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Plotinus ENNEADS - THE THIRD ENNEAD Complete

Translated by Stephen MacKenna and B. S. Page.

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SEVENTH TRACTATE.

TIME AND ETERNITY.

1. Eternity and Time; two entirely separate things, we explain “the one having its being in the everlasting Kind, the other in the realm of Process, in our own Universe”; and, by continually using the words and assigning every phenomenon to the one or the other category, we come to think that, both by instinct and by the more detailed attack of thought, we hold an adequate experience of them in our minds without more ado.

When, perhaps, we make the effort to clarify our ideas and close into the heart of the matter we are at once unsettled: our doubts throw us back upon ancient explanations; we choose among the various theories, or among the various interpretations of some one theory, and so we come to rest, satisfied, if only we can counter a question with an approved answer, and glad to be absolved from further enquiry.

Now, we must believe that some of the venerable philosophers of old discovered the truth; but it is important to examine which of them really hit the mark and by what guiding principle we can ourselves attain to certitude.

What, then, does Eternity really mean to those who describe it as something different from Time? We begin with Eternity, since when the standing Exemplar is known, its representation in image — which Time is understood to be — will be clearly apprehended — though it is of course equally true, admitting this relationship to Time as image to Eternity the original, that if we chose to begin by identifying Time we could thence proceed upwards by Recognition [the Platonic Anamnesis] and become aware of the Kind which it images.

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Reference address : https://www.ellopos.net/elpenor/greek-texts/ancient-greece/plotinus/enneads-3.asp?pg=112