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Plotino - Tratado 47,3 (III, 2, 3) — O universo é belo e autárcico

Enéada III, 2, 3

quarta-feira 25 de maio de 2022, por Cardoso de Castro

Míguez

3- No procedería muy justamente quien abominase de este mundo como si se tratase de algo que no es bello ni perfecto, entre los seres corpóreos. Ni estaría bien acusar a quien le dio el ser, porque su existencia es, ante todo, producto de la necesidad y no de una acción reflexiva. El ser superior engendra naturalmente todo otro ser semejante a él. Y, por otra parte, incluso tratándose de una acción reflexiva, el autor de tal obra en nada tendría que avergonzarse de ella, porque es indudable que ésta forma un todo muy hermoso, de por sí suficiente y unido a sí mismo y a todas sus partes, que, ya sean superiores o inferiores, se muestran siempre proporcionadas.

Resulta ilógico inculpar aquí a las partes, porque las partes deben ser consideradas en relación con el todo, para comprobar si son armónicas y ajustadas a él. Convendrá examinar el todo, pero sin tener en cuenta para nada cosas realmente pequeñas [1]. Porque no es al mundo a quien se censura cuando se toma por separado alguna parte de él; lo mismo ocurriría si tomásemos del ser animado entero un simple cabello, un dedo o una de las partes más viles, y despreciásemos en cambio esa hermosa visión de conjunto que ofrece el hombre; o, por Zeus, si diésemos de lado a todos los animales y nos fijásemos tan sólo en el mas ruin; o, si se quiere, pasásemos en silencio por la totalidad del linaje humano para no ver más que a Tersites. El mundo en su conjunto es lo que nosotros debemos considerar, y si realmente lo contemplamos con atención, tal vez le escuchemos palabras como éstas: “Fue Dios quien me hizo y, por venir de Él, soy perfecto, encierro todos los animales y me basto a mí mismo. De nadie tengo necesidad, porque contengo todos los seres, plantas, animales y todo lo que puede nacer [2]. Hay, pues, en mí muchos dioses, pueblos demoníacos, almas buenas y hombres felices por su virtud. Pero la tierra no se ha embellecido con plantas y animales de todas clases, ni la potencia del alma ha llegado hasta el mar para que el aire todo, el éter y el cielo queden privados en absoluto de la vida, sino que en ese otro mundo se encuentran todas las almas buenas, las que dan la vida a los astros y a la esfera eterna del cielo que, a imitación de la inteligencia, se mueve con un movimiento circular, perfectamente ordenado y siempre alrededor de un mismo centro, sin buscar nada hacia fuera. Todos los seres que se dan en mí aspiran al bien y cada uno de ellos lo alcanza a medida de su poder. Todo el cielo depende de Él, y no sólo el cielo sino toda mi alma, los dioses que existen en mis partes, todos los animales, las plantas y cualquier ser en apariencia inanimado que yo contenga. Estos seres participan únicamente de la existencia, pero las plantas poseen la vida, y los animales, además, la facultad de percibir; algunos, incluso, cuentan con la razón, y otros tienen la vida universal. No exijamos cosas iguales de seres que son realmente desiguales: esto es, no pidamos al dedo que vea, sino precisamente al ojo; al dedo, en mi opinión, hemos de pedirle que sea un dedo y que cumpla lo que es propio de sí mismo.

Bouillet

III. On n’a point le droit de blâmer ce monde, de dire qu’il n’est pas beau, qu’il n’est pas le meilleur possible des mondes corporels, ni d’accuser la cause dont il tient l’existence (23). D’abord, ce monde existe nécessairement : il n’est pas l’oeuvre d’une détermination réfléchie ; il existe parce qu’une essence supérieure l’engendre naturellement semblable à elle-même. Ensuite, lors même que sa création serait le résultat d’une détermination réfléchie, elle ne saurait faire honte à son auteur : car Dieu a fait l’univers beau, complet, harmonieux ; il y a mis un heureux accord entre les grandes parties comme entre les petites. Celui qui blâme l’ensemble du monde en ne considérant que ses parties est donc injuste ; il devrait examiner les parties dans leur rapport avec l’ensemble, voir si elles sont en accord et en harmonie avec lui ; enfin, en étudiant l’ensemble, il devrait ne pas s’arrêter aux moindres détails (24). Sinon, au lieu d’accuser le monde, il ne fait que critiquer quelques-unes de ses parties. Il ressemble à celui qui, au lieu de considérer l’admirable spectacle que présente l’homme pris dans son ensemble, ne regarderait qu’un cheveu ou qu’un doigt du pied, qui dans tous les animaux n’examinerait que le plus vil, et jugerait du genre humain par Thersite.

Puisque l’oeuvre que nous considérons est le monde tout entier, si nous lui prêtions l’oreille attentive de l’intelligence, nous l’entendrions sans doute s’écrier :

« C’est un Dieu qui m’a fait, et de ses mains je suis sorti accompli, renfermant dans mon sein tous les êtres animés, complet et me suffisant à moi-même, n’ayant besoin de rien, puisque tout est réuni en moi, les plantes, les animaux, la nature entière des êtres engendrés, la multitude des dieux et la troupe des démons, les âmes excellentes, et les hommes heureux par la vertu (25). Ce n’est a point seulement la terre qui est riche de plantes et d’animaux de toute espèce ; la puissance de l’Âme s’est étendue jusqu’à la mer. L’air et le ciel tout entier ne sont pas non plus inanimés : là aussi habitent toutes les âmes excellentes, qui communiquent la vie aux astres et qui président à la révolution circulaire du ciel, révolution éternelle et pleine d’harmonie, qui imite le mouvement de l’Intelligence par le mouvement éternel et régulier des astres autour d’un même centre (26),parce que le ciel n’a rien à chercher hors de lui-même. Tous les êtres que je renferme aspirent au Bien ; tous l’atteignent, chacun selon sa puissance (27). En effet, au Bien est suspendu le ciel tout entier (28), mon âme tout entière, les dieux qui habitent mes diverses parties, tous les animaux, toutes les plantes, et tout ce que je contiens d’êtres qui paraissent inanimés. Dans cet ensemble d’êtres, les uns semblent participer à l’existence seulement, les autres à la vie, les autres à la sensibilité, les autres à l’intelligence, les autres à toutes les puissances de la vie à la fois (29): car il ne faut pas demander des facultés égales pour des choses inégales, par exemple, la vue pour le doigt, puisqu’elle est propre à l’oeil ; quant au doigt, il lui faut tout autre chose, il faut qu’il ait la forme qui lui est propre et qu’il remplisse sa fonction. »

Guthrie

THE WORLD SHOULD NOT BE BLAMED FOR ITS IMPERFECTIONS.

3. For not being beautiful this world should not be blamed; neither for not being the best of corporeal worlds; nor should the Cause, from which it derives its existence, be accused. To begin with, this world exists necessarily. It is not the work of a reflecting determination. It exists because a superior Being naturally begets it in His own likeness. Even if its creation were the result of reflective determination, it could not shame its author; for the divinity made the universe beautiful, complete and harmonious. Between the greater and lesser parts He introduced a fortunate accord. A person who would blame the totality of the world from consideration of its parts is therefore unjust. He should examine the parts in their relation to the totality, and see whether they be in accord and in harmony with it. Then the study of the whole should continue down to that of the least details. Otherwise criticism does not apply to the world as a whole, but only to some of its parts. For instance, we well know how admirable, as a whole, is man; yet we grant that there would be justification for criticism of a separate hair, or toe, or some of the vilest animals, or Thersites, as a specimen of humanity.

THE WORLD’S TESTIMONY TO ITS CREATOR.

Since the work under consideration is the entire world, we would, were our intelligence attentively to listen to its voice, hear it exclaim as follows: “It is a divinity who has made Me, and from the divinity’s hands I issued complete, including all animated beings, entire and self-sufficient, standing in need of nothing, since everything is contained within Me; plants, animals, the whole of Nature, the multitude of the divinities, the troupe of guardians, excellent souls, and the men who are happy because of virtue. This refers not only to the earth, which is rich in plants and animals of all kinds; the power of the Soul extends also to the sea. Nor are the air and entire heaven inanimate. They are the seat of all the excellent Souls, which communicate life to the stars, and which preside over the circular revolution of the heaven, a revolution that is eternal and full of harmony, which imitates the movement of Intelligence by the eternal and regular movement of the stars around one and the same centre, because heaven has no need to seek anything outside of itself. All the beings I contain aspire to the Good; all achieve Him, each according to its potentiality. Indeed, from the Good depends the entire heaven, my whole Soul, the divinities that inhabit my various parts, all the animals, all the plants, and all my apparently inanimate beings. In this aggregation of beings some seem to participate only in existence, others in life, others in sensation, others in intelligence, while still others seem to participate in all the powers of life at one time; for we must not expect equal faculties for unequal things, as for instance sight for the fingers, as it is suitable to the eye; while the finger needs something else; it needs its own form, and has to fulfil its function.”

MacKenna

3. Nor would it be sound to condemn this Kosmos as less than beautiful, as less than the noblest possible in the corporeal; and neither can any charge be laid against its source.

The world, we must reflect, is a product of Necessity, not of deliberate purpose: it is due to a higher Kind engendering in its own likeness by a natural process. And none the less, a second consideration, if a considered plan brought it into being it would still be no disgrace to its maker - for it stands a stately whole, complete within itself, serving at once its own purpose and that of all its parts which, leading and lesser alike, are of such a nature as to further the interests of the total. It is, therefore, impossible to condemn the whole on the merits of the parts which, besides, must be judged only as they enter harmoniously or not into the whole, the main consideration, quite overpassing the members which thus cease to have importance. To linger about the parts is to condemn not the Kosmos but some isolated appendage of it; in the entire living Being we fasten our eyes on a hair or a toe neglecting the marvellous spectacle of the complete Man; we ignore all the tribes and kinds of animals except for the meanest; we pass over an entire race, humanity, and bring forward - Thersites.

No: this thing that has come into Being is the Kosmos complete: do but survey it, and surely this is the pleading you will hear:

I am made by a God: from that God I came perfect above all forms of life, adequate to my function, self-sufficing, lacking nothing: for I am the container of all, that is, of every plant and every animal, of all the Kinds of created things, and many Gods and nations of Spirit-Beings and lofty souls and men happy in their goodness.

And do not think that, while earth is ornate with all its growths and with living things of every race, and while the very sea has answered to the power of Soul, do not think that the great air and the ether and the far-spread heavens remain void of it: there it is that all good Souls dwell, infusing life into the stars and into that orderly eternal circuit of the heavens which in its conscious movement ever about the one Centre, seeking nothing beyond, is a faithful copy of the divine Mind. And all that is within me strives towards the Good; and each, to the measure of its faculty, attains. For from that Good all the heavens depend, with all my own Soul and the Gods that dwell in my every part, and all that lives and grows, and even all in me that you may judge inanimate.

But there are degrees of participation: here no more than Existence, elsewhere Life; and, in Life, sometimes mainly that of Sensation, higher again that of Reason, finally Life in all its fullness. We have no right to demand equal powers in the unequal: the finger is not to be asked to see; there is the eye for that; a finger has its own business - to be finger and have finger power.


[1Cf. Platón, Leyes. 903 c.

[2Cf. Platón, Timeo, 30 d.