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Plotino - Tratado 47,7 (III, 2, 7) — Não se deve culpar nem o universo nem a providência pelo mal

Enéada III, 2, 7

sexta-feira 27 de maio de 2022, por Cardoso de Castro

Cap. 7: Não se deve culpar nem o universo nem a providência

  • Cap. 7, 1-15: A perfeição do universo não iguala aquela do Intelecto
  • Cap. 7, 15-28: As almas são responsáveis dos males que causam
  • Cap. 7, 29-43: A providência se estende por toda parte e não deve-se culpar seu produto

Míguez

7-Comprendamos en primer lugar que el bien que buscamos en este mundo se halla en un ser mezclado de mal. No le exijamos, pues, que sea tan grande como el bien que se encuentra en el ser sin mezcla, ni busquemos el bien de los seres primeros en los seres que son segundos. Dado que el universo tiene un cuerpo, admitiremos que algo de él se incorpora al universo y sólo exigiremos la razón que pueda ofrecernos la mezcla, comprobando si nada le falta. Fijémonos en el más hermoso de los hombres sensibles; no podrá juzgársele en modo alguno tan bello como el hombre inteligible, pero hemos de acoger con agrado la obra de su creador si, no obstante estar compuesto de carne, de nervios y de huesos, este ser cuenta con una razón que puede embellecer todo esto e incluso dominar la materia. Démoslo por supuesto y partamos de aquí para encontrar la solución, pues es muy posible que encontremos en esos seres de que hablamos la providencia y el poder maravilloso por los cuales subsiste nuestro universo.

Veamos en primer lugar los actos que radican en esas almas que hacen el mal, así como los males que unas almas procuran a otras y en perjuicio de sí mismas. Si no se acusa a la providencia de que ha hecho malas a estas almas, mucho menos podría exigírsele cuenta y razón de tales actos si se admite que “la responsabilidad es de quien ha elegido” [1]. Porque, corno ya se ha dicho, conviene que las almas tengan un movimiento propio y, puesto que no son sólo almas sino que se encuentran mezcladas a cuerpos, no debe sorprender que vivan la vida que les corresponde. Las almas, en realidad, no han venido a los cuerpos porque el mundo exista, sino que ya antes de existir el mundo disponían del ser de éste, le cuidaban y procuraban que existiese, tratando de dirigirle y de conformarle de la manera que sea, bien por adición o donación de algo de sí mismas, bien por descender hacia el mundo, bien por unas y otras cosas. Pero ahora no se trata en realidad de esto y, ocurra lo que ocurra, no deberemos censurar por ello a la providencia. ¿Qué decir, sin embargo, cuando se advierten los males que afectan a quienes son opuestos a ellos, esto es, cuando se ve a los buenos pobres y a los malos dueños de las riquezas y disfrutando en abundancia de todo lo que debería corresponder a sus inferiores, que son hombres, o dominándolos, ya se trate en este caso de pueblos o ciudades? ¿Es que entonces la providencia no extiende su poder hasta la tierra? Otros hechos atestiguan, en verdad, que la razón llega hasta nosotros: así, por ejemplo, los seres vivos y las plantas que participan de la razón, del alma y de la vida. Pero si la razón se extiende hasta la tierra, no por eso la domina. Y siendo como es el Universo un ser animado único, lo mismo ocurriría si dijésemos que la cabeza y la cara del hombre provienen de la naturaleza y de la razón que le dominan, en tanto atribuirnos el resto a otras causas, como el azar o la necesidad, explicando con ello, o con la misma impotencia de la naturaleza, el origen de esas partes más despreciables. Pero la santidad y la piedad nos impiden conceder que estos hechos no sean como es debido e, igualmente, que censuremos al autor de la creación.

Bouillet

VII. Remarquons d’abord que pour montrer que tout est bien dans les choses qui sont mélangées de matière [et sensibles], il ne faut pas y chercher toute la perfection du monde qui est pur de matière [et intelligible], ni désirer trouver dans ce qui tient le second rang les caractères de ce qui occupe le premier (57). Puisque le monde a un corps, nous devons accorder que ce corps a de l’influence sur l’ensemble, et ne demander à la Raison de lui donner que ce que cette nature mélangée était capable de recevoir. Par exemple, si l’on contemplait le plus bel homme qu’il y ait ici-bas, on aurait tort de croire qu’il est identique à l’homme intelligible et de ne pas se contenter de ce que, étant fait de chair, de muscles, d’os, il a reçu de son auteur toute la perfection que celui-ci pouvait ;lui communiquer pour embellir ces os, ces muscles, cette chair, et faire dominer en lui la raison [séminale] sur la matière.

Prenons donc ces propositions comme accordées, et partons de là pour expliquer les difficultés dont nous cherchons la solution. Car nous trouverons dans le monde des traces admirables de la Providence et de la puissance divine dont il procède.

Considérons d’abord les actions des âmes qui font librement le mal, les actions des méchants qui, par exemple, nuisent à des hommes vertueux ou à d’autres hommes également méchants. Ce n’est pas à la Providence qu’il faut demander raison de la méchanceté de ces âmes et en faire remonter la responsabilité ; il faut n’en chercher la cause que dans les déterminations volontaires des âmes (58). Car nous avons prouvé que les âmes ont des mouvements qui leur sont propres, qu’en outre ici-bas elles ne sont pas des âmes pures, mais des animaux [des âmes unies à des corps] (59). Or, il n’est pas étonnant que, se trouvant dans une telle condition, elles aient une vie conforme à cette condition (60). En effet, ce n’est pas la formation du monde qui les a fait descendre ici-bas ; avant même que le monde existât, elles étaient déjà disposées à en faire partie, à s’en occuper, à y répandre la vie, à l’administrer et à y exercer leur puissance d’une manière quelconque, soit en présidant au monde et en lui communiquant quelque chose de leur puissance, soit en y descendant, soit en agissant à l’égard du monde les unes d’une façon, et les autres de l’autre (61) (car cette question n’appartient pas au sujet qui nous occupe maintenant ; il nous suffit de montrer que, de quelque manière que la chose ait lieu, il ne faut pas accuser la Providence).

Mais comment expliquer la différence que l’on remarque entre le sort des bons et celui des méchants? Comment se fait-il que les premiers soient pauvres, que les autres soient riches et possèdent plus qu’il ne faut pour satisfaire leurs besoins, qu’ils soient puissants, qu’ils gouvernent les cités et les nations (62). Serait-ce que la Providence n’étendrait pas son action jusqu’à la terre (63)? Non, et ce qui le prouve, c’est que tout le reste est conforme à la Raison [universelle] : car les animaux et les plantes participent de la raison, de la vie et de l’âme. - Mais, si la Providence étend son action jusqu’à la terre , elle n’y domine pas. Comme le monde n’est qu’un seul animal, avancer une pareille objection, c’est ressembler à celui qui prétendrait que la tête et le visage de l’homme sont produits par la nature, et que la raison y domine; mais que les autres membres sont formés par d’autres causes, telles que le hasard ou la nécessité, et qu’ils sont mauvais soit par ce fait, soit par l’impuissance de la nature. Mais, la sagesse et la piété ne permettent pas de prétendre que tout n’est pas bien ici-bas et de blâmer l’oeuvre de la Providence.

Guthrie

PERFECTION MUST NOT BE SOUGHT IN THINGS MINGLED WITH MATTER.

7. To begin with, we must remark that to show that all is good in the things mingled with matter (and therefore of sense), we must not expect to find in them the whole perfection of the World which is not soiled by matter, and is intelligible; nor should we expect to find in that which holds the second rank characteristics of that which is of the first. Since the world has a body, we must grant that this body will have influence on the totality, and expect no more than that Reason will give it that which this mixed nature was capable of receiving. For instance, if we were to contemplate the most beautiful man here below, we would be wrong in believing that he was identical with the intelligible Man, and inasmuch as he was made of flesh, muscles and bones, we would have to be satisfied with his having received from his creator all the perfection that could be communicated to him to embellish these bones, muscles and flesh, and to make the (”seminal) reason” in him predominate over the matter within him.

EVIL IS ONLY A LOWER FORM OF GOOD.

Granting these premises, we may start out on an explanation of the above mentioned difficulties. For in the world we will find remarkable traces of the Providence and divine Power from which it proceeds. Let us take first, the actions of souls who do evil voluntarily; the actions of the wicked who, for instance, harm virtuous men, or other men equally evil. Providence need not be held responsible for the wickedness of these souls. The cause should be sought in the voluntary determinations of those souls themselves. For we have proved that the souls have characteristic motions, and that while here below they are not pure, but rather are animals (as would naturally be the case with souls united to bodies). Now, it is not surprising that, finding themselves in such a condition, they would live conformably to that condition. Indeed, it is not the formation of the world that made them descend here below. Even before the world existed, they were already disposed to form part of it, to busy themselves with it, to infuse it with life, to administer it, and in it to exert their power in a characteristic manner, either by presiding over its (issues), and by communicating to it something of their power, or by descending into it, or by acting in respect to the world each in its individual manner. The latter question, however, does not refer to the subject we are now considering; here it will be sufficient to show that, however these circumstances occur, Providence is not to be blamed.

IT IS A MATTER OF FAITH THAT PROVIDENCE EMBRACES EVERYTHING HERE BELOW, EVEN THE MISFORTUNES OF THE JUST.

But how shall we explain the difference that is observed between the lot of the good and the evil? How can it occur that the former are poor, while others are rich, and possess more than necessary to satisfy their needs, being even powerful, and governing cities and nations? (The Gnostics and Manicheans) think that the sphere of activity of Providence does not extend down to the earth. No! For all of the rest (of this world) conforms to (universal) Reason, inasmuch as animals and plants participate in Reason, Life and Soul. (The Gnostic) will answer that if Providence do extend to this earth, it does not predominate therein. As the world is but a single organism, to advance such an objection is the part of somebody who would assert that the head and face of man were produced by Nature, and that reason dominated therein, while the other members were formed by other causes, such as chance or necessity, and that they were evil either on this account, or because of the importance of Nature. Wisdom and piety, however, would forbid the admission that here below not everything was well, blaming the operation of Providence.

MacKenna

7. A preliminary observation: in looking for excellence in this thing of mixture, the Kosmos, we cannot require all that is implied in the excellence of the unmingled; it is folly to ask for Firsts in the Secondary, and since this Universe contains body, we must allow for some bodily influence upon the total and be thankful if the mingled existent lack nothing of what its nature allowed it to receive from the Divine Reason.

Thus, supposing we were enquiring for the finest type of the human being as known here, we would certainly not demand that he prove identical with Man as in the Divine Intellect; we would think it enough in the Creator to have so brought this thing of flesh and nerve and bone under Reason as to give grace to these corporeal elements and to have made it possible for Reason to have contact with Matter.

Our progress towards the object of our investigation must begin from this principle of gradation which will open to us the wonder of the Providence and of the power by which our universe holds its being.

We begin with evil acts entirely dependent upon the Souls which perpetrate them - the harm, for example, which perverted Souls do to the good and to each other. Unless the foreplanning power alone is to be charged with the vice in such Souls, we have no ground of accusation, no claim to redress: the blame lies on the Soul exercising its choice. Even a Soul, we have seen, must have its individual movement; it is not abstract Spirit; the first step towards animal life has been taken and the conduct will naturally be in keeping with that character.

It is not because the world existed that Souls are here: before the world was, they had it in them to be of the world, to concern themselves with it, to presuppose it, to administer it: it was in their nature to produce it - by whatever method, whether by giving forth some emanation while they themselves remained above, or by an actual descent, or in both ways together, some presiding from above, others descending; some for we are not at the moment concerned about the mode of creation but are simply urging that, however the world was produced, no blame falls on Providence for what exists within it.

There remains the other phase of the question - the distribution of evil to the opposite classes of men: the good go bare while the wicked are rich: all that human need demands, the least deserving have in abundance; it is they that rule; peoples and states are at their disposal. Would not all this imply that the divine power does not reach to earth?

That it does is sufficiently established by the fact that Reason rules in the lower things: animals and plants have their share in Reason, Soul and Life.

Perhaps, then, it reaches to earth but is not master over all?

We answer that the universe is one living organism: as well maintain that while human head and face are the work of nature and of the ruling reason-principle, the rest of the frame is due to other agencies - accident or sheer necessity - and owes its inferiority to this origin, or to the incompetence of unaided Nature. And even granting that those less noble members are not in themselves admirable it would still be neither pious nor even reverent to censure the entire structure.


[1En efecto, como se dice en el mito de Er el Armenio, en el libro X de La República platónica, 617 e, “la virtud no tiene dueño; cada alma la poseerá, en mayor o menor grado, según la honra o el menosprecio que le prodigue. La responsabilidad será toda de quien elija, porque la divinidad es inocente”.