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Plotinus ENNEADS - THE THIRD ENNEAD, Part II, Complete

Translated by Stephen MacKenna and B. S. Page.

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II: 42 pages - You are on Page 3

In any case, once a thing — whether by point or standard or any other means — measures succession, it must measure according to time: this number appraising movement degree by degree must, therefore, if it is to serve as a measure at all, be something dependent upon time and in contact with it: for, either, degree is spatial, merely — the beginning and end of the Stadium, for example — or in the only alternative, it is a pure matter of Time: the succession of early and late is stage of Time, Time ending upon a certain Now or Time beginning from a Now.

Time, therefore, is something other than the mere number measuring Movement, whether Movement in general or any particular tract of Movement.

Further: Why should the mere presence of a number give us Time — a number measuring or measured; for the same number may be either — if Time is not given us by the fact of Movement itself, the Movement which inevitably contains in itself a succession of stages? To make the number essential to Time is like saying that magnitude has not its full quantity unless we can estimate that quantity.

Again, if Time is, admittedly, endless, how can number apply to it?

Are we to take some portion of Time and find its numerical statement? That simply means that Time existed before number was applied to it.

We may, therefore, very well think that it existed before the Soul or Mind that estimates it — if, indeed, it is not to be thought to take its origin from the Soul — for no measurement by anything is necessary to its existence; measured or not, it has the full extent of its being.

And suppose it to be true that the Soul is the appraiser, using Magnitude as the measuring standard, how does this help us to the conception of Time?

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