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Plotinus ENNEADS - THE SECOND ENNEAD Complete

Translated by Stephen MacKenna and B. S. Page.

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Sometimes after it has turned its potentiality into actuality it will remain what it was; sometimes it will sink itself to the fullest extent in the new form and itself disappear: these two different modes are exemplified in (1) bronze as potentially a statue and (2) water [= primal-liquid] as potentially bronze or, again, air as potentially fire.

But if this be the significance of potentiality, may we describe it as a Power towards the thing that is to be? Is the Bronze a power towards a statue?

Not in the sense of an effectively productive force: such a power could not be called a potentiality. Of course Potentiality may be a power, as, for instance, when we are referring not merely to a thing which may be brought into actualization but to Actuality itself [the Principle or Abstract in which potentiality and the power of realizing potentiality may be thought of as identical]: but it is better, as more conducive to clarity, to use “Potentiality” in regard to the process of Actualization and “Power” in regard to the Principle, Actuality.

Potentiality may be thought of as a Substratum to states and shapes — and forms which are to be received, which it welcomes by its nature and even strives for — sometimes in gain but sometimes, also, to loss, to the annulling of some distinctive manner of Being already actually achieved.

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Reference address : https://www.ellopos.net/elpenor/greek-texts/ancient-greece/plotinus/enneads-2.asp?pg=67