8. Logo se uma alma se conhece ela mesma em um outro momento, e que ela percebe que seu movimento não é linear, salvo se é interrompido, mas que seu movimento natural se aparenta àquele que se efetua em círculo, não ao redor de algo de exterior, mas ao redor de um centro — o centro sendo isso do qual provém o círculo — então, ela girará ao redor deste centro do qual ela provém. Ela se suspenderá a ele, em se levando ela mesma para ele, para este centro onde todas as almas deveriam aportar, mas para o qual não aportam sempre senão as almas dos deuses. E são deuses, precisamente porque se aportam a ele. Pois o deus é o que é unido a este centro, enquanto o que dele se afasta muito, é o homem ordinário e a besta.
— E isto que é como o centro da alma, é isso que se busca?
— Não é preciso pensar de preferência que buscamos uma outra coisa, na qual coincidem todos estes centros, e que é um centro em relação ao centro do círculo visível? Pois a alma não é um círculo à maneira de uma figura geométrica, mas porque a «antiga natureza» está nela e ao redor dela, e que é daí que a alma provém, e mais ainda, porque todas as almas estão separadas dos corpos. Mas de fato, posto que uma parte de nós está retida pelo corpo, como se se tivesse os pés na água e o resto do corpo acima, em nos elevando acima do corpo pela parte que não está submersa nela, podemos desta maneira fazer que nosso centro reúna isto que é como o centro de todas as coisas, assim como os centros dos círculos maiores coincidem com centro da esfera que os compreende; e então, podemos encontrar o repouso. E se estes círculos fossem corporais, e não psíquicos, eles encontrariam, em contato com o centro; e como o centro se encontra em um lugar, eles seriam ao redor dele; mas posto que as almas pertencem elas mesmas ao inteligível, e que ele, está acima do intelecto, é preciso supôr que o contato se faz por outros poderes, como «o que pensa» é naturalmente em contata com o que é pensado; e mais ainda, em virtude da semelhança e da identidade, é preciso supôr que o que pensa está presente no que é de um mesmo gênero e que está em contato com ele, se nada a isto se opõe. Pois os corpos são impedidos pelos corpos de comunicar entre eles, mas os incorporais não são impedidos pelos corpos; logo não é devido ao lugar que elas estão afastadas umas das outras, mas devido à alteridade e à diferença; consequentemente, quando não há alteridade, estas coisas, que não podem ser diferentes, são apresentadas umas às outras. Ao passo que ele, não tem alteridade, está sempre presente, não não lhe estamos sempre presentes senão quando estamos desprovidos de alteridade. E não ele que nos deseja, de maneira a estar ao nosso redor, mas somos nós que o desejamos, de maneira a estar ao redor dele. E estamos sempre ao redor dele, mas não olhamos sempre para ele. Assim vai como para um coral: em cantando, ele faz sempre círculo ao redor do corifeu, mas ele lhe sucede de dirigir seu olhar para o exterior. Em revanche, quando gira seu olhar para o corifeu, canta bem e está verdadeiramente ao redor dele. Da mesma maneira, estamos sempre ao redor dele — se assim não fosse o caso, estaríamos inteiramente destruídos e não existiríamos —, mas não estamos sempre voltados para ele. Ao contrário, cada vez que olhamos para ele, encontramos então «nosso fim e nosso repouso», e o canto não é mais discordante para nós que dançamos verdadeiramente ao redor dele uma dança inspirada pela divindade.
8. Every soul that knows its history is aware, also, that its movement, unthwarted, is not that of an outgoing line; its natural course may be likened to that in which a circle turns not upon some external but on its own centre, the point to which it owes its rise. The soul’s movement will be about its source; to this it will hold, poised intent towards that unity to which all souls should move and the divine souls always move, divine in virtue of that movement; for to be a god is to be integral with the Supreme; what stands away is man still multiple, or beast.
Is then this "centre" of our souls the Principle for which we are seeking?
We must look yet further: we must admit a Principle in which all these centres coincide: it will be a centre by analogy with the centre of the circle we know. The soul is not a circle in the sense of the geometric figure but in that it at once contains the Primal Nature [as centre] and is contained by it [as circumference], that it owes its origin to such a centre and still more that the soul, uncontaminated, is a self-contained entity.
In our present state - part of our being weighed down by the body, as one might have the feet under water with all the rest untouched - we bear - ourselves aloft by that - intact part and, in that, hold through our own centre to the centre of all the centres, just as the centres of the great circles of a sphere coincide with that of the sphere to which all belong. Thus we are secure.
If these circles were material and not spiritual, the link with the centres would be local; they would lie round it where it lay at some distant point: since the souls are of the Intellectual, and the Supreme still loftier, we understand that contact is otherwise procured, that is by those powers which connect Intellectual agent with Intellectual Object; this all the more, since the Intellect grasps the Intellectual object by the way of similarity, identity, in the sure link of kindred. Material mass cannot blend into other material mass: unbodied beings are not under this bodily limitation; their separation is solely that of otherness, of differentiation; in the absence of otherness, it is similars mutually present.
Thus the Supreme as containing no otherness is ever present with us; we with it when we put otherness away. It is not that the Supreme reaches out to us seeking our communion: we reach towards the Supreme; it is we that become present. We are always before it: but we do not always look: thus a choir, singing set in due order about the conductor, may turn away from that centre to which all should attend: let it but face aright and it sings with beauty, present effectively. We are ever before the Supreme - cut off is utter dissolution; we can no longer be - but we do not always attend: when we look, our Term is attained; this is rest; this is the end of singing ill; effectively before Him, we lift a choral song full of God.
 Si quelque âme s’est connue dans un autre temps, elle sait que son mouvement naturel n’est pas en ligne droite (à moins d’avoir subi quelque déviation), mais qu’il se fait encercle autour de quelque chose d’intérieur, autour d’un centre. Or le centre, c’est ce dont procède le cercle [qui est l’âme (34)]. L’âme se mouvra donc autour de son centre, c’est-à-dire autour du principe dont elle procède, et, se portant vers lui, elle s’attachera à lui, comme devraient le faire toutes les âmes. Les âmes des dieux se portent toujours vers lui, et c’est là ce qui l’ait qu’ils sont dieux: car quiconque est attaché au centre [de toutes les âmes] est vraiment dieu (35); quiconque s’en éloigne beaucoup est un homme qui est resté multiple [qui n’a pas été ramené à l’unité], ou est une brute (36).
Le centre de l’âme est-il donc le principe que nous cherchons? ou bien faut-il concevoir un autre principe vers lequel tous les centres concourent?
Remarquons d’abord que ce n’est que par analogie qu’on emploie les mots de centre et de cercle : en disant que l’âme est un cercle, on n’entend pas qu’elle soit une figure de géométrie, mais qu’en elle et autour d’elle subsiste la nature primordiale (37) ; [en disant qu’elle a un centre, on entend que] l’âme est suspendue au Premier principe [par la partie la plus élevée de son être], surtout lorsqu’elle est tout entière séparée [du corps]. Et maintenant, comme nous avons une partie de notre être enfermée dans le corps, nous ressemblons à un homme qui aurait les pieds plongés dans l’eau et le reste du corps placé au-dessus de l’eau : nous élevant au-dessus du corps par toute la partie qui n’est pas immergée, nous nous rattachons par le centre de nous-mêmes au centre commun de tous les êtres, de la même façon que nous faisons coïncider les centres des grands cercles avec celui delà sphère qui les entoure. Si les cercles de l’âme étaient corporels (38) il faudrait que le centre commun occupât un certain lieu pour qu’ils coïncidassent avec lui et qu’ils tournassent autour de lui. Mais puisque les âmes sont de l’ordre des essences intelligibles et que l’Un est encore au-dessus de l’Intelligence, il faut admettre que l’union de l’âme et de l’Un (συναφήi) s’opère ici par d’autres moyens que ceux par lesquels l’Intelligence s’unit à l’intelligible (39). Cette union est on effet beaucoup plus étroite que 556 celle qui est réalisée entre l’Intelligence et l’intelligible par la ressemblance ou par l’identité : elle a lieu en vertu de l’intime parenté qui unit l’âme avec l’Un, sans que rien les sépare. Les corps ne peuvent s’unir entre eux [parce qu’ils ne se laissent pas pénétrer]; mais ils ne sauraient empêcher les essences incorporelles de s’unir entre elles : car ce qui les sépare les unes des autres, ce n’est pas une distance locale, c’est leur distinction, leur différence; lorsqu’il n’y a point de différence entre elles, elles sont présentes l’une à l’autre.
N’ayant point en lui de différence, l’Un est toujours présent; et nous, nous lui sommes présents dès que nous n’avons plus en nous de différence (40). Lui, il n’aspire pas à nous, ne se meut pas autour de nous ; c’est nous, au contraire, qui aspirons à lui. Nous nous mouvons toujours 557 autour de lui ; néanmoins, nous ne fixons pas toujours sur lui notre regard : nous ressemblons à un chœur de chanteurs qui entoureraient toujours le coryphée, mais qui ne chanteraient pas en mesure parce qu’ils détourneraient de lui leur attention en la portant sur quelque objet extérieur, tandis que, s’ils se tournaient vers le coryphée, ils chanteraient bien et ils seraient véritablement avec lui. De même, nous tournons toujours autour de l’Un, même lorsque nous nous en détachons tout à fait et que nous ne le connaissons plus. Nous n’avons pas notre regard toujours fixé sur l’Un ; mais quand nous le contemplons, nous atteignons le but de nos vœux, et nous jouissons du repos (41); nous ne sommes plus en désaccord et nous formons véritablement autour de lui un chœur divin.
TO BE ATTACHED TO THE CENTRE CONSTITUTES DIVINITY.
8. Self-knowledge reveals the fact that the soul’s natural movement is not in a straight line, unless indeed it have undergone some deviation. On the contrary, it circles around something interior, around a centre. Now the centre is that from which proceeds the circle, that is, the soul. The soul will therefore move around the centre, that is, around the principle from which she proceeds; and, trending towards it, she will attach herself to it, as indeed all souls should do. The souls of the divinities ever direct themselves towards it; and that is the secret of their divinity; for divinity consists in being attached to the Centre (of all souls). Anyone who withdraws much therefrom is a man who has remained manifold (that is, who has never become unified), or who is a brute.
THE CELEBRATED SIMILE OF THE MAN WHOSE FEET ARE IN A BATH-TUB.
Is the centre of the soul then the principle that we are seeking? Or must we conceive some other principle towards which all centres radiate? To begin with, it is only by analogy that the words “centre” and “circle” are used. By saying that the soul is a circle, we do not mean that she is a geometrical figure, but that in her and around her subsists primordial nature. (By saying that she has a centre, we mean that) the soul is suspended from the primary Principle (by the highest part of her being), especially when she is entirely separated (from the body). Now, however, as we have a part of our being contained in the the body, we resemble a man whose feet are plunged in water, with the rest of his body remaining above it. Raising ourselves above the body by the whole part which is not immerged, we are by our own centre reattaching ourselves to the Centre common to all beings, just in the same way as we make the centres of the great circles coincide with that of the sphere that surrounds them. If the circles of the soul were corporeal, the common centre would have to occupy a certain place for them to coincide with it, and for them to turn around it. But since the souls are of the order of intelligible (essences), and as the One is still above Intelligence, we shall have to assert that the intercourse of the soul with the One operates by means different from those by which Intelligence unites with the intelligible. This union, indeed, is much closer than that which is realized between Intelligence and the intelligible by resemblance or identity; it takes place by the intimate relationship that unites the soul with unity, without anything to separate them. Bodies cannot unite mutually; but they could not hinder the mutual union of incorporeal (essences) because that which separates them from each other is not a local distance, but their distinction and difference. When there is no difference between them, they are present in each other.
THE FAMOUS ILLUSTRATION OF THE COSMIC CHORAL BALLET.
As the One does not contain any difference, He is always present; and we are ever present to Him as soon as we contain no more difference. It is not He who is aspiring to us, or who is moving around us; on the contrary, it is we who are aspiring to Him. Though we always move around Him, we do not always keep our glance fixed on Him. We resemble a chorus which always surrounds its leader, but (the members of) which do not always sing in time because they allow their attention to be distracted to some exterior object; while, if they turned towards the leader, they would sing well, and really be with him. Likewise, we always turn around the One, even when we detach ourselves from Him, and cease knowing Him. Our glance is not always fixed on the One; but when we contemplate Him, we attain the purpose of our desires, and enjoy the rest taught by Heraclitus . Then we disagree no more, and really form a divine choric ballet around Him.
VIII. If, therefore, a certain soul has known itself at another time, it will also know that its motion is not rectilinear, but that its natural motion is as it were in a circle about a certain thing, not externally, but about a centre. The centre, however, is that from which the circle proceeds ; and therefore such a soul will be moved about the source of its existence. It will also be suspended from this, eagerly urging itself towards that to which all souls ought to hasten. But the souls of the Gods always tend thither; and by tending to this they are Gods. For whatever is conjoined to this is a God. But that which is very distant from it, is a multitudinous man and a brute. Is, therefore, that in the soul which is as it were a centre, the object of investigation? Or is it necessary to think that it is something else, in which as it were all centres concur ? This centre, however, and this circle are assumed by us according to analogy. For the soul is not a circle in the same way as a figure; but because an ancient nature is in it and about it. And because the soul is suspended from a thing of this kind, and in a still greater degree when it is wholly separated from the body. Now, however, since a part of us is detained by the body; just as if some one should have his feet in the water, but with the rest of his body should be above it; — thus also being elevated by that part which is not merged in body, we are conjoined to that which is as it were the centre of all things; after the same manner as we fix the centres of the greatest circles in the centre of the sphere by which they are comprehended. If, therefore, the circles were corporeal and not psychical, they would be conjoined to the centre locally, and the centre being situated in a certain place, the circles would revolve about it. Since, however, these souls are themselves intelligible, and this centre is above intellect, it must be admitted that this contact is effected by other powers than those by which an intellective nature is adapted to be conjoined to the object of intellectual perception. The contact, also, is greater than that by which intellect is present [with the intelligible] through similitude and sameness, and is conjoined with a kindred nature, nothing intervening to separate the conjunction. For bodies, indeed, are prevented from being united to each other; but incorporeal natures are not separated from each other by bodies. Hence, one is not distant from the other by place, but by otherness and difference. When, therefore, difference is not present, then the natures which are not different are present with each other. The principle of all things, therefore, not having any difference, is always present; but we are present with it when we have no difference. And it indeed does not aspire after us, in order that it may be conversant with us; but we aspire after it, in order that we may revolve about it. We indeed perpetually revolve about it, but we do not always behold it. As a band of singers, however, though it moves about the coryphaeus, may be diverted to the survey of something foreign to the choir [and thus become discordant], but when it converts itself to him, sings well, and truly subsists about him; — thus also we perpetually revolve about the principle of all things, even when we are perfectly loosened from it, and have no longer a knowledge of it. Nor do we always look to it; but when we behold it, then we obtain the end of our wishes, and rest [from our search after felicity]. Then also we are ho longer discordant, but form a truly divine dance about it.