- View SourceThis exposition of the basic principles of Neoplatonic Emanationism is set forth in the form of a creed. However, it is not meant to be regarded as a dogmatic statement which must be accepted without examination. It embodies in a concise form the essence of Plato's teaching and may thus afford a most valuable guide to the serious seeker of Truth. It is based largely upon the writings of Thomas Taylor.
I. I believe in ONE FIRST CAUSE of all things, Whose Nature is infinitely transcendent and immeasurably beyond all finite speculations; Who is Super-essential, Super-vital, and Super-intelligible; Who cannot truly be named, spoken of, or conceived of by opinion or imagination.
II. I believe, however, that if it be lawful to apply names or predications concerning That Which is of necessity absolutely ineffable, then the appellations of THE ONE, THE GOOD, THE TRUE, and THE BEAUTIFUL, are of all others, the most appropriate and adapted to IT, as signifying, not only the First Principle from Which all things proceed, but also their Final Goal, and the Power by which all things consciously or unconsciously progress.
III. I believe that all things characterized by the GOOD, the TRUE, and the BEAUTIFUL, have an abiding and causal subsistence in the Supreme ONE, and, as such are transcendentally more excellent than when they are considered as effects; hence, the First Principle contains and IS all things prior to all, being exemptly transcendent, self-sufficient, and self-perfect, abiding immutably in and for Himself.
IV. I believe that the Supreme ONE not only abides, but also proceeds; that HE is not only Transcendent, but also Immanent; that all Goodness proceeds from One First Fountain of GOOD, all Beauty and beautiful objects are suspended from the One Supreme BEAUTY, all Truth finds its first and last Principles in Absolute TRUTH and all Number subsists occultly in the ONE First Monad of all.
That all principles are comprehended in this First Principle - not with interval and multitude - but as parts in One Great Whole; and that IT is not a Principle, like those that proceed from It (for of these, one is a Principle of Beauty, another of Goodness, another of Truth), but that It is simply THE PRINCIPLE - not the Principle of Being, or of Life, or of Intelligence, but the Principle of Principles, the ONE of, and in, all things, but likewise the ONE superior and prior to all.
V. I believe that all things not only abide in, and proceed from, One First Cause, but that all, likewise, consciously or unconsciously tend to return to, and remain in, That First Cause.
That all Goodness, Truth, and Beauty, having their primal causes in the First Principle, are consequently in some way connascent with It, and, in so far as they return to It, participate in an eternally increasing measure in the Supreme Goodness, Truth, and Beauty. Nevertheless, that all natures, since they are produced by, and have proceeded from the Supreme Goodness, Truth, and Beauty - without, however, being immutably established Therein - possess, on this account, the Good, the True, and the Beautiful, by participation.
VI. I believe that the Supreme Principle of all things produces that which is most like unto Itself, and that the Primal Emanations of the ONE (namely, "the Gods"), although They make the Unmanifest manifested, yet, at the same time, partake of the Transcendence and Immanence of the First Cause of all, and are, in reality, co-existent, co-eternal, and consubstantial Aspects of the One Supreme.
Nevertheless, since, when They are considered as causally subsisting in the Supreme, They are necessarily more excellent than when conceived of as proceeding from Him, the First Principle is very properly said to be all things, prior to all - priority, denoting exempt transcendency.
VII. I believe that the most proper mode of venerating the Great Principle of all Principles is to contemplate It in profound silence; and that in worship It should be celebrated as the GOD of all Gods, the UNITY of all Unities, the GOOD of all Goodness, the BEAUTY above all Beauty, the TRUTH in and beyond all Truth; as more ineffable than all silence and more occult than all essence; as Holy before all Holy Ones; and as eternally hidden in the Glory of His Own Progeny, the Immortal High Gods.
VIII. I believe that the Immediate Offspring, or First Manifestations of the Supreme ONE, are Self-subsistent Natures, and may with propriety be denominated the High GODS; being Ineffable Unfoldings into light of the Unfathomable and Incomprehensible ONE, but making that Great ONE manifest and conceivable.
IX. I believe that the High Gods are conceivable as a beautiful series of Principles proceeding from The Principle of All, partaking of Its ineffable Nature or Super-nature, and possessing in like manner an overflowing fullness of Goodness, Truth, and Beauty; that upon these ineffable Blossoms of Deity, the Primal Unities of Real Being, True Life, and Intellect depend; and that from these again, are suspended the Unities of the All-Soul, the All-Nature, and the All-Body; that each of these Primal and Secondary Unities is a Leader of a series which extends to the last of things; which, while it proceeds from, yet is, at the same time, causally rooted in, and tends to return again to, its leader.
Thus, all beings are comprehended in, proceed from, and return to, One First Being, Who comprehends the Realm of True Being; all lives are aspects of the One Great All-Pervading Life, Which flows from, and returns to, the Realm of True Life; all Intelligences emanate from, depend upon and tend to return to, ONE First Intellect, Who Himself comprehends the Realm of Creative Intellect; and, in like manner all Souls from One Soul, all natures from One First Nature, and all bodies from one First Body or Realm of Form.
X. I believe that there are Eternal Prototypes, or Divine Ideas, of everything subsisting perpetually according to Nature; that these Ideas are resident primarily in the Realm of True Life; that They possess a paternal, producing, preserving, connecting, and uniting power; and that They are the guarantee of the ultimate Perfection of all Secondary Natures.
XI. I believe that all Secondary Natures and Principles are produced according to the Eternal Ideas causally rooted in the Unity of True Life; that through the Unity of Divine Intelligence - called the Demiurgus - all created things are differentiations flowing perpetually from these Prototypes, and also advancing to Them, as to their own Archetypal Perfect Ideas or Ideals.
XII. I believe that the Creation of the Demiurgus, considered as a comprehensive whole, may appropriately be named the Macrocosm; that, as such, it is animated by a Divine All-Soul, and subsists in a perpetual dispersion of temporal extension, through the Principle of All-Nature, being the receptacle of all-various forms, the body of bodies, and the whole of wholes.
XIII. I believe that all the parts of the Macrocosm are differentiations of the Primal Principles of Real Being, True Life, and Intelligence, but that through their partial and secondary subsistence, they are unable to participate in a similar manner in the Perfection of their First Principles - some enjoying this in a greater and some in a lesser degree.
Hence, the Macrocosm may be considered as possessing a first, a middle, and a last part or subsistence - the first being more excellent and approaching nearer its Prototype, but the last being most removed from it, and existing sometimes according to, and sometimes contrary to, Nature - thus the circle of generation unfolds all the variety it contains, and is perpetually prolific; hence, also, all things tend to move from partial and secondary states of existence towards more complete and primary subsistences.
XIV. I believe that as the Macrocosm, considered as one Great Comprehending Whole, is characterized by all the Divine Unities which proceed from the ONE Unity or Principle of All; so, likewise, every whole which the Macrocosm contains, is itself a world possessing in the first place a Unity, a Life, and a Guiding Principle; and secondly, a particular characteristic existence, nature, and body; that each of these wholes, is, in turn, a producing cause, and may be considered as a Whole prior to the parts it contains, and to the multitude which proceeds from it, and which tends to return again to its Source.
XV. I believe that Man is a Microcosm, or little world, comprehending in himself partially and potentially everything that the Macrocosm contains totally and actually: hence, he possesses not only a Body, a characteristic and particular Nature, and a Soul, but also a Principle of Real Being, True Life, and Intelligence, from which his secondary threefold principles proceed and to which they are destined to return.
XVI. I believe that the Soul of Man is immortal, being an aspect of the Uncreated, Eternal, All-Soul of the World; that, in consequence of this, it is self-motive, subsisting between That Which is Immovable or Immutable and that which is moved, or which it moves; having, likewise, the capacity of becoming identified with either of these; hence when resting in its own Essence, it is eternal and changeless, but when identified with that which it moves, it assumes a mutable and temporal subsistence and is transitively subject to the same laws.
XVII. I believe that Man, the Microcosm, follows the same laws as those of the Macrocosm, and that in like manner the whole of his partible and secondary nature is unable to participate in perfection at once and in the same degree, but that some principles enjoy this blessedness in a greater and some in a lesser degree - some being more harmonious, and some less; but that all are moving, in spite of transitory ups and downs, towards a fuller measure of realized perfection, proceeding from potentialities to actualities.
XVIII. I believe that since Man is a Microcosm of the Macrocosm, he essentially and potentially contains, within his Eternal and Immutable Principles, all Knowledge; and hence, whatever he appears to acquire or learn, is in reality nothing more than making active and conscious that which was dormant, but latent.
XIX. I believe that the proper and true life of the Soul is eternal and infinite, and that it suffers limitation and privation when identified with the body and its secondary principles; that, consequently, while in this state, it is in a fallen condition, an apostate from Deity, an exile from Light; but that it can gain freedom from all limitations and bondage by fulfilling the purpose for which it descended into a transient existence; by the exercise of the ethical, political, cathartic, theoretic, and paradigmatic Virtues.
XX. I believe that at the death of the body, the Soul continues to subsist in other spheres of transient existence, where it can enjoy the full blessedness of union with its First Principles; and that such future existence or existences will be punitive and purgative according to the manner in which this present existence has been passed.
XXI. Lastly, I believe that when the Soul becomes entirely liberated from the bondage of secondary natures, and has fully unfolded all its latent potentialities, it will be conjoined consciously with its First Principles, enjoying an existence superior to all limitations, governing all secondary natures, in company with those Principles by Whom it was itself produced.
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[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
- View SourceSomething like this would be far more interesting to read
(and far more likely to actually be read) if it had references
to specifc works of Plato and later Platonists.
Also, the "I believe this and that" format is rather off-putting.
Finally - why does this appear in my mailbox as coming
from the "Administrator"? "Administrator" of what?
> This exposition of the basic principles of Neoplatonic Emanationism is
> set forth in the form of a creed. However, it is not meant to be
> regarded as a dogmatic statement which must be accepted without
> examination. It embodies in a concise form the essence of Plato's
> teaching and may thus afford a most valuable guide to the serious
> seeker of Truth. It is based largely upon the writings of Thomas Taylor.
> ..................<snip snip snip>