• Plotinus

    On the Intellectual Beauty


    Plotinus: A Neo-Platonist and a mystical thinker who believes in an ideal world which he calls “There”, and a physical world which he calls “Here”.

    On the Intellectual Beauty: a mimetic theory that proves that art is superior; this shows that Plotinus values beauty and art. He says that “art” is the intellectual beauty


    A.  Plato believes that art is just an imitation of the perfect or ideal world, while Plotinus says that art is superior, because it unites “there” and “here”. Art is also good because it represents a God that you can touch and feel since God invades the world of art, therefore, art is like touching something which is divine.

    1.  “In the first stage of mystical union, the Divine invades the subject as a glorified self-image. In its final stages, the self fades out completely as the subject becomes completely identified with divine power and will”. (109)

    B. Plato believes that artists imitate ideas and not copy things of this world.

    C. Wisdom of the artist is the guide of his work.

    II. Beauty:

    A. Plotinus shows that we are all the creation of a beautiful god, so we are all beautiful. If the creator is beautiful then what he creates is beautiful too and vice versa. (A holistic vision just like Plato). 

    1.     “The Nature, then, which creates things so lovely must be itself of a far earlier beauty” (111)

    B.    Plotinus wants us to realize that beauty exists in every person, if a person didn’t realize the power of beauty within him then he should either use “separation” (bringing what’s inside of you to the out side) or “identity” (the self inside of him).

    C.   This shows that knowing ourselves is beauty, we are all beautiful, and if a person                thinks that he’s ugly it means that he’s ignorant and not smart enough to see that you’re beautiful.

      2. -“We ourselves possess beauty when we are true to our own being; our ugliness is in going over to another order; our self-knowledge, that is to say, is our beauty; in self-ignorance we are ugly” (118)

    III. Wisdom:

    A.   Wisdom here is God, so each thing that exists has been made into some kind of wisdom. An artist brings this wisdom of god close to our senses.

    1.     “For each manifestation of knowledge and wisdom is a distinct image, an object in itself, an immediate unity … later, from this wisdom in unity there appears” (113)

    IV. “There”:

    A. -Plotinus is in some way similar to Plato, since both of them believe in an ideal world, yet he criticized Plato in many issues. Plotinus called it the world of “There”.

              Ideal               ß Plato                       Plotinus  à          There

    _______________                                                           ______________

             Physical                                                                             Here

    B.    There: where we want to be, aims, goals, dreams and desires. It is the unreachable and it doesn’t exist physically.

    C.   Here: where we are now, our current status

    -“In our realm all is part rising from part and nothing can be more than partial” (112)

    This quote shows the main difference between Plato and Plotinus, since Plato believes that everything is a copy of the ideal world and not a part of it, while Plotinus

    believes that we all live in the world of “here” which is a part of the world of “there”. 


                _____________       ß Plato            Plotinus à