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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 52

We have to fall back on the illustrious Plato, who uttered many noble sayings about the soul, and has in many places dwelt upon its entry into body so that we may well hope to get some light from him.

What do we learn from this philosopher?

We will not find him so consistent throughout that it is easy to discover his mind.

Everywhere, no doubt, he expresses contempt for all that is of sense, blames the commerce of the soul with body as an enchainment, an entombment, and upholds as a great truth the saying of the Mysteries that the soul is here a prisoner. In the Cavern of Plato and in the Cave of Empedocles, I discern this universe, where the breaking of the fetters and the ascent from the depths are figures of the wayfaring toward the Intellectual Realm.

In the Phaedrus he makes a failing of the wings the cause of the entry to this realm: and there are Periods which send back the soul after it has risen; there are judgements and lots and fates and necessities driving other souls down to this order.

In all these explanations, he finds guilt in the arrival of the soul at body, But treating, in the Timaeus, of our universe he exalts the kosmos and entitles it a blessed god, and holds that the soul was given by the goodness of the creator to the end that the total of things might be possessed of intellect, for thus intellectual it was planned to be, and thus it cannot be except through soul. There is a reason, then, why the soul of this All should be sent into it from God: in the same way the soul of each single one of us is sent, that the universe may be complete; it was necessary that all beings of the Intellectual should be tallied by just so many forms of living creatures here in the realm of sense.

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Reference address : https://www.ellopos.net/elpenor/greek-texts/ancient-greece/plotinus/enneads-4b.asp?pg=52