Ramble on the unity of being as first grasped

Being and unity are the same thing but differ in ratio. One difficulty in this account is that “being” is grasped first by us and “unity” third. But what judgment can we form about the unity of being as we first grasp it? Is it impossible to meditate on  the unity of bring as being is known first? If what is first revealed to is in fact one, why can’t we meditate on that fact?

The principle of contradiction lays out everything in front of us at once: “is or is not” stretches from prime matter to the Trinity; and even across being and non-being. This is a breathtaking vista: making a view from the Alps seem claustrophobic. At the same time, the view that shows us everything at once can only do so by presenting the division of what is from what is not; not in the sense being is one thing and non-being is another thing (which is itself contradictory) but in the sense that there is a division in things such that one is not the other. Should we then say that the principle of contradiction gives us an absolute unity even while this unity is only revealed in the opposition of one thing to another? “The mind first knows being, and then that this being is not that one”. I lean towards saying “no” since the ratio of unity cannot be grasped until after being, even while there is no real division between unity and being.

“That this being is not that one”. This opposition is not the same as the opposition between one finite thing and another, but includes any division whatsoever, including transcendental multiplicity, which is found in even the Trinity (though St. Thomas would not use neuter pronouns to divide the Persons of the Trinity). Could we then say that it is not necessary that the second notion of our mind, namely “this being is not that  one” be opposed to our first grasp of being, because the division we grasp is not opposed to absolute unity?

Why not say that the first being that we grasp is, in fact, of a unity, though it does not yet have the ratio of unity; and that the second grasp of our mind of the division of things is not opposed to the real absolute unity?  The ratio of unity, however, comes immediately after this in the third grasp of our mind, as a consequence of our inability to understand unity apart from the negation of division.

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