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Noûs é produzido pela emanação do Uno

sexta-feira 25 de março de 2022


(Armstrong   Selection and Translation from the Enneads  )

[The One produces Noûs   without any movement or change in Itself by a sort of emanation   or radiation. The product is necessarily less than the producer; but since the One is the most perfect of all things, its product is necessarily that which is next in order of perfection, namely Noûs.]

How then does Noûs see, and what does it see? How did it come into existence at all and arise from the One so as to be able to see? The soul   now knows that these things must be, but longs to answer the question repeatedly discussed, even by the ancient philosophers, how from the One, if It is such as we say It is, a multiplicity or a duality or a number come into existence. Why did It not remain by Itself? How did so great a multitude flow from It as that which we see to exist in beings but think it right to refer back to the One?

Let us speak of it in this way, first invoking God   Himself, not in spoken words, but reaching out with our soul into prayer to Him; for in this way we can pray alone to Him Alone. The man who contemplates Him, as if inside the temple,1 existing by Himself, remaining quiet beyond all things, must contemplate what correspond to the images already standing outside the temple, or rather that one image which appeared first; and this is the way in which it appeared. Everything which is moved must have some end to which it moves. The One has no such end, so we must not consider that It moves. If anything comes into being after It, we must think that it necessarily does so while the One remains continually turned towards Itself. [1] We must admit then that what comes into being from the One does so without the One being moved: for if anything came into being as a result of the One’s being moved, it would be the third starting from the One, not the second, since it would come after the movement. So if there is a second after the One it must have come to be without the One moving at all, without any inclination or act of will or any sort of activity on Its part.

How did it come to be then? And what are we to think of as surrounding the One in Its repose? It must be a radiation from It while It remains unchanged, just like the bright light which surrounds the sun, which remains unchanged though the light   springs from it continually. Everything that exists as long as it remains in being, necessarily produces from its own substance, in dependence on its present power, a surrounding reality directed towards the external world, a kind of image of the archetype from which it was produced. Thus fire produces its heat: snow does not only keep its cold inside itself. Perfumed things show this particularly clearly. As long as they exist they diffuse something from themselves around them which everything near them enjoys. Again, all things when they come to perfection produce. The One is always perfect and therefore produces everlastingly; and Its product is less than Itself. What then must we say about the Most Perfect? Nothing can come from It except that which is next greatest after It. Noûs is next to It in greatness and second to It; for Noûs sees It and needs It alone; but It has no need of Noûs. That which derives from something greater than Noûs is Noûs itself, which is greater than all things, because other things come after it. So Soul is a Logos   and a kind of activity of Noûs, as Noûs is of the One.

[1When we are discussing eternal realities we must not let coming into being in time be an obstacle to our thought; in the discussion we speak of them coming into being to indicate their causal connexion and their order.