Sacred Texts  Classics  Index  Previous  Next 

Section 10

10. This matter need not be elaborated at present: it suffices to say that if the created were all, these ultimates [the higher] need not exist: but the Supreme does include primals, the primals because the producers. In other words, there must be, with the made, the making source; and, unless these are to be identical, there will be need of some link between them. Similarly, this link which is the Intellectual-Principle demands yet a Transcendent. If we are asked why this Transcendent also should not have self-vision, our answer is that it has no need of vision; but this we will discuss later: for the moment we go back, since the question at issue is gravely important.

We repeat that the Intellectual-Principle must have, actually has, self-vision, firstly because it has multiplicity, next because it exists for the external and therefore must be a seeing power, one seeing that external; in fact its very essence is vision. Given some external, there must be vision; and if there be nothing external the Intellectual-Principle [Divine Mind] exists in vain. Unless there is something beyond bare unity, there can be no vision: vision must converge with a visible object. And this which the seer is to see can be only a multiple, no undistinguishable unity; nor could a universal unity find anything upon which to exercise any act; all, one and desolate, would be utter stagnation; in so far as there is action, there is diversity. If there be no distinctions, what is there to do, what direction in which to move? An agent must either act upon the extern or be a multiple and so able to act upon itself: making no advance towards anything other than itself, it is motionless and where it could know only blank fixity it can know nothing.

The intellective power, therefore, when occupied with the intellectual act, must be in a state of duality, whether one of the two elements stand actually outside or both lie within: the intellectual act will always comport diversity as well as the necessary identity, and in the same way its characteristic objects [the Ideas] must stand to the Intellectual-Principle as at once distinct and identical. This applies equally to the single object; there can be no intellection except of something containing separable detail and, since the object is a Reason-principle [a discriminated Idea] it has the necessary element of multiplicity. The Intellectual-Principle, thus, is informed of itself by the fact of being a multiple organ of vision, an eye receptive of many illuminated objects. If it had to direct itself to a memberless unity, it would be dereasoned: what could it say or know of such an object? The self-affirmation of [even] a memberless unity implies the repudiation of all that does not enter into the character: in other words, it must be multiple as a preliminary to being itself.

Then, again, in the assertion "I am this particular thing," either the "particular thing" is distinct from the assertor- and there is a false statement- or it is included within it, and, at once, multiplicity is asserted: otherwise the assertion is "I am what I am," or "I am I."

If it be no more than a simple duality able to say "I and that other phase," there is already multiplicity, for there is distinction and ground of distinction, there is number with all its train of separate things.

In sum, then, a knowing principle must handle distinct items: its object must, at the moment of cognition, contain diversity; otherwise the thing remains unknown; there is mere conjunction, such a contact, without affirmation or comprehension, as would precede knowledge, the intellect not yet in being, the impinging agent not percipient.

Similarly the knowing principle itself cannot remain simplex, especially in the act of self-knowing: all silent though its self-perception be, it is dual to itself. Of course it has no need of minute self-handling since it has nothing to learn by its intellective act; before it is [effectively] Intellect, it holds knowledge of its own content. Knowledge implies desire, for it is, so to speak, discovery crowning a search; the utterly undifferentiated remains self-centred and makes no enquiry about that self: anything capable of analysing its content, must be a manifold.

Next: Section 11