Вы находитесь на странице: 1из 26

American Philological Association

Katharsis in the Enneades of Plotinus Author(s): Hazel E. Barnes Source: Transactions and Proceedings of the American Philological Association, Vol. 73 (1942), pp. 358-382 Published by: The Johns Hopkins University Press Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/283557 . Accessed: 07/03/2014 16:41
Your use of the JSTOR archive indicates your acceptance of the Terms & Conditions of Use, available at . http://www.jstor.org/page/info/about/policies/terms.jsp

.
JSTOR is a not-for-profit service that helps scholars, researchers, and students discover, use, and build upon a wide range of content in a trusted digital archive. We use information technology and tools to increase productivity and facilitate new forms of scholarship. For more information about JSTOR, please contact support@jstor.org.

American Philological Association and The Johns Hopkins University Press are collaborating with JSTOR to digitize, preserve and extend access to Transactions and Proceedings of the American Philological Association.

http://www.jstor.org

This content downloaded from 181.118.153.57 on Fri, 7 Mar 2014 16:41:06 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions

358

Hazel E. Barnes

[1942

XXIV.-Katharsis in the Enneades of Plotinus'


HAZEL
THE WOMAN'S COLLEGE

E.

BARNES
OF NORTH CAROLINA

OF THE UNIVERSITY

According to the teaching of Plotinus the Soul attains the Ekstasis by a process of purification involving two distinct steps. The Soul is united to the Intellectual-Principle by first pursuing, later abandoning Virtue and Self-knowledge, and by studying dialectic. The study of philosophy brings it to the One but involves ultimately the rejection of the intellectual act. The Soul itself is affected, and the process has a positive as well as a negative aspect.

the beginning and philosophy is from Katharsisin Greekreligion soul as in fromthe body. At first, a means of separating Man's is the withtheOrphics, separation viewedalmostliterally. particular to be reThe soul is believed by means of ritualisticpurification from of ever of that the necessity "wheel is, being," the leased from soul's the as conceived the mortal always body, again inhabiting substitutes the in inevitably Plato conception borrowing prison. for the ritualistic. Personal immortality a spiritual purification soul is finallyfreedfrombodily ties, is the when the afterdeath, also the desirefora presentpsychoexists But there ultimategoal. logical and spiritualseparationof soul and body, which is at once a preparationand immediateend. This is basically the theoryof Plotinus. There are two changes which the particular developments of his own system make necessary. First, his acceptance of the beliefhintedat in Plato and developed by and formulation the Middle Platonists,that Matter itselfis Evil, gives him metafor demandingthat physical as well as psychologicaljustification the body be abandoned entirely. In the second place, the transcendentnature of the One or the Good, to which he gives more emphasis than Plato, necessitates an abandoning of intellection itselfin the approach to the Highest, thus extendingthe scope of katharsis. With these two important exceptions, the ideas of the two men are not dissimilar. It is not my purpose to presenta comparison of the two or to discuss the historicalreasons behind those
1 Translations and terminology (and capitalization) are based on, though not always identical with, the work of Mackenna and Page, Enneads (London, 1917-1930). In particular I have used Mackenna's designation for the three Plotinian realms: Soul. vro e, the One; vois, Intellectual-Principle; 4Ivvxi',

This content downloaded from 181.118.153.57 on Fri, 7 Mar 2014 16:41:06 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions

Vol. lxxiii]

Katharsisin Enneades ofPlotinus

359

clhangeswhich Plotinus made. T he significant point is the fact in Socrates' discussion particularly that already with Plato (slhown in the Phaedo) katharsisis more than a separation. The Soul is atlected by not mlerely freedfrompollutionbut is itselfinternally is made to concentrateits powers. The processis the purification, morethan even a psychologicalseparation; it is a spiritualrenewal. Failure to realize that such is the case in the thoughtof Plotinus has been, I believe, a major erroron the part of many Plotinian scholars. It is well known that Plotinus himselfwas disturbed by the speaking, problemof the Soul's relation to evil. Mletaphysically he could not admit that an act of creationwhich imitated that of the Primal Cause could be in any sense at all an evil or a failure. Thus he was forcedto say that the voluntaryembodimentof the tle lplilosol)llicalpoint of view, there Soull Was goo(d. Yet fr-oill involved mustof necessitybe a certainelementof evil or defilement in the union of Soul and Body in orderforhim to advance his plea that the human beingshould reach ever upward to the IntellectualPrinciple and so free his Soul frommaterial ties. If the bonds linking Soul to Body are desirable,therecan be no reasonfordesiring of the two ideas is to freethe Soul fromthem. The reconciliation accomplished by the use of an argument based on time. The initial entryof the Soul is allowed to be a metaphysicalnecessity. The Soul is "a god, a later phase of the divine; but understressof its power and of its tendencyto bringorder to its next lower, it penetratesto this sphere in a voluntary plunge; if it turns back quickly, all is well; it will have taken no hurt by acquiring the knowledgeof Evil and coming to understandwhat sin is" (4.8.5). Nevertheless,if the Soul remains in the lower world too long, theAll whichis its homeand exercising its own individuality, fleeing and of MVatter then it is overcome by the gradual encroachment witlhout evil. lenicC is n1oloniger Whetherthe Soul's union with the bodilyis evil only in process of time or at the momentof the firstdescent,in eithercase it is with Matter that produces the evil. For with Ploentanglement tinus MIatter, being viewed as absolute privation,is Evil absolute. Furthermore, it is at least sometimesconceivedas beingan actively evil forceas well as a passive one. The resultis that thereare two ways in which its association with the Soul is harmful. First, Matter is accretion. The Soul takes on that whichis alien to itself

This content downloaded from 181.118.153.57 on Fri, 7 Mar 2014 16:41:06 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions

360

Ihazel E. Barnes

[1942

and is laden with a heavy burden, as it were, which imnpedes its flight upward. In more psychologicalterms,the Soul by its concern forearthlythingsis preventedfromuninterrupted contemplation of the divine. Second, Matter bringsabout dispersionin the Soul. The Soul's power is enfeebled by its entanglementwith Matter so that its (livine faculties no longer have free play. It lacks the strength and power to raise itselfup to contemplatioll of the divine. Soul's entanglement with Matter is but the last in a series of downward steps. The Soul's ultimate goal is the One, and this cannot be reached simply by the taking away of Matter. Accretion and dispersionboth were presentas soon as the One had overflowedto produce the Intellectual-Principle, and again when this gave birthto the Soul. Matter is the only positive,absolute Evil'. It is only throughMatter that the Soul can lose even partiallyany of its own natural powers. But in so faras the departurefromthe divine One is concerned,each step down is apostasy. Each new quality, howevergood in itself,is accretion,introducesdispersion, and so is relativelyevil. The Soul's union with the One is prevented by those very qualities which distinguishit as Soul and likewise by those qualities in the Intellectual-Principle, whlich it must firstattain if it is to reach the One. By the possession of anythingwhich is not in the One, it is renderedimpureand'must be purified beforethe goal is achieved. If the descentand subsequent defilement of the Soul was accomplished by the accruementof alien qualities which broughtthe enfeebling of its powers,the reascentis to be achieved by the directly opposite process. Addition is to be replaced by subtraction,dispersion by concentration. Since it is the presence of the alien which renders the Soul unable to concentrate,to collect its full powers within itself,it is the process of gettingrid of the foreign elementswhich receivesmost of Plotinus' attention. But the fact that thereis always a positive'side as well must not be overlooked. The Soul, then,must be purified of that whichit has taken on. In the Plotinian hierarchy the qualities of each lower realm are not to be imputedto the higher one. The higher realmcauses and includes but does not partake of the lowerones (6.7.42). Thus the advance to each new stage is achieved by the abandoning of the lower one, with the discardingof all the qualities inherentin it. To a large extent it is entirely negative; but once the negative process is

This content downloaded from 181.118.153.57 on Fri, 7 Mar 2014 16:41:06 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions

Vol. lxxiii]

Katharsisin Enneades ofPlotinus

361

complete, the step into the higherstate has been accomplished. Each higherrealm is reached automaticallyafterthe attainmentof the peak of the lowerone. To attain the higher, one must develop the full capacities of the lower. This perfectionis achieved by discardingall alien matter-that is, the qualities of a still lower realm-and so enabling the state or power in question to be most trulyand purely itself. "Repose fromthe alien leaves the characteristicactivityintact" (5.3.7). In the reascentthe katharsisis thus continuous. In the lower stages the objects of purification are to a certain extent evil in themselvesin that they involve dependence on Matter. In the later the purification is only of that which is merely no longer needed because of being superseded by somethinghigher. The activities of which the Soul is purifiedin the later stages are in themselves good and have broughtthe Soul up to its presentheight. They may, however,because of theirverygoodness,act as a snare, deceiving the Soul into thinkingthat it has already reached the divine and so preventits strivingto go higher. Plotinus refersto the ascent as a sort of mysticjourney to be taken by initiates (1.3.1). The path is upward fromthe lowest of threerealms to the highest. The first stage is thus fromthe Soul to the Intellectual-Principle, the second from the IntellectualPrincipal to the One. The first ascent, however,actually consists of two steps: the first withinthesphereof theSoul itself, its awakening to a realization of its own nature and origin; and the second, the actual advance into the higherrealm. In other words, Soul must attain its highest capacity as Soul before it can become Intellectual-Principle. Each man must come to a realization of the essential life-that is, the divine Soul-within him and its positionas an integralpart, an identitywith the All-Soul. So far the problemis an individual one, varyingin its solution with the characterand circumstances of each humanbeing. Once the union with the All-Soul is realized, then the path to be trod is always the same, the step frompure Soul to pure Intellectual-Principle and eventuallyfrompure Intellectual-Principle to the One. While it is true that katharsiswith Plotinus is forthe purpose of enabling the Soul to be united with the One during life,it is important to remember that the goal is by no means an harmonious, complementary synthesisof Soul and Body. Repeatedly he urges the fact that the separation of the two must be absolute- in a

This content downloaded from 181.118.153.57 on Fri, 7 Mar 2014 16:41:06 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions

362

Hazel E. Barnes

[1942

spiritual sense, of course,-that in any compromisebetween the two, Body will inevitablybe dominant,that any good in this life but only throughSoul's exists never throughsuch a partnership is not a withdrawing Soul of the of it, that theliberation repudiation it.2 away from flight entirely a but from certainevil aspects of Body state. in the natural gold is like Soul of embodied The condition the extraneousmatter almost beyond The gold is hidden in inferior, which make the metal precious all qualities the detection, but state is achieved it to its finest of bringing The task intact. remain it. around Similarly,the has collected which that removing by Soul must be liberatedfromall that pertainsto Matter, so that it in it. So long as it may be freeto exerciseall the powersinherent attaches any importanceto Body, there is a thinningout or diof its own powers,both as Soul and as a potential part minishing of each of the more divine realms. While its divinityis not essentially changed,its active poweris not unaffected. of the Soul, then,is a steady withdrawalfrom The purification all that is inferioruntil it contains nothing extraneous to the divine One. How is this to be accomplished? The answer is the same as that given by Plato-by the pursuitof philosophy. We are specificallytold so in several places. In the treatise On the Animateand Man when Plotinusis speakingof the various possible modes of coalescence of Soul and Body, he says that in case Soul is partly attached and partly free,it will be the two-foldtask of philosophyto directthe lower phase of the Soul toward the higher the and in so far as is possible to separate it fromits instrument, Body (1.1.3). Again in the last Ennead he speaks of the two phases will be held down by the lower of the Soul and says that the higher has freedthe philosophy so long as the lowerremains. If, however, Xbcaete higherSoul (EL b ravreXws 4xXoaootoa), then the lowerdeparts the true Soul, may enter realm and the higher, alone to an inferior lower from of any contamination world purified into the intellectual into the Again we are told that the man who is capable of entering Intellectual Realm is the one with the nature of the lover and a philosophical(5.9.2). Finally, in taking up dispositioninherently or nottheSoul is to be considered impervious ofwhether the problem Plotinusasks, "Why then if the Soul has been to earthlyinfluence, fromthe beginning,is it necessary to make the Soul unaffected
2See 3.6.6; 2.3.9; 5.1.10; 1.7.3; 1.8.8; 5.4.15.

ov6epos 5E KaOapcos ev rc4 Potp743 existence (abmrq k-ppflj.vouabrrTs6.4.16).

This content downloaded from 181.118.153.57 on Fri, 7 Mar 2014 16:41:06 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions

Vol. lxxiii]

Katharsisin Enneades ofPlotinus

363
tbtOLToctas

immune by meansof philosophy" (AbraOr TrIv qlvXtlv(K

roteZv 3.6.5)? but withoutelaboraIn such statements we are told specifically tion that katharsis is accomplishedthroughphilosophy. A close examinationof the Enneades will show, I believe, that the philoin connection with the sophical approach is maintainedthroughout and that the conceptionof katharsisas accomSoul's purification of the whole Plotinian plished by philosophyformsthe foundation system.3 Yet the term "philosophy" varies accordingto the particularstages in the ascent. Thus at one timeis meant that part of philosophywhich is equivalent to mere ratiocination,at another dialectic; at still other times philosophy is thought of as pure religion. For purposes of discussionwe may divide the study of the approach to the One and its achievementthroughphilosophy in the same way as does Plotinus. Thus we have first the approach to the Intellectual-Principle, second the approach to the One, or the Ekstasis.
I. THE APPROACH TO THE INTELLECTUAL-PRINCIPLE

(1) The Virtues. Without true Virtue, says Plotinus, God is but a name. By it the Soul is cleansed; throughit, along with wisdom, God is made manifest(2.9.15). With Plotinus as with mostof the Greek philosophers, Virtueincludesbut is neverlimited to moral goodness. With him more than with any of the others Virtue is intellectualized. To a certain extent,particularly in the passages dealing with metempsychosis, Virtue is loosely equated with moralityand justice, and Vice with theiropposites. But in generalhis beliefthat the earthlylifeof the Soul is neveran end in itselfleads Plotinus to make of the virtuessimplya means of separating the Soul fromall bodily concernsand trainingit to look upward to the Intellectual-Principle. With Plato he declares that all the virtuesare purifications. Virtue in its true sense is not the regulationof earthlylife but an internalliberationfromit. In a morepositivesense it is the Soul's retirement into itselfas the result
3 Marcel De Corte has discussed this subject in an article, "Technique et fondement de la purification Plotinienne," Revue d'Histoire de la Philosophie 5 (1931) 42-74. His discussion, which is excellent so far as it goes, falls short, it seems to me, in two important points: first,he fails to realize that the Soul itself is affected by the purification; second, he does not distinguish between dialectic and philosophy, as does Plotinus, and so does not give proper emphasis to the fact that there are two distinct stages in the process of katharsis.

This content downloaded from 181.118.153.57 on Fri, 7 Mar 2014 16:41:06 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions

364

Hazel E. Barnes

[1942

of all that belongsto the externalworld. This view of purification as meaningthat earthlymoralityand must never be misconstrued in Plotinus' eyes. But theirimportance goodness are unimportant is taken forgrantedas of necessityincludedin a higherconception. Plotinus' views on Virtue and man's philosophicalpurpose are summedup in his famoussentencecomingat the end of his treatise On Virtue: "Our concern is not to be sinless but to be divine" (1.2.6). This is, of course,closelylinkedwiththe Platonic doctrine saying of attaininglikenessto God, which Plotinus quotes directly, evil from escape our lies likeness this attaining in like Plato that means this likeness that explanation To Plato's world. and this "becomingjust and holy,livingby wisdom" (pueTa bpovkews -yeveioa), Thus it is Plotinus 'Ev AperT (1.2.1). Plotinus adds the words 'oXws who emphasizesthe necessityof Virtue; but he does so only forthe which later sake of giving it a specificand strict interpretation, leads to a partial discardingof it. Plato goes on in the passage mentionedto what he believes to be the true reason-forpractising Virtue and shunningVice. "God is in no wise and in no manner unrighteous,but utterly and perfectlyrighteous,and there is nothingso like him as that one of us who in turn becomes most nearly perfectin righteousness. It is hereinthat the true cleverand cowardice; ness of a man is found and also his worthlessness for the knowledgeof this is true Virtue, and ignorance of it is 176 B-C). wickedness" (Theaetetus follyor manifest With Plato, then,man must pursueVirtue merelybecause God is perfectrighteousness. This is not untrue for Plotinus, but he does not see thingsquite so simply. To beginwith,he divides the is classes. The first virtuesinto two-or perhaps three different that of the civic virtues,and these Plotinusdecides are not capable of bringingabout "likeness." For how, he asks, can there be a quality such as courage where there is no danger,or self-restraint from whichone should restrain wherethereare no falseallurements oneself? The conclusionis that the civic virtuesin so far as they are associated with mortal reasoningfacultiesdo not exist in the divine realm. These are all closely bound up with those concomitantsof bodily existencewhich are not found in the divine. Phronesisis pure ratiocination;andreia is concernedwith the pasproduces the harmonybetweenpassion sionate nature; sophrosyne of each of the virtuesas is the employment and reason; dikaiosyne that we cannot gain It is obvious or obey. it should command

This content downloaded from 181.118.153.57 on Fri, 7 Mar 2014 16:41:06 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions

Vol. lxxiii]

Katharsisin Enneades of Plotinus

365

likeness to God by virtues so firmly bound to the bodily. The civic virtuesare not those by which men win the ultimatemystic vision. Yet there have been men possessed of the civic virtueswhom traditionhas recognizedas divine. We must recognizethat there are both two planes of excellenceand two classes of virtuesto which we may attain. The virtuesof this lower plane are by no means to be despised so long as theyare viewed in the properperspective. Moral excellenceis formforthe Soul (6.7.27). The lower virtues regulateand ennoble our lives here. They set limitsand measure to our desires and emotions. They save us fromfalse opinion. For a man becomesbetterby beingsubject to measureand removing himselffromthe sphere of the unbounded and unmeasured. The Soul is as Matter to the acts of the virtues, and they are like an image of the best whichis above. By replacingthe uttermeasurelessnessof Matter with some slightparticipation in ideal form,the virtuesbringthe Soul a little nearer to the divine that is beyond form. Then the Soul being closer to the divine than the body and thus more akin participatesmore fully,and deceivingus, it almost seems like the divine itself. It is in this way that those who possess the civic virtuesacquire likeness (1.2.2). It will be noted that even in this praise of earthlyvirtuesthey are given no true ultimatevalue. Divinity is not reached by such virtues, only an illusion because of an approximationto it. If man is deceived by this appearance, Virtue becomes itselfa snare and a hindranceto the Soul. All practical virtuesin themselves are simplysensible qualities, and qualities are associated with the Soul in its apostasy. The practical virtuesare importantas contributing to the externalsocial well-being of humanity. They make forbeauty and orderin the worldand so are desirable,but theyare not necessary(6.3.16). An extensionof this idea is the beliefthat good is not derived from the act itself but fromthe inner dispositionpromptingit. Heracles is the type of a hero of virtuous actions. Through his noble service he was deemed worthyof being a god. But he did not have the contemplativenature and so was not whollyworthy of being in the higherrealms. Somethingof him remainedbelow, and that is why the poet put Heracles himself among the gods and his shade in the lowerworld (1.1.12).

This content downloaded from 181.118.153.57 on Fri, 7 Mar 2014 16:41:06 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions

366

Hazel E. Barnes

[1942

Since it is clear that likenessto God cannot be attained merely by the practice of civic or practical virtues,Plotinus assumes the existenceof a higherclass of virtuesof the same name as the lower but more intellectualin nature. Even these ideal virtues do not of necessityexist in the divine state, but throughacquiring them we attain likeness to a Being in which they have no place. It is the Plotinian principleof advancing by means of that which mustbe discardedjust beforethe ultimategoal is achieved. In the virtuesare littlemorethan katharsisitself, finalanalysis the higher of the intellectfromall that is bodily. in this instance the freeing Plotinus discusses Plato's saying that all the virtues are purifications.4 In what sense, he asks, are we to think Plato meant withthe body, its fusion this? The Soul's evil comes about through with it. Thus each by sharingits states and, so to speak, thinking of the four cardinal virtues is interpretedas one aspect of the process. Phronesis refersto the Soul's separating its purifying is refusing intellectfromthe body and acting alone. Sophrosyne by the passions of the body. Andreia is ceasing to to be affected is the fearseparationfromthe body by death. Finally dikaiosyne dominanceof reason and intellectwithoutopposition(1.2.3).5 Afterthe acts of the highervirtuesthe Soul is leftimmune to passion,and one would not be wrongin sayingthat such a Soul had attained likenessto God. For the divine is pure, and its activity is such that likeness to it is wisdom (1.2.3). Now the Soul will and all that it hold itselfaloof fromall passions and affections, gives to the body will be bestowed as upon somethingseparate. For theSoul's truegood lies in devotionto the Intellectual-Principle, which is its kin (1.2.4). Freedom to exercise this contemplation which the highervirtueshave achieved. is won by the purification At times Plotinus makes the connectionbetween the virtues and a littlecloser. In one passage virtuesare said to be species intellect and not primarygenera because they are all subordinateacts of intellect(6.2.18). In anotherwe read that the virtuesof the Soul are thoseby whichthevisionis directedto the Intellectual-Principle, wisdom and thought (1.2.7). But it must be rememberedthat while the highervirtuesare closelybound up with the intellectual, they do not constitutethe intellectualact itself. Virtue is of the
4For the development of this idea in Plato and Plotinus see E. Brehier, "APETAI KAOAP2:EI2:," REA 42 (1940) 53-58. 6 See also 1.6.5-6.

This content downloaded from 181.118.153.57 on Fri, 7 Mar 2014 16:41:06 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions

Vol. lxxiii]

Katharsisin Enneades ofPlotinus

367

or the One. The higher Soul, not of the Intellectual-Principle virtues are not even the actual contemplationof the Intellectualof all that would preventthat Principle. They are the purification contemplation. They form the intellectual attitude that allows the vision. That the higher virtues completely supersede the lower is broughtout in a passage in which Plotinus divides men into three groups:thosewho live by sense and pretended thosewho reasoning, live by a virtue which enables them to select well among lower things, and thosewho live by divine contemplation. Of these only the thirdclass ever attains ultimatetruth(5.9.1). It may be said that those who pursue the practicalvirtuesbut not divine contemplation hold a middle positionanalogous to that of Christianswho would live by works alone. The Christianwho lives a moral life and keeps God's laws is moreto be commendedthan he who lives a life of wickedness; yet without divine love he is nothing. The Plotinian philosopher, too, is to be praised forfreeing himself from the lowestphases of bodilyaffections, but withoutthe divinevision he still lives in unreality. The object of our imitationis not good men but the divine (1.2.7). It is clear that all the virtues are means of purification. The civic virtuespurify man of objective evil; that is, theyrestrainhim fromvice. The intellectualvirtuescompletelyfreethe Soul of all dependenceupon the bodily. Both of these are negative. Is there a positive Virtue? Virtue in the positive sense is that which remains after the Soul's achieved purification. It is the essential act, the Soul's true good-in other words, the Soul's vision, the contemplation of the Intellectual-Principle. Purificationbrings about the Soul's turning from the bodily to the IntellectualPrinciple. The Soul's virtue is the actual vision which resultsin its identification with the Intellectual-Principle (1.2.4). To sum up, there are threesteps in the approach to the Intellectual-Principle by Virtue: (1) the turning of the Soul frommoral evil and lack of order; (2) the turning of the Soul fromBody into itselfand its own reason; (3) the turningof the Soul fromitself to the Intellectual-Principle, in thislast case alone not accomplished by any truediscardingof lowerelements. It is seen that Virtueor the virtues-becomes more and more intellectualizedas the processof purification and the consequentreascentof the Soul continue. By the time that the thirdstep has been reached,Virtue is

This content downloaded from 181.118.153.57 on Fri, 7 Mar 2014 16:41:06 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions

368

Hazel E. Barnes

[1942

with pure intellect,and no ethical only a means of identification coloringwhatsoeverremains. Virtue as commonlyconceived has been sought,practiced,and of necessitytranscended.
o-avrov as Plotinus uses it has some(2) Self-Knowledge. rvcoot and moreofa metaphysical what less ofan ethicaland psychological character than with Socrates. The Platonist by self-knowledge comes to know the Soul in its relation to the divine. The NeoPlatonist by lookinginward arrivesat the realizationthat he himthe selfis one with the divine. Plotinusin his teachingconcerning higher and lower parts of the Soul includes the idea that selfto understand knowledgeis the propermethodof learningproperly is said to those who, because they are them (6.4.17). rvcotoYauToJv since they do not have the task of appraisingthemselves manifold, just as theydo not knowtheir knowall or some of theirconstituents own originor principleof Being (6.7.41). with Plotinus includes But the attainment of self-knowledge more than the realization of one's psychologicalnature and capacities. It takes on a metaphysicalcharacterby which the conof the divine templationof oneselfleads one to the understanding Soul within. Following this the Soul's contemplation of itself withinitself results in the perceptionof the Intellectual-Principle with the higher and consequentlythe achievementof self-identity realm. Man contains within him potentiallyboth the Soul and the Intellectual-Principle. By lookinginwardhe may contemplate with them. them and eventuallybe identified as a means of innergrowthis presentedperhaps Self-knowledge most clearly in the treatise On Beauty. If man would know the beauty which the Soul possesses,says Plotinus, he must withdraw beautiful,he must withinhimself. If he does not yet findhimself labor like the creatorof a statue, cuttingaway what is excessive, what is crooked,and so forth. When the statue of straightening then one is gatheredinto thepurity the innerman is made perfect, of his own being where nothing of externals can cling to him. Then he becomes that veritablelight,veryvision,and so mounting, his Soul can approach the divine Intellectual-Principle. The view that our perceptionof beauty, form,intellect,and the good must begin with the study of those qualities within ourto the Platonic doctrinewhichwould selves is not whollydissimilar have our appreciationof beauty dependent on our knowledgeof and higherstate. the idea of beauty, whichwe learned in a former

This content downloaded from 181.118.153.57 on Fri, 7 Mar 2014 16:41:06 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions

Vol. lxxiii]

Katharsisin Enneades ofPlotinus

369

increase as one looks forthem. For one Nevertheless,differences thing,Plotinusstates that the god in each of us is the same (6.5.1). By looking inward we pierce more and more beyond all the accidental propertiesof ourselves as individual human beings until at last we see the true self within us, which is divine and above all fromotherreal beings. that which accentuatesour distinction The precept is appliedto the process of the oavrov, then, -yvwOt Soul's contemplationof its own nature while purifying itself of external-that is, bodily-interests. In other words, self-contemplation is again a formof katharsis. The turning inwardis forthe purposeof enablingthe Soul to be alone. Even the circularmovementof the heavens Plotinusexplains as comingabout because the Soul always discoversmore than Soul, while Soul alone is what it would find(2.2.2). For the Soul to regainits unionwith the higher power, two things must be done. First, the Soul must learn to know the worthlessnessof those objects which it now honors. Second, it must recall its own originand worth. For its separation from the Intellectual-Principle has come about as the result of whence it came and consequentlyholding itselfin disforgetting in inferiorexternals. The second method honor and glorifying supersedes the firstand if clearly broughtout explains the first. The Soul must now look inward and by seeing only itselflearn to know its own originand ultimategoal. "To know ourselvesis to know our source" (6.9.7). is an intellectual,on the whole, positive form Self-knowledge of katharsis,for it raises the soul to the Intellectual-Principle by teachingit to know more of its own nature. Yet as was the case with the virtues, self-knowledge is eventually discarded. In the treatise On IntellectualBeauty Plotinus describes the man who throughself-knowledge and the appreciation of inner beauty has arrivedat the desiredgoal. At that momenthe may see an image of himselflifted to greater beauty; but this he ignores, lovely though it is, and sinks into perfectunity with the divine. The turningto the divine is in two phases. First comes separation when man is aware of himself. Then as he advances inward he fearsthe separatedlifeand forgets himself in the veryact of turning inward. If he does not lose this self-awareness, the vision is not complete; and he keeps himselfapart from the divine. Active self-knowledge has led to the desired goal by being firstsought, then achieved, and then abandoned.

This content downloaded from 181.118.153.57 on Fri, 7 Mar 2014 16:41:06 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions

370

IHazelE. Barnes

[1942

(3) Dialectic. In the treatiseOn Dialectic Plotinustells us that the ultimate thereare threetypesofmenwho are capable ofreaching The philosopher. the and lover, the goal. They are the musician, the influence; outside by guided be must lover the and musician philosophermay advance by the impulse of his own nature. The and forms of tones,rhythms, the perception musicianproceedsfrom and in natural sounds to the realization of the correspondences behind them. Then he must be taught that what so relationships thrilled him was the intellectual harmony and that the beauty withinit was not a particularbeauty but universalbeauty. From there he must go on to study the truthsof philosophy until he he possessed in ignorance. understandsthose thingswhich hitherto The lover, who belongs to the class above that of the musician, throughwhich the musician must pass on the journey upward, advances fromthe perceptionof physical and particularto intellectual and universalbeauty afterthe mannerprescribedby Plato. unlikethe othertwo, does not need to begin with The philosopher, for by his very nature he is the separation frombodily interests, alreadypreparedforthe upwardstep. He beginsat once the study of abstract by which he may win a comprehension of mathematics, virtues, in the higher training and a faithin the incorporeal, thought the pursuitof dialectic. and finally It is the pursuit of dialectic which completes the necessary trainingof all three classes. This is the science of reality, and Plotinus explains very carefullywhat he means by it. It is that showingthe positionof each whichteachesthe truenatureof things, object withregardto reality. It deals withBeing and its distinction fromNon-Being and with the Good and the Not-Good and the eternal and the perishable. These things it studies with true science, not opinion. "It comprehendsthe Ideas, traverses the entire Intellectual realm, then knowing the Being in Intellect, arrived at Unity, it contemplatesand is at peace" (1.3.4). In other words it brings the Soul to perfectidentitywith the Inteland in this union the Soul joins in the essential lectual-Principle; of which is the contemplation activityof the Intellectual-Principle, the One. It must be noted that this passage does not indicate a while contemplatunionwith the One. The Intellectual-Principle, with it. ing the One, is at no time identified In this descriptiondialectic seems to be pure metaphysics. Is it to be understood as identical with philosophy? Fortunately

This content downloaded from 181.118.153.57 on Fri, 7 Mar 2014 16:41:06 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions

Vol. lxxiii]

Katharsisin Enneades of Plotinus

371

Plotinus anticipatesthis question and tells us that it is not. Dialectic is the precious part of philosophy, which is itselfthe "most precious." Philosophyuses dialectic in a relationship even closer than that in whichotherskills use arithmetic, in forming a conception of the laws of the universeand in its contemplation of ethics; fordialectic sets forth whichethics result. The the practicesfrom is even moremarkedbetweendialectic and ratiocination. difference Dialectic deals not with rules and theoriesbut with reality. It knowsuntruths and sophismsonlyas falsities outside its own canon of truth. Verbal propositions are beneath it, thoughit knows the truth behind them. Petty precisionsof process it leaves to any -other science which may care forthe work. Above all it comprehends the movementsof the Soul. It is a sort of super-reasoning. With wisdom it strips all thingsof Matter and presentsthem in theiruniversalaspect. By dialectic we can overcomethe weaknessof our usual mental acts, which are not pure intellectbut human reason swayed by all that is external (3.4.17). The hierarchyof reason in the Plotiniansystemis roughlyparallel to that of the virtues. The knowing of sensible things comes first. All knowledgeinvolving any sort of sense perceptionis the specific act of the embodied Soul and has no true significance. Next comes such reasoning as is carriedon by the mind alone; that is mereratiocination. It is this mentalact whichis providedforin the training given by the study of mathematics, which leads to the understanding of the abstract. Afterthis therecomes that use and act of reason (XoyLo-IOs)which is characteristic of the Soul. This, it is probable,is not dissociated fromdialectic, forthe object of reasoningwith both is true Being. With each level of reason as with each plane of virtue,the loweris always supersededby the higher,and even the essential act of the Soul will eventuallygive place to that of the Intellectual-Principle. Closely connectedwith dialectic is Plotinus' doctrine of form. In the pursuit of beauty we learn to know the beautiful firstin sensible objects. Then this very appreciationof them teaches us to findbeauty in the non-sensible untilwe love that whichis totally unrelatedto earthlybeauty and look on earthlybeauty as a snare to keep us from the divine. In thesame way we advance by leaving the formlessand learning to perceive form,but our goal is that whichis withoutform. The best of Matter is that whichhas some form. Soul is formto all of Matter. The Intellectual-Principle is

This content downloaded from 181.118.153.57 on Fri, 7 Mar 2014 16:41:06 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions

372

Hazel E. Barnes

[1942

whichall formhas come formto Soul. But the primalsource from is formless(6.7.28 and 33). To a certain extent formis reason, particularlyin the realm of the Platonic Ideas, which Plotinus adopts as having theirdwellingin the Intellectual-Principle. Certainlyour perceptionof formcomes throughreason; and the Ideas, which are divine, purely intellectualform,must be seen through dialectic. As the result of the trainingby dialectic the Soul achieves the principlesof the science are given Intellectual-Principle. The first The rest dialectic devises for itself. by the Intellectual-Principle to perfect intellect. For, it comes until dividing and uniting itself, achievepurest is the dialectic (Ka6WapWnraroV) that read we says, he step -the final is then, Dialectic, wisdom. and intellect of ment fromBody. Yet it is itselfa sort afterthe Soul has been purified of katharsis. It is dialectic which determinesthe nature of the virtues which act as purifications. It is dialectic which purifies thought of earthly elements and presents it in universal terms. Dialectic is the means by which the Soul exertsits own absolute act of Virtue and obtains the vision of the Intellectual-Principle. (4) The First Katharsis Achieved. In describing the actual Plotinus' language is at first vision of the Intellectual-Principle, almost mystical. The Soul's approach finally purelymetaphysical, is by no means an accretionof knowledge,a perceivingof divine object by active subject. The Soul does not learn to comprehend as one studies to master the contentsof the Intellectual-Principle a new book. This cannot be true for two reasons. First, the distinctionbetween subject and object does not exist in the Intellectual-Principle. Knowing is an absolute, achieved state, not a process of becoming. Second, the Soul does not striveto comprebut to become one with it. One hend the Intellectual-Principle warningand not must be carefulto observe Plotinus' oft-repeated or temporally. either spatially too concretely, his realms view identification Soul's of the in the concept difficulty is no There an artist who becomes The student Intellectual-Principle. withthe is not changed fromone person into another. He is merelythe same man developing powers which were always within him but and dormant. The same or partiallyunrecognized entirely hitherto of to the concentration is according always; divine essence present One. or the Intellectual-Principle, is called Soul, it its powers,

This content downloaded from 181.118.153.57 on Fri, 7 Mar 2014 16:41:06 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions

Vol. lxxiii]

in Enneades ofPlotinus Kathaursis

373

Man's ability to reason out these matters comes about partly the factthat Soul, thoughthe lowestof the threerealms,is through neverthelessintellective,partly because the Intellectual-Principle is in us as well as Soul, a part of us to whichwe are always rising (1.1.13). The Philonicconceptionof " By Light, Light" (cos 4corw) is directlyparalleled by the Plotinian "Intellectual-Principleby It is for this reason that the Intellectual-Principle"(Po-vs vw).6 Soul aided by dialectic is able to bridge the gap even though its own intellectualpowersare inferior. The act of identification of Soul and Intellectual-Principle is a self-realization and a loss of self. "We are most simultaneously aware of ourselveswhen we are most completelyidenticompletely fiedwith the object of our knowledge" (5.8.11). The man in such a state is like one possessed by a god. Giving himself completely to the innerdivine intellections, he becomes no longerthe seer but the seen, the perfect unityof subject and object. The vision itself, we are told, is seeinga god givingbirthto beautifuloffspring. It is beholding the reality of a functioning universe in its relation to divinecause. Plotinusresorts to the figures of Greekmyth. Zeus, the Soul, is the sovereignof the visible universe. By beholdinghis beauty we may gain an impressionof the greater beauty of his father Kronos, the Intellectual-Principle, who is fetteredto an unchangingidentity(5.8.13). Man's identification with the Intellectual-Principle is the experienceof a sense of union between his intelligenceor essential Being and the intellectualessence underlyingall reality. It is the absorptionof the restricted individual mindor soul into the ultimate,universalmind,through whichalone it has powerand Being. The nature of the Intellectual-Principle has been the subject of lengthydiscussionby many writers, and it need not be dealt with in detail here. Plotinus gives a good sentence descriptionof it: "It is veritable Intellect which as such thinks of authentically existing beingsand makes themexist. It is, then,authenticBeing." The Intellectual-Principle is ultimate reality, which is identical with true intellection, absolute knowledge. The considerationof the nature of the achieved vision of the Intellectual-Principle shows how each one of the steps previously discussed is necessaryto attain it. First of all, the divine intellect
6 For a discussion of this conception in the works of Philo see E. R. Goodenough, By Light, Light, The Mystic Gospel of Hellenistic Judaism (Yale, 1935).

This content downloaded from 181.118.153.57 on Fri, 7 Mar 2014 16:41:06 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions

374

Hazel E. Barnes

[1942

is separated fromall sensual or perishablethings. For this reason the virtues must be pursued as a means of separating the Soul is selffrom bodily interests. Second, the Intellectual-Principle self-introspection, with begin must knowing. Thus the initiate learningto knowhis own natureas man and as a part of the divine. Third, it is pure intelligence. Hence the higherformsof Virtue are intellectualized,and the contemplativelife is the only one of is not only intellitrue value. Finally, the Intellectual-Principle For this the Being. of gence but reality; it is the intellection of course, is, science This dialectic. only true approach must be the culmination, the being its in and in itself both intellectual, mastered must be which sciences, mental the lower form of ideal by all philosophers.7 In addition, it is the science of Being; and of Being,whichis the Intellectualits achievedgoal is the knowledge but it Principle. Dialectic is not itselfthe Intellectual-Principle, is the final and only step which leads to the very heart of the Intellectual-Principle. man freeshimself By dialectic,the precious part of philosophy, even fromthe sciences and mentalacts which have broughthim so farupward. The change impliedin Soul itselfis discarded. He is as well. still Soul, but he is the unchangingIntellectual-Principle Finally even dialectic is left behind. It is the last rung of the ladder by which man has climbed out of the cave and stepped into theouterworld.
THE APPROACH TO THE ONE

is the natural dwellingplace of the The Intellectual-Principle Soul. The One is to be apprehendedonly in those rare moments tellsus that Plotinus of mysticunion,the Ekstasis, whichPorphyry experiencedonly four times in the course of their years together (Vita 23).8 Yet the memoryof the vision remainseven afterthe actual Ekstasis is a thingof the past, and it is only when the Soul and the knowledgethat the vision may come possessesthis memory
7 It is noteworthy that Plotinus gives less emphasis to the training of the human Human knowledge is everywhere neglected by Plotinus for the mind than does Plato. sake of dwelling on spiritual values. Though Plotinus' system is more definite than Plato's in emphasizing the presence of an Intellectual-Principle, it is the spiritualized Soul and not the glorified human intellect that attains the divine vision. 8 A. H. Armstrong presents a careful comparison of the nature of the One and of the Intellectual-Principle and their relation to the human soul in The Architectureof the Intelligible Universe in the Philosophy of Plotinus (Cambridge, 1940).

This content downloaded from 181.118.153.57 on Fri, 7 Mar 2014 16:41:06 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions

Vol. lxxiii]

Katharsisin Enneades ofPlotinus

375

again, that life in the Intellectual-Principle can be lived to the fullestdegree. Thus the Ekstasis, however rare, is necessaryfor the normal,perfect lifeof the Soul, whichis led in the IntellectualPrinciple. As has been said, the vision of the One cannot be attained until the union of the Soul with the Intellectual-Principle has been achieved. "We must behold the One not by bringing in anything of sense or by takinginto the Intellectual-Principle anythingfrom Soul; but beholdingthe mostpureby pure Intellectual-Principle and fromthe peak of the Intellectual-Principle" (6.9.3). Yet while the Soul is thus led to see that whichthe divine intellect contemplates, nevertheless beforethe actual identification with the One can come about, the Soul must be purifiedof those qualities which characterize the Intellectual-Principle as distinctfromthe One. These are multiplicity and intellection. Multiplicity in the second realm comes about throughthe fact that it is the home of the Ideas and that its contemplationof the One is in itselfa denial of unity; for where there are one to contemplateand one to be contemplated, there is multiplicity. For the human Soul intellectionin this realm is contemplationand meditation upon reality and divine cause. It is a sinkingof oneselfin a universal Mind. But this Mind is ever in quest of somethinghigher,and by this questing intellection, the Soul arrives at the utter repose where thereis no more desiring. Like the highervirtues,intellection aids at first in producingkatharsis and in preparingthe Soul for the final step. Yet ultimatelyit too is abandoned. It may be well here to remarkthat the discardingof all specific quality as not belongingto the One does not necessarilyimply a completelynegative view of the nature of the One. The One is not absolute negationbut absolute perfection. The constantnegationswhichPlotinusapplies to it are simplyto emphasizeby means of refusing to admit inadequate restrictive terms,the transcending positiveaspect of the One. The Soul must emptyitselfof earthly qualities in orderto take on the divine; it does not become empty in order to make itselfa part of nothing. But the nature of the divine of which it becomes a part cannot be predicatedin human terms. This view of the One as both the negation of all known qualitiesand yet perfect fullness is reflected in thepurification which the human Soul must undergo. That is to say, the Soul must both purifyitself of its weaknesses, of accretion, and concentrateits

This content downloaded from 181.118.153.57 on Fri, 7 Mar 2014 16:41:06 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions

376

Hazel E. Barnes

[1942

so that it may be capable of conpowers,buildingup its strength tainingthe divine. The process of riddingthe Soul of its limiting qualities must be accomplished beforean approach can be made beyond them. The One is also called by Plotinus"The Good," thoughthe term has, of course, no ethical connotation but designates rather the which is beyond all specificreXeta. It will be reuniversalreIXetov called that Plotinus' finaldesignationof a positive virtue foundin the firststage of the ascent was the essential act of the Soul, the actual process of the Soul's contemplation of the IntellectualPrinciple. With this conceptionof Virtue as a movementtoward a higherrealm of reality,we begin to approach Plotinus' theoryof step Virtue specificand absolute Good. Since already in the first that now goodness it is not surprising had thus become non-ethical, becomes a matter of native activity exerted by one existent in of the treatise reachingtowardanother. This is the centralthought On thePrimal Goodand Its SecondaryForms(1.7). In this essay, betweenthe Good as absolute, confusion in whichthereis frequent motionlessachievementand the Good as a methodof leading the points stand out. First, it is said Soul upward, three significant that the Good for each entity-that is, its highestvirtue-is its Soul functioning natural activity,which in the case of the rightly is ever upward to the Primal Good. On the higherplane the Soul's goodness is its perceptionof the Primal Good as being the true cause of the Soul's attraction to the Intellectual-Principle. This active desire forthe Good, the reachingout forit is the methodby which the Soul attains it. Second, the Soul is said to be able to achieve the Good, not only by reachingout for it but becoming like it. Here certainlyis implieda positiveconceptionof both the One and the methodof attainingunion with it. Finally, the Good is said to be possessed in Unity, Being, and Form. Of these only the first belongs in the Good itself. Again we have an example of the higherplane reached by means of those thingswhich are to be abandoned once the goal is achieved. The Good, then, is the ultimate and may be attained by the Soul's exercisingits natural inclinationtoward it. It is clear that therecan be in thissecond step no directparallel to the part played by the firsttwo classes of virtues in the,first is no longer considered an katharsis. Likewise self-intellection since This mightseem rathersurprising adequate method (5.6.5).

This content downloaded from 181.118.153.57 on Fri, 7 Mar 2014 16:41:06 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions

Vol. lxxiii]

Katharsisin Enneades of Plotinus

377

the very essence of the Intellectual-Principle is self-intellection. For what othername could be given to a knowledge that is absolute with no distinctionbetween subject and object? It may be that to have the Intellectual-Principle come to recognizethe presence of the One within it as the result of conscious self-examination would imply a distinctionbetween the knower and the known, which is just what Plotinus is vigorouslydenying. At any rate the contemplation of the One by the Intellectual-Principle is never the same as the Soul's vision of it; forthe former demands a certain separation which in the case of the Ekstasis is denied. The Soul while it lives in the Intellectual-Principle shares in the divine contemplation,but it knows a still higherdesire. In the Ekstasis the Soul is not the Intellectual-Principle contemplating. It is the One itself. How are we to explain this transcending achievement? Is it by any known process other than intellection? And what name are we to give intellection on this highestplane? Taking the last question first, we may recall that in the earlier step, the last and ultimatelyeffective methodof bringing the Soul to the union with the Intellectual-Principle was the pursuit of dialectic. At that phase of his discussionPlotinus explicitlystated that dialectic was but a part,althougha preciouspart,ofphilosophy. Since dialectic, the lowerof the two, broughtthe Soul to the Intellectual-Principle, is it not possible, or rathernecessary,to assume that philosophy plays at least a part in bringing the Soul to the vision of the One? There is one passage in which,as it seems to me, Plotinus clearly and beyond question applies the term philosophy to the Soul's attempt to know the One. He is speaking in the last Ennead of the pain that comes to the Soul whenit triesto grasp the conception of absolute unity. He continues,"Soul must see in its own way; this is by coalescence,unification; but in seekingthus to know the Unity, it is prevented by that very unificationfromrecognizing what it has found; it cannot distinguishitself fromthe object of this intuition. Nonetheless,it is necessaryforone to do thus if he is going to striveto comprehend the Unity by philosophy" (6.9.3). Certainlythereis no termother than philosophyto be applied to intellectualactivity exerted in the effort to comprehenddivinity, no other,that is, once the lowerforms ofreasonhave been ruledout. If it is the task of dialectic to bringthe Soul into the IntellectualPrinciple, whereelse can be the field ofphilosophy save at the height

This content downloaded from 181.118.153.57 on Fri, 7 Mar 2014 16:41:06 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions

378

Hazel E. Barnes

[1942

standingwith the Soul as it prepares of the Intellectual-Principle, to experiencethe Ekstasis? Granted that it is intellectionas philosophywhich plays an is its function, importantpart in this final step, what specifically is not enough alone intellection That all sufficient? and is it in itself is not intellection because partly be may This is made veryclear. toward a reaching is intellection true For itself. One the in present the highestGood, and the One cannot have a reachingout when beyondit to whichit can aspire. Partlyresponsible thereis nothing in all probabilityis simply the fact that in the ultimate vision Plotinus like most mysticsdemands that therecome forthpower fromthe Primal Source and that withoutit man is powerless. To analyze in cut and driedfashionthe almostpoeticdescription which Plotinus gives of the Ekstasis is as unfairas forthe present purpose it is necessary. The poetic language, however,is the inevitable result of his attempt to describe something surpassing of human knowledgeand nevera screenforinadequate formulation ideas; and there are several definiteconceptionswhich stand out clearly. In most of these passages thereis an accompanyingstatement to the effectthat intellectionis finallyabandoned. In the oftheIdeal Formswe are told that when treatiseOn theMultiplicity by the love of Beauty, conceived here as the love of form,we apwe are to proach the firstprincipleof Beauty, which is formless, thinkof it not as attained by the Soul but as comingto the Soul, its old environment from whichis presentto receiveit afterturning as possible and cominginto likeitselfas beautifully and preparing ness with the divine. The Soul now perceivesthe presencemaniis possible because there are no fested within her. The Ev acvdn is lostlongertwo but one. While the vision remains,distinction and Plotinus brings in here the parallel of the earthly union of lovers. With truejudgmentthe Soul perceivesthat it has reached the ultimate goal of its desire and that there is nothing higher. beyond doubt, but The truthwhich it perceivesnow it can affirm later and silently. By this Plotinus it will make the affirmation probably means that the state is not one of conscious knowing but that while it cannot later be put into wordsforothers,its truth it. Now the and powerwill not be lost to himwho has experienced Even accepted. it formerly of all which inferiority the realizes Soul and this it is movement, it will discard; forintellection intellection becomingitselfIntellectual-Principle does not desire. It is through

This content downloaded from 181.118.153.57 on Fri, 7 Mar 2014 16:41:06 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions

Vol. lxxiii]

Katharsisin Enneades ofPlotinus

379

that the Soul now experiencesthe vision; by becoming intellectualized it has been able to take its stand in that intellectualrealm which it firstcontemplated. But once catching a glimpse of a higherrealm, the Soul leaves the lower just as a person will contemplate a beautiful house only until its greater master has appeared. "The Soul now knows no movementsince the Supreme knowsnone; it is now not even Soul since the Supremeis not in life but above life;it is no longerIntellectual-Principle, forthe Supreme has not intellection, and the likenessmust be perfect;this grasping is not even by intellection,for the Supreme is not known intellectively" (6.7.34-35). Following this passage Plotinus reviews again the intellectual steps by which the Soul has reached its presentposition. He concludes with a significant sentence. At the momentprecedingthe Ekstasis the seeker is still strivingupward with his intellectual capacities, "but suddenly it all by theverycrestof the sweptbeyond waveof Intellect surging beneath, he is liftedand sees, neverknowing how; the vision floodsthe eyes withlight,but it is not a lightshowing some otherobject, the lightitselfis the vision." I Clearly the vision comes about as the resultof both intellection and the power of the One. The latter is predominant, but it acts almost simultaneously with the wave of intellection. Neither alone would be sufficient. In the finalsection of the last Ennead Plotinus presentsa sort of summaryof his ideas on the natureof the Ekstasis and its attainment. He repeats that in the Ekstasis thereare not two but one. It is not a vision perceivedbut a unityapprehended, and the image of it, if the seekerwill but remember, will remainwith him. While it lasts, thereis no passion, no outgoingdesire,no reason,no intellection, no individual self. In perfectstillness,he has attained utter rest. He is like one who has progressedto the innermost sanctuarybeyondthe templeimageswhichhe formerly worshipped. The union is not a vision but a going forthfromself (Ko-raots), a simplification(airXwcos), a renunciation (r 6oo-ts abrov), a reach toward contact(EEos 7rpo's aloiv), a repose(orats), and a meditation towardadjustment(vrEptw6?kn 7rp6s k4ap,oyt5v). Any other means of seeingfails. Even those who have not seen the Supreme are aware ofits existence sincetheywillbe aware oftheir own source,
9 6.7.36: fevcx#exls ti r4, ab7-4i ro3 voi oD ZOj' Ka't 4oD KbiAarT, See also 6.9.4.
Ir' acroD otov oLtOGavros.

This content downloaded from 181.118.153.57 on Fri, 7 Mar 2014 16:41:06 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions

380

Hazel E. Barnes

[1942

will know Principleby Principle,and possessa cravingthat is never satisfied until the Ekstasis is achieved. The Soul when it has reached this height is not in somethingalien but in itself. It is in the Supreme. The not Being but beyond Being, self-gathered we pass beyond image If Supreme. the of image an is selfuplifted If we fall back, we goal. the ultimate won have we to archetype, must reascend once more, knowing ourselves all order again, lightenedof our burden, advancing throughVirtue to the Inteland throughthe wisdomof this to the One. This lectual-Principle is the life of the gods and godlike and blessed men, freedomfrom of the all that is here, taking no pleasure in what is here, a flight solitaryto the solitary. In general outline the course of the Soul's experienceon the fromwhat it underwentin highestplane is not radically different itselfof all whichprevented the lowerstages. Formerlyit purified it frombeing whollySoul, then all which kept it frombecoming and it emergedpure intellect. In this last Intellectual-Principle; natureof the One demandsthat katharsis stage the all-transcending be complete. Nothing which can be given any name of quality whichare the only and intellection, may remain;and so multiplicity involves must be discarded. The former remaining, two properties a loss of self-awareness. This has alreadybeen met in the approach but therePlotinus was concernedwith to the Intellectual-Principle, theselfas a particularhumanbeingwithindividualinterests. Here it is a higherpsychologicalawareness of the Soul as experiencing else ratherthan as beingit which is being sacrificed. If something however,that the change is not a negation. must be remembered, exAs the Soul becomes somethinggreater,it is itself infinitely panded. It has not lost itselfin nothingness. As has been said, man's intellectual activity on this highest plane is called by Plotinus philosophy. Unlike dialectic on the lowerlevel it does not take the Soul quite all the way on its journey. This does not mean that philosophyis mere ratiocinationor that it is in any way at all identicalwith ordinaryhuman mental procabove dialectic,which is itself esses. The fact that it is infinitely for refutation any such argument. Philosophy divine, is sufficient As the latter bridges the gap between dialectic. is a sort of ideal divine intelso philosophyperfects intellection, divine human and intellectual all is which that to beyond the way leads and lection comprehension.

This content downloaded from 181.118.153.57 on Fri, 7 Mar 2014 16:41:06 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions

Vol. lxxiii]

Katharsisin Enneades ofPlotinus

381

I have triedto emphasize throughout this discussionthat while the Soul is required to strip itselfof all that is alien to the One, there is always a simultaneouspositive process of buildingup and concentrating its powers. This is the preparationon the part of the Soul of whichPlotinusspeaks when he refers to the preparation and adornmentwhich the Soul has taken on beforeit awaits the comingof the Ekstasis as the resultof power fromabove. Philosophy is the means by which the Soul thus prepares itself. It is learningto see that thereis more than intellect, realizingthat one can by the act of recognizingthat fact prepare to experienceit. After the Ekstasis has been achieved, philosophy translates the experience into terms valuable for the more normal course of the Soul's life in the Intellectual-Principle. Saying that the final Ekstasis comes as the resultof a power outside the Soul, that the Soul receivesit ratherthan takes it, is likelyto involve us in more of an idea of separation both temporal and spatial than Plotinus would have us hold. The completionof the philosophicalpreparation,the instantof perfect and the actual absorbing readiness, of the Soul into the One by Itself are simultaneous. The "crest of the wave of intellect" raises the Soul into the mysticpower. Without the intellectthe Soul could not achieve the Ekstasis any morethan it could be absorbed into the divine union withoutdivine power. Philosophy,we may conclude, has been the method by which the entireprocessof katharsishas been accomplished. Philosophy is the means of learningto know the moral virtuesand the intellectual ones. Philosophy possesses as a precious part of itself dialectic, which enables the Soul to complete the firststep in its ascent. Philosophyteaches the Soul by each one of these means to cast offall in itselfthat is inferior, and to concentrate, to perfect all that is divine. Finally it is the intellectual perception that there is something beyond all intellect, and it is the activityof the intellect which prepares the Soul to receive that power. As the subordinateparts of philosophyhave accomplishedthe early phases of purification, so true philosophyachieves the final katharsis. As the last step, philosophyis itselfrejected, but it is rejected only because the nature of the One is so great that anythingwhich we can comprehendmust be for that very reason discarded. Philosophy is rejected because it is not the One, and the One is all that can remain.

This content downloaded from 181.118.153.57 on Fri, 7 Mar 2014 16:41:06 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions

382

Hazel E. Barnes

[1942

The theoryof katharsiswhich Plotinus presentsseems to me a remarkableattemptat resolvingthe problemof rationalismversus mysticism. He is, of course, not the only intellectualmystic,but he is importantfor having given us one of the most detailed and logical expositionsof such a way of life that can be found. He does not make the mistake of attemptingto describe in specific which transcendsthe specific. Yet in proving termsan experience and importhe existence,desirability, of recognizing the necessity matheof almost in terms he reasons an experience, of such tance maticalprecision. If we granthis conclusionthatthereis something beyond intellect to be obtained, we must admit that the steps consistent. Since the primalcause cannot leading to it are entirely to hold that it be definedin termsmaterial or mental,it is fitting purely physical or intellectual. On cannot be reached by efforts the other hand, since it is only throughthe intellectthat one can of the goal to be reached,it is logical to maingrasp the possibility tain that intellectualactivity is the highestduty and privilegeof to it all otherpursuits. In the man and that it is rightto sacrifice philosophicalapproach there is an ever greaterintellectualization, the means but Plotinus never falls into the errorof worshipping instead of the end. Katharsisis not in its practicalapplicationnegativebut positive. No lesserthingis given up untila greaterhas been seen. Furthermore,it is not really a denial of the individual. By katharsisone those powerswhichwould otherwisenever develops withinhimself be recognized. Earthly life, moreover,is not only a preparation fora life afterdeath; forthe Ekstasis comes to the livingman, to him who lives most fullythat intellectuallife which distinguishes him fromothercreatures.

This content downloaded from 181.118.153.57 on Fri, 7 Mar 2014 16:41:06 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions

Похожие интересы