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Fragments of the Lost Writings of Proclus

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Author Topic: Fragments of the Lost Writings of Proclus  (Read 1324 times)
Major Weatherly
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« Reply #15 on: February 06, 2009, 01:25:45 pm »

p. 56

Argument the Eleventh.
Matter (says Plato) subsists for the sake of the universe, for it is the receptacle of generation; but that for the sake of which matter exists, is nothing else than generation. If, therefore, matter derives its existence from nothing, it will exist casually for the sake of something; and that which is generated will have matter fortuitously. Nothing, however, which subsists fortuitously is necessary; so that we must say, that neither does the fabrication of things possess stability. But if matter is from a certain cause, and for the sake of generation, these, viz. matter and generation, necessarily subsist in conjunction with each other. For that which exists for the sake of a certain thing, and that for the sake of which a thing exists, are in conjunction with each other; for they have a reference to each other, or are relatives. If, therefore, matter is perpetual, and, so far as it is matter, exists for the sake of something else, generation also is perpetual: for it is necessary that this also should subsist for the sake of a certain thing, because it is generation. Hence, matter and generation are con-subsistent with each other for ever, in the same manner as that for the sake of which a thing

p. 57

exists, and that which exists for the sake of that thing. For matter exists for the sake of something, viz. for the sake of the form which it contains. For a certain matter is then matter, when it has form. Hence, artists cause matter, which has not been yet adorned, to become adapted to the reception of a certain form; * and according to the proficiency which they make in preparing the matter, in such proportion also does form accede. For stones are not the matter of the form of the house, till they are made smooth, if it should happen to be requisite, and become properly adapted, and then they are the matter (from which the house can be built). When, therefore, the stones become truly the requisite matter, then form is instantaneously present. If, therefore, that which is simply matter, is entirely the matter of all generation, and is all things in capacity, and is not indigent of any thing in order to its existence as matter, as is the case with that which ranks as some particular thing, (for that which exists simply, is every where a thing of this kind, and is so primarily, and is not in want of any thing to its existence,)—this being the case, all forms simultaneously exist

p. 58

in that which is simply matter; for matter not being in want of any thing to its existence, it is also not indigent of any thing in order to its possession of forms. Hence, it derives from the cause of its existence, the forms of which it is the matter. But it is unbegotten and incorruptible, lest it should be in want of another matter, though it exists as matter simply considered. Forms, therefore, subsist in it perpetually, and also the world, for matter is the matter of the world, and not of that which is disorderly, and deprived of ornament. Matter also existed for the sake of the world, and not for the sake of that which is destitute of order. For matter does not exist for the sake of privation, but for the sake of form: and hence the world subsists from that cause from which the matter of it is derived.


57:* In the original, διο και ευεργον ποιουσιν οι τεχνεται, την μηπω ουσαν υλην. But for ουσαν in this passage, I read, conformably to the above translation, κοσμουσαν.

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