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Plotino - Tratado 45,11 (III, 7, 11) — O tempo resulta da descida da alma

Enéada III, 7, 11

sábado 21 de maio de 2022, por Cardoso de Castro

Cap 11: O tempo resulta da descida da alma

  • linhas 1-11: Introdução: é necessário examinar como o tempo apareceu em seguida da eternidade
  • linhas 12-27: A aparição do tempo resulta da descida da alma que abandonou a eternidade
  • linhas 27-35: Descendo, a alma produz o mundo que está também no tempo
  • linhas 35-45: Como a extensão temporal e a sucessão resultam desta descida
  • linhas 45-59: Em qual sentido o tempo é uma imagem da eternidade (Timeu   37d5)
  • linhas 59-62: A relação da alma e do tempo é análogo à relação da eternidade do ser

Míguez

11. Habremos de remontar de nuevo a esa manera de ser que, según decíamos, era la propia de la eternidad, esto es, vida inmutable, dada toda ella a la vez y con carácter infinito, firme en su totalidad, en reposo en el Uno y dirigida al Uno [1]. Aquí no contaba el tiempo, o al menos no contaba para los seres inteligibles, lo cual no quiere decir que el tiempo sea engendrado después de ellos, sino que les es posterior por lógica y naturaleza. Como estos seres disfrutan de una tranquilidad absoluta, hemos de preguntarnos de qué caída surgió el tiempo, ya que no se puede apelar a las Musas, que por entonces no existían (tal vez podría hacerse, si ellas existiesen en ese momento) [2]. Convendrá preguntar al tiempo mismo cómo ha nacido y se ha hecho manifiesto. Sin duda, podría decirnos de sí mismo que antes de haber engendrado la anterioridad y de haber enlazado a ella la posterioridad, descansaba verdaderamente en el ser y no era aún el tiempo, por esa su completa inmovilidad en aquél. No obstante, su naturaleza amiga de innovaciones, que quería ser dueña de sí misma y estar en sí misma, prefirió buscar algo mejor que su estado presente, poniéndose entonces en movimiento y, asimismo, como es lógico, el tiempo. Ambos se dirigieron hacia algo no idéntico y siempre renovado, hacia algo diferente de lo anterior. Luego de haber caminado un cierto trecho, dieron en hacer el tiempo, que es una imagen de la eternidad. Porque había en el alma una potencia carente de tranquilidad, que deseaba transferir a otra parte los objetos que veía en el mundo inteligible, aunque el alma, sin embargo, no quisiese que todo el ser inteligible se le presentase reunido. Pues, al igual que la razón que sale de un germen inmóvil dirige sus pasos, según parece, hacia la pluralidad, lo que hace manifiesto con su propia división y, en vez de conservar su unidad en sí misma, la consume exteriormente y debilita con ello sus fuerzas, así también el alma hizo el mundo sensible tomando la imagen del mundo inteligible, pero lo hizo móvil y no con el movimiento de aquél, sino con un movimiento que se le semeja y que quiere ser su imagen. En primer lugar, el alma se hizo temporal y produjo el tiempo en lugar de la eternidad; luego, dejó sometido al tiempo todo lo que ella había engendrado, incluyéndolo en el tiempo y encerrando ahí su propio desenvolvimiento. Porque es claro que como el mundo se mueve en el alma — no hay para él, ciertamente, otro lugar que el alma [3] — tiene que moverse también en el tiempo que se da en ella. Los actos del alma se han producido sucesivamente, y a uno ha sucedido otro, o, mejor dicho, con un nuevo acto el alma engendró el siguiente; pero, a la vez que a un pensamiento sucedía otro, se hacía realidad algo que antes no existía, porque ni su pensamiento puede considerarse en acto, ni su vida de ahora puede hacerse semejante a la de antes. Pero, precisamente, por tratarse de una vida diferente contará también con un tiempo diferente. He aquí, pues, que la vida del alma, al dividirse, ocupa tiempo, y en su avance va ocupando a cada momento un tiempo nuevo, de tal modo que su vida pasada pertenece asimismo al tiempo pasado.

¿Diría, por tanto, algo con sentido el que afírmase que el tiempo es la vida del alma, en un movimiento de tránsito de una vida a otra? Porque la eternidad es una vida en reposo y en lo mismo, que permanece siempre idéntica e infinita. Si el tiempo ha de ser su imagen, debe corresponder a la eternidad como el universo se corresponde con el mundo inteligible, y así, en lugar de una vida inteligible, deberá contar con otra vida por homonimía perteneciente a la potencia del alma; e, igualmente, en lugar del movimiento de la inteligencia, con el movimiento de una parte del alma, y en lugar de la identidad, de la uniformidad y de la permanencia, con el cambio y la actividad siempre distinta. También en lugar de la indivisibilidad y de la unidad, contendrá una imagen de la unidad y del uno que se halla en lo continuo, y en lugar de una infinitud total dispondrá de un progreso no detenido hacia el infinito; asimismo, en lugar de un todo compacto tendrá ante si un todo distribuido en partes y que siempre estará por venir. Porque el universo sensible imitará este todo compacto e infinito del mundo inteligible, si quiere conseguir algo en el ser. Su ser mismo no será otra cosa que la imagen del ser inteligible [4].

Pero conviene que no tomemos el tiempo fuera del alma, al igual que no tomamos 3’a eternidad fuera del ser; porque el tiempo no acompaña al alma, ni tampoco es posterior a ella, sino que se manifiesta y está en ella y unido a ella, lo mismo que la eternidad al ser inteligible.

Bouillet

XI. Des considérations précédentes, il résulte que le temps doit être conçu comme la longueur de la vie propre à l’Âme universelle, que son cours se compose de changements égaux, uniformes, insensibles, et qu’il implique continuité d’action. Supposons pour un moment que la puissance de l’Âme cesse de s’exercer, de jouir de la vie qu’actuellement elle possède sans interruption et sans terme, parce que cette vie est l’action propre à une âme éternelle, action par laquelle l’Âme ne revient pas sur elle-même, ne se concentre pas en elle-même, mais engendre et produit; supposons, dis-je, que l’Âme cesse d’agir, qu’elle applique sa partie supérieure au monde intelligible et à l’éternité, qu’elle y demeure tranquillement unie, que restera-t-il si ce n’est l’éternité? Quelle place y aurait-il pour la succession, si toutes choses étaient immobiles dans l’unité (59) ? Comment y aurait-il antériorité, postériorité, durée plus ou moins longue? Comment l’Âme s’appliquerait-elle à un autre objet qu’à celui qui l’occupe ? Bien plus, on ne saurait même dire alors qu’elle s’applique à l’objet qui l’occupe : il faudrait qu’elle s’en fût séparée pour s’y appliquer. La sphère universelle n’existerait pas non plus, puisqu’elle n’existe pas avant le temps, parce que c’est dans le temps qu’elle existe et qu’elle se meut. Au reste, cette sphère fût-elle en repos pendant que l’Âme agit, nous pourrions mesurer la durée de son repos, parce que ce repos est postérieur au repos de l’éternité. Puisque le temps est anéanti dès que l’Âme cesse d’agir et se concentre dans l’unité, c’est donc évidemment le commencement du mouvement de l’Âme vers les choses sensibles, c’est sa vie qui produit le temps. Aussi est-il dit [dans le Timée   (60)] que le temps est né avec l’univers, parce que l’Âme a produit le temps avec l’univers : car c’est cette action même de l’Âme qui a produit cet univers. Cette action constitue le temps, et l’univers est dans le temps. Si Platon   appelle aussi temps les mouvements des astres, il faut, pour comprendre le vrai sens de cette expression, se rappeler que ce philosophe dit ensuite que les astres sont faits pour indiquer les divisions du temps et nous permettre de le mesurer aisément.

En effet, comme il n’était pas possible de déterminer le temps même de l’Âme, de mesurer en elles-mêmes les parties d’une durée invisible et insaisissable, surtout pour des hommes qui ne savaient point compter, l’Âme a fait le jour et la nuit pour que leur succession permît de compter jusqu’à deux à l’aide de cette diversité. C’est de là, dit Platon  , qu’est née la notion du nombre (61). Ensuite, en remarquant l’espace de temps qui s’écoule d’un lever du soleil jusqu’au lever suivant, nous avons pu avoir un intervalle de temps déterminé par un mouvement uniforme, en tant que nous y attachons notre regard et que nous nous en servons comme de mesure pour mesurer le temps (62); je dis pour mesurer le temps, parce que le temps pris en lui-même n’est pas une mesure. Comment mesurerait-il en effet, et que dirait-il en mesurant ? Dirait-il de quelque chose : voici une étendue aussi grande que moi ? Mais quelle est cette chose qui dirait d’elle-même moi ? Est-ce la chose selon laquelle la quantité est mesurée? Dans ce cas, le temps doit être quelque chose par lui-même, pour mesurer sans être une mesure. Le mouvement de l’univers est mesuré selon le temps, mais le temps n’est pas la mesure du mouvement par son essence; il ne l’est que par accident : antérieur au mouvement, dont il diffère d’ailleurs, il en indique la quantité. D’un autre côté, si l’on prend un mouvement produit dans un temps déterminé, et si on l’ajoute à lui-même un nombre suffisant de fois, on arrive à connaître combien de temps s’est écoulé (63). On a donc raison de dire que le mouvement de la révolution opérée par la sphère universelle mesure le temps autant que cela est possible, en montrant par sa quantité la quantité du temps correspondant, puisqu’on ne peut le saisir ni le concevoir autrement. Ainsi, ce qui est mesuré, c’est-à-dire indiqué par la révolution de la sphère universelle, c’est le temps. Il n’est pas engendré, mais seulement indiqué par le mouvement (64).

La mesure du mouvement paraît donc être ce qui est mesuré par un mouvement déterminé, mais qui est autre que ce mouvement : car autre chose est ce qui mesure, autre chose ce qui est mesuré ; mais ce qui est mesuré n’est mesuré que par accident : c’est comme si l’on disait que ce qui est mesuré par une coudée est une étendue, sans définir ce qu’est l’étendue en elle-même. C’est de la même manière que, ne pouvant définir-plus clairement le mouvement à cause de sa nature indéterminée, on dit qu’il est ce qui est mesuré par l’espace : car, en considérant l’espace parcouru parle mouvement, on juge de la quantité du mouvement par l’espace parcouru.

Guthrie

TIME IS THE LENGTH OF THE LIFE OF THE UNIVERSAL SOUL.

11. (12). The result of the preceding considerations is that time must be conceived of as the length of the life characteristic of the universal Soul; that her course is composed of changes that are equal, uniform, and insensible, so that that course implies a continuity of action. Now let us for a moment suppose that the power of the Soul should cease to act, and to enjoy the life she at present possesses without interruption or limit, because this life is the activity characteristic of an eternal Soul, an action by which the Soul does not return upon herself, and does not concentrate on herself, though enabling her to beget and produce. Now supposing that the Soul should cease to act, that she should apply her superior part to the intelligible world, and to eternity, and that she should there remain calmly united-what then would remain, unless eternity? For what room for succession would that allow, if all things were immovable in unity? How could she contain priority, posteriority, or more or less duration of time? How could the Soul apply herself to some object other than that which occupies her? Further, one could not then even say that she applied herself to the subject that occupied her; she would have to be separated therefrom in order to apply herself thereto. Neither would the universal Sphere exist, since it does not exist before time, because it exists and moves within time. Besides, even if this Sphere were at rest during the activity of the Soul, we could measure the duration of her rest because this rest is posterior to the rest of eternity. Since time is annihilated so soon as the Soul ceases to act, and concentrates in unity, time must be produced by the beginning of the Soul’s motion towards sense-objects, by the Soul’s life. Consequently (Plato  ) says that time is born with the universe, because the Soul produced time with the universe; for it is this very action of the Soul which has produced this universe. This action constitutes time, and the universe is within time. Plato   does indeed call the movements of the stars, time; but evidently only figuratively, as (Plato  ) subsequently says that the stars were created to indicate the divisions of time, and to permit us to measure it easily.

TIME IS NOT BEGOTTEN BY MOVEMENT, BUT ONLY INDICATED THEREBY.

Indeed, as it was not possible to determine the time itself of the Soul, and to measure within themselves the parts of an invisible and uncognizable duration, especially for men who did not know how to count, the (world) Soul created day and night so that their succession might be the basis of counting as far as two, by the aid of this variety. Plato   indicates that as the source of the notion of number. Later, observing the space of time which elapses from one dawn to another, we were able to discover an interval of time determined by an uniform movement, so far as we direct our gaze thereupon, and as we use it as a measure by which to measure time. The expression "to measure time" is premeditated, because time, considered in itself, is not a measure. How indeed could time measure, and what would time, while measuring, say? Would time say of anything, "Here is an extension as large as myself?" What indeed could be the nature of the entity that would speak of "myself"? Would it be that according to which quantity is measured? In this case, time would have to be something by itself, to measure without itself being a measure. The movement of the universe is measured according to time, but it is not the nature of time to be the measure of movement; it is such only accidentally; it indicates the quantity of movement, because it is prior to it, and differs from it. On the other hand, in the case of a movement produced within a determinate time, and if a number be added thereto frequently enough, we succeed in reaching the knowledge of how much time has elapsed. It is therefore correct to say that the movement of the revolution operated by the universal Sphere measures time so far as possible, by its quantity indicating the corresponding quantity of time, since it can neither be grasped nor conceived otherwise. Thus what is measured, that is, what is indicated by the revolution of the universal Sphere, is time. It is not begotten, but only indicated by movement.

MOVEMENT IS SAID TO BE MEASURED BY SPACE, BECAUSE OF ITS INDETERMINATION.

The measure of movement, therefore, seems to be what is measured by a definite movement, but which is other than this movement. There is a difference, indeed, between that which is measured, and that which measures; but that which is measured is measured only by accident. That would amount to saying that what is measured by a foot-rule is an extension, without defining what extension in itself is. In the same way, because of the inability to define movement more clearly because of its indeterminate nature, we say that movement is that which is measured by space; for, by observation of the space traversed by movement, we can judge of the quantity of the movement.

Taylor

XI. Here, however, it is necessary to understand, that this is the nature of time, viz. that it is the length of such a life as we have before mentioned, proceeding in equable and similar mutations, which themselves proceed in a silent course; this length also possessing a continuity of energy. If, therefore, we again in words make this power to revert, and the life of it to cease which it now possesses, and which is unceasing, and will never end, because it is the energy of a certain ever-existing soul, not directed to itself, nor in itself, but employed in producing and generating; — if, therefore, we suppose this power no longer energizing, but ceasing from this energy, and also this part, of the soul converted to real being and eternity, and abiding in quiet, what will there any further be besides eternity ? What will any longer be another and another, where all things abide in one ? And what will be prior or posterior, or more extended ? Where, likewise, will the soul any further betake itself to any other thing than that in which it is ? Or rather, neither will it betake itself to this. For in this case, it must have first departed from it, in order that it may accede to it; since neither is it the sphere itself [of the universe] which had not an existence prior to time. For this sphere exists, and is moved in time. And though time should stop, this sphere still continuing to energize, we should nevertheless measure the duration of its permanency, as long as the permanency of eternity is external to it. If, therefore, this sphere becoming quiescent and united, time is taken away, it is evident that the commencement of its motion, round the earth, and this its life, generate time. Hence, also, it is said [in the " Timaeus   " of Plato  ], that time was generated together with the universe, because soul produced it in conjunction with the universe. For in an energy of this kind, this world was generated. And this energy indeed is time, but the universe is in time. If, however, some one should say, that the circulations of the stars are also denominated by Plato   times, he should recollect that he says these were generated for the purpose of rendering time manifest and distinct, and that the measure of it might be conspicuous to us. For since it was not possible for time itself to be bounded by soul, nor for each part of it to be measured by us, since it is invisible and incomprehensible, and especially since this is impossible to those who do not know how to numerate, — hence the Demiurgus made day and night, through which mankind were enabled to apprehend two things by their difference; from which, as Plato   says, they arrived at the conception of number. Afterwards receiving the interval produced by the motion of the sun from the east to the east again, they apprehended what was the quantity of time, the form of the motion being equable; adhering to which, we use a thing of this kind as a measure of time. For time itself is not a measure. For how could it measure ; and what would it say if it measured ? Will it say this thing is as much in quantity as I am ? Who therefore is it that says I ? Is it that according to which the measure subsists ? Has it not therefore an existence in order that it may measure, but is not a measure ? Hence the measured motion of the universe will be according to time. And time will not be the measure of motion, according to that which it is, but according to accident, so that being something else prior to this, it renders the quantity of the motion manifest. One motion also being assumed in so much time, and being frequently enumerated, leads to a conception of the quantity of time that is past. So that if some one should say that motion and circulation, after a - certain manner, measure time as much as possible, as manifesting in their quantity the quantity of time, which cannot in any other way be assumed or understood, he indeed will not adduce an absurd manifestation of time. Hence, that which is measured by circulation, viz. which is manifested, and not generated by it, will be time. And thus the measure of motion is that which is measured by a definite motion, and is measured by it, as being different from it. For if that which measures was one thing, and that which is measured another, but is measured accidentally; in this case, it would be just as if some one should say that what is measured by a cubit is magnitude, but should not say what that is which defines the magnitude. It would also be just as if some one not being able to render motion itself manifest on account of its indefinite nature, should say that motion is that which is measured by place. For assuming the place which motion passes through, he will say that the quantity of the motion is equal to the quantity of the place.

MacKenna

11. To this end we must go back to the state we affirmed of Eternity, unwavering Life, undivided totality, limitless, knowing no divagation, at rest in unity and intent upon it. Time was not yet: or at least it did not exist for the Eternal Beings, though its being was implicit in the Idea and Principle of progressive derivation.

But from the Divine Beings thus at rest within themselves, how did this Time first emerge?

We can scarcely call upon the Muses to recount its origin since they were not in existence then - perhaps not even if they had been. The engendered thing, Time, itself, can best tell us how it rose and became manifest; something thus its story would run:

Time at first - in reality before that "first" was produced by desire of succession - Time lay, self-concentrated, at rest within the Authentic Existent: it was not yet Time; it was merged in the Authentic and motionless with it. But there was an active principle there, one set on governing itself and realizing itself [= the All-Soul], and it chose to aim at something more than its present: it stirred from its rest, and Time stirred with it. And we, stirring to a ceaseless succession, to a next, to the discrimination of identity and the establishment of ever-new difference, traversed a portion of the outgoing path and produced an image of Eternity, produced Time.

For the Soul contained an unquiet faculty, always desirous of translating elsewhere what it saw in the Authentic Realm, and it could not bear to retain within itself all the dense fullness of its possession.

A Seed is at rest; the nature-principle within, uncoiling outwards, makes way towards what seems to it a large life; but by that partition it loses; it was a unity self-gathered, and now, in going forth from itself, it fritters its unity away; it advances into a weaker greatness. It is so with this faculty of the Soul, when it produces the Kosmos known to sense - the mimic of the Divine Sphere, moving not in the very movement of the Divine but in its similitude, in an effort to reproduce that of the Divine. To bring this Kosmos into being, the Soul first laid aside its eternity and clothed itself with Time; this world of its fashioning it then gave over to be a servant to Time, making it at every point a thing of Time, setting all its progressions within the bournes of Time. For the Kosmos moves only in Soul - the only Space within the range of the All open to it to move in - and therefore its Movement has always been in the Time which inheres in Soul.

Putting forth its energy in act after act, in a constant progress of novelty, the Soul produces succession as well as act; taking up new purposes added to the old it brings thus into being what had not existed in that former period when its purpose was still dormant and its life was not as it since became: the life is changed and that change carries with it a change of Time. Time, then, is contained in differentiation of Life; the ceaseless forward movement of Life brings with it unending Time; and Life as it achieves its stages constitutes past Time.

Would it, then, be sound to define Time as the Life of the Soul in movement as it passes from one stage of act or experience to another?

Yes; for Eternity, we have said, is Life in repose, unchanging, self-identical, always endlessly complete; and there is to be an image of Eternity-Time - such an image as this lower All presents of the Higher Sphere. Therefore over against that higher life there must be another life, known by the same name as the more veritable life of the Soul; over against that movement of the Intellectual Soul there must be the movement of some partial phase; over against that identity, unchangeableness and stability there must be that which is not constant in the one hold but puts forth multitudinous acts; over against that oneness without extent or interval there must be an image of oneness, a unity of link and succession; over against the immediately infinite and all-comprehending, that which tends, yes, to infinity but by tending to a perpetual futurity; over against the Whole in concentration, there must be that which is to be a Whole by stages never final. The lesser must always be working towards the increase of its Being, this will be its imitation of what is immediately complete, self-realized, endless without stage: only thus can its Being reproduce that of the Higher.

Time, however, is not to be conceived as outside of Soul; Eternity is not outside of the Authentic Existent: nor is it to be taken as a sequence or succession to Soul, any more than Eternity is to the Divine. It is a thing seen upon Soul, inherent, coeval to it, as Eternity to the Intellectual Realm.


[1Cf. Parménides fr. B 8 4-6.

[2La invocación a las Musas parece un lugar común, recogido de la costumbre homérica. Platón hace decir a Sócrates en La República, 545 d, dirigiéndose a Glaucón: ’’¿Prefieres que, como Homero, invoquemos a las Musas para que nos digan ’de qué modo surgió la primera discordia’ y las hagamos hablar en tono trágico, e incluso ponderadamente, cuando lo que hacen es jugar y burlarse de nosotros, como si fuésemos niños?"

[3Cf. Platón Timeo, 36 d-e.

[4Para la consideración del tiempo como imagen móvil de la eternidad, cf. el Timeo, 37 e.