Página inicial > Antiguidade > Neoplatonismo (245-529 dC) > Plotino (204-270 dC) – Tratados Enéadas > Plotino - Tratado 45,5 (III, 7, 5) — Determinações positivas da (...)

ENÉADAS

Plotino - Tratado 45,5 (III, 7, 5) — Determinações positivas da eternidade

Enéada III, 7, 5

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

Cap 5: Determinações positivas da eternidade

  • linhas 1-12: Para apreender a eternidade, é necessário contemplar o que ignora o devir e a alteridade
  • linhas 12-18: Diferença entre a eternidade e a perpetuidade
  • linhas 18-22: A eternidade é um deus verdadeiro
  • linhas 22-30: A eternidade é uma vida ilimitada em ato

Míguez

5. Esto -la eternidad- conviene a los seres de los que puedo decir, o mejor en los que puedo ver, cuando aplico a ellos mi ánimo, que nada en absoluto les ha sido añadido. Porque es claro que si ello hubiese ocurrido, ya no habrían sido siempre o no habrían contado siempre con su existencia total. Pues, ¿podría yo verles como seres eternos si no se diese en ellos una cierta naturaleza, que es como la prueba de que han sido siempre así y no de otro modo, con lo cual, al aplicar de nuevo mi ánimo, descubro precisamente que son eternos? ¿Qué ocurriría, pues, si no nos apartásemos de esta contemplación y nos uniésemos a estos seres, arrobados por su poder, de modo que les contemplásemos infatigablemente y marchásemos con ellos hacia lo eterno para permanecer inmóviles y no decaer jamás, a fin de ser semejantes en la eternidad y contemplarla, lo mismo que los seres eternos, por lo eterno que hay en nosotros? Por tanto, si el ser eterno o el ser que existe siempre es el ser que no inclina a otra naturaleza, poseerá por entero su propia vida, a la que nada añadirá, ni en el pasado, ni en el presente, ni en el futuro. Ese ser posee la perpetuidad, y la perpetuidad es en él una cierta condición del sujeto, que viene de él y es también en él. La eternidad es el mismo sujeto, con esa condición que se manifiesta en él. De ahí que la eternidad sea igualmente algo venerable, idéntica a Dios, como nos dice nuestra propia reflexión. Diríamos con más justeza que la eternidad es Dios mismo, que se manifiesta y se declara tal cual es; su ser es algo inmutable e idéntico, en disfrute de una vida firme y sólida. Si afirmásemos que este ser está hecho de varios más, no habría por qué admirarse; porque cada ser inteligible constituye una multiplicidad por su misma potencia ilimitada. Potencia ilimitada, añadiremos, porque nada le falta, siendo entonces el ser por excelencia porque nada pierde de sí mismo. Diríamos así de la eternidad que es la vida infinita, o lo que es lo mismo, una vida total que nada pierde de sí, ya que no tiene pasado ni futuro, pues, de otro modo, no sería la vida total. Estamos, pues, muy cerca de definir la eternidad. Lo que decimos a continuación: "es una vida total que nada pierde", es una explicación de la palabra "infinita".

Bouillet

V. Comme cette essence brillante de beauté, éternelle, se rapporte à l’Un, en sort et y retourne, qu’elle ne s’en écarte pas, qu’elle demeure toujours autour de lui et en lui, qu’elle vit selon lui, Platon   a eu raison dédire, avec une grande profondeur de pensée, que « l’éternité est immuable dans l’unité (23); » parla, non-seulement Platon   ramène l’éternité à l’unité qu’elle est en elle-même, mais encore il rapporte la vie de l’Être à l’Un même. Cette vie est ce que nous cherchons ; sa permanence est l’éternité. En effet, ce qui demeure de cette manière et qui demeure la même chose, c’est-à-dire l’acte de cette vie qui demeure d’elle-même tournée vers l’Un et unie à lui, ce qui n’a pas une existence ni une vie mensongère, c’est là véritablement l’éternité. Exister véritablement [pour l’Être intelligible], c’est n’avoir point de temps où il n’existe pas, point de temps où il existe d’une façon différente ; c’est donc exister d’une manière immuable, sans aucune diversité, sans être d’abord dans un état, puis dans un autre (24). Donc, pour concevoir l’Être, il ne faut ni admettre des intervalles dans son existence, ni supposer qu’il se développe ou qu’il acquière, ni croire qu’il y ait en lui succession ; par conséquent, on ne saurait distinguer en lui ou dire qu’il y ait en 183 lui ni avant ni après (25). S’il n’y a en lui ni avant ni après, si la chose la plus vraie qu’on puisse affirmer de lui est qu’il est, s’il est de telle sorte qu’il soit l’Essence et la Vie, ici nous apparaît encore l’éternité. Quand nous disons que l’Être est toujours, qu’il n’y a pas un temps où il soit et un autre où il ne soit pas, c’est seulement pour nous exprimer avec plus de clarté que nous parlons ainsi : en disant toujours, nous ne prenons pas ce mot dans son sens absolu ; mais, si nous l’employons pour montrer que l’Être est incorruptible, il peut égarer l’esprit en le faisant sortir de l’unité [propre à l’éternité] pour lui faire parcourir le multiple [qui est étranger à l’éternité] (26). Toujours indique encore que l’Être n’est jamais défectueux. Peut-être vaudrait-il mieux dire simplement : l’Être (27). Mais bien que le nom d’Être suffise pour désigner l’Essence, comme plusieurs philosophes ont confondu l’essence avec la génération, il a fallu pour s’expliquer plus clairement ajouter au nom d’Être le terme de toujours. En effet, quoiqu’on ne désigne qu’une seule et même chose quand on dit l’Être et l’Être qui est toujours, comme lorsqu’on dit le philosophe et le vrai philosophe ; cependant, comme il y a de faux philosophes, il a fallu joindre au mot philosophe celui de vrai (28); et de même, il a fallu joindre le mot toujours à celui d’Être, et celui d’Être à celui de toujours : de là dérive l’expression ἀεὶ ὄν (l’Être qui est toujours), et par suite αἰών (!’Éternité). Donc l’idée de toujours doit être unie à celle d’Être de manière à désigner l’Être véritable.

Toujours doit donc être appliqué à la puissance qui n’a point d’intervalle dans son existence, qui n’a besoin de rien en dehors de ce qu’elle possède, parce qu’elle possède tout, qu’elle est tout être, et qu’ainsi elle ne manque de rien. Une telle nature n’est pas complète sous un rapport, incomplète sous un autre. Ce qui est dans le temps, parût-il complet (comme paraît complet un corps qui suffit à l’âme, mais qui n’est complet que par l’âme), ce qui est dans le temps, dis-je, a besoin du futur, et, par conséquent, est incomplet sous le rapport du temps-dont il a besoin ; quand il arrive à jouir du temps auquel il aspire et à s’y unir, quoiqu’il soit encore imparfait, il est alors appelé parfait par homonymie. Mais l’Être qui a pour caractère de n’avoir pas besoin du futur, de n’être point rapporté à un autre temps soit mesurable, soit indéfini et devant être d’une manière indéfinie, l’Être qui a déjà tout ce qu’il doit avoir est l’Être même que cherche notre intelligence ; il ne tient pas son existence de telle ou telle quantité, il existe avant toute quantité ; n’étant aucune espèce de quantité, il doit n’admettre en soi aucune espèce de quantité. Sans cela, comme sa vie serait divisée, il cesserait d’être lui-même absolument indivisible ; or l’Être doit être indivisible dans sa Vie comme dans son Essence. [S’il est dit dans le Timée  ] « le Démiurge était bon (29), » cette expression se rapporte à la notion de l’univers et indique que, dans le principe supérieur à l’univers, rien n’a commencé d’être à une certaine époque. L’univers n’a donc pas commencé d’être dans le temps parce que, si son auteur est avant lui, c’est seulement en ce sens qu’il est la cause de son existence (30). Mais, après avoir employé le mot était pour exprimer cette pensée, Platon   se reprend ensuite et montre que ce mot n’a point d’application aux choses qui possèdent l’éternité (31).

Guthrie

ETERNITY IS SEMPITERNAL EXISTENCE.

5. (6). As this nature that is eternal and radiant with beauty refers to the One, issues from Him, and returns to Him, as it never swerves from Him, ever dwelling around Him and in Him, and lives according to Him, Plato   was quite right438 in saying not casually, but with great profundity of thought, that "eternity is immutable in unity." Thereby Plato   not only reduces the eternity to the unity that it is in itself, but also relates the life of existence to the One itself. This life is what we seek; its permanence is eternity. Indeed that which remains in that manner, and which remains the same thing, that is, the actualization of that life which remains turned towards, and united with the One, that whose existence and life are not deceptive, that truly is eternity. (For intelligible or) true existence is to have no time when it does not exist, no time when it exists in a different manner; it is therefore to exist in an immutable manner without any diversity, without being first in one, and then in another state. To conceive of (existence), therefore, we must neither imagine intervals in its existence, nor suppose that it develops or acquires, nor believe that it contains any succession; consequently we could neither distinguish within it, or assert within it either before or after. If it contain neither "before" nor "after," if the truest thing that can be affirmed of it be that it is, if it exist as "being" and life, here again is eternity revealed. When we say that existence exists always, and that there is not one time in which it is, and another in which it is not, we speak thus only for the sake of greater clearness; for when we use the word "always," we do not take it in an absolute sense; but if we use it to show that existence is incorruptible, it might well mislead the mind in leading it to issue out from the unity (characteristic of eternity) to make it run through the manifold (which is foreign to eternity). "Always" further indicates that existence is never defective. It might perhaps be better to say simply "existence." But though the word "existence" suffices to designate "being," as several philosophers have confused "being" with generation, it was necessary to clear up the meaning of existence by adding the term "always." Indeed, though we are referring only to one and the same thing by "existence" and "existing always," just as when we say "philosopher," and "the true philosopher," nevertheless, as there are false philosophers, it has been necessary to add to the term "philosophers" the adjective "true." Likewise, it has been necessary to add the term "always" to that of "existing," and that of "existing" to that of "always;" that is the derivation of the expression "existing always," and consequently (by contraction), "aion," or, eternity. Therefore the idea "always" must be united to that of "existing," so as to designate the "real being."

THE CREATOR, BEING OUTSIDE OF TIME, PRECEDES THE UNIVERSAL ONLY AS ITS CAUSE.

"Always" must therefore be applied to the power which contains no interval in its existence, which has need of nothing outside of what it possesses, because it possesses everything, because it is every being, and thus lacks nothing. Such a nature could not be complete in one respect, but incomplete in another. Even if what is in time should appear complete, as a body that suffices the soul appears complete, though it be complete only for the soul; that which is in time needs the future, and consequently is incomplete in respect to the time it stands in need of; when it succeeds in enjoying the time to which it aspires, and succeeds in becoming united thereto, even though it still remain imperfect it still is called perfect by verbal similarity. But the existence whose characteristic it is not to need the future, not to be related to any other time-whether capable of being measured, or indefinite, and still to be indefinite-the existence that already possesses all it should possess is the very existence that our intelligence seeks out; it does not derive its existence from any particular quality, but exists before any quantity. As it is not any kind of quantity, it could not admit within itself any kind of quantity. Otherwise, as its life would be divided, it would itself cease to be absolutely indivisible; but existence must be as indivisible in its life as in its nature ("being"). (Plato  ’s expression,446) "the Creator was good" does indeed refer to the notion of the universe, and indicates that, in the Principle superior to the universe, nothing began to exist at any particular time. Never, therefore, did the universe begin to exist within time, because though its Author existed "before" it, it was only in the sense that its author was the cause of its existence. But, after having used the word "was," to express this thought, Plato   immediately corrects himself, and he demonstrates that this word does not apply to the Things that possess eternity.

Taylor

V. Because, however, such a nature as this, thus all-beautiful and perpetual, subsists about the one, proceeding from and with it, and in no respect departing from it, but always abides about and in the one, and lives according to it, hence I think it is beautifully and with a profundity of decision, said by Plato  , that " eternity abides in one," [1] that he might not only lead it to the one which is in itself, but that he might also in a similar manner lead the life of being about the one. This, therefore, is that which we investigate, and that which thus abides is eternity. For this very thing, and which thus abides, which is the energy of a life abiding from itself, subsisting with and in the one, and which neither in existing nor living is false and fictitious, will certainly be eternity. For to be truly, is never not to be, nor to be otherwise. But the former of these is to be invariably the same; and the latter is to be without diversity. Hence it has not in any respect, another and another. You must not, therefore, conceive it to have interval, nor evolve, nor extend it. Neither, therefore, must you admit that there is any thing of prior and posterior in it. Hence, if there is neither prior nor posterior about it, but the is, is the truest of all the things about it, and is itself, and this in such a way as to be essence and life; — if this be the case, again that which we call eternity will present itself to our view. But when we say that it is always, and that it is not at one time being, and at another time non-being, it is requisite to think that we thus speak for the sake of perspicuity ; since the term always, is perhaps not properly employed, but is assumed for the purpose of manifesting its incorruptible nature. And farther still, it signifies that it never fails. Perhaps, however, it would be better to call it only being. But though being is a name sufficient to essence, yet since some are of opinion that generation also is essence, it is requisite for the sake of discipline to add the term always. For one thing is not being, but another perpetual being ; as neither is a philosopher one thing, but a true philosopher another. Because, however, some persons are only philosophers in appearance, the addition of a true philosopher became necessary. Thus, likewise, the always was added to being, and being to the always. So that it was called axon; on which account the always was assumed, in order that the conjunction of being with the always, might indicate that which is truly being. The always, likewise, must be contracted into a power devoid of interval, and which besides what it now possesses, is not in want of any thing. But it possesses every thing. Hence it is every thing and being, and is not indigent of any thing. Nor is a nature of this kind, full indeed in one respect, but deficient in another. For that which exists in time, though it may seem to be as perfect as is sufficient to body, yet it is perfect through soul, and is in want of something future, because it is deficient in time of which it is indigent; so that it exists together with time, if it is present with it, and being imperfect, runs in conjunction with it. On this account, therefore, it is equivocally said to be a perfect being. That, however, which is a thing of such a kind, as neither to be in want of futurity, nor to be measured by some other time, nor to be in futurity infinite, and this infinitely, but now possesses that which it ought to be ; — this is that after which our intellectual conception aspires; the being of which is not derived from a certain quantity of extension, but is prior to all quantity. For it is fit, since it is not of a definite quantity, that it should not at all come into contact with quantity, lest the life of it being divided, should lose its pure impartibility; but that it should be both in life and essence impartible. When, however, it is said in the " Timaeus   " that the demiurgus was good, this must be referred to the conception of the universe, signifying that what is beyond the universe, does not originate from a certain time ; so that neither is the world allotted a certain temporal beginning, since the cause of its existence is the source of priority. At the same time, however, Plato   thus speaking for the sake of perspicuity, blames afterwards this expression was good, as not altogether rightly employed in things which are allotted what is called and is intellectually conceived to be, an eternal subsistence.

MacKenna

5. This Ever-Being is realized when upon examination of an object I am able to say - or rather, to know - that in its very Nature it is incapable of increment or change; anything that fails by that test is no Ever-Existent or, at least, no Ever-All-Existent.

But is perpetuity enough in itself to constitute an Eternal?

No: the object must, farther, include such a Nature-Principle as to give the assurance that the actual state excludes all future change, so that it is found at every observation as it always was.

Imagine, then, the state of a being which cannot fall away from the vision of this but is for ever caught to it, held by the spell of its grandeur, kept to it by virtue of a nature itself unfailing - or even the state of one that must labour towards Eternity by directed effort, but then to rest in it, immoveable at any point assimilated to it, co-eternal with it, contemplating Eternity and the Eternal by what is Eternal within the self.

Accepting this as a true account of an eternal, a perdurable Existent - one which never turns to any Kind outside itself, that possesses life complete once for all, that has never received any accession, that is now receiving none and will never receive any - we have, with the statement of a perduring Being, the statement also of perdurance and of Eternity: perdurance is the corresponding state arising from the [divine] substratum and inherent in it; Eternity [the Principle as distinguished from the property of everlastingness] is that substratum carrying that state in manifestation.

Eternity, thus, is of the order of the supremely great; it proves on investigation to be identical with God: it may fitly be described as God made manifest, as God declaring what He is, as existence without jolt or change, and therefore as also the firmly living.

And it should be no shock that we find plurality in it; each of the Beings of the Supreme is multiple by virtue of unlimited force; for to be limitless implies failing at no point, and Eternity is pre-eminently the limitless since (having no past or future) it spends nothing of its own substance.

Thus a close enough definition of Eternity would be that it is a life limitless in the full sense of being all the life there is and a life which, knowing nothing of past or future to shatter its completeness, possesses itself intact for ever. To the notion of a Life (a Living-Principle) all-comprehensive add that it never spends itself, and we have the statement of a Life instantaneously infinite.


[1Plato, however, does not by the one in this place, mean the ineffable principle of things, but the one of being, or the summit of the intelligible order, as is shown by Proclus in the above mentioned work.