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Section 24

24. But ourselves- how does it touch us?

We may recall what we have said of the nature of the light shining from it into Intellectual-Principle and so by participation into the soul. But for the moment let us leave that aside and put another question:

Does The Good hold that nature and name because some outside thing finds it desirable? May we put it that a thing desirable to one is good to that one and that what is desirable to all is to be recognised as The Good?

No doubt this universal questing would make the goodness evident but still there must be in the nature something to earn that name.

Further, is the questing determined by the hope of some acquisition or by sheer delight? If there is acquisition, what is it? If it is a matter of delight, why here rather than in something else?

The question comes to this: Is goodness in the appropriate or in something apart, and is The Good good as regards itself also or good only as possessed?

Any good is such, necessarily, not for itself but for something outside.

But to what nature is This good? There is a nature to which nothing is good.

And we must not overlook what some surly critic will surely bring up against us:

What's all this: you scatter praises here, there and everywhere: Life is good, Intellectual-Principle is good: and yet The Good is above them; how then can Intellectual-Principle itself be good? Or what do we gain by seeing the Ideas themselves if we see only a particular Idea and nothing else [nothing "substantial"]? If we are happy here we may be deceived into thinking life a good when it is merely pleasant; but suppose our lot unhappy, why should we speak of good? Is mere personal existence good? What profit is there in it? What is the advantage in existence over utter non-existence- unless goodness is to be founded upon our love of self? It is the deception rooted in the nature of things and our dread of dissolution that lead to all the "goods" of your positing.

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