One Ennead down, five to go. The introductory material I’ve read was excellent. O’Meara was difficult, but followable and clear enough. Plotinus is not a reducible philosopher, and that’s a great difficulty in introducing one. He’s like Charles Williams, naturally resisting popularization. O’Meara has done astonishingly.
I must say Armstrong’s Loeb translation is jolly helpful too. The brief introduction is a compact correspondence to O’Meara and the footnotes are bright and crucial. I don’t think I could have come a better way. I feel wonderfully in sympathy with the Great Plotinus. I thought reading Enneads would be a thing of pushing and pushing hard, but I am not pushing myself all that much now that I’ve got a measure of how he goes. The things he talks about and where he goes with them pulls one along. It is my cup of tea. I am in sympathy and I am being transformed.
And matter is primal evil.
One has to grin. Matter is not primal evil, but one see’s his point and can say matter is. He is so very almost entirely right that one does not have to wonder why this meant so much to St. Augustine. You know what’s also helpful about Armstrong, besides pointing out all the quotation and allusions to ancient philosophy? Pointing out the places where the Confessions make use of something.