Notebook, 1993-


Ancient Greek Philosophy
Neoplantonic Philosophy

Already in the first century before Christ, Greek philosophy was confronted and tormented by the unbridgeable gap of two conflicting lines of reasoning, mind-matter, and God and universe. The philosophical intellect, which had divided knowledge into two vast tracts or worlds, was unable to unite them. Infinite space separated the one from the other, the eternal from the mortal. But the desire of the intellect for a unification of these two separate worlds was intense, it had become an obsession, a yearning in the soul of man. And this longing was finally realized with the advent of Christianity whereby the fusion of the mortal with immortality in the figure of Christ was brought about.

Neoplatonism as chiefly represented by Plotinus led Greek philosophy out of this metaphysical impasse, by redirecting all the streams of thought and turning them back into the initial sources, to Plato and to Aristotle. He redigested all the science of his age and turned back on the trodden path, and adapted all the precepts of the old Greek philosophy to the needs of his age and to the metaphysical yearnings of his times. The greatness of Plotinus lies in the fact that he pacified the religious ache of the soul be referring all things to the primary principle by stages, to the One, or to God.

The religious tendency of the soul, the need to return to its ultimate principle and to coalesce with this, was the crux of Plotinus' philosophy. But this ultimate principle of all things Plotinus places beyond the sphere of pure intellect. This would indicate that it was preceded by a spiritual desperation not only concerning all things but especially science. This accounts for Plotinus shunning both mathematics and natural philosophy. The intellect for him becomes an intermediary step between the sensitive world and the ultimate logic, a mystical union of the soul with its ultimate principle. Absolute doubt of the value of all other things, no matter that they are 'grand-offspring' of the ultimate principle, of One, impels the soul to leave the spheres of the sensible and the intellect in order to return to its ultimate principle, to God. The logical implications of being are not here the primary, as in Plato and Aristotle, but a secondary stage. The ultimate end is a rapturous state of the soul; it is the vision of the absolute. [p. 186]

The philosophy of Plotinus is the matured autumnal light of Greek thought, it is the natural close of the Greek spirit, its evening glow. Having run the gamut of all knowledge with its intellect, the Greek world now appeared with its last great philosophical system to join man to God. It had after a thousand years of philosophical training come to rest 'in God'. What the Greek world realized with its great concept of resting 'in God', it did so in the sphere of Christianity. It appeared in response to the crying need of the times. [pp. 182-187 ]

[Kyriazis, Constantine D. Eternal Greece. Translated by Harry T. Hionides. A Chat Publication.]



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