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Excerpts from “The Six Enneads” by Plotinus (vegetarian) – The Nature of Good and Non-Being, Part 1 of 2

2023-12-01
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Today, we are pleased to present excerpts from “The Seventh Tractate of The First Ennead,” which explores the concept of Good, emphasizing that meaningfulness or goodness of life arises through virtuous actions and choices, and death can be seen as an ascent to a higher state of being.

The First Ennead, Seventh Tractate – [On the Primal Good]

"The Soul itself is natively a ‘Best’; if, further, its act be directed towards the Best, the achievement is not merely the ‘Soul’s good’ but ‘The Good’ without qualification."

“Everything has something of the Good, by virtue of possessing a certain degree of unity and a certain degree of Existence and by participation in Ideal-Form: to the extent of the Unity, Being, and Form which are present, there is a sharing in an image, for the Unity and Existence in which there is participation are no more than images of the Ideal-Form.

With Soul it is different; the First-Soul, that which follows upon the Intellectual-Principle, possesses a life nearer to the Verity and through that Principle is of the nature of good; it will actually possess the Good if it orientates itself towards the Intellectual-Principle, since this follows immediately upon the Good. […]”

“But if life is a good, is there good for all that lives? No: in the vile, life limps: it is like the eye to the dim-sighted; it fails of its task. […]

If it be taken into the All-Soul - what evil can reach it There? And as the Gods are possessed of Good and untouched by evil- so, certainly is the Soul that has preserved its essential character. And if it should lose its purity, the evil it experiences is not in its death but in its life. Suppose it to be under punishment in the lower world, even there the evil thing is its life and not its death; the misfortune is still life, a life of a definite character.

Life is a partnership of a Soul and body; death is the dissolution; in either life or death, then, the Soul will feel itself at home.

But, again, if life is good, how can death be anything but evil? Remember that the good of life, where it has any good at all, is not due to anything in the partnership but to the repelling of evil by virtue […]”
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