Ars Brevis

bullet1 2. The Figures

bullet2 The First Figure

1. The First Figure, signified by A

The first figure is called Figure A. It contains nine principles, namely goodness, greatness etc. and nine letters, namely B, C, D, E etc. This figure is circular, because the subject is transformed into the predicate and vice versa, as in saying "goodness is great", "greatness is good" and so forth. In this figure, the artist seeks out the naturally proportionate connection between the subject and the predicate, to find media for drawing conclusions.

Each principle, such as "goodness" or "greatness" is entirely general in itself. Once a principle is contracted to another one, it becomes subalternate, as for instance "great goodness". And when a principle is contracted to something singular, it becomes an entirely specific principle, as for instance "Peter's goodness is great", etc. Here the intellect has a ladder to ascend and descend: it descends from an entirely general principle to one which is neither entirely general nor entirely specific, and then from one which is neither entirely general nor entirely specific to an entirely specific principle. It goes back up the same way when it ascends this ladder.

The principles of this figure implicitly contain everything in existence, given that everything that exists is good, great, etc. For instance, God and angels are good and great etc. Hence, all existing things can be reduced to the said principles.