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Plotinus ENNEADS - THE THIRD ENNEAD Complete

Translated by Stephen MacKenna and B. S. Page.

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2. Circumstances are not sovereign over the good of life, for they are themselves moulded by their priors and come in as members of a sequence. The Leading-Principle holds all the threads while the minor agents, the individuals, serve according to their own capacities, as in a war the generalissimo lays down the plan and his subordinates do their best to its furtherance. The Universe has been ordered by a Providence that may be compared to a general; he has considered operations, conditions and such practical needs as food and drink, arms and engines of war; all the problem of reconciling these complex elements has been worked out beforehand so as to make it probable that the final event may be success. The entire scheme emerges from the general’s mind with a certain plausible promise, though it cannot cover the enemy’s operations, and there is no power over the disposition of the enemy’s forces: but where the mighty general is in question whose power extends over all that is, what can pass unordered, what can fail to fit into the plan?

3. For, even though the I is sovereign in choosing, yet by the fact of the choice the thing done takes its place in the ordered total. Your personality does not come from outside into the universal scheme; you are a part of it, you and your personal disposition.

But what is the cause of this initial personality?

This question resolves itself into two: are we to make the Creator, if Creator there is, the cause of the moral quality of the individual or does the responsibility lie with the creature?

Or is there, perhaps, no responsibility? After all, none is charged in the case of plants brought into being without the perceptive faculties; no one is blamed because animals are not all that men are — which would be like complaining that men are not all that gods are. Reason acquits plant and animal and, their maker; how can it complain because men do not stand above humanity?

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Reference address : https://www.ellopos.net/elpenor/greek-texts/ancient-greece/plotinus/enneads-3.asp?pg=42