“It is said then to spring from Poverty and Possession in the sense that Lack and the Memory of the Ideal Principle, all present together in the Soul, produce the act toward the Good which is Love. Its mother is poverty, since striving is for the needy; and this Poverty is matter, for Matter is the wholly poor: the very ambition towards the good is a sign of existing indetermination. … A thing aspiring towards the Good is an Ideal-principle only when the striving (with attainment) will leave it still unchanged in Kind.
“Thus Love is at once, in some degree a thing of Matter and at the same time a Celestial, sprung of the Soul; for Love Lacks its Good but, from its very birth, strives towards it.” ~Plotinus
The Poverty of Matter
To a materialist, it sounds ridiculous to suggest that a very wealthy person is actually living in poverty, yet to a spiritual person, it is true. Whether that person is amassing great quantities of gold, diamonds, real estate or stocks and bonds, he is seen as no different from the person who has collected a huge ball of used aluminum foil, or has a collection of a million matchbook covers. The particular type of matter doesn’t change the fact that this attachment to lowest level of existence is a form of poverty.
This truth is backed up by a simple fact: the materialist is never satisfied with what they have and is always seeking more. This is true because the materialist is trying to satisfy a need with something that cannot ever satisfy it. It is like drinking water when your actually hungry. It may seem to satisfy for a short while, but the hunger pains quickly return and can only be satisfied with food.
The “food” that that we all crave, even those who are not aware of it, is spiritual food, spiritual energy. This spiritual food is the only thing that can satisfy the needs of the spirit and soul, never matter. Bigger and bigger piles of matter will never work; you are trying to satisfy a hunger with water.
The Ideal Principle
Plotinus tells us that what is needed to eliminate this poverty is the Ideal Principle of Love. But he continues on to tell us that not just any love will do. He says that a simple love of self, of another person, of a job, and so on, isn’t enough. We need a Higher Love, a Spiritual Love. He goes on to tell us that this Love is still not enough because, in His opinion, it is not Good itself, but merely a desire to strive for the Good in all circumstances. In other words, Love is an active thing, a verb more than a noun.
But what is the Ideal Principle he speaks of? It is that thing that Love is seeking. It is that which leave the materialist still in poverty. It is the Divine Light that awakens and nourishes the spirit and soul. It is the awakened spirit and soul developing until it achieves the highest states of consciousness and the great level of Truth and Knowledge called Gnosis. It is Oneness with God.