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Plotino - Tratado 33,13 (II, 9, 13) — Os gnósticos ignoram a natureza das realidades, dos astros e do mal

Enéada II, 9, 13

domingo 19 de junho de 2022, por Cardoso de Castro

    

Capítulo 13: Os gnósticos ignoram a natureza das realidades, dos astros e do mal.

  • 1-6. Eles ignoram a natureza das realidades e a ordem   de todas as coisas.
  • 6-25. Não é preciso ter medo dos astros, que são animados, excelentes e eternos.
  • 25-33. A definição gnóstica do mal está errada.
    

Míguez

13. Así, pues, el que formula reproches a la naturaleza del mundo desconoce en realidad lo que hace y hasta dónde alcanza su atrevimiento. Es claro que desconoce también la ordenación regular de las cosas y el paso de las primeras a las segundas, de las segundas a las terceras y así sucesivamente, hasta llegar a las últimas; por consiguiente, no debería censurar a unos seres porque sean inferiores a los primeros, sino transigir buenamente con la naturaleza de todos ellos. Convendría que mirasen a los seres primeros y que abandonasen de una vez su tono jeremiaco respecto a los peligros del alma   en las esferas del mundo, pues éstas se les muestran verdaderamente propicias. ¿Cómo, además, podrían arredrar a los que ignoran las razones y son también desconocedores de ese saber instructivo y armonioso de las cosas? ¿Que sus cuerpos son cuerpos ígneos? Tampoco hay lugar a temerlos, ya que este fuego se aparece adecuado al universo   y a la tierra. Convendría antes bien mirar a las almas, que es lo que ellos juzgan de más valor  . Sin embargo, los cuerpos de las esferas son de una grandeza   y de una belleza diferentes, y colaboran y trabajan juntamente con los fenómenos de la naturaleza, que no podrían producirse prescindiendo de las causas primeras; ayudan, pues, a completar el universo y son como inmensas partes de él.

Si los hombres tienen más valor que el resto de los animales, mucho más valor que ellos tienen todavía los cuerpos del cielo  , ya que se encuentran en el universo no en condición de tiranos, sino para procurarle orden y dignidad. Dícese que las cosas provienen de ellos, pero conviene pensar   que son como los signos de los hechos futuros y que las diferencias originadas entre los seres que nacen han de atribuirse al azar   — no es posible que las mismas cosas puedan acontecer a cada uno de los seres — , a las circunstancias que concurren en los nacimientos, a mayor distancia de las distintas regiones y a las disposiciones propias de las almas. No ha de exigirse de nuevo que todos los hombres sean buenos, para luego quejarse de que esto es imposible si se considera que las cosas de este mundo no difieren en nada de las cosas del mundo inteligible y si se cree que el mal no es otra cosa que una gran deficiencia en cuanto a la sabiduría y un bien que disminuye y se hace siempre y cada vez más pequeño. Bajo esta afirmación la naturaleza se presentar  ía como el mal, por no ser un alma sensitiva, y la sensación   se ofrecería también como algo malo, por no ser una razón. Pero si el mal consiste en no ser eso, se verán obligados a afirmar que también se dan males en las almas inteligibles; porque el alma es, desde luego, peor que la inteligencia y ésta es, a su vez, inferior   a alguna otra cosa.

Bouillet

[13] Celui qui se plaint de la nature du monde ne sait donc pas ce qu’il fait, ni jusqu’où va son audace. C’est que beaucoup d’hommes ignorent qu’un enchaînement étroit unit les choses du premier, du second et du troisième rang (130), et descend jusqu’à celles du plus bas degré. Au lieu de blâmer ce qui est inférieur aux premiers principes, il faut se soumettre avec douceur aux lois de l’univers (131), s’élever soi-même   aux premiers principes, ne pas éprouver ces terreurs tragiques (132) inspirées à certaines gens par les sphères du monde qui n’exercent sur nous qu’une influence bienfaisante (133). Qu’ont-elles en effet de terrible? Que redoutent en elles ces hommes étrangers à la philosophie et à toute saine instruction ? Quoique les sphères célestes   aient des corps ignés, elles ne doivent nous donner aucune crainte, parce qu’elles sont parfaitement en harmonie avec l’univers et avec la terre. Il faut d’ailleurs considérer les âmes des astres auxquelles les Gnostiques se croient eux mêmes si supérieurs (134), tandis que leurs corps, qui surpassent tant les nôtres en grandeur et en beauté, concourent efficacement à produire les choses conformes à l’ordre de la nature (135) : car ces choses ne sauraient naître s’il n’existait que les premiers principes. Enfin les astres complètent l’univers et en sont des membres importants. Si l’homme a une grande supériorité sur les animaux, quelle supériorité n’ont pas ces astres qui sont dans l’univers pour l’embellir et y faire régner l’ordre, et non pour y exercer une influence tyrannique (136)? Quant aux événements qu’on dit provenir des astres, ceux-ci en sont les signes plutôt que les causes (137), D’ailleurs les événements qui proviennent réellement des astres diffèrent entre eux par les circonstances (138). Il n’est pas en effet possible que les mêmes choses arrivent à tous les hommes, séparés comme ils le sont par l’époque de leur naissance, par les lieux où ils se trouvent, par les dispositions de leurs âmes. Il n’est pas non plus raisonnable de demander que tous soient bons, ni, parce que c’est impossible, d’aller se plaindre aussitôt dans l’idée que les choses sensibles doivent être semblables aux choses intelligibles (139). Enfin, il ne faut pas croire que le mal soit autre chose que ce qui est moins complet par rapport à la sagesse, moins bon, en suivant toujours une gradation décroissante (140) : par exemple, il ne faut pas appeler mauvaise la nature [la puissance végétative et génératrice], parce qu’elle n’est pas la sensibilité; ni la sensibilité, parce qu’elle n’est pas la raison. Sinon, l’on sera conduit à admettre qu’il y a du mal même dans le mondé intelligible: en effet, l’Âme est inférieure à l’Intelligence, et l’Intelligence l’est elle–même à l’Un.

Guthrie

INSTEAD OF COMPLAINING OF THE WORLD. UNDERSTAND IT AND FIT YOURSELF TO IT.

13. Those who complain of the nature of the world do not know what they are doing, nor the extent of their audacity. Many men are ignorant of the close concatenation which unites the entities of the first, second, and third ranks, and which descends even to those of the lowest degree. Instead of blaming what is subordinate to first principles, we should gently submit to the laws of the universe, rise to first principles, not undergo those tragic terrors, inspired in certain people by the spheres of the world which exert on us nothing but a beneficent influence. What is so terrible in them? Why should they be feared by these men foreign to philosophy and all sound learning? Though celestial spheres do have fiery bodies, they should not inspire us with any fear, because they are perfectly harmonious with the universe and with the earth. We must besides consider the souls of the stars to which those (Gnostics) consider themselves so superior, while their bodies, which surpass ours so much in size and beauty, efficaciously concur in the production of things that are conformed to the order of nature; for such things could not be born if first principles alone existed. Finally the stars complete the universe, and are important members thereof. If even man holds a great superiority over animals, there must be a far greater superiority in those stars which exist as ornaments to the universe, and to establish order therein, and not to exert thereover a tyrannical influence. The events that are said to flow from the stars are rather signs thereof than causes. Besides, the events that really do flow from the stars differ among each other by circumstances. It is not therefore possible that the same things should happen   to all men, separated as they are by their times of birth, the places of their residence, and the dispositions of their souls. It is just as unreasonable to expect that all would be good, nor, because of the impossibility of this, to go and complain on the grounds that all sense-objects should be similar to intelligible objects. Moreover, evil is nothing but what is less complete in respect to wisdom, and less good, in a decreasing gradation. For instance, nature (that is, the power of growth and generation) should not be called evil because she is not sensation; nor sensation be called evil, because it is not reason. Otherwise, we might be led to think that there was evil in the intelligible world. Indeed, the Soul is inferior to Intelligence, and Intelligence is inferior to the One.

Taylor

XIII. He therefore who blames the nature of the world, does not know what he does, nor whither this audacity of his tends. This, however, arises from the Gnostics not knowing the successive order of things, viz. of first, second, and third natures, this order always extending itself as far as to the last of things, and from not considering that subordinate beings ought not to revile such as are first^ but should mildly yield to the nature of all things; and that they should betake themselves to the first of beings, abandoning the tragic fears, which they fancy are produced from the spheres of the world, all which are the causes of bland effects. For what do they contain of a terrible nature, with which those that are unskilled in arguments, and such as are strangers to erudite and elegant knowledge, are terrified r For though the bodies of these spheres are of a fiery [1] characteristic, yet it is not proper to be afraid of them, since they subsist with commensuration both to the universe and to the earth. But they ought to look to the souls of these spheres, by whom they imagine themselves to be considered as beings of a very honourable nature, though their bodies transcendently surpass ours both in magnitude and beauty, and contribute to and co-operate with natural effects. For otherwise subordinate beings would not be generated, as long as the first of things subsist. These spheres also give completion to the universe, of which they are likewise mighty parts. If men, however, jjossess something honourable beyond other animals, much more do the starry spheres, which do not exist in the universe for tyrannical purposes, but impart to it ornament and order. But with respect to those things which are said to be effected by them, these are to be considered as signs of future events; and that things which are generated are produced accompanied with different fortunes. For it is not possible that the same things should happen to each individual, since they are much distant from each other, in the times of their generation, the places in which they reside, and in the dispositions of the soul. Nor again, is it fit to require that all things should be [perfectly] good, nor, because this is impossible, rashly to blame [the order of the universe]. Nor is it proper to think that these inferior differ in no respect from superior natures, or to conceive that to be evil which is more defective with respect to the possession of wisdom, and is less good, and thus always considering a thing to be evil in proportion as it is more inconsiderable. Just as if some one should say that nature is evil, because it is not sense. And that which is sensitive is evil, because it is not reason. For those who thus think must be compelled to assert that evil also subsists in the intelligible world. For there, likewise, soul is inferior to intellect, and intellect to something else [or the good].

MacKenna

13. Those, then, that censure the constitution of the Kosmos   do not understand what they are doing or where this audacity leads them. They do not understand that there is a successive order of Primals, Secondaries, Tertiaries and so on continuously to the Ultimates; that nothing is to be blamed for being inferior to the First; that we can but accept, meekly, the constitution of the total, and make our best way towards the Primals, withdrawing from the tragic spectacle, as they see it, of the Kosmic spheres - which in reality are all suave graciousness.

And what, after all, is there so terrible in these Spheres with which it is sought to frighten people unaccustomed to thinking, never trained in an instructive and coherent gnosis  ?

Even the fact that their material frame is of fire does not make them dreadful; their Movements are in keeping with the All and with the Earth: but what we must consider in them is the Soul, that on which these people base their own title to honour.

And, yet, again, their material frames are pre-eminent in vastness and beauty, as they cooperate in act and in influence with the entire order of Nature, and can never cease to exist as long as the Primals stand; they enter into the completion of the All of which they are major Parts.

If men rank highly among other living Beings, much more do these, whose office in the All is not to play the tyrant but to serve towards beauty and order. The action attributed to them must be understood as a foretelling of coming events, while the causing of all the variety is due, in part to diverse destinies - for there cannot be one lot for the entire body of men - in part to the birth moment, in part to wide divergencies of place, in part to states of the Souls.

Once more, we have no right to ask that all men shall be good, or to rush into censure because such universal   virtue is not possible: this would be repeating the error of confusing our sphere with the Supreme and treating evil as a nearly negligible failure in wisdom - as good lessened and dwindling continuously, a continuous fading out; it would be like calling the Nature-Principle evil because it is not Sense-Perception and the thing of sense evil for not being a Reason-Principle. If evil is no more than that, we will be obliged to admit evil in the Supreme also, for there, too, Soul is less exalted than the Intellectual-Principle, and That too has its Superior.


[1The lire of which the heavenly bodies consists is unburning and innoxious, perpetually shining, as Proclus says in the «Timaeus,» with vivific heat, illuminative power, purity, and transparent light.