Many / One

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Compiled by JoAnn Kite

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The Essential Plotinus
Translated by Elmer O'Brien, S.J.

1 "It is by The One that all beings are beings." Plotinus, 'The Good or The One'

2 "True knowledge of self and true knowledge of God are so intimately linked within the soul that, if the soul is purified of all that is not itself, it knows at one and the same time itself, and in itself, God." Elmer O'Brien, S.J., translator

3 "Things all contain a part of everything." Anaxagoras (ca. 460bce), 'Ancilla to the Pre-Socratic Philosophers'

4 "To The One the soul must return: it is the law embedded in its ontological structure." Elmer O'Brien, S.J., translator

5 "What could exist were it not one?" Plotinus, 'The Good or The One'

6 "Awareness of The One comes to us…by a presence transcending knowledge." Plotinus, 'The Good or The One'

7 "As the genus contains all the species or as the whole contains all the parts, The Intelligence contains all beings." Plotinus, 'The Intelligence, The Ideas, and Being'

8 "The Soul makes each being one by looking upon The One." Plotinus, 'The Good or The One'

9 "God is a living being, eternal, and infinitely good." Aristotle, 'Metaphysics'

10 "The imagination is a power that is, as it were, intellectual. Appetite and impulse are obedient to imagination and to reason." Plotinus, 'The Soul'

11 "By contemplation the mystic constructs his real self, achieves his authentic existence, quite as the contemplation of The Intelligence IS The Intelligence and the contemplation of The Soul IS The Soul." Elmer O'Brien, S.J., translator

12 "The One…is present to those who are prepared for it and are able to receive it, to enter into harmony with it, to grasp and to touch it by virtue of their likeness to it, by virtue of that inner power similar to and stemming from The One when it is in that state in which it was when it originated from The One. Thus will The One be 'seen' as far as it can become an object of contemplation." Plotinus, 'The Good or The One'

13 "Every particular thing is linked to that divine being in whose likeness it is made." Plotinus, 'The Soul'

14 "The soul is of the same nature as The Soul to which must be ascribed all that is vital and beautiful in the cosmos." Elmer O'Brien, S.J., translator

15 "What, then is The One? It is what makes all things possible. Without it nothing would exist." Plotinus, 'Contemplation'

16 "We are always around The One. If we were not, we would dissolve and cease to exist. Yet our gaze does not remain fixed upon The One. When we look at it, we then attain the end of our desires and find rest. Then it is that, all discord past, we dance an inspired dance around it." Plotinus, 'The Good or The One'

17 "There is at the core of every existing thing an ontic desire for what is lacking to its perfectness, and this perfectness it can find in its fullness solely within that which initially engendered it." Elmer O'Brien, S.J., translator

18 "Plotinus sees bright shoots of everlastingness in all creation." Elmer O'Brien, S.J.

19 "The One is the foundation of all other things and gives them, at one and the same time, existence and location." Plotinus, 'The Good or The One'

20 "No intelligible entity ever passes away. All it contains exists in an eternal present." Plotinus, 'The Three Primal Hypostases'

21 "As we turn towards The One, we exist to a higher degree, while to withdraw from it is to fall." Plotinus, 'The Good or The One'

22 "Nothing hinders anything from sharing in the Good to the extent it is able." Plotinus, 'The Descent of the Soul'

23 "The cosmos is a living organism." Plotinus, 'The Intelligence, The Ideas, and Being'

24 "The cosmos is ensouled….It is in The Soul, which bears it up, and shares in it wholly." Plotinus, 'The Soul'

25 "For Plotinus as for the Pythagoreans The One is, statically, the unity by which all number is intelligible, and, dynamically, the unity whence and whither all multiplicity moves." Elmer O'Brien, S.J., translator

This body of quotes compiled by JoAnn Kite