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ENÉADAS

Plotino - Tratado 26,14 (III, 6, 14) — Existência da matéria; interpretação alegórica do mito de Poros e Penia

Enéada III, 6, 14

domingo 22 de maio de 2022, por Cardoso de Castro

Capítulo 14: Existência da matéria; interpretação alegórica do mito de Poros e Penia.

  • 1-7: Necessidade da existência da matéria para que os reflexos das Formas se constituem
  • 7-18: Comparação da matéria a Penia e dos reflexos das Formas a Poros
  • 18-21: Distinção de três graus de realidade: o ser, o que está fora do ser e o não-ser absoluto
  • 21-26: A matéria participa sem participar. Comparação com o eco
  • 26-28: Se a matéria participasse às Formas, o mundo se destruiria
  • 28-34: A matéria para o movimento de processão, como um espelho pode concentrar os raios do sol
  • 34-36: Conclusão: a matéria é bem a causa da geração

Míguez

14. ¿Pues qué? ¿Nada subsistiría si no existiese la materia? Lo mismo que no existiría la imagen sin el espejo o sin otra cosa análoga. Porque si una cosa existe naturalmente en otra, no puede producirse cuando esa otra cosa no existe; esto es lo que ocurre con la naturaleza de la imagen, que existe en otra cosa. En cambio, si la imagen surgiese de los seres, podría existir sin darse en otra cosa. Pero como aquéllos permanecen, es claro que si han de reflejarse en otra parte, algo habrá que les sirva de asiento; y no porque vengan a la materia, sino porque ésta, con su presencia y atrevimiento, y cual una pedigüeña indigente, se esfuerza en aprehenderlos. Sin embargo, la materia resulta engañada y no llega a aprehenderlos, permaneciendo así siempre pobre y suplicante. Pues una vez que la materia existe, nos dice el mito, se hace suplicante, y con ello se demuestra que su naturaleza está falta del bien [1]. El que suplica no pide que se le dé todo lo que se posee, sino que si da por satisfecho con lo que él puede tomar; de modo que el mito quiere mostrar que las imágenes que se dan en la materia son en realidad algo diferente. Su nombre indica precisamente que no se encuentra saciada [2]. Con su unión a Poros quiere indicarse, no que se une al ser ni a la plenitud del ser, sino a una obra bien pensada, esto es, a la sabiduría del mundo de las imágenes.

No es posible que no participe en el ser lo que se halla fuera del ser. Porque la naturaleza del ser exige la producción de seres. Sin embargo, lo que totalmente no es no puede mezclarse al ser; de ahí ese hecho extraordinario de que participa en el ser sin participar en él y de que tiene algo de su vecindad, aunque por su naturaleza no pueda unirse íntimamente al ser. Lo que la materia tomó del ser resbala sobre ella como sobre algo de naturaleza extraña, como el eco, por ejemplo, sobre superficies lisas y planas; pues dado que no permanece ahí, nos imaginábamos que estaba ahí y que de ahí proviene. Si la materia participase en la forma y la recibiese de la manera que se cree, la forma que viene a ella sería absorbida y englutída por ella. Pero parece que esto no ocurre y que la materia permanece sin haber recibido nada, deteniendo el avance proveniente de los seres y rechazándolo, como asiento y receptáculo que es de los encuentros y mezclas que en ella se dan. Porque la materia puede compararse a esas superficies pulidas colocadas delante del sol para recibir sus rayos; se las llena de agua para que la llama solar no las atraviese, impedida como está de hacerlo por el agua que ellas mismas contienen, contraria naturalmente al fuego; y así, la llama tendrá que mantenerse fuera. En ese sentido, la materia es causa de la generación, permitiendo que las cosas se organicen en ella.

Bouillet

XIV. Quoi ! rien ne subsisterait-il [dans le monde sensible] si la matière n’existait pas? Rien (75). C’est comme pour un miroir: enlevez-le, les images s’évanouissent. En effet, ce qui est par sa nature destiné à exister dans une autre chose ne saurait exister sans cette chose ; or, la nature de toute image est d’exister en une autre chose. Si l’image était une émanation des causes mêmes, elle pourrait subsister sans être en une autre chose ; mais, comme ces causes demeurent en elles-mêmes, pour que leur image se reflète ailleurs, il faut qu’il y ait une autre chose destinée h servir de lieu à ce qui n’y entre pas réellement ; une chose, dis-je, qui par sa présence, son audace, ses sollicitations et son indigence, obtienne de force en quelque sorte, mais qui soit trompée parce qu’elle n’obtient rien réellement; de sorte qu’elle conserve son indigence et qu’elle continue de solliciter (76). Dès que Penia [la Pauvreté] existe, elle demande sans cesse, comme le raconte un mythe (77) ; cela montre assez qu’elle est naturellement dénuée de tout bien. Elle ne demande pas à obtenir tout ce que possède celui qui lui donne ; il lui suffit d’en avoir quelque chose, en sorte que nous voyons parla combien les simulacres qui apparaissent dans la matière sont différents des êtres véritables. Le nom même de Penia, qu’on donne à la matière, indique qu’elle est insatiable. Si l’on dit qu’elle s’unit à Poros [l’Abondance], cela ne signifie pas qu’elle s’unit avec l’Être ou avec la Plénitude, mais avec une œuvre d’un artifice admirable, c’est-à-dire avec une chose qui n’est qu’une spécieuse apparence (78).

Il est impossible en effet que ce qui est en dehors de l’être en soit complètement privé : car la nature de l’être est de produire les êtres. D’un autre côté, le non-être absolu ne peut se mêler à l’être. Il en résulte une chose étonnante : c’est que la matière participe à l’être sans y participer réellement, et qu’elle en obtient quelque chose en s’en approchant, quoique par sa nature elle ne puisse s’unir avec lui. Elle reflète donc ce qu’elle reçoit d’une nature étrangère à la sienne, comme l’écho renvoie le son, dans les lieux unis et polis ; c’est ainsi que les choses qui ne demeurent pas dans la matière paraissent y résider et en venir.

Si la matière participait à l’existence des êtres véritables et les recevait dans son sein comme on pourrait le penser, ce qui entre en elle la pénétrerait profondément ; mais on voit fort bien qu’elle n’en est pas pénétrée, qu’elle est restée sans en rien recevoir, qu’elle en a au contraire arrêté la procession (πρόοδος), comme l’écho arrête et renvoie le son, qu’elle est seulement le réceptacle des choses qui entrent en elle et qui s’y mêlent. Tout se passe ici comme dans le cas où des personnes, voulant allumer du feu aux rayons du soleil, placent devant ces rayons des vases polis et les remplissent d’eau pour que la flamme, arrêtée par les obstacles qu’elle rencontre intérieurement, ne puisse pénétrer et se concentre au dehors (79). C’est ainsi que la matière devient la cause de la génération ; c’est ainsi que se comportent les choses qui subsistent en elle.

Guthrie

THE MYTH OF POVERTY AND ABUNDANCE.

14. What! Would nothing exist (in the sense-world) if matter did not exist? Nothing! It is as with a mirror; remove it, and the images disappear. Indeed, that which by its nature is destined to exist in something else could not exist in that thing; now the nature of every image is to exist in something else. If the image were an emanation of the causes themselves, it could exist without being in anything else; but as these causes reside in themselves, so that their image may reflect itself elsewhere, there must be something else destined to serve as location for that which dos not really enter into it; something which by its presence, its audacity, its solicitations, and by its indigence, should as it were forcibly obtain (what it desires), but which is deceived because it does not really obtain anything; so that it preserves its indigence, and continues to solicítate (satisfaction). As soon as Poverty exists, it ceaselessly "begs," as a (well-known Platonic) myth tells us; that shows clearly enough that it is naturally denuded of all good. It does not ask to obtain all that the giver possesses; it is satisfied with the possession of some of it, thus revealing to us how much the images that appear in matter are different from real beings. Even the very name of Poverty, which is given to matter, indicates that it is insatiable. When Poverty is said to unite with Abundance, we do not mean that it unites with Existence or Fullness, but with a work of wonderful skill, namely, a thing that is nothing but specious appearance.

THE MIRACLE IS THAT MATTER PARTICIPATES IN EXISTENCE WITHOUT PARTICIPATING IN IT.

It is indeed impossible that that which is outside of ¦ existence should be completely deprived of it; for the nature of existence is to produce beings. On the other hand, absolute nonentity cannot mingle with existence. The result is something miraculous: matter participates in existence without really participating in it, and by approaching to it obtains something, though by its nature matter cannot unite with existence. It therefore reflects what it receives from an alien nature as echo reflects sound in places that are symmetrical and continuous. That is how things that do not reside in matter seem to reside in it, and to come from it.

GENERATION ILLUSTRATED BY LIGHTING FIRE BY REFRACTION.

If matter participated in the existence of genuine beings and received them within itself, as might easily be thought, that which would enter into it would penetrate deeply into matter; but evidently matter is not penetrated thereby, remaining unreceptive of any of it. On the contrary, matter arrests their "procession," as echo arrests and reflects sound-waves, matter being only the "residence" (or, "jar" or vase) of the things that enter within it, and there mingle with each other. Everything takes place there as in the case of persons who, wishing to light fire from the rays of the sun, should place in front of these rays polished jars filled with water, so that the flame, arrested by the obstacles met within, should not be able to penetrate, and should concentrate on their outside. That is how matter becomes the cause of generation; that is how things occur within it.

Taylor

XIV. What then, matter not existing, would nothing have a subsistence ? Nothing except beings; just as neither would an image have any existence, unless there was a mirror, or something of this kind. For that which is naturally adapted to subsist in another thing, cannot exist when that thing is not. For this is the nature of an image to be in something different from itself. For if any thing departs from the producing causes of its existence, it may indeed subsist without being in another thing. But since [true] beings remain, if there is a representation of them in something else, it is necessary there should be another thing imparting a seat to that which does not truly accede. And this by its presence and audacity, and as it may be said, mendicity and poverty, is as it were compelled to receive. It is however deceived, by not receiving [truly], in order that its poverty may also remain, and that it may always be a mendicant. For according to the fable, after it once had a subsistence, it began to beg; the fable indicating by this the nature of it, which consists in being destitute of good. It does not, however, beg to receive those things which the giver has to bestow, but is satisfied with whatever it may receive; so that this also indicates that what is apparent in it is different [from reality]. Its name, likewise, [which is Penia or Poverty] signifies that it is not filled. And the assertion that it was connected with Plenty,1 does not signify that this connection was with [real] being, nor with satiety, but with a certain artificial thing, i.e. with the wisdom of a phantasm. For since it was not possible for that to be entirely without the participation of being, which is in any respect external to it; for it is the nature of being to produce beings ; but that which is entirely non-being is unmingled with being; — this being the case, an admirable thing is effected, which participates, and yet in a certain respect does not participate of being, and which also in a certain respect possesses something from proximity to being; though by its own nature it is incapable of being as it were conglutinated with it. Hence it becomes defluous, as gliding away from a foreign nature which it has received, like echo from smooth and equable places, because it does not abide there, though it appears to be there, and to proceed from thence. If, however, matter so participated and received, as some one may think it does, that which proceeds into would be absorbed by it. But now it appears, that it is not absorbed, since matter remains the same, having received nothing, hut impeding progression like some repercussive seat. It is also the receptacle of forms acceding to, and mingled in it; just as those who are desirous of enkindling a light from the sun, place some smooth substance opposite to it, which they also fill with water, in order that the flame being impeded by that which is inward, and of a contrary nature, may not pass through, but may stop externally. Matter, therefore, thus becomes the cause of generation, and the forms which consist in it, are constituted after this manner.

MacKenna

14. But would this mean that if there were no Matter nothing would exist?

Precisely as in the absence of a mirror, or something of similar power, there would be no reflection.

A thing whose very nature is to be lodged in something else cannot exist where the base is lacking - and it is the character of a reflection to appear in something not itself.

Of course supposing anything to desert from the Authentic Beings, this would not need an alien base: but these Beings are not subject to flux, and therefore any outside manifestation of them implies something other than themselves, something offering a base to what never enters, something which by its presence, in its insistence, by its cry for help, in its beggardom, strives as it were by violence to acquire and is always disappointed, so that its poverty is enduring, its cry unceasing.

This alien base exists and the myth represents it as a pauper to exhibit its nature, to show that Matter is destitute of The Good. The claimant does not ask for all the Giver’s store, but it welcomes whatever it can get; in other words, what appears in Matter is not Reality.

The name, too [Poverty], conveys that Matter’s need is never met. The union with Poros, Possession, is designed to show that Matter does not attain to Reality, to Plenitude, but to some bare sufficiency - in point of fact to imaging skill.

It is, of course, impossible that an outside thing belonging in any degree to Real-Being - whose Nature is to engender Real-Beings - should utterly fail of participation in Reality: but here we have something perplexing; we are dealing with utter Non-Being, absolutely without part in Reality; what is this participation by the non-participant, and how does mere neighbouring confer anything on that which by its own nature is precluded from any association?

The answer is that all that impinges upon this Non-Being is flung back as from a repelling substance; we may think of an Echo returned from a repercussive plane surface; it is precisely because of the lack of retention that the phenomenon is supposed to belong to that particular place and even to arise there.

If Matter were participant and received Reality to the extent which we are apt to imagine, it would be penetrated by a Reality thus sucked into its constitution. But we know that the Entrant is not thus absorbed: Matter remains as it was, taking nothing to itself: it is the check to the forthwelling of Authentic Existence; it is a ground that repels; it is a mere receptacle to the Realities as they take their common path and here meet and mingle. It resembles those reflecting vessels, filled with water, which are often set against the sun to produce fire: the heat rays - prevented, by their contrary within, from being absorbed - are flung out as one mass.

It is in this sense and way that Matter becomes the cause of the generated realm; the combinations within it hold together only after some such reflective mode.


[1Cf. Platón, Banquete, 203 b.

[2Quiere decirse, el nombre de Penia, que aparece en el mito platónico del Banquete, referido al nacimiento de Eros.