Always Strife - even for the Third Kind

This sense-bound life offers only copies, vestiges and commerce only with shadows. So …

turn appearances about or you will be left void of God. … (left in) the dream world

Such a turn is a natural tendency … inherently present to even those asleep, for all that exists desires and aspires towards the Supreme by a compulsion of nature.

the eye is not wholly dependent upon an outside and alien light; there is an earlier light within itself, a more brilliant, which it sees sometimes in a momentary flash.

So ascend again towards the Good, the desired of every Soul, ‘flee then to the beloved Fatherland’. There are loftier beauties …, the realm of Truth. Be lovers of beauty outside of sense … see with the Soul’s sight … break away from the body and live sunken within the veritable self.

It is work …

To any vision must be brought an eye adapted to what is to be seen, and having some likeness to it. Never did eye see the sun unless it had first become sunlike, and never can the soul have vision of the First Beauty unless itself be beautiful. … Therefore, first let each become godlike and each beautiful who cares to see God and Beauty.

But how are we to gain the open sea? How (are we to) come … apart from the common ways?

all this order of things you must set aside and refuse to see: you must close the eyes and call instead upon another vision which is to be waked within you

You must …

Withdraw into yourself and look. And if you do not find yourself beautiful yet, act as does the creator of a statue that is to be made beautiful: he cuts away here, he smoothes there, he makes this line lighter, this other purer, until a lovely face has grown upon his work. So do you also: 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.

There make a mental picture of our universe, cast out your inborn sense of Matter, call on God, look to things whose beauty is of the soul—such things as virtue, knowledge, institutions, law and custom.

And remember, you …

must not run after it, but fit ourselves for the vision and then wait tranquilly for its appearance, as the eye waits on the rising of the sun, which in its own time appears above the horizon—out of the ocean, as the poets say—and gives itself to our sight

No surprise that most stay blind …

All human beings from birth onward live to the realm of sense … (but) some … elect to abide by that order and, their life throughout, make its concerns their first and their last; the sweet and the bitter of sense are their good and evil … (and) so … they cannot fly high for all the wings Nature has given them.

That most who try, fail …

Others do indeed lift themselves a little above the earth … but they are not of power to see the highest and so, in despair of any surer ground, they fall back … upon … the lower from which they sought to escape.

That only a few, of …

a third order—those godlike men who, in their mightier power, in the keenness of their sight, have clear vision of the splendour above and rise to it from among the cloud and fog of earth and hold firmly to that other world, looking beyond all here, delighted in the place of reality, their native land, like a man returning after long wanderings to the pleasant ways of his own country.

To his end, Plotinus was still striving …

Of Plotinus’ last moments Eustochius has given me an account. He himself was staying at Puteoli and was late in arriving: when he at last came, Plotinus said: ‘I have been a long time waiting for you; I am striving to give back the Divine in myself to the Divine in the All.’ As he spoke a snake crept under the bed on which he lay and slipped away into a hole in the wall: at the same moment Plotinus died.

Had so much labour in wisdom’s quest brought him home? Apollo told a follower that it did, that his teacher had …

cast the screen aside, quitted the tomb that held (his) … lofty soul

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