Plotinus, Enneads

LCL 443: 18-19

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Plotinus: Ennead IV. 1.

ἀλλὰ καὶ ὁτιοῦν μέρος αἰσθήσεται, διὰ τί τὸ μὲν ἡγεμονοῦν ἔσται, τὸ δὲ οὔ; ἢ τί δεῖ ἐπ᾿ ἐκεῖνο τὴν αἴσθησιν ἀνιέναι; πῶς δὲ καὶ τὰ ἐκ πολλῶν αἰσθήσεων, 35οἷον ὤτων καὶ ὀμμάτων, ἕν τι γνώσεται; εἰ δ᾿ αὖ πάντη ἓν ἡ ψυχὴ εἴη, οἷον ἀμέριστον πάντη καὶ ἐφ᾿ ἑαυτοῦ ἕν, καὶ πάντη πλήθους καὶ μερισμοῦ ἐκφεύγοι φύσιν, οὐδὲν ὅλον, ὅ τι ἂν ψυχὴ καταλάβοι, ἐψυχωμένον ἔσται· ἀλλ᾿ οἷον περὶ κέντρον στήσασα ἑαυτὴν ἑκάτου ἄψυχον ἂν εἴασε πάντα 40τὸν τοῦ ζῴου ὄγκον. δεῖ ἄρα οὕτως ἕν τε καὶ πολλὰ καὶ μεμερισμένον καὶ ἀμέριστον ψυχὴν εἶναι, καὶ μὴ ἀπιστεῖν, ὡς ἀδύνατον τὸ αὐτὸ καὶ ἓν πολλαχοῦ εἶναι. εἰ γὰρ τοῦτο μὴ παραδεχοίμεθα, ἡ τὰ πάντα συνέχουσα καὶ διοικοῦσα φύσις οὐκ ἔσται, ἥτις ὁμοῦ τε πάντα περιλαβοῦσα ἔχει καὶ 45μετὰ φρονήσεως ἄγει, πλῆθος μὲν οὖσα, ἐπείπερ πολλὰ τὰ ὄντα, μία δέ, ἵν᾿ ᾖ ἓν τὸ συνέχον, τῷ μὲν πολλῷ αὐτῆς ἑνὶ ζωὴν χορηγοῦσα τοῖς μέρεσι πᾶσι, τῷ δὲ ἀμερίστῳ ἑνὶ φρονίμως ἄγουσα. ἐν οἷς δὲ μὴ φρόνησις, τὸ ἓν τὸ ἡγούμενον μιμεῖται τοῦτο. τοῦτ᾿ ἄρα ἐστὶ τὸ θείως ᾐνιγμένον τῆς 50ἀμερίστου καὶ ἀεὶ κατὰ τὰ αὐτὰ ἐχούσης καὶ τῆς περὶ τὰ σώματα γιγνομένης μεριστῆς τρίτον ἐξ ἀμφοῖν συνεκεράσατο οὐσίας εἶδος. ἔστιν οὖν ψυχὴ ἓν καὶ πολλὰ οὕτως· τὰ δὲ ἐν τοῖς σώμασιν εἴδη πολλὰ καὶ ἕν· τὰ δὲ 55σώματα πολλὰ μόνον· τὸ δ᾿ ὑπέρτατον ἓν μόνον.


On The Essence Of The Soul I

why will one part be the ruling principle and the other not? Or why is there any need for the perception to go up to the ruling principle? And how will it know as one the contents of many perceptions, of eyes and ears for instance? But on the other hand, if the soul was altogether one, in the sense of being altogether indivisible and a self-contained unity, and altogether escaped from multiplicity and divisibility, then nothing which soul took hold upon would ever be ensouled as a whole: but soul would set itself, so to speak, at the centre of each living being and leave the whole mass of it soulless. So then the soul must be in this way both one and many and divided and indivisible, and we must not disbelieve this on the ground that it is impossible for something which is one and the same to be in many places. For if we do not accept this, then the nature which holds together and directs all things will not exist, which encompassing all together holds and directs them with wisdom; it is a multiplicity because the beings of the universe are many, but one, that what holds them together may be one; by its manifold oneness it dispenses life to all the parts, and by its indivisible oneness it directs them wisely. This is the meaning of the divinely inspired riddling saying. “He mixed a third form of being from both, from the indivisible which is always in the same state and that which becomes divisible in the sphere of bodies.”1 So the soul is one and many in this way: the forms in body are many and one; bodies are many only; the Supreme is one only.

DOI: 10.4159/DLCL.plotinus-enneas.1969