By Author [ A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z |  Other Symbols ]
  By Title [ A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z |  Other Symbols ]
  By Language
all Classics books content using ISYS

Download this book: [ ASCII | HTML | PDF ]

Look for this book on Amazon

We have new books nearly every day.
If you would like a news letter once a week or once a month
fill out this form and we will give you a summary of the books for that week or month by email.

Title: Plotinos: Complete Works, v. 3 - In Chronological Order, Grouped in Four Periods
Author: Plotinos (Plotinus)
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Plotinos: Complete Works, v. 3 - In Chronological Order, Grouped in Four Periods" ***

This book is indexed by ISYS Web Indexing system to allow the reader find any word or number within the document.




    Complete Works

    In Chronological Order, Grouped in Four Periods;

    STUDIES in Sources, Development, Influence;
    INDEX of Subjects, Thoughts and Words.


    Professor in Extension, University of the South, Sewanee;
    A.M., Sewanee, and Harvard; Ph.D., Tulane, and Columbia.
    M.D., Medico-Chirurgical College, Philadelphia.

    VOL. III
    Porphyrian Books, 34-45.

    P. O. Box 42, ALPINE, N.J., U.S.A.

    Copyright, 1918, by Kenneth Sylvan Guthrie.
    All Rights, including that of Translation, Reserved.

    Entered at Stationers' Hall, by
    George Bell and Sons, Portugal Street, Lincoln's Inn, London.


Of Numbers.


1. Does manifoldness consist in distance from unity? Is infinity
this distance carried to the extreme, because it is an innumerable
manifoldness? Is then infinity an evil, and are we ourselves evil when
we are manifold? (That is probable); or every being becomes manifold
when, not being able to remain turned towards itself, it blossoms out;
it extends while dividing; and thus losing all unity in its expansion,
it becomes manifoldness, because there is nothing that holds its parts
mutually united. If, nevertheless, there still remain something that
holds its parts mutually united, then, though blossoming out, (the
essence) remains, and becomes manifoldness.


But what is there to be feared in magnitude? If (the essence) that has
increased could feel (it would feel that which in itself has become
evil; for) it would feel that it had issued from itself, and had even
gone to a great distance (from itself). No (essence), indeed, seeks
that which is other than itself; every (essence) seeks itself. The
movement by which (an essence) issues from itself is caused either by
"audacity," or necessity. Every (being) exists in the highest degree
not when it becomes manifold or great, but when it belongs to itself;
now this occurs when it concentrates upon itself. That which desires to
become great in some other manner is ignorant of that in which true
greatness consists; instead of proceeding towards its legitimate goal,
it turns towards the outside. Now, on the contrary, to turn towards
oneself, is to remain in oneself. The demonstration of this may be seen
in that which participates in greatness; if (the being) develop itself
so that each of its parts exist apart, each part will indeed exist, but
(the being) will no longer be what it originally was. To remain what it
is, all its parts must converge towards unity; so that, to be what it
was in its being, it should not be large, but single. When it possesses
magnitude, and quantity inheres in it, it is destroyed, while when it
possesses unity, it possesses itself. Doubtless the universe is both
great and beautiful; but it is beautiful only so far as the unity holds
it in from dissipating into infinity. Besides, if it be beautiful, it
is not because it is great, but because it participates in beauty; now,
if it need participation in beauty, it is only because it has become so
large. Indeed, isolated from beauty, and considered in itself as great,
it is ugly. From this point of view, what is great is with beauty in
the relation obtaining between matter and form, because what needs
adornment is manifold; consequently, what is great has so much more
need of being adorned and is so much more ugly (as it is great).


2. What opinion should we hold of that which is called the number of
infinity? We must begin by examining how it can be a number, if it be
infinite. Indeed, sense-objects are not infinite; consequently, the
number which inheres in them could not be infinite, and he who numbers
them, does not number infinity. Even if they were multiplied by two, or
by more, they still could always be determined; if they were multiplied
in respect of the past or the future, they would still be determined.
It might be objected that number is not infinite in an absolute manner,
but only (in a relative manner) in this sense, that it is always
possible to add thereto. But he who numbers does not create numbers;
they were already determined, and they existed (before being conceived
by him who was numbering them). As beings in the intelligible world are
determined, their number is also determined by the quantity of beings.
Just as we make man manifold by adding to him the beautiful, and other
things of the kind, we can make an image of number correspond to the
image of every intelligible being. Just as, in thought, we can multiply
a town that does not exist, so can we multiply numbers. When we number
the parts of time, we limit ourselves to applying to them the numbers
that we have in ourselves, and which, merely on that account, do not
cease remaining in us.


3. How did the infinite, in spite of its infiniteness, reach existence?
For the things which have arrived at existence, and which subsist,
have been preparatorily contained in a number. Before answering this
question, we must examine whether, when it forms part of veritable
essences, multitude can be evil. On high, the manifoldness remains
united, and is hindered from completely being manifoldness, because
it is the one essence; but this is inferior to unity by this very
condition that it is manifoldness, and thus, is imperfect in respect
to unity. Therefore, though not having the same nature as the One, but
a nature somewhat degraded (in comparison with unity), manifoldness is
inferior to unity; but, by the effect of the unity which it derives
from the One (since it is the one essence), it still possesses a
venerable character, reduces to unity the manifold it contains, and
makes it subsist in an immutable manner.


How can infinity subsist in the intelligible world? Either it exists
among the genuine essences, and then is determined; or it is not
determined, and then it does not exist among the veritable essences,
but it must be classified among the things which exist in perpetual
becoming, such as time.[1] The infinite is determinate, but it is not
any the less infinite; for it is not the limit[2] which receives the
determination, but the infinite[3]; and between the boundary and the
infinite there is no intermediary that could receive the determination.
This infinite acts as if it were the idea of the boundary, but it is
contained by what embraces it exteriorly. When I say that it flees, I
do not mean that it passes from one locality to another, for it has no
locality; but I mean that space has existed from the very moment that
this infinite was embraced.[4] We must not imagine that what is called
the movement of the infinite consists in a displacement, nor admit that
the infinite by itself possesses any other of the things that could be
named; thus the infinite could neither move, nor remain still. Where
indeed would it halt, since the place indicated by the word "where"
is posterior to infinity? Movement is attributed to infinity only to
explain that the infinite has no permanency. Should we believe that the
infinite exists on high in one only and single place, or that it arises
there, and descends here below? No: for it is in respect to one only
and single place that we are enabled to conceive both what has risen
and does not descend, as well as that which descends.[5]


How then can we conceive the infinite? By making abstraction of form
by thought. How will it be conceived? We may conceive of the infinite
as simultaneously being the contraries, and not being them. It will
have to be conceived as being simultaneously great and small; for the
infinite becomes both of these.[6] It may also be conceived as both
being moved, and being stable[7]; for the infinite becomes these two
things also. But before the infinite becomes these two contraries,
it is neither of them in any determinate manner; otherwise, you
would have determined it. By virtue of its nature, the infinite is
these things therefore in an indeterminate and infinite manner;
only on this condition will it appear to be these contrary things.
If, by applying your thought to the infinite, you do not entice
it into a determination, as into a net, you will see the infinite
escaping you, and you will not find anything in it that would be a
unity; otherwise, you would have determined it. If you represented
to yourself the infinite as a unity, it would seem to you manifold;
if you say that it is manifold, it will again make game of you; for,
all things do not form a manifold where no one thing is one. From
still another standpoint, the nature of the infinite is movement, and
according to another nature, stability; for its property of being
invisible by itself constitutes a movement which distinguishes it from
intelligence[8]; its property of not being able to escape, of being
exteriorly embraced, of being circumscribed within an unescapable
circle constitutes a sort of stability. Movement therefore cannot be
predicated of infinity, without also attributing stability to it.


4. Let us now examine how the numbers form part of the intelligible
world. Are they inherent in the other forms? Or are they, since all
eternity, the consequences of the existence of these forms? In the
latter case, as the very essence possessed primary existence, we would
first conceive the monad; then, as movement and stability emanated from
it, we would have the triad; and each one of the remaining intelligible
entities would lead to the conception of some of the other numbers. If
it were not so, if a unity were inherent in each intelligible entity,
the unity inherent in the first Essence would be the monad; the unity
inherent in what followed it, if there be an order in the intelligible
entities, would be the "pair"; last, the unity inhering in some other
intelligible entity, such as, for instance, in ten, would be the decad.
Nevertheless this could not yet be so, each number being conceived as
existing in itself. In this case, will we be compelled to admit that
number is anterior to the other intelligible entities, or posterior
thereto? On this subject Plato[9] says that men have arrived to the
notion of number by the succession of days and nights, and he thus
refers the conception of number to the diversity of (objective) things.
He therefore seems to teach that it is first the numbered objects that
by their diversity produce numbers, that number results from movement
of the soul, which passes from one object to another, and that it is
thus begotten when the soul enumerates; that is, when she says to
herself, Here is one object, and there is another; while, so long as
she thinks of one and the same object, she affirms nothing but unity.
But when Plato says that being is in the veritable number, and that the
number is in the being,[10] he intends to teach that by itself number
possesses a hypostatic substantial existence, that it is not begotten
in the soul which enumerates, but that the variety of sense-objects
merely recalls to the soul the notion of number.


5. What then is the nature of number? Is it a consequence, and
partially an aspect of each being, like man and one-man, essence and
one-essence? Can the same be said for all the intelligibles, and
is that the origin of all numbers? If so, how is it that on high
(in the intelligible world) the pair and triad exist? How are all
things considered within unity, and how will it be possible to reduce
number to unity, since it has a similar nature? There would thus be a
multitude of unities, but no other number would be reduced to unity,
except the absolute One. It might be objected that a pair is the
thing, or rather the aspect of the thing which possesses two powers
joined together, such as is a composite reduced to unity, or such as
the Pythagoreans conceived the numbers,[11] which they seem to have
predicated of other objects, by analogy. For instance, they referred
to justice as the (Tetrad, or) group-of-four,[12] and likewise for
everything else. Thus a number, as for instance a group-of-ten, would
be considered as a single (group of) unity, and would be connected
with the manifold contained in the single object. This, however, is an
inadequate account of our conception of "ten"; we speak of the objects
after gathering (ten) separate objects. Later, indeed, if these ten
objects constitute a new unity, we call the group a "decad." The same
state of affairs must obtain with intelligible Numbers. If such were
the state of affairs (answers Plotinos), if number were considered only
within objects, would it possess hypostatic existence? It might be
objected, What then would hinder that, though we consider white within
things, that nevertheless the White should (besides) have a hypostatic
substantial existence? For movement is indeed considered within
essence, and yet (it is agreed that) movement possesses a "hypostatic"
substantial existence within essence. The case of number, however,
is not similar to that of movement; for we have demonstrated that
movement thus considered in itself is something unitary.[13] Moreover,
if no more than such a hypostatic substantial existence be predicated
of number, it ceases to be a being, and becomes an accident, though
it would not even then be a pure accident; for what is an accident
must be something before becoming the accident (of some substance).
Though being inseparable therefrom, it must possess its own individual
nature in itself, like whiteness; and before being predicated of
something else, it already is what it is posited. Consequently, if
one be in every (being), one man is not identical with man; if "one"
be something different from "man"[14] and from every other (being),
if it be something common to all (beings), one must be anterior to
all men and to all other (beings), so that man and all other beings
may be one. The one is therefore anterior to movement, since movement
is one, and likewise anterior to essence, to allow for essence also
being one. This of course does not refer to the absolute Unity that is
recognized as superior to essence, but of the unity which is predicated
of every intelligible form. Likewise, above that of which the decad is
predicated subsists the "Decad in itself," for that in which the decad
is recognized could not be the Decad in itself.


Does unity therefore inhere in essences, and does it subsist with
them? If it inhere in essences, or if it be an accident, as health is
an accident of man, it must be something individual (like health). If
unity be an element of the composite, it will first have to exist
(individually), and be an unity in itself, so as to be able to unify
itself to something else; then, being blended with this other thing
that it has unified, it will not longer remain really one, and will
thereby even become double. Besides, how would that apply to the decad?
What need of the (intelligible) Decad has that which is already a
decad, by virtue of the power it possesses? Will it receive its form
from that Decad? If it be its matter, if it be ten and decad only
because of the presence of the Decad, the Decad will have first to
exist in itself, in the pure and simple state of (being a) Decad.


6. But if, independently of the things themselves, there be an One
in itself, and a Decad in itself; and if the intelligible entities
be unities, pairs, or triads, independently of what they are by
their being, what then is the nature of these Numbers? What is their
constitution? It must be admitted that a certain Reason presides over
the generation of these Numbers. It is therefore necessary clearly to
understand that in general, if intelligible forms at all exist, it is
not because the thinking principle first thought each of them, and
thereby gave them hypostatic existence. Justice, for instance, was
not born because the thinking principle thought what justice was; nor
movement, because it thought what movement was. Thus thought had to be
posterior to the thing thought, and the thought of justice to justice
itself. On the other hand, thought is anterior to the thing that owes
its existence to thought, since this thing exists only because it is
thought. If then justice were identical with such a thought, it would
be absurd that justice should be nothing else than its definition; for
in this case, the thinking of justice or movement, would amount to
a conception of these objects (by a definition). Now this would be
tantamount to conceiving the definition of a thing that did not exist,
which is impossible.


The statement that in what is immaterial, knowledge and the known thing
coincide,[15] must not be understood to mean that it is the knowledge
of the thing which is the thing itself, nor that the reason which
contemplates an object is this object itself, but rather, conversely,
that it is the thing which, existing without matter, is purely
intelligible and intellection. I do not here mean the intellection
which is neither a definition nor an intuition of a thing; but I say
that the thing itself, such as it exists in the intelligible world,
is exclusively intelligence and knowledge. It is not (the kind of)
knowledge that applies itself to the intelligible, it is the (actual)
thing itself which keeps that knowledge (thereof possessed by reason)
from remaining different from it, just as the knowledge of a material
object remains different from that object; but it is a veritable (kind
of) knowledge, that is, a knowledge which is not merely a simple
image of the known thing, but really is the thing itself. It is not
therefore the thought of the movement which produced movement in
itself, but the movement in itself which produced the thought, so that
the thought thinks itself as movement, and as thought. On the one hand,
intelligible movement is thought by the intelligible Essence; on the
other hand, it is movement in itself because it is first--for there
is no movement anterior thereto; it is real movement, because it is
not the accident of a subject, but because it is the actualization of
the essence which moves, and possesses actualized (existence); it is
therefore "being," though it be conceived as different from essence.
Justice, for instance, is not the simple thought of justice; it is a
certain disposition of Intelligence, or rather it is an actualization
of a determinate nature. The face of Justice is more beautiful than the
evening or morning stars, and than all visible beauty.[16] Justice may
be imagined as an intellectual statue which has issued from itself and
which has manifested itself such as it is in itself; or rather, which
subsists essentially in itself.


7. We must, in fact, conceive intelligible essences as subsisting in
one nature, and one single nature as possessing and embracing all
(things). There no one thing is separated from the others, as in the
sense-world, where the sun, moon, and other objects each occupy a
different locality; but all things exist together in one unity; such
is the nature of intelligence. The (universal) Soul imitates it,
in this respect, as does also the power called Nature, conformably
to which, and by virtue of which individuals are begotten each in
a different place, while she remains in herself. But, although all
things exist together (in the unity of Intelligence), each of them
is none the less different from the others. Now, these things which
subsist in Intelligence and "being," are seen by the Intelligence that
possesses them, not because it observes them, but because it possesses
them without feeling the need of distinguishing them from each other;
because from all eternity they have dwelt within it distinct from each
other. We believe in the existence of these things on the faith of
those who admire them, because they have participated therein. As to
the magnitude and beauty of the intelligible world, we can judge of
it by the love which the Soul feels for it, and if other things feel
love for the Soul, it is because she herself possesses an intellectual
nature, and that by her the other things can, to some extent, become
assimilated to Intelligence. How indeed could we admit that here below
was some organism gifted with beauty, without recognizing that the
Organism itself (the intelligible world[17]) possesses an admirable and
really unspeakable beauty? Further, the perfect Organism is composed of
all the organisms; or rather it embraces all the organisms; just as our
Universe is one, yet simultaneously is visible, because it contains all
the things which are in the visible universe.


8. Since then the (universal) Organism possesses primary existence,
since it is simultaneously organism, intelligence, and veritable
"Being"; and as we state that it contains all organisms, numbers,
justice, beauty, and the other similar beings--for we mean something
different by the Man himself, and Number itself, and Justice itself--we
have to determine, so far as it is possible in such things, what is the
condition and nature of each intelligible entity.


(To solve this problem) let us begin by setting aside sensation, and
let us contemplate Intelligence by our intelligence exclusively. Above
all, let us clearly understand that, as in us life and intelligence
do not consist of a corporeal mass, but in a power without mass,
likewise veritable "Being" is deprived of all corporeal extension,
and constitutes a power founded on itself. It does not indeed consist
in something without force, but in a power sovereignly vital and
intellectual, which possesses life in the highest degree, intelligence,
and being. Consequently, whatever touches this power participates in
the same characteristics according to the manner of its touch; in a
higher degree, if the touch be close; in a lower degree, if the touch
be distant. If existence be desirable, the completest existence (or,
essence) is more desirable still. Likewise, if intelligence deserve
to be desired, perfect Intelligence deserves to be desired above
everything; and the same state of affairs prevails in respect to life.
If then we must grant that the Essence is the first, and if we must
assign the first rank to Essence, the second to Intelligence, and the
third to the Organism,[18] as the latter seems already to contain all
things, and Intelligence justly occupies the second rank, because it
is the actualization of "Being"--then number could not enter into the
Organism, for before the organism already existed one and two ("Being"
and Intelligence). Nor could number exist in Intelligence, for before
Intelligence was "Being," which is both one and manifold. (Number
therefore must exist, or originate, in the primary Being.)


9. It remains for us to discover whether it were "Being," in the
process of division, that begat number, or whether it be the number
that divided "Being." (This is the alternative:) either "being,"
movement, stability, difference and identity produced number, or it is
number that produced all these (categories, or) genera. Our discussion
must start thus. Is it possible that number should exist in itself, or
must we contemplate two in two objects, three in three objects, and
so forth? The same question arises about unity as considered within
numbers; for if number can exist in itself independently of numbered
things,[19] it can also exist previously to the essences. Can number
therefore exist before the essences? It might be well preliminarily to
assert that number is posterior to the Essence, and proceeds therefrom.
But then if essence be one essence, and if two essences be two
essences, one will precede essence, and the other numbers will precede
the essences. (Would number then precede the essences) only in thought
and conception, or also in the hypostatic existence? We should think
as follows. When you think of a man as being one, or the beautiful as
being one, the one that is thus conceived in both (beings) is something
that is thought only afterward. Likewise, when you simultaneously
consider a dog and a horse, here also two is evidently something
posterior. But if you beget the man, if you beget the horse or the dog,
or if you produce them outside when they already exist in you, without
begetting them, nor producing them by mere chance (of seeing them), you
will say, "We should go towards one (being), then pass to another, and
thus get two; then make one more being, by adding my person." Likewise,
(beings) were not numbered after they were created, but before they
were created, when (the creator) decided how many should be created.


The universal Number therefore existed before the essences (were
created); consequently, Number was not the essences. Doubtless, Number
was in Essence; but it was not yet the number of Essence; for Essence
still was one. But the power of Number, hypostatically existing within
it, divided it, and made it beget the manifold. Number is either the
being or actualization (of Essence); the very Organism and Intelligence
are number. Essence is therefore the unified number, while the essences
are developed number; Intelligence is the number which moves itself,
and the Organism is the number that contains. Since therefore Essence
was born from Unity, Essence, as it existed within Unity, must be
Number. That is why (the Pythagoreans[20]) called the ideas unities and


Such then is "essential" Number (number that is "Being"). The other
kind of number, which is called a number composed of digits, or
"unities," is only an image of the former. The essential Number is
contemplated in the intelligible forms, and assists in producing them;
on the other hand, it exists primitively in essence, with essence, and
before the essences. The latter find therein their foundation, source,
root and principle.[21] Indeed, Number is the principle of Essence,
and rests in it, otherwise it would split up. On the contrary, the
One does not rest upon essence; otherwise essence would be one before
participating in the One; likewise, what participates in the decad
would be the decad already before participating in the decad.


10. Subsisting therefore in the manifold, Essence therefore became
Number when it was aroused to multiplicity, because it already
contained within itself a sort of preformation or representation of
the essences which it was ready to produce, offering the essences, as
it were, a locality for the things whose foundation they were to be.
When we say, "so much gold," or, "so many other objects," gold is one,
and one does not thereby intend to make gold out of the number, but
to make a number out of the gold; it is because one already possesses
the number that one seeks to apply it to gold, so as to determine
its quality. If essences were anterior to Number, and if Number were
contemplated in them when the enumerating power enumerates the objects,
the number of the (beings), whatever it is, would be accidental,
instead of being determined in advance. If this be not the case, then
must number, preceding (the beings) determine how many of them must
exist; which means that, by the mere fact of the primitive existence of
the Number, the (beings) which are produced undergo the condition of
being so many, and each of them participates in unity whenever they are
one. Now every essence comes from Essence because essence, by itself,
is Essence; likewise, the One is one by itself. If every (being) be
one, and if the multitude of (beings) taken together form the unity
that is in them, they are one as the triad is one, and all beings also
are one; not as is the Monad (or Unity), but as is a thousand, or any
other number. He who, while enumerating, produced things, proclaims
that there are a thousand of them, claims to do no more than to tell
out what he learns from the things, as if he was indicating their
colors, while really he is only expressing a condition of his reason;
without which, he would not know how much of a multitude was present
there. Why then does he speak so? Because he knows how to enumerate;
which indeed he knows if he know the number, and this he can know only
if the number exist. But not to know what is the number, at least under
the respect of quantity, would be ridiculous, and even impossible.


When one speaks of good things, one either designates objects which are
such by themselves, or asserts that the good is their attribute. If
one designate the goods of the first order,[22] one is speaking of the
first Hypostasis, or rank of existence; if one designate the things of
which the good is the attribute, this implies the existence of a nature
of the good which has been attributed to them, or which produces this
characteristic within them, or which is the Good in itself, or which,
producing the good, nevertheless dwells in its own nature. Likewise,
when, in connection with (beings), we speak of a decad, (or, group of
ten), one is either referring to the Decad in itself, or, referring
to the things of which the decad is an attribute, one is forced to
recognize the existence of a Decad in itself, whose being is that of a
decad. Consequently, the conferring of the name "decad" implies either
that these (beings) are the Decad in itself, or above them in another
Decad whose being is that of being a Decad in itself.


In general, everything which is predicated of an object either comes
to it from without, or is its actualization. Unless by nature it
be inconstant, being present now, and absent then, if it be always
present, it is a being when the object is a being. If it be denied that
its nature were that of a being, it will surely be granted that it is a
part of the essences, and that it is an essence. Now, if the object can
be conceived without the thing which is its actualization, this thing
nevertheless exists contemporaneously with it, even though in thought
it be conceived posteriorily. If the object cannot be conceived without
this thing, as man cannot be conceived of without one, in this case
one is not posterior to man, but is simultaneous, or even anterior,
since the man's subsistence is entirely dependent thereon. As to us, we
recognize that Unity and Number precede (Essence and the essences).


11. It may be objected that the decad is nothing else than ten unities.
If the existence of the One be granted, why should we not also grant
the existence of ten unities? Since the supreme Unity (the unity of the
first Essence), possesses hypostatic existence, why should the case
not be the same with the other unities (the complex unities contained
within each of the essences)? It must not be supposed that the supreme
Unity is bound up with a single essence; for in this case each of the
other (beings) would no longer be one. If each of the other (beings)
must be one, then unity is common to all the (beings); that is that
single nature which may be predicated of the multiple (beings), and
which must, as we have explained it, subsist in itself (in the primary
essence) before the unity which resides in the multiple (beings).


As unity is seen in some one (being), and then in some other, if the
second unity possess hypostatic existence also, then the supreme Unity
(of the first Essence) will not alone possess hypostatic existence,
and there will be thus a multitude of unities (as there is a multitude
of beings). If the hypostatic existence of the first Unity be alone
acknowledged, this will exist either in the Essence in itself, or in
the One in itself. If it exist in the Essence in itself, the other
unities (which exist in the other beings) will then be such merely by
figure of speech, and will no longer be subordinated to the primary
unity; or number will be composed of dissimilar unities, and the
unities will differ from each other in so far as they are unities.
If the primary unity exist already in the Unity in itself, what need
would that Unity in itself have of that unity to be one? If all that be
impossible, we shall have to recognize the existence of the One which
is purely and simply one, which, by its "being" is entirely independent
of all the other beings, which is named the chief Unity, and is
conceived of as such. If unity exist on high (in the intelligible
world) without any object that may be called one, why might not another
One (the one of the first Being) subsist on high also? Why would
not all the (beings), each being a separate unity, not constitute a
multitude of unities, which might be the "multiple unity"? As the
nature (of the first Being) begets, or rather, as it has begotten (from
all eternity); or at least, as it has not limited itself to one of the
things it has begotten, thus rendering the unity (of the first Being)
somewhat continuous; if it circumscribe (what it produces) and promptly
ceases in its procession, it begets small numbers; if it advance
further, moving alone not in foreign matters, but in itself, it begets
large numbers. It thus harmonizes every plurality and every being with
every number, knowing well that, if each of the (beings) were not in
harmony with some number, either they would not exist, or they would
bear neither proportion, measure, nor reason.


12. (Aristotle[23]) objects that "One" and "Unity" have no hypostatic
(or, genuine) existence. Everywhere the One is something that is one.
That is nothing but a simple modification experienced in our soul in
presence of each essence. We might as easily affirm that when we assert
"essence," this is but a simple modification of our soul, Essence (in
itself) being absolutely nothing. If it be insisted that Essence exists
because it excites and strikes our soul, which then represents it to
herself, we see that the soul is equally impressed by the One, and
represents Him to herself. Besides, we should ask (Aristotle) if this
modification or conception of our soul do not bear to us the aspect of
unity or the manifold? So much the more, we often say that an object
is not one; evidently we then are not deriving the notion of unity from
the object, because we are affirming that there is no unity in it.
Unity therefore dwells within us, and it is in us without the object of
which we predicate that it is some one thing.


It may be objected that having this unity in our soul depends on
receiving from the exterior object a notion and an image, which is a
conception furnished by this object. As the philosophers who profess
this opinion do not differentiate the species of one and of number,
and as they allow them no other hypostatic existence (than to be
conceived by our soul), if they (practically do) allow them any sort
of hypostatic existence, it will be very interesting to scrutinize the
opinions of these.[24] They then say that the notion or conception
that we have of the one or of the number derives from the objects
themselves, is a notion as much "a posteriori" as those of "that,"[25]
"something," "crowd," "festival," "army," or of "multitude"; for, just
as the manifold is nothing without the multiple objects, nor a festival
without the men gathered to celebrate the religious ceremony, thus
"the One" is nothing without the one object, when we posit the one,
conceiving it alone, having made an abstraction of everything else. The
partisans of this opinion will cite many examples of the same kind, as
the "right hand side," "the upper part," and their contraries. What
reality indeed (to speak as they do), can the "right hand side" possess
outside of a person who stands or sits here or there[26]? The case is
similar with "the upper side," which refers to a certain part of the
universe, and the "lower side" to another.[27] Our first answer to
this argument is that we will allow that there is a certain kind of
existence in the things themselves of which we have just spoken; but
that this mode of existence is not identical in all things, considered
either in respect to each other, or each in respect to the One which is
in all. Further, we intend to refute one by one these arguments that
have been opposed to us.


13. To begin with, it is unreasonable to insist that the notion of
the subject one comes to us from the subject itself (which is one),
from the visible man, for instance, or from some other animal, or
even some stone. Evidently the visible man and the One are things
entirely different, which could not be identified[28]; otherwise,
our judgment would not be able (as it is) to predicate unity of the
non-man. Besides, as the judgment does not operate on emptiness for
the right side, and other such things, seeing a difference of position
when it tells us that an object is here, or there; likewise, it also
sees something when it says that an object is one; for it does not
experience there an affection that is vain, and it does not affirm
unity without some foundation. It cannot be believed that the judgment
says that an object is one because it sees that it is alone, and that
there is no other; for, while saying that there is no other, the
judgment implicitly asserts that the other is one. Further, the notions
of "other" and "different" are notions posterior to that of unity;
if the judgment did not rise to unity, it would not assert either
the "other" nor the "different"; when it affirms that an object is
alone, it says, "there is one only object"; and therefore predicates
unity before "only." Besides, the judgment which affirms is itself a
substantial (being) before affirming unity of some other (being); and
the (being) of which it speaks is one likewise before the judgment
either asserts or conceives anything about it. Thus (being) must be one
or many; if it be many, the one is necessarily anterior, since, when
the judgment asserts that plurality is present, it evidently asserts
that there is more than one; likewise, when it says that an army is
a multitude, it conceives of the soldiers as arranged in one single
corps. By this last example, it is plain that the judgment (in saying
one body), does not let the multitude remain multitude, and that it
thus reveals the existence of unity; for, whether by giving to the
multitude a unity which it does not possess, or by rapidly revealing
unity in the arrangement (which makes the body of the multitude), the
judgment reduces multitude to unity. It does not err here about unity,
any more than when it says of a building formed by a multitude of
stones that it is a unity; for, besides, a building is more unified
than an army.[29] If, further, unity inhere in a still higher degree in
that which is continuous, and in a degree still higher in what is not
divisible,[30] evidently that occurs only because the unity has a real
nature, and possesses existence; for there is no greater or less in
that which does not exist.


Just as we predicate being of every sense-thing, as well as of every
intelligible thing, we predicate it in a higher degree of intelligible
things, attributing a higher degree (of substantiality) to the (beings
that are veritable than to sense-objects), and to sense-objects than
to other genera (of physical objects); likewise, clearly seeing
unity in sense-objects in a degree higher than in the intelligible
(essences), we recognize the existence of unity in all its modes, and
we refer them all to Unity in itself. Besides, just as "being and
essence"[31] are nothing sensual, though sense-objects participate
therein, so unity, though by participation it inhere in sense-objects,
is not any the less an intelligible Unity. Judgment grasps it by an
intellectual conception; by seeing one thing (which is sensual) it also
conceives another which it does not see (because it is intelligible);
it therefore knew this thing in advance; and if judgment knew it in
advance, judgment was this thing, and was identical with that whose
existence it asserted. When it says, "a certain" object, it asserts the
unity, as, when it speaks of "certain" objects, it says that they are
two or more. If then one cannot conceive of any object whatever without
"one," "two," or some other number, it becomes possible to insist that
the thing without which nothing can be asserted or conceived, does not
at all exist. We cannot indeed deny existence to the thing without
whose existence we could not assert or conceive anything. Now that
which is everywhere necessary to speak and to conceive must be anterior
to speech and conception, so as to contribute to their production. If,
besides, this thing be necessary to the hypostatic existence of every
essence--for there is no essence that lacks unity--it must be anterior
to being, and being must be begotten by it. That is why we say "an
essence" instead of first positing "essence," and "a" only thereafter,
for there must be "one" in essence, to make "several" possible; but
(the converse is not true; for) unity does not contain essence, unless
unity itself produce it by applying itself to the begetting of it.
Likewise, the word "that" (when employed to designate an object) is
not meaningless; for instead of naming the object, it proclaims its
existence, its presence, its "being," or some other of its kinds of
"essence." The word "that" does not therefore express something without
reality, it does not proclaim an empty conception, but it designates an
object as definitely as some proper name.


14. As to those who consider unity as relative, they might be told
that unity could not lose its proper nature merely as a result of
the affection experienced by some other being without itself being
affected. It cannot cease being one without experiencing the privation
of unity by division into two or three. If, on being divided, a mass
become double without being destroyed in respect to its being a mass,
evidently, besides the subject, there existed unity; and the mass lost
it because the unity was destroyed by the division. So this same thing
which now is present, and now disappears, should be classified among
essences wherever it be found; and we must recognize that, though it
may be an accident of other objects, it nevertheless exists by itself,
whether it manifest in sense-objects, or whether it be present in
intelligent entities; it is only an accident in posterior (beings,
namely, the sense-objects); but it exists in itself in the intelligible
entities, especially in the first Essence, which is One primarily, and
only secondarily essence.


The objection that unity, without itself experiencing anything, by the
mere addition of something else, is no longer one, but becomes double,
is a mistake.[32] The one has not become two, and is not that which
has been added to it, nor that to which something has been added. Each
of them remains one, such as it was; but two can be asserted of their
totality, and one of each of them separately. Two therefore, not any
more than "pair," is by nature a relation. If the pair consisted in
the union (of two objects), and if "being united" were identical with
"to duplicate," in this case the union, as well as the pair, would
constitute two. Now a "pair" appears likewise in a state contrary (to
that of the reunion of two objects); for two may be produced by the
division of a single object. Two, therefore, is neither reunion nor
division, as it would have to be in order to constitute a relation.


What then is the principal cause (by virtue of which objects
participate in numbers)? A being is one by the presence of one; double,
because of the presence of the pair; just as it is white because of the
presence of whiteness; beautiful, because of the presence of beauty;
and just by that of justice. If that be not admitted, we shall be
reduced to asserting that whiteness, beauty and justice are nothing
real, and that their only causes are simple relations; that justice
consists in some particular relation with some particular being; that
beauty has no foundation other than the affection that we feel; that
the object which seems beautiful possesses nothing capable of exciting
this affection either by nature, or by acquirement. When you see an
object that is one, and that you call single, it is simultaneously
great, beautiful, and susceptible of receiving a number of other
qualifications. Now why should unity not inhere in the object as
well as greatness and magnitude, sweetness and bitterness, and other
qualities? We have no right to admit that quality, whatever it be,
forms part of the number of beings, whilst quantity is excluded; nor
to limit quantity to continuous quantity, while discrete quantity is
excluded from the conception of quantity; and that so much the less as
continuous quantity is measured by discrete quantity. Thus, just as
an object is great because of the presence of magnitude, as it is one
by the presence of unity; so is it double because of the presence of
being a pair, and so forth.[33]


Should we be asked to describe the operation of the participation of
objects in unity and in numbers, we shall answer that this question
connects with the more general problem of the participation of objects
in intelligible forms. Besides, we shall have to admit that the decad
presents itself under different aspects, according as it is considered
to exist either in discrete quantities, or in continuous quantities,
or in the reduction of many great forces to unity, or, last, into
the intelligible entities to which we are later raised. It is among
them, indeed, that are found the veritable Numbers (spoken of by
Plato,[10]) which, instead of being considered as discovered in other
(beings), exist within themselves; such is the Decad-in-itself, which
exists by itself, instead of simply being a decad[34] composed of some
intelligible entities.


15. (From the above discussion about the intelligibility of numbers)
let us now return to what we said in the beginning. The universal
(Being) is veritable Essence, Intelligence, and perfect living
Organism; and at the same time contains also all the living organisms.
Our universe, which also is an organism, by its unity imitates so
far as it can the unity of the perfect living Organism. I say, to
the extent of its capacity, because, by its nature, the sense-world
has departed from the unity of the intelligible world; otherwise, it
would not be the sense-world. Moreover, the universal living Organism
must be the universal Number; for if it were not a perfect number,
it would lack some number; and if it did not contain the total number
of living organisms, it would not be the perfect living Organism.
Number therefore exists before every living organism, and before the
universal living Organism. Man and the other living organisms are in
the intelligible world; so far as they are living organisms, and so far
as the intelligible world is the universal living Organism; for man,
even here below, is a part of the living Organism, so far as itself is
a living organism, and as the living Organism is universal; the other
living organisms are also in the living Organism, so far as each of
them is a living organism.


Likewise, Intelligence, as such, contains all the individual
intelligences as its parts.[35] These, however, form a number.
Consequently, the number which is in the Intelligence does not occupy
the first degree. So far as the number is in Intelligence, it is equal
to the quantity of the actualizations of Intelligence. Now, these
actualizations are wisdom, justice, and the other virtues, science,
and all the (ideas) whose possession characterizes it as veritable
Intelligence. (If then science exist in the Intelligence) how does it
happen that it is not there in some principle other than itself? In
Intelligence the knower, the known, and science are one and the same
thing; and with everything else within it. That is why every (entity)
exists in the intelligible world in its highest degree. For instance,
within it, Justice is no accident, though it be one in the soul, as
such; for intelligible entities are in the soul (only in) potential
condition (so long as she remains no more than soul); and they are
actualized when the soul rises to Intelligence and dwells with it.[36]


Besides Intelligence, and anterior thereto, exists Essence. It contains
Number, with which it begets (beings); for it begets them by moving
according to number, determining upon the numbers before giving
hypostatic existence to the (beings), just as the unity (of essence)
precedes its (existence), and interrelates it with the First (or,
absolute Unity). Numbers interrelate nothing else to the First; it
suffices for Essence to be interrelated with Him, because Essence, on
becoming Number, attaches all (beings) to itself. Essence is divided
not so far as it is a unity (for its unity is permanent); but having
divided itself conformably to its nature in as many things as it
decided on, it saw into how many things it had divided itself; and
through this (process) it begat the number that exists within itself;
for it divided itself by virtue of the potentialities of number, and it
begat as many (beings) as number comported.


The first and veritable Number is therefore the source and
principle[21] of hypostatic existence for beings. That is the reason
that even here below, the classified both discrete and continuous
quantity[38] and, with a different number, it is some other thing that
is begotten, or nothing more can be begotten. Such are the primary
Numbers, so far as they can be numbered. The numbers that subsist in
other things play two parts. So far as they proceed from the First,
they can be numbered; so far as they are below them, they measure other
things, they serve to enumerate both numbers and things which can be
enumerated. How indeed could you even say "ten" without the aid of
numbers within yourself?


16. The first objection might be, Where do you locate, or how do you
classify these primary and veritable Numbers? All the philosophers (who
follow Aristotle) classify numbers in the genus of quantity. It seems
that we have above treated of quantity, and classified both discrete
and continuous quantity[38] among other "beings." Here however we
seem to say that these Numbers form part of the primary Essences, and
add that there are, in addition, numbers that serve for enumerations.
We are now asked how we make these statements agree, for they seem
to give rise to several questions. Is the unity which is found among
sense-beings a quantity? Or is unity a quantity when repeated, while,
when considered alone and in itself, it is the principle of quantity,
but not a quantity itself? Besides, if unity be the principle of
quantity, does it share the nature of quantity, or has it a different
nature? Here are a number of points we ought to expound. We shall
answer these questions, and here is what we consider our starting-point.


When, considering visible objects, by which we ought to begin, we
combine one (being) with another, as for instance, a horse and a dog,
or two men, and say that they form two; or, when considering a greater
number of men we say they are ten, and form a group of ten, this number
does not constitute being, nor an (accident) among sense-objects; it is
purely and simply a quantity. Dividing this group of ten by unity, and
making unity of its parts, you obtain and constitute the principle of
quantity (unity) for a unity thus derived from a group of ten.


But when you say that the Man considered in himself is a number, as,
for instance, a pair, because he is both animal and reasonable, we
have here no more than a simple modality. For, while reasoning and
enumerating we produce a quantity; but so far as there are here two
things (animal and reasonable), and as each of them is one, as each
completes the being of the man, and possesses unity; we are here using
and proclaiming another kind of number, the essential Number. Here the
pair is not posterior to things; it does not limit itself to expressing
a quantity which is exterior to essence; it expresses what is in the
very being of this essence, and contains its nature.


Indeed, it is not you who here below produce number when you by
discursive reason range through things that exist by themselves, and
which do not depend for their existence on your enumeration; for you
add nothing to the being of a man by enumerating him with another. That
is no unity, as in a "choric ballet." When you say, ten men, "ten"
exists only in you who are enumerating. We could not assert that "ten"
exists in the ten men you are enumerating, because these men are not
co-ordinated so as to form a unity; it is you yourself who produce ten
by enumerating this group of ten, and by making up a quantity. But
when you say, a "choric ballet," an "army," there is something which
exists outside of these objects, and within yourself.[39] How are we
to understand that the number exists in you? The number which existed
in you before you made the enumeration has another mode (of existence)
(than the number that you produce by enumeration). As to the number
which manifests itself in exterior objects and refers to the number
within yourself, it constitutes an actualization of the essential
numbers, or, is conformable to the essential Numbers; for, while
enumerating you produce a number, and by this actualization you give
hypostatic existence to quantity, as in walking you did to movement.


In what sense does the number which is within us (before we enumerate)
have a mode (of existence) other (than the one we produce in
enumeration)? Because it is the number constitutive of our being,
which, as Plato says,[40] participates in number and harmony, and is a
number and harmony; for the soul is said to be neither a body nor an
extension; she therefore is a number, since she is a being. The number
of the body is a being of the same nature as the body; the number of
the soul consists in the beings which are incorporeal like souls. Then,
for the intelligible entities, if the animal itself be plurality, if
it be a triad, the triad that exists in the animal is essential. As to
the triad which subsists, not in the animal, but in essence, it is the
principle of being. If you enumerate the animal and the beautiful, each
of these two in itself is a unity; but (in enumerating them), you beget
number in yourself, and you conceive a certain quantity, the pair. If
(like the Pythagoreans) you say that virtue is a group of four, or
tetrad, it is one so far as its parts (justice, prudence, courage, and
temperance) contribute to the formation of a unity; you may add that
this group of four, or tetrad, is a unity, so far as it is a kind of
substrate; as to you, you connect this tetrad with the one that is
inside of you.[41]


17. As the reasons here advanced would seem to imply that every number
is limited, we may ask in which sense may a number be said to be
infinite? This conclusion is right, for it is against the nature of
number to be infinite. Why do people then often speak of a number as
infinite? Is it in the same sense that one calls a line infinite? A
line is said to be infinite, not that there really exists an infinite
line of this kind, but to imply the conception of a line as great as
possible, greater than any given line. Similarly with number. When
we know which is the number (of certain objects), we can double it
by thought, without, on that account, adding any other number to the
first. How indeed would it be possible to add to exterior objects the
conception of our imagination, a conception that exists in ourselves
exclusively? We shall therefore say that, among intelligible entities,
a line is infinite; otherwise, the intelligible line would be a simple
quantative expression. If however the intelligible line be not this, it
must be infinite in number; but we then understand the word "infinite"
in a sense other than that of having no limits that could not be
transcended. In what sense then is the word "infinite" here used? In
the sense that the conception of a limit is not implied in the being of
a line in itself.


What then is the intelligible line, and where does it exist? It is
posterior to number[43]; for unity appears in the line, since this
starts from the unity (of the point), and because it has but one
dimension (length); now the measure of dimension is not a quantative
(entity). Where then does the intelligible Line exist? It exists only
in the intelligence that defines it; or, if it be a thing, it is but
something intellectual. In the intelligible world, in fact, everything
is intellectual, and such as the thing itself is. It is in this same
world, likewise, where is made the decision where and how the plane,
the solid, and all other figures are to be disposed. For it is not
we who create the figures by conceiving them. This is so because the
figure of the world is anterior to us, and because the natural figures
which are suitable to the productions of nature, are necessarily
anterior to the bodies, and in the intelligible world exist in the
state of primary figures, without determining limits, for these forms
exist in no other subjects; they subsist by themselves, and have no
need of extension, because the extension is the attribute of a subject.


Everywhere, therefore, in essence, is a single (spherical) figure,[44]
and each of these figures (which this single figure implicitly
contained) has become distinct, either in, or before the animal. When
I say that each figure has become distinct, I do not mean that it has
become an extension, but that it has been assigned to some particular
animal; thus, in the intelligible world, each body has been assigned
its own characteristic figure, as, for instance, the pyramid to the
fire.[45] Our world seeks to imitate this figure, although it cannot
accomplish this, because of matter. There are other figures here below
that are analogous to the intelligible figures.


But are the figures in the living Organism as such, or, if it cannot
be doubted that they are in the living Organism, do they anteriorly
exist in the Intelligence? If the Organism contained Intelligence,
the figures would be in the first degree in the Organism. But as it
is the Intelligence that contains the Organism, they are in the first
degree in Intelligence. Besides, as the souls are contained in the
perfect living Organism, it is one reason more for the priority of
the Intelligence. But Plato says,[46] "Intelligence sees the Ideas
comprised within the perfect living Organism." Now, if it see the
Ideas contained in the perfect living Organism, Intelligence must be
posterior to the latter. By the words "it sees" it should be understood
that the existence of the living Organism itself is realized in this
vision. Indeed, the Intelligence which sees is not something different
from the Organism which is seen; but (in Intelligence) all things form
but one. Only, thought has a pure and simple sphere, while the Organism
has an animated sphere.[47]


18. Thus, in the intelligible world, every number is finite. But we
can conceive of a number greater than any assigned number, and thus it
is that our mind, while considering the numbers, produces the (notion
of the) infinite. On the contrary, in the intelligible world, it is
impossible to conceive a number greater than the Number conceived (by
divine Intelligence); for on high Number exists eternally; no Number
is lacking, or could ever lack, so that one could never add anything


Nevertheless, the intelligible Number might be called infinite in the
sense that it is unmeasured. By what, indeed, could it be measured?
The Number that exists on high is universal, simultaneous one and
manifold, constituting a whole circumscribed by no limit (a whole that
is infinite); it is what it is by itself. None of the intelligible
beings, indeed, is circumscribed by any limit. What is really limited
and measured is what is hindered from losing itself in the infinite,
and demands measure. But all of the intelligible (beings) are measures;
whence it results that they are all beautiful. So far as it is a living
organism, the living Organism in itself is beautiful, possessing an
excellent life, and lacking no kind of life; it does not have a life
mingled with death, it contains nothing mortal nor perishable. The
life of the living Organism in itself has no fault; it is the first
Life, full of vigor and energy, a primary Light whose rays vivify
both the souls that dwell on high, and those that descend here below.
This Life knows why it lives; it knows its principle and its goal;
for its principle is simultaneously its goal. Besides, universal
Wisdom, the universal Intelligence, which is intimately united to the
living Organism, which subsists in it and with it, still improves it;
heightening its hues as it were by the splendor of its wisdom, and
rendering its beauty more venerable. Even here below, a life full of
wisdom is that which is most venerable and beautiful, though we can
hardly catch a glimpse of such a life. On high, however, the vision of
life is perfectly clear; the (favored initiate) receives from Life both
capacity to behold and increased vitality; so that, thanks to a more
energetic life, the beholder receives a clearer vision, and he becomes
what he sees. Here below, our glance often rests on inanimate things,
and even when it turns towards living beings, it first notices in them
that which lacks life. Besides, the life which is hidden in them is
already mingled with other things. On high, on the contrary, all the
(beings) are alive, entirely alive, and their life is pure. If at the
first aspect you should look on something as deprived of life, soon the
life within it would burst out before your eyes.


Contemplate therefore the Being that penetrates the intelligibles, and
which communicates to them an immutable life; contemplate the Wisdom
and Knowledge that resides within them, and you will not be able to
keep from deriding this inferior nature to which the vulgar human
beings attribute genuine "being." It is in this supreme "Being" that
dwell life and intelligence, and that the essences subsist in eternity.
There, nothing issues (from Essence), nothing changes or agitates it;
for there is nothing outside of it that could reach it; if a single
thing existed outside of ("being"), ("being") would be dependent on it.
If anything opposed to (essence) existed, this thing would escape the
action of ("being"); it would no longer owe its existence to ("being"),
but would constitute a common principle anterior to it, and would be
essence. Parmenides[48] therefore was right in saying that the Essence
was one; that it was immutable, not because there was nothing else
(that could modify it), but because it was essence. Alone, therefore,
does Essence possess self-existence. How then could one, to Essence,
refuse to attribute existence, or any of the things of which it is an
actualization, and which it constitutes? So long as it exists, it gives
them to itself; and since it exists always, these things therefore
eternally subsist within it.


Such are the power and beauty of Essence that it (charms and) attracts
all things, holding them as it were suspended, so that these are
delighted to possess even a trace of its perfection, and seek nothing
beyond, except the Good. For Essence is anterior to the Good in respect
to us (when we climb up from here below to the intelligible world).
The entire intelligible world aspires to the Life and Wisdom so as to
possess existence; all the souls, all the intelligences likewise aspire
to possess it; Essence alone is fully self-sufficient.


Of Sight; or of Why Distant Objects Seem Small.[49]



1. What is the cause that when distant visible objects seem smaller,
and that, though separated by a great space, they seem to be close to
each other, while if close, we see them in their true size, and their
true distance? The cause of objects seeming smaller at a distance might
be that light needs to be focussed near the eye, and to be accommodated
to the size of the pupils[50]; that the greater the distance of the
matter of the visible object, the more does its form seem to separate
from it during its transit to the eyes; and that, as there is a form
of quantity as well as of quality, it is the reason (or, form) of the
latter which alone reaches the eye. On the other hand, (Epicurus)
thinks that we feel magnitude only by the passage and the successive
introduction of its parts, one by one; and that, consequently,
magnitude must be brought within our reach, and near us, for us to
determine its quantity.


(Do objects at a distance seem smaller) because we perceive magnitude
only by accident, and because color is perceived first? In this case,
when an object is near, we perceive its colored magnitude; when at a
distance, we perceive first its color, not well enough distinguishing
its parts to gather exact knowledge of its quantity, because its
colors are less lively. Why should we be surprised at magnitudes
being similar to sounds, which grow weaker as their form decreases
in distinctness? As to sounds, indeed, it is the form that is sought
by the sense of hearing, and here intensity is noticed only as an
accident. But if hearing perceive magnitude only by accident, to what
faculty shall we attribute the primitive perception of intensity
in sound, just as primitive perception of magnitude in the visible
object is referable to the sense of touch? Hearing perceives apparent
magnitude by determining not the quantity but the intensity of sounds;
this very intensity of sounds, however, is perceived only by accident
(because it is its proper object). Likewise, taste does not by accident
feel the intensity of a sweet savor. Speaking strictly, the magnitude
of a sound is its extent. Now the intensity of a sound indicates its
extent only by accident, and therefore in an inexact manner. Indeed a
thing's intensity is identical with the thing itself. The multitude of
a thing's parts is known only by the extent of space occupied by the


It may be objected that a color cannot be less large, and that it
can only be less vivid. However, there is a common characteristic in
something smaller and less vivid; namely, that it is less than what
it is its being to be. As to color, diminution implies weakness;
as to size, smallness. Magnitude connected with color diminishes
proportionally with it. This is evident in the perception of a varied
object, as, for instance, in the perception of mountains covered with
houses, forests, and many other objects; here the distinctness of
detail affords a standard by which to judge of the whole. But when the
view of the details does not impress itself on the eye, the latter
no longer grasps the extent of the whole through measurement of the
extent offered to its contemplation by the details. Even in the case
where the objects are near and varied, if we include them all in one
glance without distinguishing all their parts, the more parts our
glance loses, the smaller do the objects seem. On the contrary, if we
distinguish all their details, the more exactly do we measure them,
and learn their real size. Magnitudes of uniform color deceive the eye
because the latter can no longer measure their extent by its parts; and
because, even if the eye attempt to do so, it loses itself, not knowing
where to stop, for lack of difference between the parts.


The distant object seems to us close because our inability to
distinguish the parts of the intervening space does not permit us to
determine exactly its magnitude. When sight can no longer traverse the
length of an interval by determining its quality, in respect to its
form, neither can it any longer determine its quantity in respect to


2. Some[51] hold that distant objects seem to us lesser only because
they are seen under a smaller visual angle. Elsewhere[52] we have shown
that this is wrong; and here we shall limit ourselves to the following
considerations. The assertion that a distant object seems less because
it is perceived under a smaller visual angle supposes that the rest
of the eye still sees something outside of this object, whether this
be some other object, or something external, such as the air. But if
we suppose that the eye sees nothing outside of this object, whether
this object, as would a great mountain, occupy the whole extent of the
glance, and permit nothing beyond it to be seen; or whether it even
extend beyond the sweep of the glance on both sides, then this object
should not, as it actually does, seem smaller than it really is, even
though it fill the whole extension of the glance. The truth of this
observation can be verified by a mere glance at the sky. Not in a
single glance can the whole hemisphere be perceived, for the glance
could not be extended widely enough to embrace so vast an expanse. Even
if we grant the possibility of this, and that the whole glance embraces
the whole hemisphere; still the real magnitude of the heaven is greater
than its apparent magnitude. How then by the diminution of the visual
angle could we explain the smallness of the apparent magnitude of the
sky, on the hypothesis that it is the diminution of the visual angle
which makes distant objects appear smaller?


Does Happiness Increase With Time?[53]


1. Does happiness increase with duration of time? No: for the feeling
of happiness exists only in the present. The memory of past happiness
could not add anything to happiness itself. Happiness is not a word,
but a state of soul. But a state of soul is a present (experience),
such as, for instance, the actualization of life.


2. Might happiness not be the satisfaction of the desire of living and
activity, inasmuch as this desire is ever present with us? (Hardly).
First, according to this hypothesis, the happiness of to-morrow would
ever be greater than that of to-day, and that of the following day
than that of the day before, and so on to infinity. In this case, the
measure of happiness would no longer be virtue (but duration). Then,
the beatitude of the divinities will also have to become greater from
day to day; it would no longer be perfect, and could never become
so.[54] Besides, desire finds its satisfaction in the possession of
what is present, both now, and in the future. So long as these present
circumstances exist, their possession constitutes happiness. Further,
as the desire of living can be no more than the desire to exist, the
latter desire can refer to the present only, inasmuch as real existence
(essence) inheres only in the present. Desire for a future time, or
for some later event, means no more than a desire to preserve what
one already possesses. Desire refers neither to the future nor the
past, but to what exists at present. What is sought is not a perpetual
progression in the future, but the enjoyment of what exists from the
present moment onward.


3. What shall be said of him who lived happily during a longer period,
who has longer contemplated the same spectacle? If such longer
contemplation resulted in a clearer idea thereof, the length of time
has served some useful purpose; but if the agent contemplated it in the
same manner for the whole extent of time, he possesses no advantage
over him who contemplated it only once.


4. It might be objected that the former of these men enjoyed pleasure
longer than the other. This consideration has nothing to do with
happiness. If by this (enjoyed) pleasure we mean the free exercise
(of intelligence), the pleasure referred to is then identical with
the happiness here meant. This higher pleasure referred to is only to
possess what is here ever present; what of it is past is of no further


5. Would equal happiness be predicated of three men, one who had been
happy from his life's beginning to its end, the other only at its end,
and the third, who had been happy, but who ceased being such.[55] This
comparison is not between three men who are happy, but between one man
who is happy, with two who are deprived of happiness, and that at the
(present moment) when happiness (counts most). If then one of them have
any advantage, he possesses it as a man actually happy compared with
such as are not; he therefore surpasses the two others by the actual
possession of happiness.


6. (It is generally agreed that) all calamities, sufferings, griefs
and similar evils are aggravated in proportion to their duration. If
then, in all these cases, evil be increased with time, why should not
the same circumstance obtain in the contrary case? Why should happiness
also not be increased?[56] Referring to griefs and sufferings, it might
reasonably be said that they are increased by duration. When, for
example, sickness is prolonged, and becomes a habitual condition, the
body suffers more and more profoundly as time goes on. If, however,
evil ever remain at the same degree, it does not grow worse, and
there is no need of complaining but of the present. Consideration of
the past evil amounts to considering the traces left by evil, the
morbid disposition whose intensity is increased by time, because its
seriousness is proportionate to its duration. In this case it is not
the length of time, but the aggravation of the evil which adds to
the misfortune. But the new degree (of intensity) does not subsist
simultaneously with the old, and it is unreasonable to predicate
an increase as summation of what is no more to what now is. On the
contrary, it is the fixed characteristic of happiness to have a fixed
term, to remain ever the same. Here also the only increase possibly
due to duration of time depends on the relation between an increase
in virtue and one in happiness; and the element to be reckoned with
here is not the number of years of happiness, but the degree of virtue
finally acquired.


7. It might be objected that it is inconsistent to consider the present
only, exclusive of the past (as in the case of happiness), when we
do not do so in respect of time. For the addition of past to present
unquestionably lengthens time. If then we may properly say that time
becomes longer, why may we not say the same of happiness?--Were we to
do so, we would be applying happiness to divisions of time, while it
is precisely to bring out the indivisibility of happiness that it is
considered to be measured by the present exclusively. While considering
time, in respect of things that have vanished, such as, for instance,
the dead, it is perfectly reasonable to reckon the past; but it would
be unreasonable to compare past happiness with present happiness
in respect to duration, because it would be treating happiness as
something accidental and temporary. Whatever might be the length of
time that preceded the present, all that can be said of it is, that
it is no more. To regard duration while considering happiness is to
try to disperse and fraction something that is one and indivisible,
something that exists only in the present. That is why time is called
an image of eternity, inasmuch as it tends to destroy eternity's
permanence through its own dispersion.[57] By abstracting permanence
from eternity, and appropriating it, time destroys eternity; for a
short period, permanence may survive in association with time; but as
soon as it becomes fused with it, eternity perishes. Now as happiness
consists in the enjoyment of a life that is good, namely in that which
is proper to Essence (in itself), because none better exists, it must,
instead of time, have, as a measure, eternity itself, a principle
which admits neither increase nor diminution, which cannot be compared
to any length, whose nature it is to be indivisible, and superior to
time. No comparison, therefore, should be instituted between essence
and non-essence, eternity and time, the perpetual and the eternal;
nor should extension be predicated of the indivisible. If we regard
existence of Essence in itself, it will be necessary to regard it
entire; to consider it, not as the perpetuity of time, but as the very
life of eternity, a life which instead of consisting of a series of
centuries, exists entire since all centuries.


8. Somebody might object that by subsisting till the present, the
memory of the past adds something more to him who has long lived
happily. In this case it will be necessary to examine what is meant by
this memory. If it mean the memory of former wisdom, and if it mean
that he who would possess this memory would become wiser on account
of it, then this memory differs from our question (which studies
happiness, and not wisdom). If it mean the memory of pleasure, it
would imply that the happy man has need of much pleasure, and cannot
remain satisfied with what is present. Besides, there is no proof that
the memory of a past pleasure is at all pleasant; on the contrary, it
would be entirely ridiculous to remember with delight having tasted a
delicious dish the day before, and still more ridiculous remembering
such an enjoyment ten years ago. It would be just as ridiculous to
pride one self on having been a wise man last year.


9. Could not the memory of virtuous actions contribute to happiness?
No: for such a memory cannot exist in a man who has no virtue at
present, and who thereby is driven to seek out the memory of past


10. Another objection is that length of time would give opportunity
for doing many beautiful deeds; while this opportunity is denied him
who lives happily only a short period. This may be answered by denying
happiness to a man on the grounds of having done many beautiful
deeds. If several parts of time and several actions are to constitute
happiness, then it would be constituted by things that are no more,
that are past, and by present things; whereas our definition of
happiness limits it exclusively to the present. Then we considered
whether length of time add to happiness. There remains only to examine
whether happiness of long duration be superior because of yielding
opportunities of doing more beautiful deeds. To begin with, the man
who is inactive may be just as happy, if not more happy than he who is
active. Besides, it is not actions themselves which yield happiness;
(the sources of happiness) are states of mind, which are the principles
of beautiful actions. The wise man enjoys welfare while active, but not
because of this activity; he derives (this welfare) not from contingent
things, but from what he possesses in himself. For it might happen even
to a vicious man to save his fatherland, or to feel pleasure in seeing
it saved by some other. It is not then these activities which are the
causes of the enjoyment of happiness. True beatitude and the joys it
yields must be derived from the constant disposition of the soul. To
predicate it of activity, would be to make it depend on things alien to
virtue and the soul. The soul's actualization consists in being wise,
and in exercising her self-activity; this is true happiness.


About Mixture to the Point of Total Penetration.


1. The subject of the present consideration is mixture to the point
of total penetration of the different bodies. This has been explained
in two ways: that the two liquids are mingled so as mutually to
interpenetrate each other totally, or that only one of them penetrates
the other. The difference between these two theories is of small
importance. First we must set aside the opinion of (Anaxagoras and
Democritus[58]), who explain mixture as a juxtaposition, because this
is a crude combination, rather than a mixture.[59] Mixture should
render the whole homogeneous, so that even the smallest molecules might
each be composed of the various elements of the mixture.


As to the (Peripatetic) philosophers who assert that in a mixture only
the qualities mingle, while the material extension of both bodies are
only in juxtaposition, so long as the qualities proper to each of
them are spread throughout the whole mass, they seem to establish the
rightness of their opinion by attacking the doctrine which asserts that
the two bodies mutually interpenetrate in mixture.[60] (They object)
that the molecules of both bodies will finally lose all magnitude
by this continuous division which will leave no interval between the
parts of either of the two bodies; for if the two bodies mutually
interpenetrate each other in every part, their division must become
continuous. Besides, the mixture often occupies an extent greater than
each body taken separately, and as great as if mere juxtaposition
had occurred. Now if two bodies mutually interpenetrate totally, the
resulting mixture would occupy no more place than any one of them
taken separately. The case where two bodies occupy no more space than
a single one of them is by these philosophers explained by the air's
expulsion, which permits one of the bodies to penetrate into the
pores of the other. Besides, in the case of the mixture of two bodies
of unequal extent, how could the body of the smaller extend itself
sufficiently to spread into all the parts of the greater? There are
many other such reasons.


We now pass to the opinions of (Zeno and the other Stoic)
philosophers,[61] who assert that two bodies which make up a mixture
mutually interpenetrate each other totally. They support this view
by observing that when the bodies interpenetrate totally, they are
divided without the occurrence of a continuous division (which would
make their molecules lose their magnitude). Indeed, perspiration
issues from the human body without its being divided or riddled with
holes. To this it may be objected that nature may have endowed our
body with a disposition to permit perspiration to issue easily. To
this (the Stoics) answer that certain substances (like ivory[62]),
which when worked into thin sheets, admit, in all their parts, a liquid
(oat-gruel) which passes from one surface to the other. As these
substances are bodies, it is not easy to understand how one element
can penetrate into another without separating its molecules. On the
other hand, total division must imply mutual destruction (because
their molecules would lose all magnitude whatever). When, however, two
mingled bodies do not together occupy more space than either of them
separately (the Stoics) seem forced to admit to their adversaries that
this phenomenon is caused by the displacement of air.


In the case where the compound occupies more space than each element
separately, it might (though with little probability), be asserted,
that, since every body, along with its other qualities, implies size, a
local extension must take place. No more than the other qualities could
this increase perish. Since, out of both qualities, arises a new form,
as a compound of the mixture of both qualities; so also must another
size arise, the mixture combining the size out of both. Here (the
Peripatetics) might answer (the Stoics): "If you assert a juxtaposition
of substances, as well as of the masses which possess extension, you
are actually adopting our opinions. If however one of the masses, with
its former extension, penetrate the entire mass of the other, the
extension, instead of increasing, as in the case where one line is
added to another by joining their extremities, will not increase any
more than when two straight lines are made to coincide by superimposing
one on the other."


The case of the mixture of a smaller quantity with a greater one, such
as of a large body with a very small one, leads (the Peripatetics)
to consider it impossible that the great body should spread in all
the parts of the small one. Where the mixture is not evident, the
(Peripatetics) might claim that the smaller body does not unite with
all the parts of the greater. When however the mixture is evident,
they can explain it by the extension of the masses, although it be
very doubtful that a small mass would assume so great an extension,
especially when we attribute to the composite body a greater extent,
without nevertheless admitting its transformation, as when water
transforms itself into air.


2. What happens when a mass of water transforms itself into air? This
question demands particular treatment; for how can the transformed
element occupy a greater extension? (We shall not try to explain
it on either the Peripatetic or Stoic principles) because we have
sufficiently developed above the numerous reasons advanced by both
those schools. We had better now consider which of the two systems
we ourselves might adopt, and on which side lies reason. Besides, we
should consider whether, besides these both, there be not place for a
third opinion.


When water flows through wool, or when paper allows water to filter
through it, why does not the whole of the water pass through these
substances (without partly remaining within them)? If the water remain
therein partially, we shall not be able to unite the two substances
or masses. Shall we say that the qualities alone are confused (or,
mingled)? Water is not in juxtaposition with the paper, nor is lodged
in its pores; for the whole paper is penetrated thereby, and no
portion of the matter lacks that quality. If matter be united to
quality everywhere, water must everywhere be present in the paper.
If it be not water that everywhere is present in the paper, but only
(humidity which is) the quality of the water, where then is the water
itself? Why is not the mass the same? The matter that has insinuated
itself into the paper extends it, and increases its volume. Now this
augmentation of volume implies augmentation of mass; and the latter
implies that the water has not been absorbed by the book, and that the
two substances occupy different places (and do not interpenetrate each
other). Since one body causes another to participate in its quality,
why would it not also make it participate in its extension? By virtue
of this union with a different quality, one quality, united with a
different one, cannot, either remain pure, or preserve its earlier
nature; it necessarily becomes weaker. But one extension, added to
another extension, does not vanish.


One body is said to divide another, by penetrating it. This
assertion, however, demands demonstration, for it is more reasonable
to suppose that qualities may penetrate a body without dividing
it. Such demonstration is attempted by the claim that qualities
are incorporeal.[63] But if matter itself be as incorporeal as the
qualities, why could not some qualities along with the matter penetrate
into some other body? That some solids do not penetrate other bodies,
is due to their possession of qualities incompatible with that of
penetration. The objection that many qualities could not, along with
matter, penetrate some body, would be justified only if it were the
multitude of qualities that produced density; but if density be as much
of a quality as corporeity, the qualities will constitute the mixture
not in themselves alone, but only as they happen to be determined.
On the other hand, when matter does not lend itself to mixture, this
occurs not by virtue of its being matter, but as matter united to some
determinative quality. That is all the truer as matter is receptive to
any magnitude, not having any of its own. But enough of this.


3. Since we have spoken of corporeity, it must be analyzed. Is it a
composite of all qualities, or does it constitute a form, a "reason,"
which produces the body by presence in matter? If the body be the
composite of all the qualities together with matter, this totality of
qualities will constitute corporeity. But if corporeity be a reason
which produces the body by approaching matter, doubtless it is a reason
which contains all the qualities. Now, if this reason be not at all a
definition of being, if it be a reason productive of the object, it
will not contain any matter. It is the reason which applies itself to
matter, and which, by its presence, produces the body there. Body is
matter with indwelling "reason." This "reason," being a form, may be
considered separately from matter, even if it were entirely inseparable
therefrom. Indeed, "reason" separated (from matter), and residing
in intelligence, is different (from "reason" united to matter); the
"Reason" which abides within Intelligence is Intelligence itself. But
this subject (I shall) refer to elsewhere.[64]


How Ideas Multiplied, and the Good.[65]



1. When the (higher) Divinity, or (some lower) divinity,[66] sent
souls down into generation, He gave to the face of man eyes suitable
to enlighten him,[67] and placed in the body the other organs suited
to the senses, foreseeing that (a living organism) would be able to
preserve itself only on condition of seeing, hearing and touching
contiguous objects, to enable it to select some, and to avoid others.


But can you explain this divine foresight? You must not believe that He
would have begun by making (animals) who perished for lack of senses,
and that later (the divinity) gave senses to man and other animals so
that they could preserve themselves from death.[68]


It might, indeed, be objected that (the divinity) knew that the living
organism would be exposed to heat, cold, and other physical conditions;
and that as a result of this knowledge, to keep them from perishing,
He granted them, as tools, senses and organs. In our turn we shall
ask whether the divinity gave the organs to the living organisms
that already possessed the senses, or whether, He endowed souls with
senses and organs simultaneously. In the latter case, though they were
souls, they did not previously possess the sensitive faculties. But if
the souls possessed the sensitive faculties since the time they were
produced, and if they were produced (with these faculties) in order
to descend into generation, then it was natural for them to do so. In
this case it seems that it must be contrary to their nature to avoid
generation, and to dwell in the intelligible world. They would seem
made to belong to the body, and to live in evil. Thus divine Providence
would retain them in evil, and the divinity would arrive at this result
by reasoning; in any case, He would have reasoned.


If the divinity reason, we are forced to wonder what are the principles
of this reasoning; for, if it were objected that these principles are
derived from some other reasoning, we shall, nevertheless, in the
process of ascending, have to find something anterior to all reasoning;
namely, a point of departure. Now from whence are the principles of
reasoning derived? Either from the senses or the intelligence. (Could
the divinity have made use of principles derived from the senses?)
(When God created) there were no senses in existence yet; therefore
(the divinity must have reasoned) from principles derived from
Intelligence. But if the premises were conceptions of Intelligence,
then it was impossible for knowledge and reasoning to have some
sense-thing as object, as reasoning that has intelligible principles
and conclusion could not result in producing a conception of the
sense-(world). Therefore the foresight which presided over the creation
of a living being or of a whole world could not have been the result of


There is indeed no reasoning in the divinity. When we speak of it,
in connection with the divinity, it is only to explain that He has
regulated everything as might have been done by some wise man, who
would have reasoned about results. Attributing foresight to the
divinity indicates merely that He has disposed everything as might have
been done by some wise man who had foreseen results.[70] Indeed the
only use of reasoning is to put in order things whose existence is not
anterior to that of reasoning, every time that that (Intelligence),
the power superior to reasoning, is not strong enough. Likewise,
prevision is necessary in this case, because he who makes use of it
does not possess a power that would enable him to forego or do without
it. Prevision proposes to effect some one thing instead of another,
and seems to fear that that which it desires might not occur. But,
for a (being) which can do but one thing, both foresight and the
reasoning that decides between contraries, are useless; for there is
no need of reasoning when, of two contrary courses of action, one only
is possible. How would the Principle which is single, unitary and
simple, have need to reflect that He must do one thing, so that some
other might not take place, or to judge that the second would occur as
alternative to the first? How could He say that experience has already
demonstrated the utility of some one thing, and that it is well to make
use of it? If the divinity acted thus, then indeed would He have had
recourse to prevision, and consequently, to reasoning. It is on this
hypothesis that we said above that the divinity gave animals senses
and faculties; but it is quite a problem to know what and how He really
gave them.


Indeed, if it be admitted that in the divinity no actualization is
imperfect, if it be impossible to conceive in Him anything that is not
total or universal, each one of the things that He contains comprises
within Himself all things. Thus as, to the divinity, the future is
already present, there could not be anything posterior to Him; but what
is already present in Him becomes posterior in some other (being). Now
if the future be already present in the divinity, it must be present
in Him as if what will happen were already known; that is, it must be
so disposed as to find itself sufficiently provided for, so as not to
stand in need of anything. Therefore, as all things existed already
within the divinity (when living beings were created), they had been
there from all eternity; and that in a manner such that it would later
be possible to say, "this occurred after that." Indeed, when the things
that are in the divinity later develop and reveal themselves, then one
sees that the one is after the other; but, so far as they exist all
together, they constitute the universal (Being), that is, the principle
which includes its own cause.


2. (By this process) we also know the nature of Intelligence, which
we see still better than the other things, though we cannot grasp
its magnitude. We admit, in fact, that it possesses the whatness
(essence[71]), of everything, but not its "whyness" (its cause); or,
if we grant (that this "cause" be in Intelligence), we do not think
that it is separated (from its "whatness" (or, essence[72]). Let
us suppose that, for instance, the man, or, if possible, the eye,
should offer itself to our contemplation (in the intelligible world)
as a statue, or as a part of it, would do. The man that we see on
high is both essence[73] and cause. As well as the eye, he must be
intellectual, and contain his cause. Otherwise, he could not exist in
the intelligible world. Here below, just as each part is separated from
the others, so is the cause separated (from the essence). On high, on
the contrary, all things exist in unity, and each thing is identical
with its cause. This identity may often be noticed even here below, as
for instance, in eclipses.[74] It would therefore seem probable that
in the intelligible world everything would, besides the rest, possess
its cause, and that its cause constitutes its essence. This must be
admitted; and that is the reason why those who apply themselves to
grasp the characteristic[75] of each being succeed (in also grasping
its cause). Indeed that which each (being) is, depends on the "cause of
such a form."[76] To repeat: not only is a (being's) form its cause,
(which is incontestable), but yet, if one analyses each form considered
in itself, its cause will be found. The only things which do not
contain their causes are those whose life is without reality, and whose
existence is shadowy.


What is the origin of the cause of what is a form, which is
characteristic of Intelligence? It is not from Intelligence, because
the form is not separable from Intelligence, combining with it to form
one single and same thing. If then Intelligence possess the forms
in their fulness, this fulness of forms implies that they contain
their cause. Intelligence contains the cause of each of the forms it
contains. It consists of all these forms taken together, or separately.
None of them needs discovery of the cause of its production, for
simultaneously with its production, it has contained the cause of its
hypostatic existence. As it was not produced by chance, it contains all
that belongs to its cause; consequently, it also possesses the whole
perfection of its cause. Sense-things which participate in form do not
only receive their nature from it, but also the cause of this nature.
If all the things of which this universe is composed be intimately
concatenated; and if the universe, containing all things, also contain
the cause of each of them; if its relation with them be the same as
that of the body with its organs, which do not mature successively, but
which, towards each other, are mutually related as cause and effect;
so much the more, in the intelligible world, must things have their
"causes," all of them in general in respect to the totality, and each
independently in respect to itself.


Since all intelligible (entities) have a hypostatic consubstantial
existence affording no room for chance; and as they are not separated
from each other, things that are caused must bear these their causes
within themselves, and each of them has some sort of a cause, though
without really possessing one. If there be no cause for the existence
of the intelligibles; and if, though isolated from all causes, they be
self-sufficient; it can only be because they carry their cause along
with them, when they are considered in themselves. As they contain
nothing fortuitous, and as each of them is manifold, and as its cause
is all that they contain, we might assign this cause to themselves.
Thus in the intelligible world "being" is preceded, or rather
accompanied by its cause, which is still more "being" than cause,
or rather which becomes identified with it. What superfluousness,
indeed, could there be in intelligence, unless its conceptions
resemble imperfect productions? If its conceptions be perfect, one
could neither discover what they lack, nor define their cause, and,
since they possess everything, they also possess their cause. There,
"being" and cause are united; the presence of both is recognized
in each conception, in each actualization of intelligence. Let us,
for instance, consider the intelligible Man; he seems complete, in
his totality; all his attributes were his simultaneously from the
beginning; he was always entirely complete. It is the characteristic
of that which is generated not always to be what it ought to be, and
to need to acquire something. The intelligible Man is eternal; he is
therefore always complete; but that which becomes man must be generated


3. But why could Intelligence not have deliberated before producing
the sense-man? The (man we know by our senses) was (created) by
similitude to the (intelligible Man), nothing can be added to him,
nothing subtracted. It is a mere supposition to say that Intelligence
deliberates and reasons. The theory that things were created, implies
preliminary deliberation and reasoning; but (the latter becomes
impossible) in the case of eternal generation, for that which
originates eternally,[77] cannot be the object of a deliberation.
Intelligence could not deliberate without having forgotten the course
it had followed before; it cannot improve later on without implying
that its beginnings were not perfectly beautiful; had they been this,
they would have remained so. If things be beautiful, it is that they
represent their cause well; for even here below an object is beautiful
only if it possess all its legitimate possessions; that is, if it
possess its proper form. It is the form that contains everything;
the form contains the matter, in the sense that it fashions matter,
and leaves nothing formless therein. But it would contain something
formless if a man lacked some part, as, for instance, an organ such as
the eye.


Thus, a thing is fully explained by the clearing up of its cause. Why
should there be eyebrows above the eye? That it may possess all that
is implied in its being. Were these parts of the body given to man to
protect him from dangers? That would be to establish within being a
principle charged to watch over being. The things of which we speak
are implied in the being that existed before them. Consequently, being
contains within itself the cause which, if distinct from being, is
nevertheless inseparable therefrom. All things are implied in each
other[100]; taken together, they form the total, perfect and universal
Being; their perfection is bound up with, and is inherent in their
cause; thus a (creature's) "being," its "characteristic" (to ti ên
einai), and its "cause" (why-ness) fall together. (Before asking an
important question we must premiss that) in the intelligible world
the cause that is complementary to a being is ultimately united to
it. We must also premiss that, by virtue of its perfection, divine
Intelligence contains the causes (as well as the beings[78]), so
that it is only "a posteriori" that we observe that things are well
regulated. If then the possession of senses, and indeed of particular
ones, be implied in the form of man by the eternal necessity and
perfection of divine Intelligence, then the intelligible Man was by
no means mere intelligence, receiving the senses when descending into
generation. (If then having senses be implied in the form of man), does
not Intelligence incline towards the things here below? In what do
these senses (which are attributed to the intelligible Man) consist?
Are these senses the potentiality of perceiving sense-objects? But it
would be absurd that, on high, man should from all eternity possess
the potentiality of feeling, yet feel only here below, and that this
potentiality should pass to actualization only when the soul became
less good (by its union to the body).


4. To answer these questions, we would have to go back to the nature
of the intelligible Man. Before defining the latter, however, it
would indeed be far better to begin by determining the nature of the
sense-man, on the supposition that we know the latter very well, while
perhaps of the former, we have only a very inexact notion.


But there are some (Aristotelians or Peripatetics) who might think
that the intelligible Man and the sense-man form but one. Let us first
discuss this point. Does the sense-man have a being different from the
soul which produces him, and makes him live and reason? Is he the soul
that is disposed in some special manner? Is he the soul that uses the
body in some particular way? If man be a reasonable living organism,
and if the latter be composed of soul and body, this definition of man
will not be identical with that of the soul. If the man be defined as
being the composite of the reasonable soul and the body, how can he be
an immortal hypostatic existence? This definition suits the sense-man
only from the moment that the union of the soul and the body has
occurred; it expresses what will be, instead of setting forth what we
call the Man-in-himself; rather than being a real determination of his
characteristics, it would be only a description which would not reveal
the original being. Instead of defining form engaged in matter, it
indicates what is the composite of soul and body, after the union has
occurred. In this case, we do not yet know what is man considered in
his being, which is intelligible. To the claim that the definition of
sense-things should express something composite, it might be answered,
that we do acknowledge that we must not determine the consistence of
each thing. Now if it be absolutely necessary to define the forms
engaged in matter, we must also define the being that constitutes the
man; that is necessary especially for those (Peripateticians) who, by a
definition, mean a statement of a being's original "characteristics."


What then is the "being" of man? This really is asking for the
"man-ness" of a man, something characteristic of him, and inseparable
from him. Is the genuine definition of a man that "he is a reasonable
animal"? Would not this rather be the definition of the composite
man? What is the being that produces the reasonable animal? In the
above definition of man, "reasonable animal" means "reasonable life";
consequently, man may be called the "reasonable life." But can life
exist without a soul? (No), for the soul will give the man reasonable
life; and in this case, instead of being a substance, man will be
only an actualization of the soul; or even, the man will be the soul
herself. But if man be the reasonable soul, what objection will there
be to his remaining man even when his soul should happen to pass into a
different body (as that of a brute animal)?


5. Man must therefore have as "reason" (or, as essence), something else
than the soul. Still, in this case, man might be something composite;
that is, the soul would subsist in a particular "reason," admitting
that this "reason" was a certain actualization of the soul, though this
actualization could not exist without its producing principle. Now such
is the nature of the "seminal reasons." They do not exist without the
soul; for the generating reasons are not inanimate; and nevertheless
they are not the soul purely and simply. There is therefore nothing
surprising in the statement that these (human) beings are ("seminal)


Of which soul are these reasons,[79] which do not beget the man
(though they do beget the animal), then the actualization? Not of the
vegetative soul; they are the actualizations of the (reasonable) soul
which begets the animal,[80] which is a more powerful, and therefore
a more living soul. Man is constituted[81] by the soul disposed in
some manner, when present to matter disposed in some particular
fashion--since the soul is some particular thing, according as she is
in some particular disposition--even in the body. In the bodies, she
fashions a resembling form. So far as the nature of the body allows
it, she thus produces an image of the man, as the painter himself
makes an image of the body; she produces, I repeat, an inferior man
(the sense-man, the animal), which possesses the form of man, his
reasons, morals, dispositions, faculties, although in an imperfect
manner, because he is not the first man (the intellectual man). He has
sensations of another kind; sensations which, though they seem clear,
are obscure, if they be compared to the superior sensations of which
they are the images. The superior man (the reasonable man) is better,
has a diviner soul, and clearer sensations. It is he doubtless to whom
Plato refers (when he says, Man is the soul[82]); in his definition he
adds, "which makes use of the body," because the diviner man dominates
the soul which uses the body, and thus uses the body only in an
indirect manner.[83]


In fact, the soul attaches herself to the thing begotten by the soul,
because she was capable of feeling. The soul does this by vivifying it
more; or rather, the soul does not attach herself thereto, but draws it
to herself. She does not depart from the intelligible world, but even
while remaining in contact with it, she holds the inferior soul (which
constitutes the sense-man) suspended to herself; and by her reason she
blends herself with this reason (or, she unites herself to this being
by her "being"). That is why this man (known by the senses), who by
himself is obscure, is enlightened by this illumination.


6. What is the relation of the sense-power within the superior
Soul (or, in the rational soul)? Intelligible sensation perceives
(intelligible) objects that, speaking strictly, are not sensible,
and corresponds to the (intelligible) manner in which they are
perceivable. Thus (by this intelligible sense-power) the Soul perceives
the supersensual harmony and also the sensual, but in a manner such
as the sense-man perceives it, relating it so far as possible to the
superior harmony,[99] just as he relates the earthly fire to the
intelligible Fire, which is above, and which the superior Soul felt in
a manner suitable to the nature of this fire. If the bodies which are
here below were up there also, the superior Soul would feel them and
perceive them. The man who exists on high is a Soul disposed in some
particular manner, capable of perceiving these objects; hence the man
of the last degree (the sense-man) being the image of the intelligible
Man, has reasons (faculties) which are also images (faculties possessed
by the superior Man). The man who exists in the divine Intelligence
constitutes the Man superior to all men. He illuminates the second
(the reasonable man), who in his turn illuminates the third (the
sense-man). The man of this last degree somewhat possesses the two
others; he is not produced by them, he is rather united to them. The
man who constitutes us actualizes himself as the man of the last
degree. The third receives something of the second; and the second is
the actualization of the first.[84] Each man's nature depends on the
"man" according to whom he acts (the man is intellectual, reasonable,
or sensual according as he exercises intelligence, discursive reason,
or sensibility). Each one of us possesses the three men in one sense
(potentially); and does not possess them in another (in actualization;
that is, he does not simultaneously exercise intellect, reason, or


When the third life (the sense-power) which constitutes the third
man, is separated from the body, if the life that precedes it (the
discursive reason) accompany it without nevertheless being separated
from the intelligible world, then one may say that the second is
everywhere the third is. It might seem surprising that the latter, when
passing into the body of a brute, should drag along that part which
is the being of man. This being was all beings (potentially); only, at
different times, it acts through different faculties. So far as it is
pure, and is not yet depraved, it wishes to constitute a man, and it
is indeed a man that it constitutes; for to form a man is better (than
to form a brute), and it does what is best. It also forms guardians
of the superior order, but such as are still conformable to the being
constituent of manhood. The (intellectual) Man, who is anterior to this
being, is of a nature still more like that of the guardians, or rather,
he is already a divinity. The guardian attached to a divinity is an
image of him, as the sense-man is the image of the intellectual man
from whom he depends; for the principle to which man directly attaches
himself must not be considered as his divinity. There is a difference
here, similar to that existing between the souls, though they all
belong to the same order.[86] Besides, those guardians whom Plato
simply calls "guardians" (demons), should be called guardian-like, or
"demonic" beings.[87] Last, when the superior Soul accompanies the
inferior soul which has chosen the condition of a brute, the inferior
soul which was bound to the superior soul--even when she constituted
a man--develops the ("seminal) reason" of the animal (whose condition
she has chosen); for she possesses that "reason" in herself; it is her
inferior actualization.


7. It may however be objected that if the soul produce the nature of a
brute only when she is depraved and degraded, she was not originally
destined to produce an ox or a horse; then the ("seminal) reason" of
the horse, as well as the horse itself, will be contrary to the nature
(of the soul). No: they are inferior to her nature, but they are not
contrary to her. From her very origin, the soul was (potentially) the
("seminal) reason" of a horse or a dog. When permitted, the soul which
was to beget an animal, produces something better; when hindered, she
(only) produces what accords with the circumstances. She resembles the
artists who, knowing how to produce several figures, create either
the one they have received the order to create, or the one that is
most suited to the material at hand. What hinders the (natural and
generative) power of the universal Soul, in her quality of universal
("seminal) Reason," from sketching out the outlines of the body, before
the soul powers (or, individual souls) should descend from her into
matter? What hinders this sketch from being a kind of preliminary
illumination of matter? What would hinder the individual soul from
finishing (fashioning the body sketched by the universal Soul),
following the lines already traced, and organizing the members pictured
by them, and becoming that which she approached by giving herself some
particular figure, just as, in a choric ballet, the dancer confines
himself to the part assigned to him?


Such considerations have been arrived at merely as result of
scrutiny of the consequences of the principles laid down. Our
purpose was to discover how sensibility occurs in the man himself,
without intelligible things falling into generation. We recognized
and demonstrated that intelligible things do not incline towards
sense-things, but that, on the contrary, it is the latter that aspire
and rise to the former, and imitate them; that the sense-man derives
from the intellectual man the power of contemplating intelligible
entities, though the sense-man remain united to sense-things, as the
intellectual man remains united to the intelligible entities. Indeed,
intelligible things are in some respects sensual; and we may call them
such because (ideally) they are Bodies, but they are perceived in a
manner different from bodies. Likewise, our sensations are less clear
than the perception which occurs in the intelligible world, and that
we also call Sensation, because it refers to Bodies (which exist on
high only in an ideal manner). Consequently, we call the man here below
sensual because he perceives less well things which themselves are less
good; that is, which are only images of intelligible things. We might
therefore say that sensations here below are obscure thoughts, and that
the Thoughts on high are distinct Sensations. Such are our views about


8. (Now let us pass to the other question we asked). How does it
happen that all the Animals who, like the Horse itself, are contained
in divine Intelligence, do not incline towards the things here below
(by generating them)? Doubtless, to beget a horse, or any other animal
here below, divine Intelligence must hold its conception; nevertheless
it must not be believed that it first had the volition of producing
the horse, and only later its conception. Evidently, it could not have
wished to produce the horse, but because it already had the conception
thereof; and it could not have had the conception thereof but because
it had to produce the horse. Consequently, the Horse who was not
begotten preceded the horse who later was to be begotten. Since the
first Horse has been anterior to all generation, and was not conceived
to be begotten, it is not because the divine Intelligence inclines
towards the things here below, nor because it produces them, that it
contains the intelligible Horse and the other beings. The intelligible
entities existed already in Intelligence (before it begat) and the
sense-things were later begotten by necessary consequence; for it was
impossible that the procession should cease with the intelligibles. Who
indeed could have stopped this power of the (Intelligence) which is
capable of simultaneous procession, and of remaining within itself?


But why should these Animals (devoid of reason) exist in the divine
Intelligence? We might understand that animals endowed with reason
might be found within it; but does this multitude of irrational animals
seem at all admirable? Does it not rather seem something unworthy of
the divine Intelligence? Evidently the essence which is one must be
also manifold, since it is posterior to the Unity which is absolutely
simple; otherwise, instead of being inferior to it, it would fuse
with it. Being posterior to that Unity, it could not be more simple,
and must therefore be less so. Now as the unity was the One who is
excellent, essence had to be less unitary, since multiplicity is the
characteristic of inferiority. But why should essence not be merely
the "pair" (instead of the manifold)? Neither of the elements of the
Pair could any longer be absolutely one, and each would itself become a
further pair; and we might point out the same thing of each of the new
elements (in which each element of the primary Pair would have split
up). Besides, the first Pair contains both movement and stability; it
is also intelligence and perfect life. The character of Intelligence
is not to be one, but to be universal; it therefore contains all the
particular intelligences; it is all the intelligences, and at the
same time it is something greater than all. It possesses life not as
a single soul, but as a universal Soul, having the superior power of
producing individual souls. It is besides the universal living Organism
(or, Animal); consequently, it should not contain man alone (but also
all the other kinds of animals); otherwise, man alone would exist upon
the earth.


9. It may be objected that Intelligence might (well) contain the
ideas of animals of a higher order. But how can it contain the ideas
of animals that are vile, or entirely without reason? For we should
consider vile every animal devoid of reason and intelligence, since it
is to these faculties that those who possess them owe their nobility.
It is doubtless difficult to understand how things devoid of reason
and intelligence can exist in the divine Intelligence, in which are
all beings, and from which they all proceed. But before beginning the
discussion of this question, let us assume the following verities as
granted: Man here below is not what is man in the divine Intelligence,
any more than the other animals. Like them, in a higher form, he dwells
within (the divine Intelligence); besides, no being called reasonable
may be found within it, for it is only here below that reason is
employed; on high the only acts are those superior to discursive

Why then is man here below the only animal who makes use of reason?
Because the intelligence of Man, in the intelligible world, is
different from that of other animals, and so his reason here below must
differ from their reason; for it can be seen that many actions of other
animals imply the use of judgment.

(In reply, it might be asked) why are not all animals equally
rational? And why are not all men also equally rational? Let us
reflect: all these lives, which represent as many movements; all
these intelligences, which form a plurality; could not be identical.
Therefore they had to differ among each other, and their difference
had to consist in manifesting more or less clearly life and
intelligence; those that occupy the first rank are distinguished by
primary differences; those that occupy the second rank, by secondary
differences; and so forth. Thus, amidst intelligences, some constitute
the divinities, others the beings placed in the second rank, and
gifted with reason; further, other beings that we here call deprived
of reason and intelligence really were reason and intelligence in the
intelligible world. Indeed, he who thinks the intelligible Horse, for
instance, is Intelligence, just as is the very thought of the horse.
If nothing but thought existed, there would be nothing absurd in that
this thought, while being intellectual, might, as object, have a being
devoid of intelligence. But since thought and the object thought fuse,
how could thought be intellectual unless the object thought were so
likewise? To effect this, Intelligence would, so to speak, have to
render itself unintelligent. But it is not so. The thing thought is
a determinate intelligence, just as it is a determinate life. Now,
just as no life, whatever it be, can be deprived of vitality, so no
determinate intelligence can be deprived of intellectuality. The very
intelligence which is proper to an animal, such as, for instance, man,
does not cease being intelligence of all things; whichever of its
parts you choose to consider, it is all things, only in a different
manner; while it is a single thing in actualization, it is all things
in potentiality. However, in any one particular thing, we grasp only
what it is in actualization. Now what is in actualization (that is, a
particular thing), occupies the last rank. Such, in Intelligence, for
instance, is the idea of the Horse. In its procession, Intelligence
continues towards a less perfect life, and at a certain degree
constitutes a horse, and at some inferior degree, constitutes some
animal still inferior; for the greater the development of the powers of
Intelligence, the more imperfect these become. At each degree in their
procession they lose something; and as it is a lower degree of essence
that constitutes some particular animal, its inferiority is redeemed
by something new. Thus, in the measure that life is less complete in
the animal, appear nails, claws, or horns, or teeth. Everywhere that
Intelligence diminishes on one side, it rises on another side by the
fulness of its nature, and it finds in itself the resources by which to
compensate for whatever it may lack.


10. But how can there be anything imperfect in the intelligible world?
Why does the intelligible Animal have horns? Is it for its defense?[89]
To be perfect and complete. It is to be perfect as an animal, perfect
as intelligence, and perfect as life; so that, if it lack one quality,
it may have a substitute. The cause of the differences, is that
what belongs to one being finds itself replaced in another being by
something else; so that the totality (of the beings) may result in the
most perfect Life, and Intelligence, while all the particular beings
which are thus found in the intelligible essence are perfect so far as
they are particular.


The essence must be simultaneously one and manifold. Now it cannot be
manifold if all the things that exist within it be equal; it would
then be an absolute unity. Since therefore (essence) forms a composite
unity, it must be constituted by things which bear to each other
specific differences, such that its unity shall allow the existence of
particular things, such as forms and reasons (beings). The forms, such
as those of man, must contain all the differences that are essential
to them. Though there be a unity in all these forms, there are also
things more or less delicate (or highly organized), such as the eye or
the finger. All these organs, however, are implied in the unity of the
animal, and they are inferior only relatively to the totality. It was
better that things should be such. Reason (the essence of the animal)
is animal, and besides, is something different from the animal. Virtue
also bears a general character, and an individual one. The totality (of
the intelligible world) is beautiful, because what is common (to all
beings), does not offer any differences.


11. (The Timaeus of Plato[90]) states that heaven has not scorned to
receive any of the forms of the animals, of which we see so great
a number. The cause must be that this universe was to contain the
universality of things. Whence does it derive all the things it
contains? From on high? Yes, it received from above all the things that
were produced by reason, according to an intelligible form. But, just
as it contains fire and water, it must also contain plant-life. Now,
how could there be plant-life in the intelligible world? Are earth and
fire living entities within it? For they must be either living or dead
entities; in the latter case, not everything would be alive in the
intelligible world. In what state then do the above-mentioned objects
find themselves on high (in the intelligible world)?

First it can be demonstrated that plants contain nothing opposed to
reason; since, even here below, a plant contains a "reason" which
constitutes its life.[91] But if the essential "reason" of the plant,
which constitutes it, is a life of a particular kind, and a kind of
soul, and if this "reason" itself be a unity, is it the primary Plant?
No: the primary Plant, from which the particular plant is derived, is
above that "reason." The primary Plant is unity; the other is multiple,
and necessarily derives from this unity. If so, the primary Plant must
possess life in a still higher degree, and be the Plant itself from
which the plants here below proceed, which occupy the second or third
rank, and which derive from the primary Plant the traces of the life
they reveal.


But how does the earth exist in the intelligible world? What is its
essence? How can the earth in the intelligible world be alive there?
Let us first examine our earth, that is, inquire what is its essence?
It must be some sort of a shape, and a reason; for the reason of the
plant is alive, even here below. Is there then a living ("seminal)
reason" in the earth also? To discover the nature of the earth,
let us take essentially terrestrial objects, which are begotten or
fashioned by it. The birth of the stones, and their increase, the
interior formation of mountains, could not exist unless an animated
reason produced them by an intimate and secret work. This reason is
the "form of the earth,"[92] a form that is analogous to what is
called nature in trees. The earth might be compared to the trunk of a
tree, and the stone that can be detached therefrom to the branch that
can be separated from the trunk. Consideration of the stone which is
not yet dug out of the earth, and which is united to it as the uncut
branch is united to the tree, shows that the earth's nature, which
is a productive force, constitutes a life endowed with reason; and
it must be evident that the intelligible earth must possess life at
a still higher degree, that the rational life of the earth is the
Earth-in-itself, the primary Earth, from which proceeds the earth here


If fire also be a reason engaged in matter, and in this respect
resemble the earth, it was not born by chance. Whence would it
come?[93] Lucretius thought it came from rubbing (sticks or stones).
But fire existed in the universe before one body rubbed another;
bodies already possess fire when they rub up against one another; for
it must not be believed that matter possesses fire potentially, so
that it is capable of producing it spontaneously. But what is fire,
since the principle which produces the fire, giving it a form, must
be a "reason"? It is a soul capable of producing the fire, that is, a
"reason" and a life, which (fuse) into one thing. That is why Plato
says that in every object there is a soul[94]; that is, a power capable
of producing the sense-fire. Thus the principle which produces the fire
in our world is a "fiery life," a fire that is more real than ours.
Since then the intelligible Fire is a fire more real than ours, it also
possesses a moral life. The Fire-in-itself therefore possesses life.
There is a similar "reason" in the other elements, air and water. Why
should not these things be as animated as earth is? They are evidently
contained in the universal living Organism, and they constitute parts
thereof. Doubtless life is not manifest in them, any more than in the
earth; but it can be recognized in them, as it is recognized in the
earth, by its productions; for living beings are born in the fire, and
still more in the water, as is better known; others also are formed
in the air. The flames that we daily see lit and extinguished do not
manifest in the universal Soul (because of the shortness of their
duration); her presence is not revealed in the fire, because she does
not here below succeed in reaching a mass of sufficient permanency.


It is not otherwise with water and air. If by their nature these
elements were more consistent, they would reveal the universal Soul;
but as their essence is dispersed, they do not reveal the power that
animates them. In a similar case are the fluids occurring in our body,
as, for instance, the blood; the flesh, which seems animated, is formed
at the expense of the blood.[95] The latter must therefore enjoy the
presence of the soul, though it seem deprived of the (soul) because
(the blood) manifests no sensibility, opposes no resistance, and by its
fluidity easily separates itself from the soul that vivifies it, as
happens to the three elements already mentioned. Likewise the animals
which Nature forms out of condensed air feel without suffering.[96] As
fixed and permanent light penetrates the air so long as the air itself
is permanent, the soul also penetrates the atmosphere surrounding her
without being absorbed by it. Other elements are in the same case.


12. We therefore repeat that since we admit that our universe is
modeled on the intelligible World, we should so much the more recognize
that the latter is the universal living Organism, which constitutes
all things because it consists of perfect essence. Consequently in the
intelligible world, the heavens also are an animated being, not even
lacking what here below are called the stars; indeed the latter are
what constitutes the heavens' essence. Neither is the Earth on high
something dead; for it is alive, containing all the Animals that walk
on the ground, and that are named terrestrial, as well as Vegetation
whose foundation is life. On high exist also the Sea and the Water in
universal condition, in permanent fluidity and animation, containing
all the Animals that dwell in the water. Air also forms part of the
intelligible world, with the Animals that inhabit the air, and which on
high possess a nature in harmony with it. How indeed could the things
contained in a living being not also themselves be living beings?
Consequently they are also such here below. Why indeed should not all
the animals necessarily exist in the intelligible World? The nature of
the great parts of this world indeed necessarily determines the nature
of the animals that these parts contain. Thus from the "having" and
"being" (existence and nature) of the intelligible world is derived
that of all the beings contained therein. These things imply each
other. To ask the reason for the existence of the Animals contained in
the intelligible world, is to ask why exists this very world itself,
or the universal living Organism, or, what amounts to the same thing,
why exist the universal Life, the universal Soul, in which are found no
fault, no imperfection, and from which everywhere overflows the fulness
of life.


All these things derive from one and the same source; it is neither a
breath nor a single heat; but rather a single quality, which contains
and preserves within itself all the qualities, the sweetness of the
most fragrant perfumes, the flavor of the wine, and of the finest tasty
juices, the gleam of the most flashing colors, the softness of the
objects which flatter touch with the greatest delicacy, the rhythm and
harmony of all the kinds of sounds which can charm the hearing.


13. Neither Intelligence, nor the Soul that proceeds therefrom, are
simple; both contain the universality of things with their infinite
variety, so far as these are simple, meaning that they are not
composite, but that they are principles and actualizations; for, in
the intelligible world, the actualization of what occupies the last
rank is simple; the actualization of what occupies the first rank is
universal. Intelligence, in its uniform movement, always trends towards
similar and identical things; nevertheless, each of them is identical
and single, without being a part; it is on the contrary universal,
because what, in the intelligible world, is a part, is not a simple
unit, but a unity that is infinitely divisible. In this movement,
Intelligence starts from one object, and goes to another object which
is its goal. But does all that is intermediary resemble a straight
line, or to a uniform and homogeneous body? There would be nothing
remarkable about that; for if Intelligence did not contain differences,
if no diversity awoke it to life, it would not be an actualization; its
state would not differ from inactivity. If its movement were determined
in a single manner, it would possess but a single kind of (restricted)
life, instead of possessing the universal Life. Now it should contain
an universal and omnipresent Life; consequently, it must move, or
rather have been moved towards all (beings). If it were to move in a
simple and uniform manner, it would possess but a single thing, would
be identical with it, and no longer proceed towards anything different.
If however it should move towards something different, it would have
to become something different, and be two things. If these two things
were then to be identical, Intelligence would still remain one, and
there would be no progress left; if, on the contrary, these two things
were to be different, it would be proceeding with this difference, and
it would, by virtue of this difference joined to its divinity, beget
some third thing. By its origin, the latter is simultaneously identical
and different; not of some particular difference, but of all kinds
of difference, because the identity it contains is itself universal.
Thus being universal difference as well as universal identity, this
thing possesses all that is said to be different; for its nature
is to be universal differentiation (to spread over everything, to
become everything else). If all these differences preceded this
(Intelligence), the latter would be modified by them. If this be not
the case, Intelligence must have begotten all the differences, or
rather, be their universality.


Essences ("beings") therefore cannot exist without an actualization
of Intelligence. By this actualization, after having produced some
("being"), Intelligence always produces some other one, somehow
carrying out the career which it is natural for veritable Intelligence
to carry out within itself; this career is that of the beings, of
which each corresponds to one of its evolutions, (or, it roams around
among beings, so that through its roaming around these beings unite
and form.) Since Intelligence is everywhere identical, its evolutions
imply permanence, and they make it move around the "field of truth"[97]
without ever issuing therefrom. It occupies this whole field, because
Intelligence has made itself the locality where its evolutions
operate, a locality which is identical with what it contains. This
field is varied enough to offer a career to be fulfilled; if it were
not universally and eternally varied, there would be a stopping-place
where variety would cease; and, were Intelligence to stop, it would
not think; and if it had never stopped, it would have existed without
thought (or, it would not exist). This however, is not the case;
therefore thought exists, and its universal movement produces the
fulness of universal "Being." Universal "Being," however, is the
thought that embraces universal Life, and which, after each thing, ever
conceives some other; because, since that which within it is identical
is all so different. It continually divides and ever finds something
different from the others. In its march, Intelligence ever progresses
from life to life, from animated (beings) to animated (beings); just
as some traveller, advancing on the earth, finds all that he travels
through to be earth, whatever variations thereof there may have been.
In the intelligible world, the life whose field one traverses is always
self-identical, but it is also always different. The result is that
(this sphere of operations) does not seem the same to us, because in
its evolution, which is identical, life experiences (or, traverses)
things which are not the same. That however does not change this life,
for it passes through different things in a uniform and identical
manner. If this uniformity and identity of Intelligence were not
applied to different things, Intelligence would remain idle; it would
no longer exist in actualization, and no more be actualization. Now
these different things constitute Intelligence itself. Intelligence is
therefore universal, because this universality forms its very nature.
Being thus universal, Intelligence is all things; there is nothing in
it which does not contribute to its universality; and everything is
different, so as to be able still to contribute to totality, by its
very difference. If there were no difference, if everything in it were
identical, the being of Intelligence would be diminished, inasmuch as
its nature would no more co-operate towards its harmonic consummation.


14. By intellectual examples we can understand the nature of
Intelligence, and see that it could not be a unity which does not admit
any kind of difference. As example, consider the ("seminal) reason" of
a plant, and that of an animal. If it be only a unity, without any kind
of variety, it is not even a "reason," and what is born will be no more
than matter. This "reason" must therefore contain all the organs; and,
while embracing all matter, it must not leave any part of it to remain
identical with any other. For instance, the face does not form a single
mass; it contains the nose and the eyes. Nor is even the nose something
simple; it contains different parts whose variety make of it an organ;
if it were reduced to a state of absolute simplicity, it would be no
more than a mass. Thus Intelligence contains the infinite, because
it is simultaneously one and manifold; not indeed like a house, but
as is a ("seminal) reason" which is manifold interiorly. It contains
within, therefore, a sort of figure (or scheme) or even a picture, on
which are interiorly drawn or inscribed its powers and thoughts; their
division does not take place exteriorly, for it is entirely interior.
Thus the universal living Organism embraces other living beings,
within which may be discovered still smaller living beings, and still
smaller powers, and so on till we arrive at the "atomic form."[98]
All these forms are distinguished from each other by their division,
without ever having been confounded together, though they all occur in
the constitution of a single unity. Thus exists in the intelligible
world that union (by Empedocles) called "friendship"; but such union
is very different from that which exists in the sense-world.[163] In
fact, the latter is only the image of the first, because it is formed
of completely disparate elements. Veritable union however consists
in forming but a single (thing) without admitting of any separation
between (elements). Here below, however, objects are separated from
each other.



15. Who then will be able to contemplate this multiple and universal
Life, primary and one, without being charmed therewith, and without
scorning every other kind of life? For our lives here below, that
are so weak, impotent, incomplete, whose impurity soils other lives,
can be considered as nothing but tenebrous. As soon as you consider
these lives, you no longer see the others, you no longer live with
these other lives in which everything is living; which are relieved
of all impurity, and of all contact with evil. Indeed, evil reigns
here below only[164]; here where we have but a trace of Intelligence
and of the intelligible life. On the contrary, in the intelligible
world exists "that archetype which is beneficent (which possesses the
form of Good"), as says Plato,[101] because it possesses good by the
forms (that is, by the ideas). Indeed, the absolute Good is something
different from the Intelligence which is good only because its life
is passed in contemplating the Good. The objects contemplated by
Intelligence are the essences which have the form of Good, and which
it possesses from the moment it contemplates the Good. Intelligence
receives the Good, not such as the Good is in itself, but such as
Intelligence is capable of receiving it. The Good is indeed the
supreme principle. From the Good therefore, Intelligence derives its
perfection; to the Good Intelligence owes its begetting of all the
intelligible entities; on the one hand, Intelligence could not consider
the Good without thinking it; on the other, it must not have seen in
the Good the intelligible entities, otherwise, Intelligence itself
could not have begotten them. Thus Intelligence has, from the Good,
received the power to beget, and to fill itself with that which it has
begotten.[102] The Good does not Himself possess the things which He
thus donates; for He is absolutely one, and that which has been given
to Intelligence is manifold. Incapable in its plenitude to embrace, and
in its unity to possess the power it was receiving, Intelligence split
it up, thus rendering it manifold, so as to possess it at least in
fragments. Thus everything begotten by Intelligence proceeds from the
power derived from the Good, and bears its form; as intelligence itself
is good, and as it is composed of things that bear the form of Good, it
is a varied good. The reader may be assisted in forming a conception of
it by imagining a variegated living sphere, or a composite of animated
and brilliant faces. Or again, imagine pure souls, pure and complete
(in their essence), all united by their highest (faculties), and then
universal Intelligence seated on this summit, and illuminating the
whole intelligible region. In this simile, the reader who imagines
it considers it as something outside of himself; but (to contemplate
Intelligence) one has to become Intelligence, and then give oneself a
panorama of oneself.


16. Instead of stopping at this multiple beauty, it must be abandoned
to rise (to the Good), the supreme principle. By reasoning not
according to the nature of our world, but according to that of the
universal Intelligence, we should with astonishment ask ourselves
which is the principle that has begotten it, and how it did so.[103]
Each one (of the essences contained in the Intelligence) is a
(particular) form, and somehow has its own type. As their common
characteristic is to be assimilated to the Good, the consequence is
that Intelligence contains all the things conformable to the Good. It
possesses therefore the essence which is in all things; it contains all
the animals, as well as the universal Life within them, and all the


Why must these things be considered as goods, when considered from
this point of view? The solution of this problem may be arrived at
from the following consideration. When for the first time Intelligence
contemplated the Good, this its contemplation split the Good's unity
into multiplicity. Though itself were a single being, this its thought
divided the unity because of its inability to grasp it in its entirety.
To this it may be answered that Intelligence was not yet such the first
time it contemplated the Good. Did it then contemplate the Good without
intelligence? Intelligence did not yet see the Good; but Intelligence
dwelt near it, was dependent on it, and was turned towards it.[104]
Having arrived at its fulness, because it was operating on high, and
was trending towards the Good, the movement of Intelligence itself led
it to its fulness; since then it was, no longer a single movement, but
a movement perfect and complete. It became all things, and possessing
self-consciousness, it recognized that itself was all things. It thus
became intelligence, which possesses its fulness so as to contain what
it should see, and which sees by the light that it receives from Him
from whom it derives what it sees. That is why the Good is said to be
not only the cause of "being," but rather the cause of the vision of
"being." As for sense-objects, the sun is the cause that makes them
exist, and renders them visible, as it is also the cause of vision,
and as however the sun is neither the vision nor the visible objects,
likewise the Good is the cause of being and of intelligence,[105] it
is a light in respect of the beings that are seen and the Intelligence
that sees them; but it is neither the beings nor the Intelligence; it
is only their cause; it produces thought by shedding its light on the
beings and on Intelligence. It is thus that Intelligence has arrived
to fulness, and that on arriving at fulness it has become perfect and
has seen. That which preceded its fulness is its principle. But it has
another principle (which is the Good), which is somewhat exterior to
it, and which gave it its fulness, and while giving it this fulness
impressed on it the form (of itself, the Good).


17. How can (these beings) exist within Intelligence, and constitute
it, if they were neither in that which has given, nor in that which
has received this fulness, since, before receiving its fulness from
the Good, Intelligence had not yet received (these beings)? It is
not necessary that a principle should itself possess what it gives;
in intelligible things, it suffices to consider the giver superior,
and the receiver inferior; that (giving and receiving) is the content
of generation in the order of veritable beings.[106] What occupies
the front rank must be in actualization; posterior things must be
in potentiality of what precedes them. What occupies the front rank
is superior to what occupies the second rank; the giver, likewise
is superior to the gift, because it is better. If then there be a
Principle anterior to actualization, it must be superior both to
actualization and to life; and because it gave life to Intelligence it
is more beautiful, still more venerable than Life. Thus Intelligence
received life, without necessity for the principle from which it
received life having had to contain any variety. Life is the impress
of Him who gave it, but it is not his life. When Intelligence
glanced towards Him, it was indeterminate; as soon as it fixed its
glance on Him, it was determined by Him, although He himself had no
determination. As soon indeed as Intelligence contemplated the One,
Intelligence was determined by Him, and from Him it received its
determination, limit and form. The form exists in the receiver; the
giver has none of it. This determination has not been imposed from
without on Intelligence as is the case for the limit imposed on some
magnitude; it is the determination characteristic of that Life, which
is universal, multiple and infinite, because it has radiated from
the supreme Nature. That Life was not yet the life of any particular
principle; otherwise, it would have been determined as an individual
life. Nevertheless it has been determined, and by virtue of that
determination it is the life of a multiple unity. Each one of the
things that constitute its multiplicity has likewise been determined.
Indeed, life has been determined as multiplicity (of beings) because of
its own multiplicity; as unity, because of the very determination it
has received. What has been determined as unity? Intelligence, because
it is the determined life. What was determined as multiplicity? The
multiplicity of intelligences. Everything therefore is intelligence;
only, the Intelligence that is one is universal; while the
intelligences which form multiplicity are individual.


If universal Intelligence comprises all the individual intelligences,
might not the latter all be identical? No, for then there would be but
one of them. The multiplicity of the intelligences implies therefore a
difference between them.[107] But how does each differ from the others?
Its difference resides in its being one; for there is no identity
between the universal Intelligence, and any particular intelligence.
Thus, in Intelligence, life is universal power; the vision which
emanates from it is the power of all things; and then Intelligence
itself, when it is formed, manifests all these things to us. He who
is seated above all of them is their principle, though they do not
serve Him as foundation; for, on the contrary, He is the foundation
of the form of the first forms, without Himself having any forms. In
respect to the Soul, Intelligence plays the part that the First plays
in respect to Intelligence; Intelligence sheds its light on the Soul,
and, to determine her, rationalizes her by communicating that of which
itself is the trace. The Intellect, therefore, is the trace of the
First; and while it is a form which develops in plurality, the First
has no shape nor form, so as to give form to all the rest. If itself
were a form, Intelligence would be nothing more than the "reason"
(the soul).[108] That is why the First could not have contained any
multiplicity; otherwise, its multiplicity itself would have had to be
traced to some superior principle.


18. In what respects do the (entities) which are contained by
Intelligence seem to bear the form of the Good? Is it because each of
them is a form, or because each is beautiful, or perhaps for some other
reason? All that proceeds from the Good bears its characteristics or
impressions, or at least bears something derived from it, just as that
which is derived from the fire bears a trace of the fire,[109] and as
that which is derived from sweetness somehow betrays it. Now that,
which, in Intelligence, is derived from the Good is life, for life is
born from the actualization of the Good, and from Him again is derived
the beauty of forms. Therefore all these things, life, intelligence,
and idea will bear the form of Good.


But what element is common to them? It does not suffice for them to
proceed from the Good to have something identical; they must also have
some common characteristic; for a same principle may give rise to
different things; or again, one and the same thing may become different
while passing from the giving principle into the receivers; for there
is a difference between that which constitutes the first actualization,
and that which is given thereby. Thus, that which is in the things of
which we speak is already different. Nothing hinders the characteristic
of all these things (in life, intelligence and idea) from being the
form of Good, but this form exists at different degrees in each of them.


In which of these things does the form of the Good inhere in the
highest degree? The solution of this problem depends on the following
one. Is life a good merely as such, even if it were life pure and
simple? Should we not rather limit that word "life" to the life which
derives from the Good, so that mere proceeding from the Good be a
sufficient characterization of life? What is the nature of this life?
Is it the life of the Good? No: life does not belong to the Good; it
only proceeds therefrom. If the characteristic of life be proceeding
from the Good, and if it be real life, evidently the result would be
that nothing that proceeds from the Good would deserve scorn, that
life as life should be considered good, that the same condition of
affairs obtains with the primary and veritable Intelligence, and that
finally each form is good and bears the form of Good. In this case,
each of these (life, intelligence and idea) possess a good which is
either common, or different, or which is of a different degree. Since
we have admitted that each of the above-mentioned things contains a
good in its being, then it is good chiefly because of this good. Thus
life is a good, not in so far as it is merely life, but in so far as
it is real life and proceeds from the Good. Intelligence likewise is
a good so far as it essentially is intelligence; there is therefore
some common element in life and intelligence. Indeed, when one and the
same attribute is predicated of different beings, although it form
an integral part of their being, it may be abstracted therefrom by
thought; thus from "man" and "horse" may be abstracted "animal"; from
"water" and "fire," "heat"; but what is common in these beings is a
genus, while what is common in intelligence and life, is one and the
same thing which inheres in one in the first degree, and in the other
in the second.


Is it by a mere play on words that life, intelligence and ideas are
called good? Does the good constitute their being, or is each good
taken in its totality? Good could not constitute the being of each
of them. Are they then parts of the Good? The Good, however, is
indivisible. The things that are beneath it are good for different
reasons. The primary actualization (that proceeds from the Good) is
good; likewise, the determination it receives is good, and the totality
of both things is good. The actualization is good because it proceeds
from the Good; the determination, because it is a perfection that
has emanated from the Good; and the combination of actualization and
determination because it is their totality. All these things thus are
derived from one and the same principle, but nevertheless they are
different. Thus (in a choric ballet) the voice and the step proceed
from one and the same person, in that they are all perfectly regulated.
Now they are well regulated because they contain order and rhythm.
What then is the content in the above-mentioned things that would make
them good? But perhaps it may be objected that if the voice and step
are well regulated, each one of them entirely owes it to some external
principle, since the order is here applied to the things that differ
from each other. On the contrary, the things of which we speak are each
of them good in itself. And why are they good? It does not suffice to
say that they are good because they proceed from the Good. Doubtless we
shall have to grant that they are precious from the moment that they
proceed from the Good, but reason demands that we shall determine that
of which their goodness consists.


19. Shall the decision of what is good be entrusted to the desire
of the soul?[110] If we are to trust this affection of the soul, we
shall be declaring that whatever is desirable for her is good; but
we would not be seeking why the Good is desired. Thus, while we use
demonstrations to explain the nature of every entity, we would be
trusting to desire for the determination of the Good. Such a proceeding
would land us in several absurdities. First, the Good would only be an
attribute. Then, since our soul has several desires, and each of the
latter has different objects, we would not be able to decide which
of these objects would be the best, according to desire. It would be
impossible to decide what would be better before we know what is good.


Shall we then define the good as the virtue characteristic of each
being (as say the Stoics)? In this case, by strictly following (the
course of dialectics) we would reduce the Good to being a form and a
reason. But, having arrived there, what should we answer if we were
asked on what grounds these things themselves are good? In imperfect
things, it seems easy to distinguish the good, even though it be not
pure; but in intelligible things we may not immediately succeed in
discovering the Good by comparison with the inferior things. As there
is no evil on high (in the intelligible world), and as excellent
things exist in themselves, we find ourselves embarrassed. Perhaps we
are embarrassed only because we seek the cause ("whyness") (of the
good), whereas the cause ("whyness") is here identical with the nature
("whatness"), as intelligible entities are good in themselves. Nor
would we have solved the problem if we were to assign some other cause
(of the Good), such as the divinity, to which our reason has not yet
forced us to repair. However, we cannot retire, and we must seek to
arrive by some other road to something satisfactory.


20. Since therefore we have given up desires as forms in the
determination of the nature and quality (of the good), shall we have
recourse to other rules, such as, for instance (the Pythagorean[104])
"oppositions," such as order and disorder, proportion and
disproportion, health and sickness, form and formlessness, being and
destruction, consistence and its lack? Who indeed would hesitate to
attribute to the form of good those characteristics which constitute
the first member of each of these opposition-pairs? If so, the
efficient causes of these characteristics will also have to be traced
to the good; for virtue, life, intelligence and wisdom are comprised
within the form of good, as being things desired by the soul that is


It will further be suggested (by followers of Aristotle) that we
stop at Intelligence, predicating goodness of it. For life and soul
are images of Intelligence. It is to Intelligence that the soul
aspires, it is according to Intelligence that the soul judges, it is
on Intelligence that the soul regulates herself, when she pronounces
that justice is better than injustice, in preferring every kind of
virtue to every kind of vice, and in holding in high estimation what
she considers preferable. Unfortunately, the soul does not aspire
to Intelligence exclusively. As might be demonstrated in a long
discussion, Intelligence is not the supreme goal to which we aspire,
and not everything aspires to Intelligence, whilst everything aspires
to the Good. The (beings) which do not possess intelligence do not
all seek to possess it, while those who do possess it, do not limit
themselves to it. Intelligence is sought only as the result of a train
of reasoning, whilst Good is desired even before reason comes into
play. If the object of desire be to live, to exist always, and to be
active, this object is not desired because of Intelligence, but because
of its being good, inasmuch as the Good is its principle and its goal.
It is only in this respect that life is desirable.


21. What then is the one and only cause to whose presence is due the
goodness (of life, intelligence and idea)? Let us not hesitate to say:
Intelligence and primary Life bear the form of Good; it is on this
account alone that they are desirable; they bear the form of Good in
this respect, that the primary Life is the actualization of the Good,
or rather the actualization that proceeds from the Good, and that
intelligence is determination of this actualization. (Intelligence and
primary Life) are fascinating, and the soul seeks them because they
proceed from the Good; nevertheless the soul aspires to them (only)
because they fit her, and not because they are good in themselves. On
the other hand, the soul could not disdain them because they bear the
form of good; though[112] we can disdain something even though it be
suitable to us, if it be not a good besides.[112] It is true that we
permit ourselves to be allured by distant and inferior objects, and
may even feel for them a passionate love; but that occurs only when
they have something more than their natural condition, and when some
perfection descends on them from on high. Just as the bodies, while
containing a light mingled with their (substance), nevertheless need
illumination by some other light to bring out their colors,[113] so the
intelligible entities, in spite of the light that they contain, need to
receive some other more powerful light, so as to become visible, both
for themselves, and for others.


22. When the soul perceives the light thus shed by the Good on
the intelligible entities, she flies towards them, tasting an
indescribable bliss in the contemplation of the light that illuminates
them. Likewise here below, we do not like the bodies for themselves,
but for the beauty that shimmers in them.[114] Each intelligible entity
owes its nature to none but to itself; but it only becomes desirable
when the Good, so to speak, illuminates and colors it, breathing
grace into the desired object, and inspiring love into the desiring
heart. As soon as the soul reacts to the influence of the Good, she
feels emotion, swells with fancy, is stung by desire, and love is born
within her.[115] Before reacting to the influence of good she feels no
transports when facing the beauty of Intelligence; for this beauty is
dead so long as it is not irradiated by the Good. Consequently the soul
still remains depressed and bowed down, cold and torpid, in front of
Intelligence. But as soon as she feels the gentle warmth of the Good,
she is refreshed, she awakes, and spreads her wings; and instead of
stopping to admire the Intelligence in front of her, she rises by the
aid of reminiscence to a still higher principle (the First). So long as
there is anything superior to what she possesses, she rises, allured
by her natural leaning for the Inspirer of love; so she passes through
the region of Intelligence, and stops at the Good because there is
nothing beyond. So long as she contemplates Intelligence, she surely
enjoys a noble and magnificent spectacle, but she does not yet fully
possess the object of her search. Such would be a human countenance,
which, in spite of its beauty, is not attractive, for lack of the
charm of grace. Beauty is, indeed, rather the splendor that enhalos
proportion, than proportion itself; and it is properly this splendor
which challenges love. Why indeed does beauty shine radiantly on the
face of a living person, and yet leave hardly a trace after death,
even when the complexion and features are not yet marred? Why, among
different statues, do the most life-like ones seem more beautiful than
others that may be better proportioned? Why is a living being, though
ugly, more beautiful than a pictured one, even though the latter were
the most handsome imaginable? The secret is that the living form seems
to us most desirable, because it possesses a living soul, because it is
most assimilated to the Good; because the soul is colored by the light
of the Good, and because, enlightened by the Good she is more wakeful
and lighter, and because in her turn she lightens the burdens, awakes,
and causes participation of the Good, so far as she may be able, in the
body within which she resides.


23. Since it is this Principle which the soul pursues, which
illuminates Intelligence, and whose least trace arouses in us so great
an emotion, there is no ground for astonishment if it possess the power
of exerting its fascination on all beings, and if all rest in Him
without seeking anything beyond. If indeed everything proceeds from
this principle, then there is nothing better, and everything else is
below Him. Now, how could the best of beings fail to be the Good? If
the Good be entirely self-sufficient, and have need of nothing else,
what could it be except the One who was what He is before all other
things, when evil did not yet exist? If all evils be posterior to
Him, if they exist only in the objects that in no way participate in
the Good, and which occupy the last rank, if no evil exist among the
intelligibles, and if there be nothing worse than evil (just as there
is nothing better than the Good), then evils are in complete opposition
to this principle, and it could be nothing else. To deny the existence
of the Good, we would also have to deny the existence of evil; and
the result would be a complete indifference of choice between any two
particular things; which is absurd. All other things called good refer
to Him, while He refers to nothing else.


But if this be the nature of the Good, what does He do? He made
Intelligence, and life. By the intermediation of Intelligence, He made
the souls and all the other beings that participate in Intelligence,
in Reason, or in Life. Moreover, who could express the goodness of Him
who is their source and principle? But what is He doing at the present
time? He preserves what He has begotten, He inspires the thought in
those who think, He vivifies the living, by His spirit,[116] He imparts
to all (beings) intelligence and life, and to those who are unable to
receive life, at least existence.


24. And what is He doing for us? To answer this question, we would
still have to explain the light by which Intelligence is illuminated,
and in which the Soul participates. But we shall have to postpone this
discussion, and mention various other questions which may be asked.
Is the Good goodness, and does it receive this name because it is
desirable for some being? Is that which is desirable for some being the
good of this being, and do we call the Good that which is desirable
for all beings? Is being desirable not rather a simple characteristic
of the Good, and must not that which is desirable have a nature such
that it would deserve the name of Good?[117] Besides, do the beings
that desire the Good desire it because they receive from it something,
or merely because possession thereof causes bliss? If they do receive
something from it, what does it consist of? If the possession of the
Good give them joy, why should their joy come from possession of the
Good, rather than from possession of anything else? ls the Good such
by what is characteristic of it, or by something else? Is the Good an
attribute of some other being, or is the Good good for itself? Must not
the Good rather be good for others, without being good for itself? For
whom anyway is the Good good? For there is a certain nature (matter)
for which nothing is good.


Nor can we ignore an objection raised by an opponent who is difficult
to convince (Plato's Philebus): "Well, my friends, what then is this
entity that you celebrate in such pompous terms, ceaselessly repeating
that life and intelligence are goods, although you said that the
Good is above them? What sort of a good might the Intellect be? What
sort of a good should (a man) have, who thinks the Ideas themselves,
contemplating everything in itself? Perhaps, indeed, a man, when he
enjoys these (Ideas and contemplations), might be deceived into calling
them a good merely because he happened to be in pleasant circumstances;
but should these circumstances become unpleasant, on what grounds would
he call them a good? Merely because they (possess) existence? But what
pleasure or benefit could this afford him? If he did not consider
self-love as the foundation thereof, what difference could there be
for him between existence and non-existence? It is therefore to this
natural physical error (of self-love), and to the fear of death, that
we must trace the cause of the ascription of good to intelligence and


25. Plato therefore mingled the Good with pleasure, and did not
posit the Good exclusively in Intelligence, as he wrote in the
Philebus.[119] Appreciating this difficulty, he very rightly decided
on one hand that good did not consist in pleasure alone, and on the
other, that it did not consist in intelligence alone, inasmuch as he
failed to discover in it anything to arouse our desire. Perhaps Plato
had still another motive (in calling the Good a mixture), because he
thought that, with such a nature, the Good is necessarily full of
charm, desirable both for the seeker and the finder; whence it would
result that he who is not charmed has not found the Good, and that,
if he who desires be not happy, he evidently does not yet possess the
Good. It is not without a reason (that Plato formed this conception of
the Good); for he was not seeking to determine the universal Good, but
the good of man; and as such human good refers to (man, who is) a being
different from the absolute Good, then it becomes for him something
different from the Good in itself; and would therefore be defective and
composite. That is why (according to Plato), that which is alone and
single has no good, but is good in another and a higher sense.


The good must then be desirable; but it is good not because it is
desirable, but it is desirable because it is good.[121] Thus in the
order of beings, rising from the last to the First, it will be found
that the good of each of them is in the one immediately preceding,
so long as this ascending scale remain proportionate and increasing.
Then we will stop at Him who occupies the supreme rank, beyond which
there is nothing more to seek. That is the First, the veritable, the
sovereign Good, the author of all goodness in other beings. The good
of matter is form; for if matter became capable of sensation it would
receive it with pleasure. The good of the body is the soul; for without
her it could neither exist nor last. The good of the soul is virtue;
and then higher (waits), Intelligence. Last, the good of Intelligence
is the principle called the Primary nature. Each of these goods
produces something within the object whose good it is. It confers order
and beauty (as form does on matter); or life (as the soul does on the
body); or wisdom and happiness (as intelligence does on soul). Last,
the Good communicates to Intelligence its influx, and actualization
emanating from the Good, and shedding on Intelligence what has been
called the light of the Good. The nature of this we shall study later.


26. Recognition of goodness and so-called "possession" thereof consist
of enjoyment of the presence of good by the being who has received from
nature the faculty of sensation. How could it make a mistake about the
matter? The possibility of its being deceived implies the existence
of some counterfeit; in this case, the error of this being was caused
by that which resembled its good; for this being withdraws from what
had deceived it as soon as the Good presents itself. The existence of
a particular good for each being is demonstrated by its desire and
inclination. Doubtless, the inanimate being receives its good from
without; but, in the animated being, the desire spontaneously starts
to pursue the Good. That is why lifeless bodies are the objects of
solicitude and care of living beings, while the living beings watch
over themselves.


Now when a being has attained the good it was pursuing it is sure of
possessing it as soon as it feels that it is better, feels no regret,
is satisfied, takes pleasure therein, and seeks nothing beyond. What
shows the insufficiency of pleasure is that one does not always like
the same thing; doubtless pleasure ever charms, but the object which
produces it is not the same; it is always the newest object that
pleases most. Now the good to which we aspire must not be a simple
affection, existing only in him who feels it; for he who mistakes
this affection for the Good remains unsatisfied, he has nothing but
an affection that somebody else might equally feel in presence of
the Good. Consequently no one will succeed in making himself enjoy a
pleasure he has not achieved[122]; such as, for instance, rejoicing in
the presence of an absent son; or, for a glutton to relish imaginary
food; or, for a lover, to tremble at the touch of his absent mistress,
or (to thrill in a theoretic) orgasm.


27. What is the essential of a being's nature? Form. Matter achieves
(recognition) through its form; and a soul's destiny is realized by the
virtue which is its form. Next we may ask whether this form be a good
for a being merely because it suits its (nature)? Does desire pursue
that which is suitable to it, or not? No: a being is suited by its
like; now, though a being seek and love its like, its possession does
not imply the possession of its good. Are we then not implying that
something is suitable to a being, on the strength of its being the good
of that being? The determination of what is suitable to a being belongs
to the superior Being of whom the lower being is a potentiality. When
a being is the potentiality of some other, the being needs the other;
now the Being which it needs because it is superior is, by that very
fact, its good. Of all things matter is the most indigent, and the form
suitable to it is the last of all; but, above it, one may gradually
ascend. Consequently, if a being be good for itself, so much the more
will it consider good what is its perfection and form, namely, the
being that is better than it, because of a superior nature, and of
supplying the good (of the lower being). But why should that which
a being receives from a superior Being be its good? Is it not this
because it is eminently suited to it? No: It is so merely because it is
a portion of the Good. That is why the purest and best Beings are those
that have most intimacy with themselves.[124] Besides it is absurd to
seek the cause why what is good, is good for itself; as if, by the mere
fact of its being good, it should betray its own nature and not love
itself. Nevertheless, speaking of simple beings, it might be asked
whether a being which does not contain several things different from
each other either possesses intimacy with itself, or can be good for


Now, if all that has been said be right, it is only a gradual upward
analysis that reveals the good that is suitable to the nature of
any being. Desire does not constitute the good, but is born from
its presence. Those who acquire the good receive something from it.
Pleasure accompanies the acquirement of good; but even should pleasure
not accompany the good, the good should, none the less be chosen, and
sought for its own sake.


28. Let us consider the implications of the principles we have studied.
If that which a being receives as good be everywhere a form, if the
good of matter be a form, we might ask ourselves whether matter,
granting it here the faculty of volition, would even wish to be a
form? Such a wish would be tantamount to a wish to be destroyed. (But
matter could not wish this), for every being seeks its own good. But
perhaps matter might not wish to be matter, but simply to be essence;
possessing which, matter would wish to free itself from all the evil
within it. But how can that which is evil (for such is the nature of
matter) desire the good?[125] Besides, we are not attributing desire
to matter itself. It was only to meet the exigencies of the discussion
that we employed the hypothesis which accorded sensibility to matter,
if indeed it can be granted to matter without destroying its nature.
We have at least shown that when form has come, as a dream of the
Good,[126] to unite itself to matter, the latter found itself in a
better condition.


All we have said above goes on the assumption that matter is the evil.
But if it were something else, as, for instance, malice, and if the
essence of matter were to receive sensation, would intimacy with what
is better still be the good of matter? But if it were not the malice
itself of matter which choose the good, it was what had become evil in
matter. If the essence (of matter) were identical with evil, how could
matter wish to possess this good? Would evil love itself, if it had
self-consciousness? But how could that which is not lovable be loved?
For we have demonstrated that a being's good does not consist in that
which is suitable to it. Enough about this, however.


But if the good be everywhere a form; if, in the measure that one
rises (along the ladder of beings), there is a progression in the
form--for the soul is more of a form than the form of the body; in the
soul herself there are graduated forms, and intelligence is more of a
form than the soul--the good follows a progression evidently inverse
to that of matter; the Good exists in that which is purified and
freed from matter, and exists there in proportion to its purity (from
matter); so it exists in the highest degree in that which lays aside
all materiality. Finally, the Good in itself, being entirely separated
from all matter; or rather, never having had any contact with it,
constitutes a nature which has no kind of form, and from which proceeds
the first form (Intelligence). But of this more later.[127]


29. Supposing then that the pleasure does not accompany the good, but
that anterior to pleasure there have existed something which would
have naturally given rise to it (because of its goodness); why then
might not the good be considered lovable? But the mere assertion that
good is lovable, already implies that it is accompanied by pleasure.
But supposing now that the good could exist without being lovable
(and consequently not accompanied by pleasure). In that case, even in
presence of the good, the being that possesses sensibility will not
know that the good is present. What would however hinder a being from
knowing the presence of the good without feeling any emotion at its
possession, which would exactly represent the case of the temperate
man who lacks nothing? The result would be that pleasure could not be
suitable to the First (being), not only because He is simple, but also
because pleasure results from the acquisition of what is lacking (and
the First lacks nothing, therefore could not feel pleasure).


But, in order that this truth may appear in its full light, we shall
first have to clear away all the other opinions, and especially have
to refute the teaching opposite to ours. This is the question asked of
us: "What will be the fruit gathered by him who has the intelligence
necessary to acquire one of these goods (such as existence and life),
if on hearing them named, he be not impressed thereby, because he
does not understand them, either because they seem to him no more
than words, or because his conception of each of these things should
differ (from our view of them), or because in his search for the Good
he seeks some sense-object, such as wealth, or the like?" The person
who thus scorns these things (existence and life), thereby implicitly
recognizes that there is within him a certain good, but that, without
knowing in what it consists, he nevertheless values these things
according to his own notion of the Good; for it is impossible to say,
"that is not the good," without having some sort of knowledge of the
good,[128] or acquaintance therewith. The above speaker seems to betray
a suspicion that the Good in itself is above Intelligence. Besides, if
in considering the Good in itself, or the good which most approaches
it, he do not discern it, he will nevertheless succeed in getting a
conception of it by its contraries; otherwise, he would not even know
that the lack of intelligence is an evil, though every man desire to
be intelligent, and glory in being such, as is seen by the sensations
which aspire to become notions. If intelligence, and especially primary
Intelligence, be beautiful and venerable, what admiration might not
then be felt by him who could contemplate the generating principle,
the Father of Intelligence?[129] Consequently, he who affects to scorn
existence and life receives a refutation from himself and from all
the affections he feels. They who are disgusted of life are those who
consider not the true life, but the life which is mingled with death.


30. Now, rising in thought to the Good, we must examine whether
pleasure must be mingled with the Good to keep life from remaining
imperfect, even if we should, besides, contemplate the divine things,
and even Him who is their principle. When (Plato[119]) seems to
believe that the good is composed of intelligence, as subject, and
also of affection which wisdom makes the soul experience, he is not
asserting that this blend (of intelligence and pleasure) is either
the goal (of the soul), or the Good in itself. He only means that
intelligence is the good, and that we enjoy its possession. This is
a first interpretation of (Plato's) opinion about the Good. Another
interpretation is that to mingle intelligence with pleasure is to
make a single subject of both of them, so that in acquiring or in
contemplating such an intelligence we possess the good; for (according
to the partisans of this opinion), one of these things could not exist
in isolation, nor, supposing that it could so exist, it would not be
desirable as a good. But (shall we ask them), how can intelligence be
mingled with pleasure so as to form a perfect fusion therewith? Nobody
could be made to believe that the pleasure of the body could be mingled
with Intelligence; such pleasure is incompatible even with the joys of
the soul.


The element of truth in all this, however, is that every action,
disposition and life is joined by some accessory (pleasure or pain)
that unites with it. Indeed, sometimes action meets an obstacle to its
natural accomplishment, and life is affected by the mixture of a little
of its contrary, which limits its independence; sometimes, however,
action is produced without anything troubling its purity and serenity,
and then life flows along a tranquil course. Those who consider that
this state of intelligence is desirable, and preferable to everything
else, in their inability to express their thoughts more definitely,
say that it is mingled with pleasure. Such likewise is the meaning of
expressions used by those who apply to divine things terms intended
to express joy here below, and who say, "He is intoxicated with
nectar! Let us to the banquet! Jupiter smiles!"[130] This happy state
of intelligence is that which is the most agreeable, the most worthy
of our wishes, and of our love; nor is it transitory, and does not
consist in a movement; its principle is that which colors intelligence,
illumines it, and makes it enjoy a sweet serenity. That is why
Plato[131] adds to the mixture truth, and puts above it that which
gives measure. He also adds that the proportion and the beauty which
are in the mixture pass from there into the beautiful. That is the
good that belongs to us, that is the fate that awaits us. That is the
supreme object of desire, an object that we will achieve on condition
of drawing ourselves up to that which is best in us. Now this thing
full of proportion and beauty, this form composed (of the elements of
which we have spoken), is nothing else but a life full of radiance,
intelligence and beauty.


31. Since all things have been embellished by Him who is above them,
and have received their light from Him; since Intelligence derives
from Him the splendor of its intellectual actualization; by which
splendor it illuminates nature; since from Him also the soul derives
her vital power, because she finds in Him an abundant source of life;
consequently, Intelligence has risen to Him, and has remained attached
to Him, satisfied in the bliss of His presence; consequently also the
soul, to the utmost of her ability, turned towards Him, for, as soon as
she has known Him and seen Him, she was, by her contemplation, filled
with bliss; and, so far as she could see Him, she was overwhelmed
with reverence. She could not see Him without being impressed with
the feeling that she had within herself something of Him; it was this
disposition of hers that led her to desire to see Him, as the image
of some lovable object makes one wish to be able to contemplate it
oneself. Here below, lovers try to resemble the beloved object, to
render their body more gracious, to conform their soul to their model,
by temperance and the other virtues to remain as little inferior as
possible to Him whom they love, for fear of being scorned by Him;
and thus they succeed in enjoying intimacy with Him.[132] Likewise,
the soul loves the Good, because, from the very beginning she is
provoked to love Him. When she is ready to love, she does not wait
for the beauties here below to give her the reminiscence of the Good;
full of love, even when she does not know what she possesses, she is
ever seeking; and inflamed with the desire to rise to the Good, she
scorns the things here below. Considering the beauties presented by
our universe, she suspects that they are deceptive, because she sees
them clothed upon with flesh, and united to our bodies, soiled by
the matter where they reside, divided by extension, and she does not
recognize them as real beauties, for she cannot believe that the latter
could plunge into the mire of these bodies, soiling and obscuring
themselves.[133] Last, when the soul observes that the beauties here
below are in a perpetual flux, she clearly recognizes that they derive
this splendor with which they shine, from elsewhere.[134] Then she
rises to the intelligible world; being capable of discovering what she
loves, she does not stop before having found it, unless she be made
to lose her love. Having arrived there, she contemplates all the true
beauties, the true realities[135]; she refreshes herself by filling
herself up with the life proper to essence. She herself becomes genuine
essence. She fuses with the Intelligible which she really possesses,
and in its presence she has the feeling (of having found) what she was
seeking so long.


32. Where then is He who has created this venerable beauty, and this
perfect life? Where is He who has begotten "being"? Do you see the
beauty that shines in all these forms so various? It is well to dwell
there; but when one has thus arrived at beauty, one is forced to seek
the source of these essences and of their beauty. Their author Himself
cannot be any of them; for then He would be no more than some among
them, and a part of the whole. He is therefore none of the particular
forms, nor a particular power, nor all of the forms, nor all the powers
that are, or are becoming, in the universe; He must be superior to all
the forms and all the powers. The supreme Principle therefore has no
form; not indeed that He lacks any; but because He is the principle
from which all intellectual shapes are derived. Whatever is born--that
is, if there be anything such as birth--must, at birth, have been some
particular being, and have had its particular shape; but who could have
made that which was not made by anybody? He therefore is all beings,
without being any of them; He is none of the other beings because He is
anterior to all of them; He is all other beings because He is their
author. What greatness shall be attributed to the Principle who can do
all things? Will He be considered infinite? Even if He be infinite,
He will have no greatness, for magnitude occurs only among beings
of the lowest rank. The creator of magnitude could not himself have
any magnitude; and even what is called magnitude in "being" is not a
quantity. Magnitude can be found only in something posterior to being.
The magnitude of the Good is that there be nothing more powerful than
He, nothing that even equals Him. How indeed could any of the beings
dependent on Him ever equal Him, not having a nature identical with
His? Even the statement that God is always and everywhere does not
attribute to Him any measure, nor even, a lack of measure--otherwise,
He might be considered as measuring the rest; nor does it attribute to
Him any figure (or, outward appearance).


Thus the Divinity, being the object of desire, must be the most desired
and the most loved, precisely because He has no figure nor shape. The
love He inspires is immense; this love is limitless, because of the
limitlessness of its object. He is infinite, because the beauty of its
object surpasses all beauty. Not being any essence, how indeed could
the (divinity) have any determinate beauty? As supreme object of love,
He is the creator of beauty.[136] Being the generating power of all
that is beautiful, He is at the same time the flower in which beauty
blooms[137]: for He produces it, and makes it more beautiful still by
the superabundance of beauty which He sheds on her. He is therefore
simultaneously the principle and goal of beauty.[138] As principle of
beauty, He beautifies all that of which He is the principle. It is not
however by shape that He beautifies; what He produces has no shape, or,
to speak more accurately, He has a shape in a sense different from the
habitual meaning of this term. The shape which is no more than a shape
is a simple attribute of some substance, while the Shape that subsists
in itself is superior to shape. Thus, that which participates in beauty
was a shape; but beauty itself has none.


33. When we speak of absolute Beauty, we must therefore withdraw from
all determinate shape, setting none before the eyes (of our mind);
otherwise, we would expose ourselves to descending from absolute
beauty to something which does not deserve the name of beauty but by
virtue of an obscure and feeble participation[139]; while absolute
Beauty is a shapeless form, if it be at all allowed to be an idea (or
form). Thus you may approach the universal Shape only by abstraction.
Abstract even the form found in the reason (that is, the essence), by
which we distinguish one action from another. Abstract, for instance,
the difference that separates temperance from justice, though both be
beautiful. For by the mere fact that intelligence conceives an object
as something proper, the object that it conceives is diminished, even
though this object were the totality of intelligible entities; and,
on the other hand, if each of them, taken apart, have a single form,
nevertheless all taken together will offer a certain variety.


We still have to study the proper conception of Him who is superior
to the Intelligence that is so universally beautiful and varied, but
who Himself is not varied. To Him the soul aspires without knowing
why she wishes to possess Him; but reason tells us He is essential
beauty, since the nature of Him who is excellent and sovereignly
lovable cannot absolutely have any form. That is why the soul, whatever
object you may show her in your process of reducing an object to a
form, ever seeks beyond the shaping principle. Now reason tells us
in respect to anything that has a shape, that as a shape or form is
something measured (or limited), (anything shaped) cannot be genuinely
universal, absolute, and beautiful in itself, and that its beauty is
a mixture. Therefore though the intelligible entities be beautiful
(they are limited); while He who is essential beauty, or rather the
super-beautiful, must be unlimited, and consequently have no shape or
form. He who then is beauty in the first degree, and primary Beauty, is
superior to form, and the splendor of the intelligible (world) is only
a reflection of the nature of the Good.


This is proved by what happens to lovers; so far as their eyes remain
fixed on a sense-object, they do not yet love genuinely. Love is born
only when they rise above the sense-object, and arrive at representing
in their indivisible soul an image which has nothing more of sensation.
To calm the ardor that devours them they do indeed still desire to
contemplate the beloved object; but as soon as they come to understand
that they have to rise to something beyond the form, they desire the
latter; for since the very beginning they felt within themselves the
love for a great light inspired by a feeble glow. The Shape indeed is
the trace of the shapeless. Without himself having any shape, He begets
shape whenever matter approaches Him. Now matter must necessarily be
very distant from Him, because matter does not possess forms of even
the last degree. Since form inherent in matter is derived from the
soul, not even mere form-fashioned matter is lovable in itself, as
matter; and as the soul herself is a still higher form, but yet is
inferior to and less lovable than intelligence, there is no escape from
the conclusion that the primary nature of the Beautiful is superior to


34. We shall not be surprised that the soul's liveliest transports of
love are aroused by Him, who has no form, not even an intelligible one,
when we observe that the soul herself, as soon as she burns with love
for Him, lays aside all forms soever, even if intelligible; for it is
impossible to approach Him so long as one considers anything else. The
soul must therefore put aside all evil, and even all good; in a word,
everything, of whatever nature, to receive the divinity, alone with the
alone. When the soul obtains this happiness, and when (the divinity)
comes to her, or rather, when He manifests His presence, because the
soul has detached herself from other present things, when she has
embellished herself as far as possible, when she has become assimilated
to Him by means known only to the initiated, she suddenly sees Him
appear in her. No more interval between them, no more doubleness; the
two fuse in one. It is impossible to distinguish the soul from the
divinity, so much does she enjoy His presence; and it is the intimacy
of this union that is here below imitated by those who love and are
loved, when they consummate union. In this condition the soul no longer
feels (her body); she no more feels whether she be alive, human,
essence, universality, or anything else. Consideration of objects
would be a degradation, and the soul then has neither the leisure nor
the desire to busy herself with them. When, after having sought the
divinity, she finds herself in His presence, she rushes towards Him,
and contemplates Him instead of herself.[140] What is her condition at
the time? She has not the leisure to consider it; but she would not
exchange it for anything whatever, not even for the whole heaven; for
there is nothing superior or better; she could not rise any higher.
As to other things, however elevated they be, she cannot at that time
stoop to consider them. It is at this moment that the soul starts to
move, and recognizes that she really possesses what she desired; she at
last affirms that there is nothing better than Him. No illusion could
occur there; for where could she find anything truer than truth itself?
The soul then is what she affirms; (or rather), she asserts it (only),
later, and then she asserts it by keeping silence. While tasting this
beatitude she could not err in the assertion that she tastes it. If
she assert that she tastes it, it is not that her body experiences an
agreeable titillation, for she has only become again what she formerly
used to be when she became happy. All the things that formerly charmed
her, such as commanding others, power, wealth, beauty, science, now
seem to her despicable; she could not scorn them earlier, for she had
not met anything better. Now she fears nothing, so long as she is with
Him, and contemplates Him. Even with pleasure would she witness the
destruction of everything, for she would remain alone with Him; so
great is her felicity.


35. Such, then, is the state of the soul that she no longer values
even thought, which formerly excited her admiration; for thought is a
movement, and the soul would prefer none. She does not even assert
that it is Intelligence that she sees, though she contemplate only
because she has become intelligence, and has, so to speak, become
intellectualized, by being established in the intelligible place.
Having arrived to Intelligence, and having become established therein,
the soul possesses the intelligible, and thinks; but as soon as she
achieves the vision of the supreme Divinity, she abandons everything
else. She behaves as does the visitor who, on entering into a palace,
would first admire the different beauties that adorn its interior,
but who regards them no longer as soon as she perceives the master;
for the master, by his (living) nature, which is superior to all the
statues that adorn the palace, monopolizes the consideration, and
alone deserves to be contemplated; consequently the spectator, with
his glance fixed on Him, henceforward observes Him alone. By dint of
continual contemplation of the spectacle in front of him, the spectator
sees the master no longer; in the spectator, vision confuses with the
visible object. What for the spectator first was a visible object,
in him becomes vision, and makes him forget all that he saw around
himself. To complete this illustration, the master here presenting
himself to the visitor must be no man, but a divinity; and this
divinity must not content Himself with appearing to the eyes of him who
contemplates Him, but He must penetrate within the human soul, and fill
her entirely.


Intelligence has two powers: by the first, which is her own power of
thinking, she sees what is within her. By the other she perceives
what is above her by the aid of a kind of vision and perception;
by the vision, she first saw simply; then, by (perceptive) seeing,
she received intellection and fused with the One. The first kind of
contemplation is suitable to the intelligence which still possesses
reason; the second is intelligence transported by love. Now, it is
when the nectar intoxicates her,[141] and deprives her of reason,
that the soul is transported with love, and that she blossoms into a
felicity that fulfils all her desires. It is better for her to abandon
herself to this intoxication than to remain wise. In this state
does intelligence successively see one thing, and then another? No:
methods of instruction (or, constructive speech) give out everything
successively; but it is eternally that intelligence possesses the
power of thought, as well as the power not to think; that is, to see
the divinity otherwise than by thought. Indeed, while contemplating
Him, she received within herself germs, she felt them when they were
produced and deposited within her breast; when she sees them, she is
said to think; but when she sees the divinity, it is by that superior
power by virtue of which she was to think later.


As to the soul, she sees the divinity only by growing confused, as it
were by exhausting the intelligence which resides in her; or rather,
it is her first intelligence that sees; but the vision the latter
has of the divinity reaches down to the soul, which then fuses with
intelligence. It is the Good, extending over intelligence and the soul,
and condescending to their level, which spreads over them, and fuses
them; hovering above them, it bestows on them the happy vision, and the
ineffable feeling of itself. It raises them so high that they are no
more in any place, nor within anything whatever, in any of the senses
in which one thing is said to be within another. For the Good is not
within anything; the intelligible location is within it, but it is not
in anything else. Then the soul moves no more, because the divinity is
not in motion. To speak accurately, she is no longer soul, because the
divinity does not live, but is above life; neither is she intelligence,
because the divinity is above intelligence; because there must be
complete assimilation (between the soul and the divinity). Finally, the
soul does not think even the divinity, because in this condition she
does not think at all.


36. The remainder is plain. As to the last point, it has already been
discussed. Still it may be well to add something thereto, starting from
the point reached, and proceeding by arguments. Knowledge, or, if it
may be so expressed, the "touch of the Good," is the greatest thing
in the world. Plato[142] calls it the greatest of sciences, and even
so he here applies this designation not to the vision itself of the
Good, but to the science of the Good that may be had before the vision.
This science is attained by the use of analogies,[143] by negations
(made about the Good), by the knowledge of things that proceed from
it, and last by the degrees that must be taken (or, upward steps that
must be climbed to reach up to Him.[165]) (These then are the degrees)
that lead up (to the divinity): purifications, virtues that adorn the
soul, elevation to the intelligible, settling in the intelligible, and
then the banquet at which nectar feeds him who becomes simultaneously
spectator and spectacle, either for himself, or for others.[144]
Having become Being, Intelligence, and universal living Organism, (the
initiate) no longer considers these things as being outside of him;
having arrived at that condition, she approaches Him who is immediately
above all the intelligible entities, and who already sheds His radiance
over them. (The initiate) then leaves aside all the science that has
led him till there; settled in the beautiful, he thinks, so long as he
does not go beyond that (sphere of) being. But there, as it were raised
by the very flood of intelligence, and carried away by the wave that
swells, without knowing how, he suddenly sees. The contemplation which
fills his eye with light does not reveal to him anything exterior;
it is the light itself that he sees. It is not an opposition between
light on one side, and the visible object on the other; nor is there
on one side intelligence, and on the other the intelligible entity;
there is only the (radiation) which later begets these entities, and
permits them to exist within it. (The divinity) is no more than the
radiation that begets intelligence, begetting without being consumed,
and remaining within itself. This radiation exists, and this existence
alone begets something else. If this radiation were not what it was,
neither would the latter thing subsist.


37. They who attributed thought to the First Principle have at least
not attributed to Him the thought of things that are inferior to Him,
or which proceed from Him.[145] Nevertheless some of them claimed that
it was absurd to believe that the divinity ignored other things. As
to the former, finding nothing greater than the Good, they attributed
to (the divinity) the thought of Himself,[146] as if this could add
to His majesty, as if even for Him, thinking were more than being
what He is, and it were not the Good Himself which communicates His
sublimity to intelligence. But from whom then will the Good derive
His greatness? Would it come from thought, or from Himself? If He
derive it from thought, He is not great by himself; or at least, He
is no more sovereignly great. If it be from Himself that He derives
His greatness, He is perfectly anterior to thought, and it is not
thought that renders Him perfect. Is He forced to think because He is
actualization, and not merely potentiality? If He is a being that ever
thinks, and if this be the meaning of actualization,[147] we would be
attributing to the Good two things simultaneously: "being" and thought;
instead of conceiving of Him as a simple Principle, something foreign
is added to Him, as to eyes is added the actualization of sight,[148]
even admitting that they see continually. (The divinity) is in
actualization, in the sense that He is both actualization and thought,
is He not? No, for being thought itself, He must not be thinking, as
movement itself does not move.[149] But do not you yourselves say that
(the divinity) is both being and actualization? We think that being
and actualization are multiple and different things, whilst the First
is simple. To the principle that proceeds from the First alone belongs
thought, a certain seeking out of its being, of itself, and of its
origin. It deserves the name of intelligence only by turning towards
(the First) in contemplation, and in knowing Him. As to the unbegotten
Principle, who has nothing above Him, who is eternally what He is, what
reason might He have to think?


That is why Plato rightly says that the Good is above Intelligence. To
speak of an "unthinking" intelligence would be a self-contradiction;
for the principle whose nature it is to think necessarily ceases to be
intelligent if it does not think. But no function can be assigned to a
principle that has none, and we cannot blame it for idleness because it
does not fulfil some function; this would be as silly as to reproach
it for not possessing the art of healing. To the first Principle then
should be assigned no function, because there is none that would suit
Him. He is (self) sufficient, and there is nothing outside of Him
who is above all; for, in being what He is, He suffices Himself and
everything else.


38. Of the First we may not even say, "He is." (He does not need this),
since we do not either say of Him, "He is good." "He is good" is said
of the same principle to which "He is" applies. Now "He is" suits
the (divinity) only on the condition that He be given no attribute,
limiting oneself to the assertion of His existence. He is spoken of
as the Good, not as predicating an attribute or quality of Him, but
to indicate that He is the Good itself. We do not even approve of
this expression, "He is the Good," because we think that not even the
article should be prefixed thereto; but inasmuch as our language would
fail to express an entire negation or deprivation, then, to avoid
introducing some diversity in it, we are forced to name it, but there
is no need to say "it is," we simply call it, "the Good."


But how could we admit (the existence of) a nature without feeling
or consciousness of itself? We might answer this, What consciousness
of self can (the divinity) have? Can He say, "I am?" But (in the
above-mentioned sense), He is not. Can He say, "I am the Good"? Then
He would still be saying of Himself "I am" (whereas we have just
explained that this He cannot do[150]). What then will He add (to
his simplicity) by limiting Himself to saying, "The Good"? For it is
possible to think "the Good" apart from "He is" so long as the Good
is not, as an attribute, applied to some other being. But whoever
thinks himself good will surely say "I am the good"; if not, he will
think the predicate "good," but he will not be enabled to think that
he is so himself. Thus, the thought of good will imply this thought,
"I am the good." If this thought itself be the Good, it will not be
the thought of Him, but of the good, and he will not be the Good, but
the thought.[151] If the thought of good is different from the Good
itself, the Good will be prior to the thought of the good. If the Good
be self-sufficient before the thought, it suffices to itself to be the
Good; and in this respect has no need of the thought that it is the


39. Consequently, the Good does not think itself either as good, nor
as anything else; for it possesses nothing different from itself. It
only has "a simple perception of itself in respect to itself"; but as
there is no distance or difference in this perception it has of itself,
what could this perception be but itself? That is why it perceives a
difference where being and intelligence appear. In order to think,
intelligence must admit identity and difference simultaneously. On the
one hand, without the relation between the Intelligible and itself,
the (mind) will not distinguish itself from (the intelligible); and on
the other, without the arising of an "otherness" which would enable
it to be everything, it would not contemplate all (earthly) entities.
(Without this difference), intelligence would not even be a "pair."
Then, since intelligence thinks, if it think really, it will not think
itself alone, for why should it not think all things? (Would it not do
so) because it was impotent to do so? In short, the principle which
thinks itself ceases to be simple, because in thinking itself it must
think itself as something different, which is the necessary condition
of thinking itself.[152] We have already said that intelligence cannot
think itself without contemplating itself as something different.
Now in thinking, intelligence becomes manifold (that is, fourfold):
intelligible object (thing thought) and intelligent subject (thinker);
movement (or, moved[153]), and everything else that belongs to
intelligence. Besides, it must be noticed, as we have pointed out
elsewhere, that, to be thought, any thought, must offer variety[154];
but (in the divinity) this movement is so simple and identical that
it may be compared to some sort of touch, and partakes in nothing of
intellectual actualization (therefore, thought cannot be attributed
to the divinity). What? Will (the divinity) know neither others nor
Himself, and will He remain immovable in His majesty? (Surely). All
things are posterior to Him; He was what He is before them. The thought
of these things is adventitious, changeable, and does not apply to
permanent objects. Even if it did apply to permanent objects, it would
still be multiple, for we could not grant that in inferior beings
thought was joined to being, while the thoughts of intelligence would
be empty notions. The existence of Providence is sufficiently accounted
for by its being that from which proceed all (beings). How then (in
regard to all the beings that refer to Him) could (the divinity) think
them, since He does not even think Himself, but remains immovable in
His majesty? That is why Plato,[149] speaking of "being," says that it
doubtless thinks, but that it does not remain immovable in its majesty.
By that he means that, no doubt, "being" thinks, but that that which
does not think remains immovable in its majesty; using this expression
for lack of a better one. Thus Plato considers the Principle which is
superior to thought as possessing more majesty, nay, sovereign majesty.


40. That thought is incompatible with the first Principle is something
well known by all those who have (in ecstasy) risen to Him.[155] To
what we have already said, we shall however add several arguments, if
indeed we succeed in expressing thought comprehensibly; for conviction
should be fortified by demonstration.[156] In the first place, observe
that all thought exists within a subject, and proceeds from some
object. Thought that is connected with the object from which it is
derived, has the being to which it belongs, as subject. It inheres in
him because it is his actualization, and completes his potentiality,
without, itself, producing anything; for it belongs exclusively to the
subject whose complement it is. Thought that is hypostatically united
with "being," and which underlies its existence, could not inhere in
the object from which it proceeds; for, had it remained in him, it
would not have produced anything. Now, having the potentiality of
producing, it produced within itself; its actualization was "being,"
and it was united thereto. Thus thought is not something different
from "being"; so far as this nature thinks itself, it does not think
itself as being something different; for the only multiplicity therein
is that which results from the logical distinction of intelligent
subject (thinker) and intelligible object (the being thought), as we
have often pointed out. That is the first actualization which produced
a hypostasis (or, form of existence), while constituting "being";
and this actualization is the image of a Principle so great that
itself has become "being." If thought belonged to the Good, instead
of proceeding therefrom, it would be no more than an attribute; it
would not, in itself, be a hypostatic form of existence. Being the
first actualization and the first thought, this thought has neither
actualization nor thought above it. Therefore, by rising above this
"being" and this thought, neither further "being" nor thought will be
met with; we would arrive to the Principle superior to "being," and
thought, an admirable principle, which contains neither thought nor
being, which in solitary guise dwells within itself, and which has no
need of the things which proceed from Him. He did not first act, and
then produce an actualization (he did not begin by thinking in order
later to produce thought); otherwise, he would have thought before
thought was born. In short, thought, being the thought of good, is
beneath Him, and consequently does not belong to Him. I say: "does not
belong to Him," not denying that the Good can be thought (for this, I
admit); but because thought could not exist in the Good; otherwise, the
Good and that which is beneath it--namely, the thought of Good--would
fuse. Now, if the good be something inferior, it will simultaneously be
thought and being; if, on the contrary, good be superior to thought, it
must likewise belong to the Intelligible.[157]


Since therefore thought does not exist in the Good, and since, on
the contrary, it is inferior to the Good, and since it must thus
worship its majesty, (thought) must constitute a different principle,
and leaves the Good pure and disengaged from it, as well as from
other things. Independent of thought, the Good is what it is without
admixture. The presence of the Good does not hinder it from being pure
and single. If we were to suppose that Good is both thinking subject
and thought object (thinker and thought) or "being," and thought
connected with "being," if thus we make it think itself,[158] it will
need something else, and thus things will be above it. As actualization
and thought are the complement or the consubstantial hypostasis (or,
form of existence) of another subject, thought implies above it another
nature to which it owes the power of thinking; for thought cannot think
anything without something above it. When thought knows itself, it
knows what it received by the contemplation of this other nature. As
to Him who has nothing above Him, who derives nothing from any other
principle, what could He think, and how could He think himself? What
would He seek, and what would He desire? Would He desire to know the
greatness of His power? But by the mere fact of His thinking it, it
would have become external to Him; I call it exterior, if the cognizing
power within Him differed from that which would be known; if on the
contrary they fuse, what would He seek?


41. It would seem that thought was only a help granted to natures
which, though divine, nevertheless do not occupy the first rank;
it is like an eye given to the blind.[159] But what need would the
eye have to see essence, if itself were light? To seek light is the
characteristic of him who needs it, because he finds in himself nothing
but darkness.[159] Since thought seeks light, while the light does not
seek the light, the primary Nature, not seeking the light (since it is
light itself), could not any more seek thought (since it is thought
that seeks light); thinking could not suit it, therefore. What utility
or advantage would thought bring him, inasmuch as thought itself needs
aid to think? The Good therefore has not self-consciousness, not having
need thereof; it is not doubleness; or rather, it is not double as is
thought which implies (besides intelligence) a third term, namely, the
intelligible (world). If thought, the thinking subject (the thinker)
and the thought object (the thought) be absolutely identical, they form
but one, and are absolutely indistinguishable; if they be distinct,
they differ, and can no more be the Good. Thus we must put everything
aside when we think of this "best Nature," which stands in need of no
assistance. Whatever you may attribute to this Nature, you diminish
it by that amount, since it stands in need of nothing. For us, on the
contrary, thought is a beautiful thing, because our soul has need of
intelligence. It is similarly a beautiful thing for intelligence,
because thought is identical with essence, and it is thought that gave
existence to intelligence.


Intelligence must therefore fuse with thought, and must always be
conscious of itself, knowing that each of the two elements that
constitute it is identical with the other, and that both form but a
single one. If it were only unity, it would be self-sufficient, and
would have no further need of receiving anything. The precept "know
thyself" applies only to natures which, because of their multiplicity,
need to give an account of themselves, to know the number and the
quality of their component elements, because they either do not know
them entirely, or even not at all; not knowing what power in them
occupies the first rank, and constitutes their being.[160] But if
there be a Principle which is one by itself, it is too great to know
itself, to think itself, to be self-conscious, because it is nothing
determinate for itself. It receives nothing within itself, sufficing
itself. It is therefore the Good not for itself, but for other natures;
these indeed need the Good, but the Good has no need of itself; it
would be ridiculous, and would fail to stand up to itself. Nor does it
view itself; for, from this look something would arise, or exist for
Him. All such things He left to the inferior natures, and nothing that
exists in them is found in Him; thus (the Good) is not even "being."
Nor does (the Good) possess thought, since thought is united to being,
and as primary and supreme thought coexisted with essence. Therefore,
one can not (as says Plato[150]), express (the divinity) by speech,
nor have perception nor science of Him, since no attribute can be
predicated of Him.


42. When you are in doubt about this matter, and when you wonder how
you should classify these attributes to which reasoning has brought
you, reject from among the things of the second order what seems
venerable; attribute to the First none of the things that belong to the
second order; neither attribute to those of the second order (that is,
to Intelligence), what belongs to those of the third (that is, to the
Soul); but subsume under the first Principle the things of the second
order, and under the second principle the things of the third. That
is the true means of allowing each being to preserve its nature, and
at the same time to point out the bond that connects the lower things
with the higher, and showing thus that the inferior things depend on
the superior ones, while the superior ones remain in themselves. That
is why (Plato) was right in saying,[161] "All things surround the King
of all, and exist on his account." "All things" means "all beings."
"All things exist on his account" means that He is the cause of their
existence, and the object of their desire, because His nature is
different from theirs, because in Him is nothing that is in them, since
they could not exist if the First possessed some attribute of what is
inferior to Him. Therefore, if Intelligence be comprised within what
is meant by "all things," it could not belong to the First. When (in
the same place Plato calls the divinity) "the cause of all beauty,"
he seems to classify beauty among the Ideas, and the Good above the
universal beauty.[162] After thus having assigned the intelligible
(entities) to the second rank, he classifies, as dependent on them,
the things of the third order, which follow them. Last, to that which
occupies the third rank, to the universal Soul, he subsumes the world
that is derived therefrom. As the Soul depends on the Intelligence, and
as Intelligence depends on the Good, all things thus depend from the
Good in different degrees, mediately or immediately. In this respect,
the things which are the most distant from the Good are the objects of
sense, which are subsumed under the Soul.


Of the Will of the One.



1. Do the divinities themselves possess free will, or is this limited
to human beings, because of their many weaknesses and uncertainties?
(For we assume that) the divinities possess omnipotence, so that it
would seem likely that their actions were free and absolutely without
petty restrictions. Or must we hold that the (supreme) One alone
possesses omnipotence, and unhampered free will, while in other beings
(free will and opportunity) either ignore each other, or conflict? We
shall therefore have to determine the nature of free will in first
rank beings (the divinities) and also the supreme Principle (the One),
although we acknowledge that both of them are omnipotent. Besides, in
respect to this omnipotence, we shall have to distinguish possibility
from actualization, present or future.


Before attacking these questions, we must, as is usual, begin by
examining whether we ourselves possess freedom of will.[166] First
then, in what sense do we possess free will (or, responsibility, "that
something depends on us"); or rather, what conception we should form
of it? To answer this question will be the only means of arriving at
a conclusion about whether or not freedom of will should be ascribed
to the divinities, let alone (the supreme) Divinity. Besides, while
attributing to them freedom of will, we shall have to inquire to what
it applies, either in the other beings, or in the Beings of the first


What are our thoughts when we inquire whether something depends on us?
Under what circumstances do we question this responsibility? We ask
ourselves whether we are anything, and whether really anything depends
on us when undergoing the buffets of fortune, of necessity, of violent
passions that dominate our souls, till we consider ourselves mastered,
enslaved, and carried away by them? Therefore we consider as dependent
on ourselves what we do without the constraint of circumstances,
necessity, or violence of passions--that is, voluntarily, and without
an obstacle to our will.[167] Hence the following definition: We are
responsible for that which depends on our will, which happens or which
is omitted according to our volition.[168] We indeed call voluntary
what we unconstrainedly do and consciously.[169] On us depends only
that of which we are the masters to do or not to do. These two notions
are usually connected, though they differ theoretically. There are
cases when one of them is lacking; one might, for instance, have the
power to commit a murder; and nevertheless if it were one's own father
that he had ignorantly killed, it would not be a voluntary act.[170] In
this case, the action was free, but not voluntary. The voluntariness of
an action depends on the knowledge, not only of the details, but also
of the total relations of the act.[171] Otherwise, why should killing a
friend, without knowing it, be called a voluntary action? Would not the
murder be equally involuntary if one did not know that he was to commit
it? On the contrary hypothesis, it may be answered that one had been
responsible for providing oneself with the necessary information[172];
but nevertheless it is not voluntarily that one is ignorant, or that
one was prevented from informing oneself about it.[173]


2. But to which part of ourselves should we refer free will? To
appetite or desire, to anger or sex passion, for instance? Or shall it
be to the reason, engaged in search after utility, and accompanied by
desire? If to anger or sex passion,[174] we should be supposed to grant
freedom of will to brutes, to children, to the angry, to the insane,
to those misled by magic charms, or suggestions of the imagination,
though none of such persons be master of himself? If again (we are to
ascribe freedom of will) to reason accompanied by desire, does this
mean to reason even when misled, or only to right reason, and right
desire?[175] One might even ask whether reason be moved by desire, or
desire by reason.[176] For, admitting that desires arise naturally, a
distinction will nevertheless have to be established: if they belong
to the animal part, and to the combination (of soul and body), the
soul will obey the necessity of nature; if they belong to the soul
alone, many things which are generally attributed to the domain of our
free will will have to be withdrawn therefrom. Besides, passions are
always preceded by some sort of abstract reasoning. Further, how can
imagination itself--which constrains us; and desire--which drags us
whither Necessity compels, make us "masters of ourselves"[177] under
these circumstances? Besides, how can we be "masters of ourselves"
in general when we are carried away? That faculty of ours which
necessarily seeks to satisfy its needs, is not mistress of the things
towards which it is compelled to move.[177] How should we attribute
freedom of will to (a soul) that depends on something else? (To a soul)
which, in this thing, holds the principle of her own determinations?
(To a soul) that regulates her life thereby, and derives therefrom her
nature? (To a soul) that lives according to the instructions received
therefrom? Freedom of will would then have to be acknowledged even in
inanimate things; for even fire acts according to its inborn nature.


Some person might try to establish a distinction founded on the fact
that the animal and the soul do not act unconsciously. If they know
it by mere sensation, how far does that sensation contribute to the
freedom of will? For sensation, limiting itself to perception, does not
yield the percipient mastery over anything.[179] If they know it by
knowledge, and if this knowledge contain only the accomplished fact,
their actions are then determined by some other principle. If, even
independently of desire, reason or knowledge make us perform certain
actions, or dominate us,[180] to what faculty shall the action be
ascribed, and how does it occur? If reason produce another desire, how
does it do so? If reason manifest itself and liberate us by the process
of calming our desires, the free will lies no longer in the action, but
in intelligence; for every action, however much directed by reason,
would then be something mixed, not revealing an unconfused free will.


3. The question must be examined carefully, for it will later be
applied to the divinities. Responsibility has been traced to the
will, and this to reason first, and later to right reason. Better, to
reason enlightened by knowledge; for freedom of will is not possessed
incontestably if one be ignorant of why his decision or action is
good, if one have been led to do the right thing by chance, or by some
sensible representation. Since the latter is not within our power, we
could not impute to free will the actions it inspired. By "sensible
representation," or, "phantasy,"[181] we mean the imagination excited
within us by the passions of the body; for it offers us different
images according as the body has need of food, of drink, or of sensual
pleasures. Those who act according to the "sensible representations"
excited within them by divers qualities of the humors of the body are
not wholly responsible for their actions. That is why depraved men, who
usually act according to these images, do not, according to us, perform
actions that are free and voluntary. We ascribe free will only to him
who, enfranchised from the passions of the body, performs actions
determined solely by intelligence. We refer liberty, therefore, to the
noblest principle, to the action of the intelligence[182]; we regard
as free only the decisions whose principle it is, and as voluntary,
only the desires it inspires. This freedom is that which we ascribe to
the divinities, who live in conformity with Intelligence, and with the
Desire of which it is the principle.[183]


4. We might ask how that which is produced by a desire could be
autocratically free, since the desire implies a need, and drags us
towards something exterior; for whoever desires really yields to an
inclination, even though the latter should lead him to the Good. We
might further ask whether intelligence, doing that which is in its
nature to do, in a manner conformable to its nature, is free and
independent, since it could have done the opposite. Further, we may ask
whether we have the right to attribute free will to that which does not
do any deeds; last, whether that which does a deed, is not, by the mere
fact that every action has a purpose, subject to an external necessity.
How indeed could one attribute freedom to a being that obeys its nature?

We (might answer), how can one say of this being that it obeys, if it
be not constrained to follow something external? How would the being
that directs itself towards the Good be constrained, if its desire be
voluntary, if it direct itself towards the Good, knowing that it is
such? Only involuntarily does a being depart from the Good, only by
constraint does it direct itself towards that which is not its good;
that is the very nature of servitude, not to be able to reach one's
own good, and to be thwarted by a superior power to which obedience
is compulsory. Servitude displeases us, not because it deprives us of
the liberty to do evil, but because it hinders us going towards our
own, from ensuing our own good, forced as we are to work at the good
of someone else. When we speak of "obeying our nature," we distinguish
(in the being that obeys its nature) two principles, the one which
commands, and the other which obeys.[182]

But when a principle has a simple nature, when it is a single
actualization, when it is not other in potentiality than it is in
actualization, how would it not be free? It cannot be said to be acting
conformably to its nature, because its actualization is not different
from its being, and because, within it, essence and action coincide.
It surely is free, if it act neither for another, nor in dependence on
another. If the word "independent" be not suitable here, if it be too
weak, we must at least understand that this Principle does not depend
on any other, does not recognize it as the ruler of its actions, any
more than of its being, since it itself is principle.

Indeed, if Intelligence depend upon a further principle, at least this
one is not external, but is the Good itself. If then it be in the Good
itself that it finds its welfare, so much the more does it itself
possess independence and liberty, since it seeks them only in view
of the Good. When therefore Intelligence acts in conformity with the
Good, it has a higher degree of independence; for it possesses already
the "conversion to the Good," inasmuch as it proceeds from the Good,
and the privilege of being in itself, because Intelligence is turned
towards the Good; now it is better for Intelligence to remain within
itself, since it is thus turned towards the Good.


5. Do autocratic freedom and independence inhere in pure and thinking
Intelligence exclusively, or are they also found in the soul which
applies its contemplative activity to intelligence, and its practical
activity to virtue? If we grant liberty to the practical activity of
the soul, we will not extend it to its results; for of this we are not
always masters. But if liberty is attributed to the soul which does
good, and which, in everything acts by herself, we are near the truth.

How would that depend on us? As it depends on us to be courageous when
there is a war. Nevertheless, admitting that it then depends on us
to be courageous, I observe that, if there were no war, we could not
perform any action of this nature. Likewise, in all other virtuous
deeds, virtue always depends on accidental circumstances which force
us to do some particular thing.[182] Now if we were to give virtue
the liberty of deciding whether it desired a war, so as to be able to
offer a proof of courage; or desired injustices, as opportunities to
define and to respect rights; or wished that people might be poor to be
able to show forth its liberality; or whether it preferred to remain
at rest, because everything was in order; might virtue not prefer to
remain inactive in case nobody needed her services.[183] Similarly a
good physician, such as Hippocrates, for instance, would wish that his
professional services should not be needed by anybody. If then virtue
when applied to actions be forced to engage in such activities, how
could it possess independence in all its purity? Should we not say
that actions are subject to Necessity, whilst the preliminary volition
and reasoning are independent? If this be so, and since we locate free
will in that which precedes its execution, we shall also have to locate
autocratic freedom and independence of virtue outside of the (actual)


What shall we now say of virtue considered as "habit" or disposition?
Does it not occupy itself with regulating and moderating the passions
and desires when the soul is not healthy? In what sense do we then say
that it depends on us to be good, and that "virtue has no master?"[184]
In this sense, that it is we who will and choose; more, in the sense
that virtue, by its assistance, yields us liberty and independence,
and releases us from servitude. If then virtue be another kind of
intelligence, "a habit that intellectualizes the soul," even in this
respect must liberty be sought not in practical activity, but in the
intelligence divorced from activity.


6. How then did we previously refer liberty to volition, saying that
"that which depends on us, our responsibility, is that which occurs
according to our will"? Yes, but we added, "or does not occur." If
indeed we be right, and if we continue to support our former opinion,
we shall have to recognize that virtue and intelligence are their
own mistresses, and that it is to them that we must refer our free
will and independence. Since they have no master, we shall admit that
(our) intelligence remains within itself, that virtue must equally
remain calm in itself, regulating the soul so as to make her good,
and that in this respect it itself is both free, and enfranchises the
soul. If passions or necessary actions arise, (virtue) directs them
automatically; nevertheless she still preserves her independence (or,
freedom) by getting into relations with everything. For instance,
(virtue) does not engage in exterior things to save the body in times
of danger; on the contrary, she abandons it, if it seem advisable;
she orders the man to renounce even life, wealth, children, and
fatherland; for her object is to be honorable, relinquishing anything
beneath her dignity. This evidently shows that our liberty of action
and independence do not refer to practical matters, nor to external
occupations, but to interior activity, to thought, to the contemplation
of virtue itself. This virtue must be considered as a kind of
intelligence, and must not be confused with the passions that dominate
and govern reason; for these, as (Plato[185]) says, seem to derive
something from the body, though trained by exercise and habit.


Liberty therefore belongs to the immaterial principle, and to this
should be traced our free will. This principle is the volition which
rules itself, and which remains within itself; even when by necessity
compelled to take some resolution affecting external affairs. All that
proceeds from (the immaterial principle) and exists by it, depends on
us, and is free; what is outside of it, and with it; what it itself
wills and carries out unhindered, also constitutes what primarily
depends on us. The contemplative and primary Intelligence therefore
possesses independence, because in the accomplishment of its function
it depends on no other being, because fulfilling (its function,
Intelligence) remains entirely turned towards itself, exclusively
engaged with itself, resting in the Good, living according to its
will, satisfied, and without needs. Besides, will is nothing more
than thought; but it was called "will" because it was conformed to
intelligence; for will imitates what conforms to intelligence. On
the one hand, will desires the Good; on the other, for Intelligence
to think truly, is to abide within the Good. Intelligence therefore
possesses what the will desires, and, in attaining these its desires,
will becomes thought. Since, therefore, we define liberty as the will's
achievement of the Good, why should not liberty also be predicated of
the Intelligence which is founded on (the Good) that is the object of
the desire of our will? If, however, there should still be objection
to ascribing liberty to intelligence, this could be the case only by
ascribing it to something still higher (namely, super-Intelligence).


7. The soul therefore becomes free when, by the aid of intelligence,
she defies all obstacles in her ascent to the Good; and whatever she
does for the sake of the Good is responsible action. Intelligence,
however, is free by itself.


(_Let us now consider the free will of the Good._)


8. The nature of the Good is that which is desirable for its own sake.
It is by the Good that the Soul and Intelligence exercise liberty when
the Soul can attain the Good without obstacle, and when Intelligence
can enjoy its possession. Now since the Good's empire extends over all
lower treasures; since He occupies the front rank; since He is the
Principle to which all beings wish to rise, on whom they all depend,
and from whom all derive their power and liberty; it would be difficult
to attribute to Him a liberty similar to our human freedom of will,
when we can hardly, with propriety, predicate such a human liberty of


Here some rash person,[186] drawing his arguments from some other
school of thought, may object that, "If the Good be indeed good, this
occurs only by chance. A man is not master of what he is (that is,
of his own nature), because his own nature does not depend on himself
(that is, is not due to self-determination). Consequently, he enjoys
neither freedom nor independence, as he acts or withholds action as
he is forced by necessity." Such an assertion is gratuitous, and even
self-contradictory. It destroys all conception of will, liberty and
independence, reducing these terms to being labels, and illusions. He
who advances such an opinion is forced to maintain not only that it
is not within the power of anybody to do or not to do some thing, but
also that the word "liberty" arouses no conception in his mind, and is
meaningless. If however he insist that he does understand it, he will
soon be forced to acknowledge that the conception of liberty bears a
conformity with the reality which he at first denied. The conception
of a thing exerts no interference on its substance ("being"); it can
do nothing by itself, nor can it lead to hypostatic existence. It is
limited to pointing out to us which being obeys others, which being
possesses free will, which being depends on no other, but is master of
its own action, a privilege characteristic of eternal beings so far as
they are eternal, or to beings which attain the Good without obstacle
(like the Soul), or possess it (like Intelligence). It is therefore
absurd to say that the Good, which is above them, seeks other higher
good beyond itself.


Nor is it any more accurate to insist that the Good exists by chance.
Chance occurs only in the lower and multiple things. We on the contrary
insist that the First does not exist by chance, and that one cannot
say that He is not master of His birth, since He was not born.[187]
It is not any less absurd to assert that He is not free because He
acts according to His nature; for such an assertion would seem to
imply that freedom consists in actions contrary to one's nature. Last,
His solitariness (or, unity) does not deprive Him of liberty, because
this unity does not result from His being hindered by anybody else
(from having anything else), but from His being what He is, from His
satisfying (or, pleasing) Himself, as He could not be any better;
otherwise, it would be implied that one would lose one's liberty on
attaining the Good. If such an assertion be absurd, is it not the
summit of absurdity to refuse to predicate autocratic liberty of the
Good because of His being good, because He remains within Himself and
because since all beings aspire towards Him, He Himself aspires to
nothing else than Himself, and has no need of anything? As His higher
hypostatic existence is simultaneously His higher actualization--for
in Him these two aspects fuse into one, since they do so even in
Intelligence--His essence is no more conformed to His actualization,
than His actualization to His essence. He cannot be said to actualize
according to His nature, nor that His actualization and His higher life
are traced up into His higher being (so to speak). But as His higher
being and His higher (actualization) are intimately united, and coexist
since all eternity, the result is that these two entities constitute a
single Principle, which depends on itself, and nothing else.


8. We conceive of the self-rule as no accident of the Good; but, from
the self-rule proper to (all) beings, we rise, by abstraction of the
contraries, to Him who Himself is liberty and independence, thus
applying to this Principle the lower attributes that we borrow from
inferior beings (that is, the Soul and Intelligence), because of our
impotence to speak properly of Him. Such indeed are the terms that we
could use in referring to Him, though it would be absolutely impossible
to find the proper expression, not only to predicate anything of Him,
but even to say anything whatever about Him. For the most beautiful and
venerable things do no more than imitate Him, who is their principle.
Nevertheless, from another standpoint, He is not their principle, since
this their imitation must be denied, and we must withdraw, as too
inferior, even the terms "liberty" and "self-rule," for these terms
seem to imply a tendency towards something else, an obstacle, even if
only to avoid it; the coexistence of other beings, even if only to
imitate Him uninterruptedly. Now no tendency should be attributed to
the Good. He is what He is before all other things, since we do not
even say of Him, "He is," so as not to establish any connection between
Him and "beings." Neither can we say of Him, "according to His nature";
for this expression indicates some later relation. It is indeed applied
to intelligible entities, but only so far as they proceed from some
other principle; that is why it is applied to "being," because it
is born of the (Good). But if we refer "nature" to temporal things,
it could not be predicated of "being"; for to say that "being" does
not exist by itself would be to affect its existence; to say that it
derives its existence from something else is equivalent to asserting
that it does not exist by itself. Nor should we say of the Good that
"His nature is accidental," nor speak of contingency in connection with
(the Divinity); for He is contingent neither for Himself nor for other
beings; contingency is found only in the multiple beings which, already
being one thing, have accidentally become some other. How indeed
could the First exist accidentally? for He did not reach His present
condition fortuitously enough to enable us even to ask, "How did He
become what He is?" No chance led Him (to become His present self),
nor led Him to hypostatic existence; for chance and luck did not exist
anteriorly to Him, since even they proceed from a cause, and exist only
in things that grow[188] (or, "become").


9. If however anybody applied the term "contingency" to the Divinity,
we should not dispute about the word, but go back of it to its
underlying meaning. Do you, by it, mean that the First is a principle
of particular nature and power; and that if He had had a different
nature, He would still, as principle, have conformed to the nature He
would have had? Also, that if He had been less perfect, He would still
have actualized in conformity with His being? We should answer such
an assertion thus: it was impossible for the higher Principle of all
things to be contingent; or to be less perfect accidentally, or good
in some other manner, as some higher thing that was less complete.
As the principle of all things must be better than they, He must be
determinate; and by this is here meant that He exists in an unique
manner. This, however, not by necessity; for necessity did not exist
before Him. Necessity exists only in the beings that follow the first
Principle, though the latter impose no constraint upon them. It is by
Himself that the First exists uniquely. He could not be anything but
what He is; He is what He ought to have been; and not by accident.
He is that; He had to be what He was. So "He who is what He ought to
have been" is the principle of the things that ought to exist. Not by
accident, nor contingently, therefore, is He what He is; He is what He
had to be; though here the term "had to be" is improper. (If we be
permitted to explain what we mean by an illustration, we may say that)
the other beings have to await the appearance of their king--which
means, that He shall posit Himself as what He really is, the true King,
the true Principle, the true Good. Of Him it must not even be said
that He actualizes in conformity with the Good, for then He would seem
subordinate to some other principle; we must say only that He is what
He is. He is not conformed to the Good, because He is the Good itself.


Besides, there is nothing contingent, even in (that which is beneath
the First), namely, Essence-in-itself; for if any contingency
inhered in it, it itself would be contingent. But Essence cannot
be contingent, for not fortuitously is it what it is; nor does it
derive what it is from anything else, because the very nature of
Essence is to be Essence. This being the case, how could "He who is
above Essence" be considered as being what He is fortuitously? For He
begat Essence, and Essence is not what it is fortuitously, since it
exists in the same manner as "Being," which is what is "Being" and
Intelligence--otherwise, one might even say that Intelligence was
contingent, as if it could have been anything but what is its nature.
Thus He who does not issue from Himself, and does not incline towards
anything whatever, is what He is in the most special sense.


What now could be said (to look down) from some (peak) overhanging
(Essence and Intelligence), upon (their principle)? Could you
describe what you saw from there as being what it is fortuitously?
Certainly not! Neither His nature nor His manner would be contingent.
He is merely (an absolute, unexplainable) existence (a "thus"). Even
this term "thus," however, would be improper, for, on applying it to
the First, it would become determinate, and become "such a thing."
Whoever has seen the First would not say He was, or was not that;
otherwise, you would be reducing Him to the class of things which may
be designated as this or that; but the First is above all these things.
When you shall have seen Him who is infinite ("indefinite"), you will
be able to name all the things that are after Him (you will be able to
name Him whom all things follow); but you must not classify Him among
these. Consider Him as the universal Power essentially master (of
himself), which is what He wishes; or rather, who has imposed His will
upon (all) beings, but who Himself is greater than all volition, and
who classifies volition as below Himself. (To speak strictly therefore)
He did not even will to be what He is (he did not even say, I shall be
that); and no other principle made Him be what He is.


10. He (Strato the Peripatetic?) who insists that the Good is what it
is by chance, should be asked how he would like to have it demonstrated
to him that the hypothesis of chance is false--in case it be false--and
how chance could be made to disappear from the universe? If there be
a nature (such as the nature of the one Unity), which makes (chance)
disappear, it itself could not be subject to chance. If we subject
to chance the nature which causes other beings not to be what they
are by chance, nothing will be left that could have been derived
from chance. But the principle of all beings banishes chance from the
universe by giving to each (being) a form, a limitation, and a shape;
and it is impossible to attribute to chance the production of beings
thus begotten in a manner conforming to reason. A cause exists there.
Chance reigns only in things that do not result from a plan, which are
not concatenated, which are accidental. How indeed could we attribute
to chance the existence of the principle of all reason, order, and
determination? Chance no doubt sways many things[188]; but it could
not control the production of intelligence, reason, and order. Chance,
in fact, is the contrary of reason; how then could (chance) produce
(reason)? If chance do not beget Intelligence, so much the more could
it not have begotten the still superior and better Principle; for
chance had no resources from which to produce this principle; chance
itself did not exist; and it would not have been in any manner able
to impart eternal (qualities). Thus, since there is nothing anterior
to the (Divinity), and as He is the First, we shall have to halt our
inquiry about this Principle, and say nothing more about Him, rather
examining the production of the beings posterior to Him. As to Him
himself, there is no use considering how He was produced, as He really
was not produced.


Since He was not produced, we must suppose that He is the master of
His own being. Even if He were not master of His own being, and if,
being what He is, He did not endow Himself with "hypostatic" form
of existence, and limited Himself to utilizing His resources, the
consequence is that He is what He is necessarily, and that He could
not have been different from what He is. He is what He is, not because
He could have been otherwise, but because His nature is excellent.
Indeed, even if one be sometimes hindered from becoming better, no one
is ever hindered by any other person from becoming worse. Therefore, if
He did not issue from Himself, He owes it to Himself, and not to any
outside hindrance; He must essentially be that which has not issued
from itself. The impossibility of becoming worse is not a mark of
impotence, because, if (the Divinity) do not degenerate, He owes it to
Himself, (and derives it) from Himself. His not aspiring to anything
other than Himself constitutes the highest degree of power, since He is
not subjected to necessity, but constitutes the law and necessity of
other beings. Has necessity then caused its own (hypostatic) existence?
No, it has not even reached there, inasmuch as all that is after the
First achieved (hypostatic) existence on His account. How then could
He who is before (hypostatic) existence (or, which has achieved a form
of existence), have derived His existence from any other principle, or
even from Himself?


11. What then is the Principle which one cannot even say that it is
(hypostatically) existent? This point will have to be conceded without
discussion, however, for we cannot prosecute this inquiry. What
indeed would we be seeking, when it is impossible to go beyond, every
inquiry leading to some one principle, and ceasing there? Besides, all
questions refer to one of four things: existence, quality, cause and
essence. From the beings that follow Him, we conclude to the essence
of the First, in that sense in which we say He exists. Seeking the
cause of His existence, however, would amount to seeking an (ulterior)
principle, and the Principle of all things cannot Himself have a
principle. An effort to determine His quality would amount to seeking
what accident inheres in Him in whom is nothing contingent; and there
is still more clearly no possible inquiry as to His existence, as
we have to grasp it the best we know how, striving not to attribute
anything to Him.


(Habitually) we are led to ask these questions about the nature (of
the divinity) chiefly because we conceive of space and location as
a chaos, into which space and location, that is either presented to
us by our imagination, or that really exists, we later introduce the
first Principle. This introduction amounts to a question whence and
how He came. We then treat Him as a stranger, and we wonder why He is
present there, and what is His being; we usually assume He came up
out of an abyss, or that He fell from above. In order to evade these
questions, therefore, we shall have to remove from our conception
(of the divinity) all notion of locality, and not posit Him within
anything, neither conceiving of Him as eternally resting, and founded
within Himself, nor as if come from somewhere. We shall have to content
ourselves with thinking that He exists in the sense in which reasoning
forces us to admit His existence, or with persuading ourselves that
location, like everything else, is posterior to the Divinity, and that
it is even posterior to all things. Thus conceiving (of the Divinity)
as outside of all place, so far as we can conceive of Him, we are not
surrounding Him as it were within a circle, nor are we undertaking to
measure His greatness, nor are we attributing to Him either quantity
or quality; for He has no shape, not even an intelligible one; He is
not relative to anything, since His hypostatic form of existence is
contained within Himself, and before all else.


Since (the Divinity) is such, we certainly could not say that He is
what He is by chance. Such an assertion about Him is impossible,
inasmuch as we can speak of Him only by negations.[189] We shall
therefore have to say, not that He is what He is by chance; but that,
being what He is, He is not that by chance, since there is within Him
absolutely nothing contingent.


12. Shall we not even refuse to say that (the divinity) is what He is,
and is the master of what He is, or of that which is still superior?
Our soul still moots this problem, because she is not yet entirely
convinced by what we have said. Our considerations thereof are as
follows. By his body, each one of us is far separated from "being"; but
by his soul, by which he is principally constituted, he participates
in "being," and is a certain being; that is, he is a combination
of "difference" and "being." Fundamentally, we are therefore not a
"being"; we are not even "being"; consequently, we are not masters of
our "being"; "being" itself rather is master of us, since it furnishes
us with "difference" (which, joined with "being," constitutes our
nature). As, in a certain degree, we are nevertheless the "being" that
is master of us, we may, in this respect, even here below, be called
masters of ourselves. As to the Principle which absolutely is what
He is, which is "Being" itself, so that He and His being fuse, He is
master of Himself, and depends on nothing, either in His existence or
"being." He does not even need to be master of Himself since (He is
being), and since all that occupies the first rank in the intelligible
world is classified as "being."


As to Him who made "being" (equivalent to) freedom, whose nature it is
to make free beings, and who (therefore) might be called the "author of
liberty"--excuse the expression--to what could He be enslaved? It is
His being (or, nature) to be free; or rather, it is from Him that being
derives its freedom; for (we must not forget that) "being" is posterior
to Him, who Himself (being beyond it), "has" none. If then there be any
actualization in Him, if we were to consider that He was constituted
by an actualization, He would nevertheless contain no difference,
He will be master of His own self that produces the actualization,
because He Himself and the actualization fuse (and are identical).
But if we acknowledge no actualization whatever (in the Divinity), if
we predicate actualization only of the things that tend towards Him,
and from Him derive their hypostatic existence, we should still less
recognize in Him any element that is master, or that masters. We should
not even say that He was master of Himself, nor that He had a master,
but because we have already predicated of "being" what is meant by
being master of oneself. We therefore classify (the Divinity) in a rank
higher still.

But how can there be a principle higher than the one that is master
of Himself? In the Principle which is master of Himself, as being and
actualization are two (separate) entities, it is actualization that
furnishes the notion of being master of oneself. As however we saw that
actualization was identical with "being," in order to be called master
of itself, actualization must have differentiated itself from being.
Therefore (the Divinity), which is not constituted by two things fused
into unity, but by absolute Unity, being either only actualization, or
not even mere actualization, could not be called "master of Himself."


13. Although the above expressions, when applied to the (divinity), are
really not exact, we are nevertheless forced to use them in connection
with this disquisition. We therefore repeat what was above rightly
stated, that no doubleness, not even if merely logical, should be
admitted to our idea of the Divinity. Nevertheless, that we may be
better understood, we shall for a moment lay aside the strictness of
language demanded by reason.


Now supposing the existence of actualizations in the divinity, and that
these actualizations depend on His will--for he could not actualize
involuntarily--and that simultaneously they constitute His being; in
this case, His will and His being will be identical (that is, will
fuse). Such as He wished to be, He is. That He wills and actualizes in
conformity to His nature, will not be said in preference to this, that
His being conforms to His will and His actualization. He is absolutely
master of Himself, because His very essence depends on Himself.


Here arises another consideration. Every being, that aspires to the
Good, wishes to be the Good far more than to be what it is; and thinks
itself as existing most, the more it participates in the Good. Its
preference is to be in such a state, to participate in the Good as much
as possible, because the nature of the Good is doubtless preferable in
itself. The greater the portion of good possessed by a being, the freer
and more conformable to its will is its nature (being); then it forms
but one and the same thing with its will, and by its will achieves
hypostatic existence (or, a form of existence). So long as a being
does not possess the Good, it wishes to be different from what it is;
so soon as the being possesses it, the being wishes to be what it is.
This union, or presence of the Good in a being, is not fortuitous; its
"being" is not outside of the Will (of the Good); by this presence of
the Good it is determined, and on that account, belongs to itself. If
then this presence of the Good cause every being to make and determine
itself, then evidently (the Divinity) is primarily and particularly
the principle through which the rest may be itself. The "being" (of
the Good) is intimately united with the will (the Divinity) has to be
such as He is--if I may be permitted to speak thus--and He cannot be
understood unless He wishes to be what He is. As in Him everything
concurs (in a consummation), He wishes to be, and is what He wishes;
His will and Himself form but one (are identical, or, fuse). He is not
any the less one, for He finds that He is precisely what He may have
wished to be. What indeed could He have wished to be, if not what He is?


Now supposing that (the divinity) were given the chance to choose what
He would like to be, and that He were permitted to change His nature,
He would not desire to become different from what He is; He would not
find in Himself anything that displeased Him, as if He had been forced
to be what He is; for He as ever willed, and still wills to be what
He is. The nature of Good is really His will; He has neither yielded
to a lure, nor (blindly) followed his own nature, but He preferred
Himself, because there was nothing different that He could have wished
to be. With this, contrast that other beings do not find implied in
their own being the reason of pleasing themselves, and that some of
them are even dissatisfied with themselves. In the hypostatic existence
of the Good, however, is necessarily contained self-choice, and
self-desire; otherwise, there would be nothing in the whole universe
that could please itself, since one pleases himself only inasmuch as he
participates in the Good, and possesses an image of it within oneself.


We must, however, ask indulgence for our language; when speaking of the
(divinity) we are, by the necessity of being understood, obliged to
make use of words which a meticulous accuracy would question. Each of
them should be prefixed by a (warning) particle, (meaning "somewhat,"
or) "higher."


The subsistence of the Good implies that of choice and will, because
He could not exist without these two. But (in the Divinity) (these
three, choice, being and will) do not form a multiplicity; they must
be considered as having fused. Since He is the author of will, He must
evidently also be the author of what is called self-direction ("being
for oneself"). This leads us to say that He made Himself; for, since He
is the author of will, and as this will is more or less His work, and
as it is identical with His essence, (we may say that) He gave himself
the form of (hypostatic) existence. Not by chance therefore is He what
He is; He is what He is because He wished to be such.


14. Here is still another point of view from which the subject under
discussion may be regarded. Each one of the beings that are said to
be existent, is either identical with its essence, or differs from
it. Thus, some particular man differs from the Man-essence, only
participating therein. On the contrary, the soul is identical with
the Soul-essence, when she is simple, and when she is not predicated
of anything else. Likewise, the Man-in-himself is identical with the
Man-essence. The man who is other than the Man-essence is contingent;
but the Man-essence is not contingent; the Man-in-himself exists in
himself. If then the essence of man exist by itself, if it be neither
fortuitous nor contingent, how could contingency be predicated of Him
who is superior to Man in himself, and who begat him, from whom all
beings are derived, since His is a nature simpler than the Man-essence,
and even of essence in general? If, in ascending towards greater
simplicity, contingency decreases, so much the more impossible is
it that contingency could extend to the Nature that is the simplest
(namely, the Good).


Let us also remember that each of the beings which exist genuinely,
as we have said, and which have received their form of hypostatic
existence from the Good, likewise owe it to Him that they are
individual, as are the similarly situated sense-beings. By such
individual beings is here meant having in one's own being the cause
of his hypostatic existence. Consequently, He who then contemplates
things can give an account of each of their details, to give the
cause of the individuality of eyes or feet, to show that the cause of
the generation of each part is found in its relations with the other
parts, and that they have all been made for each other. Why are the
feet of a particular length? Because some other organ is "such"; for
instance, the face being such, the feet themselves must be such. In
one word, the universal harmony[190] is the cause on account of which
all things were made for each other.[191] Why is the individual such
a thing? Because of the Man-essence. Therefore the essence and the
cause coincide. They issued from the same source, from the Principle
which, without having need of reasoning, produced together the essence
and the cause. Thus the source of the essence and the cause produces
them both simultaneously. Such then are begotten things, such is their
principle, but in a much superior and truer manner; for in respect of
excellence, it possesses an immense superiority over them. Now since
it is not fortuitously, neither by chance, nor contingently, that
the things which bear their cause in themselves, are what they are;
since, on the other hand, (the Divinity) possesses all the entities of
which He is the principle, evidently, being the Father of reason, of
cause, and of causal being--all of them entities entirely free from
contingence--he is the Principle and type of all things that are not
contingent, the Principle which is really and in the highest degree
independent of chance, of fortune, and of contingency; He is the cause
of Himself, He is He by virtue of Himself; for He is Self in a primary
and transcendent manner.


15. He is simultaneously the lovable and love; He is love of himself;
for He is beautiful only by and in Himself. He coexists with Himself
only on condition that the thing, which exists in Himself, is identical
with Him. Now as in Him the thing that coexists is identical with Him,
and as in Him also that which desires, and that which is desirable play
the part of hypostasis and subject, here once more appears the identity
of desire and "being." If this be so, it is evidently again He who is
the author of Himself, and the master of Himself; consequently, He was
made not such as some other being desired it, but He is such as He
Himself desires.


When we assert that (the Divinity) Himself receives nothing, and is
received by no other being, we thereby in another way prove that He
is what He is, not by chance. This is the case because He isolates
Himself, and preserves Himself uninfected from all things. Besides,
we sometimes see that our nature possesses something similar, when it
finds itself disengaged from all that is attached to us, and subjects
us to the sway of fortune and fatality--for all the things that we call
ours are dependent, and undergo the law of fortune, happening to us
fortuitously. Only in this manner is one master of himself, possessing
free will, by virtue of an actualization of the light which has the
form of the Good, of an actualization of the Good, which is superior to
intelligence; of an actualization which is not adventitious, and which
is above all thought. When we shall have risen thither, when we shall
have become that alone, leaving all the rest, shall we not say that we
are then above even liberty and free will? Who then could subject us
to chance, to fortune, to contingency, since we shall have become the
genuine life, or rather, since we shall be in Him who derives nothing
from any other being, who is solely himself? When other beings are
isolated, they do not suffice themselves; but He is what He is, even
when isolated.


The first hypostatic form of existence does not consist in an inanimate
entity or in an irrational life; for an irrational life is but weak in
essence, being a dispersion of reason, and something indeterminate. On
the contrary, the closer life approaches reason, the further is it from
contingency, for that which is rational has nothing to do with chance.
Ascending then (to the Divinity) He does not seem to us to be Reason,
but what is still more beautiful than Reason; so far is He from having
arisen by chance! Indeed, He is the very root of Reason, for it is the
goal at which all things find their consummation. He is the principle
and foundation of an immense Tree which lives by reason; He remains in
Himself, and imparts essence to the Tree by the reason He communicates.


16. As we assert, and as it seems evident that (the Divinity) is
everywhere and nowhere, it is necessary thoroughly to grasp and
understand this conception, as it applies to the subject of our
studies. Since (the Divinity) is nowhere, He is nowhere fortuitously;
since He is everywhere, He is everywhere what He is. He himself is
therefore what is named omnipresence, and universality. He is not
contained within omnipresence, but is omnipresence itself, and He
imparts essence to all the other beings because they are all contained
within Him who is everywhere. Possessing the supreme rank, or rather
Himself being supreme, He holds all things in obedience to Himself. For
them He is not contingent; it is they that are contingent to Him, or
rather, that connect with Him; for it is not He who contemplates them,
but they who look at Him. On His part, He, as it were, moves towards
the most intimate depths within Himself, loving Himself, loving the
pure radiance of which He is formed, Himself being what He loves, that
is, giving Himself a hypostatic form of existence, because He is an
immanent actualization, and what is most lovable in Him constitutes the
higher Intelligence. This Intelligence being an operation, He himself
is an operation; but as He is not the operation of any other principle,
He is the operation of Himself; He therefore is not what chance makes
of Him, but what He actualizes. He is the author of Himself, inasmuch
as He exists particularly because He is His own foundation, because He
contemplates Himself, because, so to speak, He passes His existence
in contemplating Himself. He therefore is, not what He fortuitously
found Himself to be, but what He himself wishes to be, and as His will
contains nothing fortuitous, He is even in this respect independent
of contingency. For, since His will is the will of the Best that is
in the universe, it could not be fortuitous. If one were to imagine
an opposite movement, one will easily recognize that His inclination
towards Himself, which is His actualization, and His immanence in
Himself make of Him what He is. Indeed, should (the divinity) incline
towards what is outside of Himself, He would cease being what He
is. His actualization, in respect to Himself, is to be what He is;
for He and that actualization coincide. He therefore gives Himself
a hypostatic form of existence, because the actualization that He
produces is inseparable from Himself. If then the actualization of (the
divinity) did not merely commence, but if, on the contrary, it dated
from all eternity; if it consist in an exciting action,[192] identical
to Him who is excited; and if, besides this exciting action, He be
ever-being super-intellection, then (the divinity) is what He makes
himself by His exciting action. The latter is superior to "Being," to
Intelligence, and to the Life of Wisdom; it is Himself. He therefore
is an actualization superior to Life, Intelligence and Wisdom; these
proceed from Him, and from Him alone. He therefore derives essence from
Himself, and by Himself; consequently, He is, not what He fortuitously
found Himself to be, but what He willed to be.


17. Here is another proof of it. We have stated that the world and the
"being" it contains are what they would be if their production had been
the result of a voluntary determination of their author, what they
would still be if the divinity exercising a prevision and prescience
based on reasoning, had done His work according to Providence. But
as (these beings) are or become what they are from all eternity,
there must also, from eternity--within the coexistent beings, exist
("seminal) reasons" which subsist in a plan more perfect (than that
of our universe); consequently, the intelligible entities are above
Providence, and choice; and all the things which exist in Essence
subsist eternally there, in an entirely intellectual existence. If the
name "Providence" be applied to the plan of the universe, then immanent
Intelligence certainly is anterior to the plan of the universe, and the
latter proceeds from immanent Intelligence, and conforms thereto.[193]


Since Intelligence is thus anterior to all things, and since all
things are (rooted) in such an Intelligence as principle, Intelligence
cannot be what it is as a matter of chance. For, if on one hand,
Intelligence be multiple, on the other hand it is in perfect agreement
with itself, so that, by co-ordination of the elements it contains, it
forms a unity. Once more, such a principle that is both multiple and
co-ordinated manifoldness, which contains all ("seminal) reasons" by
embracing them within its own universality, could not be what it is as
a result of fortune or chance. This principle must have an entirely
opposite nature, as much differing from contingency, as reason from
chance, which consists in the lack of reason. If the above Intelligence
be the (supreme) Principle, then Intelligence, such as it has been here
described, is similar to this Principle, conforms to it, participates
in it, and is such as is wished by it and its power. (The Divinity)
being indivisible, is therefore a (single) Reason that embraces
everything, a single (unitary) Number, and a single (Divinity) that is
greater and more powerful than the generated (universe); than He, none
is greater or better. From none other, therefore, can He have derived
His essence or qualities. What He is for and in Himself, is therefore
derived from Himself; without any relation with the outside, nor with
any other being, but entirely turned towards Himself.


18. If then you seek this (Principle), do not expect to find anything
on the outside of Him; in Him seek all that is after Him, but do
not seek to penetrate within Him; for He is what is outside (of
everything), the comprehension of all things, and their measure.[194]
Simultaneously, He is the internal, being the most intimate depth of
all things; (in which case) the external would be (represented by)
Reason and Intelligence, which like a circumference fit around Him and
depend from Him. Indeed, Intelligence is such only because it touches
Him, and so far as it touches Him, and depends from Him[195]; for it is
its dependence from Him that constitutes its intelligence. It resembles
a circle which is in contact with its centre. It would be universally
acknowledged that such a circle would derive all its power from the
centre, and would, in a higher sense, be centriform. Thus the radii
of such a circle unite in a single centre by extremities similar to
the distal and originating (extremities). These (distal) extremities,
though they be similar to the centric ones, are nevertheless but faint
traces thereof; for the latter's potentiality includes both the radii
and their (distal) extremities; it is everywhere present in the radii,
manifests its nature therein, as an immature development. This is an
illustration how Intelligence and Essence were born from (the divinity)
as by effusion or development; and by remaining dependent from the
intellectual nature of the Unity, it thereby manifests an inherent
higher Intelligence, which (speaking strictly), is not intelligence,
since it is the absolute Unity. A centre, even without radii or
circumference, is nevertheless the "father" of the circumference and
the radii, for it reveals traces of its nature, and by virtue of an
immanent potency, and individual force, it begets the circumference
and the radii which never separate from it. Similarly, the One is the
higher archetype of the intellectual power which moves around Him,
being His image. For in the Unity there is a higher Intelligence which,
so to speak, moving in all directions and manners, thereby becomes
Intelligence; while the Unity, dwelling above Intelligence, begets it
by its power. How then could fortune, contingency and chance approach
this intelligence-begetting Power, a power that is genuinely and
essentially creative? Such then is what is in Intelligence, and such is
what is in Unity, though that which is in Him is far superior.


(As illustration), consider the radiance shed afar by some luminous
source that remains within itself; the radiation would represent
the image, while the source from which it issues would be the
genuine light.[196] Nevertheless, the radiation, which represents
the intelligence, is not an image that has a form foreign (to its
principle), for it does not exist by chance, being reason and cause
in each of its parts. Unity then is the cause of the cause; He is, in
the truest sense, supreme causality, simultaneously containing all the
intellectual causes He is to produce; this, His offspring, is begotten
not as a result of chance, but according to His own volition. His
volition, however, was not irrational, fortuitous, nor accidental;
and as nothing is fortuitous in Him, His will was exactly suitable.
Therefore Plato[197] called it the "suitable," and the "timely," to
express as clearly as possible that the (Divinity) is foreign to all
chance, and that He is that which is exactly suitable. Now if He be
exactly suitable, He is so not irrationally. If He be timely, He must
(by a Greek pun), also be "supremely sovereign" over the (beings)
beneath Him. So much the more will He be timely for Himself. Not by
chance therefore is He what He is, for He willed to be what He is;
He wills suitable things, and in Him that which is suitable, and the
actualization thereof, coincide. He is the suitable, not as a subject,
but as primary actualization manifesting Him such as it was suitable
for Him to be. That is the best description we can give of Him, in our
impotence to express ourselves about Him as we should like.[198]


19. By the use of the above indications (it is possible), to ascend to
Him. Having done so, grasp Him. Then you will be able to contemplate
Him, and you will find no terms to describe His (greatness). When you
shall see Him, and resign any attempt at spoken description, you will
proclaim that He exists by Himself in a way such that, if He had any
being, it would be His servant, and would be derived from Him. No one
who has ever seen Him would have the audacity to maintain that He is
what He is by chance; nor even to utter such a blasphemy, for He would
be confounded by his own temerity. Having ascended to Him, the (human
observer) could not even locate His presence, as it were rising up
everywhere before the eyes of his soul. Whichever way the soul directs
her glances, she sees Him, unless, on considering some other object,
she abandons the divinity by ceasing to think of Him.


The ancient (philosophers), in enigmatical utterances, said that (the
divinity) is above "being."[199] This must be understood to mean not
only that He begets being, but because He is not dependent on "being"
or on Himself. Not even His own "being" is to Him a principle; for He
himself is the principle of "being." Not for Himself did he make it;
but, having made it, He left it outside of Himself, because He has no
need of essence, since He himself made it. Thus, even though He exist,
He does not produce that which is meant by that verb.


20. It will be objected that the above implies the existence (of the
Divinity) before He existed; for, if He made Himself, on the one hand,
He did not yet exist, if it was Himself that He made; and on the other,
so far as it was He who made, He already existed before Himself, since
what has been made was Himself. However, (the Divinity) should be
considered not so much as "being made" but as "making," and we should
realize that the actualization by which He created Himself is absolute;
for His actualization does not result in the production of any other
"being." He produces nothing but Himself, He is entirely Himself;
we are not dealing here with two things, but with a single entity.
Neither need we hesitate to admit that the primary actualization has no
"being"; but that actualization should be considered as constituting
His hypostatic form of existence. If within Him these two were to be
distinguished, the superlatively perfect Principle would be incomplete
and imperfect. To add actualization to Him would be to destroy His
unity. Thus, since the actualization is more perfect than His being,
and since that which is primary is the most perfect, that which is
primary must necessarily be actualization. He is what He is as soon
as He actualizes. He cannot be said to have existed before He made
Himself; for before He made Himself He did not exist; but (from the
first actualization) He already existed in entirety. He therefore is an
actualization which does not depend on being, (an actualization) that
is clearly free; and thus He (originates) from Himself. If, as to His
essence, He were preserved by some other principle, He himself would
not be the first proceeding from Himself. He is said to contain Himself
because He produces (and parades) Himself; since it is from the very
beginning that He caused the existence of what He naturally contains.
Strictly, we might indeed say, that He made Himself, if there existed a
time when He himself began to exist. But since He was what He is before
all times, the statement that He made Himself means merely that "having
made" and "himself" are inseparable; for His essence coincides with
His creative act, and, if I may be permitted to speak thus, with his
"eternal generation."


Likewise, the statement that the (divinity) commands Himself may be
taken strictly, if in Him be two entities (the commander and the
commanded); but if (we may not distinguish such a pair of entities)
there is only one entity within Him, and He is only the commander,
containing nothing that obeys. How then, if He contain nothing that was
commanded, could He command Himself? The statement that He commands
Himself means that, in this sense, there is nothing above Him; in which
case He is the First, not on account of the numerical order, but by His
authority and perfectly free power. If He be perfectly free, He cannot
contain anything that is not free; He must therefore be entirely free
within Himself. Does He contain anything that is not Himself, that He
does not do, that is not His work? If indeed He contained anything that
was not His work, He would be neither perfectly free nor omnipotent; He
would not be free, because He would not dominate this thing; nor would
He be omnipotent, because the thing whose making would not be in His
power would even thereby evade His dominion.


21. Could (the divinity) have made Himself different from what He made
Himself? (If he could not, He would not have been omnipotent). If you
remove from Him the power of doing evil, you thereby also remove the
power of doing good. (In the divinity), power does not consist in the
ability to make contraries; it is a constant and immutable power whose
perfection consisted precisely in not departing from unity; for the
power to make contraries is a characteristic of a being incapable of
continuously persisting in the best. Self-creation (the actualization
by which the divinity created Himself) exists once for all, for it
is perfect. Who indeed could change an actualization produced by the
will of the Divinity, an actualization that constitutes His very will?
But how then was this actualization produced by the volition (of the
divinity) which did not yet exist?

What could be meant by the "volition of (the Divinity") if He had not
yet willed hypostatic form of existence (for Himself)? Whence then
came His will? Would it have come from His being (which, according to
the above objection) was not yet actualized? But His will was already
within His "being." In the (Divinity), therefore, there is nothing
which differs from His "being." Otherwise, there would have been in
Him something that would not have been His will. Thus, everything in
Him was will; there was in Him nothing that did not exercise volition;
nothing which, therefore, was anterior to His volition. Therefore,
from the very beginning, the will was He; therefore, the (Divinity)
is as and such as He willed it to be. When we speak of what was the
consequence of the will (of the Divinity), of what His will has
produced, (we must indeed conclude that) His will produced nothing that
He was not already. The statement that (the Divinity) contains Himself
means (no more than that) all the other beings that proceed from Him
are by Him sustained. They indeed exist by a sort of participation in
Him, and they relate back to Him. (The Divinity) Himself does not need
to be contained or to participate; He is all things for Himself; or
rather, He is nothing for Himself, because He has no need of all the
other things in respect to Himself.


Thus, whenever you wish to speak of (the Divinity), or to gain a
conception of Him, put aside all the rest. When you will have made
abstraction of all the rest, and when you will thus have isolated
(the Divinity), do not seek to add anything to Him; rather examine
whether, in your thought, you have not omitted to abstract something
from Him. Thus you can rise to a Principle of whom you could not later
either assert or conceive anything else. Classify in the supreme rank,
therefore, none but He who really is free, because He is not even
dependence on Himself; and because he merely is Himself, essentially
Himself, while each of the other beings is itself, and something else


Of the Heaven.[200]


1. Nothing will be explained by the perfectly true (Stoic) statement
that the world, as corporeal being that ever existed and that will ever
exist, is indebted for the cause of its perpetuity to the volition
of the divinity. We might find an analogy between the change of the
elements, and the death of animals without the perishing of the form of
the species here below, and the universe above, whose body is subject
to a perpetual flux and flow. Thus the divine volition could preserve
for it the same specific form in spite of successive alterations, so
that, without perpetually retaining numerical unity, it would ever
preserve the specific unity of form. It would indeed be a remarkable
discrepancy in the methods of nature that here below in animals the
form alone should be perpetual, while in the heaven and the stars their
individuality should be considered as perpetual as their form.


The incorruptibility of the heaven has been ascribed to its containing
within its breast all things,[201] and to the non-existence of any
other thing into which it could change, as well as to the impossibility
of its meeting anything exterior that could destroy it. These theories
would indeed, in a reasonable manner, explain the incorruptibility
of heaven considered as totality, and universe; but would fail to
explain the perpetuity of the sun and of the other stars which are
parts of heaven, instead of being the whole universe, as is the heaven.
It would seem more reasonable that, just like the fire and similar
things, the stars, and the world considered as universe would possess
a perpetuity chiefly of form. It is quite possible that the heaven,
without meeting any destructive exterior thing, should be subjected to
a perpetual destruction such that it would preserve nothing identical
but the form, from the mere mutual destruction of its parts. In this
case its substrate, being in a perpetual flux, would receive its form
from some other principle; and we would be driven to recognize in the
universal living Organism what occurs in man, in the horse, and in
other animals; namely, that the man or horse (considered as species)
lasts forever, while the individual changes. (According to this view,
then) the universe will not be constituted by one ever permanent
part, the heaven, and another ceaselessly changing one, composed of
terrestrial things. All these things will then be subject to the same
condition though they might differ by longer or shorter duration, since
celestial bodies are more durable. Such a conception of the perpetuity
characteristic of the universe and its parts contains less ambiguity
(than the popular notion), and would be freed from all doubt if we
were to demonstrate that the divine power is capable of containing the
universe in this manner. The theory that the world contains something
perpetual in its individuality would demand not only a demonstration
that the divine volition can produce such an effect, but also an
explanation why certain things (according to that theory) are always
identical (in form and individuality), while other things are identical
only by their form. If the parts of the heaven alone remained
identical (by their individuality), all other things also should
logically remain (individually) identical.


2. An admission that the heaven and the stars are perpetual in their
individuality, while sublunary things are perpetual only in their form,
would demand demonstration that a corporeal being can preserve its
individuality as well as its form, even though the nature of bodies
were a continual fluctuation. Such is the nature that the physical
philosophers,[202] and even Plato himself, attribute not only to
sublunar bodies, but even to celestial ones. "For," asks (Plato[203]),
"how could corporeal and visible objects subsist ever immutable and
identical with themselves?" (Plato) therefore admits the opinion of
Heraclitus that "the sun itself is in a state of perpetual becoming
(or, growth)."[204]


On the contrary, in the system of Aristotle, the immutability of the
stars is easily explained, but only after accepting his theory of a
fifth element (the quintessence[205]). If, however, it be rejected,
it would be impossible to demonstrate that the heaven, let alone its
parts, the sun and the stars, do not perish, while (as Aristotle does)
we regard the body of the heaven as being composed of the same elements
as terrestrial animals.


As every animal is composed of soul and body, the heaven must owe the
permanence of its individuality to the nature either of its soul, or
of its body; or again, to that of both. On the hypothesis that its
incorruptibility is due to the nature of its body, the Soul's only
function will be to animate it (by uniting with the body of the world).
On the contrary hypothesis that the body, by nature corruptible,
owes its incorruptibility exclusively to the Soul, there is need of
demonstration that the state of the body does not naturally oppose
this constitution and permanence (for, naturally constituted objects
admit of no disharmony); but that, on the contrary, here matter, by
its predisposition, contributes to the accomplishment of the divine


3. (It might however be objected) that the body of the world could
not contribute to the immortality of the world, since the body itself
fluctuates perpetually. But this fluctuation does not take place in
an outward direction, while the body (of the world) remains ever the
same because this fluctuation occurs so entirely within the world that
nothing issues therefrom. The world therefore could neither increase
nor diminish, nor further grow old. (As proof of this we may) consider
how, from all eternity, the earth constantly preserves the same shape
and mass; similarly, the air never diminishes, any more than the water.
The changes within them do not affect the universal living Organism.
Even we human beings subsist a long while, in spite of the perpetual
change of our constituent parts, and though some of these parts even
issue from the body. So much the more will the world's nature, from
which nothing issues, sufficiently harmonize with the nature of the
universal Soul to form along with her an organism which ever remains
the same, and subsists for ever.


For example, fire (as the principal element of the heaven), is both
lively and swift, and cannot remain in the inferior regions, any more
than the earth can abide in the superior regions. When it has reached
these regions where it is to remain, it becomes established in the most
suitable place. But even so, like all other bodies, it still seeks to
extend in all directions. However, it cannot ascend, since there is no
place higher than the one it occupies; nor can it descend, because of
the opposition of its own nature. The only thing left for it to do is
to yield to the guidance and natural impulsion of the life-imparting
universal Soul, that is, to move into the most beautiful place, in the
universal Soul. Its falling from here is prevented by the universal
Soul's circular movement which dominates and supports it, as well as
by its innate indisposition to descend, so that its continuance in
the higher regions is unopposed. (The fire has no similarity with)
the constitutive parts of our body which are forced to derive their
suitable form from elsewhere. If unaided, they are not even capable of
preserving their organization. Merely to subsist, they are forced to
borrow parts from other objects. The case is entirely different with
the fire of the heaven, which needs no food because it loses nothing.
If indeed it allowed anything to escape, we might indeed be forced to
state that when in the heaven a fire is extinguished, a substitute must
be lit. But in such a case the universal living Organism would no more
remain identical.


4. Apart from the exigencies of our argument, it may be interesting to
consider whether there be any wastage off from heaven, so as to create
a need of being (replenished or) fed, so to speak; or whether all its
contents, being once for all established, subsist there naturally,
without allowing any of their substance to escape. In the latter case
we would be driven further to inquire whether the heaven be composed
of fire exclusively or principally[213]; and whether, while dominating
the other elements, the fire engages them in its course. Were we to
associate (with fire) the Soul, which is the most powerful of all
causes, so as to unite her with elements so pure and excellent (just
as, in other animals, the soul chooses the best parts of the body
as dwelling-place), we would have produced a solid argument for the
immortality of the heaven. Aristotle indeed says that the flame surges,
and that the fire devours everything with an insatiable avidity[206];
but he was evidently speaking only of the terrestrial fire, for the
celestial fire is calm, immovable, and in harmony with the nature of
the stars.


A still more important reason for the immortality of the heaven
is that the universal Soul, moving with remarkable spontaneity,
immediately succeeds the most perfect principles (such as the Good,
and Intelligence). She could not therefore allow the annihilation of
anything which had once been posited within her. Ignorance of the cause
that contains the universe could alone permit denial that the universal
Soul which emanates from the divinity excels all other bonds in
strength. It is absurd to believe that after having contained something
during a certain period, she could ever cease doing so. This would
imply that she had done so till now by some violence; which would again
infer the existence of some plan more natural than the actual state,
and actual admirable disposition of beings within the very constitution
of the universe; which would lastly suggest a force capable of
destroying the organization of the universe, and of undermining the
sovereignty of the governing Soul.


We have elsewhere[207] shown that it would be absurd to suppose that
the world ever had a beginning. This however implies that it will
never cease to exist. Why indeed should it not continue to do so? Its
component elements are not, like wood, and similar things, exposed
to wastage. Their continued subsistence, however, implies that the
universe that they form must also ever subsist. On the other hand, even
if they were subject to a perpetual change, the universe must still
subsist because the principle of this change subsists continually.
Moreover, it has elsewhere been shown[224] that the universal Soul is
not subject to repentance, because she governs the universe without
difficulties or fatigue, and that even in the impossible case that the
body of the universe should happen to perish, she would not thereby be


5. The reason why celestial things endure beyond terrestrial
animals and elements has been thus stated by Plato[225]: "Divine
animals were formed by the divinity Himself, while the animals
here below were formed by the divinities, His offspring." What the
divinity (Himself) does could not possibly perish. This implies the
existence, below the demiurge (Intelligence), of the celestial Soul,
with our souls.[208] From the celestial Soul derives and flows an
apparent-form-of-an-image,[209] which forms terrestrial animals. This
inferior soul imitates her intelligible principle (the celestial Soul),
without, however, being able to resemble her completely--because she
employs elements which are less good (than the celestial elements);
because the place where she operates with them is less good (than
heaven)--and because the materials that she organizes could not remain
united. Consequently, terrestrial animals could not last for ever. For
the same reason this soul does not dominate terrestrial bodies with as
much power (as the celestial Soul dominates celestial things), because
each of them is governed by another (human) soul.


If we be right in attributing immortality to the heaven, we shall have
to extend that conception to the stars it contains; for unless its
parts endured, neither could the heaven. However, the things beneath
the heaven do not form part of it. The region which constitutes the
heaven does not extend further down than the moon. As to us, having
our organs formed by the (vegetative) soul which was given us by the
celestial divinities (the stars), and even the heaven itself,[210]
we are united to the body by that soul. Indeed, the other soul (the
reasonable soul), which constitutes our person, our "me,"[211] is not
the cause of our being,[212] but of our well-being (which consists in
our intellectual life). She comes to join our body when it is already
formed (by the vegetative soul), and contributes to our being only by
one part, by giving us reason (in making of us reasonable beings, and


6. Is the heaven composed exclusively of fire? Does the fire allow
any of its substance to flow off, or escape? Does it, therefore, need
being fed? (Plato[213]) thinks the body of the universe is composed of
earth and fire; fire to explain its being visible, and earth to explain
its being tangible. This would lead us to suppose that the stars are
composed of fire not exclusively, but predominatingly, since they seem
to possess a tangible element. This opinion is plausible because Plato
supports it with reasonable grounds. Sense, sight and touch would lead
us to believe that the greater part, if not the whole, of the heaven,
is fire. But reason suggests that the heaven also contains earth,
because without earth it could not be tangible.[214] This however does
not imply that it contains also air and water. It would seem absurd
to think that water could subsist in so great a fire; nor could air
survive therein without immediately being transformed to steam. It
might be objected that two solids which play the parts of extremes in
a proportion, cannot be united without two means.[213] This objection,
however, might have no cogency, for this mathematical relation might
not apply to natural things, as indeed we are led to surmise by the
possibility of mingling earth and water without any intermediary.
To this it may be answered that earth and water already contain the
other elements. Some persons might think that the latter could not
effectually unite earth and water; but this would not disturb our
contention that the earth and water are related because each of these
two elements contains all the others.


Besides, we shall have to examine whether the earth be invisible
without fire, and the fire intangible without the earth. Were this the
case, nothing would possess its own proper being. All things would be
mixed; each would reclaim its name only by the element preponderating
in it; for it has been claimed that the earth could not exist without
the humidity of water, which alone keeps all its parts united. Even
were this granted, it would, none the less, remain absurd to say that
each of these elements is something, while claiming that it does not
possess any characteristically individual constitution, except by its
union with the other elements, which, nevertheless, would not, any
the more, exist individually, each in itself. What reality, indeed,
would inhere in the nature or being of the earth, if none of its parts
were earth except because the water that operated as a bond? Besides,
with what could water unite without the preliminary existence of an
extension whose parts were to be bound together for the formation of
a continuous whole? The existence of an extension, however small it
be, will imply the self-existence of earth, without the assistance of
water; otherwise, there would be nothing for water to bind together.
Nor would the earth have any need of air, since the air exists before
the observation of any change within it. Nor is fire any more necessary
to the constitution of the earth; fire only serves in making it
visible, like all other objects. It is indeed reasonable to assert that
it is fire which renders objects visible, and it is a mistake[215] to
state that "one sees darkness," which cannot be seen any more than
silence can be heard. Besides, there is no necessity for fire to be in
earth; light suffices (to make it visible). Snow, and many other very
cold substances are, without any fire, very brilliant--that is, unless
we say that the fire approached them, and colored them before leaving


As to the other elements, could not water exist without participating
in the earth? Air could certainly not be said to participate in earth,
because of its penetrability. It is very doubtful that the fire
contains any earth, because it does not seem continuous, and does not,
by itself, seem to be tri-dimensional. True, fire does seem to contain
solidity, but not of a tri-dimensional kind; it seems rather to be a
sort of resistance corporeal nature[214]). Only of earth may hardness
be predicated; indeed, gold, in liquid state, is dense; not because it
is earth, but because it possesses density, and is solidified. It would
therefore not be unreasonable that fire, apart by itself, could subsist
by the power of the Soul which sustains it by her presence. The bodies
of (certain among) the guardian spirits consist of fire.[216]


It is unlikely that the universal Organism is composed of universal
elements. That terrestrial animals are thus composed is certain; but
to introduce the terrestrial element into the composition of the
heaven would be to admit something contrary to nature, and to the
order thereby established. (Epicurus's opinion that) the stars carry
terrestrial bodies along in their rapid flight is undemonstrable.
Besides, the presence of the earth would be an obstacle to the shine
and splendor of the celestial fire.


7. Plato's view[217] is to be accepted. The universe must contain
something solid, impenetrable, so that the earth, when established in
the middle of the universe, might offer a firm foundation for all the
animals that walk on it, and that these animals might possess a certain
solidity by the very fact of their terrestriality; so that the earth
might, by itself, possess the property of continuousness; that it might
be illuminated by fire, might also participate in water, so as not to
be desiccated, and so that its parts might unite, and that the air
might somewhat lighten its mass.


The earth was mingled with the upper fire not to produce the stars,
but because fire has something terrestrial, as earth has something
igneous, as a result of all the bodies being contained within the
body of the universe. In short, every one of the elements includes
mixture of itself and of the other with which it participates. This
results from the interrelating community existing within the universe
(the "sympathy"). So each element, without combining with any other,
borrows some of its properties. For example, water participates in the
fluidity of the air, without however mingling therewith; so the earth
does not possess the fire, but derives its brightness from it. On
the other hand, a mixture would render all properties common to both
elements, confounding them together,[218] and would not limit itself
to merely approximating earth and fire, that is, a certain solidity
with a certain density. On this subject we can invoke the authority of
(Plato[219]), "The divinity lit this light in the second circle above
the earth," thereby referring to the sun, which he elsewhere calls "the
most brilliant star."

By these words he hinders us from admitting that the sun is anything
else than fire. He also indicates that fire has no quality other than
light, which he considers as distinct from flame, and as possessing
only a gentle heat. This light is a body. From it emanates another
being that we, by verbal similarity, also call light, and which we
acknowledge to be incorporeal. This second kind of light derives from
the former, being its flower and brightness, and constitutes the
essentially white (that is, brilliant) body (of lightning, or comets).
(Unfortunately, however), the word "terrestrial" (which designates the
element allied to the fire, as we have said above), we are wont to
regard unfavorably because Plato makes the earth consist of solidity,
while we speak of the earth as a unity, though (Plato) distinguishes
several qualities within this element.


The fire of which we speak above emits the purest light, and resides
in the highest region, by virtue of its nature. These celestial flames
are entirely distinct from the earthly flame, which after ascending
to a certain height, and meeting a greater quantity of air, becomes
extinguished. After ascending, it falls back on to the earth, because
(as a comet) it cannot rise any further; it stops in the sublunar
regions, though rendering the ambient air lighter. In those cases in
which it continues to subsist in higher regions, it becomes weaker,
gentler, and acquires a heatless glow, which is but a reflection of the
celestial light. The latter, on the other hand, is divided partly among
the stars in which it reveals great contrasts of magnitude and color,
and partly in the atmosphere. Its invisibility to our eyes is caused
both by its tenuity, and transparence, which causes it to become as
tangible as pure air, and also because of its distance from the earth.


8. Since this light subsists in elevated regions, because the purity of
its nature forces it to remain in pure regions, it cannot be subject
to any wastage (or, leakage). Such a nature could not allow any escape
either downwards or upwards, nor could it meet anything that would
force it to descend. Moreover, it will be remembered that there is a
great difference of condition in a body united to, or separated from a
soul; and in this case the body of the heaven is everywhere united to
the (universal) Soul.


Besides, all that approaches the heaven is either air or fire. What
of it is air cannot affect the heaven. What of it is fire can neither
influence the heaven, nor touch it, to act on it. Before acting on the
heaven, it would have to assume its nature; besides, fire is less great
or powerful than the heaven. Moreover, the action of fire consists in
heating; whereas, 1, that which is to be heated cannot have been hot by
itself; and as, 2, that which is to be dissolved by fire must first be
heated, inasmuch as it is this heating which causes a change of nature.
No other body is needed for either the subsistence of the heaven, or
for the functioning of its natural revolutions.[220] Moreover, the
heaven does not move in a straight line, because it is in the nature of
celestial things to remain immovable, or to move in a circular orbit,
and not to assume any other kind of movement without compulsion by some
superior force.


Stars, therefore, stand in need of no feeding,[221] and we should not
judge them according to our own circumstances. Indeed, our (human)
soul, which contains our bodies, is not identical with the Soul that
contains the heaven; our soul does not reside in the same place, while
the world-Soul does not, like our composite bodies lose (excreta). Not
as our bodies do the stars need continual metabolic replacing food.
From our conception of celestial bodies we should remove all ideas of
a change that could modify their constitution. Terrestrial bodies are
animated by an entirely different nature[222]; which though because
of its weakness is incapable of insuring them a durable existence,
nevertheless imitates the superior nature (of the celestial Soul) by
birth and generation. Elsewhere[223] we have shown that even this
very celestial Soul cannot partake of the perfect immutability of
intelligible things.


Of Sensation and Memory.


If we deny that sensations are images impressed on the soul, similar
to the impression of a seal,[226] we shall also, for the sake of
consistency, have to deny that memories are notions or sensations
preserved in the soul by the permanence of the impression, inasmuch
as, according to our opinion, the soul did not originally receive any
impression. The two questions, therefore, hang together. Either we
shall have to insist that sensation consists in an image impressed on
the soul, and memory, in its preservation; or, if either one of these
opinions be rejected, the other will have to be rejected also. However,
since we regard both of them as false, we shall have to consider the
true operation of both sensation and memory; for we declare that
sensation is as little the impression of an image as memory is its
permanence. The true solution of the question, on the contrary, will
be disclosed by an examination of the most penetrating sense,[227] and
then by induction transferring the same laws to the other senses.



In general the sensation of sight consists of perception of the visible
object, and by sight we attain it in the place where the object is
placed before our eyes, as if the perception operated in that very
place, and as if the soul saw outside of herself. This occurs, I
think, without any image being produced nor producing itself outside
of the soul, without the soul receiving any impression similar to that
imparted by the seal to the wax. Indeed, if the soul already in herself
possessed the image of the visible object, the mere possession of this
image (or type) would free her from the necessity of looking outside
of herself. The calculation of the distance of the object's location,
and visibility proves that the soul does not within herself contain
the image of the object. In this case, as the object would not be
distant from her, the soul would not see it as located at a distance.
Besides, from the image she would receive from within herself, the soul
could not judge of the size of the object, or even determine whether
it possessed any magnitude at all. For instance, taking as an example
the sky, the image which the soul would develop of it would not be
so great (as it is, when the soul is surprised at the sky's extent).
Besides, there is a further objection, which is the most important of
all. If we perceive only the images of the objects we see, instead of
seeing the objects themselves, we would see only their appearances or
adumbrations. Then the realities would differ from the things that we
see. The true observation that we cannot discern an object placed upon
the pupil, though we can see it at some little distance, applies with
greater cogency to the soul. If the image of the visible object be
located within her, she will not see the object that yields her this
image. We have to distinguish two things, the object seen, and the
seeing subject; consequently, the subject that sees the visible object
must be distinct from it, and see it as located elsewhere than within
itself. The primary condition of the act of vision therefore is, not
that the image of the object be located in the soul, but that it be
located outside of the soul.


2. After denying that sensation consists of such an operation, it is
our duty to point out the true state of affairs. Though it be objected
that thus the soul would be considered as judging of things she does
not possess, it is nevertheless plain that it is the characteristic
of a power, not to experience or suffer, but to develop its force,
to carry out the function to which it is destined. If the soul is to
discern a visible or audible object the latter must consist of neither
images nor experiences, but actualizations relative to the objects
which naturally belong to the domain of these actualizations of the
soul. Those who deny that any faculty can know its object without
receiving some impulsion from it imply that the faculty suffers,
without really cognizing the object before it; for this soul-faculty
should dominate the object instead of being thereby dominated.


The case of hearing is similar to that of sight. The impression is
in the air; the sounds consist in a series of distinct vibrations,
similar to letters traced by some person who is speaking. By virtue
of her power and her being, the soul reads the characters traced in
the air, when they present themselves to the faculty which is suitable
to reception of them. As to taste and smell also, we must distinguish
between the experience and the cognition of it; this latter cognition
constitutes sensation, or a judgment of the experience, and differs
therefrom entirely.[228]


The cognition of intelligible things still less admits of an
experience or impression; for the soul finds the intelligible things
within herself, while it is outside of herself that she contemplates
sense-objects. Consequently the soul's notions of intelligible entities
are actualizations of a nature superior to those of sense-objects,
being the actualizations of the soul herself, that is, spontaneous
actualizations. We shall however have to relegate to another
place[229] the question whether the soul sees herself as double,
contemplating herself as another object, so to speak, and whether she
sees intelligence as single in a manner such that both herself and
intelligence seem but one.



3. Treating of memory, we must begin by attributing to the soul a
power which, though surprising, is perhaps really neither strange
nor incredible. The soul, without receiving anything, nevertheless
perceives the things she does not have. The (secret of this) is that
by nature the soul is the reason of all things, the last reason of
intelligible entities, and the first reason of sense-objects.[230]
Consequently the soul is in relation with both (spheres); by the
intelligible things the soul is improved and vivified; but she is
deceived by the resemblance which sense-objects bear to intelligible
entities, and the soul descends here below as if drawn by her
alluring charm. Because she occupies a position intermediary between
intelligible entities and sense-objects, the soul occupies a position
intermediary between them. She is said to think intelligible entities
when, by applying herself to them, she recalls them. She cognizes them
because, in a certain manner, she actually constitutes these entities;
she cognizes them, not because she posits them within herself, but
because she somehow possesses them, and has an intuition of them;
because, obscurely constituting these things, she awakes, passing
from obscurity to clearness, and from potentiality to actualization.
For sense-objects she acts in the same way. By relating them to what
she possesses within herself, she makes them luminous, and has an
intuition of them, possessing as she does a potentiality suitable to
(a perception of) them; and, so to speak, to begetting them. When the
soul has applied the whole force of her attention to one of the objects
that offer themselves to her, she, for a long while, thereby remains
affected as if this object were present; and the more attentively she
considers it, the longer she sees it.[231] That is why children have a
stronger memory; they do not quickly abandon an object, but lingeringly
fix their gaze upon it; instead of allowing themselves to be distracted
by a crowd of objects, they direct their attention exclusively to some
one of them. On the contrary, those whose thought and faculties are
absorbed by a variety of objects, do not rest with any one, and do no
more than look them over.


If memory consisted in the preservation of images,[232] their
numerousness would not weaken memory. If memory kept these images
stored within itself, it would have no need of reflection to recall
them, nor could memory recall them suddenly after having forgotten
them. Further, exercise does not weaken, but increases the energy
and force of memory, just as the purpose of exercise of our feet or
hands is only to put ourselves in a better condition more easily to
accomplish certain things which are neither in our feet nor our hands,
but to which these members become better adapted by habit.

Besides (if memory be only storage of images), why then does one not
remember a thing when it has been heard but once or twice? Why, when
it has been heard often, is it long remembered, although it was not
retained at first? This can surely not be because at first only some
part of the images had been retained; for in that case those parts
would be easily recalled. On the contrary, memory is produced suddenly
as a result of the last hearing or reflexion. This clearly proves that,
in the soul, we are only awaking the faculty of memory, only imparting
to it new energy, either for all things in general, or for one in

Again, memory does not bring back to us only the things about which
we have reflected; (by association of ideas) memory suggests to us
besides a multitude of other memories through its habit of using
certain indices any one of which suffices easily to recall all the
remainder[233]; how could this fact be explained except by admitting
that the faculty of memory had become strengthened?

Once more, the preservation of images in the soul would indicate
weakness rather than strength, for the reception of several impressions
would imply an easy yielding to all forms. Since every impression is
an experience, memory would be measured by passive receptivity; which,
of course, is the very contrary of the state of affairs. Never did any
exercise whatever render the exercising being more fitted to suffering
(or, receptive experience).

Still another argument: in sensations, it is not the weak and impotent
organ which perceives by itself; it is not, for instance, the eye that
sees, but the active potentiality of the soul. That is why old people
have both sensations and memories that are weaker. Both sensation and
memory, therefore, imply some energy.

Last, as we have seen that sensation is not the impression of an image
in the soul, memory could not be the storage-place of images it could
not have received.


It may be asked however, why, if memory be a "faculty" (a potentiality)
or disposition,[234] we do not immediately remember what we have
learned, and why we need some time to recall it? It is because we need
to master our own faculty, and to apply it to its object. Not otherwise
is it with our other faculties, which we have to fit to fulfil their
functions, and though some of them may react promptly, others also may
need time to gather their forces together. The same man does not always
simultaneously exercise memory and judgment, because it is not the
same faculty that is active in both cases. Thus there is a difference
between the wrestler and the runner. Different dispositions react
in each. Besides, nothing that we have said would militate against
distinguishing between the man of strong and tenacious soul who would
be inclined to read over what is recalled by his memory, while he who
lets many things escape him would by his very weakness be disposed to
experience and preserve passive affections. Again, memory must be a
potentiality of the soul, inasmuch as the soul has no extension (and
therefore could not be a storage-place for images which imply three


In general all the processes of the soul occur in a manner very
different from that conceived by unobservant men. Psychic phenomena
occur very differently from sense-phenomena, the analogy of which may
lead to very serious errors. Hence the above unobservant men imagine
that sensations and memories resemble characters inscribed on tablets
or sheets of paper.[235] Whether they consider the soul material (as do
the Stoics), or as immaterial (as do the Peripatetics), they certainly
do not realize the absurd consequences which would result from the
above hypothesis.


Of the Ten Aristotelian and Four Stoic Categories.


1. Very ancient philosophers have investigated the number and kinds
of essences. Some said there was but one;[296] others, that there was
a limited number of them; others still, an infinite number. Besides,
those who recognized but a single (essence) have advanced opinions very
different, as is also the case with those who recognized a limited or
unlimited number of essences. As the opinions of these philosophers
have been sufficiently examined by their successors, we shall not
busy ourselves therewith. We shall study the doctrine of those who,
after having examined the opinions of their predecessors, decided on
determinate numbers (of essences); admitting neither a single essence,
because they recognized that there was a multiplicity even in the
intelligibles; nor an infinite number of essences, because such an
infinity could not exist, and would render all science impossible; but
who, classifying the essences whose number is limited, and seeing that
these classifications could not be considered elements, looked on them
as "kinds." Of these, some (the Peripatetic Aristotelians) proposed
ten, while others proposed a lesser number (the Stoics taught four), or
a greater number (the Pythagorean "oppositions," for instance). As to
the kinds, there is also difference of opinions: some looked upon the
kinds as principle (Plotinos himself); while others (Aristotle) held
that they formed classes.



Let us first examine the doctrine that classifies essence into ten
(kinds). We shall have to investigate whether it be necessary to
acknowledge that its partisans recognize ten kinds, all of which bear
the name of essence, or ten categories; for they say[237] that essence
is not synonymous in everything, and they are right.


Let us begin by asking these philosophers whether the ten kinds
apply equally to sense-(essences), and intelligible (essences), or
whether they all apply to the sense-(essences), and some only to
the intelligible (essences); for here there are no longer mutual
relations. We must therefore inquire which of those ten kinds apply to
intelligible essences, and see whether intelligible essences can be
reduced to one single kind, that would also apply to sense-essences;
and whether the word "being"[238] can be applied simultaneously to
intelligible and sense-entities, as a "homonymous" label. For if
"being" be a homonym,[239] there are several different kinds. If,
however, it be a synonym (or, name of common qualities) it would be
absurd that this word should bear the same meaning in the essences
which possess the highest degree of existence, and in those which
possess its lower degree; for the things among which it is possible to
distinguish both primary and lower degrees could not belong to a common
kind. But these (Aristotelian) philosophers do not, in their division,
regard the (Platonic) intelligible entities. They therefore did not
mean to classify all beings; they passed by those that possess the
highest degree of existence.[295]

1. Being.[240]

2. Let us further examine if these ten divisions be kinds, and how
being could form a kind; for we are forced to begin our study here.


We have just said that intelligible being and sense-being could not
form a single kind.[241] Otherwise, above both intelligible being,
and sense-being, there might be some third entity which would apply
to both, being neither corporeal nor incorporeal; for if it were
incorporeal, the body would be incorporeal; and if it were corporeal,
the incorporeal would be corporeal.


In the first place, what common element is there in matter, form, and
the concretion of matter and form? The (Aristotelians) give the name
of "being" alike to these three entities, though recognizing that they
are not "being" in the same degree. They say that form is more being
than is matter,[242] and they are right; they would not insist (as
do the Stoics) that matter is being in the greater degree. Further,
what element is common to the primary and secondary beings, since the
secondary owe their characteristic title of "being" to the primary ones?


In general, what is being? This is a question to which the
(Aristotelians) could find no answer; for such mere indication of
properties is not an essential definition of what it is, and it would
seem that the property of being a thing that is susceptible of
successively admitting their contraries, while remaining identical, and
numerically one,[243] could not apply to all (intelligible) beings.

3. Can we assert that "being" is a category that embraces
simultaneously intelligible being, matter, form, and the concretion of
form and matter, on the same justification that one may say that the
race of the Heraclidae form a kind, not because all its members possess
a common characteristic, but because they are all descended from a
common ancestry? In such case, the first degree thereof will belong to
this being (from which all the rest is derived), and the second degree
to the other things which are less beings. What then hinders that all
things form a single category, since all other things of which one may
say, "they subsist," owe this property to "being?"

Might it then be said that the other things are affections (or,
modifications),[232] and that the beings are (hierarchically)
subordinated to each other in a different manner? In this case,
however, we could not stop at (the conception of) "being," and
determine its fundamental property so as to deduce from it other
beings. Beings would thus be of the same kind, but then would possess
something which would be outside of the other beings.[244] Thus the
secondary substance would be attributed to something else, and leave
no meaning to "whatness" (quiddity or quality), "determinate form"
(thatness), "being a subject," "not being a subject," "being in no
subject," and "being attributed to nothing else,"[245] (as, when one
says, whiteness is a quality of the body, quantity is something of
substance, time is something of movement, and movement is something
of mobility), since the secondary "being" is attributed to something
else.[246] Another objection would be, that the secondary being is
attributed to the primary Being, in another sense (than quality is
to being), as "a kind," as "constituting a part," as "being thus
the essence of the subject," while whiteness would be attributed to
something else in this sense that it is in a subject.[247] Our answer
would be that these things have properties which distinguish them from
the others; they will consequently be gathered into a unity, and be
called beings. Nevertheless, no kind could be made up out of them, nor
thus arrive at a definition of the notion and nature of being. Enough
about this; let us pass to quantity.


4. The Aristotelians call quantity first "number," then "continuous
size," "space," and "time."[248] To these concepts they apply the
other kinds of quantity; as for instance, they say that movement is a
quantity measured by time.[249] It might also be said reciprocally,
that time receives its continuity from movement.


If continuous quantity be quantity as far as it is continuous, then
definite quantity will no longer be quantity. If, on the contrary,
continuous quantity be quantity only accidentally, then there is
nothing in common between continuous and definite quantity. We will
grant that numbers are quantities, although if their nature of being
quantities were plain, one would not see why they should be given that
name. As to the line, the surface, and the body, they are called sizes
and not quantities; and the latter name is given them only when they
are estimated numerically; as when, for instance, they are measured
by two or three feet.[249] A body is a quantity only in so far as
it is measured, just as space is a quantity only by accident, and
not by its spatiality. We must here not consider what is quantity by
accident, but by its quantitativeness, quantity itself. Three oxen
are not a quantity; in this case, the quantity is the number found in
them. Indeed, three oxen belong already to two categories. The case
is similar with the line, and the surface, both of which possess such
quantity. But if the quantity of surface be quantity itself, why would
surface itself be a quantity? It is no doubt only when determined by
three or four lines that the surface is called a quantity.


Shall we then say that numbers alone are quantity? Shall we attribute
this privilege to Numbers in themselves, which are beings, because
they exist in themselves?[250] Shall we grant the same privilege to
numbers existing in things which participate in them, and which serve
to number, not unities, but ten oxen, for example, or ten horses?
First, it would seem absurd that these numbers should not be beings,
if the former ones be such. Then, it will seem equally absurd that
they should exist within the things they measure, without existing
outside them,[251] as the rules and instruments which serve to measure
exist outside of the objects they measure. On the other hand, if these
numbers that exist in themselves serve to measure, and nevertheless do
not exist within the objects that they measure, the result will be that
these objects will not be quantities since they will not participate in
quantity itself.


Why should these numbers be considered quantities? Doubtless because
they are measures. But are these measures quantities, or quantity
itself? As they are in the order of beings, even if they should not
apply to any of the other things, the numbers will nevertheless remain
what they are, and they will be found in quantity. Indeed, their unity
designates an object, since it applies to another; then the number
expresses how many objects there are, and the soul makes use of number
to measure plurality. Now, when measuring thus, the soul does not
measure the "whatness" (or, quality) of the object, since she says
"one," "two," whatever be their objects, even if of opposite nature;
she does not determine the character of each thing, for instance, if it
be warm or beautiful; she limits herself to estimating its quantity.
Consequently, whether we take Number in itself, or in the objects which
participate therein, quantity exists not in these objects, but in the
number; quantity finds itself not in the object three feet long, but in
the number three.


Why then should sizes also be quantities? Probably because they
approximate quantities, and because we call quantities all objects that
contain quantities, even though we do not measure them with quantity in
itself. We call large what numerically participates in much; and small
what participates in little. Greatness and smallness are quantities,
not absolute, but relative; nevertheless the Aristotelians say that
they are relative quantities so far as they seem to be quantities.[252]
That is a question to be studied; for, in this doctrine, number is a
kind apart, while sizes would hold second rank; it is not exactly a
kind, but a category which gathers things which are near each other,
and which may hold first or second rank. As to us, we shall have to
examine if the Numbers which exist in themselves be only substances, or
if they be also quantities. In either case, there is nothing in common
between the Numbers of which we speak, and those which exist in things
which participate therein.[253]


5. What relation to quantity exists in speech, time, and movement?

First, let us consider speech. It can be measured.[254] In this
respect, speech is a quantity, but not in so far as it is speech, whose
nature is to be significant, as the noun, or the verb.[255] The vocal
air is the matter of the word, as it also is of the noun and the verb,
all which constitute the language. The word is principally an impulse
launched on the air, but it is not a simple impulse; because it is
articulated it somehow fashions the air; consequently it is a deed,
but a significant one. It might be reasonably said that this movement
and impulse constitute a deed, and that the movement which follows is
a modification, or rather that the first movement is the deed, and the
second movement is the modification of another, or rather that the deed
refers to the subject, and the modification is in the subject. If the
word consisted not in the impulse, but in the air, there would result
from the significant characteristic of the expressive impulse two
distinct entities, and no longer a single category.


Let us pass to time.[256] If it exist in what measures, that which
measures must be examined; it is doubtless the soul, or the present
instant. If it exist in what is measured, it is a quantity so far as it
has a quantity; as, for instance, it may be a year. But, so far as it
is time, it has another nature; for what has such a quantity, without
(essentially) being a quantity, is not any the less such a quantity.


As to (Aristotle's) assertion that the property of quantity is to be
both equal and unequal,[257] this property belongs to quantity itself,
and not to the objects which participate in quantity, unless it be by
accident, so far as one does not consider these objects in themselves.
A three foot object, for instance, is a quantity so far as it is taken
in its totality; but it does not form a kind with quantity itself;
only, along with it, it is traced back to a kind of unity, a common


6. Let us now consider relation. Let us see whether, in relative
matters, there be something common that constitutes a kind, or which is
a point of union in any other manner. Let us, before everything else,
examine whether relation (as, for example, left and right, double and
half, and so forth) be a kind of "hypostasis," or substantial act,
or an habituation; or, whether it be a kind of hypostatic existence
in certain things, while in others it is not so; or whether it be
this under no circumstances. What is there indeed that is particular
in relations such as double and half; surpasser and surpassed; in
possession, and in disposition; lying down, standing, sitting; in
the relation of father and son; of master and slave; in the like and
different; the equal and unequal; the active and passive; measurer and
measured; sensation and knowledge? Knowledge, for instance, relates
to the object which can be known, and sensation to sense-object; for
the relation of knowledge to the object which can be known has a kind
of hypostatic existence in the actualization relative to the form of
the object which can be known; likewise with the relation of sensation
to the sense-object. The same may be said about the relation of the
"active" to the "passive," which results in a single actualization,
as well as about the relation between the measure and the measured
object, from which results mensuration. But what results from the
relation of the similar to the similar? If in this relation there be
nothing begotten, one can at least discover there something which
is its foundation, namely, the identity of quality; nevertheless,
neither of these two terms would then have anything beside their proper
quality. The same may be said of equal things, because the identity
of quantity precedes the manner of being of both things; this manner
of being has no foundation other than our judgment, when we say, This
one or that one are of the same size; this one has begotten that one,
this one surpasses that one. What are standing and sitting outside of
him who stands or sits? As to the possession, if it apply to him who
possesses, it rather signifies the fact of possession; if it apply to
what is possessed, it is a quality. As much can be said of disposition.
What then exists outside of the two relative terms, but the comparison
established by our judgment? In the relation of the thing which
surpasses the thing which is surpassed, the first is some one size,
and the second is some other size; those are two independent things,
while as to the comparison, it does not exist in them, except in our
judgment. The relation of left to right and that of the former to the
latter consist in the different positions. It is we who have imagined
the distinction of right to left; there is nothing in the objects
themselves that answers thereto. The former and the latter are two
relations of time, but it is we who have established that distinction.


7. If, when we speak of things, we utter nothing true, then there is
nothing real in the relation, and this kind of being has no foundation.
But if, when we compare two moments, we say, This one is anterior,
and that one is posterior, we speak truly, then we conceive that the
anterior and the posterior are something independent of the subjects in
which they exist. Likewise with the left and the right, as well as with
sizes; we admit that in these, besides the quantity which is suitable
to them, there is a certain habituation, as far as the one surpasses
and the other is surpassed. If, without our enunciating or conceiving
anything, it be real that such a thing is the double of another; if the
one possess while the other is possessed, even if we had known nothing
about it; if the objects had been equal before we had noticed them; if
they be likewise identical in respect of quality; finally if, in all
relative things, there be a habituation which is independent of the
subjects in which it is found; and if we limit ourselves to noticing
its existence (without creating it); if the same circumstances obtain
in the relation of knowledge to what can be known, a relation which
evidently constitutes a real habituation; if it be so, there is nothing
left to do but to ask whether this habituation (named a relation) be
something real. We shall have to grant, however, that this habituation
subsists in certain subjects as long as these subjects remain such as
they were, and even if they were separate; while, in other subjects,
this habituation is born only when they are brought together. We shall
also have to grant that, in the very subjects that remain, there are
some in which this habituation is annihilated or altered (such as, for
example, the left direction, or proximity). This has led people to
believe that in all these relations there is nothing real. This point
having been granted, we shall have to seek what common element there
is in all these relations, and to examine whether what is common to
them all constitutes a kind, or an accident; and last, we shall have to
consider how far that which we have discovered corresponds to reality.


We should call relative not what is said absolutely of another thing,
such as, for instance, the habits of the soul and the body; nor what
belongs to such a thing, nor what is in such a thing (as for instance
the soul is said to be the soul of such an individual, or to be in
such a subject), but what wholly derives its existence from this
habit (called relation). By "hypostatic existence" I here mean not
the existence which is proper to subjects, but the existence which is
called relative; as, for instance, the double causes the (correlative)
existence of the half; while it does not cause the existence of the
two foot object, nor of two in general, nor the one foot object, nor
one in general. The manner of existence of these objects consists in
that this one is two, and that one one. As a result of this, when these
objects exist, the first is called double, and is such in reality; and
the second is half. These two objects have therefore simultaneously and
spontaneously effected that the one was double, and the other half.
They have been correlatively begotten. Their only existence lies in
their correlation, so that the existence of the double lies in its
surpassing the half, and the half derives its existence from its being
surpassed by the double. Consequently these two objects are not, the
one anterior, and the other posterior, but simultaneous.[259] We might
also examine whether or not other things do not also possess this
simultaneity of existence, as happens with father and son, and other
similar cases. The son continues to exist, indeed, even after the death
of the father; brother also survives brother, since we often say that
some one person resembles some other deceased person.


8. The above digression gives us the opportunity of investigating
why there should be a difference between these relations, and those
of which we spoke above. However, we should be glad to have the
Aristotelians first state what community of existence obtains in this
correlation. It would be impossible to claim that this community was
anything corporeal. If then it be corporeal, it must exist either
within the very subjects, or without them. If such a habituation be
identical among all, it is a synonym. If it be a habituation which
differs according to the subjects in which it exists, it is a homonym;
for the mere name of "habituation" (in different things) does not
always correspond to the existence of any genuine similarity. Should
we then divide the habituations into two classes, recognizing that
certain objects have an inert and inactive habituation, implying
simultaneity of existence, and that other objects have a habituation
always implying "potentiality" and "actualization," so that before
"actualizing" the "potentiality" be already ready to exert itself, and
to pass from "potentiality" to "actualization" in the approximation
of relative conditions? Must we assert that in general certain things
actualize, while others limit themselves to existing? Must we also
assert that that which limits itself to existence only gives its
correlative a name, while that which actualizes gives it existence? Of
this latter kind of things are the father and son, the "active" and
"passive," for such things exert a kind of life and action. Must we
then divide habituation in several kinds, not as possessing something
similar and common in the differences, but as having a nature different
in each member of the division, and thus constituting a "homonym"
(or, mere verbal label)? In this case, we would apply to the active
habituation the names of "doing" and "suffering," because both imply an
identical action. Further, we will have to posit another "habituation"
which, without itself actualizing, implies something which acts in
two relative terms. For example, there is equality; which equates
two objects; for it is equality which renders things equal, just as
identity makes them identical; just as the names "great" and "small"
are derived one from the presence of greatness, and the other from
that of smallness. But if we should consider greatness and smallness
in the individuals which participate therein, it must be acknowledged
that such individual is greater by the act of greatness which manifests
in him, and that another is smaller because of the inherent act of


9. It must therefore be granted that in the things of which we
first spoke, such as knowing and doing (active being), there is an
actualization, an habituation, and an actualizing reason; while in the
other things there is a participation in form and reason. For indeed,
if the bodies were the only essences, the relative habituations would
bear no reality. If, on the contrary, we assign the first rank in
existence to incorporeal things, and to the reasons, and if we define
the habituations as reasons that participate in the forms, we should
say that what is double has the double for its cause, and what is
half, has the half as its cause; and that other things are what they
are named because of the presence of the same, or of the contrary
form. Now either two things simultaneously receive one the double,
and the other the half, and one greatness, and the other smallness;
or contraries such as resemblance and dissimilarity are to be found
in each thing, as well as identity and difference; and everything
finds itself simultaneously similar and dissimilar, identical and
different. It might be objected that if one object were ugly, and
another uglier still, they are such because they participate in a form.
Not so; for if these two objects be equally ugly, they are equal in
the absence of the form. If they be unequally ugly, the least ugly is
such because it participates in a form which does not sufficiently
subdue matter, and the uglier is such because it participates in a
form which does so still less. They could, besides, be judged from the
standpoint of deprivation, comparing them to each other as if they
contained some form. The sensation is a form that results from two
things (of that which feels, and that which is felt); so also with
knowledge. In respect to the thing possessed, possession is an act
which contains, which has a kind of efficacy. As to mensuration, which
is an actualization of measure, in respect of the measured object, it
consists in a reason.


If then, considering the constitution of the relative relations as a
generic form, it be admitted that it constitutes an unity, it forms
a classification; consequently it constitutes an existence and a
form in all things. But if the reasons (or, relations) be opposed to
each other, if the above-mentioned differences obtain among them,
they do not constitute a class, and everything must be reduced to a
resemblance, or category. Now, even if we admit that the things of
which we have spoken can be reduced to a unity, it does not follow that
all the things gathered under the same category by the Aristotelians,
could be reduced to a single sort. Indeed, they lump together into
the same classification, both objects and mere statements of their
absence, as well as the objects which derive their appellation from
them; as, for instance, doubleness itself, and the double object.
Now how is it possible to reduce to the same classification both a
thing and the mere lack of it, as, for instance, doubleness and the
non-double, the relative and the non-relative? This is as absurd as it
would be to gather into the same classification the living "being,"
and the non-living "being." Worse yet, how could one assort together
duplication and the double object, whiteness and the white object? Such
things could not possibly be identical.

3. QUALITIES.[260]

10. We are now to consider quality, on account of which a being is said
to be "such." What can be the nature of this quality that it exerts the
power of deciding of the phenomena of objects? Is there a same, single
quality which is something common to all qualities, and which, by its
differences, forms classifications? Or are the qualities so different
that they could not constitute one and the same classification? What
is there in common between capacity and disposition[261] (that is, the
physical power), the affective quality, the figure, and the exterior


What shall be said of thickness and thinness, of fatness and leanness?
If the element common to these conceptions be a power belonging to
the capacities, dispositions, and physical powers, which gives to
each object the power it possesses, the statements of the absence of
power will no longer be classified along with (the powers). Besides,
in what sense can we call the figure and form of each thing a "power?"
Further, essence would have been deprived of all powers that were
essential, retaining only those it might have received. Then, quality
would comprehend all actualizations of the beings, which, properly,
are actualizations only so far as they act spontaneously; and also
all actualizations of these properties, but only so far as they
really exist. But quality consists in (unessential) powers (such
as habituations and dispositions) classified below beings.[263]
For instance, boxing ability does not belong among necessary human
qualifications, such as rational functions. The latter would not be
called a quality (as we would speak of boxing ability); and reasoning
would be considered a quality only figuratively.


A quality is therefore a power which adds (essential) characteristics
to already existing beings. These characteristics which differentiate
beings can therefore be called qualities only figuratively. Qualities
are, rather, actualizations and reasons, or parts of reasons, which
proclaim the "whatness," though the latter seem to qualify being.
As to the qualities which really deserve this name, which "qualify"
things, which we generally call "potentialities," they are the
reasons and shapes, either of the soul or the body, such as beauty or


How can all qualities be potentialities? It is easy to see that beauty
and health are qualities. But how could ugliness and sickness, weakness
and general impotence, be qualities? Is it because they qualify certain
things? But what hinders the qualified things from being called
such by mere nomenclature, as homonyms, and not because of a single
(all-sufficient) reason? Besides, what would hinder them from being
considered not only according to one of the four modes,[265] but even
after each one of the four, or at least after any two of them? First,
the quality does not consist in "acting" and "experiencing";[266] so
that it is only by placing oneself at different viewpoints that one
could call what "acts" and "experiences" a quality, in the same sense
as health and sickness, disposition and habitude, force and weakness.
Thus power is no longer the common element in these qualities, and
we shall have to seek something else possessing this characteristic,
and the qualities will no longer all be reasons. How indeed could a
sickness, become a habituation, or be a reason?


Shall the affections which consist in the forms and powers, and their
contraries, the privations, be called qualities?[267] If so, one kind
will no longer exist; and we shall have to reduce these things to
a unity, or category; that is why knowledge is called a form and a
power, and ignorance a privation and impotence. Must we also consider
impotence and sickness a form, because sickness and vice can and do
accomplish many things badly? Not so, for in this case he who missed
his aim would be exerting a power. Each one of these things exerts
its characteristic activity in not inclining towards the good; for it
could not do what was not in its power. Beauty certainly does have some
power; is it so also with triangularity? In general, quality should
not be made to consist in power, but rather in the disposition, and to
consider it as a kind of form of character. Thus the common element in
all qualities is found to be this form, this classification, which no
doubt is inherent in being, but which certainly is derivative from it.


What part do the powers (or, potentialities) play here? The man who is
naturally capable of boxing owes it to a certain disposition. It is so
also with somebody who is unskilful in something. In general, quality
consists in a non-essential characteristic; what seems to contribute to
the being, or to add to it, as color, whiteness, and color in general,
contributes to the beings as far as it constitutes something distinct
therefrom, and is its actualization; but it occupies a rank inferior
to being; and though derived therefrom, it adds itself thereto as
something foreign, as an image and adumbration.


If quality consist in a form, in a character and a reason, how
could one thus explain impotence and ugliness? We shall have to do
so by imperfect reasons, as is generally recognized in the case of
ugliness.[268] But how can a "reason" be said to explain sickness? It
contains the reason of health, but somewhat altered. Besides, it is
not necessary to reduce everything to a reason; it is sufficient to
recognize, as common characteristic, a certain disposition foreign to
being, such that what is added to being be a quality of the subject.
Triangularity is a quality of the subject in which it is located, not
by virtue of its triangularity, but of its location in this subject,
and of enduing it with its form. Humanity has also given to man his
shape, or rather, his being.


11. If this be so, why should we recognize several kinds of qualities?
Why should we distinguish capacity and disposition? Whether quality be
durable or not, it is always the same; for any kind of a disposition
is sufficient to constitute a quality; permanence, however, is only
an accident, unless it should be held that simple dispositions are
imperfect forms, and that capacities are perfect forms. But if these
forms be imperfect, they are not qualities; if they be already
qualities, permanence is but an accident.


How can physical powers form a secondary kind of qualities? If they
be qualities only so far as they are powers, this definition would
not suit all qualities, as has been said above. If boxing ability be
a quality as far as it is a disposition, it is useless to attribute
to it a power, since power is implied in habituation. Further, how
should we distinguish the natural boxing ability from that which is
scientifically acquired? If both be qualities, they do not imply any
difference so far as one is natural, and the other acquired; that is
merely an accident, since the capacity of boxing is the same form in
both cases.


What does it matter that certain qualities are derived from an
affection, and that others are not derived therefrom? The origin of
qualities contributes nothing to their distinction or difference. If
certain qualities be derived from an affection, and if others do not
derive therefrom, how could they be classified as one kind? If it
be said that some imply "experiencing" while others imply "action,"
they can both be called qualities merely by similarity of appellation


What could be said of the shape of every thing? If we speak of the
shape as far as something has a specific form, that has no regard to
quality; if it be spoken of in respect to beauty or ugliness, together
with the form of the subject, we there have a reason.


As to rough, united, rare and dense[269] these could not be called
qualities; for they do not consist only in a relative separation or
reapproximation of the parts of a body, and do not proceed everywhere
from the inequality or equality of position; if they did, they might be
regarded as qualities. Lightness and weight, also, could be correctly
classified, if carefully studied. In any case, lightness is only a
verbal similarity (a "homonym") unless it be understood to mean
diminution of weight. In this same class might also be found leanness
and slimness, which form a class different from the four preceding


12. What other scheme of analysis of quality could we find, if the
above were declared unsatisfactory? Must we distinguish first the
qualities of the soul from those of the body, and then analyse the
latter according to the senses, relating them to sight, hearing, taste,
smell and touch?

To begin with, how can the qualities of the soul be divided? Will they
be related to the faculty of desire, to anger, or reason? Will they
be divided according to their suitable operations, or according to
their useful or harmful character? In this case, would we distinguish
several ways of being useful or harmful? Should we then likewise divide
the properties of the bodies according to the difference of their
effects, or according to their useful or harmless character, since this
character is a property of quality? Surely; to be useful or harmful
seems to be the property of both the quality, and the thing qualified.
Otherwise, we should have to seek some other classification.


How can the thing qualified by a quality refer to the quality? This
must be studied, because the thing qualified and the quality do not
belong to a common kind. If the man capable of boxing be related to
the quality, why should not the same quality obtain between the active
man and activity? If then the active man be something qualified,
"activity" and "passivity" should not be referred to relation. It would
seem preferable to relate the active man to the quality if he be active
by virtue of a power, for a power is a quality; but if the power be
essential, in so far as it is a power, it is not something relative,
nor even something qualified. We should not consider that activity
corresponds to increase; for the increase, so far as it increases,
stands in relation only to the less; while activity is such by itself.
To the objection that activity, so far as it is such, is something
qualified, it might be answered that, at the same time, as far as it
can act on something else, and that it is thus called active, it is
something relative. In this case the man capable of boxing and the art
of boxing itself must be in relation. For the art of boxing implies a
relation; all the knowledge it imparts is relative to something else.
As to the other arts, or at least, as to the greater number of other
arts, it may, after examination, be said that they are qualities, so
far as they give a disposition to the soul; as far as they act, they
are active, and, from this standpoint, they refer to something else,
and are relative; and besides, they are relative in the sense that they
are habituations.


Will we therefore have to admit that activity, which is activity only
because it is a quality, is something substantially different from
quality? In animated beings, especially in those capable of choice
because they incline towards this or that thing, activity has a really
substantial nature. What is the nature of the action exercised by the
inanimate powers that we call qualities? Is it participation in their
qualities by whatever approaches them? Further, if the power which
acts on something else simultaneously experiences (or "suffers"),
how can it still remain active? For the greater thing, which by
itself is three feet in size, is great or small only by the relation
established between it, and something else (smaller). It might indeed
be objected that the greater thing and the smaller thing become such
only by participation in greatness or smallness. Likewise, what is both
"active" and "passive" becomes such in participating in "activity" and


Can the qualities seen in the sense-world, and those that exist in
the intelligible world, be classified together in one kind? This
question demands an answer from those[270] who claim that there are
also qualities in the intelligible world. Should it also be asked
of those who do not admit of the existence on high of kinds, but
who limit themselves to attributing some habit to Intelligence? It
is evident that Wisdom exists in Intelligence; if this Wisdom be
homonymous (similar in name only) with the wisdom which we know here
below, it is not reckoned among sense-things; if, on the contrary it be
synonymous (similar in nature also) with the wisdom which we know here
below, quality would be found in intelligible entities, as well as in
sense-things (which is false); unless indeed it be recognized that all
intelligible things are essences, and that thought belongs among them.

Besides, this question applies also to the other categories. In
respect to each of them it might be asked whether the sensible and
the intelligible form two different kinds, or belong to a single

4. WHEN.

13. As to the category of time, "when," the following thoughts are


If to-morrow, to-day, and yesterday, as well as other similar divisions
of time, be parts of time, why should they not be classed in the same
classification as time itself, along with the ideas "it has been,"
"it is," and "it will be?" As they are kinds of time, it seems proper
that they should be classified along with time itself. Now time is
part of quantity. What then is the use of another category? If the
Aristotelians say that not only "it has been" and "it will be" are
time-concepts, but "yesterday" and "formerly," which are varieties
of "there has been" are also time-concepts (for these terms are
subordinated to "there has been"), that it is not only "now" that is
time, but that "when" is such also, they will be forced to answer as
follows: First, if "when" be time, time exists; then, as "yesterday"
is past time, it will be something composite, if the past be something
else than time; we will have to erect two categories, not merely a
simple category. For instance, they say both that "when" is in time,
without being time, and say that "when" is that which is in time. An
example of this would be to say that Socrates existed "formerly,"
whereby Socrates would really be outside of (present) time. Therefore
they are no longer expressing something single. But what is meant by
Socrates "being in time," and that some fact "is in time?" Does it mean
that they are "part of time?" If, in saying "a part of time," and "so
far as it is a part of time," the Aristotelians believe that they are
not speaking of time absolutely, but only of a past part of time, they
are really expressing several things. For this "part," so far as it is
a part, is by them referred to something; and for them the past will be
some thing added (to Time), or it will become identified with "there
has been," which is a kind of time. But if they say that there is a
difference, because "there has been" is indeterminate, while "formerly"
and "yesterday" are determinate, we shall be deciding something about
"there has been;" then "yesterday" will be the determination of "there
has been," so that "yesterday" will be determined time. Now, that
is a quantity of time; so that if time be a quantity, each one of
these two things will be a determined quantity. But, if, when they
say "yesterday" they mean thereby that such an event has happened in
a determined past time, they are still expressing several things.
Therefore, if some new category is to be introduced whenever one thing
acts in another, as here happened of what occurred in time, we might
have to introduce many additional categories, for in a different thing
the action is different. This will, besides, become clearer in what is
to follow on the category of place.



14. The Aristotelians (while treating of this category) say, Where? For
instance, "to the Lyceum," or, "to the Academy." The Academy and the
Lyceum are then places and parts of places, as the "top," the "bottom,"
and "here" are parts or classes of place. The only difference consists
in a greater determination. If then the top, the bottom, and the middle
be places, as, for instance, "Delphi is the middle of the earth," and,
"the Lyceum and other countries are near the middle of the earth," what
else but place do we have to seek, since we have just said that each
of these things denotes a place? If, when we say "where?" we assert
that one thing is in another place, we are not expressing something
single and simple. Besides, each time that we affirm that such a man
is there, we are creating a double relation, namely, the relation of
the man who is there, with the place where he is, and the relation of
the containing place and the contained man. Why therefore should we not
reduce this to the class of relations, since the relation of both terms
with each other produces something? Besides, what is the difference
between "here" and "at Athens?" The Aristotelians grant that "here"
indicates the place; consequently, the same is true of "in Athens." If,
"in Athens" be equivalent to "being in Athens," this latter expression
contains two categories, that of place, and that of being. Now, this
should not be the case; for as one should not say "Quality exists,"
but only, "quality." Besides, if being in place and being in time
presuppose categories other than place and time, why would "being in a
vase" not also constitute a separate category? Why would it not be so
with "being in matter," with "being in the subject," and in general of
a part "being in the whole," or the "whole in the parts," the "genus in
the species," and the "species in the genus?" In this manner we would
have a far greater number of categories.


The subject of action gives rise to the following considerations.


15. The Aristotelians hold that number and quantity, and other things
referring to being should be subordinated to being; thus they classify
quantity as in a genus different from being. Quality also refers to
being, it also is erected into a separate genus. Consequently, as
action also refers to being, it is also considered a separate genus.
Must then "acting," or rather "action," from which "acting" is derived,
be considered a separate genus, as we consider that quality, from
which qualification is derived, is a separate genus? (As to these
derivations), it might be asked whether there were no distinction
between "action," "to act," and "active," or between "to act," and
"action?" "To act" expresses the idea of "active," while "action" does
not express it. "To act" means "to be in some action;" or rather, "in
actualization." Consequently, "actualization" expresses a category
rather than "action;" since actualization is predicated of being, like
quality, as was said above; and actualization, like movement, also
relates to being; but movement necessarily constitutes a class of
essence. How indeed could we admit that quantity, quality and relation
each form a genus, in respect to being, and yet refuse to movement,
which equally refers to being, the privilege of also forming a genus of


16. It may be objected that movement is an imperfect
actualization.[272] In that case actualization should be given
the first rank; and under that genus would follow the species of
movement, with the quality of imperfection, by saying that movement
is an actualization, and adding (the specific difference) that it is
imperfect. To say that movement is an imperfect actualization does
not deprive it of being an actualization, but implies that though it
be actualization, there is in it succession, not to arrive at being
actualization, (which it is already), but to accomplish something from
which it is yet entirely distinct. Then (when that goal is reached),
it is not the movement that becomes perfect, but the thing which was
the goal. For instance, walking is walking from the very first step;
but if there be a mile to go, and the mile be not yet finished, what
is lacking of the mile is not lacking to the walking or to movement
(taken absolutely), but to that particular walk. For the walk was
walking and movement from the very first step; consequently, he who
is moving has already moved, and he who cuts has already cut.[273]
Just as actualization, movement has no need of time; it needs time
only to become such an action. If then actualization be outside of
time, movement, taken absolutely, must also be outside of time. The
objection that movement is in time because it implies continuity
(proves too much; for in that case) intuition itself, if prolonged,
would also imply continuity, and therefore would be in time. Reasoning
by induction, it may be seen, 1, that one can always distinguish
parts in any kind of movement; 2, that it would be impossible to
determine when and since when the movement began, or to assign the
definite point of departure; 3, that it is always possible to divide
movement by following it up to its origin, so that in this manner
movement that has just begun would find itself to have begun since
infinite time, and, 4, that movement would be infinite in regard to
its beginning. The fact is that the Aristotelians distinguish movement
from actualization; they affirm that actualization is outside of time,
but that time is necessary to movement; not indeed to some particular
movement, but to movement in itself, because, according to their
views, it is a quantity. Nevertheless, they themselves acknowledge
that movement is a quantity only by accident, as, for instance, when
it is a daily movement, or when it has some particular duration. Just
as actualization is outside of time, nothing hinders movement from
having begun outside of time, and time from being connected with
movement only because the movement has a certain duration. Indeed, it
is generally granted that changes occur outside of time, for it is
usual to say, The changes occur either suddenly or successively. Now
if change can occur outside of time, why should it not be so also with
movement? We here speak of change, and not of "having changed;" for
change does not necessarily have to be accomplished (while "having
changed" signifies an accomplished fact, and consequently implies the
notion of time).


17. It may be objected that actualization and movement do not, by
themselves, form a genus, but belong to the genus of relation, because
actualization exists through the power of something active, and
movement exists by the power of some motor, as such. We might answer
that relative conceptions are produced by habituation (the manner of
being) even of things, and not only through the relation established
between them by the mind. As the habituation is a mode of "hypostatic"
existence, although it be the "thing of something else," or although
it refer to something else,[274] it nevertheless possesses its nature
before being a relation. Now this actualization, this movement, this
habituation, which is the "thing of some other thing" nevertheless
possesses the property of existing and of being conceived by itself
before being a relation; otherwise, all things would be relative
conceptions; for there is nothing, not excluding the soul herself,
which does not bear some relation to something else. Moreover, why are
"action" and "acting" not relatives? For they necessarily are either a
movement or an actualization. If the Aristotelians consider "action" a
relative, and make a genus of "acting," why then do they not also place
"movement" among the relatives, and make a genus of "moving?" They
might, indeed, have subsumed under the genus "movement" the two species
"action" and "reaction" (or, "suffering"); but they have no right to
make two distinct genera of "acting" and "reacting," as they generally


18. We must further examine if the Aristotelians have the right
to say that acting contains both actualizations and movements,
the actualizations producing themselves instantaneously, and the
movements successively; as, for instance, dividing implies time.
Or will they say that all actualizations are movements, or, at
least, are accompanied by movements? Will they trace all actions to
"experiencing" (or, reactions), or will they acknowledge absolute
actions, like walking or speaking? Or will they distinguish all actions
that relate to "experiencing" as movements, and all absolute actions
as actualizations? Or will they place actions of both kinds among
movements, and among actualizations? They would no doubt classify
walking, which is an absolute thing, as movement; and thinking, which
is a verb without passive voice, as an actualization.[275] Otherwise
the Aristotelians will be obliged to insist that there is nothing
active in walking or thinking. But if walking and thinking do not
belong to the category of acting, it will be necessary to explain to
what they do belong. Will it be said that thinking relates to the
thinkable (the intelligible), as intellection does,[276] because
sensation relates to the sense-object? If sensation be related to
the sense-object, why do they not equally relate "sensing" (feeling)
to the sense-object? Sensation, relating to something else, has a
relation with that thing; but, besides that relation, it has the
property of being an "action" or an "experience" (or, reaction). If
therefore reaction (or, suffering), besides belonging to something
else, or depending on something else, has the property of itself
being something, like actualization, then walking, besides belonging
to something else (to the feet), and depending on something else (on
the motive power), nevertheless by itself possesses the property of
being movement. In this case, it will have to be recognized that
intellection, besides being a relation, by itself also is a movement or
an actualization.


19. Let us now examine if certain actualizations seem to be imperfect
when they are not joined to time, thus identifying themselves with
movements, as life identifies itself with living. For (according to
the Aristotelians) the life of each (being) is accomplished in a
perfect time, and happiness is an actualization; not an individual
one, indeed, but a sort of movement.[277] Consequently we will have
to call life and happiness movements, and movement will have to be
made a genus, though recognizing that movement forms a genus very
different from quantity and quality; and, like them, relates to being.
This genus could be divided into two species, movements of body and
movements of soul, or movements spontaneous and communicated; or
again, movements proceeding from the beings themselves, or movements
proceeding from others. In this case, the movements proceeding from the
beings themselves are actions, whether they communicate to others, or
remain absolute in themselves (and not communicating to others, like
speaking and walking); and the movements proceeding from others are
"reactions" though the communicated movements seem to be identical with
the movements proceeding from others. For example, division is one and
the same thing, whether it be considered within him who divides, or in
that which is divided; nevertheless dividing is something different
from being divided. Or again, division is not one and the same thing
according as it proceeds from him who divides, or as it is received
by him who is divided; to divide means to cause in the divided thing
another movement, which is the result of the dividing action or
movement. Perhaps, indeed, the difference does not lie in the very fact
of being divided, but in the movement which results from the division,
as for instance, in suffering; for this is what constitutes reaction
(or "passion").

What are we to say if there be no suffering? We might answer that
the actualization of him who acts is simply present in such a thing
(without correlative reaction). There are thus two manners of acting;
to act within oneself, and to act outside of oneself. No more will
it then be said that the first mode is proper acting, and the second
reacting, but that there are two ways of acting outside of oneself,
acting and reacting. For instance, writing is an operation in which
one acts on something else without a correlative reaction, because in
writing one produces nothing but the very actualization of writing,
and not something else, like experiencing; for the quality of writing
that has been produced is nothing that reacts (or, experiences). As to
walking, though the earth be stepped on by the feet, it does not react
(or, experience) as a consequence. On the contrary, if it be the body
of an animal that is trod under feet, it may be conceived that there
is reaction, because one then thinks of the suffering endured by the
animal thus trod on, and not of the walking; otherwise, this reaction
would have been conceived before (the notion of this reaction would
have been implied in the very notion of walking).


Thus, in everything, acting forms but a single genus along with
reacting, which (by the Aristotelians) is considered its opposite.
Reacting is what follows acting, without being its contrary; to be
burnt, for instance, follows burning, but is not its contrary. In
this case, the reaction is what results in the object itself from the
fact of burning, or of being burnt, which form but one (process),
whether the result be suffering, or something else, as, for instance,
depreciation. It might be objected, When one (being) makes another
suffer, is it not true that the one acts, and the other reacts?
Here from a single actualization result two facts, an action, and a
reaction. Besides, it is not necessary to include in the action the
will to cause suffering; it has only produced something else as a
result of which it causes suffering, something which occurring in the
being that suffers, and being one single (occurrence), that causes
suffering. What then is this one identical thing which is anterior to
the suffering? When there is no suffering, is there not nevertheless
a reaction in him in whom is the modification? For instance, in him
who hears? No: to hear is not to react, and sensation is not really
a reaction;[278] but to suffer is to experience a reaction, and the
reaction is not the contrary of the action (in the sense we have


20. Let it be granted, then, that reaction is not the contrary of
action. Nevertheless, as it differs therefrom, it could not share
the same genus. If both reaction and action be movements, they share
the same genus, that of alteration, which is a movement, as respects
quality.[279] When alteration proceeds from the being endowed with
quality, is there any action, though this being remain impassible? Yes,
for though impassible, it is active. It may be asked, is this being no
longer active when it acts on some other object, as, for instance, by
striking it, and then reacts? The answer is, that it would be active
and passive simultaneously. If it be active, when it reacts--when, for
instance, it rubs--why is it considered active rather than passive?
Because it reacts in being rubbed while it rubs. Could we say that,
because it is moved while moving, there were in it two movements? But
how could there be two movements in it? Shall we assert that there
is but one? In this case, how could the same movement be action and
reaction simultaneously? Doubtless, it will be considered action, in
so far as it proceeds from the mover; and reaction, inasmuch as it
passes from the mover into the moved; and this, without ceasing to be
one and the same thing. Would you say that reaction was a movement of
a kind different from action? How then would the altering movement
in a certain manner modify what reacts without an equal reaction in
what is acting? But how (can we conceive) of reaction in that which
acts on another object? Is the mere presence of the movement in the
moved sufficient to constitute reaction?[280] But if, on one hand, the
("seminal) reason" of the swan whitens, and on the other hand the swan
that is being born becomes white, shall we say that the swan is passive
in becoming what it is his nature to be? If he becomes white even after
his birth, is he still passive? If one thing increase, and another
thing be increased, will we admit that the thing that increases reacts?
Will we rather attribute reaction to the thing qualified? If one thing
be embellished, and another thing embellishes it, could we say that
the embellished thing reacts?[281] If however, the embellishing thing
decreases, and, like tin, tarnishes, or on the contrary, like copper,
takes on polish; shall we say that the tin acts, and the copper reacts
(that is, "suffers")? Besides, it would be impossible to say that that
which learns is passive (suffering)? Would this be because the action
of him who acts passes into him? But how could there be any reaction
("suffering") since there is nothing there but an act? This action,
no doubt, is not a reaction ("suffering"); but he who receives it is
passive, because he participates in passivity. Indeed, from the fact
that the learner does not himself act, it does not necessarily result
that he is passive; for learning is not being struck, but grasping and
discerning, as takes place with the process of vision.


21. How may we define the fact of "reaction"? We do not approve of
the definition that it is the passing of the actualization from one
being into another, if its receiver appropriate it. Shall we say that
a (being) reacts when there is no actualization, but only an effective
experience? But is it not possible that the being that reacts becomes
better; while, on the contrary, the one who acts, loses? A (being)
may also act in an evil manner, and exercise on another a harmful
influence; and the actualization may be shameful, and the affective
experience be honorable. What distinction shall we then establish
(between action and reaction)? Shall we say that an action is to cause
(an actualization) to pass from self into others, and that reaction
is to receive in oneself (an action) from someone else? But then what
about the (actualizations) produced in oneself which do not pass into
others, such as thought and opinion? One can even excite oneself by a
reflection or opinion of emotive value, without this emotion having
been aroused by anybody else. We shall therefore define an action as
a spontaneous movement, whether this movement remain in the being who
produces it, or whether it pass into somebody else.

What then are the faculty of desire, and desire in general? If desire
be excited by the desired thing (it is an experience, or passion), even
if we should not take into consideration the cause of its excitement,
and even if we only noticed that it arose later than the object; for
this desire does not differ from an impression or an impulsion.

Shall we then, among desires, distinguish actions when they proceed
from intelligence, and experiences when they invoke and draw (on the
soul), so that the being be less passive by what it receives from
others, than by what it receives from itself? Doubtless a being can
act upon itself. (We can then define) an affective experience, and a
being's experience, as follows. They consist of undergoing, without any
contribution from oneself, a modification which does not contribute
to "being," and which, on the contrary, alters, or at least, does not

To this (definition) it may be objected that if warming oneself consist
in receiving such heat as partially contributes to the subject's being,
and partly does not do so, then we have here one and the same thing
which both is, and is not an experience. To this it may be answered
that there are two ways of warming oneself. Besides, even when the
heating contributes to the being, it does so only in the degree that
some other object experiences. For instance, the metal will have
to be heated, and undergo an experience, for the production of the
being called statue, although this statue itself be heated only
incidentally. If then the metal become more beautiful by the effect
of that which heats it, or by the effect of the heating itself, it
undergoes an experience; for there are two manners of (undergoing an
experience, or) suffering: the one consists in becoming worse, and the
other in becoming better--or at least, in not altering.


22. The cause that a being undergoes an experience is that it contains
the kind of movement called alteration, whichever way it modify him;
on the contrary, action means to have in oneself a definite movement,
derived from oneself, or a movement which has its goal in some other
being, and its origin in self. In both cases there is movement;
but with this distinction: that action, so far as it is action, is
impassible; while an experience consists in the experiencer's reception
of a disposition new to him, without the reception of anything that
contributes towards his being; so as to avoid (the case of the statue,
above, where) the experience happened to one being (the metal), while
it was another being that was produced (the statue). Consequently, the
same thing will in one state be an action, and in other, an experience.
Thus the same movement will in one being be an action, because it
is considered from a certain viewpoint; and from another it will be
an experience, because it is disposed some other way. Action and
experience seem therefore to be relative, if one consider the action
in its relation with experience, since the same thing is action in the
one, and experience in the other. Also, because neither of these two
can be considered in itself, but only in him who acts, or experiences,
when the one moves, and the other is moved. Each of these terms
therefore implies two categories; one gives the movement, the other
receives it; consequently we have transmission and reception, which
result in relation. If he who received the movement possesses it as
he possesses color, why could it not also be said that he possessed
movement? Absolute movements, such as walking (and thinking) possess
steps and thought.


Let us now consider whether prediction be an action, and whether
adapting one's course to the prediction of somebody else would
constitute experiencing; for prediction comes from one being and
applies to another. However, although prediction apply to some other,
we would not consider prediction an action, nor being directed by the
prediction of somebody else an experience. In general, not even thought
is an action; thought, indeed, does not pass in to the object thought,
but functions within itself; it is not at all an action. Actualizations
are not at all actions, and not all of them perform actions; indeed,
they may do so only accidentally. It might be objected that a man who
was walking would certainly impress on the ground the trace of his
steps, and would thereby perform an action. Such an action would be the
consequence of something else, or the man would act accidentally; and
it would be accidental, because the man was not thinking of it. It is
in this way that even inanimate things perform some action, that fire
heats, and medicine cures. But enough of this.


23. Let us now examine the category of "having" (possession).


If the verb "to have" be used in several senses, why might we not
apply to this category all the various uses of the word; for instance,
quantity, because quantity has size; quality, because it has color; the
father, because he has a son; the son, because he has a father; and, in
general, all kinds of possession? Will it be said that the other things
that can be possessed have already been classified under the categories
considered above, and that the category of "having" comprises only
arms, foot-wear, and clothing? This might be answered by the question
why "having" these objects should constitute a category, and why
burning them, cutting them, burying them, or throwing them away, would
not equally constitute one or more categories? If the answer be that
all these things form one category because they refer to the body,
this would then also make another category if we placed a garment
over a litter; or likewise if someone were covered with clothing.
If another answer be that the category of "having" consists in the
"manner of containing,"[282] and in possession,[283] then all things
which are possessed will have to be reduced to this category, which
will thus contain all possession, whatever it be, since the nature of
the possessed object could not here prevail to form some distinction.
On the other hand, if the category of "having" must exclude having a
quantity or quality, because the latter ideas already form their own
categories; nor having parts, because of the category of being (which
includes parts); why should this category contain having arms, when
arms, as well as foot-wear, belong to the category of being? In any
case, how could the statement, "He has arms" be considered something
simple, which could be reduced to any one category? That statement
expresses the same idea as "He is armed." Can this expression ("he
has arms") refer only to a man, or even to his statue? The living man
possesses very differently from possession by a statue, and the verb
"to have" is used only as a verbal label (a homonym), just as the
verb "to stand up" would mean something very different according as
it referred to a man or a statue. Besides, is it reasonable to make a
generic category of some merely incidental characteristic?


24. As to the category of situation, it contains also such incidental
characteristics as being raised, or seated. Here the Aristotelians
do not make a category of situation, by itself, but of the kind of
situation, as when it is said, "He is placed in such a posture"--a
phrase in which "to be placed" and "in such a posture" express two
entirely different ideas--or again, "he is in such a place." Now, as
posture and location have already been studied, what is the use in
here combining two categories into one? If, on the other hand, the
expression "he is seated" indicate an action or an experience, must it
not then be reduced to the category of action or experience? It would
moreover amount to the same thing to say "he is raised," as to say, "he
is situated above;" just as we say he is situated in the middle, or, he
is situated below. Besides, being seated has already been treated of
under the category of relation; why should, "being raised" not also be
a relative entity, since the category of relation includes the thing
to the left, and the thing to the right, as well as the left and right
hand themselves?

Enough of these reflections (about Aristotelian categories).


25. Let us now pass to the (Stoic) philosophers[284] who, recognizing
four categories only, divide everything into "substances," "qualities,"
"modes," and "relations;" and who, attributing to all (beings)
something common, thus embrace them into a single genus.


This doctrine raises a great number of objections, especially in that
it attributes to all beings something in common, and thus embraces them
in a single class. Indeed, this "something" of which they speak is
quite incomprehensible; as also is how it could adapt itself equally to
bodies and to incorporeal beings, between which they do not allow for
sufficient distinction to establish a distinction in this "something."
Besides, this something either is, or is not an essence; if it be an
essence, it must be a form; if it be not an essence, there result a
thousand absurdities, among which would be that essence is not an
essence. Let us therefore leave this point, and devote ourselves to the
division into four categories.


The Stoics assign the first rank to substances, and place matter before
the other substances. From this it results that the Stoics assign to
the same rank their first Principle, and with it the things which are
inferior thereto. First, they reduce to a single class both anterior
and posterior things, though it be impossible to combine them in this
manner. In fact, every time that things differ from each other in that
some are anterior, and others posterior, those which are posterior owe
their essence to those which are anterior. On the contrary, when things
are comprised within one and the same class, all equally owe their
essence to this class, since a class is "what is affirmed of kinds of
things in regard to essence." The Stoics themselves recognize this by
saying that all things derive their essence from matter.

Besides, when they count but a single substance, they do not enumerate
the beings themselves, but they seek their principles. Now there is a
great difference between treating of principles and treating of beings.
If the Stoics recognize no essence other than matter, and think that
other things are modifications of matter, they are wrong in reducing
essence and other things to a common class; they should rather say
that essence is being, and that other things are modifications, and
then distinguish between these modifications. Further, it is absurd to
assert that (among essences), some should be substances, and others
should be other things (such as qualities, modes and relations); for
the Stoics recognize but a single substance, which does not contain any
difference, unless by division as of mass into parts; besides, they
should not attribute divisibility to their substance, because they
teach that it is continuous. They should therefore say, "substance"
(and not "substances").


26. What is most shocking in the Stoic doctrine, is that they assign
the first rank to what is only a potentiality, matter, instead of
placing actualization before potentiality.[285] It is impossible for
the potential to pass to actualization if the potential occupy the
first rank among beings. Indeed, the potential could never improve
itself; and it implies the necessary anteriority of actualization;
in which case potentiality is no longer a principle. Or, if it be
insisted that actualization and potentiality must be simultaneous,
both principles will be found depending on chance. Besides, even if
actualization be contemporaneous with potentiality, why should not the
first rank be assigned to actualization? Why should this (matter) be
an essence, rather than those (forms)? Whoever asserts that form is
posterior bears the burden of proof; for matter does not beget form,
and quality could not arise from what has no quality; nor actualization
from what is potential; otherwise, actualization would have existed
anteriorly, even in the system of the Stoics. According to them, even
God is no longer simple: He is posterior to matter; for He is a body
constituted by form and matter.[286] Whence then does He derive His
form? If the divinity exist without matter, He is incorporeal, by
virtue of His being principle and reason, and the active principle
would thus be incorporeal. If, even without having matter, the divinity
be composite in essence, by virtue of His body, the Stoics will have to
postulate some other kind of matter which may better suit the divinity.


Besides, how could matter be the first Principle, if it be a body?
If the body of which the Stoics speak be of another nature, then
matter can be called a body only figuratively.[287] If they say that
the common property of the body is to have three dimensions, they
are speaking of the mathematical body. If on the contrary they join
impenetrability to the three dimensions, they are no more talking about
something simple. Besides, impenetrability is a quality, or is derived
from a quality; but what is the source of impenetrability? Whence comes
tri-dimensional extension? Who endued matter with extension? Matter,
indeed, is not contained in the idea of tri-dimensional extension
any more than the latter is contained in the notion of matter.
Consequently, since matter thus participates in size,[288] it is no
longer a "simple" matter.


Moreover, whence is derived the unification of matter? Matter is not
unity, but it participates in unity. They would have had to realize
that the material mass is not anterior to everything, and that the
first rank pertains to what is not one mass, to Unity itself. Then
they would have to descend from Unity to multiplicity, from what is
size-less to actual sizes; since, if size be one, it is not because it
is Unity itself, but only because it participates in unity. We must
therefore recognize that what possesses primary and absolute existence
is anterior to what exists contingently. But how does contingency
itself exist? What is its mode of existence? If the Stoics had examined
this point, they would have finally hit upon (the absolute Unity) which
is not unity merely contingently. By this expression is here meant what
is not one by itself, but by others.


27. The Stoics did well, indeed, to assign the principle of everything
to the first rank; but they should not have recognized as principle,
and accepted as "being" what was shapeless, passive, devoid of life
and intelligence, dark, and indefinite. Because of the universe's
beauty, they are forced to introduce within it a divinity; but
the latter derives His very essence from matter; He is composite
and posterior (to matter); rather, He is no more than "modified
matter."[288] Consequently, if matter be the subject, there must
necessarily be outside of it some other principle which, acting upon
matter, makes of it the subject of the qualities which He imparts
thereto. If this principle resided in matter, and Himself were the
subject; if, in other words, He were contemporaneous with matter, He
could not reduce matter to the state of a subject. Now it is entirely
impossible (for this principle) to constitute a subject concurrently
with matter; for in such a case both would have to serve as subject
to something higher; and what could it be, since there could be no
further principle to make a subject of them, if all things had already
been absorbed into this (concurrent) subject? A subject is necessarily
subject to something; not to what it has in itself, but to that whose
action it undergoes. Now, it undergoes the action of that which itself
is not subject by itself; consequently, of that which is outside of
itself. This point has evidently been overlooked by the Stoics.


On the other hand, if matter and the active principle need nothing
exterior, if the subject that they constitute can itself become all
things by assuming different forms, as a dancer, who can assume all
possible attitudes, this subject would no longer be a subject, but
He will be all things. Just as the dancer is not the subject of the
attitudes (for they are his actualizations), likewise the "matter"
of the Stoics will no longer be the subject of all things, if all
things proceed from matter; or rather, the other things will no longer
really exist, they will be nothing but "modified matter," just as the
attitudes are nothing but the "modified dancer." Now if the other
things no longer really exist, matter is no longer a subject; it is
no longer the matter of the essences, but is matter exclusively. It
will no longer even be matter, because what is matter must be matter
of something; but that which refers to something else belongs to the
same classification as that thing, just as half belongs to the same
classification as the double, and is not the being of the double. But
how could non-essence, except by accident, refer to essence? But the
absolute Essence and matter itself refer to essence by virtue of being
essence. Now if that which is to be is a simple potentiality, it cannot
constitute "being," which consequently matter could not be.[289]


Consequently, the Stoics, who reproach other philosophers (such as
Plato) for making up beings out of non-beings,[290] themselves make up
a non-being out of a being.[291] Indeed (in the system of the Stoics),
the world, such as it is, is not being. It is certainly unreasonable
to insist that matter, which is a subject, should nevertheless be
"being," and that bodies should not, any more than matter be "being";
but it is still more unreasonable to insist that the world is "being,"
not by itself, but only by one of its parts (namely, matter); that the
organism does not owe its being to the soul, but only to matter; and
last, that the soul is only a modification of matter, and is something
posterior to others. From whom then did matter receive animation?
Whence comes the hypostatic existence of the soul? How does, matter
receive form? For, since matter becomes the bodies, the soul is
something else than matter. If the form came from something else than
the soul, quality, on uniting to matter, would produce not the soul,
but inanimate bodies. If something fashion matter and create the soul,
the created soul would have to be preceded by a "creating soul."


28. The Stoic theory raises numberless further objections; but we
halt here lest we ourselves incur ridicule in combating so evident an
absurdity. It suffices if we have demonstrated that these philosophers
mistake non-essence for absolute essence; (putting the cart before
the horse), they assign the First rank to what should occupy the
last. The cause of their error is that they have chosen sensation
as guide, and have consulted nothing else in determining both their
principles, and consequences. Being persuaded that the bodies are
genuine essences,[292] and refusing to believe that they transform
themselves into each other, they believed that what subsisted in
them (in the midst of their changes) is the real essence, just as
one might imagine that place, because it is indestructible, is more
essential than (metabolic) bodies. Although in the system of the
Stoics place remain unaltered, these philosophers should not have
regarded as essence that which subsists in any manner soever; they
should, first, have considered what are the characteristics necessarily
possessed by essence, the presence of which (characteristics) makes
it subsist without undergoing any alteration. Let us indeed suppose
that a shadow would continuously subsist by following something which
changes continuously; the shadow, however, would not be no more
real than the object it follows. The sense-world, taken together
with its multiple objects, is more of an essence than the things it
contains, merely because it is their totality. Now if this subject,
taken in its totality, be non-essence, how could it be a subject? The
most surprising thing, however, is that the (Stoics), in all things
following the testimony of sensation, should not also have affirmed
that essence can be perceived by sensation; for, to matter, they do
not attribute impenetrability, because it is a quality (and because,
according to them, matter has no quality). If they insist that matter
is perceived by intelligence,[293] it could only be an irrational
intelligence which would consider itself inferior to matter, and
attribute to it, rather than to itself, the privilege of constituting
genuine essence. Since in their system intelligence is non-essence, how
could any credibility attach to that intelligence when it speaks of
things superior to it, and with which it possesses no affinity? But we
have said enough of the nature of these subjects, elsewhere.[294]



29. Since the Stoics speak of qualities, they must consider these as
distinct from subjects; otherwise, they would not assign them to the
second rank. Now, to be anything else than the subjects, qualities must
be simple, and consequently, not composite; that is, they must not,
in so far as they are qualities, contain any matter. In this case,
the qualities must be incorporeal and active; for, according to the
Stoics, matter is a passive subject. If, on the contrary, the qualities
themselves be passive, the division into subjects and qualities is
absurd, because it would classify separately simple and composite
things, and then reunite them into one single classification. Further,
it is faulty in that it locates one of the species in another (matter
in the qualities), as if science were divided into two kinds, of which
one would comprise grammar, and the other grammar with something


If the Stoics say that the qualities are "qualified matter," then their
("seminal) reasons" being not merely united to nature, but (fully)
material, will no doubt form a composite; but before forming this
composite they themselves will already be composed of matter and forms;
they themselves will therefore be neither reasons nor forms.


If the (Stoics) say that the "reasons" are only modified matter, they
then admit that qualities are modes, and the (Stoics) should locate
the reasons in the fourth category, of relation. If however relation
be something different from modality, in what does that difference
consist? Is it that modality here possesses greater reality? But if
modality, taken in itself, be not a reality, why then make of it a
category? Surely it would be impossible to gather in a single category
both essence and non-essence. In what then does this modification of
matter consist? It must be either essence or non-essence. If it be
essence, it is necessarily incorporeal. If it be non-essence, it is
nothing but a word, and matter alone exists. In this case, quality
is nothing real, and modality still less. As to the fourth category,
relation, absolutely no reality whatever will inhere in it. This Stoic
system, therefore, contains nothing else but matter.


But on whose authority do we learn this? Surely, not on that of
matter itself, unless that, because of its modification, it becomes
intelligence; but this (alleged) modification is but a meaningless
addition; it must therefore be matter which perceives these things,
and expresses them. If we should ask whether matter utter sensible
things, we might indeed ask ourselves how matter thinks and fulfils
the functions of the soul, although matter lacks both soul and
intelligence. If, on the contrary, matter utter something nonsensical,
insisting that it is what it is not, and what it could not be, to whom
should this silly utterance be ascribed? Surely only to matter, if it
could speak. But matter does not speak; and he who speaks thus does
so only because he has borrowed much from matter, that he has become
its slave, though he have a soul. The fact is that he is ignorant of
himself, as well as of the nature of the faculty which can divulge the
truth about this subject (intelligence).



30. It is absurd to assign the third rank to modalities, and even
assign to them any place whatever; for all modalities refer to matter.
It may however be objected to this that there are differences between
the modalities; the various modifications that matter undergoes are
not the same thing as the modalities; the qualities are doubtless
modalities of matter, but the modalities, in the strict sense of
the word, refer to qualities. (The answer to this is that) since the
qualities are only modalities of matter, the technical modalities
mentioned by the (Stoics) themselves reduce to matter, and necessarily
relate thereto. In view of the many differences obtaining between them,
how otherwise could modalities form a category? How could one reduce to
a single classification the length of three feet, and whiteness--since
one is a quantity, and the other a quality? How could time and place
be reduced thereto? Besides, how would it be possible to consider
as modalities such expressions as "yesterday," "formerly," "in the
Lyceum," and, "in the Academy"? How could time be explained as a
modality? Neither time, nor things which are in time, nor place, nor
the things which are in place, could be modalities. How is "to act" a
modality, since he who acts is not himself a modality, but rather acts
within some modality, or even, acts simply? Nor is he who undergoes an
experience any more of a modality; he experiences something rather in
a modality, or rather, he undergoes some experience in such a manner.
Modality rather suits the (Aristotelian) categories of situation and
possession; and as to possession, no man even possesses "in such or
such a modality," but possesses purely and simply.


31. If the Stoics did not, along with the other discussed categories,
reduce relation to a common kind, there might be good grounds to
examine whether they attributed substantial (or, hypostatic) reality
to these manners of "being"; for often, they do not attribute to them
any. But what is to be said of their confusing things new and anterior
in one same classification? This is evidently an absurdity; for surely
one and two must exist before the half or the double.

As to the philosophers (Plato, for instance), who have taught other
opinions about essences and their principles, considered as finite or
infinite, corporeal or incorporeal, or both simultaneously corporeal
or incorporeal, we will examine each of these opinions separately,
considering also the historic objections of the ancient (philosophers).


The Categories of Plotinos.[297]

1. After having discussed the doctrine of the ten categories (of
Aristotle), and spoken of the (Stoics) who reduce all things to a
single genus, and then distribute them in four species, we must still
set forth our own opinion on the subject, striving however to conform
ourselves to the doctrine of Plato.


If it were our opinion that essence was one, we would not need to study
whether there was one single genus for all things, whether all genera
could not be reduced to a single one; whether there were principles;
whether the genera were at the same time principles; or whether all
principles are genera, without saying conversely that all genera are
principles; or, if we must distinguish between them, say that some
principles are simultaneously genera, or some genera are principles,
or, finally, whether all principles be genera without the genera being
principles, and conversely. But, since we do not acknowledge that
essence is one, the reasons[298] for which were advanced by Plato
and other philosophers, we find ourselves forced to treat all these
questions, and first to explain why we recognize genera of essences,
and what number we decide on.


As we are going to treat of essence or essences, we must before
everything else clear up the significance of essence, which we are
now considering, and distinguish it from what other people mean by
that word, which we would more likely call that which becomes, what
is never genuine essence. And besides, it must be clearly understood
that in making this distinction, we do not intend to divide a genus
in species of the same nature; as Plato tried to do.[299] For it
would be ridiculous to subsume under the same genus both essence and
non-essence, or Socrates, and the image of Socrates. The kind of
divisions here attempted will therefore only consist in separating
things essentially different, as, for instance, explaining that
apparent essence is not the same as the veritable Essence, by
demonstrating that the latter's nature is entirely different. To
clarify this its nature, it will be necessary to add to the idea of
essence that of eternity, and thus to demonstrate that the nature of
being could never be deceptive. It is of this kind of essence (that is,
of the intelligible Essence), that we are going to treat, admitting
that it is not single. Later[300] we shall speak of generation, of what
becomes, and of the sense-world.


2. Holding as we do that the world-Essence is not one, we must face
the question whether the number of beings is determinate, or infinite.
To say that world-Essence is not one, however, is to say that it is
both one and multiple, a varied unity that embraces a multitude. It is
therefore necessary that the One, so conceived, be one so far as it
forms a single genus, containing as species the essences by which it is
simultaneously one and multiple; or there must be several genera, but
that they all be subsumed under the single one; or again, that there
be several genera which however be not mutually subsumed, of which
each, being independent of the others, may contain what is below it,
consisting of less extended genera, or species below which there are no
more than individuals; so that all these things may contribute to the
constitution of a single nature, together making up the organization of
the intelligible world, which we call world-Essence (or "being").


Under these circumstances, the divisions that we establish are
no more only genera, they are simultaneously the very principles
of world-Essence; on the one hand they are genera, because they
contain less extended genera, beneath which are species, which end
in individuals; they are also principles, because world-Essence is
composed of multiple elements, and because these elements constitute
the totality of Essence. If it were only stated that world-Essence is
composed of several elements, and that these elements, by co-operation,
constitute the All, without adding that they branch out into lower
species, our divisions would indeed be principles, but they would no
longer be genera. For instance, if it be said that the sense-world
is composed of four elements, such as fire, or other elements, these
elements are indeed principles, but not genera, unless this name be
used as a verbal similarity (or, homonym, or pun).


Admitting therefore the existence of certain genera, which are
simultaneously principles, we must still consider whether they should
be conceived so that these genera, along with the things contained by
each of them, commingle, fuse, and form the whole by their blending. If
so, the genera would exist potentially, but not in actualization; none
would have anything characteristic. Further, granting the distinctness
of the genera, can we grant that the individuals blend? But what then
would become of the genera themselves? Will they subsist by themselves,
and will they remain pure, without mutual destruction of the mingled
individuals? Later we shall indicate how such things could take place.


Now that we have explained the existence of genera, which, besides,
are principles of being, and that from another point of view there are
principles (or elements), and compounds, we shall have to set forth the
criterion by which we constitute these genera; we shall have to ask how
they may be distinguished from each other, instead of reducing them to
a single (principle), as if they had been united by chance, although it
does indeed seem more rational to reduce them to a single (principle).
It would be possible to reduce them in this way if all things were
species of essence, if the individuals were contained within these
species, and if there were nothing outside of these species. But such a
supposition would destroy the species--for such species would no longer
be species, or forms;--and from that moment there would be no further
need for reducing plurality to unity, and everything forming a single
unity; so that, all things belonging to this One, no being outside of
the One would exist, as far as it was something else.

How indeed could the One have become manifold, and how could it have
begotten the species, if nothing but it existed? For it would not be
manifold if there were not something to divide it, such as a size; now
that which divides is other than that which is divided. The mere fact
that it divides itself, or imparts itself to others, shows that it was
already divisible before the division.


For this and other reasons, therefore, we must take good care to
avoid assertion of a single genus; for it would be impossible to
apply to everything the denominations of "being" and essence.[342]
If indeed there be very different objects called essence, this is
only accidentally, just as if one called the color white a being; for
strictly we cannot apply "being" to white, as considered alone.[301]


3. We therefore assert the existence of several genera, and that this
plurality is not accidental. These divers genera, however, depend from
the One. But even though they do depend from the One, if the One be not
something which may be affirmed of each of them as considered in its
being, then nothing hinders each of them, having nothing similar to
the others, from constituting a genus apart. We also grant that the
One, existing outside of the genera which are begotten of Him, is their
cause, although the other essences considered in their being do not
proclaim this. Yes indeed, the One is outside of the other essences.
Besides, He is above them; so much so, that He is not counted as one of
them; for it is through Him that the other essences exist, which, so
far as they are genera, are equal.


Still, it will be asked, Of what nature is the One which does not
count among the genera? This (absolute One) is outside of our present
consideration; for we are not studying Him who is above essence,[342]
but the essences themselves. We must therefore pass by the absolute
One, and seek the one which is counted among the genera.


To begin with (if we consider the related One from this point of view),
it will seem astonishing to see the cause numbered along with the
effects. It would indeed be unreasonable to cram into a single genus
both superior and inferior things. If nevertheless, on counting the one
amidst the essences of which He is the cause, He was to be considered
as a genus to which the other essences were to be subordinated,
and from which they differed; if, besides, the one was not to be
predicated of the other essences either as genus, or in any other
respect, it would still be necessary that the genera which possessed
essence subsume species under them; since, for instance, by moving,
you produce walking, and yet walking cannot be considered a genus
subordinate to you; but above the walking there existed nothing else
that could, in respect to it, operate as a genus; and if nevertheless
there existed things beneath walking, walking would, in respect to
them, be a genus of the essences.


Perhaps, instead of saying that the one is the cause of the other
things, we would have to admit that these things are as parts and
elements of the one; and that all things form a single nature in
which only our thought establishes divisions; so that, by virtue of
its admirable power, this nature be unity distributed in all things,
appearing and becoming manifold, as if it were in movement, and that
the one should cease being unity as a result of the fruitfulness of
its nature. If we were to enumerate successively the parts of such a
nature, we would grant to each of them a separate existence, ignoring
that we had not seen the whole together. But after thus having
separated the parts, we would soon reapproximate them, not for long
being able to keep apart the isolated elements which tend to reunite.
That is why we could not help making a whole out of them, letting
them once more become unity, or rather, be unity. Besides, this will
be easier to understand when we shall know what these essences are,
and how many are the genera of essences; for we shall then be able to
conceive their mode of existence. And as, in these matters, it is not
well to limit oneself to negations, but to aim at positive knowledge,
and at the full intelligence of the subject here treated, we shall have
to make this inquiry.


4. If, on occupying ourselves with this sense-world, we wished to
determine the nature of bodies, would we not begin by studying some
part thereof, such as a stone? We could then distinguish therein
substance, quantity--such as dimension--and quality, such as color;
and after having discovered these same elements in other bodies,
we could say that the elements of the corporeal nature are being,
quantity, and quality; but that these three coexist; and that, though
thought distinguish them, all three form but one and the same body.
If, besides, we were to recognize that movement is proper to this
same organization, would we not add it to the three elements already
distinguished? These four elements, however, would form but a single
one, and the body, though one, would, in its nature, be the reunion
of all four. We shall have to take the same course with our present
subject, intelligible Being, and its genera and principles. Only,
in this comparison, we shall have to make abstraction of all that
is peculiar to bodies, such as generation, sense-perception, and
extension. After having established this separation, and having thus
distinguished essentially different things, we shall arrive at the
conception of a certain intelligible existence, which possesses real
essence, and unity in a still higher degree. From this standpoint,
one might be surprised how the (substance which is thus) one can be
both one and many. In respect to bodies, it is generally recognized
that the same thing is both one and many; the body can indeed be
divided infinitely; color and appearance, for instance, are therein
very differing properties, since they are separated here below. But
in respect to the soul, if she be conceived as one, without extent,
dimension and absolutely simple, as it appears at first sight, how
could we, after that, believe that the soul were manifold? We should
have here expected to reach unity, all the more as, after having
divided the animal in body and soul, and after having demonstrated that
the body is multiform, composite and diverse, one might well, on the
contrary, have expected to find the soul simple; and to have accepted
this conclusion as final, as the end of our researches. We would thus
have taken the soul as a sample of the intelligible world, just as the
body represents the sense-world. Having thus considered this soul,
let us examine how this unity can be manifold; how, in its turn, the
manifold can be unity; not indeed a composite formed of separable
parts, but a single nature simultaneously one and manifold. For, as
we have already said, it is only by starting from this point and
demonstrating it, that we will establish solidly the truth about the
genera of essence.


5. The first consideration that meets us is that each body, whether
of animals or plants, is multiple, by virtue of its colors, forms,
dimensions, the kinds of parts, and diversity of their position; and
that nevertheless all things derive from unity, whether from the
absolutely simple Unity, or from the habituation of the universal
Unity, or from some principle having more unity--and consequently
more essence--than the things it produces; because, the further the
distance from unity, the less the essence. The principle which forms
the bodies must therefore be one, without either being absolutely
one, nor identical with the One; otherwise, it would not produce a
plurality that was distant from unity; consequently, it must be a
plural-unity. Now this principle is the soul; therefore she must be
a plural unity. This plurality, however, consists of the ("seminal)
reasons" which proceed from the soul. The reasons, indeed, are not
other than the soul; for the soul herself is reason, being the
principle of the reasons; the reasons are the actualization of the soul
which acts according to her being; and this being is potentiality of
the reasons.[303] The soul is therefore plurality simultaneously with
unity; which is clearly demonstrated by the action she exerts on other


But what is the soul considered apart from all action, if we examine in
her the part which does not work at formation of the bodies?[304] Will
not a plurality of powers still be found therein? As to world-Essence,
nobody even thinks of depriving the soul of it. But is her acknowledged
essence the same as that predicated of a stone? Surely not. Besides,
even in the essence of the stone, "being" and "being a stone" are
inseparable concepts, just as "being" and "being a soul" are, in the
soul, but one and the same thing.[305] Must we then regard as different
in her essence on one side, and on the other the remainder (what
constitutes the being); so that it would be the difference (proper to
being) which, by being added to her, constituted the soul? No: the soul
is no doubt a determinate essence; not as a "white man," but only as
a particular being; in other words, she has what she has by her very


6. However, could we not say that the soul does not have all that she
has through her being, in this sense, that in her we must distinguish
on one hand essence, and on the other some kind of essence? If the soul
possess such a kind of essence, and if this kind of essence come to her
from without, the whole will no longer be the being of the soul so far
as she is soul; only partially will it be the being of the soul, and
not in totality. Besides, what would be the essence of the soul without
the other things which constitute her being? Will the essence be the
same for the soul as for the stone? Will we not rather have to insist
that this essence of the soul derives from her very being; that this
essence is her source and principle; or rather, that it is all that the
soul is, and consequently is life; and finally that in the soul life
and essence fuse?


Shall we say that this unity resembles that of a "reason" (of a
form)? No. The substance of the soul is one; but such unity does not
exclude duality or even plurality; for it admits of all the attributes
essential to the soul.


Should we say that the soul is both being and life, or that she
possesses life? To say that the soul possesses life would mean that the
possessor is not inherently alive, or that life does not inhere in her
"being." If then we cannot say that one of the two possesses the other,
we shall have to recognize that both are identical, or that the soul is
both one and manifold, in her unity embracing all that appears in her;
that in herself she is one, but manifold in respect to other things;
that, although she be one by herself, she makes herself multiple by
her movement; that, while forming a whole which is one, she seeks to
consider herself in her multiplicity. So Essence also does not remain
unitary, because its potentiality extends to all it has become. It is
contemplation that makes it appear manifold, the necessary thought has
multiplied it. If it appear as one only, it is only because it has not
yet thought, and it really is still only one.


7. What and how much can be seen in the soul? Since we have found
in the soul both being and life, and as both being and life are
what is common in every soul, and as life resides in intelligence,
recognizing that there is (besides the soul and her being) intelligence
and its life, we shall posit as a genus what is common in all life;
namely, movement; consequently, being and movement, which constitute
primary life, will be our first two categories. Although (in reality)
they fuse, they are distinguished by thought, which is incapable
of approaching unity exclusively; and whose exercise compels this
distinction. Besides, it is possible, you can, in other objects,
clearly see essence, as distinct from movement or life, although their
essence be not real, and only shadowy or figurative.[306] Just as
the image of a man lacks several things, and, among others, the most
important, life; likewise, the essence of sense-objects is only an
adumbration of the veritable essence, lacking as it does the highest
degree of essence, namely, vitality, which appears in its archetype.
So you see it is quite easy to distinguish, on one hand, essence from
life, and, on the other, life from essence. Essence is a genus, and
contains several species; now movement must not be subsumed under
essence, nor be posited within essence, but should be equated with
essence. When we locate movement within essence, it is not that we
consider life is the subject of movement, but because movement is
life's actualization; only in thought can either exist separately.
These two natures, therefore, form but a single one; for essence exists
not in potentiality, but in actualization; and if we conceive of these
two genera as separated from each other it will still be seen that
movement is within essence, and essence within movement. In the unity
of essence, the two elements, when considered separately, imply each
other reciprocally; but thought affirms their duality, and shows that
each of the two series is a double unity.


Since then it is in the sphere of essence that movement appears, and
since movement manifests its perfection far rather than it divides
its being; and since essence, in order to carry out the nature here
assigned to it, must always persevere in movement, it would be still
more absurd to deny it stability, than to refuse it movement. The
notion and the conception of stability are still more in harmony
with the nature of essence than are those of movement; for it is in
essence that may be found what is called "remaining in the same state,"
"existing in the same manner," and "being uniform." Let us therefore
assert that stability is a genus different from movement, of which it
seems to be the opposite.


In many ways it can be shown that stability must be kept apart
from essence. In the first place, if stability were identical with
essence, why should it be so, rather than movement, which is life,
the actualization of being, and of essence itself? Since we have
distinguished between movement and essence, and since we have said that
it is both identical therewith, and still at the same time different
from it; and because essence and movement are different from each other
from one viewpoint, but from another, are identical; we must also (in
thought) distinguish stability from essence without separating it
(in existence); and by separating it in thought, we shall be making
a distinct genus of it. Indeed, if stability and essence were to
be confused together in a perfect union, if we were to acknowledge
no difference between them, we would still be obliged to identify
stability with movement by the intermediation of essence; in this
way stability and movement would together form but one and the same


8. We must posit these three genera (essence, movement, and stability)
because intelligence thinks each of them separately. By thinking
them simultaneously, Intelligence posits them; and, as soon as
Intelligence thinks them, they are (in existence). The things whose
existence ("essence") implies matter do not exist in Intelligence;
for otherwise they would be immaterial. On the contrary, immaterial
things come into existence by merely being thought. So then contemplate
pure Intelligence, instead of seeking it with your bodily eyes, fix
on it your interior gaze. Then will you see the hearth of "Being,"
where shines an unsleeping light; you will see therein how essences
subsist as simultaneously divided and united; you will see in it an
abiding life, the thought which applies not to the future, but to the
present; which possesses it already, and possesses it for ever; which
thinks what is intimate to it, and not what is foreign. Intelligence
thinks: and you have actualization and movement. Intelligence thinks
what is in itself: and you have "being" and essence; for, by merely
existing, Intelligence thinks: Intelligence thinks itself as existing,
and the object to which Intelligence applies its thought exists also.
The actualization of Intelligence on itself is not "being"; but the
object to which it refers, the Principle from which it derives, is
essence. Essence, indeed, is the object of intuition, but not intuition
itself; the latter exists (has "essence") only because it starts from,
and returns thereto. Now as essence is an actualization, and not a
potentiality, it unites both terms (existence and intuition, object and
subject), and, without separating them, it makes of intuition essence,
and of essence intuition. Essence is the unshakable foundation of all
things, and support of their existence; it derives its possessions from
no foreign source, holding them from itself, and within itself. It is
simultaneously the goal of thought, because it is stability that never
needed a beginning, and the principle from which thought was born,
because it is unborn stability; for movement can neither originate
from, nor tend towards movement. The idea also belongs to the genus of
stability, because it is the goal (or limit) of intelligence; but the
intellectual actualization by which it is thought constitutes movement.
Thus all these things form but one thing; and movement, stability,
and the things which exist in all essences constitute genera (or
classifications). Moreover, every essence posterior to these genera is,
in its turn, also definite essence, definite stability, and definite


Summing up what we have discovered about the nature of Essence, we find
first three genera. Then, these three, Essence, Movement and Stability
were contemplated respectively by the essence, movement and stability
within ourselves, which we also harmonized with those intelligibles.
Then again we lost the power of distinguishing them by uniting,
confusing, and blending these three genera. But a little later we
divided, extricated and distinguished them so as again to see essence,
movement and stability; three things, of which each exists apart. The
result of this process then is that they are regarded as different,
discerning them by their differences, and recognizing difference in
essence by positing three things each of which exists apart. On the
other hand, if they be considered in their relation with unity and in
unity, if they be all reduced to being something single and identical,
one may see the arising, or rather the existing of identity. To the
three genera already recognized, therefore, we shall have to add
identity or difference, or (in Platonic language[308]), "sameness and
other-ness." These two classifications added to the three others,
will in all make five genera for all things. Identity and difference
(are genuine genera, indeed, because they) also communicate their
characteristics to inferior (beings), each of which manifests some such


These five genera that we thus recognize are primary, because nothing
can be predicated of them in the category of existence (being). No
doubt, because they are essences, essence might be predicated of them;
but essence would not be predicated of them because "being" is not a
particular essence. Neither is essence to be predicated of movement
or stability, for these are species of essence. Neither does essence
participate in these four genera as if they were superior genera
under which essence itself would be subsumed; for stability, movement,
identity and difference do not protrude beyond the sphere of essence,
and are not anterior thereto.


9. These and similar (Platonic) arguments demonstrate that those are
genuinely primary genera; but how are we to prove they are exclusive?
Why, for example, should not unity, quantity, quality, relation, and
further (Aristotelian) categories, be added thereto?


Unity (may mean two things). The absolute Unity, to which nothing may
be added, neither Soul, nor Intelligence, nor anything else, cannot be
predicated as attribute of anything, and therefore cannot be a genus.
But if we are referring to the unity which we attribute to essence,
when we say that essence is one, it is no longer the original Unity.
Besides, how could the absolute One, which within itself admits of no
difference, beget species? If it cannot do this, it cannot be a genus.
How indeed could you divide unity? By dividing it, you would multiply
it; and thus Unity-in-itself would be manifold, and in aspiring to
become a genus it would annihilate itself. Besides, in order to divide
this unity into species, you would have to add something to unity,
because it does not contain differences such as exist in being.
Intelligence might well admit differences between essences, but this
could not possibly be the case with unity. The moment you add a single
difference, you posit duality, and consequently destroy unity; for
everywhere the addition of a single unity causes any previously
posited number to disappear.


It may be objected that the unity which is in essence, in movement,
and the remainder of the genera, is common to all of them, and that
one might therefore identify unity with essence.[309] It must then be
answered that, just as essence was not made a genus of other things
because they were not what was essence, but that they were called
essences in another sense, here likewise unity could not be a common
attribute of other things, because there must be a primary Unity,
and a unity taken in a secondary sense. If, on the other hand, it
be said that unity should not be made a genus of all things, but
something which exists in itself like the others, if afterwards unity
be identified with essence, then, as essence has already been listed
as one of the genera, we would be merely uselessly introducing a
superfluous name.[310] Distinguishing between unity and essence is an
avowal that each has its separate nature; the addition of "something"
to "one" makes a "certain one"; addition of nothing, on the other
hand, allows unity to remain absolute, which cannot be predicated of
anything. But why could this unity not be the First Unity, ignoring
the absolute Unity? For we use "first Unity" as a designation of the
essence which is beneath the "absolute Unity." Because the Principle
anterior to the first Essence (that is, the first and absolute Unity)
is not essence; otherwise, the essence below Him would no longer be
the first Essence; here, on the contrary, the unity which is above
this unity is the absolute Unity. Besides, this unity which would
be separated from essence only in thought, would not admit of any

Besides, there are three alternatives. Either this unity alleged to
inhere in essence will be, just like all other essences, a consequence
of the existence of essence; and consequently, would be posterior
to it. Or, it will be contemporaneous with essence and the other
(categories); but a genus cannot be contemporaneous with the things of
which it is the genus. The third possibility is that it may be anterior
to essence; in which case its relation to Essence will be that of a
principle, and no longer a genus containing it. If then unity be not a
genus in respect to essence, neither can it be a genus in respect of
other things; otherwise, we would have to say of essence also that it
was a genus embracing everything else.


Considering unity according to its essence, it seems to fuse and
coincide with absolute Essence, for essence, so far as it trends
towards unity, is a single essence; but in so far as it is posterior to
unity, it becomes all things it can be, and becomes manifold. Now, so
far as essence remains one and does not divide, it could not constitute
a genus.


10. In what sense, therefore, could each of the elements of essence
be called "one"? In that it is something unitary, without being unity
itself; for what is a "certain one" is already manifold. No species is
"one" except figuratively[306]; for in itself it is manifold. It is
in the same sense that, in this sense-world, we say that an army, or
a choric ballet, constitute a unity. Not in such things is absolute
unity; and therefore it may not be said that unity is something common.
Neither does unity reside in essence itself, nor in the individual
essences; therefore, it is not a genus. When a genus is predicated of
something, it is impossible to predicate of the same thing contrary
properties; but of each of the elements of universal essence it is
possible to assert both unity and its opposite. Consequently (if we
have called unity a genus), after having predicated of some essence
unity as a genus, we would have affirmed, of the same essence, that
unity was not a genus. Unity, therefore, could not be considered one
of the primary genera; for essence is no more one than it is manifold.
As to the other genera, none of them is one without being manifold;
much less could unity be predicated of the secondary genera of which
each is quite manifold. Besides, no genus, considered in its totality,
is unitary; so that if unity were a genus, it would merely thereby
cease being unity; for unity is not a number, and nevertheless it would
become a number in becoming a genus. Of course, numbers include an
alleged unity, as soon as we try to erect it into a genus, it is no
longer a unity, in a strict sense. Among numbers unity is not applied
to them as would have been a genus; of such unity it is merely said
that it is among numbers, not that it is a genus; likewise, if unity
were among the essences, it would not be there as genus of essence, nor
of anything else, nor of all things. Again, just as the simple is the
principle of the composite without being considered a genus in respect
to it--then it would be simultaneously simple and composite--so, if one
were considered to be a principle, it could not be a genus in respect
to things subsumed under it; and therefore will be a genus neither for
essence, nor for other (categories or things).


If unity were to be considered a genus, it could be that only in
respect to the things of which each is said to be one;[309] as if,
for instance, one should, from "being," deduce the unity contained
within it. Unity would then be the genus of certain things; for just
as essence is a genus, not in respect to all things, but in respect
to those species that possess essence, so unity would be a genus
in respect to the species that possess unity. This, however, is
impossible; for things do not differ in respect to unity, as they do in
respect to essence.

It might further be objected that if the same divisions which were
applied to essence were applied to unity, and if essence be a genus
because it divides itself, and manifests itself as the same in a
number of things, why then should unity also not be a genus, since it
appears in as many things as essence, and similarly divides itself?
Mere recurrence of something in several essences is no proof it is a
genus; whether in respect to the essences in which it occurs, or to
others. Merely being common to several essences by no means constitutes
a genus. No one will claim that a point is a genus for lines or for
anything else, though points be found in all lines. As said, unity
is found in every number, and nevertheless it is not a genus for
any number, or for anything else. The formation of a genus demands
that what is common to several things show specific differences,
constituting species, and be predicated of what exists. But what are
the specific differences within unity? What species does it form? If to
this it be answered that it forms the same species as essence, then it
blends with essence, and (unity) is (as said above), only another name
for essence; and essence, as category, suffices.


11. The questions here to be solved are, how unity subsists within
essence, how they both divide, and in general how any genera divide;
and whether their two divisions be identical, or different. To solve
these questions, we shall first have to ask how in general any thing
whatever is said to be one, and is one; then, if it can be said in the
same sense that essence is one, in what sense this is said. Evidently,
unity is not the same for everything. It cannot even be understood in
the same sense in respect to sense-things, and intelligible things; not
any more than essence is identical for these two order of (beings),
or even for sense-things compared to each other. The idea of unity is
not the same in reference to a choric ballet, an army, a vessel or a
house; it is even less so in respect of one of these things, and when
it deals with continuous objects. And nevertheless, by their unity all
these things imitate the same archetype, some from far, some from near.
Intelligence, surely, is assuredly that which most approaches absolute
Unity; for although the soul already possess unity, Intelligence
possesses it far more intensely; for it is the one essence.


Is the expression of the essence of something simultaneously the
expression of its unity, so that it possesses as much unity as it
possesses essence? Or does this simultaneousness exist without any
direct proportion between the amount of unity and essence? Yes; for it
is possible that something have less unity without, on that account,
having any the less essence; an army, a choric ballet have not less
essence than a house, though far less unity. The unity present in
each thing seems therefore to aspire to the Good, which has the most
unity;[311] for the closer something approaches the Good, the greater
unity does it achieve; that is the criterion of greater or less unity.
Indeed, every (being) desires not only merely to be (alive), but to
enjoy the Good. That is why everything, so far as it can, hastens to
become one, and those (beings) which by nature possess unity naturally
trend towards Him by desiring to unite with themselves. For every
(being) hastens not to separate from others, but on the contrary their
tendency is to tend towards each other and themselves. That is why all
souls, while preserving their individual nature, would like to fuse
into a single soul. The One reigns everywhere in the sense-world, as
well as in the Intelligible. It is from Him that everything originates,
it is towards Him that everything trends. In Him do all (beings) seek
their principle and their goal; for only therein do they find their
good; only by that does each (being) subsist, and occupies its place
in the universe; once that it exists, no (being) could help trending
towards the One. This occurs not only in nature, but even in the arts;
where each art seeks, to the extent of its ability, to conform its
works to unity, to the extent of its ability, and to the possibilities
of its works. But that which succeeds best, is Essence itself, which is
quite close to unity.


Consequently, in speaking of (beings) other than (essence itself), as,
for instance, of man, we say simply "man" (without adding to it the
idea of unity[312]); if however we say "a man," it is to distinguish
him from two; if however we use the word one in still another sense, it
is by adding to it "some" (as, "someone"). Not so is it with essence;
we say, "being one," conceiving of "being" ("essence") and one, as if
forming a single whole, and in positing essence as one, we emphasize
its narrow affinity with the Good. Thus conceived, essence becomes
one;[313] and in the one finds its origin and goal. Nevertheless it is
not one as unity itself, but rather in a different manner, in this
sense that the (unity of essence) admits priority and posteriority.
What then is (the unity of essence)? Must it not then be considered
similar in all the parts (of essence), as something common to all (and
consequently, as forming a genus)? But in the first place, the point is
also something common to all the lines, and nevertheless it is not a
genus; in the numbers, unity is something common to all, and is not any
more of a genus. Indeed, the unity which is found in the monad, in the
dyad (or pair), and in other numbers, cannot be confused with unity in
itself. Then, nothing hinders there being in essence some anterior, and
other posterior parts, both simple and compound ones (which would be
impossible for the One in itself). Even if the unity found everywhere
in all the parts of essence were everywhere identical, by the mere fact
that it would offer no difference, it could not give rise to species,
and consequently, it could not be a genus.


12. We therefore assert (that by moving towards unity everything moves
towards the Good). How can it be, however, that Goodness should consist
in coming closer to unity, even for number, which is inanimate?[314]
This question might as well be asked about any inanimate object
whatever. If we were told that such (beings) do not enjoy (existence),
we might answer that we are here treating of beings according to
their proximity to unity only. If, for instance, we were asked how
a point can participate in the Good, we might answer by a retort,
asking whether we are dealing with the Point in itself. Then we would
answer by the observation that the state of affairs was the same for
all things of the same kind. If however we were pressed about the
point considered as existing in some object, as, for instance, in the
circle, we would answer that for such a point, the Good is the good
of the circle (of which it forms part); that such is the Good towards
which it aspires, and that it seeks that as far as possible through the
intermediation of the circle.


But how could we realize such genera? Are all these genera susceptible
of division, or do they lie entire within each of the objects they
comprehend? If so, how does this unity find itself? Unity exists
therein as a genus, just as the whole exists within the plurality.

Does unity exist only in the objects that participate therein? Not only
in these objects, but also in itself. This point will be studied later.


13. Now why should we not posit quantity among the primary genera? And
why not also quality? Quantity is not one of the primary genera like
those we have posited, because the primary genera coexist with essence
(which is not the case with quantity). Indeed, movement is inseparable
from essence; being its actualization and life. Stability is implied in
being; while identity and difference are still more inseparable from
essence; so that all these (categories) appear to us simultaneously. As
to number (which is discrete quantity), it is something posterior. As
to (mathematical) numbers, far more are they posterior both to these
genera, and themselves; for the numbers follow each other; the second
depends on the first, and so forth; the last are contained within the
first. Number, therefore, cannot be posited among the primary genera.
Indeed, it is permissible to doubt whether quantity may be posited
as any kind of a genus. More even than number, extension (which is
continuous quantity), shows the characteristics of compositeness, and
of posteriority. Along with number, the line enters into the idea of
extension. This would make two elements. Then comes surface, which
makes three. If then it be from number that continuous dimension
derives its quantitativeness, how could this dimension be a genus, when
number is not? On the other hand, anteriority and posteriority exist
in dimension as well as in numbers. But if both kinds of quantities
have in common this, that they are quantities, it will be necessary to
discover the nature of quantity. When this will have been found, we
shall be able to make of it a secondary genus; but it could not rank
with the primary genera. If, then, quantity be a genus without being a
primary one, it will still remain for us to discover to which higher
genus, whether primary or secondary, it should be subsumed.


It is evident that quantity informs us of the amount of a thing,
and permits us to measure this; therefore itself must be an amount.
This then is the element common to number (the discrete quantity),
and to continuous dimension. But number is anterior, and continuous
dimension proceeds therefrom; number consists in a certain blending
of movement and stability; continuous dimension is a certain movement
or proceeds from some movement; movement produces it in its progress
towards infinity, but stability arrests it in its progress, limits
it, and creates unity. Besides, we shall in the following explain the
generation of number and dimension; and, what is more, their mode of
existence, and how to conceive of it rightly. It is possible that we
might find that number should be posited among the primary genera, but
that, because of its composite nature, continuous dimension should
be posited among the posterior or later genera; that number is to be
posited among stable things, while dimension belongs among those in
movement. But, as said above, all this will be treated of later.


14. Let us now pass on to quality. Why does quality also fail to
appear among the primary genera? Because quality also is posterior
to them; it does indeed follow after being. The first Being must
have these (quantity and quality) as consequences, though being is
neither constituted nor completed thereby; otherwise, being would be
posterior to them. Of course, as to the composite beings, formed of
several elements, in which are both numbers and qualities, they indeed
are differentiated by those different elements which then constitute
qualities, though they simultaneously contain common (elements). As to
the primary genera, however, the distinction to be established does
not proceed from simpleness or compositeness, but of simpleness and
what completes being. Notice, I am not saying, "of what completes 'some
one' being"; for if we were dealing with some one being, there would
be nothing unreasonable in asserting that such a being was completed
by a quality, since this being would have been in existence already
before having the quality, and would receive from the exterior only the
property of being such or such. On the contrary, absolute Being must
essentially possess all that constitutes it.


Besides, we have elsewhere pointed out[315] that what is a complement
of being is called a quality figuratively only;[306] and that what is
genuinely quality comes from the exterior, posteriorly to being. What
properly belongs to being is its actualization; and what follows it is
an experience (or, negative modification). We now add that what refers
to some being, cannot in any respect be the complement of being. There
is no need of any addition of "being" (existence) to man, so far as
he is a man, to make of him a (human) being. Being exists already in
a superior region before descending to specific difference; thus the
animal exists (as being) before one descends to the property of being
reasonable, when one says: "Man is a reasonable animal."[316]


15. However, how do four of these genera complete being, without
nevertheless constituting the suchness (or, quality) of being? for they
do not form a "certain being." The primary Essence has already been
mentioned; and it has been shown that neither movement, difference, nor
identity are anything else. Movement, evidently, does not introduce any
quality in essence; nevertheless it will be wise to study the question
a little more definitely. If movement be the actualization of being, if
essence, and in general all that is in the front rank be essentially an
actualization, movement cannot be considered as an accident. As it is,
however, the actualization of the essence which is in actualization,
it can no longer be called a simple complement of "being," for it is
"being" itself. Neither must it be ranked amidst things posterior
to "being," nor amidst the qualities; it is contemporaneous with
"being," for you must not suppose that essence existed first, and then
moved itself (these being contemporaneous events). It is likewise
with stability; for one cannot say that essence existed first, and
then later became stable. Neither are identity or difference any
more posterior to essence; essence was not first unitary, and then
later manifold; but by its essence it is one manifold. So far as it
is manifold, it implies difference; while so far as it is a manifold
unity, it implies identity. These categories, therefore, suffice to
constitute "being." When one descends from the intelligible world
to inferior things, he meets other elements which indeed no longer
constitute absolute "being," but only a "certain being," that possesses
some particular quantity or quality; these are indeed genera, but
genera inferior to the primary genera.


16. As to relation, which, so to speak, is only an offshoot or
appendage,[317] it could certainly not be posited amidst the primary
genera. Relation can exist only between one thing and another; it is
nothing which exists by itself; every relation presupposes something


The categories of place and time are just as unable to figure among the
primary genera. To be in a place, is to be in something foreign; which
implies two consequences:[319] a genus must be single, and admits of
no compositeness. Place, therefore, is no primary genus. For here we
are dealing only with veritable essences.

As to time, does it possess a veritable characteristic? Evidently
not. If time be a measure, and not a measure pure and simple, but the
measure of movement,[320] it also is something double, and consequently
composite. (This, as with place, would debar it from being ranked
among the primary genera, which are simple). Besides, it is something
posterior to movement; so that it could not even be ranked along with


Action and experience equally depend on movement. Now, as each of
them is something double, each of them, consequently, is something
composite. Possession also is double. Location, which consists in
something's being in some definite way in something else, actually
comprises three elements. (Therefore possession and location, because
composite, are not simple primary genera).


17. But why should not the Good, beauty, virtues, science, or
intelligence be considered primary genera? If by "good" we understand
the First, whom we call the Good itself, of whom indeed we could not
affirm anything, but whom we call by this name, because we have none
better to express our meaning, He is not a genus; for He cannot be
affirmed of anything else. If indeed there were things of which He
could be predicated, each of them would be the Good Himself. Besides,
the Good does not consist in "being," and therefore is above it. But if
by "good" we mean only the quality (of goodness), then it is evident
that quality cannot be ranked with primary genera. Does this imply that
Essence is not good? No; it is good, but not in the same manner as the
First, who is good, not by a quality, but by Himself.

It may however be objected that, as we saw above, essence contains
other genera, and that each of these is a genus because it has
something in common, and because it is found in several things. If then
the Good be found in each part of "being" or essence, or at least, in
the greater number of them, why would not also the Good be a genus, and
one of the first genera? Because the Good is not the same in all parts
of Essence, existing within it in the primary or secondary degree; and
because all these different goods are all subordinate to each other,
the last depending on the first, and all depending from a single Unity,
which is the supreme Good; for if all participate in the Good, it is
only in a manner that varies according to the nature of each.


If you insist that the Good must be genus, we will grant it, as a
posterior genus; for it will be posterior to being. Now the existence
of (the Aristotelian) "essence,"[321] although it be always united to
Essence, is the Good itself; while the primary genera belong to Essence
for its own sake, and form "being." Hence we start to rise up to the
absolute Good, which is superior to Essence; for it is impossible for
essence and "being" not to be manifold; essence necessarily includes
the above-enumerated primary genera; it is the manifold unity.


But if by Good we here mean the unity which lies in Essence, we would
not hesitate to acknowledge that the actualization by which Essence
aspires to Unity is its true good, and that that is the means by
which it receives the form of Good. Then the good of Essence is the
actualization by which it aspires to the Good; that act constitutes its
life; now this actualization is a movement, and we have already ranked
movement among the primary genera. (It is therefore useless to make a
new genus of "Good conceived as unity").


18. As to the beautiful, if that be taken to mean the primary and
supreme Beauty, we would answer as about the Good, or at least, we
would make an analogous answer. If however we mean only the splendor
with which the Idea shines, it may be answered that that splendor
is not the same everywhere; and that, besides, it is something
posterior.[322] If the beautiful be considered as absolute Being, it
is then already comprised with the "Being" already considered (and
consequently does not form a separate genus[323]). If it be considered
in respect to us human beings, who are spectators, and if it be
explained as producing in us a certain emotion, such an actualization
is a movement; but if, on the contrary, it be explained as that
tendency which draws us to the beautiful, this still is a movement.


Knowledge is pre-eminently movement; for it is the intuition of
essence; it is an actualization, and not a simple habit. It should,
therefore, also be reduced to movement.[299] It may also be reduced to
stability (if considered as a durable actualization); or rather, it
belongs to both genera. But if it belong to two different genera, it is
something of a blend; but anything blended is necessarily posterior (to
the elements which enter into the blend, and it cannot therefore either
be a primary genus).


Intelligence is thinking essence, a composite of all genera, and not a
single genus. Veritable Intelligence is indeed essence connected with
all things; consequently it is all essence. As to essence considered
alone, it constitutes a genus, and is an element of Intelligence.
Last, justice, temperance, and in general all the virtues are so many
actualizations of Intelligence. They could not, therefore, rank amidst
the primary genera. They are posterior to a genus, and constitute


19. Since these four categories (which complete essence, namely,
movement, stability, identity and difference) (with Essence as a fifth)
constitute the primary genera, it remains to be examined whether each
of them, by itself, can beget species; for instance, whether Essence,
entirely by itself, could admit divisions in which the other categories
would have no share whatever. No: for, in order to beget species, the
genus would have to admit differences derived from outside; these
differences would have to be properties belonging to Essence as such,
without however being Essence. But from where then would Essence have
derived them? Impossibly from what does not exist. If then they were
necessarily derived from that which exists, as only three other genera
of essences remain,[324] evidently, Essence must have derived its
differences from these genera, which associate themselves with Essence,
while yet enjoying a simultaneous existence. But from this very fact
that these genera enjoy an existence simultaneous (with Essence), they
serve to constitute it, as it is composed of the gathering of these
elements. How then could they be different from the whole that they
constitute? How do these genera make species out of all (these beings)?
How, for instance, could pure movement produce species of movement?
The same question arises in connection with the other genera. Besides,
we must avoid (two dangers:) losing each genus in its species, and,
on the other hand, reducing it to the state of a simple predicate,
by considering it only in its species. The genus must exist both in
its species and in itself. While blending (with the species), it must
in itself remain pure and unblended; for, if it should contribute to
"being" otherwise (by blending with its species), it would annihilate
itself. Such are the questions that must be examined.


Now, we have above posited certain premises. Intelligence, and even
every intelligence, includes within itself all (essences). We ranked
(Essence or Being) above all species that are parts thereof. Essence
is not yet Intelligence. From these it results that already developed
Intelligence is already something posterior. We shall therefore make
use of this study to achieve the goal we had set ourselves (namely,
to determine the relation of the genus to its contained species). We
shall therefore make use of Intelligence as an example to extend our
knowledge of this subject.


20. Let us, therefore, suppose that Intelligence was in a state in
which it did not yet attach itself to anything in particular, so that
it had not yet become an individual intelligence. Let us conceive it
similar to knowledge considered by itself before the notions of the
particular species, or to the knowledge of a species taken before
the notions of the contained parts. Universal Knowledge, without (in
actualization) being any particular notion, potentially lies within
all notions, and reciprocally, each particular notion is one single
thing in actualization, but all things in potentiality; likewise
with universal Knowledge. The notions which thus refer to a species
exist potentially in universal Knowledge, because, while applying
itself to a species, they potentially are also universal Knowledge.
Universal Knowledge is predicated of each particular notion, without
the particular notion being predicated of universal Knowledge; but
universal Knowledge must none the less subsist in itself without
blending (with anything else[325]).


The case is similar with Intelligence. There is a kind of existence
of universal Intelligence, which is located above the particular
actualized intelligences, and is different from that of the particular
intelligences. These are filled with universal notions: universal
Intelligence furnishes to the particular intelligences the notions
they possess. It is the potentiality of these intelligences all of
which it contains in its universality; on their side, these, in their
particularity, contain universal Intelligence just as a particular
science implies universal science. The great Intelligence exists in
itself, and the particular intelligences also exist in themselves;
they are implied in universal Intelligence, just as this one is
implied in the particular intelligences. Each one of the particular
intelligences exists simultaneously in itself, and in something else
(in the universal Intelligence), just as universal Intelligence
exists simultaneously in itself and in all the others. In universal
Intelligence, which exists in itself, all particular intelligences
exist potentially, because it actually is all the intelligences,
and potentially each of them separately. On the contrary, these are
actualizations of the particular intelligences, and potentially
universal Intelligence. Indeed, so far as they are what is predicated
of them, they are actualizations of what is predicated; so far as
they exist in the genus that contains them, they are this genus
potentially.[326] Genus, as such, is potentially all the species it
embraces; it is none of them in actuality; but all are implied therein.
So far as genus is in actualization what exists before the species, it
is the actualization of the things which are not particular. As occurs
in the species, these particular things achieve such actualization only
by the actualization which emanates from the genus, and which, with
regard to them, acts as cause.


21. How then does Intelligence, though remaining one, by Reason produce
particular things? This really amounts to asking how the inferior
genera derive from the four Genera. We shall then have to scrutinize
how this great and ineffable Intelligence, which does not make use
of speech, but which is entire intelligence, intelligence of all,
universal, and not particular or individual intelligence, contains all
the things which proceed therefrom.

(Of the essences it contains) it possesses the number, as it is both
one and many. It is many, that is, (it is) many potentialities, which
are admirable powers, full of force and greatness, because they are
pure; powers that are vigorous and veritable because they have no goal
at which they are forced to stop; consequently being infinite, that
is, supreme Infinity, and Greatness. If then we were to scrutinize
this greatness and beauty of being, if by the splendor and light
which surround it, we were to distinguish what Intelligence contains,
then would we see the efflorescing of quality. With the continuity
of actualization we would behold greatness, in quiescent condition.
As we have seen one (number), two (quality), and three (greatness),
greatness, as the third thing, presents itself with universal quantity.
Now, as soon as quality and quantity show themselves to us, they unite,
blend into one and the same figure (outward appearance). Then comes
difference, which divides quality and quantity, whence arise different
qualities, and differences of figure. The presence of identity produces
equality, and that of difference, inequality, both in quantity, number,
and dimension; hence the circle, the quadrilateral, and the figures
composed of unequal things; hence numbers that are similar, and
different, even and uneven.


Thus intellectual Life, which is the perfect actualization, embraces
all the things that our mind now conceives, and all intellectual
operations. In its potentiality it contains all things as essences,
in the same manner as Intelligence does. Now Intelligence possesses
them by thought, a thought which is not discursive (but intuitive).
The intellectual life therefore possesses all the things of which
there are "reasons" (that is, ideas); itself is a single Reason,
great, perfect, which contains all reasons,[327] which examines them
in an orderly fashion, beginning with the first, or rather, which has
ever examined them, so that one could never really tell that it was
examining them.[328] For all things that we grasp by ratiocination,
in whatever part soever of the universe they may be located, are
found as intuitively possessed by Intelligence. It would seem as if
it was Essence itself which, (being identical with Intelligence), had
made Intelligence reason thus (by producing its conceptions),[329]
as appears to happen in the ("seminal) reasons" which produce the
animals.[330] In the (ideas, that is in the "seminal) reasons" which
are anterior to ratiocination, all things are found to possess a
constitution such that the most penetrating intelligence would have
considered best, by reasoning.[331] We should therefore expect (great
and wonderful things) of these Ideas, superior and anterior to Nature
and ("seminal) reasons." There Intelligence fuses with "Being;"[329]
neither in essence nor intelligence is there anything adventitious.
There everything is smoothly perfect, since everything there is
conformable to intelligence. All Essence is what Intelligence demands;
it is consequently veritable primary Essence; for if it proceeded from
some other (source), this also would be Intelligence.


Thus Essence reveals within itself all the Forms and universality. This
could not have been particular; for it could not be single, the double
presence of difference and identity demanding it to be simultaneously
one and many. Since, from its very origin, Essence is one and many, all
the species it contains must consequently simultaneously contain unity
and plurality, revealing dimensions, qualities, and different figures;
for it is impossible that Essence should lack anything, or should
not be complete universality; for it would no longer be universal,
if it were not complete. Life, therefore, penetrates every thing; is
everywhere present within it. Hence results that from that Life must
have been born all living organisms, for since matter and quality are
found within their bodies, these also are not lacking. Now, as all
living organisms are born within it, and have ever subsisted within it,
they were essentially embraced within eternity, yet, taken separately,
each of them is a different essence. Taken together they form a unity.
Consequently, the complex and synthetic totality of all these living
organisms is Intelligence, which, thus containing all (beings), is the
perfect and essential living Organism. When Intelligence allows itself
to be contemplated by what derives existence from it, Intelligence
appears thereto as the intelligible, and receives this predicate
properly and truly.[332]


22. This was what Plato meant, when he said, enigmatically,
"Intelligence contemplates the Ideas contained within the perfect
living Organism; it sees what they are, and to how many they
amount."[333] Indeed, the (universal) Soul, which ranks immediately
after Intelligence, possesses the Ideas in herself inasmuch as she is
a soul; but she sees them better in the Intelligence which is above
her.[334] Likewise, our own intelligence, which also contains the
ideas, sees them better when it contemplates them in the superior
Intelligence; for, in itself, it can only see; but in the superior
Intelligence it sees that it sees.[335] Now this intelligence that
contemplates the ideas is not separated from the superior Intelligence,
for it proceeds therefrom; but as it is the plurality that has
proceeded from the unity, because it adds difference (to identity),
it becomes manifold unity. Being thus both unity and plurality,
Intelligence, by virtue of its multiple nature, produces the plurality
(of beings). Besides, it would be impossible to discover therein
anything that was numerically unitary, or anything that might be called
individual. Whatever be contemplated in it, it is always a form, for
it contains no matter. That is why, again, Plato, referring to this
truth, said that "being" was divided to infinity.[336] Descending from
genus to species, we have not yet arrived at infinity; for that which
thus arises is defined by the species that have been begotten by a
genus; the name of infinity applies better to the last species, which
can no longer be divided into species. That is why (as Plato teaches),
"when one has arrived at individuals, they must be abandoned to
infinity."[337] Thus, the individuals are infinite so far as they are
considered in themselves; but, in so far as they are embraced by unity,
they are reduced to a number.

Intelligence therefore embraces what comes after it, the Soul; so that
the Soul, till the last of her powers, is contained by a number; as to
the last power (matter), it is entirely infinite[338] Considered in
this condition (where, turning towards what is below it, it begets the
Soul), Intelligence is a part (because it applies itself to something
particular), though it possess all things, and though, in itself, it
be universal; the intelligences which compose it are each a part (each
constituting a particular intelligence by virtue of the actualization
of Intelligence which exists (and thus exists in itself). As to the
Soul, she is the part of a part (that is, a part of the Intelligence
which itself is a part, as has just been said), but exists by virtue
of the actualization of the Intelligence which acts outside of itself.
Indeed, when Intelligence acts in itself, the actualizations it
produces are the other intelligences; when it acts outside of itself,
it produces the Soul. When in her turn, the Soul acts as genus or
species, she begets the other souls which are her species. These souls
themselves have two actualizations; the one, directed towards what is
above them, constitutes their intelligence; the other, directed towards
what is below them, gives birth to the other rational powers, and even
to a last power which is in contact with matter, and which fashions
it.[339] The inferior part of the soul does not hinder the whole
remainder from remaining in the superior region.[340] Besides, this
inferior part is only the very image of the soul; it is not separated
from her,[341] but it resembles the image reflected by a mirror, an
image which persists only so long as the model remains before the
mirror. What should be our conception of the model placed before the
mirror? Down through what is immediately above the image (that is, down
through the soul herself), we have the intelligible world, composed
of all the intelligible entities, where everything is perfect. The
sense-world is no more than the imitation thereof, and it imitates
that intelligible world so far as it can, in that it itself is a
living organism which is the image of the perfect living Organism. The
sense-world imitates it as the portrait that is painted, or reflected
by the surface of water reproduces the person situated before the
painter, or above the water. This portrait obtained by the painting, or
reflected by the surface of the water is not the image of the composite
which constitutes the man (the soul and body), but of one or two parts
only, the body which was fashioned by the soul. Likewise, therefore,
the sense-world, which was made to resemble the intelligible world,
offers us images, not of its creator, but of the (essences) contained
within its creator, among which is man, along with all other animals.
Now, in common with its creator, each living organism possesses life,
though each possess it differently; both, besides, equally form part of
the intelligible world.


Plotino's Own Sense-Categories.


1. We have thus declared our views about (intelligible) Being, and
shown how they agree with the doctrines of Plato. Now we have to study
the "other nature" (the Being of the sense-world); and we shall have
to consider whether it be proper to establish here the same genera as
for the intelligible world, or to posit a greater number, by adding
some to those already recognized; or whether the genera differ in each
being entirely, or only partially, some remaining identical, while
others differ. If any of them be identical in both beings, that can be
understood only by analogy;[343] that is what will become evident when
each of these beings are fully understood.


This is by what we must begin. Having to speak of sense-objects, and
knowing that all of them are contained in this world here below,
we must first scrutinize this world, establish within it divisions
according to the nature of the (beings) which compose it, and then
distribute them into genera, just as we would do if we had to analyze
the voice whose nature is infinite (by the diversity of sounds it
produces), reducing it to a definite number of kinds.[344] Observing
the elements common to many sounds, we would reduce them to one unity,
then, to a superior unity, further to a supreme unity, in which these
sounds appear as a small number of classes. Then, the elements common
to these individuals would be called "species," and that common to
various species would be called a genus. As to the voice, it is easy
enough to discover each species, to reduce all the species to unity,
and to predicate of all of them (as highest genus or category) the
general element, the voice. But an analysis as summary as this is
impossible with the (more complicated universe). In the sense-world we
will have to recognize several genera, which will differ from those of
the intelligible world, since the sense-world itself differs from the
intelligible world so much that it is not its counterpart, but only its
image, whose only element common (to its model) is the name.


As here below in the "mixture" (or blend, the soul), and the
composition (the body) (which form our nature) there are two parts,
soul and body, the totality of which forms the living organism;[345]
as the nature of the soul belongs to the intelligible world, and
consequently does not belong to the same order of things as the
sense-world, we shall, however difficult it may be, have to separate
the soul[346] from the sense-objects which we are here alone to
consider. (We shall illustrate this by a parable). He who would wish
to classify the inhabitants of a town according to their dignities and
professions, would have to leave aside the foreign residents. As to the
passions which arise from the union of the soul with the body, or, that
the soul experiences because of the body,[347] we shall later examine
how they should be classified.[348] This however must follow our study
of the sense-objects.


2. First let us consider what mundane name "Being" must be applied to.
To begin with, it must be explained that physical nature can receive
the name of "being" only as a figure of speech;[343] or rather, should
not receive it at all, since it implies the idea of perpetual flowing
(that is, change[349]); so, the more suitable denomination would be
"generation."[350] We shall also have to acknowledge that the things
that belong to generation are very different; nevertheless all bodies,
some simple (such, as elements), the others composite as mixtures),
together with their accidents and effects, must, during the process of
classification, be reduced to a single genus.

In bodies, one may besides distinguish on one hand matter, on the
other, the form imprinted thereon; and we designate each of these
separately as a genus, or subsume both under a unity, inasmuch as
we designate both by the common label[343] of "being," or rather,
"generation." But what is the common element in matter and form?
In what manner, and of what is matter a genus? For what difference
inheres in matter? In what sequence could we incorporate that which is
composed of both? But in the case that that which is composed of both
be itself corporeal being, while neither of the two is a body, how then
could either be incorporated in a single genus, or within the same
genus along with the compound of both? How (could this incorporation
into a single genus be effected with) the elements of some object and
the object itself? To answer that we should begin by the (composite)
bodies: which would be tantamount to learning to read by beginning with
syllables (and not with letters).


Let us now grant that symmetrical analysis by individual objects is
impossible. Might we not, as a means of classification, then employ
analogy? In this case the (intelligible, higher) "being" would here be
represented by matter; and movement above, by form here, which would
thus quicken and perfect matter. The inertia of matter would correspond
to rest above, while the (intelligible) identity and difference would
correspond to our earthly manifold resemblance and differences.[351]
(Such an analogic method would misrepresent the state of affairs
in this world). To begin with, matter does not receive form as its
life or actualization, but (form) approaches and informs (matter) as
something foreign (form deriving from being, while matter is only a
deception; so that there is no kinship between them). Then in the
(intelligible world) form is an actualization and motion, while here
below movement is different, being accidental; we might far rather
call form the halting or rest of matter, for form defines that which
in itself is indefinite (unlimited). There (in the intelligible world)
identity and difference refer to a single essence, which is both
identical and different. Here below, essence differs only relatively,
by participation (in the difference) for it is something identical and
different, not by consequence, as above, but here below, by nature. As
to stability, how could it be attributed to matter, which assumes all
dimensions, which receives all its forms from without, without itself
ever being able to beget anything by means of these forms? Such a
division, therefore, will have to be given up.


3. What classification shall we adopt? There is first matter, then
form, and further the combination which results from their blending.
Then we have a number of conceptions which refer to the three preceding
classes, and are predicated of them; the first, simply, as attributes;
the others, besides, as accidents. Among the latter, some are contained
within the things, while others contain them; some of them are actions,
and the others experiences (passions) or their consequences.


Matter is something common which is found in all things;[352]
nevertheless it does not form a genus because it does not admit of any
differences, unless its differences consist in appearing in different
forms; as, here, fire, and there, air. Philosophers who consider that
matter is a genus base this opinion on the fact that matter is common
to all the things in which it exists, or that it stands in the relation
of the whole to the parts of particular objects (or, "matters"). In
this case, however, the term "genus" would be used in a sense differing
from the one it bears usually. It would then be no more than an only
or single element, if we admit that an element can be a genus. If,
conceiving that matter is united to matter, or exists within it, we add
form to matter, matter would thereby be differentiated from the other
forms, but it will not comprehend every being-like form. Were we to
call the generating principle of being "form," and were we to call the
reason which constitutes the form "being-like reason," we shall not
yet have clearly defined the nature of "being." Finally, if we give the
name of "being" only to the combination of matter and form, the result
will be that neither of these two (matter or form taken separately)
will themselves be "being." If, however, we were to assert that not
only their combination, but also each of them separately were "being,"
we then would be faced with the problem of what is common to all three.


As to the things which are simply posited as attributes, they should,
as principles or elements, be classified under relation. Among the
accidents of things, some, like quantity and quality, are contained
within them; while others contain them, as time and place. Then there
are actions and experiences, as movements; then their consequences, as
"being in time," and "being in place"; the latter is the consequence of
the combination, the former is the consequence of movement.


We decide, therefore, that the three first things (matter, form, and
their combination) contribute to the formation of a single genus,
which, by a figure of speech, we call ("corporeal) Being," a genus
which is common to them, and whose name applies to all three. Then
come the other genera; such as relation, quantity and quality; the
(relation of) being "contained in place," and "in time"; movement; and
place and time. But as the category of "time" and "place" would render
superfluous that of "being in place" and of "being in time,"[353] we
should limit ourselves to the recognition of five genera, of which the
first ("being") comprises matter, form and the combination.[354] If,
however, we should not count matter, form and combination as a single
genus, our analysis will assume the following shape: matter, form,
combination, relation, quantity, quality, and movement. Otherwise, the
latter three might be subsumed under relation, which possesses more
extension than they.


4. What is the common element in these three things (matter, form and
their combination)? What constitutes their (sublunary, mundane or)
earthly "being"? Is it because matter, form and their combination
form a foundation for other things? In that case, as matter is the
foundation, or seat of form, then form will not be in the genus of
"being." But, as the combination also forms foundation for other
things, then form united to matter will be the subject of the
combinations, or rather, of all the things which are posterior to the
combination, as quantity, quality, and movement.


It would seem that (physical) "being" is that which is not predicated
of anything else;[355] for whiteness and blackness may, for instance,
be predicated of some white or black subject. Likewise with the idea
of "doubleness";--I mean here not the doubleness which is the opposite
of one half, but the doubleness predicated of some subject, as when
one says "this wood is double." So also paternity, and science, are
attributes of another subject, of which that is said. So space is that
which limits, and time that which measures something else. But fire,
or wood considered as such, are not attributes. Neither are Socrates,
nor composite being (composed of matter and form), nor form which is
in the "being," because it is not a modification of any other subject.
Indeed, form is not an attribute of matter; it is an element of the
combination. "Man" and "form of man" are one and the same thing.[356]
Matter also is an element of the combination; under this respect, it
may be predicated of a subject, but this subject is identical with
itself. On the contrary, whiteness, considered in itself, exists only
in the subject of which it may be predicated. Consequently, the thing
which exists only in the subject of which it is predicated is not
(physical) "being."[356] "Being," on the contrary, is that which is
what it is by itself. In case it form part of some subject, then it
completes the combination; whose elements exist each in itself, and
which are predicated of the combination only in a condition other than
that of existing in it. Considered as a part, "being" is relative to
something other than itself; but considered in itself, in its nature,
in what it is, it is not predicable of anything.[357]


To be a subject is then a property common to matter, to form, and
to the combination. But this function of subject is fulfilled
differently by matter in respect to form, and by form in respect to
the modifications, and by the combination; or rather, matter is not a
subject in respect to form; form is the complement which completes it
when it still is only matter, and when it exists only potentially.[358]
To speak strictly, form is not in matter; for when one thing forms only
a unity with something else, one cannot say that one is in the other
(as some accident in its subject). Only when both are taken together
do matter and form form a subject for other things;[359] thus Man
in general, and a particular man constitute the subject of passive
modifications; they are anterior to the actions and consequences which
relate to them. "Being" therefore is the principle from which all other
things derive, and by which they exist; that to which all passive
modifications relate, and from which all actions proceed.[360]


5. Such are the characteristics of sense-being. If in any way they also
suit intelligible "being," it is only by analogy,[343] or by figure
of speech (homonymy).[361] So, for instance, the "first" is so called
in respect of the remainder; for it is not absolutely first, but only
in respect to the things which hold an inferior rank; far more, the
things which follow the first are also called first in respect to those
which follow. Likewise, in speaking of intelligible things, the word
"subject" is used in a different sense. It may also be doubted that
they suffer ("experience"), and it is evident that if they do suffer,
it is in an entirely different manner.[362]


Not to be in a subject is then the common characteristic of all
"being," if, by "not being in a subject," we mean "not to form part
of any subject," and "not to contribute to the formation of a unity
therewith." Indeed, that which contributes to the formation of a
composite being, with something else, could not be in that thing as
in a subject; form therefore is not in matter as in a subject, and
neither is "man" in Socrates as in a subject, because "man" forms part
of Socrates.[363] Thus, "being" is that which is not in a subject.
If we add that "being" is not predicated of any subject, we must also
add, "insofar as this subject is something different from itself;"
otherwise "man," predicated of some one man, would not be comprised
within the definition of "being," if (in asserting that "being" is not
predicated of any subject), we did not add, "so far as this subject
is something different from itself." When I say, "Socrates is a man,"
I am practically saying, "White is white," and not, "wood is white."
While actually asserting that "Socrates is a man," I am asserting that
a particular man is a man, and to say "The man who is in Socrates is a
man," amounts to saying "Socrates is Socrates," or, "that particular
reasonable living organism is a living organism."


It might however be objected that the property of "being" does not
consist in being a subject; for the difference (as, for instance, a
biped), is also one of those things which are not in a subject.[363] If
"biped" be considered as a part of being, we are compelled to recognize
that "biped" is not in a subject; but if by "biped" we do not mean some
particular "being" but the property of being a biped, then we are no
longer speaking of a being, but of a quality, and "biped" will be in a

But time and place do not seem to be in a subject! If we define time as
"the measure of movement,"[364] (there are two possibilities). First,
time might be measured movement; and then it will be in movement as in
a subject, while movement itself will be in the moved thing. Or, time
will be what measures (the soul, or the present moment), and then it
will be in what measures as in a subject. As to space, as it is the
limit of what contains, it will also reside in what contains.[365] It
is otherwise with the "being" that we are here considering. "Being,"
then, will have to be considered as consisting in either one, or in
several, or in all the properties of which we are speaking; because
these properties simultaneously suit matter, form, and the combination.


6. It may perhaps be objected that we have here indicated the
properties of "being," but we have not described its nature. Such a
request amounts to asking to see what sense-being is; now sense-being
is, and "being" is not something which can be seen.

What then? Are fire and water not beings? Doubtless, they are. But are
they beings merely because they are visible? No. Is it because they
contain matter? No. Is it because they have a form? No. Is it because
they are combinations? No. They are "beings," because they "are."

But one can also say that quantity, as well as that quality "is!" Yes,
doubtless, but if we speak thus about quantity and quality, it is only
by a figure of speech.[343],[361], [366]

Then, in what consists the being of earth, fire, and other similar
things? What is the difference between the being of these things and
of others? The essence of the earth, of the fire, and so forth, exists
in an absolute manner, while the essence of other things (is relative)
and for instance, means merely being white. "Is" added to white is not
the same thing as "essence" taken absolutely; is it? Certainly not.
Essence taken absolutely is essence in the first degree; "to be" added
to white, is essence by participation, essence in the second degree;
for "to be," added to white, makes white an essence; and white added
to essence makes the being white; that is why white is an accident for
essence, and "to be" an accident to white. It is not the same thing as
if we said, Socrates is white, and, the White is Socrates; for in both
cases Socrates is the same being; but it is not thus with whiteness;
for, in the second case, Socrates is contained in the white, and in
the first case, white is a pure accident. When we say, the being is
white, the white is an accident of being; but when we say, the White
is essence, the white contains essence. In short, white possesses
existence only because it refers to "being," and is in "being." It
is therefore from "being" that it receives its existence. On the
contrary, essence draws its existence from itself; and from white it
receives whiteness, not because it is in the white, but because the
white is within it.[366] As the essence which is in the sense-world is
not Essence by itself, we must say that it draws its existence from
the veritable Essence, in itself; and, finally, the White in itself
possesses essence because it participates in the intelligible Essence.


7. If somebody should object that material things derive their essence
from matter, we should have to ask from whence matter itself draws its
essence and existence; for we have elsewhere demonstrated that matter
does not hold the first rank.[367]

If, however, it be further objected, that the other things could not
exist without being in matter, we will answer that that is true only
for sense-things. But if matter be anterior to sense-things, that does
not hinder itself being posterior to many other things, and to all
intelligible things; for the existence of matter is far more obscure
than the things in matter, if these things be ("seminal) reasons,"
which participate deeper in essence, while matter is completely
irrational, being an adumbration, and a decay of reason.[368]

It may further be objected that matter gives essence to material
things, as Socrates gives essence to the white that is in him. We will
answer that what possesses a superior degree of Essence may well confer
a lesser degree of essence to what possesses a still inferior degree
thereof, but that the reciprocal or converse condition is impossible.
Now, as form is more essence than matter,[369] essence cannot be
predicated equally of matter and form, and "being" is not a genus whose
species is matter, form and the combination.[370] These three things
have several common characteristics, as we have already said, but
they differ in respect to essence; for when something which possesses
a superior degree of essence approaches something which possesses an
inferior degree (as when form approaches matter), this thing, although
anterior in (the ontological) order, is posterior in respect to being;
consequently, if matter, form and the combination be not "beings"
equally, no longer is being for them something common, like a genus.
Nevertheless, "being" will be in a less narrow relation with things
which are posterior to matter, to form, and to the combination, though
it gives each of them the property of belonging to themselves. It is
thus that life has different degrees, one stronger, the other weaker,
and that the images of a same object are some more lively, others more
obscure.[371] If essence be measured by a lower degree of essence, and
if the superior degree which exists in other things be omitted, essence
thus considered will be a common element. But that is not a good way of
procedure. Indeed, each whole differs from the others, and the lesser
degree of essence does not constitute something that was common to all;
just as, for life, there is not something common to vegetative life, to
sensitive life, and rational life.[371]


Consequently, essence differs both in matter and in form; and these two
(entities) depend from a third (intelligible Being), which communicates
itself to them unequally. The anterior Being possesses a better nature
("essence") than any posterior being, not only when the second proceeds
from the first, and the third from the second; but when two things
proceed from one and the same thing, the same (condition of affairs)
may be observed. Thus does the clay (when fashioned by the potter)
become a tile not only according as it participates in the fire more
or less (is more or less thoroughly baked). Besides, matter and form
do not proceed from the same intelligible principle;[372] for the
intelligibles also differ among each other.


8. Besides, it is not necessary to divide the combination in form and
matter, now that we speak of sense-being, a "being" which has to be
perceived by the senses, rather than by reason. Neither is it necessary
to add of what this being is composed; for the elements which compose
it are not beings, or at least not sense-beings. What has to be done
here is to embrace in a single genus what is common to stone, to earth,
to water, and to the things compounded of them; namely, to plants and
animals so far as they respond to sensation. In this way, we shall
consider both form and matter; for sense-being contains them both. Thus
fire, earth, and their intermediaries are both matter and form; as to
the combinations, they contain several beings united together. What
then is the common characteristic of all these beings, which separates
them from other things? They serve as subjects to other things, and are
not contained in one subject, and do not belong to something else;[373]
in short, all the characteristics we have enumerated above suit


But how shall we separate the accidents from sense-being, if it have
no existence without dimension or quality? Of what will sense-being
consist, if we remove from it dimension, figure (or outward
appearance), color, dryness, and humidity? For sense-beings are
qualified. The qualities which change simple into qualified "being"
refer to something. Thus, it is not the entire fire which is being,
but something of the fire, one of its parts. Now what is this part, if
it be not matter? Sense-being, therefore, consists in the reunion of
quality and matter; and being is constituted by the totality of these
things blended in a single matter. Each thing taken separately will be
quality or quantity, and so forth; but the thing whose absence makes
"being" incomplete is a part of that being. As to the thing which is
added to already complete being, it has its own place;[374] and it is
not lost in the blending which constitutes "being." I do not say that
such a thing, taken with others, is a being when it completes a matter
of some particular size and quality, and that it is no more than a
quality when it does not complete this mass; I say that even here below
not everything is "being," and that only the totality which embraces
everything is "being." Let none complain that we are constituting
"being" as of that which is not being; for even the totality is not
a veritable "being." (Here this word is used in both sensual and
intelligible senses, as a pun), and only offers the image of the
veritable (Being), which possesses essence independently of all that
refers to it, and itself produces the other things because it possesses
veritable (Existence). Here below the substrate possesses essence only
incompletely, and, far from producing other things, is sterile; it is
only an adumbration, and onto this adumbration are reflected images
which have only the appearance (instead of real existence.)[375]


9. So much then for what we had to say of sense-being, and the genus it
constitutes. It remains to analyze it into species. Every sense-being
is a body; but there are elementary and organized bodies; the former
are fire, earth, water and air; the organized bodies are those of
plants and animals, which are distinguished from each other by their
forms. The earth and the other elements may be divided into species.
Plants and bodies of animals may be classified according to their
forms; or we could classify apart the terrestrial animals, that inhabit
the earth, and those which belong to some other element. We might also
analyze bodies into those that are light, heavy, or intermediary; the
heavy bodies remaining in the middle of the world, the light bodies in
the superior region which surrounds the world, and the intermediary
bodies dwelling in the intermediary region. In each one of these
regions the bodies are distinguished by their exterior appearance (or,
figure); thus there exist the bodies of the (stars, or) celestial
bodies, and then those that belong to particular elements. After having
distributed the bodies according to the four elements, they could be
blended together in some other manner, and thus beget their mutual
differences of location, forms, and mixtures. Bodies could also be
distinguished as fiery, terrestrial, and so forth, according to their
predominating element.


As to the distinction drawn between primary and secondary being,[376]
it must be admitted that some particular fire, and the universal Fire
differ from each other in this, that the one is individual, and the
other universal; but the difference between them does not seem to
be essential. Indeed, does the genus of quality contain both White,
and a particular white; or Grammar, and some particular grammatical
science? How far does Grammatical science then have less reality than
some particular grammatical science, and Science, than some particular
science? Grammatical science is not posterior to some particular
grammatical science; Grammatical science must already have existed
before the existence of the grammatical science in you, since the
latter is some grammatical science because it is found in you; it is
besides identical with universal Grammatical science. Likewise, it
is not Socrates that caused him who was not a man to become a man;
it is rather the universal Man who enabled Socrates to be a man; for
the individual man is man by participation in the universal Man. What
then is Socrates, if not some man? In what does such a man contribute
to render "being" more "being"? If the answer be that he contributes
thereto by the fact that the universal Man is only a form, while a
particular man is a form in matter, the result will only be that a
particular man will be less of a man; for reason (that is, essence) is
weaker when it is in matter. If the universal Man consist not only in
form itself, but is also in matter, in what will he be inferior to the
form of the man who is in matter, since it will be the reason of the
man which is in matter? By its nature the universal is anterior, and
consequently the form is anterior to the individual. Now that which
by its nature is anterior is an absolute anterior. How then would the
universal be less in being? Doubtless the individual, being better
known to us, is anterior for us; but no difference in the things
themselves results.[377] Besides, if we were to admit the distinction
between primary and secondary beings, the definition of "being" would
no longer be one; for that which is first and that which is second are
not comprised under one single definition, and do not form a single and
same genus.


10. Bodies may also be distinguished by heat or dryness, wetness
or cold, or in any other desired manner, by taking two qualities
simultaneously, then considering these things as a composition and
mixture, and ceasing at the combination thereof. Or, bodies may be
divided in terrestrial bodies, that dwell on the earth, or distribute
them according to their forms, and the differences of animals; by
classifying not the animals themselves, but their bodies, which are
their instruments,[378] as it were. It is proper to establish a
classification according to the forms, as it is equally reasonable
to classify bodies according to their qualities, such as heat, cold,
and so forth. If it be objected that bodies are constituted rather
by their qualities, it may be answered that they are just as much
classified by their blends, their colors, and their figures. When
analyzing sense-being, it is not unreasonable to classify it according
to the differences that appear to the senses.[379] This ("being") does
not possess absolute (Essence); it is the totality of the matter and
qualities which constitutes the sense-being, since we have said that
its hypostatic existence consists in the union of the things perceived
by the senses, and that it is according to the testimony of their
senses that men believe in the existence of things.


The composition of the bodies being varied, they may also be classified
according to the specific forms of the animals. Such, for instance,
would be the specific form of a man united to a body; for this form
is a quality of body, and it is reasonable to analyze it according to
the qualities. If it should be objected that we have said above that
some bodies are simple, while others are composite, thus contrasting
the simple and the composite, we shall answer that, without regarding
their composition, we have also said that they are either brute or
organized. The classification of bodies should not be founded on the
contrast between the simple and the composite, but, as we first did, we
may classify the simple bodies in the first rank. Then, by considering
their blendings, one may start from another principle to determine the
differences offered by the composites under the respect of their figure
or their location; thus, for instance, bodies might be classified
in celestial and terrestrial. This may close our consideration of
sense-being, or generation.


11. Let us now pass to quantity and quantitatives. When treating
of quantity, we have already said that it consists in number and
dimension, in so far as some thing possesses such a quantity, that
is, in the number of material things, and in the extension of the
subject.[380] Here indeed we are not treating of abstract quantity,
but of a quantity which causes a piece of wood to measure three feet,
or that horses are five in number. Consequently, as we have said,
we should call extension and number (considered from the concrete
viewpoint) "quantitatives"; but this name could could be applied
neither to time nor space; time, being the measure of movement,[381]
re-enters into relation; and place, being that which contains
the body,[382] consists of a manner of being, and consequently,
in a relation. (So much the less should we call time and place
"quantitatives," as) movement, though continuous, does not either
belong to the genus of quantity.


Should "large" and "small" be classified within the genus of quantity?
Yes: for the large is large by a certain dimension, and dimension is
not a relation. As to "greater" and "smaller," they belong to relation;
for a thing is greater or smaller in relation to something else, just
as when it is double. Why then do we sometimes say that a mountain is
large, and that a grain of millet is small? When we say that a mountain
is small, we use the latter term instead of smaller; for they who
use this expression themselves acknowledge that they call a mountain
small only by comparing it to other mountains, which implies that here
"little" stands for "smaller." Likewise, when we say that a grain of
millet is large, this does not mean "large" in any absolute sense, but
large only for a grain of millet; which implies that one compares it to
things of the same kind, and that here "large" means "larger."[383]


Why then do we not also classify the beautiful among the relatives?
Because beauty is such by itself, because it constitutes a quality,
while "more beautiful" is a relative. Nevertheless the thing which is
called beautiful would sometimes appear ugly, if it were compared to
some other, as, for instance, if we were to contrast the beauty of men
with that of the gods; hence the expression (of Heraclitus's[384]):
"The most beautiful of monkeys would be ugly if compared with an animal
of a different kind." When beauty is predicated of something, it is
considered in itself; it might perhaps be called more beautiful or more
ugly if it were compared to another. Hence it results that, in the
genus of which we are treating, an object is in itself great because of
the presence of greatness, but not in respect to some other. Otherwise,
we would be obliged to deny that a thing was beautiful because of
the existence of some more beautiful one. Neither therefore must we
deny that a thing is great because there is only one greater than it;
for "greater" could not exist without "great," any more than "more
beautiful" without "beautiful."


12. It must therefore be admitted that quantity admits of contraries.
Even our thought admits of contraries when we say "great" and "small,"
since we then conceive of contraries, as when we say, "much and
little"; for much and little are in the same condition as great and
small. Sometimes it is said, "At home there are many people," and by
this is intended a (relatively) great number; for in the latter case
it is a relative. Likewise it is said, "There are few people in the
theatre," instead of saying, "there are less people," (relatively);
but when one uses the word "many" a great multitude in number must be


How then is multitude classified among relatives? It forms part of
relatives in that multitude is an extension of number, while its
contrary is a contraction. Likewise is it with continuous dimension; we
conceive of it as prolonged. Quantity therefore has a double origin:
progression of unity, and of the point. If either progression cease
promptly, the first one produces "little," and the second, "small."
If both be prolonged, they produce "much," and "large." What then is
the limit that determines these things? The same question may be asked
about the beautiful, and about warmth; for there is also "warmer";
only, the latter is a relative, while Warm, taken absolutely, is a
quality. As there is a "reason" of the beautiful (a reason that would
produce and determine the beautiful), likewise there must be a reason
for the Great, a reason by participation in which an object becomes
great, as the reason of the Beautiful makes beautiful. Such are the
things for which quantity admits contraries.


For space, there is no contrary, because strictly space does not belong
to the genus of quantity. Even if space were part of quantity, "high"
would not be the contrary of anything unless the universe contained
also "low." The terms high and low, applied to parts, signify only
higher and lower than something else. It is so also with right and
left, which are relatives.


Syllables and speech are quantitatives; they might be subjects in
respect to quantity, but only so by accident. Indeed, the voice, by
itself, is a movement,[386] it must therefore be reduced to movement
and action.


13. We have already explained that discrete quantity is clearly
distinguished from continuous quantity, both by its own definition, and
the general definition (for quantity).[387] We may add that numbers are
distinguished from each other by being even and odd. If besides there
be other differences amidst the even and odd numbers, these differences
will have to be referred to the objects in which are the numbers, or to
the numbers composed of unities, and not any more to those which exist
in sense-beings. If reason separate sense-things from the numbers they
contain, nothing hinders us then from attributing to these numbers the
same differences (as to the numbers composed of unities).[388]


What distinctions are admitted by continuous quantity? There is the
line, the surface, and the solid; for extension may exist in one,
two or three dimensions (and thus count the numerical elements of
continuous size) instead of establishing species.[389] In numbers thus
considered as anterior or posterior to each other, there is nothing in
common, which would constitute a genus. Likewise in the first, second
and third increases (of a line, surface, and solid) there is nothing in
common; but as far as quantity is found, there is also equality (and
inequality), although there be no extension which is quantitative more
than any other.[390] However, one may have dimensions greater than
another. It is therefore only in so far as they are all numbers, that
numbers can have anything in common. Perhaps, indeed, it is not the
monad that begets the pair, nor the pair that begets the triad, but it
may be the same principle which begets all the numbers. If numbers be
not derivative, but exist by themselves, we may, at least within our
own thought, consider them as begotten (or, derivative). We conceive
of the smaller number as the anterior, the greater as posterior. But
numbers, as such, may all be reduced to unity.


The method of classification adopted for numbers may be applied to
sizes, and thus distinguish the line, the surface, and the solid or
body, because those are sizes which form different species. If besides
each of these species were to be divided, lines might be subdivided
into straight, curved and spiral; surfaces into straight and curved;
solids into round or polyhedral bodies. Further, as geometers do, may
come the triangle, the quadrilateral, and others.


14. But what about the straight line? Is it not a magnitude? Possibly;
but if it be a magnitude, it is a qualified one.[391] It is even
possible that straightness constitutes a difference of the (very nature
of the) line, as line, for straightness refers solely to a line;
and besides, we often deduce the differences of "Essence" from its
qualities. That a straight line is a quantity added to a difference
does not cause its being composed of the line, and of the property of
straightness; for, were it thus composed, straightness would be its
chief difference.


Now let us consider the triangle, which is formed of three lines. Why
should it not belong to quantity? Would it be so, because it is not
constituted by three lines merely, but by three lines arranged in some
particular manner? But a quadrilateral would also be constituted by
four lines arranged in some particular manner. (But being arranged in
some particular manner does not hinder a figure from being a quantity).
The straight line, indeed, is arranged in some particular manner, and
is none the less a quantity. Now if the straight line be not simply a
quantity, why could this not also be said of a limited line? For the
limit of the line is a point, and the point does not belong to any
genus other than the line. Consequently, a limited surface is also
a quantity, because it is limited by lines, which even more belong
to quantity. If then the limited surface be contained in the genus
of quantity, whether the surface be a triangle, a quadrilateral, a
hexagon, or any other polygon, all figures whatever will belong to the
genus of quantity. But if we assigned the triangle or quadrilateral
to the genus of quality merely because we are speaking of some one
definite triangle or quadrilateral, nothing would hinder one and the
same thing from being subsumed under several categories. A triangle
would then be a quantity so far as it was both a general and particular
magnitude, and would be a quality by virtue of its possessing a
particular form. The same might be predicated of the Triangle in
itself because of its possessing a particular form; and so also with
the sphere. By following this line of argument, geometry would be
turned into a study of qualities, instead of that of quantities,
which of course it is. The existing differences between magnitudes
do not deprive them of their property of being magnitudes, just as
the difference between essences does not affect their essentiality.
Besides, every surface is limited, because an infinite surface is
impossible. Further, when I consider a difference that pertains to
essence, I call it an essential difference. So much the more, on
considering figures, I am considering differences of magnitude. For
if the differences were not of magnitude, of what would they be
differences? If then they be differences of magnitude, the different
magnitudes which are derived from differences of magnitude should
be classified according to the species constituted by them (when
considered in the light of being magnitudes).


15. But how can you qualify the properties of quantity so as to call
them equal or unequal?[392] Is it not usual to say of two triangles
that they are similar? Could we not also predicate similarity of
two magnitudes? Doubtless, for what is called similarity,[393]
does not conflict with similarity or dissimilarity in the genus of
quantity.[394] Here, indeed, the word "similarity" is applied to
magnitudes in a sense other than to quality. Besides, if (Aristotle)
said that the property characteristic of quantities is to enable them
to be called equal or unequal, this does not conflict with predicating
similarity of some of them. But as it has been said that the special
characteristic of qualities is to admit of being called similar
or dissimilar, we must, as has already been explained, understand
similarity in a sense other than when it is applied to magnitudes.
If similar magnitudes be identical, we must then consider the other
properties of quantity and quality which might be present in them
(so as clearly to contrast their differences). It may also be said
that the term "similarity" applies to the genus of quantity so far as
this contains differences (which distinguish from each other similar


In general, the differences which complete a being should be classified
along with that of which they are the differences, especially when a
difference belongs to a single subject. If a difference complete the
being of a subject, and do not complete the being of another, this
difference should be classified along with the subject whose being it
completes, leaving that whose being it does not complete for separate
consideration. By this we do not mean completing the Being in general,
but completing some particular being, so that the subject spoken of as
a particular one admits no further essential addition. We therefore
have the right to say that triangles, or that quadrilaterals, as
well as surfaces and solids, are equal, and to predicate equality or
inequality of quantitative entities. But we yet have to study whether
quality only can be said to be similar or dissimilar.[395]


When we were treating of things that were qualified, we had already
explained that matter, united to quantity, and taken with other things,
constitutes sense-being; that this "being" seems to be a composite
of several things, that it is not properly a "whatness,"[396] but
rather qualification (or, qualified thing). The ("seminal) reason,"
for instance that of fire, has more of a reference to "whatness,"
while the form that the reason begets is rather a qualification.
Likewise, the ("seminal) reason" of man is a "whatness," whilst the
form that this reason gives to the body, being only an image of reason,
is rather a qualification. Thus if the Socrates that we see was the
genuine Socrates, his mere portrait composed of no more than colors
would also be called Socrates. Likewise, although this ("seminal)
reason" of Socrates be that which constitutes the genuine Socrates, we
nevertheless also apply the name of Socrates to the man that we see;
yet the colors, or the figure of the Socrates we see, are only the
image of those which are contained by his ("seminal) reason." Likewise,
the reason of Socrates is itself only an image of the veritable reason
(of the idea) of the man. This is our solution of the problem.[397]


16. When we separately consider each of the things which compose
sense-being and when we wish to designate the quality which exists
among them, we must not call it "whatness," any more than quantity
or movement, but rather name it a characteristic, employing the
expressions "such," "as," and "this kind." We are thus enabled to
indicate beauty and ugliness, such as they are in the body. Indeed,
sense-beauty is no more than a figure of speech,[343] in respect to
intelligible beauty; it is likewise with quality, since black and white
are also completely different (from their "reason," or their idea).


Is the content of ("seminal) reason" and of a particular reason,
identical with what appears, or does it apply thereto only by a
figure of speech?[343] Should it properly be classified among the
intelligible, or the sense-objects? Sensual beauty of course evidently
differs from intelligible beauty; but what of ugliness--in which
classification does it belong? Must virtue be classified among
intelligible or sensual qualities, or should we locate some in each
class? (All this uncertainty is excusable, inasmuch) as it may be asked
whether even the arts, which are "reasons," should be classified among
sense-qualities? If these reasons be united to a matter, they must have
matter as their very soul. But what is their condition here below, when
united to some matter? These reasons are in a case similar to song
accompanied by a lyre;[398] this song, being uttered by a sense-voice,
is in relation with the strings of the lyre, while simultaneously being
part of the art (which is one of these "seminal reasons"). Likewise,
it might be said that virtues are actualizations, and not parts (of
the soul). Are they sense-actualizations? (This seems probable), for
although the beauty contained in the body be incorporeal, we still
classify it among the things which refer to the body, and belong
to it. As to arithmetic, and geometry, two different kinds must be
distinguished: the first kind deals with visible objects, and must
be classified among sense-objects; but the second kind deals with
studies suitable to the soul, and should therefore be classified among
intelligible entities. Plato[399] considers that music and astronomy
are in the same condition.


Thus the arts which relate to the body, which make use of the organs,
and which consult the senses, are really dispositions of the soul, but
only of the soul as applied to corporeal objects; and consequently,
they should be classified among sense-qualities.[400] Here also belong
practical virtues, such as are implied by civil duties, and which,
instead of raising the soul to intelligible entities, fructify in the
actions of political life, and refer to them, not as a necessity of our
condition, but as an occupation preferable to everything else.[401]
Among these qualities we shall have to classify the beauty contained in
the ("seminal) reason," and, so much the more, black and white.


But is the soul herself a sense-being, if she be disposed in a
particular way, and if she contain particular "reasons" (that is,
faculties, virtues, sciences and arts, all of which refer to the body,
and which have been classified as sense-qualities)?[402] It has already
been explained that these "reasons" themselves are not corporeal; but
that they have been classified among sense-qualities only because they
referred to the body, and to the actions thereby produced. On the other
hand, as sense-quality has been defined as the meeting of all the
above enumerated entities, it is impossible to classify incorporeal
Being in the same genus as the sensual being. As to the qualities
of the soul, they are all doubtless incorporeal, but as they are
experiences (or, sufferings, or, passions) which refer to terrestrial
things, they must be classified in the genus of quality, just as the
reasons of the individual soul. Of the soul we must therefore predicate
experience, however dividing the latter in two elements, one of which
would refer to the object to which it is applied, and the other to
the subject in which it exists.[403] Though then these experiences
cannot be considered as corporeal qualities, yet it must be admitted
they relate to the body.[404] On the other hand, although we classify
these experiences in the genus of quality, still the soul herself
should not be reduced to the rank of corporeal being. Last, when we
conceive of the soul as without experiences, and without the "reasons"
above-mentioned, we are thereby classifying her along with the World
from which she descends,[405] and we leave here below no intelligible
being, of any kind whatever.


17. Qualities, therefore, should be classified as of the body, and of
the soul.[406] Even though all the souls, as well as their immaterial
qualities, be considered as existing on high, yet their inferior
qualities must be divided according to the senses, referring these
qualities either to sight, hearing, feeling, taste, or smell. Under
sight, we will classify the differences of colors; under hearing,
that of the sounds; and likewise, with the other senses. As to the
sounds, inasmuch as they have but a single quality, they will have to
be classified according to their being soft, harsh, agreeable, and the


It is by quality that we distinguish the differences which inhere in
being, as well as the actualizations, the beautiful or ugly actions,
and in general, all that is particular. Only very rarely do we discover
in quantity differences which constitute species; so much is this the
case, that it is generally divided by its characteristic qualities. We
must therefore leave quantity aside, and that leads us to wonder how we
may divide quality itself (since it is made use of to distinguish other


What sort of differences, indeed, might we use to establish such
divisions, and from what genus would we draw them? It seems absurd to
classify quality by quality itself. This is just as if the difference
of "beings" were to be called "beings." By what indeed could one
distinguish white from black, and colors from tastes and sensations
of touch? If we distinguish the difference of these qualities by the
sense-organs, these differences would no longer exist in the subjects.
How indeed could one and the same sense distinguish the difference of
the qualities it perceives? Is it because certain things exercise an
action that is constructive or destructive on the eyes, or the tongue?
We would then have to ask what is the constructive or destructive
element in the sensations thus excited? Yet, even were this answered,
such an answer would not explain wherein these things differ.[407]


A further possibility is that these things should be classified
according to their effects, and that it is reasonable to do so with
invisible entities, such as sciences; but this would not be applicable
to sense-objects. When indeed we divide sciences by their effects, and
when, in general, we classify them according to the powers of the soul,
by concluding from the diversity of their effects that they differ,
our mind grasps the difference of these powers, and it determines not
only with what objects they deal, but it also defines their reason (or,
essence). Let us admit that it is easy to distinguish arts according
to their reasons, and according to the notions they include; but is it
possible to divide corporeal qualities in that manner? Even when one
studies the intelligible world, there is room for doubt as to how the
different reasons distinguish themselves from each other; it is easy
enough to see that white differs from black; but in what does it do so?


18. All the questions we have asked show that we doubtless must
seek to discover the differences of the various (beings), so as to
distinguish them from each other; but that it is as impossible as it
is unreasonable to inquire what are the differences of the differences
themselves.[408] Being of beings, quantities of quantities, qualities
of qualities, differences of differences cannot be discovered; but we
should, wherever possible, classify exterior objects, either according
to their effects, or according to salient characteristics. When this is
impossible, objects should be distinguished, as for instance dark from
light green.

But how is white distinguished from black? Sensation or intelligence
tell us that those things are different without informing us of their
reason; either sensation, because its function is not to set forth the
reason of things, but only to bring them somehow to our attention; or
intelligence, because it discerns things that are simple by intuition,
without having to resort to ratiocination, and limits itself to the
statement that something is such or such. Besides, in each one of the
operations of intelligence there is a difference (a special distinctive
characteristic) which enables it to distinguish different things,
without this difference (which is proper to each of the operations of
intelligence) itself having need to be discerned by the help of some
other difference.


Are all qualities differences, or not? Whiteness, colors, qualities
perceived by touch and taste, may become differences between different
objects, though they themselves be species. But how do the sciences
of grammar or of music constitute differences? The science of grammar
renders the mind grammatical, and the science of music renders the mind
musical, especially if they be untaught; and these thus become specific
differences. Besides, we have to consider whether a difference be drawn
from the same genus (from which the considered things are drawn), or
from some other genus. If it be drawn from the same genus, it fulfils,
for the things of this genus, the same function as does a quality to
the quality to which it serves as difference. Such are virtue and
vice; virtue is a particular habit, and vice is also a particular
habit; consequently, as habits are qualities, the differences of these
habits (either of virtue or vice) will be qualities. It may perhaps be
objected that a habit without difference is not a quality, and that it
is the difference alone which constitutes the quality.[409] We will
answer that it is (commonly) said that sweet is good, and that bitter
is bad; this then implies a recognition of their difference by a habit
(a manner of being), and not by a quality.

What if sweet be said to be "crude," or thick and bitter, thin or
refined? The answer is that coarseness does not inform us of the nature
of sweetness, but indicates a manner of being of what is sweet; and
similarly, with what is refined.


There remains for us to examine if a difference of a quality never be a
quality, as that of a being is not a being, nor that of a quantity, a
quantity. Does five differ from three by two? No: five does not differ
from three, it only exceeds it by two. How indeed could five differ
from three by two, when five contains two? Likewise, a movement does
not differ from a movement by a movement. As to virtue and vice, here
is one whole opposed to another whole, and it is thus that the wholes
are distinguished. If a distinction were drawn from the same genus,
that is, from quality, instead of founding itself on another genus; as,
for instance, if one said that such a vice referred to pleasures, some
other to anger, some other to acquisitiveness, and if one were to admit
that such a classification was good; it would evidently result that
there are differences that are not qualities.


19. As has been indicated above, the genus of quality contains the
(beings) which are said to be qualified (qualitative entities),
inasmuch as they contain some quality (as, for instance, the handsome
man, so far as he is endowed with beauty).[410] These (beings) however
do not properly belong to this genus, for otherwise there would here
be two categories. It suffices to reduce them to the quality which
supplies their name.

So non-whiteness, if it indicate some color other than white, is a
quality; if it express merely a negation, or an enumeration, it is
only a word, or a term which recalls the object; if it be a word,
it constitutes a movement (so far as it is produced by the vocal
organ); if it be a name or a term, it constitutes, so far as it is a
significative, a relative. If things be classed not only by genera, if
it be admitted that each assertion and expression proclaim a genus, our
answer must be that some affirm things by their mere announcement, and
that others deny them. It may perhaps be best not to include negations
in the same genus as things themselves, since, to avoid mingling
several genera, we often do not include affirmations.

As to privations, it may be remarked that if the things of which
there are privations are qualities, then the privations themselves
are qualities, as "toothless," or "blind."[411] But "naked" and
(its contrary) "clothed" are neither of them qualities; they rather
constitute habits, and thus belong among relatives.

Passion, at the moment it is felt, does not constitute a quality, but
a movement; when it has been experienced, and has become durable, it
forms a quality;[410] further, if the (being) which has experienced
the passion have kept none of it, it will have to be described as
having been moved, which amounts to the same thing as really being
moved. However, in this case, the conception of time will have to be
abstracted from that of movement; for we must not add the conception of
the present to that of movement.[412]

Finally, (the adverb) "well," and the other analogous terms may be
reduced to the simple notion of the genus of quality.

It remains to examine if we must refer to the genus of quality "being
red" without also doing so for "reddening"[410] for "blushing" does
not belong to it, because he who blushes suffers (experiences), or is
moved. But as soon as he ceases blushing, if he have already blushed,
this is a quality; for quality does not depend on time, but consists
in being such or such; whence it follows that "having blushed" is a
quality. Therefore we shall regard as qualities only habits, and not
mere dispositions;[410] being warm, for instance, and not warming up;
being sick, but not becoming sick.


20. Does every quality have an opposite?[410] As to vice and virtue,
there is, between the extremes, an intermediary quality which is
the opposite of both,[411] but, with colors, the intermediaries
are not contraries. This might be explained away on the ground that
the intermediary colors are blends of the extreme colors. However,
we ought not to have divided colors in extremes and intermediaries,
and opposed them to each other; but rather have divided the genus of
color into black and white, and then have shown that other colors are
composed of these two, or differentiated another color that would be
intermediate, even though composite. If it be said that intermediary
colors are not opposite to the extremes because opposition is not
composed of a simple difference, but of a maximal difference,[413] it
will have to be answered that this maximal difference results from
having interposed intermediaries; if these were removed, the maximal
difference would have no scale of comparison. To the objection that
yellow approximates white more than black, and that the sense of sight
supports this contention; that it is the same with liquids where there
is no intermediary between cold and hot; it must be answered that
white and yellow and other colors compared to each other similarly
likewise differ completely; and, because of this their difference,
constitute contrary qualities; they are contrary, not because they
have intermediaries, but because of their characteristic nature. Thus
health and sickness are contraries, though they have no intermediaries.
Could it be said that they are contraries because their effects differ
maximally? But how could this difference be recognized as maximal since
there are no intermediaries which show the same characteristics at
a less degree? The difference between health and sickness could not
therefore be demonstrated to be maximal. Consequently, oppositeness
will have to be analyzed as something else than maximal difference.
Does this mean only a great difference? Then we must in return ask
whether this "great" mean "greater by opposition to something
smaller," or "great absolutely"? In the first case, the things which
have no intermediary could not be opposites; in the second, as it is
easily granted that there is a great difference between one nature and
another, and as we have nothing greater to serve as measure for this
distance, we shall have to examine by what characteristics oppositeness
might be recognized.


To begin with, resemblance does not mean only belonging to the same
genus, nor mere confusion from more or less numerous characteristics,
as, for instance, by their forms. Things that possess resemblance,
therefore, are not opposites. Only things which have nothing identical
in respect to species are opposites;[414] though we must add that they
must belong to the same genus of quality. Thus, though they have no
intermediaries, we can classify as opposites the things which betray
no resemblance to each other; in which are found only characteristics
which do not approximate each other, and bear no kind of analogy to
each other. Consequently, objects which have something in common in the
respect of colors could not be contraries. Besides, not everything is
the contrary of every other thing; but one thing is only the contrary
of some other; and this is the case with tastes as well as with colors.
But enough of all this.


Does a quality admit of more or less?[410] Evidently the objects which
participate in qualities participate therein more or less. But the
chief question is whether there be degrees in virtue or justice? If
these habits possess a certain latitude, they have degrees. If they
have no latitude, they are not susceptible of more or less.


21. Let us pass to movement.[415] Admittedly movement is a genus with
the following characteristics: first, movement cannot be reduced to
any other genus; then, nothing higher in the scale of being can be
predicated of it; last, it reveals a great number of differences which
constitute species.


To what genus could (movement) be reduced? It constitutes neither the
being nor the quality of the (being) in which it exists. It is not
even reducible to action, for in passion (or, experience) there are
several kinds of movements; and it is the actions and passions which
are reducible to movement. Further, movement need not necessarily be
a relative merely because movement does not exist in itself, that it
belongs to some being, and that it exists in a subject; otherwise, we
should have to classify quality also as a relation; for quality belongs
to some (being) and exists in a subject; it is not so however, with
a quantity. It might be objected that, though each of them exist in
some subject, the one by virtue of its being a quality, and the other,
of being a quantity, they themselves are not any the less species of
essences. The same argument would apply to movement; though it belong
to some subject, it is something before belonging to a subject, and
we must consider what it is in itself. Now what is relative is not
at first something by itself, and then the predicate of something
else;[416] but what is born of the relation existing between two
objects, is nothing else outside the relation to which it owes its
name; thus the double, so far as it is called doubleness, is neither
begotten, nor exists except in the comparison established between it
and a half, since, not being conceived of before, it owes its name and
its existence to the comparison thus established.


What then is movement? While belonging to a subject, it is something
by itself before belonging to a subject, as are quality, quantity,
and being. To begin with, nothing is predicated before it, and of
it, as a genus. Is change[417] anterior to movement? Here change is
identical with movement, or if change is to be considered a genus, it
will form a genus to be added to those already recognized. Besides, it
is evident that, on this hypothesis, movement will become a species,
and to it will be opposed, as another species, "generation," as,
for instance, "generation" is a change, but not a movement.[418]
Why then should generation not be a movement? Is it because what is
generated does not yet exist, and because movement could not exist in
non-being? Consequently, neither will generation be a change. Or is
this so because generation is an alteration and increase, and because
it presupposes that certain things are altered, and increase? To
speak thus is to busy ourselves with things that precede generation.
Generation presupposes production of some other form; for generation
does not consist in an alteration passively undergone, such as being
warmed, or being whitened; such effects could be produced before
realization of the generation. What then occurs in generation? There
is alteration. Generation consists in the production of an animal or
plant, in the reception of a form. Change is much more reasonably to
be considered a species, than movement; because the word change means
that one thing takes the place of another, while movement signifies
the actualization by which a being passes from what is proper to it,
to what is not, as in the translation from one place to another. If
that be not admitted (to define movement), it will at least have to be
acknowledged that the action of studying it, as that of playing the
lyre, and in general, all the movements that modify a habit, would
be subsumed within our definition. Alteration therefore could not be
anything else but a species of movement; since it is a movement which
produces passage from one state to another.[419]


22. Granting that alteration is the same thing as movement, so far as
the result of movement is to render something other than it was, (we
still have to ask) what then is movement? To indulge in a figurative
expression,[343] it is the passage of potentiality to the actualization
of which it is the potentiality.[420]


Let us, indeed, suppose, that something which formerly was a
potentiality succeeds in assuming a form, as "potentiality that becomes
a statue," or that passes to actualization, as a man's walk.[421] In
the case where the metal becomes a statue, this passage is a movement;
in the case of the walking, the walk itself is a movement, like the
dance, with one who is capable of it. In the movement of the first
kind, where the metal passes into the condition of being a statue,
there is the production of another form which is realized by the
movement.[422] The movement of the second kind, the dance, is a simple
form of the potentiality, and, when it has ceased, leaves nothing that
subsists after it.[423]


We are therefore justified in calling movement "an active form that
is aroused," by opposition to the other forms which remain inactive.
(They may be so named), whether or not they be permanent. We may add
that it is "the cause of the other forms," when it results in producing
something else. This (sense-) movement may also be called the "life of
bodies." I say "this movement," because it bears the same name as the
movements of the intelligence, and those of the soul.


What further proves that movement is a genus, is that it is very
difficult, if not impossible, to grasp it by a definition. But how can
it be called a form when its result is deterioration, or something
passive? It may then be compared to the warming influence of the rays
of the sun, which exerts on some things an influence that makes them
grow, while other things it shrivels. In both cases, the movement has
something in common, and is identical, so far as it is a movement; the
difference of its results is due to the difference of the beings in
which it operates. Are then growing sick and convalescence identical?
Yes, so far as they are movements. Is their difference then due to
their subjects, or to anything else? This question we will consider
further on, while studying alteration. Now let us examine the elements
common to all movements; in that way we shall be able to prove that
movement is a genus.


First, the word "movement" can be used in different senses, just as
essence, when considered a genus. Further, as we have already said,
all the movements by which one thing arrives at a natural state, or
produces an action suitable to its nature, constitute so many species.
Then, the movements by which one thing arrives at a state contrary to
its nature, have to be considered as analogous to that to which they

But what common element is there in alteration, growth and generation,
and their contraries? What is there in common between these movements,
and the displacement in space, when you consider the four movements,
as such?[425] The common element is that the moved thing, after the
movement, is no longer in the former state; that it no more remains
quiet, and does not rest so long as the movement lasts. It ceaselessly
passes to another state, alters, and does not remain what it was; for
the movement would be vain if it did not make one thing other than it
was. Consequently "otherness" does not consist in one thing becoming
other than it was, and then persisting in this other state, but in
ceaseless alteration. Thus, time is always different from what it was
because it is produced by movement; for it is movement measured in its
march and not in its limit of motion, or stopping point; it follows,
carried away in its course. Further, one characteristic common to
all kinds of movement is that it is the march (or process) by which
potentiality and possibility pass into actualization; for every object
in movement, whatever be the nature of this movement, succeeds in
moving only because it formerly possessed the power of producing an
action, or of experiencing the passion of some particular nature.


23. For sense-objects, which receive their impulse from without,
movement is a stimulus which agitates them, excites them, presses them,
prevents them from slumbering in inertia, from remaining the same, and
makes them present an image of life by their agitation and continual
mutations. Besides, one must not confuse the things that move with
movement; walking is not the feet, but an actualization of the power
connected with the feet. Now as this power is invisible, we perceive
only the agitation of the feet; we see that their present state is
quite different from that in which they would have been, had they
remained in place, and that they have some addition, which however, is
invisible. Thus, being united to objects other than itself, the power
is perceived only accidentally, because one notices that the feet
change place, and do not rest. Likewise, alteration in the altered
object, is recognized only by failure to discover in it the same
quality as before.


What is the seat of a movement acting on an object by passing from
internal power to actualization? Is it in the motor? How will that
which is moved and which suffers be able to receive it? Is it in the
movable element? Why does it not remain in the mover? Movement must
therefore be considered as inseparable from the mover, although not
exclusively; it must pass from the mover into the mobile (element)
without ceasing to be connected with the mover, and it must pass
from the mover to the moved like a breath (or influx).[426] When the
motive power produces locomotion, it gives us an impulse and makes
us change place ceaselessly; when it is calorific, it heats; when,
meeting matter, it imparts thereto its natural organization, and
produces increase; when it removes something from an object, this
object decreases because it is capable thereof; last, when it is the
generative power which enters into action, generation occurs; but if
this generative power be weaker than the destructive power, there
occurs destruction, not of what is already produced, but of what was
in the process of production. Likewise, convalescence takes place as
soon as the force capable of producing health acts and dominates; and
sickness occurs, when the opposite power produces a contrary effect.
Consequently, movement must be studied not only in the things in
which it is produced, but also in those that produce it or transmit
it. The property of movement consists therefore in being a movement
endowed with some particular quality, or being something definite in a
particular thing.


24. As to movement of displacement, we may ask if ascending be the
opposite of descending, in what the circular movement differs from the
rectilinear movement, what difference obtains in throwing an object
at the head or at the feet. The difference is not very clear, for in
these cases the motive power is the same. Shall we say that there is
one power which causes raising, and another that lowers, especially
if these movements be natural, and if they be the result of lightness
or heaviness? In both cases, there is something in common, namely,
direction towards its natural place, so that the difference is derived
from exterior circumstances. Indeed, in circular and rectilinear
movement, if someone move the same object in turn circularly and
in a straight line, what difference is there in the motive power?
The difference could be derived only from the figure (or outward
appearance) of the movement, unless it should be said that the
circular movement is composite, that it is not a veritable movement,
and that it does not produce any change by itself. In all of these
cases, the movement of displacement is identical, and presents only
adventitious differences.


25. Of what do composition (blending, or mixture) and decomposition
consist? Do they constitute other kinds of movement than those already
noticed, generation and destruction, growth and decrease, movement
of displacement and alteration? Shall composition and decomposition
be reduced to some one of these kinds of motion, or shall we look
at this process inversely? If composition consist in approximating
one thing to another, and in joining them together; and if, on the
other hand, decomposition consist in separating the things which were
joined, we have here only two movements of displacement, a uniting,
and a separating one. We should be able to reduce composition and
decomposition to one of the above recognized kinds of motion, if
we were to acknowledge that this composition was mingling,[427]
combination, fusion, and union--a union which consists in two things
uniting, and not in being already united. Indeed, composition includes
first the movement of displacement, and then an alteration; just as,
in increase, there was first the movement of displacement, and then
movement in the kind of the quality.[428] Likewise, here there is first
the movement of displacement, then the composition or decomposition,
according as things approximate or separate.[429] Often also
decomposition is accompanied or followed by a movement of displacement,
but the things which separate undergo a modification different from
the movement of displacement; similarly, composition is a modification
which follows the movement of displacement, but which has a different


Shall we have to admit that composition and decomposition are
movements which exist by themselves, and analyze alteration into them?
Condensation is explained as undergoing an alteration; that means, as
becoming composite. On the other hand, rarefaction is also explained
as undergoing an alteration, namely, that of decomposition; when, for
instance, one mingles water and wine, each of these two things becomes
other than it was, and it is the composition which has operated the
alteration. We will answer that here composition and decomposition no
doubt precede certain alterations, but these alterations are something
different than compositions and decompositions. Other alterations
(certainly) are not compositions and decompositions, for neither can
condensation nor rarefaction be reduced to these movements, nor are
they composed of them. Otherwise, it would be necessary to acknowledge
the (existence of) emptiness. Besides, how could you explain blackness
and whiteness, as being composed of composition and decomposition?
This doctrine would destroy all colors and qualities, or at least,
the greater part of them; for if all alteration, that means, all
change of quality, consisted in a composition or decomposition, the
result would not be the production of a quality, but an aggregation or
disaggregation. How indeed could you explain the movements of teaching
and studying by mere "composition"?


26. Let us now examine the different kinds of movements. Shall we
classify movements of displacement in movements upwards and downwards,
rectilinear or curvilinear, or in movements of animate and inanimate
beings? There is indeed a difference between the movement of inanimate
beings, and that of animate beings; and these latter have different
kinds of motion, such as walking, flying, and swimming. Their movements
could also be analyzed in two other ways, according as it was
conformable to, or against their nature; but this would not explain
the outer differences of movements. Perhaps the movements themselves
produce these differences, and do not exist without them; nevertheless,
it is nature that seems to be the principle of the movements, and of
their exterior differences. It would further be possible to classify
movements as natural, artificial, and voluntary; of the natural, there
are alteration and destruction; of the artificial, there are the
building of houses, and construction of vessels; of the voluntary,
there are meditation, learning, devoting oneself to political
occupations, and, in general, speaking and acting. Last, we might, in
growth, alteration and generation, distinguish the natural movement,
and that contrary to nature; or even establish a classification founded
on the nature of the subjects in which these movements occur.


27. Let us now study stability or stillness, which is the contrary of
movement.[425] Are we to consider it itself a genus, or to reduce it
to some one of the known genera? First, stability rather suits the
intelligible world, and stillness the sense-world. Let us now examine
stillness. If it be identical with stability, it is useless to look for
it here below where nothing is stable, and where apparent stability
is in reality only a slower movement. If stillness be different from
stability, because the latter refers to what is completely immovable,
and stillness to what is actually fixed, but is naturally movable
even when it does not actually move, the following distinction should
be established. If stillness here below be considered, this rest is
a movement which has not yet ceased, but which is imminent; if by
stillness is understood the complete cessation of movement in the
moved, it will be necessary to examine whether there be anything here
below that is absolutely without movement. As it is impossible for one
thing to possess simultaneously all the species of movement, and as
there are necessarily movements that are not realized in it--since it
is usual to say that some particular movement is in something--when
something undergoes no displacement, and seems still in respect to
this movement, should one not say about it that in this respect it is
not moving? Stillness is therefore the negation of movement. Now no
negation constitutes a genus. The thing we are considering is at rest
only in respect to local movement; stillness expresses therefore only
the negation of this movement.


It may perhaps be asked, why is movement not rather the negation of
rest? We shall then answer that movement (is something positive), that
it brings something with it; that it has some efficiency, that it
communicates an impulsion to the subject, that produces or destroys
many things; stillness, on the contrary, is nothing outside of the
subject which is still, and means no more than that the latter is still.


But why should we not regard the stability of intelligible things also
as a negation of movement? Because stability is not the privation of
movement; it does not begin to exist when movement ceases, and it does
not hinder it from simultaneous existence with it. In intelligible
being, stability does not imply the cessation of movement of that whose
nature it is to move.[430] On the contrary, so far as intelligible
being is contained in (or, expressed by) stability, it is stable;
so far as it moves, it will ever move; it is therefore stable by
stability, and movable by movement. The body, however, is no doubt
moved by movement, but it rests only in the absence of movement, when
it is deprived of the movement that it ought to have. Besides, what
would stability be supposed to imply (if it were supposed to exist
in sense-objects)? When somebody passes from sickness to health, he
enters on convalescence. What kind of stillness shall we oppose to
convalescence? Shall we oppose to it that condition from which that man
had just issued? That state was sickness, and not stability. Shall we
oppose to it the state in which that man has just entered? That state
is health, which is not identical with stability. To say that sickness
and health are each of them a sort of stability, is to consider
sickness and health as species of stability, which is absurd. Further,
if it were said that stability is an accident of health, it would
result that before stability health would not be health. As to such
arguments, let each reason according to his fancy!


28. We have demonstrated that acting and experiencing were movements;
that, among the movements, some are absolute, while others constitute
actions or passions.[431]

We have also demonstrated that the other things that are called genera
must be reduced to the genera we have set forth.[432]

We have also studied relation, defining it as a habit, a "manner of
being" of one thing in respect of another, which results from the
co-operation of two things; we have explained that, when a habit of
being constitutes a reference, this thing is something relative, not
so much as it is being, but as far as it is a part of this being, as
are the hand, the head, the cause, the principle, or the element.[433]
The relatives might be divided according to the scheme of the ancient
(philosophers), by saying that some of them are efficient causes, while
others are measures, that the former distinguish themselves by their
resemblances and differences, while the latter consist in excess or in

Such are our views about the (categories, or) genera (of existence).


Of Time and Eternity.[435]



(1.)[436] When saying that eternity and time differ, that eternity
refers to perpetual existence, and time to what "becomes" (this visible
world), we are speaking off-hand, spontaneously, intuitionally, and
common language supports these forms of expression. When however we
try to define our conceptions thereof in greater detail, we become
embarrassed; the different opinions of ancient philosophers, and often
even the same opinions, are interpreted differently. We however shall
limit ourselves to an examination of these opinions, and we believe
that we can fulfil our task of answering all questions by explaining
the teachings of the ancient philosophers, without starting any minute
disquisition of our own. We do indeed insist that some of these ancient
philosophers, these blessed men[437] have achieved the truth. It
remains only to decide which of them have done so, and how we ourselves
can grasp their thought.


First, we have to examine that of which eternity consists, according
to those who consider it as different from time; for, by gaining a
conception of the model (eternity), we shall more clearly understand
its image called time.[438] If then, before observing eternity, we form
a conception of time, we may, by reminiscence, from here below, rise to
the contemplation of the model to which time, as its image, resembles.


1. (2). How shall we define the aeon (or, eternity)? Shall we say
that it is the intelligible "being" (or, nature) itself, just as
we might say that time is the heaven and the universe, as has been
done, it seems, by certain (Pythagorean) philosophers?[439] Indeed,
as we conceive and judge that the aeon (eternity) is something very
venerable, we assert the same of intelligible "being," and yet it is
not easy to decide which of the two should occupy the first rank;
as, on the other hand, the principle which is superior to them (the
One) could not be thus described, it would seem that we would have
the right to identify intelligible "being" (or, nature), and the aeon
(or, eternity), so much the more as the intelligible world and the
aeon (age, or eternity), comprise the same things. Nevertheless, were
we to place one of these principles within the other, we would posit
intelligible nature ("being") within the aeon (age, or eternity).
Likewise, when we say that an intelligible entity is eternal, as
(Plato) does:[346] "the nature of the model is eternal," we are
thereby implying that the aeon (age or eternity) is something distinct
from intelligible nature ("being"), though referring thereto, as
attribute or presence. The mere fact that both the aeon (eternity) and
intelligible nature ("being"), are both venerable does not imply their
identity; the venerableness of the one may be no more than derivative
from that of the other. The argument that both comprise the same
entities would still permit intelligible nature ("being") to contain
all the entities it contains as parts, while the aeon (or age, or
eternity) might contain them as wholes, without any distinctions as
parts; it contains them, in this respect, that they are called eternal
on its account.


Some define eternity as the "rest"[440] of intelligible nature
("being"), just like time is defined as "motion" here below. In this
case we should have to decide whether eternity be identical with
rest in general, or only in such rest as would be characteristic of
intelligible nature ("being"). If indeed eternity were to be identified
with rest in general, we would first have to observe that rest could
not be said to be eternal, any more than we can say that eternity is
eternal, for we only call eternal that which participates in eternity;
further, under this hypothesis, we should have to clear up how movement
could ever be eternal; for if it were eternal, it would rest (or, it
would stop). Besides, how could the idea of rest thus imply the idea
of perpetuity, not indeed of that perpetuity which is in time, but of
that of which we conceive when speaking of the aeonial (or, eternal)?
Besides, if the rest characteristic of intelligible "being" in itself
alone contain perpetuity, this alone would exclude from eternity the
other genera (or categories) of existence. Further yet, eternity has to
be conceived of as not only in rest, but (according to Plato[438]) also
in unity, which is something that excludes every interval--otherwise,
it would become confused with time;--now rest does not imply the idea
of unity, nor that of an interval. Again, we assert that eternity
resides in unity; and therefore participates in rest without being
identified therewith.


2. (3). What then is that thing by virtue of which the intelligible
world is eternal and perpetual? Of what does perpetuity consist?
Either perpetuity and eternity are identical, or eternity is related
to perpetuity. Evidently, however, eternity consists in an unity, but
in an unity formed by multiple elements, in a conception of nature
derived from intelligible entities, or which is united to them, or
is perceived in them, so that all these intelligible entities form
an unity, though this unity be at the same time manifold in nature
and powers. Thus contemplating the manifold power of the intelligible
world, we call "being" its substrate; movement its life; rest its
permanence; difference the manifoldness of its principles; and
identity, their unity.[441] Synthesizing these principles, they fuse
into one single life, suppressing their difference, considering
the inexhaustible duration, the identity and immutability of their
action, of their life and thought, for which there is neither change
nor interval. The contemplation of all these entities constitutes
the contemplation of eternity; and we see a life that is permanent
in its identity, which ever possesses all present things, which does
not contain them successively, but simultaneously; whose manner of
existence is not different at various times, but whose perfection is
consummate and indivisible. It therefore contains all things at the
same time, as in a single point, without any of them draining off; it
resides in identity, that is, within itself, undergoing no change. Ever
being in the present, because it never lost anything, and will never
acquire anything, it is always what it is. Eternity is not intelligible
existence; it is the (light) that radiates from this existence, whose
identity completely excludes the future and admits nothing but present
existence, which remains what it is, and does not change.


What that it does not already possess could (intelligible existence)
possess later? What could it be in the future, that it is not now?
There is nothing that could be added to or subtracted from its
present state; for it was not different from what it is now; and it
is not to possess anything that it does not necessarily possess now,
so that one could never say of it, "it was"; for what did it have
that it does not now have? Nor could it be said of it, "it will be";
for what could it acquire? It must therefore remain what it is. (As
Plato thought[438]), that possesses eternity of which one cannot say
either "it was," or "will be," but only, "it is;" that whose existence
is immutable, because the past did not make it lose anything, and
because the future will not make it acquire anything. Therefore, on
examining the existence of intelligible nature, we see that its life is
simultaneously entire, complete, and without any kind of an interval.
That is the eternity we seek.


3. (4). Eternity is not an extrinsic accident of (intelligible) nature,
but is in it, of it, and with it. We see that it is intimately inherent
in (intelligible nature) because we see that all other things, of which
we say that they exist on high, are of and with this (intelligible)
nature; for the things that occupy the first rank in existence must be
united with the first Beings, and subsist there. Thus the beautiful
is in them, and comes from them; thus also does truth dwell in them.
There the whole in a certain way exists within the part; the parts
also are in the whole; because this whole, really being the whole, is
not composed of parts, but begets the parts themselves, a condition
necessary to its being a whole. In this whole, besides, truth does
not consist in the agreement of one notion with another, but is the
very nature of each of the things of which it is the truth. In order,
really to be a whole, this real whole must be all not only in the sense
that it is all things, but also in the sense that it lacks nothing. In
this case, nothing will, for it, be in the future; for to say that,
for it, something "will be" for it implies that it lacked something
before that, that it was not yet all; besides, nothing can happen to it
against nature, because it is impassible. As nothing could happen to
it, for it nothing "is to be," "will be," or "has been."


As the existence of begotten things consists in perpetually acquiring
(something or another), they will be annihilated by a removal of their
future. An attribution of the future to the (intelligible) entities of
a nature contrary (to begotten things), would degrade them from the
rank of existences. Evidently they will not be consubstantial with
existence, if this existence of theirs be in the future or past. The
nature ("being") of begotten things on the contrary consists in going
from the origin of their existence to the last limits of the time
beyond which they will no longer exist; that is in what their future
consists.[442] Abstraction of their future diminishes their life, and
consequently their existence. That is also what will happen to the
universe, in so far as it will exist; it aspires to being what it
should be, without any interruption, because it derives existence from
the continual production of fresh actualizations; for the same reason,
it moves in a circle because it desires to possess intelligible nature
("being"). Such is the existence that we discover in begotten things,
such is the cause that makes them ceaselessly aspire to existence
in the future. The Beings that occupy the first rank and which are
blessed, have no desire of the future, because they are already all
that it lies in them to be, and because they possess all the life they
are ever to possess. They have therefore nothing to seek, since there
is no future for them; neither can they receive within themselves
anything for which there might be a future. Thus the nature ("being")
of intelligible existence is absolute, and entire, not only in its
parts, but also in its totality, which reveals no fault, which lacks
nothing, and to which nothing that in any way pertains to nonentity
could be added; for intelligible existence must not only embrace in
its totality and universality all beings, but it must also receive
nothing that pertains to nonentity. It is this disposition and nature
of intelligible existence that constitutes the aeon (or eternity);
for (according to Aristotle)[443] this word is derived from "aei on,"
"being continually."


4. (5). That this is the state of affairs appears when, on applying
one's intelligence to the contemplation of some of the intelligible
Entities, it becomes possible to assert, or rather, to see that it is
absolutely incapable of ever having undergone any change; otherwise, it
would not always exist; or rather, it would not always exist entirely.
Is it thus perpetual? Doubtless; its nature is such that one may
recognize that it is always such as it is, and that it could never be
different in the future; so that, should one later on again contemplate
it, it will be found similar to itself (unchanged). Therefore, if
we should never cease from contemplation, if we should ever remain
united thereto while admiring its nature, and if in that actualization
we should show ourselves indefatigable, we would succeed in raising
ourselves to eternity; but, to be as eternal as existence, we must not
allow ourselves to be in anyway distracted from contemplating eternity,
and eternal nature in the eternal itself. If that which exists thus be
eternal, and exists ever, evidently that which never lowers itself to
an inferior nature; which possesses life in its fulness, without ever
having received, receiving, or being about to receive anything; this
nature would be "aidion," or perpetual. Perpetuity is the property
constitutive of such a substrate; being of it, and in it.[443] Eternity
is the substrate in which this property manifests. Consequently reason
dictates that eternity is something venerable, identical with the
divinity.[444] We might even assert that the age ("aion," or eternity)
is a divinity that manifests within itself, and outside of itself in
its immutable and identical existence, in the permanence of its life.
Besides, there is nothing to surprise any one if in spite of that we
assert a manifoldness in the divinity. Every intelligible entity is
manifoldness because infinite in power, infinite in the sense that it
lacks nothing; it exercises this privilege peculiarly because it is not
subject to losing anything.


Eternity, therefore, may be defined as the life that is at present
infinite because it is universal and loses nothing, as it has no past
nor future; otherwise it would no longer be whole. To say that it is
universal and loses nothing explains the expression: "the life that is
at present infinite."


5. (6). As this nature that is eternal and radiant with beauty refers
to the One, issues from Him, and returns to Him, as it never swerves
from Him, ever dwelling around Him and in Him, and lives according
to Him, Plato was quite right[438] in saying not casually, but with
great profundity of thought, that "eternity is immutable in unity."
Thereby Plato not only reduces the eternity to the unity that it is
in itself, but also relates the life of existence to the One itself.
This life is what we seek; its permanence is eternity. Indeed that
which remains in that manner, and which remains the same thing, that
is, the actualization of that life which remains turned towards, and
united with the One, that whose existence and life are not deceptive,
that truly is eternity. (For intelligible or) true existence is to
have no time when it does not exist, no time when it exists in a
different manner; it is therefore to exist in an immutable manner
without any diversity, without being first in one, and then in
another state. To conceive of (existence), therefore, we must neither
imagine intervals in its existence, nor suppose that it develops or
acquires, nor believe that it contains any succession; consequently
we could neither distinguish within it, or assert within it either
before or after. If it contain neither "before" nor "after," if the
truest thing that can be affirmed of it be that it is, if it exist as
"being" and life, here again is eternity revealed. When we say that
existence exists always, and that there is not one time in which it
is, and another in which it is not, we speak thus only for the sake
of greater clearness; for when we use the word "always," we do not
take it in an absolute sense; but if we use it to show that existence
is incorruptible, it might well mislead the mind in leading it to
issue out from the unity (characteristic of eternity) to make it run
through the manifold (which is foreign to eternity). "Always" further
indicates that existence is never defective. It might perhaps be better
to say simply "existence." But though the word "existence" suffices to
designate "being," as several philosophers have confused "being" with
generation, it was necessary to clear up the meaning of existence by
adding the term "always." Indeed, though we are referring only to one
and the same thing by "existence" and "existing always," just as when
we say "philosopher," and "the true philosopher," nevertheless, as
there are false philosophers, it has been necessary to add to the term
"philosophers" the adjective "true." Likewise, it has been necessary to
add the term "always" to that of "existing," and that of "existing" to
that of "always;" that is the derivation of the expression "existing
always," and consequently (by contraction), "aion," or, eternity.
Therefore the idea "always" must be united to that of "existing," so as
to designate the "real being."


"Always" must therefore be applied to the power which contains no
interval in its existence, which has need of nothing outside of what
it possesses, because it possesses everything, because it is every
being, and thus lacks nothing. Such a nature could not be complete
in one respect, but incomplete in another. Even if what is in time
should appear complete, as a body that suffices the soul appears
complete, though it be complete only for the soul; that which is in
time needs the future, and consequently is incomplete in respect to
the time it stands in need of; when it succeeds in enjoying the time
to which it aspires, and succeeds in becoming united thereto, even
though it still remain imperfect it still is called perfect by verbal
similarity. But the existence whose characteristic it is not to need
the future, not to be related to any other time--whether capable
of being measured, or indefinite, and still to be indefinite--the
existence that already possesses all it should possess is the very
existence that our intelligence seeks out; it does not derive its
existence from any particular quality, but exists before any quantity.
As it is not any kind of quantity, it could not admit within itself
any kind of quantity. Otherwise, as its life would be divided, it
would itself cease to be absolutely indivisible; but existence must
be as indivisible in its life as in its nature ("being"). (Plato's
expression,[446]) "the Creator was good" does indeed refer to the
notion of the universe, and indicates that, in the Principle superior
to the universe, nothing began to exist at any particular time. Never,
therefore, did the universe begin to exist within time, because though
its Author existed "before" it, it was only in the sense that its
author was the cause of its existence. But, after having used the word
"was," to express this thought, Plato immediately corrects himself,
and he demonstrates that this word does not apply to the Things that
possess eternity.


6. (7). Speaking thus of eternity, it is not anything foreign to us,
and we do not need to consult the testimony of anybody but ourselves.
For indeed, how could we understand anything that we could not
perceive? How could we perceive something that would be foreign to us?
We ourselves, therefore, must participate in eternity. But how can we
do so, since we are in time? To understand how one can simultaneously
be in time and in eternity, it will be necessary to study time. We
must therefore descend from eternity to study time. To find eternity,
we have been obliged to rise to the intelligible world; now we are
obliged to descend therefrom to treat of time; not indeed descending
therefrom entirely, but only so far as time itself descended therefrom.



If those blessed ancient philosophers had not already uttered their
views about time, we would only need to add to the idea of eternity
what we have to say of the idea of time, and to set forth our opinion
on the subject, trying to make it correspond with the already expressed
notion of eternity. But we now must examine the most reasonable
opinions that have been advanced about time, and observe how far our
own opinion may conform thereto.


To begin with, we may divide the generally accepted opinions about
time into three classes: time as movement, as something movable, or
as some part of movement. It would be too contrary to the notion of
time to try to define it as rest, as being at rest, or as some part of
rest; for time is incompatible with identity (and consequently with
rest, and with what is at rest). Those who consider time as movement,
claim that it is either any kind of movement, or the movement of the
universe. Those who consider it as something movable are thinking of
the sphere of the universe; while those who consider time as some part
of movement consider it either as the interval of movement, or as its
measure, or as some consequence of movement in general, or regular


7. (8). Time cannot (as the Stoics claim,[447]) be movement. Neither
can we gather together all movements, so as to form but a single one,
nor can we consider the regular movement only; for these two kinds of
motion are within time. If we were to suppose that there was a movement
that did not operate within time, such a movement would still be far
removed from being time, since, under this hypothesis, the movement
itself is entirely different from that in which the movement occurs.
Amidst the many reasons which, in past and present, have been advanced
to refute this opinion, a single one suffices: namely, that movement
can cease and stop, while time never suspends its flight. To the
objection that the movement of the universe never stops, we may answer
that this movement, if it consist in the circular movement (of the
stars, according to Hestius of Perinthus; or of the sun, according to
Eratosthenes[447]) operates within a definite time, at the end of which
it returns to the same point of the heavens, but it does not accomplish
this within the same space of time taken up in fulfilling the half of
its course. One of these movements is only half of the other, and the
second is double. Besides, both, the one that runs through half of
space, and the one that runs through the whole of it, are movements of
the universe. Besides, it has been noticed that the movement of the
exterior sphere is the swiftest. This distinction supports our view,
for it implies that the movement of this sphere, and the time used to
operate it, are different entities; the most rapid movement is the one
that takes up the least time, and runs through the greatest amount of
space; the slowest movements are those that employ the longest time,
and run through only a part of that space.[448]


On the other hand, if time be not the movement of the sphere,
evidently it is far less (than that which is movable, as thought the
Pythagoreans,[449]) or (as Pythagoras thought), the sphere (of heaven)
itself, as some have thought, because it moves. (This fact alone is
sufficient to refute the opinion that confuses time with that which is


Is time then some part of movement? (Zeno[450]) calls it the interval
of movement; but the interval is not the same for all movements, even
if the latter were of similar nature; for movements that operate within
space may be swifter or slower. It is possible that the intervals of
the most rapid and of the slowest movement might be measured by some
third interval, which might far more reasonably be considered time. But
which of these three intervals shall be called time? Rather, which of
all the intervals, infinite in number as they are, shall time be? If
time be considered the interval of the regular movement, it will not be
the particular interval of every regular movement; otherwise, as there
are several regular movements, there would be several kinds of time. If
time be defined as the interval of movement of the universe, that is,
the interval contained within this movement, it will be nothing else
than this movement itself.


Besides, this movement is a definite quantity. Either this quantity
will be measured by the extension of the space traversed, and the
interval will consist in that extension; but that extension is space,
and not time. Or we shall say that movement has a certain interval
because it is continuous, and that instead of stopping immediately it
always becomes prolonged; but this continuity is nothing else than the
magnitude (that is, the duration) of the movement. Even though after
consideration of a movement it be estimated as great, as might be said
of a "great heat"--this does not yet furnish anything in which time
might appear and manifest; we have here only a sequence of movements
which succeed one another like waves, and only the observed interval
between them; now the sequence of movements forms a number, such as
two or three; and the interval is an extension. Thus the magnitude of
the movement will be a number, say, such as ten; or an interval that
manifests in the extension traversed by the movement. Now the notion
of time is not revealed herein, but we find only a quantity that is
produced within time. Otherwise, time, instead of being everywhere,
will exist only in the movement as an attribute in a substrate, which
amounts to saying that time is movement; for the interval (of the
movement) is not outside of movement, and is only a non-instantaneous
movement. If then time be a non-instantaneous movement, just as we
often say that some particular instantaneous fact occurs within time,
we shall be forced to ask the difference between what is and what is
not instantaneous. Do these things differ in relation to time? Then the
persisting movement and its interval are not time, but within time.


Somebody might object that time is indeed the interval of movement, but
that it is not the characteristic interval of movement itself, being
only the interval in which movement exerts its extension, following
along with it. All these terms lack definition. This (extension) is
nothing else than the time within which the movement occurs. But
that is precisely the question at issue, from the very start. It is
as if a person who had been asked to define time should answer "time
is the interval of the movement produced within time." What then is
this interval called time, when considered outside of the interval
characteristic of movement? If the interval characteristic of time
be made to consist in movement, where shall the duration of rest be
posited? Indeed, for one object to be in motion implies that another
(corresponding object) is at rest; now the time of these objects is the
same, though for one it be the time of movement, and for the other the
time of rest (as thought Strato[451]). What then is the nature of this
interval? It cannot be an interval of space, since space is exterior
(to the movements that occur within it).


8. (9). Let us now examine in what sense it may be said (by
Aristotle[452]) that time is the number and measure of movement,
which definition seems more reasonable, because of the continuity
of movement. To begin with, following the method adopted with the
definition of time as "the interval of movement," we might ask whether
time be the measure and number of any kind of movement.[453] For how
indeed could we give a numerical valuation of unequal or irregular
movement. What system of numbering or measurement shall we use for
this? If the same measure be applied to slow or to swift movement,
in their case measure and number will be the same as the number ten
applied equally to horses and oxen; and further, such measure might
also be applied to dry and wet substances. If time be a measure of
this kind, we clearly see that it is the measure of movements, but we
do not discover what it may be in itself. If the number ten can be
conceived as a number, after making abstraction of the horses it served
to measure, if therefore a measure possess its own individuality,
even while no longer measuring anything, the case must be similar
with time, inasmuch as it is a measure. If then time be a number in
itself, in what does it differ from the number ten, or from any other
number composed of unities? As it is a continuous measure, and as it
is a quantity, it might, for instance, turn out to be something like
a foot-rule. It would then be a magnitude, as, for instance, a line,
which follows the movement; but how will this line be able to measure
what it follows? Why would it measure one thing rather than another?
It seems more reasonable to consider this measure, not as the measure
of every kind of movement, but only as the measure of the movement it
follows.[452] Then that measure is continuous, so far as the movement
it follows itself continue to exist. In this case, we should not
consider measure as something exterior, and separated from movement,
but as united to the measured movement. What then will measure? Is it
the movement that will be measured, and the extension that will measure
it? Which of these two things will time be? Will it be the measuring
movement, or the measuring extension? Time will be either the movement
measured by extension, or the measuring extension; or some third thing
which makes use of extension, as one makes use of a foot-rule, to
measure the quantity of movement. But in all these cases, we must, as
has already been noticed, suppose that movement is uniform; for unless
the movement be uniform, one and universal, the theory that movement is
a measure of any kind whatever will become almost impossible. If time
be "measured movement," that is, measured by quantity--besides granting
that it at all needs to be measured--movement must not be measured by
itself, but by something different. On the other hand, if movement
have a measure different from itself, and if, consequently, we need a
continuous measure to measure it, the result would be that extension
itself would need measure, so that movement, being measured, may have
a quantity which is determined by that of the thing according to which
it is measured. Consequently, under this hypothesis, time would be
the number of the extension which follows movement, and not extension
itself which follows movement.


What is this number? Is it composed of unities? How does it measure?
That would still have to be explained. Now let us suppose that we had
discovered how it measures; we would still not have discovered the time
that measures, but a time that was such or such an amount. Now that is
not the same thing as time; there is a difference between time and some
particular quantity of time. Before asserting that time has such or
such a quantity, we have to discover the nature of that which has that
quantity. We may grant that time is the number which measures movement,
while remaining exterior thereto, as "ten" is in "ten horses" without
being conceived with them (as Aristotle claimed, that it was not a
numbering, but a numbered number). But in this case, we still have to
discover the nature of this number that, before numbering, is what it
is, as would be "ten" considered in itself.[454] It may be said that it
is that number which, by following number, measures according to the
priority and posteriority of that movement.[452] Nor do we yet perceive
the nature of that number which measures by priority and posteriority.
In any case, whatever measures by priority or posteriority, or by
a present moment,[455] or by anything else, certainly does measure
according to time. Thus this number (?) which measures movement
according to priority or posteriority, must touch time, and, to measure
movement, be related thereto. Prior and posterior necessarily designate
either different parts of space, as for instance the beginning of a
stadium, or parts of time. What is called priority is time that ends
with the present; what is called posteriority, is the time that begins
at the present. Time therefore is something different from the number
that measures movement according to priority or posteriority,--I do
not say, any kind of movement, but still regular movement. Besides,
why should we have time by applying number either to what measures, or
to what is measured? For in this case these two may be identical. If
movement exist along with the priority and posteriority which relate
thereto, why will we not have time without number? This would amount
to saying that extension has such a quantity only in case of the
existence of somebody who recognizes that it possesses that quantity.
Since (Aristotle[456]) says that time is infinite, and that it is such
effectually, how can it contain number without our taking a portion of
time to measure it? From that would result that time existed before
it was measured. But why could time not exist before the existence
of a soul to measure it? (Aristotle) might have answered that it was
begotten by the soul. The mere fact that the soul measures time need
not necessarily imply that the soul produced the time; time, along
with its suitable quantity, would exist even if nobody measured it. If
however it be said that it is the soul that makes use of extension to
measure time, we will answer that this is of no importance to determine
the notion of time.


9. (10). When (Epicurus[457]) says that time is a consequence of
movement, he is not explaining the nature of time; this would demand a
preliminary definition of the consequence of movement. Besides, this
alleged consequence of movement--granting the possibility of such
a consequence--must be prior, simultaneous, or posterior. For, in
whatever way we conceive of it, it is within time. Consequently, if the
consequence of movement be time, the result would be that time is a
consequence of movement in time (which is nonsense).


Now, as our purpose is to discover, not what time is not, but what
it really is, we notice that this question has been treated at great
length by many thinkers before us; and if we were to undertake to
consider all existing opinions on the subject, we would be obliged to
write a veritable history of the subject. We have here, however, gone
to the limit of our ability in treating it without specializing in it.
As has been seen, it is easy enough to refute the opinion that time
is the measure of the movement of the universe, and to raise against
this opinion the objections that we have raised against the definition
of time as the measure of movement in general, opposing thereto the
irregularity of movement, and the other points from which suitable
arguments may be drawn. We are therefore free to devote ourselves to an
explanation of what time really is.


10. (11). To accomplish this we shall have to return to the nature
which, as we pointed out above, was essential to eternity; that
immutable life, wholly realized all at once, infinite and perfect,
subsisting in, and referring to unity. Time was not yet, or at least,
it did not yet exist for the intelligible entities. Only, it was yet
to be born of them,[458] because (as was the world), time, by both its
reason and nature, was posterior to the (intelligible entities[459]).
Are we trying to understand how time issued from among intelligible
entities while these were resting within themselves? Here it would be
useless to call upon the Muses, for they did not yet exist. Still this
might perhaps not be useless; for (in a certain sense, that time had
already begun, then, so far as they existed within the sense-world)
they existed already. In any case, the birth of time will be plain
enough if we consider it only as it is born and manifested. Thus much
can be said about it.


Before priority and posteriority, time, which did not yet exist,
brooded within existence itself. But an active nature (the universal
Soul), which desired to be mistress of herself, to possess herself, and
ceaselessly to add to the present, entered into motion, as did time,
along with (the Soul). We achieve a representation of the time that
is the image of eternity, by the length that we must go through with
to reach what follows, and is posterior, towards one moment, and then
towards another.[460]


As the universal Soul contained an activity that agitated her, and
impelled her to transport into another world what she still saw on
high, she was willing to retain all things that were present at the
same time. (Time arose not by a single fiat, but as the result of a
process. This occurred within the universal Soul, but may well be
first illustrated by the more familiar process within) Reason, which
distributes unity, not indeed That which remains within itself, but
that which is exterior to itself. Though this process seem to be a
strengthening one, reason developing out of the seed in which it
brooded unto manifoldness, it is really a weakening (or destructive
one), inasmuch as it weakened manifoldness by division, and weakened
reason by causing it to extend. The case was similar with the universal
Soul. When she produced the sense-world, the latter was animated by
a movement which was only an image of intelligible movement. (While
trying to strengthen) this image-movement to the extent of the
intelligible movement, she herself (weakened), instead of remaining
exclusively eternal, became temporal and (involuntarily) subjected what
she had produced to the conditions of time, transferring entirely into
time not only the universe, but also all its revolutions. Indeed, as
the world moves within the universal Soul, which is its location, it
also moves within the time that this Soul bears within herself.[461]
Manifesting her power in a varied and successive manner, by her mode
of action, the universal Soul begat succession. Indeed, she passes
from one conception to another, and consequently to what did not exist
before, since this conception was not effective, and since the present
life of the soul does not resemble her former life. Her life is varied,
and from the variety of her life results the variety of time.[462]


Thus, the extension of the life of the soul produces time, and the
perpetual progression of her life produces the perpetuity of time, and
her former life constitutes the past. We may therefore properly define
time as the life of the soul considered in the movement by which she
passes from one actualization to another.


We have already decided that eternity is life characterized by rest,
identity, immutability and infinity (in intelligence). It is, further,
(admitted that) this our world is the image of the superior World
(of intelligence). We have also come to the conclusion that time
is the image of eternity. Consequently, corresponding to the Life
characteristic of Intelligence, this world must contain another life
which bears the same name, and which belongs to that power of the
universal Soul. Instead of the movement of Intelligence, we will have
the movement characteristic of a part of the soul (as the universal
Soul ceaselessly passes from one thought to another). Corresponding to
the permanence, identity, and immutability (of Intelligence), we will
have the mobility of a principle which ceaselessly passes from one
actualization to another. Corresponding to the unity and the absence
of all extension, we will have a mere image of unity, an image which
exists only by virtue of continuity. Corresponding to an infinity
already entirely present, we will have a progression towards infinity
which perpetually tends towards what follows. Corresponding to what
exists entirely at the same time, we will have what exists by parts,
and what will never exist entire at the same time. The soul's existence
will have to be ceaseless acquiring of existence; if it is to reveal an
image of the complete, universal and infinite existence of the soul;
that is the reason its existence is able to represent the intelligible


Time, therefore, is not something external to the soul, any more than
eternity is exterior to existence. It is neither a consequence nor a
result of it, any more than eternity is a consequence of existence. It
appears within the soul, is in her and with her, as eternity is in and
with existence.


11. (12). The result of the preceding considerations is that time
must be conceived of as the length of the life characteristic of the
universal Soul; that her course is composed of changes that are equal,
uniform, and insensible, so that that course implies a continuity of
action. Now let us for a moment suppose that the power of the Soul
should cease to act, and to enjoy the life she at present possesses
without interruption or limit, because this life is the activity
characteristic of an eternal Soul, an action by which the Soul does
not return upon herself, and does not concentrate on herself, though
enabling her to beget and produce. Now supposing that the Soul
should cease to act, that she should apply her superior part to the
intelligible world, and to eternity, and that she should there remain
calmly united--what then would remain, unless eternity? For what room
for succession would that allow, if all things were immovable in unity?
How could she contain priority, posteriority, or more or less duration
of time? How could the Soul apply herself to some object other than
that which occupies her? Further, one could not then even say that
she applied herself to the subject that occupied her; she would have
to be separated therefrom in order to apply herself thereto. Neither
would the universal Sphere exist, since it does not exist before
time, because it exists and moves within time. Besides, even if this
Sphere were at rest during the activity of the Soul, we could measure
the duration of her rest because this rest is posterior to the rest
of eternity. Since time is annihilated so soon as the Soul ceases to
act, and concentrates in unity, time must be produced by the beginning
of the Soul's motion towards sense-objects, by the Soul's life.
Consequently (Plato[463]) says that time is born with the universe,
because the Soul produced time with the universe; for it is this very
action of the Soul which has produced this universe. This action
constitutes time, and the universe is within time. Plato does indeed
call the movements of the stars, time; but evidently only figuratively,
as (Plato) subsequently says that the stars were created to indicate
the divisions of time, and to permit us to measure it easily.


Indeed, as it was not possible to determine the time itself of the
Soul, and to measure within themselves the parts of an invisible and
uncognizable duration, especially for men who did not know how to
count, the (world) Soul created day and night so that their succession
might be the basis of counting as far as two, by the aid of this
variety. Plato[464] indicates that as the source of the notion of
number. Later, observing the space of time which elapses from one dawn
to another, we were able to discover an interval of time determined by
an uniform movement, so far as we direct our gaze thereupon, and as
we use it as a measure by which to measure time. The expression "to
measure time" is premeditated, because time, considered in itself, is
not a measure. How indeed could time measure, and what would time,
while measuring, say? Would time say of anything, "Here is an extension
as large as myself?" What indeed could be the nature of the entity that
would speak of "myself"? Would it be that according to which quantity
is measured? In this case, time would have to be something by itself,
to measure without itself being a measure. The movement of the universe
is measured according to time, but it is not the nature of time to be
the measure of movement; it is such only accidentally; it indicates
the quantity of movement, because it is prior to it, and differs from
it. On the other hand, in the case of a movement produced within a
determinate time, and if a number be added thereto frequently enough,
we succeed in reaching the knowledge of how much time has elapsed.
It is therefore correct to say that the movement of the revolution
operated by the universal Sphere measures time so far as possible, by
its quantity indicating the corresponding quantity of time, since it
can neither be grasped nor conceived otherwise. Thus what is measured,
that is, what is indicated by the revolution of the universal Sphere,
is time. It is not begotten, but only indicated by movement.


The measure of movement, therefore, seems to be what is measured by
a definite movement, but which is other than this movement. There is
a difference, indeed, between that which is measured, and that which
measures; but that which is measured is measured only by accident.
That would amount to saying that what is measured by a foot-rule is
an extension, without defining what extension in itself is. In the
same way, because of the inability to define movement more clearly
because of its indeterminate nature, we say that movement is that which
is measured by space; for, by observation of the space traversed by
movement, we can judge of the quantity of the movement.


12. (13). The revolution of the universal Sphere leads us therefore to
the recognition of time, within which it occurs. Not only is time that
in which (all things "become," that is, grow), but time has to be what
it is even before all things, being that within which everything moves,
or rests with order and uniformity. This is discovered and manifested
to our intelligence, but not produced by regular movement and rest,
especially by movement. Better than rest, indeed, does movement lead us
to a conception of time, and it is either to appreciate the duration
of movement than that of rest. That is what led philosophers to define
time as the measure "of" movement, instead of saying, what probably
lay within their intention, that time is measured "by" movement. Above
all, we must not consider that definition as adequate, adding to it
that which the measured entity is in itself, not limiting ourselves
to express what applies to it only incidentally. Neither did we ever
discern that such was their meaning, and we were unable to understand
their teachings as they evidently posited the measure in the measured
entity. No doubt that which hindered us from understanding them was
that they were addressing their teachings to learned (thinkers), or
well prepared listeners, and therefore, in their writings, they failed
to explain the nature of time considered in itself, whether it be
measure or something measured.


Plato himself, indeed, does say, not that the nature of time is to
be a measure or something measured, but that to make it known there
is, in the circular movement of the universe, a very short element
(the interval of a day), whose object is to demonstrate the smallest
portion of time, through which we are enabled to discover the nature
and quantity of time. In order to indicate to us its nature ("being"),
(Plato[438]) says that it was born with the heavens, and that it is
the mobile image of eternity. Time is mobile because it has no more
permanence than the life of the universal Soul, because it passes on
and flows away therewith; it is born with the heavens, because it is
one and the same life that simultaneously produces the heavens and
time. If, granting its possibility, the life of the Soul were reduced
to the unity (of the Intelligence), there would be an immediate
cessation of time, which exists only in this life, and the heavens,
which exist only through this life.


The theory that time is the priority and posteriority of this (earthly)
movement, and of this inferior life, is ridiculous in that it
would imply on one hand that (the priority and posteriority of this
sense-life) are something; and on the other, refusing to recognize
as something real a truer movement, which includes both priority and
posteriority. It would, indeed, amount to attributing to an inanimate
movement the privilege of containing within itself priority with
posteriority, that is, time; while refusing it to the movement (of the
Soul), whose movement of the universal Sphere is no more than an image.
Still it is from the movement (of the Soul) that originally emanated
priority and posteriority, because this movement is efficient by
itself. By producing all its actualizations it begets succession, and,
at the same time that it begets succession, it produces the passing
from one actualization to another.


(Some objector might ask) why we reduce the movement of the universe
to the movement of the containing Soul, and admit that she is within
time, while we exclude from time the (universal) Soul's movement, which
subsists within her, and perpetually passes from one actualization
to another? The reason is that above the activity of the Soul there
exists nothing but eternity, which shares neither her movement nor her
extension. Thus the primary movement (of Intelligence) finds its goal
in time, begets it, and by its activity informs its duration.


How then is time present everywhere? The life of the Soul is present in
all parts of the world, as the life of our soul is present in all parts
of our body. It may indeed be objected,[465] that time constitutes
neither a hypostatic substance, nor a real existence, being, in
respect to existence, a deception, just as we usually say that the
expressions "He was" and "He will be" are a deception in respect to
the divinity; for then He will be and was just as is that, in which,
according to his assertion, he is going to be.

To answer these objections, we shall have to follow a different method.
Here it suffices to recall what was said above, namely, that by seeing
how far a man in motion has advanced, we can ascertain the quantity
of the movement; and that, when we discern movement by walking, we
simultaneously concede that, before the walking, movement in that man
was indicated by a definite quantity, since it caused his body to
progress by some particular quantity. As the body was moved during
a definite quantity of time, its quantity can be expressed by some
particular quantity of movement--for this is the movement that causes
it--and to its suitable quantity of time. Then this movement will be
applied to the movement of the soul, which, by her uniform action,
produces the interval of time.


To what shall the movement of the (universal) Soul be attributed?
To whatever we may choose to attribute it. This will always be some
indivisible principle, such as primary Motion, which within its
duration contains all the others, and is contained by none other;[466]
for it cannot be contained by anything; it is therefore genuinely
primary. The same obtains with the universal Soul.


Is time also within us?[467] It is uniformly present in the universal
Soul, and in the individual souls that are all united together.[468]
Time, therefore, is not parcelled out among the souls, any more than
eternity is parcelled out among the (Entities in the intelligible
world) which, in this respect, are all mutually uniform.


[1] Arist. Physics, iii. 7.

[2] Or, the finished, the boundary, the Gnostic Horos.

[3] Plato, Philebus, 24; Cary, 37.

[4] Plato, Timaeus, p. 52; Cary, 26.

[5] See vi. 3.13.

[6] See Plato, Philebus, Cary, 40; see ii. 4.11.

[7] See vi. 3.27.

[8] See ii. 4.10.

[9] Timaeus, 39; Cary, 14; see iii. 7.11.

[10] Parmenides, 144; Cary, 37.

[11] Possibly a reference to Numenius' book thereon.

[12] Aristotle, Met. i. 5; Jamblichus, de Vita. Pyth. 28.150; and
29.162; found in their oath; also Numenius, 60.

[13] See vi. 2.7.

[14] See vi. 6.5.

[15] As thought Plato and Aristotle combined, see Ravaisson, Essay, ii.

[16] Atheneus, xii. 546; see i. 6.4.

[17] Plato, Timaeus, 39e, Cary, 15.

[18] See iii. 8.7.

[19] As thought the Pythagoreans; see Sextus Empiricus, Hypotyposes
Pyrrh. 3.18, p. 165.

[20] Olympiodorus, Comm. I Alcibiades, x. p. 95; Arist. Met., i. 5;
Sextus Emp., H. P., iii. 152; Porphyry; Vit. Pyth., 48.

[21] As said Theon of Smyrna, of the Pythagoreans, ii. p. 23;
Jamblichus, Vit. Porph. 28.150; 29.162.

[22] See i. 8.2.

[23] Met. x. 2; iv. 2; v.

[24] Peripatetic commentators on Aristotle's Metaphysics, which was
used as a text-book in Plotinos's school.

[25] See end of Sec. 13.

[26] See vi. 1.6.

[27] See Aristotle, Categories, ii. 6.

[28] As Aristotle thought, Met. x. 2.

[29] See vi. 9.2.

[30] Met. x. 1.

[31] The Numenian secret name of the divinity, fr. 20.

[32] Met. xiii. 7.

[33] Aristotle, Met. x. 2.

[34] Aristotle, Metaph. xiii. 7.

[35] See iv. 8.3.

[36] See iv. 4.5.

[37] See v. 7.3.

[38] See vi. 3.13.

[39] See vi. 9.1.

[40] See Timaeus, 35; Cary, 12. Jamblichus, On the Soul, 2; Macrobius,
Dream of Scipio, i. 5.

[41] See Jamblichus, About Common Knowledge of Mathematics.

[42] See Sec. 2.

[43] Macrobius, Dream of Scipio, 1.5.

[44] Parmenides quoted in Plato's Theataetus, 180 E. Jowett, iii. 383.

[45] Plato, Timaeus, 56; Cary, 30.

[46] In the Timaeus, 39; Cary, 14.

[47] Parmenides, quoted by Plato, in the Sophists, 244; Cary, 61.

[48] In Plato's Theataetus, 180; Jowett Tr. iii. 383.

[49] Evidently Porphyry had advanced new objections that demanded an
addition to the former book on the theory of vision; see iv. 5.

[50] As thought the Stoics.

[51] Like Aristotle, de Sensu et Sensili, 2.

[52] iv. 5.

[53] These ten disjointed reflections on happiness remind us of
Porphyry's questioning habit, without which, Plotinos said, he might
have had nothing to write; see Biography, 13.

[54] As Epicurus thought the divinities alone enjoyed perfect
happiness, Diog. Laert. x. 121.

[55] See Aristotle, Nic. Ethics, 1.10.

[56] See Cicero, de Finibus, ii. 27-29.

[57] See iii. 7.

[58] Plutarch, Dogm. Philos. i. 17; Stob. Eclog. i. 18.

[59] Arist. Topic. iv. 2; de Gener. et Cor. i. 10; Ravaisson, EMA, i.

[60] As did Alexander of Aphrodisias, in his treatise on "Mixture;"
Ravaisson, EMA, ii. 297.

[61] Stob. Eclog. i. 18.

[62] See Plutarch, "Whether Wickedness Renders One Unhappy."

[63] As said Numenius, 44.

[64] See vi. 7. This is another proof of the chronological order, as
vi. 7 follows this book.

[65] Bouillet explains that in this book Plotinos summated all that
Plato had to say of the Ideas and of their dependence on the Good, in
the Timaeus, Philebus, Phaedrus, the Republic, the Banquet, and the
Alcibiades; correcting this summary by the reflections of Aristotle,
in Met. xii. But Plotinos advances beyond both Plato and Aristotle in
going beyond Intelligence to the supreme Good. (See Sec. 37.) This
treatise might well have been written at the instigation of Porphyry,
who desired to understand Plotinos's views on this great subject.

[66] The famous Philonic distinction between "ho theos," and "theos."

[67] Plato, Timaeus, p. 45, Cary, 19.

[68] See iii. 2.

[69] See iii. 2.1.

[70] Plato's Timaeus, pp. 30-40, Cary, 10-15.

[71] An Aristotelian idea, from Met. vii. 1.

[72] Aristotle, Met. vii. 17.

[73] Met. vii. 1.

[74] Met. vii. 7.

[75] Aristotle, Met. v. 8.

[76] Met. 1.3.

[77] See ii. 9.3.

[78] Aristotle, de Anima, ii. 2; Met. vii. 17.

[79] Porphyry, Of the Faculties of the Soul, fr. 5.

[80] See ii. 5.3.

[81] Aristotle, de Anima, i. 3; ii. 2-4.

[82] Plato, I Alcibiades, p. 130, Cary, 52.

[83] See i. 1.3.

[84] Bouillet explains this as follows: Discursive reason, which
constitutes the real man, begets sensibility, which constitutes the
animal; see i. 1.7.

[85] See iii. 4.3-6.

[86] See iii. 4.6.

[87] These demons are higher powers of the human soul.

[88] See iv. 3.18.

[89] Plato, Timaeus, p. 76, Cary, 54.

[90] p. 39, Cary, 15.

[91] Plato, Timaeus, p. 77, Cary, 55.

[92] See iv. 4.22.

[93] Lucretius, v. 1095.

[94] Diogenes Laertes, iii. 74.

[95] Plato, Timaeus, p. 80, Cary, 61.

[96] See iv. 3.18.

[97] Plato, Phaedrus, p. 248, Cary, 60; see i. 3.4.

[98] See v. 7.

[99] See v. 1.9.

[100] See i. 8.6, 7.

[101] Rep. vi. p. 509, Cary, 19.

[102] See v. 1.7.

[103] See v. 1.5.

[104] See v. 1.7.

[105] Plato, Rep. vi. p. 509, Cary, 19.

[106] See v. 1.6.

[107] See iv. 8.3.

[108] See v. 1.4.

[109] See v. 1.6.

[110] Arist. Nic. Eth. 1.1.

[111] See Arist., Met. i. 5.

[112] According to Plato's Banquet, p. 206, Cary, 31.

[113] See iv. 5.7.

[114] See 1.6.

[115] Plato, Phaedrus, p. 249, Cary, 63.

[116] See v. 1.2.

[117] See vi. 7.25.

[118] Plato, Philebus, p. 60, Cary, 141; Gorgias, p. 474, Cary, 66.

[119] p. 61, Cary, 144.

[120] See Met. xii.

[121] Met xii. 7.

[122] Plato, Rep. vi., p. 505, Cary, 17.

[123] According to the proverb, like seeks its like, mentioned by
Plato, in his Banquet; p. 195, Cary, 21.

[124] Plato, Gorgias, p. 507, Cary, 136.

[125] See i. 8.5.

[126] Plato, Timaeus, p. 52, Cary, 26.

[127] See below, Sec. 32.

[128] Plato, Rep. vi., p. 506, Cary 17.

[129] As said Plato, Republic vi., p. 508, Cary, 19.

[130] See iii. 5.9.

[131] In his Philebus, p. 65, Cary, 155.

[132] As Plato said, in his Banquet, p. 184, Cary, 12.

[133] See i. 6.5.

[134] See i. 6.7.

[135] As says Plato, in his Banquet, p. 210, Cary, 35.

[136] As Plato says, in his Phaedrus, p. 250, Cary, 65.

[137] As Plato says, in his Banquet, p. 183, Cary, 11.

[138] See i. 6.9.

[139] See i. 6.8.

[140] As Plato said, in his Banquet, p. 211, Cary, 35.

[141] See iii. 5.9.

[142] Rep. vi., p. 505, Cary, 16.

[143] See iii. 3.6.

[144] As thought Plato, in the Banquet, p. 210, Cary, 35.

[145] Arist. Met. xii. 9; see v. 1.9.

[146] Met. xii. 7.

[147] Met. xii. 9.

[148] See iv. 6.3.

[149] Met. xii. 8.

[150] Plato, Rep. vi. p. 509, Cary, 19.

[151] Met. xii. 7.

[152] See v. 3.10.

[153] See vi. 2.7.

[154] See v. 3.11.

[155] See iii. 9.6.

[156] See vi. 5.11.

[157] See v. 3.13.

[158] Arist. Met. xii. 7.

[159] As thought Plato, Rep. vi., p. 508, Cary, 19.

[160] See iv. 3.1.

[161] Letter ii. 312; Cary, p. 482.

[162] See i. 6, end.

[163] Numenius, fr. 32.

[164] See Numenius, fr. 48.

[165] Banquet, p. 211, Cary, 35.

[166] As Aristotle asks, Eth. Nic. iii.

[167] Arist. Nic. Eth. iii. 1.

[168] Eud. Eth. ii. 6.

[169] Nic. Eth. iii. 2.

[170] Eud. Mor. ii. 9.

[171] Nic. Eth. iii. 2.

[172] Nic. Eth. iii. 6.

[173] Plato, Alcinous, 31; this is opposed by Aristotle, Nic. Eth. iii.

[174] Aristotle, Eud. Eth. ii. 10.

[175] Aristotle, Mor. Magn. i. 32; Nic. Eth. iii. 6.

[176] Aristotle, Nic. Eth. iii. 4.

[177] Arist. de Anim. iii. 10.

[178] de Anim. iii. 9.

[179] Magn. Mor. i. 17.

[180] de Anim. iii. 9.

[181] This Stoic term had already been noticed and ridiculed by
Numenius, 2.8, 13; 3.4, 5; Guthrie, Numenius, p. 141. He taught that
it was a casual consequence of the synthetic power of the soul (52).
Its relation to free-will and responsibility, here considered, had been
with Numenius the foundation of the ridicule heaped on Lacydes.

[182] Nic. Eth. x. 8.

[183] Nic. Eth. x. 7.

[184] Plato, Republic, x. p. 617; Cary, 15.

[185] In his Phaedo, p. 83; Cary, 74.

[186] Such as Strato the Peripatetic, and the Epicureans.

[187] Plato, Rep. x. p. 596c; Cary, 1.

[188] See Jamblichus's Letter to Macedonius, on Destiny, 5.

[189] See iii. 9, end.

[190] Numenius, 32.

[191] See vi. 7.2.

[192] Aris. Met. ix. 1; xii. 9; Nic. Eth. x. 8; Plato Timaeus, p. 52;
Cary, 26; Plotinos, Enn. ii. 5.3.

[193] This etymology of "providence" applies in English as well as in
Greek; see iii. 2.1.

[194] Plato, Laws, iv., p. 716; Cary, 8.

[195] Arist. Met. xii. 7.

[196] See iii. 8.9.

[197] In his Cratylos, p. 419; Cary, 76.

[198] See iii. 9, end.

[199] As said Plato in the Timaeus, p. 42; Cary, 18; see Numenius, 10,

[200] In this book Plotinos uses synonymously the "Heaven," the
"World," the "Universal Organism or Animal," the "All" (or universe),
and the "Whole" (or Totality). This book as it were completes the
former one on the Ideas and the Divinity, thus studying the three
principles (Soul, Intelligence and Good) cosmologically. We thus have
here another proof of the chronological order. In it Plotinos defends
Plato's doctrine against Aristotle's objection in de Anima i. 3.

[201] As thought Heraclitus, Diog. Laert. ix. 8; Plato, Timaeus, p. 31;
Cary, 11; Arist. Heaven, 1, 8, 9.

[202] Such as Heraclitus.

[203] In the Cratylus, p. 402; Cary, 41.

[204] Rep. vi., p. 498; Cary, 11.

[205] See Apuleius, de Mundo, p. 708; Ravaisson, E.M.A. ii. 150; Plato,
Epinomis, c. 5.

[206] Which would render it unfit for fusion with the Soul, Arist.,
Meteorology, i. 4; Plato, Tim., p. 58; Cary, 33.

[207] See ii. 9.3; iii. 2.1; iv. 3.9.

[208] Phaedo, p. 109; Cary, 134; that is, the universal Soul is here
distinguished into the celestial Soul, and the inferior Soul, which is
nature, the generative power.

[209] The inferior soul, or nature.

[210] See ii. 3.9-15.

[211] See i. 1.7-10.

[212] As is the vegetative soul, which makes only the animal part of
us; see i. 1.7-10.

[213] In his Timaeus, p. 31; Cary, 11.

[214] Timaeus, p. 56; Cary, 30.

[215] See i. 8.9.

[216] Plato, Epinomis, p. 984; Cary, 8.

[217] In the Timaeus, p. 31, 51; Cary 11, 24, 25.

[218] See ii. 7.

[219] Who in his Timaeus says, p. 39; Cary, 14.

[220] See ii. 2.

[221] As thought Heraclitus and the Stoics, who thought that the stars
fed themselves from the exhalations of the earth and the waters; see
Seneca, Nat. Quest. vi. 16.

[222] See ii. 1.5.

[223] See iii. 7; Plotinos may have already sketched the outline of
this book (number 45), and amplified it only later.

[224] See ii. 9.6, or 33; another proof of the chronological order.

[225] In his Timaeus, p. 69; Cary, 44.

[226] As the Stoics think, Plutarch, Plac. Phil. iv. 11.

[227] As Aristotle would say, de Anima, iii. 3.

[228] Aristotle, de Sensu, 6.

[229] v. 3.

[230] Porphyry, Principles, 24.

[231] Arist., Mem. et Rec., 2.

[232] Porphyry, Principles, 25.

[233] Aristotle, Mem. et Rec., 2.

[234] Porphyry, Treatise, Psych.

[235] Locke's famous "tabula rasa."

[236] Substance, Quantity, Quality, Relation, When, Where,
Action-and-Reaction, to Have, and Location. Aristotle's treatment
thereof in his Categories, and Metaphysics.

[237] Met. v. 7.

[238] Or, substance, "ousia."

[239] Cat. i. 1, 2; or, mere label in common.

[240] Aristotle, Met. vii. 3, distinguished many different senses of
Being; at least four principal ones: what it seems, or the universal,
the kind, or the subject. The subject is that of which all the rest is
an attribute, but which is not the attribute of anything. Being must be
the first subject. In one sense this is matter; in another, form; and
in the third place, the concretion of form and matter.

[241] See ii. 4.6-16, for intelligible matter, and ii. 4.2-5 for

[242] Arist., Met. vii. 3.

[243] Arist., Cat. 2.5.25.

[244] Arist., Cat. ii. 5.15.

[245] Arist., Met. vii. 1; Cat. ii. 5.

[246] Categ. ii. 5.1, 2.

[247] Cat. ii. 5.16, 17.

[248] Cat. ii. 6.1, 2.

[249] Met. v. 13.

[250] Met. xiii. 6.

[251] Met. xiii. 3.

[252] Categ. ii. 6.18-23.

[253] See vi. 6.

[254] Categ. ii. 6.4.

[255] Arist., Hermeneia, 4.

[256] See iii. 7.8.

[257] Categ. ii. 6.26.

[258] Categ. ii. 7.1; Met. v. 15.

[259] Categ. ii. 7.17-19.

[260] See Categ. viii.

[261] Arist., Categ. ii. 8.3, 7, 8, 13, 14.

[262] See ii. 6.3.

[263] See ii. 6.3.

[264] See ii. 6.1.

[265] These are: 1, capacity and disposition; 2, physical power or
impotence; 3, affective qualities; 4, the figure and exterior form.

[266] Met. v. 14.

[267] Categ. ii. 8.

[268] See i. 6.2.

[269] Categ. ii. 8.15.

[270] Among whom Plotinos is not; see vi. 1.10.

[271] The reader is warned that the single Greek word "paschein" is
continually played upon in meanings "experiencing," "suffering,"
"reacting," or "passion."

[272] Met. xi. 9.

[273] That is, "to move" and "to cut" express an action as perfect as
"having moved" and "having cut."

[274] As Aristotle says, Categ. ii. 7.1.

[275] Plotinos proposes to divide verbs not as transitive and
intransitive, but as verbs expressing a completed action or state, (as
to think), and those expressing successive action, (as, to walk). The
French language makes this distinction by using with these latter the
auxiliary "être." Each of these two classes are subdivided into some
verbs expressing an absolute action, by which the subject alone is
modified; and into other verbs expressing relative action, referring
to, or modifying an exterior object. These alone are used to form the
passive voice, and Plotinos does not want them classified apart.

[276] In Greek the three words are derived from the same root.

[277] See i. v.

[278] See iii. 6.1.

[279] Categ. iii. 14.

[280] For this movement did not constitute reaction in the mover.

[281] That is, the Greek word for "suffering."

[282] A Greek pun, "kathexis."

[283] A Greek pun, "hexis" also translated "habit," and "habitude."

[284] See Chaignet, Hist. of Greek Psychology, and Simplicius,
Commentary on Categories.

[285] See iv. 7.14. This is an Aristotelian distinction.

[286] See ii. 4.1.

[287] By verbal similarity, or homonymy, a pun.

[288] See ii. 4.1.

[289] See ii. 5.5.

[290] For Plato placed all reality in the Ideas.

[291] Logically, their conception of matter breaks down.

[292] Cicero, Academics, i. 11.

[293] See ii. 4.10.

[294] See Enn. ii. 4, 5; iii. 6. Another proof of the chronological

[295] Plotinos was here in error; Aristotle ignored them, because he
did not admit existence.

[296] This refers to the Hylicists, who considered the universe as
founded on earth, water, air or fire; or, Anaxagoras, who introduced
the category of mind.

[297] Plotinos's own categories are developed from the thought of
Plato, found in his "Sophists," for the intelligible being; and yet
he harks back to Aristotle's Categories and Metaphysics, for his
classification of the sense-world.

[298] See vi. 4, 6, 9.

[299] In his "Sophist." p. 248 e-250; Cary, 72-76.

[300] In vi. 3.

[301] See vi. 3.6.

[302] See vi. 3.3.

[303] See iii. 2.16.

[304] That is, the higher part, the principal power of the soul; see
ii. 3.17, 18.

[305] Here "being" and "essence" have had to be inverted.

[306] Verbal similarity, homonymy, or pun.

[307] See Plato's Sophists, p. 250 c; Cary, 75.

[308] Sophists, p. 254 d; Cary, 86.

[309] As said Aristotle, Met. iv. 2.

[310] Plato, Sophist, p. 245; Cary, 63.

[311] See vi. 9.1.

[312] See vi. 4.

[313] Arist., Met. xiv. 6.

[314] Aristotle. Met. xiv. 6.

[315] See ii. 6.2.

[316] See vi. 7.3-6.

[317] As said Aristotle. Eth. Nic. i. 6.2.

[318] Against Aristotle.

[319] See vi. 1.14.

[320] See iii. 7.11.

[321] To ti ên einai.

[322] See i. 6.

[323] See v. 8.

[324] Counting identity and difference as a composite one? See note 11.

[325] See iv. 9.5.

[326] See iv. 8.3.

[327] See iii. 2.16.

[328] See iv. 8.8.

[329] See iii. 8.7.

[330] See iii. 8.2.

[331] See iii. 2.2.

[332] See iii. 9.1.

[333] See 3.9.1; Timaeus, p. 39; Cary, 14.

[334] See ii. 9.1.

[335] See v. 3.4.

[336] Plato, Philebus, p. 18; Cary, 23.

[337] Plato, Philebus, p. 17 e; Cary, 21.

[338] See iii. 4.1.

[339] See iv. 8.3-7.

[340] See iv. 8.8.

[341] See iv. 4.29.

[342] Here Plotinos purposely mentions Numenius's name for the divinity
(fr. 20.6), and disagrees with it, erecting above it a supreme Unity.
This, however, was only Platonic, Rep. vi. 19, 509 b., so that Plotinos
should not be credited with it as is done by the various histories of
philosophy. Even Numenius held the unity, fr. 14.

[343] This means, by mere verbal similarity, "homonymy," or, punning.

[344] As said Plato, in his Philebus, p. 18, Cary, 23.

[345] See i. 1.7.

[346] See Bouillet, vol. 1, p. 380.

[347] See iii. 6.1-5.

[348] See sect. 16.

[349] See ii. 1.2.

[350] Or, mortal nature, or, decay; see i. 8.4; ii. 4.5-6.

[351] See vi. 2.7, 8.

[352] See ii. 4.6.

[353] See vi. 1.13, 14.

[354] In vi. 3.11, and vi. 1.13, 14, he however subsumes time and place
under relation.

[355] According to Aristotle, Met. vii. 3.

[356] Aristotle, Met. viii. 5.6.

[357] Aristotle, Categ. ii. 5.

[358] See ii. 5.4.

[359] Met. vii. 11.

[360] Met. vii. 17.

[361] See ii. 4.3-5.

[362] See iii. 6.

[363] Categ. ii. 5.

[364] See iii. 7.8.

[365] See sect. 11.

[366] Arist. Met. vii. 1.

[367] See vi. 1.26.

[368] See ii. 4.10.

[369] See Met. vii. 3.

[370] See vi. 1.2, 3.

[371] See iii. 8.7.

[372] Matter is begotten by nature, which is the inferior power of the
universal Soul, iii. 4.1.; and the form derives from Reason, which is
the superior power of the same Soul, ii. 3.17.

[373] Met. v. 8.

[374] Being an accident, Met. v. 30, see[434].

[375] See iii. 6.12.

[376] See Categ. ii. 5.1-2.

[377] Plotinos is here defending Plato's valuation of the universal,
against Aristotle, in Met. vii. 13.

[378] Arist. de Anima, ii. 1.

[379] See sect. 8.

[380] Plotinos follows Aristotle in his definition of quantity, but
subsumes time and place under relation. Plot., vi. 1.4; Arist. Categ.
ii. 6.1, 2.

[381] Arist. Met. v. 13.

[382] See vi. 3.5; iii. 6.17.

[383] Categ. ii. 6.

[384] Quoted by Plato in his Hippias, p. 289, Cary, 20.

[385] See Categ. 2.6.

[386] See vi. 1.5.

[387] See sect. 11.

[388] See vi. 6.

[389] Met. v. 6.

[390] Categ. iii. 6.26.

[391] Met. v. 14.

[392] Categ. ii. 6.26.

[393] In speaking of quality, Categ. ii. 8.30.

[394] Following the Latin version of Ficinus.

[395] Bouillet remarks that Plotinos intends to demonstrate this by
explaining the term "similarity" not only of identical quality, but
also of two beings of which one is the image of the other, as the
portrait is the image of the corporeal form, the former that of the
"seminal reason," and the latter that of the Idea.

[396] By this Plotinos means the essence, or intelligible form, vi. 7.2.

[397] See vi. 7.3-6.

[398] See iii. 6.4.

[399] In his Banquet, p. 186-188; Cary, 14, 15.

[400] See v. 9.11.

[401] See i. 2.1.

[402] See vi. 7.5.

[403] See iii. 6.4.

[404] Categ. ii. 8.3, 7, 8, 13, 14.

[405] See i. 1.2.

[406] Arist. Categ. ii. 8.8-13.

[407] Met. v. 14.

[408] Met. vii. 12.

[409] Met. v. 14.

[410] Categ. ii. 8.

[411] Arist. Categ. iii. 10.

[412] See vi. 1.17.

[413] Met. v. 10.

[414] Categ. iii. 11.

[415] Categ. iii. 14.

[416] Categ. ii. 7.

[417] By a pun, this "change" is used as synonymous with the
"alteration" used further on.

[418] Arist. de Gen. i. 4.

[419] Alteration is change in the category of quality, Arist. de Gen.
i. 4; Physics, vii. 2.

[420] Arist. Metaph. ix. 6; xi. 9.

[421] Met. xi. 9.

[422] See ii. 5.1, 2.

[423] See ii. 5.2.

[424] See ii. 5.2.

[425] Categ. iii. 14.

[426] Arist. Met. xi. 9.

[427] See ii. 7.

[428] Arist. de Gen. i. 5.

[429] Arist. de Gen. i. 10.

[430] Here we have Numenius's innate motion of the intelligible, fr.

[431] See vi. 1.15-22.

[432] Namely, time, vi. 1.13; place, vi. 1.14; possession, vi. 1.23;
location, vi. 1.24.

[433] For relation, see vi. 1.6-9.

[434] For Aristotle says that an accident is something which exists in
an object without being one of the distinctive characteristics of its

[435] In this book Plotinos studies time and eternity comparatively;
first considering Plato's views in the Timaeus, and then the views of
Pythagoras (1), Epicurus (9), the Stoics (7), and Aristotle (4, 8, 12).

[436] The bracketed numbers are those of the Teubner edition; the
unbracketed, those of the Didot edition.

[437] See ii. 9.6.

[438] As thought Plato, in his Timaeus, p. 37, Cary, 14.

[439] Stobaeus. Ecl. Phys. i. 248.

[440] A category, see vi. 2.7.

[441] See vi. 2.7.

[442] Or, with Mueller, "therefore, in a permanent future."

[443] De Caelo, i. 9.

[444] That is, with this divinity that intelligible existence is.

[445] Arist. Met. iii. 2.

[446] In the Timaeus, p. 29, Cary 10.

[447] Stob. Ecl. Physic. ix. 40.

[448] Porphyry, Principles, 32, end.

[449] Especially Archytas, Simplicius, Comm. in Phys. Aristot. 165;
Stob. Ecl. Physic. Heeren, 248-250.

[450] Stobaeus, 254.

[451] See Stobaeus, 250.

[452] Aristotle, Physica, iv. 12.

[453] Mueller: "Whether this may be predicated of the totality of the

[454] See vi. 6.4-10.

[455] As Aristotle, Phys. iv. 11, claimed.

[456] In Physica, iii. 7.

[457] Stobaeus, Ecl. Phys. ix. 40.

[458] When collectively considered as "A-pollo," following Numenius,
42, 67, Plotinos, v. 5.6.

[459] See ii. 9.3.

[460] See iii. 7.1, Introd.

[461] See iii. 6.16, 17.

[462] Porphyry, Principles, 32.

[463] In the Timaeus, p. 38, Cary, 14.

[464] In his Timaeus, p. 39, Cary, 14, 15.

[465] As by Antiphanes and Critolaus, Stobaeus, Eclog. Phys. ix. 40, p.
252, Heeren.

[466] See iii. 7.2.

[467] As thought Aristotle, de Mem. et Remin. ii. 12.

[468] See iv. 9.

Transcriber's Notes:

Punctuation and spelling were made consistent when a predominant
preference was found in this four-volume set; otherwise they were not

Simple typographical errors were corrected. Inconsistent capitalization
has not been changed.

Ambiguous hyphens at the ends of lines were retained.

Infrequent spelling of "Plotinus" changed to the predominant "Plotinos."

Several opening or closing parentheses and quotation marks are
unmatched; Transcriber has not attempted to determine where they belong.

Page 678: A line containing "How then could one," appears to have been
partly duplicated in the original. The duplicate text, which has been
removed here, was: "Essence sence possess self-existence. How then

Page 690, footnote 53 (originally 1): "he might have had noth-" does
not complete on the next line and has been changed here to "he might
have had nothing".

Page 700: The two opening parentheses in '(from its "whatness" (or,
essence[72]).' share the one closing parenthesis; unchanged.

Page 744: unmatched closing quotation mark removed after "a being is
suited by its like".

Page 804: Closing parenthesis added after "single (unitary".

Page 823: "resistance corporeal nature[15])." has no matching opening
parenthesis; unchanged here.

Page 930: Phrase beginning "(each constituting a particular
intelligence" appears to share its closing parenthesis with the phrase
"(and thus exists in itself)."

Page 935: Closing parenthesis in phrase "composite as mixtures)," does
not have a matching opening parenthesis; unchanged.

Page 984: Footnote 395 (originally 53), "corporeal form, the former
that of" originally was "corporeal form, the latter that of".

Footnote Issues:

In these notes, "anchor" means the reference to a footnote, and
"footnote" means the information to which the anchor refers. Anchors
occur within the main text, while footnotes are grouped in sequence at
the end of this eBook. The structure of the original book required some
exceptions to this, as explained below.

The original text used chapter endnotes. In this eBook, they have been
combined into a single, ascending sequence based on the sequence in
which the footnotes (not the anchors) occurred in the original book,
and placed at the end of the eBook.

Three kinds of irregularities occurred in the footnotes:

1. Some footnotes are referenced by more than one anchor, so two or
more anchors may refer to the same footnote.

2. Some anchors were out of sequence, apparently because they were
added afterwards or because they are share a footnote with another
anchor. They have been renumbered to match the numbers of the footnotes
to which they refer.

3. Some footnotes have no anchors. These are noted below.

Page 679: Footnote 37 has no anchor. The missing anchor would be on
page 670.

Page 771: Footnote 85 (originally 21) has no anchor. The missing anchor
would be on page 709 or 710.

Page 772: Footnote 111 (originally 47) has no anchor. The missing anchor
would be on page 736.

Page 772: Footnote 123 (originally 59) has no anchor. The missing
anchor would be on page 744 or 745.

Page 811: Footnote 178 (originally 13) has no anchor. The missing
anchor would be on page 776.

Page 932: Footnote 302 (originally 6) has no anchor. The missing anchor
would be on page 895 or 896.

Page 984: Footnote 424 (originally 82) has no anchor. The missing
anchor would be on page 974 or 975.

Page 1015: Footnote 445 (originally 11) has no anchor. The missing
anchor would be in page range 992-995.

*** End of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Plotinos: Complete Works, v. 3 - In Chronological Order, Grouped in Four Periods" ***

Doctrine Publishing Corporation provides digitized public domain materials.
Public domain books belong to the public and we are merely their custodians.
This effort is time consuming and expensive, so in order to keep providing
this resource, we have taken steps to prevent abuse by commercial parties,
including placing technical restrictions on automated querying.

We also ask that you:

+ Make non-commercial use of the files We designed Doctrine Publishing
Corporation's ISYS search for use by individuals, and we request that you
use these files for personal, non-commercial purposes.

+ Refrain from automated querying Do not send automated queries of any sort
to Doctrine Publishing's system: If you are conducting research on machine
translation, optical character recognition or other areas where access to a
large amount of text is helpful, please contact us. We encourage the use of
public domain materials for these purposes and may be able to help.

+ Keep it legal -  Whatever your use, remember that you are responsible for
ensuring that what you are doing is legal. Do not assume that just because
we believe a book is in the public domain for users in the United States,
that the work is also in the public domain for users in other countries.
Whether a book is still in copyright varies from country to country, and we
can't offer guidance on whether any specific use of any specific book is
allowed. Please do not assume that a book's appearance in Doctrine Publishing
ISYS search  means it can be used in any manner anywhere in the world.
Copyright infringement liability can be quite severe.

About ISYS® Search Software
Established in 1988, ISYS Search Software is a global supplier of enterprise
search solutions for business and government.  The company's award-winning
software suite offers a broad range of search, navigation and discovery
solutions for desktop search, intranet search, SharePoint search and embedded
search applications.  ISYS has been deployed by thousands of organizations
operating in a variety of industries, including government, legal, law
enforcement, financial services, healthcare and recruitment.