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Section 18

18. It appears then that Number in that realm is definite; it is we that can conceive the "More than is present"; the infinity lies in our counting: in the Real is no conceiving more than has been conceived; all stands entire; no number has been or could be omitted to make addition possible. It might be described as infinite in the sense that it has not been measured- who is there to measure it?- but it is solely its own, a concentrated unit, entire, not ringed round by any boundary; its manner of being is settled for it by itself alone. None of the Real-Beings is under limit; what is limited, measured, is what needs measure to prevent it running away into the unbounded. There every being is Measure; and therefore it is that all is beautiful. Because that is a living thing it is beautiful, holding the highest life, the complete, a life not tainted towards death, nothing mortal there, nothing dying. Nor is the life of that Absolute Living-Form some feeble flickering; it is primal, the brightest, holding all that life has of radiance; it is that first light which the souls There draw upon for their life and bring with them when they come here. It knows for what purpose it lives, towards What it lives, from Whence it lives; for the Whence of its life is the Whither... and close above it stands the wisdom of all, the collective Intellectual-Principle, knit into it, one with it, colouring it to a higher goodness, by kneading wisdom into it, making its beauty still more august. Even here the august and veritably beautiful life is the life in wisdom, here dimly seen, There purely. For There wisdom gives sight to the seer and power for the fuller living and in that tenser life both to see and to become what is seen.

Here attention is set for the most part upon the unliving and, in the living, upon what is lifeless in them; the inner life is taken only with alloy: There, all are Living Beings, living wholly, unalloyed; however you may choose to study one of them apart from its life, in a moment that life is flashed out upon you: once you have known the Essence that pervades them, conferring that unchangeable life upon them, once you perceive the judgement and wisdom and knowledge that are theirs, you can but smile at all the lower nature with its pretention to Reality.

In virtue of this Essence it is that life endures, that the Intellectual-Principle endures, that the Beings stand in their eternity; nothing alters it, turns it, moves it; nothing, indeed, is in being besides it to touch it; anything that is must be its product; anything opposed to it could not affect it. Being itself could not make such an opposite into Being; that would require a prior to both and that prior would then be Being; so that Parmenides was right when he taught the identity of Being and Unity. Being is thus beyond contact not because it stands alone but because it is Being. For Being alone has Being in its own right.

How then can we deny to it either Being or anything at all that may exist effectively, anything that may derive from it?

As long as it exists it produces: but it exists for ever; so, therefore, do its products. And so great is it in power and beauty that it remains the allurer, all things of the universe depending from it and rejoicing to hold their trace of it and through that to seek their good. To us, existence is before the good; all this world desires life and wisdom in order to Being; every soul and every intellect seeks to be its Being, but Being is sufficient to itself.