Plotinus "seemed to be ashamed of being in a body and hence refused to tell anything about his parents, his ancestry, or his country," so sayeth Porphyry, who was not only a disciple, but the one who collected and published the works of the philosopher after his death, against his will. Seems to be a theme amongst the ancients. Most of the work I've read was never written to be published and shared.
It appears to me that the truly great work was the stuff that wasn't refined for public minds, but personal ramblings... sincere heart stuff. Now, as a note I was given just days ago exemplifies, random heart is seen as weakness; everything must be refined and "professional," or it should remain in a journal and only shared if rewritten and structured properly to fit a story or theme, or serve a purpose. Well, my heart serves a purpose, and that purpose is telling my story and documenting my evolution, whether it's the voice you believe I should have or not.
Plotinus, though humble in theory and sound in reason, was obviously from Egypt, and he wandered aimlessly until he happened across a philosopher speaking named Ammonius, and immediately knew that this was the person he needed to find, then proceeded to spend over a decade learning from him. I never really found that person. I have had many people in my life who had a huge impact on who I became, but no one I could say I really learned from. There were two teachers in high school, Art History and Humanities, who completely changed my view on everything, but they don't even know that, and one of them is dead now. In college, I had the chair of the dance department and the chair of the theatre department that I have often referred to as mentors, but, while they were the only two people I could think to name as ones to speak on my behalf when being considered for probation, we weren't ever really friends... they simply recognized my abilities and talents, and let me get away with more than others would be willing to; they kept giving me opportunities to get better, even though my behavior didn't even remotely deserve it.
I never really had any significant mentors or internships that most use to move forward in life. I remember having dinner with Roger Hagadone and Beta Juliet after he shot me, and I was picking his brain about the business, primarily about how he got to where he was, and, when he mentioned that he interned with Annie Leibovitz after attending a photography school that I could never afford, I vividly remember slowly raising a middle finger, and he just kind of chuckled and shrugged, like "it is what it is." I had to figure all this shit out for myself, the hard way, and no one appreciates that anymore because they're too busy celebrating people who had opportunities handed to them. I've done pretty damn good here, making the most of what I have access to living in poverty. In my personal opinion, that helps me appreciate things better, and has taught me more heart than those who are dialing it in for more money.
At thirty-nine Plutarch decided to leave his teacher to "obtain direct knowledge" of the philosophies of Persia and India. He, of course, tagged along with the emperor, who happened to be heading that way, and when the emperor was assassinated mid route, he narrowly escaped death and ended up in Antioch, then Rome. Appreciating where life lead him, like any good, rationally minded philosopher, he spent the rest of his days in Rome, teaching philosophy and giving sound advice, or "directing conscience", to anyone who requested it. He didn't write anything down for ten years, to honor his mentor, then spent his final years scribbling things down, never even going back to reading it because his vision was so bad, and they read very much like random meanderings, which he never meant to be published and survive for thousands of years.
At the end of it all, he leaned into a friend and said, "now I shall endeavor to make that which is divine in me rise up to that which is divine in the universe," a phrase that could very well be as glorified as Beethoven's last, "Plaudite, amici, comedia finita est (Applaud, my friends, the comedy is over)."
It is so fucking amazing to be reading philosophy again.
Yes, I skipped ahead.
Yes, Ptolemy/Copernicus/Kepler read like a physics textbook.
This is a glimpse of Box Canyon.