Proclus’ Elements of Theology Propositions 13-25

Proposition 13

All that is Good is The Unifying Principle of Its Participants, and All Union is Good, and The Good is The Same with The One.

For if The Good is The Preserving Principle of All Beings, (for which reason It is also The Object of Desire for All) but That which is Preservative and Connective of The Essential-Being of every being is The One (for All are Preserved by The One and dispersion removes every being from its Essential-Being).

For The Good Completes and Contains those, in which It is present, according to One Union.

And if The One is Collective and Connective of Beings, then It will Perfect every-being by Its Own Presence.

Accordingly then, it is also Good for All these to be United.

If then, The Union is according to The Good Itself, and Good is The Unifying Principle, then The Simply Good, and The Simply One are The Same, Unifying, and at the same time, Benefiting Beings.

Hence it is certainly the case that, those who, in a certain way, fall away, from The Good, are at the same time, also deprived of The Participation of The One.

And those which become destitute of The One, are “filled” with separation, and are also, in the same way, deprived of The Good.

Accordingly then, Goodness is Union, and Union is Goodness, and The Good is One and The One is Primarily Good.

Proposition 14

All Being is either Immovable or moved. And if moved, it is either moved By-Itself or by-another. And if indeed it is moved By-Itself, it is Self-motive; but if by-another, it is alter-motive.

Accordingly then, All is either Immovable or Self-motive or alter-motive. For it is necessary that since there are beings that are alter-motive, there should also be That which is Immovable, and that between these, there must be That which is Self-motive.

For if all that is alter-motive is moved in consequence of being moved by-another, then the motions will either move in a circle, or they will proceed towards infinity.

But they will neither be moved in a circle, nor will they proceed to infinity, if indeed all Beings are Limited/Defined by Their Source/Principle (P11) and if indeed The Mover is Superior than that which is moved.

(P7) Accordingly then, there will be something Immovable which is The Prime Mover.
But if this be the case, it is also necessary that The Self-motive exist.

For if everything should stop, what would be Primarily Moved at that time?For neither can it be The Immovable (for it is not naturally adapted to be moved), nor the alter-motive (for that is moved by another).

Accordingly then, it remains, that The Self-motive Nature is that which is Primarily Moved.

Since it is This which also Conjoins alter-motive natures to that which is Immovable, by being in a certain way, in the middle, moving, and at the same time, being moved.

For of these, The Immovable, on the one hand, Causes others to move, only, but on the other hand, the alter-motive is moved, only.

Therefore All Being, is either immovable, or self-motive, or alter-motive.


From these considerations likewise, it is clearly manifest, that on the one hand, of those which are moved, The Self-motive is The First; but on the other hand, of those which move, The Immovable is The First.

Proposition 15

All that is Convertive to Itself is Incorporeal. For no body is naturally adapted to revert back to itself.

For if that which is converted to anything is conjoined with that to which it is converted, it is also truly evident that by converting to itself, all the parts of the body, would be conjoined to all the parts of the body.

For this is what it is to be converted to itself, when both that which is converted, and that to which it is converted, become one.

But this, is wholly impossible in the case of the body, and for all that is partible.
For the whole of that which is partible is not conjoined to the whole itself, on account of the separation of the parts; for some are situated in places that are foreign to others.

Accordingly then, no body, is naturally adapted to convert back to itself, so that the whole may be converted to the whole.

Therefore, if anything is Convertive to Itself, it is Incorporeal and Impartible.

Proposition 16

All that Reverts upon Itself, has an Essential-Hyparxis that is Separate from all body.
For if it were in no way inseparable from the body, then, it would not have a certain Energy/Activity that is Separate from body.

For it would be impossible for the energy that proceeds from essential-being to be separable, if the existence/vital-energy of bodies were inseparable from its essential-being.

For in this way the energy would be superior to essential-being; if indeed the essential-being would be in need of bodies, but the energy would be self-sufficient, by being dependant on itself and not on bodies.

For if anything is inseparable according to essential-being, then it is also, in a similar manner, inseparable according to energy, or rather it is in a still greater degree inseparable.

But if this were the case, it would not Revert Upon Itself. For That which Reverts Upon Itself, by being Other than body, has an Energy which is Separate from body, and not either through the body, nor together with the body, if indeed The Energy and That to which The Energy is Directed (The Soul), are, in no way, in need of the body.

Accordingly then, That which Reverts upon Itself, is altogether Separate from bodies.

Proposition 17

All that Moves Itself Primarily, is Convertive to Itself.

For if It Moves Itself, and Its Motive Energy is Directed to Itself, That which Moves, and That which is Moved, are also, at the same time, one.

For either on the one hand, it moves in a part, and on the other hand, it is moved in a part, or, the whole moves and is moved, or on the one hand, the whole moves, but on the other hand, a part is moved, or the contrary.

But if one distinct part is that which moves, but another part is that which is being moved, then, it will not be self-motive, since it will be composed of parts which are not self-motive, while on the one hand, they appear to be self-motive, yet on the other hand, they are not so according to Essential-Being.

If however, The Whole Moves, but the part is moved, or the contrary, then there will be a certain part in both of them which according to oneboth moves, and at the same time, is being moved, And This is That (Soul) which is Primarily Self-motive.

If however, One and The Same Principle Moves and is moved, then It will have The Energy to move towards Itself, by Being Motive of Itself.

But It is Converted to That, towards which It Energizes.

Accordingly then, All that Primarily Moves Itself, is Convertive to Itself.

Proposition 18

Every Chorus/Group Leader, by Its Very Existence, Imparts That which It is Primarily, to The Rest of The Members of The Group.

For if It Imparts by Its Very Existence, and It makes That Participation from Its Own Essential-Being , then on the one hand, that which It Imparts is subordinate to Its Very Own Essential-Hyparxis, (P7)Thus on the other hand, that which It Is, Exists, in a Greater and more Perfect Degree; if indeed Every Reality that Underlies a particular thing, is Superior to that subordinate nature.

Accordingly, that Itself which Pre-exists in The Giver is Superior to that which is given:and either, (that which is given) is that very thing, or it is not that same thing: For The One Is, Primarily, that which the other is secondarily.

For either it is necessary that each one be the same and both have one definition, or, both will have nothing in common nor the same, or, The One is so Primarily, and the other secondarily; But if they had the same definition, The One could not still be The Cause and the other the effect.

Nor could The One Be according to Itself, and the other exist by Participation:Nor The One be The Creator, and the other the creation.

But if they had nothing the same, then the latter could not be inferior to the former, having nothing in common with the existence of the former.

Accordingly then, it remains that The One Primarily Be That which It Bestows, but that the other secondarily receive That which is Bestowed; The One Abundantly-Providing the latter from Its Very Existence.

Proposition 19

All that is Primarily Inherent in a Certain Nature of Beings, Is Present to all The Members that are Arranged according to That Nature, According to One Definition and in The Same Way.

For if It is not Present, in all of them, in The Same Way, but only in some and not in others; ]then it is evident that It was not Primarily in that nature, but that it exists, on the one hand, Primarily in some, but on the other hand, secondarily in others, which sometimes Participate of It.

For that which at one time arises, but at another time, does not, does not exist Primarily, nor according to Itself, But it arises periodically, and is Imparted from some other Source; to those in which it is thus inherent.

Proposition 20

The Essential-Being of Soul is Beyond all bodies, and The Intellectual Nature is Beyond all Souls, and The One is Beyond All Intellectual Underlying-Realities.

For every body is moved by another, thus it is not naturally adapted to move itself, but by participating of Soul, body is moved from within itself, and also lives through Soul; and on the one hand, when Soul is present, the body is, in a certain way, “self-motive”, but on the other hand, when Soul is absent it is alter-motive, by having this nature, which exists according to Itself, and by the Soul having been allotted a Self-motive Essential-Being.

For that in which Soul is present, should Participate in Self-movement; but that energy, which The Soul Herself Imparts by Its Very Presence, Must Itself belong in a far more Primary way to The Soul Herself. (P18)

Accordingly then, The Soul, by being Essentially Self-motive, is Beyond bodies, which become self-motive through Participation.

But if in turn, The Soul moves by Itself, then It belongs to an Order that is Secondary to The Immovable Nature, which also has an Under-lying Reality that is Immovable according to Energy/Activity.

Because, on the one hand, of all the natures that are moved, That which is Self-Motive Leads; but on the other hand, of all the natures that move, The Immovable Leads.

(P14cor) Therefore, if The Soul is moved From-Itself, then It also moves other beings, thus it is necessary that Prior to Her (The Principle of Motion), there must be That which moves Immovably (The Cause of Motion).

But Intellect, by being Immovable, Always/Invariably Moves and Energizes, according to The Same/Sameness.

For The Soul also Participates of Perpetual Intellectual Energy, on account of Intellect.
just as, body, possesses the power of moving itself, on account of Soul.

For if Perpetual Intellection were Primarily in Soul, It would also be inherent in all souls, just as The Self-Motive Power.

Accordingly then, Perpetual Intellection is not Primarily Inherent in Soul. (P19) Thus it is Necessary that Prior to It, there should be That which is Primarily Intellective.

Accordingly then, Intellect is Prior to Souls. And moreover, The One is Prior to Intellect.

For although Intellect is Immovable, yet It is not The One; for It Intellectually Perceives Itself, and Energizes about Itself.

And on the one hand, all Beings in whatever way they may exist, Participate of The One; (P1) but on the other hand, all Beings do not Participate of Intellect.

For those Beings to whom Intellect is present by Participation, must necessarily Participate of Intuitive Knowledge; for which reason, Intellectual Insight is The Primal Source and Cause of Gnostic Energy.

Therefore, The One, is Beyond Intellect.

And there is nothing further Beyond The One, for The One and The Good are The Same; (P13)Accordingly then, The Good, is The Source of All, as it has been demonstrated. (P12)

Proposition 21

Every Order Beginning from a Monad, Proceeds into a Multitude that is Co-ordinate to The Monad, and The Multitude of every Order is Lead-up to One Monad.

For on the one hand, The Monad Contains The Principle/Model/Definition of Source, by Generating a Multitude Akin to Itself:And on which account, One Series and One Whole Order, have a declension into Multitude, Issuing from That Monad.

For there would no longer be an Order, nor a Series, if That Monad remained unprolific, according to Itself.

Thus in turn, Multitude is Lead-up to The One Common Cause of all Co-ordinate Natures.
For That which is The Same in every Multitude, has not Its progression from one of those things in The Multitude.

For that which only exists from one of the many, is not common to all, but it especially possesses the peculiarity of that one alone.

Then, since in every Order there is a certain Communion, Connection, and Sameness Through which some things are said to be, Co-ordinate, but others, of a Different Order; it is clear that The Sameness is Imparted to every Order from One Source.

Accordingly then, in each Order, there is One Monad that is Prior to The Multitude, which Imparts One Definition and Connection to The Natures Arranged in It, both to Each Other, and to The Whole.

For on the one hand, let one be The Cause of another, among those that are of the same series; but on the other hand, That which ranks as The Cause of The One Series, must necessarily be Prior to all (in that series), and all things must be generated by It as being Co-ordinate, not, that each will be a certain particular thing, but that each will Legitimately Belong to this Order.


From this it is indeed evident that both Unity and Multitudeare Innate in The Nature of the body; so that One Nature has Many Natures that are Co-dependent upon It; and also, that many natures proceed from The One Nature that belongs to The Whole.

It also follows, that The Order of Souls Originates from The One Primary Soul, and proceeds with diminution into The Multitude of Souls.

and in turn Leads The Multitude Back to The One Soul, and there is also an Intellectual Monad corresponding to The Intellectual Essential-Hyparxis; and that a Multitude of Intellects Proceed from One Intellect, and are Converted to That, and that The Multitude of Unities, Originate from The One which is Prior to All; and that there is The Regular Order of These Unities to The One.

Accordingly then, after The Primal One, there are The Unities; and after The First Intellect, there are Intellects, and after The First Soul, there are Souls; and after The Whole of Nature, there are Natures.

Proposition 22

Every Being that Subsists Primarily and Fontally in each Order is One, and is neither two, nor more than two, but All are Only Begotten.

For, if it be possible, let there be two beings (which subsist Primarily and Fontally); since there will be the same impossibility if they are many more.

Therefore, either each of these two are Primarily that which it is said to be, or the combination from both.

Thus on the one hand, if it is from The Combination of both, It will again be One, and there will not be two things that are first.

but on the other hand, if it is either of the two, then either one is derived from the other, and, each is not Primary (but only One is Prime), or, both are Equally Primary.

But if they are Equally Primary, then neither of them will still be Primary.

For if either is Primary, then this distinction makes the one not Equal to the other, and thus, why would that one still be in The Same Order? For That which Subsists Primarily, is nothing other, than that which it is said to be.

But each of these that are distinct, are and at the same time are not, that which it is said to be.

Therefore, on the one hand, if they differ from each other, but on the other hand, they do not differ Primarily, insofar as they are That which they are said to be(for This Primarily undergoes that which is The Same).

Thus neither will be Primary, but That, by Participating of which, both are said to exist Primarily.


Thus from these considerations it is indeed clear that That which Subsists Primarily, is One, Alone, and that there are not two primary beings, or more; and that The First Intellect, is One, Alone, and that there are not two first intellects; and that The First Soul, is One.

This is also the case with each of The Ideas; such as Prime Beauty, and Prime Equality.
And in a similar way for all The Primary Beings.

Thus also, with respect to The Idea of Living-Being, and The Idea of Man; The First of each, is One; for the demonstration is the same.

Proposition 23

All that is Imparticipable Bestows an Underlying-Reality from Itselfto Those that are Participated, and All Participated Underlying-Realties are Led/Drawn-up toAn Imparticipable Hyparxis.

For on the one hand, That which is Imparticipable has The Relation of A Monadby Being Of-Itself, and from no another, and by Being Exempt of Participants, It Generates Those that are Able to be Participated.

For either it remains barren according to itself, and thus possesses nothing honorable; or It Gives Something from Itself, and on the one hand, that which receives, Participates, whereas That which is Given, exists in a Participated way.

Thus All that is Participated, (by becoming a certain characteristic of that particular by which it is Participated) is Secondaryto That which is Similarly Present to All, and which Fills All Beings from Itself.

For on the one hand, that which is in one particular is not in the others; but on the other hand, That which is Similarly Present to all, in order that It may Illuminate All, is not in any one thing, but is Prior to all.

For it is either in all or in one of all, or it is Prior to all.

But that indeed which is in all, by being distributed into all, will again require that which should Unite that which is distributed; And all things will no longer participate of The Same Principle, but this will partake of one, and that of another characteristic, belonging the one being divided.

But if it is in one of all, it will no longer be Common to all, but only to one thing.
Thus if it is Common to Those Able to Participate, and The Same to All, it will be Prior to All.

But This is That which is Imparticipable.

Proposition 24

All that Participates is in need of to That which is Being Participated; and That which is Being Participated is in need of that which is Imparticipable.

For on the one hand, that which Participates, is imperfect prior to its Participation; but on the other hand, it becomes Perfect by That which it Participates, and soit is entirely Secondary to That which is Participated, insofar as it is Perfected by Participating.

For insofar as it was imperfect, it was in need of Thatwhich it Participates; and which makes It Perfect.

Whereas That which is Participated, by belonging to a Certain Being, and not to All, is in turn allotted a Hyparxis that is Subordinate, to That which belongs to All, and not to a Certain One: For The One is more Akin to The Cause of All, but the otheris less Akin to It.

Accordingly then, on the one hand, The Imparticipable is The Leaderof Those Beings which are Participated, but on the other hand, These are The Leaders of those who Participate.

For in short, as it appears, on the one hand, That which is Prior to The Many is One; but That which is being Participated by The Many, is One and at the same time not-One; whereas all that Participate are not-One, and at the same time One.

Proposition 25

All that is Perfect, Proceeds to The Generation of Those whichIt has The Power To Produce, Itself Imitating The One Source of Wholes.

For just like That, which through Her Own Goodnessis The Unifying Underlying-Reality of All Beings, (For just as The Good and The One are The Same, so also are The Idea of The Good and The Idea of The One The Same ); So also, Those that Follow after That, through Their Own Innate Perfection, Hasten to the Generation of other beings that are in need of Their Own Essential-Being.

For Their Perfection is a certain portion of The Good, and so That which is Perfect, insofar as It is Perfect, Imitates The Good.

But That Good is That which Gives Subsistence to All Beings:Just as, in The Same Way, That which is Perfect, is Productive of those Beings which It is able to Produce, according to Nature.

And on the one hand, That which is more Perfect, by as much more Perfect It may be, By so much more numerous are The Progeny of which It is The Cause.

For That which is more Perfect, Participates in a greater degree of The Good: But if this is the case, It is nearer to The Good; and if this is also the case, It is nearer to The Cause of All; de touto suggenesteron tw aitiw pantwn: and in turn, if this is the case, It is The Cause of a greater number of Beings.

But the other hand, that which is more imperfect, By as much more imperfect it may be, By so much less numerous are the effects of which it is the cause.

For by being more remote from That which Produces All, it gives subsistence to fewer effects.
For on the one hand, That Nature which Sustains, or Adorns, or Perfects, or Connects, or Vivifies, or Fabricates All things; which Brings forth a greater number of each of These Effects, is more Akin; whereas on the other hand, that nature which brings fortha lesser number of each of These Effects, is more remote.


From these things, surely it is evident, that the nature which is most remote from The Source of All, is unprolific, and is “the cause” of nothing whatsoever.

For if it generated anything, and had something posterior to itself, it is evident that it would no longer be most remote, but that which it produced would be even more remote, from That Source, but it would be nearer to Productive Power, and besides that, it would imitate, The Productive Cause, of All Beings.


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