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Plotinus - The Enneads - It is certain that we shrink from the unpleasant

Identifier

002857

Type of spiritual experience

A description of the experience

Plotinus – The Enneads

It is certain that we shrink from the unpleasant and such shrinking is assuredly not what we should have willed; to have no occasion for any such shrinking would be nearer to our taste; but the things we seek tell the story as soon as they are ours.  For instance, health and freedom from pain; which of these has any great charm?  As long as we possess them we set no store upon them.

Anything which, present, has no charm and adds nothing to happiness, which when lacking is desired because of the presence of an annoying opposite, may reasonably be called a necessity but not a good.

Such things can never make part of our final object; our term must be such that though these pleasanter conditions be absent and their contraries present, it shall remain, still, intact.

These more pleasant conditions cannot, it is true, add any particle towards the proficient's felicity; but they do serve towards the integrity of his being, while the presence of the contraries tends against his being or complicates the term; it is not that the proficient can be so easily deprived of the term achieved, but simply that he holds the highest good desires to have that alone, not something else at the same time, something which, though it cannot banish the good by its incoming, does not take place by its side.

...if the man that has attained felicity meets some turn of fortune that he would not have chosen, there is not the slightest lessening of his happiness for that.....No, a thousand mischances and disappointments may befall him and leave him still in the tranquil possession of the term.

The source of the experience

Plotinus

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