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Plotino - Tratado 45,3 (III, 7, 3) — Primeira abordagem da eternidade

Enéada III, 7, 3

quarta-feira 18 de maio de 2022, por Cardoso de Castro

Cap 3: Primeira abordagem da eternidade

  • linhas 1-27: Ela é a vida imutável, o poder uno e múltiplo do mundo inteligível
  • linhas 27-36: Ela não tem nem passado nem futuro
  • linhas 36-39: Recapitulação

Míguez

3. ¿Cuál es ese carácter por el que decimos que el mundo todo -el mundo entero inteligible- es perdurable y eterno? ¿Y qué es realmente la perpetuidad? ¿La identificaremos con la eternidad, o será ésta la que se siga de aquélla? Conviene, desde luego, que coincidan en una sola cosa, aunque nuestra noción del mundo inteligible resulte de la reunión de muchas cosas, pues hay una naturaleza que, o bien acompaña a los seres inteligibles, o bien está unida o aparece en ellos, y, si todos los seres inteligibles forman una naturaleza única, es lo cierto que ésta tiene muchas potencias y encierra también muchas cosas. Quien ha visto esta naturaleza múltiple, la llama sustancia considerándola como un sujeto, o movimiento, por la vida que advierte en ella, o reposo, en tanto que permanece siempre así, o alteridad, o también identidad, porque los seres inteligibles, en su conjunto, son una unidad. Reuniendo de nuevo todas estas potencias en una unidad hasta formar una sola vida, ordena conjuntamente la alteridad y el acto incesante, la identidad y lo que no es otro, el pensamiento y la vida que no van ele un objeto a otro, o lo que es lo mismo, lo que permanece siempre así y en continuidad. Al ver todo esto, ve realmente la eternidad y una vida que persiste idéntica, presente siempre y totalmente en sí misma. No se trata de algo que es ahora esto y luego otra cosa, sino de algo que es a la vez todas las cosas, que no es ahora una y luego otra, sino más bien lo perfecto indivisible; cual si fuese un punto en el que se reuniesen todas las líneas, pero sin posibilidad de desplazarse hacia fuera, sino permaneciendo en sí mismo, no afectado por ningún cambio. Este punto está siempre en lo presente y no cuentan para él ni lo pasado ni lo futuro: es lo que es, y eso mismo es siempre. De modo que la eternidad es, no el sustrato de los seres inteligibles, sino la llama que sale de este sustrato, según la identidad que anuncia de sí mismo, no lo que será, sino lo que es. Y es lo que es y no será de otro modo. Porque, ¿qué podría venirle después, que no fuese ya ahora? Nada, en verdad, que no se encuentre presente en este punto. No se puede hablar, pues, del momento a partir del que llegará u su estado actual, dado que no existe ese otro momento, sino éste; ni tampoco de su estado futuro, ya que necesariamente tiene desde ahora aquel estado. No cabe decir de él que era, puesto que para él no existe el pasado; ni que será, puesto que nada le ocurrirá en el futuro. Será, por tanto, lo que es. "No se dirá de (ese ser) que era, ni que será, sino tan sólo que es" [1]. Se trata del ser estable que no admito cambios en el futuro y que tampoco ha cambiado en el pasado: esto es, la eternidad. Lo que se encierra en los límites del ser tiene una vida presente que es toda ella plena e indivisible. He aquí la eternidad que nosotros buscamos.

Bouillet

III. L’éternité n’est pas un accident extrinsèque de l’Être intelligible; elle est en lui, de lui, avec lui. Nous voyons qu’elle est intimement unie à l’Être, parce que nous voyons que toutes les autres choses, dont nous disons qu’elles existent là haut (ἐκεῖ), sont de cet Être et avec lui : car les choses qui occupent le premier rang dans l’existence doivent être unies aux premiers êtres et y subsister ; c’est ainsi que le Beau est en eux et provient d’eux; c’est ainsi qu’en eux réside également la Vérité. Là, le tout est sous un certain rapport dans la partie ; les parties sont aussi dans le tout, parce que ce tout, étant véritablement tout, n’est pas composé de parties, mais engendre les parties mêmes, condition nécessaire pour qu’il soit un véritable tout. En outre, dans ce tout, la Vérité ne consiste pas dans l’accord d’une notion avec une autre, mais est l’essence même de chacune des choses dont elle est la vérité. Ce tout véritable, pour être réellement tout, doit être tout non-seulement en ce sens qu’il est toutes choses, mais encore en ce sens que rien ne lui manque. S’il en est ainsi, rien ne sera pour lui : car, dire qu’une chose sera pour lui, c’est supposer qu’il en manquait précédemment, qu’il n’était pas encore tout; d’ailleurs, il ne peut lui arriver rien de contraire à sa nature parce qu’il est impassible. Puisque rien ne saurait lui arriver, rien ne doit être, ne sera, n’a été pour lui.

Otez aux choses engendrées leur futur (τὸ ἔσται), comme leur existence consiste à acquérir perpétuellement, dès ce moment elles ne seront plus rien. Donnez le futur aux choses d’une nature opposée, vous les faites déchoir du rang d’essences ; évidemment, elles ne posséderont pas l’être par elles-mêmes, si leur être consiste dans le futur et le passé (12). L’essence des choses engendrées consiste au contraire à aller de l’origine de leur existence jusqu’aux dernières limites du temps au delà duquel elles ne seront plus; c’est là ce qui constitue leur futur (13). Dès qu’on leur retranche leur futur, on diminue leur vie, par conséquent leur existence. C’est ce qui arrivera également à l’univers tant qu’il existera : il aspire à être ce qu’il doit être, il y aspire sans relâche parce qu’il puise l’existence dans la production continuelle de nouveaux actes ; par la même raison, il se meut en cercle parce qu’il désire posséder l’Essence intelligible (14). Telle est l’existence que nous découvrons dans les choses engendrées, telle est la cause qui les fait aspirer sans cesse à exister dans le futur. Les êtres qui occupent le premier rang et qui sont bienheureux n’ont aucun désir du futur, parce qu’ils sont déjà tout ce qu’il est dans leur nature d’être, qu’ils possèdent toute la vie qu’ils doivent posséder; ils n’ont donc rien à chercher, puisqu’il n’y a pas de futur pour eux ; ils ne peuvent pas non plus recevoir en eux une chose pour laquelle il y aurait du futur. Ainsi, l’essence de l’Être intelligible est absolue, entière, non-seulement dans ses parties, mais encore dans sa totalité, qui n’offre aucun défaut, à laquelle rien ne manque, à laquelle ne saurait s’ajouter rien de ce qui appartient au non-être : car l’Être intelligible doit non-seulement embrasser tous les êtres dans sa totalité et son universalité, mais encore ne rien recevoir qui appartienne au non-être (15). C’est dans cette disposition et cette nature de l’Être intelligible que consiste l’Éternité : car αἰὼν (éternité) vient de ἀεὶ ὤν (étant toujours)(16).

Guthrie

ETERNITY IS NOT AN ACCIDENT OF THE INTELLIGIBLE, BUT AN INTIMATE PART OF ITS NATURE.

3. (4). Eternity is not an extrinsic accident of (intelligible) nature, but is in it, of it, and with it. We see that it is intimately inherent in (intelligible nature) because we see that all other things, of which we say that they exist on high, are of and with this (intelligible) nature; for the things that occupy the first rank in existence must be united with the first Beings, and subsist there. Thus the beautiful is in them, and comes from them; thus also does truth dwell in them. There the whole in a certain way exists within the part; the parts also are in the whole; because this whole, really being the whole, is not composed of parts, but begets the parts themselves, a condition necessary to its being a whole. In this whole, besides, truth does not consist in the agreement of one notion with another, but is the very nature of each of the things of which it is the truth. In order, really to be a whole, this real whole must be all not only in the sense that it is all things, but also in the sense that it lacks nothing. In this case, nothing will, for it, be in the future; for to say that, for it, something "will be" for it implies that it lacked something before that, that it was not yet all; besides, nothing can happen to it against nature, because it is impassible. As nothing could happen to it, for it nothing "is to be," "will be," or "has been."

TO BEGOTTEN THINGS THE FUTURE IS NECESSARY; BUT NOT TO THE INTELLIGIBLE.

As the existence of begotten things consists in perpetually acquiring (something or another), they will be annihilated by a removal of their future. An attribution of the future to the (intelligible) entities of a nature contrary (to begotten things), would degrade them from the rank of existences. Evidently they will not be consubstantial with existence, if this existence of theirs be in the future or past. The nature ("being") of begotten things on the contrary consists in going from the origin of their existence to the last limits of the time beyond which they will no longer exist; that is in what their future consists.442 Abstraction of their future diminishes their life, and consequently their existence. That is also what will happen to the universe, in so far as it will exist; it aspires to being what it should be, without any interruption, because it derives existence from the continual production of fresh actualizations; for the same reason, it moves in a circle because it desires to possess intelligible nature ("being"). Such is the existence that we discover in begotten things, such is the cause that makes them ceaselessly aspire to existence in the future. The Beings that occupy the first rank and which are blessed, have no desire of the future, because they are already all that it lies in them to be, and because they possess all the life they are ever to possess. They have therefore nothing to seek, since there is no future for them; neither can they receive within themselves anything for which there might be a future. Thus the nature ("being") of intelligible existence is absolute, and entire, not only in its parts, but also in its totality, which reveals no fault, which lacks nothing, and to which nothing that in any way pertains to nonentity could be added; for intelligible existence must not only embrace in its totality and universality all beings, but it must also receive nothing that pertains to nonentity. It is this disposition and nature of intelligible existence that constitutes the aeon (or eternity); for (according to Aristotle  )443 this word is derived from "aei on," "being continually."

Taylor

III. Nor must we think that this [eternity] happens externally to that nature [viz. to being itself], but that it is in it, and from it, and subsists together with it. For it is seen to be profoundly inherent in it. For perceiving all such other things as we say are there, to be inherent, we assert that all of them are from, and subsist together with essence. For it is necessary that things which have a primary subsistence, should exist together with first essences, and should be contained in them; since the beautiful also is in and from them, and truth also is inherent in them. And in a certain degree, indeed, the whole itself is as it were in a part, and the things which are there are as parts in a whole, as if in reality this were an all not collected from parts, but itself generating parts, in order that through this it may be truly all. The truth also which is there, is not a concord with something else that is intelligible, but of each thing itself of which it is the truth. It is necessary, therefore, that the whole of this which is true, if it is truly all, should not only be every thing so far as it is all things, but likewise that the all should subsist in such a way, as not to be in any thing deficient. But if this be the case, nothing will accede to it. For if something vrill be added to it, it was prior to the accession of this deficient. Hence, prior to this it was not every thing. But what can happen to it preternaturally ? For it suffers nothing. If, therefore, nothing can accede to it, it neither is about to be, nor will be, nor was. If, indeed, you take away from generated natures, the it will be, since they subsist in perpetual acquisition, non-existence is immediately present with them. But to things which are not such as these, if you add the it will be, a departure from the seat of existence is the consequence of such an addition. For it is evident that existence is not connascent with them, if they are in any respect indebted to futurity for their subsistence. For in generated natures, indeed, essence is seen to be an extension from the beginning of generation, to the extremity of the time in which they no longer exist. This it is, therefore, for them to be ; and if any one should deprive them of this extension of being, their life would be diminished. So that it is necessary that the existence of the universe also, should be an extension of this kind. Hence, it hastens to be in futurity, and is not willing to stop, since it attracts existence to itself, in performing another and another thing, and is moved in a circle through a certain desire of essence. So that we have found what existence is in such natures as these, and also what the cause is of a motion which thus hastens to be perpetually in the future periods of time. In first and blessed natures, however, there is not any desire of the future; for they are now the whole, and whatever of life they ought to possess, they wholly possess, so that they do not seek after any thing, because there is not any thing which can be added to them in futurity. Hence, neither does that happen to them in which there is the future. The all-perfect and total essence therefore of being, is not only total in its parts, but is not in any thing deficient, and is that to which nothing pertaining to non-being can happen ; for it is not only necessary that all beings should be present with the all, and the whole, but likewise that nothing should be added to it of that which sometimes is not. Hence this disposition and nature of the all-perfect essence of being, will be eternity. For eternity is denominated from that which always is.

MacKenna

3. What, then, can this be, this something in virtue of which we declare the entire divine Realm to be Eternal, everlasting? We must come to some understanding of this perpetuity with which Eternity is either identical or in conformity.

It must at once, be at once something in the nature of unity and yet a notion compact of diversity, or a Kind, a Nature, that waits upon the Existents of that Other World, either associated with them or known in and upon them, they collectively being this Nature which, with all its unity, is yet diverse in power and essence. Considering this multifarious power, we declare it to be Essence in its relation to this sphere which is substratum or underlie to it; where we see life we think of it as Movement; where all is unvaried self-identity we call it Repose; and we know it as, at once, Difference and Identity when we recognize that all is unity with variety.

Then we reconstruct; we sum all into a collected unity once more, a sole Life in the Supreme; we concentrate Diversity and all the endless production of act: thus we know Identity, a concept or, rather, a Life never varying, not becoming what previously it was not, the thing immutably itself, broken by no interval; and knowing this, we know Eternity.

We know it as a Life changelessly motionless and ever holding the Universal content [time, space, and phenomena] in actual presence; not this now and now that other, but always all; not existing now in one mode and now in another, but a consummation without part or interval. All its content is in immediate concentration as at one point; nothing in it ever knows development: all remains identical within itself, knowing nothing of change, for ever in a Now since nothing of it has passed away or will come into being, but what it is now, that it is ever.

Eternity, therefore - while not the Substratum [not the essential foundation of the Divine or Intellectual Principle] - may be considered as the radiation of this Substratum: it exists as the announcement of the Identity in the Divine, of that state - of being thus and not otherwise - which characterizes what has no futurity but eternally is.

What future, in fact, could bring to that Being anything which it now does not possess; and could it come to be anything which it is not once for all?

There exists no source or ground from which anything could make its way into that standing present; any imagined entrant will prove to be not alien but already integral. And as it can never come to be anything at present outside it, so, necessarily, it cannot include any past; what can there be that once was in it and now is gone? Futurity, similarly, is banned; nothing could be yet to come to it. Thus no ground is left for its existence but that it be what it is.

That which neither has been nor will be, but simply possesses being; that which enjoys stable existence as neither in process of change nor having ever changed - that is Eternity. Thus we come to the definition: the Life - instantaneously entire, complete, at no point broken into period or part - which belongs to the Authentic Existent by its very existence, this is the thing we were probing for - this is Eternity.


[1Cf. Platón, Timeo 37e-38a.