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Plotinus: Earthly love is not for the material form

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Plotinus: Earthly love is not for the material form
Photo: Imaginary debate between Averroes and Porphyry. Porphyry was a Neoplatonic philosopher who was born in Tyre and he edited and published the Enneads, the only collection of the work of his teacher Plotinus. Monfredo de Monte Imperiali Liber de herbis, 14th century.



​'Earthly love is not for the material form but for the beauty manifested upon it...The soul taking that outflow from the Divine is stirred; filled with a holy ecstasy, stung by desire, it becomes Love. Before that, even Divine Mind with all Its Loveliness did not stir the soul; for until it takes the light of the Good the soul lies supine before It, cold, unquickened. But when there enters into it a glow from the Divine, the soul gathers strength, spreads true wings, and however distracted by its nearer environing, speeds its buoyant way to something greater to its memory; so long as there exists anything loftier than the near, its very true nature bears it upwards, lifted by the giver of that love. Beyond Divine mind passes, but beyond Good it cannot, for nothing stands above That.'





Recommended reading:

'The Heart of Plotinus: The Essential Enneads'
By Aldis Uzdavinys (Editor), Jay Bregman (Foreword)

Purchase book:


Drawing parallels with other traditions, Uždavinys emphasizes that Plotinus’ philosophy was not a purely mental or rational exercise, but a complete way of life incorporating the spiritual virtues. Plotinus is widely regarded as the founder of the school of Neo-Platonism and this book provides an introduction to his teachings and an informative commentary on the Enneads. Also included is a commentary by Plotinus’ leading disciple, Porphyry (c. 233-305 A.D.), on an enigmatic passage from Homer’s epic, the Odyssey.
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