V. 2. I
(Armstrong selection and translation)

[The One transcends being because it is its source. Noûs proceeds from the One, and Soul from Noûs, by a double movement of outgoing and return in contemplation, the higher in each case remaining in itself, unaffected by the production of the lower. Soul in its turn produces another level of being or hypostasis, Nature, the Life-Principle.]

The One is all things and not a single one of them: for the Source of all is not all things; yet It is all things, for they all, so to speak, run back to It: or, rather, in It they are not yet, but will be. How then do all things come from the One, Which is simple and has in It no diverse variety, or any sort of doubleness? It is because there is nothing in It that all things come from It: in order that being may exist, the One is not being but the Generator of being. This, we may say, is the first act of generation. The One, perfect because It seeks nothing, has nothing, and needs nothing overflows, as it were, and Its superabundance makes something other than Itself. This, when it has come into being, turns back upon the One and is filled, and so becomes Its contemplator, Noûs. Its halt and turning towards the One constitutes being, its gaze upon the One, Nous. Since it halts and turns towards the One that it may see, it becomes at once Noûs and being. Resembling the One thus, Noûs produces in the same way, pouring forth a multiple power. Just as That, Which was before it, poured forth its likeness, so what Noûs produces is a likeness of itself. This activity springing from being is Soul, which comes into being while Noûs abides unchanged: for Noûs too comes into being while That which is before it abides unchanged.

But Soul does not abide unchanged when it produces: it is moved and so brings forth an image. It looks to its source and is filled, and going forth to another opposed movement generates its own image, which is Sensation and the Principle of growth in plants.

Nothing is separated, cut off from that which is before it. For this reason Soul seems to reach as far as plants; and in a way it does reach so far, for the life-principle in plants belongs to Soul. Soul is not all in plants, but it has come to be in plants in the sense that it has extended itself down to their level, and produced another degree of being by that extension, in desire of its inferior. Its higher part which is immediately dependent on Noûs leaves Noûs untroubled, abiding in itself [and in the same way is unaffected by producing the lower degree of being].