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Plotinus ENNEADS - THE FOURTH ENNEAD, Part II, Complete

Translated by Stephen MacKenna and B. S. Page.

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II: 69 pages - You are on Page 26



1. Whether every human being is immortal or we are wholly destroyed, or whether something of us passes over to dissolution and destruction, while something else, that which is the true man, endures for ever — this question will be answered here for those willing to investigate our nature.

We know that man is not a thing of one only element; he has a soul and he has, whether instrument or adjunct in some other mode, a body: this is the first distinction; it remains to investigate the nature and essential being of these two constituents.

Reason tells us that the body as, itself too, a composite, cannot for ever hold together; and our senses show us it breaking up, wearing out, the victim of destructive agents of many kinds, each of its constituents going its own way, one part working against another, perverting, wrecking, and this especially when the material masses are no longer presided over by the reconciling soul.

And when each single constituent is taken as a thing apart, it is still not a unity; for it is divisible into shape and matter, the duality without which bodies at their very simplest cannot cohere.

The mere fact that, as material forms, they have bulk means that they can be lopped and crushed and so come to destruction.

If this body, then, is really a part of us, we are not wholly immortal; if it is an instrument of ours, then, as a thing put at our service for a certain time, it must be in its nature passing.

The sovereign principle, the authentic man, will be as Form to this Matter or as agent to this instrument, and thus, whatever that relation be, the soul is the man.

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