Plotinus, Enneads

LCL 442: 262-263

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Plotinus: Ennead III. 6.

Οὐ γὰρ δὴ ποτὲ μὲν φεύγειν, ποτὲ δὲ μὴ φεύγειν 5φήσουσιν. Εἰ γὰρ βουλήσει αὑτῆς φεύγει, διὰ τί οὐκ ἀεί; Εἰ δὲ ἀνάγκῃ μένει, οὐκ ἔστιν ὅτε οὐκ ἐν εἴδει τινί ἐστιν. Ἀλλὰ τοῦ μὴ τὸ αὐτὸ εἶδος ἀεὶ ἴσχειν ἑκάστην ὕλην ζητητέον τὴν αἰτίαν, καὶ ἐν τοῖς εἰσιοῦσι μᾶλλον. Πῶς οὖν λέγεται φεύγειν; ἢ τῇ αὐτῆς φύσει καὶ ἀεί· τοῦτο δὲ τί 10ἂν εἴη ἢ μηδέποτε αὐτῆς ἐξισταμένην οὕτως ἔχειν τὸ εἶδος ὡς μηδέποτε ἔχειν; ἢ ὅ τι χρήσονται τῷ ὑφ᾿ αὑτῶν λεγομένῳ οὐχ ἕξουσιν ἡ δὲ ὑποδοχὴ καὶ τιθήνη γενέσεως ἁπάσης· εἰ γὰρ ὑποδοχὴ καὶ τιθήνη, ἡ δὲ γένεσις ἄλλο αὐτῆς, τὸ δὲ ἀλλοιούμενον 15ἐν τῇ γενέσει, πρὸ γενέσεως οὖσα εἴη ἂν καὶ πρὸ ἀλλοιώσεως· ἥ τε «ὑποδοχὴ» καὶ ἔτι «ἡ τιθήνη» τηρεῖν ἐν ᾦ ἐστιν ἀπαθῆ οὖσαν, καὶ τὸ ἐν ᾧ ἐγγινόμενον ἕκαστον φαντάζεται καὶ πάλιν ἐκεῖθεν ἔξεισι καὶ χώραν εἶναι καὶ ἕδραν. Καὶ τὸ λεγόμενον δὲ καὶ εὐθυνόμενον ὡς τόπον 20εἰδῶν λέγοντος οὐ πάθος λέγει περὶ ἐκεῖνο, ἀλλὰ τρόπον ἕτερον ζητεῖ. Τίς οὖν οὗτος; Ἐπειδὴ τὴν λεγομένην ταύτην φύσιν οὐδὲν δεῖ εἶναι τῶν ὄντων, ἀλλ᾿ ἅπασαν ἐκπεφευγέναι τὴν τῶν ὄντων


On Impassibility

encompass and contain it? They will not, certainly, assert that it tries to escape at some times and not at others. For if it tries to escape by its own wish, why does it not always do it? But if it remains by necessity, there is never a time when it is not in some form. But, then, we must try to find the reason why each matter does not always have the same form but is rather in the [always different] forms which enter into it. In what way, then, is it said to “try to escape”?1 By its own nature, and always. But what can this mean except that it never departs from itself and has the form in such a way that it never has it? On any other interpretation they will be able to do nothing with the phrase which they themselves use, “The receptacle and nurse of all becoming.”2 For if it is receptacle and nurse, becoming is other than it, but that which is altered is in becoming, so matter would be existent before becoming, and before alteration; and the words “receptacle” and also “nurse” imply its maintenance in the state in which it is free from affections; and so does “that in which each thing appears on its entrance, and again goes out from it”3 and the statements that it is “space” and “seat.”4 And the statement which has been criticised as speaking of a “place of the forms”5 does not mean an affection of the substrate, but is trying to find another way [of participation]. What is this way, then? Since this nature of which we are speaking must not be any real thing, but must have escaped altogether from the reality of real beings, and be altogether

DOI: 10.4159/DLCL.plotinus-enneas.1969