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Title : Enneads Volume 1
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ISBN : 9781175129598
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 180 Pages
Status : Available For Download
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Enneads Volume 1 Reviews

  • Erick
    2019-03-15 07:06

    I suppose, once again, I will prove my Platonist sympathies by reviewing this book so positively. It's not that I am always in agreement with Plotinus (I'll follow this up below), but this is such an influential and foundational work of Philosophy and Neo-Platonism that I really can't give it a lower review in all fairness. I also was engaged in the book from beginning to end.This is a dense work. It's the full unabridged Enneads published by Digireads. I had already read the Essential Plotinus, which was a very sparse selection of the Enneads. I am incredibly glad that I did not let the reading of that very insufficient sampling be my only foray into Plotinus. Just to give an idea of how meager that sampling was, let me list by Ennead and treatise what was found in the Essential Plotinus: I, 2; I, 3; I, 6; III, 8; IV, 3; IV, 8; V, 1; V, 2; V, 9; VI, 9. There are six Enneads, each containing nine treatises, in the complete Enneads. Elmer O'Brien did not include any treatises from the second Ennead and barely touched Enneads 3 and 6. There are many treatises in here that are equally, if not more, thought provoking and engaging, e.g. II, 6; III, 2; III, 7, III, 9; IV, 4; V, 1; V, 3-6; VI, 2; VI, 6; VI, 7--are some that I've marked for re-reading. All of the above prove beyond any doubt the merits of Plotinus.The one thing I was struck by was Plotinus discussions of Being. There is much here that was later explored by the German Idealists; given my penchant for that school of philosophy, I was surprised and intrigued by how many parallels exist between Plotinus and Hegel and Schelling, but even with Kant and Fichte to some degree. The first treatise where this starts to become evident is treatise 6 of the second Ennead, entitled Quality and Form-Idea. Thankfully, the translators included in brackets the Greek original for Plotinus' terms for kinds of Being, e.g. "to on" and "e ousia", translated here as "being" and "reality", respectively. In various places throughout the Enneads, the way Plotinus uses these terms, parallels Schelling's and Hegel's use of the German terms "Seyen" and "Seyende". There are some differences, but the parallels are close enough to say without question that Plotinus was working within the same lines of thought. He discusses passivity and activity within these concepts of being, which is a notable feature of Schelling's work. Mind is also important for Plotinus as it was for Hegel's work. Here, presumably, the word translated as "Intellectual-principle" is most likely the Greek "nous", but, unfortunately, the underlying Greek term is not cited here. To say that Plotinus foreshadowed all later Idealism would be an understatement I think. There are plenty of things I disagree with Plotinus about. Like most Platonists going back to Plato himself, Plotinus believed in the transmigration of souls (i.e. reincarnation)--one of the concepts Plato most likely took from the Pythagoreans. I won't get into my issues with that doctrine here. He also has a vacillating view regarding matter. He argues that all evil stems from matter (yet opposes the gnostics on related issues, ironically enough) but also believes that the supra-lunar world has some more divine and "pure" form of matter. He never really explains why sub-lunar and supra-lunar forms of hyle differ. One is left to speculate that the supra-lunar forms consist of less matter and more mind. Still, it is curious that the luminaries wind up taking part in less matter and earthly forms in more. What exactly initiated that cosmic lottery is not explored. If the luminaries are, say, 3/4 mind and 1/4 matter, they are still 1/4 evil. They are still evil to some degree. Some actions of these divine luminaries must be questionable if that is the case. He also believes in an eternal universe. I reject that idea for the absurdities that result. The above brings up my other issue: Plotinus, like the gnostics, utterly trivializes the nature of evil. How matter can display overt willful evil seems to contradict the Platonic notion of the passivity and inert nature of matter. Once again, one is left to speculate that because in Platonism no being is willfully evil, they are only evil by ignorance or by obstruction; matter seems to function more as an ignorance inducing, and good obstructing, hindrance. But using this as an explanation for the nature of willful evil, which certainly exists (counter to Platonist doctrine), can only be said to be a poor explanation. Plotinus' pantheism is somewhat ambiguous. He always keeps an aspect of divinity transcendent, so not all aspects of divinity are embodied in the cosmos. I don't feel the need to comment on that aspect of his philosophy.I don't want to make this review too long. The point of all my reviews is to provide my thoughts on the book I've read and I've done that. The complete Enneads is highly recommended. The history of Philosophy in general, and Platonism and Idealism in particular, are indebted in varying degrees to Plotinus.

  • Curtis Aguirre
    2019-03-25 07:44

    Plotinus is my favourite philosopher. He was hugely influential on the Church Fathers who lived after him. They often considered him an honourary Christian, though Plotinus never actually participated in that group, but was very much a "pagan" philosopher in the "pagan" Roman society of his day. He and Origen had the same philosophy teacher (Ammonius Sacchas), but Origen was about 15 years older than Plotinus, so they probably did not study with him at the same time. If you are up for a mental challenge, and want to explore life, the universe, and everything, read this.

  • Matt
    2019-03-06 01:50

    A heavy reliance on Plato’s Timaeus and Parmenides results in Plotinus being classified as one of the first Neoplatonists by the many or an advocate of orthodox Platonism by the few. Either way, Plato had an impact.Plotinus’ reliance on the more mystical, and perhaps the most ambiguous (Parmenides), Platonic works cues the reader to Plotinus’ style. Though this point is debatable, he strikes me much more of a mystic than a philosopher. To those who have given any thought to purpose in our being, it doesn’t take long to come to the realization that using solely rational thought fails to provide the longed for answers. Therefore there is always a leap to some value. To God, to gods, to truth, to experience. Plotinus at least doesn’t attempt to cloak his irrationality in the doublespeak endemic to philosophy. For Plotinus, the Sage finds answers through introspection after whittling away the illusions of life through the dialectic. This introspection yields a vision of the One from which Intelligence emanates and which thereby reflects upon the One through its own emanations which we view as the Soul. Or something close to this. The six Enneads take up just over 700 pages so I’m leaving a few things out. At times, many times, a tedious read. Plotinus meanders, sometimes poetically but oftentimes randomly, as he constructs an internally consistent worldview that is reminiscent of Buddhism. Goodness is gauged by the distance one is from unity with the One. The One is beyond rational thought and is beyond Activity and Rest in its august Repose. Soul is not described as a personal attachment to the body, but an essence that surrounds us and fragments to the individual. Like a noise that is exists outside of ourselves but is heard by each or light that divides in a prism. In a rather intriguing sleight of hand to Aristotle’s prime mover hypothesis, Plotinus takes the One and its reflective emanation, Intelligence, and takes them outside of Time making Time a measurement for activity of the Soul. (III. 7, Time and Eternity) The One is beyond time and even Being, therefore to question who made the One is to miss the point that the unthinking, unbeing One is beyond creation. It is only through the unintended emanation of Intelligence that the question can even be posed by us.The plethora of hyphenated proper nouns (i.e. the All-Soul, Real-Beings, Reason-Principle, etc) along with the infrequent definitions provided to terms gives the book an overall feel of a third century New Age cult handbook, but there are some good things buried within if you have the fortitude to dig them out.

  • Faris
    2019-03-19 03:51

    Beautiful.Whenever Plotinus mentioned beauty, its categories and how he saw it. As oppose to Aristotle which emphasized the idea of the soul, something was missing in his writing which I cannot quite grasp. Perhaps it was because he was to analytical and didn't use enough showing language. Plotinus on the other hand, had a similar message filled with idealism. He presented Morality and empathy, these modern concepts and mentioned that a person isn't able to really realize the struggle of virtue, only if he himself lives in it, or to what we would call today as empathy. Moreover when he mentioned that some beauty can be a part of a bigger thing. For example a Comedian would appreciate the comedy of Richard Pryor; where's a regular person is wouldn't see the beauty. His example was of the Older gentleman seeing himself in a young man. Personal immortality is the ability for an individual in philosophical terms to live on for a prolonged period. A person needs to believe and be part of the category of immortality and fit every criterion, which is found in Abrahamic religions, and many others. An Athiest or non-believer wouldn't fulfill personal immortality because he's a non-believer. We're already immortal. For example, if I decide to take the mystic approach Plotinus drives; individuals and souls have always been continuous and on until they stop existing in our relative universe. Why should we assume another a medium of oblivion exists.Unlike Aristotle which rejects the idea, Plotinus presents the concept of the soul carrying on, given its fulfilling a particular purpose He gives different parts of the individual and love.

  • Jake Maguire
    2019-03-07 01:57

    One of the most important and influential philosophers ever in my opinion. Don't get tangled up in the introduction for too long, once you get into the thick of it, you will need to drink a coffee and then call someone who cares! Big foundational ideas that shaped Western civilization.

  • Feliks
    2019-03-01 02:54

    It's an arcane book but a good workout for the mind. Affords a rich glimpse of Greek thought; to hear Plotinus explaining his universe in his simple and direct voice is as vital in its way as anything by Plato/Aristotle, Homer, or the various Greek myths you've probably read. If none of the Greek writing you're familiar with seems convincing or relevant; check out Plotinus. There are some spell-binding passages in this dissertation of his.Plotinus has a sober, dry, matter-of-fact delivery; he alternates between question-and-answer style and more simple itemization. The flow of words is tight and dense and blocky. But what emerges (even from the passages of near-gibberish) is that he is an honest writer and not afraid to admit when his knowledge falls short. But he is at at least writing in the Christian world and so when he talks about 'evil' he treats it with a dimension that the Socratic schools before him, lack; (and in their lack, seem remote and unfamiliar to us).Plotinus uses a large lexicon of opaque terms which are marvelous in showing how ancient schools of philosophy debated about metaphysical topics. You can tell by the way he keeps combing out the same strand of thought time and time again, (yet rarely the same way twice) and the words themselves are quite plain: one which recurs often is 'Magnitude'. This means little to us today, but concepts like these were crucial to Plotinus, Parmenides, Heraclitus, Empedocles, Anaximander, and all these other joes. Magnitude, Quantity, Attribute. No end of reliance on these ideas. Plotinus is naturally confronting a wide array of contradictory arguments from thinkers in other Schools and so he darts hummingbird-like, to-and-fro; over many hedges. It gets utterly incomprehensible at times; but that's because he's anatomizing abstract concepts which are meaningful to the other Greeks he was debating with, (not to us). 'The One' or 'entities', 'elements' or 'The First', 'the Primary'. Still, his writers show a huge talent and it is enjoyable for this alone. Various topics: how the soul migrate to heaven (if at all); how does the soul arrive in newborns (if at all); do the stars truly affect anything; what is Matter; what is Beauty; what is Mind. What is the Self; what is Judgment. What is destiny and fate.One thing I admire about this cryptic sage is that he is unafraid to advance his statements. He faces challenges squarely and stoutly. Refreshing!

  • Katelis Viglas
    2019-03-06 07:47

    The essense of mystic thought of all times. Grandeur of Logos and Ecstasy. This is an abridged edition, for a first contact with Plotinus's masterpiece. His thought of course isn't accesible easily. One shouldn't have the illusion that reading only one time a translation of the Enneads, in English, will understand the complicated and at the same time simple in its architecture Plotinian system of thought. If someone tries to be absorbed in the text, probably he will be disappointed. If again tries to read indirectly, and believes he understands the skeleton of Plotinus's thought, probably he will leave somehow or other with empty hands. Only with the combination of both, maybe, at the end, will comprehend something of his thought.

  • Daphne
    2019-03-22 05:08

    Am still re-reading Plotinus' "Six Enneads", as written/edited by his student Porphyry, and translated into English by Stephen MacKenna. MacKenna's poetic (non-academic) translation is an added bonus. I've now read enough interpretations and synopses of Plotinus to be truly appreciative of any writer who can communicate the spirit of Plotinus' life's work. And MacKenna does just this."Thought" and "Understanding" are impossibly difficult concepts to articulate, and Plotinus is able to do so while never losing sight of this fact. I cannot say enough about the importance of this book. *This review is based upon a reading of Stephen MacKenna's translation of Plotinus's "Six Enneads" in its entirety. This does not refer to John Dillon's abridged version, as I have not read it.

  • Georges E.
    2019-03-13 07:44

    If there was ever a work that would require a lifetime of reading and rereading it would be "The Enneads". Every passage can become a basis for treatise and many in fact have. I have combined its reading with multiple commentaries on it and some available lectures that try to expound the main ideas and concepts of the work. Would be going back and forth in this work for many years to come trying to untangle the many levels of meaning and interpretations of core ideas.

  • Patrick Hadley
    2019-03-23 04:00

    Plotinus imagined himself as Plato's best and most dedicated student. He Casts Plato's philosophy in a new light which, while not always easy to understand, is somehow comforting and interesting to read. I don't like how he codifies what he believes to be THE Platonic philosophy, but I think that, unlike Aristotle, he was at least well-intentioned in doing so.

  • Blakely
    2019-03-21 07:54

    Pro: interesting.Con: if you didn't like Plato's Parmenides, run away fast.

  • Gwyndyllyn
    2019-02-23 07:42

    One of the most important of the great world mystics.

  • Red
    2019-03-13 06:50

    Love is all you need,love is all you need at the Butterfly Ball

  • Toño Piñeiro
    2019-03-20 03:55

    Soy? O pienso que soy? Tengo alma o el alma me tiene a mí?Este texto es muy, muy, MUY espeso. Pero al mismo tiempo es muy interesante y deja un sabor de boca dulce. Es casi como un trance extatico. Las ideas llueven, los conceptos asaltan la razón y tratan de configurar un sistema de pensamiento muy elaborado. Lo recomiendo ampliamente para los seguidores de Platón, pues Plotino continúa sus ideas. Y para los que no han tocado un libro de filosofía en un rato, lo recomiendo como reto intelectual. Al diablo, me voy a hacer algo mas mundano, un sandwich por ejemplo.

  • JP
    2019-03-11 07:06

    While exhibiting depth and some implication, the work is still best classified, in my opinion, as Platonic fluff. It falls into the class of philosophy starting with huge leaps about mystical concepts, followed by giant defining assumptions. It is beautiful, sensuous writing but to no worthy end. In "Descent" we are shown the possible alternatives to explain the free, lasting soul, descending into the limited, terminal body. My critique is best summarized by the introduction's point of highlighting an "unusually positive view of Matter." In "On the Good, the One," Plotinus combines Aristotelian unity with Platonic metaphysics. We are shown that unity is good because it neither seeks nor needs to be anything else. He also references Aristotle positively for considering every possible state but then not for considering probability.

  • Paul
    2019-03-07 02:48

    The peak of pagan philosophy; like a cathedral in thought. You can immediately see why so many Church Fathers adopted Plotinian themes (though adapted for Trinitarian theology, of course). One curious thing about Plotinus is that you keep expecting him (or at least I kept expecting him) to refer to a revelation as the source of his system ... I found myself thinking, "wait, how does Plotinus know this?" It seems that he almost treats all previous thought as scripture, and then sets himself the very challenging hermeneutic task of making it all align, somehow (even passages in Plato and Aristotle that are literally not reconcilable).

  • Greg
    2019-02-23 02:54

    This is an early complete interpretive translation of the Plotinus' Enneads. Plotinus is an extremely influential Neoplatonist. Neoplatonism is an important philosophic/religious stream that has influenced virtually all Western mystical traditions. Required reading for people interested in Western esotericism, kabbalah, Christian mysticism, and sufism. Because this is interpretive, for serious study you will need to supplement it with the Loeb Classical Library edition as well that is extremely literal and very difficult on its own to understand.

  • David A. Beardsley
    2019-03-14 06:52

    Plotinus was a third-century neoPlatonist, based in Rome, and these "essays" are largely transcriptions of lectures he gave to his circle of students, which sometimes included the emperor Gallienus. They run the gamut from inspired poetry to, it must be said, mind-numbing hair-splitting, but Plotinus' inspiration is always the search for the Ideal. A better place to start might be Elmer O'Brien's translation of selected works, also reviewed here.

  • Iscritto Iscritti
    2019-03-18 03:39

    I haven't read it all, just the most interesting parts.Beside the fact that he was a philospher and I am ignorant, my opinion is:- many parts are confused and/or confusing,- sometimes he contradicts himself, - some ideas are too old to be useful now (he believed in some kind of God)- the very good part is that many special points and ideas, are of course extremely interesting, so it is worth reading (a piece at a time)

  • James Violand
    2019-03-10 07:50

    A major philosopher of the ancient world in the tradition of Plato. He developed a system of belief based on three principles: The One, The Intellect and The Soul. The composite of these principles is easily to prove the existence of God to most Christians, but it is unlikely that Plotinus meant any such thing - even though our concept of the Trinity seems to borrow an awful lot from him. A very difficult read.

  • Christopher Plaisance
    2019-02-27 03:05

    As far as content goes, not much can be said about the Enneads that hasn't been said before. Second only in importance to the Platonic corpus in terms of Western esotericism's origins, Plotinus sets the stage for the multi-tiered emanative hierarchies that continue to dominate occult theology to this day. While the translation is, for the most part, very good, my sole substantial complaint about this volume is the omission of the original Greek text.

  • Joshua Thornton
    2019-03-03 05:43

    This was the first (dry) philosophical text that I have ever read cover to cover. Oh man! What a doozy. The argument was good; somewhat enlightening? However, very repetitive. I wasn't sure why The Enneads had to be so damn long! As a takeaway, it is hard to deny the importance this text had on Western Spirituality and Religion. Good work Plotinus!

  • Patrick\
    2019-03-21 03:44

    Thanks to his amanuensis, Porphyry, we have the most influential book from a heathen that influenced and, in some measure, reintroduced mysticism into the Church. This is a bit heavy to read, and in some parts appears nonsensical, but always gets you to where you want to go in understanding. Try Underhill's exposition of this work. Will clear things up.

  • BrianKubarycz
    2019-03-03 06:00

    The more I return to this book, the more I can see it the power of its influence over both the Romantics and the Moderns, though in different ways. Like all great books, it is a constant occasion for limitless reflection. The translation, though clearly quite a feet in its day, does feel dated to me, and at times seems to wrest the original text for the sake a neat phrase in modern English.

  • Colin
    2019-03-17 03:39

    OK, so, Plotinus is important - seminal in the thinking of Neoplationism and early Christianity's borrowings from Neoplatonism - but the Enneads are kind of dense and obscure, and I don't agree with much of Plotinus' thinking (I lean more to Stoicism these days), so I found reading this a chore. Good if you're into Plato or Neoplatonism, I guess.

  • Jim
    2019-02-26 05:45

    I've read many reviews in which Plotinus is lauded for these Enneads. But I really struggled with this, and found it as difficult as Nietzsche's "Beyond Good and Evil." Maybe he's just beyond my ability. Oh well. I'll read a couple more of the Enneads and see if it gets any easier for me.

  • Aaron Crofut
    2019-02-22 06:40

    Invoking the Tyler Cowen rule: if it isn't worth the effort, put it down. A few parts in the First Ennead sparked thought, but he lost me in the Second/Third. Too much mysticism for my taste anymore.

  • Gwen Burrow
    2019-02-25 05:50

    I read the Fifth Ennead, which is probably as much of this as I will ever stomach, forced or otherwise. Seminal stuff, so I guess it's interesting in that respect. But now I'm moving onto happier moments in my reading life.

  • Bruce Crown
    2019-03-02 00:59

    Neo-Platonic texts; Plotinus seeks to advance Plato's theories and build on them, in some ways, he is better than Plato. In neo platonic editions in English, translations are an issue. This one is not the best but suffices.

  • Connor
    2019-03-07 06:07

    reminiscent of many of the kabbalah readings I've been doing lately, in that it takes texts and extracts mystical symbols from them to an almost comical degree. Plotinus' ethics is highly reliant on a sort of One that resembles Ein Sof more than it does traditional Christian God