Plotinus - The Enneads - A powerful frame, a healthy constitution
Type of Spiritual Experience
A description of the experience
Plotinus – The Enneads
A powerful frame, a healthy constitution, even a happy balance of temperament, these do not make felicity; in the excess of these advantages there is even the danger that the man be crushed down and forced more and more within their power. There must be a sort of counter-pressure in the other direction, towards the noblest; the body must be lessened, reduced, that the veritable man may show forth, the man behind the appearances.
Let the earth bound man be handsome and powerful and rich, and so apt to this world that he may rule the entire human race; still there can be no envying him, the fool of such lures. Perhaps such splendours could not, from the beginning even, have gathered to the proficient, but if it should happen so, he of his own action will lower his state, if he has any care for his true life. The tyranny of the body he will work down or wear away by inattention to its claims; the rulership he will lay aside.
While he will safeguard his bodily health, he will not wish to be wholly untried in sickness, still less never to feel pain; if such troubles should not come to him of themselves, he will wish to know them, during youth at least. In old age, it is true, he will desire neither pains nor pleasures to hamper him; he will desire nothing of this world, pleasant or painful; his one desire will be to know nothing of the body. If he should meet with pain he will pit against it the powers he holds to meet it; but pleasure and health and ease of life will not mean any increase of happiness to him nor will their contraries destroy or lessen it
When in the one subject a positive can add nothing, how can the negative take away?