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Authentic human happiness for Plotinus consists of the true human identifying with that which is the best in the universe. The true human is an incorporeal contemplative capacity of the soul, and superior to all things corporeal. It then follows that real human happiness is independent of the physical world. Real happiness is, instead, dependent on the metaphysical and authentic human being found in this highest capacity of Reason.

Authentic human happiness is the utilization of the most authentically human capacity of contemplation.

The Philosopher's Plant 3.0: Plotinus’ Anonymous ‘Great Plant’

Plotinus offers a comprehensive description of his conception of a person who has achieved eudaimonia. Enneads I. Stoics, for example, question the ability of someone to be happy presupposing happiness is contemplation if they are mentally incapacitated or even asleep. Overall, happiness for Plotinus is " Forms and the One. Henosis is the word for mystical "oneness", "union", or "unity" in classical Greek. As is specified in the writings of Plotinus on henology , one can reach a state of tabula rasa , a blank state where the individual may grasp or merge with The One. Here within the Enneads of Plotinus the Monad can be referred to as the Good above the demiurge.

All division is reconciled in the one; the final stage before reaching singularity, called duality dyad , is completely reconciled in the Monad, Source or One see monism. As the one source or substance of all things, the Monad is all encompassing. As infinite and indeterminate all is reconciled in the dunamis or one. It is the demiurge or second emanation that is the nous in Plotinus. It is the demiurge creator, action, energy or nous that "perceives" and therefore causes the force potential or One to manifest as energy, or the dyad called the material world.

Nous as being; being and perception intellect manifest what is called soul World Soul.

Henosis for Plotinus was defined in his works as a reversing of the ontological process of consciousness via meditation in the Western mind to un contemplate toward no thought Nous or demiurge and no division dyad within the individual being. Plotinus words his teachings to reconcile not only Plato with Aristotle but also various World religions that he had personal contact with during his various travels. Plotinus' works have an ascetic character in that they reject matter as an illusion non-existent.

Matter was strictly treated as immanent , with matter as essential to its being, having no true or transcendential character or essence, substance or ousia. This approach is called philosophical Idealism. For several centuries after the Protestant Reformation , Neo-Platonism was condemned as a decadent and 'oriental' distortion of Platonism.

Plotinus - Life and Philosophy

In a famous essay, E. Dodds showed that key conceptions of Neo-Platonism could be traced from their origin in Plato's dialogues, through his immediate followers e.

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Thus Plotinus' philosophy was, he argued, 'not the starting-point of Neo-Platonism but its intellectual culmination. In this case, the Neo-Platonic reading of Plato would be, at least in this central area, historically justified. This implies that Neo-Platonism is less of an innovation than it appears without the recognition of Plato's unwritten doctrines.

They see Plotinus as advancing a tradition of thought begun by Plato himself. Plotinus's metaphysics, at least in broad outline, was therefore already familiar to the first generation of Plato's students. This confirms Plotinus' own view, for he considered himself not the inventor of a system but the faithful interpreter of Plato's doctrines.

At least two modern conferences within Hellenic philosophy fields of study have been held in order to address what Plotinus stated in his tract Against the Gnostics and to whom he was addressing it, in order to separate and clarify the events and persons involved in the origin of the term "Gnostic". From the dialogue, it appears that the word had an origin in the Platonic and Hellenistic tradition long before the group calling themselves "Gnostics"—or the group covered under the modern term "Gnosticism"—ever appeared.

It would seem that this shift from Platonic to Gnostic usage has led many people to confusion. The strategy of sectarians taking Greek terms from philosophical contexts and re-applying them to religious contexts was popular in Christianity , the Cult of Isis and other ancient religious contexts including Hermetic ones see Alexander of Abonutichus for an example. Plotinus and the Neoplatonists viewed Gnosticism as a form of heresy or sectarianism to the Pythagorean and Platonic philosophy of the Mediterranean and Middle East. The Neoplatonic movement though Plotinus would have simply referred to himself as a philosopher of Plato seems to be motivated by the desire of Plotinus to revive the pagan philosophical tradition.

Because the teachings of Plato were for members of the academy rather than the general public, it was easy for outsiders to misunderstand Plato's meaning. However, Plotinus attempted to clarify how the philosophers of the academy had not arrived at the same conclusions such as misotheism or dystheism of the creator God as an answer to the problem of evil as the targets of his criticism.

Plotinus seems to be one of the first to argue against the still popular notion of causal astrology. In the late tractate 2. He does, however, claim the stars and planets are ensouled , as witnessed by their movement. The emperor Julian the Apostate was deeply influenced by Neoplatonism, [24] as was Hypatia of Alexandria. Augustine , though often referred to as a "Platonist," acquired his Platonist philosophy through the mediation of the Neoplatonist teachings of Plotinus.

Plotinus' philosophy had an influence on the development of Christian theology. To the Christian, the Other World was the Kingdom of Heaven, to be enjoyed after death; to the Platonist, it was the eternal world of ideas, the real world as opposed to that of illusory appearance.


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Christian theologians combined these points of view, and embodied much of the philosophy of Plotinus. The Eastern Orthodox position on energy, for example, is often contrasted with the position of the Roman Catholic Church , and in part this is attributed to varying interpretations of Aristotle and Plotinus, either through Thomas Aquinas for the Roman Catholics or Gregory Palamas for the Orthodox Christians. Neoplatonism and the ideas of Plotinus influenced medieval Islam as well, since the Sunni Abbasids fused Greek concepts into sponsored state texts, and found great influence amongst the Ismaili Shia [31] and Persian philosophers as well, such as Muhammad al-Nasafi and Abu Yaqub Sijistani.

By the 11th century, Neoplatonism was adopted by the Fatimid state of Egypt, and taught by their da'i. As with Islam and Christianity, Neoplatonism in general and Plotinus in particular influenced speculative thought. As with Islam and Christianity, apophatic theology and the privative nature of evil are two prominent themes that such thinkers picked up from either Plotinus or his successors. His work was of great importance in reconciling the philosophy of Plato directly with Christianity. In England, Plotinus was the cardinal influence on the 17th-century school of the Cambridge Platonists , and on numerous writers from Samuel Taylor Coleridge to W.

Yeats and Kathleen Raine. Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan and Ananda Coomaraswamy used the writing of Plotinus in their own texts as a superlative elaboration upon Indian monism , specifically Upanishadic and Advaita Vedantic thought. Advaita Vedanta and Neoplatonism have been compared by J. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Neoplatonist philosopher. Not to be confused with Photinus. Lycopolis , Egypt , Roman Empire. Campania , Roman Empire.

Related topics. See also: Substance theory. The philosophy of Plotinus has always exerted a peculiar fascination upon those whose discontent with things as they are has led them to seek the realities behind what they took to be merely the appearances of the sense.


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Main article: Henosis. See also: Allegorical interpretations of Plato. It is known, however, that he corresponded with a number of other philosophers, among them Cassius Longinus, friend and advisor to Queen Zenobia of Palmyra, who was executed when she was defeated by Aurelian in CE. Developing Plato's dualistic understanding of reality, Plotinus taught that true reality lies 'beyond' the physical world.

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"Body and Soul in the Philosophy of Plotinus" by Audrey N. M. Rich

This 'reality beyond reality' has no limits and so cannot be described by words, since words invariably have limits. Plotinus, again borrowing from Plato, calls this ultra-reality the 'Good' or the 'One'. This Intellectual-Principle, in turn, overflows and 'Divine-Soul' emanates from it. This process continues as Divine-Soul generates the material world.