Reply to Robert

Plotinus 204/5-270

Plotinus 204/5-270

Hi Robert,

thank you for your comment.

In his discussion of Plotinus’ philosophy in his Lectures on the History of Philosophy, having written of nothing other than the One and unity with it, Hegel wrote:

‘The main thing is to raise oneself up to the representation of pure being, for that is the simplifying of the soul through which it is transposed into blissful stillness, because its object too is simple and at rest. …In general, and according to its principal moments, this content is that what is first is essential unity, is essential being [Wesen] as such, as primary. The principle is not things as subsisting, not the apparent multiplicity of existence; on the contrary, it is strictly their unity. …The defining of the One is what matters most. …The first being [Sein] overflows…Plotinus designates this bringing forth as a going-forth, a procession. …God or the Good is what engenders…So what is first is what we call the absolute being [Wesen].’

Hegel with his Berlin students, Sketch by Franz Kugler

Hegel with his Berlin students, Sketch by Franz Kugler

He continued ‘Understanding, nous, or thinking consists then in the fact that by returning to itself the primary being beholds itself…’

Another fundamental ‘error’ by Hegel (I’m being generous in calling these ‘errors’ because I think Hegel distorted, either consciously or unconsciously, key aspect of the philosophies of Plotinus and Proclus to suit his purpose – how he himself used Neoplatonism). For Plotinus, the One does no thinking because thinking requires an object – i.e. division. Thinking for Plotinus takes place in the second hypostasis.

Proclus 412-485 CE

Proclus 412-485 CE

Of Proclus, Hegel wrote: ‘He finds it necessary to show the Many as One and the One as Many – to lead back to unity the forms that the Many assumes.’

Another clear, fundamental ‘error’ by Hegel.

G.W.F. Hegel, Lectures on the History of Philosophy 1825-6 Volume II: Greek Philosophy, Trans. Robert F. Brown and J.M. Stewart, Clarendon Press, Oxford, 2011, 335-336, 341-342

On being Plotinus wrote:

‘…we know the divine Mind within, that which gives Being and all else of that order: but we know too, that other, know that it is none of these, but a nobler principle than anything we know as Being; fuller and greater; above reason, mind, and feeling; conferring these powers, not to be confounded with them.’

The Enneads V.3.14

On many and the One Proclus wrote:

‘…the one is beyond multitude, and is the cause of being to the many’

‘The many, however, do not participate of the one.’

‘And the one itself will not be different from itself; for it would be many and not one.’

The Theology of Plato/Book II/Chapter I

Best regards, Phil


Images: top/middle/bottom

Hegel the consummate Neoplatonist

Plotinus (204/5-270), Anonymous, white marble, Ostiense Museum, Ostia Antica, Rome

Plotinus (204/5-270), Anonymous, white marble, Ostiense Museum, Ostia Antica, Rome

Progress of my thesis 18.11.15

In my thesis I will argue that Hegel’s philosophy was clearly the result of his overlay of Christianity on Neoplatonism, that it embodies the highest development of Neoplatonism and that the connections between his philosophy and Neoplatonism are so numerous, consistent and profound, it should be a test of philosophers to argue not that Hegel was a Neoplatonist but that he wasn’t.

The diremption (God’s) that Magee makes so much of in his claim that Hegel was an Hermeticist draws on the second hypostasis of The Enneads.

Where for Plotinus it was the initial requirement for Intellectual-Principle in order to have knowledge – self-knowledge – it was but a metaphorical step (with which steps Hegel’s philosophy is replete) from this for Christians to make that a requirement for God to achieve his self-knowledge, via Christ’s diremption in the world.

The same fundamental error that Hegel made, twice, in his discussion of the philosophies of Plotinus and Proclus in his Lectures on the History of Philosophy point to what he himself did with Neoplatonism – not least so that he could argue that God can be cognised.

In a nutshell, he conflated the hypostases – not the first time this has been done.

While both Plotinus and Proclus referred to the One as God, for both the One was unparticipated, distinct. Neither referred to the One as ‘being’ or as having multiplicity as Hegel both wrote they did and did in his own philosophy. For Plotinus and Proclus, being and multiplicity arise in the second hypostasis, Intellect.

Jakob Schlesinger, ‘Bildnis des Philosophen Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel’, Berlin 1831, Alte Nationalgalerie Berlin

Jakob Schlesinger, ‘Bildnis des Philosophen Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel’, Berlin 1831, Alte Nationalgalerie Berlin

Hegel, beyond ‘left’ and ‘right’ Hegelianism, is a Trojan horse in capitalist ideology – a mystic who took Neoplatonism to its highest development prior to Marx’s standing it on materialist feet and making it, in the form of dialectical materialism, the epistemology of the future.

In my thesis I will be discussing the time-serving, career-building intellectual cowardice of generations of academics who have parroted Hegel’s claim to non-mystical ‘reason’ – the ‘reason’ of Plotinus – thus maintaining the patriarchy and Western white-supremacism of capitalist ideology.

This is, fundamentally, not a matter of refined philosophical discussion in wood-panelled rooms but of the power of and continued domination by the bourgeoisie.

As a materialist, I will be defending the worth and cultural impact of the revolutionary philosophy of Plotinus, who is every bit the equal of Plato and Aristotle, upon both of whom he drew.

Some of those academics who previously would not touch mysticism with a barge-pole and are now teaching it as though it was ever thus make a mockery of philosophy and of the intellectual integrity they claim to uphold. They are without shame. These, too, should be held to account.

They exemplify that ideologues, like nature, abhor a vacuum.


Images: top/bottom

Energy runs through the universe without end

’…Life streaming from Life; for energy runs through the Universe and there is no extremity at which it dwindles out.’

Plotinus, The Enneads III.8.5 (‘Nature, Contemplation, and the One’), Trans., Stephen MacKenna, Penguin, London, 1991


With appreciation to TSO Photography

This is not Big Brother


This is not Big Brother

Face of an actor 9

Nor this


This is

Saluting smiley face



Yair – laid-back ’n egalitareen we are; ‘elp any feller when ‘e’s down, we would. Famous fer it.

Fazel Chegeni

Nick Miller, ’Asylum seeker policy faces global criticism’, The Sydney Morning Herald, 11.11.15

Australia has copped a barrage of criticism at a United Nations human rights forum over its treatment of asylum seekers.

But Australia was defiant as dozens of countries called on it to wind back or end boat turn-backs and mandatory detention, and grant refugees their full rights.

Australia’s delegation, which included MP Philip Ruddock, insisted the methods were necessary, and had saved lives.

The UN Human Rights Council’s official review of Australia’s human rights policies took place at the Palais des Nations in Geneva on Monday. The scrutiny comes at a time when Australia is vying for a two-year term on the council.

During the review, representatives from more than 100 countries gave recommendations on how Australia should improve its human rights record. Countries including Brazil, Turkey, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Bangladesh – even Rwanda, Iran and North Korea – expressed concern over Australia’s treatment of refugees.

The presence of women and children in detention centres came in for particular criticism. Many countries called for Australia to ratify OPCAT – an international convention against torture, which would expose offshore asylum seeker detention centres to new international oversight and review. Countries taking part also noted Australia’s inadequate treatment of indigenous people, high level of violence against women, and the spread of Islamophobia.

France’s spokesman Thomas Wagner called for Australia to ‘develop alternatives to the mandatory detention of asylum seekers, especially when dealing with children’.

Germany’s representative said Australia should ‘critically review’ offshore processing.

He recommended Australia remove ‘children and their families, and other individuals at risk – in particular survivors of torture and trauma’ from detention centres.

The United States encouraged Australia to ‘ensure humane treatment and respect for the human rights of asylum seekers, including those processed offshore’.

Distance between Christmas Island and Australia


The Google Map for the distance between Christmas (sic) Island and Australia exposes Australia’s servile hypocrisy re- China’s interests in the South China Sea.


Australian ‘heroes’. Does it make you wonder?

Australian cricket team

The Sydney Morning Herald 06.11.15

Australian cricket team playing New Zealand

With the exception of Usman Khawaja, the team are all white.

Don Bradman's cap

Don Bradman’s cap. Priceless

Sources: middle/bottom


The world is a dynamic unity of opposites 2

Flag of the Islamic State

Flag of the United States of America

‘Positive and negative are supposed to express an absolute difference. The two however are at bottom the same: the name of either might be transferred to the other. Thus, for example, debts and assets are not two particular, self-subsisting species of property. What is negative to the debtor is positive to the creditor. A way to the east is also a way to the west. Positive and negative are therefore intrinsically conditioned by one another, and are only in relation to each other. The north pole of the magnet cannot be without the south pole, and vice versa. If we cut a magnet in two, we have not a north pole in one piece, and a south pole in the other. Similarly, in electricity, the positive and the negative are not two diverse and independent fluids. In opposition, the different is not confronted by any other, but by its other. …the aim of philosophy is to banish indifference, and to ascertain the necessity of things. By that means the other is seen to stand over against its other.’

G.W.F.Hegel, Hegel’s Logic, Trans., William Wallace, Oxford University Press, Oxford, 1975, 173-174


Images: Wikipedia