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Plotinus ENNEADS - THE SIXTH ENNEAD Complete

Translated by Stephen MacKenna and B. S. Page.

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128 pages - You are on Page 87

THIRD TRACTATE.

ON THE KINDS OF BEING (3).

1. We have now explained our conception of Reality [True Being] and considered how far it agrees with the teaching of Plato. We have still to investigate the opposed principle [the principle of Becoming].

There is the possibility that the genera posited for the Intellectual sphere will suffice for the lower also; possibly with these genera others will be required; again, the two series may differ entirely; or perhaps some of the sensible genera will be identical with their intellectual prototypes, and others different — “identical,” however, being understood to mean only analogous and in possession of a common name, as our results will make dear.

We must begin on these lines:

The subject of our discussion is the Sensible realm: Sensible Existence is entirely embraced by what we know as the Universe: our duty, then, would seem to be clear enough — to take this Universe and analyse its nature, classifying its constituent parts and arranging them by species. Suppose that we were making a division of speech: we should reduce its infinity to finite terms, and from the identity appearing in many instances evolve a unity, then another and another, until we arrived at some definite number; each such unit we should call a species if imposed upon individuals, a genus if imposed upon species. Thus, every species of speech — and similarly all phenomena — might be referred to a unity; speech — or element — might be predicated of them all.

This procedure however is as we have already shown, impossible in dealing with the subject of our present enquiry. New genera must be sought for this Universe-genera distinct from those of the Intellectual, inasmuch as this realm is different from that, analogous indeed but never identical, a mere image of the higher. True, it involves the parallel existence of Body and Soul, for the Universe is a living form: essentially however Soul is of the Intellectual and does not enter into the structure of what is called Sensible Being.

Remembering this fact, we must — however great the difficulty — exclude Soul from the present investigation, just as in a census of citizens, taken in the interests of commerce and taxation, we should ignore the alien population. As for the experiences to which Soul is indirectly subject in its conjunction with Body and by reason of Body’s presence, their classification must be attempted at a later stage, when we enquire into the details of Sensible Existence.

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Reference address : https://www.ellopos.net/elpenor/greek-texts/ancient-greece/plotinus/enneads-6.asp?pg=87