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Soul - The Return to Noûs

sexta-feira 25 de março de 2022

    

(Armstrong   Selection and Translation)

[The return to Noûs   is a return to our true selves; in them we are so completely united to Noûs that we no longer see it because we are it.]

If one of us is unable to see himself, and, when he is possessed by that god  , brings his contemplation to the point of vision, he presents himself to his own mind   and looks at a glorified image of himself; then he dismisses the image, beautiful though it is, and comes to unity with himself, and, making no more separation, is one and all together with that god silently present, and is with him as much as he wants to be and can be. If he returns again to being two, since he is pure he stays close to the god, so as to be present to him again in that other way if he turns again to him. This return to duality has the advantage that to begin with he sees himself, while he is different from the god; then he hastens inward and has everything, and leaves perception behind in his fear of being different, and is one There. If he wants to see by being different, he puts himself outside. While he is coming to know the god he must keep to an impression of him and form distinct ideas of him as he seeks him: but, as he learns in this way into what he is entering and comes to believe that it is into happiness  , he must give himself up to what is within and become, instead of one who sees, an object of contemplation to another who sees him as he comes from the world of Noûs and whom he illuminates with the Forms he brings thence in his mind. How then can anyone be in beauty without seeing it? If he sees it as something different he is not yet in beauty; he is in it most perfectly when he becomes it. If sight is of something external then we must not have sight, or only that which is identical with its object. This is a sort of intimate understanding and consciousness   of a self which is careful not to depart from itself by wanting to see too much. We must consider this too, that the perception of evils has a more violent impact, but produces less knowledge as a result of the impact. Illness strikes our consciousness harder, but the quiet companionship of health gives us a better understanding of it. It presides over our being as something which belongs to it, and is one with us. Illness is alien and not our own, and therefore particularly obvious because it appears so very different from us. We have no consciousness of what is our own, and since we are like this we understand ourselves best when we have made our self-knowledge one with ourselves. There, then, when our knowledge is most perfectly conformed to Noûs, we think we are ignorant because we are waiting for the experience of sense  -perception, which says it has not yet seen: and it certainly has not seen, and never will see things like these. It is sense-perception which disbelieves, but it is someone else who sees; and for him to disbelieve would be to disbelieve in his own existence: for he cannot after all put himself outside and make himself visible so as to look at himself with his bodily eyes.