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Plotinus ENNEADS - THE THIRD ENNEAD, Part II, Complete

Translated by Stephen MacKenna and B. S. Page.

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» Contents of this Ennead

THE THIRD ENNEAD:   1) FATE,   2) ON PROVIDENCE,   3) ON PROVIDENCE II,   4) OUR TUTELARY SPIRIT,   5) ON LOVE,   6) THE IMPASSIVITY OF THE UNEMBODIED,   7) TIME AND ETERNITY,   8) NATURE CONTEMPLATION AND THE ONE,   9) DETACHED CONSIDERATIONS

If, on the other hand, Time is [not such an abstraction but] a Measure possessing a continuous extent of its own, it must have quantity, like a foot-rule; it must have magnitude: it will, clearly, be in the nature of a line traversing the path of Movement. But, itself thus sharing in the movement, how can it be a Measure of Movement? Why should the one of the two be the measure rather than the other? Besides an accompanying measure is more plausibly considered as a measure of the particular movement it accompanies than of Movement in general. Further, this entire discussion assumes continuous movement, since the accompanying principle; Time, is itself unbroken [but a full explanation implies justification of Time in repose].

The fact is that we are not to think of a measure outside and apart, but of a combined thing, a measured Movement, and we are to discover what measures it.

Given a Movement measured, are we to suppose the measure to be a magnitude?

If so, which of these two would be Time, the measured movement or the measuring magnitude? For Time [as measure] must be either the movement measured by magnitude, or the measuring magnitude itself or something using the magnitude like a yard-stick to appraise the movement. In all three cases, as we have indicated, the application is scarcely plausible except where continuous movement is assumed: unless the Movement proceeds smoothly, and even unintermittently and as embracing the entire content of the moving object, great difficulties arise in the identification of Time with any kind of measure.

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