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

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

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

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

5 "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'

6 "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'

7 "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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

17 "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

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

19 "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'

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

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

22 "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

23 "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

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

25 "So divine and precious is The Soul, be confident that, by its power, you can attain to divinity." Plotinus, 'The Three Primal Hypostases'

This body of quotes compiled by JoAnn Kite