IV. 3. (27) ΠΕΡΙ ΨΥΧΗΣ ΑΠΟΡΙΩΝ ΠΡΩΤΟΝ
1. Περὶ ψυχῆς, ὅσα ἀπορήσαντας δεῖ εἰς εὐπορίαν καταστῆναι, ἢ καὶ ἐν αὐταῖς ταῖς ἀπορίαις στάντας τοῦτο γοῦν κέρδος ἔχειν, εἰδέναι τὸ ἐν τούτοις ἄπορον, ὀρθῶς ἂν ἔχοι τὴν πραγματείαν 5ποιήσασθαι. περὶ τίνος γὰρ ἄν τις μᾶλλον τὸ πολὺ λέγων καὶ σκοπούμενος εὐλόγως ἂν διατρίβοι ἢ περὶ ταύτης; διά τε πολλὰ καὶ ἄλλα, καὶ ὅτι ἐπ᾿ ἄμφω τὴν γνῶσιν δίδωσιν, ὧν τε ἀρχή ἐστι καὶ ἀφ᾿ ὧν ἐστι. πειθοίμεθα δ᾿ ἂν καὶ τῷ τοῦ θεοῦ παρακελεύσματι αὑτοὺς γινώσκειν παρακελευομένῳ περὶ 10τούτου τὴν ἐξέτασιν ποιούμενοι. ζητεῖν τε τὰ ἄλλα καὶ εὑρεῖν βουλόμενοι δικαίως ἂν τὸ ζητοῦν τί ποτ᾿ ἐστὶ τοῦτο ζητοῖμεν, τό γε ἐραστὸν ποθοῦντες λαβεῖν θέαμα τοῦ νοῦ.1 ἦν γὰρ καὶ ἐν τῷ παντὶ νῷ τὸ διττόν· ὥστε εὐλόγως ἐν τοῖς κατὰ μέρος τὸ μὲν οὕτως μᾶλλον, τὸ δὲ οὕτω. τὰς δὲ
IV. 3. On Difficulties about the Soul I
1. It would be right to occupy ourselves with the soul, with all the points at which we find ourselves in difficulties about it and must arrive at a solution, or, continuing in just these difficulties, at least gain this advantage, that we know what the difficult points are. For what could one more reasonably spend time in discussing and investigating extensively than this? There are many other reasons for doing so, and especially that it gives us knowledge in both directions, of the things of which the soul is the principle and those from which it is derived. And in enquiring into this we should be obeying the command of the god who urged us to know ourselves.1 And, since we wish to seek and find other things, and long to grasp the lovely vision of the intellect, it would be proper for us to seek the real nature of that which seeks. For in universal Intellect, too, there was duality; so that it is reasonable that in partial things one should be more of one kind, and
- 1It is interesting to compare the beginning of this great treatise on the soul with the beginning of the commentary of Alexander of Aphrodisias on Aristotle’s work on the same subject (Alexander De Anima 1–2 Bruns). Plotinus had probably read Alexander’s work and quotes the same Delphic maxim. But while Alexander firmly announces that his intention is to commend Aristotle’s doctrine, Plotinus (though remaining convinced throughout that Plato’s doctrine as he understands it is the true one) is much more independent in tone, and even suggests that the investigation would be worth making even if all it did was to show us what the difficulties are. It is the difference between a philosopher and a commentator.