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Plotino - Tratado 26,11 (III, 6, 11) — Em que sentido a matéria má, participa do Bem.

Enéada III, 6, 11

domingo 22 de maio de 2022, por Cardoso de Castro

Capítulo 11: Em que sentido a matéria má, participa do Bem.

  • 1-5: Citação do Timeu   50c, Platão nos convida a meditar a presença das Formas na matéria
  • 5-18: As imitações das Formas que estão na matéria se afetam entre elas sem afetar a matéria. A questão não tanto aquela da vinda das Formas na matéria quanto de sua presença
  • 18-29: Exame do caso da feiura que é embelezada. A matéria não pode receber a beleza. Conclusão provisória: ela não participa ao bem
  • 29-44: Deve-se estabelecer a seu respeito um modo original de participação que não afeta em nada seu estatuto (ser o não-ser)
  • 45: Conclusão: o bem não afeta a luz que é totalmente impassível

Míguez

11. Ello explica que Platón   pensase así y razonase debidamente cuando decía: "Lo que entra y sale en la materia son imitaciones de los seres" [1]. Entrar y salir no, es decir palabras vanas; (Platón  ) querría que las comprendiésemos considerando el modo de participación (de la materia en las ideas). La dificultad que esto presenta no es precisamente la que sospecharon la mayoría de nuestros predecesores, esto es: ¿cómo llegan las ideas a la materia? Mejor deberá decirse: ¿cómo están las ideas en la materia? Porque parece realmente extraordinario que la materia permanezca impasible cuando hay formas presentes en ella, y mientras que las formas que aquí entran sufren acciones recíprocas. Las mismas formas que entran en la materia expulsan de ella a las formas anteriores; y así, la pasión se da en un compuesto, pero no en un compuesto cualquiera, sino en aquel que necesita de la presencia de una cosa, cuya ausencia implicaría una disposición defectuosa y cuya presencia lo completaría. Para la materia, sin embargo, no hay ganancia alguna con la adición de una forma; porque no es esto lo que la hace ser, ni nada pierde con la marcha de la forma. La materia es siempre lo que era desde un principio.

En cuanto a los seres que tienen necesidad de orden y de organización, podrían recibir aquél sin alteración, como algo procedente de fuera. Ahora bien, si se trata de un orden connatural al ser, este ser deberá sufrir una alteración: primero, por ejemplo, será feo, luego cambiará y, una vez recibido el orden, de feo pasará a ser hermoso. Mas he aquí que si la materia era fea y se convierte en hermosa, no es ya lo que era antes en su estado de fealdad; y, del mismo modo, al recibir el orden perdería su carácter de materia, especialmente si nó es fea por accidente. Si fuese fea en el sentido de la fealdad misma, es claro que no participaría en el orden; y si fuese mala en el sentido del mal mismo, no podría participar en el bien. De manera que la participación de la materia en las formas no es una especie de sufrimiento, sino otra cosa que se le parece. Tal vez se resuelva la dificultad de esta manera: ¿cómo la materia, siendo mala, podría desear el bien, sin la pérdida de su ser por esta participación? Pues si la participación de que aquí se habla es de tal naturaleza que la materia permanece sin alteración, como decimos, y sigue siendo siempre lo que es, no resulta sorprendente que, aun siendo mala, participe (en el bien). La materia no sale de sí misma, pero como, necesariamente, ha de participar (en el bien) de alguna manera, participa en efecto en tanto que es [2]. Conservándose tal cual es gracias a este modo de participación, no sufre daño en su ser de parte de la forma y no es por rilo menos mala, porque sigue siendo siempre lo que ya es. Tratándose de una participación real y de una alteración también real por parte del bien, no cabría hablar de una naturaleza material mala. De manera que si se dice que la materia es mala, lo cual es de todo punto verdadero, se dice igualmente que no sufre la acción del bien; y esto es lo mismo que afirmar que es absolutamente impasible.

Bouillet

XI. C’était sans doute la pensée que Platon   avait présente à l’esprit quand il a dit avec justesse : « Ces imitations des êtres éternels qui entrent dans la matière et qui en sortent (64). » Ce n’est pas sans raison qu’il a employé ces expressions entrer, sortir; il a voulu que nous examinassions avec attention comment s’opère la participation de la matière aux idées. Quand Platon   cherche ainsi à établir comment la matière participe aux idées, il a pour but de faire voir, non de quelle manière les idées entrent dans la matière, ainsi que beaucoup l’ont cru avant nous, mais de quelle manière elles y sont. Sans doute, il semble étonnant que la matière reste impassible à l’égard.des idées qui y sont présentes, tandis que les choses qui entrent en elle pâtissent les unes par l’action des autres. Il faut admettre cependant que les choses qui entrent dans la matière en expulsent les précédentes, et que c’est le composé seul qui pâtit ; encore n’est-ce pas toute espèce de composé qui pâtit, mais celui qui a besoin de la chose introduite ou expulsée, qui est défectueux dans sa constitution par son absence et complet par sa présence. Quant à la matière, l’introduction de quelque chose que ce soit n’ajoute rien à sa nature : elle ne devient pas ce qu’elle est par la présence de cette chose, elle ne perd rien par son absence ; elle reste ce qu’elle était dès l’origine. Être orné est chose utile à l’objet qui a besoin d’ordre et d’ornement ; il peut recevoir cet ornement sans être altéré quand il ne fait que le revêtir en quelque sorte. Mais, si cet ornement pénètre en lui comme une chose qui fasse partie de son essence, il ne peut le recevoir alors sans être altéré, sans cesser d’être ce qu’il était auparavant, d’être laid par exemple, sans changer par le fait même, sans devenir, par exemple, beau de laid qu’il était. Donc si la matière de laide devient belle, elle cesse d’être ce qu’elle était auparavant, savoir, d’être laide, en sorte qu’en étant ornée elle perd son essence, d’autant plus qu’elle n’est pas laide par accident. Étant assez laide pour être la laideur même, elle ne saurait participer de la beauté ; étant assez mauvaise pour être le mal même, elle ne saurait participer du bien. Donc la matière participe aux idées sans pâtir; par conséquent, cette participation doit s’opérer d’une autre façon, consister, par exemple, dans l’apparence (οἷον δοκεῖν) (65). Ce mode de participation résout la question que nous nous sommes posée : il nous fait comprendre comment, tout en étant mauvaise, la matière peut aspirer au Bien sans cesser par sa participation au Bien d’être ce qu’elle était. En effet, si cette participation s’opère de telle sorte que la matière reste sans altération, comme nous le disons, qu’elle continue toujours d’être ce qu’elle est, il n’y a pas lieu de s’étonner qu’elle puisse, tout en étant mauvaise, participer au Bien; elle ne s’écarte pas de sa manière d’être. D’un côté, comme il est nécessaire qu’elle participe, elle participe tant qu’elle dure ; de l’autre, comme elle continue d’être ce qu’elle est, en vertu du mode de participation qui lui laisse son essence, elle ne subit aucune altération de la part du principe qui lui donné quelque chose ; elle reste toujours aussi mauvaise parce que son essence subsiste toujours. Si elle participait réellement au Bien, si elle était réellement modifiée par lui, elle ne serait plus mauvaise par sa nature. Donc, quand on affirme que la matière est mauvaise, on dit la vérité si l’on entend par là qu’elle est impassible à l’égard du Bien ; or, cela revient à admettre qu’elle est complètement impassible.

Guthrie

MATTER PARTICIPATES IN THE INTELLIGIBLE ONLY BY APPEARANCE.

11. This was no doubt the thought present to Plato   when he rightly said, "These imitations of the eternal beings which enter into matter, and which issue therefrom." Not without good reason did he employ the terms "enter" and "issue"; he wanted us carefully to scrutinize the manner in which matter participates in ideas. When Plato   thus tries to clear up how matter participates in ideas, his object is to show, not how ideas enter into matter, as before so many have believed, but their condition within it. Doubtless, it does seem astonishing that matter remains impassible in respect to the ideas that are present therein, while the things that enter in it are affected by each other. We nevertheless have to acknowledge that the things which enter into matter expel their predecessors, and that it is only the composite that is affected. Nevertheless it is not every kind of composite that is affected, but only that composite that happens to need the thing that was introduced or expelled, so that its constitution becomes defective by the absence of that (quality), or more complete by its presence. Nothing is added to the nature of matter, however, by the introduction of anything; the presence of that thing does not make matter what it is, and matter loses nothing by its absence; matter remains what it was since its origin. To be ornamented is to the interest of something that admits of order or ornament; it can receive that ornament without being changed, when it only puts it on, so to speak. But if this ornament penetrate into it as something that forms part of its nature, it then cannot receive it without being altered, without ceasing to be what it was before, as for instance, ceasing to be ugly; without, by that very fact, changing; without, for instance, becoming beautiful, though ugly before. Therefore if matter become beautiful, though before ugly, it ceases to be what it was before; namely, ugly; so that on being adorned it loses its nature, so much the more as it was ugly only accidentally. Being ugly enough to be ugliness itself, it could not participate in beauty; being bad enough to be badness itself, it could not participate in goodness. Therefore matter participates in the ideas without being affected; and consequently, this participation must operate in another manner; and, for instance, consist in appearance. This kind of participation solves the problem we had set ourselves; it enables us to understand how, while being evil, matter can aspire to the Good without ceasing to be what it was, in spite of its participation in the Good. Indeed if this participation operate in a manner such that matter remains without alteration, as we say, and if it always continue to be what it was, there is no reason to be surprised if, though being evil, it can participate in the Good; it does not swerve from its manner of existence. On one hand, as for her, this participation is unavoidable, it participates as long as it endures; on the other hand, as matter continues to be what it is, by virtue of the kind of participation which does not interfere with its nature, it undergoes no alteration on the part of the principle which gives it something; it always remains as bad as it was, because its nature persists. If matter really participated in the Good, if matter were really modified thereby, its nature would no longer be evil. Therefore, the statement that matter is evil is true enough if it be considered to imply that it is impassible in respect to Good; and this really amounts to saying that it is entirely impassible.

Taylor

XI. Whence, also, I think that the divine Plato   [in the Timseus], having formed the same conception rightly says, that the things which enter into and depart from matter, are imitations of beings; the words entering into and departing, not being used by him in vain. For he wished to direct our attention to the mode in which « matter participates of forms. It also appears that the doubt how this participation is effected, is not what many prior to us conceived it to be, viz. how forms proceed into matter, but rather how they subsist in it. For it seems to be truly wonderful, how these forms being present with matter, it nevertheless remains impassive ; especially since the forms which enter it suffer from each other. According to Plato  , however, the entering forms expel those which entered prior to them, and passion is in the composite from matter and form ; yet not in every composite, but in that which is in want of the acceding or departing, form ; and which indeed in its composition is defective by the absence of a certain form, but is perfect by the presence of it. But matter does not possess any thing more whatever as an accession to its composition, by the entrance of any thing into it. For it does not then become that which it is through the form that enters, nor is it less by the departure of this form. For it remains that which it was at first. To the natures, indeed, which require ornament and order, it is useful to be adorned; and to these ornament may accede without transmutation, as is the case with things which we surround with decoration. If, however, any thing is so adorned as to have the ornament connascent, it will be requisite that what was before, void of beauty, should be changed in quality, become different from what it was, and from being deformed be beautiful. If, therefore, matter being deformed is rendered beautiful, it is no longer that base thing which it was before; so that in being thus adorned, it loses its subsistence as matter, and especially if its deformity is not accidental. But if it is so deformed as to be deformity itself, it will not participate of ornament. And if it is so evil, as to be evil itself, it will not participate of good. Hence it does not participate in such a way as some fancy it does, viz. by being passive, but after another manner, which is that of appearing to participate. Perhaps, too, according to this mode the doubt may be solved, how, since matter is evil, it can aspire after good, because it does not through the participation cease to be what it wa3. For if what is called the participation of matter subsists after this manner so that it remains as we say the same, unchanged in quality, and is always that which it is, it will no longer be wonderful, how being evil it participates of good. For it does not depart from itself. But because it is indeed necessary it should participate, it participates after a certain manner as long as it exists. In consequence, however, of remaining that which it is, and the mode of participation preserving it [in its own proper nature] it is not injured in its essence by that which thus imparts something to it. And it appears not to be less evil on this account, viz. because it always remains that which it is. For if it truly participated of, and was truly changed in quality by the good, it would not be naturally evil. So that^if some one should say that matter is evil, he will assert what is true, if he says it is impassive to the good, which is the same thing as to say, that it is entirely impassive.

MacKenna

11. I think, in fact, that Plato   had this in mind where he justly speaks of the Images of Real Existents "entering and passing out": these particular words are not used idly: he wishes us to grasp the precise nature of the relation between Matter and the Ideas.

The difficulty on this point is not really that which presented itself to most of our predecessors - how the Ideas enter into Matter - it is rather the mode of their presence in it.

It is in fact strange at sight that Matter should remain itself intact, unaffected by Ideal-forms present within it, especially seeing that these are affected by each other. It is surprising, too, that the entrant Forms should regularly expel preceding shapes and qualities, and that the modification [which cannot touch Matter] should affect what is a compound [of Idea with Matter] and this, again, not a haphazard but precisely where there is need of the incoming or outgoing of some certain Ideal-form, the compound being deficient through the absence of a particular principle whose presence will complete it.

But the reason is that the fundamental nature of Matter can take no increase by anything entering it, and no decrease by any withdrawal: what from the beginning it was, it remains. It is not like those things whose lack is merely that of arrangement and order which can be supplied without change of substance as when we dress or decorate something bare or ugly.

But where the bringing to order must cut through to the very nature, the base original must be transmuted: it can leave ugliness for beauty only by a change of substance. Matter, then, thus brought to order must lose its own nature in the supreme degree unless its baseness is an accidental: if it is base in the sense of being Baseness the Absolute, it could never participate in order, and, if evil in the sense of being Evil the Absolute, it could never participate in good.

We conclude that Matter’s participation in Idea is not by way of modification within itself: the process is very different; it is a bare seeming. Perhaps we have here the solution of the difficulty as to how Matter, essentially evil, can be reaching towards The Good: there would be no such participation as would destroy its essential nature. Given this mode of pseudo-participation - in which Matter would, as we say, retain its nature, unchanged, always being what it has essentially been - there is no longer any reason to wonder as to how while essentially evil, it yet participates in Idea: for, by this mode, it does not abandon its own character: participation is the law, but it participates only just so far as its essence allows. Under a mode of participation which allows it to remain on its own footing, its essential nature stands none the less, whatsoever the Idea, within that limit, may communicate to it: it is by no means the less evil for remaining immutably in its own order. If it had authentic participation in The Good and were veritably changed, it would not be essentially evil.

In a word, when we call Matter evil we are right only if we mean that it is not amenable to modification by The Good; but that means simply that it is subject to no modification whatever.


[1Cita ya recogida del Timeo, 50 c.

[2Se repite de nuevo la fórmula del Timeo, 50 b.