if a number be added thereto frequently enough, we succeed in reaching the knowledge of how much time has elapsed. It is therefore correct to say that the movement of the revolution operated by the universal Sphere measures time so far as possible, by its quantity indicating the corresponding quantity of time, since it can neither be grasped nor conceived otherwise. Thus what is measured, that is, what is indicated by the revolution of the universal Sphere, is time. It is not begotten, but only indicated by movement.



The measure of movement, therefore, seems to be what is measured by a definite movement, but which is other than this movement. There is a difference, indeed, between that which is measured, and that which measures; but that which is measured is measured only by accident. That would amount to saying that what is measured by a foot-rule is an extension, without defining what extension in itself is. In the same way, because of the inability to define movement more clearly because of its indeterminate nature, we say that movement is that which is measured by space; for, by observation of the space traversed by movement, we can judge of the quantity of the movement.


12. (13). The revolution of the universal Sphere leads us therefore to the recognition of time, within which it occurs. Not only is time that in which (all things "become," that is, grow), but time has to be what it is even before all things, being that within which everything moves, or rests with order and uniformity. This is discovered and manifested to our intelligence, but not produced by regular movement and rest, especially by movement. Better than rest, indeed, does movement lead us to a conception of time, and it is either to appreciate the duration of movement than that of rest. That is what led philosophers to define time as the measure "of" movement, instead of saying, what probably lay within their intention, that time is measured "by" movement. Above all, we must not consider that definition as adequate, adding to it that which the measured entity is in itself, not limiting ourselves to express what applies to it only incidentally.1012 Neither did we ever discern that such was their meaning, and we were unable to understand their teachings as they evidently posited the measure in the measured entity. No doubt that which hindered us from understanding them was that they were addressing their teachings to learned (thinkers), or well prepared listeners, and therefore, in their writings, they failed to explain the nature of time considered in itself, whether it be measure or something measured.


Plato himself, indeed, does say, not that the nature of time is to be a measure or something measured, but that to make it known there is, in the circular movement of the universe, a very short element (the interval of a day), whose object is to demonstrate the smallest portion of time, through which we are enabled to discover the nature and quantity of time. In order to indicate to us its nature ("being"), (Plato438) says that it was born with the heavens, and that it is the mobile image of eternity. Time is mobile because it has no more permanence than the life of the universal Soul, because it passes on and flows away therewith; it is born with the heavens, because it is one and the same life that simultaneously produces the heavens and time. If, granting its possibility, the life of the Soul were reduced to the unity (of the Intelligence), there would be an immediate cessation of time, which exists only in this life, and the heavens, which exist only through this life.


The theory that time is the priority and posteriority of this (earthly) movement, and of this inferior life,1013 is ridiculous in that it would imply on one hand that (the priority and posteriority of this sense-life) are something; and on the other, refusing to recognize as something real a truer movement, which includes both priority and posteriority. It would, indeed, amount to attributing to an inanimate movement the privilege of containing within itself priority with posteriority, that is, time; while refusing it to the movement (of the Soul), whose movement of the universal Sphere is no more than an image. Still it is from the movement (of the Soul) that originally emanated priority and posteriority, because this movement is efficient by itself. By producing all its actualizations it begets succession, and, at the same time that it begets succession, it produces the passing from one actualization to another.


(Some objector might ask) why we reduce the movement of the universe to the movement of the containing Soul, and admit that she is within time, while we exclude from time the (universal) Soul's movement, which subsists within her, and perpetually passes from one actualization to another? The reason is that above the activity of the Soul there exists nothing but eternity, which shares neither her movement nor her extension. Thus the primary movement (of Intelligence) finds its goal in time, begets it, and by its activity informs its duration.


How then is time present everywhere? The life of the Soul is present in all parts of the world, as the life of our soul is present in all parts of our body. It may indeed be objected,465 that time constitutes neither1014 a hypostatic substance, nor a real existence, being, in respect to existence, a deception, just as we usually say that the expressions "He was" and "He will be" are a deception in respect to the divinity; for then He will be and was just as is that, in which, according to his assertion, he is going to be.

To answer these objections, we shall have to follow a different method. Here it suffices to recall what was said above, namely, that by seeing how far a man in motion has advanced, we can ascertain the quantity of the movement; and that, when we discern movement by walking, we simultaneously concede that, before the walking, movement in that man was indicated by a definite quantity, since it caused his body to progress by some particular quantity. As the body was moved during a definite quantity of time, its quantity can be expressed by some particular quantity of movement—for this is the movement that causes it—and to its suitable quantity of time. Then this movement will be applied to the movement of the soul, which, by her uniform action, produces the interval of time.


To what shall the movement of the (universal) Soul be attributed? To whatever we may choose to attribute it. This will always be some indivisible principle, such as primary Motion, which within its duration contains all the others, and is contained by none other;466 for it cannot be contained by anything; it is therefore genuinely primary. The same obtains with the universal Soul.


Is time also within us?467 It is uniformly present in the universal Soul, and in the individual souls that are1015 all united together.468 Time, therefore, is not parcelled out among the souls, any more than eternity is parcelled out among the (Entities in the intelligible world) which, in this respect, are all mutually uniform.


1 Arist. Physics, iii. 7.

2 Or, the finished, the boundary, the Gnostic Horos.

3 Plato, Philebus, 24; Cary, 37.

4 Plato, Timaeus, p. 52; Cary, 26.

5 See vi. 3.13.

6 See Plato, Philebus, Cary, 40; see ii. 4.11.

7 See vi. 3.27.

8 See ii. 4.10.

9 Timaeus, 39; Cary, 14; see iii. 7.11.

10 Parmenides, 144; Cary, 37.

11 Possibly a reference to Numenius' book thereon.

12 Aristotle, Met. i. 5; Jamblichus, de Vita. Pyth. 28.150; and 29.162; found in their oath; also Numenius, 60.

13 See vi. 2.7.

14 See vi. 6.5.

15 As thought Plato and Aristotle combined, see Ravaisson, Essay, ii. 407.

16 Atheneus, xii. 546; see i. 6.4.

17 Plato, Timaeus, 39e, Cary, 15.

18 See iii. 8.7.

19 As thought the Pythagoreans; see Sextus Empiricus, Hypotyposes Pyrrh. 3.18, p. 165.

20 Olympiodorus, Comm. I Alcibiades, x. p. 95; Arist. Met., i. 5; Sextus Emp., H. P., iii. 152; Porphyry; Vit. Pyth., 48.

21 As said Theon of Smyrna, of the Pythagoreans, ii. p. 23; Jamblichus, Vit. Porph. 28.150; 29.162.

22 See i. 8.2.

23 Met. x. 2; iv. 2; v.

24 Peripatetic commentators on Aristotle's Metaphysics, which was used as a text-book in Plotinos's school.

25 See end of Sec. 13.

26 See vi. 1.6.

27 See Aristotle, Categories, ii. 6.

28 As Aristotle thought, Met. x. 2.

29 See vi. 9.2.

30 Met. x. 1.

31 The Numenian secret name of the divinity, fr. 20.

32 Met. xiii. 7.

33 Aristotle, Met. x. 2.

34 Aristotle, Metaph. xiii. 7.

35 See iv. 8.3.

36 See iv. 4.5.

37 See v. 7.3.

38 See vi. 3.13.

39 See vi. 9.1.

40 See Timaeus, 35; Cary, 12. Jamblichus, On the Soul, 2; Macrobius, Dream of Scipio, i. 5.

41 See Jamblichus, About Common Knowledge of Mathematics.

42 See Sec. 2.

43 Macrobius, Dream of Scipio, 1.5.

44 Parmenides quoted in Plato's Theataetus, 180 E. Jowett, iii. 383.

45 Plato, Timaeus, 56; Cary, 30.

46 In the Timaeus, 39; Cary, 14.

47 Parmenides, quoted by Plato, in the Sophists, 244; Cary, 61.

48 In Plato's Theataetus, 180; Jowett Tr. iii. 383.

49 Evidently Porphyry had advanced new objections that demanded an addition to the former book on the theory of vision; see iv. 5.

50 As thought the Stoics.

51 Like Aristotle, de Sensu et Sensili, 2.

52 iv. 5.

53 These ten disjointed reflections on happiness remind us of Porphyry's questioning habit, without which, Plotinos said, he might have had nothing to write; see Biography, 13.

54 As Epicurus thought the divinities alone enjoyed perfect happiness, Diog. Laert. x. 121.

55 See Aristotle, Nic. Ethics, 1.10.

56 See Cicero, de Finibus, ii. 27–29.

57 See iii. 7.

58 Plutarch, Dogm. Philos. i. 17; Stob. Eclog. i. 18.

59 Arist. Topic. iv. 2; de Gener. et Cor. i. 10; Ravaisson, EMA, i. 422.

60 As did Alexander of Aphrodisias, in his treatise on "Mixture;" Ravaisson, EMA, ii. 297.

61 Stob. Eclog. i. 18.

62 See Plutarch, "Whether Wickedness Renders One Unhappy."

63 As said Numenius, 44.

64 See vi. 7. This is another proof of the chronological order, as vi. 7 follows this book.

65 Bouillet explains that in this book Plotinos summated all that Plato had to say of the Ideas and of their dependence on the Good, in the Timaeus, Philebus, Phaedrus, the Republic, the Banquet, and the Alcibiades; correcting this summary by the reflections of Aristotle, in Met. xii. But Plotinos advances beyond both Plato and Aristotle in going beyond Intelligence to the supreme Good. (See Sec. 37.) This treatise might well have been written at the instigation of Porphyry, who desired to understand Plotinos's views on this great subject.

66 The famous Philonic distinction between "ho theos," and "theos."

67 Plato, Timaeus, p. 45, Cary, 19.

68 See iii. 2.

69 See iii. 2.1.

70 Plato's Timaeus, pp. 30–40, Cary, 10–15.

71 An Aristotelian idea, from Met. vii. 1.

72 Aristotle, Met. vii. 17.

73 Met. vii. 1.

74 Met. vii. 7.

75 Aristotle, Met. v. 8.

76 Met. 1.3.

77 See ii. 9.3.

78 Aristotle, de Anima, ii. 2; Met. vii. 17.

79 Porphyry, Of the Faculties of the Soul, fr. 5.

80 See ii. 5.3.

81 Aristotle, de Anima, i. 3; ii. 2–4.

82 Plato, I Alcibiades, p. 130, Cary, 52.

83 See i. 1.3.

84 Bouillet explains this as follows: Discursive reason, which constitutes the real man, begets sensibility, which constitutes the animal; see i. 1.7.

85 See iii. 4.3–6.

86 See iii. 4.6.

87 These demons are higher powers of the human soul.

88 See iv. 3.18.

89 Plato, Timaeus, p. 76, Cary, 54.

90 p. 39, Cary, 15.

91 Plato, Timaeus, p. 77, Cary, 55.

92 See iv. 4.22.

93 Lucretius, v. 1095.

94 Diogenes Laertes, iii. 74.

95 Plato, Timaeus, p. 80, Cary, 61.

96 See iv. 3.18.

97 Plato, Phaedrus, p. 248, Cary, 60; see i. 3.4.

98 See v. 7.

99 See v. 1.9.

100 See i. 8.6, 7.

101 Rep. vi. p. 509, Cary, 19.

102 See v. 1.7.

103 See v. 1.5.

104 See v. 1.7.

105 Plato, Rep. vi. p. 509, Cary, 19.

106 See v. 1.6.

107 See iv. 8.3.

108 See v. 1.4.

109 See v. 1.6.

110 Arist. Nic. Eth. 1.1.

111 See Arist., Met. i. 5.

112 According to Plato's Banquet, p. 206, Cary, 31.

113 See iv. 5.7.

114 See 1.6.

115 Plato, Phaedrus, p. 249, Cary, 63.

116 See v. 1.2.

117 See vi. 7.25.

118 Plato, Philebus, p. 60, Cary, 141; Gorgias, p. 474, Cary, 66.

119 p. 61, Cary, 144.

120 See Met. xii.

121 Met xii. 7.

122 Plato, Rep. vi., p. 505, Cary, 17.

123 According to the proverb, like seeks its like, mentioned by Plato, in his Banquet; p. 195, Cary, 21.

124 Plato, Gorgias, p. 507, Cary, 136.

125 See i. 8.5.

126 Plato, Timaeus, p. 52, Cary, 26.

127 See below, Sec. 32.

128 Plato, Rep. vi., p. 506, Cary 17.

129 As said Plato, Republic vi., p. 508, Cary, 19.

130 See iii. 5.9.

131 In his Philebus, p. 65, Cary, 155.

132 As Plato said, in his Banquet, p. 184, Cary, 12.

133 See i. 6.5.

134 See i. 6.7.

135 As says Plato, in his Banquet, p. 210, Cary, 35.

136 As Plato says, in his Phaedrus, p. 250, Cary, 65.

137 As Plato says, in his Banquet, p. 183, Cary, 11.

138 See i. 6.9.

139 See i. 6.8.

140 As Plato said, in his Banquet, p. 211, Cary, 35.

141 See iii. 5.9.

142 Rep. vi., p. 505, Cary, 16.

143 See iii. 3.6.

144 As thought Plato, in the Banquet, p. 210, Cary, 35.

145 Arist. Met. xii. 9; see v. 1.9.

146 Met. xii. 7.

147 Met. xii. 9.

148 See iv. 6.3.

149 Met. xii. 8.

150 Plato, Rep. vi. p. 509, Cary, 19.

151 Met. xii. 7.

152 See v. 3.10.

153 See vi. 2.7.

154 See v. 3.11.

155 See iii. 9.6.

156 See vi. 5.11.

157 See v. 3.13.

158 Arist. Met. xii. 7.

159 As thought Plato, Rep. vi., p. 508, Cary, 19.

160 See iv. 3.1.

161 Letter ii. 312; Cary, p. 482.

162 See i. 6, end.

163 Numenius, fr. 32.

164 See Numenius, fr. 48.

165 Banquet, p. 211, Cary, 35.

166 As Aristotle asks, Eth. Nic. iii.

167 Arist. Nic. Eth. iii. 1.

168 Eud. Eth. ii. 6.

169 Nic. Eth. iii. 2.

170 Eud. Mor. ii. 9.

171 Nic. Eth. iii. 2.

172 Nic. Eth. iii. 6.

173 Plato, Alcinous, 31; this is opposed by Aristotle, Nic. Eth. iii. 2.6.

174 Aristotle, Eud. Eth. ii. 10.

175 Aristotle, Mor. Magn. i. 32; Nic. Eth. iii. 6.

176 Aristotle, Nic. Eth. iii. 4.

177 Arist. de Anim. iii. 10.

178 de Anim. iii. 9.

179 Magn. Mor. i. 17.

180 de Anim. iii. 9.

181 This Stoic term had already been noticed and ridiculed by Numenius, 2.8, 13; 3.4, 5; Guthrie, Numenius, p. 141. He taught that it was a casual consequence of the synthetic power of the soul (52). Its relation to free-will and responsibility, here considered, had been with Numenius the foundation of the ridicule heaped on Lacydes.

182 Nic. Eth. x. 8.

183 Nic. Eth. x. 7.

184 Plato, Republic, x. p. 617; Cary, 15.

185 In his Phaedo, p. 83; Cary, 74.

186 Such as Strato the Peripatetic, and the Epicureans.

187 Plato, Rep. x. p. 596c; Cary, 1.

188 See Jamblichus's Letter to Macedonius, on Destiny, 5.

189 See iii. 9, end.

190 Numenius, 32.

191 See vi. 7.2.

192 Aris. Met. ix. 1; xii. 9; Nic. Eth. x. 8; Plato Timaeus, p. 52; Cary, 26; Plotinos, Enn. ii. 5.3.

193 This etymology of "providence" applies in English as well as in Greek; see iii. 2.1.

194 Plato, Laws, iv., p. 716; Cary, 8.

195 Arist. Met. xii. 7.

196 See iii. 8.9.

197 In his Cratylos, p. 419; Cary, 76.

198 See iii. 9, end.

199 As said Plato in the Timaeus, p. 42; Cary, 18; see Numenius, 10, 32.

200 In this book Plotinos uses synonymously the "Heaven," the "World," the "Universal Organism or Animal," the "All" (or universe), and the "Whole" (or Totality). This book as it were completes the former one on the Ideas and the Divinity, thus studying the three principles (Soul, Intelligence and Good) cosmologically. We thus have here another proof of the chronological order. In it Plotinos defends Plato's doctrine against Aristotle's objection in de Anima i. 3.

201 As thought Heraclitus, Diog. Laert. ix. 8; Plato, Timaeus, p. 31; Cary, 11; Arist. Heaven, 1, 8, 9.

202 Such as Heraclitus.

203 In the Cratylus, p. 402; Cary, 41.

204 Rep. vi., p. 498; Cary, 11.

205 See Apuleius, de Mundo, p. 708; Ravaisson, E.M.A. ii. 150; Plato, Epinomis, c. 5.

206 Which would render it unfit for fusion with the Soul, Arist., Meteorology, i. 4; Plato, Tim., p. 58; Cary, 33.

207 See ii. 9.3; iii. 2.1; iv. 3.9.

208 Phaedo, p. 109; Cary, 134; that is, the universal Soul is here distinguished into the celestial Soul, and the inferior Soul, which is nature, the generative power.

209 The inferior soul, or nature.

210 See ii. 3.9–15.

211 See i. 1.7–10.

212 As is the vegetative soul, which makes only the animal part of us; see i. 1.7–10.

213 In his Timaeus, p. 31; Cary, 11.

214 Timaeus, p. 56; Cary, 30.

215 See i. 8.9.

216 Plato, Epinomis, p. 984; Cary, 8.

217 In the Timaeus, p. 31, 51; Cary 11, 24, 25.

218 See ii. 7.

219 Who in his Timaeus says, p. 39; Cary, 14.

220 See ii. 2.

221 As thought Heraclitus and the Stoics, who thought that the stars fed themselves from the exhalations of the earth and the waters; see Seneca, Nat. Quest. vi. 16.

222 See ii. 1.5.

223 See iii. 7; Plotinos may have already sketched the outline of this book (number 45), and amplified it only later.

224 See ii. 9.6, or 33; another proof of the chronological order.

225 In his Timaeus, p. 69; Cary, 44.

226 As the Stoics think, Plutarch, Plac. Phil. iv. 11.

227 As Aristotle would say, de Anima, iii. 3.

228 Aristotle, de Sensu, 6.

229 v. 3.

230 Porphyry, Principles, 24.

231 Arist., Mem. et Rec., 2.

232 Porphyry, Principles, 25.

233 Aristotle, Mem. et Rec., 2.

234 Porphyry, Treatise, Psych.

235 Locke's famous "tabula rasa."

236 Substance, Quantity, Quality, Relation, When, Where, Action-and-Reaction, to Have, and Location. Aristotle's treatment thereof in his Categories, and Metaphysics.

237 Met. v. 7.

238 Or, substance, "ousia."

239 Cat. i. 1, 2; or, mere label in common.

240 Aristotle, Met. vii. 3, distinguished many different senses of Being; at least four principal ones: what it seems, or the universal, the kind, or the subject. The subject is that of which all the rest is an attribute, but which is not the attribute of anything. Being must be the first subject. In one sense this is matter; in another, form; and in the third place, the concretion of form and matter.

241 See ii. 4.6–16, for intelligible matter, and ii. 4.2–5 for sense-matter.

242 Arist., Met. vii. 3.

243 Arist., Cat. 2.5.25.

244 Arist., Cat. ii. 5.15.

245 Arist., Met. vii. 1; Cat. ii. 5.

246 Categ. ii. 5.1, 2.

247 Cat. ii. 5.16, 17.

248 Cat. ii. 6.1, 2.

249 Met. v. 13.

250 Met. xiii. 6.

251 Met. xiii. 3.

252 Categ. ii. 6.18–23.

253 See vi. 6.

254 Categ. ii. 6.4.

255 Arist., Hermeneia, 4.

256 See iii. 7.8.

257 Categ. ii. 6.26.

258 Categ. ii. 7.1; Met. v. 15.

259 Categ. ii. 7.17–19.

260 See Categ. viii.

261 Arist., Categ. ii. 8.3, 7, 8, 13, 14.

262 See ii. 6.3.

263 See ii. 6.3.

264 See ii. 6.1.

265 These are: 1, capacity and disposition; 2, physical power or impotence; 3, affective qualities; 4, the figure and exterior form.

266 Met. v. 14.

267 Categ. ii. 8.

268 See i. 6.2.

269 Categ. ii. 8.15.

270 Among whom Plotinos is not; see vi. 1.10.

271 The reader is warned that the single Greek word "paschein" is continually played upon in meanings "experiencing," "suffering," "reacting," or "passion."

272 Met. xi. 9.

273 That is, "to move" and "to cut" express an action as perfect as "having moved" and "having cut."

274 As Aristotle says, Categ. ii. 7.1.

275 Plotinos proposes to divide verbs not as transitive and intransitive, but as verbs expressing a completed action or state, (as to think), and those expressing successive action, (as, to walk). The French language makes this distinction by using with these latter the auxiliary "être." Each of these two classes are subdivided into some verbs expressing an absolute action, by which the subject alone is modified; and into other verbs expressing relative action, referring to, or modifying an exterior object. These alone are used to form the passive voice, and Plotinos does not want them classified apart.

276 In Greek the three words are derived from the same root.

277 See i. v.

278 See iii. 6.1.

279 Categ. iii. 14.

280 For this movement did not constitute reaction in the mover.

281 That is, the Greek word for "suffering."

282 A Greek pun, "kathexis."

283 A Greek pun, "hexis" also translated "habit," and "habitude."

284 See Chaignet, Hist. of Greek Psychology, and Simplicius, Commentary on Categories.

285 See iv. 7.14. This is an Aristotelian distinction.

286 See ii. 4.1.

287 By verbal similarity, or homonymy, a pun.

288 See ii. 4.1.

289 See ii. 5.5.

290 For Plato placed all reality in the Ideas.

291 Logically, their conception of matter breaks down.

292 Cicero, Academics, i. 11.

293 See ii. 4.10.

294 See Enn. ii. 4, 5; iii. 6. Another proof of the chronological order.

295 Plotinos was here in error; Aristotle ignored them, because he did not admit existence.

296 This refers to the Hylicists, who considered the universe as founded on earth, water, air or fire; or, Anaxagoras, who introduced the category of mind.

297 Plotinos's own categories are developed from the thought of Plato, found in his "Sophists," for the intelligible being; and yet he harks back to Aristotle's Categories and Metaphysics, for his classification of the sense-world.

298 See vi. 4, 6, 9.

299 In his "Sophist." p. 248 e-250; Cary, 72–76.

300 In vi. 3.

301 See vi. 3.6.

302 See vi. 3.3.

303 See iii. 2.16.

304 That is, the higher part, the principal power of the soul; see ii. 3.17, 18.

305 Here "being" and "essence" have had to be inverted.

306 Verbal similarity, homonymy, or pun.

307 See Plato's Sophists, p. 250 c; Cary, 75.

308 Sophists, p. 254 d; Cary, 86.

309 As said Aristotle, Met. iv. 2.

310 Plato, Sophist, p. 245; Cary, 63.

311 See vi. 9.1.

312 See vi. 4.

313 Arist., Met. xiv. 6.

314 Aristotle. Met. xiv. 6.

315 See ii. 6.2.

316 See vi. 7.3–6.

317 As said Aristotle. Eth. Nic. i. 6.2.

318 Against Aristotle.

319 See vi. 1.14.

320 See iii. 7.11.

321 To ti ên einai.

322 See i. 6.

323 See v. 8.

324 Counting identity and difference as a composite one? See note 11.

325 See iv. 9.5.

326 See iv. 8.3.

327 See iii. 2.16.

328 See iv. 8.8.

329 See iii. 8.7.

330 See iii. 8.2.

331 See iii. 2.2.

332 See iii. 9.1.

333 See 3.9.1; Timaeus, p. 39; Cary, 14.

334 See ii. 9.1.

335 See v. 3.4.

336 Plato, Philebus, p. 18; Cary, 23.

337 Plato, Philebus, p. 17 e; Cary, 21.

338 See iii. 4.1.

339 See iv. 8.3–7.

340 See iv. 8.8.

341 See iv. 4.29.

342 Here Plotinos purposely mentions Numenius's name for the divinity (fr. 20.6), and disagrees with it, erecting above it a supreme Unity. This, however, was only Platonic, Rep. vi. 19, 509 b., so that Plotinos should not be credited with it as is done by the various histories of philosophy. Even Numenius held the unity, fr. 14.

343 This means, by mere verbal similarity, "homonymy," or, punning.

344 As said Plato, in his Philebus, p. 18, Cary, 23.

345 See i. 1.7.

346 See Bouillet, vol. 1, p. 380.

347 See iii. 6.1–5.

348 See sect. 16.

349 See ii. 1.2.

350 Or, mortal nature, or, decay; see i. 8.4; ii. 4.5–6.

351 See vi. 2.7, 8.

352 See ii. 4.6.

353 See vi. 1.13, 14.

354 In vi. 3.11, and vi. 1.13, 14, he however subsumes time and place under relation.

355 According to Aristotle, Met. vii. 3.

356 Aristotle, Met. viii. 5.6.

357 Aristotle, Categ. ii. 5.

358 See ii. 5.4.

359 Met. vii. 11.

360 Met. vii. 17.

361 See ii. 4.3–5.

362 See iii. 6.

363 Categ. ii. 5.

364 See iii. 7.8.

365 See sect. 11.

366 Arist. Met. vii. 1.

367 See vi. 1.26.

368 See ii. 4.10.

369 See Met. vii. 3.

370 See vi. 1.2, 3.

371 See iii. 8.7.

372 Matter is begotten by nature, which is the inferior power of the universal Soul, iii. 4.1.; and the form derives from Reason, which is the superior power of the same Soul, ii. 3.17.

373 Met. v. 8.

374 Being an accident, Met. v. 30, see434.

375 See iii. 6.12.

376 See Categ. ii. 5.1–2.

377 Plotinos is here defending Plato's valuation of the universal, against Aristotle, in Met. vii. 13.

378 Arist. de Anima, ii. 1.

379 See sect. 8.

380 Plotinos follows Aristotle in his definition of quantity, but subsumes time and place under relation. Plot., vi. 1.4; Arist. Categ. ii. 6.1, 2.

381 Arist. Met. v. 13.

382 See vi. 3.5; iii. 6.17.

383 Categ. ii. 6.

384 Quoted by Plato in his Hippias, p. 289, Cary, 20.

385 See Categ. 2.6.

386 See vi. 1.5.

387 See sect. 11.

388 See vi. 6.

389 Met. v. 6.

390 Categ. iii. 6.26.

391 Met. v. 14.

392 Categ. ii. 6.26.

393 In speaking of quality, Categ. ii. 8.30.

394 Following the Latin version of Ficinus.

395 Bouillet remarks that Plotinos intends to demonstrate this by explaining the term "similarity" not only of identical quality, but also of two beings of which one is the image of the other, as the portrait is the image of the corporeal form, the former that of the "seminal reason," and the latter that of the Idea.

396 By this Plotinos means the essence, or intelligible form, vi. 7.2.

397 See vi. 7.3–6.

398 See iii. 6.4.

399 In his Banquet, p. 186–188; Cary, 14, 15.

400 See v. 9.11.

401 See i. 2.1.

402 See vi. 7.5.

403 See iii. 6.4.

404 Categ. ii. 8.3, 7, 8, 13, 14.

405 See i. 1.2.

406 Arist. Categ. ii. 8.8–13.

407 Met. v. 14.

408 Met. vii. 12.

409 Met. v. 14.

410 Categ. ii. 8.

411 Arist. Categ. iii. 10.

412 See vi. 1.17.

413 Met. v. 10.

414 Categ. iii. 11.

415 Categ. iii. 14.

416 Categ. ii. 7.

417 By a pun, this "change" is used as synonymous with the "alteration" used further on.

418 Arist. de Gen. i. 4.

419 Alteration is change in the category of quality, Arist. de Gen. i. 4; Physics, vii. 2.

420 Arist. Metaph. ix. 6; xi. 9.

421 Met. xi. 9.

422 See ii. 5.1, 2.

423 See ii. 5.2.

424 See ii. 5.2.

425 Categ. iii. 14.

426 Arist. Met. xi. 9.

427 See ii. 7.

428 Arist. de Gen. i. 5.

429 Arist. de Gen. i. 10.

430 Here we have Numenius's innate motion of the intelligible, fr. 30.21.

431 See vi. 1.15–22.

432 Namely, time, vi. 1.13; place, vi. 1.14; possession, vi. 1.23; location, vi. 1.24.

433 For relation, see vi. 1.6–9.

434 For Aristotle says that an accident is something which exists in an object without being one of the distinctive characteristics of its essence.

435 In this book Plotinos studies time and eternity comparatively; first considering Plato's views in the Timaeus, and then the views of Pythagoras (1), Epicurus (9), the Stoics (7), and Aristotle (4, 8, 12).

436 The bracketed numbers are those of the Teubner edition; the unbracketed, those of the Didot edition.

437 See ii. 9.6.

438 As thought Plato, in his Timaeus, p. 37, Cary, 14.

439 Stobaeus. Ecl. Phys. i. 248.

440 A category, see vi. 2.7.

441 See vi. 2.7.

442 Or, with Mueller, "therefore, in a permanent future."

443 De Caelo, i. 9.

444 That is, with this divinity that intelligible existence is.

445 Arist. Met. iii. 2.

446 In the Timaeus, p. 29, Cary 10.

447 Stob. Ecl. Physic. ix. 40.

448 Porphyry, Principles, 32, end.

449 Especially Archytas, Simplicius, Comm. in Phys. Aristot. 165; Stob. Ecl. Physic. Heeren, 248–250.

450 Stobaeus, 254.

451 See Stobaeus, 250.

452 Aristotle, Physica, iv. 12.

453 Mueller: "Whether this may be predicated of the totality of the movement."

454 See vi. 6.4–10.

455 As Aristotle, Phys. iv. 11, claimed.

456 In Physica, iii. 7.

457 Stobaeus, Ecl. Phys. ix. 40.

458 When collectively considered as "A-pollo," following Numenius, 42, 67, Plotinos, v. 5.6.

459 See ii. 9.3.

460 See iii. 7.1, Introd.

461 See iii. 6.16, 17.

462 Porphyry, Principles, 32.

463 In the Timaeus, p. 38, Cary, 14.

464 In his Timaeus, p. 39, Cary, 14, 15.

465 As by Antiphanes and Critolaus, Stobaeus, Eclog. Phys. ix. 40, p. 252, Heeren.

466 See iii. 7.2.

467 As thought Aristotle, de Mem. et Remin. ii. 12.

468 See iv. 9.


Hellenica World