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Plotinus ENNEADS - THE SIXTH ENNEAD, Part II, Complete

Translated by Stephen MacKenna and B. S. Page.

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Page 128

40. That there can be no intellection in the First will be patent to those that have had such contact; but some further confirmation is desirable, if indeed words can carry the matter; we need overwhelming persuasion.

It must be borne in mind that all intellection rises in some principle and takes cognisance of an object. But a distinction is to be made:

There is the intellection that remains within its place of origin; it has that source as substratum but becomes a sort of addition to it in that it is an activity of that source perfecting the potentiality there, not by producing anything but as being a completing power to the principle in which it inheres. There is also the intellection inbound with Being — Being’s very author — and this could not remain confined to the source since there it could produce nothing; it is a power to production; it produces therefore of its own motion and its act is Real-Being and there it has its dwelling. In this mode the intellection is identical with Being; even in its self-intellection no distinction is made save the logical distinction of thinker and thought with, as we have often observed, the implication of plurality.

This is a first activity and the substance it produces is Essential Being; it is an image, but of an original so great that the very copy stands a reality. If instead of moving outward it remained with the First, it would be no more than some appurtenance of that First, not a self-standing existent.

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