Tuesday, February 13, 2007

A Quick Note on "Dishonoring" the Things of the Lower Realms

In the last post, I mentioned that Plotinus says that you are to honor the things of the higher realms and dishonor the things of the lower realm to remember your race and value. While I was speaking literally, I didn't get into detail about what that meant.

It doesn't mean that you treat the things of the material realm badly. I don't think Plotinus intended it that way at all. Later mystical interpretations would take that stance, as seen in some Gnostic asceticism, and in the foundation of what's become modern Christianity, but that's not what I think he was saying.

Honoring something means to bestow honors on it, to treat it with respect. You honor a spirit by lighting candles to it. You honor your mother and father by treating them well and taking care of them when they are old. You honor your employer by doing the right work at the right time.

In Plotinus' Enneads, he wasn't saying to dishonor material things in an active way, but to literally not-honor the things of the material realm above the things of the higher realms closer to "the good."

Honoring the higher realms would naturally result in a better understanding of the material things. As you learn their proper place in existence, you treat them with the respect that they deserve. Not with disrespect, but with appropriate respect.