Fragments that Remain of the Lost Writings of Proclus, by Thomas Taylor, , at sacred-texts.com
Plato says, "that Divinity imparted to the world a motion adapted to a spherical body, viz. a circular motion, which especially subsists about intellect and wisdom." If; therefore, he grants that this motion is adapted to the world, he will also grant that heaven, or the universe, naturally resolves in a circle; but if it has this motion according to nature, we must say, that neither a motion upward, nor a motion downward, [nor a progressive motion,] * pertain to it. These, however, are the motions of the sublunary elements. † It is necessary, therefore, that heaven should be exempt from the rectilinear
motions of [sublunary] bodies. Hence, it is neither fire, nor earth, nor any one of the bodies which are situated between these; nor is a celestial body light or heavy, if that which tend downwards is heavy, and that which tend upward is light; but if that which is moved in a circle is no one of these elements, it will be something different from them. If, therefore, generation and corruption, are among the number of things contrary to each other; but things which have contrary motions according to nature, are contraries, and one thing is contrary to one, (for this is said by Plato in the Protagoras,) — if this be the case, these things, indeed, will be corrupted and generated; but a celestial body will be unbegotten and incorruptible. If, however, these [i.e. the celestial and sublunary wholes] are in their parts, indeed, generated and corrupted, but the wholes always exist according to nature, remaining in their proper places, and if the world consists of these, viz. of heaven, and the wholes of the four elements;this being the case, the world will be without generation, and without corruption. Such things, therefore, as are in any way whatever generated and corrupted, are the effects, and not parts * of
the world, the Gods which it contains (as Plato says) * borrowing parts from the world, and the genera of efficient causes, as things which are
again to be restored to it. These, however, have the appearance of being parts of the universe, which are comprehended in it; though other effects also are comprehended in their proper causes, and are connected by them. Hence, if the world consists of things which are unbegotten and incorruptible, it will itself be unbegotten and incorruptible in a much greater degree. For the whole would be less excellent than its parts, if it indeed had generation and corruption, but the parts, on the contrary, were without generation, and without corruption; though it is Plato himself who says, that the whole is more excellent than the parts. For the whole is not for the sake of the parts, but the parts are for the sake of the whole. But that for the sake of which a thing exists, [or the final cause,] is better than those things which subsist for the sake of the final cause. The elements, however, are parts of that which has its composition from them. And hence, that which consists of the elements, is more excellent than the elements of which it consists. If, therefore, heaven, or the universe, consists of unbegotten and incorruptible elements, it will also itself be unbegotten and incorruptible. And this likewise is demonstrated from Platonic principles.
60:* The words within the brackets are added from the version of Mahotius, whose version of this sentence is, "Quare si à natura motum hunc obtinet, neque eum motum, quo sursùm itur, neque eum, quo deorsum descenditur, neque progressionem ipsi convenire dixerimus." But the Greek is, ει δε ταυτην εχει κατα φυσιν κινησιν, ουτ᾽ αν την επι το ανω κινησιν, ουτε την επι το κατω φαιμεν αυτοῳ προσηεκειν. It appears, therefore, that immediately after κατω, it is requisite to insert the words ουτε την κατα πορωειαν.
60:† This sentence shews the necessity of the above emendation. For the motion of fire and air is upward, of earth downward, and the motion of water is progressive.
61:* "Part" (says Proclus, in his Commentary on the Parmenides of Plato,) "has a manifold signification; for we call that p. 62 a part, which is in a certain respect the same with the whole, and which possesses all such things partially, as the whole does totally. Thus, we call each of the multitude of intellects, a part of the intellect which ranks as a whole, though all forms exist in each; and we say, that the inerratic sphere is a part of the universe, though this sphere also comprehends all things in itself, yet in a manner different from that in which they are comprehended by the world. In the second place, we denominate that to be a part which gives completion to a certain thing. Thus, we say, that the whole [celestial and sublunary] spheres, are parts of the universe, and that the ratiocinative power, and the power by which we opine, are parts of the soul; the former of which give completion to the universe, but the latter to the soul. In addition to these, likewise, we denominate, according to a common signification, every thing a part, which in any way whatever is co-arranged with certain things, in order to effect the consummation of one thing. For thus it may be said, that each of us is a part of the world, not that the universe, so far as it is the universe, receives its completion through its; for neither would the universe become imperfect, by the destruction of any one of us; but because we also are co-arranged with the parts of the universe that rank as wholes, and are governed in conjunction with all other things, and are, in short, in the world as in one animal, are ourselves parts of the universe, and give completion to it, not so far as it exists, but so far as it is prolific." What is here said, therefore, by Proclus, about the natures which are generated and corrupted in the world, are parts of it, according to the last signification of part, as above explained.
62:* See the Note on Argument the Fourteenth.