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 chain
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