8. Now comes the question what sort of thing does the Intellectual-Principle see in seeing the Intellectual Realm and what in seeing itself?
We are not to look for an Intellectual realm reminding us of the colour or shape to be seen on material objects: the intellectual antedates all such things; and even in our sphere the production is very different from the Reason-Principle in the seeds from which it is produced. The seed principles are invisible and the beings of the Intellectual still more characteristically so; the Intellectuals are of one same nature with the Intellectual Realm which contains them, just as the Reason-Principle in the seed is identical with the soul, or life-principle, containing it.
But the Soul (considered as apart from the Intellectual-Principle) has no vision of what it thus contains, for it is not the producer but, like the Reason-Principles also, an image of its source: that source is the brilliant, the authentic, the primarily existent, the thing self-sprung and self-intent; but its image, soul, is a thing which can have no permanence except by attachment, by living in that other; the very nature of an image is that, as a secondary, it shall have its being in something else, if at all it exist apart from its original. Hence this image (soul) has not vision, for it has not the necessary light, and, if it should see, then, as finding its completion elsewhere, it sees another, not itself.
In the pure Intellectual there is nothing of this: the vision and the envisioned are a unity; the seen is as the seeing and seeing as seen.
What, then, is there that can pronounce upon the nature of this all-unity?
That which sees: and to see is the function of the Intellectual-Principle. Even in our own sphere [we have a parallel to this self-vision of a unity], our vision is light or rather becomes one with light, and it sees light for it sees colours. In the intellectual, the vision sees not through some medium but by and through itself alone, for its object is not external: by one light it sees another not through any intermediate agency; a light sees a light, that is to say a thing sees itself. This light shining within the soul enlightens it; that is, it makes the soul intellective, working it into likeness with itself, the light above.
Think of the traces of this light upon the soul, then say to yourself that such, and more beautiful and broader and more radiant, is the light itself; thus you will approach to the nature of the Intellectual-Principle and the Intellectual Realm, for it is this light, itself lit from above, which gives the soul its brighter life.
It is not the source of the generative life of the soul which, on the contrary, it draws inward, preserving it from such diffusion, holding it to the love of the splendour of its Prior.
Nor does it give the life of perception and sensation, for that looks to the external and to what acts most vigorously upon the senses whereas one accepting that light of truth may be said no longer to see the visible, but the very contrary.
This means in sum that the life the soul takes thence is an intellective life, a trace of the life in the [divine] Intellect, in which alone the authentic exists.
The life in the Divine Intellect is also an Act: it is the primal light outlamping to itself primarily, its own torch; light-giver and lit at once; the authentic intellectual object, knowing at once and known, seen to itself and needing no other than itself to see by, self-sufficing to the vision, since what it sees it is; known to us by that very same light, our knowledge of it attained through itself, for from nowhere else could we find the means of telling of it. By its nature, its self-vision is the clearer but, using it as our medium, we too may come to see by it.
In the strength of such considerations we lead up our own soul to the Divine, so that it poses itself as an image of that Being, its life becoming an imprint and a likeness of the Highest, its every act of thought making it over into the Divine and the Intellectual.
If the soul is questioned as to the nature of that Intellectual-Principle- the perfect and all-embracing, the primal self-knower- it has but to enter into that Principle, or to sink all its activity into that, and at once it shows itself to be in effective possession of those priors whose memory it never lost: thus, as an image of the Intellectual-Principle, it can make itself the medium by which to attain some vision of it; it draws upon that within itself which is most closely resemblant, as far as resemblance is possible between divine Intellect and any phase of soul.