Guthrie: Tractate 38,6 (VI, 7, 6) - THE THREE MEN IN EACH OF US


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


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