The TUS

A common, unexamined postulate:  All intelligences stare upon the totality of unintelligent stuff (TUS). Angels look at the same trees, rivers, stars, superclusters, internal organs, etc that sentient beings look at, and the divine intelligence looks down at the mass of angels and sentient beings that inhabit the universe = TUS.

TUS is impressively large and we unavoidably fall into seeing angels and God as smaller, but to say this is to see through it. Intelligences and the TUS are wholly incommensurate and putting them in or over the world in a spacio-temporal sense is like trying to measure the distance from London bridge to Christmas Day.

It’s peculiar to human intelligence to know by interacting with its object through an unintelligent medium. Though we can distinguish this medium into the intelligence’s own body and the TUS, these two are inextricably co-implicated by the act of sensation. This is why a totality of an sensed environment is, say, cold or green or large or or threatening when in fact any of these states is a mix of the animal’s body and its environment. To the extent that knowledge is constrained by this sort of attaining of the object it is impossible to distinguish what is subjective from what is objective (even as categories without content). Both are given as an indistinguishable mix.

Intelligence as such does not interact with objects though an unintelligible medium and therefore has more the character of knowledge in virtue of its complete objectivity. The objects of such knowledge are more clearly and perfectly known in their distinction from the supposit that knows them, and are by definition known in what can be described as a wholly intelligible environment. The perfect objectivity of bodiless intelligence thus consists in drawing forth ideas from out of its own intelligible substance as opposed to drawing them forth from the TUS.

In our present state we can’t avoid visualization, but we visualize the angel more clearly if we drop the idea of some gaseous subject on our shoulder and replace it with an objective universe knowing itself. For the lowest angelic being, this separate universe is only itself and the TUS as one part, but the next highest angel is an immeasurably larger universe that contains all of the angelic universe below it in addition to the TUS.

My hypothesis is that these nested intelligible angelic universes are actually infinite, each one containing all the perfections below it in an immeasurably higher way. The TUS is not the whole environment of all intelligences but the proper environment of the lowest intelligence, i.e. it is what the lowest intelligence looks like if it had to instantiate its content in an unintelligent medium. The TUS is thus the bride or the interiority of the lowest possible intelligence. All angels know it, and know it with immeasurably more objectivity than we do, but as a part of their universe of intelligible objects, and not as a whole.

 

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