“Strive to give back the Divine in yourselves to the Divine in the All.” -Plotinus

In this desert trip I came back from, some thoughts came flying over me. They were vivid and clear back then but now that I write them down and that will you read them they are only a faint echo of what once was.

Perhaps I should not have imprisoned them as words here in this space. Perhaps they were better off roaming in the unbounded sky over the desert they came from. But I am a human being and this is what I do: turn thoughts into words.

Here they are anyway, and perhaps some of you who read them will one day take these thoughts back with you to a desert and try to remember them there and utterly fail to do so and in this failing the thoughts will be set free.

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It’s almost inconceivable how many different settings/scenes one can find oneself in on this little planet of ours. So many standpoints and so many angles. What’s more inconceivable is how different these many landscape are from one another, how much variety is in the world. Add to this the time dimension and this difference reaches new heights. My imagination breaks down at this point.

The one thing harder to imagine than time not existing is time actually existing in all its fullness. Time is the thread that weaves old realities into new ones ever so consistently. The creator and destroyer whose plans are never hidden, only hard to see.

Regardless of this or perhaps because of it, it seems that we are driven to look for the unchanging, the recurring, that which defies time because the timeless in a way defines what time it is (change) and what time is (as a concept, or a property of the universe).

We look for the unchanging around us like the Sun and all Heavenly bodies. Like gods. Like statues and drawings, the glimpses at gods. Like ideas and permanent connections, the souls of gods. Like words and music, the bodies of gods.

And the true timeless is the simplest. And the simplest has no divisions. It is a unit, a One, and because it is so basic it is the One. This Oneness must be the only property/attribute of what’s fundamental. Otherwise, divisions set in and simplicity is ruined.

Is this One in me? Is this One what’s missing from me? Does it complete whatever is incomplete?
Does its simplicity imply that is also good/loving and beautiful? I think so.

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I have come across this sentiment in many forms many times before in philosophical works: Leibniz, Spinoza, some Sufis, and Plotinus. I have read the latter a long time ago but was pushed away by his mysticism and that him right after philosophy took a turn away from this line of thought, Christian philosophy of St. Augustine that is, but then it turned back to it in the strange philosophy of Spinoza and then in Leibniz’ even stranger concept of Monads.

It seems there was nothing neither wrong nor right in this philosophy but now that I am reading Sufi poetry and am well into its theological visions, it seems Neoplatonism and Gnosticism must have had an influence on the Sufis. There is the same idea in both schools of philosophy which draws me into them.

But this idea of the One which I had is closest to what Plotinus thought. Wikipedia describes Plotinus’ One:

Plotinus taught that there is a supreme, totally transcendent “One”, containing no division, multiplicity or distinction; likewise it is beyond all categories of being and non-being. The concept of “being” is derived by us from the objects of human experience called the dyad, and is an attribute of such objects, but the infinite, transcendent One is beyond all such objects, and therefore is beyond the concepts that we derive from them. The One “cannot be any existing thing” but “is prior to all existents”. Thus, no attributes can be assigned to the One. We can only identify it with the Good and the principle of Beauty.

I came to the conclusion/vision that “yes, Oneness implies Beauty and Goodness” before reading Plotinus again. It was just a feeling though. Not sure why anyone would be inclined or compelled to believe it. I have no analysis to back it up.

I wonder if any form of analysis can be useful when dealing with something with only one attribute, the One having only Oneness. If analysis doesn’t work, then I can only demand a method which works without annihilation or architecture, something which I am still looking for.

Now I will go dive into Plotinus’ Enneads.