8. (7). Since contemplation rises by degrees, from nature to the Soul, from the Soul to Intelligence; and as within it thought becomes more and more (intimate or) interior, more and more united to the thinker; and as in the perfect Soul the things known are identical with the knower; and because they aspire to Intelligence, the subject must then evidently within Intelligence be identical with the object; not through any appropriation thereof, as the perfect Soul does indeed appropriate it, but because their essence (“being”) is identical, because of the identity between thinking and being (“essence”). Within intelligence no longer do we have on one side the object, and on the other the subject; otherwise we would need another principle where this difference would no longer exist. Within it, then, these two things, the subject and the object, form but a single (entity). That is a living contemplation, and no longer an object of contemplation which seems to inhere in something else; for existence within a living being is not identical with living by oneself. Therefore if it is to be alive, the object of contemplation and of thought must be life itself, and not the life of plants, that of sensation, or psychic life. Those are different thoughts, the one being the thought of plants, the thought of sensation, and psychic thought. They are thoughts because they are “reasons.”


Every life is a thought which, like life itself, may be more or less true. The truest thought is also the first life; and the first life is identical with the first Intelligence. Consequently, the first degree of life is also the first degree of thought; the second degree of life is also the second degree of thought; and the third degree of life is also the third degree of thought. Therefore every life of this kind is a thought. Nevertheless it is humanly possible to define the differences of the various degrees of life without being able to set forth clearly those of thought; men will limit themselves to saying that some (of these degrees of thought) imply intelligence, while others exclude it, because they do not seek to penetrate the essence of life. We may observe that the remainder of the discussion brings us back to this proposition, that “all beings are contemplations.” If the truest life be the life of thought, if the truest life and the life of thought be identical, then the truest thought must be alive. This contemplation is life, the object of this contemplation is a living being and life, and both form but one.


Since both are identical, the unity that they form became manifold because it does not contemplate unity, or it does not contemplate unity so far as it isone;, otherwise it would not be intelligence. After having begun by being one, it ceased being one; unconsciously it became manifold as a result of the fruitful germs it contained. It developed to become all things, though it would have been better for it not to have desired this. Indeed, it thus became the second principle, as a circle which, by developing, becomes a figure and a surface, whose circumference, centre, and rays are distinct, occupying different points. The origin of things is better than their goal. The origin is not equivalent to the origin and goal, and that which is both origin and goal is not identical with that which is no more than origin. In other words, intelligence itself is not the intelligence of a single thing, but universal intelligence; being universal, it is the intelligence of all things. If then intelligence be universal Intelligence, and the intelligence of all things, then each of its parts must also be universal, also possess all things. Otherwise, intelligence would contain a part that was not intelligence; intelligence would be composed of non-intelligences; and it would resemble a conglomeration of things which would form an intelligence only by their union. Thus intelligence is infinite. When something proceeds from it, there is no weakening; neither for the things that proceed from it, for this is also all things, nor for the intelligence from which the thing proceeds, because it is not a summation of parts.

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