Dean Inge tried to show that Plotinus ‘has three names for his Absolute – the One, the Good, and Beauty’. He remarks elsewhere, however (p. 102), that although Plotinus calls the Absolute the One and the Good, he does not call it the Beautiful.
– John M. Rist: ‘Plotinus, The Road to Reality’, 1967
It is the same with one who fixes his gaze on the infinite beauty of God. It is constantly being discovered anew, and it is always seen as something new and strange in comparison with what the mind has already understood. And as God continues to reveal himself, man continues to wonder…
– Gregory of Nyssa: ‘Homilies on the Song of Songs’
The chief difficulty is this: awareness of the One comes to us neither by knowing nor by the pure thought that discovers the other intelligible things but by a presence transcending knowledge. When the soul knows something, it loses its unity, it cannot remain simply one because knowledge implies discursive reason and discursive reason implies multiplicity. The soul then misses The One and falls into number and multiplicity. Therefore we must go beyond knowledge and hold to unity. We must renounce knowing and knowable, every object of thought, even Beauty, because Beauty, too, is posterior to The One and is derived from it as, from the sun, the daylight. That is why Plato says of The One, “It can neither be spoken nor written about.”