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Words of Wisdom

Excerpts from The Six Enneads by Plotinus (vegetarian), Part 1 of 2

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Plotinus was one of the most influential philosophers in antiquity after Plato and Aristotle. In his philosophy, there are three principles: the One, the Intellect, and the Soul. Historians of the 19th century invented the term Neoplatonism and applied it to Plotinus’ philosophy. His metaphysical writings have inspired centuries of Islamic, Jewish, Christian, and Gnostic metaphysicians.

The issue of happiness is one of Plotinus’ greatest imprints on Western thought, as he was one of the first to introduce the idea that happiness is attainable only within consciousness. He disliked talking about his own life, disapproved of meat, and refused medications containing animal substances. Plotinus' final words were: “Try to raise the Divine in yourselves to the Divine in the all.”

It consists of fifty-four treaties varied in length, arranged in six sets of nine (ennead), in three volumes. The Enneads are sorted by levels of sophistication, starting with The First Ennead, which emphasizes ethical topics.

The First Ennead, First Tractate - The Animate and the Man, Section 8 “And how do we possess the Divinity? In that the Divinity is contained in the Intellectual-Principle and Authentic-Existence; and We come third in order after these two, for the We is constituted by a union of the Supreme, the undivided Soul - we read - and that Soul which is divided among [living] bodies.”

The First Ennead, First Tractate - The Animate and the Man, Section 9 “That Soul, then, in us, will in its nature stand apart from all that can cause any of the evils which man does or suffers; for all such evil, as we have seen, belongs only to the Animate, the Couplement. But there is a difficulty in understanding how the Soul can go guiltless if our mentation and reasoning are vested in it: for all this lower kind of knowledge is delusion and is the cause of much of what is evil. For Understanding, the true, is the Act of the Intellections: in many of its manifestations it is the assimilation and reconciliation of the outer to the inner.”
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