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Plotino - Tratado 27,8 (IV, 3, 8) — Dificuldades relativas à unidade e à multiplicidade da alma

Enéada IV, 3, 8

quarta-feira 30 de março de 2022, por Cardoso de Castro

7. Problemas conexos con la unimultiplicidad del Alma (cap. 8):

  • a) Simpatía mutua de las almas (8, 1-4).
  • b) Diferencias entre alma y alma (8, 4-17).
  • c) Número limitado de almas y su englobamiento en un conjunto unitario (8, 17-35).
  • d) Infinitud del alma (8, 35-47).
  • e) El fenómeno de la generación espontánea (8, 47-60). [IGAL  ]

Míguez

8. Quedan así resueltas las dificultades que se habían planteado. Y tampoco constituye una dificultad la simpatía existente entre las almas, porque es claro que las almas simpatizan entre sí por derivar todas ellas de una misma alma, de la cual proviene también el alma del universo.

Se ha dicho, en efecto, que hay un alma única y muchas otras almas. Se ha afirmado igualmente que hay virtual diferencia entre las partes y el todo, y se ha hablado, en general, de la diferencia que comportan las almas. Pero debe añadirse ahora que las diferencias que manifiestan las almas en sus caracteres y en sus actos de pensamiento provienen realmente de sus cuerpos y de las vidas que han tenido anteriormente. Dice (Platón  ) que la elección de las almas se verifica de acuerdo con sus vidas anteriores1 . Ahora bien; si se considera la naturaleza del alma en general, se advierten entra las almas las diferencias de segundo y tercer rango de que ya se ha hablado; porque todas las almas abarcan todas las cosas, pero cada una de ellas se adapta a su privativa actividad. Así, por su misma acción, un alma aparece unida al mundo inteligible, pero otra lo está por el conocimiento, y una tercera por el deseo; cada una de ellas, aun contemplando cosas diferentes, es y se vuelve lo que ella misma contempla.

Advirtamos, además, que la plenitud y la perfección no son algo idéntico para todas las almas. Pero, si componen un conjunto lleno de variedad —no olvidemos que hay una razón múltiple y variada, como un ser múltiple que contiene muchas formas—, si esto ocurre así y los seres guardan un cierto orden que no permite su violenta separación, el azar no tiene entonces asiento entre ellos, ya que tampoco domina sobre los cuerpos. Consiguientemente, habrá también un número determinado de seres; pero convendrá que éstos sean estables y que, al menos los inteligibles, permanezcan idénticos a sí mismos y formando cada uno de ellos un número. En eso consiste su determinación.

En lo que respecta a los caracteres de los cuerpos diremos que son fluyentes por naturaleza, dado que su forma les viene de fuera y su realidad específica imita siempre la de los seres verdaderos. En cambio, los seres que no resultan de una composición de materia y forma apoyan su realidad en algo numéricamente uno, que ya es tal desde el principio y no será nunca lo que no era ni dejará de ser lo que es. Si suponemos una causa que los produzca, es claro que no contará para ello con la materia; así, pues, les ofrecerá algo de su propia sustancia, con lo que en esa misma causa se originará un cambio adecuado a su producción actual, mayor o menor. Pero, ¿por qué habrá de producir así, ahora, y no siempre del mismo modo? El ser engendrado no es, por otra parte, eterno, ya que tiene más o menos ser; cosa que no acontece con el alma, que permanece siempre tal cual es.

¿Cómo puede ser (el alma) infinita, si realmente es estable? Hablamos aquí de lo infinito en potencia, porque la potencia puede ser ilimitada sin que tenga que dividirse hasta el infinito. Dios, desde luego, no es un ser finito, y las almas, a su vez, son todas ellas lo que son sin necesidad de limitaciones extrañas. Cada una de ellas tiene su cantidad propia, pero sólo ciertamente la que desea. No le ocurre, pues, que deba salir alguna vez fuera de sí, sino que, por el contrario, penetra por doquier en los cuerpos, allí donde por su naturaleza debe hacerlo. El alma no se separa nunca de sí misma, ya se encuentre en el dedo o en el pie. Cubre verdaderamente todo el cuerpo que ella penetra y la hallamos en todas y cada una de las partes de la planta, e incluso en la parte desgajada de ésta. De modo que no sólo se encuentra en la planta original sino en la que surge de aquí por trasplante; porque el cuerpo de toda la planta es uno y el alma se encuentra también en todas sus partes como en un cuerpo uno.

Cuando un ser animado se corrompe y de él se originan muchos otros seres, el alma de aquél no se encuentra ya en el cuerpo, porque el cuerpo carece de disposición para recibirla; de otro modo, no habría conocido la muerte. Si las partes del cuerpo bien dispuestas por la corrupción para producir otros seres tienen realmente un alma, es que no hay ningún ser del que el alma universal este ausente; pero un ser podrá recibirla y otro, en cambio, no. Los seres animados así nacidos no aumentan el número de las almas, sino que dependen del alma única, que permanece también en su unidad. Lo mismo acontece en nosotros cuando nos vemos mutilados en algunas partes de nuestro cuerpo; ciertamente, otras partes sustituirán a aquéllas, pero el alma que desaparezca de las primeras se unirá necesariamente a las segundas en tanto un alma única subsista en nuestro cuerpo. En el universo subsiste siempre un alma única; sin embargo, algunas de las cosas que hay en él cuentan con un alma, y otras, por el contrario, la rechazan, sin que esto afecte para nada al alma misma, que permanece tal cual es.

Bouillet

VIII. Telle est la solution que nous avons à proposer. On ne saurait nous objecter la sympathie qui existe entre les âmes. Cette sympathie s’explique par ce fait que toutes les âmes dérivent du même principe dont dérive aussi l’Âme universelle. Nous avons déjà montré qu’il y a une Âme [l’Âme universelle] et plusieurs âmes [les âmes particulières] ; nous avons également déterminé la différence qu’il y a entre les parties et le tout. Enfin nous avons aussi parlé de la différence qui existe entre les âmes. Maintenant, revenons brièvement sur ce dernier point.

Cette différence des âmes a pour causes principales, outre la constitution des corps qu’elles animent, les mœurs, les opérations, les pensées et la conduite de ces âmes dans les existences antérieures. C’est en effet des existences antérieures que Platon   fait dépendre pour les âmes le choix de leur 279 condition (44). Si l’on considère enfin la nature des âmes en général, on trouve que Platon   en assigne les différences en disant qu’il est des âmes qui occupent le second ou le troisième rang (45). Or, nous avons dit que toutes les âmes sont toutes choses [en puissance] (46), que chacune d’elles est caractérisée par la faculté qu’elle exerce principalement, c’est-à-dire que celle-ci s’unit en acte au monde intelligible, celle-là en pensée, cette autre en désir (47). Les âmes, contemplant ainsi divers objets, sont et deviennent ce qu’elles contemplent. La plénitude et la perfection appartiennent aussi aux âmes, mais elles ne sont pas toutes identiques sous ce rapport, parce que la variété est la loi qui préside à leur coordination. En effet, la Raison [génératrice] universelle est une d’un côté, multiple et variée de l’autre, comme un être qui est animé et qui a des formes multiples (48). S’il en est ainsi, il y a coordination (συνταξίς) (49); les êtres ne sont pas complètement séparés les uns des autres, et il n’y a pas de place pour le hasard dans les êtres réels ni même dans les corps ; par conséquent le nombre des êtres est déterminé. Il faut en effet que les êtres soient stables, que les intelligibles demeurent identiques, et que chacun d’eux soit numériquement un; c’est à cette condition qu’il sera individu (τὸ τόδε) (50). Quant aux corps, qui 280 par leur nature sont dans un écoulement perpétuel parce que leur forme est pour eux une chose adventice, ils ne possèdent jamais l’existence formelle (τὸ εἶναι κατ’ εἶδος) que par leur participation aux êtres véritables (51). Pour ces derniers au contraire, qui ne sont pas composés, l’existence consiste à être chacun numériquement un, à posséder cette unité qui est dès l’origine, qui ne devient pas ce qu’elle n’était pas, qui ne cessera pas d’être ce qu’elle est. En effet, s’il doit y avoir un principe qui les produise, il ne les tirera pas de la matière. Il faudra donc qu’il leur ajoute quelque chose de sa propre essence. Mais, si les intelligibles ont ainsi tantôt plus, tantôt moins de perfection, ils changeront (ce qui est en contradiction avec leur essence, qui est de demeurer identiques) ; pourquoi d’ailleurs deviendraient-ils tels maintenant et n’auraient-ils pas toujours été tels? Enfin, s’ils sont tantôt plus, tantôt moins parfaits, s’ils deviennent, ils ne sont pas éternels. Or il est admis que l’âme est éternelle [en sa qualité d’essence intelligible].

Mais [demandera-t-on encore], peut-on appeler infini ce 281 qui est stable! Ce qui est stable est infini par sa puissance, parce que sa puissance est infinie sans être d’ailleurs divisée à l’infini : car Dieu aussi est infini [en ce sens qu’il n’a pas de limites]. Ainsi, chaque âme est ce qu’il est dans sa nature d’être, sans recevoir d’autrui une limite ni une quantité déterminée ; elle s’étend autant qu’elle veut; elle n’est jamais contrainte d’aller plus loin ; mais partout elle descend vers les corps et les pénètre comme c’est dans sa nature. D’ailleurs, elle ne se sépare jamais d’elle-même, quand elle est présente dans le doigt ou dans le pied (52). Il en est de même pour l’univers : en quelque endroit que pénètre l’Âme, elle reste toujours indivisible, comme lorsqu’elle pénètre les diverses parties d’une plante; alors, si l’on coupe une certaine partie, le principe qui lui communique la vie reste à la fois présent dans la plante et dans la partie qui en a été détachée (53). Le corps de l’univers est un, et l’Âme est partout dans son unité.

Si, quand un animal se putréfie, il s’y engendre une foule d’animalcules, ils ne tiennent pas leur vie de l’âme de l’animal entier : celle-ci a abandonné le corps de l’animal et n’y a plus son siège puisqu’il est mort (54). Mais les matériaux qui proviennent de la putréfaction, étant convenablement disposés pour la génération d’animalcules, reçoivent chacun une âme différente, parce que l’Âme ne fait défaut nulle part. Cependant, comme une partie de ce corps est capable de la recevoir, et qu’une autre partie n’en est pas capable, les parties qui deviennent ainsi animées n’augmentent pas 282 le nombre des âmes : car ces animalcules dépendent de l’Âme une en tant qu’elle reste une [c’est-à-dire de l’Âme universelle]. C’est comme en nous : quand on coupe quelques parties de notre corps, et que d’autres poussent à la place, notre âme abandonne les premières, et s’unit aux secondes en tant qu’elle reste une. Or l’Âme de l’univers demeure toujours une, et bien que, parmi les choses qui sont contenues dans cet univers, les unes soient animées, les autres inanimées, les puissances animiques n’en restent pas moins toujours les mêmes.

Guthrie

SYMPATHY BETWEEN INDIVIDUAL AND UNIVERSAL SOUL COMES FROM COMMON SOURCE.

8. The sympathy existing between souls forms no objection. For this sympathy might be explained by the fact that all souls are derived from the same principle from which the universal Soul also is derived. We have already shown that there is one Soul (the universal) and several souls (human souls); and we have also defined the difference between the parts and the whole. Last, we have also spoken of the difference existing between souls. Let us now return to the latter point.

DIFFERENCE BETWEEN SOULS.

This difference between souls is caused principally by the constitution of the bodies they animate; also by the moral habits, the activities, the thoughts and behavior of these souls in earlier existence. According to Plato   the choice of the souls’ condition depends on their anterior existence. On observing the nature of souls in general, we find that Plato   recognizes differences between them by saying that some souls occupy the second or third ranks. Now we have said that all souls are (potentially) all things, that each is characterized by the faculty principally exercised thereby, that is, that some souls unite with the intelligible world by actualization, while others do so in thought or desire. Souls, thus contemplating different objects, are and become all that they contemplate. Fulness and perfection also belong to soul, but in this respect they are not all identical, because variety is the law that directs their co-ordination. Indeed, the universal reason is on the one hand manifold, and on the other varied, like a being that is animate, and which possesses manifold forms. In this case, there is co-ordination; beings are not entirely separated from each other, and there is no place for chance either in real beings, nor in bodies; consequently the number of beings is definite. To be individual, beings must first be stable, then they must remain identical, and last, they must numerically be one in order to achieve individuality. Bodies which by nature perpetually ooze away, because for them form is something incidental, never possess formal existence but by their participation in (and imitation of), genuine "Beings."

On the contrary, for the latter, that are not composite, existence consists in each of them being numerically single, in possessing this unity which dates from the beginning, which does not become what it was not, and which will never cease being what it is. If indeed they cannot exist without some producing principle, that principle will not derive them from matter. It will have to add to them something from its own being.

But if intelligible entities thus have at times more, and at times less, perfection, they will change; which would contradict their (nature, or) "being," which is to remain identical. Why indeed should they become such as they are now, and why should they not always have been such as they now are? Further, if they be at times more or less perfect, if they "become," they are not eternal. But it is granted that the Soul (as an intelligible being) is eternal.

LIKE THE DIVINITY, THE SOUL IS ALWAYS ONE.

(It might still be asked) whether what is stable can be called infinite? That which is stable is potentially infinite, because its power is infinite without being also infinitely divided; for the divinity too is infinite. Thus each soul is what the divinity’s nature is, without receiving from any other either limit or determinate quantity. The soul extends as far as she wishes. She is never forced to go further, but everywhere she descends towards bodies and penetrates into them, according to her nature. Besides, she never separates from herself, though present in finger or in foot. Not otherwise is it with the universe: wherever the Soul penetrates, she ever remains indivisible, as when she penetrates into the different parts of a plant. Then, if you cut a certain part, the principle which communicates life to it remains present both in the plant and in the part detached therefrom. The body of the universe is single, and the Soul is everywhere in her unity.

SOUL POWERS REMAIN THE SAME THROUGHOUT ALL CHANGES OF BODY.

When numberless vermin arise out of the putrefaction of a body, they do not derive their life from the soul of the entire animal; the latter has abandoned the body of the animal, and, being dead, no longer dwells in the body. But the matter derived from putrefaction, being well suited for the generation of vermin, each receives a different soul, because the (universal) Soul is not lacking anywhere. Nevertheless, as one part of the body is capable of receiving her, while another is not, the parts that thus become animated do not increase the number of souls; for each of these tittle beings depends, as far as she remains one, on the single Soul (that is, on the universal Soul). This state of affairs resembles that in us. When some parts of our bodies are cut off, and when others grow in their place, our soul abandons the former, and unites with the latter, in so far as she remains one. Now the Soul of the universe ever remains one; and though amidst things contained within this universe, some are animate, while others are inanimate, the soul-powers nevertheless remain the same.

Taylor

VIII. Such, therefore, is the solution of these particulars ; the sympathy of souls being no impediment to our arguments. For since all of them originate from the same source as the soul of the universe, they are co-passive. For it has been already asserted by us that there is one [first] soul, and many souls. And we have likewise shown what the difference is between part and whole; and have in short spoken concerning the difference of souls. Now, also, we shall summarily observe, that besides bodies souls differ, especially in their manners, in the operations of the reasoning power, and from a pre-existent life. For in the " Republic  " of Plato   it is said, that the choice of souls is made conformably to their antecedent lives. But if any one in short assumes the nature of soul, he will assert that there are differences in the souls in which it is admitted there are second and third degrees. It has, likewise, been said by us, that all souls are all things; and that each is characterized by that which energizes in each. This, however, is the same thing as to assert, that one soul indeed is united in energy, another in knowledge, and another in appetite. Different souls also behold different objects, and are and become the very objects which they behold. Plenitude, likewise, and perfection pertain to souls, yet all of them have not the same of either of these; but the whole co-ordination of them is various. For every reason [or productive principle] is one, abundant, and various, in the same manner as a psychical animal, which has many forms. But if this be the case, there is co-ordination, and beings are not, in short, divulsed from each other. Nor is there any where that which is casual in beings ; not even among bodies. Hence it follows, that the number of things is definite. For again, it is necessary that beings should stop [in their progression], that intelligibles should continue the same, and that each thing should be one in number; for thus it will be this particular thing. For every body being naturally in a continual flux, in consequence of having an adventitious form, the perpetual existence of bodies according to form takes place through an imitation of [real] beings. The essence of the latter, however, as not subsisting from composition, consists in that which is one in number, which exists from the beginning, and neither becomes that which it was not, nor will be that which it is not; since if there were any thing in some future time which could produce them, it would not produce them from matter. But if this be the case, it is necessary to add something which is of itself essential; so that there will be a mutation about this very thing, if it now produces more or less. Why, likewise, should it produce now, and not always after the same manner ? That, likewise, which is generated will not be perpetual, if it admits of the more and the less. But soul is supposed to be a thing of this kind. How, therefore, is it infiniteif it is stopped [in its progression] ? May we not say, that it is infinite in power, because power is infinite, since God himself is not bounded. With respect to souls, therefore, each is not that which it is, as if it were so much in quantity, through a foreign boundary ; but it is as great as it wishes to be. Nor will it ever proceed out of itself, but will pervade every where, to bodies and through bodies, as it is naturally adapted to do; yet it is not divulsed from itself, when it is in a finger and a foot. Thus also in the universe, soul remains entire, into whatever it may proceed, and in another and another part of a plant. Hence, when any part of a plant is cut off, it is both in the plant as it was at first, and in the part which is separated from it. For soul is every where in the body of the universe, as in the one of it, this body being one. But when an animal becomes putrid, if many animals are generated from it, soul is then no longer the soul of the whole animal in the body ; for it has not then a proper receptacle of itself; nor yet does it perish. But the putrified matter being adapted to the generation of animals, has partly the soul of these, and partly the soul of those animals, soul never being absent from any thing, though one thing is adapted to receive it, and another is not. The parts of matter, however, which thus become animated, are not the cause of there being many souls. For these [spontaneously generated] animals are suspended from one soul, so far as it remains one; in the same manner as in us, when certain parts of the body are amputated, and others grow instead of them, the soul indeed is absent from [i.e. is not participated by] the former, but is present with the latter, so long as it remains one. In the universe, however, it always remains one. But of the natures within the universe, some indeed have soul, but others not, the same psychical [powers] still remaining.

MacKenna

8. These considerations, amounting to the settlement of the question, are not countered by the phenomenon of sympathy; the response between soul and soul is due to the mere fact that all spring from that self-same soul [the next to Divine Mind] from which springs the Soul of the All.

We have already stated that the one soul is also multiple; and we have dealt with the different forms of relationship between part and whole: we have investigated the different degrees existing within soul; we may now add, briefly, that differences might be induced, also, by the bodies with which the soul has to do, and, even more, by the character and mental operations carried over from the conduct of the previous lives. "The life-choice made by a soul has a correspondence" - we read - "with its former lives."

As regards the nature of soul in general, the differences have been defined in the passage in which we mentioned the secondary and tertiary orders and laid down that, while all souls are all-comprehensive, each ranks according to its operative phase - one becoming Uniate in the achieved fact, another in knowledge, another in desire, according to the distinct orientation by which each is, or tends to become, what it looks upon. The very fulfillment and perfectionment attainable by souls cannot but be different.

But, if in the total the organization in which they have their being is compact of variety - as it must be since every Reason-Principle is a unity of multiplicity and variety, and may be thought of as a psychic animated organism having many shapes at its command - if this is so and all constitutes a system in which being is not cut adrift from being, if there is nothing chance - borne among beings as there is none even in bodily organisms, then it follows that Number must enter into the scheme; for, once again, Being must be stable; the members of the Intellectual must possess identity, each numerically one; this is the condition of individuality. Where, as in bodily masses, the Idea is not essentially native, and the individuality is therefore in flux, existence under ideal form can rise only out of imitation of the Authentic Existences; these last, on the contrary, not rising out of any such conjunction [as the duality of Idea and dead Matter] have their being in that which is numerically one, that which was from the beginning, and neither becomes what it has not been nor can cease to be what it is.

Even supposing Real-Beings [such as soul] to be produced by some other principle, they are certainly not made from Matter; or, if they were, the creating principle must infuse into them, from within itself, something of the nature of Real-Being; but, at this, it would itself suffer change, as it created more or less. And, after all, why should it thus produce at any given moment rather than remain for ever stationary?

Moreover the produced total, variable from more to less, could not be an eternal: yet the soul, it stands agreed, is eternal.

But what becomes of the soul’s infinity if it is thus fixed?

The infinity is a matter of power: there is question, not of the soul’s being divisible into an infinite number of parts, but of an infinite possible effectiveness: it is infinity in the sense in which the Supreme God, also, is free of all bound.

This means that it is no external limit that defines the individual being or the extension of souls any more than of God; on the contrary each in right of its own power is all that it chooses to be: and we are not to think of it as going forth from itself [losing its unity by any partition]: the fact is simply that the element within it, which is apt to entrance into body, has the power of immediate projection any whither: the soul is certainly not wrenched asunder by its presence at once in foot and in finger. Its presence in the All is similarly unbroken; over its entire range it exists in every several part of everything having even vegetal life, even in a part cut off from the main; in any possible segment it is as it is at its source. For the body of the All is a unit, and soul is everywhere present to it as to one thing.

When some animal rots and a multitude of others spring from it, the Life-Principle now present is not the particular soul that was in the larger body; that body has ceased to be receptive of soul, or there would have been no death; what happens is that whatsoever in the product of the decay is apt material for animal existence of one kind or another becomes ensouled by the fact that soul is nowhere lacking, though a recipient of soul may be. This new ensouling does not mean, however, an increase in the number of souls: all depend from the one or, rather, all remains one: it is as with ourselves; some elements are shed, others grow in their place; the soul abandons the discarded and flows into the newcoming as long as the one soul of the man holds its ground; in the All the one soul holds its ground for ever; its distinct contents now retain soul and now reject it, but the total of spiritual beings is unaffected.