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Three Millennia of Greek Literature

Plotinus ENNEADS - THE SIXTH ENNEAD, Part II, Complete

Translated by Stephen MacKenna and B. S. Page.

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Page 48

2. What, then, of the “Number of the Infinite”?

To begin with, how is Number consistent with infinity?

Objects of sense are not unlimited and therefore the Number applying to them cannot be so. Nor is an enumerator able to number to infinity; though we double, multiply over and over again, we still end with a finite number; though we range over past and future, and consider them, even, as a totality, we still end with the finite.

Are we then to dismiss absolute limitlessness and think merely that there is always something beyond?

No; that more is not in the reckoner’s power to produce; the total stands already defined.

In the Intellectual the Beings are determined and with them Number, the number corresponding to their total; in this sphere of our own — as we make a man a multiple by counting up his various characteristics, his beauty and the rest — we take each image of Being and form a corresponding image of number; we multiply a non-existent in and so produce multiple numbers; if we number years we draw on the numbers in our own minds and apply them to the years; these numbers are still our possession.

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