In the doctrines of the Neoplatonists, of whom Plotinus is the most important, we have the worldprocess represented after the example of Plato as a series of descending steps, each being less perfect than its predecessors, since it is further removed from the first cause.'
The system culminates in a mystical act, and in the sequel, especially with Iamblichus and the Syrian Neoplatonists, mystical practice tended more and more to overshadow the theoretical groundwork.
He invented a religious system founded on the speculative mysticism of the Neoplatonists, and founded a sect, the members of which believed that the new creed would supersede all existing forms of belief.
He was a thorough Aristotelian, but by preference appears to have been drawn towards the mystical writings of the Neoplatonists and the pseudo-Dionysius.
It is true that several of the Neoplatonists professed to accept all the teaching both of Plato and of Aristotle, whereas, in fact, they arbitrarily interpreted Aristotle so as to make him agree with Plato, and Plato so as to make his teachings consistent with the Oriental doctrines which they had adopted, in the same manner as the schoolmen attempted to reconcile Aristotle with the doctrines of the church.