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Plotino - Tratado 33,17 (II, 9, 17) — Sobre a beleza

Enéada II, 9, 17

domingo 19 de junho de 2022, por Cardoso de Castro

Capítulo 17: Sobre a beleza.

  • 1-21. Eles esquecem que os corpos se ligam ao inteligível e são tão belos quanto possível.
  • 21-31. Eles são incoerentes em seu menosprezo da beleza.
  • 31-49. Existe vários graus de beleza, assim como há uma verdadeira e uma falsa beleza.
  • 49-56. O mundo é belo e bom, posto que ele é perfeito.

Míguez

17. El odio que sienten hacia esos seres y, sobre todo, a la naturaleza del cuerpo, ¿se deberá a que han oído que Platón   reprochaba con frecuencia al cuerpo el ser un obstáculo para el alma, atribuyendo a todo cuerpo una naturaleza inferior? Sería preciso que quitasen al mundo, con el pensamiento, su propia corteza corpórea y que viesen entonces todo lo que queda de él: esto es, la esfera inteligible que encierra en sí la forma del mundo y esas almas que, sin contar con los cuerpos, le dan una magnitud proporcionada, fijando justamente su extensión conforme al modelo inteligible, de modo que lleguen a igualarse en magnitud el mundo producido y la potencia de su modelo; porque la magnitud del mundo inteligible descansa en la potencia, y la magnitud del mundo sensible en la extensión.

Y ya se trate de que quieran concebir esa esfera como móvil y dotada de un movimiento circular por la potencia de un dios que contiene su principio, su medio y su fin, o de que la piensen como inmóvil, porque la potencia divina no se ocupa de ella al perseguir otra cosa, en ambos casos tendrán un pensamiento adecuado del alma que dirige el universo. Si se coloca el cuerpo en un alma que no sufra y que dé a los otros seres lo que éstos puedan recibir de ella, porque no es justo atribuir la envidia a los dioses, podrá concebirse el mundo de modo justo siempre que se otorgue a su alma la potencia que necesite la naturaleza del cuerpo, que no es bella por sí misma, para llegar a participar en la belleza. Esta belleza es la que mueve las almas, que son divinas.

Supongamos que dijesen que esto no les conmueve y que ven con absoluta indiferencia un cuerpo feo y un cuerpo hermoso; es claro que verán también con la misma indiferencia las ocupaciones torpes y las ocupaciones honestas, así como la noble entrega a la ciencia y a la contemplación, sin prescindir de la de Dios. Porque tales bellezas provienen de la belleza primera. Si, pues, no existen aquéllas, tampoco existe la primera, ya que unas bellezas se siguen de las otras.

Cuando digan que desprecian las bellezas de este mundo, harían mejor en despreciar la de los jóvenes y mujeres, no dejándose llevar de su desenfreno. Pero conviene que se sepa esto: no se mostrarían tan arrogantes si realmente despreciasen la fealdad; ahora bien, lo que desprecian es lo que antes habían juzgado bello. Entonces, ¿en qué situación les dejamos? Porque hay que decir inmediatamente que la belleza de una parte no es la belleza del todo, ni la de cada ser la del conjunto del universo; se dan en los seres sensibles y en los seres compuestos de partes bellezas como las de los demonios, que nos hacen admirar a su creador y creer que provienen del mundo inteligible, pues por ellas afirmamos la extraordinaria belleza de ese mundo y no tenemos en cuenta para nada la de los seres de aquí. Vayamos, sin embargo, de estas bellezas a la belleza del mundo inteligible, y cesemos en nuestro menosprecio a las cosas de aquí abajo. Pues si poseen la belleza interior es porque lo interior concuerda con lo exterior; y si son feas interiormente, se mostrarán inferiores en su parte mejor. No es posible, sin embargo, que un ser verdaderamente hermoso en su parte externa tenga interiormente un alma fea, porque lo exterior no puede ser completamente hermoso si está dominado por lo interior. Los hombres que pasan por hermosos y que tienen un alma fea, necesariamente poseen una belleza exterior falsa. Y si se afirma que se ha visto a seres realmente hermosos pero con un alma fea, lo que yo creo es que de hecho no se los ha visto, sino que se ha tomado por seres hermosos a otros que no lo eran, o acaso su fealdad es algo extraño y no innato y siguen contando con una naturaleza profundamente hermosa. Muchos obstáculos se oponen en este mundo a la perfección de la naturaleza.

Vengamos a esta cuestión: si el universo es hermoso, ¿qué impedimento hay para que posea la belleza interior? Es claro que aquellos seres a quienes la naturaleza no concedió desde un principio el poder llegar a su fin, pueden no alcanzar su perfección y convertirse indudablemente en seres malos pero el universo, en cambio, no deberá considerarse como un niño en su exigua pequeñez al que se añadiesen sucesivamente las partes necesarias para componer su cuerpo. Por que, ¿de dónde podrían venir esas partes? ¿No posee él todas las cosas? No cabe pensar en una modelación sucesiva del alma; y, aunque se concediese esto a nuestros enemigos, no podría estimarse que el alma encierra algo malo.

Bouillet

[17] Les Gnostiques diront peut-être que s’ils haïssent le corps, c’est parce que Platon   s’en plaint beaucoup, l’accuse d’être un obstacle pour l’âme, dit qu’il lui est bien inférieur (160). Ils devraient alors, faisant par la pensée abstraction du corps du monde, considérer le reste, c’est-à-dire la sphère intelligible qui contient en soi la forme du monde, puis les âmes incorporelles qui, dans un ordre parfait, communiquent la grandeur à la matière en l’étendant d’après un modèle intelligible, pour que ce qui est engendré égale autant que possible par sa grandeur la nature indivisible de son modèle : car à la grandeur de la puissance intelligible correspond ici–bas la grandeur de la masse sensible. Que les Gnostiques considèrent donc la sphère céleste, soit qu’ils la conçoivent comme mise en mouvement par la puissance divine qui en contient le principe, le milieu et la fin, soit même qu’ils se l’imaginent comme immobile et n’exerçant encore son action sur aucune des choses qu’elle gouverne par sa révolution ; ils arriveront des deux façons à se faire une idée juste de l’Âme qui préside à cet univers. Qu’ils conçoivent ensuite cette Âme unie à un corps, tout en restant impassible, et communiquant à ce corps, autant que celui-ci est capable d’y participer, quelques-unes de ses perfections (car la divinité ne saurait être envieuse) (161), ils se formeront une idée juste du monde : ils comprendront combien est grande la puissance de l’Âme, puisqu’elle fait participer à la beauté, autant qu’il en est capable, le corps qui n’a aucune beauté par sa nature, mais qui [embelli par l’Âme] ravit les âmes divines.

Les Gnostiques prétendent-ils rester insensibles à la beauté du monde et ne faire aucune différence entre les corps qui sont beaux et ceux qui sont laids? Alors ils ne doivent pas distinguer le bon goût du mauvais, ni reconnaître de la beauté dans les sciences, dans la contemplation, dans Dieu même : car ce n’est que par leur participation aux premiers principes que les êtres sensibles sont beaux (162). S’ils ne sont pas beaux, les premiers principes ne sauraient non plus l’être; par conséquent les êtres sensibles sont beaux, tout en l’étant moins que les êtres intelligibles. Le mépris que les Gnostiques professent pour la beauté sensible est louable, s’il ne se rapporte qu’à celle des femmes et des jeunes garçons, et s’il n’a d’autre but que de conduire à la chasteté. Mais, sachez-le bien, ils ne se glorifient pas de mépriser ce qui est laid; ils se glorifient de mépriser ce qu’ils avaient d’abord reconnu et aimé comme beau.

Remarquez en outre que l’on ne trouve pas la même beauté dans les parties que dans le tout, dans les individus que dans l’univers, qu’il y a dans les choses sensibles et dans les individus, dans les démons (163), par exemple, des beautés assez grandes pour nous faire admirer leur créateur, et nous prouver que ce sont bien ses oeuvres. Par là nous pouvons arriver à concevoir l’ineffable beauté de l’Âme universelle, si nous ne nous attachons pas aux êtres sensibles, et si, sans toutefois les mépriser, nous savons nous élever aux êtres intelligibles. Si l’intérieur d’ un être sensible est beau, jugeons qu’il est en harmonie avec la beauté de son extérieur ; s’il est laid, croyons qu’il est inférieur à son principe. Mais il est impossible qu’un être soit réellement beau à l’extérieur, et laid à l’intérieur : car l’extérieur n’est beau que parce qu’il est dominé par l’intérieur [par l’âme qui donne la forme] (164) . Ceux qu’on appelle beaux, et qui sont laids intérieurement, n’ont au dehors qu’une beauté mensongère. Si l’on prétend qu’il y a des hommes qui possèdent un beau corps avec une âme laide, j’affirme qu’on n’en a pas vu et qu’on s’est trompé en les croyant beaux, ou que, si l’on a vu de pareils hommes, leur laideur intérieure était accidentelle et qu’ils avaient une âme naturellement belle : car nous rencontrons ici-bas de grands obstacles qui nous empêchent d’arriver à notre fin. Mais, pour l’univers, peut-il y avoir un obstacle qui l’empêche de posséder la beauté intérieure comme il possède la beauté extérieure? Les êtres auxquels la nature n’a pas dès le commencement donné la perfection peuvent bien ne pas atteindre leur fin et par conséquent se pervertir; mais l’univers n’a jamais été enfant ni imparfait ; il ne s’est pas développé, il n’a reçu aucun accroissement corporel. D’où aurait-il reçu en effet un tel accroissement puisqu’il possédait tout? On ne peut pas non plus admettre que son Âme ait acquis quelque chose avec le temps. Mais l’accordât-on aux Gnostiques, on ne saurait en conclure qu’il y ait là du mal.

Guthrie

GNOSTICS JUSTIFY THEIR HATE OF THE BODY BY PLATO  ; IN THIS CASE THEY SHOULD FOLLOW HIM ALSO IN ADMIRATION OF THE WORLD.

17. Some (Gnostics) object that they hate the body because Plato   complains much of it, as an obstacle to the soul, and as something far inferior to her. In this case, they should, making abstraction of the body of the world by thought, consider the rest; that is, the intelligible sphere which contains within it the form of the world, and then the incorporeal souls which, in perfect order, communicate greatness to matter by modeling it in space according to an intelligible model, so that what is begotten might, so far as possible, by its greatness, equal the indivisible nature of its model; for the greatness of sense-mass here below corresponds to the greatness of intelligible power. Let the (Gnostics) therefore consider the celestial sphere, whether they conceive of it as set in motion by the divine power that contains its principle, middle and end, or whether they imagine it as immovable, and not yet exerting its action on any of the things it governs by its revolution. In both ways they will attain a proper idea of the Soul that presides over this universe. Let them then conceive of this soul as united to a body, though remaining impassible, and still communicating to this body so far as the latter is capable of participating therein, some of its perfections, for the divinity is incapable of jealousy. Then they will form a proper idea of the world. They will understand how great is the power of the Soul, since she makes the body participate in her beauty to the limit of her receptivity. This body has no beauty by nature, but when (it is beautified by the Soul) it entrances divine souls.

GNOSTICS BOAST OF LACK OF APPRECIATION OF BEAUTY ALREADY RECOGNIZED.

The (Gnostics) pretend that they have no appreciation for the beauty of the world, and that they make no distinction between beautiful and ugly bodies. In this case they should not distinguish good from bad taste, nor recognize beauty in the sciences, in contemplation, nor in the divinity itself; for sense-beings possess beauty only by participation in first principles. If they be not beautiful, neither could those first principles be such. Consequently sense-beings are beautiful, though less beautiful than intelligible beings. The scorn professed by (Gnostics) for sense-beauty is praiseworthy enough if it refer only to the beauty of women and of young boys, and if its only purpose be to lead to chastity. But you may be sure that they do not boast of scorning what is ugly, they only boast of scorning what they had at first recognized and loved as being beautiful.

EVEN EXTERIOR OR PARTIAL BEAUTY NEED NOT CONFLICT WITH THE BEAUTY OF THE UNIVERSE; AND IN ANY CASE THERE WOULD BE NO EVIL IN IT.

We must further observe that it is not the same beauty that is seen in the parts and in the whole, in individuals and in the universe; that there are beauties great enough in sense-objects and in individuals, for instance, in the guardians, to lead us to admire their creator, and to prove to us that they indeed are works of his. In this way we may attain a conception of the unspeakable beauty of the universal Soul, if we do not attach ourselves to sense-objects, and if, without scorning them, we know how to rise to intelligible entities. If the interior of a sense-being be beautiful, we shall judge that it is in harmony with its exterior beauty. If it be ugly we will consider that it is inferior to its principle. But it is impossible for a being really to be beautiful in its exterior while ugly within; for the exterior is beautiful only in so far as it is dominated by the interior. Those who are called beautiful, but who are ugly within, are externally beautiful only deceptively. In contradiction to those who claim that there are men who possess a beautiful body and an ugly soul, I insist that such never existed, and that it was a mistake to consider them beautiful. If such men were ever seen, their interior ugliness was accidental, and also their soul was, by nature, beautiful; for we often meet here below obstacles which hinder us from reaching our goal. But the universe cannot by any obstacle be hindered from possessing interior beauty in the same way that it possesses exterior beauty. The beings to whom nature has not, from the beginning, given perfection, may indeed not attain their goal, and consequently may become perverted; but the universe never was a child, nor imperfect; it did not develop, and received no physical increase. Such a physical increase would have been impossible inasmuch as it already possessed everything. Nor could we admit that its Soul had ever, in the course of time, gained any increase. But even if this were granted to the (Gnostics), this could not constitute any evil.

Taylor

XVII. If also, they are induced to hate the nature of body, because they have heard that Plato   greatly blames it as being an impediment to the soul, and says, that the whole of a corporeal nature is inferior to the soul, vet separating this by the discursive energy of reason, it is requisite to survey what remains, viz. the intelligible sphere, comprehending in itself the form of the world, souls in an orderly series without bodies, imparting magnitude according to the intelligible, and producing it into interval; so that the magnitude of that which is generated, may as much as possible be adequate to the impartibilitv of the paradigm. For that which is there great in power, is here great in bulk. And whether they wish to understand this sphere as circularly moved by a divine power, which contains the beginning, middle, and end of the whole sphere, or whether they consider it as stable, and not yet governing any thing else, they wili thus be led to form a proper conception of the soul which governs this universe. They ought likewise to connect body with this soul in such a manner that soul may not be at all passive, but may impart something to the body, which it is able to receive, because it is not lawful there should be envy in the Gods. They should likewise ascribe such a power to the soul of the world, as is able to render the nature of body which is not of itself beautiful, a participant of beauty as far as it is capable of being adorned; which beauty also excites divine souls. Unless, indeed, the Gnostics should say that their souls are not excited by beauty, and that they do not in a different manner survey deformed and beautiful bodies. If, however, this be the case, neither are they differently affected by base and beautiful studies, nor by beautiful disciplines and the contraries to these. Hence neither do they perceive the transcendency of the contemplative energy, nor of God himself. For on account of first natures the above-mentioned particulars subsist. If, therefore, the latter are not beautiful, neither are the former. Hence, the latter are beautiful after the former. When, however, they say that they despise the beauty which is here, they would do well to despise the beauty in boys and women, so as not to be vanquished by lust. But it is requisite to know that they ought not to boast, if they despise what is base, but if they despise what they before had acknowledged to be beautiful, and by which they were in a certain respect affected. In the next place it must be observed, that there is not the same beauty in a part and the whole, in all individuals and the universe. And in the third place, that there is so great a beauty even in sensibles, and partial natures such as daemons, as to cause us to admire the maker of these, and to believe that they are derived from him. Hence, when we are not detained by these lower beauties, but proceed from these without reviling them to supernal natures, we then proclaim that the beauty of the latter is immense. And if, indeed, we are inwardly as well as outwardly beautiful, we must say that the one accords with the other. But if we are internally bad, we ought then to acknowledge that we suffer a diminution in things of a more excellent nature. Nothing, however, that is truly beautiful externally, is internally deformed. For every thing which is externally beautiful, is so in consequence of the domination of inward beauty. But those who are said to be beautiful, and are at the same time internally deformed, have a false external beauty. And if some one should say that he has seen those who are outwardly truly beautiful, but are inwardly base, I am of opinion that he has not seen such persons, but has mistaken others for them; or if he has seen them, their inward deformity has been adventitious to them, they being naturally beautiful. For there are many impediments here which prevent our arriving at the end. But what is there to prevent the universe which is externally beautiful from being so internally? Moreover, those to whom nature has not given perfection from the beginning, are perhaps incapable of arriving at the end; so that it is possible for them to become depraved. The universe, however, was never once a child so as to be imperfect; nor does it acquire any thing new by proceeding, and which is added to its body. For whence could it acquire this ? Since it already possessed all things. Nor can any addition to the soul of it be devised. But even if some one should grant the Gnostics that there can, yet nothing evil can be added to it.

MacKenna

17. Perhaps the hate of this school for the corporeal is due to their reading of Plato   who inveighs against body as a grave hindrance to Soul and pronounces the corporeal to be characteristically the inferior.

Then let them for the moment pass over the corporeal element in the Universe and study all that still remains.

They will think of the Intellectual Sphere which includes within itself the Ideal-Form realized in the Kosmos. They will think of the Souls, in their ordered rank, that produce incorporeal magnitude and lead the Intelligible out towards spatial extension, so that finally the thing of process becomes, by its magnitude, as adequate a representation as possible of the principle void of parts which is its model - the greatness of power there being translated here into greatness of bulk. Then whether they think of the Kosmic Sphere [the All-Soul] as already in movement under the guidance of that power of God which holds it through and through, beginning and middle and end, or whether they consider it as in rest and exercising as yet no outer governance: either approach will lead to a true appreciation of the Soul that conducts this Universe.

Now let them set body within it - not in the sense that Soul suffers any change but that, since "In the Gods there can be no grudging," it gives to its inferior all that any partial thing has strength to receive and at once their conception of the Kosmos must be revised; they cannot deny that the Soul of the Kosmos has exercised such a weight of power as to have brought the corporeal-principle, in itself unlovely, to partake of good and beauty to the utmost of its receptivity - and to a pitch which stirs Souls, beings of the divine order.

These people may no doubt say that they themselves feel no such stirring, and that they see no difference between beautiful and ugly forms of body; but, at that, they can make no distinction between the ugly and the beautiful in conduct; sciences can have no beauty; there can be none in thought; and none, therefore, in God. This world descends from the Firsts: if this world has no beauty, neither has its Source; springing thence, this world, too, must have its beautiful things. And while they proclaim their contempt for earthly beauty, they would do well to ignore that of youths and women so as not to be overcome by incontinence.

In fine, we must consider that their self-satisfaction could not turn upon a contempt for anything indisputably base; theirs is the perverse pride of despising what was once admired.

We must always keep in mind that the beauty in a partial thing cannot be identical with that in a whole; nor can any several objects be as stately as the total.

And we must recognize, that, even in the world of sense and part, there are things of a loveliness comparable to that of the Celestials - forms whose beauty must fill us with veneration for their creator and convince us of their origin in the divine, forms which show how ineffable is the beauty of the Supreme since they cannot hold us but we must, though in all admiration, leave these for those. Further, wherever there is interior beauty, we may be sure that inner and outer correspond; where the interior is vile, all is brought low by that flaw in the dominants.

Nothing base within can be beautiful without - at least not with an authentic beauty, for there are examples of a good exterior not sprung from a beauty dominant within; people passing as handsome but essentially base have that, a spurious and superficial beauty: if anyone tells me he has seen people really fine-looking but interiorly vile, I can only deny it; we have here simply a false notion of personal beauty; unless, indeed, the inner vileness were an accident in a nature essentially fine; in this Sphere there are many obstacles to self-realization.

In any case the All is beautiful, and there can be no obstacle to its inner goodness: where the nature of a thing does not comport perfection from the beginning, there may be a failure in complete expression; there may even be a fall to vileness, but the All never knew a childlike immaturity; it never experienced a progress bringing novelty into it; it never had bodily growth: there was nowhere from whence it could take such increment; it was always the All-Container.

And even for its Soul no one could imagine any such a path of process: or, if this were conceded, certainly it could not be towards evil.