CalebGenius, "Enneads IV.8," by Plotinus

CalebGenius, "Enneads IV.8," by Plotinus

Plotinus, Enneads IV.8

It has happened[1] often[2].

Roused[3] into myself from[4] my body―outside everything[5] else and inside myself[6]―my gaze[7] has met a beauty[8] wondrous[9] and great[10]. At such moments[11] I have been certain that mine was the better part[12], mine the best of lives[13] lived to the fullest, mine identity[14] with the divine[15]. Fixed there firmly,[16] poised above everything in the intellectual[17] that is less than the highest, utter actuality[18] was mine[19].

But then there has come the descent down[20] from intellection[21] to the discourse of reason[22]. And it leaves me puzzled[23]. Why this descent[24]?

  1. It is not happening now. It never happens while writing or reading.  ↩

  2. I envy this “often.” So rarely has it happened in my life that sometimes I doubt it has at all. Once I was sure of it but that was many years ago.  ↩

  3. Awakened. Called.  ↩

  4. Out of.  ↩

  5. Not just the physical.
    All the things that bind us.  ↩

  6. The secret part of the self that one can’t share without losing.  ↩

  7. Intellect.  ↩

  8. They say all bodies are beautiful but no body is so beautiful.  ↩

  9. Like awe, but with joy instead of fear.  ↩

  10. The road curved and then the mountain came into view. We caught our breath. This is what we must climb, carrying all our worry and doubt.  ↩

  11. They never last long. A few minutes, an hour, an afternoon at best.  ↩

  12. One cuts. The other chooses.  ↩

  13. By chance the soul of Odysseus went to make its choice after drawing the last of all the lots; it had found relief from its love of honor by the memory of its earlier labors, and went around for a long time looking for a quiet life of a private man, and with some trouble it found one lying somewhere that had been ignored by everyone else. And it said when it saw it that it was delighted to choose it, and would have done the same even if it had drawn the first lot.” (Plato’s Republic, Book X 620d-e)  ↩

  14. One.  ↩

  15. The self-sufficient. The unconditioned.  ↩

  16. Like the sphere of stars. The celestial bodies.  ↩

  17. E.g., mathematics.  ↩

  18. What lies behind the seeming.  ↩

  19. First the whole world fell silent and then it began to tremble as if everything were about to sing. I waited. I knew that once I heard it all appearances would fall away and I would see things as they are, but the moment passed.  ↩

  20. Again and again.  ↩

  21. Gazing.  ↩

  22. Gossip and questions of utility. “Let us cross to the other side of the street to get out of the sun.”  ↩

  23. How could it be that though I held it I failed to keep it? Why have I given up what I esteemed most?  ↩

  24. A word from the Lord was rare in those days, and visions were infrequent. At that time Eli, whose vision was growing dim, was lying down in his bedroom. The lamp of God had not yet been extinguished, and Samuel was lying down in the tent of the Lord where the Ark of God was. The Lord called out to Samuel, who answered, “Here I am.”
    He ran to Eli and said, “Here I am! You called me.”
    “I didn’t call you,” Eli said. “Go back and lie down.” So he went and lay down.
    Then the Lord again called out, “Samuel!”
    So Samuel got up, went to Eli, and said, “Here I am! You called me.”
    He said, “I didn’t call you, my son. Go back and lie down.” Now Samuel did not yet know the Lord and had not yet had the word of the Lord revealed to him.” - 1 Samuel 3:1–7  ↩

"Brandon's Car World," Part 4

"Brandon's Car World," Part 4