Phōs

the-souls-light

This is part 2 of 2. Part 1 is here.

Ἐρᾷ οὖν κατὰ φύσιν ἔχουσα ψυχὴ θεοῦ ἑνωθῆναι θέλουσα͵ ὥσπερ παρθένος καλοῦ πατρὸς καλὸν ἔρωτα. ὅταν δὲ εἰς γένεσιν ἐλθοῦσα οἷον μνηστείαις ἀπατηθῇ, ἄλλον ἀλλαξαμένη θνητὸν ἔρωτα ἐρημίᾳ πατρὸς ὑβρίζεται· μισήσασα δὲ πάλιν τὰς ἐνταῦθα ὕβρεις ἁγνεύσασα τῶν τῇδε πρὸς τὸν πατέρα αὖθις στελλομένη εὐπαθεῖ. καὶ οἷς μὲν ἄγνωστόν ἐστι τὸ πάθημα τοῦτο͵ ἐντεῦθεν ἐνθυμείσθω ἀπὸ τῶν ἐνταῦθα ἐρώτων, οἷόν ἐστι τυχεῖν ὧν τις μάλιστα ἐρᾷ͵ καὶ ὅτι ταῦτα μὲν τὰ ἐρώμενα θνητὰ καὶ βλαβερὰ καὶ εἰδώλων ἔρωτες καὶ μεταπίπτει͵ ὅτι οὐκ ἦν τὸ ὄντως ἐρώμενον οὐδὲ τὸ ἀγαθὸν ἡμῶν οὐδ’ ὃ ζητοῦμεν. ἐκεῖ δὲ τὸ ἀληθινὸν ἐρώμενον, ᾧ ἔστι καὶ συνεῖναι μεταλαβόντα αὐτοῦ καὶ ὄντως ἔχοντα͵ οὐ περιπτυσσόμενον σαρξὶν ἔξωθεν. ὅστις δὲ εἶδεν, οἶδεν ὃ λέγω, ὡς ἡ ψυχὴ ζωὴν ἄλλην ἴσχει τότε καὶ προσιοῦσα καὶ ἤδη προσελθοῦσα καὶ μετασχοῦσα αὐτοῦ͵ ὥστε γνῶναι διατεθεῖσαν, ὅτι πάρεστιν ὁ χορηγὸς ἀληθινῆς ζωῆς, καὶ δεῖ οὐδενὸς ἔτι. τοὐναντίον δὲ ἀποθέσθαι τὰ ἄλλα δεῖ, καὶ ἐν μόνῳ στῆναι τούτῳ, καὶ τοῦτο γενέσθαι μόνον περικόψαντα τὰ λοιπὰ ὅσα περικείμεθα· ὥστε ἐξελθεῖν σπεύδειν ἐντεῦθεν καὶ ἀγανακτεῖν ἐπὶ θάτερα δεδεμένους, ἵνα τῷ ὅλῳ αὐτῶν περιπτυξώμεθα καὶ μηδὲν μέρος ἔχοιμεν, ᾧ μὴ ἐφαπτόμεθα θεοῦ. ὁρᾶν δὴ ἔστιν ἐνταῦθα κἀκεῖνον καὶ ἑαυτὸν ὡς ὁρᾶν θέμις· ἑαυτὸν μὲν ἠγλαϊσμένον, φωτὸς πλήρη νοητοῦ, μᾶλλον δὲ φῶς αὐτὸ καθαρόν, ἀβαρῆ, κοῦφον, θεὸν γενόμενον, μᾶλλον δὲ ὄντα, ἀναφθέντα μὲν τότε, εἰ δὲ πάλιν βαρύνοιτο, ὥσπερ μαραινόμενον. πῶς οὖν οὐ μένει ἐκεῖ; ἢ ὅτι μήπω ἐξελήλυθεν ὅλος. ἔσται δὲ ὅτε καὶ τὸ συνεχὲς ἔσται τῆς θέας οὐκέτι ἐνοχλουμένῳ οὐδεμίαν ἐνόχλησιν τοῦ σώματος. ἔστι δὲ τὸ ἑωρακὸς οὐ τὸ ἐνοχλούμενον, ἀλλὰ τὸ ἄλλο, ὅτε τὸ ἑωρακὸς ἀργεῖ τὴν θέαν οὐκ ἀργοῦν τὴν ἐπιστήμην τὴν ἐν ἀποδείξεσι καὶ πίστεσι καὶ τῷ τῆς ψυχῆς διαλογισμῷ· τὸ δὲ ἰδεῖν καὶ τὸ ἑωρακός ἐστιν οὐκέτι λόγος, ἀλλὰ μεῖζον λόγου καὶ πρὸ λόγου καὶ ἐπὶ τῷ λόγῳ, ὥσπερ καὶ τὸ ὁρώμενον.
(Plotinus, Enn. 6.9.9-10)

The soul then in her natural state is in love with God and wants to be united with him; it is like the noble love of a girl for her noble father. But when the soul has come into the world of becoming and is deceived, so to say, by the blandishments of her suitors, she changes, bereft of her father, to a mortal love and is shamed; but again she comes to hate her shames here below, and purifies herself of the things of this world and sets herself on the way to her father and fares well. And if anyone does not know this experience, let him think of it terms of our loves here below, and what it is like to attain what one is most in love with, and that these earthly loves are mortal and harmful and loves only of images, and that they change because it was not what is really and truly loved nor our good nor what we seek. But there is our true love, with whom also we can be united, having a part in him and truly possessing him, not embracing him in the flesh from outside. But “whoever has seen, knows what I am saying”, that the soul then has another life and draws near, and has already come near and has a part in him, and so is in a state to know that the giver of true life is present and we need nothing more. But quite otherwise, we must put away other things and take our stand only in this, and become this alone, cutting away all the other things in which we are encased; so we must be eager to go out from here and be impatient at being bound to the other things, that we may embrace him with the whole of ourselves and have no part with which we do not touch God. There one can see both him and oneself as it is right to see: the self glorified, full of intelligible light—but rather itself pure light—weightless, floating free, having become—but rather, being a god; set on fire then, but the fire seems to go out if one is weighed down again. How is it, then, that one does not remain there? It is because one has not yet totally come out of this world. But there will be a time when the vision will be continuous, since there will no longer be any hindrance by the body. But it is not which has seen which is hindered, but the other part which, when that which has seen rests from vision, does not rest from the knowledge which lies in demonstrations and evidence and the discourse of the soul; but seeing and that which has seen are not reason, but greater than reason and before reason and above reason, as is that which is seen. (tr. Arthur Hilary Armstrong)

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