Neoplatonism

Posted by Ali Reda | Posted in | Posted on 1/21/2013

In contrast to Aristotle's Forms that is part of each object, Plato and later Neoplatonism, spoke of the objective reality of a thing or its inner reality (as opposed to outer appearance or illusion) which is an imitation of a form in the world of forms in heaven.Plotinus' treatment of the substance or essence (ousia) of the one was to reconcile Plato and Aristotle. Where Aristotle treated the monad as a single entity made up of one substance (here as energeia). Plotinus reconciled Aristotle with Plato's "the good" by expressing the substance or essence of the one as potential or force. Plotinus taught that God existed in Three Hypostasis, The One, The Divine Mind and The Word-Soul.In Neoplatonism the hypostasis of the Soul, Spirit (nous) and the 'One' was addressed by Plotinus.In Christian theology, a hypostasis or person is one of the three elements of the Holy Trinity.

To explain the relation of a totally transcendent God to a finite and imperfect world, the belief in emanation denies that God directly created the world but maintains rather that the world is the result of a chain of emergence through emanations. Emanationism is opposed to both Creationism (wherein the universe is created by a sentient God who knowingly creates it) and nihilism (which posits no underlying subjective and/or ontological nature behind phenomena).The emanationist paradigm for the cosmos can be seen as the model that most logically corrects the inconsistencies, paradoxes and philosophical incongruities that are found in Creationism and nihilism.
1) since activity cannot be ascribed to the unchangeable, immutable One.There is no activity on the part of the One, still less any willing or planning or choice
2) In Creationism it must be admitted that He was imperfect before accomplishing His will, or before attaining His object.Because every change is in order of reaching Perfectness.

The transcendent One

It is active without a substratum; as active force the primeval Source of Being is perpetually producing something else, without alteration, or motion, or diminution of itself. This production is not a physical process, but an emission of force; but the further the line of successive projections is prolonged the smaller is its share in the true existence. The totality of being may thus be conceived as a series of concentric circles, fading away towards the verge of non-existence, the force of the original Being in the outermost circle being a vanishing quantity. Each lower stage of being is united with the "One" by all the higher stages, and receives its share of reality only by transmission through them.  All derived existence, however, has a drift towards, a longing for, the higher, and bends towards it so far as its nature will permit.

Nous or Demiurge (Divine Mind, logos or order, Thought, Reason) creator of the universe

The original Being initially emanates, or throws out, the nous, which is a perfect image of the One and the archetype of all existing things. It is simultaneously both being and thought, idea and ideal world. As image, the nous corresponds perfectly to the One, but as derivative, it is entirely different. What Plotinus understands by the nous is the highest sphere accessible to the human mind, while also being pure intellect itself. Nous is the most critical component of idealism, Neoplatonism being a pure form of idealism. the nous identified metaphorically with the Demiurge in Plato's Timaeus, is the energy, or ergon (does the work), that manifests or organizes the material world into perceivability.Plotinus sought to reconcile Aristotle's energeia with Plato's Demiurge, which, as Demiurge and mind (nous), is a critical component in the ontological construct of human consciousness used to explain and clarify substance theory within Platonic realism (also called idealism). In order to reconcile Aristotelian with Platonian philosophy, Plotinus metaphorically identified the demiurge (or nous) within the pantheon of the Greek Gods as Zeus (Dyeus).

The world-soul( Anima mundi)

an intrinsic connection between all living things on the planet, which relates to our world in much the same way as the soul is connected to the human body.The image and product of the motionless nous is the world-soul, which, according to Plotinus, is immaterial like the nous. Its relation to the nous is the same as that of the nous to the One. It stands between the nous and the phenomenal world, is permeated and illuminated by the former, but is also in contact with the latter. The nous is indivisible; the world-soul may preserve its unity and remain in the nous, but at the same time it has the power of uniting with the corporeal world and thus being disintegrated. It therefore occupies an intermediate position. As a single world-soul it belongs in essence and destination to the intelligible world; but it also embraces innumerable individual souls; and these can either allow themselves to be informed by the nous, or turn aside from the nous and choose the phenomenal world and lose themselves in the realm of the senses and the finite.

Plotinus taught the existence of an ineffable and transcendent One, the All, from which emanated the rest of the universe as a sequence of lesser beings. Later Neoplatonic philosophers, especially Iamblichus, added hundreds of intermediate beings such as gods, angels and demons, and other beings as mediators between the One and humanity.

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