The Monastery of Solitude
A Journey in Search of Unity
In 242 CE Gordian III, caesar and emperor of Rome marched out at the head of his glorious army with the objective of defeating Persia in war. Embedded in the army was Plotinus, a philosopher who nurtured a secret dream - one of reaching India. Plotinus had long yearned to study the Upanishads and he saw an opportunity to reach as far as Persia with... the army and then make his way into ancient India. But his dream lay shattered on the banks of the Tigris.
1,780 years after Plotinus’ failed attempt at reaching India, Moin Mir travels in his footsteps fulfilling his dream of reaching India and reading the Upanishads. Through his travels across India, Egypt, Italy, Greece, and Turkey the author tries to understand the core concept of Plotinian thought - ‘Unity and oneness’. He uses Plotinus’ philosophy to observe how the free will of intellect uses ‘unity’ for good and evil. Intimate conversations with refugees escaping war, innocent boatmen drifting down the Nile, simple farmers, and monks in Greece along with observation of ancient art and modern technological accomplishments inform his thoughts and writing on the concept of the oneness of humankind - its immense power to bring good and yet its vulnerability to the stealth of intellect to destroy and self-destruct.