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Plotino - Tratado 39,8 (VI, 8, 8) — A impotência do discurso relativo ao Bem

Enéada VI, 8, 8

domingo 19 de junho de 2022, por Cardoso de Castro

Capítulo 8: A impotência do discurso relativo ao Bem

  • 1-3: Método para definir o que é a liberdade "em si"
  • 4-23: A via negativa para o princípio: recensão de todas as expressões que se deve renunciar a aplicar ao Bem
  • 23-27: Interrogação sobre o advento acidental do Bem e começo da refutação desta hipótese.

Míguez

8. Observamos, por tanto, claramente que la libertad no constituye un accidente para el Bien; pero para eso hemos partido de la libertad que sé encuentra en los otros seres y hemos privado a Aquél de los contrarios, con lo cual se nos queda en sí mismo y referido a sí mismo. Es cierto que transferimos al Bien atributos inferiores y de seres que están por debajo de El, pero ello se explica porque no podemos afirmar lo que conviene decir de El, y ésa es la única manera de poder considerarle.

No encontraríamos desde luego palabras apropiadas para tratar del Bien, no ya para hablar según lo que es, sino para referimos simplemente a El. Porque todas las cosas, incluso las más hermosas y venerables, son posteriores al Bien. El es el principio de estas mismas cosas, aunque en otro sentido no quepa conceptuarlo como principio. Habrá, pues, que ponerle aparte de todas las cosas, sin mentar para nada la dependencia de éstas y el hecho de la libertad; ya que parece indudable que se enuncia así un acto relativo a otro ser y se supone además otros seres que no son el ser libre y sobre los cuales actúa éste sin obstáculo alguno. Conviene, por el contrario, que el Bien no tenga relación con nada. Porque El es lo que es antes de que exista ningún otro ser. Y aun deberíamos suprimir esa coletilla, El es, para prescindir igualmente de toda relación con cualquier otro ser. Ni seria apropiado seguir hablando de El según su naturaleza, porque esto se dice sólo de lo que es posterior a El y, si se aplica a los seres inteligibles, lo es por provenir de otro ser. De modo que cuando hablamos en este sentido de los seres inteligibles, es porque los pensamos provenientes de Aquél. Ahora bien, si referimos la palabra naturaleza a los seres incursos en el tiempo, ya no deberemos aplicar esta palabra al ser inteligible.

Tampoco se debería decir de El que no depende de la naturaleza. Porque es claro que ya le hemos privado del ser y el afirmar ahora que no depende de la naturaleza supone el que provenga de otro ser. ¿Surge entonces por accidente? No, tampoco podemos decir esto, puesto que El no es accidente de sí mismo ni accidente con relación a otro ser. Lo que ocurre accidentalmente hay que referirlo a los seres múltiples, que disfrutan ya de ciertas propiedades a las que se añaden otras de una manera accidental. ¿Cómo imaginarse el Primer ser de resultas de un hecho análogo? No ha venido a la existencia para que nosotros le preguntemos "cómo ha surgido" o "por qué clase de azar ha tenido que existir". Pues es evidente que no se da aquí, cuando menos, azar ni casualidad; la casualidad supone el encuentro con otro ser y solo tiene lugar en las cosas engendradas.

Bouillet

VIII. Nous concevons qu’en Lui la liberté n’est pas un accident; mais, de la liberté propre aux autres êtres, nous nous élevons, par l’abstraction des contraires (ἀφαιρέσει τῶν ἐναντίων), à Celui qui est la Liberté, l’Indépendance même (αὐτὸ ἐφ’ ἑαυτῷ (34) πρὸς αὑτό), transportant ainsi à ce principe les attributs inférieurs que nous empruntons aux êtres inférieurs [savoir à l’âme et à l’intelligence], dans l’impuissance où nous sommes de parler de lui convenablement. Tels sont en effet les termes que nous pourrions employer en parlant de lui, quoiqu’il nous soit absolument impossible de trouver l’expression propre, non seulement pour affirmer de lui quelque chose, mais même pour dire sur lui quoi que ce soit. C’est que toutes les choses qui sont belles et vénérables ne viennent qu’après lui, parce qu’il est leur principe. Toutefois, sous un autre point de vue, il n’est point leur principe, puisque nous séparons tout de lui, que nous écartons de lui, comme choses inférieures, la liberté et le libre arbitre (τὸ ἐπ’ αὐτῷ, τὸ αὐθτεξούσιον) : car ces termes semblent indiquer une tendance vers autrui, l’absence d’un obstacle, la coexistence d’autres êtres qui tendent aussi aux mêmes choses sans entrave. Or il ne faut attribuer aucune tendance au Bien : car il est ce qu’il est avant toutes les autres choses, puisque nous ne disons pas même de lui : Il est (35), afin de n’établir aucun rapport entre lui et les êtres. Il ne faut pas dire non plus de lui : selon la nature (ὡς πέφυκε) ; cette expression indique une chose postérieure. Si on l’applique aussi aux intelligibles, ce n’est qu’en tant qu’ils procèdent d’un autre principe ; c’est ainsi qu’elle s’applique à l’Essence, parce qu’elle est née du Bien (ἐξ ἐκείνου ἔφυ). Μais si nature (φύσις) dit des choses qui sont dans le temps, elle ne saurait s’affirmer de l’Essence : car dire que l’Essence n’existe point par elle-même, ce serait lui enlever l’existence; or, dire qu’elle tient d’une autre chose son existence, c’est dire qu’elle n’existe point par elle-même. Il ne faut pas dire non plus du Bien : Il est ainsi par accident (οὕτως συνέβη), ni parler de contingence à son égard : car il n’est contingent ni pour lui-même, ni pour les autres êtres ; la contingence ne se trouve que dans les êtres multiples qui, étant déjà une chose, en sont devenus une autre par accident. Comment donc le Premier pourrait-il être par accident? car il n’est pas arrivé fortuitement [à être ce qu’il est] de telle sorte qu’on puisse demander : Comment est-il arrivé là? Aucun hasard ne l’a amené [à être ce qu’il est] et ne lui a donné l’existence : car le hasard et la fortune n’existaient pas avant lui, puisque le hasard et la fortune proviennent eux-mêmes d’une cause et ne se trouvent que dans les choses qui deviennent (36).

Guthrie

PHYSICAL QUALITIES USED OF THE SUPREME ONLY BY ANALOGY.

8. We conceive of the self-rule as no accident of the Good; but, from the self-rule proper to (all) beings, we rise, by abstraction of the contraries, to Him who Himself is liberty and independence, thus applying to this Principle the lower attributes that we borrow from inferior beings (that is, the Soul and Intelligence), because of our impotence to speak properly of Him. Such indeed are the terms that we could use in referring to Him, though it would be absolutely impossible to find the proper expression, not only to predicate anything of Him, but even to say anything whatever about Him. For the most beautiful and venerable things do no more than imitate Him, who is their principle. Nevertheless, from another standpoint, He is not their principle, since this their imitation must be denied, and we must withdraw, as too inferior, even the terms “liberty” and “self-rule,” for these terms seem to imply a tendency towards something else, an obstacle, even if only to avoid it; the coexistence of other beings, even if only to imitate Him uninterruptedly. Now no tendency should be attributed to the Good. He is what He is before all other things, since we do not even say of Him, “He is,” so as not to establish any connection between Him and “beings.” Neither can we say of Him, “according to His nature”; for this expression indicates some later relation. It is indeed applied to intelligible entities, but only so far as they proceed from some other principle; that is why it is applied to “being,” because it is born of the (Good). But if we refer “nature” to temporal things, it could not be predicated of “being”; for to say that “being” does not exist by itself would be to affect its existence; to say that it derives its existence from something else is equivalent to asserting that it does not exist by itself. Nor should we say of the Good that “His nature is accidental,” nor speak of contingency in connection with (the Divinity); for He is contingent neither for Himself nor for other beings; contingency is found only in the multiple beings which, already being one thing, have accidentally become some other. How indeed could the First exist accidentally? for He did not reach His present condition fortuitously enough to enable us even to ask, “How did He become what He is?” No chance led Him (to become His present self), nor led Him to hypostatic existence; for chance and luck did not exist anteriorly to Him, since even they proceed from a cause, and exist only in things that grow (or, “become”).

MacKenna

8. But it is not, in our view, as an attribute that this freedom is present in the First. In the light of free acts, from which we eliminate the contraries, we recognise There self-determination, self-directed and, failing more suitable terms, we apply to it the lesser terms brought over from lesser things and so tell it as best we may: no words could ever be adequate or even applicable to that from which all else - the noble, the august - is derived. For This is principle of all, or, more strictly, unrelated to all and, in this consideration, cannot be made to possess such laters as even freedom and self-disposal, which in fact indicate manifestation upon the extern - unhindered but implying the existence of other beings whose opposition proves ineffective.

We cannot think of the First as moving towards any other; He holds his own manner of being before any other was; even Being we withhold and therefore all relation to beings.

Nor may we speak of any "conforming to the nature"; this again is of the later; if the term be applicable at all in that realm it applies only to the secondaries - primally to Essential Existence as next to this First. And if a "nature" belongs only to things of time, this conformity to nature does not apply even to Essential Existence. On the other hand, we are not to deny that it is derived from Essential Existence for that would be to take away its existence and would imply derivation from something else.

Does this mean that the First is to be described as happening to be?

No; that would be just as false; nothing "happens" to the First; it stands in no such relationship; happening belongs only to the multiple where, first, existence is given and then something is added. And how could the Source "happen to be"? There has been no coming so that you can put it to the question "How does this come to be? What chance brought it here, gave it being?" Chance did not yet exist; there was no "automatic action": these imply something before themselves and occur in the realm of process.