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Plotino - Tratado 45,4 (III, 7, 4) — O ser e a eternidade

Enéada III, 7, 4

quinta-feira 19 de maio de 2022, por Cardoso de Castro

Cap 4: O ser e a eternidade

  • linhas 1-12: A eternidade não é um acidente nem uma parte do mundo inteligível
  • linhas 12-24: Porque o ser verdadeiro é necessariamente completo e logo atemporal
  • linhas 24-33: As coisas em devir, ao contrário, adquiriram seu ser pouco a pouco
  • linhas 33-43: A realidade eterna não falta nada e não tem desejo voltado ao futuro

Míguez

4. No hemos de creer, por tanto, que sea un accidente de la naturaleza inteligible, que le venga de fuera. Viene de sí misma y está unida a aquélla. En la esencia, se la ve siempre, inmediata a ella, por lo cual todas las cosas que postulemos en el ser inteligible, diremos que las vemos como algo que deriva de la esencia y que está unido a ella. Así, conviene que los seres primeros estén unidos a los seres primeros y se encuentren en ellos, puesto que la belleza y la verdad están también en ellos y vienen de ellos. Unos seres se encuentran como en una parte del ser inteligible total, y otros, en cambio, están en todo el ser; porque el ser es un todo verdadero, que no resulta de una reunión de partes, sino que las engendra para "ser realmente un todo. En el mundo inteligible la verdad no se muestra acorde con otra cosa, sino que pertenece a ese mismo ser del que ella es la verdad. Conviene que el todo verdadero, si realmente es un todo, sea no sólo todas las cosas, sino un todo que no tiene falta de nada. De ahí que nada también le acontezca en el futuro, porque sí algo hubiese de añadírsele es que en realidad le faltaba y por tanto, no era el todo. Nada puede ocurrirle contra su naturaleza, puesto que no sufre. Si nada le acontece, no hay para él futuro, como tampoco hubo pasado. Pero si quitáis el futuro a las cosas engendradas, como ellas deben ganar siempre algo nuevo, las dejáis realmente en el no-ser. Si, en cambio, concedéis el futuro a las cosas no engendradas, las veréis decaer de su condición de seres verdaderos [1] ; porque es claro que el ser no les era connatural, si se ha unido a ellas en el pasado o si debe añadírseles más tarde. El ser de las cosas engendradas cuenta en ellas desde el comienzo de la generación hasta su último momento, en el que ya dejan de ser. Hay, pues, para ellas un futuro, y, si se les prívase de él, su vida, y también, por consiguiente, su ser, quedaría disminuido. Asimismo lo hay para el universo sensible, que tiende igualmente hacia el futuro; corre hacia él y no quiere en modo alguno detenerse, sino que atrae hacia aquí su propia existencia, haciendo primero un acto, luego otro y moviéndose en círculo por su especial tendencia al ser. Queda así en claro para nosotros la causa de ese movimiento que tiende a una existencia sin fin en los seres que tienen un futuro.

En cuanto a los seres primeros -seres verdaderamente bienaventurados-, no sienten deseo de futuro. Porque son ya la totalidad y poseen la vida que cumple a su naturaleza. De modo que nada han de buscar, puesto que no existe para ellos el futuro, ni tiempo alguno en el que el futuro se inserte. La esencia del ser es, por tanto, perfecta y total; y no nos referimos con ello a la esencia como parte del ser, sino a la esencia que no está privada de nada y a la que, por consiguiente, no podría añadirse el no-ser. Porque no sólo los seres todos deben estar presentes en el ser total, sino que ningún no-ser debe aparecer en él. Esta disposición característica y esta naturaleza suya constituyen su eternidad; porque la palabra eternidad viene de lo que siempre es [aion].

Bouillet

IV. On s’assure qu’il en est ainsi quand, appliquant son intelligence à la contemplation de quelqu’un des intelligibles (17), on peut affirmer ou plutôt voir qu’il est absolument incapable d’avoir jamais subi aucun changement; sinon, il ne serait pas toujours, ou du moins il ne serait pas toujours tout entier. Est-il ainsi perpétuel ? Oui sans doute : telle est sa nature qu’on reconnaît qu’il est toujours tel qu’il est et qu’il ne saurait être autre dans la suite; en sorte que, si l’on vient à le contempler de nouveau, on le trouvera toujours semblable à lui-même. Donc, si l’on ne cesse jamais de le contempler, qu’on lui reste uni en admirant sa nature, et que l’on montre ainsi dans cet acte une nature infatigable, on s’élèvera soi-même à l’éternité; mais il faut, pour être éternel comme l’Être, ne se laisser distraire par rien en contemplant l’Éternité et la nature éternelle dans l’Éternel même (18). Si ce qui existe de cette manière est éternel et existe toujours, il en résulte que ce qui ne s’abaisse jamais à une nature inférieure, ce qui possède la vie dans sa plénitude, sans avoir jamais reçu, ni recevoir, ni devoir recevoir rien, il en résulte, dis-je, que ce qui existe de cette manière est perpétuel (ἀίδιον). La perpétuité est la propriété constitutive d’une pareille substance; elle est d’elle et en elle (19). L’Éternité est la substance en qui se manifeste cette propriété. Il en résulte que la raison nous dit que l’Éternité est une chose vénérable, qu’elle est identique avec Dieu (20), c’est-à-dire avec ce Dieu [qui est l’Être intelligible] (21). On peut affirmer en effet que l’Éternité est Dieu qui se manifeste en soi et hors de soi dans son essence immuable, identique, dans la permanence de sa vie. Rien d’étonnant d’ailleurs si nous affirmons malgré cela qu’il y a pluralité en Dieu. Chaque intelligible est pluralité parce qu’il est infini par sa puissance, infini, dis-je, en ce sens que rien ne lui manque ; or il possède éminemment ce privilège parce qu’il n’est sujet à rien perdre.

L’Éternité peut donc être définie : la vie qui est actuellement infinie parce qu’elle est universelle et qu’elle ne perd rien (22), puisqu’il n’y a pour elle rien de passé, rien de futur; sans cela, elle ne serait plus tout entière. En effet, dire qu’elle est universelle et ne perd rien, c’est expliquer ce qu’on entend par ces mots : la vie qui est actuellement infinie.

Guthrie

DIFFERENCE BETWEEN ETERNITY AND PERPETUITY.

4. (5). That this is the state of affairs appears when, on applying one’s intelligence to the contemplation of some of the intelligible Entities, it becomes possible to assert, or rather, to see that it is absolutely incapable of ever having undergone any change; otherwise, it would not always exist; or rather, it would not always exist entirely. Is it thus perpetual? Doubtless; its nature is such that one may recognize that it is always such as it is, and that it could never be different in the future; so that, should one later on again contemplate it, it will be found similar to itself (unchanged). Therefore, if we should never cease from contemplation, if we should ever remain united thereto while admiring its nature, and if in that actualization we should show ourselves indefatigable, we would succeed in raising ourselves to eternity; but, to be as eternal as existence, we must not allow ourselves to be in anyway distracted from contemplating eternity, and eternal nature in the eternal itself. If that which exists thus be eternal, and exists ever, evidently that which never lowers itself to an inferior nature; which possesses life in its fulness, without ever having received, receiving, or being about to receive anything; this nature would be "aidion," or perpetual. Perpetuity is the property constitutive of such a substrate; being of it, and in it.443 Eternity is the substrate in which this property manifests. Consequently reason dictates that eternity is something venerable, identical with the divinity.444 We might even assert that the age ("aion," or eternity) is a divinity that manifests within itself, and outside of itself in its immutable and identical existence, in the permanence of its life. Besides, there is nothing to surprise any one if in spite of that we assert a manifoldness in the divinity. Every intelligible entity is manifoldness because infinite in power, infinite in the sense that it lacks nothing; it exercises this privilege peculiarly because it is not subject to losing anything.

ETERNITY IS INFINITE UNIVERSAL LIFE THAT CANNOT LOSE ANYTHING.

Eternity, therefore, may be defined as the life that is at present infinite because it is universal and loses nothing, as it has no past nor future; otherwise it would no longer be whole. To say that it is universal and loses nothing explains the expression: "the life that is at present infinite."

Taylor

IV. He, however, will know that eternity thus subsists, who by the projecting a energies of intellect is able to speak concerning it: or rather, he who sees it to be a thing of such a kind, that nothing in short has ever been generated about it; for otherwise it would not be perpetual being, or would not always be a certain total being. Is it therefore now perpetual ? It is not, unless a nature of such a kind is inherent in it, as to procure credibility concerning it, that it thus subsists, and no longer in any other way. So that if again you survey it by the projecting energies of intellect, you will find that it is such a thing as this. What then, if some one should never depart from the contemplation of it, but should incessantly persevere in admiring its nature, and should be able to do this through the possession of an unwearied nature, such a one perhaps running to eternity, would there stop, and never decline from it, in order that he might become similar to it, and eternal, surveying eternity and the eternal by that which is eternal in himself. If, therefore, that which thus subsists is eternal, and always being, which does not decline in any respect to another nature, but the life which it possesses is now all, neither having received, nor receiving, nor being about to receive any thing in future; — that which thus subsists, will indeed be perpetual. And perpetuity is such a collocation as this of a subject, subsisting from it, and being inherent in it. But eternity is the subject in conjunction with a collocation of this kind presenting itself to the view. Hence eternity is venerable, and as our intellectual conception of it says, is the same with deity. But it says that it is the same with that God [whom we call by the appellation of being and life.] And eternity may be properly denominated a God unfolding himself into light, and shining forth, such as he essentially is, viz. as immutable and the same, and thus firmly established in life. It ought not, however, to be considered as wonderful, if we say that it consists of many things. For every thing in the intelligible world is many, on account of the infinite power which it possesses; since the infinite receives its appellation from a never-failing essence. And this properly, because nothing pertaining to it is consumed. Hence, if some one should thus denominate eternity, calling it life which is now infinite, because it is all, and nothing of which is consumed, because nothing pertaining to it is either past or future, since otherwise it would not be all things at once ; — if some one should thus denominate it, he will be near to the true definition [2] of it. For what is afterwards added, viz. that it is all things at once, and that nothing of it is consumed, will be an exposition of the assertion, that it is now infinite life.

MacKenna

4. We must, however, avoid thinking of it as an accidental from outside grafted upon that Nature: it is native to it, integral to it.

It is discerned as present essentially in that Nature like everything else that we can predicate There - all immanent, springing from that Essence and inherent to that Essence. For whatsoever has primal Being must be immanent to the Firsts and be a First-Eternity equally with The Good that is among them and of them and equally with the truth that is among them.

In one aspect, no doubt, Eternity resides in a partial phase of the All-Being; but in another aspect it is inherent in the All taken as a totality, since that Authentic All is not a thing patched up out of external parts, but is authentically an all because its parts are engendered by itself. It is like the truthfulness in the Supreme which is not an agreement with some outside fact or being but is inherent in each member about which it is the truth. To an authentic All it is not enough that it be everything that exists: it must possess allness in the full sense that nothing whatever is absent from it. Then nothing is in store for it: if anything were to come, that thing must have been lacking to it, and it was, therefore, not All. And what, of a Nature contrary to its own, could enter into it when it is [the Supreme and therefore] immune? Since nothing can accrue to it, it cannot seek change or be changed or ever have made its way into Being.

Engendered things are in continuous process of acquisition; eliminate futurity, therefore, and at once they lose their being; if the non-engendered are made amenable to futurity they are thrown down from the seat of their existence, for, clearly, existence is not theirs by their nature if it appears only as a being about to be, a becoming, an advancing from stage to stage.

The essential existence of generated things seems to lie in their existing from the time of their generation to the ultimate of time after which they cease to be: but such an existence is compact of futurity, and the annulment of that futurity means the stopping of the life and therefore of the essential existence.

Such a stoppage would be true, also, of the [generated] All in so far as it is a thing of process and change: for this reason it keeps hastening towards its future, dreading to rest, seeking to draw Being to itself by a perpetual variety of production and action and by its circling in a sort of ambition after Essential Existence.

And here we have, incidentally, lighted upon the cause of the Circuit of the All; it is a movement which seeks perpetuity by way of futurity.

The Primals, on the contrary, in their state of blessedness have no such aspiration towards anything to come: they are the whole, now; what life may be thought of as their due, they possess entire; they, therefore, seek nothing, since there is nothing future to them, nothing external to them in which any futurity could find lodgement.

Thus the perfect and all-comprehensive essence of the Authentic Existent does not consist merely in the completeness inherent in its members; its essence includes, further, its established immunity from all lack with the exclusion, also, of all that is without Being - for not only must all things be contained in the All and Whole, but it can contain nothing that is, or was ever, non-existent - and this State and Nature of the Authentic Existent is Eternity: in our very word, Eternity means Ever-Being.


[1Cf. Platón, Filebo 24d.

[2This definition of eternity is justly admired by Proclus in his 3rd book "On the Theology of Plato," of which see my translation. Boetius, likewise, as I have elsewhere observed, has adopted this definition in lib. 5, " De Consol. Philosoph."