“In transferring to bodies the powers of the unembodied, the school leaves nothing to that Higher order. And yet that it is precisely in virtue of bodiless powers that bodies possess their efficiency. ..
“It wil be admitted that quality and quantity are two different things, that Body is always a thing of quantity but not always a thing of quality: matte is not qualified. This admitted, it will not be denied that quality, being a different thing from quantity, is a different thing from body. … Any thing of mass, on being reduced to fragments, ceases to be what it was, but the quality it possessed remains intact. …Body cannot traverse anything as a whole traversing a whole, but soul does this. It is therefore incorporeal.” ~Plotinus
In that simple fist sentence of the quote, Plotinus says a lot. By saying that the school (any school) leaves nothing to that higher order, he is saying that there is a higher order. He is also saying that the higher order is not physical and doesn’t have a physical body. It is a mistake to give to matter those powers that belong to the higher order of Spirit. This informs us that there are spiritual powers and they are different from material powers.
Plotinus is saying that physical bodies of matter need those spiritual powers of the higher order to function. He says that the temporary cannot be the creator of the temporary, therefore the temporary bodies and objects of matter must be created by spirit which is permanent.
Not only must matter be created by spirit, but it must be created from spirit. The temporary cannot just pop into existence from nothing. So spirit must be used to create matter. In other words, matter is degenerates spirit—the higher order brought down low.
At the Crossroads
The good news, at least for some of us, it that while the third dimension of matter is a low one, it is not the lowest. It is, in fact, the crossroads dimension. It is here that we can make the choice to turn around and return to higher order, or fall even lower. Unfortunately for those who don’t want to be bothered with such things, the default if you don’t make a choice is to continue falling. So it pays to turn to that road less traveled now before it is too late.
Soul is Higher Order
The quote above is from a much longer section where Plotinus is trying to convince his readers that soul cannot be part of the body and must be permanent rather than temporary. In short, soul must be of the higher order. This is completely true.
In spiritual groups online you will frequently see someone ask whether the body came first, or the spirit and soul. They think this is one of those unsolvable questions like “which came first, the chicken or the egg?”. It isn’t. Spirit and soul, being of that higher order, are permanent. They exist outside the limits of time and space. As such, they have no beginning and no end. The physical body does have a beginning and an end. So spirit and soul existed long before your current body, long before and body of matter existed.
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