Plotinus’ Ennead on Love – Juan and Maria Balboa’s Translation

Note: For ease of online reading, this translation by Juan and Maria Balboa has been altered and adapted for the web. If you’d like a copy of the original text, which includes the original Greek language text and notes by Juan and Maria, please email donations@noeticsociety.org to be forwarded a copy. 

For a background on this work, it is recommended to also understand Plato’s speech on Diotima’s teachings about love, found in The Symposium.

Plotinus

Plotinus Ennead III – V: On Love.

On Love; whether it is a God or a Spirit or an affection of the soul, or whether
one kind is a God or a Spirit, while another kind is a certain affection, and what kind
each is.

It is worth while to consider the notions that have occurred to other humans,
and such thoughts about these subjects that have arisen in Philosophy, and especially,
such thoughts that The Divine Plato Understands, who has surely then also written much
concerning Love in many places of his works.

Erastes (lover) and eromenos (beloved) kissing. Detail from the tondo of a red-figure Attic cup, ca. 480 BC.
Erastes (lover) and eromenos (beloved) kissing. Detail from the tondo of a red-figure Attic cup, ca. 480 BC.

Surely then, Plato has said of Love that it is not only an affection that arises in souls, but he also says that It is a Spirit. He has also described Its generation; how and from what Source It came to be (Sym 203).

Therefore on the one hand, concerning the affection for which we make Love the Cause;
that it arises in souls who long to be engaged with some beauty, and that This Longing,
on the one hand, is That which comes from Those who are of Sound-Mind, who have
found Their Home in Beauty Itself, whereas on the other hand, without a doubt, no one
is ignorant of that which wants to find its fulfillment in some ugly act.

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