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Plotino - Tratado 33,2 (II, 9, 2) — A natureza de nossa alma e da alma do mundo

Enéada II, 9, 2

domingo 19 de junho de 2022, por Cardoso de Castro

Capítulo 2: A natureza de nossa alma e da alma do mundo.

  • 1-4. Lembrança do capítulo 1.: não mais de três realidades e não existe senão um só Intelecto.
  • 4-10. As três faculdades de nossa alma não impedem nossa alma de ser única.
  • 10-18. A alma do mundo permanece no inteligível e governa o sensível sem usar reflexão.


2. No contemos, pues, con nada más que las tres hipóstasis, como tampoco con esas invenciones accesorias que los seres inteligibles no pueden recibir. Hemos de admitir una inteligencia única, que es siempre la misma, inamovible e imitadora de su padre en la medida de lo posible. Ella está siempre cerca de los seres inteligibles; otra, en cambio, mira a lo sensible, y una tercera se sitúa en medio de las otras dos. Se trata, sin embargo, de una naturaleza única pero con múltiples potencias; unas veces se recoge toda ella en su parte mejor y se une al mejor de los seres, otras veces su parte peor se ve llevada hacia abajo y arrastra consigo a la parte de en medio; porque no es lícito que, sea arrastrada toda el alma. Habrá de aceptar, no obstante, esta triste suerte, por el hecho de no permanecer en una región de suma belleza donde sigue todavía el alma que no es una parte de nosotros, ni nosotros una parte de ella. Esa alma hace donación a todo el cuerpo de cuanto él puede recibir de ella, y, sin embargo, el alma continúa inmóvil, inactiva, sin proveer nada por medio del pensamiento, ni tampoco enderezando nada; se limita a contemplar con su maravillosa potencia lo que se encuentra antes de ella. Cuanto más se aplica a la contemplación, tanto más hermosa y fuerte se vuelve. Da todo lo que posee de lo alto a cuantos seres vienen después de ella; como está siempre iluminada, los ilumina a su vez.


[2] Ne reconnaissons donc dans le monde intelligible rien de plus que trois principes [l’Un, l’Intelligence, l’Âme], sans ces fictions superflues et inacceptables ; admettons qu’il y a une seule Intelligence, identique, immuable, qui imite son Père autant qu’elle le peut; puis notre âme, dont une partie reste toujours parmi les intelligibles, une partie descend vers les choses sensibles, et une autre est dans une région intermédiaire [entre le monde sensible et le monde intelligible] (15). Comme notre âme est une seule nature en plusieurs puissances, tantôt elle s’élève tout entière au monde intelligible avec la meilleure partie d’elle-même et de l’être, tantôt sa partie inférieure se laisse entraîner vers la terre et entraîne avec elle-même la partie intermédiaire (car notre âme ne peut être entraînée tout entière) (16). Quand cela arrive, c’est que notre âme ne demeure pas dans la meilleure région [dans le monde intelligible]. En y demeurant, l’Âme qui n’est pas une partie, et dont nous ne sommes pas une partie (17), a donné au corps de l’univers toutes les perfections qu’il pouvait recevoir. Elle le gouverne en demeurant tranquille, sans raisonner, sans avoir rien à redresser : par la contemplation du monde intelligible, elle embellit l’univers avec une admirable puissance. Plus elle s’attache à la contemplation, plus elle est puissante et belle (18) : ce qu’elle reçoit d’en haut, elle le communique au monde sensible et elle l’illumine parce qu’elle est elle-même toujours illuminée [par l’Intelligence].



2. In the intelligible world, therefore, we shall not recognize more than three principles (Unity, Intelligence, and Soul), without those superfluous and incongruous fictions. We shall insist that there is a single Intelligence that is identical, and immutable, which imitates its Father so far as it can. Then there is our soul, of which one part ever remains among the intelligibles, while one part descends to sense-objects, and another abides in an intermediary region. As our soul is one nature in several powers, she may at times entirely rise to the intelligible world, with the best part of herself and of essence; at other times the soul’s lower part allows itself to be dragged down to the earth, carrying with it the intermediate portion; for the soul cannot be entirely dragged down. This being dragged down occurs only because the soul does not abide in the better region. While dwelling in it, the Soul, which is not a part (of it) and of which we art not a part, has given to the body of the universe all the perfections of which she was capable. The Soul governs it by remaining quiet, without reasoning, without having to correct anything. With wonderful power she beautifies the universe by the contemplation of the intelligible world. The more the Soul attaches herself to contemplation, the more powerful and beautiful she is; what she receives from above, she communicates to the sense-world, and illuminates because she herself is always illuminated (by Intelligence) .


II. It remains, therefore, that we should consider at present, if there are more than these three, what the natures are which exist besides these. For since the principle of all things subsists in the way we have shown, it is not possible for any one to find a more simple and elevated principle. For they [the Gnostics] will not say1 that there is one principle in capacity, but another in energy; since it is ridiculous in things which are in energy, and immaterial, to make many natures by dividing into capacity and energy. But neither in the natures posterior to these, is it to be supposed that there is a certain intellect established in quiet, but that another is as it were moved. For what is the quiet of intellect, what the motion and language of it ? And what will be the leisure of one intellect, and the work of the other? For intellect always possesses an invariable sameness of subsistence, being constituted in a stable energy. But motion directed to, and subsisting about it, is now the employment of soul. Reason also proceeding from intellect into soul, causes soul to be intellectual, and does not produce a certain other nature between intellect and soul. Moreover, neither, is it necessary to make many intellects on this account, that one of them perceives intellectually, but another sees that it sees intellectually. For if in these, to perceive intellectually is one thing, but another to perceive that it sees intellectually, yet there must be one intuitive perception in these which is not insensible of its own energies. For it would be ridiculous to form any other conception than this of true intellect. But the intellect will be entirely the same, which perceives intellectually, and which sees that it sees intellectually. For if this were not the case, the one would be alone intelligent but the other would perceive that it was intelligent, and the former would be different from the latter. If, however, they say that these two [only] differ from each other in conceptions, in the first place indeed, they will be deprived of many hypostases ; and in the next place it is necessary to consider, whether any conception of ours can admit the subsistence of an intellect which is alone intelligent, and which does not perceive that it sees intellectually. For when a thing of this kind happens to us who are always attentive to impulses and cogitations, if we are moderately worthy, it becomes the cause to us of folly.

When, therefore, that which is truly intellect intellectually perceives itself in its intellections, and the intelligible of it is not externally posited, but intellect itself is also the intelligible, it necessarily follows that in intellectual perception it possesses itself, and sees itself. But seeing itself, it perceives itself not to be void of intelligence, but intelligent. So that in primarily energizing intellectually, it will also have a perception that it sees intellectually, both being as one; nor can there be any conception of duplicity there. If, likewise, always perceiving intellectually it is that which it is, what place can there be for the conception which separates intellectual perception from the perceiving that it sees intellectually ? If, however, some one should introduce a third conception to the second, which asserts that it perceives that it sees intellectually, and should say that it understands (i.e., sees intellectually), that what understands understands, the absurdity is still more apparent. And why may not assertions of this kind be made to infinity r The reason, likewise, proceeding from intellect which may be adduced, and from which afterwards another reason is generated in the soul, so as to become a medium between intellect and soul, deprives the soul of intellectual perception, if it does not derive this reason from intellect, but from some other intermediate nature. Hence it would possess an image of reason, but not reason itself. And in short, it would not have a knowledge of intellect, nor would it be intelligent.


2. Therefore we must affirm no more than these three Primals: we are not to introduce superfluous distinctions which their nature rejects. We are to proclaim one Intellectual-Principle unchangeably the same, in no way subject to decline, acting in imitation, as true as its nature allows, of the Father.

And as to our own Soul we are to hold that it stands, in part, always in the presence of The Divine Beings, while in part it is concerned with the things of this sphere and in part occupies a middle ground. It is one nature in graded powers; and sometimes the Soul in its entirety is borne along by the loftiest in itself and in the Authentic Existent; sometimes, the less noble part is dragged down and drags the mid-soul with it, though the law is that the Soul may never succumb entire.

The Soul’s disaster falls upon it when it ceases to dwell in the perfect Beauty - the appropriate dwelling-place of that Soul which is no part and of which we too are no part - thence to pour forth into the frame of the All whatsoever the All can hold of good and beauty. There that Soul rests, free from all solicitude, not ruling by plan or policy, not redressing, but establishing order by the marvellous efficacy of its contemplation of the things above it.

For the measure of its absorption in that vision is the measure of its grace and power, and what it draws from this contemplation it communicates to the lower sphere, illuminated and illuminating always.