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32 Inspiring Quotes & Sayings By Plotinus

Famous As: Ancient Philosopher and Founder of ‘Neoplatonism’
Born On: 204 AD
Died On: 270 AD
Born In: Lycopolis, Egypt
Died At Age: 66
Plotinus was a legendary philosopher known as the founder of Neoplatonism. He was born in Lycopolis but moved to Alexandria to learn philosophy where he became a student to Ammonius Saccas. He stayed there for the next 11 years to study under him, and soon gained an interest to learn from Persian and Indian philosophers. He tried moving to Persia by joining the army but failed and eventually moved to Rome. There, with his philosophical intellect, he attracted various students from all sections of the society. Some of his pupils became great philosophers like Porphyry who is credited to have written his biography. During his life, he had given many speeches on Neoplatonism which were collected by Porphyry known as ‘Enneads’. Through these speeches, Plotinus spoke on various topics including the happiness of the human race and astrology. His works, thoughts and writings have inspired various modern day philosophers from different ethnicities. We have excerpted his quotes from his work and life. Go through these quotations and sayings by Plotinus who has successfully compressed the great truths of life in words.
I am striving to give back the Divine in myself to the Divine in the All.

I am striving to give back the Divine in myself to the Divine in the All.

Plotinus
Withdraw into yourself and look.

Withdraw into yourself and look.

Plotinus
The stars are like letters that inscribe themselves at every moment in the sky. Everything in the world is full of signs. All events are coordinated. All things depend on each other. Everything breathes together.

The stars are like letters that inscribe themselves at every moment in the sky. Everything in the world is full of signs. All events are coordinated. All things depend on each other. Everything breathes together.

Plotinus
Knowledge has three degrees--opinion, science, illumination. The means or instrument of the first is sense; of the second, dialectic; of the third, intuition.

Knowledge has three degrees--opinion, science, illumination. The means or instrument of the first is sense; of the second, dialectic; of the third, intuition.

Plotinus
Mankind is poised midway between the gods and the beasts.

Mankind is poised midway between the gods and the beasts.

Plotinus
Life is the flight of the alone to the alone.

Life is the flight of the alone to the alone.

Plotinus
Knowing ourselves, we are beautiful; in self-ignorance, we are ugly.

Knowing ourselves, we are beautiful; in self-ignorance, we are ugly.

Plotinus

Cut away all that is excessive, straighten all that is crooked, bring light to all that is overcast, labour to make all one glow of beauty and never cease chiselling your statue, until there shall shine out on you from it the godlike splendour of virtue, until you shall see the perfect goodness surely established in the stainless shrine...

Plotinus
Each one of us is part of the soul of the universe

Each one of us is part of the soul of the universe

Plotinus

Beauty addresses itself chiefly to sight, but there is a beauty for the hearing too, as in certain combinations so 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....

Plotinus
Never did eye see the sun unless it had first become sun-like, and never can the soul have vision of the First Beauty unless itself be beautiful.

Never did eye see the sun unless it had first become sun-like, and never can the soul have vision of the First Beauty unless itself be beautiful.

Plotinus
You can only apprehend the Infinite by a faculty that is superior to reason.

You can only apprehend the Infinite by a faculty that is superior to reason.

Plotinus
We must not run after it, but we must fit ourselves for the vision and then wait tranquilly for it, as the eye waits on the rising of the Sun which in its own time appears above the horizon and gives itself to our sight.

We must not run after it, but we must fit ourselves for the vision and then wait tranquilly for it, as the eye waits on the rising of the Sun which in its own time appears above the horizon and gives itself to our sight.

Plotinus
We must close our eyes and invoke a new manner of seeing...a wakefulness that is the birthright of us all, though few put it to use.

We must close our eyes and invoke a new manner of seeing...a wakefulness that is the birthright of us all, though few put it to use.

Plotinus

Before we had our becoming here, we existed There, men other than now; we were pure souls. Intelligence inbound with the entire of reality, not fenced off, integral to that All. [...] Then it was as if One voice sounded. One word was uttered and from every side an ear attended and received and there was an effective hearing; now we are become a dual thing, no longer that which we were at first, dormant, and in a sense no longer present.

Plotinus
Knowledge, if it does not determine action, is dead to us.

Knowledge, if it does not determine action, is dead to us.

Plotinus
Beauty is rather a light that plays over the symmetry of things than that symmetry itself.

Beauty is rather a light that plays over the symmetry of things than that symmetry itself.

Plotinus
It is in virtue of unity that beings are beings.

It is in virtue of unity that beings are beings.

Plotinus
The world is knowable, harmonious, and good.

The world is knowable, harmonious, and good.

Plotinus
We are not separated from spirit, we are in it.

We are not separated from spirit, we are in it.

Plotinus
In this state of absorbed contemplation, there is no longer any question of holding an object in view; the vision is such that seeing and seen are one; object and act of vision have become identical.

In this state of absorbed contemplation, there is no longer any question of holding an object in view; the vision is such that seeing and seen are one; object and act of vision have become identical.

Plotinus
It is precisely because there is nothing within the One that all things are from it.

It is precisely because there is nothing within the One that all things are from it.

Plotinus
Wherever it lies, under earth or over earth, the body will always rot.

Wherever it lies, under earth or over earth, the body will always rot.

Plotinus
We ourselves possess Beauty when we are true to our own being; ugliness is in going over to another order...

We ourselves possess Beauty when we are true to our own being; ugliness is in going over to another order...

Plotinus

We may treat of the Soul as in the body - whether it be set above it or actually within it - since the association of the two constitutes the one thing called the living organism, the Animate.Now from this relation, from the Soul using the body as an instrument, it does not follow that the Soul must share the body's experiences: a man does not himself feel all the experiences of the tools with which he is working.

Plotinus
Become vision itself.

Become vision itself.

Plotinus
Never stop working on your statue until the divine glory of virtue shines out on you, until you see self-mastery enthroned upon its holy seat.

Never stop working on your statue until the divine glory of virtue shines out on you, until you see self-mastery enthroned upon its holy seat.

Plotinus
All things are filled full of signs, and it is a wise man who can learn about one thing from another.

All things are filled full of signs, and it is a wise man who can learn about one thing from another.

Plotinus
To make the existence and coherent structure of this Universe depend upon automatic activity and upon chance is against all good sense.

To make the existence and coherent structure of this Universe depend upon automatic activity and upon chance is against all good sense.

Plotinus
The world is finite, harmonious, and good.

The world is finite, harmonious, and good.

Plotinus
This All is universal power, of infinite extent and infinite in potency, a god so
great that all his parts are infinite. Name any place, and he is already there.

This All is universal power, of infinite extent and infinite in potency, a god so great that all his parts are infinite. Name any place, and he is already there.

Plotinus
Self-knowledge reveals to the soul that its natural motion is not, if uninterrupted, in a straight line, but circular, as around some inner object, about a center, the point to which it owes its origin.

Self-knowledge reveals to the soul that its natural motion is not, if uninterrupted, in a straight line, but circular, as around some inner object, about a center, the point to which it owes its origin.

Plotinus