Category Archives: Plotinus

The unnameable

‘The beyond-being’ does not refer to a some-thing, since it does not posit any-thing, nor does it ‘speak its name’. It merely indicates that it is ‘not that’. No attempt is made to circumscribe it. It would be absurd to circumscribe that immense nature. To wish to do so is to cut oneself off from its slightest trace.

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We find ourselves in an aporia, in agony over how to speak. We speak about the unsayable; wishing to signify it as best we can, we name it.

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The name ‘the one’ is merely a denial of multiplicity. We speak it so that we can begin our search with that which signifies the most simple, ending with the apophasis of even that.

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Then there can be no ‘thus’. It would be a delimitation and a some-thing. One who sees, knows that it is possible to assert neither a thus nor a not-thus. How can you say that it is a being among beings, something to which a thus can be applied? It is other than all things that are ‘thus’. But seeing the unlimited you will say that all things are below it, affirming that it is none of them, but, if you will, a power of absolute ontological self-mastery. It is that which it wills to be; or rather, the being that it wills to be it projects out into beings.

— Plotinus (quoted in Sells, Mystical Languages of Unsaying)

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