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Three Millennia of Greek Literature


from Plotinus' Sixth Ennead, * Tractate 9, 7-11, Translated by Stephen Mackenna and B. S. Page
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Page 3

God- we read- is outside of none, present unperceived to all; we break away from Him, or rather from ourselves; what we turn from we cannot reach; astray ourselves, we cannot go in search of another; a child distraught will not recognise its father; to find ourselves is to know our source.

Every soul that knows its history is aware, also, that its movement, unthwarted, is not that of an outgoing line; its natural course may be likened to that in which a circle turns not upon some external but on its own centre, the point to which it owes its rise. The soul's movement will be about its source; to this it will hold, poised intent towards that unity to which all souls should move and the divine souls always move, divine in virtue of that movement; for to be a god is to be integral with the Supreme; what stands away is man still multiple, or beast.

Οὐδενός φησίν ἐστιν ἔξω͵ ἀλλὰ πᾶσι σύνεστιν οὐκ εἰδόσι. Φεύγουσι γὰρ αὐτοὶ αὐτοῦ ἔξω͵ μᾶλλον δὲ αὑτῶν ἔξω. Οὐ δύνανται οὖν ἑλεῖν ὃν πεφεύγασιν͵ οὐδ΄ αὑτοὺς ἀπολωλεκότες ἄλλον ζητεῖν͵ οὐδέ γε παῖς αὑτοῦ ἔξω ἐν μανίᾳ γεγενημένος εἰδήσει τὸν πατέρα· ὁ δὲ μαθὼν ἑαυτὸν εἰδήσει καὶ ὁπόθεν.

Εἴ τις οὖν ψυχὴ οἶδεν ἑαυτὴν τὸν ἄλλον χρόνον͵ καὶ οἶδεν ὅτι ἡ κίνησις αὐτῆς οὐκ εὐθεῖα͵ ἀλλ΄ ἢ ὅταν κλάσιν λάβῃ͵ ἡ δὲ κατὰ φύσιν κίνησις οἵα ἡ ἐν κύκλῳ περί τι οὐκ ἔξω͵ ἀλλὰ περὶ κέντρον͵ τὸ δὲ κέντρον ἀφ΄ οὗ ὁ κύκλος͵ κινήσεται περὶ τοῦτο͵ ἀφ΄ οὗ ἐστι͵ καὶ τούτου ἀναρτήσεται συμφέρουσα ἑαυτὴν πρὸς τὸ αὐτό͵ πρὸς ὃ ἐχρῆν μὲν πάσας͵ φέρονται δὲ αἱ θεῶν ἀεί· πρὸς ὃ φερόμεναι θεοί εἰσι. Θεὸς γὰρ τὸ ἐκείνῳ συνημμένον͵ τὸ δὲ πόρρω ἀφιστάμενον ἄνθρωπος ὁ πολὺς καὶ θηρίον.

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