Plotinus, mysticism, and mediation

Religious Studies 40 (2):145-163 (2004)
Abstract
The Plotinian scholar, John Bussanich, has noted that the issue of classifying mystical union with the One consists in deciding between either theistic union or monistic identity. For advocates of theistic union, during mystical union the soul retains its identity and can be distinguished from the One; for advocates of monistic identity, during the union the soul loses its identity and becomes absorbed into the One. Both camps, however, believe that noetic activity is transcended in the union. In contradistinction to the theistic union and monistic identity views, I argue for what I call a mediated union position in Plotinus's doctrines whereby the noetic part of the soul – understood as a multi-faceted cognitive capacity – is not transcended in union with the One. When the seer sees himself, then when he sees, he will see himself as like this, or rather he will be in union with himself as like this and will be aware of himself like this since he has become single and simple.Plotinus Ennead, VI.9.10.9–11 (Published Online April 21 2004).
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