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Plotino - Tratado 26,19 (III, 6, 19) — Em que sentido compreender que a matéria seja comparada a uma "mãe"

Enéada III, 6, 19

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

Capítulo 19: Conclusão geral. Em que sentido compreender que a matéria seja comparada a uma "mãe" (Timeu   51a4-5)

  • 1-8: Lembrança das qualidades contrárias que se afetam mutuamente
  • 8-14: Lembrança dos primeiros capítulos sobre as alterações corporais a que correspondem atividades da alma
  • 14-19: A matéria impassível nada produz, ela é mais "receptáculo" que mãe
  • 19-25: Como compreender a comparação da matéria e de uma mãe
  • 25-30: Alusão a Hermes itifálico e à Grande Mãe cercada de eunucos
  • 30-41: A matéria nada engendra

Míguez

19. Las cosas que entran en la materia, que es como su madre, no la perjudican ni la aprovechan [1]. No luchan con ella, sino que luchan entre sí, porque las fuerzas se aplican a sus contrarios, pero no al sustrato, a no ser que se tome este sustrato con las formas que van con él. Así, por ejemplo, lo frío hace desaparecer lo cálido, y lo negro lo blanco, a no ser que estas cualidades contrarias se mezclen para producir una nueva cualidad. Las cosas que se mezclan son precisamente las cosas que sufren, pero sufrir, para ellas, es no ser ]o que antes eran. En los seres vivos se dan tambien las pasiones cuando sufren una alteración en las cualidades de sus cuerpos o en las fuerzas que existen en ellas, pues entonces, o se deshacen sus combinaciones, o tienen lugar o se producen contrariamente a su disposición natural. Estas pasiones se encuentran en los cuerpos, pero sólo las más fuertes de ellas, las que tienen realmente conocimiento, están ligadas a las almas; porque las otras no llegan a conocer. La materia, en cambio, permanece tal cual es; nada experimenta cuando el frío se va o cuando el calor sobreviene, pues ni una ni otra cosa cuentan para ella en la amistad o enemistad. De modo que su nombre más familiar será el de "receptáculo y nodriza"; el de madre le vendrá por analogía, porque la materia nada engendra. Parece que se la llama madre por estimarse que la madre tiene el papel de la materia con referencia a los seres engendrados, y así sólo recibe, sin dar, empero, nada a cambio, ya que todo el cuerpo del ser engendrado ha de atribuirse al alimento. Sin embargo, si la madre da algo de sí misma al ser engendrado, no puede catalogarse ya de materia, sino de forma; porque tan sólo la forma es capaz de ser fecunda, y cualquier otra naturaleza es infecunda.

He aquí lo que, en mi opinión, quieren decir los sabios antiguos, de manera enigmática, en sus misterios. Y cuando representan al anciano Hérmes con el órgano de la generación siempre en actividad dan a entender que el generador de las cosas sensibles no es otro que la razón inteligible, en tanto la infecundidad de la materia, que es siempre la misma, viene señalada por esos eunucos que la rodean.

Hacen a la materia "Madre de todas las cosas" [2] y le dan este nombre por considerar tal principio como un sustrato. Con ello prueban en verdad lo que quieren, esto es, que la materia no resulta en todo semejante a una madre, siempre que la cuestión se trate con rigor y no de modo superficial. Pues ya mostraron de tiempo atrás, en la medida que les fue posible, que esta madre era infecunda, sin los caracteres, por tanto, de una verdadera mujer. Se la califica como mujer, en el sentido de que, como tal mujer, recibe algo, pero no porque sea capaz de engendrar. He aquí lo que deja ver el cortejo de la "Madre universal": cortejo que no está hecho de mujeres, ni de seres que puedan engendrar, porque se les ha privado del poder de hacerlo, el cual sólo pertenece al ser plenamente viril.

Bouillet

XIX. Les choses, en entrant dans la matière qui joue à leur égard le rôle de mère, ne lui font éprouver ni bien ni mal. Les coups qu’elles portent ne sont pas ressentis par la matière ; elles ne les dirigent que les unes contre les autres, parce que les puissances agissent sur leurs contraires et non sur les sujets, à moins qu’on ne considère les sujets comme unis aux choses qu’ils contiennent. Le chaud fait disparaître le froid, et le noir, le blanc (103); ou, s’ils se mêlent, ils produisent par leur mixtion une qualité nouvelle (104). Ce qui pâtit, ce sont donc les choses qui se mêlent, et pâtir pour elles, c’est cesser d’être ce qu’elles étaient. Dans les êtres animés, c’est le corps qui pâtit par l’altération des qualités et des forces qu’il possède. Quand les qualités constitutives (συστάσεις) de ces êtres sont détruites, ou qu’elles se combinent, ou qu’elles éprouvent un changement contraire à leur nature, les passions se rapportent au corps et les perceptions se rapportent à l’âme. Celle-ci connaît en effet toutes les passions qui produisent une vive impression. Quant à la matière, elle demeure ce qu’elle est : elle ne saurait pâtir quand elle cesse de contenir le froid ou le chaud, puisqu’aucune de ces deux qualités ne lui est ni propre ni étrangère. Le nom qui la caractérise le mieux est donc celui de réceptacle et de nourrice (105). Mais, en quel sens est-elle aussi 169 appelée mère puisqu’elle n’engendre rien? Ceux qui l’appellent mère sont ceux qui regardent la mère comme destinée à jouer à l’égard de l’enfant le rôle de simple matière, à recevoir seulement le germe sans rien donner d’elle-même, parce que le corps de l’enfant doit son accroissement à la nourriture. Si la mère lui donne quelque chose, c’est qu’alors elle remplit à son égard la fonction de forme an lieu de se renfermer dans le rôle de simple matière. En effet, la forme seule est féconde, l’autre nature [la matière] est stérile.

C’est ce que les anciens sages ont sans doute voulu indiquer d’une manière symbolique dans les mystères et les initiations, eu y représentant Hermès l’ancien (106) avec l’organe delà génération toujours prêt à agir, pour marquer que c’est la raison intelligible qui engendre les choses sensibles. D’un autre côté, ces mêmes sages indiquent la stérilité de la matière, condamnée à rester toujours la même, par les eunuques qui entourent Rhéa [Cybèle] (107) ; ils en font la mère 170 de toutes choses, pour nous servir de l’expression par laquelle ils désignent le principe qui joue le rôle de sujet (108).

Par le nom qu’ils lui donnent, ils veulent faire voir que la matière n’est pas tout à fait semblable à une mère. A ceux qui désirent connaître ces choses avec exactitude au lieu de se contenter d’une examen superficiel, ils ont montré d’une manière éloignée sans doute, mais aussi précise qu’ils le pouvaient, que la matière est stérile, qu’elle ne remplit pas complètement la fonction d’une femme, qu’elle en joue le rôle sous ce rapport seulement qu’elle reçoit, mais sans concourir en aucune façon à l’acte de la génération; ils l’ont montré, dis-je, en ce sens que ceux qui entourent Rhéa ne sont pas des femmes et ne sont pas non plus des hommes, puisqu’ils n’ont aucun pouvoir d’engendrer : car ils ont perdu par la castration une faculté qui n’appartient qu’à l’homme dont la virilité est intacte.

Guthrie

MATTER AS MOTHER, NURSE, RESIDENCE, AND "OTHER" NATURE.

19. When things enter into the matter that plays the part of mother to them, they neither hurt it, nor give it pleasure. Their blows are not felt by matter; they direct their blows only against each other, because the powers act upon their opposites, and not on their substrates, unless indeed we consider the substrates as united to the things they contain. Heat makes cold disappear, as whiteness affects blackness; or, if they mingle, they produce a new quality by their mixture. What is affected is the things that mingle, and their being affected consists in ceasing to be what they were. Among animate beings, it is the body that is affected by the alteration of the qualities, and of the forces possesed. When the qualities constitutive of these beings are destroyed, or when they combine, or when they undergo some change contrary to their nature, the affections relate to the body, as the perceptions do to the soul. The latter indeed knows all the affections that produce a lively impression. Matter, however, remains what it is; it could not be affected when it ceases to contain heat or cold, since neither of these qualities is either characteristic or foreign. The name that best characterizes matter, therefore, is nurse or residence. But in what sense could matter, that begets nothing, be called "mother"? Those who call it such consider a mother as playing the part of mere matter, towards her child, merely receiving the germ, without contributing anything of itself, because the body of the child owes its growth to nourishment. If however the mother does contribute anything (to the formation of the child) she then plays the part of form, and does not restrict herself to the part of matter. Indeed, the form alone is fruitful, while the "other nature" (that is, matter), is unfruitful.

THE MYTH OF THE ITHYPHALLIC HERMES.

That no doubt was the meaning of those ancient sages who in mysteries and initiations symbolically represented the "ancient Hermes" with the generative organ in erection, to teach that it is intelligible reason that begets sense-objects. On the other hand, these same sages signify the sterility of matter, condemned to perpetual self-identity, by the eunuchs who surround Rhea, making of it the mother of all things, to use the expression they employ in designating the principle that plays the part of substrate.

THE STERILITY OF NATURE INDICATED BY CASTRATION.

That name indicates the difference between matter and a mother. To those who, refusing to be satisfied with superficialities, insist on thoroughness, they thus signified in as precise a manner as possible (without lifting the veil of) obscurity, that matter was sterile, although feminine also to extent at least that matter receives, without contributing to, the act of generation. They indicated it by this, that the (Galli) who surround Cybele are not women, but neither are they men, possessing no power of generation; for by castration they have lost a faculty that is characteristic only of a man whose virility is intact.

Taylor

XIX. The things, therefore, which enter into matter as a mother, neither injure it, nor benefit it. For the impulses of these do not pertain to matter, but to each other, because the powers of these also pertain to contraries, but not to subjects, unless the subjects are considered in conjunction with the impulses. For heat destroys cold, and the black the white; or if they are mingled together, another quality is produced from the mixture. Hence, things which are mingled suffer; but with them, to suffer, is not to be that which they were before. In animated natures, also, the passions indeed, are about the bodies, the change in quality taking place according to the inherent qualities and powers. But when their state of existence is dissolved, or congregated, or transposed preternaturally, then, the passions indeed are in the bodies, but knowledge is in the souls that perceive the more vehement passions. If, however, they do not perceive them, they have no knowledge of them, but matter still remains. For matter suffers nothing, when cold departs, and heat accedes; since neither of these is either friendly or foreign to it. Hence, the appellations of a receptacle and nurse are more appropriate to it [than any other names]. But why is it called a mother ? For it does not generate. Those, however, appear to have denominated it a mother, who think that a mother has the relation of matter towards her offspring, as alone receiving, but imparting nothing to the things begotten; since whatever of body there is in the offspring, is derived from the nutriment. But if the mother imparts any thing to her progeny, it is not so far as she has the relation of matter, but because she is also form For form alone is prolific, but the other nature is barren. Whence, also, I think the ancient wise men obscurely signifying this in their mysteries, represent the ancient Hermes always possessing the organ of generation erect, thus manifesting that it is intelligible reason which generates in the sensible universe. But they indicated the unprolific nature of matter which always remains the same, by the barren substances which were placed about it. For they introduce the mother of all things, which they thus proclaim, receiving the principle according to the subject, and they give her this appellation in order to render their meaning manifest, wishing to indicate to those who are desirous of more accurately comprehending the nature of matter, and who do not investigate it superficially, that it is not entirely similar to a mother. By this, indeed, they demonstrate remotely, but at the same time as much as they are able, that matter is unprolific, and not perfectly feminine; but that it is of a female nature so far as it receives, but not so far as pertains to a generative power. For that which has proceeded into matter, is neither feminine, nor able to generate, but is separated from all generative power, which is alone inherent in that which continues to be of a masculine nature.

MacKenna

19. The Ideal Principles entering into Matter as to a Mother [to be "born into the Universe"] affect it neither for better nor for worse.

Their action is not upon Matter but upon each other; these powers conflict with their opponent principles, not with their substrata - which it would be foolish to confuse with the entrant forms - Heat [the Principle] annuls Cold, and Blackness annuls Whiteness; or, the opponents blend to form an intermediate quality. Only that is affected which enters into combinations: being affected is losing something of self-identity.

In beings of soul and body, the affection occurs in the body, modified according to the qualities and powers presiding at the act of change: in all such dissolution of constituent parts, in the new combinations, in all variation from the original structure, the affection is bodily, the Soul or Mind having no more than an accompanying knowledge of the more drastic changes, or perhaps not even that. [Body is modified: Mind knows] but the Matter concerned remains unaffected; heat enters, cold leaves it, and it is unchanged because neither Principle is associated with it as friend or enemy.

So the appellation "Recipient and Nurse" is the better description: Matter is the mother only in the sense indicated; it has no begetting power. But probably the term Mother is used by those who think of a Mother as Matter to the offspring, as a container only, giving nothing to them, the entire bodily frame of the child being formed out of food. But if this Mother does give anything to the offspring it does so not in its quality as Matter but as being an Ideal-Form; for only the Idea is generative; the contrary Kind is sterile.

This, I think, is why the doctors of old, teaching through symbols and mystic representations, exhibit the ancient Hermes with the generative organ always in active posture; this is to convey that the generator of things of sense is the Intellectual Reason Principle: the sterility of Matter, eternally unmoved, is indicated by the eunuchs surrounding it in its representation as the All-Mother.

This too exalting title is conferred upon it in order to indicate that it is the source of things in the sense of being their underlie: it is an approximate name chosen for a general conception; there is no intention of suggesting a complete parallel with motherhood to those not satisfied with a surface impression but needing a precisely true presentment; by a remote symbolism, the nearest they could find, they indicate that Matter is sterile, not female to full effect, female in receptivity only, not in pregnancy: this they accomplish by exhibiting Matter as approached by what is neither female nor effectively male, but castrated of that impregnating power which belongs only to the unchangeably masculine.


[1Cf. Platón, Timeo, 50 d y 51 a.

[2La comparación viene sugerida, entre otros, por el texto del Timeo, 50 d.