Página inicial > Antiguidade > Neoplatonismo (245-529 dC) > Plotino (204-270 dC) – Tratados Enéadas > Plotino - Tratado 26,6 (III, 6, 6) — Refutação da tese estoica segundo a qual (...)

ENÉADAS

Plotino - Tratado 26,6 (III, 6, 6) — Refutação da tese estoica segundo a qual o ser é corporal

Enéada III, 6, 6

sexta-feira 28 de janeiro de 2022, por Cardoso de Castro

    
  • 1-7: Anúncio dos capítulos que seguem: e qual sentido a matéria é impensável?
  • 7-11: É preciso refutar o sentido comum (e os estoicos  ) que se enganam sobre a natureza do ser
  • 11-14: O ser   real é a totalidade   a qual nada falta; ele é a causa   do que aparece.
  • 14-23: O ser vive e pensa; toda adição seria para ele a adjunção de um não-ser
  • 23-32: A vida e o intelecto   não podem destacar-se do que é inferior   ao ser. O ser não é portanto um corpo
  • 33-41: Objeção de um auditor «materialista»: como pensar que a terra   e as montanhas não são? Como a alma   e o intelecto que não têm a propriedade de «resistência» são?
  • 41-65: Resposta   de Plotino  
  • 41-49: O que é pesado não pode se destacar; a queda   dos corpos é sinal de fraqueza  
  • 49-53: O movimento   é uma certa forma de vida
  • 53-61: A possibilidade de ser afetado   depende do grau de corporeidade: a terra é mais «passiva» que os outros elementos   posto que ela não pode se reunir   uma vez cortada
  • 61-64: Queda, pesa, choques destacam-se de uma lógica   de fraqueza e em última análise do não-ser
  • 65-67: Conclusão e parêntese: o verdadeiro despertar  , é de deixar o corpo. Os «materialistas» são como sonhadores presos em seus sonhos. A realidade do corpo não é senão fluxo e corrupção
    

Baracat

6. Foi dito que se deve considerar a essência   inteligível, a que pertence toda ela à ordem   da forma, como impassível. Mas, uma vez que também a matéria é uma das coisas incorpóreas, ainda que o seja de outro modo, deve-se investigar também a seu respeito, de que modo ela é, caso seja passível, como se diz, modificável de acordo com todas as coisas, ou se também ela deve ser concebida como impassível e qual é o modo de sua impassibilidade.

Primeiro, porém, é preciso que nós, que abordamos esse tema e falamos acerca da natureza da matéria, entendamos que a natureza do ente   e a essência e o ser não são tal como pensa a maioria. Com efeito, o ente, o que verdadeiramente se pode chamar ente, é ente realmente; e isso é o que é completamente ente; isto é, aquilo em que nada se afasta do ser. Uma vez que o ente é perfeitamente, não precisa de nada para conservar-se e para ser, mas ele é a causa   de que as demais coisas, as que parecem ser, pareçam ser. Com efeito, se tais coisas são ditas corretamente, é necessário que o ente seja em vida e em vida perfeita  ; caso contrário, se fosse carente, não seria mais ente do que não-ente. Isso é o intelecto   e a total sabedoria  . Logo, ao mesmo tempo em que está determinado e delimitado, não há nada que o ente não seja por sua potência, nem por uma potência desse tipo; porque seria deficiente. E por isso lhe corresponde a eternidade  , a invariabilidade e a irreceptividade em relação a tudo, e nada se insere nele; pois, se admitisse algo, admitiria algo distinto de si: e isso é não-ente. É preciso que ele seja ente plenamente; deve, portanto, alcançar o ser tendo por si mesmo   todas as coisas; e deve ser todas as coisas juntas51 e todas devem ser uma só.

Se, pois, definimos o ente com esses termos - e o devemos, ou o intelecto e a vida não proviriam dele, mas seriam adventícios ao ente e proviriam do não-ente, e o ente seria sem-vida e sem-intelecto, ao passo que o que não é verdadeiramente ente possuiria essas as coisas, como se elas devessem existir nos inferiores e nos posteriores ao ente: porque o anterior   ao ente é aquele que provê essas coisas ao ente, sem que ele mesmo necessite delas -; se, então, o ente é tal, é necessário que ele mesmo não seja um corpo nem o substrato   dos corpos, mas que o ser dessas coisas seja o ser dos não-entes.

E como pode a natureza dos corpos ser não existente? Como pode ser não existente a matéria sobre a qual se sustentam os corpos, as montanhas, as rochas e a terra   toda, que é sólida? ? também todas aquelas coisas que são resistentes e que com seus golpes forçam as coisas golpeadas a reconhecer   sua realidade? Se, então, alguém dissesse: «como podem ser entes e entes reais as coisas que nem pressionam, nem forçam, nem são resistentes, são nem em absoluto visíveis, como a alma   e o intelecto? E, com efeito, no caso dos corpos, como pode ser mais ente que a terra, que é estável, aquele corpo que se move mais e pesa menos do que ela? Como o pode ser aquele que está acima desse? E como o pode ser o próprio fogo  , que já a ponto de escapar   da natureza corpórea?»

Creio, contudo, que as coisas que mais se bastam a si mesmas molestam menos as outras e são menos penosas para as outras, enquanto que as que são mais pesadas e térreas, porquanto são deficientes, caem e são incapazes de levantar a si mesmas, estas, ao despencarem por sua debilidade, ocasionam golpes com sua queda e sua inércia. Efetivamente, os corpos mortos são também mais desagradáveis ao chocarem-se e ocasionam choques violentos e que machucam, ao passo que os animados, como participam do ser, quanto mais participam do ser, tanto mais agradáveis são a seus vizinhos. Víamos que o movimento   é como uma vida existente nos corpos e, como guarda semelhança   com esta, por isso é mais pujante nos seres que têm menos corpo por razão de que a deficiência   em ser faz a coisa deficitária ser mais corpo. Acrescente-se que, das chamadas afecções, percebemos mais claramente que o que é mais corpo é mais passível, a terra mais que os demais elementos   e os demais elementos na mesma proporção. Porque os demais elementos, se se dividem, se juntam e se unificam de novo quando não medeia nenhum obstáculo  , ao passo que, se se parte qualquer massa   de terra, os dois   pedaços ficam separados para sempre, como acontece com as coisas que são débeis por natureza, as quais, com um ligeiro golpe, tal como foram golpeadas, assim ficam e assim perecem. E o que chegou ao máximo grau de corpo, como chegou ao máximo grau de não-ente, não tem forças para reunificar-se. São, pois, outros os corpos que se causam ruína uns aos outros se os golpes são pesados e violentos. Por outro lado, se um corpo débil se choca com outro corpo débil, é forte   contra ele e é um não-ente chocando-se com um não-ente. Eis, pois, nossa resposta   aos que identificam os entes com os corpos e garantem sua verdade pelo testemunho dos impactos e pelas aparições que se apresentam através da sensação  : comportam-se como aqueles que sonham, que creem que são ativas as coisas que veem como reais, quando não são mais que sonhos. Pois a sensibilidade é própria de uma alma dormente, já que tudo quanto da alma está no corpo está dormindo. Mas o despertar   verdadeiro consiste na ressurreição   verdadeira: à parte do corpo, não com o corpo. Porque a ressurreição com o corpo é um passar de um sonho a outro, como quem passa de um leito a outro, mas a verdadeira consiste em afastar-se totalmente dos corpos, os quais, como fazem parte da natureza contrária à alma, possuem o contrário a ela no que tange a essência. E isso é atestado também pela geração dos corpos, assim como por sua fluência e por sua corrupção, que são impróprias à natureza do ente.

Míguez

6. Hemos de afirmar, pues, que el alma es impasible por su condición de sustancia inteligible, toda ella ordenada a la forma. Pero la materia es también algo incorpóreo  , aunque en otro sentido. Habrá que considerar, por tanto, en qué sentido hemos de tomarla y si, como se dice, puede sufrir todos los cambios, o, por el contrario, ha de considerársela impasible, en cuyo caso convendría fijar cuál es su privativa impasibilidad. Para disponernos a tratar esta cuestión y determinar a la vez la naturaleza de la materia, hemos de comprender en primer lugar que la naturaleza de lo que es y, asimismo, la esencia y el ser, no son tal cual los cree la mayoría [1]. El ser que se llama verdaderamente ser es el ser real, esto es, el ser que lo es totalmente y al que nada falta para ser. Este ser, que lo es en totalidad, de nada tiene necesidad para conservarse y para ser; e inclusive resulta causa de su ser aparente de todas esas cosas que parecen ser. Sí hablamos, pues, con razón, se sigue de aquí necesariamente que el ser disfruta de la vida y de una vida que es, en verdad, perfecta; además, de faltarle algo, no le calificaríamos mejor de ser que de no-ser. Añadamos que se trata de la inteligencia y sabiduría universal  . Es un ser perfectamente definido y limitado, en el que nada hay que no exista por su potencia; pero su potencia no tiene carácter particular, porque entonces carecería de algo. Es también, por ello, un ser que existe siempre y en completa identidad, incapaz de recibir nada y de dejar entrar nada dentro de sí; porque, si algo recibiese, sería algo que no fuese de él, esto es, algo calificado como no-ser. Conviene, por tanto, que el ser lo sea totalmente y que, a la vez, saque todo de sí mismo para llegar a ser. Es a un tiempo todo y todo que constituye un solo ser. Si, pues, definimos el ser por estos caracteres — y hemos de hacerlo así, porque, en otro caso, la inteligencia y la vida no provendrían del ser, sino que se añadirían a él como provenientes del no-ser; el ser, naturalmente, no poseería entonces ni vida ni inteligencia, y el no-ser, en cambio, las tendría verdaderamente, como si la vida y la inteligencia hubiesen de estar en los grados inferiores y posteriores de la realidad, cuando, ciertamente, el uno, que precede al ser, es el dador de estas cosas, aunque no tenga necesidad de ellas-, si tal es el ser, decimos, no deberá ser un cuerpo, ni tampoco el sustrato de los cuerpos, porque ser, para dios, es ser el no-ser.

¿Y cómo no ha de ser la naturaleza de los cuerpos y asimismo su materia? Las montañas y las rocas, la tierra entera, con todos los objetos sólidos y resistentes que atesora, y que se rechazan con fuerza en sus choques, dan fe de su existencia. Podríamos decir también: ¿cómo tienen la categoría de seres, y de seres reales, objetos que no nos presionan, ni nos ofrecen resistencia, por su falta de solidez, objetos que son totalmente invisibles, como el alma y la inteligencia?

Circunscribiéndonos a los cuerpos, menos (ser) se da en la tierra, que es inmóvil, que en un cuerpo más móvil y menos pesado, situado en lo alto; así, el fuego escapa ya a la naturaleza corpórea. A mi entender, cuanto más independientes son los cuerpos menos molestan y conturban a los demás; en tanto, los cuerpos más pesados y más terrestres, esto es, todos esos cuerpos defectuosos, que caen y no pueden levantarse, sucumben por su debilidad y chocan a su vez con los otros por la misma indolencia de su caída. Pues son los cuerpos inánimes los más difíciles de rehuir y los que chocan con más violencia y daño; en cambio, los cuerpos animados, que participan en el ser, en la medida en que puede hacerlo un cuerpo, resultan de una presencia más grata. Digamos que el movimiento, que es como la vida en los cuerpos a la que ciertamente imita, se encuentra especialmente en los que tienen menos caracteres corpóreos, como si el ser, al abandonar los cuerpos, se hiciese por esto mismo más cuerpo. Por los llamados estados pasivos de los cuerpos se deduce que un cuerpo es tanto más cuerpo cuanto más pasivo es, que la tierra lo es más que las otras cosas, y las otras cosas a su vez según la misma razón. Porque los otros cuerpos, si se les divide, vuelven a reunirse, siempre que nada se oponga a ello; ahora bien, si se corta una partícula terrestre, cada una de las partes resultantes permanece para siempre separada. Pues así como los seres envejecidos por la naturaleza son de tal calidad que el menor choque les vence y les destruye, así también el cuerpo por excelencia, que es el que más se aproxima al no-ser, demuestra encontrarse más débil para volver de nuevo a la unidad. Con la caída los cuerpos sufren choques pesados y violentos, lanzándose los unos contra los otros; un ser débil que cae sobre otro ser, también débil, resulta fuerte con relación a él, esto es, al modo como un no-ser que cae sobre otro no-ser.

Todo esto ha sido dicho contra los que ponen los seres en los cuerpos, apelando como prueba de su verdad al testimonio de los choques de los cuerpos y a los fantasmas., de la sensación. Obran, poco más o menos, cual esos soñadores que tienen como verdaderas todas las cosas que ven en sueños. Porque la sensación es algo propio del alma en sueños, y toda la parte del alma que se encuentra en el cuerpo se halla realmente en ese estado  . La verdadera vigilia consiste en levantarse sin el cuerpo y no con él. Porque levantarse con el cuerpo es ir de un sueño a otro, limitandose a cambiar de lecho; levantarse verdaderamente es prescindir en absoluto de los cuerpos, los cuales, por ser precisamente de naturaleza contraria al alma, son también lo opuesto a ella en lo que concierne a la esencia. Eso atestigua su generación, su flujo y su destrucción, cosas que no se asignan a la naturaleza del ser [2].

Bouillet

VI. Nous avons suffisamment démontré l’impassibilité de l’Essence intelligible, qui est tout entière comprise dans le genre de la Forme. Mais, comme la Mati  ère est aussi une chose incorporelle, quoiqu’elle le soit d’une autre façon, nous devons également examiner quelle nature elle a, chercher si elle peut pâtir et subir   toute espèce de modification, comme on le pense communément, ou bien si elle est au contraire impassible, et, dans ce cas, en quoi consiste son impassibilité.

Puisque nous sommes ainsi conduits à traiter de la nature de la matière, nous devons d’abord établir que la nature, l’essence, et l’existence de l’Être ne sont pas ce que croit le vulgaire. En effet, l’Être est; il est, dans l’acception véritable de ce mot, c’est-à-dire il est essentielle- 139 ment; il est d’une manière absolue, c’est-à-dire il ne lui manque rien de l’être ; étant pleinement l’être, il n’a besoin d’aucune autre chose pour être et se conserver ; bien plus, si d’autres choses paraissent être, c’est à lui qu’elles le doivent. Si ce que nous avançons est vrai, l’Être doit posséder la vie, la vie parfaite (sans cela, il ne serait pas plus l’être que le non-être) ; or la vie parfaite, c’est l’intelligence, c’est la sagesse parfaite. L’Être est donc déterminé et défini. Il n’est en puissance aucune chose qui ne se trouve déjà en lui ; sans cela il ne se suffirait pas pleinement à lui-même. Il est donc éternel, immuable, incapable de rien recevoir, de rien s’adjoindre : car ce qu’il recevrait devrait lui, être étranger, être par conséquent le non-être. L’Être doit donc posséder en lui-même toutes choses pour exister par lui-même, être toutes choses à la fois, être un et tout en même temps, puisque c’est en cela que nous faisons consister l’Être ; sinon, l’intelligence et la vie, au lieu d’émaner de l’Être, seraient des choses adventices pour lui (42). Elles ne sauraient cependant provenir du non-être, et l’Être, de son côté, ne saurait être privé de l’intelligence et de la vie. Le véritable non-être n’aura donc l’intelligence et la vie que de la manière dont elles doivent se trouver dans les objets inférieurs et postérieurs à l’Être. Quant au principe supérieur à l’Être [l’Un], il donne à l’Être l’intelli- 140 gence et la vie sans avoir lui-même besoin de les posséder (43).

Si telle est la nature de l’Être, il ne saurait être ni les corps, ni la substance des corps ; l’être des corps est le non-être. — Mais (dira-t-on), comment ne pas donner le nom d’être à la substance des corps, à la matière qui compose ces montagnes, ces rochers, toute la terre solide, en un mot, tous les objets impénétrables? Quand on est frappé, n’est-on pas obligé par le choc que l’on reçoit de reconnaître que ces objets existent ? Comment des objets qui ne sont pas impénétrables, qui ne peuvent ni en choquer d’autres ni en être choqués, qui sont complètement invisibles, comme l’âme et l’intelligence, sont-ils des êtres, des êtres véritables (44). — Voici notre réponse : La terre, qui possède la nature corporelle au plus haut degré, est inerte ; l’élément qui est moins grossier [l’air] est déjà plus mobile et occupe une région élevée ; le feu s’éloigne encore plus de la nature corporelle. Les choses qui se suffisent le mieux à elles-mêmes agitent et troublent moins les autres ; celles qui sont plus pesantes et plus terrestres, par cela même qu’elles sont incomplètes, sujettes à des chutes, incapables de s’élever, tombent par faiblesse, et choquent les autres en vertu de leur inertie et de leur pesanteur : c’est ainsi que les corps inanimés tombent plus lourdement, choquent et blessent avec plus de force ; au contraire, les corps animés, par cela même qu’ils participent plus à l’être, frappent avec moins de 141 raideur. C’est pourquoi le mouvement, qui est une espèce de vie, ou du moins une image de la vie, se trouve à un degré plus élevé dans les choses qui sont moins corporelles (45).

Il semble donc que ce soit l’éclipse de l’être (ἀπολείψις τοῦ ὄντος) qui rende un objet plus corporel (46). Si l’on examine les faits qu’on nomme passions, on voit que plus un objet est corporel, plus il est sujet à pâtir : la terre l’est plus que les autres éléments, et ainsi de suite. En effet, quand les autres éléments sont divisés, ils réunissent aussitôt leurs parties, si rien ne s’y oppose; mais, quand on sépare des parties de terre, elles ne se rapprochent pas les unes des autres ; elles semblent ainsi n’avoir aucune force naturelle, puisque, après un léger coup, elles restent dans l’état où elles ont été mises quand elles ont été frappées et brisées. Donc, plus une chose est corporelle, plus elle se rapproche du non-être, puisqu’elle ne peut revenir à l’unité. Les 142 chocs lourds et violents par lesquels des corps agissent les uns sur les autres sont suivis de destruction. Quand une chose même faible vient tomber sur une chose faible, elle est relativement puissante ; c’est le non-être qui rencontre le non-être.

Voilà les objections que nous avions à faire à ceux qui regardent tous les êtres comme corporels, qui ne veulent juger de leur existence que par les impressions qu’ils en reçoivent, et qui essaient de fonder la certitude de la vérité sur les images de la sensation. Ils ressemblent à des hommes endormis qui prennent pour des réalités les visions qu’ils ont dans leurs rêves. La sensation est le rêve de l’âme (47) : tant que l’âme est dans le corps, elle rêve ; le véritable réveil de l’âme consiste à se séparer véritablement du corps, et non à se lever avec lui. Se lever avec le corps, c’est passer du sommeil à une autre espèce de sommeil, d’un lit à un autre ; s’éveiller véritablement, c’est se séparer complètement des corps. Ceux-ci, ayant une nature contraire à celle de l’âme, ont par suite une nature contraire à celle de l’essence. On en a pour preuves leur génération, leur flux, leur destruction, toutes choses contraires à la nature de l’être.

Guthrie

INTRODUCTION TO THE ESCOREAL NUMENIAN FRAGMENT.

6. We have sufficiently demonstrated the impassibility of intelligible «being» which is entirely comprised within the genus of form. But as matter also, though in another manner, is an incorporeal entity, we must examine its nature also. We must see whether it may be affected, and undergo every kind of modification, as is the common opinion; or whether, on the contrary, it be impassible; and in this case, what is the nature of its impassibility.

NONENTITY WILL HAVE INTELLIGENT LIFE ONLY AS BENEATH «BEING.»

Since we are thus led to treat of the nature of matter, we must first premiss that the nature of existence, «being» and essence are not what they are thought to be by people generally. Existence is; it «is» in the genuine meaning of that word; that is, it «is» essentially; it is absolutely, lacking nothing of existence. Fully being existence, its existence and preservation are not dependent on anything else; so much the more, if other things seem to be, they owe this thereto. If this be true, existence must possess life, perfect life — for otherwise it would not be existence any more than non-existence. Now perfect life is intelligence and perfect wisdom. Existence therefore is determinate and definite. Nothing outside of it exists even potentially; otherwise it would not fully satisfy itself. It is therefore eternal, immutable, incapable of receiving anything, or of adding anything to itself; for what it would receive would have to be foreign to it, and consequently be nonentity. In order to exist by itself, existence must therefore possess all things within itself; it must be all things simultaneously, it must at the same time be one and all, since this is of what we consider existence to consist; otherwise instead of emanating from existence, intelligence and life would be incidental thereto. Therefore they could not originate from nonentity; and, on its side, existence could not be deprived of intelligence and life. True nonentity, therefore, will have intelligence and life only as they must exist in objects inferior   and posterior to existence. The principle superior to existence (the One), on the other hand, gives intelligence and life to existence, without itself needing to possess them.

MATERIALISTS CANNOT UNDERSTAND HOW SOLID EARTH IS NEAREST NONENTITY; AND WHY GREATEST EXISTENCE IS LEAST MATERIAL.

Is such be the nature of existence, it could be neither body, nor the substrate of bodies; for their existence is nonentity. (Materialists, however, object), How could we refuse to attribute «being» to the nature of bodies, such as these cliffs and rocks, to the solid earth, and in short, to all these impenetrable objects ? When I am struck, am I not by the shock forced to acknowledge that these objects exist as (real) «being»? On the other hand, how does it happen   that entities that are not impenetrable, which can neither shock others nor be shocked by them, which are completely invisible, like soul and intelligence, are genuine beings? Our answer is that the earth, which possesses corporeal nature in the highest degree, is inert; the element that is less gross (the air) is already more mobile, and resides in a higher region; while fire withdraws still more from corporeal nature. The things which best suffice themselves least agitate and trouble the others; those that are heavier and more terrestrial, by the mere fact that they are incomplete, subject to falling, and incapable of rising, fall by weakness, and shock the others by virtue of their inertia, and their weight. Thus inanimate bodies fall more heavily, and shock and wound others more powerfully. On the contrary, animated bodies, by the mere fact of greater participation in existence, strike with less harshness. That is why movement, which is a kind of life, or at least an image of life, exists in a higher degree in things that are less corporeal.

CORPOREITY IS NONENTITY BECAUSE OF LACK OF UNITY.

It is therefore an «eclipse of existence» which renders an object more corporeal. While studying those psychoses called affections, we discover that the more corporeal an object is, the more is it likely to be affected; the earth is more so than other elements, and so on. Indeed, when other elements are divided, they immediately reunite their parts, unless there be some opposition; but when we separate parts of earth, they do not come together again. They thus seem to have no natural earth; since, after a light blow, they remain in the state where they are left by the blow that struck or broke them. Therefore the more corporeal a thing is, the more it approaches nonentity, returning to unity with the greater difficulty. The heavy and violent blows by which bodies act on each other are followed by destruction. When even a weak thing falls on something weak, it may still be relatively powerful; as is nonentity hitting nonentity.

SENSATION AS THE DREAM OF THE SOUL FROM WHICH WE MUST WAKE.

Such are the objections that may be raised against those who consider all beings as corporeal; who wish to judge of their existence only by impressions they receive therefrom, and who try to found the certitude of truth on the images of sensation. They resemble sleeping men who take as realities the visions they have in their dreams. Sensation is the dream of the soul; so long as the soul is in the body, she dreams; the real awakening   of the soul consists in genuine separation from the body, and not in rising along with the body. To rise with the body is to pass from one sleep into another kind; from one bed to another; really to awake is to separate oneself completely from the body. The body, whose nature is contrary to that of the soul, consequently has a nature contrary to that of «being.» This is proved by the generation, flux, and decay of bodies, all processes contrary to the nature of «being.»

MacKenna

6. the Intellectual Essence, wholly of the order of Ideal-form, must be taken as impassive has been already established.

But Matter also is an incorporeal, though after a mode of its own; we must examine, therefore, how this stands, whether it is passive, as is commonly held, a thing that can be twisted to every shape and Kind, or whether it too must be considered impassive and in what sense and fashion so. But in engaging this question and defining the nature of matter we must correct certain prevailing errors about the nature of the Authentic Existent, about Essence, about Being.

The Existent - rightly so called - is that which has authentic existence, that, therefore, which is existent completely, and therefore, again, that which at no point fails in existence. Having existence perfectly, it needs nothing to preserve it in being; it is, on the contrary, the source and cause from which all that appears to exist derives that appearance. This admitted, it must of necessity be in life, in a perfect life: if it failed it would be more nearly the nonexistent than the existent. But: The Being thus indicated is Intellect, is wisdom unalloyed. It is, therefore, determined and rounded off; it is nothing potentially that is not of the same determined order, otherwise it would be in default.

Hence its eternity, its identity, its utter irreceptivity and impermeability. If it took in anything, it must be taking in something outside itself, that is to say, Existence would at last include non-existence. But it must be Authentic Existence all through; it must, therefore, present itself equipped from its own stores with all that makes up Existence so that all stands together and all is one thing. The Existent [Real Being] must have thus much of determination: if it had not, then it could not be the source of the Intellectual Principle and of Life which would be importations into it originating in the sphere of non-Being; and Real Being would be lifeless and mindless; but mindlessness and lifelessness are the characteristics of non-being and must belong to the lower order, to the outer borders of the existent; for Intellect and Life rise from the Beyond-Existence [the Indefinable Supreme] - though Itself has no need of them - and are conveyed from It into the Authentic Existent.

If we have thus rightly described the Authentic Existent, we see that it cannot be any kind of body nor the under-stuff of body; in such entities the Being is simply the existing of things outside of Being.

But body, a non-existence? Matter, on which all this universe rises, a non-existence? Mountain and rock, the wide solid earth, all that resists, all that can be struck and driven, surely all proclaims the real existence of the corporeal? And how, it will be asked, can we, on the contrary, attribute Being, and the only Authentic Being, to entities like Soul and Intellect, things having no weight or pressure, yielding to no force, offering no resistance, things not even visible?

Yet even the corporeal realm witnesses for us; the resting earth has certainly a scantier share in Being than belongs to what has more motion and less solidity - and less than belongs to its own most upward element, for fire begins, already, to flit up and away outside of the body-kind.

In fact, it appears to be precisely the most self-sufficing that bear least hardly, least painfully, on other things, while the heaviest and earthiest bodies - deficient, falling, unable to bear themselves upward - these, by the very down-thrust due to their feebleness, offer the resistance which belongs to the falling habit and to the lack of buoyancy. It is lifeless objects that deal the severest blows; they hit hardest and hurt most; where there is life - that is to say participation in Being - there is beneficence towards the environment, all the greater as the measure of Being is fuller.

Again, Movement, which is a sort of life within bodies, an imitation of true Life, is the more decided where there is the least of body a sign that the waning of Being makes the object affected more distinctly corporeal.

The changes known as affections show even more clearly that where the bodily quality is most pronounced susceptibility is at its intensest - earth more susceptible than other elements, and these others again more or less so in the degree of their corporeality: sever the other elements and, failing some preventive force, they join again; but earthy matter divided remains apart indefinitely. Things whose nature represents a diminishment have no power of recuperation after even a slight disturbance and they perish; thus what has most definitely become body, having most closely approximated to non-being lacks the strength to reknit its unity: the heavy and violent crash of body against body works destruction, and weak is powerful against weak, non-being against its like.

Thus far we have been meeting those who, on the evidence of thrust and resistance, identify body with real being and find assurance of truth in the phantasms that reach us through the senses, those, in a word, who, like dreamers, take for actualities the figments of their sleeping vision. The sphere of sense, the Soul in its slumber; for all of the Soul that is in body is asleep and the true getting-up is not bodily but from the body: in any movement that takes the body with it there is no more than a passage from sleep to sleep, from bed to bed; the veritable waking or rising is from corporeal things; for these, belonging to the Kind directly opposed to Soul, present to it what is directly opposed to its essential existence: their origin, their flux, and their perishing are the warning of their exclusion from the Kind whose Being is Authentic.

Taylor

VI. That the intelligible essence, indeed, the whole of which is arranged according to form, is necessarily impassive, has been already shown. Since, however, matter also is something incorporeal, though after another manner [than the intelligible,] concerning this likewise it must be considered after what manner it subsists; whether it is passive, as it is said to be, and in all things mutable, or whether it is necessary to opine that this also is impassive, and if it is so, the mode of its impassivity must be unfolded. In the first place, therefore, this must be assumed by those who speak concerning the nature of it, and who endeavour to show what it is, that the nature, essence, and existence of being, is not such as the multitude conceive it to be. For being which may be so denominated in reality, is truly being; but this is that which is entirely being; and this again is that which in no respect is deficient in existence. But since it is perfectly being, it is not in want of any thing in order that it may be preserved and be, but to other things which appear to be, it is the cause of their apparent existence. If, therefore, these things are rightly asserted, it is necessary that it should subsist in life, and in a perfect life; for if it were deficient in this, it would not be essence in a more eminent degree. This, however, is intellect and perfect wisdom. Hence it is bounded and definite, and nothing is there in capacity which does not also possess a mighty power; since otherwise it would be deficient. Hence, too, it is eternal, invariably the same, and unreceptive of any thing. For if it should receive any thing, it would receive something besides itself ; and this would be non-being. It is necessary, however, that it should be perfectly being. Hence it is requisite it should accede to existence, possessing all things in itself, and being at once all things, and one all, if by these peculiarities we define being. But it is necessary that we should thus define it, or intellect and life would not proceed from being, but these would be adventitious to it, though they will not emanate from non-being, and being will be deprived of life and intellect. That which is truly non-being, therefore, will have these in such a way as it is requisite for them to subsist in less excellent natures, and in things posterior to being. For that which is prior to being, imparts these indeed to it, but is not itself indigent of these. Hence, if being is a thing of this kind, it is necessary that it should neither be a certain body, nor that which is the subject of bodies, but that existence to these should consist in non-being.

It may, however, be said, how is it possible the nature of bodies and matter should not have a [real] being, in which these mountains and rocks exist, the whole solid earth, and all resisting substances ? Indeed, things which are struck, confess that their essence subsists by compulsion. If, therefore, some one should say, how is it possible that things which neither press, nor are impelled, nor resist, and which in short are not visible, viz. soul and intellect should be beings, and truly beings, — we reply, that among bodies, earth is most stable, but that which is more movable, is also less ponderous, and of this that which is on high is most movable. And hence, fire flies [as it were] from the nature of body. I am of opinion, however, that things which are more sufficient to themselves, disturb others in a less degree, and occasion them less pain. But things which are more ponderous and terrene, because they are in a defective and fallen condition, and are unable to elevate themselves, strike against others, falling on them through imbecility, and oppressing them by their descending and sluggish weight. For dead bodies cause greater molestation1 when they fall, and strike and injure more vehemently. But animated bodies, as they participate of [real] being, are the more innoxious the more they participate of it. Hence motion, which is a certain life as it were in bodies, and an imitation of life, is in a greater degree present with those things that have less of body, as if a defect of being rendered that with which it is present, more corporeal. From what are called passions, likewise, it may be seen, that what is in a greater body is more passive, earth than other things, and other things according to the same ratio. Foi other things when divided, return again into one, when nothing prevents them. But when a terrene body is divided, the parts always continue separate from each other, as being naturally averse to reunion, and by a small impulse are disposed to remain as they are impelled, and be corrupted. Hence, that which becomes body in a most eminent degree, as having especially arrived at nonentity, is incapable of recalling itself into one. Ponderous, therefore, and vehement concussions, by which some things act upon others, are attended with ruin. But one debile thing falling on another, possesses with respect to it the same efficacy and power, as nonentity falling on nonentity. And this we think a sufficient refutation of their opinion who place beings among bodies, and who ere induced to do so by the testimony of impulsions and concussions; and from the phantasms produced through sense derive their belief of the truth. Such as these are affected in a manner similar to those who are dreaming, and who imagine that what they perceive is true, though it. is nothing more than a dream. For sense is alone the employment of the dormant soul; since as much of the soul as is merged in body, so much of it sleeps. But true vigilance is a true elevation from, and not in conjunction with body. For indeed a resurrection with body, is a transmigration from sleep to sleep, [and from dream to dream] like a man passing [in the dark] from bed to bed. But that elevation is entirely true, which wholly rises [from the shadowy essence] of bodies. For these possessing a nature contrary to soul, have also that which is contrary to essence. And this also is testified by their generation, their flowing and corruption ; all which are foreign to the nature of real being.


Ver online : ENÉADAS III-IV (Gredos)


[1Plotino sigue aquí el razonamiento del Sofista, 248 e.

[2Para todo lo que aquí se dice, consúltese la comparación expuesta en el Timeo, 52 b.