Soul in its Activity in the Sense-world (II)

IV. 4. 11
(Armstrong Selection and Translation from the Enneads)

[The universe is a single living being, and soul rules it from within, not from outside, like nature in the process of healing, not like a doctor. Its wise guidance of the whole is a single, simple immanent activity, without reasoning or calculation.]

The administration of the universe is like that of a single living being, where there is one kind which works from outside and deals with it part by part and another kind which works from inside, from the principle of its life. So a doctor begins from outside and deals with particular parts, and is often baffled, and considers what to do, but nature begins from the principle of life and has no need of consideration. The administration and the administrator of the All must rule it, not after the manner of the doctor but like nature. The administration of the universe is much simpler in that all things with which it deals are included as parts of a single living being. One nature rules all the natures; they come after it, depending on and from it, growing out of it, as the natures in branches grow out of that of the whole plant. What reasoning, then, can there be or reckoning or memory when wisdom is always present, active and ruling, ordering things always in the same way? One should not think that, because a great variety of different things comes to pass, that which produces them conforms to the changes of the product. The unchanging stability of the producer is in proportion to the variety of the products. For the things which happen according to nature in one single living being are many, and they do not all happen at once: there are the different ages and the growths which occur at particular times, for instance, of the horns or the beard; there is the prime of life and procreation; the previous logoi are not destroyed, but others come into operation as well. The underlying unity is clear, too, from the fact that the same logos which is in the parent, and the whole of it, is also in the offspring. So it is right to think that the same wisdom embraces both, and that this is the whole, abiding wisdom of the universe, manifold and varied and yet at the same time simple, belonging to a single mighty living being, not subject to change because of the multiplicity of things, but a single logos, everything at once: for if it was not everything, the wisdom would not be the wisdom of the universe but of later and partial things.