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

2023-12-02
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Let us continue with excerpts from “The Eighth Tractate of The First Ennead,” where we learn that Good is beyond our intellectual conception and is the source of all existence, while evil is a faint image of the Non-Being and cannot exist within the truth or Being.

The First Ennead, Eighth Tractate – On the Nature and Source of Evil [Non-Being]

“[…] If the solution is that the one act of knowing covers contraries, and that as Evil is the contrary to Good the one act would grasp Good and Evil together, then to know Evil there must be first a clear perception and understanding of Good, since the nobler existences precede the baser and are Ideal-Forms while the less good hold no such standing, are nearer to Non-Being.”

“The Good is that on which all else depends, towards which all Existences aspire as to their source and their need, while Itself is without need, sufficient to Itself, aspiring to no other, the measure and Term of all, giving out from itself the Intellectual-Principle and Existence and Soul and Life and all Intellective-Act.

All until The Good is reached is beautiful. The Good is beyond-beautiful, beyond the Highest, holding kingly state in the Intellectual-Kosmos, that sphere constituted by a Principle wholly unlike what is known as Intelligence in us. Our intelligence is nourished on the propositions of logic, is skilled in following discussions, works by reasonings, examines links of demonstration, and comes to know the world of Being also by the steps of logical process, having no prior grasp of Reality but remaining empty, all Intelligence though it be, until it has put itself to school.”

“And the First Act is the Act of The Good stationary within Itself, and the First Existence is the self-contained Existence of The Good; but there is also an Act upon It, that of the Intellectual-Principle which, as it were, lives about It. And the Soul, outside, circles around the Intellectual-Principle, and by gazing upon it, seeing into the depths of It, through It, sees God. Such is the untroubled, the blissful, life of Divine beings, and Evil has no place in it; if this were all, there would be no Evil but Good only, the first, the second and the third Good.”
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