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Plotino - Tratado 27,26 (IV, 3, 26) — A memória não pertence ao vivente

Enéada IV, 3, 26

sexta-feira 14 de janeiro de 2022, por Cardoso de Castro

a)Introducción (25, 1-10).

b)La memoria no reside ni en los seres impasibles e intemporales, ni en el compuesto animal, ni en el alma corporalizada, sino en el alma sola, en la superior y en la inferior (25, 10-27, 25).

Míguez

26. Supuesto que las sensaciones en acto sean el resultado de una acción dual, ese acto de sentir tendrá que ser — y de ahí que se le considere común (al alma y al cuerpo) — cual el acto de taladrar y de tejer; así, el alma que tiene la sensación representa al artesano y el cuerpo al órgano de que se sirve. El cuerpo, en tal función, toma carácter pasivo y no hace otra cosa que obedecer, en tanto el alma recibe la impronta del cuerpo, o producida por medio de él, para que el alma exprese entonces su juicio de acuerdo con la impresión corpórea recibida [1].

Habrá que pensar, pues, la sensación como obra común del alma y del cuerpo, aunque ello no quiera decir que la memoria pertenezca necesariamente al compuesto de alma y de cuerpo. Porque es claro que el alma ha recibido la huella que su memoria conserva o rechaza, salvo que se atribuya al compuesto el acto mismo de recordar, en cuyo caso nuestras propias condiciones corpóreas nos darían, a buen seguro, una excelente u olvidadiza memoria. Dígase, no obstante, lo que se quiera, pues ya sea o no el cuerpo un obstáculo para el recuerdo, este acto sigue, con todo, perteneciendo al alma.

Y en cuanto a los conocimientos adquiridos por nosotros, ¿cómo admitir que sea el compuesto el que los recuerda y no justamente el alma? Si el ser animado es un compuesto de dos cosas y algo realmente diferente de una y de otra, parece en verdad absurdo que no sea ni un cuerpo ni un alma. Porque el ser animado no necesita que sus componentes se modifiquen o se mezclen hasta el punto de que el alma se encuentre en él tan sólo en estado potencial. Pero, aun siendo así, no por ello deja el recuerdo de pertenecer al alma, lo mismo que, cuando se mezcla el vino con la miel, la dulzura que se advierte en la mezcla proviene únicamente de la miel.

Sea, en efecto, el alma la que recuerda; mas, para poder hacerlo e imprimir en ella las huellas de las cosas sensibles, ha de encontrarse precisamente en el cuerpo, llena de impureza y de cualidades. Es esa su permanencia en el cuerpo la que le hace recibir las impresiones e impedir que desaparezcan. Ahora bien, no por esto las impresiones tienen que ser magnitudes, puesto que no constituyen verdaderas improntas, ni se imprimen sobre una materia resistente, en la que se modelan, dado que tampoco hay aquí posibilidad de mezcla ni una superficie como la de la cera. La impresión producida en el alma debemos considerarla como una especie de intelección, incluso en lo que concierne a las cosas sensibles. ¿Podría decir alguien dónde se halla la impresión cuando se piensa en un cuerpo? ¿Y qué necesidad hay de acompañar esa impresión del cuerpo o de alguna cualidad que exista con él? Necesariamente, el alma tiene el recuerdo de sus propios movimientos y de los deseos que ha experimentado, pero no satisfecho. Esto no quiere decir, sin embargo, que todo lo deseado haya de recaer en el cuerpo. ¿Cómo, entonces, podría testificar el cuerpo cosas que, realmente, no han llegado en modo alguno hasta él? ¿Y cómo haría uso del cuerpo la misma memoria si no está en absoluto en la naturaleza del cuerpo el llegar a conocer? Digamos en verdad que aquellas impresiones difundidas a través del cuerpo tienen su fin en el alma, en tanto todas las demás deben atribuirse exclusivamente al alma, si es cierto que el alma posee una realidad, una naturaleza y una actividad propiamente suyas. Si esto es así, el alma tendrá, con su deseo, el recuerdo propio de él. Y éste se cumplirá o no, ya que la naturaleza del alma no se cuenta entre las cosas fluyentes. De otro modo, no le atribuiríamos ni sentido interno, ni conciencia, ni composición alguna de impresiones e inteligencia de ellas. Y si no tiene en su naturaleza ninguna de estas propiedades, mal podrá introducirlas cuando se encuentra en el cuerpo. Posee el alma, desde luego, ciertas actividades cuyo despliegue y cumplimiento descansa verdaderamente en los órganos; pero, cuando ella llega al cuerpo, trae consigo esas potencias y las actividades que le son privativas. Por lo demás, el cuerpo es un impedimento para la memoria. En ciertas ocasiones se produce el olvido, especialmente con la ingestión de determinadas bebidas; sin embargo, muy a menudo la limpieza del cuerpo hace recobrar la memoria. Como quiera que el alma recuerda estando sola, la naturaleza móvil y fluyente del cuerpo debe ser la causa del olvido y no de la memoria. Así deberá interpretarse la alusión al río del Leteo, con lo cual esa afección que llamamos la memoria habrá de atribuirse al alma.

Bouillet

XXVI. Si les deux éléments qui composent l’animal concourent à l’acte de la sensation, la sensation est commune à l’âme et au corps, comme les actes de percer, de tisser. Ainsi, dans la sensation, l’âme joue le rôle d’artisan et le corps celui d’instrument : le corps éprouve la passion (πάσχει) et sert de messager à l’âme ; l’âme perçoit l’impression (τύπωσις) produite dans le corps ou par le corps ; ou bien encore elle porte un jugement (ϰρίσις) sur la passion qu’il a éprouvée [opinion]. Il en résulte que la sensation est une opération commune à l’âme et au corps.

Il n’en saurait être de même de la mémoire, par laquelle l’âme, ayant déjà par la sensation perçu l’impression produite dans le corps, la conserve ou la laisse échapper. On prétendra peut-être que la mémoire aussi est commune à l’âme et au corps, parce que sa bonté dépend de notre complexion. Nous répondrons que le corps peut entraver ou non l’exercice de la mémoire, sans que cette faculté cesse d’être propre à l’âme. Comment essaiera-t-on de prouver que le souvenir des connaissances acquises par l’étude appartient au composé et non à l’âme seule ? Si l’animal est le composé de l’âme et du corps, en ce sens qu’il est une troisième chose engendrée par leur union, il sera absurde de dire qu’il n’est ni l’âme, ni le corps. En effet, il ne saurait être une chose différente de l’âme et du corps, ni si l’âme et le corps sont transformés dans le composé dont ils sont les éléments, ni s’ils forment un mixte, de telle sorte que l’âme ne soit plus qu’en puissance dans l’animal ; même dans ce cas, c’est encore l’âme, et l’âme seule qui se souviendrait. Ainsi, dans un mélange de miel et de vin, si l’on sent quelque douceur, c’est au miel seul qu’il faut l’attribuer.

Oui [répondra-t-on], c’est l’âme qui se souvient, mais c’est parce qu’elle réside dans le corps et qu’elle n’est pas pure : il faut qu’elle soit affectée de telle ou telle manière (ποιωθεῖσα) pour pouvoir imprimer au corps les formes des choses sensibles (ἀναμάττεσθαι τοὺς τῶν αἰσθητῶν τύπους) ; il faut qu’elle ait son siége dans le corps pour recevoir ces formes et les conserver. — Mais, d’abord, ces formes ne sauraient avoir d’étendue ; ensuite elles ne sauraient être ni des empreintes, ni des impressions, ni des images (ἐνσφραγίσεις, ἀντερείσεις, τυπώσεις) : car il n’y a dans l’âme aucune impulsion (ὠθισμὸς), ni aucune empreinte semblable à celle d’un cachet sur la cire, et l’opération même par laquelle elle perçoit les choses sensibles est une espèce de pensée (ou d’intellection, νόησις). En effet, comment pourrait-on dire qu’il y a impression dans l’acte de la pensée ? Comment la pensée aurait-elle besoin du corps ou d’une qualité corporelle ? Il est d’ailleurs nécessaire que l’âme se rappelle ses mouvements, par exemple, ses désirs qui n’ont pas été satisfaits et dont le corps n’a point atteint l’objet ; or que pourrait nous dire le corps d’un objet qu’il n’a pas atteint ? [Quant aux pensées], comment l’âme se rappellerait-elle conjointement avec le corps les choses que le corps, par sa nature même, ne peut absolument pas connaître ?

Sans doute il faut admettre qu’il y a des affections qui passent du corps dans l’âme ; mais il est aussi des affections qui appartiennent exclusivement à l’âme, parce que l’âme est un être réel, qu’elle a une nature et des opérations qui lui sont propres. S’il en est ainsi, elle doit avoir des désirs et se les rappeler, se souvenir qu’ils ont été ou non satisfaits, parce que, par sa nature, elle ne fait pas partie des choses qui sont dans un écoulement perpétuel ; sinon, nous ne saurions lui accorder le sens intime (συναίσθησις), ni la conscience (παραϰολούθησις), ni la réflexion (σύνθεσις), ni l’intuition d’elle-même (σύνεσις) [2]. Si elle ne les possédait pas par sa nature, elle ne les acquerrait pas par son union avec le corps. Sans doute il est des opérations (ἐνεργείαι) que l’âme ne peut accomplir sans le concours des organes ; mais elle possède par elle-même les facultés (δυνάμεις) dont dépendent ces opérations ; elle possède en outre par elle-même d’autres facultés dont les opérations ne relèvent que d’elle seule. De ce nombre est la mémoire, dont le corps ne fait qu’entraver l’exercice : en effet, quand l’âme s’unit au corps, elle oublie ; quand elle se sépare du corps et se purifie, elle recouvre souvent la mémoire. Puisque l’âme possède la mémoire quand elle est seule, nécessairement le corps, avec sa nature mobile et sujette à un écoulement perpétuel, est une cause d’oubli, non de mémoire : il est donc pour l’âme le fleuve du Léthé (λήθη, oubli). C’est donc à l’âme seule qu’appartient la mémoire [3].

Guthrie

THE PSYCHOLOGY OF SENSATION.

26. If the two elements which compose the animal share in the act of sensation, the sensation is common to the soul and the body, such as the acts of piercing or weaving. Thus, in sensation, the soul plays the part of the workman, and the body that of his tool; the body undergoes the experience, and serves as messenger to the soul; the soul perceives the impression produced in the body, or by the body; or she forms a judgment about the experience she has undergone. Consequently sensation is an operation common to the soul and body.

IN ANY CASE MEMORY IS PECULIAR TO THE SOUL AND BODY

This could not be the state of affairs with memory, by which the soul, having already through sensation perceived the impression produced in the body, preserves it, or dismisses it. It might be claimed that memory also is common to the soul and body, because its efficiency depends on the adjustments of the bodies. No doubt the body can hinder or promote the exercise of memory, without this faculty ceasing to be peculiar to the soul. How shall we try to prove that the memory of knowledge acquired by study, belongs to the compound, and not to the soul alone ? If the organism be the composite of soul and body, in the sense that it is some third object begotten by their union, it will be absurd to say that it is neither soul nor body. Indeed, it could not be anything different from the soul and body, neither if the soul and body were transformed into the composite of which they are the elements, nor if they formed a mixture, so that the soul would be no more than potentially in the organism. Even in this case, it is still the soul, and the soul alone, that would remember. Thus in a mixture of honey and wine, it is the honey alone that should be credited with any sweetness that may be tasted.

THAT THE SOUL IS INCARNATE IS NOT THE CAUSE OF HER POSSESSING MEMORY.

It may again be objected that it is indeed the soul that remembers; but only because she is resident in the body, and is not pure; she must be affected in some particular manner to be able to impress the body with the forms of sense-objects; her seat must be in the body to receive these forms, and to preserve them. But to begin with, these forms could not have any extension; then they could not be either (Stoic) seal-imprints, or impressions; for in the soul there is no impulsion, nor any imprint similar to that of a seal on wax, and the operation itself by which it perceives sense-objects is a kind of thought (or intellection). Indeed, it would be impossible to speak of an impression in the act of thought. Thought has no need of the body or a corporeal quality. It is besides necessary for the soul to remember her movements, as for in stance, her desires which have not been satisfied, and whose object the body has not attained; for what could the body tell us of an object which the body has not yet reached? (Speaking of thoughts), how could the soul, conjointly with the body, remember things which the body, by its very nature, could absolutely not know?

MEMORY BELONGS TO THE SOUL ALONE.

Doubtless we will have to acknowledge that there are affections which pass from the body into the soul; but there are also affections which belong exclusively to the soul, because the soul is a real being, with characteristic nature and activities. In this case, the soul must have desires, and recall them, remembering that they have, or have not been satisfied; because, by her nature, she does not form part of the things which are (as Heraclitus   said) in a perpetual flow. Otherwise, we could not attribute to the soul coenesthesia (or, common feeling), conscience, reflection, or the intuition of herself. If she did not possess them by her nature, she would not acquire them by union with the body. Doubtless there are activities which the soul cannot carry out without the assistance of the organs; but she herself possesses the faculties (or "powers") from which these activities are outgrowths. Besides, she, by herself, possesses other faculties, whose operations are derived from her alone. Among these is memory, whose exercise is only hindered by the body. Indeed, when the soul unites with the body, she forgets; when she separates from the body, and purifies herself, she often recovers memory. Since the soul possesses memory when she is alone, the body, with its changeable nature, that is ever subject to a perpetual flow, is a cause of forgetfulness, and not of memory; the body therefore is, for the soul, the stream of Lethe (or forgetfulness). To the soul alone, therefore, belongs memory.

Taylor

XXVI. If, therefore, the animal is both at one and the same time in the senses according to energy, it is also necessary that sensible perception should be a thing of this kind. Hence, likewise, it is said to be common, in the same manner as to bore with an auger and to weave; in order that soul may subsist comformably to the artificer, in sensible perception, but the body according to the instrument ; the body indeed suffering and being ministrant, but the soul receiving the impression of the body, or that which is effected through the body. Or the soul must receive the judgment arising from the passion of the body; where, indeed, sense may thus be said to be the common work, but memory will not be compelled to pertain to that which is common, the soul now receiving the impression, and either preserving or ejecting it; unless some one should infer that remembrance also is something common, because we acquire a good memory, and likewise become forgetful from the temperaments of the body. It may also be said, that the body either impedes or does not impede reminiscence, but that remembrance will nevertheless be the province of the soul. And with respect to disciplines, how will the remembrance of these pertain to that which is common [or to the animal which is the composite of soul and body], and not rather belong to the soul ? But if the animal is both at once in such a way that another thing is produced from both, in the first place indeed, it will be absurd to say that the animal is neither body nor soul. For both being changed, [the animal will not be something different from both; nor again, both being mingled, will the soul be in the animal in capacity only; though even in this case, remembrance will nevertheless belong to the soul. Just as in the mixture of honey with wine, if there is still something of sweetness in it, this will be derived from the honey. What then, if it should be said that the soul indeed herself remembers, yet in consequence of being in the body, and therefore not being pure, but as it were affected with quality, she is able to impress in the body the types of sensibles, and to establish as it were a seat in it, for the purpose of receiving forms, and preventing them from gliding away ? To this we reply, in the first place indeed, these types are not magnitudes; nor in the second place, are they like impressions from a seal, or resistances, or figurations, because neither is there any impulsion there, nor does the same thing take place as in wax; but the mode even in sensibles resembles that of intellection. In intellection, however, what resistance can there be ? Or what need is there of body, or corporeal quality in intellectual energy ? Moreover, it is necessary that soul should remember its own motions, such as its tendencies to the objects of its desire, and to things which it has not obtained, and which have not arrived at the body. For how could the body speak of things which have not arrived to it ? Or how can the soul recollect in conjunction with body, that which the body is not at all naturally adapted to know ? But it must be said, indeed, that some things end in the soul; and these are such as enter through the body; but that others pertain to the soul alone, if it is necessary that the soul should be something, and that there is a certain nature and work of it. If, however, this be the case, and it desires, and remembers its desire, it will also remember the attainment, or non-attainment of the object of its desire, since its nature does not rank among things of a flowing condition. For if this is not admitted, we must neither grant that it has a co-sensation, nor a power of following the conceptions of intellect, nor a certain conspiration, and as it were consciousness of itself. For unless the soul naturally possessed these things, it would not obtain them through its union with the body; but it would indeed have certain energies, the works of which would require the assistance of corporeal organs; and of some things it would bring with itself the powers; but of others it would also bring the energies. With respect to memory, however, the body is an impediment to it; since even now also oblivion is produced from the addition of certain things; but through ablation and purification, memory frequently emerges. When the soul, therefore, is alone, it is necessary that the moveable and flowing nature of the body, should be the cause of oblivion and not of memory. Hence, also, body may be understood to be the river of Lethe. Let, therefore, this passion [i.e. memory] belong to the soul.

MacKenna

26. Now if sensations of the active order depend upon the Couplement of soul and body, sensation must be of that double nature. Hence it is classed as one of the shared acts: the soul, in the feeling, may be compared to the workman in such operations as boring or weaving, the body to the tool employed: the body is passive and menial; the soul is active, reading such impressions as are made upon the body or discerned by means of the body, perhaps entertaining only a judgement formed as the result of the bodily experiences.

In such a process it is at once clear that the sensation is a shared task; but the memory is not thus made over to the Couplement, since the soul has from the first taken over the impression, either to retain or to reject.

It might be ventured that memory, no less than sensation, is a function of the Couplement, on the ground that bodily constitution determines our memories good or bad; but the answer would come that, whether the body happens or not to be a hindrance, the act of remembering would still be an act of the soul. And in the case of matters learned [and not merely felt, as corporeal experiences], how can we think of the Couplement of soul and body as the remembering principle? Here, surely, it must be soul alone?

We may be told that the living-being is a Couplement in the sense of something entirely distinct formed from the two elements [so that it might have memory though neither soul nor body had it]. But, to begin with, it is absurd to class the living-being as neither body nor soul; these two things cannot so change as to make a distinct third, nor can they blend so utterly that the soul shall become a mere faculty of the animate whole. And, further, supposing they could so blend, memory would still be due to the soul just as in honey-wine all the sweetness will be due to the honey.

It may be suggested the while the soul is perhaps not in itself a remembering principle, yet that, having lost its purity and acquired some degree of modification by its presence in body, it becomes capable of reproducing the imprints of sensible objects and experiences, and that, seated, as roughly speaking it is, within the body, it may reasonably be thought capable of accepting such impressions, and in such a manner as to retain them [thus in some sense possessing memory].

But, to begin with, these imprints are not magnitudes [are not of corporeal nature at all]; there is no resemblance to seal impressions, no stamping of a resistant matter, for there is neither the down-thrust [as of the seal] nor [the acceptance] as in the wax: the process is entirely of the intellect, though exercised upon things of sense; and what kind of resistance [or other physical action] can be affirmed in matters of the intellectual order, or what need can there be of body or bodily quality as a means?

Further there is one order of which the memory must obviously belong to the soul; it alone can remember its own movements, for example its desires and those frustrations of desire in which the coveted thing never came to the body: the body can have nothing to tell about things which never approached it, and the soul cannot use the body as a means to the remembrance of what the body by its nature cannot know.

If the soul is to have any significance - to be a definite principle with a function of its own - we are forced to recognize two orders of fact, an order in which the body is a means but all culminates in soul, and an order which is of the soul alone. This being admitted, aspiration will belong to soul, and so, as a consequence, will that memory of the aspiration and of its attainment or frustration, without which the soul’s nature would fall into the category of the unstable [that is to say of the undivine, unreal]. Deny this character of the soul and at once we refuse it perception, consciousness, any power of comparison, almost any understanding. Yet these powers of which, embodied it becomes the source cannot be absent from its own nature. On the contrary; it possesses certain activities to be expressed in various functions whose accomplishment demands bodily organs; at its entry it brings with it [as vested in itself alone] the powers necessary for some of these functions, while in the case of others it brings the very activities themselves.

Memory, in point of fact, is impeded by the body: even as things are, addition often brings forgetfulness; with thinning and dearing away, memory will often revive. The soul is a stability; the shifting and fleeting thing which body is can be a cause only of its forgetting not of its remembering - Lethe stream may be understood in this sense - and memory is a fact of the soul.

Taylor

XXVI. If, therefore, the animal is both at one and the same time in the senses according to energy, it is also necessary that sensible perception should be a thing of this kind. Hence, likewise, it is said to be common, in the same manner as to bore with an auger and to weave; in order that soul may subsist comformably to the artificer, in sensible perception, but the body according to the instrument ; the body indeed suffering and being ministrant, but the soul receiving the impression of the body, or that which is effected through the body. Or the soul must receive the judgment arising from the passion of the body; where, indeed, sense may thus be said to be the common work, but memory will not be compelled to pertain to that which is common, the soul now receiving the impression, and either preserving or ejecting it; unless some one should infer that remembrance also is something common, because we acquire a good memory, and likewise become forgetful from the temperaments of the body. It may also be said, that the body either impedes or does not impede reminiscence, but that remembrance will nevertheless be the province of the soul. And with respect to disciplines, how will the remembrance of these pertain to that which is common [or to the animal which is the composite of soul and body], and not rather belong to the soul ? But if the animal is both at once in such a way that another thing is produced from both, in the first place indeed, it will be absurd to say that the animal is neither body nor soul. For both being changed, [the animal will not be something different from both; nor again, both being mingled, will the soul be in the animal in capacity only; though even in this case, remembrance will nevertheless belong to the soul. Just as in the mixture of honey with wine, if there is still something of sweetness in it, this will be derived from the honey. What then, if it should be said that the soul indeed herself remembers, yet in consequence of being in the body, and therefore not being pure, but as it were affected with quality, she is able to impress in the body the types of sensibles, and to establish as it were a seat in it, for the purpose of receiving forms, and preventing them from gliding away ? To this we reply, in the first place indeed, these types are not magnitudes; nor in the second place, are they like impressions from a seal, or resistances, or figurations, because neither is there any impulsion there, nor does the same thing take place as in wax; but the mode even in sensibles resembles that of intellection. In intellection, however, what resistance can there be ? Or what need is there of body, or corporeal quality in intellectual energy ? Moreover, it is necessary that soul should remember its own motions, such as its tendencies to the objects of its desire, and to things which it has not obtained, and which have not arrived at the body. For how could the body speak of things which have not arrived to it ? Or how can the soul recollect in conjunction with body, that which the body is not at all naturally adapted to know ? But it must be said, indeed, that some things end in the soul; and these are such as enter through the body; but that others pertain to the soul alone, if it is necessary that the soul should be something, and that there is a certain nature and work of it. If, however, this be the case, and it desires, and remembers its desire, it will also remember the attainment, or non-attainment of the object of its desire, since its nature does not rank among things of a flowing condition. For if this is not admitted, we must neither grant that it has a co-sensation, nor a power of following the conceptions of intellect, nor a certain conspiration, and as it were consciousness of itself. For unless the soul naturally possessed these things, it would not obtain them through its union with the body; but it would indeed have certain energies, the works of which would require the assistance of corporeal organs; and of some things it would bring with itself the powers; but of others it would also bring the energies. With respect to memory, however, the body is an impediment to it; since even now also oblivion is produced from the addition of certain things; but through ablation and purification, memory frequently emerges. When the soul, therefore, is alone, it is necessary that the moveable and flowing nature of the body, should be the cause of oblivion and not of memory. Hence, also, body may be understood to be the river of Lethe. Let, therefore, this passion [i.e. memory] belong to the soul.


Ver online : ENÉADAS III-IV (Gredos)


[1En el libro 1, capítulo 4, del tratado Del alma, Aristóteles advierte que la percepción arranca de objetos particulares y llega hasta el alma, y que, a su vez, el recuerdo parte del alma y se extiende hasta los movimientos o estados de reposo en los órganos sensitivos. No cabe asegurar, sin embargo, que el alma se vuelva colérica, porque esto sería como decir —afirma Aristóteles textualmente— “que el alma teje o que construye una casa”.

[2Les quatre termes dont Plotin se sert ici sont des équivalents, II emploie souvent συναίσθησις et σύνεσις comme synonymes (Enn. III, liv. VIII, § 3; Enn. V, liv. VIII, § 11, etc.). Le sens du mot παρακολούθησις, que nous avons vu dans l’Ennéade l (liv. IV, § 10), a été expliqué ci-dessus (Enn. III, liv. IX, § 3, fin). Quant au mot σύνθεσις, il paraît être l’équivalent de l’expression στᾶσα ἐν ᾧ ἐστιν qu’on trouve dans cette phrase : στᾶσα σὲ [ψυχὴ] ἐν ᾧ ἐστιν, ἐν τῖη αὑτῆς στάσει καὶ οἷον συναισθήσει, τῇ συνέσει ταυτῇ καὶ συναισθήσει τὸ μεθ’ αὑτήν εἶδεν (Enn. ΙΙΙ, liv. VIII, § 3). Sur la conscience, Voy. t. I, p 353.

[3Macrobe, dans son Commentaire sur le Songe de Scipion (I, 12), exprime des idées analogues : « Oblivionem quidem omnes [animae] descendendo hauriunt; aliae vero rnagis, minus aliae... Hinc est quae apud Latinos lectio, apud Graecos vocatur repetita cognitio, quia, quum vera discimus, ea recognoscimus quae naturaliter noveramus, priusquam materialis influxio in corpus venientes animas ebriaret: haec est autem hyle, quae omne corpus mundi, quod ubicunque cernimus, ideis impressa formavit; sed altissima et purissima pars ejus, qua vel sustentantur divina vel constant, nectar vocatur et creditur esse potus deorum; inferior vero et turbidior, potus animarum; et hoc est quod veteres Lethaeum fluvium vocaverunt. » Proclus, dans son Commentaire sur le Cratyle de Platon (§ 178, p. 111, éd. Boissonade), cite ce passage de Plotin en ces termes: ἄγει γὰρ ἡ μνήμη πρὸς τὸ μνημονευτὸν, φησὶ Πλωτῖνος, καὶ ὥσπερ ἡ Μνημοσύνη τὴν μνήμην τῶν νοητῶν ἀνεγείρει, οὕτω καὶ ἡ Λητὼ τὴν λήθην δωρεῖται τῶν ἐνύλων.