A Quotation from Proclus’ Commentary on Plato’s TIMAEUS, Book 4

I came across this passage this morning in the fifth the volume of the translation of Proclus’ Commentary on Plato’s Timaeus, Book 4: Proclus on Time and the Stars. I really liked this passage because it’s yet another one that backs up the ideas about receptivity within theurgy and worship, or the concept that highly effective ritual involves ensuring that one has an uninterrupted channel to the Gods via the use of symbols, tokens, hymns, and prayers that evoke what is special about that God and help the worshipper’s mind focus on lim. The passage also hooks into similar statements from elsewhere in Proclus and in earlier Platonists like Plotinus and (especially!) Iamblichus.

Here is the text:

You can also see from this how Plato imparts [to the reader] the three causes of participation (metousia) in those goods that proceed into our cosmos from the Father. The most primary [among these causes] is that which results from the power of the efficient cause (for it is he [sc. the Demiurge] who now produces time, desiring all the first, middle, and final goods because of the selflessness that is proper to him and his surplus of fertility). Second [among these three causes] is the aptitude of the thing that is to receive [the procession from the efficient cause] (for the one who bestows the good things is then delighted when the thing that has a share [in these goods] is aptly disposed to serve as a receptacle for them). The third cause is the commensurability (symmetria) that arises from both and, as it were, their symbiosis (sympnoia) and concord (symphônia). After all, it is for this reason that — even though the gods always hold out to everyone all the good things that are coordinate with the particular essences of those [gods] — nonetheless not all of these goods are always received, because we failed to possess the aptitude or are in a state somehow incommensurate with the power of the things that are offered. If, then, we want the divine delight in us — since it is surely natural for it to delight and rejoice on account of us, even if it is always disposed in the same manner — we must make ourselves aptly disposed to be a receptacle for those things that are good for us which are extended by him to us, lest the gift of god should be inoperative upon us, in spite of its being of such a nature as to not be hindered by anything. These, however, are matters for a different undertaking — one worthy of a more thorough examination. For the moment, let us see how the universe has become more similar to its paradigm with the birth of time.

Proclus, Commentary on Plato’s TIMAEUS Book 4, trans. Baltzly, 7.6-27

Confusingly, Book 4 is Volume 5 in the Cambridge translation of the Timaeus commentary.

Enjoy! Also, I tried automatically cross-posting this to Twitter, so I’m curious to know if it worked, lol.


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