Tuesday, January 10, 2006

from "The Enneads" by Plotinus (205-270 AD)

The One is perfect because it seeks for nothing...and has need for nothing; but being perfect, it overflows, and thus its superabundance produces an other: and this other has turned again to its begetter and been filled and has become its contemplator and so an intellectual-principle.

If the First [the One] is perfect---utterly perfect above all, and is the beginning of all power---it must be the most powerful of all that is, and all other powers must act in some partial imitation of it.

Now whenever any being or anything reaches its own perfection, we see that it cannot bear to remain in itself, but generates and produces some other thing. And this is true not merely of beings endowed with will, but of growing things where there is no will. Even lifeless objects impart something of themselves, as far as they may: fire warms, snow chills, drugs have their own outgoing efficacy. All things to the utmost of their power imitate the Source in some operation tending to eternity and to service.

How then could the most Perfect Being and the First Good remain shut up in itself, as though it were jealous of its most perfect possession of being?

If things other than itself are to exist--things dependent upon it for their reality--it must produce since there is no other source. And further this engendering principle must be the very highest in worth.

[from "The Fifth Ennead": second tractate, article one; and fourth tractate, article one]

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