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Plotinus - The Enneads - On death

Identifier

002861

Type of spiritual experience

Background

Plotinus is here discussing what happens on death.  His argument is that there remains a ‘something’ [which I have called the Higher spirit] which remains on death, but that for the most part on death we have no need of the majority of functions because they are all there to help the body and our existence in the physical

A description of the experience

Plotinus – The Enneads

It may seem reasonable to lay down as a law that when any powers are contained by a recipient, every action or state expressive of them must be the action or state of that recipient, they themselves remaining unaffected as merely furnishing efficiency.

But if this were so, then since the Animate is the recipient of the Causing Principle  which brings life to the Couplement, this Cause must itself remain unaffected, all the experiences and expressive activities of the life being vested in the recipient, the Animate

…..........

No; from the organised body and something else, let us say a light, which the Soul gives forth from itself, it forms a distinct Principle, the Animate; and in this Principle are vested Sense Perception and all the other experiences found to belong to the Animate.......

Now what could bring fear to a nature thus unreceptive of all the outer?  Fear demands feeling.  Nor is there place for courage: courage implies the presence of danger.  And such desires as are satisfied by the filling or voiding of the body, must be proper to something very different from the Soul, to that only which admits of replenishment and voidance.

And how could the soul lend itself to an admixture?  An essential is not mixed.  Or to the intrusion of anything alien?  If it did, it would be seeking the destruction of its own nature.  Pain must be equally far from it.  And Grief – how or what could grieve?  Whatever possesses Existence is supremely free, dwelling unchangeable within its own particular nature.  And can any increase bring joy, where nothing, not even good can accrue?  What such an existence is, it is unchangeably

Those virtues, on the other hand, which spring not from contemplative wisdom but from custom or practical discipline belong to the Couplement; to the Couplement too, belong the vices; they are its repugnances, desires and sympathies.

And friendship?

This emotion belongs sometimes to the lower part, sometimes to the interior man

The source of the experience

Plotinus

Concepts and Symbols used in the text or image

Activities