Proclus’ Elements of Theology Propositions 26-50

Proposition 26

Every Cause that is Productive of others, while Abiding Itself of Itself, Produces Those Natures Subsequent to Itself, and those that are successive.

For if It imitates The One, but That, Immovably Provides The Underlying-Reality to Those that are subsequent to Itself, so also in a similar way, Every Productive Cause will possess The Causeof Production.

For if through motion, the motion will be in It, and by being moved, It will no longer still be The One, in consequence of being changed from The One.

But if motion subsists together with It, it will also be from The One, and either The One is an unlimited progression, or, The One will Produce Immovably.

Thus, All That Produces will imitate The One and The Producing Cause of Wholes.
For everywhere, out of That which is Primary, originates that which is not Primary:and hence, That which is Productive of certain subsequent naturesoriginates from That which is Productive of All.

And The Whole of Productive Natures, Abide in Themselves, while subsequent natures are produced from Them.

Accordingly then, The Productive Causes Abide Undiminished, while those that are secondary are produced from Them:For that which is in any respect diminished, is unable to Abide, such as It Is.

Proposition 27

Every Productive Cause, Pan to paragonon account of Its Perfection and Superabundance of Power, is Productive of Those that are Secondary.

For if it were not productive, through Its Perfection, but instead through a lessening of its power, then it would not be able to keep its own order, in an immovable way.

For that which imparts existence to another through loss and by weakening, does so, through its own mutation and change of quality.

But on the other hand, every Productive Cause, Remains such as It Is:and by Remaining/Abiding in this way, that which is subsequent to It proceeds into existence.

Accordingly then, by Being Full and Perfect, It Provides Underlying Reality to Those that are Secondary In an Immoveable Way and without being diminished, by Being The Very One That It Is, and by neither being changed into them, nor diminished.

For that which is produced, is not a distribution into parts of The Producing Cause; since this is neither appropriate to The Generating Energy, nor to Generating Causes.

Nor is it a transition:For It does not become the matter of that which proceeds; since It Remains/Abides such as It Is, Therefore, That which Generates, is Firmly Established and Undiminished, through Prolific Power, It multiplies Itself, and from Itself, It Imparts a Secondary Underlying Reality.

Proposition 28

Every Productive Cause Provides Underlying Reality to Those that are Like Itself, Prior to those that are unlike Itself.

For seeing that The Producing Cause is necessarily Superior than Those that are produced, thus on the one hand, They can never Simply Be and Be Equal in Power with Each other.

But on the other hand, if They are not The Same and Equal, but different and unequal, Then They are either entirely separate from each other, or they are both United and separated.

But if on the one hand, They are entirely separate, They will not accord with each other, and in no way, will that effect which proceeds from The Cause, sympathize with It.

Hence neither will the one Participate of The Other, by being entirely different from It:But it is certainly necessary that That which is caused, must Participate of Its Cause, by possessing Its Essential-Being from That Source.

But if, that which is produced, is in one way separated from, but in another way united toits Productive Cause, then on the one hand, if it undergoes/experiences each of these equally, Essential-being, in the same way, from The Productive Cause.

But, if it is more distinct/separate, than Akin with The Productive Cause, that which is generated will be more foreign to That by which it is generated, and will be more un-harmonic rather than being Harmonically Adapted with It, and it will be more unsympathetic, instead of being Sympathetic with It.

And therefore, if those who proceed from their Causes are Akin to Them, according to Their Very Being, and sympathize with Them, then They also naturally depend upon Them, and Aspire to Conjoin with Them, by aspiring after The Good, and by hitting The Mark of their Aspirationthrough The Cause of Their Very Being.

Then surely it is evident, that Those that are produced, are United in a greater degreeto their Productive Cause, than they are separated from Them.

But Those that are more United, are more Like than unlike to Those to which they are especially United.

Therefore Every Productive Cause Provides Underlying-Reality to Those Like Itself, Prior to those that are unlike Itself.

Proposition 29

Every Procession is Perfected through The Likeness of Those that are Secondary, to Those that are Primary.

For if The Productive Cause Provides Underlying-Reality to Those that are Like, Prior to those that are unlike, then The Likeness that is derived from The Productive Causes, Provides Underlying-Reality to Those that are produced.

For Those that are Like are Perfected through Likeness, and not through unlikeness.
Therefore, if The Procession Preserves That Sameness, of that which is generated to That which Generates, in Its Underlying-Reality, and manifests That Character in a secondary degree, in that which is subsequent , such as The Productive Cause is in a Primary Degree; then it possesses Its Underlying-Reality through Likeness.

Proposition 30

All that is Produced from a certain Cause, without an Intermediary, Both Abides in Its Productive Cause, and Proceeds from It.

For if every Procession is Perfected, while Those that are Primary Remain Unchanged, since Those that are Like Receive Their Underlying-Reality, Prior to those that are unlike, then That which is Produced Abides in Its Producing Cause in a certain way.

For that which entirely proceeds, will have nothing The Same with The Abiding Cause, but will be entirely separated from It; but if It has something in Common and United to It, then It will also Abide in Its Cause, just as That Abides in Itself.

But if It Simply Abides, and does not proceed, Then It will not in any way differ from Its Cause, nor will it be generated different from That which Abides. But if it is separate, while The Cause Abides, then It has Proceeded from The Cause, Accordingly then, on the one hand, insofar as it has something that Is The Same with The Productive Cause, That which is Produced Abides in It; but on the other hand, insofar as It is Different, It Proceeds from It.

Then, by Being Like, it is in a certain way at the same time, both Same and Different.
Accordingly then, It Abides, and at the same time, Proceeds, and in no way is The One separate from The Other.

Proposition 31

Every Being that Proceeds from a certain Cause according to Essential-beingis Converted to That Cause from which It Proceeds.

For if on the one hand, It were to Proceed, but on the other hand, it were not to Return to The Cause of This Progression, Then, It would not Aspire after Its Cause.

For all that Aspires/desires/wants/yearns, is converted to the object of its Aspiration.
But certainly, All Aspire after The Good, (P1)and the attainment of That, is through The Proximate Cause of Each Being.

Accordingly then, Each Being also aspires after its own Cause. For The Well-Being of each one is derived from That through which its existence is also derived.

But The Aspiration is First Directed to That, Through which Its Well-Being is derived.
but The Conversion is Directed to Thatwhich, The Aspiration is First Directed.

Proposition 32

All Conversion is brought to Completion through The Likeness of Those that are Converted to That to which They are Converted.

For Every Being that is Converted, hastens in every way to be Conjoined and Aspires after Communion and also Aspires after Being Bound Together in Union with It.

But The Likeness Binds-Together Every Being, just as the unlikeness separates and disjoins.

Therefore, if The Conversion is a certain Communion and Contact, whereas all Communion and all Contact are attained through Likeness, Then, all Conversion will be brought to Completion, through Likeness.

Proposition 33

All that Proceeds from a Certain Cause and is Converted to It, Possesses A Circular Energy.

For if It Reverts to That, from which It Proceeds, It Conjoins The Beginning to The End, and The Motion is One and Continuous; The One Motion (The Proceeding), is derived from That which Abides, but The Other Motion (The Returning) is directed to The Abiding Cause: Surely then from which Source, All Proceed in a Circle from Causes to Causes.

Thus Greater and lesser Circles, are formed of Conversions, some are directed to The Natures proximately placed above (Those that are Converted), but others are directed to Those still Higher, and even so far as to The Beginning of all: For All Beings Proceed from That , and are Converted to That.

Proposition 34

Every Being that is Converted according to Nature, makes Its Conversion to That, From which It also Maintains The Procession of Its Proper Underlying-Reality.

For if Every Being is Converted according to Nature, Then, It will possess Its Aspiration according to Essential-Being, that is Directed to That to which It is Converted.

But if this is so, Its Being is Wholly Dependant upon That towards which It makes Its Essential Conversion, and It is Essentially The Same with that:on which account it also has a Natural Sympathy with That, by Being Essentially Akin.

But if this is so, either The Being of both is The Same, or the one is derived from The Other, or else both have been allotted their Likeness from Another One.

But if on the one hand, The Being of both is The Same, how is the one Naturally Converted to the other?But if both are from Another One, then it will be Natural for both to be Converted to That One.

Accordingly then, it remains that the one derives its Being from That Other.
But if this is so, The Progression will also be from that whose Conversion Proceeds according to Nature.


From these considerations, it is truly evident that Intellect is The Object of Desire for All, and that All Beings Proceed from Intellect, and even The Whole Kosmos, even if It is Eternal, It still possesses Its Essential-Being from Intellect.

And It is not in any way prevented from Proceeding from Intellect because It is Eternal.
And neither by This is It prevented from being Converted: Because It is Always in Order.
Therefore It both Always Proceeds and is It Eternal according to Essential-Being, and It Always Reverts and is Indissoluble according to Order.

Proposition 35

Every Being that is Caused, Abides in, Proceeds from, and Reverts to, Its Own Cause.

For if Every Being solely Abided, then it would Differ in no way from Its Cause, by being without any Distinction: For Progression is, at the same time, a Distinction.

But if it solely proceeded, then it would be un-conjoined and un-sympathetic to its cause, But if it were solely converted, how can that which does not have its essential-being from its cause, make its essential conversion to that which is foreign to its nature?

But if it was to abide and proceed, but was not converted, how will there still be a Natural Desire for one and all for Well-Being and The Good, and Its Restoration to Its Generating Cause?But if it were to proceed and be converted, but were not to abide; then by being apart from its cause, how will it hasten to be conjoined with it, if it was un-conjoined prior to its separation?

For if it had been Conjoined, then it would have altogether Abided in That.

But if it should abide and be converted, but should not proceed, how can that which is not separated be able to revert? For All that is Converted, Resembles That which is being Restored into That from which It is Essentially divided or that the extremes should be bound to each other, or that the middle be conjoined with each of the extremes, or that all be conjoined together.

Thus it remains that All must Abide in Their Cause, Proceed from, and be Converted to It.

Proposition 36

Of All Those that are multiplied according to Procession; The Primary are more Perfect than Those that are Secondary, and The Secondary, than those that are subsequent to them, and in the same way for all those that are successive.

For if The Processions Distinguish/Separate Their Productions from Their Causes, and there are dependencies of The Secondary in respect to The First, (P28) Then on the one hand, The Primary in Proceeding, are more Conjoined with Their Causes, being The Offspring from Those Causes Themselves.

While on the other hand, The Secondary are more remote from Their Causes, and in a similar way for all those that are successive.

But Those that are Nearer and more Akin to Their Causes, are more Perfect(For Causes are even more Perfect than Those that are Caused) (P7) But those which are more remote are more imperfect, by being unlike their causes.

Proposition 37

Of All Those who are Perpetually Sustained according to Conversion, Those that are Primary are more imperfect than Those that are Secondary, and Those that are Secondary than those that are successive; whereas The Last, are The Most Perfect.

For if The Conversions come into being according to The Circular, (P33) and The Conversion is Directed to That from which The Progression is derived, (P34) but Progression is from That which is Most Perfect, (P36) accordingly then, The Conversion is Directed to The Most Perfect.

And if That First Term of The Conversion begins from The Last Term of The Progression and furthermore, The Progression Terminates in that which is most imperfect, then The Conversion will also begin from the most imperfect.

Accordingly then, on the one hand, in Those that are Sustained according to Conversion, The Primary are Those that are most imperfect, while on the other hand, The Last are The Most Perfect.

Proposition 38

All that Proceeds from a certain Multitude of Causes, is also Converted through as many Causes as Those are, through which It Proceeds:as Those through which The Progression exists.

For seeing that each of these comes to be through Likeness, (P29 & P32) then on the one hand, that which Proceeds Immediately from a certain Cause, is also Immediately Reverted to It (For Here, The Likeness was without an Intermediary).

Whereas That which is in need of an Intermediary in Its Procession, is also in need of an Intermediary according to Its Conversion (For it is necessary that each being come to be according to the same terms) (P34)

So that It will Revert First to That which is Intermediate, and afterwards, to That which is Superior to The Intermediate Term.

Accordingly then, by as many terms, as The Existence of each Being comes to be, by that many terms, does Their Well-Being also come to be; and the other way around.

Proposition 39

All that Is, is either Converted Essentially Alone, or Vitally, or also Gnostically.

For either it only Possesses Being from Its Cause, or Life together with Being, or It has received The Power of Intuitive-Knowledge from Thence.

Therefore on the one hand, insofar as It Is Alone, then It makes Its Conversion Essentially: But on the other hand, insofar as it also possesses Life, then It makes Its Conversion Vitally: but insofar as It has Intuitive-Knowledge, It makes Its Conversion Gnostically.

For in Such a Way as It Proceeds, such also is The Way of Its Conversion, and The Measures of Its Conversion are defined by The Measures according to Its Progression.

And therefore, The Aspiration is to some, according to Being Itself, Alone, by This Desire, Being an Aptitude to The Participation of Causes; but to others it is according to Life, being a Motion, to Superior Natures; and to others, it is according to Intuitive-Knowledge, by Being a Unific-Vision of The Goodness of Causes.

Proposition 40

Of All Those that Proceed from Another Cause, Those that Possess an Underlying-Reality from Themselves, Also Lead by Possessing a Self-Substantiating Essential-Being.

For if All that is Self-Sufficient, either according to Essential-Being, or according to Energy, is Superior to that which depends upon another Cause; (P9) But That which Produces Itself, Gives Rise to The Production of Its Own Being, by Being Self-Sufficient according to Essential-Being.

Thus the self-sufficient is more Akin to The Good; (P9) but Those that are More-Akin are also More-Alike to Their Causes, have an Underlying-Reality from That Cause that is Prior to Those that are unlike. (P28)

Accordingly then, Those that are Produced by Themselves, and are Self-subsistent, are more Ancient than those which proceed into existence entirely from another cause.

For either there will be nothing that is Self-substantiating, or else The Good is such as this, or Those that First arise from The Good.

But if, on the one hand, Self-Substantiation does not exist, then there will be nothing that is Self-Sufficient in Reality.

For neither will It be in The Good (since That, being The One is Superior to Self-Sufficiency (P10) and It is also The Good Itself, and not That which possesses The Good)(P13 & P8).

Neither will It be in those that are subsequent to The Good (For all these will be in need of Another, by belonging only to That which is Prior than itself).

But if The Good were Self-Subsistent, by virtue of Producing Itself from Itself, then It would be Not-one:For That which Proceeds from The One is Not-one.

For It would Proceed from Itself, if It were Self-Subsistent; so that The One, would be at the same time, One and Not-one.

Accordingly then, it is necessary, that The Self-Subsistent must be Subsequent to The First.

And it is evident that It will be Prior to those that entirely proceed from other Causes.
For Self-Sufficiency is more Nobel than these, and It is More-Akin to The Good, as it has been demonstrated.

Proposition 41

On the one hand, All that have Their Being in-another, is entirely produced by another; whereas on the other hand, All that Is In-Itself, Is Self-Subsistent.

For on the one hand, that which is in-another and is in need of an Underlying-Realitycan never be generative of itself.

since That which is Naturally Adapted to Generate Itself, does not need another Foundation, by Being Self-Contained and Self-Preserved, apart from any other Underlying-Reality.

But on the other hand, That which Abides In-Itself, and is able to be Established Of-Itself, is Self-Productive, Itself Proceeding To-Itself, and Is Connective Of-Itself, and thus in the same way It is In-Itself, as That which is Caused, is in Its Cause.

For it is not In-Itself, as in place, nor as in a subject; For place/space is also different from that which is in place/space, and that which underlies/subtends in the subject, belongs to that which underlies/subtends.

But This, which is In-Itself is The Same with Itself; Accordingly then, it exists In-Itself in a Self-Substantiating Way, in the same way as, That which is from a certain Cause is in That Cause.

Proposition 42

All that is Self-Subsistent is Convertive to Itself.

For if it Proceeds From-Itself, It will also make Its Conversion To-Itself.
For to Each of Those from which The Progression is derived, There is a Co-Ordinate Conversion that is also Directed to This Procession. (P31)

For if it only proceeded from itself, but having proceeded was not converted to itself, it would never Aspire after Its Proper Good, and That Which Its Proper Good is Able to Impart to Itself.

But Every Cause is Able to Impart, to That which Proceeds from It, together with The Essential-Being which It Imparts:The Well-Being Joined-Together with The Essential-being which it also Imparts.

So that, It will Impart This to Itself. Accordingly then, This is The Proper Good to That which is Self-Subsistent.

But This will not be the object of desire to that which is not converted to itself.
But not desiring this, it will not aim at it, and not aiming at it, it will be imperfect, and not be Self-Sufficient.

But, seeing that Self-Sufficiency and Perfection are Proper to Anything, They must Be Proper to That which is Self-Subsistent.

Therefore, It Will Indeed Aim-at /Aspire-after Its Proper Good, and Attain it and It be Converted to Itself.

Proposition 43

All that is Convertive to Itself is Self-Subsistent.

For if It is Converted to Itself according to Nature, Then it is also Perfect in The Conversion to Itself, and so It will Possess Essential-being from Itself.

For to Each Being, Their Essential Progression is also from Thatto which Their Conversion according to Nature is Directed. (P34)

Therefore, if It Imparts Well-Being to Itself, it will also without a doubt, Impart Being to Itself, and It will be The Master of Its Own Underlying-Reality.

Accordingly then, That which is Able to Revert to Itselfis Self-Subsistent.

Proposition 44

All that is Convertive to Itself according to Energy, is also Converted to Itself Essentially.

For if on the one hand, it is able to be converted to itself in energy, but on the other hand, no conversion arises in its essential-being, then it will be superior according to energy rather than according to essence, the one being convertive, but the other, un-convertive.

For That which is Preservative of Itself, is Superior to That which is solely Preserved by Another (P9) and Being Self-Preservative is more Perfect than That which is solely Preserved by Another.

Accordingly then, if it is a certain Convertive Energy Proceeding from Essential-Being that is Directed to Itself, then It will also be allotted a Convertive Essential-being, so that it will not only Energize towards Itself, but will also Be Of-Itself and From-Itself, Self-Maintained and Self-Perfected.

Proposition 45

All that is Self-Subsistent is Un-generated.

For if it is generated, then on the one hand, because it is generated, it will be imperfect of itself, and it will be in need of perfection from Another.

But on the other hand, because It Produces Itself of Itself, It is Perfect and Self-Sufficient.
For all that is generated by anotheris perfected by that which imparts generation to it that does not yet exist.

For generation is also a path from the imperfect to its Opposite:The Perfect.
But if Something Produces Itself, It Is Always Perfect, by Always Being Present with The Cause of Itself, or rather by Being Innate/Inherent in That which is Perfective of Its Essential-Being.

Proposition 46

All that is Self-Substantive is Incorruptible.

For if it were to be corrupted, it would abandon itself, and it would be apart from itselfThis however, is impossible.

For by Being One, It is, at the same time, Cause and That which is Caused. But all that is corrupted, by forsaking The Cause of Itself, becomes corrupted.

For by as much as It should Sustain/Maintain to That which Contains and Preserves It, each one is Contained and Preserved.

But That which is Self-Substantive never abandons Its Cause, just as It does not abandon Itself; for It is The Cause of Itself.

Therefore All that is Self-Substantive is Incorruptible.

Proposition 47

All that is Self-Substantive is Impartible and Simple.

For if that which is self-substantive were partible, then it would of itself, have an underlying-reality that is partible, and the whole will itself be converted to itself, and all will be in all of itself.

This however is impossible. Accordingly then, that which is Self-Subsistent is Impartible.
But certainly, it is also Simple.

For if it were composite, then the one in it, will be worse, but the other, better, and the better will be derived from the worse, and the worse from the better, if indeed, the whole proceeds from the whole of itself.

But even more, it would not be Self-Sufficient, by being in need of those elements, out of which it is composed.

Therefore, All that is Self-Substantive, will be That Very One which is Simple.

Proposition 48

All that is not Eternal is either a composite, or has Its Underlying-Reality in Another.

For either it is dissoluble into those elements out of which it is composed, and is entirely composed from those elements into which it is dissolved; or it is in need of an Underlying-Reality, and by abandoning that Underlying-Reality, it departs into non-being.

But if It is Simple and in Itself, it will be indissoluble, and incapable of being dissolved/dissipated.

Proposition 49

All that is Self-Substantive is Eternal.

For there are two modes according to which it is necessary that anything could not be Eternal; the one which arises from composition, and the other which arises from those that exist in another. (P48)

However, That which is Self-Substantive, is not a composite, but Simple; (P47) nor in-another, but In-Itself. (P41)

Hence It is Eternal.

Proposition 50

All that is Measured by Time, either according to Essential-being, or according to Energy, is in The Process of Generation, in so far as it is Measured by Time.

For if it is Measured by Time, it will be proper for it To Be, or to Energize according to Time, so also with The Was and The Will Be, which Differ from each other: For if The Was, and The Will Be, were The Same according to Number, then nothing would have happened to them by The Procession of Time which always contains a prior part distinguishable from a later part.

If then, The Was and The Will Be are Different, that which is measured by Time is accordingly becoming or rising into existence, but never Truly Is, but Proceeds-together-with Time, by which, it is Measured, coming to be by tending towards Being, but does not remain, in The Same State of Being, but is always receiving, another and another, To Be, just as the now in Time is always another and another, through The Progression of Time.

Accordingly then, it is not a Simultaneous Whole, by existing in the dispersion of temporal extension, and is co-extended with Time: This, however, is to possess existence in non-being: For that which is coming-to-be, is not, that which it is to become.
Accordingly then, existence, such as this, is Generation.

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