Front Page Titles (by Subject) FIRST TRACTATE On the Essence of the Soul (I) - Ethical Treatises; the Books of the Fourth Ennead
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FIRST TRACTATE On the Essence of the Soul (I) - Plotinus, Ethical Treatises; the Books of the Fourth Ennead [253 AD]
Ethical Treatises; the Books of the Fourth Ennead, translated from Greek by Stephen Mackenna (Boston: Charles T. Branford, 1918).
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In the Intellectual Kosmos dwells Authentic Essence, with the Intellectual-Principle (Divine Mind) as the noblest of its content, but containing also souls, since every soul in this lower sphere has come thence: that is the world of unembodied spirits while to our world belong those that have entered body and undergone bodily division.
There the Intellectual-Principle is a concentrated all—nothing of it distinguished or divided—and in that kosmos of unity all souls are concentrated also, with no spatial discrimination.
But there is a difference:—
The Intellectual-Principle is for ever repugnant to distinction and to partition. Soul, there without distinction and partition, has yet a nature lending itself to divisional existence: its division is secession, entry into body.
In view of this seceding and the ensuing partition we may legitimately speak of it as a partible thing.
But if so, how can it still be described as indivisible?
In that the secession is not of the soul entire; something of it holds its ground, that in it which recoils from separate existence.
The entity, therefore, described as “consisting of the undivided soul and of the soul divided among bodies,” contains a soul which is at once above and below, attached to the Supreme and yet reaching down to this sphere, like a radius from a centre.
Thus it is that, entering this realm, it possesses still the vision inherent to that superior phase in virtue of which it unchangingly maintains its integral nature. Even here it is not exclusively the partible soul: it is still the impartible as well: what in it knows partition is parted without partibility; undivided as giving itself to the entire body, a whole to a whole, it is divided as being effective in every part.