7. Consider the act of ocular vision:
There are two elements here; there is the form perceptible to the sense and there is the medium by which the eye sees that form. This medium is itself perceptible to the eye, distinct from the form to be seen, but the cause of the seeing; it is perceived at the one stroke in that form and on it and, hence, is not distinguished from it, the eye being held entirely by the illuminated object. When on the contrary this medium presents itself alone it is seen directly- though even then actual sight demands some solid base; there must be something besides the medium which, unless embracing some object, eludes perception; thus the light inherent to the sun would not be perceived but for the solidity of the mass. If it is objected that the sun is light entire, this would only be a proof of our assertion: no other visible form will contain light which must, then, have no other property than that of visibility, and in fact all other visible objects are something more than light alone.
So it is with the act of vision in the Intellectual Principle.
This vision sees, by another light, the objects illuminated by the First Principle: setting itself among them, it sees veritably; declining towards the lower Nature, that upon which the light from above rests, it has less of that vision. Passing over the visible and looking to the medium by which it sees, then it holds the Light and the source of Light.
But since the Intellectual-Principle is not to see this light as something external we return to our analogy; the eye is not wholly dependent upon an outside and alien light; there is an earlier light within itself, a more brilliant, which it sees sometimes in a momentary flash. At night in the darkness a gleam leaps from within the eye: or again we make no effort to see anything; the eyelids close; yet a light flashes before us; or we rub the eye and it sees the light it contains. This is sight without the act, but it is the truest seeing, for it sees light whereas its other objects were the lit not the light.
It is certainly thus that the Intellectual-Principle, hiding itself from all the outer, withdrawing to the inmost, seeing nothing, must have its vision- not of some other light in some other thing but of the light within itself, unmingled, pure, suddenly gleaming before it;