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  • Here we meet, for the first time in the Enneads (note 513: 6 [IV, 8], 8, l has the word [τολμῆσαι]; but not the special notion, for it means only ‘to dare’) the famous, the audacity of the mind to remove itself from the One, the active role in the process of emanation, which has as the other side of the coin the abundant and even redundant richness of the One which causes the overflow of what becomes mind. Plausibly it is because of this paradox that Plotinus uses (note 514: The word τόλμα is commented upon by Atkinson, Ennead V, 1, 4, who conveniently summarizes results of others [Baladi, Rist]. See also Armstrong’s note ad 10 [V, 1], 1 (Transl. V, p. 10) and Bussanich, The One, 82 ff. It has Pythagorean roots and has to be connected with the Dyad, but as Atkinson affirms, Plotinus does not actually call it the Dyad, the commencement of plurality. In 9 (VI, 9), 5, 29 Plotinus needs the idea of τόλμα (here τολμήσας) to make plausible that what had the audacity to stand away from the One, cannot, of course, be the One itself. In 10 (V, 1), 1, 4 its meaning is more negative, for there τόλμα is the root of all evil for the soul. In 9 (Vl, 9), 5, 29 it concerns the mind and does not display this negative attitude. The mind is just called the most precious thing in Being. Plotinus’ readers, following the chronological order, know nothing sofar about the audacity of the mind or the soul. With Bussanich (The One, 82) I disagree that the statement in 9 (VI, 9), 5, 29 should represent a bolder remark that Plotinus’ utterance ‘that it would have been better for Intellect not to have desired all things (30 [III, 8, 35-36]’. We must warm against overinterpretation. To ascribe to 9 (VI, 9), 5, 29 pessimistic tones is overinterpretation. In 11 (V, 2), 2, 5-7 τολμηρότατον is the characteristic of the soul which dares to move from the One as far away as possible, which makes it most stupid. I can leave aside here the confrontation with Gnostic τόλμα. I think that Rist (Monism, 241) knows too much when writing that the passage 5, 29 “does not mean that it recklessly broke away, but that it has ‘faced up’ to living apart after its generation – indeed it had no option”. Armstrong, Gnosis, 117, denies the presence of a paradox: “that the ultimate responsibility for τόλμα lies with the One or the Good itself. And if it originates in the Good, it cannot be bad”. The method of explaining away is doing the work for Plotinus, who never suggested anything of the kind. Moreover, even then the paradox remains or is even worse, for in that case the Good is responsible for what in fact is said to be wrong (10 [V, I], 1, 4). Plotinus treated the problem of the birth of the mind for the first time in 7 (V, 4), in 10 (V, l), 7 he will return to this issue, in 9 (VI, 9), 5, 29 he touches it only in passing.

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  • Luciana Santoprete
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    • Commentaire au Traité 9 (VI, 9), 5, 24-38
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  • Traité 9 (VI, 9), 5, 29