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Plotino - Tratado 28,24 (IV, 4, 24) — Sabe-se que a sensação não pode se fazer sem órgãos (2)

Enéada IV, 4, 24

domingo 8 de maio de 2022, por Cardoso de Castro

Capítulos 18-29: O prazer e a dor, o desejo e a cólera em sua relação à união da alma e do corpo.

  • Cap 18: A união da alma e do corpo comparada ao ar aquecido (alma vegetativa) ou iluminado (alma descida)
  • Cap 19: O prazer e a dor
  • Cap 20-21: O desejo
  • Cap 22-27: Digressão. A questão da alma vegetativa posta em relação a este vivente divino que é a terra
  • Cap 22: Questão: É que a terra pode ter sensações?
  • Cap 23-26: Sabe-se que a sensação não pode se fazer sem órgãos e tem por meta a utilidade
  • Cap 27: Resposta. A terra tem um poder vegetativo que ela dá não somente às plantas, mas também às pedras. Ela tem um poder sensitivo. E ela tem um intelecto como os astros.
  • Cap 28: A cólera
  • Cap 29: A separação da alma e do corpo. A alma descida deixa imediatamente o corpo como a luz quando sua fonte desaparece, então a alma vegetativa continua a agir durante um certo tempo como o color no ar

Míguez

24. Otra de las cuestiones a investigar es si la sensación atiende únicamente a nuestra utilidad. Porque si el alma a solas carece de sensación y ésta le adviene en contacto con el cuerpo, es claro que siente por medio del cuerpo. Con lo cual las sensaciones provendrían del cuerpo y serían dadas al alma por su relación con él o como una consecuencia necesaria de esta misma unión. Porque lo que sufre el cuerpo, si aumenta en intensidad, llega a tocar al alma; o, dicho de otro modo, los sentidos han sido hechos para que nos libren de un agente que va en aumento y que puede ser destructor, o también para evitar que ese mismo agente se aproxime hasta nosotros. Si esto es así, los sentidos nos servirían de alguna utilidad. Porque si nos proporcionan conocimiento, servirán para hacer recordar a un ser sumido en el olvido y que, por desdicha para él, está privado de toda ciencia. No ocurriría lo mismo en un ser al que no afectasen la necesidad y el olvido.

En tal sentido podremos examinar no sólo las cosas relativas a la tierra, sino también las que se refieren a todos los astros y, en especial, al cielo y al mundo entero. La sensación, según lo que nosotros decíamos, se verifica en seres particulares a los que afecta algún objeto, pero siempre en relación con otros seres particulares. Porque, ¿cómo podría haber sensación en el ser universal si este ser es insensible con relación a sí mismo? Si el órgano que siente debe ser diferente al objeto sentido, y si el universo lo es a la vez todo, es dará que no podrá darse en él un órgano que siente y un objeto sentido, sino que habrá que concederle una sensación de sí mismo, análoga a la que nosotros tenemos de nosotros mismos, pero sin otorgarle por esto la sensación, que es siempre conocimiento de otro ser. Así, cuando nosotros recibimos alguna impresión no habitual de un hecho que ocurre en nuestro cuerpo, tenemos que atribuirla a algo que viene de fuera.

Sin embargo, puesto que nosotros percibimos no sólo los objetos exteriores, sino también una parte de nuestro cuerpo con alguna otra de sus partes, ¿qué impide que el universo se sirva de las estrellas fijas para ver los planetas y de éstos para ver la tierra y las cosas que hay en la tierra? Si estos seres no tienen las mismas experiencias que los otros seres, pueden, no obstante, tener sensaciones de otra manera, con lo cual la visión no sólo pertenecerá a las estrellas fijas en sí mismas, sino que la esfera que las encierra podrá ser como un ojo que dé a conocer lo que ve al alma del universo. Y si esta misma esfera no sufre como las demás, ¿por qué no podrá ver al igual que ve un ojo, siendo como ella es una esfera luminosa y animada? "No tiene necesidad de ojos", dice (Platón  ). Pero si nada le queda por ver fuera de sí misma, algo al menos tendrá que ver en su interior y nada impedirá que se vea a sí misma. Demos por supuesto, en efecto, que la visión no constituya para ella nada esencial y que resulte vano el que se vea a sí misma. Aun así, podría tomarse como una consecuencia necesaria, porque, ¿qué impide que un cuerpo como éste disfrute de la visión?

Bouillet

XXIV. Examinons maintenant si les sens nous sont donnés seulement dans un but d’utilité.

Si l’âme était séparée du corps, elle ne sentirait pas; elle ne sent que lorsqu’elle est unie à un corps : c’est par le corps et pour lui qu’elle sent; c’est de son commerce avec lui que résulte la sensation, soit que toute passion doive, quand elle est vive, arriver jusqu’à l’âme, soit que les sens aient été faits afin que nous prenions garde à ce qu’aucun objet n’approche trop de nous ou n’exerce sur nos organes une action assez forte pour les détruire. S’il en est ainsi, les sens ont été donnés dans un but d’utilité : car, s’ils servent aussi à acquérir des connaissances, ce n’est pas à l’être qui sait, mais à celui qui a besoin d’apprendre parce qu’il a le malheur d’être ignorant, ou de se souvenir parce qu’il est sujet à oublier; on ne les trouve donc pas chez l’être qui n’a pas besoin d’apprendre et qui n’oublie pas (65).

Considérons quelles conséquences nous devons tirer de là pour la Terre, les astres, et surtout pour le ciel et le monde entier. D’après ce qui précède, les parties du monde qui pâtissent peuvent dans leurs relations avec d’autres parties posséder la sensation. Mais le monde entier, qui est tout à fait impassible dans ses relations avec lui-même, est-il capable de sentir? Si, pour sentir, il faut qu’il y ait d’un côté l’organe et de l’autre l’objet sensible, le monde, qui comprend tout, ne peut avoir ni organe pour percevoir, ni objet extérieur à percevoir. Il faut donc lui accorder une espèce de sens intime (συναίσθησις), semblable au sens intime que nous avons nous-mêmes, et lui refuser la perception des autres objets. Car nous-mêmes, quand, en dehors de notre état habituel, nous percevons quelque chose dans notre corps, nous le percevons comme venu du dehors ; or, comme nous percevons non seulement les objets extérieurs, mais encore une partie de notre corps par une autre partie du corps lui-même, qui empêche le monde de percevoir par la sphère des étoiles fixes la sphère des planètes, et, par cette dernière, la Terre avec les objets qui s’y trouvent? Si ces êtres [les étoiles et les planètes] n’éprouvent pas les passions éprouvées par les autres êtres, qui empêche qu’ils n’aient aussi des sens différents? La sphère des planètes ne peut-elle, non seulement posséder la vue par elle-même, mais encore être l’œil destiné à transmettre à l’Âme universelle ce qu’il voit? En supposant qu’elle n’éprouvât pas les autres passions, pourquoi ne verrait-elle pas comme voit un œil, puisqu’elle est lumineuse et animée?

Mais Platon   dit que «le ciel n’a pas besoin d’yeux (66). » Sans doute le ciel n’a rien à voir hors de lui, et par conséquent n’a pas besoin d’avoir des yeux comme nous; mais il a en lui-même quelque chose à contempler: il peut se voir lui-même. Si l’on objecte qu’il lui est inutile de se voir, nous répondrons qu’il n’a pas été fait principalement dans ce but, et que, s’il se voit lui-même, c’est seulement une conséquence nécessaire de sa constitution naturelle. Rien n’empêche donc qu’il ne voie, puisqu’il est un corps diaphane.

Guthrie

ARE THE SENSES GIVEN US ONLY FOR THE SAKE OF UTILITY?

24. Whether the senses were given us for the sake of utility must be examined as follows. If the soul were separated from the body, she would not feel; she feels only when united to a body; therefore she feels by and for the body. It is from the soul’s intimacy with the body that sensation results, either because all passions, when keen enough, reach the soul; or whether the senses were made for us to take care that no object approaches too near us, or exercises on our organs an action strong enough to destroy them. If so, the senses were given us for the sake of utility. Even if the senses do serve to acquire knowledge and information, they would be of no use to a being who possesses knowledge, but only to one who needs to learn he has the misfortune of being ignorant, or who needs to remember, because he is subject to forgetfulness. They are therefore not found in the being who has no need to learn, and who does not forget.

ARE SENSES GIVEN THE STARS FOR UTILITY?

Let us consider what consequences may be drawn therefrom for the earth, the stars, and especially for the heavens and the whole world. From what we have seen, the parts of the world which suffer may possess sensation in their relation with other parts. But is the entire world, capable of feeling, as it is entirely impassible in its relations with itself? If sensation demand on one hand an organ, and on the other the sense-object, the world which includes everything, can have neither organ to perceive, nor exterior object to be perceived. We may therefore ascribe to the world a sort of intimate sensation, such as we ourselves possess, and deny to it the perception of other objects. When we feel something unusual in our bodies, we perceive it as being external. Now as we perceive not only exterior objects, but even some part of our body through some other part of the body itself, similarly the world might very well perceive the sphere of the planets by means of the sphere of the fixed stars; and perceive the earth with all the objects it contains by means of the sphere of the planets ? If these beings (the stars and the planets) do not feel the passions felt by other beings, why might they not also possess different senses? Might not the sphere of the planets not only by itself possess sight by itself, but in addition be the eye destined to transmit what it sees to the universal Soul ? Since she is luminous and animated, she might see as does an eye, supposing that she did not feel the other passions. (Plato  ), however, said, "that the heavens have no need of eyes." Doubtless the heavens have nothing outside of themselves to see; and consequently, they may not have need of eyes, as we have; but they contain something to contemplate, namely, themselves. If it should be objected that it is useless for them to see themselves, it may be answered that they were not made principally for this purpose, and that if they see themselves, it is only a necessary consequence of their natural constitution. Nothing therefore hinders them from seeing, as their body is diaphanous.

MacKenna

24. The next question is whether perception is concerned only with need.

The soul, isolated, has no sense-perception; sensations go with the body; sensation itself therefore must occur by means of the body to which the sensations are due; it must be something brought about by association with the body.

Thus either sensation occurs in a soul compelled to follow upon bodily states - since every graver bodily experience reaches at last to soul - or sensation is a device by which a cause is dealt with before it becomes so great as actually to injure us or even before it has begun to make contact.

At this, sense-impressions would aim at utility. They may serve also to knowledge, but that could be service only to some being not living in knowledge but stupefied as the result of a disaster, and the victim of a Lethe calling for constant reminding: they would be useless to any being free from either need or forgetfulness. This This reflection enlarges the enquiry: it is no longer a question of earth alone, but of the whole star-system, all the heavens, the kosmos entire. For it would follow that, in the sphere of things not exempt from modification, sense-perception would occur in every part having relation to any other part: in a whole, however - having relation only to itself, immune, universally self-directed and self-possessing - what perception could there be?

Granted that the percipient must act through an organ and that this organ must be different from the object perceived, then the universe, as an All, can have [no sensation since it has] no organ distinct from object: it can have self-awareness, as we have; but sense-perception, the constant attendant of another order, it cannot have.

Our own apprehension of any bodily condition apart from the normal is the sense of something intruding from without: but besides this, we have the apprehension of one member by another; why then should not the All, by means of what is stationary in it, perceive that region of itself which is in movement, that is to say the earth and the earth’s content?

Things of earth are certainly affected by what passes in other regions of the All; what, then, need prevent the All from having, in some appropriate way, the perception of those changes? In addition to that self-contemplating vision vested in its stationary part, may it not have a seeing power like that of an eye able to announce to the All-Soul what has passed before it? Even granted that it is entirely unaffected by its lower, why, still, should it not see like an eye, ensouled as it is, all lightsome?

Still: "eyes were not necessary to it," we read. If this meant simply that nothing is left to be seen outside of the All, still there is the inner content, and there can be nothing to prevent it seeing what constitutes itself: if the meaning is that such self-vision could serve to no use, we may think that it has vision not as a main intention for vision’s sake but as a necessary concomitant of its characteristic nature; it is difficult to conceive why such a body should be incapable of seeing.