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Plotino - Tratado 26,18 (III, 6, 18) — Sequência e fim do exame da grandeza material

Enéada III, 6, 18

terça-feira 24 de maio de 2022, por Cardoso de Castro

Capítulo 18: Sequência e fim do exame da grandeza material

  • 1-9: Hipótese absurda que a dimensão seja produzida por um ato de pensamento; o grande não dependeria mas da Forma do grande
  • 9-13: A matéria não pode senão parecer grande
  • 13-23: O grande não é senão uma vestimenta que recobre a matéria
  • 24-29: Comparação com a impassibilidade da alma
  • 29-31: A matéria não tem atividade, ela não é senão uma sombra
  • 31-46: As razões formadoras têm necessidade da matéria como de um lugar de recepção para se desenvolver em determinados viventes

Míguez

18. Si un ser tuviese noción de su grandeza y esta noción tuviese a su vez suficiente poder, no sólo para permanecer en el pensamiento, sino incluso para salir al exterior; si ese mismo ser tomase una naturaleza que no está en la inteligencia, que no tiene ninguna forma ni huella de magnitud o de otra cosa cualquiera, ¿qué haría con este poder? Es claro que no haría un caballo, ni un buey, pues esto lo harán otros. Pero, como la paternidad de lo que él produzca hay que atribuirla a la magnitud, no podría contener algo que difiere de él y tendría solamente su imagen. No habiendo alcanzado a ser grande por sí mismo, se contenta con pareceiío, en la medida de lo posible, en las cosas que le atañen. Esto es, no querrá mostrarse incapaz, ni desvanecerse en muchas partes, situadas en lugares diferentes; sino que, al contrarío, conservará sus partes homogéneas y no carecerá de ninguna. Claro que en una pequeña masa no podría mantener una imagen de la magnitud que fuese igual a la magnitud en sí, por tratarse precisamente de una imagen, cuyo deseo y cuya esperanza es alcanzar la magnitud en sí y aproximarse a ella tanto como le sea posible. Ahora bien, en coexistencia con la materia a la que no puede abandonar, hizo grande a aquélla, que no lo es ni lo parece, y produjo la magnitud en la masa que nosotros vemos.

La materia, sin embargo, conserva su naturaleza, sirviéndose de la magnitud como de un vestido, con el que se recubre, y sintiéndose muy a gusto con él. Si el vestido desapareciese, la materia permanecería de nuevo la misma y tal cual es, ya que la magnitud que posee viene de la forma presente en ella. El alma, a su vez, posee las formas de los seres, por ser ella también una forma. Como las contiene a todas, y cada forma existe igualmente en sí misma, ve las formas de las cosas sensibles que se vuelven y aproximan a ella pero esto no quiere decir que las reciba en multitud, sino que las ve desposeídas de su masa, porque, realmente, no podría convertirse en algo diferente a lo que es.

La materia no ofrece resistencia alguna porque carece de actividad. Es como una sombra, que espera soportar todo lo que quiera la causa productora. La cual, como proveniente de la razón inteligible, contiene en sí misma la huella de lo que acontecerá en la materia. Porque es análoga a la razón que se mueve en el plazo representativo y cuyo movimiento constituye una parte de ella. Si esta razón permaneciese una e idéntica, no cambiaría en nada, sino que seguiría inmóvil. Por otra parte, la materia no puede, al igual que el alma, dejar que se establezcan, al mismo tiempo, todas las formas; o, en otro caso, sería una de estas formas. Debe, en cambio, recibirlas todas, aunque no las reciba indivisiblemente 1 . Al ser, por consiguiente, un lugar para todas las formas, debe también dirigirse hacia todas ellas, salir a su encuentro y bastar al espacio total; porque la materia no queda retenida en un determinado espacio sino que se expone a todo lo que pueda venir. ¿Cómo, pues, una forma que penetre en ella no impide que entren todas aquellas con las que no puede asociarse? Digamos que no posee, primeramente, ninguna forma, o que, si alguna tiene, es ésta la forma del universo, de modo que abarca a la vez todas las formas y cada una en particular. La materia del ser animado se divide al mismo tiempo que éste; de otro modo, la materia no sería diferente a la razón.

Bouillet

ΧVIII. Supposons qu’un être possède de la grandeur une conception qui ait la puissance non-seulement d’être en elle-même, mais encore de se produire au dehors, et qu’il rencontre une nature [telle qu’est la matière] incapable d’exister dans l’intelligence, d’avoir une forme, d’offrir 166 aucun vestige de la grandeur réelle ou de quelque qualité. Que ferait cet être avec une telle puissance? Il ne créerait ni un cheval, ni un bœuf : car d’autres causes [les raisons séminales] les produiront. [Il créerait la grandeur qui existe dans la matière, c’est-à-dire la grandeur apparente]. En effet, la chose qui procède de la grandeur même ne peut être la grandeur réelle ; elle sera donc la grandeur apparente (99). Ainsi, puisque la matière n’a pas reçu la grandeur réelle, il ne lui reste plus que d’être grande dans sa nature autant qu’il lui est possible, c’est-à-dire de paraître grande : pour cela, elle doit ne manquer nulle part, et, si elle s’étend, n’être pas une quantité discrète, mais avoir ses parties liées ensemble, et n’être absente d’aucun lieu. En effet, il était impossible qu’il y eût dans une petite masse une image de la grandeur qui égalât la grandeur réelle, puisque ce n’est qu’une image de la grandeur; mais, entraînée par l’espérance d’atteindre la grandeur à laquelle elle aspirait, cette image s’est étendue autant qu’elle le pouvait avec la matière, qui a partagé son extension parce qu’elle ne pouvait pas ne pas la suivre. C’est ainsi que cette image delà grandeur a rendu grand ce qui ne l’était pas (sans cependant le faire paraître réellement grand), et a produit la grandeur qui apparaît dans la masse. La matière n’en conserve pas moins sa nature, quoiqu’elle soit voilée par cette grandeur apparente, comme par un vêtement dont elle s’est couverte quand elle a suivi la grandeur qui l’entraînait dans son extension. Si la matière venait jamais à se dépouiller de ce vêtement, elle demeurerait néanmoins ce qu’elle était en elle-même auparavant : car elle n’est grande qu’autant que la forme la rend telle par sa présence (100).

L’âme, possédant les formes des êtres et étant elle-même une forme, possède toutes choses à la fois (101). Ayant en elle-même toutes les formes, voyant d’ailleurs les formes des objets sensibles se tourner vers elle et approcher d’elle, elle ne veut pas les recevoir avec leur multiplicité ; elle ne les considère qu’en faisant abstraction de leur masse : car elle ne saurait devenir autre qu’elle est (102). Mais la matière, n’ayant point la force de résister (car elle ne possède aucune activité propre), et n’étant qu’une ombre, se prête à tout ce que veut lui faire éprouver la puissance active. En outre, ce qui procède de l’essence intelligible possède déjà un vestige de ce qui doit être produit dans la matière. C’est ainsi que la raison discursive, qui se meut dans le champ de l’imagination représentative (ἐν φαντασί εἰκονικῇ), ou le mouvement que la raison produit, implique division : car, si la raison restait dans l’unité et dans l’identité, elle ne se mouvrait pas, elle demeurerait dans le repos. D’ailleurs la matière ne peut, ainsi que le fait l’âme, recevoir toutes les formes à la fois; sinon, elle serait une forme. Comme elle doit contenir toutes choses, sans cependant les contenir d’une manière indivisible, il est nécessaire que, servant de lieu à toutes choses, elle s’étende vers toutes, s’offre partout à toutes, et ne manque à aucun espace, parce qu’elle n’est resserrée dans les bornes d’aucun espace et qu’elle est toujours prête à recevoir ce qui doit être. Comment se fait-il donc qu’une chose, en entrant dans la matière, n’empêche pas d’y pénétrer les autres choses, qui ne peuvent cependant coexister? C’est que la matière n’est pas un premier principe. Sinon, ce serait la forme même de l’univers. Or, une telle forme serait toutes choses à la fois et chaque chose en particulier. En effet, la matière de l’être vivant est divisée comme les parties mêmes de l’être vivant; sans cela, il ne subsisterait rien que la raison [l’essence intelligible].

Guthrie

MAGNITUDE IS ONLY APPEARANCE.

18. Let us now suppose that a conception of magnitude were possessed by some being which would have the power not only to be in itself, but also to produce itself externally; and that it should meet a nature (such as matter) that was incapable of existing within intelligence, of having a form, of revealing any trace of real magnitude, or any quality. What would such a being do with such a power? It would create neither a horse nor an ox; for other causes (the "seminal) reasons" would produce them. Indeed, that which proceeds from magnitude itself cannot be real magnitude; it must therefore be apparent magnitude. Thus, since matter has not received real magnitude, all it can do is to be as great as its nature will permit; that is, to seem great. To accomplish that, it must not fail anywhere; and, if it be extended, it cannot be a discrete quantity, but all its parts must be united, and absent in no place. Indeed, it was impossible for a small mass to contain an image of magnitude that would equal the real magnitude, since it is only an image of magnitude; but, carried away with the hope of achieving the magnitude to which it aspired, this image extended to its limit, along with matter, which shared its extension because matter could not follow it. That is how this image of magnitude magnified what was not great, without however making it seem really great, and produced the magnitude that appears in its mass. None the less does matter preserve its nature, though it be veiled by this apparent magnitude, as if by a garment with which it covered itself when it followed the magnitude that involved it in its extension. If matter ever happened to be stripped of this garment, it would nevertheless remain what itself was before; for it possesses magnitude only in so far as form by its presence makes it great.

IF MATTER WERE A PRIMARY PRINCIPLE, IT WOULD BE THE FORM OF THE UNIVERSE, SUCH AS SOUL IS.

As the soul possesses the forms of beings, and as she herself is a form, she possesses all things simultaneously. Containing all the- forms, and besides seeing the forms of sense-objects turning towards her, and approaching her, she is not willing to accept them, along with their manifoldness. She considers them only after making abstractions of their mass; for the soul could not become other than she is. But as matter does not have the strength to resist, possessing as it does no special characteristic activity, and being no more than an adumbration, matter yields to everything that active power proposes to inflict on it. Besides, that which proceeds from intelligible (nature) possesses already a trace of what is to be produced in matter. That is how discursive reason which moves within the sphere of representative imagination, or the movement produced by reason, implies division; for if reason remained within unity and identity, it would not move, but remain at rest. Besides, not as the soul does, can matter receive all forms simultaneously; otherwise it would be a form. As it must contain all ’things, without however containing them in an indivisible manner, it is necessary that, serving as it does as location for all things, it should extend towards all of them, everywhere offering itself to all of them, avoiding no part of space, because it is not restricted within any boundary of space, and because it is always ready to receive what is to be. How then does it happen that one thing, on entering into matter, does not hinder the entrance of other things, which, however, cannot co-exist with the former thing? The reason is that matter is not a first principle. Otherwise, it would be the very form of the universe. Such a form, indeed, would be both all things simultaneously, and each thing in particular. Indeed the matter of the living being is divided as are the very parts of the living being; otherwise nothing but reason would exist.

Taylor

XVIII. If some one, therefore, possessing an intellectual conception of magnitude, should have this conception attended with a power not only of subsisting in itself, hut also of proceeding as it were externally, and the power should receive a nature not existing in the intellectual per-eeiver, nor having a certain form, nor a certain vestige of magnitude or of any other form, what would he produce through this power ? Not a horse, or an ox. For other powers would produce these. Or shall we say, that since this power proceeds from a great father, nothing else [besides matter] is able to receive this magnitude, and that its possession of it will only be imaginary, and not real. Hence, to that which does not so obtain magnitude, as to be in its own nature the great itself, it remains for it to be apparently only as much as possible great. But this is not to be deficient, and not to proceed to many things in many places; but to possess in itself kindred parts, and not to leave any thing destitute of itself. For it is not possible that in a small bulk, there should still be an equal image of magnitude, since it is an image of greatness; but so far as it aspires through its hope, it accedes as far as it is possible for it to accede, and running in conjunction with that which is not able to leave it, it causes that to be great which is not great, yet not so as to appear to be the magnitude which is seen in bulk. At the same time, however, matter preserves its own nature, using this magnitude as a (vestment, through which it ran together with it, when magnitude running became its leader. But if at any time it should divest itself of magnitude, it would again remain the same as it was before in itself; or would be as great as form when present caused it to be. And soul, indeed, possessing the forms of beings, since she is also herself a form, contains all things at once. Since, likewise, each form is at once wholly contained in her, hence perceiving the forms of sensibles as it were converted and acceding to her, she cannot endure to receive them with multitude, but sees them divested of bulk. For she cannot become any thing else than what she is.

Matter, however, having nothing repercussive; for it has no energy; but being a shadow, stays to suffer whatever the producing cause may effect in it. _ That also which proceeds from the reason that is in soul, has now a vestige of the thing which is about to be effected; just as in the iconic nature of the phantasy, reason which is moved, or the motion from reason, is a division into parts; since if it was one and the same, it would not be moved, but be permanent. Matter, however, is not able to introduce at once all things into itself, for if it were able, it would be some one of all things. But since it is necessary that it should receive all things, yet not impartibly, it is requisite that existing as the place of all things, it should proceed to all things, meet with them, and be sufficient for every interval, because it is not itself comprehended by interval, but is exposed to the reception of it. How does it happen, therefore, that one thing entering into matter, does not impede other things ? It is because all things cannot enter together at the same time; for if they could, there would not be anything which is first. But if there is, it is the form of the universe; so that all things are indeed simultaneous, but each has a partial existence. For the matter of the animal nature is distributed in conjunction with the division of the animal into parts. For if this were not the case, nothing would have been produced besides reason.

MacKenna

18. The Ideal Principle possessing the Intellection [= Idea, Noesis] of Magnitude - assuming that this Intellection is of such power as not merely to subsist within itself but to be urged outward as it were by the intensity of its life - will necessarily realize itself in a Kind [= Matter] not having its being in the Intellective Principle, not previously possessing the Idea of Magnitude or any trace of that Idea or any other.

What then will it produce [in this Matter] by virtue of that power?

Not horse or cow: these are the product of other Ideas.

No: this Principle comes from the source of Magnitude [= is primal "Magnitude"] and therefore Matter can have no extension, in which to harbour the Magnitude of the Principle, but can take in only its reflected appearance.

To the thing which does not enjoy Magnitude in the sense of having mass-extension in its own substance and parts, the only possibility is that it present some partial semblance of Magnitude, such as being continuous, not here and there and everywhere, that its parts be related within it and ungapped. An adequate reflection of a great mass cannot be produced in a small space - mere size prevents - but the greater, pursuing the hope of that full self-presentment, makes progress towards it and brings about a nearer approach to adequate mirroring in the parallel from which it can never withhold its radiation: thus it confers Magnitude upon that [= Matter] which has none and cannot even muster up the appearance of having any, and the visible resultant exhibits the Magnitude of mass.

Matter, then, wears Magnitude as a dress thrown about it by its association with that Absolute Magnitude to whose movement it must answer; but it does not, for that, change its Kind; if the Idea which has clothed it were to withdraw, it would once again be what it permanently is, what it is by its own strength, or it would have precisely the Magnitude lent to it by any other form that happens to be present in it.

The [Universal] Soul - containing the Ideal Principles of Real-Beings, and itself an Ideal Principle - includes all in concentration within itself, just as the Ideal Principle of each particular entity is complete and self-contained: it, therefore, sees these principles of sensible things because they are turned, as it were, towards it and advancing to it: but it cannot harbour them in their plurality, for it cannot depart from its Kind; it sees them, therefore, stripped of Mass. Matter, on the contrary, destitute of resisting power since it has no Act of its own and is a mere shadow, can but accept all that an active power may choose to send. In what is thus sent, from the Reason-Principle in the Intellectual Realm, there is already contained a degree of the partial object that is to be formed: in the image-making impulse within the Reason-Principle there is already a step [towards the lower manifestation] or we may put it that the downward movement from the Reason-Principle is a first form of the partial: utter absence of partition would mean no movement but [sterile] repose. Matter cannot be the home of all things in concentration as the Soul is: if it were so, it would belong to the Intellective Sphere. It must be all-recipient but not in that partless mode. It is to be the Place of all things, and it must therefore extend universally, offer itself to all things, serve to all interval: thus it will be a thing unconfined to any moment [of space or time] but laid out in submission to all that is to be.

But would we not expect that some one particularized form should occupy Matter [at once] and so exclude such others as are not able to enter into combination?

No: for there is no first Idea except the Ideal Principle of the Universe - and, by this Idea, Matter is [the seat of] all things at once and of the particular thing in its parts - for the Matter of a living being is disparted according to the specific parts of the organism: if there were no such partition nothing would exist but the Reason-Principle.