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6949Re: Answer to Plotinus?

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  • Will Brown <wilbro99@yahoo.com>
    Jan 7, 2003
      If my understanding of Plotinus is correct, and he sees evil as
      ignorance of the good, then that in itself would put him at odds with
      the Gnostics. If my understanding of the Gnostics is correct, they
      ascribe the material world as being evil and gnosis as its
      transcending. I see the difference between the two in light of my
      understanding of gnosis, namely, that ignorance is the problem and the
      removal of ignorance leaves only understanding. In this light the
      problem is not between two worlds, but within one's relation to
      oneself. If the Gnostic scheme is a metaphor for that problem, cast in
      the language of the day¬ócomplete with Gods and such, that is one
      thing, but if the Gnostic scheme is taken as representing the facts,
      then I am with Plotinus here.

      Tony, not that I know any better, but it seems to me that the quote
      (see below) by Chaung Tzu at the end of your post puts the whammy on
      any underlying purpose of Gnostic teaching. How can the Gnostic path
      be seen as no path when the Gnostic path claims to be a unique path? I
      think I remember the Flag making the claim that there was more to
      Gnosticism than just gnosis. ----willy

      "To exercise no-thought and rest in nothing is the first step toward
      resting in Tao. To start from nowhere and follow no road is the first
      step toward attaining Tao." --Chuang Tzu

      --- In gnosticism2@yahoogroups.com, AJRoberti@a... wrote:
      > Hello Everyone,
      > Have been reading Plotinus' "Against the Gnostics." This treatise
      > of a series of attacks on the logic of the Gnostic myth, many of
      them quite
      > substantive.
      > Here's one example, from the MacKenna/Page translation:
      > "The Soul that declined, they tell us, saw and illuminated the already
      > existent Darkness. Now whence came this Darkness?
      > "If they tell us that the Soul created the Darkness by its Decline,
      > obviously, there was nowhere for the Soul to decline to; the cause
      of the
      > decline was not the Darkness but the very nature of the Soul. The
      > therefore, refers the entire process to pre-existing compulsions:
      the guilt
      > inheres in the Primal Beings."
      > Here's another:
      > "This All that has emerged into life is no amorphous structure --
      like those
      > lesser forms within it which are born night and day out of the
      lavishness of
      > its vitality -- the Universe is a life organized, effective, complex,
      > all-comprehensive, displaying an unfathomable wisdom. How, then,
      can anyone
      > deny that it is a clear image, beautifully formed, of the Intellectual
      > Divinities? No doubt it is a copy, not original; but that is its very
      > nature; it cannot be at once symbol and reality. But to say that it
      is an
      > inadequate copy is false; nothing has been left out which a beautiful
      > representation within the physical order could include."
      > I was wondering if there was an answer anywhere to the criticisms of
      > Plotinus? Or, can these criticisms be dismissed as archaic or
      > In any case, while Plotinus, like Irenaeus and the Christian
      > seems to be "besides the point" in attacking the myth while failing to
      > recognize the underlying purpose of Gnostic teaching (and that's
      > notwithstanding the notion of hidden esoteric meanings) they still
      deserve an
      > answer of some sort.
      > Tony Roberti
      > ---
      > Renewal Gnosticism: http://members.aol.com/AJRoberti/rg/index.htm
      > Gulf Coast Gnostics: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/GCGnostics/
      > "To exercise no-thought and rest in nothing is the first step toward
      > in Tao. To start from nowhere and follow no road is the first step
      > attaining Tao."
      > --Chuang Tzu
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