One proceeds in the ascent, passing by all that is alien to the god until one sees by oneself alone that which is itself alone uncorrupted, simple, and pure … What is our course and what is our means of flight? We should not rely on our feet to get us there, for our feet just take us everywhere on earth, one place after another. Nor should you saddle up a horse or prepare some sea-going vessel. You should put aside all such things and stop looking; just shut your eyes, and change your way of looking, and wake up. Everyone has the ability, but few use it.
What, then, is that inner way of looking? Having just awakened, the soul is not yet able to look at the bright objects before it. The soul must first be accustomed to look at beautiful practises, next beautiful works—not those works that the crafts produce, but those that men who are called ‘good’ produce — next, to look at the soul of those who produce these beautiful works.
How, then, can you see the kind of beauty that a good soul has? Go back into yourself and look. If you do not see yourself as beautiful, then be like a sculptor who, making a statue that is supposed to be beautiful, removes a part here and polishes a part there so that he makes the latter smooth and the former just right until he has given the statue a beautiful face. In the same way, you should remove superfluities and straighten things that are crooked, work on the things that are dark, making them bright, and not stop ‘working on your statue’ until the divine splendour of virtue shines in you, until you see ‘Self-Control enthroned on the holy seat’.
Plotinus, Enneads, multiple translators led by Lloyd. P Gerson