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Section 5

5. Does it all come down, then, to one phase of the self knowing another phase?

That would be a case of knower distinguished from known, and would not be self-knowing.

What, then, if the total combination were supposed to be of one piece, knower quite undistinguished from known, so that, seeing any given part of itself as identical with itself, it sees itself by means of itself, knower and known thus being entirely without differentiation?

To begin with, the distinction in one self thus suggested is a strange phenomenon. How is the self to make the partition? The thing cannot happen of itself. And, again, which phase makes it? The phase that decides to be the knower or that which is to be the known? Then how can the knowing phase know itself in the known when it has chosen to be the knower and put itself apart from the known? In such self-knowledge by sundering it can be aware only of the object, not of the agent; it will not know its entire content, or itself as an integral whole; it knows the phase seen but not the seeing phase and thus has knowledge of something else, not self-knowledge.

In order to perfect self-knowing it must bring over from itself the knowing phase as well: seeing subject and seen objects must be present as one thing. Now if in this coalescence of seeing subject with seen objects, the objects were merely representations of the reality, the subject would not possess the realities: if it is to possess them it must do so not by seeing them as the result of any self-division but by knowing them, containing them, before any self-division occurs.

At that, the object known must be identical with the knowing act [or agent], the Intellectual-Principle, therefore, identical with the Intellectual Realm. And in fact, if this identity does not exist, neither does truth; the Principle that should contain realities is found to contain a transcript, something different from the realities; that constitutes non-Truth; Truth cannot apply to something conflicting with itself; what it affirms it must also be.

Thus we find that the Intellectual-Principle, the Intellectual Realm and Real Being constitute one thing, which is the Primal Being; the primal Intellectual-Principle is that which contains the realities or, rather, which is identical with them.

But taking Primal Intellection and its intellectual object to be a unity, how does that give an Intellective Being knowing itself? An intellection enveloping its object or identical with it is far from exhibiting the Intellectual-Principle as self-knowing.

All turns on the identity. The intellectual object is itself an activity, not a mere potentiality; it is not lifeless; nor are the life and intellection brought into it as into something naturally devoid of them, some stone or other dead matter; no, the intellectual object is essentially existent, the primal reality. As an active force, the first activity, it must be, also itself, the noblest intellection, intellection possessing real being since it is entirely true; and such an intellection, primal and primally existent, can be no other than the primal principle of Intellection: for that primal principle is no potentiality and cannot be an agent distinct from its act and thus, once more, possessing its essential being as a mere potentiality. As an act- and one whose very being is an act- it must be undistinguishably identical with its act: but Being and the Intellectual object are also identical with that act; therefore the Intellectual-Principle, its exercise of intellection and the object of intellection all are identical. Given its intellection identical with intellectual object and the object identical with the Principle itself, it cannot but have self-knowledge: its intellection operates by the intellectual act which is itself upon the intellectual object which similarly is itself. It possesses self-knowing, thus, on every count; the act is itself; and the object seen in that act- self, is itself.

Next: Section 6