Shaw quotes Iamblichus:
The soul is a mean ot only between the undivided and the divide, the remaining and proceeding, the noetic and the irrational, but also between the uncreated and the created…Thus, that which is immortal in the soul is filled completely with mortality and no longer remains only immortal…”
We co create with the demiurge and fall into matter, and thus must return to the platonic demiurge.
Shaw calls it a paradox or Greek koan.
Plotinus says that our souls do not fully descend into a body. Plotinus thought embodiment was almost an embarrassment (yes, he didn’t like matter even as he hated on the Gnostics).
Iamblichus takes a more Christian stance that a soul is divided and placed in a body, and here we are. He feels the soul’s alienation in matter is part of salvation, as matter is another extension of the divine. The demiurge is making it alright in his system (Neoplatonists saw the demiurge of basically the creative thrust of the Mind of God…the Logos). In other words, the soul doesn’t have to escape matter because matter is God.
These two thinkers do have dualism (as much as they would deny it), which was absorbed by Augustine which of course influenced Christianity. Christianity rejected the higher self and soul, but kept dualism.