The Fifth Ennead "There Is No Finding Anything Truer Than The True"


"There Is No Finding Anything Truer Than The True"

Context: This Roman philosopher of the third century was the founder of an important school of Neoplatonism. As a youth he studied in Rome and then joined an expedition to the East with the Emperor Gordian about the year 243. The emperor died of sickness while the expedition was yet far from its destination, and Plotinus returned to Rome to begin his teaching the following year. He did not begin to write until some time after 254. His teaching and writings were based upon a rather mystical interpretation of the then extant works of Plato, Aristotle, and their early followers, with some elements of Stoicism mixed in. The true end of the soul, asserted Plotinus, is reassimilation with the One or the Good. This union, the first principle of reality, is beyond thought or description and must be prepared for by the attainment of moral and intellectual perfection. In the fifth book of the Fifth Ennead he discusses the nature of knowledge and of the Good. The evidence of the senses is not to be trusted, and true reality must be sought mystically within the soul:

Thus veritable truth is not accordance with an external; it is self-accordance; it affirms and is nothing than itself and is nothing other; it is at once existence and self-affirmation. What external, then, can call it to the question and from what source of truth could the refutation be brought? Any counter affirmation [of truth] must fall into identity with the truth which first uttered itself; brought forward as new it has to appear before the Principle which made the earlier statement and to show itself identical with that: for there is no finding anything truer than the true.