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Plotino - Tratado 26,7 (III, 6, 7) — A matéria não é um corpo, mas o "verdadeiramente não-ser"

Enéada III, 6, 7

domingo 22 de maio de 2022, por Cardoso de Castro

Capítulo 7: A matéria não é um corpo, mas o "verdadeiramente não-ser"

  • 1-3: Retomada da questão. Em qual sentido a matéria é substrato dos corpos, enquanto ela é não-ser?
  • 3-7: A matéria e o ser são diferentes dos corpos
  • 7-20: A matéria é verdadeiramente não-ser, ela não tem nem vida, nem razão, nem forma. Tudo nada mais é que aparência nela.
  • 20-28: Comparação com um espelho, tudo o que é "nela" aí não é verdadeiramente
  • 28-36: Os reflexos na matéria dependem do ser
  • 36-43: As imagens não agem sobre a matéria, ela é totalmente impassível

Míguez

7. Hemos de tornar, sin embargo, a la materia, que es sustrato de los cuerpos, y a las propiedades que se señalan para ella. Llegaremos a conocer así que la materia es un no-ser y un no-ser impasible. Es incorpórea, puesto que el cuerpo es algo compuesto y posterior a ella, algo que hace l¡i materia al unirse a otra cosa. Si llamamos incorpórea a la materia, lo mismo que al ser, es porque, al igual que el ser, es diferente a los cuerpos. No es ni alma, ni inteligencia, ni vida, ni forma, ni razón, ni límite, sino ausencia de límite; no es tampoco potencia, porque, ¿qué es lo que produce? Privada de estos caracteres, no puede llamársela ser y sería más justo considerarla no-ser, aunque no al modo como se dice del movimiento y del reposo, sino en el sentido del verdadero no-ser, esto es, como una imagen y un fantasma de la masa corpórea, y un deseo de existir. Digamos que se encuentra en reposo sin estar inmóvil, que es invisible en sí mismay escapa a quien quiere verla; surge, pues, cuando no se la mira, y quien la mira no la ve. Siempre encierra en sí la imagen de los contrarios, y es por tanto lo pequeño y lo grande, lo menos y lo más, el defecto y el exceso. He aquí una imagen que ni permanece ni puede huir, porque no es fuerte ni puede tomar su fuerza de la inteligencia, estando totalmente privada del ser [1]. Miente en todo lo que ella anuncia, y así, cuando la imaginamos grande resulta ser pequeña, y cuando parece ser más es realmente menos. El ser que imaginamos en ella es un no-ser, cual un juguete que huye de nosotros, De ahí que todo lo que parezca surgir en la materia sean meras burlas, fantasmas que aparecen en otro fantasma lo mismo que en un espejo, donde, precisamente, el objeto está en un lugar y la imagen en otro; parece, sin embargo, que el espejo se presenta lleno de objetos y no tiene, verdaderamente, todo lo que parece tener. "Lo que entra y sale en la materia son imitaciones e imágenes de los seres" [2]; son imágenes en un fantasma sin forma y, por esto mismo, todo lo que en la materia se ve parece que actúa sobre ella, sin que en realidad actúe. Porque estas imágenes son inconsistentes, débiles y carentes de solidez, y, dado que la materia no las posee, la atraviesan sin dividirla, como objetos que penetran en el agua, o como formas introducidas en un espacio vacío. Si estos objetos que se ven en la materia fuesen semejantes a los modelos de los que provienen, podríamos atribuirles una cierta potencia de los modelos que los envían a ella, y que ella sufre y acoge, por la acción de aquéllos. Ahora bien, como los modelos que se reflejan en la materia son una cosa, y otra muy distinta lo que nosotros vemos, hemos de reconocer que nuestra impresión es falsa, ya que el ser de ]o que vemos es también falso y no tiene semejanza alguna con el objeto que lo ha producido. Débil y engañoso, como una mentira que cae sobre otra, esa imagen dejará necesariamente impasible a la materia, cual si se tratase de una visión onírica, o de un reflejo en el agua o en un espejo. Y aun en las comparaciones antedichas hay una cierta semejanza entre las apariencias y los objetos.

Bouillet

VII. Revenons à la matière considérée comme substance, puis à ce que l’on dit exister en elle. Par cet examen, nous verrons qu’elle est le non-être et qu’elle est impassible.

La matière est incorporelle parce que le corps n’existe qu’après elle, qu’il est un composé dont elle constitue un élément. Elle est appelée incorporelle parce que l’être et la matière sont deux choses également distinctes du corps (48).

N’étant pas âme, la matière n’est ni intelligence, ni vie, ni raison [séminale], ni limite. Elle est une espèce d’infini (ἀπειρία) (49). Elle n’est pas non plus une puissance [active] (50) : car que produirait-elle ? Puisque la matière n’est aucune des choses dont nous venons de parler, elle ne saurait recevoir le nom d’être; elle ne mérite que celui de non-être ; encore n’est-ce pas dans le sens où l’on dit que le mouvement, le repos ne sont pas l’être (51); la matière est véritablement le non-être. Elle est une image et un fantôme de l’étendue, une aspiration à l’existence (ὑποστάσεως ἔφεσις). Si elle persévère, ce n’est pas dans le repos, [c’est dans le changement]. Elle est invisible par elle-même, elle échappe à qui veut la voir. Elle est présente quand on ne la regarde pas, elle échappe à l’œil qui la cherche. Elle paraît toujours renfermer en elle les contraires : le grand et le petit, le plus et le moins, le défaut et l’excès (52). C’est un fantôme également incapable de demeurer et de fuir: car la matière n’a même pas la force de fuir [la forme], parce qu’elle n’a reçu aucune force de l’Intelligence, et qu’elle est le manque de tout être. Par conséquent, elle ment dans tout ce qu’elle paraît être : si on se la représente comme le grand, aussitôt elle apparaît comme le petit ; si on se la représente comme le plus, il faut reconnaître qu’elle est le moins. Son être, quand on cherche à le concevoir, apparaît comme le non-être; c’est une ombre fugitive comme les choses qui sont en elle, et qui constituent des simulacres dans un simulacre. Elle ressemble à un miroir dans lequel on voit les apparences d’objets placés hors de lui (53), qui semble être rempli et posséder tout quoiqu’il ne possède réellement rien.

La matière est ainsi une image sans forme, dans laquelle entrent et de laquelle sortent les images des êtres. Celles-ci y apparaissent précisément parce que la matière n’a pas de forme ; elles semblent y produire quelque chose, mais n’y produisent réellement rien (54). Elles n’ont pas de consistance, de force, ni de solidité : la matière n’en ayant pas non plus, elles la pénètrent sans la diviser, comme elles pénétreraient de l’eau, ou bien encore comme des formes pourraient se mouvoir dans le vide. Si les images qui apparaissent dans la matière avaient la même nature que les objets qu’elles représentent et dont elles émanent, alors, attribuant aux images un peu de la puissance des objets qui les envoient, on aurait raison de les croire capables de faire pâtir la matière. Mais, comme les choses qu’on voit dans la matière n’ont pas la .même nature que les objets dont elles sont les images, il est faux que la matière pâtisse en les recevant: car ce sont de fausses apparences sans aucune ressemblance avec ce qui les produit. Faibles et fausses par elles-mêmes, elles viennent dans une chose qui est également fausse (55). Elles doivent donc la laisser impassible comme un miroir (56), comme de l’eau, ne pas produire plus d’effet sur elle qu’un rêve sur l’âme ; comparaisons encore imparfaites, parce que dans les cas que nous citons il y a quelque ressemblance entre les images et les objets.

Guthrie

MATTER COMPARED TO A MIRROR WHICH REFLECTS EVERYTHING THOUGH REALLY EMPTY.

7. Let us return to matter as a substrate, and then to what is said to exist within it. This will lead us to see that it consists of nonentity, and that it is impassible. Matter is incorporeal because the body exists only as posterior thereto, because it is a composite of which it constitutes an element. It is called incorporeal because existence and matter are two things equally distinct from the body. Not being soul, matter is neither intelligence, nor life, nor ("seminal) reason," nor limit. It is a kind of infinity. Neither is it an (active) power; for what could it produce? Since matter is none of the above-mentioned things, it could not be called existence. It deserves only the name "nonentity" yet not even in the sense in which we may say that movement or rest are not existence; matter is real nonentity. It is an image and phantom of extension, it is aspiration to a form of hypostatic existence. Its perseverance is not in rest (but in change). By itself, it is invisible, it escapes whoever wishes to see it. It is present when you do not look at it, it escapes the eye that seeks it. It seems to contain all the contraries: the large and small, the more and the less, the lack and excess. It is a phantom equally incapable of remaining or escaping; for matter does not even have the strength of avoiding (form), because it has received no strength from intelligence, and it is the lack of all existence. Consequently, all its appearances are deceptions. If we represent matter as being greatness, it immediately appears as smallness; if we represent it as the more, we are forced to recognize it as the less. When we try to conceive of its existence, it appears as nonentity; like all the things it contains, it is a fugitive shadow, and a fleeting game, an image within an image. It resembles a mirror, in which one might see the reflections of objects external to it; the mirror seems to be filled, and to possess everything, though really containing nothing.

AS OBJECTS ARE MERELY REFLECTIONS IN A MIRROR, MATTER IS NO MORE AFFECTED BY THEM THAN WOULD BE A MIRROR.

Thus matter is a shapeless image, into which enter, and out of which issue the images of beings. These appear in it precisely because matter has no shape, though they seem to produce something in it, they really produce nothing in it. They have no consistence, strength, nor solidity; as matter has none either, they enter into it without dividing it, as if they would penetrate water, or as shapes might move in emptiness. If the images that appear in matter had the same nature as the objects they represent and from which they emanate, then, if we attribute to the images a little of the power of the objects that project them, we might be right in considering them able to affect matter. But as the things that we see in matter do not have the same nature as the objects of which they are the images, it is not true that matter suffers when receiving them; they are no more than false appearances without any resemblance to what produces them. Feeble and false by themselves, they enter into a thing that is equally false. They must therefore leave it as impassible as a mirror, or water; producing on it no more effect than does a dream on the soul. These comparisons, however, are yet imperfect, because in these cases there is still some resemblance between the images and the objects.

Taylor

VII. Let us, however, again return in the first place, to the subject matter, and afterwards to the things which are said to be in matter, from which it will be known that matter itself has no [real] existence, and that it is impassive. It is therefore incorporeal, since body is posterior to it, and is a composite, and matter in conjunction with another thing [i.e. with form,] produces body. For thus it is allotted the same appellation according to the incorporeal, because both being and matter are different from bodies. Since, however, matter is neither soul nor intellect, nor life, nor form, nor reason, nor bound; for it is infinite ; nor power; for what can it effect; but falls off from all these, neither can it rightly receive the appellation of being. But it may deservedly be called non-being. Tet it is not non-being in the same manner as motion is, or permanency ; but it is truly non-being, the image and phantasm of bulk, and the desire of subsistence. And it stands, indeed, but not in that which is permanent, is of itself invisible, and flies from him who wishes to behold it. When, likewise, some one does not see it, then it is present ; but is not perceived by him who strives intently to behold it. Add too, that contraries are always apparent in it; the small and the great, the less and the more, the deficient and the exceeding, being an image neither able to remain, nor yet to fly away. For it has not even power to effect this, as receiving no strength from intellect, but subsisting in the defect of all being. Hence it deceives us in whatever it announces of itself ; so that if it should appear to be great, it is small; if more, it is less ; and the being which we meet with in the imagination of it, is non-being, and as it were a flying mockery. Hence, also, the things which appear to be ingenerated in it, are mockeries, and images in an image, just as in a mirror, where a thing which is situated in one place appears to be in another. It likewise seems to be full and to be all things, and yet has nothing. But the things which enter into and depart from matter, are imitations and images of [real] beings, flowing about a formless resemblance; and on account of its formless nature are seen within it. They also appear, indeed, to effect something in it, but effect nothing ; for they are vain and debile, and have no resisting power. And since matter, likewise, is void of resistance, they pervade without dividing it, like images in water, or as if some one should send as it were forms into what is called a vacuum. For again, if the things which are beheld in matter were such as those from which they proceeded into it, perhaps a certain power of these might be ascribed to material forms, and matter might be supposed to suffer by them. But now, since the things which are represented are of one kind, and those that are beheld in matter of another, from these also we may learn that the passion of matter is false; that which is seen in it being false, and in no respect possessing any similitude to its maker. Hence, being imbecile and false, and falling into a false receptacle, as in a dream, or in water, or a mirror, it necessarily permits matter to be impassive, though in the things which have been just mentioned, there is a similitude between the representations in them, and the originals of which they are the resemblances.

MacKenna

7. We are thus brought back to the nature of that underlying matter and the things believed to be based upon it; investigation will show us that Matter has no reality and is not capable of being affected.

Matter must be bodiless - for body is a later production, a compound made by Matter in conjunction with some other entity. Thus it is included among incorporeal things in the sense that body is something that is neither Real-Being nor Matter.

Matter is no Soul; it is not Intellect, is not Life, is no Ideal-Principle, no Reason-Principle; it is no limit or bound, for it is mere indetermination; it is not a power, for what does it produce?

It lives on the farther side of all these categories and so has no tide to the name of Being. It will be more plausibly called a non-being, and this in the sense not of movement [away from Being] or station (in Not-Being) but of veritable Not-Being, so that it is no more than the image and phantasm of Mass, a bare aspiration towards substantial existence; it is stationary but not in the sense of having position, it is in itself invisible, eluding all effort to observe it, present where no one can look, unseen for all our gazing, ceaselessly presenting contraries in the things based upon it; it is large and small, more and less, deficient and excessive; a phantasm unabiding and yet unable to withdraw - not even strong enough to withdraw, so utterly has it failed to accept strength from the Intellectual Principle, so absolute its lack of all Being.

Its every utterance, therefore, is a lie; it pretends to be great and it is little, to be more and it is less; and the Existence with which it masks itself is no Existence, but a passing trick making trickery of all that seems to be present in it, phantasms within a phantasm; it is like a mirror showing things as in itself when they are really elsewhere, filled in appearance but actually empty, containing nothing, pretending everything. Into it and out of it move mimicries of the Authentic Existents, images playing upon an image devoid of Form, visible against it by its very formlessness; they seem to modify it but in reality effect nothing, for they are ghostly and feeble, have no thrust and meet none in Matter either; they pass through it leaving no cleavage, as through water; or they might be compared to shapes projected so as to make some appearance upon what we can know only as the Void.

Further: if visible objects were of the rank of the originals from which they have entered into Matter we might believe Matter to be really affected by them, for we might credit them with some share of the power inherent in their Senders: but the objects of our experiences are of very different virtue than the realities they represent, and we deduce that the seeming modification of matter by visible things is unreal since the visible thing itself is unreal, having at no point any similarity with its source and cause. Feeble, in itself, a false thing and projected upon a falsity, like an image in dream or against water or on a mirror, it can but leave Matter unaffected; and even this is saying too little, for water and mirror do give back a faithful image of what presents itself before them.


[1Continúa el comentario del Timeo, 52 b.

[2Cf. para la cita, Platón, Timeo, 50 c.