Ars Brevis

bullet1 2. The Figures

bullet2 The Second Figure

2. The Second Figure Signified by T

The second figure is called T. Within it are three triangles, and each one is general to all things.

1. The first triangle deals with difference, concordance and contrariety; and all things belong to this triangle in some way. Now everything exists in difference, concordance or contrariety, and nothing can be found without these principles.

Note that each angle of this triangle has three species. There is difference between one sensual thing and another, as for instance between a stone and a tree. And also between sensual and intellectual things, as for instance between the body and the soul. Further, there is difference between one intellectual being and another, as between the soul and God, between the soul and an angel, between one angel and another, or between God and an angel. And the same can be said about concordance and contrariety in their own way.

2. The second triangle deals with the beginning, the middle and the end, which include everything that exists. Now all things have a beginning, a middle and an end, and nothing can exist without these principles.

In the angle of the beginning, "cause" means the efficient, material, formal and final causes. Quantity and time signify the other predicates and whatever can be reduced to them.

The angle of the middle contains three species of the middle. The medium of conjunction stands between the subject and the predicate as when we say "man is an animal"; here the medium between man and animal is physical life without which man cannot be an animal. Next, the medium of measure consists in the act between an agent and its object, as in the act of loving between the lover and the beloved. And then, the medium between extremes is like a line between two points. The angle of the middle is a general ladder for the intellect.

The angle of the end has three species. The first species, the end of privation, signifies privative habits and bygone things. The end of termination signifies limits such as the two end points of a line, for instance the lover and the beloved who determine the act of loving. The third species is the end of perfection, or the ultimate end; man reaches this end by reproducing his species, by understanding, loving and remembering God, and so forth. This angle is a general ladder for the intellect.

The third triangle comprises majority, equality and minority, and is general to all things in its own way. Now everything that exists is in majority, equality or minority. Majority has three species: first is the majority of one substance over another substance, for instance, the substance of heaven is greater than the substance of fire. The second species is the majority of substance over accident: for instance, substance is greater than its quantity, given that substance exists on its own, but an accident does not. The third species of majority is when one accident is greater than another: for instance, understanding is greater than seeing, and seeing is greater than running. And the things said about majority can also be said about minority, as they are related.

The angle of equality has three species. The first is when things are substantially equal, for instance, Peter and William are equally substantial beings. The second is when substance and accident are equated, like substance and its quantity. The third is when an accident is equal to another accident, for instance, understanding and loving are equal when their object is the same. This angle, like those in the other triangles, is a ladder for the intellect's ascent and descent. And when the intellect ascends to general objects, it is general. But when it descends to particulars, it is particular.

This figure, named "T", is meant to serve the first figure. With difference, it distinguishes one goodness from another, and also between goodness and greatness etc. As the intellect uses this figure in conjunction with the first, it acquires science. And because this figure is general, the intellect is general.