The Nous

the Onethe Soul

The beginning of each hypostasis constitutes a particular discontinuity in the ontological spectrum.  So The One is characterised by absolute Unity, perfection, eternity, and creativity.  The Nous is still eternal, creative, perfect blissful, and totally spiritual, but it is no longer unitary.  Rather, this is the region of Plato's Spiritual Forms.  This idea has its roots ultimately in the Middle Platonic view of Forms as thoughts of God.

At the level of the Nous, the individual still has his own identity, but his contemplation embraces the whole Intelligible world and everything in it.  And since on this level subject and object are identical, each member of the Intelligible order is identifiable with the whole of that order, and every other member thereof.  So Universal Intelligence is a sort of unity-in-plurality.  This is an idea advocated earlier by the Neopythagorean philosopher Numenius, the "all is in all"

Intelligence (Nous) is the level of intuition, where discursive thought is bypassed and the mind attains a direct and instantaneous vision of truth.  The distinction between Soul and Intelligence corresponds to the difference between discursive and intuitive thought.  Discursive thought means reasoning from premise to conclusion, or being aware of first one thing, then another

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page uploaded 11 November 1998