Plotinos: Understanding the Human Spirit

Plotinos: Understanding the Human Spirit

June 27, 2021 Off By Felso

The soul of man is part of the soul of the world. It has a supersensory and free structure.

As a starting point, before its formation, he conceived the infinite nous in a mystical foreknowledge, pointing to God and knowing the good; but then he turned his eyes to the world and to man, and thus he fell. This fall is part of the world-spirit’s desire, the necessary result. It is partly the result of an irrepressible impulse for a life of sensation, partly due to a part of a particular soul itself.

The soul thus lost its original freedom. This freedom includes being attached to one’s higher nature by turning the other way away from sensuality. If e fails to do so, if it remains stuck in bodily life, after death it will join the body of another human, animal, or plant, depending on the degree of guilt.

The soul fragment that permeates the material body is not real, but only its shadow. Truth resides in self, thought and logos; it has to reach God only through the sensuous experience of thought. But this return to God is possible in this world only in very rare cases.

Plotinos primarily directs his attention to the soul-body relationship. According to him, the “soul” is neither a material thing, nor an organ of the body. On the contrary, the soul is a “spontaneous structure”, a substance that cannot be seen or otherwise perceived. According to Plotinos, the soul is superior to the body, it shapes it and keeps it standing. As a matter of fact, when the soul leaves the body with death, the body also decays and disperses. However, the body, which is under the direct domination and influence of the spirit, can preserve its existence and form. The body is made up of particles lying side by side. However, the soul is a “whole” that is not fragmentary. But the soul is also a substance that exists in every part of the body. I feel a sting in my finger and also hear my heart beating. So the soul is both in my finger and in my heart, that is, in various parts of my body. However, this does not mean that the soul is partly in the finger and partly in the heart. On the contrary, the soul is a whole, yet it is spread throughout the body. The soul is also the substance that makes the body beautiful.

The science of beauty, that is, aesthetics, plays an important role in Plotinos’ system. He is absolutely idealistic when it comes to aesthetics. According to him, what is beautiful is the soul alone. The beauty of the body is only a reflection of the beauty of the soul. A body can be considered beautiful only to the extent that it is the image of the soul. However, the soul is beautiful in itself, the body is beautiful in that it is a mirror of the soul. Because it is the spirit that gives form to the body, the body can only gain form thanks to the spirit. As a result, the soul is “immortal” and the body is mortal. Plotinos believes in transmigration. After the death of the body, the soul seeks a new form for itself. The body can live and be together only as long as the soul can protect itself. Whereas the soul lives forever and is a spontaneous union. From all these thoughts, we see that Plotinos understood the soul and the body as two separate spheres. However, according to him, the soul is a higher (upper) field, while the body and bodies are a low (lower) field. For Plotinos, there is not only individual souls, but also a “Universe Spirit Spirit”. It is like the ratio of individual souls to the Spirit of the Universe that same branch to a tree. The body, whose existence is dependent on the spirit, and the spirit, which is an entity on its own, are also the expressions of two separate “levels”.

According to Plotinos, there are other steps (levels) beyond the soul. Beyond and above the soul universe is Plato’s universe of “ideas”, which is timeless. The soul develops over time and gives shape to the body over time. It is characteristic of the soul to “want” something, to have a desire. But these are events that occur over time. For this reason, the soul, like the body, is a being that exists in time. The only difference is that the soul is immortal in time, while the body is mortal. If there were no ideas, there would be no such thing as wanting in the soul. In the soul, for example, there is the idea of ​​good and beautiful. Because of the existence of these ideas, the soul desires the good and the beautiful. For this reason, wanting means wanting to reach ideas. This desire gives the soul the opportunity to gain form. The soul always organizes this effort to gain form according to a certain “purpose”. Ideas determine this purpose. There are many human bodies, for example; but all human bodies are but various embodiments of one and the same idea. We always consider the mathematical idea of ​​circles when drawing various circles. Then there are some ideas that take on the task of “ideal” for us. These ideas of Plato are not things that are formed and then lost. They are timeless, that is, before and after. The soul is also eternal and eternal. But the eternity of the soul is an eternity in time. However, the eternity and eternity of ideas is literally timeless.

B.C. 25 AD According to Philo, a Jewish philosopher who lived around 50 years ago, Plato’s ideas were based on what God thought and existed in God’s thought.