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609Re: [neoplatonism] Re: Plotinus, "On Beauty" (1.6 [1])

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  • Michael Chase
    Apr 12, 2005
      Le 12 avr. 05, à 07:40, mrnkogan a écrit :

      > Thanks to everybody who responded to my question. I am getting back
      > with such a delay only because I have not been aware of these
      > responses
      > (my e-mail notification was not working).
      > Also, I apologize for confusion with my name, which is, actually,
      > Arkadi Choufrine (I had to use my wife's account first because I
      > could
      > not pass Yahoo's symbol recognition test :<()
      > I will certainly look into the studies to which you referred me
      > (French
      > is not a problem :>).
      > At this point I would just clarify my question a bit.
      > I understand that "theoremata" are not Forms. What I do not
      > understand
      > is:
      > (1) How  Plotinus could possibly consider some kind of "theoremata"
      > to
      > be "not dominated by shape" (which is his definition of ugliness).
      > What
      > does it mean for a "theorema" to be "dominated by shape"?

      M.C. I'm not certain of this point, and I haven't been able to decipher
      your system of citing Plotinus : what does « 1.2.16-18 » correspond to?
      but let's take the example of Gnostic's theories in Plotinus' views :
      I suspect he would claim these are theoremata not dominated by form
      precisely because they are ugly, that is, non-virtuous, and if followed
      they would lead to a non-virtuous type of life.

      > (2) What about the second part of my question (concerning the soul)?
      > In
      > particular, how should we take Plotinus' statement that ugliness
      > comes
      > to the soul through its "receiving a FORM (eidos) other than its own"?

      M.C. This seems less problematic, for it seems to point to the basic
      idea underlying Plotinus' ethics ; being intelligible in origin, the
      soul is essentially beautiful and good, but as it descends towards the
      sensible and above all *inclines towards* (neuein) the sensible it
      accumulates foreign accretions - which could perfectly well be called
      forms- to its substance. Ethics means reversing this process through
      purification, and eliminating what is foreign to the soul. That's why
      Plotinus can summarize his own thought on the subject by advising us
      never to stop sculpting our own statue (I, 6, 9, 13).

      I take it the underlying conceptual scheme here is the
      Gnostic-Hermetic-Chaldaean one whereby the soul, on its descent from
      the Intelligible world, passes through the seven planetary spheres and
      accumulates layers of noxious accretions in each of them : the result
      is often referred to as a "tunic" (*khiton*), and the goal of ethics is
      to shed it.

      > Best, Mike.
      Michael Chase
      CNRS UPR 76
      7, rue Guy Moquet
      Villejuif 94801
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