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Re: trinitarian and triadicRe: [neoplatonism] Re: What are the One and the Nous for you?

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  • Thomas Mether
    Well, Bob, the issue is not addressed as I see it unless persons are our best apophatic analogy for the ultimate while seeing that natures are another analogue
    Message 1 of 88 , Jul 31, 2012
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      Well, Bob, the issue is not addressed as I see it unless persons are our
      best apophatic analogy for the ultimate while seeing that natures are
      another analogue of persons We also get into this same issue, from one
      means of approach, with Rist on Plotinus on this topic.

      On Tue, Jul 31, 2012 at 7:19 PM, Robert Wallace <bob@...>wrote:

      > Hi Thomas,
      >
      > You quoted Pelikan:
      >
      > >> "in contrast to neoPlatonist emphasis on natures
      > >> necessarily being what they are without realizing natures in Greek
      > >> philosophy are only analogues of persons, the Trinity is a society of
      > >> Persons who don't need anything but are all extreme extroverts. They
      > like a
      > >> crowd. A crowd is the plenum. The plenum is not eternal self
      > sufficiency.
      > >> It is excess."
      > >>
      >
      > It seems to me that Plato already arrived at "excess" when he said (as
      > Michael Chase reminded us) that the demiurge cannot be "jealous." As I've
      > mentioned here recently, it seems to me that in saying this he acknowledged
      > what Hegel made clear subsequently, that something that is
      > "self-sufficient" by excluding anything at all, is not really
      > self-sufficient. Plotinus of course stresses this Platonic passage, and I
      > think I have seen its equivalent in Proclus.
      >
      > best, Bob W
      >
      > On Jul 31, 2012, at 6:29 PM, Thomas Mether wrote:
      >
      > > The Orthodox Christian and Jewish answer is love. Apophaticism aside, the
      > > best analogy for the nature of reality, including ultimate reality, is
      > > persons. After Leontius and Maximos, even natures or substances are
      > > considered "as such" only as analogies with persons (this is part of what
      > > Meyendorff and Florovsky called the "personalist" turn that ontologized
      > > second philosophy -- ethics and politics). Persons at their fullest
      > > potential are expansive love, multiply and be fruitful. As Jaroslav
      > Pelikan
      > > (major church and theological history scholar and a Lutheran who
      > converted
      > > to Orthodoxy) put it, "in contrast to neoPlatonist emphasis on natures
      > > necessarily being what they are without realizing natures in Greek
      > > philosophy are only analogues of persons, the Trinity is a society of
      > > Persons who don't need anything but are all extreme extroverts. They
      > like a
      > > crowd. A crowd is the plenum. The plenum is not eternal self sufficiency.
      > > It is excess."
      > >
      >
      >
      >
      > >
      > > On Tue, Jul 31, 2012 at 3:20 PM, vaeringjar <vaeringjar@...>
      > wrote:
      > >
      > > > **
      > > >
      > > >
      > > >
      > > > > >
      > > > > > If so, then there is God, and also the necessity for God to
      > emanate,
      > > > and
      > > > > > this makes two. Indeed, I have to ask, as always: why can't God
      > just be
      > > > > > God, and why must he emanate all this? Since much of this is
      > apparently
      > > > > > ungodly, why does he go to the trouble to undo himself?
      > > > > >
      > > > > > I know that Plotinus remarked that this is because all possible
      > things
      > > > > > must exist, and that is fine. But I still cannot understand how the
      > > > > > self-sufficient God got from his eternity to all this without a
      > > > > > compulsion.
      > > > >
      > > > > M.C. Well, Plotinus has has rather more complex answers than this.
      > > > > Basically all Platonists, both pagan and Christian, have more or less
      > > > > bought into Plato's argument in the Timaeus:
      > > > >
      > > > > 1. God is (a) good and (b) omnipotent
      > > > > 2. If he did not create this could only be
      > > > > 2a. because he was unable to do so, or
      > > > > 2b. because he chose not to out of jealousy
      > > > > But (2a) is impossible since it contradicts (1b), and
      > > > > (2b) is impossible since it contradicts (1a). Therefore (2) is
      > > > impossible.
      > > > > __________________________________________________________
      > > > > Therefore God creates.
      > > > >
      > > > > Does this mean God/the One is *obliged* to create? I've recently
      > argued,
      > > > > following Kremer and Leibniz, that that depends on what one means by
      > > > > "obliged". God/the One is not metaphysically or logically obliged to
      > > > > create, since his failing to do so would not entail a contradiction.
      > If
      > > > he
      > > > > does so out of necessity, then this is the same kind of *ethical
      > > > > necessity* by which good people do good: because it's in their
      > nature.
      > > > But
      > > > > to follow one's nature (assuming that nature is good!) is not to be
      > > > > subject to necessity, but to enjoy the utmost freedom.
      > > > >
      > > > >
      > > > > > Best, Mike
      > > > > >
      > > > >
      > > >
      > > > Curious, but this question has been occupying my thoughts of late too,
      > > > asking why the One or any similar primary principle need emanate or
      > create
      > > > or have any existence or hyparxis for that matter beyond itself, since
      > it
      > > > wants nothing, is perfect, is all inclusive, one way or the other,
      > etc. And
      > > > I think it interesting that, for instance, Proclus did not address this
      > > > issue - unless I am really misspeaking! - in, most likely, the
      > Elements of
      > > > Theology. It does not appear to have been an issue of central concern
      > to
      > > > any of the Neoplatonists - well, except for what Plotinus gives us? Or
      > > > again have I missed something really important in their texts relevant
      > to
      > > > this issue? I certainly have not read everything potentially relevant
      > here,
      > > > especially of Damascius.
      > > >
      > > > I agree, Michael, and was thinking it even as I read the first part of
      > > > your response, that one danger then is that some need or necessity is
      > > > implicitly or otherwise imposed upon the One, and such a thing will
      > not do,
      > > > that such has to be contradictory to the nature of the One.
      > > >
      > > > The only solution I can come up with, and it's hardly a solution (aside
      > > > just from the obvious need itself to account for all the workings of
      > the
      > > > world we see and live in that would drive one to ask just how the One
      > > > accomplishes such when it's so perfect within itself, yet here we all
      > are,
      > > > in the world and not perfect!), is that in as much as we and everything
      > > > else are emanated, it only appears to us that we are not actually
      > > > essentially of it, that in our limited perception we see what is truly
      > the
      > > > One only in emanation also, that the many and all the seemingly
      > different
      > > > attributes, physicality, all of it, we see differentiated and not as
      > one
      > > > whole, simply because we are also differentiated, and so we might have
      > here
      > > > the old like to like again that the Greeks were found of employing.
      > This
      > > > approach is not really an answer, of course, merely an explanation of
      > how
      > > > we perceive.
      > > >
      > > > But to take that non-solution further, my thoughts ever since I started
      > > > reading about dark matter and how it oddly appears so like Plato's
      > > > Receptacle, now draw me to think that the One or something like it is
      > the
      > > > only being or source of being, but that there is in fact at work also
      > > > something else, not with being, but somehow still there, a sort of
      > anti-One
      > > > if you will, though the connotations, especially moral, of the term
      > 'anti'
      > > > are probably misleading, but here I grope for a term. Something that in
      > > > reaction the emanation of the One gives rise to the perception of this
      > > > apparent multiplicity, but only because of its oppositeness (?) to the
      > One.
      > > > This notion though, among other things, I suppose would rather, at
      > least
      > > > functionally, make something out of nothing, and so perhaps creates at
      > > > least one problem of not minor significance right there.
      > > >
      > > > I have been toying with this idea, and at first was not happy to
      > > > contemplate what rather in some ways seems a dualistic system - a
      > matter of
      > > > taste, I suppose, but I personally just do not like any sort of
      > > > Manicheanism, for a number of reasons, but if such is the way things
      > work,
      > > > then what I like is obviously of no consequence. But the more I think
      > about
      > > > it, I don't really see it as dualistic in the sense of two equal but
      > > > opposing forces, not at all. It's more one real force and the other,
      > well,
      > > > I am not sure what to call it, and so for now - pending rereading that
      > part
      > > > of the Timaeus and much more thinking! - 'Receptacle' will do?
      > > >
      > > > But at least it takes away the problem of why the One 'must' emanate.
      > The
      > > > One does so just does because it's 'there' and is 'being itself', of
      > its
      > > > own nature, but multiplicity and all the perceived universe, the whole
      > > > world, appears apart from it, emanated, because it is really just the
      > > > apparent result of this 'collision' of the action of the One with the
      > > > other, the Receptacle, the 'impression' on the wax, if you will. The
      > One is
      > > > just doing what it does.
      > > >
      > > > But this idea does require that 'other' to be present somehow, so we
      > are
      > > > then also, for one thing, not dealing with a purely monistic system, in
      > > > this view. Not the world of Parmenides, except insofar as true reality,
      > > > true being is concerned, which would still be one and only one. But
      > then
      > > > also the One would not be above being, would it, as some Neoplatonists
      > > > held. It would be the only being, and this other is, the Receptacle is,
      > > > well, not being...but what is it then, and is this feature of this
      > view a
      > > > weakness, perhaps fatal, that such an Other could obtain and be
      > fundamental
      > > > and not have being itself?
      > > >
      > > > Dennis Clark
      > > >
      > > >
      > > >
      > >
      > > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
      > >
      > >
      >
      > Robert Wallace
      > website: www.robertmwallace.com
      > email: bob@...
      > phone: 414-617-3914
      >
      >
      >
      >
      >
      >
      >
      >
      >
      >
      >
      > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
      >
      >
      >
      > ------------------------------------
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      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
    • robert_tkoch
      ... All that you have said above, I think, is an accurate statement of our current worldview that accepts the necessarily-uncomfortable and confusing interplay
      Message 88 of 88 , Sep 30, 2012
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        --- In neoplatonism@yahoogroups.com, "norebo_601" <a.aboumrad@...> wrote:
        >
        > I agree, it is often mind-boggling how someone might be able to reconcile the seeming dissonance in the moral polarity of the cosmos. There may be some slight but crucial nuances in the definition of "good" as it pertains to the One, and the definition of "good" as it pertains to human action on Earth. That is, the two might not always be in congruence, and evil actions on Earth might not necessarily conflict with a One that is Good.

        All that you have said above, I think, is an accurate statement of our current worldview that accepts the necessarily-uncomfortable and confusing interplay of the mixture of good and evil --- in which we find ourselves living --- as an established and necessary thing.

        But Plotinus was strict and definite about good and evil. He stated, very clearly, that the One is the Good, and that the One emanates lesser beings on lesser levels, all as good as they can possibly be, considering their limitations, each lower level of beings getting less good than its prior, until finally we come to the least-good --- matter itself, the epitome of formlessness itself; and that, at this level, the Good has been exhausted, there is no good in matter, and that this matter is the end of emanation, it is the evil itself.

        There is no mention whatsoever of good and evil coexisting, only that good is the true, evil is the false, and that the liveliest life is the good.

        Nor, when I analyze his train of thought, can I see anywhere that the good and bad must or should coexist. But the bad is entirely bad, it is the ugly itself, there is no good in it, and it only has apparent reality to those who are low and bad enough to be with it.

        When you said,

        > ...and evil actions on Earth might not necessarily conflict with a One that is Good.

        I think that this is entirely untrue, as all evil is contrary to the good, and will, if given the chance, conflict absolutely with the good.

        My guess is that, in the original order of Nature, there is no problem; every emanation, lower and more evil than its prior, remains on its own lower level, and does not intermingle with its prior. So the existence of evil, there by necessary design, in no way interferes with the good.

        Continuing my guess --- the problem arises when man gets it in his head to go against the natural order, and to instead invent his own scheme of things. For instance, if man invents the idea of democracy, then he must position all things, side-by-side, as being equal, including the equality of evil and good. When this forced admixture is confined in man's head, the natural tendency --- of the natural opposites to separate and live on different levels --- produces an explosive, captive mixture that we call conflict.
        >
        > There's the longstanding wisdom that good can come from evil, and so the playing field from the perspective of the One may come out favorable in the end (independent of whether you believe there to be an end). But of course, this is all mere speculation. The answer to this problem may not be readily accessible with logic.

        I do not think that anyone's wisdom ever came from evil, nor could this ever be. If we are discussing Neoplatonic thought, we must certainly respect the thought of Plotinus himself, as outlined above. In no way, throughout eternity, can wisdom come from the bad, since the bad only seems to exist when the wisdom is gone. When the man is dead, you cannot get life from his corpse; although you might say that new life comes when old life dies, these are two different things. But I understand what you mean, that the colloquial thought suggests that good can come from evil, and that people live by these ideas. But I hold that these ideas are dead wrong, and are responsible for much of mankind's misery.
        >
        > One hypothesis I'm fond of, however, is that the actions of humans on Earth is like the actions of microorganisms in the body. At one perspective, it can be seen as a violent conflict between blood cells and pathogens and amoebic entities destroying and consuming each other with no remorse! But we zoom out and come to the perspective that it's all part of the greater construct of keeping our body healthy and in harmony.

        But this is just another statement of the same rationalizing a-philosophy --- that somehow, we must find a way to justify the contradiction, so we seek any manner of theory to avoid seeing the truth --- that we should be good, and we should be living in a good Commonwealth, and everyone should be talking about good ideas all of the time. And as for the evil beings who are lower than our good, we should leave them alone in the lower place that they have chosen.

        I do not think that we can find a human or above-human truth through the analysis of microorganisms on lower levels, since our perception of those creatures is still conditioned by our current philosophy, even though the current course of human devolution does indeed suggest that man is learning from the ants how to become an efficient anthill-ian megalopolis. I believe that man's fate is governed by his actual thinking, and the art of thinking is being forgotten, replaced by dogmatic concepts which are never examined.
        >
        > But, this is all just speculation. I don't completely see it this way myself, but it's an interesting attempt at reconciliation.

        I agree. I do not see it that way either, and I have considered all of these speculations at length. I keep coming back to the fact that I really know very little at all, but I should begin to learn.

        Robert
        >
        >
        >
        >
        >
        > --- In neoplatonism@yahoogroups.com, "robert_tkoch" <linyuuuu@> wrote:
        > >
        > >
        > >
        > >
        > >
        > > --- In neoplatonism@yahoogroups.com, "norebo_601" <a.aboumrad@> wrote:
        > >
        > > > You presume in one statement that we do not 'see' the One, and I believe that depends. We cannot see the One absolutely, but can we see it vicariously in the world around and within us? (Pantheism aside, this is an applicable question for Neoplatonists too)
        > >
        > > Hello,
        > >
        > > I understand what you have said; and I am quite happy with my little appreciation of the One and its works. With this, I have no problem or regret.
        > >
        > > No, outside of what you addressed in the quotation above and in your full answer below, I am wondering about something completely other than all this. You mentioned that it might be an ethical issue, and so it is; yet to me, ethics and metaphysics, and even statesmanship, are inseparable.
        > >
        > > To me, synthesizing known mystical vision with the rock-bottom conclusions of reason, I see the most perfect proof that the One is, that it is all-good, that it and its productions are all that is, and that this source of the universe, being absolutely wonderful, must be always producing only something wonderful --- or, as Plotinus suggested, as wonderful as can be in the circumstances.
        > >
        > > On the other hand, my senses, the reports of other men, and the words of history tell me that mankind is fundamentally insane, alternating acts of mild goodness with acts of the most deranged evil, then shrugging it all off with the most astonishing and irresponsible mediocrity and complacency.
        > >
        > > Or, to put it more mildly, that the evidence of the senses in no way argues for an absolutely good source for all of this. The evidence of the senses indicates something pretty ignorant and bad.
        > >
        > > And my guess is this --- that the truth of this matter has been lost for some time. That some major part of the knowledge of the One has been lost, and thus this knowledge's creation and result out here has not happened; and this loss reflects as the absolute absurdity of a mankind that gives lip-service to God while he shakes hands with the Devil.
        > >
        > > Either my reason is correct --- that God is, the Good is, and that his creation is good...
        > >
        > > Or my senses are correct --- that evil is alive and well, and wins many rounds in the contest out here.
        > >
        > > But I hold that both cannot be true. And since I already know that my senses sometimes lie, and that secular mankind often lies, and my own everyday thinking is often incorrect --- I must put my full faith in reason, and in the reports of the mystics.
        > >
        > > So I hold that the One is, and there is no else. The good is, and there is no evil.
        > >
        > > That leaves me to explain this world in which we speak, where evil cannot be denied. But my only guess, so far, is that all of the evil here might be explained as an artifact of ignorance; that we who accept the evil as a necessary part of the world are, perhaps, the most ignorant people in history; and that there is a way out, which must be essentially a way to wake up.
        > >
        > > This is what I am wondering.
        > >
        > > Robert
        > >
        > >
        > >
        > > >
        > > > Robert,
        > > >
        > > > That second paragraph of yours is quite poetic. I hope that you do not bear an undue weight of frustration in not being able to grasp the One in its purity, because that is a type of digging that can go on without end. How much more might we understand the One if we had not five senses, but ten or twenty? How much more beautiful might a sunset appear if our eyes could discern not 10 million colors, but 100 million? These are harmless questions on their own, but if taken too heavily, they can bring one closer to dissatisfaction than to wisdom.
        > > >
        > > > Luckily, the practical world is much more sympathetic. A person who is completely colorblind may receive the beauty of a sunset just as readily as someone with stronger vision. It is a matter of personal demeanor whether one chooses (nuanced as this term is) to lament the limitations of his or her perception, or view the matter positively and rejoice that he or she is able to taste even the smallest droplet from the sweetest river of gnosis. (I think this may be why traditionally religious folk so dearly love their prophets, they who provided a sip of this river to their respective communities).
        > > >
        > > > It may not be that we have a "false" view, but rather one that is a little smudged and dusty. We can cultivate our spiritual vision and clean off some of what has dirtied that window, but at the end of the day even the greatest philosopher will be separated from the pure vision by a pane of glass.
        > > >
        > > > You presume in one statement that we do not 'see' the One, and I believe that depends. We cannot see the One absolutely, but can we see it vicariously in the world around and within us? (Pantheism aside, this is an applicable question for Neoplatonists too)
        > > >
        > > > As for contemporary woes in civilization, you raise a very important concern. It's a thing of Ethics, but then how are Ethics and Metaphysics connected? It is often (though not always) the case that those who act compassionately have some metaphysical ideology based on the Oneness of Being, while those who act dispassionately often lack it. Do you think this is innate? (I've observed on a personal level that Monism and Philanthropy came mutually into my life, but maybe others have experienced differently.) I'd love to hear your thoughts on this bridge between the two fields of thought.
        > > >
        > > > Regards,
        > > > Norebo
        > > >
        > > >
        > > > --- In neoplatonism@yahoogroups.com, "robert_tkoch" <linyuuuu@> wrote:
        > > > >
        > > > >
        > > > >
        > > > >
        > > > >
        > > > > --- In neoplatonism@yahoogroups.com, "norebo_601" <a.aboumrad@> wrote:
        > > > > .......>
        > > > > > Coming all the way back to your question of how the light first became all the colors, I would argue that it does so only in perception. I don't believe there was a "beginning" or single event in creation, but rather that every moment is a renewed emanation of the One. The One Light does not 'actually' become Colors, but since knowledge can only be accessed by division, any gnosis reached in our human lives with our human brains will be limited to what Plotinus calls the Nous. My personal opinion is that many, many people mistake the Nous for the One, since they are convinced that they can access it directly with thought (and yes, even prayer or meditation is thought).
        > > > >
        > > > > Greetings to Norebo,
        > > > >
        > > > > Thanks for these ideas. And I, too, seem to stop at the lower side of what I vaguely think is Nous, already forced to theorize and mythologize about that which I dimly think I see; admitting that I must content myself with the upper limits of my mind, and that I have no access whatsoever to the Simplicity above that.
        > > > >
        > > > > And then again, to sometimes enjoy the vision of my supposed Nous, wherein are all manner of timeless archetypes and symbols, all manner of visionary dreams, well proven by history and literature to be something universal, existing outside of myself. Whether this be actually a touch of a touch of Nous, or something lower, I do not know. But I will not call it Nous or near-Nous until I am capable of truly knowing.
        > > > >
        > > > > Yet on the day after, all these are only suppositions and memories, perhaps true, perhaps not. I, the complex one, have noticed many complexities, but so what? I am doing the same thing that the birds do when they suddenly fly together as a huge flock, putting on a spectacle for the ephemeral fun of it.
        > > > > >
        > > > > > All discourse on the hierarchy of emanations is, put simply, a big dance around the INdirect understanding of the One.
        > > > >
        > > > > Thanks for this great sentence, which I believe to be useful and true. Yet I cannot get it out of my head that, believing this to be the truth --- that our lives and all of our particulars are "a big dance around the INdirect understanding of the One" --- that there is something otherwise crazily wrong with our perception --- that, with all the centrality of the One, we cannot even see it. This is tantamount to the planets, circling the Sun, never acknowledging that there is a Sun --- or like a child, fully supported by his mother and father, never acknowledging this fact, instead vainly imagining that he came into being, and is maintained, by himself --- or like a shipful of pirates, momentarily distanced from the law, thinking that their momentary anarchistic success is a guarantee for their plundering without end.
        > > > >
        > > > > And that we have evolved an entire worldview, an entire apologetic philosophy that carefully explains, in a million different ways, why it is natural and necessary to never see the most obvious thing in town, the One itself --- while a thousand pundits on a thousand keyboards convince everyone, using thousands of perspectives and consensuses, that all of this is natural indeed.
        > > > >
        > > > > If the One is, and if the One is really the only one here, and if the One is the true and only precedent and source of everything, including ourselves, then it must be so that we can see it, for if there is a seeing, how could you not see the only thing that is? And since we don't, we must be out on some limb where the truth is forgotten.
        > > > >
        > > > > And this craziness, I think, must be the mark of the current human condition, and must indicate the true cause of every world problem. For we are seeing falsely from the beginning to the end, if we do not see the One, All, and Everything.
        > > > >
        > > > > This is the dilemma which I am considering, wondering if you, or anyone, have any light on exactly this line of thought --- or if you can show me some error in my thinking that will eliminate the seeming paradox.
        > > > >
        > > > > Robert Tkoch
        > > > >
        > > > >
        > > > >
        > > > >
        > > > >
        > > > >
        > > > > >There is a wonderful series of videos by Pierre Grimes on Youtube regarding Plotinus and his methods. If you seek it out and watch it, I'm sure that you'll agree that Plotinus knew quite well what he was doing :)
        > > > > >
        > > > > >
        > > > > >
        > > > > >
        > > > > > Hi Robert,
        > > > > >
        > > > > > I'd like to make an attempt to reconcile a few things about what I've observed in other philosophical traditions about the One, and in doing so perhaps shed some light on this issue of, well.. light :P
        > > > > >
        > > > > > The epistemology described by Alan Watts in his "Wisdom of Insecurity" comes closer than any other work I've read in describing the limitations of the intellect to access truths of the One (generally referred to by Watts as either the Tao or the Absolute). Knowledge is what we are after in these dialogues, and yet knowledge is dependent on dual qualities which always reach a kind of mutual exclusion at some fundamental level. If the One is large, then it is not small. If it is light, it is not dark.
        > > > > >
        > > > > > If there is any intellectual quality which does not belong to the One (such as small or dark), then is it really the Absolute? In this sense, the Tao Te Ching wastes no time in claiming that "The Tao that can spoken is not the Tao," meaning that anything which has describable qualities cannot be the Absolute.
        > > > > >
        > > > > > To describe is to divide, and yet as human beings in a material world we must accept an imperfect grasp of the absolute because an imperfect image is still more useful to us than no image. By useful, I mean that holding some kind of view of the Absolute adds meaning and beauty to our lives (this is confirmed in countless psychological studies of human happiness).
        > > > > >
        > > > > > I have studied the Tao and Zen Buddhism for a modest number of years, but could not bring myself to be a devotee because both schools of thought respond to the "imperfect concept" problem by shrugging their shoulders and saying "Well, we can't have a 100% inconsistent image of the Absolute, so best not bother with it!" This is much more defeatist than the metaphysics described by Plotinus, but it's a view worth exposure.
        > > > > >
        > > > > > Coming all the way back to your question of how the light first became all the colors, I would argue that it does so only in perception. I don't believe there was a "beginning" or single event in creation, but rather that every moment is a renewed emanation of the One. The One Light does not 'actually' become Colors, but since knowledge can only be accessed by division, any gnosis reached in our human lives with our human brains will be limited to what Plotinus calls the Nous. My personal opinion is that many, many people mistake the Nous for the One, since they are convinced that they can access it directly with thought (and yes, even prayer or meditation is thought).
        > > > > >
        > > > > > All discourse on the hierarchy of emanations is, put simply, a big dance around the INdirect understanding of the One. There is a wonderful series of videos by Pierre Grimes on Youtube regarding Plotinus and his methods. If you seek it out and watch it, I'm sure that you'll agree that Plotinus knew quite well what he was doing :)
        > > > > >
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        > > > > > -Norebo
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        > > > > >
        > > > > > --- In neoplatonism@yahoogroups.com, "robert_tkoch" <linyuuuu@> wrote:
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        > > > > > > Greetings to Monte,
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        > > > > > > I appreciate your suggestions. And yes, I see the analogy between existence and light, how the white light degenerates into the many self-involved and self-produced colors. Or how the Clear Light of the First Bardo becomes the hallucinatory, ideational realm of the Second Bardo, which becomes the living, existential realm of the third Bardo of creatures and worldly existence.
        > > > > > >
        > > > > > > But in all of these, I am still saying, "Whoa! Wait a minute. Stop right there. We just skipped over the most important thing."
        > > > > > >
        > > > > > > And the most important thing is --- HOW did the light begin to fragment into the many colors? At what point did the clear white light become red and blue and yellow? Was there a gradual transition, or did it happen all at once? How did the colorless clearness seemingly lose itself in the process of becoming green? Who, now, is this green partisan who wants the greens to win over the magentas?
        > > > > > >
        > > > > > > Otherwise, we are just one of many colors ourselves, dancing and winding around and interweaving in colorful swirls. And while this might be interesting and agreeable in itself, it does not answer the original question at all.
        > > > > > >
        > > > > > > My suspicion is that the dilemma is an artifact of the illusoriness of the whole view. That all human problems, including this difficulty of the One-many transition, can only be solved by dropping the erroneous paradigm that led to the impossible standoff, and discovering something truer in its place. And that the first step of this process is to stop ignoring the original impossibility --- the One-many unaswerableness --- and admit that something is really and fundamentally wrong with our worldview.
        > > > > > >
        > > > > > > Yet I do not understand what is wrong, only that Western reasoning always leads to this cliff-edge, which it then forgets as it dances around near the edge, building entire civilizations on a most unstable foundation. And I do this too.
        > > > > > >
        > > > > > > And I especially appreciated your comment:
        > > > > > >
        > > > > > > > Human beings who are intelligent absorb a higher quantity of
        > > > > > > > intelligence from the One.  Those who are beautiful, absorb
        > > > > > > > more of that trait from the One's emanations. 
        > > > > > >
        > > > > > > A physicist might say that the seen color is the one that is reflected, not absorbed. An artist might say that, to radiate, you must first absorb the to-be-radiated. You seem to say the latter, with which I agree, i.e., you can only reflect a lesser part of what you are, which, if derived from without, must first be brought within, to first become a part of yourself.
        > > > > > >
        > > > > > > Robert
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        > > > > > >
        > > > > > >
        > > > > > > --- In neoplatonism@yahoogroups.com, Michael Plaisance <kiriosmuseos1313@> wrote:
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        > > > > > > > Geia sas Robert,
        > > > > > > >
        > > > > > > > I am coming into this discussion a bit late, and I am afraid that I am not completely up to par on the entire discussion, but when I saw your question regarding how the One becomes the Many, I feel that I may be able to offer some assistance.  I am a philosopher by choice, not profession and I teach students, much in the same way that the ancient philosophers did, in my back yard under the gazebo.  Philosophy is not a life study for me, it is a way of living.  So maybe I can help you understand this without the need to refer to texts, but by an analogy.  The way that I teach my students to begin the comprehension of the emanations of the One is by the analogy of light.  The One could be compared to sunlight.  The One become Two, when the sun emanates it's light.  The sun is the source of light, but the light it gives off is a result of it.  Thus, the physical world is simply a result of the One's emanative power.  Now, if you take the idea of
        > > > > > > > color and apply it, you can quickly see how the One becomes the Many.  We see sunlight as white light, or actually clear light.  It has no specific color.  However, when you pass sunlight through a prism you realize that it is comprised of an infinite number of colors.  The spectrum which our eyes can see is the seven color spectrum of the rainbow, but we also have ultra-violet and infra-red light as well.  So from this seemingly unified (one-color) light we have all the myriads of color existing within it.  So if you carry that analogy to its ultimate extreme you  have your answer.  All that exists in the world, is simply the degradation of the One's power shining out and dividing itself.  If you want to take it to a religious area, you can say that spirits, gods, daemons, etc. are made up of the "invisible" matter existing in the ultra-violet and infra-red spectrum of manifestation.  They are real, but not visible to our eyes except under
        > > > > > > > very special circumstances. 
        > > > > > > > I often take this farther, with my students, and use the analogy of pigmentation as well.  When light hits an object, depending on its molecular make up, it will absorb a certain spectrum of color from the white light and reflect that color back to our eyes.  Thus a red couch is red because it absorbs more of the red spectrum than any other color.  The same applies to all things in the universe.  Human beings who are intelligent absorb a higher quantity of intelligence from the One.  Those who are beautiful, absorb more of that trait from the One's emanations.  This explains the multiplicity of life and diversity of existence in a way that is simple and direct.  Because the Universe is a fractal, we know that patterns repeat themselves over and over in larger or smaller, yet identical, scales.  I do hope this helps you and if you have any further questions, feel free to ask.
        > > > > > > >
        > > > > > > > In Light,
        > > > > > > >
        > > > > > > > Monte Plaisance
        > > > > > > >
        > > > > > > > http://echoesfromthetemple.wordpress.com/
        > > > > > > >
        > > > > > > >
        > > > > > > >
        > > > > > > > --- On Mon, 9/17/12, robert_tkoch <linyuuuu@> wrote:
        > > > > > > >
        > > > > > > > From: robert_tkoch <linyuuuu@>
        > > > > > > > Subject: trinitarian and triadicRe: [neoplatonism] Re: What are the One and the Nous for you?
        > > > > > > > To: neoplatonism@yahoogroups.com
        > > > > > > > Date: Monday, September 17, 2012, 6:24 PM
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        > > > > > > > --- In neoplatonism@yahoogroups.com, "Goya" <goya@> wrote:
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        > > > > > > > > M.C. Sems like a pretty tall order. Why should it be possible to solve one
        > > > > > > >
        > > > > > > > > of the deepest mysteries of the universe in a simple sentence or so?
        > > > > > > >
        > > > > > > > >
        > > > > > > >
        > > > > > > > Yes, I agree. To attempt this would be insane. But I was not attempting this, only asking a simple question: "How does the One become the many?" I did not expect to hear the secret of the universe, but, perhaps, only a very little bit of knowledge --- the kind that I can understand --- from someone who has a very little insight into how this might actually occur.
        > > > > > > >
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        > > > > > > >
        > > > > > > > Because the truth is, I haven't the slightest idea. But I believe that Plotinus was actually talking about this subtle process, but he is not here for me to question. So I question you and others, but you only tell me more about the manifold thoughts within the many, citing various consensuses in support. And I cannot find this amiss either, for this is what I do myself. But I really wish that I could get an insight into how the One-many process actually works.
        > > > > > > >
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        > > > > > > > Someone might say, "Then, Robert, you should not question a group; you should begin with the most one-like thing, which, for yourself, is your own alone self." And yes, I think this is true. But I have already followed this advice, and, as you can see, I still do not know. So my next reasoning is that perhaps I can see the one-like part better if I seek it in the group, even as Socrates sought justice in the manifold State, the better to see it in an individual man. Perhaps, since this group is a plurality based upon the unity of the unity-teaching ideas of Plotinus, then this group might contain minds more individuated than my own, and thus might inform me about oneness, better than I know.
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        > > > > > > > Robert
        > > > > > > >
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        > > > > > > > >
        > > > > > > >
        > > > > > > > > or a precise example of
        > > > > > > >
        > > > > > > > > > such on a more reflective, lesser level, such as, "how does sleep become
        > > > > > > >
        > > > > > > > > > waking?" I was saying that your answer did not answer my exact question,
        > > > > > > >
        > > > > > > > > > but was relevant on the level of Plato's Timaeusian words that I call
        > > > > > > >
        > > > > > > > > > myth, which I already believe.
        > > > > > > >
        > > > > > > > > >
        > > > > > > >
        > > > > > > > > > When I used the word, "random," I meant that your juxtaposition of
        > > > > > > >
        > > > > > > > > > jealousy opposite the One was a random choice of exclusions, for each and
        > > > > > > >
        > > > > > > > > > every thing in the All, when compared with the One, is something that the
        > > > > > > >
        > > > > > > > > > One is not. So to say that "the One cannot be jealous" is a random
        > > > > > > >
        > > > > > > > > > statement. The word, "jealousy," was chosen at random, for there were an
        > > > > > > >
        > > > > > > > > > infinite number of other words that would have served just as well.
        > > > > > > >
        > > > > > > > >
        > > > > > > >
        > > > > > > > > M.C. No, the word "jealousy" is not chosen at random, it's Plato's
        > > > > > > >
        > > > > > > > > explanation, subsequently taken up by pretty well all Christian and Pagan
        > > > > > > >
        > > > > > > > > exegetes. If God or the One creates, it's primarily because the only
        > > > > > > >
        > > > > > > > > reason he could have *not* to do so would be that he was jealous of
        > > > > > > >
        > > > > > > > > sharing his goodness. But he's not jealous, so he creates. The axiom
        > > > > > > >
        > > > > > > > > underlying this way of thinking is "bonum est diffusivum sui": the good is
        > > > > > > >
        > > > > > > > > that which diffuses or distributes itself
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        > > > > > > > > > I do not mean to be hair-splitting in the above paragraph, but only to
        > > > > > > >
        > > > > > > > > > answer your question about the "random." I see that you have used the word
        > > > > > > >
        > > > > > > > > > in a different context than mine, and I wanted to clarify my own usage.
        > > > > > > >
        > > > > > > > > >
        > > > > > > >
        > > > > > > > > > With all this, I am still extremely curious about my major question: how
        > > > > > > >
        > > > > > > > > > does the One become the many? Do you, or does anyone, clearly and
        > > > > > > >
        > > > > > > > > > fundamentally see how the most One-like something actually becomes
        > > > > > > >
        > > > > > > > > > many-like? Is there a simple example of such down here, on this plane?
        > > > > > > >
        > > > > > > > >
        > > > > > > >
        > > > > > > > > M.C. WE should distinguish two questions here:
        > > > > > > >
        > > > > > > > > 1. Why does the One become many?
        > > > > > > >
        > > > > > > > > 2. How does the One become many?
        > > > > > > >
        > > > > > > > >
        > > > > > > >
        > > > > > > > > As far as (1) is concerned, Plotinus provides a variety of answers that
        > > > > > > >
        > > > > > > > > may or may not be ulitimately reconcilable. His main proof is the axiom
        > > > > > > >
        > > > > > > > > referred to above : the beds argument ("bonum est diffusivum sui"). But he
        > > > > > > >
        > > > > > > > > also argues by analogy: in this world, all that achieves its maximum
        > > > > > > >
        > > > > > > > > perfection and maturity produces offspring. The One is eternally maximally
        > > > > > > >
        > > > > > > > > perfect. Therefore it eternally produces offspring.
        > > > > > > >
        > > > > > > > > There is also a more logical argument: Everything that can exist will
        > > > > > > >
        > > > > > > > > exist. The world can exist, therefore it does exist. If it exists, it can
        > > > > > > >
        > > > > > > > > have either several ultimate principles as its existence or one single
        > > > > > > >
        > > > > > > > > principle. But the former alterbative is unpalatable for a number of
        > > > > > > >
        > > > > > > > > philosophical reasons, therefore the world has the One as the ultimate
        > > > > > > >
        > > > > > > > > principle of its existence.
        > > > > > > >
        > > > > > > > >
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        > > > > > > > > What's perhaps most interesting is what Plotinus does *not* say: he does
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        > > > > > > > > *not* say the One had to produce the world in order to achieve
        > > > > > > >
        > > > > > > > > self-consciousness (in fact he expressly denies this in Enn. III.9.9.).
        > > > > > > >
        > > > > > > > > His disciple Porphyry did go on to make this claim, and he was followed,
        > > > > > > >
        > > > > > > > > for instance,by Ibn Arabi and by the Hegel of the Phenomenology.
        > > > > > > >
        > > > > > > > >
        > > > > > > >
        > > > > > > > > Question 2, the how of the process, is open to even more speculation:
        > > > > > > >
        > > > > > > > > Plotinus uses a multitude of images such as the diffusion of light from a
        > > > > > > >
        > > > > > > > > source, the reflections from a mirror, or even the way a body of knowledge
        > > > > > > >
        > > > > > > > > "gives rise to" its individual theorems. You ask for an obvious example
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        > > > > > > > > from the world of the senses: I can't think of one that's better than
        > > > > > > >
        > > > > > > > > Plotinus, but the best analogy may be the various varieties of big bang
        > > > > > > >
        > > > > > > > > cosmologies, in which a vast universe arises from a point of infinite
        > > > > > > >
        > > > > > > > > density and spatial curvature. More speciifcally, one may think of the
        > > > > > > >
        > > > > > > > > way, according to San Carroll (From Eternity to here, Penguin 2010, p.
        > > > > > > >
        > > > > > > > > 356ff.) "baby universes" can be created via the quantum fluctuations of a
        > > > > > > >
        > > > > > > > > false-vacuum bubble. For an illustration of this process, see, for
        > > > > > > >
        > > > > > > > > instance,
        > > > > > > >
        > > > > > > > > http://www.google.ca/imgres?hl=en&sa=X&biw=1166&bih=706&tbm=isch&prmd=imvnsb&tbnid=iB72tI71EQrgVM:&imgrefurl=http://www.zamandayolculuk.com/cetinbal/htmldosya1/relativityGen.htm&docid=gPQENP_u3ZqntM&imgurl=http://www.zamandayolculuk.com/cetinbal/PU/p_91501.jpg&w=358&h=901&ei=jEVXUMe0CIiyiQLAzYGQBA&zoom=1&iact=rc&dur=2&sig=102974195044222846476&page=1&tbnh=150&tbnw=60&start=0&ndsp=17&ved=1t:429,r:5,s:0,i:89&tx=28&ty=83
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        > > > > > > > > Bset, Mike
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        > > > > > > > > Michael Chase
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