Translated by Stephen MacKenna and B. S. Page.
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THE KNOWING HYPOSTASES AND THE TRANSCENDENT.
1. Are we to think that a being knowing itself must contain diversity, that self-knowledge can be affirmed only when some one phase of the self perceives other phases, and that therefore an absolutely simplex entity would be equally incapable of introversion and of self-awareness?
No: a being that has no parts or phases may have this consciousness; in fact there would be no real self-knowing in an entity presented as knowing itself in virtue of being a compound — some single element in it perceiving other elements — as we may know our own form and entire bodily organism by sense-perception: such knowing does not cover the whole field; the knowing element has not had the required cognisance at once of its associates and of itself; this is not the self-knower asked for; it is merely something that knows something else.
Either we must exhibit the self-knowing of an uncompounded being — and show how that is possible — or abandon the belief that any being can possess veritable self-cognition.
To abandon the belief is not possible in view of the many absurdities thus entailed.
It would be already absurd enough to deny this power to the soul or mind, but the very height of absurdity to deny it to the nature of the Intellectual-Principle, presented thus as knowing the rest of things but not attaining to knowledge, or even awareness, of itself.
It is the province of sense and in some degree of understanding and judgement, but not of the Intellectual-Principle, to handle the external, though whether the Intellectual-Principle holds the knowledge of these things is a question to be examined, but it is obvious that the Intellectual-Principle must have knowledge of the Intellectual objects. Now, can it know those objects alone or must it not simultaneously know itself, the being whose function it is to know just those things? Can it have self-knowledge in the sense [dismissed above as inadequate] of knowing its content while it ignores itself? Can it be aware of knowing its members and yet remain in ignorance of its own knowing self? Self and content must be simultaneously present: the method and degree of this knowledge we must now consider.
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