Guthrie: Tratado 30,11 (III, 8, 11) — THE SUPREME IS NOT INTELLIGENCE


11. (10). A further consideration. Since intelligence is a sort of intuition, namely, a seeing (or actualizing) intuition (or vision), it really consists of a potentiality that has passed into actualization. It will therefore contain two elements, which will play the parts of (intelligible) matter, and of form, just like actualized vision, for actualized vision also implies duality. Therefore intuition, before being actualized, was unity. Thus unity has become duality, and duality has become unity. (Sense-) vision receives from sense-. objects its fulness, and its perfection, so to speak. As to intellectual vision, however, its fulness comes from a principle that is the Good. Now if intelligence were the Good itself, what would be the use of its intuition or its actualization? Other beings, indeed, aspire to the Good, as the goal of their activity; but the Good itself has need of nothing; and therefore possesses nothing but itself. After having named it, nothing should be added thereto by thought; for, to add something, is to suppose that He needs this attribute. Not even intelligence should be attributed to Him; that would be introducing therein something alien, distinguishing in Him two things, Intelligence and the Good. Intelligence needs the Good, but the Good has no need of Intelligence. On achieving the Good, Intelligence takes its form, for it derives its form from the Good; and it becomes perfect, because it assumes the nature (of the Good). The model (or, archetype) must be judged by the trace it leaves in Intelligence, conceiving of its true character according to the impression it leaves. Only by this impression does Intelligence behold and achieve the Good. That is why Intelligence aspires to the Good; and as Intelligence ever aspires to the Good, Intelligence ever achieves it. The Good itself, however, never aspires to anything; for what could He desire? Nor does He achieve anything, since He desires nothing. Therefore (the Supreme) is not Intelligence, whichever desires, and aspires to the form of Good.


No doubt Intelligence is beautiful; it is the most beautiful of things, since it is illuminated by a pure light, since it shines with a pure splendor, and contains the intelligible beings of which our world, in spite of its beauty, is but an adumbration and image. The intelligible world is located in a region resplendent with clearness, where is nothing either obscure or indefinite, where, within itself, it enjoys a blissful life. It entrances the human gaze, especially when one knows how to commune with it. But just as a view of heaven, and the splendor of the stars leads one to seek and conceive their author, likewise the contemplation of the intelligible world, and the fascination it exerts leads (the beholder) to seek its author. The question then arises, Who is He who has given existence to the intelligible world? Where and how did He beget this so pure Intellect, this so beautiful son who derives all of his fullness from his father ? This supreme Principle itself is neither Intelligence nor son, but is superior to Intelligence, which is His son. Intelligence, His son, succeeds Him, because the son needs to receive from the father both intellection and fullness, which is his food; so (the son) holds the first rank after Him who has need of nothing, not even intellection. Nevertheless Intelligence possesses fullness and true intellection, because it immediately participates in the Good. -Thus the Good, being above real fulness and intellection, neither possesses them, nor needs them; otherwise, He would not be the Good.

GUTHRIE, K. S. Plotinus: Complete Works: In Chronological Order, Grouped in Four Periods. [single Volume, Unabridged]. [s.l.] CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform, 2017.