Many / One

A database of 11,000+ illuminated guiding quotations in 40 categories from 600+ inspired books by our most brilliant and influential authors.
Compiled by JoAnn Kite

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

1 "Within this world-in-little, man, the cyclic rhythm perceptible throughout the universe-at-large, the macrocosm, is recurrently portrayed." Elmer O'Brien, S.J., translator

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

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

4 "It is because of The One that we breathe and have our being." Plotinus, 'The Good or The One'

5 "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

6 "The Good is the cause of life, of thought, of being." Plotinus, 'Beauty'

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 "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'

9 "The divine is beauty, wisdom, goodness, and the like; and by these the wing of the soul is nourished, and grows apace." Plato, 'Phaedrus'

10 "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

11 "Souls are responsive one to another because they all come from the same soul – The Soul." Plotinus, 'The Soul'

12 "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

13 "The world became a living creature truly endowed with soul and intelligence by the providence of God." Plato, 'Timaeus'

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

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

16 "Health is contingent upon the body's being coordinated in unity; beauty, upon the mastery of parts by The One; the soul's virtue, upon unification into one sole coherence." Plotinus, 'The Good or The One'

17 "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'

18 "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

19 "Self-knowledge reveals to the soul that its natural motion is not, if uninterrupted, in a straight line, but circular, as around some inner object, about a center, the point to which it owes its origin. If the soul knows this, it will move around this center from which it came, will cling to it and commune with it as indeed all souls should….for divinity consists in being attached to the center." Plotinus, 'The Good or The One'

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

21 "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'

22 "The One, transcendent to all differentiation and form, is the source of all." Elmer O'Brien, S.J., translator

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

24 "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'

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

This body of quotes compiled by JoAnn Kite