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Plotino - Tratado 32,12 (V, 5, 12) — A primazia do Bem, que vem mesmo antes do Belo

Enéada V, 5, 12

terça-feira 14 de junho de 2022, por Cardoso de Castro

Capítulo 12: A primazia do Bem, que vem mesmo antes do Belo

  • 1-5: A intelecção revela coisas diferentes daquelas que procura a sensação
  • 5-19: O desejo do bem é conatural e primeiro, aquele do Belo é adquirido e segundo
  • 19-50: A anterioridade do Bem sobre o Belo

Míguez

12. Es preciso que percibamos cada cosa por la facultad cognoscitiva que corresponda; unas por los ojos, otras por los oídos y las demás de la misma forma. Y hemos de pensar, bien, que hay otras cosas que ve la Inteligencia, y que comprender no es escuchar ni ver. ¡Como si pudiese prescribirse que se ve con los oídos o que los sonidos no existen que no se los ve! Pensemos, sin embargo, que los hombres olvidadizos de lo que desde el principio y hasta ahora echan de menos y ansían. Todas las cosas tienden hacia El, desean por una necesidad de su naturaleza, como si sospechasen que no pueden existir sin El. En cuanto a lo que despierta nuestra admiración y nuestro amor, sólo de ser percibido por seres capaces de conocer y en estado vigilia; pero el Bien, en cambio, está ahí desde siempre y constituye el objeto de un deseo innato, incluso para los seres adormecidos, no llenándonos de admiración si alguna vez lo vemos porque ya se encuentra siempre presente y no tenemos necesidad de recordarlo. Ahí está, en efecto, aunque no lo veamos, porque está, incluso, presente para los seres adormecidos. El deseo de lo bello, cuando se hace presente, nos produce dolores, porque es preciso que lo veamos para que lo deseemos; se trata realmente de un amor de segundo grado, que se da en los seres que conocen, lo cual revela que lo bello ocupa, precisamente, el segundo rango. El deseo del Bien es más antiguo y no supone percepción de ninguna clase, por lo que se dice también que el Bien es más antiguo y anterior a lo bello. Quienes poseen el Bien piensan ya que tienen bastante y que han colmado sus deseos; pero lo bello no todos lo ven y piensan por ello que, si existe, existe para sí mismo, mas no para nosotros, porque la belleza de cada uno sólo pertenece al que la posee. Basta, por lo demás, parecer bello, aunque no se lo sea, en tanto en lo que concierne al Bien no resulta suficiente con la apariencia .Porque disputamos, rivalizamos y aun entramos en pendencia con lo bello por creerlo engendrado como nosotros mismos; cual si quisiésemos parecernos a alguien de rango inferior al rey y que pretendiese para sí la misma dignidad, aduciendo para ello que depende del mismo rey que él, pero desconociendo que si, en efecto, depende del rey, el otro personaje se encuentra realmente antes que él. La causa de este error estriba en que participamos en el mismo principio que lo bello y que el Uno es anterior, tanto a lo bello como a nosotros mismos; mas si el Bien no tiene necesidad de lo bello, lo bello, en cambio, sí tiene necesidad de Aquél. El Bien es dulce, bondadoso y delicado, encontrándose presente cuando así lo queremos. Lo bello produce estupor y turbación y origina placer con mezcla de dolor. Nos atrae, aun sin saberlo, fuera del Bien, lo mismo que el amado atrae a la amada fuera de la casa del padre, porque es más joven que el Bien. El Bien es más antiguo, no en el tiempo, sino verdaderamente, y por tener un poder anterior, ya que dispone de todo el poder posible. Lo que viene después de El no tiene ya todo el poder sino el que corresponde a un ser posterior y proveniente del Bien. De modo que el Bien es señor de todo el poder, porque no tiene necesidad de los seres que ha producido y, por ser así, abandona lo que ha engendrado y permanece tal como era antes de producir nada, pues, de nada tendría que ocuparse de no haber producido ningún ser. Si algo realmente puede provenir de El, El mismo no tiene por qué sentir envidia, ya que ninguna cosa puede nacer ni es capaz de venir sin El a la existencia, siendo así que El ha engendrado todas las cosas. Pero El mismo no constituye todas las cosas, para no tener necesidad de ellas; por el contrario, se encuentra por encima de todas las cosas y puede producirlas y permitir, incluso, que las cosas existan por sí mismas, aunque El permanezca sobre ellas.

Bouillet

XII. Il ne faut chercher à percevoir chaque chose que par la faculté qui est destinée à la connaître : c’est ainsi que nous percevons les couleurs par les yeux, les sons par les oreilles, et d’autres qualités par d’autres sens. Il faut également admettre que l’intelligence a sa fonction propre, et ne pas croire que penser soit la même chose que voir et entendre : agir autrement, c’est ressembler à un homme qui voudrait percevoir des couleurs par les oreilles et qui nierait l’existence des sons parce qu’il ne saurait les voir. Les hommes, pensons-y bien, ont oublié le principe qui depuis le commencement jusqu’à ce jour excite leurs souhaits et leurs désirs (18). En effet, toutes choses aspirent au premier principe, y tendent par une nécessité naturelle, et semblent deviner qu’elles ne sauraient exister sans lui. La notion du Beau n’est donnée qu’aux âmes qui sont éveillées et qui ont déjà quelque connaissance; à sa vue, elles sont en même temps frappées de stupeur et aiguillonnées par l’amour (19). Le Bien, au contraire, excite en nous dès l’origine un désir qui est inné; il nous est présent même dans le sommeil ; sa vue ne nous frappe jamais de stupeur, parce qu’il est toujours avec nous ; il n’est pas besoin de réminiscence ni d’attention pour jouir de sa présence, puisqu’on n’en est pas privé même quand on dort. L’amour du beau, en s’emparant de nous, nous cause des soucis parce qu’on désire le beau quand on l’a vu. Comme l’amour que le beau excite ne vient qu’en seconde ligne et qu’il ne se trouve que chez ceux qui ont déjà quelque connaissance, il est évident que le beau n’occupe que le second rang. Le désir du bien est au contraire plus ancien; il n’exige aucune connaissance préalable. Cela montre que le bien est antérieur et supérieur au beau. En outre, tous les hommes sont satisfaits dès qu’ils possèdent le bien : ils se croient arrivés à leur fin. Mais tous ne croient pas que le beau leur suffise : ils pensent que le beau est beau pour lui-même plutôt que pour eux, comme la beauté d’un individu n’est un avantage que pour lui seul. Enfin, la plupart sont contents de paraître beaux, ne le fussent-ils pas réellement; maïs il ne leur suffît pas de paraître posséder le bien, ils veulent le posséder réellement. En effet, tous désirent avoir ce qui tient le premier rang; mais ils luttent, ils rivalisent avec le beau dans l’opinion qu’il est né comme eux. Ils ressemblent à une personne qui se prétendrait l’égale d’une autre personne qui tient le premier rang après le roi parce qu’elle en dépend aussi ; elle ignore que si elle dépend également du roi, elle est inférieure à l’autre dans l’ordre de la hiérarchie (20) : la cause de cette erreur, c’est que toutes deux participent d’un même principe, que l’Un leur est supérieur à toutes deux, qu’enfin le bien n’a pas besoin du beau, tandis que le beau a besoin du bien (21). Le bien est doux, calme, plein de délices; nous en jouissons comme nous le voulons. Le beau, au contraire, frappe l’âme de stupeur, l’agite et mêle la peine au plaisir. Il nous éloigne souvent du bien à notre insu, comme un objet aimé sépare un fils d’un père. Le bien est plus ancien que le beau, non dans le temps, mais dans la réalité; il a d’ailleurs une puissance qui est supérieure, parce qu’elle n’a pas de bornes. Ce qui lui est inférieur, au lieu d’avoir une puissance sans bornes, ne possède qu’une puissance inférieure et dépendante. Dieu est donc maître même de la puissance qui est inférieure à la sienne; il n’a pas besoin des choses qu’il a engendrées : car c’est lui qui leur a donné tout ce qui se trouve en elles; il n’avait pas d’ailleurs besoin d’engendrer; il est encore tel qu’il était auparavant ; rien ne serait changé pour lui s’il n’avait pas engendré; s’il eût été possible que d’autres choses reçussent l’existence, il ne la leur aurait pas refusée par jalousie. Maintenant il n’est plus possible que rien soit engendré. Dieu a engendré tout ce qu’il pouvait engendrer. U n’est point d’ailleurs l’universalité des choses; il aurait ainsi besoin d’elles. Élevé au-dessus de toutes, il a pu les engendrer et leur permettre d’exister pour elles-mêmes en les dominant toutes.

Guthrie

THE GOOD IS SUPERIOR TO THE BEAUTIFUL, AND IS COGNIZED BY THE MIND AS ITS SENSE.

12. We should not seek to perceive an object otherwise than by the faculty that is suitable to cognize it. Thus colors are perceived by the eyes, sounds by the ears, and other qualities by other senses. Analogy would assign to intelligence its proper function, so that thinking should not be identified with seeing and hearing. To act otherwise would be to resemble a man who would try to perceive colors by the ears, and who would deny the existence of sounds because he could not see them. We must never forget that men have forgotten the Principle which from the beginning until this day has excited their desires and wishes. Indeed all things aspire to the first Principle, tend thither by a natural necessity, and seem to divine that they could not exist without Him. The notion of the beautiful is given only to souls that are awake, and that already possess some knowledge; at sight of Him they are simultaneously dazed with His sublimity, and spurred on by love. From His very origin, on the contrary, the Good excites in us an innate desire; He is present with us even in sleep; His view never dazes us with stupor, because He is always with us. Enjoyment of His presence demands neither reminiscence nor attention, because one is not deprived thereof even in sleep. When the love of the beautiful overwhelms us, it causes us anxieties, because the sight of the beautiful makes us desire it. As the love excited by the beautiful is only secondary, and as it exists only in such persons as possess already some knowledge, the beautiful evidently occupies only the second rank. On the contrary, the desire of the Good is more original, and demands no preliminary knowledge. That surely demonstrates that the Good is anterior and superior to the beautiful. Besides, all men are satisfied as soon as they possess the Good; they consider that they have reached their goal. But not all think that the beautiful suffices them; they think that the beautiful is beautiful for itself, rather than for them; as the beauty of an individual is an advantage only for himself. Last, the greater number of people are satisfied with seeming beautiful, even if they are not so in reality; but they are not satisfied with seeming to possess the Good, which they desire to possess in reality. Indeed, all desire to have that which occupies the front rank; but they struggle, they engage in rivalry about the beautiful in the opinion that it is born just as they are (from development of circumstances). They resemble a person who would claim equality with another person who holds the first rank after the king, because both depend from the king; such a person does not realize that though both are subject to the king, yet there is a great difference in hierarchical rank between them; the cause of this error is that both participate in a same principle, that the One is superior to both of them, and that lastly the Good has no need of the beautiful, while the beautiful is in need of the Good. The Good is sweet, calm, and full of delights; we enjoy it at will. On the contrary, the beautiful strikes the soul with amazement, agitates it, and mingles pains with pleasures. In spite of ourselves we are thereby often separated from the Good, like a beloved object separates a son from the father. The Good is more ancient than the beautiful, not in time, but in reality; besides, it exerts superior power, because it is unlimited. That which is inferior to it, possesses only an inferior and dependent power, instead of having a limitless power (as belongs to Intelligence, which is inferior to the Good). The Divinity therefore is master of the power which is inferior to His own; He has no need of things that are begotten; for it is from Him that all their contents are derived. Besides, He had no need of begetting; He still is such as He was before; nothing would have been changed for Him if He had not begotten; if it had been possible for other things to receive existence (independently of Himself) He would not have opposed it through jealousy. It is now no longer possible for anything to be begotten, for the divinity has begotten all that He could beget. Nor is He the universality of things, for thus He would stand in need of them. Raised above all things, He has been able to beget them, and to permit them to exist for themselves by dominating all.

MacKenna

12. Knowing demands the organ fitted to the object; eyes for one kind, ears for another: similarly some things, we must believe, are to be known by the Intellectual-Principle in us. We must not confuse intellection with hearing or seeing; this would be trying to look with the ears or denying sound because it is not seen. Certain people, we must keep in mind, have forgotten that to which, from the beginning onwards, their longing and effort are pointed: for all that exists desires and aspires towards the Supreme by a compulsion of nature, as if all had received the oracle that without it they cannot be.

The perception of Beauty and the awe and the stirring of passion towards it are for those already in some degree knowing and awakened: but the Good, as possessed long since and setting up a natural tendency, is inherently present to even those asleep and brings them no wonder when some day they see it, since it is no occasional reminiscence but is always with them though in their drowse they are not aware of it: the love of Beauty on the contrary sets up pain when it appears, for those that have seen it must pursue. This love of Beauty then is later than the love of Good and comes with a more sophisticated understanding; hence we know that Beauty is a secondary: the more primal appetition, not patent to sense, our movement towards our good, gives witness that The Good is the earlier, the prior.

Again; all that have possessed themselves of The Good feel it sufficient: they have attained the end: but Beauty not all have known and those that have judge it to exist for itself and not for them, as in the charm of this world the beauty belongs only to its possessor.

Then, too, it is thought enough to appear loveable whether one is so or not: but no one wants his Good in semblance only. All are seeking The First as something ranking before aught else, but they struggle venomously for beauty as something secondary like themselves: thus some minor personage may perhaps challenge equal honour with the King’s right-hand man on pretext of similar dependence, forgetting that, while both owe their standing to the monarch, the other holds the higher rank.

The source of the error is that while both The Good and The Beautiful participate in the common source, The One precedes both; and that, in the Supreme also, The Good has no need of The Beautiful, while the Beautiful does need The Good.

The Good is gentle and friendly and tender, and we have it present when we but will. Beauty is all violence and stupefaction; its pleasure is spoiled with pain, and it even draws the thoughtless away from The Good as some attraction will lure the child from the father’s side: these things tell of youth. The Good is the older - not in time but by degree of reality - and it has the higher and earlier power, all power in fact, for the sequent holds only a power subordinate and delegated of which the prior remains sovereign.

Not that God has any need of His derivatives: He ignores all that produced realm, never necessary to Him, and remains identically what He was before He brought it into being. So too, had the secondary never existed, He would have been unconcerned, exactly as He would not have grudged existence to any other universe that might spring into being from Him, were any such possible; of course no other such could be since there is nothing that has not existence once the All exists.

But God never was the All; that would make Him dependent upon the universe: transcending all, He was able at once to make all things and to leave them to their own being, He above.