BEYOND THE INNER AND THE OUTER. A NON-EUCLIDEAN SPACE OF AWARENESS IN PLOTINUS' PHILOSOPHICAL MYSTICISM
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Spatial metaphors are often used in philosophy to speak about consciousness and to distinguish between the inner, private sphere of awareness and the outer, real world. Plotinus also employs this kind of language to talk about the nature of human awareness and the nature of the self. In the 'Enneads' we can find two contradictory ways of speaking about awareness in spatial metaphors. In some texts Plotinus describes spiritual growth in terms of going inwards, with the 'One' being at the very center of the human self. In other places he describes it in terms of an expanding movement outwards, with the 'One' encompassing everything. In fact, it seems that the space of awareness in Plotinus' philosophy is a paradoxical one, because going inwards means going outwards and the other way round, which can be compared to the Klein's bottle. And, as in the case of the Klein's bottle, inner and outer are relative and the division into within and without collapses. For Plotinus this is what happens in the ultimate union with the 'One', when there is no separation between the subject and the object, the self and the other, awareness and its contents, but there is only boundless Presence beyond any kind of duality.
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