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The Enneads of Plotinus


Sixth ennead:

  1. On the kinds of being- (1)
  2. On the kinds of being (2)
  3. On the kinds of being (3)
  4. On the integral omnipresence of the authentic existent (1)
  5. On the integral omnipresence of the authentic existent (2)

The sixth ennead

First tractate: On the kinds of being (1)



Philosophy at a very early stage investigated the number and character of the existents. Various theories resulted: Some declared for one existent, others for a finite number, others again for an infinite number, while as regards the nature of the existents—one, numerically finite, or numerically infinite—there was a similar disagreement. These theories, in so far as they have been adequately examined by later workers, may be passed over here; our attention must be directed on the results of those whose examination has led them to posit on their awn account certain well-defined genera.

These thinkers rejected pure unity on the ground of the plurality observed even in the intellectual world; they rejected an infinite number as not reconcilable with the facts and as defying knowledge: Considering the foundations of being to be "genera" rather than elements strictly so called, they concluded for a finite number. Of these "genera" some found ten, others less, others no doubt more.

But here again there is a divergence of views. To some the genera are first-principles; to others they indicate only a generic classification of the existents themselves.

Let us begin with the well-known tenfold division of the existents, and consider whether we are to understand ten genera ranged under the common name of being, or ten categories. That the term being has not the same sense in all ten is rightly maintained.

But a graver problem confronts us at the outset: Are the ten found alike in the intellectual and in the sensible realms? Or are all found in the sensible and some only in the intellectual? All in the intellectual and some in the sensible is manifestly impossible.

At this point it would be natural to investigate which of the ten belong to both spheres, and whether the existents of the intellectual are to be ranged under one and the same genus with the existents in the sensible, or whether the term "existence" [or substance] is equivocal as applied to both realms. If the equivocation exists, the number of genera will be increased: If there is no equivocation, it is strange to find the one same "existence" applying to the primary and to the derivative existents when there is no common genus embracing both primal and secondary.

These thinkers are however not considering the intellectual realm in their division, which was not intended to cover all the existents; the supreme they overlooked.


But are we really obliged to posit the existence of such genera?

Take substance, for substance must certainly be our starting- point: What are the grounds for regarding substance as one single genus?

It has been remarked that substance cannot be a single entity common to both the intellectual and the sensible worlds. We may add that such community would entail the existence of something prior to intellectual and sensible substances alike, something distinct from both as predicated of both; and this prior would be neither body nor unembodied; for it were one or the other, body would be unembodied, or the unembodied would be the body.

This conclusion must not however prevent our seeking in the actual substance of the sensible world an element held in common by matter, by form and by their composite, all of which are designated as substances, though it is not maintained that they are substance in an equal degree; form is usually held to be substance in a higher degree than matter, and rightly so, in spite of those who would have matter to be the more truly real.

There is further the distinction drawn between what are known as first and second substances. But what is their common basis, seeing that the first are the source from which the second derive their right to be called substances?

But, in sum, it is impossible to define substance: Determine its property, and still you have not attained to its essence. Even the definition, "that which, numerically one and the same, is receptive of contraries," will hardly be applicable to all substances alike.


But perhaps we should rather speak of some single category, embracing intellectual substance, matter, form, and the composite of matter and form. One might refer to the family of the heraclids as a unity in the sense, not of a common element in all its members, but of a common origin: Similarly, intellectual substance would be substance in the first degree, the others being substances by derivation and in a lower degree.

But what is the objection to including everything in a single category, all else of which existence is predicated being derived from that one thing, existence or substance? Because, granted that things be no more than modifications of substance, there is a distinct grading of substances themselves. Moreover, the single category does not put us in a position to build on substance, or to grasp it in its very truth as the plausible source of the other substances.

Supposing we grant that all things known as substances are homogeneous as possessing something denied to the other genera, what precisely is this something, this individuality, this subject which is never a predicate, this thing not present in any thing as in a subject, this thing which does not owe its essential character to any other thing, as a quality takes character from a body and a quantity from a substance, as time is related to motion and motion to the moved?

The second substance is, it is true, a predicate. But predication in this case signifies a different relation from that just considered; it reveals the genus inherent in the subject and the subject's essential character, whereas whiteness is predicated of a thing in the sense of being present in the thing.

The properties adduced may indeed be allowed to distinguish substance from the other existents. They afford a means of grouping substances together and calling them by a common name. They do not however establish the unity of a genus, and they do not bring to light the concept and the nature of substance.

These considerations are sufficient for our purpose: Let us now proceed to investigate the nature of Quantity.


We are told that number is quantity in the primary sense, number together with all continuous magnitude, space and time: These are the standards to which all else that is considered as quantity is referred, including motion which is quantity because its time is quantitative—though perhaps, conversely, the time takes its continuity from the motion.

If it is maintained that the continuous is a quantity by the fact of its continuity, then the discrete will not be a quantity. If, on the contrary, the continuous possesses quantity as an accident, what is there common to both continuous and discrete to make them quantities?

Suppose we concede that numbers are quantities: We are merely allowing them the name of quantity; the principle which gives them this name remains obscure.

On the other hand, line and surface and body are not called quantities; they are called magnitudes: They become known as quantities only when they are rated by number-two yards, three yards. Even the natural body becomes a quantity when measured, as does the space which it occupies; but this is quantity accidental, not quantity essential; what we seek to grasp is not accidental quantity but Quantity independent and essential, Quantity-absolute. Three oxen is not a quantity; it is their number, the three, that is Quantity; for in three oxen we are dealing with two categories. So too with a line of a stated length, a surface of a given area; the area will be a quantity but not the surface, which only comes under that category when it constitutes a definite geometric figure.

Are we then to consider numbers, and numbers only, as constituting the category of Quantity? If we mean numbers in themselves, they are substances, for the very good reason that they exist independently. If we mean numbers displayed in the objects participant in number, the numbers which give the count of the objects—ten horses or ten oxen, and not ten units—then we have a paradoxical result: First, the numbers in themselves, it would appear, are substances but the numbers in objects are not; and secondly, the numbers inhere in the objects as measures [of extension or weight], yet as standing outside the objects they have no measuring power, as do rulers and scales. If however their existence is independent, and they do not inhere in the objects, but are simply called in for the purpose of measurement, the objects will be quantities only to the extent of participating in Quantity.

So with the numbers themselves: How can they constitute the category of Quantity? They are measures; but how do measures come to be quantities or Quantity? doubtless in that, existing as they do among the existents and not being adapted to any of the other categories, they find their place under the influence of verbal suggestion and so are referred to the so-called category of Quantity. We see the unit mark off one measurement and then proceed to another; and number thus reveals the amount of a thing, and the mind measures by availing itself of the total figure.

It follows that in measuring it is not measuring essence; it pronounces its "one" or "two," whatever the character of the objects, even summing contraries. It does not take count of condition—hot, handsome; it simply notes how many.

Number then, whether regarded in itself or in the participant objects, belongs to the category of Quantity, but the participant objects do not. "three yards long" does not fall under the category of Quantity, but only the three.

Why then are magnitudes classed as quantities? Not because they are so in the strict sense, but because they approximate to Quantity, and because objects in which magnitudes inhere are themselves designated as quantities. We call a thing great or small from its participation in a high number or a low. True, greatness and smallness are not claimed to be quantities, but relations: But it is by their apparent possession of quantity that they are thought of as relations. All this, however, needs more careful examination.

In sum, we hold that there is no single genus of Quantity. Only number is Quantity, the rest [magnitudes, space, time, motion] quantities only in a secondary degree. We have therefore not strictly one genus, but one category grouping the approximate with the primary and the secondary.

We have however to enquire in what sense the abstract numbers are substances. Can it be that they are also in a manner quantitative? Into whatever category they fall, the other numbers [those inherent in objects] can have nothing in common with them but the name.


Speech, time, motion—in what sense are these quantities?

Let us begin with speech. It is subject to measurement, but only in so far as it is sound; it is not a quantity in its essential nature, which nature is that it be significant, as noun and verb are significant. The air is its matter, as it is matter to verb and noun, the components of speech.

To be more precise, we may define speech as an impact [made on the outer air by the breath], though it is not so much the impact as the impression which the impact produces and which, as it were, imposes form [on the air]. Speech, thus, is rather an action than a quantity—an action with a significance. Though perhaps it would be truer to say that while this motion, this impact, is an action, the counter-motion is an experience [or passion]; or each may be from different points of view either an action or an experience: Or we may think of speech as action on a substrate [air] and experience within that substrate.

If however voice is not characteristically impact, but is simply air, two categories will be involved: Voice is significant, and the one category will not be sufficient to account for this significance without associating with a second.

With regard to time, if it is to be thought of as a measure, we must determine what it is that applies this measure. It must clearly be either soul or the present moment. If on the contrary we take time to be something measured and regard it as being of such and such extension—a year, for example—then we may consider it as a quantity: Essentially however time is of a different nature; the very fact that we can attribute this or that length to it shows us that it is not length: In other words, time is not Quantity. Quantity in the strict sense is the Quantity not inbound with things; if things became quantities by mere participation in Quantity, then substance itself would be identical with Quantity.

Equality and inequality must be regarded as properties of Quantity-absolute, not of the participants, or of them not essentially but only accidentally: Such participants as "three yards' length," which becomes a quantity, not as belonging to a single genus of Quantity, but by being subsumed under the one head, the one category.


In considering relation we must enquire whether it possesses the community of a genus, or whether it may on other grounds be treated as a unity.

Above all, has relation—for example, that of right and left, double and half—any actuality? Has it, perhaps, actuality in some cases only, as for instance in what is termed "posterior" but not in what is termed "prior"? Or is its actuality in no case conceivable?

What meaning, then, are we to attach to double and half and all other cases of less and more; to habit and disposition, reclining, sitting, standing; to father, son, master, slave; to like, unlike, equal, unequal; to active and passive, measure and measured; or again to knowledge and sensation, as related respectively to the knowable and the sensible?

Knowledge, indeed, may be supposed to entail in relation to the known object some actual entity corresponding to that object's ideal form, and similarly with sensation as related to the sense-object. The active will perform some constant function in relation to the passive, as will the measure in relation to the measured.

But what will emerge from the relation of like to like? Nothing will emerge. Likeness is the inherence of qualitative identity; its entire content is the quality present in the two objects.

From equality, similarly, nothing emerges. The relation merely presupposes the existence of a quantitative identity;—is nothing but our judgement comparing objects essentially independent and concluding, "this and that have the same magnitude, the same quality; this has produced that; this is superior to that."

Again, what meaning can sitting and standing have apart from sitter and stander? The term "habit" either implies a having, in which case it signifies possession, or else it arises from something had, and so denotes quality; and similarly with disposition.

What then in these instances can be the meaning of correlatives apart from our conception of their juxtaposition? "Greater" may refer to very different magnitudes; "different" to all sorts of objects: The comparison is ours; it does not lie in the things themselves.

Right and left, before and behind, would seem to belong less to the category of relation than to that of situation. Right means "situated at one point," left means "situated at another." but the right and left are in our conception, nothing of them in the things themselves.

Before and after are merely two times; the relation is again of our making.


Now if we do not mean anything by relation but are victims of words, none of the relations mentioned can exist: Relation will be a notion void of content.

Suppose however that we do possess ourselves of objective truth when in comparing two points of time we pronounce one prior, or posterior, to the other, that priority does entail something distinct from the objects to which it refers; admit an objective truth behind the relation of left and right: Does this apply also to magnitudes, and is the relation exhibiting excess and deficiency also something distinct from the quantities involved?

Now one thing is double of another quite apart from our speech or thought; one thing possesses and another is possessed before we notice the fact; equals do not await our comparison but—and this applies to Quality as well as Quantity—rest on an identity existing between the objects compared: In all the conditions in which we assert relation the mutual relation exists over and above the objects; we perceive it as already existent; our knowledge is directed on a thing, there to be known—a clear testimony to the reality of relation.

In these circumstances we can no longer put the question of its existence. We have simply to distinguish: Sometimes the relation subsists while the objects remain unaltered and even apart; sometimes it depends on their combination; sometimes, while they remain unchanged, the relation utterly ceases, or, as happens with right and near, becomes different. These are the facts which chiefly account for the notion that relation has no reality in such circumstances.

Our task, thus, is to give full value to this elusive character of relation, and, then to enquire what there is that is constant in all these particular cases and whether this constant is generic or accidental; and having found this constant, we must discover what sort of actuality it possesses.

It need hardly be said that we are not to affirm relation where one thing is simply an attribute of another, as a habit is an attribute of a soul or of a body; it is not relation when a soul belongs to this individual or dwells in that body. Relation enters only when the actuality of the relationships is derived from no other source than relation itself; the actuality must be, not that which is characteristic of the substances in question, but that which is specifically called relative. Thus double with its correlative, half gives actuality neither to two yards' length or the number two, nor to one yard's length or the number one; what happens is that, when these quantities are viewed in their relation, they are found to be not merely two and one respectively, but to produce the assertion and to exhibit the fact of standing one to the other in the condition of double and half. Out of the objects in a certain conjunction this condition of being double and half has issued as something distinct from either; double and half have emerged as correlatives, and their being is precisely this of mutual dependence; the double exists by its superiority over the half, and the half by its inferiority; there is no priority to distinguish double from half; they arise simultaneously.

It is another question whether they endure simultaneously. Take the case of father and son, and such relationships; the father dies, but the other is still his son, and so with brothers. Moreover, we see likeness where one of the like people is dead.


But we are digressing: We must resume our enquiry into the cause of dissimilarity among relations. Yet we must first be informed what reality, common to all cases, is possessed by this existence derived from mutual conditions.

Now the common principle in question cannot be a body. The only alternative is that, if it does exist, it be something bodiless, either in the objects thus brought together or outside of them.

Further, if relation always takes the same form, the term is univocal [and specific differentiation is impossible]; if not, that is if it differs from case to case, the term is equivocal, and the same reality will not necessarily be implied by the mere use of the term relation.

How then shall we distinguish relations? We may observe that some things have an inactive or dormant relation, with which their actuality is entirely simultaneous; others, combining power and function with their relation, have the relation in some mode always even though the mode be merely that of potentiality, but attain to actual being only in contact with their correlatives. Or perhaps all distinctions may be reduced to that between producer and product, where the product merely gives a name to the producer of its actuality: An example of this is the relation of father to son, though here both producer and product have a sort of actuality, which we call life.

Are we thus, then, to divide relation, and thereby reject the notion of an identical common element in the different kinds of relation, making it a universal rule that the relation takes a different character in either correlative? We must in this case recognise that in our distinction between productive and non- productive relations we are overlooking the equivocation involved in making the terms cover both action and passion, as though these two were one, and ignoring the fact that production takes a different form in the two correlatives. Take the case of equality, producing equals: Nothing is equal without equality, nothing identical without identity. Greatness and smallness both entail a presence—the presence of greatness and smallness respectively. When we come to greater and smaller, the participants in these relations are greater and smaller only when greatness and smallness are actually observed in them.


It follows that in the cases specified above—agent, knowledge and the rest—the relation must be considered as in actual operation, and the act and the reason-principle in the act must be assumed to be real: In all other cases there will be simply participation in an ideal-form, in a reason- principle.

If reality implied embodiment, we should indeed be forced to deny reality to these conditions called relative; if however we accord the pre-eminent place to the unembodied and to the reason- principles, and at the same time maintain that relations are reason-principles and participate in ideal-forms, we are bound to seek their causes in that higher sphere. Doubleness, it is clear, is the cause of a thing being double, and from it is derived halfness.

Some correlatives owe their designations to the same form, others to opposite forms; it is thus that two objects are simultaneously double and half of each other, and one great and the other small. It may happen that both correlatives exist in one object-likeness and unlikeness, and, in general, identity and difference, so that the same thing will be at once like and unlike, identical and different.

The question arises here whether sharing in the same form could make one man depraved and another more depraved. In the case of total depravity, clearly the two are made equal by the absence of a form. Where there is a difference of degree, the one has participated in a form which has failed to predominate, the other in a form which has failed still more: Or, if we choose the negative aspect, we may think of them both as failing to participate in a form which naturally belonged to them.

Sensation may be regarded as a form of double origin [determined both by the sense-organ and by the sensible object]; and similarly with knowledge.

Habit is an act directed on something had [some experience produced by habit] and binding it as it were with the subject having [experiencing], as the act of production binds producer and product.

Measurement is an act of the measurer on the measured object: It too is therefore a kind of reason-principle.

Now if the condition of being related is regarded as a form having a generic unity, relation must be allowed to be a single genus owing its reality to a reason-principle involved in all instances. If however the reason-principles [governing the correlatives] stand opposed and have the differences to which we have referred, there may perhaps not be a single genus, but this will not prevent all relatives being expressed in terms of a certain likeness and falling under a single category.

But even if the cases of which we have spoken can be subsumed under a single head, it is nevertheless impossible to include in a single genus all that goes with them in the one common category: For the category includes negations and derivatives—not only, for example, double but also its negative, the resultant doubleness and the act of doubling. But we cannot include in one genus both the thing and its negative—double and not-double, relative and not- relative—any more than in dealing with the genus animal we can insert in it the nonanimal. Moreover, doubleness and doubling have only the relation to double that whiteness has to white; they cannot be classed as identical with it.


As regards Quality, the source of what we call a "quale," we must in the first place consider what nature it possesses in accordance with which it produces the "qualia," and whether, remaining one and the same in virtue of that common ground, it has also differences whereby it produces the variety of species. If there is no common ground and the term Quality involves many connotations, there cannot be a single genus of Quality.

What then will be the common ground in habit, disposition, passive quality, figure, shape? In light, thick and lean?

If we hold this common ground to be a power adapting itself to the forms of habits, dispositions and physical capacities, a power which gives the possessor whatever capacities he has, we have no plausible explanation of incapacities. Besides, how are figure and the shape of a given thing to be regarded as a power?

Moreover, at this, being will have no power qua being but only when Quality has been added to it; and the activities of those substances which are activities in the highest degree, will be traceable to Quality, although they are autonomous and owe their essential character to powers wholly their own!

Perhaps, however, qualities are conditioned by powers which are posterior to the substances as such [and so do not interfere with their essential activities]. Boxing, for example, is not a power of man qua man; reasoning is: Therefore reasoning, on this hypothesis, is not quality but a natural possession of the mature human being; it therefore is called a quality only by analogy. Thus, Quality is a power which adds the property of being qualia to substances already existent.

The differences distinguishing substances from each other are called qualities only by analogy; they are, more strictly, acts and reason-principles, or parts of reason-principles, and though they may appear merely to qualify the substance, they in fact indicate its essence.

Qualities in the true sense—those, that is, which determine qualia—being in accordance with our definition powers, will in virtue of this common ground be a kind of reason-principle; they will also be in a sense forms, that is, excellences and imperfections whether of soul or of body.

But how can they all be powers? Beauty or health of soul or body, very well: But surely not ugliness, disease, weakness, incapacity. In a word, is powerlessness a power?

It may be urged that these are qualities in so far as qualia are also named after them: But may not the qualia be so called by analogy, and not in the strict sense of the single principle? Not only may the term be understood in the four ways [of aristotle], but each of the four may have at least a twofold significance.

In the first place, Quality is not merely a question of action and passion, involving a simple distinction between the potentially active [quality] and the passive: Health, disposition and habit, disease, strength and weakness are also classed as qualities. It follows that the common ground is not power, but something we have still to seek.

Again, not all qualities can be regarded as reason-principles: Chronic disease cannot be a reason-principle. Perhaps, however, we must speak in such cases of privations, restricting the term "Quantities" to ideal-forms and powers. Thus we shall have, not a single genus, but reference only to the unity of a category. Knowledge will be regarded as a form and a power, ignorance as a privation and powerlessness.

On the other hand, powerlessness and disease are a kind of form; disease and vice have many powers though looking to evil.

But how can a mere failure be a power? doubtless the truth is that every quality performs its own function independently of a standard; for in no case could it produce an effect outside of its power.

Even beauty would seem to have a power of its own. Does this apply to triangularity?

Perhaps, after all, it is not a power we must consider, but a disposition. Thus, qualities will be determined by the forms and characteristics of the object qualified: Their common element, then, will be form and ideal type, imposed on substance and posterior to it.

But then, how do we account for the powers? We may doubtless remark that even the natural boxer is so by being constituted in a particular way; similarly, with the man unable to box: To generalize, the quality is a characteristic non-essential. Whatever is seen to apply alike to being and to non-being, as do heat and whiteness and colours generally, is either different from being—is, for example, an act of being—or else is some secondary of being, derived from it, contained in it, its image and likeness.

But if Quality is determined by formation and characteristic and reason-principle, how explain the various cases of powerlessness and deformity? doubtless we must think of principles imperfectly present, as in the case of deformity. And disease—how does that imply a reason-principle? Here, no doubt, we must think of a principle disturbed, the principle of health.

But it is not necessary that all qualities involve a reason- principle; it suffices that over and above the various kinds of disposition there exist a common element distinct from substance, and it is what comes after the substance that constitutes Quality in an object.

But triangularity is a quality of that in which it is present; it is however no longer triangularity as such, but the triangularity present in that definite object and modified in proportion to its success in shaping that object.


But if these considerations are sound, why has Quality more than one species? What is the ground for distinguishing between habit and disposition, seeing that no differentia of Quality is involved in permanence and non-permanence? A disposition of any kind is sufficient to constitute a quality; permanence is a mere external addition. It might however be urged that dispositions are but incomplete "forms"—if the term may pass—habits being complete ones. But incomplete, they are not qualities; if already qualities, the permanence is an external addition.

How do physical powers form a distinct species? If they are classed as qualities in virtue of being powers, power, we have seen, is not a necessary concomitant of qualities. If, however, we hold that the natural boxer owes his quality to a particular disposition, power is something added and does not contribute to the quality, since power is found in habits also.

Another point: Why is natural ability to be distinguished from that acquired by learning? Surely, if both are qualities, they cannot be differentiae of Quality: gained by practice or given in nature, it is the same ability; the differentia will be external to Quality; it cannot be deduced from the ideal form of boxing. Whether some qualities as distinguished from others are derived from experience is immaterial; the source of the quality makes no difference—none, I mean, pointing to variations and differences of Quality.

A further question would seem to be involved: If certain qualities are derived from experience but here is a discrepancy in the manner and source of the experience, how are they to be included in the same species? and again, if some create the experience, others are created by it, the term Quality as applied to both classes will be equivocal.

And what part is played by the individual form? If it constitutes the individual's specific character, it is not a quality; if, however, it is what makes an object beautiful or ugly after the specific form has been determined, then it involves a reason- principle.

Rough and smooth, tenuous and dense may rightly be classed as qualities. It is true that they are not determined by distances and approximations, or in general by even or uneven dispositions, of parts; though, were they so determined, they might well even then be qualities.

Knowledge of the meaning of "light" and "heavy" will reveal their place in the classification. An ambiguity will however be latent in the term "light," unless it be determined by comparative weight: It would then implicate leanness and fineness, and involve another species distinct from the four [of aristotle].


If then we do not propose to divide Quality in this [fourfold] manner, what basis of division have we?

We must examine whether qualities may not prove to be divisible on the principle that some belong to the body and others to the soul. Those of the body would be subdivided according to the senses, some being attributed to sight, others to hearing and taste, others to smell and touch. Those of the soul would presumably be allotted to appetite, emotion, reason; though, again, they may be distinguished by the differences of the activities they condition, in so far as activities are engendered by these qualities; or according as they are beneficial or injurious, the benefits and injuries being duly classified. This last is applicable also to the classification of bodily qualities, which also produce differences of benefit and injury: These differences must be regarded as distinctively qualitative; for either the benefit and injury are held to be derived from Quality and the quale, or else some other explanation must be found for them.

A point for consideration is how the quale, as conditioned by Quality, can belong to the same category: Obviously there can be no single genus embracing both.

Further, if "boxer" is in the category of Quality, why not "agent" as well? And with agent goes "active." thus "active" need not go into the category of relation; nor again need "passive," if "patient" is a quale. Moreover, agent" is perhaps better assigned to the category of Quality for the reason that the term implies power, and power is Quality. But if power as such were determined by substance [and not by Quality], the agent, though ceasing to be a quale, would not necessarily become a relative. Besides, "active" is not like "greater": The greater, to be the greater, demands a less, whereas "active" stands complete by the mere possession of its specific character.

It may however be urged that while the possession of that character makes it a quale, it is a relative in so far as it directs on an external object the power indicated by its name. Why, then, is not "boxer" a relative, and "boxing" as well? Boxing is entirely related to an external object; its whole theory pre-supposes this external. And in the case of the other arts—or most of them—investigation would probably warrant the assertion that in so far as they affect the soul they are qualities, while in so far as they look outward they are active and as being directed to an external object are relatives. They are relatives in the other sense also that they are thought of as habits.

Can it then be held that there is any distinct reality implied in activity, seeing that the active is something distinct only according as it is a quale? It may perhaps be held that the tendency towards action of living beings, and especially of those having freewill, implies a reality of activity [as well as a reality of Quality].

But what is the function of the active in connection with those non-living powers which we have classed as qualities? doubtless to recruit any object it encounters, making the object a participant in its content.

But if one same object both acts and is acted on, how do we then explain the active? Observe also that the greater—in itself perhaps a fixed three yards' length—will present itself as both greater and less according to its external contacts.

It will be objected that greater and less are due to participation in greatness and smallness; and it might be inferred that a thing is active or passive by participation in activity or passivity.

This is the place for enquiring also whether the qualities of the sensible and intellectual realms can be included under one head—a question intended only for those who ascribe qualities to the higher realm as well as the lower. And even if ideal forms of qualities are not posited, yet once the term "habit" is used in reference to intellect, the question arises whether there is anything common to that habit and the habit we know in the lower.

Wisdom too is generally admitted to exist there. Obviously, if it shares only its name with our wisdom, it is not to be reckoned among things of this sphere; if, however, the import is in both cases the same, then Quality is common to both realms—unless, of course, it be maintained that everything there, including even intellection, is substance.

This question, however, applies to all the categories: Are the two spheres irreconcilable, or can they be co-ordinated with a unity?


With regard to date:

If "yesterday," "to-morrow," "last year" and similar terms denote parts of time, why should they not be included in the same genus as time? It would seem only reasonable to range under time the past, present and future, which are its species. But time is referred to Quantity; what then is the need for a separate category of date?

If we are told that past and future—including under past such definite dates as yesterday and last year which must clearly be subordinate to past time—and even the present "now" are not merely time but time—when, we reply, in the first place, that the notion of time—when involves time; that, further, if "yesterday" is time-gone-by, it will be a composite, since time and gone-by are distinct notions: We have two categories instead of the single one required.

But suppose that date is defined not as time but as that which is in time; if by that which is in time is meant the subject—socrates in the proposition "socrates existed last year"—that subject is external to the notion of time, and we have again a duality.

Consider, however, the proposition "socrates—or some action—exists at this time"; what can be the meaning here other than "in a part of time"? But if, admitted that date is "a part of time," it be felt that the part requires definition and involves something more than mere time, that we must say the part of time gone by, several notions are massed in the proposition: We have the part which qua part is a relative; and we have "gone-by" which, if it is to have any import at all, must mean the past: But this "past," we have shown, is a species of time.

It may be urged that "the past" is in its nature indefinite, while "yesterday" and "last year" are definite. We reply, first, that we demand some place in our classification for the past: Secondly, that "yesterday," as definite past, is necessarily definite time. But definite time implies a certain quantity of time: Therefore, if time is quantitative, each of the terms in question must signify a definite quantity.

Again, if by "yesterday" we are expected to understand that this or that event has taken place at a definite time gone by, we have more notions than ever. Besides, if we must introduce fresh categories because one thing acts in another—as in this case something acts in time—we have more again from its acting on another in another. This point will be made plain by what follows in our discussion of place.


The academy and the lyceum are places, and parts of place, just as "above," "below," "here" are species or parts of place; the difference is of minuter delimitation.

If then "above," "below," "the middle" are places—delphi, for example, is the middle [of the earth]—and "near-the- middle" is also a place—athens, and of course the lyceum and the other places usually cited, are near the middle—what need have we to go further and seek beyond place, admitting as we do that we refer in every instance to a place?

If, however, we have in mind the presence of one thing in another, we are not speaking of a single entity, we are not expressing a single notion.

Another consideration: When we say that a man is here, we present a relation of the man to that in which he is, a relation of the container to the contained. Why then do we not class as a relative whatever may be produced from this relation?

Besides, how does "here" differ from "at athens"? The demonstrative "here" admittedly signifies place; so, then, does "at athens": "at athens" therefore belongs to the category of place.

Again, if "at athens" means "is at athens," then the "is" as well as the place belongs to the predicate; but this cannot be right: We do not regard "is a quality" as predicate, but "a quality."

Furthermore, if "in time," "in place" are to be ranged under a category other than that applying to time and place, why not a separate category for "in a vessel"? Why not distinct categories for "in matter," "in a subject," "a part in a whole," "a whole in its parts," "a genus in its species," "a species in a genus"? We are certainly on the way to a goodly number of categories.


The "category of action":

The quantum has been regarded as a single genus on the ground that Quantity and number are attributes of substance and posterior to it; the quale has been regarded as another genus because Quality is an attribute of substance: On the same principle it is maintained that since activity is an attribute of substance, action constitutes yet another genus.

Does then the action constitute the genus, or the activity from which the action springs, in the same way as Quality is the genus from which the quale is derived? Perhaps activity, action and agent should all be embraced under a single head? But, on the one hand, the action—unlike activity—tends to comport the agent; and on the other, it signifies being in some activity and therefore being-in- act [actual as distinct from potential being]. Consequently the category will be one of act rather than of action.

Act moreover incontestably manifests itself in substance, as was found to be the case with Quality: It is connected with substance as being a form of motion. But motion is a distinct genus: For, seeing that Quality is a distinct attribute of substance, and Quality a distinct attribute, and relative takes its being from the relation of one substance to another, there can be no reason why motion, also an attribute of substance, should not also constitute a distinct genus.


If it be urged that motion is but imperfect act, there would be no objection to giving priority to act and subordinating to it motion with its imperfection as a species: Act would thus be predicated of motion, but with the qualification "imperfect."

Motion is thought of as imperfect, not because it is not an act, but because, entirely an act, it yet entails repetition [lacks finality]. It repeats, not in order that it may achieve actuality—it is already actual—but that it may attain a goal distinct from itself and posterior: It is not the motion itself that is then consummated but the result at which it aims. Walking is walking from the outset; when one should traverse a racecourse but has not yet done so, the deficiency lies not in the walking—not in the motion—but in the amount of walking accomplished; no matter what the amount, it is walking and motion already: A moving man has motion and a cutter cuts before there is any question of Quantity. And just as we can speak of act without implying time, so we can of motion, except in the sense of motion over a defined area; act is timeless, and so is motion pure and simple.

Are we told that motion is necessarily in time, inasmuch as it involves continuity? But, at this, sight, never ceasing to see, will also be continuous and in time. Our critic, it is true, may find support in that principle of proportion which states that you may make a division of no matter what motion, and find that neither the motion nor its duration has any beginning but that the division may be continued indefinitely in the direction of the motion's origin: This would mean that a motion just begun has been in progress from an infinity of time, that it is infinite as regards its beginning.

Such then is the result of separating act from motion: Act, we aver, is timeless; yet we are forced to maintain not only that time is necessary to quantitative motion, but, unreservedly, that motion is quantitative in its very nature; though indeed, if it were a case of motion occupying a day or some other quantity of time, the exponents of this view would be the first to admit that Quantity is present to motion only by way of accident.

In sum, just as act is timeless, so there is no reason why motion also should not primarily be timeless, time attaching to it only in so far as it happens to have such and such an extension.

Timeless change is sanctioned in the expression, "as if change could not take place all at once"; if then change is timeless, why not motion also?—change, be it noted, is here distinguished from the result of change, the result being unnecessary to establish the change itself.


We may be told that neither act nor motion requires a genus for itself, but that both revert to relation, act belonging to the potentially active, motion to the potentially motive. Our reply is that relation produces relatives as such, and not the mere reference to an external standard; given the existence of a thing, whether attributive or relative, it holds its essential character prior to any relationship: So then must act and motion, and even such an attribute as habit; they are not prevented from being prior to any relationship they may occupy, or from being conceivable in themselves. Otherwise, everything will be relative; for anything you think of—even soul—bears some relationship to something else.

But, to return to activity proper and the action, is there any reason why these should be referred to relation? They must in every instance be either motion or act.

If however activity is referred to relation and the action made a distinct genus, why is not motion referred to relation and the movement made a distinct genus? Why not bisect the unity, motion, and so make action and passion two species of the one thing, ceasing to consider action and passion as two genera?


There are other questions calling for consideration:

First: Are both acts and motions to be included in the category of action, with the distinction that acts are momentary while motions, such as cutting, are in time? Or will both be regarded as motions or as involving motion?

Secondly: Will all activities be related to passivity, or will some—for example, walking and speaking—be considered as independent of it?

Thirdly: Will all those related to passivity be classed as motions and the independent as acts, or will the two classes overlap? Walking, for instance, which is an independent, would, one supposes, be a motion; thinking, which also does not essentially involve "passivity," an act: Otherwise we must hold that thinking and walking are not even actions. But if they are not in the category of action, where then in our classification must they fall?

It may perhaps be urged that the act of thinking, together with the faculty of thought, should be regarded as relative to the thought object; for is not the faculty of sensation treated as relative to the sensible object? If then, we may ask, in the analogue the faculty of sensation is treated as relative to the sensible object, why not the sensory act as well? The fact is that even sensation, though related to an external object, has something besides that relation: It has, namely, its own status of being either an act or a passion. Now the passion is separable from the condition of being attached to some object and caused by some object: So, then, is the act a distinct entity. Walking is similarly attached and caused, and yet has besides the status of being a motion. It follows that thought, in addition to its relationship, will have the status of being either a motion or an act.


We have to ask ourselves whether there are not certain acts which without the addition of a time-element will be thought of as imperfect and therefore classed with motions. Take for instance living and life. The life of a definite person implies a certain adequate period, just as his happiness is no merely instantaneous thing. Life and happiness are, in other words, of the nature ascribed to motion: Both therefore must be treated as motions, and motion must be regarded as a unity, a single genus; besides the quantity and quality belonging to substance we must take count of the motion manifested in it.

We may further find desirable to distinguish bodily from psychic motions or spontaneous motions from those induced by external forces, or the original from the derivative, the original motions being activities, whether externally related or independent, while the derivative will be passions.

But surely the motions having external tendency are actually identical with those of external derivation: The cutting issuing from the cutter and that effected in the object are one, though to cut is not the same as to be cut.

Perhaps however the cutting issuing from the cutter and that which takes place in the cut object are in fact not one, but "to cut" implies that from a particular act and motion there results a different motion in the object cut. Or perhaps the difference [between action and passion] lies not in the fact of being cut, but in the distinct emotion supervening, pain for example: Passivity has this connotation also.

But when there is no pain, what occurs? Nothing, surely, but the act of the agent on the patient object: This is all that is meant in such cases by action. Action, thus, becomes twofold: There is that which occurs in the external, and that which does not. The duality of action and passion, suggested by the notion that action [always] takes place in an external, is abandoned.

Even writing, though taking place on an external object, does not call for passivity, since no effect is produced, on the tablet beyond the act of the writer, nothing like pain; we may be told that the tablet has been inscribed, but this does not suffice for passivity.

Again, in the case of walking there is the earth trodden on, but no one thinks of it as having experienced passion [or suffering]. Treading on a living body, we think of suffering, because we reflect not on the walking but on the ensuing pain: Otherwise we should think of suffering in the case of the tablet as well.

It is so in every case of action: We cannot but think of it as knit into a unity with its opposite, passion. Not that this later "passion" is the opposite of action in the way in which being burned is the opposite of burning: By passion in this sense we mean the effect supervening on the combined facts of the burning and the being burned, whether this effect be pain or some such process as withering.

Suppose this passion to be treated as of itself producing pain: Have we not still the duality of agent and patient, two results from the one act? The act may no longer include the will to cause pain; but it produces something distinct from itself, a pain- causing medium which enters into the object about to experience pain: This medium, while retaining its individuality, produces something yet different, the feeling of pain.

What does this suggest? Surely that the very medium—the act of hearing, for instance—is, even before it produces pain or without producing pain at all, a passion of that into which it enters.

But hearing, with sensation in general, is in fact not a passion. Yet to feel pain is to experience a passion—a passion however which is not opposed to action.


But though not opposed, it is still different from action and cannot belong to the same genus as activity; though if they are both motion, it will so belong, on the principle that alteration must be regarded as qualitative motion.

Does it follow that whenever alteration proceeds from Quality, it will be activity and action, the quale remaining impassive? It may be that if the quale remains impassive, the alteration will be in the category of action; whereas if, while its energy is directed outwards, it also suffers—as in beating—it will cease to belong to that category: Or perhaps there is nothing to prevent its being in both categories at one and the same moment.

If then an alteration be conditioned by passivity alone, as is the case with rubbing, on what ground is it assigned to action rather than to passivity? Perhaps the passivity arises from the fact that a counter-rubbing is involved. But are we, in view of this counter- motion, to recognize the presence of two distinct motions? No: One only.

How then can this one motion be both action and passion? We must suppose it to be action in proceeding from an object, and passion in being directly on another—though it remains the same motion throughout.

Suppose however passion to be a different motion from action: How then does its modification of the patient object change that patient's character without the agent being affected by the patient? for obviously an agent cannot be passive to the operation it performs on another. Can it be that the fact of motion existing elsewhere creates the passion, which was not passion in the agent?

If the whiteness of the swan, produced by its reason- principle, is given at its birth, are we to affirm passion of the swan on its passing into being? If, on the contrary, the swan grows white after birth, and if there is a cause of that growth and the corresponding result, are we to say that the growth is a passion? Or must we confine passion to purely qualitative change?

One thing confers beauty and another takes it: Is that which takes beauty to be regarded as patient? If then the source of beauty—tin, suppose—should deteriorate or actually disappear, while the recipient—copper—improves, are we to think of the copper as passive and the tin active?

Take the learner: How can he be regarded as passive, seeing that the act of the agent passes into him [and becomes his act]? How can the act, necessarily a simple entity, be both act and passion? No doubt the act is not in itself a passion; nonetheless, the learner coming to possess it will be a patient by the fact of his appropriation of an experience from outside: He will not, of course, be a patient in the sense of having himself performed no act; learning—like seeing—is not analogous to being struck, since it involves the acts of apprehension and recognition.


How, then, are we to recognise passivity, since clearly it is not to be found in the act from outside which the recipient in turn makes his own? Surely we must look for it in cases where the patient remains without act, the passivity pure.

Imagine a case where an agent improves, though its act tends towards deterioration. Or, say, a a man's activity is guided by evil and is allowed to dominate another's without restraint. In these cases the act is clearly wrong, the passion blameless.

What then is the real distinction between action and passion? Is it that action starts from within and is directed on an outside object, while passion is derived from without and fulfilled within? What, then, are we to say of such cases as thought and opinion which originate within but are not directed outwards? again, the passion "being heated" rises within the self, when that self is provoked by an opinion to reflection or to anger, without the intervention of any external. Still it remains true that action, whether self-centred or with external tendency, is a motion rising in the self.

How then do we explain desire and other forms of aspiration? aspiration must be a motion having its origin in the object aspired to, though some might disallow "origin" and be content with saying that the motion aroused is subsequent to the object; in what respect, then, does aspiring differ from taking a blow or being borne down by a thrust?

Perhaps, however, we should divide aspirations into two classes, those which follow intellect being described as actions, the merely impulsive being passions. Passivity now will not turn on origin, without or within—within there can only be deficiency; but whenever a thing, without itself assisting in the process, undergoes an alteration not directed to the creation of being but changing the thing for the worse or not for the better, such an alteration will be regarded as a passion and as entailing passivity.

If however "being heated" means "acquiring heat," and is sometimes found to contribute to the production of being and sometimes not, passivity will be identical with impassivity: Besides, "being heated" must then have a double significance [according as it does or does not contribute to being].

The fact is, however, that "being heated," even when it contributes to being, involves the presence of a patient [distinct from the being produced]. Take the case of the bronze which has to be heated and so is a patient; the being is a statue, which is not heated except accidentally [by the accident of being contained in the bronze]. If then the bronze becomes more beautiful as a result of being heated and in the same proportion, it certainly becomes so by passivity; for passivity must, clearly, take two forms: There is the passivity which tends to alteration for better or for worse, and there is the passivity which has neither tendency.


Passivity, thus, implies the existence within of a motion functioning somehow or other in the direction of alteration. Action too implies motion within, whether the motion be aimless or whether it be driven by the impulse comported by the term "action" to find its goal in an external object. There is motion in both action and passion, but the differentia distinguishing action from passion keeps action impassive, while passion is recognised by the fact that a new state replaces the old, though nothing is added to the essential character of the patient; whenever being [essential being] is produced, the patient remains distinct.

Thus, what is action in one relation may be passion in another. One same motion will be action from the point of view of a, passion from that of b; for the two are so disposed that they might well be consigned to the category of relation—at any rate in the cases where the action entails a corresponding passion: Neither correlative is found in isolation; each involves both action and passion, though a acts as mover and b is moved: Each then involves two categories.

Again, a gives motion to b, b receives it, so that we have a giving and a receiving—in a word, a relation.

But a recipient must possess what it has received. A thing is admitted to possess its natural colour: Why not its motion also? Besides, independent motions such as walking and thought do, in fact, involve the possession of the powers respectively to walk and to think.

We are reminded to enquire whether thought in the form of providence constitutes action; to be subject to providence is apparently passion, for such thought is directed to an external, the object of the providential arrangement. But it may well be that neither is the exercise of providence an action, even though the thought is concerned with an external, nor subjection to it a passion. Thought itself need not be an action, for it does not go outward towards its object but remains self-gathered. It is not always an activity; all acts need not be definable as activities, for they need not produce an effect; activity belongs to act only accidentally.

Does it follow that if a man as he walks produces footprints, he cannot be considered to have performed an action? certainly as a result of his existing something distinct from himself has come into being. Yet perhaps we should regard both action and act as merely accidental, because he did not aim at this result: It would be as we speak of action even in things inanimate—"fire heats," "the drug worked."

So much for action and passion.


As for possession, if the term is used comprehensively, why are not all its modes to be brought under one category? Possession, thus, would include the quantum as possessing magnitude, the quale as possessing colour; it would include fatherhood and the complementary relationships, since the father possesses the son and the son possesses the father: In short, it would include all belongings.

If, on the contrary, the category of possession comprises only the things of the body, such as weapons and shoes, we first ask why this should be so, and why their possession produces a single category, while burning, cutting, burying or casting them out do not give another or others. If it is because these things are carried on the person, then one's mantle lying on a couch will come under a different category from that of the mantle covering the person. If the ownership of possession suffices, then clearly one must refer to the one category of possession all objects identified by being possessed, every case in which possession can be established; the character of the possessed object will make no difference.

If however possession is not to be predicated of Quality because Quality stands recognised as a category, nor of Quantity because the category of Quantity has been received, nor of parts because they have been assigned to the category of substance, why should we predicate possession of weapons, when they too are comprised in the accepted category of substance? Shoes and weapons are clearly substances.

How, further, is "he possesses weapons," signifying as it does that the action of arming has been performed by a subject, to be regarded as an entirely simple notion, assignable to a single category?

Again, is possession to be restricted to an animate possessor, or does it hold good even of a statue as possessing the objects above mentioned? The animate and inanimate seem to possess in different ways, and the term is perhaps equivocal. Similarly, "standing" has not the same connotation as applied to the animate and the inanimate.

Besides, how can it be reasonable for what is found only in a limited number of cases to form a distinct generic category?


There remains situation, which like possession is confined to a few instances such as reclining and sitting.

Even so, the term is not used without qualification: We say "they are placed in such and such a manner," "he is situated in such and such a position." the position is added from outside the genus.

In short, situation signifies "being in a place"; there are two things involved, the position and the place: Why then must two categories be combined into one?

Moreover, if sitting signifies an act, it must be classed among acts; if a passion, it goes under the category to which belong passions complete and incomplete.

Reclining is surely nothing but "lying up," and tallies with "lying down" and "lying midway." but if the reclining belongs thus to the category of relation, why not the recliner also? for as "on the right" belongs to the relations, so does "the thing on the right"; and similarly with "the thing on the left."


There are those who lay down four categories and make a fourfold division into substrates, Qualities, states, and relative states, and find in these a common something, and so include everything in one genus.

Against this theory there is much to be urged, but particularly against this posing of a common something and a single all- embracing genus. This something, it may be submitted, is unintelligible to themselves, is indefinable, and does not account either for bodies or for the bodiless. Moreover, no room is left for a differentia by which this something may be distinguished. Besides, this common something is either existent or non-existent: If existent, it must be one or other of its [four] species;—if non-existent, the existent is classed under the non-existent. But the objections are countless; we must leave them for the present and consider the several heads of the division.

To the first genus are assigned substrates, including matter, to which is given a priority over the others; so that what is ranked as the first principle comes under the same head with things which must be posterior to it since it is their principle.

First, then: The prior is made homogeneous with the subsequent. Now this is impossible: In this relation the subsequent owes its existence to the prior, whereas among things belonging to one same genus each must have, essentially, the equality implied by the genus; for the very meaning of genus is to be predicated of the species in respect of their essential character. And that matter is the basic source of all the rest of things, this school, we may suppose, would hardly deny.

Secondly: Since they treat the substrate as one thing, they do not enumerate the existents; they look instead for principles of the existents. There is however a difference between speaking of the actual existents and of their principles.

If matter is taken to be the only existent, and all other things as modifications of matter, it is not legitimate to set up a single genus to embrace both the existent and the other things; consistency requires that being [substance] be distinguished from its modifications and that these modifications be duly classified.

Even the distinction which this theory makes between substrates and the rest of things is questionable. The substrate is [necessarily] one thing and admits of no differentia—except perhaps in so far as it is split up like one mass into its various parts; and yet not even so, since the notion of being implies continuity: It would be better, therefore, to speak of the substrate, in the singular.


But the error in this theory is fundamental. To set matter the potential above everything, instead of recognising the primacy of actuality, is in the highest degree perverse. If the potential holds the primacy among the existents, its actualization becomes impossible; it certainly cannot bring itself into actuality: Either the actual exists previously, and so the potential is not the first- principle, or, if the two are to be regarded as existing simultaneously, the first- principles must be attributed to hazard. Besides, if they are simultaneous, why is not actuality given the primacy? Why is the potential more truly real than the actual?

Supposing however that the actual does come later than the potential, how must the theory proceed? Obviously matter does not produce form: The unqualified does not produce Quality, nor does actuality take its origin in the potential; for that would mean that the actual was inherent in the potential, which at once becomes a dual thing.

Furthermore, God becomes a secondary to matter, inasmuch as even he is regarded as a body composed of matter and form—though how he acquires the form is not revealed. If however he be admitted to exist apart from matter in virtue of his character as a principle and a rational law [logos], God will be bodiless, the creative power bodiless. If we are told that he is without matter but is composite in essence by the fact of being a body, this amounts to introducing another matter, the matter of God.

Again, how can matter be a first-principle, seeing that it is body? Body must necessarily be a plurality, since all bodies are composite of matter and Quality. If however body in this case is to be understood in some different way, then matter is identified with body only by an equivocation.

If the possession of three dimensions is given as the characteristic of body, then we are dealing simply with mathematical body. If resistance is added, we are no longer considering a unity: Besides, resistance is a quality or at least derived from Quality.

And whence is this resistance supposed to come? Whence the three dimensions? What is the source of their existence? Matter is not comprised in the concept of the three-dimensional, nor the three-dimensional in the concept of matter; if matter partakes thus of extension, it can no longer be a simplex.

Again, whence does matter derive its unifying power? It is assuredly not the absolute unity, but has only that of participation in unity.

We inevitably conclude that mass or extension cannot be ranked as the first of things; non-extension and unity must be prior. We must begin with the One and conclude with the many, proceed to magnitude from that which is free from magnitude: A One is necessary to the existence of a many, non-magnitude to that of magnitude. Magnitude is a unity not by being unity- absolute, but by participation and in an accidental mode: There must be a primary and absolute preceding the accidental, or the accidental relation is left unexplained.

The manner of this relation demands investigation. Had this been undertaken, the thinkers of this school would probably have lighted on that unity which is not accidental but essential and underived.


On other grounds also, it is indefensible not to have reserved the high place for the true first-principle of things but to have set up in its stead the formless, passive and lifeless, the irrational, dark and indeterminate, and to have made this the source of being. In this theory God is introduced merely for the sake of appearance: Deriving existence from matter he is a composite, a derivative, or, worse, a mere state of matter.

Another consideration is that, if matter is a substrate, there must be something outside it, which, acting on it and distinct from it, makes it the substrate of what is poured into it. But if God is lodged in matter and by being involved in matter is himself no more than a substrate, he will no longer make matter a substrate nor be himself a substrate in conjunction with matter. For of what will they be substrates, when that which could make them substrates is eliminated? This so-called substrate turns out to have swallowed up all that is; but a substrate must be relative, and relative not to its content but to something which acts on it as on a datum.

Again, the substrate comports a relation to that which is not substrate; hence, to something external to it: There must, then, be something apart from the substrate. If nothing distinct and external is considered necessary, but the substrate itself can become everything and adopt every character, like the versatile dancer in the pantomime, it ceases to be a substrate: It is, essentially, everything. The mime is not a substrate of the characters he puts on; these are in fact the realisation of his own personality: Similarly, if the matter with which this theory presents us comports in its own being all the realities, it is no longer the substrate of all: On the contrary, the other things can have no reality whatever, if they are no more than states of matter in the sense that the poses of the mime are states through which he passes.

Then, those other things not existing, matter will not be a substrate, nor will it have a place among the existents; it will be matter bare, and for that reason not even matter, since matter is a relative. The relative is relative to something else: It must, further, be homogeneous with that something else: Double is relative to half, but not substance to double.

How then can an existent be relative to a non-existent, except accidentally? But the true-existent, or matter, is related (to what emerges from it) as existent to non-existent. For if potentiality is that which holds the promise of existence and that promise does not constitute reality, the potentiality cannot be a reality. In sum, these very teachers who deprecate the production of realities from nonrealities, themselves produce non-reality from reality; for to them the universe as such is not a reality.

But is it not a paradox that, while matter, the substrate, is to them an existence, bodies should not have more claim to existence, the universe yet more, and not merely a claim grounded on the reality of one of its parts?

It is no less paradoxical that the living form should owe existence not to its soul but to its matter only, the soul being but an affection of matter and posterior to it. From what source then did matter receive ensoulment? Whence, in short, is soul's entity derived? How does it occur that matter sometimes turns into bodies, while another part of it turns into soul? Even supposing that form might come to it from elsewhere, that accession of Quality to matter would account not for soul, but simply for organized body soulless. If, on the contrary, there is something which both moulds matter and produces soul, then prior to the produced there must be soul the producer.


Many as are the objections to this theory, we pass on for fear of the ridicule we might incur by arguing against a position itself so manifestly ridiculous. We may be content with pointing out that it assigns the primacy to the non-existent and treats it as the very summit of existence: In short, it places the last thing first. The reason for this procedure lies in the acceptance of sense- perception as a trustworthy guide to first-principles and to all other entities.

This philosophy began by identifying the real with body; then, viewing with apprehension the transmutations of bodies, decided that reality was that which is permanent beneath the superficial changes—which is much as if one regarded space as having more title to reality than the bodies within it, on the principle that space does not perish with them. They found a permanent in space, but it was a fault to take mere permanence as in itself a sufficient definition of the real; the right method would have been to consider what properties must characterize reality, by the presence of which properties it has also that of unfailing permanence. Thus if a shadow had permanence, accompanying an object through every change, that would not make it more real than the object itself. The sensible universe, as including the substrate and a multitude of attributes, will thus have more claim to be reality entire than has any one of its component entities (such as matter): And if the sensible were in very truth the whole of reality, matter, the mere base and not the total, could not be that whole.

Most surprising of all is that, while they make sense- perception their guarantee of everything, they hold that the real cannot be grasped by sensation;—for they have no right to assign to matter even so much as resistance, since resistance is a quality. If however they profess to grasp reality by intellect, is it not a strange intellect which ranks matter above itself, giving reality to matter and not to itself? And as their "intellect" has, thus, no real-existence, how can it be trustworthy when it speaks of things higher than itself, things to which it has no affinity whatever?

But an adequate treatment of this entity [matter] and of substrates will be found elsewhere.


Qualities must be for this school distinct from substrates. This in fact they acknowledge by counting them as the second category. If then they form a distinct category, they must be simplex; that is to say they are not composite; that is to say that as qualities, pure and simple, they are devoid of matter: Hence they are bodiless and active, since matter is their substrate—a relation of passivity.

If however they hold Qualities to be composite, that is a strange classification which first contrasts simple and composite qualities, then proceeds to include them in one genus, and finally includes one of the two species [simple] in the other [composite]; it is like dividing knowledge into two species, the first comprising grammatical knowledge, the second made up of grammatical and other knowledge.

Again, if they identify Qualities with qualifications of matter, then in the first place even their seminal principles [logoi] will be material and will not have to reside in matter to produce a composite, but prior to the composite thus produced they will themselves be composed of matter and form: In other words, they will not be forms or principles. Further, if they maintain that the seminal principles are nothing but matter in a certain state, they evidently identify Qualities with states, and should accordingly classify them in their fourth genus. If this is a state of some peculiar kind, what precisely is its differentia? clearly the state by its association with matter receives an accession of reality: Yet if that means that when divorced from matter it is not a reality, how can state be treated as a single genus or species? certainly one genus cannot embrace the existent and the non- existent.

And what is this state implanted in matter? It is either real, or unreal: If real, absolutely bodiless: If unreal, it is introduced to no purpose; matter is all there is; Quality therefore is nothing. The same is true of state, for that is even more unreal; the alleged fourth category more so.

Matter then is the sole reality. But how do we come to know this? certainly not from matter itself. How, then? from intellect? But intellect is merely a state of matter, and even the "state" is an empty qualification. We are left after all with matter alone competent to make these assertions, to fathom these problems. And if its assertions were intelligent, we must wonder how it thinks and performs the functions of soul without possessing either intellect or soul. If, then, it were to make foolish assertions, affirming itself to be what it is not and cannot be, to what should we ascribe this folly? doubtless to matter, if it was in truth matter that spoke. But matter does not speak; anyone who says that it does proclaims the predominance of matter in himself; he may have a soul, but he is utterly devoid of intellect, and lives in ignorance of himself and of the faculty alone capable of uttering the truth in these things.


With regard to states:

It may seem strange that states should be set up as a third class—or whatever class it is—since all states are referable to matter. We shall be told that there is a difference among states, and that a state as in matter has definite characteristics distinguishing it from all other states and further that, whereas Qualities are states of matter, states properly so- called belong to Qualities. But if Qualities are nothing but states of matter, states [in the strict sense of the term] are ultimately reducible to matter, and under matter they must be classed.

Further, how can states constitute a single genus, when there is such manifold diversity among them? How can we group together three yards long" and "white"—Quantity and Quality respectively? Or again time and place? How can "yesterday," "last year," "in the lyceum," "in the academy," be states at all? How can time be in any sense a state? Neither is time a state nor the events in time, neither the objects in space nor space itself.

And how can action be a state? One acting is not in a state of being but in a state of action, or rather in action simply: No state is involved. Similarly, what is predicated of the patient is not a state of being but a state of passion, or strictly, passion unqualified by state.

But it would seem that state was the right category at least for cases of situation and possession: Yet possession does not imply possession of some particular state, but is possession absolute.

As for the relative state, if the theory does not include it in the same genus as the other states, another question arises: We must enquire whether any actuality is attributed to this particular type of relation, for to many types actuality is denied.

It is, moreover, absurd that an entity which depends on the prior existence of other entities should be classed in the same genus with those priors: One and two must, clearly, exist, before half and double can.

The various speculations on the subject of the existents and the principles of the existents, whether they have entailed an infinite or a finite number, bodily or bodiless, or even supposed the composite to be the authentic existent, may well be considered separately with the help of the criticisms made by the ancients on them.

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Second tractate: On the kinds of being (2)



We have examined the proposed "ten genera": We have discussed also the theory which gathers the total of things into one genus and to this subordinates what may be thought of as its four species. The next step is, naturally, to expound our own views and to try to show the agreement of our conclusions with those of Plato.

Now if we were obliged to consider being as a unity, the following questions would be unnecessary:

Is there one genus embracing everything, or are there genera which cannot be subsumed under such a unity? Are there first- principles? Are first-principles to be identified with genera, or genera with first-principles? Or is it perhaps rather the case that while not all genera are first-principles, all first-principles are at the same time genera? Or is the converse true? Or again, do both classes overlap, some principles being also genera, and some genera also principles? And do both the sets of categories we have been examining imply that only some principles are genera and some genera principles? Or does one of them presuppose that all that belongs to the class of genera belongs also to the class of principles?

Since, however, we affirm that being is not a unity—the reason for this affirmation is stated by Plato and others—these questions become imperative, once we are satisfied as to the number of genera to be posited and the grounds for our choice.

The subject of our enquiry, then, is the existent or existents, and it presents immediately two problems demanding separate analysis:

What do we mean by the existent? This is naturally the first question to be examined.

What is that which, often taken for being [for the existent], is in our view becoming and never really being? Note however that these concepts are not to be taken as distinguished from each other in the sense of belonging to a genus, something, divided into being and becoming; and we must not suppose that Plato took this view. It would be absurd to assign being to the same genus as non-being: This would be to make one genus of socrates and his portrait. The division here [between what has being and what is in becoming] means a definite marking-off, a setting asunder, leading to the assertion that what takes the appearance of being is not being and implying that the nature of true being has been quite misapprehended. Being, we are taught, must have the attribute of eternity, must be so constituted as never to belie its own nature.

This, then, is the being of which we shall treat, and in our investigation we shall assume that it is not a unity: Subsequently we ask leave to say something on the nature of becoming and on what it is that comes to be, that is, on the nature of the world of sense.


In asserting that being is not a unity, we do not mean to imply a definite number of existences; the number may well be infinite: We mean simply that it is many as well as one, that it is, so to speak, a diversified unity, a plurality in unity.

It follows that either the unity so regarded is a unity of genus under which the existents, involving as they do plurality as well as unity, stand as species; or that while there are more genera than one, yet all are subordinate to a unity; or there may be more genera than one, though no one genus is subordinate to any other, but all with their own subordinates—whether these be lesser genera, or species with individuals for their subordinates—all are elements in one entity, and from their totality the intellectual realm—that which we know as being—derives its constitution.

If this last is the truth, we have here not merely genera, but genera which are at the same time principles of being. They are genera because they have subordinates—other genera, and successively species and individuals; they are also principles, since from this plurality being takes its rise, constituted in its entirety from these its elements.

Suppose, however, a greater number of origins which by their mere totality comprised, without possessing any subordinates, the whole of being; these would be first-principles but not genera: It would be as if one constructed the sensible world from the four elements—fire and the others; these elements would be first principles, but they would not be genera, unless the term "genus" is to be used equivocally.

But does this assertion of certain genera which are at the same time first-principles imply that by combining the genera, each with its subordinates, we find the whole of being in the resultant combination? But then, taken separately, their existence will not be actual but only potential, and they will not be found in isolation.

Suppose, on the other hand, we ignore the genera and combine the particulars: What then becomes of the ignored genera? They will, surely, exist in the purity of their own isolation, and the mixtures will not destroy them. The question of how this result is achieved may be postponed.

For the moment we take it as agreed that there are genera as distinct from principles of being and that, on another plane, principles [elements] are opposed to compounds. We are thus obliged to show in what relation we speak of genera and why we distinguish them instead of summing them under a unity; for otherwise we imply that their coalescence into a unity is fortuitous, whereas it would be more plausible to dispense with their separate existence.

If all the genera could be species of being, all individuals without exception being immediately subordinate to these species, then such a unification becomes feasible. But that supposition bespeaks annihilation for the genera: The species will no longer be species; plurality will no longer be subordinated to unity; everything must be the unity, unless there exist some thing or things outside the unity. The One never becomes many—as the existence of species demands—unless there is something distinct from it: It cannot of itself assume plurality, unless we are to think of it as being broken into pieces like some extended body: But even so, the force which breaks it up must be distinct from it: If it is itself to effect the breaking up—or whatever form the division may take—then it is itself previously divided.

For these and many other reasons we must abstain from positing a single genus, and especially because neither being nor substance can be the predicate of any given thing. If we do predicate being, it is only as an accidental attribute; just as when we predicate whiteness of a substance, we are not predicating the absolute Whiteness.


We assert, then, a plurality of existents, but a plurality not fortuitous and therefore a plurality deriving from a unity.

But even admitting this derivation from a unity—a unity however not predicated of them in respect of their essential being—there is, surely, no reason why each of these existents, distinct in character from every other, should not in itself stand as a separate genus.

Is, then, this unity external to the genera thus produced, this unity which is their source though it cannot be predicated of them in respect of their essence? It is indeed external; the One is beyond; it cannot, therefore, be included among the genera: It is the [transcendent] source, while they stand side by side as genera. Yet surely the one must somehow be included [among the genera]? No: It is the existents we are investigating, not that which is beyond existence.

We pass on, then, to consider that which is included, and find to our surprise the cause included with the things it causes: It is surely strange that causes and effects should be brought into the same genus.

But if the cause is included with its effects only in the sense in which a genus is included with its subordinates, the subordinates being of a different order, so that it cannot be predicated of them whether as their genus or in any other relation, these subordinates are obviously themselves genera with subordinates of their own: You may, for example, be the cause of the operation of walking, but the walking is not subordinate to you in the relation of species to genus; and if walking had nothing prior to it as its genus, but had posteriors, then it would be a [primary] genus and rank among the existents.

Perhaps, however, it must be utterly denied that unity is even the cause of other things; they should be considered rather as its parts or elements—if the terms may be allowed,—their totality constituting a single entity which our thinking divides. All unity though it be, it goes by a wonderful power out into everything; it appears as many and becomes many when there is a motion; the fecundity of its nature causes the One to be no longer one, and we, displaying what we call its parts, consider them each as a unity and make them into "genera," unaware of our failure to see the whole at once. We display it, then, in parts, though, unable to restrain their natural tendency to coalesce, we bring these parts together again, resign them to the whole and allow them to become a unity, or rather to be a unity.

All this will become clearer in the light of further consideration—when, that is to say, we have ascertained the number of the genera; for thus we shall also discover their causes. It is not enough to deny; we must advance by dint of thought and comprehension. The way is clear:


If we had to ascertain the nature of body and the place it holds in the universe, surely we should take some sample of body, say stone, and examine into what constituents it may be divided. There would be what we think of as the substrate of stone, its quantity—in this case, a magnitude; its quality—for example, the colour of stone. As with stone, so with every other body: We should see that in this thing, body, there are three distinguishable characteristics—the pseudo- substance, the quantity, the quality—though they all make one and are only logically trisected, the three being found to constitute the unit thing, body. If motion were equally inherent in its constitution, we should include this as well, and the four would form a unity, the single body depending on them all for its unity and characteristic nature.

The same method must be applied in examining the intellectual substance and the genera and first-principles of the intellectual sphere.

But we must begin by subtracting what is peculiar to body, its coming-to-be, its sensible nature, its magnitude—that is to say, the characteristics which produce isolation and mutual separation. It is an intellectual being we have to consider, an authentic existent, possessed of a unity surpassing that of any sensible thing.

Now the wonder comes how a unity of this type can be many as well as one. In the case of body it was easy to concede unity- with- plurality; the one body is divisible to infinity; its colour is a different thing from its shape, since in fact they are separated. But if we take soul, single, continuous, without extension, of the highest simplicity—as the first effort of the mind makes manifest—how can we expect to find multiplicity here too? We believed that the division of the living being into body and soul was final: Body indeed was manifold, composite, diversified; but in soul we imagined we had found a simplex, and boldly made a halt, supposing that we had come to the limit of our course.

Let us examine this soul, presented to us from the intellectual realm as body from the sensible. How is its unity a plurality? How is its plurality a unity? clearly its unity is not that of a composite formed from diverse elements, but that of a single nature comprising a plurality.

This problem attacked and solved, the truth about the genera comprised in being will thereby, as we asserted, be elucidated also.


A first point demanding consideration:

Bodies—those, for example, of animals and plants—are each a multiplicity founded on colour and shape and magnitude, and on the forms and arrangement of parts: Yet all these elements spring from a unity. Now this unity must be either unity-absolute or some unity less thorough-going and complete, but necessarily more complete than that which emerges, so to speak, from the body itself; this will be a unity having more claim to reality than the unity produced from it, for divergence from unity involves a corresponding divergence from reality. Since, thus, bodies take their rise from unity, but not "unity" in the sense of the complete unity or unity- absolute—for this could never yield discrete plurality—it remains that they be derived from a unity pluralized. But the creative principle [in bodies] is soul: Soul therefore is a pluralized unity.

We then ask whether the plurality here consists of the reason-principles of the things of process. Or is this unity not something different from the mere sum of these principles? certainly soul itself is one reason-principle, the chief of the reason-principles, and these are its act as it functions in accordance with its essential being; this essential being, on the other hand, is the potentiality of the reason-principles. This is the mode in which this unity is a plurality, its plurality being revealed by the effect it has on the external.

But, to leave the region of its effect, suppose we take it at the higher non-effecting part of soul; is not plurality of powers to be found in this part also? The existence of this higher part will, we may presume, be at once conceded.

But is this existence to be taken as identical with that of the stone? Surely not. Being in the case of the stone is not being pure and simple, but stone-being: So here; soul's being denotes not merely being but soul-being.

Is then that "being" distinct from what else goes to complete the essence [or substance] of soul? Is it to be identified with bring [the absolute], while to some differentia of being is ascribed the production of soul? No doubt soul is in a sense being, and this is not as a man "is" white, but from the fact of its being purely an essence: In other words, the being it possesses it holds from no source external to its own essence.


But must it not draw on some source external to its essence, if it is to be conditioned, not only by being, but by being an entity of a particular character? But if it is conditioned by a particular character, and this character is external to its essence, its essence does not comprise all that makes it soul; its individuality will determine it; a part of soul will be essence, but not soul entire.

Furthermore, what being will it have when we separate it from its other components? The being of a stone? No: The being must be a form of being appropriate to a source, so to speak, and a first-principle, or rather must take the forms appropriate to all that is comprised in soul's being: The being here must, that is, be life, and the life and the being must be one.

One, in the sense of being one reason-principle? No; it is the substrate of soul that is one, though one in such a way as to be also two or more—as many as are the primaries which constitute soul. Either, then, it is life as well as substance, or else it possesses life.

But if life is a thing possessed, the essence of the possessor is not inextricably bound up with life. If, on the contrary, this is not possession, the two, life and substance, must be a unity.

Soul, then, is one and many—as many as are manifested in that oneness—one in its nature, many in those other things. A single existent, it makes itself many by what we may call its motion: It is one entire, but by its striving, so to speak, to contemplate itself, it is a plurality; for we may imagine that it cannot bear to be a single existent, when it has the power to be all that it in fact is. The cause of its appearing as many is this contemplation, and its purpose is the act of the intellect; if it were manifested as a bare unity, it could have no intellection, since in that simplicity it would already be identical with the object of its thought.


What, then, are the several entities observable in this plurality?

We have found substance [essence] and life simultaneously present in soul. Now, this substance is a common property of soul, but life, common to all souls, differs in that it is a property of intellect also.

Having thus introduced intellect and its life we make a single genus of what is common to all life, namely, motion. Substance and the motion, which constitutes the highest life, we must consider as two genera; for even though they form a unity, they are separable to thought which finds their unity not a unity; otherwise, it could not distinguish them.

Observe also how in other things motion or life is clearly separated from being—a separation impossible, doubtless, in true being, but possible in its shadow and namesake. In the portrait of a man much is left out, and above all the essential thing, life: The "being" of sensible things just such a shadow of true being, an abstraction from that being complete which was life in the archetype; it is because of this incompleteness that we are able in the sensible world to separate being from life and life from being.

Being, then, containing many species, has but one genus. Motion, however, is to be classed as neither a subordinate nor a supplement of being but as its concomitant; for we have not found being serving as substrate to motion. Motion is being act; neither is separated from the other except in thought; the two natures are one; for being is inevitably actual, not potential.

No doubt we observe motion and being separately, motion as contained in being and being as involved in motion, and in the individual they may be mutually exclusive; but the dualism is an affirmation of our thought only, and that thought sees either form as a duality within a unity.

Now motion, thus manifested in conjunction with being, does not alter being's nature—unless to complete its essential character—and it does retain for ever its own peculiar nature: At once, then, we are forced to introduce stability. To reject stability would be more unreasonable than to reject motion; for stability is associated in our thought and conception with being even more than with motion; unalterable condition, unchanging mode, single reason- principle—these are characteristics of the higher sphere.

Stability, then, may also be taken as a single genus. Obviously distinct from motion and perhaps even its contrary, that it is also distinct from being may be shown by many considerations. We may especially observe that if stability were identical with being, so also would motion be, with equal right. Why identity in the case of stability and not in that of motion, when motion is virtually the very life and act both of substance and of absolute being? However, on the very same principle on which we separated motion from being with the understanding that it is the same and not the same—that they are two and yet one—we also separate stability from being, holding it, yet, inseparable; it is only a logical separation entailing the inclusion among the existents of this other genus. To identify stability with being, with no difference between them, and to identify being with motion, would be to identify stability with motion through the mediation of being, and so to make motion and stability one and the same thing.


We cannot indeed escape positing these three, being, motion, stability, once it is the fact that the intellect discerns them as separates; and if it thinks of them at all, it posits them by that very thinking; if they are thought, they exist. Things whose existence is bound up with matter have no being in the intellect: These three principles are however free of matter; and in that which goes free of matter to be thought is to be.

We are in the presence of intellect undefiled. Fix it firmly, but not with the eyes of the body. You are looking on the hearth of reality, within it a sleepless light: You see how it holds to itself, and how it puts apart things that were together, how it lives a life that endures and keeps a thought acting not on any future but on that which already is, on an eternal present—a thought self-centred, bearing on nothing outside of itself.

Now in the act of intellect there are energy and motion; in its self-intellection substance and being. In virtue of its being it thinks, and it thinks of itself as being, and of that as being, on which it is, so to speak, pivoted. Not that its act self-directed ranks as substance, but being stands as the goal and origin of that act, the object of its contemplation though not the contemplation itself: And yet this act too involves being, which is its motive and its term. By the fact that its being is actual and not merely potential, intellect bridges the dualism [of agent and patient] and abjures separation: It identifies itself with being and being with itself.

Being, the most firmly set of all things, that in virtue of which all other things receive stability, possesses this stability not as from without but as springing within, as inherent. Stability is the goal of intellection, a stability which had no beginning, and the state from which intellection was impelled was stability, though stability gave it no impulsion; for motion neither starts from motion nor ends in motion. Again, the form-idea has stability, since it is the goal of intellect: Intellection is the form's motion.

Thus all the existents are one, at once motion and stability; motion and stability are genera all-pervading, and every subsequent is a particular being, a particular stability and a particular motion.

We have caught the radiance of being, and beheld it in its three manifestations: Being, revealed by the being within ourselves; the motion of being, revealed by the motion within ourselves; and its stability revealed by ours. We accommodate our being, motion, stability to those [of the archetypal], unable however to draw any distinction but finding ourselves in the presence of entities inseparable and, as it were, interfused. We have, however, in a sense, set them a little apart, holding them down and viewing them in isolation; and thus we have observed being, stability, motion—these three, of which each is a unity to itself; in so doing, have we not regarded them as being different from each other? By this posing of three entities, each a unity, we have, surely, found being to contain difference.

Again, inasmuch as we restore them to an all-embracing unity, identifying all with unity, do we not see in this amalgamation identity emerging as a real existent?

Thus, in addition to the other three [being, motion, stability], we are obliged to posit the further two, identity and difference, so that we have in all five genera. In so doing, we shall not withhold identity and difference from the subsequents of the intellectual order; the thing of sense has, it is clear, a particular identity and a particular difference, but identity and difference have the generic status independently of the particular.

They will, moreover, be primary genera, because nothing can be predicated of them as denoting their essential nature. Nothing, of course we mean, but being; but this being is not their genus, since they cannot be identified with any particular being as such. Similarly, being will not stand as genus to motion or stability, for these also are not its species. Beings [or existents] comprise not merely what are to be regarded as species of the genus being, but also participants in being. On the other hand, being does not participate in the other four principles as its genera: They are not prior to being; they do not even attain to its level.


The above considerations—to which others, doubtless, might be added—suffice to show that these five are primary genera. But that they are the only primary genera, that there are no others, how can we be confident of this? Why do we not add unity to them? Quantity? Quality? Relation, and all else included by our various forerunners?

As for unity: If the term is to mean a unity in which nothing else is present, neither soul nor intellect nor anything else, this can be predicated of nothing, and therefore cannot be a genus. If it denotes the unity present in being, in which case we predicate being of unity, this unity is not primal.

Besides, unity, containing no differences, cannot produce species, and not producing species, cannot be a genus. You cannot so much as divide unity: To divide it would be to make it many. Unity, aspiring to be a genus, becomes a plurality and annuls itself.

Again, you must add to it to divide it into species; for there can be no differentiae in unity as there are in substance. The mind accepts differences of being, but differences within unity there cannot be. Every differentia introduces a duality destroying the unity; for the addition of any one thing always does away with the previous quantity.

It may be contended that the unity which is implicit in being and in motion is common to all other things, and that therefore being and unity are inseparable. But we rejected the idea that being is a genus comprising all things, on the ground that these things are not beings in the sense of the absolute being, but beings in another mode: In the same way, we assert, unity is not a genus, the primary unity having a character distinct from all other unities.

Admitted that not everything suffices to produce a genus, it may yet be urged that there is an absolute or primary unity corresponding to the other primaries. But if being and unity are identified, then since being has already been included among the genera, it is but a name that is introduced in unity: If, however, they are both unity, some principle is implied: If there is anything in addition [to this principle], unity is predicated of this added thing; if there is nothing added, the reference is again to that unity predicated of nothing. If however the unity referred to is that which accompanies being, we have already decided that it is not unity in the primary sense.

But is there any reason why this less complete unity should not still possess primary being, seeing that even its posterior we rank as being, and "being" in the sense of the primary being? The reason is that the prior of this being cannot itself be being—or else, if the prior is being, this is not primary being: But the prior is unity; [therefore unity is not being].

Furthermore, unity, abstracted from being, has no differentiae.

Again, even taking it as bound up with being: If it is a consequent of being, then it is a consequent of everything, and therefore the latest of things: But the genus takes priority. If it is simultaneous with being, it is simultaneous with everything: But a genus is not thus simultaneous. If it is prior to being, it is of the nature of a principle, and therefore will belong only to being; but if it serves as principle to being, it is not its genus: If it is not genus to being, it is equally not a genus of anything else; for that would make being a genus of all other things.

In sum, the unity exhibited in being on the one hand approximates to unity-absolute and on the other tends to identify itself with being: Being is a unity in relation to the absolute, is being by virtue of its sequence on that absolute: It is indeed potentially a plurality, and yet it remains a unity and rejecting division refuses thereby to become a genus.


In what sense is the particular manifestation of being a unity? clearly, in so far as it is one thing, it forfeits its unity; with "one" and "thing" we have already plurality. No species can be a unity in more than an equivocal sense: A species is a plurality, so that the "unity" here is that of an army or a chorus. The unity of the higher order does not belong to species; unity is, thus, ambiguous, not taking the same form in being and in particular beings.

It follows that unity is not a genus. For a genus is such that wherever it is affirmed its opposites cannot also be affirmed; anything of which unity and its opposites are alike affirmed—and this implies the whole of being—cannot have unity as a genus. Consequently unity can be affirmed as a genus neither of the primary genera—since the unity of being is as much a plurality as a unity, and none of the other [primary] genera is a unity to the entire exclusion of plurality—nor of things posterior to being, for these most certainly are a plurality. In fact, no genus with all its items can be a unity; so that unity to become a genus must forfeit its unity. The unit is prior to number; yet number it must be, if it is to be a genus.

Again, the unit is a unit from the point of view of number: If it is a unit generically, it will not be a unit in the strict sense.

Again, just as the unit, appearing in numbers, not regarded as a genus predicated of them, but is thought of as inherent in them, so also unity, though present in being, cannot stand as genus to being or to the other genera or to anything whatever.

Further, as the simplex must be the principle of the non- simplex, though not its genus—for then the non-simplex too would be simplex,—so it stands with unity; if unity is a principle; it cannot be a genus to its subsequents, and therefore cannot be a genus of being or of other things. If it is nevertheless to be a genus, everything of which it is a genus must be taken as a unit—a notion which implies the separation of unity from substance: It will not, therefore, be all-embracing. Just as being is not a genus of everything but only of species each of which is a being, so too unity will be a genus of species each of which is a unity. But that raises the question of what difference there is between one thing and another in so far as they are both units, corresponding to the difference between one being and another.

Unity, it may be suggested, is divided in its conjunction with being and substance; being because it is so divided is considered a genus—the one genus manifested in many particulars; why then should not unity be similarly a genus, inasmuch as its manifestations are as many as those of substance and it is divided into as many particulars?

In the first place, the mere fact that an entity inheres in many things is not enough to make it a genus of those things or of anything else: In a word, a common property need not be a genus. The point inherent in a line is not a genus of lines, or a genus at all; nor again, as we have observed, is the unity latent in numbers a genus either of the numbers or of anything else: genus demands that the common property of diverse objects involve also differences arising out of its own character, that it form species, and that it belong to the essence of the objects. But what differences can there be in unity? What species does it engender? If it produces the same species as we find in connection with being, it must be identical with being: Only the name will differ, and the term being may well suffice.


We are bound however to enquire under what mode unity is contained in being. How is what is termed the "dividing" effected—especially the dividing of the genera being and unity? Is it the same division, or is it different in the two cases?

First then: In what sense, precisely, is any given particular called and known to be a unity? Secondly: Does unity as used of being carry the same connotation as in reference to the absolute?

Unity is not identical in all things; it has a different significance according as it is applied to the sensible and the intellectual realms—being too, of course, comports such a difference—and there is a difference in the unity affirmed among sensible things as compared with each other; the unity is not the same in the cases of chorus, camp, ship, house; there is a difference again as between such discrete things and the continuous. Nevertheless, all are representations of the one exemplar, some quite remote, others more effective: The truer likeness is in the intellectual; soul is a unity, and still more is intellect a unity and being a unity.

When we predicate being of a particular, do we thereby predicate of it unity, and does the degree of its unity tally with that of its being? Such correspondence is accidental: Unity is not proportionate to being; less unity need not mean less being. An army or a choir has no less being than a house, though less unity.

It would appear, then, that the unity of a particular is related not so much to being as to a standard of perfection: In so far as the particular attains perfection, so far it is a unity; and the degree of unity depends on this attainment. The particular aspires not simply to being, but to being-in-perfection: It is in this strain towards their perfection that such beings as do not possess unity strive their utmost to achieve it.

Things of nature tend by their very nature to coalesce with each other and also to unify each within itself; their movement is not away from but towards each other and inwards on themselves. Souls, moreover, seem to desire always to pass into a unity over and above the unity of their own substance. Unity in fact confronts them on two sides: Their origin and their goal alike are unity; from unity they have arisen, and towards unity they strive. Unity is thus identical with goodness [is the universal standard of perfection]; for no being ever came into existence without possessing, from that very moment, an irresistible tendency towards unity.

From natural things we turn to the artificial. Every art in all its operation aims at whatever unity its capacity and its models permit, though being most achieves unity since it is closer at the start.

That is why in speaking of other entities we assert the name only, for example man; when we say "one man," we have in mind more than one; and if we affirm unity of him in any other connection, we regard it as supplementary [to his essence]: But when we speak of being as a whole we say it is one being without presuming that it is anything but a unity; we thereby show its close association with goodness.

Thus for being, as for the others, unity turns out to be, in some sense, principle and term, not however in the same sense as for things of the physical order—a discrepancy leading us to infer that even in unity there are degrees of priority.

How, then, do we characterize the unity [thus diverse] in being? are we to think of it as a common property seen alike in all its parts? In the first place, the point is common to lines and yet is not their genus, and this unity we are considering may also be common to numbers and not be their genus—though, we need hardly say, the unity of unity- absolute is not that of the numbers, one, two and the rest. Secondly, in being there is nothing to prevent the existence of prior and posterior, simple and composite: But unity, even if it be identical in all the manifestations of being, having no differentiae can produce no species; but producing no species it cannot be a genus.


Enough on that side of the question. But how does the perfection [goodness] of numbers, lifeless things, depend on their particular unity? Just as all other inanimates find their perfection in their unity.

If it should be objected that numbers are simply non- existent, we should point out that our discussion is concerned [not with units as such, but] with beings considered from the aspect of their unity.

We may again be asked how the point—supposing its independent existence granted—participates in perfection. If the point is chosen as an inanimate object, the question applies to all such objects: But perfection does exist in such things, for example in a circle: The perfection of the circle will be perfection for the point; it will aspire to this perfection and strive to attain it, as far as it can, through the circle.

But how are the five genera to be regarded? do they form particulars by being broken up into parts? No; the genus exists as a whole in each of the things whose genus it is.

But how, at that, can it remain a unity? The unity of a genus must be considered as a whole-in-many.

Does it exist then only in the things participating in it? No; it has an independent existence of its own as well. But this will, no doubt, become clearer as we proceed.


We turn to ask why Quantity is not included among the primary genera, and Quality also.

Quantity is not among the primaries, because these are permanently associated with being. Motion is bound up with actual being [being-in-act], since it is its life; with motion, stability too gained its foothold in reality; with these are associated difference and identity, so that they also are seen in conjunction with being. But number [the basis of Quantity] is a posterior. It is posterior not only with regard to these genera but also within itself; in number the posterior is divided from the prior; this is a sequence in which the posteriors are latent in the priors [and do not appear simultaneously]. Number therefore cannot be included among the primary genera; whether it constitutes a genus at all remains to be examined.

Magnitude [extended quantity] is in a still higher degree posterior and composite, for it contains within itself number, line and surface. Now if continuous magnitude derives its quantity from number, and number is not a genus, how can magnitude hold that status? Besides, magnitudes, like numbers, admit of priority and posteriority.

If, then, Quantity be constituted by a common element in both number and magnitude, we must ascertain the nature of this common element, and consider it, once discovered, as a posterior genus, not as one of the primaries: Thus failing of primary status, it must be related, directly or indirectly, to one of the primaries.

We may take it as clear that it is the nature of Quantity to indicate a certain quantum, and to measure the quantum of the particular; Quantity is moreover, in a sense, itself a quantum. But if the quantum is the common element in number and magnitude, either we have number as a primary with magnitude derived from it, or else number must consist of a blending of motion and stability, while magnitude will be a form of motion or will originate in motion, motion going forth to infinity and stability creating the unit by checking that advance.

But the problem of the origin of number and magnitude, or rather of how they subsist and are conceived, must be held over. It may, thus, be found that number is among the primary genera, while magnitude is posterior and composite; or that number belongs to the genus stability, while magnitude must be consigned to motion. But we propose to discuss all this at a later stage.


Why is Quality, again, not included among the primaries? Because like Quantity it is a posterior, subsequent to substance. Primary substance must necessarily contain Quantity and Quality as its consequents; it cannot owe its subsistence to them, or require them for its completion: That would make it posterior to Quality and Quantity.

Now in the case of composite substances—those constituted from diverse elements—number and qualities provide a means of differentiation: The qualities may be detached from the common core around which they are found to group themselves. But in the primary genera there is no distinction to be drawn between simples and composites; the difference is between simples and those entities which complete not a particular substance but substance as such. A particular substance may very well receive completion from Quality, for though it already has substance before the accession of Quality, its particular character is external to substance. But in substance itself all the elements are substantial.

Nevertheless, we ventured to assert elsewhere that while the complements of substance are only by analogy called qualities, yet accessions of external origin and subsequent to substance are really qualities; that, further, the properties which inhere in substances are their activities [acts], while those which are subsequent are merely modifications [or passions]: We now affirm that the attributes of the particular substance are never complementary to substance [as such]; an accession of substance does not come to the substance of man qua man; he is, on the contrary, substance in a higher degree before he arrives at differentiation, just as he is already "living being" before he passes into the rational species.


How then do the four genera complete substance without qualifying it or even particularizing it?

It has been observed that being is primary, and it is clear that none of the four—motion, stability, difference, identity—is distinct from it. That this motion does not produce Quality is doubtless also clear, but a word or two will make it clearer still.

If motion is the act of substance, and being and the primaries in general are its act, then motion is not an accidental attribute: As the act of what is necessarily actual [what necessarily involves act], it is no longer to be considered as the complement of substance but as substance itself. For this reason, then, it has not been assigned to a posterior class, or referred to Quality, but has been made contemporary with being.

The truth is not that being first is and then takes motion, first is and then acquires stability: Neither stability nor motion is a mere modification of being. Similarly, identity and difference are not later additions: Being did not grow into plurality; its very unity was a plurality; but plurality implies difference, and unity- in-plurality involves identity.

Substance [real being] requires no more than these five constituents; but when we have to turn to the lower sphere, we find other principles giving rise no longer to substance (as such) but to quantitative substance and qualitative: These other principles may be regarded as genera but not primary genera.


As for relation, manifestly an offshoot, how can it be included among primaries? Relation is of thing ranged against thing; it is not self-pivoted, but looks outward.

Place and date are still more remote from being. Place denotes the presence of one entity within another, so that it involves a duality; but a genus must be a unity, not a composite. Besides, place does not exist in the higher sphere, and the present discussion is concerned with the realm of true being.

Whether time is there, remains to be considered. Apparently it has less claim than even place. If it is a measurement, and that a measurement of motion, we have two entities; the whole is a composite and posterior to motion; therefore it is not on an equal footing with motion in our classification.

Action and passivity presuppose motion; if, then, they exist in the higher sphere, they each involve a duality; neither is a simplex.

Possession is a duality, while situation, as signifying one thing situated in another, is a threefold conception.


Why are not beauty, goodness and the virtues, together with knowledge and intelligence, included among the primary genera?

If by goodness we mean the first—what we call the principle of goodness, the principle of which we can predicate nothing, giving it this name only because we have no other means of indicating it—then goodness, clearly, can be the genus of nothing: This principle is not affirmed of other things; if it were, each of these would be goodness itself. The truth is that it is prior to substance, not contained in it. If, on the contrary, we mean goodness as a quality, no quality can be ranked among the primaries.

Does this imply that the nature of being is not good? Not good, to begin with, in the sense in which the first is good, but in another sense of the word: Moreover, being does not possess its goodness as a quality but as a constituent.

But the other genera too, we said, are constituents of being, and are regarded as genera because each is a common property found in many things. If then goodness is similarly observed in every part of substance or being, or in most parts, why is goodness not a genus, and a primary genus? Because it is not found identical in all the parts of being, but appears in degrees, first, second and subsequent, whether it be because one part is derived from another—posterior from prior—or because all are posterior to the transcendent unity, different parts of being participating in it in diverse degrees corresponding to their characteristic natures.

If however we must make goodness a genus as well [as a transcendent source], it will be a posterior genus, for goodness is posterior to substance and posterior to what constitutes the generic notion of being, however unfailingly it be found associated with being; but the primaries, we decided, belong to being as such, and go to form substance.

This indeed is why we posit that which transcends being, since being and substance cannot but be a plurality, necessarily comprising the genera enumerated and therefore forming a one- and- many.

It is true that we do not hesitate to speak of the goodness inherent in being" when we are thinking of that act by which being tends, of its nature, towards the One: Thus, we affirm goodness of it in the sense that it is thereby moulded into the likeness of the good. But if this "goodness inherent in being" is an act directed toward the good, it is the life of being: But this life is motion, and motion is already one of the genera.


To pass to the consideration of beauty:

If by beauty we mean the primary beauty, the same or similar arguments will apply here as to goodness: And if the beauty in the ideal-form is, as it were, an effulgence [from that primary beauty], we may observe that it is not identical in all participants and that an effulgence is necessarily a posterior.

If we mean the beauty which identifies itself with substance, this has been covered in our treatment of substance.

If, again, we mean beauty in relation to ourselves as spectators in whom it produces a certain experience, this act [of production] is motion—and none the less motion by being directed towards absolute beauty.

Knowledge again, is motion originating in the self; it is the observation of being—an act, not a state: Hence it too falls under motion, or perhaps more suitably under stability, or even under both; if under both, knowledge must be thought of as a complex, and if a complex, is posterior.

Intelligence, since it connotes intelligent being and comprises the total of existence, cannot be one of the genera: The true intelligence [or intellect] is being taken with all its concomitants [with the other four genera]; it is actually the sum of all the existents: Being on the contrary, stripped of its concomitants, may be counted as a genus and held to an element in intelligence.

Justice and self-control [sophrosyne], and virtue in general—these are all various acts of intelligence: They are consequently not primary genera; they are posterior to a genus, that is to say, they are species.


Having established our four primary genera, it remains for us to enquire whether each of them of itself alone produces species. And especially, can being be divided independently, that is without drawing on the other genera? Surely not: The differentiae must come from outside the genus differentiated: They must be differentiae of being proper, but cannot be identical with it.

Where then is it to find them? Obviously not in non-beings. If then in beings, and the three genera are all that is left, clearly it must find them in these, by conjunction and couplement with these, which will come into existence simultaneously with itself.

But if all come into existence simultaneously, what else is produced but that amalgam of all existents which we have just considered [intellect]? How can other things exist over and above this all- including amalgam? And if all the constituents of this amalgam are genera, how do they produce species? How does motion produce species of motion? Similarly with stability and the other genera.

A word of warning must here be given against sinking the various genera in their species; and also against reducing the genus to a mere predicate, something merely seen in the species. The genus must exist at once in itself and in its species; it blends, but it must also be pure; in contributing along with other genera to form substance, it must not destroy itself. There are problems here that demand investigation.

But since we identified the amalgam of the existents [or primary genera] with the particular intellect, intellect as such being found identical with being or substance, and therefore prior to all the existents, which may be regarded as its species or members, we may infer that the intellect, considered as completely unfolded, is a subsequent.

Our treatment of this problem may serve to promote our investigation; we will take it as a kind of example, and with it embark on our enquiry.


We may thus distinguish two phases of intellect, in one of which it may be taken as having no contact whatever with particulars and no act on anything; thus it is kept apart from being a particular intellect. In the same way science is prior to any of its constituent species, and the specific science is prior to any of its component parts: Being none of its particulars, it is the potentiality of all; each particular, on the other hand, is actually itself, but potentially the sum of all the particulars: And as with the specific science, so with science as a whole. The specific sciences lie in potentiality in science the total; even in their specific character they are potentially the whole; they have the whole predicated of them and not merely a part of the whole. At the same time, science must exist as a thing in itself, unharmed by its divisions.

So with intellect. Intellect as a whole must be thought of as prior to the intellects actualized as individuals; but when we come to the particular intellects, we find that what subsists in the particulars must be maintained from the totality. The intellect subsisting in the totality is a provider for the particular intellects, is the potentiality of them: It involves them as members of its universality, while they in turn involve the universal intellect in their particularity, just as the particular science involves science the total.

The great intellect, we maintain, exists in itself and the particular intellects in themselves; yet the particulars are embraced in the whole, and the whole in the particulars. The particular intellects exist by themselves and in another, the universal by itself and in those. All the particulars exist potentially in that self-existent universal, which actually is the totality, potentially each isolated member: On the other hand, each particular is actually what it is [its individual self], potentially the totality. In so far as what is predicated of them is their essence, they are actually what is predicated of them; but where the predicate is a genus, they are that only potentially. On the other hand, the universal in so far as it is a genus is the potentiality of all its subordinate species, though none of them in actuality; all are latent in it, but because its essential nature exists in actuality before the existence of the species, it does not submit to be itself particularized. If then the particulars are to exist in actuality—to exist, for example, as species—the cause must lie in the act radiating from the universal.


How then does the universal intellect produce the particulars while, in virtue of its reason-principle, remaining a unity? In other words, how do the various grades of being, as we call them, arise from the four primaries? Here is this great, this infinite intellect, not given to idle utterance but to sheer intellection, all-embracing, integral, no part, no individual: How, we ask, can it possibly be the source of all this plurality?

Number at all events it possesses in the objects of its contemplation: It is thus one and many, and the many are powers, wonderful powers, not weak but, being pure, supremely great and, so to speak, full to overflowing powers in very truth, knowing no limit, so that they are infinite, infinity, magnitude- absolute.

As we survey this magnitude with the beauty of being within it and the glory and light around it, all contained in intellect, we see, simultaneously, Quality already in bloom, and along with the continuity of its act we catch a glimpse of magnitude at rest. Then, with one, two and three in intellect, magnitude appears as of three dimensions, with Quantity entire. Quantity thus given and Quality, both merging into one and, we may almost say, becoming one, there is at once shape. Difference slips in to divide both Quantity and Quality, and so we have variations in shape and differences of Quality. Identity, coming in with difference, creates equality, difference meanwhile introducing into Quantity inequality, whether in number or in magnitude: Thus are produced circles and squares, and irregular figures, with number like and unlike, odd and even.

The life of intellect is intelligent, and its activity [act] has no failing-point: Hence it excludes none of the constituents we have discovered within it, each one of which we now see as an intellectual function, and all of them possessed by virtue of its distinctive power and in the mode appropriate to intellect.

But though intellect possesses them all by way of thought, this is not discursive thought: Nothing it lacks that is capable of serving as reason-principle, while it may itself be regarded as one great and perfect reason-principle, holding all the principles as one and proceeding from its own primaries, or rather having eternally proceeded, so that "proceeding" is never true of it. It is a universal rule that whatever reasoning discovers to exist in nature is to be found in intellect apart from all ratiocination: We conclude that being has so created intellect that its reasoning is after a mode similar to that of the principles which produce living beings; for the reason-principles, prior to reasoning though they are, act invariably in the manner which the most careful reasoning would adopt in order to attain the best results.

What conditions, then, are we to think of as existing in that realm which is prior to nature and transcends the principles of nature? In a sphere in which substance is not distinct from intellect, and neither being nor intellect is of alien origin, it is obvious that being is best served by the domination of intellect, so that being is what intellect wills and is: Thus alone can it be authentic and primary being; for if being is to be in any sense derived, its derivation must be from intellect.

Being, thus, exhibits every shape and every quality; it is not seen as a thing determined by some one particular quality; there could not be one only, since the principle of difference is there; and since identity is equally there, it must be simultaneously one and many. And so being is; such it always was: Unity-with- plurality appears in all its species, as witness all the variations of magnitude, shape and quality. Clearly nothing may legitimately be excluded [from being], for the whole must be complete in the higher sphere which, otherwise, would not be the whole.

Life, too, burst on being, or rather was inseparably bound up with it; and thus it was that all living things of necessity came to be. Body too was there, since matter and Quality were present.

Everything exists forever, unfailing, involved by very existence in eternity. Individuals have their separate entities, but are at one in the [total] unity. The complex, so to speak, of them all, thus combined, is intellect; and intellect, holding all existence within itself, is a complete living being, and the essential idea of living being. In so far as intellect submits to contemplation by its derivative, becoming an intelligible, it gives that derivative the right also to be called "living being."


We may here adduce the pregnant words of Plato: "inasmuch as intellect perceives the variety and plurality of the forms present in the complete living being...." the words apply equally to soul; soul is subsequent to intellect, yet by its very nature it involves intellect in itself and perceives more clearly in that prior. There is intellect in our intellect also, which again perceives more clearly in its prior, for while of itself it merely perceives, in the prior it also perceives its own perception.

This intellect, then, to which we ascribe perception, though not divorced from the prior in which it originates, evolves plurality out of unity and has bound up with it the principle of difference: It therefore takes the form of a plurality-in-unity. A plurality-in-unity, it produces the many intellects by the dictate of its very nature.

It is certainly no numerical unity, no individual thing; for whatever you find in that sphere is a species, since it is divorced from matter. This may be the import of the difficult words of Plato, that substance is broken up into an infinity of parts. So long as the division proceeds from genus to species, infinity is not reached; a limit is set by the species generated: The lowest species, however—that which is not divided into further species—may be more accurately regarded as infinite. And this is the meaning of the words: "to relegate them once and for all to infinity and there abandon them." as for particulars, they are, considered in themselves, infinite, but come under number by being embraced by the [total] unity.

Now soul has intellect for its prior, is therefore circumscribed by number down to its ultimate extremity; at that point infinity is reached. The particular intellect, though all- embracing, is a partial thing, and the collective intellect and its various manifestations [all the particular intellects] are in actuality parts of that part. Soul too is a part of a part, though in the sense of being an act [actuality] derived from it. When the act of intellect is directed on itself, the result is the manifold [particular] intellects; when it looks outwards, soul is produced.

If soul acts as a genus or a species, the various [particular] souls must act as species. Their activities [acts] will be twofold: The activity upward is intellect; that which looks downward constitutes the other powers imposed by the particular reason- principle [the reason-principle of the being ensouled]; the lowest activity of soul is in its contact with matter to which it brings form.

This lower part of soul does not prevent the rest from being entirely in the higher sphere: Indeed what we call the lower part is but an image of soul: Not that it is cut off from soul; it is like the reflection in the mirror, depending on the original which stands outside of it.

But we must keep in mind what this "outside" means. Up to the production of the image, the intellectual realm is wholly and exclusively composed of intellectual beings: In the same way the sensible world, representing that in so far as it is able to retain the likeness of a living being, is itself a living being: The relation is like that of a portrait or reflection to the original which is regarded as prior to the water or the painting reproducing it.

The representation, notice, in the portrait or on the water is not of the dual being, but of the one element [matter] as formed by the other [soul]. Similarly, this likeness of the intellectual realm carries images, not of the creative element, but of the entities contained in that creator, including man with every other living being: Creator and created are alike living beings, though of a different life, and both coexist in the intellectual realm.

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Third tractate: On the kinds of being (3)



We have now explained our conception of reality [true being] and considered how far it agrees with the teaching of Plato. We have still to investigate the opposed principle [the principle of becoming].

There is the possibility that the genera posited for the intellectual sphere will suffice for the lower also; possibly with these genera others will be required; again, the two series may differ entirely; or perhaps some of the sensible genera will be identical with their intellectual prototypes, and others different—"identical," however, being understood to mean only analogous and in possession of a common name, as our results will make dear.

We must begin on these lines:

The subject of our discussion is the sensible realm: Sensible existence is entirely embraced by what we know as the universe: Our duty, then, would seem to be clear enough—to take this universe and analyse its nature, classifying its constituent parts and arranging them by species. Suppose that we were making a division of speech: We should reduce its infinity to finite terms, and from the identity appearing in many instances evolve a unity, then another and another, until we arrived at some definite number; each such unit we should call a species if imposed on individuals, a genus if imposed on species. Thus, every species of speech—and similarly all phenomena—might be referred to a unity; speech—or element—might be predicated of them all.

This procedure however is as we have already shown, impossible in dealing with the subject of our present enquiry. New genera must be sought for this universe-genera distinct from those of the intellectual, inasmuch as this realm is different from that, analogous indeed but never identical, a mere image of the higher. True, it involves the parallel existence of body and soul, for the universe is a living form: Essentially however soul is of the intellectual and does not enter into the structure of what is called sensible being.

Remembering this fact, we must—however great the difficulty—exclude soul from the present investigation, just as in a census of citizens, taken in the interests of commerce and taxation, we should ignore the alien population. As for the experiences to which soul is indirectly subject in its conjunction with body and by reason of body's presence, their classification must be attempted at a later stage, when we enquire into the details of sensible existence.


Our first observations must be directed to what passes in the sensible realm for substance. It is, we shall agree, only by analogy that the nature manifested in bodies is designated as substance, and by no means because such terms as substance or being tally with the notion of bodies in flux; the proper term would be becoming.

But becoming is not a uniform nature; bodies comprise under the single head simples and composites, together with accidentals or consequents, these last themselves capable of separate classification.

Alternatively, becoming may be divided into matter and the form imposed on matter. These may be regarded each as a separate genus, or else both may be brought under a single category and receive alike the name of substance.

But what, we may ask, have matter and form in common? In what sense can matter be conceived as a genus, and what will be its species? What is the differentia of matter? In which genus, matter or form, are we to rank the composite of both? It may be this very composite which constitutes the substance manifested in bodies, neither of the components by itself answering to the conception of body: How, then, can we rank them in one and the same genus as the composite? How can the elements of a thing be brought within the same genus as the thing itself? Yet if we begin with bodies, our first-principles will be compounds.

Why not resort to analogy? Admitted that the classification of the sensible cannot proceed along the identical lines marked out for the intellectual: Is there any reason why we should not for intellectual-being substitute matter, and for intellectual motion substitute sensible form, which is in a sense the life and consummation of matter? The inertia of matter would correspond with stability, while the identity and difference of the intellectual would find their counterparts in the similarity and diversity which obtain in the sensible realm.

But, in the first place, matter does not possess or acquire form as its life or its act; form enters it from without, and remains foreign to its nature. Secondly, form in the intellectual is an act and a motion; in the sensible motion is different from form and accidental to it: Form in relation to matter approximates rather to stability than to motion; for by determining matter's indetermination it confers on it a sort of repose.

In the higher realm identity and difference presuppose a unity at once identical and different: A thing in the lower is different only by participation in difference and in relation to some other thing; identity and difference are here predicated of the particular, which is not, as in that realm, a posterior.

As for stability, how can it belong to matter, which is distorted into every variety of mass, receiving its forms from without, and even with the aid of these forms incapable of offspring.

This mode of division must accordingly be abandoned.


How then do we go to work?

Let us begin by distinguishing matter, form, the mixture of both, and the attributes of the mixture. The attributes may be subdivided into those which are mere predicates, and those serving also as accidents. The accidents may be either inclusive or included; they may, further, be classified as activities, experiences, consequents.

Matter will be found common to all substances, not however as a genus, since it has no differentiae—unless indeed differentiae be ascribed to it on the ground of its taking such various forms as fire and air.

It may be held that matter is sufficiently constituted a genus by the fact that the things in which it appears hold it in common, or in that it presents itself as a whole of parts. In this sense matter will indeed be a genus, though not in the accepted sense of the term. Matter, we may remark, is also a single element, if the element as such is able to constitute a genus.

Further, if to a form be added the qualification "bound up with, involved in matter," matter separates that form from other forms: It does not however embrace the whole of substantial form [as, to be the genus of form, it must].

We may, again, regard form as the creator of substance and make the reason-principle of substance dependent on form: Yet we do not come thereby to an understanding of the nature of substance.

We may, also, restrict substance to the composite. Matter and form then cease to be substances. If they are substance equally with the composite, it remains to enquire what there is common to all three.

The "mere predicates" fall under the category of relation: Such are cause and element. The accidents included in the composite substances ire found to be either Quality or Quantity; those which are inclusive are of the nature of space and time. Activities and experiences comprise motions; consequents space and time, which are consequents respectively of the composites and of motion.

The first three entities [matter, form, composite] go, as we have discovered, to make a single common genus, the sensible counterpart of substance. Then follow in order relation, Quantity, Quality, time-during-which, place-in-which, motion; though, with time and space already included [under relation], time- during-which and place- in-which become superfluous.

Thus we have five genera, counting the first three entities as one. If the first three are not massed into a unity, the series will be matter, form, composite, relation, Quantity, Quality, motion. The last three may, again, be included in relation, which is capable of bearing this wider extension.


What, then, we have to ask, is the constant element in the first three entities? What is it that identifies them with their inherent substance?

Is it the capacity to serve as a base? But matter, we maintain, serves as the base and seat of form: Form, thus, will be excluded from the category of substance. Again, the composite is the base and seat of attributes: Hence, form combined with matter will be the basic ground of composites, or at any rate of all posteriors of the composite—Quantity, Quality, motion, and the rest.

But perhaps we may think substance validly defined as that which is not predicated of anything else. White and black are predicated of an object having one or other of these qualities; double presupposes something distinct from itself—we refer not to the half, but to the length of wood of which doubleness is affirmed. Father qua father is a predicate; knowledge is predicated of the subject in whom the knowledge exists; space is the limit of something, time the measure of something. Fire, on the other hand, is predicated of nothing; wood as such is predicated of nothing; and so with man, socrates, and the composite substance in general.

Equally the substantial form is never a predicate, since it never acts as a modification of anything. Form is not an attribute of matter hence, is not predicable of matter it is simply a constituent of the couplement. On the other hand, the form of a man is not different from the man himself [and so does not "modify" the couplement].

Matter, similarly, is part of a whole, and belongs to something else only as to a whole and not as to a separate thing of which it is predicated. White, on the contrary, essentially belongs to something distinct from itself.

We conclude that nothing belonging to something else and predicated of it can be substance. Substance is that which belongs essentially to itself, or, in so far as it is a part of the differentiated object, serves only to complete the composite. Each or either part of the composite belongs to itself, and is only affirmed of the composite in a special sense: Only qua part of the whole is it predicated of something else; qua individual it is never in its essential nature predicated of an external.

It may be claimed as a common element in matter, form and the couplement that they are all substrates. But the mode in which matter is the substrate of form is different from that in which form and the couplement are substrates of their modifications.

And is it strictly true to say that matter is the substrate of form? form is rather the completion which matter's nature as pure potentiality demands.

Moreover, form cannot be said to reside in matter [as in a substrate]. When one thing combines with another to form a unity, the one does not reside in the other; both alike are substrates of a third: Thus, man [the form] and a man [the composite] are substrates of their experiences, and are prior to their activities and consequents.

Substance, then, is that from which all other things proceed and to which they owe their existence; it is the centre of passivity and the source of action.


These are incontrovertible facts in regard to the pseudo- substance of the sensible realm: If they apply also in some degree to the true substance of the intellectual, the coincidence is, doubtless, to be attributed to analogy and ambiguity of terms.

We are aware that "the first" is so called only in relation to the things which come after it: "first" has no absolute significance; the first of one series is subsequent to the last of another. "substrate," similarly, varies in meaning [as applied to the higher and to the lower], while as for passivity its very existence in the intellectual is questionable; if it does exist there, it is not the passivity of the sensible.

It follows that the fact of "not being present in a subject [or substrate] is not universally true of substance, unless presence in a subject be stipulated as not including the case of the part present in the whole or of one thing combining with another to form a distinct unity; a thing will not be present as in a subject in that with which it co-operates in the information of a composite substance. Form, therefore, is not present in matter as in a subject, nor is man so present in socrates, since man is part of socrates.

Substance, then, is that which is not present in a subject. But if we adopt the definition "neither present in a subject nor predicated of a subject," we must add to the second "subject" the qualification "distinct," in order that we may not exclude the case of man predicated of a particular man. When I predicate man of socrates, it is as though I affirmed, not that a piece of wood is white, but that whiteness is white; for in asserting that socrates is a man, I predicate man [the universal] of a particular man, I affirm man of the manhood in socrates; I am really saying only that socrates is socrates, or that this particular rational animal is an animal.

It may be objected that non-presence in a subject is not peculiar to substance, inasmuch as the differentia of a substance is no more present in a subject than the substance itself; but this objection results from taking a part of the whole substance, such as "two-footed" in our example, and asserting that this part is not present in a subject: If we take, not "two-footed" which is merely an aspect of substance, but "two-footedness" by which we signify not substance but Quality, we shall find that this "two- footedness" is indeed present in a subject.

We may be told that neither time nor place is present in a subject. But if the definition of time as the measure of motion be regarded as denoting something measured, the "measure" will be present in motion as in a subject, while motion will be present in the moved: If, on the contrary, it be supposed to signify a principle of measurement, the "measure" will be present in the measurer.

Place is the limit of the surrounding space, and thus is present in that space.

The truth is, however, that the "substance" of our enquiry may be apprehended in directly opposite ways: It may be determined by one of the properties we have been discussing, by more than one, by all at once, according as they answer to the notions of matter, form and the couplement.


Granted, it may be urged, that these observations on the nature of substance are sound, we have not yet arrived at a statement of its essence. Our critic doubtless expects to see this "sensible": But its essence, its characteristic being, cannot be seen.

Do we infer that fire and water are not substance? They certainly are not substance because they are visible. Why, then? Because they possess matter? No. Or form? No. Nor because they involve a couplement of matter and form. Then why are they substance? By existing. But does not Quantity exist, and Quality? This anomaly is to be explained by an equivocation in the term "existence."

What, then, is the meaning of "existence" as applied to fire, earth and the other elements? What is the difference between this existence and existence in the other categories? It is the difference between being simply—that which merely is—and being white. But surely the being qualified by "white" is the same as that having no qualification? It is not the same: The latter is being in the primary sense, the former is being only by participation and in a secondary degree. Whiteness added to being produces a being white; being added to whiteness produces a white being: Thus, whiteness becomes an accident of being, and being an accident of whiteness.

The case is not equivalent to predicating white of socrates and socrates of white: For socrates remains the same, though white would appear to have a different meaning in the two propositions, since in predicating socrates of white we include socrates in the [whole] sphere of whiteness, whereas in the proposition "socrates is white" whiteness is plainly an attribute of socrates.

"being is white" implies, similarly, that being possesses whiteness as an attribute, while in the proposition "whiteness is being [or, is a being]" being is regarded as comprising whiteness in its own extension.

In sum, whiteness has existence because it is bound up with being and present in it: Being is, thus, the source of its existence. Being is being on its own account, but the white is due to whiteness—not because it is "present in" whiteness, but because whiteness is present in it.

The being of the sensible resembles the white in not originating in itself. It must therefore be regarded as dependent for its being on the authentic being, as white is dependent on the authentic Whiteness, and the authentic Whiteness dependent for its whiteness on participation in that supreme being whose existence is underived.


But matter, it may be contended, is the source of existence to the sensible things implanted in it. From what source, then, we retort, does matter itself derive existence and being?

That matter is not a primary we have established elsewhere. If it be urged that other things can have no subsistence without being implanted in matter, we admit the claim for sensible things. But though matter be prior to these, it is not thereby precluded from being posterior to many things-posterior, in fact, to all the beings of the intellectual sphere. Its existence is but a pale reflection, and less complete than that of the things implanted in it. These are reason-principles and more directly derived from being: Matter has of itself no reason-principle whatever; it is but a shadow of a principle, a vain attempt to achieve a principle.

But, our critic may pursue, matter gives existence to the things implanted in it, just as socrates gives existence to the whiteness implanted in himself? We reply that the higher being gives existence to the lower, the lower to the higher never.

But once concede that form is higher in the scale of being than matter, and matter can no longer be regarded as a common ground of both, nor substance as a genus embracing matter, form and the couplement. True, these will have many common properties, to which we have already referred, but their being [or existence] will nonetheless be different. When a higher being comes into contact with a lower, the lower, though first in the natural order, is yet posterior in the scale of reality: Consequently, if being does not belong in equal degrees to matter, to form and to the couplement, substance can no longer be common to all three in the sense of being their genus: To their posteriors it will bear a still different relation, serving them as a common base by being bound up with all alike. Substance, thus, resembles life, dim here, clearer there, or portraits of which one is an outline, another more minutely worked. By measuring being by its dim manifestation and neglecting a fuller revelation elsewhere, we may come to regard this dim existence as a common ground.

But this procedure is scarcely permissible. Every being is a distinct whole. The dim manifestation is in no sense a common ground, just as there is no common ground in the vegetal, the sensory and the intellectual forms of life.

We conclude that the term "being" must have different connotations as applied to matter, to form and to both conjointly, in spite of the single source pouring into the different streams.

Take a second derived from a first and a third from the second: It is not merely that the one will rank higher and its successor be poorer and of lower worth; there is also the consideration that, even deriving from the same source, one thing, subjected in a certain degree to fire, will give us an earthen jar, while another, taking less of the heat, does not produce the jar.

Perhaps we cannot even maintain that matter and form are derived from a single source; they are clearly in some sense different.


The division into elements must, in short, be abandoned, especially in regard to sensible substance, known necessarily by sense rather than by reason. We must no longer look for help in constituent parts, since such parts will not be substances, or at any rate not sensible substances.

Our plan must be to apprehend what is constant in stone, earth, water and the entities which they compose—the vegetal and animal forms, considered purely as sensibles—and to confine this constant within a single genus. Neither matter nor form will thus be overlooked, for sensible substance comports them; fire and earth and the two intermediaries consist of matter and form, while composite things are actually many substances in one. They all, moreover, have that common property which distinguishes them from other things: Serving as subjects to these others, they are never themselves present in a subject nor predicated of any other thing. Similarly, all the characteristics which we have ascribed to substance find a place in this classification.

But sensible substance is never found apart from magnitude and quality: How then do we proceed to separate these accidents? If we subtract them—magnitude, figure, colour, dryness, moistness—what is there left to be regarded as substance itself? All the substances under consideration are, of course, qualified.

There is, however, something in relation to which whatever turns substance into qualified substance is accidental: Thus, the whole of fire is not substance, but only a part of it—if the term "part" be allowed.

What then can this "part" be? Matter may be suggested. But are we actually to maintain that the particular sensible substance consists of a conglomeration of qualities and matter, while sensible substance as a whole is merely the sum of these coagulations in the uniform matter, each one separately forming a quale or a quantum or else a thing of many qualities? Is it true to say that everything whose absence leaves subsistence incomplete is a part of the particular substance, while all that is accidental to the substance already existent takes independent rank and is not submerged in the mixture which constitutes this so-called substance?

I decline to allow that whatever combines in this way with anything else is substance if it helps to produce a single mass having quantity and quality, whereas taken by itself and divorced from this complementary function it is a quality: Not everything which composes the amalgam is substance, but only the amalgam as a whole.

And let no one take exception on the ground that we produce sensible substance from non-substances. The whole amalgam itself is not true substance; it is merely an imitation of that true substance which has being apart from its concomitants, these indeed being derived from it as the possessor of true being. In the lower realm the case is different: The underlying ground is sterile, and from its inability to produce fails to attain to the status of being; it remains a shadow, and on this shadow is traced a sketch—the world of appearance.


So much for one of the genera—the "substance," so called, of the sensible realm.

But what are we to posit as its species? How divide this genus?

The genus as a whole must be identified with body. Bodies may be divided into the characteristically material and the organic: The material bodies comprise fire, earth, water, air; the organic the bodies of plants and animals, these in turn admitting of formal differentiation.

The next step is to find the species of earth and of the other elements, and in the case of organic bodies to distinguish plants according to their forms, and the bodies of animals either by their habitations—on the earth, in the earth, and similarly for the other elements—or else as light, heavy and intermediate. Some bodies, we shall observe, stand in the middle of the universe, others circumscribe it from above, others occupy the middle sphere: In each case we shall find bodies different in shape, so that the bodies of the living beings of the heavens may be differentiated from those of the other elements.

Once we have classified bodies into the four species, we are ready to combine them on a different principle, at the same time intermingling their differences of place, form and constitution; the resultant combinations will be known as fiery or earthy on the basis of the excess or predominance of some one element.

The distinction between first and second substances, between fire and a given example of fire, entails a difference of a peculiar kind—the difference between universal and particular. This however is not a difference characteristic of substance; there is also in Quality the distinction between whiteness and the white object, between grammar and some particular grammar.

The question may here be asked: "What deficiency has grammar compared with a particular grammar, and science as a whole in comparison with a science?" Grammar is certainly not posterior to the particular grammar: On the contrary, the grammar as in you depends on the prior existence of grammar as such: The grammar as in you becomes a particular by the fact of being in you; it is otherwise identical with grammar the universal.

Turn to the case of socrates: It is not socrates who bestows manhood on what previously was not man, but man on socrates; the individual man exists by participation in the universal.

Besides, socrates is merely a particular instance of man; this particularity can have no effect whatever in adding to his essential manhood.

We may be told that man [the universal] is form alone, socrates form in matter. But on this very ground socrates will be less fully man than the universal; for the reason-principle will be less effectual in matter. If, on the contrary, man is not determined by form alone, but presupposes matter, what deficiency has man in comparison with the material manifestation of man, or the reason-principle in isolation as compared with its embodiment in a unit of matter?

Besides, the more general is by nature prior; hence, the form- idea is prior to the individual: But what is prior by nature is prior unconditionally. How then can the form take a lower rank? The individual, it is true, is prior in the sense of being more readily accessible to our cognisance; this fact, however, entails no objective difference.

Moreover, such a difference, if established, would be incompatible with a single reason-principle of substance; first and second substance could not have the same principle, nor be brought under a single genus.


Another method of division is possible: Substances may be classed as hot-dry, dry-cold, cold-moist, or however we choose to make the coupling. We may then proceed to the combination and blending of these couples, either halting at that point and going no further than the compound, or else subdividing by habitation—on the earth, in the earth—or by form and by the differences exhibited by living beings, not qua living, but in their bodies viewed as instruments of life.

Differentiation by form or shape is no more out of place than a division based on qualities—heat, cold and the like. If it be objected that qualities go to make bodies what they are, then, we reply, so do blendings, colours, shapes. Since our discussion is concerned with sensible substance, it is not strange that it should turn on distinctions related to sense-perception: This substance is not being pure and simple, but the sensible being which we call the universe.

We have remarked that its apparent subsistence is in fact an assemblage of sensibles, their existence guaranteed to us by sense-perception. But since their combination is unlimited, our division must be guided by the form-ideas of living beings, as for example the form-idea of man implanted in body; the particular form acts as a qualification of body, but there is nothing unreasonable in using qualities as a basis of division.

We may be told that we have distinguished between simple and composite bodies, even ranking them as opposites. But our distinction, we reply, was between material and organic bodies and raised no question of the composite. In fact, there exists no means of opposing the composite to the simple; it is necessary to determine the simples in the first stage of division, and then, combining them on the basis of a distinct underlying principle, to differentiate the composites in virtue of their places and shapes, distinguishing for example the heavenly from the earthly.

These observations will suffice for the being [substance], or rather the becoming, which obtains in the sensible realm.


Passing to Quantity and the quantum, we have to consider the view which identifies them with number and magnitude on the ground that everything quantitative is numbered among sensible things or rated by the extension of its substrate: We are here, of course, discussing not Quantity in isolation, but that which causes a piece of wood to be three yards long and gives the five in "five horses,"

Now we have often maintained that number and magnitude are to be regarded as the only true quantities, and that space and time have no right to be conceived as quantitative: Time as the measure of motion should be assigned to relation, while space, being that which circumscribes body, is also a relative and falls under the same category; though continuous, it is, like motion, not included in Quantity.

On the other hand, why do we not find in the category of Quantity "great" and "small"? It is some kind of Quantity which gives greatness to the great; greatness is not a relative, though greater and smaller are relatives, since these, like doubleness, imply an external correlative.

What is it, then, which makes a mountain small and a grain of millet large? Surely, in the first place, "small" is equivalent to "smaller." it is admitted that the term is applied only to things of the same kind, and from this admission we may infer that the mountain is "smaller" rather than "small," and that the grain of millet is not large in any absolute sense but large for a grain of millet. In other words, since the comparison is between things of the same kind, the natural predicate would be a comparative.

Again, why is not beauty classed as a relative? Beauty, unlike greatness, we regard as absolute and as a quality; "more beautiful" is the relative. Yet even the term "beautiful" may be attached to something which in a given relation may appear ugly: The beauty of man, for example, is ugliness when compared with that of the gods; "the most beautiful of monkeys," we may quote, "is ugly in comparison with any other type." nonetheless, a thing is beautiful in itself; as related to something else it is either more or less beautiful.

Similarly, an object is great in itself, and its greatness is due, not to any external, but to its own participation in the absolute Great.

Are we actually to eliminate the beautiful on the pretext that there is a more beautiful? No more then must we eliminate the great because of the greater: The greater can obviously have no existence whatever apart from the great, just as the more beautiful can have no existence without the beautiful.


It follows that we must allow contrariety to Quantity: Whenever we speak of great and small, our notions acknowledge this contrariety by evolving opposite images, as also when we refer to many and few; indeed, "few" and "many" call for similar treatment to "small" and "great."

"Many," predicated of the inhabitants of a house, does duty for "more": "few" people are said to be in the theatre instead of "less."

"Many," again, necessarily involves a large numerical plurality. This plurality can scarcely be a relative; it is simply an expansion of number, its contrary being a contraction.

The same applies to the continuous [magnitude], the notion of which entails prolongation to a distant point.

Quantity, then, appears whenever there is a progression from the unit or the point: If either progression comes to a rapid halt, we have respectively "few" and "small"; if it goes forward and does not quickly cease, "many" and "great."

What, we may be asked, is the limit of this progression? What, we retort, is the limit of beauty, or of heat? Whatever limit you impose, there is always a "hotter"; yet "hotter" is accounted a relative, "hot" a pure quality.

In sum, just as there is a reason-principle of beauty, so there must be a reason-principle of greatness, participation in which makes a thing great, as the principle of beauty makes it beautiful.

To judge from these instances, there is contrariety in Quantity. Place we may neglect as not strictly coming under the category of Quantity; if it were admitted, "above" could only be a contrary if there were something in the universe which was "below": As referring to the partial, the terms "above" and "below" are used in a purely relative sense, and must go with "right" and "left" into the category of relation.

Syllable and discourse are only indirectly quantities or substrates of Quantity; it is voice that is quantitative: But voice is a kind of motion; it must accordingly in any case [quantity or no quantity] be referred to motion, as must activity also.


It has been remarked that the continuous is effectually distinguished from the discrete by their possessing the one a common, the other a separate, limit.

The same principle gives rise to the numerical distinction between odd and even; and it holds good that if there are differentiae found in both contraries, they are either to be abandoned to the objects numbered, or else to be considered as differentiae of the abstract numbers, and not of the numbers manifested in the sensible objects. If the numbers are logically separable from the objects, that is no reason why we should not think of them as sharing the same differentiae.

But how are we to differentiate the continuous, comprising as it does line, surface and solid? The line may be rated as of one dimension, the surface as of two dimensions, the solid as of three, if we are only making a calculation and do not suppose that we are dividing the continuous into its species; for it is an invariable rule that numbers, thus grouped as prior and posterior, cannot be brought into a common genus; there is no common basis in first, second and third dimensions. Yet there is a sense in which they would appear to be equal—namely, as pure measures of Quantity: Of higher and lower dimensions, they are not however more or less quantitative.

Numbers have similarly a common property in their being numbers all; and the truth may well be, not that One creates two, and two creates three, but that all have a common source.

Suppose, however, that they are not derived from any source whatever, but merely exist; we at any rate conceive them as being derived, and so may be assumed to regard the smaller as taking priority over the greater: Yet, even so, by the mere fact of their being numbers they are reducible to a single type.

What applies to numbers is equally true of magnitudes; though here we have to distinguish between line, surface and solid—the last also referred to as "body"—in the ground that, while all are magnitudes, they differ specifically.

It remains to enquire whether these species are themselves to be divided: The line into straight, circular, spiral; the surface into rectilinear and circular figures; the solid into the various solid figures—sphere and polyhedra: Whether these last should be subdivided, as by the geometers, into those contained by triangular and quadrilateral planes: And whether a further division of the latter should be performed.


How are we to classify the straight line? Shall we deny that it is a magnitude?

The suggestion may be made that it is a qualified magnitude. May we not, then, consider straightness as a differentia of "line"? We at any rate draw on Quality for differentiae of substance.

The straight line is, thus, a quantity plus a differentia; but it is not on that account a composite made up of straightness and line: If it be a composite, the composite possesses a differentiae of its own.

But [if the line is a quantity] why is not the product of three lines included in Quantity? The answer is that a triangle consists not merely of three lines but of three lines in a particular disposition, a quadrilateral of four lines in a particular disposition: Even the straight line involves disposition as well as quantity.

Holding that the straight line is not mere quantity, we should naturally proceed to assert that the line as limited is not mere quantity, but for the fact that the limit of a line is a point, which is in the same category, Quantity. Similarly, the limited surface will be a quantity, since lines, which have a far better right than itself to this category, constitute its limits. With the introduction of the limited surface—rectangle, hexagon, polygon—into the category of Quantity, this category will be brought to include every figure whatever.

If however by classing the triangle and the rectangle as qualia we propose to bring figures under Quality, we are not thereby precluded from assigning the same object to more categories than one: In so far as it is a magnitude—a magnitude of such and such a size—it will belong to Quantity; in so far as it presents a particular shape, to Quality.

It may be urged that the triangle is essentially a particular shape. Then what prevents our ranking the sphere also as a quality?

To proceed on these lines would lead us to the conclusion that geometry is concerned not with magnitudes but with Quality. But this conclusion is untenable; geometry is the study of magnitudes. The differences of magnitudes do not eliminate the existence of magnitudes as such, any more than the differences of substances annihilate the substances themselves.

Moreover, every surface is limited; it is impossible for any surface to be infinite in extent.

Again, when I find Quality bound up with substance, I regard it as substantial quality: I am not less, but far more, disposed to see in figures or shapes [qualitative] varieties of Quantity. Besides, if we are not to regard them as varieties of magnitude, to what genus are we to assign them?

Suppose, then, that we allow differences of magnitude; we commit ourselves to a specific classification of the magnitudes so differentiated.


How far is it true that equality and inequality are characteristic of Quantity?

Triangles, it is significant, are said to be similar rather than equal. But we also refer to magnitudes as similar, and the accepted connotation of similarity does not exclude similarity or dissimilarity in Quantity. It may, of course, be the case that the term "similarity" has a different sense here from that understood in reference to Quality.

Furthermore, if we are told that equality and inequality are characteristic of Quantity, that is not to deny that similarity also may be predicated of certain quantities. If, on the contrary, similarity and dissimilarity are to be confined to Quality, the terms as applied to Quantity must, as we have said, bear a different meaning.

But suppose similarity to be identical in both genera; Quantity and Quality must then be expected to reveal other properties held in common.

May the truth be this: That similarity is predicable of Quantity only in so far as Quantity possesses [qualitative] differences? But as a general rule differences are grouped with that of which they are differences, especially when the difference is a difference of that thing alone. If in one case the difference completes the substance and not in another, we inevitably class it with that which it completes, and only consider it as independent when it is not complementary: When we say "completes the substance," we refer not to subtance as such but to the differentiated substance; the particular object is to be thought of as receiving an accession which is non-substantial.

We must not however fad to observe that we predicate equality of triangles, rectangles, and figures generally, whether plane or solid: This may be given as a ground for regarding equality and inequality as characteristic of Quantity.

It remains to enquire whether similarity and dissimilarity are characteristic of Quality.

We have spoken of Quality as combining with other entities, matter and Quantity, to form the complete sensible substance; this substance, so called, may be supposed to constitute the manifold world of sense, which is not so much an essence as a quale. Thus, for the essence of fire we must look to the reason- principle; what produces the visible aspect is, properly speaking, a quale.

Man's essence will lie in his reason-principle; that which is perfected in the corporeal nature is a mere image of the reason- principle a quale rather than an essence.

Consider: The visible socrates is a man, yet we give the name of socrates to that likeness of him in a portrait, which consists of mere colours, mere pigments: Similarly, it is a reason- principle which constitutes socrates, but we apply the name socrates to the socrates we see: In truth, however, the colours and shapes which make up the visible socrates are but reproductions of those in the reason-principle, while this reason-principle itself bears a corresponding relation to the truest reason-principle of man. But we need not elaborate this point.


When each of the entities bound up with the pseudo- substance is taken apart from the rest, the name of Quality is given to that one among them, by which without pointing to essence or quantity or motion we signify the distinctive mark, the type or aspect of a thing—for example, the beauty or ugliness of a body. This beauty—need we say?—is identical in name only with intellectual beauty: It follows that the term "Quality" as applied to the sensible and the intellectual is necessarily equivocal; even blackness and whiteness are different in the two spheres.

But the beauty in the germ, in the particular reason- principle—is this the same as the manifested beauty, or do they coincide only in name? Are we to assign this beauty—and the same question applies to deformity in the soul—to the intellectual order, or to the sensible? That beauty is different in the two spheres is by now clear. If it be embraced in sensible Quality, then virtue must also be classed among the qualities of the lower. But merely some virtues will take rank as sensible, others as intellectual qualities.

It may even be doubted whether the arts, as reason- principles, can fairly be among sensible qualities; reason- principles, it is true, may reside in matter, but "matter" for them means soul. On the other hand, their being found in company with matter commits them in some degree to the lower sphere. Take the case of lyrical music: It is performed on strings; melody, which may be termed a part of the art, is sensuous sound—though, perhaps, we should speak here not of parts but of manifestations [acts]: Yet, called manifestations, they are nonetheless sensuous. The beauty inherent in body is similarly bodiless; but we have assigned it to the order of things bound up with body and subordinate to it.

Geometry and arithmetic are, we shall maintain, of a twofold character; in their earthly types they rank with sensible Quality, but in so far as they are functions of pure soul, they necessarily belong to that other world in close proximity to the intellectual. This, too, is in Plato's view the case with music and astronomy.

The arts concerned with material objects and making use of perceptible instruments and sense-perception must be classed with sensible Quality, even though they are dispositions of the soul, attendant on its apostasy.

There is also every reason for consigning to this category the practical virtues whose function is directed to a social end: These do not isolate soul by inclining it towards the higher; their manifestation makes for beauty in this world, a beauty regarded not as necessary but as desirable.

On this principle, the beauty in the germ, and still more the blackness and whiteness in it, will be included among sensible Qualities.

Are we, then, to rank the individual soul, as containing these reason-principles, with sensible substance? But we do not even identify the principles with body; we merely include them in sensible Quality on the ground that they are connected with body and are activities of body. The constituents of sensible substance have already been specified; we have no intention whatever of adding to them substance bodiless.

As for Qualities, we hold that they are invariably bodiless, being affections arising within soul; but, like the reason- principles of the individual soul, they are associated with soul in its apostasy, and are accordingly counted among the things of the lower realm: Such affections, torn between two worlds by their objects and their abode, we have assigned to Quality, which is indeed not bodily but manifested in body.

But we refrain from assigning soul to sensible substance, on the ground that we have already referred to Quality [which is sensible] those affections of soul which are related to body. On the contrary, soul, conceived apart from affection and reason- principle, we have restored to its origin, leaving in the lower realm no substance which is in any sense intellectual.


This procedure, if approved, will entail a distinction between psychic and bodily qualities, the latter belonging specifically to body.

If we decide to refer all souls to the higher, we are still at liberty to perform for sensible qualities a division founded on the senses themselves—the eyes, the ears, touch, taste, smell; and if we are to look for further differences, colours may be subdivided according to varieties of vision, sounds according to varieties of hearing, and so with the other senses: Sounds may also be classified qualitatively as sweet, harsh, soft.

Here a difficulty may be raised: We divide the varieties of substance and their functions and activities, fair or foul or indeed of any kind whatever, on the basis of Quality, Quantity rarely, if ever, entering into the differences which produce species; Quantity, again, we divide in accordance with qualities of its own: How then are we to divide Quality itself into species? What differences are we to employ, and from what genus shall we take them? To take them from Quality itself would be no less absurd than setting up substances as differences of substances.

How, then, are we to distinguish black from white? How differentiate colours in general from tastes and tangible qualities? By the variety of sense-organs? Then there will be no difference in the objects themselves.

But, waiving this objection, how deal with qualities perceived by the same sense-organ? We may be told that some colours integrate, others disintegrate the vision, that some tastes integrate, others disintegrate the tongue: We reply that, first, it is the actual experiences [of colour and taste, and not the sense- organs] that we are discussing and it is to these that the notions of integration and disintegration must be applied; secondly, a means of differentiating these experiences has not been offered.

It may be suggested that we divide them by their powers, and this suggestion is so far reasonable that we may well agree to divide the non-sensuous qualities, the sciences for example, on this basis; but we see no reason for resorting to their effects for the division of qualities sensuous. Even if we divide the sciences by their powers, founding our division of their processes on the faculties of the mind, we can only grasp their differences in a rational manner if we look not only to their subject-matter but also to their reason-principles.

But, granted that we may divide the arts by their reason- principles and theorems, this method will hardly apply to embodied qualities. Even in the arts themselves an explanation would be required for the differences between the reason- principles themselves. Besides, we have no difficulty in seeing that white differs from black; to account for this difference is the purpose of our enquiry.


These problems at any rate all serve to show that, while in general it is necessary to look for differences by which to separate things from each other, to hunt for differences of the differences themselves is both futile and irrational. We cannot have substances of substances, quantities of quantities, qualities of qualities, differences of differences; differences must, where possible, be found outside the genus, in creative powers and the like: But where no such criteria are present, as in distinguishing dark-green from pale-green, both being regarded as derived from white and black, what expedient may be suggested?

Sense-perception and intelligence may be trusted to indicate diversity but not to explain it: Explanation is outside the province of sense-perception, whose function is merely to produce a variety of information; while, as for intelligence, it works exclusively with intuitions and never resorts to explanations to justify them; there is in the movements of intelligence a diversity which separates one object from another, making further differentiation unnecessary.

Do all qualities constitute differentiae, or not? Granted that whiteness and colours in general and the qualities dependent on touch and taste can, even while they remain species [of Quality], become differentiae of other things, how can grammar and music serve as differentiae? Perhaps in the sense that minds may be distinguished as grammatical and musical, especially if the qualities are innate, in which case they do become specific differentiae.

It remains to decide whether there can be any differentia derived from the genus to which the differentiated thing belongs, or whether it must of necessity belong to another genus? The former alternative would produce differentiae of things derived from the same genus as the differentiae themselves—for example, qualities of qualities. Virtue and vice are two states differing in quality: The states are qualities, and their differentiae qualities—unless indeed it be maintained that the state undifferentiated is not a quality, that the differentia creates the quality.

But consider the sweet as beneficial, the bitter as injurious: Then bitter and sweet are distinguished, not by Quality, but by relation. We might also be disposed to identify the sweet with the thick, and the pungent with the thin: "thick" however hardly reveals the essence but merely the cause of sweetness—an argument which applies equally to pungency.

We must therefore reflect whether it may be taken as an invariable rule that Quality is never a differentia of Quality, any more than substance is a differentia of substance, or Quantity of Quantity.

Surely, it may be interposed, five differs from three by two. No: It exceeds it by two; we do not say that it differs: How could it differ by a "two" in the "three"? We may add that neither can motion differ from motion by motion. There is, in short, no parallel in any of the other genera.

In the case of virtue and vice, whole must be compared with whole, and the differentiation conducted on this basis. As for the differentia being derived from the same genus as themselves, namely, Quality, and from no other genus, if we proceed on the principle that virtue is bound up with pleasure, vice with lust, virtue again with the acquisition of food, vice with idle extravagance, and accept these definitions as satisfactory, then clearly we have, here too, differentiae which are not qualities.


With Quality we have undertaken to group the dependent qualia, in so far as Quality is bound up with them; we shall not however introduce into this category the qualified objects [qua objects], that we may not be dealing with two categories at once; we shall pass over the objects to that which gives them their [specific] name.

But how are we to classify such terms as "not white"? If "not white" signifies some other colour, it is a quality. But if it is merely a negation of an enumeration of things not white, it will be either a meaningless sound, or else a name or definition of something actual: If a sound, it is a kind of motion; if a name or definition, it is a relative, inasmuch as names and definitions are significant. But if not only the things enumerated are in some one genus, but also the propositions and terms in question must be each of them significative of some genus, then we shall assert that negative propositions and terms posit certain things within a restricted field and deny others. Perhaps, however, it would be better, in view of their composite nature, not to include the negations in the same genus as the affirmations.

What view, then, shall we take of privations? If they are privations of qualities, they will themselves be qualities: "toothless" and "blind," for example, are qualities. "naked" and "dothed," on the other hand, are neither of them qualities but states: They therefore comport a relation to something else.

[With regard to passive qualities:]

Passivity, while it lasts, is not a quality but a motion; when it is a past experience remaining in one's possession, it is a quality; if one ceases to possess the experience then regarded as a finished occurrence, one is considered to have been moved—in other words, to have been in motion. But in none of these cases is it necessary to conceive of anything but motion; the idea of time should be excluded; even present time has no right to be introduced.

"Well" and similar adverbial expressions are to be referred to the single generic notion [of Quality].

It remains to consider whether blushing should be referred to Quality, even though the person blushing is not included in this category. The fact of becoming flushed is rightly not referred to Quality; for it involves passivity—in short, motion. But if one has ceased to become flushed and is actually red, this is surely a case of Quality, which is independent of time. How indeed are we to define Quality but by the aspect which a substance presents? By predicating of a man redness, we clearly ascribe to him a quality.

We shall accordingly maintain that states alone, and not dispositions, constitute qualities: Thus, "hot" is a quality but not "growing hot," "ill" but not "turning ill."


We have to ascertain whether there is not to every quality a contrary. In the case of virtue and vice, even the mean appears to be contrary to the extremes.

But when we turn to colours, we do not find the intermediates so related. If we regard the intermediates as blendings of the extremes, we must not posit any contrariety other than that between black and white, but must show that all other colours are combinations of these two. Contrariety however demands that there be some one distinct quality in the intermediates, though this quality may be seen to arise from a combination.

It may further be suggested that contraries not only differ from each other, but also entail the greatest possible difference. But "the greatest possible difference" would seem to presuppose that intermediates have already been established: Eliminate the series, and how will you define "the greatest possible"? Sight, we may be told, will reveal to us that grey is nearer than black to white; and taste may be our judge when we have hot, cold and no intermediate.

That we are accustomed to act on these assumptions is obvious enough; but the following considerations may perhaps commend themselves:

White and yellow are entirely different from each other—a statement which applies to any colour whatever as compared with any other; they are accordingly contrary qualities. Their contrariety is independent of the presence of intermediates: Between health and disease no intermediate intrudes, and yet they are contraries.

It may be urged that the products of a contrariety exhibit the greatest diversity. But "the greatest diversity" is clearly meaningless, unless we can point to lower degrees of diversity in the means. Thus, we cannot speak of "the greatest diversity" in reference to health and disease. This definition of contrariety is therefore inadmissible.

Suppose that we say "great diversity" instead of "the greatest": If "great" is equivalent to greater and implies a less, immediate contraries will again escape us; if, on the other hand, we mean strictly "great" and assume that every quality shows a great divergence from every other, we must not suppose that the divergence can be measured by a comparative.

Nonetheless, we must endeavour to find a meaning for the term "contrary." can we accept the principle that when things have a certain similarity which is not generic nor in any sense due to admixture, but a similarity residing in their forms—if the term be permitted—they differ in degree but are not contraries; contraries being rather those things which have no specific identity? It would be necessary to stipulate that they belong to the same genus, Quality, in order to cover those immediate contraries which [apparently] have nothing conducing to similarity, inasmuch as there are no intermediates looking both ways, as it were, and having a mutual similarity to each other; some contraries are precluded by their isolation from similarity.

If these observations be sound, colours which have a common ground will not be contraries. But there will be nothing to prevent, not indeed every colour from being contrary to every other, but any one colour from being contrary to any other; and similarly with tastes. This will serve as a statement of the problem.

As for degree [subsisting in Quality], it was given as our opinion that it exists in the objects participating in Quality, though whether it enters into qualities as such—into health and justice—was left open to question. If indeed these qualities possess an extension quite apart from their participants, we must actually ascribe to them degrees: But in truth they belong to a sphere where each entity is the whole and does not admit of degree.


The claim of motion to be established as a genus will depend on three conditions: First, that it cannot rightly be referred to any other genus; second, that nothing higher than itself can be predicated of it in respect of its essence; third, that by assuming differences it will produce species. These conditions satisfied, we may consider the nature of the genus to which we shall refer it.

Clearly it cannot be identified with either the substance or the Quality of the things which possess it. It cannot, further, be consigned to action, for passivity also comprises a variety of motions; nor again to passivity itself, because many motions are actions: On the contrary, actions and passions are to be referred to motion.

Furthermore, it cannot lay claim to the category of relation on the mere ground that it has an attributive and not a self- centred existence: On this ground, Quality too would find itself in that same category; for Quality is an attribute and contained in an external: And the same is true of Quantity.

If we are agreed that Quality and Quantity, though attributive, are real entities, and on the basis of this reality distinguishable as Quality and Quantity respectively: Then, on the same principle, since motion, though an attribute has a reality prior to its attribution, it is incumbent on us to discover the intrinsic nature of this reality. We must never be content to regard as a relative something which exists prior to its attribution, but only that which is engendered by relation and has no existence apart from the relation to which it owes its name: The double, strictly so called, takes birth and actuality in juxtaposition with a yard's length, and by this very process of being juxtaposed with a correlative acquires the name and exhibits the fact of being double.

What, then, is that entity, called motion, which, though attributive, has an independent reality, which makes its attribution possible—the entity corresponding to Quality, Quantity and substance?

But first, perhaps, we should make sure that there is nothing prior to motion and predicated of it as its genus.

Change may be suggested as a prior. But, in the first place, either it is identical with motion, or else, if change be claimed as a genus, it will stand distinct from the genera so far considered: Secondly, motion will evidently take rank as a species and have some other species opposed to it—becoming, say—which will be regarded as a change but not as a motion.

What, then, is the ground for denying that becoming is a motion? The fact, perhaps, that what comes to be does not yet exist, whereas motion has no dealings with the non-existent. But, on that ground, becoming will not be a change either. If however it be alleged that becoming is merely a type of alteration or growth since it takes place when things alter and grow, the antecedents of becoming are being confused with becoming itself. Yet becoming, entailing as it does these antecedents, must necessarily be a distinct species; for the event and process of becoming cannot be identified with merely passive alteration, like turning hot or white: It is possible for the antecedents to take place without becoming as such being accomplished, except in so far as the actual alteration [implied in the antecedents] has "come to be"; where, however, an animal or a vegetal life is concerned, becoming [or birth] takes place only on its acquisition of a form.

The contrary might be maintained: That change is more plausibly ranked as a species than is motion, because change signifies merely the substitution of one thing for another, whereas motion involves also the removal of a thing from the place to which it belongs, as is shown by locomotion. Even rejecting this distinction, we must accept as types of motion knowledge and musical performance—in short, changes of condition: Thus, alteration will come to be regarded as a species of motion—namely, motion displacing.


But suppose that we identify alteration with motion on the ground that motion itself results in difference: How then do we proceed to define motion?

It may roughly be characterized as the passage from the potentiality to its realization. That is potential which can either pass into a form—for example, the potential statue—or else pass into actuality—such as the ability to walk: Whenever progress is made towards the statue, this progress is motion; and when the ability to walk is actualized in walking, this walking is itself motion: Dancing is, similarly, the motion produced by the potential dancer taking his steps.

In the one type of motion a new form comes into existence created by the motion; the other constitutes, as it were, the pure form of the potentiality, and leaves nothing behind it when once the motion has ceased. Accordingly, the view would not be unreasonable which, taking some forms to be active, others inactive, regarded motion as a dynamic form in opposition to the other forms which are static, and further as the cause of whatever new form ensues on it. To proceed to identify this bodily motion with life would however be unwarrantable; it must be considered as identical only in name with the motions of intellect and soul.

That motion is a genus we may be all the more confident in virtue of the difficulty—the impossibility even—of confining it within a definition.

But how can it be a form in cases where the motion leads to deterioration, or is purely passive? Motion, we may suggest, is like the heat of the sun causing some things to grow and withering others. In so far as motion is a common property, it is identical in both conditions; its apparent difference is due to the objects moved.

Is, then, becoming ill identical with becoming well? As motions they are identical. In what respect, then, do they differ? In their substrates? Or is there some other criterion?

This question may however be postponed until we come to consider alteration: At present we have to discover what is the constant element in every motion, for only on this basis can we establish the claim of motion to be a genus.

Perhaps the one term covers many meanings; its claim to generic status would then correspond to that of being.

As a solution of the problem we may suggest that motions conducing to the natural state or functioning in natural conditions should perhaps, as we have already asserted, be regarded as being in a sense forms, while those whose direction is contrary to nature must be supposed to be assimilated to the results towards which they lead.

But what is the constant element in alteration, in growth and birth and their opposites, in local change? What is that which makes them all motions? Surely it is the fact that in every case the object is never in the same state before and after the motion, that it cannot remain still and in complete inactivity but, so long as the motion is present, is continually urged to take a new condition, never acquiescing in identity but always courting difference; deprived of difference, motion perishes.

Thus, difference may be predicated of motion, not merely in the sense that it arises and persists in a difference of conditions, but in the sense of being itself perpetual difference. It follows that time, as being created by motion, also entails perpetual difference: Time is the measure of unceasing motion, accompanying its course and, as it were, carried along its stream.

In short, the common basis of all motion is the existence of a progression and an urge from potentiality and the potential to actuality and the actual: Everything which has any kind of motion whatever derives this motion from a pre-existent potentiality within itself of activity or passivity.


The motion which acts on sensible objects enters from without, and so shakes, drives, rouses and thrusts its participants that they may neither rest nor preserve their identity—and all to the end that they may be caught into that restlessness, that flustering excitability which is but an image of life.

We must avoid identifying motion with the objects moved: By walking we do not mean the feet but the activity springing from a potentiality in the feet. Since the potentiality is invisible, we see of necessity only the active feet—that is to say, not feet simply, as would be the case if they were at rest, but something besides feet, something invisible but indirectly seen as an accompaniment by the fact that we observe the feet to be in ever-changing positions and no longer at rest. We infer alteration, on the other hand, from the qualitative change in the thing altered.

Where, then, does motion reside, when there is one thing that moves and another that passes from an inherent potentiality to actuality? In the mover? How then will the moved, the patient, participate in the motion? In the moved? Then why does not motion remain in it, once having come? It would seem that motion must neither be separated from the active principle nor allowed to reside in it; it must proceed from agent to patient without so inhering in the latter as to be severed from the former, passing from one to the other like a breath of wind.

Now, when the potentiality of motion consists in an ability to walk, it may be imagined as thrusting a man forward and causing him to be continually adopting a different position; when it lies in the capacity to heat, it heats; when the potentiality takes hold of matter and builds up the organism, we have growth; and when another potentiality demolishes the structure, the result is decay, that which has the potentiality of demolition experiencing the decay. Where the birth-giving principle is active, we find birth; where it is impotent and the power to destroy prevails, destruction takes place—not the destruction of what already exists, but that which intervenes on the road to existence.

Health comes about in the same way—when the power which produces health is active and predominant; sickness is the result of the opposite power working in the opposite direction.

Thus, motion is conditioned, not only by the objects in which it occurs, but also by its origins and its course, and it is a distinctive mark of motion to be always qualified and to take its quality from the moved.


With regard to locomotion: If ascending is to be held contrary to descending, and circular motion different [in kind] from motion in a straight line, we may ask how this difference is to be defined—the difference, for example, between throwing over the head and under the feet.

The driving power is one—though indeed it might be maintained that the upward drive is different from the downward, and the downward passage of a different character from the upward, especially if it be a natural motion, in which case the up- motion constitutes lightness, the down-motion heaviness.

But in all these motions alike there is the common tendency to seek an appointed place, and in this tendency we seem to have the differentia which separates locomotion from the other species.

As for motion in a circle and motion in a straight line, if the former is in practice indistinguishable from the latter, how can we regard them as different? The only difference lies in the shape of the course, unless the view be taken that circular motion is "impure," as not being entirely a motion, not involving a complete surrender of identity.

However, it appears in general that locomotion is a definite unity, taking its differences from externals.


The nature of integration and disintegrations calls for scrutiny. Are they different from the motions above mentioned, from coming-to-be and passing-away, from growth and decay, from change of place and from alteration? Or must they be referred to these? Or, again, must some of these be regarded as types of integration and disintegration?

If integration implies that one element proceeds towards another, implies in short an approach, and disintegration, on the other hand, a retreat into the background, such motions may be termed local; we have clearly a case of two things moving in the direction of unity, or else making away from each other.

If however the things achieve a sort of fusion, mixture, blending, and if a unity comes into being, not when the process of combination is already complete, but in the very act of combining, to which of our specified motions shall we refer this type? There will certainly be locomotion at first, but it will be succeeded by something different; just as in growth locomotion is found at the outset, though later it is supplanted by quantitative motion. The present case is similar: Locomotion leads the way, but integration or disintegration does not inevitably follow; integration takes place only when the impinging elements become intertwined, disintegration only when they are rent asunder by the contact.

On the other hand, it often happens that locomotion follows disintegration, or else occurs simultaneously, though the experience of the disintegrated is not conceived in terms of locomotion: So too in integration a distinct experience, a distinct unification, accompanies the locomotion and remains separate from it.

Are we then to posit a new species for these two motions, adding to them, perhaps, alteration? A thing is altered by becoming dense—in other words, by integration; it is altered again by being rarefied—that is, by disintegration. When wine and water are mixed, something is produced different from either of the pre-existing elements: Thus, integration takes place, resulting in alteration.

But perhaps we should recall a previous distinction, and while holding that integrations and disintegrations precede alterations, should maintain that alterations are nonetheless distinct from either; that, further, not every alteration is of this type [presupposing, that is to say, integration or disintegration], and, in particular, rarefication and condensation are not identical with disintegration and integration, nor in any sense derived from them: To suppose that they were would involve the admission of a vacuum.

Again, can we use integration and disintegration to explain blackness and whiteness? But to doubt the independent existence of these qualities means that, beginning with colours, we may end by annihilating almost all qualities, or rather all without exception; for if we identify every alteration, or qualitative change, with integration and disintegration, we allow nothing whatever to come into existence; the same elements persist, nearer or farther apart.

Finally, how is it possible to class learning and being taught as integrations?


We may now take the various specific types of motion, such as locomotion, and once again enquire for each one whether it is not to be divided on the basis of direction, up, down, straight, circular—a question already raised; whether the organic motion should be distinguished from the inorganic—they are clearly not alike; whether, again, organic motions should be subdivided into walking, swimming and flight.

Perhaps we should also distinguish, in each species, natural from unnatural motions: This distinction would however imply that motions have differences which are not external. It may indeed be the case that motions create these differences and cannot exist without them; but nature may be supposed to be the ultimate source of motions and differences alike.

Motions may also be classed as natural, artificial and purposive: "natural" embracing growth and decay; "artificial" architecture and shipbuilding; "purposive" enquiry, learning, government, and, in general, all speech and action.

Again, with regard to growth, alteration and birth, the division may proceed from the natural and unnatural, or, speaking generally, from the characters of the moved objects.


What view are we to take of that which is opposed to motion, whether it be stability or rest? Are we to consider it as a distinct genus, or to refer it to one of the genera already established? We should, no doubt, be well advised to assign stability to the intellectual, and to look in the lower sphere for rest alone.

First, then, we have to discover the precise nature of this rest. If it presents itself as identical with stability, we have no right to expect to find it in the sphere where nothing is stable and the apparently stable has merely a less strenuous motion.

Suppose the contrary: We decide that rest is different from stability inasmuch as stability belongs to the utterly immobile, rest to the stationary which, though of a nature to move, does not move. Now, if rest means coming to rest, it must be regarded as a motion which has not yet ceased but still continues; but if we suppose it to be incompatible with motion, we have first to ask whether there is in the sensible world anything without motion.

Yet nothing can experience every type of motion; certain motions must be ruled out in order that we may speak of the moving object as existing: May we not, then, say of that which has no locomotion and is at rest as far as pertains to that specific type of motion, simply that it does not move?

Rest, accordingly, is the negation of motion: In other words, it has no generic status. It is in fact related only to one type of motion, namely, locomotion; it is therefore the negation of this motion that is meant.

But, it may be asked, why not regard motion as the negation of stability? We reply that motion does not appear alone; it is accompanied by a force which actualizes its object, forcing it on, as it were, giving it a thousand forms and destroying them all: Rest, on the contrary, comports nothing but the object itself, and signifies merely that the object has no motion.

Why, then, did we not in discussing the intellectual realm assert that stability was the negation of motion? Because it is not indeed possible to consider stability as an annulling of motion, for when motion ceases stability does not exist, but requires for its own existence the simultaneous existence of motion; and what is of a nature to move is not stationary because stability of that realm is motionless, but because stability has taken hold of it; in so far as it has motion, it will never cease to move: Thus, it is stationary under the influence of stability, and moves under the influence of motion. In the lower realm, too, a thing moves in virtue of motion, but its rest is caused by a deficiency; it has been deprived of its due motion.

What we have to observe is the essential character of this sensible counterpart of stability.

Consider sickness and health. The convalescent moves in the sense that he passes from sickness to health. What species of rest are we to oppose to this convalescence? If we oppose the condition from which he departs, that condition is sickness, not stability; if that into which he passes, it is health, again not the same as stability.

It may be declared that health or sickness is indeed some form of stability: We are to suppose, then, that stability is the genus of which health and sickness are species; which is absurd.

Stability may, again, be regarded as an attribute of health: According to this view, health will not be health before possessing stability.

These questions may however be left to the judgement of the individual.


We have already indicated that activity and passivity are to be regarded as motions, and that it is possible to distinguish absolute motions, actions, passions.

As for the remaining so-called genera, we have shown that they are reducible to those which we have posited.

With regard to the relative, we have maintained that relation belongs to one object as compared with another, that the two objects coexist simultaneously, and that relation is found wherever a substance is in such a condition as to produce it; not that the substance is a relative, except in so far as it constitutes part of a whole—a hand, for example, or head or cause or principle or element.

We may also adopt the ancient division of relatives into creative principles, measures, excesses and deficiencies, and those which in general separate objects on the basis of similarities and differences.

Our investigation into the kinds of being is now complete.

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Fourth tractate: On the integral omnipresence of the authentic existent (1)



How are we to explain the omnipresence of the soul? does it depend on the definite magnitude of the material universe coupled with some native tendency in soul to distribute itself over material mass, or is it a characteristic of soul apart from body?

In the latter case, soul will not appear just where body may bring it; body will meet soul awaiting it everywhere; wherever body finds place, there soul lay before ever body was; the entire material mass of the universe has been set into an existent soul.

But if soul spread thus wide before material extension existed, then as covering all space it would seem to be of itself a thing of magnitude, and in what mode could it exist in the all before the all was in being, before there was any all? And who can accept a soul described as partless and massless and yet, for all that absence of extension, extending over a universe? We may perhaps be told that, though extended over the corporeal, it does not itself become so: But thus to give it magnitude as an accidental attribute leaves the problem still unsolved: Precisely the same question must in all reason arise: How can the soul take magnitude even in the move of accident?

We cannot think of soul being diffused as a quality is, say sweetness or colour, for while these are actual states of the masses affected so that they show that quality at every point, none of them has an independent existence; they are attributes of body and known only as in body; such quality is necessarily of a definite extension. Further, the colour at any point is independent of that at any other; no doubt the form, White, is the same all over, but there is not arithmetical identity; in soul there is; it is one soul in foot and in hand, as the facts of perception show. And yet in the case of qualities the one is observably distributed part for part; in the soul the identity is undistributed; what we sometimes call distribution is simply omnipresence.

Obviously, we must take hold of the question from the very beginning in the hope of finding some clear and convincing theory as to how soul, immaterial and without magnitude, can be thus broad- spread, whether before material masses exist or as enveloping them. Of course, should it appear that this omnipresence may occur apart from material things, there is no difficulty in accepting its occurrence within the material.


Side by side exist the authentic all and its counterpart, the visible universe. The authentic is contained in nothing, since nothing existed before it; of necessity anything coming after it must, as a first condition of existence, be contained by this all, especially since it depends on the authentic and without that could have neither stability nor movement.

We may be reminded that the universe cannot be contained in the authentic as in a place, where place would mean the boundaries of some surrounding extension considered as an envelope, or some space formerly a part of the void and still remaining unoccupied even after the emergence of the universe, that it can only support itself, as it were, on the authentic and rest in the embrace of its omnipresence; but this objection is merely verbal and will disappear if our meaning is grasped; we mention it for another purpose; it goes to enforce our real assertion that the authentic all, at once primal and veritable, needs no place and is in no way contained. The all, as being an integral, cannot fall short of itself; it must ever have fulfilled its own totality, ever reached to its own equivalence; as far as the sum of entities extends, there this is; for this is the all.

Inevitably, also, anything other than this all that may be stationed therein must have part in the all, merge into it, and hold by its strength; it is not that the thing detaches a portion of the all but that within itself it finds the all which has entered into it while still unbrokenly self-abiding, since being cannot lodge in non-being, but, if anything, non-being within being.

Being, then, is present to all being; an identity cannot tear itself asunder; the omnipresence asserted of it must be presence within the realm of being; that is, it must be a self-presence. And it is in no way strange that the omnipresence should be at once self-abiding and universal; this is merely saying omnipresence within a unity.

It is our way to limit being to the sense-known and therefore to think of omnipresence in terms of the concrete; in our overestimate of the sensible, we question how that other nature can reach over such vastness; but our great is small, and this, small to us, is great; it reaches integrally to every point of our universe—or, better, our universe, moving from every side and in all its members towards this, meets it everywhere as the omnipresent all ever stretching beyond.

The universe in all its reach can attain nothing further—that would mean overpassing the total of being—and therefore is content to circle about it; not able to encompass or even to fill the all, it is content to accept place and subordination, for thus it preserves itself in neighbouring the higher present to it—present and yet absent; self-holding, whatever may seek its presence.

Wherever the body of the universe may touch, there it finds this all; it strives for no further advance, willing to revolve in that one circle, since to it that is the all and in that movement its every part embraces the all.

If that higher were itself in place there would be the need of seeking that precise place by a certain right path; part of seeker must touch part of sought, and there would be far and near. But since there is no far and near there must be, if presence at all, presence entire. And presence there indubitably is; this highest is present to every being of those that, free of far and near, are of power to receive.


But are we to think of this authentic being as, itself, present, or does it remain detached, omnipresent in the sense only that powers from it enter everywhere?

Under the theory of presence by powers, souls are described as rays; the source remains self-locked and these are flung forth to impinge on particular living things.

Now, in beings whose unity does not reproduce the entire nature of that principle, any presence is presence of an emanant power: Even this, however, does not mean that the principle is less than integrally present; it is not sundered from the power which it has uttered; all is offered, but the recipient is able to take only so much. But in beings in which the plenitude of these powers is manifested, there clearly the authentic itself is present, though still as remaining distinct; it is distinct in that, becoming the informing principle of some definite thing, it would abdicate from its standing as the total and from its uttermost self-abiding and would belong, in some mode of accident, to another thing as well. Still it is not the property of what may seek to join with it; it chooses where it will and enters as the participant's power may allow, but it does not become a chattel; it remains the quested and so in another sense never passes over. There is nothing disquieting in omnipresence after this mode where there is no appropriation: In the same accidental way, we may reasonably put it, soul concurs with body, but it is soul self-holding, not inbound with matter, free even of the body which it has illuminated through and through.

Nor does the placelessness of being make it surprising that it be present universally to things of place; on the contrary, the wonder would be—the more than wonder, the impossibility—if from a place of its own it were present to other things in their place, or if having place it were present at all—and, especially present, as we assert, integrally.

But set it outside of place, and reason tells us that it will be present entire where it is present at all and that, present to the total, it must be present in the same completeness to every several unity; otherwise something of it is here and something there, and at once it is fragmentary, it is body.

How can we so dispart being? We cannot break life into parts; if the total was life, the fragment is not. But we do not thus sunder intelligence, one intelligence in this man, another in that? No; such a fragment would not be intelligence. But the being of the individual? Once more, if the total thing is being, then a fragment could not be. Are we told that in a body, a total of parts, every member is also a body? But here we are dividing not body but a particular quantity of body, each of those divisions being described as body in virtue of possessing the form or idea that constitutes body; and this idea has no magnitude, is incapable of magnitude.


But how explain beings by the side of being, and the variety of intelligences and of souls, when being has the unity of omnipresent identity and not merely that of a species, and when intellect and soul are likewise numerically one? We certainly distinguish between the soul of the all and the particular souls.

This seems to conflict with our view which, moreover, for all its logical necessity, scarcely carries conviction against our mental reluctance to the notion of unity identically omnipresent. It would appear more plausible to suppose a partition of the all- the original remaining undiminished—or, in a more legitimate phrase, an engendering from the all.

Thus the authentic would be left self-gathered, while what we think of as the parts—the separate souls—would come into being to produce the multiple total of the universe.

But if the authentic being is to be kept unattached in order to remove the difficulty of integral omnipresence, the same considerations must apply equally to the souls; we would have to admit that they cannot be integrally omnipresent in the bodies they are described as occupying; either, soul must be distributed, part to body's part, or it is lodged entire at some one point in the body giving forth some of its powers to the other points; and these very powers, again, present the same difficulty.

A further objection is that some one spot in the body will hold the soul, the others no more than a power from it.

Still, how account for the many souls, many intelligences, the beings by the side of the being?

No doubt the beings proceed from the priors in the mode only of numerical distinction and not as concrete masses, but the difficulty remains as to how they come to constitute the plenitude of the material universe.

This explanation by progression does not clear the problem.

We are agreed that diversity within the authentic depends not on spatial separation but sheerly on differentiation; all being, despite this plurality, is a unity still; "being neighbours being"; all holds together; and thus the intellectual-principle [which is being and the beings] remains an integral, multiple by differentiation, not by spatial distinction.

Soul too? Souls too. That principle distributed over material masses we hold to be in its own nature incapable of distribution; the magnitude belongs to the masses; when this soul-principle enters into them—or rather they into it—it is thought of as distributable only because, within the discrimination of the corporeal, the animating force is to be recognised at any and every point. For soul is not articulated, section of soul to section of body; there is integral omnipresence manifesting the unity of that principle, its veritable partlessness.

Now as in soul unity does not debar variety, so with being and the beings; in that order multiplicity does not conflict with unity. Multiplicity. This is not due to the need of flooding the universe with life; nor is the extension of the corporeal the cause of the multiplicity of souls; before body existed, soul was one and many; the many souls fore-existed in the all not potentially but each effectively; that one collective soul is no bar to the variety; the variety does not abrogate the unity; the souls are apart without partition, present each to all as never having been set in opposition; they are no more hedged off by boundaries than are the multiple items of knowledge in one mind; the one soul so exists as to include all souls; the nature of such a principle must be utterly free of boundary.


Herein lies its greatness, not in mass; mass is limited and may be whittled down to nothingness; in that order no such paring off is possible—nor, if it were, could there be any falling short. Where limitation is unthinkable, what fear can there be of absence at any point? Nowhere can that principle fail which is the unfailing, the everlasting, the undwindling; suppose it in flux and it must at some time flow to its end; since it is not in flux—and, besides [as the all], it has nowhere to flow to—it lies spread over the universe; in fact it is the universe, too great to be held by body, giving, therefore, to the material universe but little of itself, the little which that participant can take.

We may not make this principle the lesser, or if in the sense of mass we do, we must not begin to mistrust the power of that less to stretch to the greater. Of course, we have in fact no right to affirm it less or to measure the thing of magnitude against that which has none; as well talk of a doctor's skill being smaller than his body. This greatness is not to be thought of in terms of quantity; the greater and less of body have nothing to do with soul.

The nature of the greatness of soul is indicated by the fact that as the body grows, the larger mass is held by the same soul that sufficed to the smaller; it would be in many ways absurd to suppose a corresponding enlargement in the soul.


But why does not one same soul enter more than one body?

Because any second body must approach, if it might; but the first has approached and received and keeps.

Are we to think that this second body, in keeping its soul with a like care, is keeping the same soul as the first?

Why not: What difference is there? Merely some additions [from the experiences of life, none in the soul itself].

We ask further why one soul in foot and hand and not one soul in the distinct members of the universe.

Sensations no doubt differ from soul to soul but only as do the conditions and experiences; this is difference not in the judging principle but in the matters coming to judgement; the judge is one and the same soul pronouncing on various events, and these not its own but belonging to a particular body; it is only as a man pronounces simultaneously on a pleasant sensation in his finger and a pain in his head.

But why is not the soul in one man aware, then, of the judgement passed by another?

Because it is a judgement made, not a state set up; besides, the soul that has passed the judgement does not pronounce but simply judges: Similarly a man's sight does not report to his hearing, though both have passed judgement; it is the reason above both that reports, and this is a principle distinct from either. Often, as it happens, reason does become aware of a verdict formed in another reason and takes to itself an alien experience: But this has been dealt with elsewhere.


Let us consider once more how it is possible for an identity to extend over a universe. This comes to the question how each variously placed entity in the multiplicity of the sense order can have its share in one identical principle.

The solution is in the reasons given for refusing to distribute that principle; we are not to parcel it out among the entities of the multiple; on the contrary, we bring the distributed multiples to the unity. The unity has not gone forth to them: From their dispersion we are led to think of it as broken up to meet them, but this is to distribute the controller and container equally over the material handled.

A hand may very well control an entire mass, a long plank, or anything of that sort; the control is effective throughout and yet is not distributed, unit for unit, over the object of control: The power is felt to reach over the whole area, though the hand is only hand-long, not taking the extension of the mass it wields; lengthen the object and, provided that the total is within the strength, the power handles the new load with no need of distributing itself over the increased area. Now let us eliminate the corporeal mass of the hand, retaining the power it exerted: Is not that power, the impartible, present integrally over the entire area of control?

Or imagine a small luminous mass serving as centre to a transparent sphere, so that the light from within shows on the entire outer surface, otherwise unlit: We surely agree that the inner core of light, intact and immobile, reaches over the entire outer extension; the single light of that small centre illuminates the whole field. The diffused light is not due to any bodily magnitude of that central point which illuminates not as body but as body lit, that is by another kind of power than corporeal quality: Let us then abstract the corporeal mass, retaining the light as power: We can no longer speak of the light in any particular spot; it is equally diffused within and throughout the entire sphere. We can no longer even name the spot it occupied so as to say whence it came or how it is present; we can but seek and wonder as the search shows us the light simultaneously present at each and every point in the sphere. So with the sunlight: Looking to the corporeal mass you are able to name the source of the light shining through all the air, but what you see is one identical light in integral omnipresence. Consider too the refraction of light by which it is thrown away from the line of incidence; yet, direct or refracted, it is one and the same light. And supposing, as before, that the sun were simply an unembodied illuminant, the light would no longer be fixed to any one definite spot: Having no starting point, no centre of origin, it would be an integral unity omnipresent.


The light of our world can be allocated because it springs from a corporeal mass of known position, but conceive an immaterial entity, independent of body as being of earlier nature than all body, a nature firmly self-based or, better, without need of base: Such a principle, incorporeal, autonomous, having no source for its rising, coming from no place, attached to no material mass, this cannot be allotted part here and part there: That would be to give it both a previous position and a present attachment. Finally, anything participating in such a principle can participate only as entirety with entirety; there can be no allotment and no partition.

A principle attached to body might be exposed, at least by way of accident, to such partition and so be definable as passive and partible in view of its close relationship with the body of which it is so to speak a state or a form; but that which is not inbound with body, which on the contrary body must seek, will of necessity go utterly free of every bodily modification and especially of the very possibility of partition which is entirely a phenomenon of body, belonging to its very essence. As partibility goes with body, so impartibility with the bodiless: What partition is possible where there is no magnitude? If a thing of magnitude participates to any degree in what has no magnitude, it must be by a participation without division; divisibility implies magnitude.

When we affirm unity in multiplicity, we do not mean that the unity has become the multiples; we link the variety in the multiples with the unity which we discern, undivided, in them; and the unity must be understood as for ever distinct from them, from separate item and from total; that unity remains true to itself, remains itself, and so long as it remains itself cannot fail within its own scope [and therefore does reach over the multiple], yet it is not to be thought of as coextensive with the material universe or with any member of the all; utterly outside of the quantitative, it cannot be coextensive with anything.

Extension is of body; what is not of body, but of the opposed order, must be kept free of extension; but where there is no extension there is no spatial distinction, nothing of the here and there which would end its freedom of presence. Since, then, partition goes with place—each part occupying a place of its own—how can the placeless be parted? The unity must remain self-concentrated, immune from part, however much the multiple aspire or attain to contact with it. This means that any movement towards it is movement towards its entirety, and any participation attained is participation in its entirety. Its participants, then, link with it as with something unparticipated, something never appropriated: Thus only can it remain intact within itself and within the multiples in which it is manifested. And if it did not remain thus intact, it would cease to be itself; any participation, then, would not be in the object of quest but in something never quested.


If in such a partition of the unity, that which entered into each participant were an entire—always identical with the first—then, in the progressive severance, the firsts would become numerous, each particular becoming a first: And then what prevents these many firsts from reconstituting the collective unity? certainly not the bodies they have entered, for those firsts cannot be present in the material masses as their forms if they are to remain identical with the first from which they come. On the other hand, taking the part conceived as present in the multiple to be simply a power [emanating from the first], at once such a part ceases to be the unity; we have then to ask how these powers come to be cut off, to have abandoned their origin; they certainly have not moved away with no purpose in their movement.

Again, are those powers, entering the universe of sense, still within the first or not?

If they are not, we have the absurdity that the first has been lessened, disempowered, stripped of power originally possessed. Besides, how could powers thus cut off subsist apart from the foundations of their being? Suppose these powers to be at once within the first and elsewhere; then the universe of sense contains either the entire powers or parts of them; if parts of powers, the other parts are there; if entires, then either the powers there are present here also undivided—and this brings us back to an identity omnipresent in integral identity—or they are each an entire which has taken division into a multiplicity of similars so that attached to every essence there is one power only—that particularly appropriated to it—the other powers remaining powers unattached: Yet power apart from being is as impossible as being apart from power; for there power is being or something greater than being.

Or, again, suppose the powers coming thence are other than their source—lesser, fainter, as a bright light dwindles to a dim—but each attached to its essence as a power must always be: Such secondary powers would be perfectly uniform and at once we are forced to admit the omnipresence of the one same power or at the least the presence—as in one and the same body—of some undivided identity integral at every point.

And if this is the case with a particular body, why not with the entire universe?

If we think of the single power as being endlessly divided, it is no longer a power entire; partition means lessening of power; and, with part of power for part of body, the conditions of consciousness cease.

Further, a vestigial cut off from its source disappears—for example, a reflected light—and in general an emanant loses its quality once it is severed from the original which it reproduces: Just so the powers derived from that source must vanish if they do not remain attached to it.

This being so, where these powers appear, their source must be present with them; thus, once more, that source must itself be omnipresent as an undivided whole.


We may be told that an image need not be thus closely attached to its archetype, that we know images holding in the absence of their archetype and that a warmed object may retain its heat when the fire is withdrawn.

To begin with the image and archetype: If we are reminded of an artist's picture we observe that here the image was produced by the artist, not by his subject; even in the case of a self-portrait, the picture is no "image of archetype," since it is not produced by the painter's body, the original represented: The reproduction is due to the effective laying on of the colours.

Nor is there strictly any such making of image as we see in water or in mirrors or in a shadow; in these cases the original is the cause of the image which, at once, springs from it and cannot exist apart from it. Now, it is in this sense that we are to understand the weaker powers to be images of the priors. As for the illustration from the fire and the warmed object, the warmth cannot be called an image of the fire unless we think of warmth as containing fire so that the two are separate things. Besides, the fire removed, the warmth does sooner or later disappear, leaving the object cold.

If we are told that these powers fade out similarly, we are left with only one imperishable: The souls, the intellectual-principle, become perishable; then since being [identical with the intellectual- principle] becomes transitory, so also must the beings, its productions. Yet the sun, so long as it holds its station in the universe, will pour the same light on the same places; to think its light may be lessened is to hold its mass perishable. But it has been abundantly stated that the emanants of the first are not perishable, that the souls, and the intellectual- principle with all its content, cannot perish.


Still, this integral omnipresence admitted, why do not all things participate in the intellectual Order in its entirety? Why has it a first participant, a second, and so on?

We can but see that presence is determined by the fitness of the participant so that, while being is omnipresent to the realm of being, never falling short of itself, yet only the competent possess themselves of that presence which depends not on situation but on adequacy; the transparent object and the opaque answer very differently to the light. These firsts, seconds, thirds, of participance are determined by rank, by power, not by place but by differentiation; and difference is no bar to coexistence, witness soul and intellectual-principle: Similarly our own knowledge, the trivial next the gravest; one and the same object yields colour to our sight, fragrance to smell, to every sense a particular experience, all presented simultaneously.

But would not this indicate that the authentic is diverse, multiple?

That diversity is simplex still; that multiple is one; for it is a reason-principle, which is to say a unity in variety: All being is one; the differing being is still included in being; the differentiation is within being, obviously not within non-being. Being is bound up with the unity which is never apart from it; wherever being appears, there appears its unity; and the unity of being is self-standing, for presence in the sensible does not abrogate independence: Things of sense are present to the intellectual—where this occurs—otherwise than as the intellectual is present within itself; so, too, body's presence to soul differs from that of knowledge to soul; one item of knowledge is present in a different way than another; a body's presence to body is, again, another form of relation.


Think of a sound passing through the air and carrying a word; an ear within range catches and comprehends; and the sound and word will strike on any other ear you may imagine within the intervening void, on any that attends; from a great distance many eyes look to the one object and all take it fully; all this, because eye and ear exist. In the same way, what is apt for soul will possess itself of soul, while from the one identical presence another will derive something else.

Now the sound was diffused throughout the air not in sections but as one sound, entire at every point of that space. So with sight: If the air carries a shape impressed on it this is one undivided whole; for, wherever there be an eye, there the shape will be grasped; even to such as reject this particular theory of sight, the facts of vision still stand as an example of participation determined by an identical unity.

The sound is the clearer illustration: The form conveyed is an entirety over all the air space, for unless the spoken word were entire at every point, for every ear to catch the whole alike, the same effect could not be made on every listener; the sound, evidently, is not strung along the air, section to section. Why, then, need we hesitate to think of soul as a thing not extended in broken contact, part for part, but omnipresent within the range of its presence, indwelling in totality at every point throughout the all?

Entered into such bodies as are apt to it, the soul is like the spoken sound present in the air, before that entry, like the speaker about to speak—though even embodied it remains at once the speaker and the silent.

No doubt these illustrations are imperfect, but they carry a serviceable similitude: The soul belongs to that other kind, and we must not conceive a part of it embodied and a part intact; it is at once a self-enclosed unity and a principle manifested in diversity.

Further, any newcoming entity achieving soul receives mysteriously that same principle which was equally in the previously ensouled; for it is not in the dispensation that a given part of soul situate at some given point should enter here and there; what is thought of as entering was always a self-enclosed entire and, for all the seeming entry, so remains; no real entry is conceivable. If, then, the soul never entered and yet is now seen to be present—present without waiting on the participant—clearly it is present, here too, without breach of its self-inclusion. This can mean only that the participant came to soul; it lay outside the veritable reality but advanced towards it and so established itself in the cosmos of life. But this cosmos of life is a self-gathered entire, not divisible into constituent masses but prior to mass; in other words, the participation is of entire in entire. Any newcomer into that cosmos of life will participate in it entire. Admitting, then, that this cosmos of life is present entire in the universe, it must be similarly entire in each several entity; an identity numerically one, it must be an undivided entire, omnipresent.


But how account, at this, for its extension over all the heavens and all living beings?

There is no such extension. Sense-perception, by insistence on which we doubt, tells of here and there; but reason certifies that the here and there do not attach to that principle; the extended has participated in that cosmos of life which itself has no extension.

Clearly no participant can participate in itself; self- participation would be merely identity. Body, then, as participant does not participate in body; body it has; its participation must be in what is not body. So too magnitude does not participate in magnitude; it has it: Not even in addition of quantity does the initial magnitude participate in magnitude: The two cubits do not themselves become three cubits; what occurs is that an object totalling to a certain quantity now totals to another: For magnitude to participate in magnitude the actual two cubits must themselves become the new three [which cannot occur].

If, then, the divided and quantitatively extended is to participate in another kind, is to have any sort of participation, it can participate only in something undivided, unextended, wholly outside of quantity. Therefore, that which is to be introduced by the participation must enter as itself an omnipresent indivisible.

This indivisibility must, of course, not be taken in any sense of littleness: Littleness would be still divisible, could not cover the extension of the participant and could not maintain integral presence against that expansion. Nor is it the indivisibility of a geometric point: The participant mass is no single point but includes an infinity of points; so that on the theory this principle must be an infinity of points, not a simultaneous entire, and so, again, will fail to cover the participant.

If, then, the participant mass in its entirety is to contain that principle entire, the universe must hold that one soul present at its every point.


But, admitting this one soul at every point, how is there a particular soul of the individual and how the good soul and the bad?

The one soul reaches to the individual but nonetheless contains all souls and all intelligences; this, because it is at once a unity and an infinity; it holds all its content as one yet with each item distinct, though not to the point of separation. Except by thus holding all its content as one-life entire, soul entire, all intelligence—it could not be infinite; since the individualities are not fenced off from each other, it remains still one thing. It was to hold life not single but infinite and yet one life, one in the sense not of an aggregate built up but of the retention of the unity in which all rose. Strictly, of course, it is a matter not of the rising of the individuals but of their being eternally what they are; in that order, as there is no beginning, so there is no apportioning except as an interpretation by the recipient. What is of that realm is the ancient and primal; the relation to it of the thing of process must be that of approach and apparent merging with always dependence.

But we ourselves, what are We?

Are we that higher or the participant newcomer, the thing of beginnings in time?

Before we had our becoming here we existed there, men other than now, some of us gods: We were pure souls, intelligence inbound with the entire of reality, members of the intellectual, not fenced off, not cut away, integral to that all. Even now, it is true, we are not put apart; but on that primal man there has intruded another, a man seeking to come into being and finding us there, for we were not outside of the universe. This other has wound himself about us, foisting himself on the man that each of us was at first. Then it was as if one voice sounded, one word was uttered, and from every side an ear attended and received and there was an effective hearing, possessed through and through of what was present and active on it: Now we have lost that first simplicity; we are become the dual thing, sometimes indeed no more than that later foisting, with the primal nature dormant and in a sense no longer present.


But how did this intruder find entrance?

It had a certain aptitude and it grasped at that to which it was apt. In its nature it was capable of soul: But what is unfitted to receive soul entire—present entire but not for it—takes what share it may; such are the members of the animal and vegetal order. Similarly, of a significant sound, some forms of being take sound and significance together, others only the sound, the blank impact.

A living thing comes into existence containing soul, present to it from the authentic, and by soul is inbound with reality entire; it possesses also a body; but this body is not a husk having no part in soul, not a thing that earlier lay away in the soulless; the body had its aptitude and by this draws near: Now it is not body merely, but living body. By this neighboring it is enhanced with some impress of soul—not in the sense of a portion of soul entering into it, but that it is warmed and lit by soul entire: At once there is the ground of desire, pleasure, pain; the body of the living form that has come to be was certainly no unrelated thing.

The soul, sprung from the divine, lay self-enclosed at peace, true to its own quality; but its neighbour, in uproar through weakness, instable of its own nature and beaten on from without, cries, at first to itself and afterwards on the living total, spreading the disorder at large. Thus, at an assembly the elders may sit in tranquil meditation, but an unruly populace, crying for food and casting up a host of grievances, will bring the whole gathering into ugly turmoil; when this sort of people hold their peace so that a word from a man of sense may reach them, some passable order is restored and the baser part ceases to prevail; otherwise the silence of the better allows the rabble to rule, the distracted assembly unable to take the word from above.

This is the evil of state and of council: And this is the evil of man; man includes an inner rabble—pleasures, desires, fears—and these become masters when the man, the manifold, gives them play.

But one that has reduced his rabble and gone back to the man he was, lives to that and is that man again, so that what he allows to the body is allowed as to something separate.

There is the man, too, that lives partly in the one allegiance and partly in the other; he is a blend of the good that is himself with the evil that is alien.


But if that principle can never fall to evil and we have given a true account of the soul's entry or presence to body, what are we to say of the periodic descents and returns, the punishments, the banishment into animal forms? That teaching we have inherited from those ancient philosophers who have best probed into soul and we must try to show that our own doctrine is accordant with it, or at least not conflicting.

We have seen that the participation of things here in that higher means not that the soul has gone outside of itself to enter the corporeal, but that the corporeal has approached soul and is now participant in it; the coming affirmed by the ancients can be only that approach of the body to the higher by which it partakes of life and of soul; this has nothing to do with local entry but is some form of communion; by the descent and embodiment of current phrasing must be understood not that soul becomes an appanage of body but that it gives out to it something of itself; similarly, the soul's departure is the complete cessation of that communion.

The various rankings of the universe will determine various degrees of the communion; soul, ultimate of the intellectual, will give forth freely to body as being more nearly of the one power and standing closer, as distance holds in that order.

The soul's evil will be this association, its good the release. Why? Because, even unmerged, a soul in any way to be described as attached to this universe is in some degree fallen from the all into a state of partition; essentially belonging to the all, it no longer directs its act thither: Thus, a man's knowledge is one whole, but he may guide himself by no more than some single item of it, where his good would lie in living not by some such fragment but by the total of his knowing.

That One soul—member of the intellectual cosmos and there merging what it has of partial into the total—has broken away, so to speak, from the all to the part and to that devotes itself becoming partial with it: Thus fire that might consume everything may be set to ply its all-power on some trifle. So long as the soul remains utterly unattached it is soul not singled out; when it has accepted separation—not that of place but that of act determining individualities—it is a part, no longer the soul entire, or at least not entire in the first sense; when, on the contrary, it exercises no such outward control it is perfectly the all-soul, the partial in it latent.

As for the entry into the World of the shades, if this means into the unseen, that is its release; if into some lower place, there is nothing strange in that, since even here the soul is taken to be where the body is, in place with the body.

But on the dissolution of the body?

So long as the image-soul has not been discarded, clearly the higher will be where that is; if, on the contrary, the higher has been completely emancipated by philosophic discipline, the image- soul may very well go alone to that lower place, the authentic passing uncontaminated into the intellectual, separated from that image but nonetheless the soul entire.

Let the image-offspring of the individuality—fare as it may, the true soul when it turns its light on itself, chooses the higher and by that choice blends into the all, neither acting now nor extinct.

But it is time to return to our main theme:

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Fifth tractate: On the integral omnipresence of the authentic existent (2)



The integral omnipresence of a unity numerically identical is in fact universally received; for all men instinctively affirm the god in each of us to be one, the same in all. It would be taken as certain if no one asked how or sought to bring the conviction to the test of reasoning; with this effective in their thought, men would be at rest, finding their stay in that oneness and identity, so that nothing would wrench them from this unity. This principle, indeed, is the most solidly established of all, proclaimed by our very souls; we do not piece it up item by item, but find it within beforehand; it precedes even the principle by which we affirm unquestionably that all things seek their good; for this universal quest of good depends on the fact that all aim at unity and possess unity and that universally effort is towards unity.

Now this unity in going forth, so far as it may, towards the Other Order must become manifest as multiplicity and in some sense become multiple; but the primal nature and the appetition of the good, which is appetition of unity, lead back to what is authentically one; to this every form of being is urged in a movement towards its own reality. For the good to every nature possessing unity is to be self-belonging, to be itself, and that means to be a unity.

In virtue of that unity the good may be regarded as truly inherent. Hence the good is not to be sought outside; it could not have fallen outside of what is; it cannot possibly be found in non- being; within being the good must lie, since it is never a non- being.

If that good has being and is within the realm of being, then it is present, self-contained, in everything: We, therefore, need not look outside of being; we are in it; yet that good is not exclusively ours: Therefore all beings are one.


Now the reasoning faculty which undertakes this problem is not a unity but a thing of parts; it brings the bodily nature into the enquiry, borrowing its principles from the corporeal: Thus it thinks of the essential existence as corporeal and as a thing of parts; it baulks at the unity because it does not start from the appropriate principles. We, however, must be careful to bring the appropriately convincing principles to the discussion of the unity, of perfect being: We must hold to the intellectual principles which alone apply to the intellectual Order and to real being.

On the one hand there is the unstable, exposed to all sorts of change, distributed in place, not so much being as becoming: On the other, there is that which exists eternally, not divided, subject to no change of state, neither coming into being nor falling from it, set in no region or place or support, emerging from nowhere, entering into nothing, fast within itself.

In dealing with that lower order we would reason from its own nature and the characteristics it exhibits; thus, on a plausible foundation, we achieve plausible results by a plausible system of deduction: Similarly, in dealing with the intellectual, the only way is to grasp the nature of the essence concerned and so lay the sure foundations of the argument, not forgetfully straying over into that other order but basing our treatment on what is essential to the nature with which we deal.

In every entity the essential nature is the governing principle and, as we are told, a sound definition brings to light many even of the concomitants: Where the essential nature is the entire being, we must be all the more careful to keep to that, to look to that, to refer all to that.


If this principle is the authentic existent and holds unchanging identity, does not go forth from itself, is untouched by any process of becoming or, as we have said, by any situation in place, then it must be always self-gathered, never in separation, not partly here and partly there, not giving forth from itself: Any such instability would set it in thing after thing or at least in something other than itself: Then it would no longer be self-gathered; nor would it be immune, for anything within which it were lodged would affect it; immune, it is not in anything. If, then, not standing away from itself, not distributed by part, not taking the slightest change, it is to be in many things while remaining a self-concentrated entire, there is some way in which it has multipresence; it is at once self-enclosed and not so: The only way is to recognise that while this principle itself is not lodged in anything, all other things participate in it—all that are apt and in the measure of their aptitude.

Thus, we either cancel all that we have affirmed and the principles laid down, and deny the existence of any such nature, or, that being impossible, we return to our first position:

The One, numerically identical, undistributed, an unbroken entire, yet stands remote from nothing that exists by its side; but it does not, for that, need to pour itself forth: There is no necessity either that certain portions of it enter into things or again that, while it remains self-abiding, something produced and projected from it enter at various points into that other order. Either would imply something of it remaining there while the emanant is elsewhere: Thus separated from what has gone forth, it would experience local division. And would those emanants be, each in itself, whole or part? If part, the One has lost its nature, that of an entire, as we have already indicated; if whole, then either the whole is broken up to coincide point for point with that in which it is become present or we are admitting that an unbroken identity can be omnipresent.

This is a reasoning, surely, founded on the thing itself and its essential nature, not introducing anything foreign, anything belonging to the Other Order.


Then consider this god [in man] whom we cannot think to be absent at some point and present at another. All that have insight into the nature of the divine beings hold the omnipresence of this god and of all the gods, and reason assures us that so it must be.

Now all-pervasion is inconsistent with partition; that would mean no longer the god throughout but part of the god at one point and part at another; the god ceases to be one god, just as a mass cut up ceases to be a mass, the parts no longer giving the first total. Further, the god becomes corporeal.

If all this is impossible, the disputed doctrine presents itself again; holding the god to pervade the being of man, we hold the omnipresence of an integral identity.

Again, if we think of the divine nature as infinite—and certainly it is confined by no bounds—this must mean that it nowhere fails; its presence must reach to everything; at the point to which it does not reach, there it has failed; something exists in which it is not.

Now, admitting any sequent to the absolute unity, that sequent must be bound up with the absolute; any third will be about that second and move towards it, linked to it as its offspring. In this way all participants in the later will have share in the first. The beings of the intellectual are thus a plurality of firsts and seconds and thirds attached like one sphere to one centre, not separated by interval but mutually present; where, therefore, the intellectual tertiaries are present, the secondaries and firsts are present too.


Often for the purpose of exposition—as a help towards stating the nature of the produced multiplicity—we use the example of many lines radiating from one centre; but, while we provide for individualization, we must carefully preserve mutual presence. Even in the case of our circle we need not think of separated radii; all may be taken as forming one surface: Where there is no distinction even on the one surface but all is power and reality undifferentiated, all the beings may be thought of as centres uniting at one central centre: We ignore the radial lines and think of their terminals at that centre, where they are at one. Restore the radii; once more we have lines, each touching a generating centre of its own, but that centre remains coincident with the one first centre; the centres all unite in that first centre and yet remain what they were, so that they are as many as are the lines to which they serve as terminals; the centres themselves appear as numerous as the lines starting from gem and yet all those centres constitute a unity.

Thus we may liken the intellectual beings in their diversity to many centres coinciding with the one centre and themselves at one in it but appearing multiple on account of the radial lines—lines which do not generate the centres but merely lead to them. The radii, thus, afford a serviceable illustration for the mode of contact by which the intellectual unity manifests itself as multiple and multipresent.


The intellectual beings, thus, are multiple and one; in virtue of their infinite nature their unity is a multiplicity, many in one and one over many, a unit-plurality. They act as entire on entire; even on the partial thing they act as entire; but there is the difference that at first the partial accepts this working only partially though the entire enters later. Thus, when man enters into human form there exists a particular man who, however, is still man. >From the one thing man—man in the idea—material man has come to constitute many individual men: The one identical thing is present in multiplicity, in multi- impression, so to speak, from the one seal.

This does not mean that man absolute, or any absolute, or the universe in the sense of a Whole, is absorbed by multiplicity; on the contrary, the multiplicity is absorbed by the absolute, or rather is bound up with it. There is a difference between the mode in which a colour may be absorbed by a substance entire and that in which the soul of the individual is identically present in every part of the body: It is in this latter mode that being is omnipresent.


To real being we go back, all that we have and are; to that we return as from that we came. Of what is there we have direct knowledge, not images or even impressions; and to know without image is to be; by our part in true knowledge we are those beings; we do not need to bring them down into ourselves, for we are there among them. Since not only ourselves but all other things also are those beings, we all are they; we are they while we are also one with all: Therefore we and all things are one.

When we look outside of that on which we depend we ignore our unity; looking outward we see many faces; look inward and all is the one head. If man could but be turned about by his own motion or by the happy pull of athene—he would see at once god and himself and the all. At first no doubt all will not be seen as one whole, but when we find no stop at which to declare a limit to our being we cease to rule ourselves out from the total of reality; we reach to the all as a unity—and this not by any stepping forward, but by the fact of being and abiding there where the all has its being.


For my part I am satisfied that anyone considering the mode in which matter participates in the ideas will be ready enough to accept this tenet of omnipresence in identity, no longer rejecting it as incredible or even difficult. This because it seems reasonable and imperative to dismiss any notion of the ideas lying apart with matter illumined from them as from somewhere above—a meaningless conception, for what have distance and separation to do here?

This participation cannot be thought of as elusive or very perplexing; on the contrary, it is obvious, accessible in many examples.

Note, however, that when we sometimes speak of the ideas illuminating matter this is not to suggest the mode in which material light pours down on a material object; we use the phrase in the sense only that, the material being image while the ideas are archetypes, the two orders are distinguished somewhat in the manner of illuminant and illuminated. But it is time to be more exact.

We do not mean that the idea, locally separate, shows itself in matter like a reflection in water; the matter touches the idea at every point, though not in a physical contact, and, by dint of neighbourhood—nothing to keep them apart—is able to absorb thence all that lies within its capacity, the idea itself not penetrating, not approaching, the matter, but remaining self- locked.

We take it, then, that the idea, say of fire—for we had best deal with matter as underlying the elements—is not in the matter. The ideal fire, then, remaining apart, produces the form of fire throughout the entire enfired mass. Now let us suppose—and the same method will apply to all the so- called elements—that this fire in its first material manifestation is a multiple mass. That single fire is seen producing an image of itself in all the sensible fires; yet it is not spatially separate; it does not, then, produce that image in the manner of our visible light; for in that case all this sensible fire, supposing that it were a whole of parts [as the analogy would necessitate], must have generated spatial positions out of itself, since the idea or form remains in a non-spatial world; for a principle thus pluralized must first have departed from its own character in order to be present in that many and participate many times in the one same form.

The idea, impartible, gives nothing of itself to the matter; its unbreaking unity, however, does not prevent it shaping that multiple by its own unity and being present to the entirety of the multiple, bringing it to pattern not by acting part on part but by presence entire to the object entire. It would be absurd to introduce a multitude of ideas of fire, each several fire being shaped by a particular idea; the ideas of fire would be infinite. Besides, how would these resultant fires be distinct, when fire is a continuous unity? And if we apply yet another fire to certain matter and produce a greater fire, then the same idea must be allowed to have functioned in the same way in the new matter as in the old; obviously there is no other idea.


The elements in their totality, as they stand produced, may be thought of as one spheric figure; this cannot be the piecemeal product of many makers each working from some one point on some one portion. There must be one cause; and this must operate as an entire, not by part executing part; otherwise we are brought back to a plurality of makers. The making must be referred to a partless unity, or, more precisely, the making principle must be a partless unity not permeating the sphere but holding it as one dependent thing. In this way the sphere is enveloped by one identical life in which it is inset; its entire content looks to the one life: Thus all the souls are one, a one, however, which yet is infinite.

It is in this understanding that the soul has been taken to be a numerical principle, while others think of it as in its nature a self- increasing number; this latter notion is probably designed to meet the consideration that the soul at no point fails but, retaining its distinctive character, is ample for all, so much so that were the cosmos vaster yet the virtue of soul would still compass it—or rather the cosmos still be sunk in soul entire.

Of course, we must understand this adding of extension not as a literal increase but in the sense that the soul, essentially a unity, becomes adequate to omnipresence; its unity sets it outside of quantitative measurement, the characteristic of that other order which has but a counterfeit unity, an appearance by participation.

The essential unity is no aggregate to be annulled on the loss of some one of the constituents; nor is it held within any allotted limits, for so it would be the less for a set of things, more extensive than itself, outside its scope; or it must wrench itself asunder in the effort to reach to all; besides, its presence to things would be no longer as whole to all but by part to part; in vulgar phrase, it does not know where it stands; dismembered, it no longer performs any one single function.

Now if this principle is to be a true unity—where the unity is of the essence—it must in some way be able to manifest itself as including the contrary nature, that of potential multiplicity, while by the fact that this multiplicity belongs to it not as from without but as from and by itself, it remains authentically one, possessing boundlessness and multiplicity within that unity; its nature must be such that it can appear as a whole at every point; this, as encircled by a single self-embracing reason-principle, which holds fast about that unity, never breaking with itself but over all the universe remaining what it must be.

The unity is in this way saved from the local division of the things in which it appears; and, of course, existing before all that is in place, it could never be founded on anything belonging to that order of which, on the contrary, it is the foundation; yet, for all that they are based on it, it does not cease to be wholly self- gathered; if its fixed seat were shaken, all the rest would fall with the fall of their foundation and stay; nor could it be so unintelligent as to tear itself apart by such a movement and, secure within its own being, trust itself to the insecurity of place which, precisely, looks to it for safety.


It remains, then, poised in wisdom within itself; it could not enter into any other; those others look to it and in their longing find it where it is. This is that "love Waiting at the door," ever coming up from without, striving towards the beautiful, happy when to the utmost of its power it attains. Even here the lover does not so much possess himself of the beauty he has loved as wait before it; that beauty is abidingly self-enfolded but its lovers, the many, loving it as an entire, possess it as an entire when they attain, for it was an entire that they loved. This seclusion does not prevent its sufficing to all, but is the very reason for its adequacy; because it is thus entire for all it can be the good to all.

Similarly wisdom is entire to all; it is one thing; it is not distributed parcelwise; it cannot be fixed to place; it is not spread about like a colouring, for it is not corporeal; in any true participation in wisdom there must be one thing acting as unit on unit. So must it be in our participation in the One; we shall not take our several portions of it, nor you some separate entire and I another. Think of what happens in assemblies and all kinds of meetings; the road to sense is the road to unity; singly the members are far from wise; as they begin to grow together, each, in that true growth, generates wisdom while he recognizes it. There is nothing to prevent our intelligences meeting at one centre from their several positions; all one, they seem apart to us as when without looking we touch one object or sound one string with different fingers and think we feel several. Or take our souls in their possession of good; it is not one good for me and another for you; it is the same for both and not in the sense merely of distinct products of an identical source, the good somewhere above with something streaming from it into us; in any real receiving of good, giver is in contact with taker and gives not as to a recipient outside but to one in intimate contact.

The intellectual giving is not an act of transmission; even in the case of corporeal objects, with their local separation, the mutual giving [and taking] is of things of one order and their communication, every effect they produce, is on their like; what is corporeal in the all acts and is acted on within itself, nothing external impinging on it. Now if in body, whose very nature is partition, there is no incursion of the alien, how can there be any in the order in which no partition exists?

It is therefore by identification that we see the good and touch it, brought to it by becoming identical with what is of the intellectual within ourselves. In that realm exists what is far more truly a cosmos of unity; otherwise there will be two sensible universes, divided into correspondent parts; the intellectual sphere, if a unity only as this sphere is, will be undistinguishable from it—except, indeed, that it will be less worthy of respect since in the nature of things extension is appropriate in the lower while the intellectual will have wrought out its own extension with no motive, in a departure from its very character.

And what is there to hinder this unification? There is no question of one member pushing another out as occupying too much space, any more than happens in our own minds where we take in the entire fruit of our study and observation, all uncrowded.

We may be told that this unification is not possible in real beings; it certainly would not be possible, if the reals had extension.


But how can the unextended reach over the defined extension of the corporeal? How can it, so, maintain itself as a unity, an identity?

This is a problem often raised and reason calls vehemently for a solution of the difficulties involved. The fact stands abundantly evident, but there is still the need of intellectual satisfaction.

We have, of course, no slight aid to conviction, indeed the very strongest, in the exposition of the character of that principle. It is not like a stone, some vast block lying where it lies, covering the space of its own extension, held within its own limits, having a fixed quantity of mass and of assigned stone-power. It is a first principle, measureless, not bounded within determined size—such measurement belongs to another order—and therefore it is all-power, nowhere under limit. Being so, it is outside of time.

Time in its ceaseless onward sliding produces parted interval; eternity stands in identity, pre-eminent, vaster by unending power than time with all the vastness of its seeming progress; time is like a radial line running out apparently to infinity but dependent on that, its centre, which is the pivot of all its movement; as it goes it tells of that centre, but the centre itself is the unmoving principle of all the movement.

Time stands, thus, in analogy with the principle which holds fast in unchanging identity of essence: But that principle is infinite not only in duration but also in power: This infinity of power must also have its counterpart, a principle springing from that infinite power and dependent on it; this counterpart will, after its own mode, run a course—corresponding to the course of time—in keeping with that stationary power which is its greater as being its source: And in this too the source is present throughout the full extension of its lower correspondent.

This secondary of power, participating as far as it may in that higher, must be identified.

Now the higher power is present integrally but, in the weakness of the recipient material, is not discerned as every point; it is present as an identity everywhere not in the mode of the material triangle—identical though, in many representations, numerically multiple, but in the mode of the immaterial, ideal triangle which is the source of the material figures. If we are asked why the omnipresence of the immaterial triangle does not entail that of the material figure, we answer that not all matter enters into the participation necessary; matter accepts various forms and not all matter is apt for all form; the first matter, for example, does not lend itself to all but is for the first kinds first and for the others in due order, though these, too, are omnipresent.


To return: How is that power present to the universe?

As a One life.

Consider the life in any living thing; it does not reach only to some fixed point, unable to permeate the entire being; it is omnipresent. If on this again we are asked how, we appeal to the character of this power, not subject to quantity but such that though you divide it mentally for ever you still have the same power, infinite to the core; in it there is no matter to make it grow less and less according to the measured mass.

Conceive it as a power of an ever-fresh infinity, a principle unfailing, inexhaustible, at no point giving out, brimming over with its own vitality. If you look to some definite spot and seek to fasten on some definite thing, you will not find it. The contrary is your only way; you cannot pass on to where it is not; you will never halt at a dwindling point where it fails at last and can no longer give; you will always be able to move with it—better, to be in its entirety—and so seek no further; denying it, you have strayed away to something of another order and you fall; looking elsewhere you do not see what stands there before you.

But supposing you do thus "seek no further," how do you experience it?

In that you have entered into the all, no longer content with the part; you cease to think of yourself as under limit but, laying all such determination aside, you become an all. No doubt you were always that, but there has been an addition and by that addition you are diminished; for the addition was not from the realm of being—you can add nothing to being—but from non-being. It is not by some admixture of non-being that one becomes an entire, but by putting non-being away. By the lessening of the alien in you, you increase. Cast it aside and there is the all within you; engaged in the alien, you will not find the all. Not that it has to come and so be present to you; it is you that have turned from it. And turn though you may, you have not severed yourself; it is there; you are not in some far region: Still there before it, you have faced to its contrary.

It is so with the lesser gods; of many standing in their presence it is often one alone that sees them; that one alone was alone in the power to see. These are the gods who "in many guises seek our cities"; but there is that Other whom the cities seek, and all the earth and heaven, everywhere with God and in him, possessing through him their being and the real beings about them, down to soul and life, all bound to him and so moving to that unity which by its very lack of extension is infinite.

Enneads of Plotinus, END MATTER

Enneads of Plotinus, LITERATURE  


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