Guthrie: Tractate 38,9 (VI, 7, 9) - MANY ANIMALS ARE NOT SO IRRATIONAL AS DIFFERENT

MANY ANIMALS ARE NOT SO IRRATIONAL AS DIFFERENT.

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

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

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