‘In Attaining Likeness to God’

“Since Evil is here, “haunting this world by necessary law,” and it is the Soul’s design to escape from Evil, we must escape hence. But what is this escape? “In attaining Likeness to God,” we read. And this is explained as “becoming just and holy, living by wisdom,” the entire nature grounded in Virtue. But does not Likeness by way of Virtue imply Likeness to some being that has Virtue? To what Divine Being, then, would our Likeness be? To the Being- must we not think?- in Which, above all, such excellence seems to inhere, that is to the Soul of the Kosmos and to the Principle ruling within it, the Principle endowed with a wisdom most wonderful. What could be more fitting than that we, living in this world, should become Like to its ruler”?

~ Plotinus The First Ennead: Second Tractate (McKenna Translation)

‘The Universe is not a Principle and Source it Springs from a Source’

‘…the Universe is not a Principle and Source: it springs from a source, and that source cannot be the All or anything belonging to the All, since it is to generate the All, and must be not a plurality but the Source of plurality, since universally a begetting power is less complex than the begotten. Thus the Being that has engendered the Intellectual-Principle must be more simplex than the Intellectual-Principle. We may be told that this engendering Principle is the One-and-All. But, at that, it must be either each separate entity from among all or it will be all things in the one mass. Now if it were the massed total of all, it must be of later origin than any of the things of which it is the sum; if it precedes the total, it differs from the things that make up the total and they from it: if it and the total of things constitute a co-existence, it is not a Source. But what we are probing for must be a Source; it must exist before all, that all may be fashioned as sequel to it. As for the notion that it may be each separate entity of the All, this would make a self-Identity into a what you like, where you like, indifferently, and would, besides, abolish all distinction in things themselves Once more we see that this can be no thing among things but must be prior to all things’.

~ Plotinus

The Enneads


‘To Enrich the Universe with Contemplation’

‘When living things reproduce their Kind, it is that the Reason-Principles within stir them; the procreative act is the expression of a contemplation, a travail towards the creation of many forms, many objects of contemplation, so that the universe may be filled full with Reason-Principles and that contemplation may be, as nearly as possible, endless: to bring anything into being is to produce an Idea-Form and that again is to enrich the universe with contemplation: all the failures, alike in being and in doing, are but the swerving of visionaries from the object of vision: in the end the sorriest craftsman is still a maker of forms, ungracefully. So Love, too, is vision with the pursuit of Ideal-Form’.


The Enneads

Why Is The Living Ugly More Attractive Than The Sculptured Handsome?

‘…we have to recognize that beauty is that which irradiates symmetry rather than symmetry itself and is that which truly calls out our love. Why else is there more of the glory of beauty upon the living and only some faint trace of it upon the dead though the face yet retains all its fullness and symmetry? Why are the most living portraits the most beautiful, even though the other happen to be more symmetric? Why is the living ugly more attractive than the sculptured handsome? It is that the one is more nearly what we are looking for, and this because there is soul there, because there is more of the Idea of The Good, because there is some glow of the light of The Good and this illumination awakens and lifts the soul and all that goes with it, so that the whole man is won over to goodness and in the fullest measure stirred to life’.

Plotinus, (2005-06-30). The Enneads (Classics) (p. 492). Penguin Classics. Kindle Edition.

‘That Archetypal World Is The True Golden Age’

‘That archetypal world is the true Golden Age, age of Kronos, whose very name suggests (in Greek) Abundance (κóρoς) and Intellect (νoûς). For here is contained all that is immortal: nothing here but is Divine Mind; all is God; this is the place of every soul. Here is rest unbroken: for how can that seek change, in which all is well; what need that reach to, which holds all within itself; what increase can that desire, which stands utterly achieved’?

Plotinus, (2005-06-30). The Enneads (Classics) (p. 351). Penguin Classics. Kindle Edition.

'The Good Is Gentle And Kindly And Gracious'

“The Good is gentle and kindly and gracious and present to anyone when he wishes. Beauty brings wonder and shock and pleasure mingled with pain, and even draws those who do not know what is happening away from the Good, as the beloved draws a child away from its father: for Beauty is younger. But the Good is older, not in time but in truth, and has the prior power; for It has all power”.

From ‘Plotinus: A Volume of Selections in a New English Translation’ by A. H. Armstrong

'the One is not being but the Generator of being'

“the One is not being but the Generator of being. This, we may say, is the first act of generation. The One, perfect because It seeks nothing, has nothing, and needs nothing overflows, as it were, and Its superabundance makes something other than Itself.

From Plotinus: A Volume of Selections in a New English Translation by A. H. Armstrong