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Physis : World Creation  

Gregory of Nyssa : THE MAKING OF MAN

That the Mind Works by Means of the Senses

Patrologia Graeca 44.152-3  * Greek Fonts


S the mind then produces the music of reason by means of our instrumental construction, we are born rational, while, as I think,we should not have had the gift of reason if we had had to employ our lips to supply the need of the body-the heavy and toilsome part of the task of providing food. As things are, however, our hands appropriate this ministration to themselves, and leave the mouth available for the service of reason.

The operation of the instrument , however, is twofold; one for the production of sound, the other for the reception of concepts from without; and the one faculty does not blend with the other, but abides in the operation for which it was appointed by nature, not interfering with its neighbour either by the sense of hearing undertaking to speak, or by the speech undertaking to hear; for the latter is always uttering something, while the ear, as Solomon somewhere says, is not filled with continual hearing .

Ὅτι διὰ τῶν αἰσθήσεων ὁ νοῦς ἐνεργεῖ

Οὕτω τοίνυν τοῦ νοῦ διὰ τῆς ὀργανικῆς ταύτης κατασκευῆς ἐν ἡμῖν μουσουργοῦντος τὸν λόγον͵ λογικοὶ γεγόναμεν͵ οὐκ ἄν͵ ὡς οἶμαι͵ ἔχοντες τὴν τοῦ λόγου χάριν͵ εἰ τὸ βαρύ τε καὶ ἐπίπονον τῆς κατὰ τὴν βρῶσιν λατρείας τοῖς χείλεσι πρὸς τὴν χρείαν τοῦ σώματος ἐπορίζομεν. Νυνὶ δὲ τὴν τοιαύτην λειτουργίαν αἱ χεῖρες εἰς ἑαυτὰς μετενέγκασαι͵ εὔθετον τῇ ὑπηρεσίᾳ τοῦ λόγου τὸ στόμα κατέλιπον.

Διπλῆ δὲ περὶ τὸ ὄργανον ἡ ἐνέργεια· ἡ μὲν πρὸς ἐργασίαν ἠχῆς͵ ἡ δὲ πρὸς ὑποδοχὴν τῶν ἔξωθεν νοημάτων͵ Καὶ οὐκ ἐπιμίγνυται πρὸς τὴν ἑτέραν ἡ ἄλλη͵ ἀλλὰ παραμένει τῇ ἐνεργείᾳ͵ ἐφ' ᾗ ἐτάχθη παρὰ τῆς φύσεως͵ οὐκ ἐνοχλοῦσα τῇ γείτονι͵ οὔτε τῆς ἀκοῆς λαλούσης͵ οὔτε τῆς φωνῆς ἀκουούσης. Ἡ μὲν γὰρ ἀεί τι πάντως προΐεται͵ ἡ δὲ ἀκοὴ δεχομένη διηνεκῶς οὐκ ἐμπίμπλαται͵ καθώς φησί που Σολομών·

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Cf. St Basil the Great, On the Creation of the World (Hexaemeron)

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