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Plotino - Tratado 49,12 (V, 3, 12) — O Uno é absolutamente simples

Enéada V, 3, 12

segunda-feira 13 de junho de 2022, por Cardoso de Castro

  • Cap 12, 1-44: O Uno é absolutamente simples e um, enquanto o Intelecto é múltiplo, pois ele é todas as suas atividades plurais que coincidem com os inteligíveis que possui e que pensa nela mesmo
  • Cap 12, 44 a cap 13, 36: Em razão de sua simplicidade absoluta, o Uno está além do conhecimento, do pensamento e do discurso, e não pode portanto ser nem sujeito nem objeto de conhecimento, de pensamento e de discurso.

Míguez

12. Pero, ¿qué es lo que impide que sea múltiple, si se trata de una esencia única? Porque podría ser múltiple, no por ser compuesto, sino por la multiplicidad de sus mismos actos. Mas, si estos actos no son sustancias, pasa realmente de la potencia al acto. No es, pues, múltiple, sino más bien algo imperfecto antes de pasar al acto. Y si su sustancia es su acto, y su acto es a la vez múltiple, su sustancia será también tan múltiple como lo es su acto. Cosa que, verdaderamente, aceptamos para la Inteligencia, a la que atribuimos el pensamiento de sí misma, pero no asignamos el principio todas las cosas. Por consiguiente, conviene que exista la unidad antes la multiplicidad, porque es claro que la multiplicidad proviene de ella. Lo tenemos a la vista en un número cualquiera, en el que el uno es siempre lo primero. Podría argüirse, sin embargo, que en el número ocurre así porque todos los números sucesivos son compuestos (de unidades); pero, en cuanto al mundo de los seres, ¿qué necesidad hay una unidad de la que provenga la multiplicidad de todos ellos? A lo que contestaríamos que, (si esta unidad existiese), los seres múltiples se aparecerían dispersos y sin otro aglutinamiento que el propio azar. Podría añadirse: pero basta tan sólo con que sus actos provengan de la unidad de una inteligencia, que es un ser simple. Lo cual daría por supuesto que existe un término simple, anterior (necesariamente) a los actos. Y, a renglón seguido, habría que admitir también que los actos son hipóstasis que existen eternamente. Mas, si son hipóstasis, serán a la vez algo diferente del término del que provienen, con lo que habrá un término que subsiste en su simplicidad y, como provenientes de él, una serie de actos múltiples que existen en sí mismos, pero siempre dependientes de su principio. Porque si fuesen tan sólo un acto de este término, el término mismo sería múltiple; pero, siendo como son los primeros actos, tendrán que constituir un segundo término, haciendo con esto que el término anterior a ellos permanezca en sí mismo. Los actos, pues, habrán de atribuirse al segundo término, que es realmente una reunión de actos. Una cosa es el término simple y otra los actos que provienen de él, sin que él tenga necesidad de actuar. De no ser así, la Inteligencia no sería tampoco el acto primero. Porque el Uno no tuvo que esforzarse para hacer nacer la Inteligencia, esto es, para que ella naciese a continuación, como si su esfuerzo fuese algo intermedio entre él mismo y la Inteligencia que nace. Realmente, él no puede esforzarse en absoluto, porque en este caso sería un ser imperfecto. Por otra parte, su mismo esfuerzo carecería de objeto, porque no hay nada que no posea ni objeto alguno hacia el que él deba extenderse. Está claro, pues, que si algo existe después de él, existirá sin que él abandone su carácter. Porque, para que una cosa exista después de él, es necesario que él mismo se encuentre en todas partes y que permanezca en reposo. De otro modo, se movería con anterioridad al movimiento y pensaría con anterioridad al pensamiento; o tal vez su acto primero fuese algo imperfecto y tan sólo una nueva tendencia. Pero, ¿hacia qué podría moverse, una vez alcanzado su objeto? Propondremos como cosa razonable que el acto que emana del Uno es en cierto modo como la luz que emana del sol. Porque hemos de admitir, en efecto, que toda la naturaleza inteligible es una luz, en la cima de la cual se yergue el Uno, que reina sobre ella sin lanzar fuera de sí sus rayos luminosos. O diremos, también, que el Uno es otra luz anterior a la luz, que lumina la naturaleza inteligible sin dejar de permanecer inmóvil. Porque el ser que viene después del Uno ni se separa de él ni es idéntico a él; no es tal que no una sustancia o un ser ciego, ya que ve, se conoce a sí mismo y es en realidad el primer cognoscente. Y, lo mismo que el Uno se encuentra más allá de la Inteligencia, se encuentra también más allá del conocimiento, no teniendo necesidad de él como tampoco de ninguna otra cosa. El conocimiento, por el contrario, ha de darse en una segunda naturaleza, puesto que es una cierta unidad, en tanto el Uno es una unidad sin más; porque, si fuese una cierta unidad ya no sería el Uno en sí mismo, al que hemos de concebir como anterior a cualquier cosa.

Bouillet

XII. Qu’est-ce qui empêche, objectera-t-on, que dans le Premier l’acte soit multiple, pourvu que l’essence soit une et simple? La multitude des actes ne saurait rendre ce principe composé. — Ou bien ces actes sont distincts de l’essence, et le Premier passe de la puissance à l’acte : alors il n’est plus multiple, sans doute, mais son essence ne devient parfaite que par l’acte; ou bien l’essence est en lui identique à l’acte : alors, l’acte étant multiple, l’essence doit être elle-même multiple. Or, nous accordons bien que l’Intelligence est multiple, puisqu’elle se pense elle-même, mais nous ne saurions admettre que le principe de toutes choses soit également multiple. Il faut que l’Un préexiste au multiple qui a en lui la raison de son existence : car l’unité est antérieure à tout nombre. — Cette proposition, dira-t-on, est vraie pour les nombres qui suivent l’unité, parce qu’ils sont composés ; mais, pour les êtres, quelle nécessité y a-t-il qu’il y ait un principe un d’où provienne le multiple? — C’est que, sans l’Un, toutes choses seront dispersées, et leurs combinaisons ne formeront qu’un chaos. — Mais, ajoutera-t-on, d’une intelligence qui est simple peuvent provenir des actes multiples. — On admet alors qu’il y a quelque chose de simple avant les actes. Ensuite, étant permanents, ces actes seront des hypostases; étant hypostases, ils devront différer du principe dont ils procèdent, puisque le principe demeure simple, et que ce qui en naît est multiple par soi-même et en dépend. Si ces actes existent parce que le principe a une fois agi, il y a encore là multiplicité. Si ces actes, bien qu’étant les premiers actes, constituent ce qui est au second rang, le premier rang appartient au principe qui est antérieur à ces actes; ce principe demeure en lui-même, tandis que ces actes forment ce qui tient le second rang et qui est composé d’actes. Le Premier diffère des actes qu’il engendre, parce qu’il les engendre sans agir; autrement, l’Intelligence ne serait pas le premier acte. Il ne faut pas croire en effet que l’Un ait désiré d’abord engendrer l’Intelligence, et Tait engendrée ensuite, de telle sorte que ce désir ait été un intermédiaire entre le principe générateur et la chose engendrée. L’Un n’a pu rien désirer; s’il eût désiré, il eût été imparfait, puisqu’il n’eût pas possédé encore ce qu’il désirait. On ne saurait d’ailleurs supposer qu’il manquât quelque chose à l’Un : car il n’y avait aucune chose vers laquelle il pût se porter. Il est donc évident que l’hypostase qui lui est inférieure a reçu de lui l’existence sans qu’il ait cessé de demeurer dans son état propre. Donc, pour qu’il y ait une hypostase inférieure à l’Un, il faut qu’il demeure parfaitement tranquille en lui-même ; autrement, il entrera en mouvement ; on imaginera en lui un mouvement avant le premier mouvement, une pensée avant la première pensée, son premier acte sera imparfait, ne consistera que dans une simple tendance. Mais à quoi peut tendre et que peut atteindre le premier acte de l’Un, si, ainsi que l’exige la raison, nous admettons que cet acte s’écoule de lui, comme la lumière émane du soleil? Nous regarderons donc cet acte comme une lumière qui embrasse tout le monde intelligible ; nous placerons au sommet de ce monde et nous ferons régner sur lui l’Un immobile, sans le séparer de la lumière qui rayonne de lui. Ou bien, nous admettrons qu’il y a au-dessus de cette lumière une autre lumière, qui, tout en restant immobile, illumine l’intelligible. En effet, l’acte qui émane de l’Un, sans être séparé de lui, diffère de lui cependant. Il n’est pas d’ailleurs de nature à n’être pas une essence, ou à être aveugle; il se contemple donc et se connaît lui-même; il est par conséquent le premier principe connaissant (πρῶτον γιγνῶσκον). Quant à l’Un, étant au-dessus de l’Intelligence, il est aussi au-dessus de la connaissance; n’ayant besoin de rien, il n’a pas non plus besoin de connaître.

Connaître n’appartient ainsi qu’à la nature qui occupe le second rang. La connaissance n’est qu’une unité particulière, tandis que l’Un est l’unité absolue : en effet, ce qui est une unité particulière n’est pas l’unité absolue, parce que l’absolu est au-dessus du particulier (τὸ αὐτὸ πρὸ τοῦ τι).

Guthrie

NO MANIFOLDNESS OF ANY KIND CAN EXIST IN THE FIRST.

12. It may be objected, that nothing would hinder the existence of manifoldness in the actualization of the First, so long as the "being," or nature, remain unitary. That principle would not be rendered composite by any number of actualizations. This is not the case for two reasons. Either these actualizations are distinct from its nature ("being"), and the First would pass from potentiality to actuality; in which case, without doubt, the First is not manifold, but His nature would not become perfect without actualization. Or the nature ("being") is, within Him identical to His actualization; in which case, as the actualization is manifold, the nature would be such also. Now we do indeed grant that Intelligence is manifold, since it thinks itself; but we could not grant that the Principle of all things should also be manifold. Unity must exist before the manifold, the reason of whose existence is found in unity; for unity precedes all number. It may be objected that this is true enough for numbers which follow unity, because they are composite; but what is the need of a unitary principle from which manifoldness should proceed when referring (not to numerals, but) to beings? This need is that, without the One, all things would be in a dispersed condition, and their combinations would be no more than a chaos.

PERMANENT ACTUALIZATIONS ARE HYPOSTASES.

Another objection is, that from an intelligence that is simple, manifold actualizations can surely proceed. This then admits the existence of something simple before the actualizations. Later, as these actualizations become permanent, they form hypostatic forms of existence. Being such, they will have to differ from the Principle from which they proceed, since the Principle remains simple, and that which is born of it must in itself be manifold, and be dependent thereon. Even if these actualizations exist only because the Principle acted a single time, this already constitutes manifoldness. Though these actualizations be the first ones, if they constitute second-rank (nature), the first rank will belong to the Principle that precedes these actualizations; this Principle abides in itself, while these actualizations constitute that which is of second rank, and is composed of actualizations. The First differs from the actualizations He begets, because He begets them without activity; otherwise, Intelligence would not be the first actualization. Nor should we think that the One first desired to beget Intelligence, and later begat it, so that this desire was an intermediary between the generating principle and the generated entity. The One could not have desired anything; for if He had desired anything, He would have been imperfect, since He would not yet have possessed what He desired. Nor could we suppose that the One lacked anything; for there was nothing towards which He could have moved. Therefore, the hypostatic form of existence which is beneath Him received existence from Him, without ceasing to persist in its own condition. Therefore, if there is to be a hypostatic form of existence beneath Him He must have remained within Himself in perfect tranquility; otherwise, He would have initiated movement; and we would have to conceive of a movement before the first movement, a thought before the first thought, and its first actualization would be imperfect, consisting in no more than a mere tendency. But towards what can the first actualization of the One tend, and attain, if, according to the dictates of reason, we conceive of that actualization originating from Him as light emanates from the sun ? This actualization, therefore, will have to be considered as a light that embraces the whole intelligible world; at the summit of which we shall have to posit, and over whose throne we shall have to conceive the rule of the immovable One, without separating Him from the Light that radiates from Him. Otherwise, above this Light we would have to posit another one, which, while remaining immovable, should enlighten the intelligible. Indeed the actualization that emanates from the One, without being separated from Him, nevertheless, differs from Him. Neither is its nature non-essential, or blind; it, therefore, contemplates itself, and knows itself; it is, consequently, the first knowing principle. As the One is above Intelligence, it is also above consciousness; as it needs nothing, neither has it any need of knowing anything. Cognition (or, consciousness), therefore, belongs only to the second-rank nature. Consciousness is only an individual unity, while the One is absolute unity; indeed individual unity is not absolute Unity, because the absolute is (or, "in and for itself"), precedes the ("somehow determined," or) individual.

Taylor

XII. What however hinders [it may be said, the first principle of things] from being thus multitude, so long as it is one essence ? For multitude here is not composition ; but the energies of it are multitude. If, however, the energies of it are not essences, but it proceeds from capacity into energy, it will not be multitude indeed, yet it will be imperfect in essence before it energizes. But if the essence of it is energy, and the energy of it is multitude, its essence will be as multitudinous as its energy. We admit, however, that this is the case with intellect, to which we attribute the intellection of itself; but we do not assert this of the principle of all things. For it is necessary that prior to multitude there should be the one, from which multitude proceeds; since in every number the one is first. Our opponents, however, may say, that this is indeed the case in number. For the things which are in a consequent order to unity are compositions; but what necessity is there in beings, that there should be a certain one from which the many proceed ? To this we reply, that the many without the one would be devised from each other, one thing casually proceeding to another, in order to the composition of multitude. Hence, they also say, that energies proceed from one intellect which is simple; so that they now admit there is something simple prior to energies. And in the next place, they should know that energies which are always permanent are hypostases. Energies, however, being hypostases, are different from that from which they proceed; since this indeed remains simple, but that which proceeds from it, is in itself multitude, and is suspended from its simple cause. For if they subsist, that from which they proceed at the same time in a certain respect energizing, there also there will be multitude. But if they are first energies producing that which is secondary, nothing prevents that which is prior to the energies from abiding in itself, and from conceding energies to that which is second, and which consists of energies. For that which is prior to energies is one thing, but the energies which proceed from it another; because from that not energizing [these derive their subsistence]. For if this were not the case, intellect would not be the first energy. For [that which is entirely simple] did not as it were desire that intellect should be generated, and afterwards intellect was generated, this desire subsisting between the simple principle, and its offspring intellect. Nor in short, did this principle desire. For thus it would be imperfect, and the desire would not yet have that which it wished to obtain. Nor again, does it partly obtain the object of its wish, and partly not. For there is nothing to which the extension [of its desire is directed]. But indeed, if any thing subsists after it, it subsists in consequence of this principle abiding in its accustomed habit. It is necessary, therefore, in order that something else may subsist, that this principle should be every where quiescent in itself. For if not, either it will be moved prior to being moved, and will perceive intellectually prior to intellectual perception, or its first energy will be imperfect, being an impulse alone. To what, therefore, can it thus be impelled ? For either we must admit that the energy flowing as it were from it, is analogous to the light proceeding from the sun, which energy is every intelligible and intellectual nature, and that this principle being established at the summit of the intelligible world reigns over it, without separating from itself, that which is unfolded into light from it; or we must admit that there is another light prior to this light, which emits its splendour, perpetually abiding in the intelligible. For that which proceeds from this principle is not separated from it, nor again, is the same with it. Nor is it a thing of such a kind as not to be essence. Nor is it, as it were, blind; but it sees and knows itself, and is primarily gnostic. The principle itself, however, as it is beyond intellect, so likewise it is beyond knowledge. And as it is not in want of any thing, it is not in want of knowledge; but knowledge subsists in the nature which is next to this. For to know is one certain thing; but this principle is one without the addition of certain. For if it was a certain one, it would not be the one itself. For itself is prior to a certain or some particular thing.

MacKenna

12. But why, after all, should it not be such a manifold as long as it remains one substantial existence, having the multiplicity not of a compound being but of a unity with a variety of activities?

Now, no doubt, if these various activities are not themselves substantial existences - but merely manifestations of latent potentiality - there is no compound; but, on the other hand, it remains incomplete until its substantial existence be expressed in act. If its substantial existence consists in its Act, and this Act constitutes multiplicity, then its substantial existence will be strictly proportioned to the extent of the multiplicity.

We allow this to be true for the Intellectual-Principle to which we have allotted [the multiplicity of] self-knowing; but for the first principle of all, never. Before the manifold, there must be The One, that from which the manifold rises: in all numerical series, the unit is the first.

But - we will be answered - for number, well and good, since the suite makes a compound; but in the real beings why must there be a unit from which the multiplicity of entities shall proceed?

Because [failing such a unity] the multiplicity would consist of disjointed items, each starting at its own distinct place and moving accidentally to serve to a total.

But, they will tell us, the Activities in question do proceed from a unity, from the Intellectual-Principle, a simplex.

By that they admit the existence of a simplex prior to the Activities; and they make the Activities perdurable and class them as substantial existences [hypostases]; but as Hypostases they will be distinct from their source, which will remain simplex; while its product will in its own nature be manifold and dependent upon it.

Now if these activities arise from some unexplained first activity in that principle, then it too contains the manifold: if, on the contrary, they are the very earliest activities and the source and cause of any multiple product and the means by which that Principle is able, before any activity occurs, to remain self-centred, then they are allocated to the product of which they are the cause; for this principle is one thing, the activities going forth from it are another, since it is not, itself, in act. If this be not so, the first act cannot be the Intellectual-Principle: the One does not provide for the existence of an Intellectual-Principle which thereupon appears; that provision would be something [an Hypostasis] intervening between the One and the Intellectual-Principle, its offspring. There could, in fact, be no such providing in The One, for it was never incomplete; and such provision could name nothing that ought to be provided. It cannot be thought to possess only some part of its content, and not the whole; nor did anything exist to which it could turn in desire. Clearly anything that comes into being after it, arises without shaking to its permanence in its own habit. It is essential to the existence of any new entity that the First remain in self-gathered repose throughout: otherwise, it moved before there was motion and had intellectual act before any intellection - unless, indeed, that first act [as motionless and without intelligence] was incomplete, nothing more than a tendency. And what can we imagine it lights upon to become the object of such a tendency?

The only reasonable explanation of act flowing from it lies in the analogy of light from a sun. The entire intellectual order may be figured as a kind of light with the One in repose at its summit as its King: but this manifestation is not cast out from it: we may think, rather, of the One as a light before the light, an eternal irradiation resting upon the Intellectual Realm; this, not identical with its source, is yet not severed from it nor of so remote a nature as to be less than Real-Being; it is no blind thing, but is seeing and knowing, the primal knower.

The One, as transcending Intellect, transcends knowing: above all need, it is above the need of the knowing which pertains solely to the Secondary Nature. Knowing is a unitary thing, but defined: the first is One, but undefined: a defined One would not be the One-absolute: the absolute is prior to the definite.