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Excerpts from “The Six Enneads” by Plotinus (vegetarian) – Beauty, Part 1 of 2

2023-03-15
Език:English
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Today, we are delighted to present excerpts from The Sixth Tractate of The First Ennead, which expounds on beauty in our worldly lives and the secret of beauty deriving from our Souls.

Section 1 “Beauty addresses itself chiefly to sight; but there is a beauty for the hearing too, as in certain combinations of words and in all kinds of music, for melodies and cadences are beautiful; and minds that lift themselves above the realm of sense to a higher order are aware of beauty in the conduct of life, in actions, in character, in the pursuits of the intellect; and there is the beauty of the virtues. What loftier beauty there may be, yet, our argument will bring to light.”

“Almost everyone declares that the symmetry of parts towards each other and towards a whole, with, besides, a certain charm of color, constitutes the beauty recognized by the eye, that in visible things, as indeed in all else, universally, the beautiful thing is essentially symmetrical, patterned. But think what this means. Only a compound can be beautiful, never anything devoid of parts, and only a whole; the several parts will have beauty, not in themselves, but only as working together to give a comely total. Yet beauty in an aggregate demands beauty in details; it cannot be constructed out of ugliness; its law must run throughout.”

Section 2 “Let us, then, go back to the source and indicate at once the principle that bestows beauty on material things. Undoubtedly this principle exists; it is something that is perceived at first glance, something which the soul names as from an ancient knowledge and, recognizing, welcomes it, enters into unison with it.”

“But, is there any such likeness between the loveliness of this world and the splendors in the Supreme? Such a likeness in the particulars would make the two orders alike: but what is there in common between beauty here and beauty there? And on what has thus been compacted to unity, beauty enthrones itself, giving itself to the parts as to the sum: when it lights on some natural unity, a thing of like parts, then it gives itself to that whole. Thus, for an illustration, there is the beauty conferred by craftsmanship, of all a house with all its parts, and the beauty which some natural quality may give to a single stone. This, then, is how the material thing becomes beautiful – by communicating in the thought that flows from the Divine.”
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