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  1. The philosophical problem that Plato wanted to solve was formulated by Parmenides: how does the multiplicity of the world occur if intelligible being is one, integral, immobile, etc. The first hypothesis of the second part of the dialogue “Parmenides” (written by Plato after his second trip to Sicily, i.e. after 365 BC) states: if the One (to hen) is understood in the strict Parmenid sense and considered in isolation, then nothing can be said about it. Accordingly, if the Good (Plato writes about it in the State, calls it “the idea of ideas” and identifies it with the deity), or the Unit, is considered in itself, then for the sense world, as well as for the world of meanings or ideas, it will be in some way the source of being.

    The problem of multiplicity in the intelligible world (the metaphysical problem) and the problem of the possibility of choosing evil (the ethical problem) makes Plato reject Parmenides ' monism. He refers to the Pythagorean tradition of his time, which is characterized by dualism, i.e. the separation of intelligible reality and natural phenomena, which are imitations of the reality of ideas. In addition, Plato introduces the antithesis between Unity as a limit and Indefinite duality, which makes possible, in particular, the existence of various phenomena of nature. These Pythagorean notes are most pronounced in Plato's later dialogue Timaeus, which deals with cosmogony (i.e., the origin of the universe) and cosmology (the structure of the world).

    Plato's dialogues “Parmenides” and “Timaeus” were the favorite texts for comment among the so – called middle Platonists (I century BC – II century AD), who prepared the phenomenon of Neoplatonism-the brightest page of late Greek philosophy. Nevertheless, platonists before Plotinus (204-270) – for example, Philo of Alexandria, Albinus, Numenius-considered God to be the supreme intelligence, and no one spoke of him as One. In Plotinus, however, the One or God becomes the absolute, the transcendent principle, beyond even the realm of the Mind with its eternal ideas, not to mention the Soul, whose lower side is turned to the sensuous cosmos. Plotinus is based on the interpretation of the first and second hypotheses of Plato's Parmenides, giving them an ontological status.

    The primordial One absolutely transcends any multiplicity and rejects any predicate, even the predicate of existence, because when we say “the one is” we are already introducing being (“is”) and thereby “descending” to the level of the Mind with its” truly existing ” ideas. Accordingly, nothing can be said about it – not that it is identical with itself or different from other things. The first principle is neither in motion nor at rest, neither in time nor in space.

    Plotinus also uses the metaphor of the outpouring of the divine principle into the world, which comes from the middle Platonists, understood as the waste of infinite good throughout the hierarchy of the cosmos-up to the material level, where the spiritual “emanation” naturally fades away.

    Finally, the Plotinus assumes the possibility of returning to the original from the lower levels of the hierarchy through the sequential passage of all its main stages (Soul – Mind – One). Plotinus ' concept of ecstasy as the process of ascending to the One is particularly original in this respect. It turns out that the principle of unity in the world is accessible through the principle of unity in man, which is the rational soul. This is one of the most famous and poetic passages from the treatise “On the Good, or the One” (Ennead, 6.9.9.46-60).:

    “However,” who saw it, knows what I'm talking about”,

    that is, how does our soul then receive a different life, since it is approaching, and has already approached, and participates in it, so that

    able to understand that he is the creator of true life with her, and that this is all she needs.

    On the contrary, we must free ourselves from everything else, and only establish ourselves in it, and only become it, cutting off everything else that surrounds us;

    and so we are eager to leave this world and resent this attachment to another

    for the sake of embracing him in our totality and not having a single part that we do not touch God.

    There is also an opportunity to see both him and himself, as far as “seeing” itself is allowed:

    himself-sparkling, full of intelligent light, and rather-the light itself, pure, weightless, light;

    your nature has become god, and rather, it is God,

    And you're flaming in this state,

    but if the heaviness returns, it's like going out.”

    Plotinus ' ecstasy is the happy result of long and sustained intellectual exercise. This is the highest achievement of a person, his immortal soul, and not the result of the activity of some external magical forces. Hence Plotinus ' sharply critical attitude towards the Gnostics, since the Roman philosopher of Egyptian origin, who wrote in Greek, did not recognize the fast path to wisdom offered by the supporters of syncretic Gnostic teaching.

    Thus, we can say that the philosophy of the brilliant platonist Plotinus was the” intellectual culmination ” (E. R. Dodds) of Platonism, in comparison with which even the works of such great Neoplatonists as Iamblichus, Proclus, and Damascus represent something like ancient scholasticism. Plotinus emphasized the transcendent character of the Primordial One (“negative theology”) and he clearly described the hierarchical and dynamic character of the intelligible cosmos, including the relation of the individual soul to the divine origin. All this later enabled the Christian Platonists to lay a solid philosophical foundation for their theology and mysticism.

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