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Plotino - Tratado 39,7 (VI, 8, 7) — Introdução do "discurso temerário" e primeiros elementos de refutação

Enéada VI, 8, 7

domingo 19 de junho de 2022, por Cardoso de Castro

Capítulo 7: Introdução do "discurso temerário" e primeiros elementos de refutação

  • 1-6: Distinção dos graus de liberdade na alma, no Intelecto e no Bem
  • 6-11: Não seria preferível evitar de aplicar ao Bem a expressão: "o que depende de si"?
  • 11-15: A objeção do "discurso temerário": o Bem não é livre, posto que não é mestre de sua própria natureza
  • 16-30: Resposta: recusar a liberdade ao Bem, significa arruinar toda possibilidade de ser livre, e a esvaziar de toda significação a expressão "o que depende de nós"
  • 31-46: Recensão de diferentes teses absurdas relativas ao Bem
  • 46-54: Não há diferença entre o que, no Bem, corresponde ao conceito de existência e o que corresponde nele ao conceito de atividade.

Míguez

7. El alma se considera libre cuando tiende al bien sin que nada la obstaculice y a través de la inteligencia. Lo que hace entonces depende realmente de ella, pues la inteligencia es libre por sí misma. En cuanto a la naturaleza del Bien sabemos que es lo deseable por sí mismo y aquello en virtud de lo cual todos los demás seres actúan por sí mismos, unas veces con la posibilidad de alcanzarlo libremente y otras disponiendo ya de EL. Mas ahora nos preguntaríamos: ¿cómo ese Bien, señor de todas las cosas estimables y que ocupa la primera morada, punto de mira de todas las cosas y al que todas las cosas están suspendidas pues de El reciben su poder y de modo especial el poder de hacer lo que depende de ellas, cómo ese Bien, digo, se vería reducido a lo que cualquiera de nosotros, tú o yo, puede poseer? Difícilmente reconoceríamos esto con relación a la inteligencia, aunque nos viésemos arrastrados a ello por la fuerza.

Posiblemente, en este punto, surgiese un razonamiento temerario y extraño: "El Uno es lo que es -diríase-, pero no por eso es dueño de ser lo que es, ya que no tiene su ser de sí mismo ni es realmente libre. No depende de él el actuar o el no actuar, puesto que en ambos casos se ve forzado por la necesidad". Serían desde luego palabras rudas y embarazosas, destructoras de la naturaleza voluntaria y libre e incluso de la idea de algo dependiente con respecto a nosotros. Pero en vano le buscaríamos sentido, como palabras que carecen de fundamento sólido. Porque no sólo tendría que admitirse que nada depende de nada, sino que no podrá pensarse ni concederse que esas palabras nos digan algo.

Mas supongamos que se atribuye un sentido a esas palabras; en este caso la refutación resulta más fácil, ya que la idea que las mismas palabras expresan se aplica a las cosas para las que no estaba pensada. Ese pensamiento no se ocupa para nada de la existencia ni de procurársela a sí mismo (le sería imposible producirse a sí mismo y traerse a sí mismo a la existencia), sino que lo que quiere es conocer cuál de entre los seres es esclavo de los demás y cuál por el contrario es libre e independiente de los otros, señor, por tanto, de sus actos. Bien se ve que eso no corresponde legítimamente más que a los seres eternos como tales, ya porque persigan el Bien sin oposición alguna, ya porque lo posean realmente. Sobre estos seres se encuentra todavía el Bien, por lo cual resultaría ilógico que buscase otro bien por encima de sí.

Pero tampoco se hablaría con más exactitud diciendo que existe por mero azar. Sólo admitimos el azar para las cosas derivadas y múltiples, y no decimos por tanto que el Primer ser existe por azar ni que no es señor de su nacimiento, puesto que no cabe incluirle en el devenir. También es absurdo afirmar que no es libre por haber surgido tal como es, ya que en este caso se estimaría como privilegio del ser libre el producir o actuar en contra de su naturaleza. Y no le privaremos de su libertad por el hecho de que permanezca solitario, dado que si permanece en esta situación no es por el impedimento de algún otro ser sino porque se complace a sí mismo de esta manera y no existe en verdad nada que sea mejor que él. ¿O es que íbamos a negar la libertad al ser que se acerca más al Bien? Si esto es absurdo, todavía lo es más el privar al Bien de la libertad, porque, ya por ser el Bien, permanece en sí mismo y no tiene necesidad de moverse hacia otro ser en tanto los demás seres se ven obligados a dirigirse hacía él. Nada, pues, exige el Bien de los otros seres.

No veamos ahí como dos cosas diferentes su existencia y su acto (no se daba ya esa distinción de ser y acto en la inteligencia); porque no encierra más verdad el decir que actúa según lo que es, que decir que es según su acto. Su acto no se sigue de su naturaleza, ya que no es lícito atribuirle cual a un sujeto su propio acto y su propia vida. Su ser coexiste con El y viene dado desde la eternidad con su acto. El mismo está hecho de ambos, esto es, de sí y de ningún otro ser.

Bouillet

VII. C’est donc par la vertu de l’intelligence que l’âme est libre, quand elle s’élève au bien sans rencontrer d’obstacle; tout ce qu’elle fait pour y arriver dépend d’elle. Quant à l’intelligence, elle est libre par elle-même.

[Maintenant, considérons la liberté dans le Bien (29).]

La nature du Bien est le désirable même (αὐτὸ τὸ ἐφετόν), c’est par lui que l’âme et l’intelligence possèdent la liberté quand elles peuvent, l’une, atteindre le Bien sans obstacle, l’autre, le posséder. Or, puisque le Bien est le maître de toutes les choses précieuses qui sont placées au-dessous de lui, qu’il occupe le premier rang, qu’il est le principe auquel tous les êtres veulent s’élever, auquel tous sont suspendus, dont tous tiennent leur puissance et leur liberté, comment lui attribuer une liberté semblable à la mienne et à la tienne, quand on peut a peine attribuer une telle liberté a l’intelligence sans lui faire violence?

Ici quelque téméraire viendra peut-être nous dire, tirant ses arguments d’une autre doctrine : Si le Bien est ce qu’il est, c’est par hasard; il n’est point maître de ce qu’il est parce qu’il n’est point par lui-même ce qu’il est ; par conséquent, il n’a ni liberté ni indépendance, parce qu’il agit ou n’agit pas selon que la nécessité le force d’agir ou de ne pas agir (30). Assertion dénuée de preuves et même contradictoire, qui détruit toute conception de volonté, de liberté, d’indépendance, qui les réduit a n’être plus que de vains mots, de trompeuses chimères ! Celui qui avance une pareille opinion est forcé de soutenir non seulement qu’il n’est au pouvoir de personne de faire ou de ne pas faire une chose, mais encore que le mot de liberté n’éveille dans son esprit aucune conception, n’a pour lui aucune espèce de sens. Si au contraire il attache un sens à ce mot, il sera bientôt obligé d’avouer que la conception de liberté a véritablement avec la réalité une conformité qu’il niait d’abord. La conception d’une chose en effet n’en change et n’en augmente en rien l’essence : elle ne peut rien faire par elle-même ni rien amener à l’existence; elle se borne à nous montrer quel être obéit à d’autres, quel être possède le libre arbitre, quel être ne dépend d’aucun, mais est maître de son action, privilège propre aux êtres éternels en tant qu’ils sont éternels, et aux êtres qui atteignent le bien sans obstacle [comme l’âme] ou le possèdent [comme l’intelligence]. Il est donc absurde de dire que le Bien, qui est au-dessus d’eux, cherche quelque autre bien au delà de lui-même.

Il n’est pas plus exact de prétendre que le Bien existe par hasard. Ce n’est que dans les choses inférieures et multiples qu’on trouve le hasard, nous soutiendrons au contraire que le Premier n’existe pas par hasard, qu’on ne peut dire qu’il n’est pas le maître de sa naissance, puisqu’il n’est pas né (31). Il n’est pas moins absurde d’avancer qu’il n’est pas libre parce qu’il agit selon sa nature : car cette assertion semble impliquer qu’être libre, ce soit faire des actes contraires a sa nature. Enfin, son unicité (τὸ μοναχὸν) ne lui ôte passa liberté, parce que cette unicité ne résulte pas de ce qu’il serait empêché par un autre [d’avoir autre chose], mais de ce qu’il est ce qu’il est, de ce qu’il se plaît à lui-même, de ce qu’il ne saurait être meilleur; sinon, il faudrait soutenir qu’en atteignant le bien on perdrait sa liberté. Si une pareille assertion est absurde, n’est-ce pas le comble de l’absurdité de refuser la liberté au Bien parce qu’il est le Bien, qu’il demeure en lui-même, et que, tous les êtres aspirant à lui, il n’aspire lui-même à rien d’autre que lui et n’a besoin absolument de rien. Comme son existence est en même temps son acte (car en lui ces deux choses ne font qu’un, puisqu’elles ne font qu’un aussi dans l’intelligence), son être 508 n’est pas plus selon son acte que son acte n’est selon son être (32). On ne peut donc pas dire de lui qu’il agit selon sa nature, ni que son acte et que sa vie se ramènent à son essence (si je puis ainsi parler (33). Mais, son essence et son acte étant intimement unis et coexistant de toute éternité, il en résulte que ces deux choses constituent un seul principe, qui dépend de lui-même et ne dépend de nulle autre chose.

Guthrie

THE SOUL IS FREE BY INTELLIGENCE, WHICH IS FREE BY ITSELF.

7. The soul therefore becomes free when, by the aid of intelligence, she defies all obstacles in her ascent to the Good; and whatever she does for the sake of the Good is responsible action. Intelligence, however, is free by itself.

B. OF THE FREE WILL OF THE SUPREME.

(_Let us now consider the free will of the Good._)

THE GOOD IS THE DESIRABLE IN ITSELF.

8. The nature of the Good is that which is desirable for its own sake. It is by the Good that the Soul and Intelligence exercise liberty when the Soul can attain the Good without obstacle, and when Intelligence can enjoy its possession. Now since the Good’s empire extends over all lower treasures; since He occupies the front rank; since He is the Principle to which all beings wish to rise, on whom they all depend, and from whom all derive their power and liberty; it would be difficult to attribute to Him a liberty similar to our human freedom of will, when we can hardly, with propriety, predicate such a human liberty of Intelligence.

THE GOOD IS FREE, BUT NOT MERELY BY CHANCE.

Here some rash person, drawing his arguments from some other school of thought, may object that, “If the Good be indeed good, this occurs only by chance. A man is not master of what he is (that is, of his own nature), because his own nature does not depend on himself (that is, is not due to self-determination). Consequently, he enjoys neither freedom nor independence, as he acts or withholds action as he is forced by necessity.” Such an assertion is gratuitous, and even self-contradictory. It destroys all conception of will, liberty and independence, reducing these terms to being labels, and illusions. He who advances such an opinion is forced to maintain not only that it is not within the power of anybody to do or not to do some thing, but also that the word “liberty” arouses no conception in his mind, and is meaningless. If however he insist that he does understand it, he will soon be forced to acknowledge that the conception of liberty bears a conformity with the reality which he at first denied. The conception of a thing exerts no interference on its substance (”being”); it can do nothing by itself, nor can it lead to hypostatic existence. It is limited to pointing out to us which being obeys others, which being possesses free will, which being depends on no other, but is master of its own action, a privilege characteristic of eternal beings so far as they are eternal, or to beings which attain the Good without obstacle (like the Soul), or possess it (like Intelligence). It is therefore absurd to say that the Good, which is above them, seeks other higher good beyond itself.

BEING AND ACTUALIZATION CONSTITUTE ONE SELF-EXISTENT PRINCIPLE.

Nor is it any more accurate to insist that the Good exists by chance. Chance occurs only in the lower and multiple things. We on the contrary insist that the First does not exist by chance, and that one cannot say that He is not master of His birth, since He was not born. It is not any less absurd to assert that He is not free because He acts according to His nature; for such an assertion would seem to imply that freedom consists in actions contrary to one’s nature. Last, His solitariness (or, unity) does not deprive Him of liberty, because this unity does not result from His being hindered by anybody else (from having anything else), but from His being what He is, from His satisfying (or, pleasing) Himself, as He could not be any better; otherwise, it would be implied that one would lose one’s liberty on attaining the Good. If such an assertion be absurd, is it not the summit of absurdity to refuse to predicate autocratic liberty of the Good because of His being good, because He remains within Himself and because since all beings aspire towards Him, He Himself aspires to nothing else than Himself, and has no need of anything? As His higher hypostatic existence is simultaneously His higher actualization — for in Him these two aspects fuse into one, since they do so even in Intelligence — His essence is no more conformed to His actualization, than His actualization to His essence. He cannot be said to actualize according to His nature, nor that His actualization and His higher life are traced up into His higher being (so to speak). But as His higher being and His higher (actualization) are intimately united, and coexist since all eternity, the result is that these two entities constitute a single Principle, which depends on itself, and nothing else.

MacKenna

7. Soul becomes free when it moves, through Intellectual-Principle, towards The Good; what it does in that spirit is its free act; Intellectual-Principle is free in its own right. That principle of Good is the sole object of desire and the source of self-disposal to the rest, to soul when it fully attains, to Intellectual-Principle by connate possession.

How then can the sovereign of all that august sequence - the first in place, that to which all else strives to mount, all dependent upon it and taking from it their powers even to this power of self-disposal - how can This be brought under the freedom belonging to you and me, a conception applicable only by violence to Intellectual-Principle itself?

It is rash thinking drawn from another order that would imagine a First Principle to be chance - made what it is, controlled by a manner of being imposed from without, void therefore of freedom or self-disposal, acting or refraining under compulsion. Such a statement is untrue to its subject and introduces much difficulty; it utterly annuls the principle of freewill with the very conception of our own voluntary action, so that there is no longer any sense in discussion upon these terms, empty names for the non-existent. Anyone upholding this opinion would be obliged to say not merely that free act exists nowhere but that the very word conveys nothing to him. To admit understanding the word is to be easily brought to confess that the conception of freedom does apply where it is denied. No doubt a concept leaves the reality untouched and unappropriated, for nothing can produce itself, bring itself into being; but thought insists upon distinguishing between what is subject to others and what is independent, bound under no allegiance, lord of its own act.

This state of freedom belongs in the absolute degree to the Eternals in right of that eternity and to other beings in so far as without hindrance they possess or pursue The Good which, standing above them all, must manifestly be the only good they can reasonably seek.

To say that The Good exists by chance must be false; chance belongs to the later, to the multiple; since the First has never come to be, we cannot speak of it either as coming by chance into being or as not master of its being. Absurd also the objection that it acts in accordance with its being if this is to suggest that freedom demands act or other expression against the nature. Neither does its nature as the unique annul its freedom when this is the result of no compulsion but means only that The Good is no other than itself, is self-complete and has no higher.

The objection would imply that where there is most good there is least freedom. If this is absurd, still more absurd to deny freedom to The Good on the ground that it is good and self-concentred, not needing to lean upon anything else but actually being the Term to which all tends, itself moving to none.

Where - since we must use such words - the essential act is identical with the being - and this identity must obtain in The Good since it holds even in Intellectual-Principle - there the act is no more determined by the Being than the Being by the Act. Thus "acting according to its nature" does not apply; the Act, the Life, so to speak, cannot be held to issue from the Being; the Being accompanies the Act in an eternal association: from the two [Being and Act] it forms itself into The Good, self-springing and unspringing.