Currently, there are many sciences treated in many different ways by an abundance of different authorities with conflicting opinions that create confusion in the mind of the student: hence, we need one general Art with general, primordial and necessary principles to test and scrutinize the principles of all other sciences: now according to Aristotle, those principles with which the principles proper to other sciences can be individually tested, belong to all sciences in general, as do the principles of this Art. With the principles of this Art, all principles can stand, and without them, none can stand. This is why the Art is most necessary not only in view of its purpose, but simply per se, given that the specialized arts and sciences are proliferating beyond measure (as we have said) and human life is short and the intellect requires some kind of universal instrument to direct it to its desired objective or purpose, where the objective is universal just as the human intellect is also a universal power.

The objective is universal, because whatever is true can be understood and perceived by the intellect on account of its truth, and therefore the intellect must also be a univeral power, otherwise there would be a vacuum where the objective would be true, but totally unintelligible, and this is an impossibility. Therefore the human intellect:

* is a universal power 
* with an intelligible universal object 
* and requires a universal habit consisting of universal likenesses of things 
* to be used as a universal instrument for attaining its objective: 

without this, the objective remains out of reach. And this instrument is the General Art, a divine gift to be used by the human intellect as the general instrument it must have to fulfill its purpose, learn the truth about things and avoid opinions and errors by reaching a real understanding of what the truth is.

Inasmuch as it is a science, the Art is one universal habit to be applied to the other sciences because it makes the things we can know about other sciences potentially present in the intellect habituated to the Art. And this Art or science can be acquired by those on the path of knowledge as an intellectual habit: just as there is a science called metaphysics that deals with substantial and accidental being, likewise there can be one Art that deals with real being and rational being, encompasses the entire multitude of faculties of learning and unites them all. Aristotle states that all beings can be traced back  to some kind of common unity (Metaphysics XI), and since rational being presupposes the real being whose likeness it is and from which its own being is effectively derived, rational being can and must be reduced to real being as something that is imperfect must be reduced to something more perfect. 

Fr. Bernard de Lavinheta, O.F.M., in his Practical Compendium of the Art of Blessed Raymond Lull. First published in Latin, in France, in 1523 and reprinted by Minerva in Germany in 1977, in a critical edition by Fr. Wolfram Platzek O.F.M. This English translation from the Latin by Yanis Dambergs, May 1999.

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