Matter and the One in Proclus
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The purpose of this thesis is to describe the relation between matter and the One in the philosophy of Proclus, and to discover how, by their relation, all things exist. The difficulty of this task is that matter and the One are not ‘things.’ They are beyond being, and both do not exist. Even still, the ‘nothings’ of matter and the One are also potentially all things, and this power is from their non-existence. The One is nothing in excess (καθ’ὑπεροχήν) and matter nothing in lack (καθ’ἔλλειψιν), and the relation between these two nothings produces the affirmation that is all being. However, matter and the One as principles can only be related through a mediator which must pass through every moment of negation and affirmation and bind them together. This mediator is soul. It is soul alone who brings together negation and affirmation in the self-constitution of its own life. Soul, which is the principle of all generation, reaches out to both extremes and draws the imperfect power of matter into communion with the perfect power of the One. For this reason, as this thesis argues, the relation between matter and the One in Proclus is Soul, who makes nothing into a principle and abolishes it again, binding all things together and converting ineffability into moments in the process which is soul’s own self-constitution.