Guthrie: Vida de Plotino XXIII


This oracle (pieced out of numerous quotations) says (in some now lost lines, perhaps) that Plotinos was kindly, affable, indulgent, gentle, such as, indeed we knew him in personal intercourse. It also mentions that this philosopher slept little, that his soul was pure, ever aspiring to the divinity that he loved whole heartedly, and that he did his utmost to liberate himself (from terrestrial domination) “to escape the bitter waves of this cruel life.”

That is how this divine man, who by his thoughts often aspired to the first (principle), to the divinity superior (to intelligence), climbing the degrees in dicated by Plato (in his Banquet), beheld the vision of the formless divinity, which is not merely an idea, being founded on intelligence and the whole intelligible world. I, myself, had the blessed privilege of appreaching this divinity, uniting myself to him, when I was about sixty-eight years of age.

That is how “the goal (that Plotinos sought to achieve) seemed to him located near him.” Indeed, his goal, his purpose, his end was to approach the supreme divinity, and to unite himself with the divinity. While I dwelt with him, he had four times the bliss of reaching that goal, not merely potentially, but by a real and unspeakable experience. The oracle adds that the divinities frequently restored Plotinos to the right path when he strayed from it, “enlightening his eyes by radiant splendor.” That is why it may truthfully be said that Plotinos composed his works while in contemplation of the divinities, and enjoying that vision. “Thanks to this sight that your vigilant eyes had of both interior and exterior things, you have,” in the words of the oracle, “gazed at many beauties that would hardly be granted to many of those who study philosophy.” Indeed, the contemplation of men may be superior to human contemplation; but, com pared to divine knowledge, if it be of any value what ever, it, nevertheless, could not penetrate the depths reached by the glances of the divinities.

Till here the oarcle had limited itself to indicating what Plotinos had accomplished while enclosed in the vesture of the body. It then proceeds to say that lie arrived at the assembly of the divinities where dwell friendship, delightful desire, joy, and love communing with the divinity, where the sons of God, Minos, Rhada- manthus, and Aeacus are established as the judges of souls. Plotinos joined them, not to be judged, but to enjoy their intimacy, as did the higher divinities. There indeed dwell Plato, Pythagoras, and the other sages who formed the choir of immortal love. Reunited with their families, the blessed angels spend their life “in continued festivals and joys,” enjoying the perpetual beatitude granted them by divine goodness.

GUTHRIE, K. S. Plotinus: Complete Works: In Chronological Order, Grouped in Four Periods. [single Volume, Unabridged]. [s.l.] CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform, 2017.