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Neo-platonist Psychology


Human souls are at an intermediate stage of this cosmic process. Like
the ray of light which touches both sun and earth, they have contact
with God and with matter. They stand midway in creation. They are
attracted upwards and downwards. Reason draws them to God; sense
chains them to earth. Their position decides their duty. (Here the
philosophy becomes a religion). The duty of man is to break the
sensuous chains and set the soul free to return to its home in God.
This return of the soul to God is attained by the path of knowledge.
The knowledge that frees is not speculative; for such enhances
self-consciousness. It is immediate consciousness indistinguishable
from unconsciousness. It is intuitive knowledge. It is vision in
which the seer loses himself, and what sees is the same as what is
seen. It is the absorption of the soul in the world reason, and so
with God.

The Neo-Platonist took practical steps to attain this mystic state. He
submitted to rule and discipline. By mortification of the flesh he
endeavoured to weaken sensuous desire. The arts of theurgy were
employed to wean the mind from sensuous knowledge, and to fix
aspiration on unseen realities. Contemplation and self-hypnotism were
widely practised. In ecstasy the mystic found a foretaste of that
blissful loss of being, which is the goal and crown of philosophic

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