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Plotino - Tratado 42,20 (VI, 1, 20) — O agir e o padecer

Enéada VI, 1, 20

sexta-feira 17 de junho de 2022, por Cardoso de Castro

Igal

20 —Bien, concedido que no sea el reverso de la acción. No obstante, siendo distinta de la acción, no podrá entrar en el mismo género que la acción.

—Si ambas son movimientos, entrarán en el mismo género. Por ejemplo, «la alteración es un movimiento cualitativo».

—Entonces, cuando el movimiento cualitativo parta del agente, ¿la alteración será acción y pertenecerá al género «acción», con tal de que el agente permanezca impasible?

—Entrará en la acción si el agente permanece impasible; pero si cuando actúa en otro, por ejemplo, golpeándole, padece a su vez, esto ya no es acción.

—Pero nada obsta para que, actuando, padezca.

Si, pues, padece por lo mismo por lo que actúa, por ejemplo, por friccionar, ¿por qué esto ha de ser una acción más que una pasión?

—Padece porque es friccionado a la vez que fricciona.10

—Según eso, si es movido a la vez que mueve ¿diremos que hay en él dos movimientos?

—¿Cómo dos? Uno solo.

—¿Y cómo es que el mismo movimiento es acción y pasión?

—Pues en el sentido de que es acción porque procede de uno, y pasión porque termina en otro, aun siendo el mismo.

—Responderemos que son distintos. Además, ¿cómo es que el paciente le confiere una nueva disposición, modificándolo, mientras el agente permanece impasible a aquélla? Porque ¿cómo puede ser afectado por la afección que crea en otro?

—Según eso, ¿es la existencia de un movimiento en otro lo que constituye el padecer, que no era padecer en el agente?

—No. Si la razón seminal del cisne hace blanco al cisne y el cisne que nace se hace blanco, ¿vamos a decir que padece al ir camino de su sustancia? ¿O incluso si se hace blanco después de nacido? Y si una cosa hace crecer y otra crece, ¿hemos de decir que la que crece padece? ¿O que la pasión se da sólo en el ámbito de la cualidad? Pero si una cosa hermosea y otra es hermoseada, ¿vamos a decir que la hermoseada padece? Si, pues, la que hermosea se deteriora y aun desaparece, por ejemplo el estaño, mientras la hermoseada mejora, por ejemplo el bronce, ¿hemos de decir que el bronce padece y que el estaño actúa? Y el que aprende ¿cómo vamos a decir que padece cuando pasa a él el acto del agente? ¿Cómo puede ser pasión si enseñar y aprender son el mismo acto?

—No. Este acto no es pasión, pero quien lo recibe padecerá.

—¿En qué sentido de la palabra «padecer»?. No por falta de actividad en el que aprende, ya que el aprender, que consiste en percibir y en conocer, no es como el ser golpeado, como tampoco lo es el ver.

Bouillet

XX. Admettons, dira-t-on, que la passion n’est pas le contraire de l’action. Cependant, comme elle en diffère, elle ne saurait se placer dans le même genre (86). Si la passion et l’action sont toutes deux des mouvements, elles sont dans le même genre, dans celui de l’altération (87), qui est un mouvement par rapport à la qualité (88). — Lorsque l’altération procède de l’être doué de qualité, y a-t-il action, bien que cet être reste impassible? Oui : car bien qu’impassible, ilest actif.—Lorsqu’il agit sur un autre objet, qu’il le frappe, par exemple, et qu’il pâtit, n’est-il plus actif? N’est-il pas plutôt actif et passif à la fois? S’il est actif quand il pâtit, quand il frotte, par exemple, pourquoi est-il regardé plutôt comme actif que passif? Parce que c’est en frottant qu’il est lui-même frotté et qu’il pâtit. Dirons-nous qu’il y a en lui deux mouvements parce qu’il est mû en mouvant? Mais comment y a-t-il en lui deux mouvements? Admettrons-nous qu’il n’y en a qu’un ? Dans ce cas, comment le même mouvement est-il à la fois action et passion? Sans doute, il sera regardé comme action en tant qu’il procède du moteur, et comme passion en tant qu’il passe du moteur dans le mobile, sans cesser d’être une seule et même chose. Est-ce que la passion est une autre espèce de mouvement que l’action? Comment alors le mouvement qui altère modifie-t-il d’une certaine manière ce qui pâtit sans que ce qui agit pâtisse également? Mais comment ce qui agit sur un autre objet pourrait-il pâtir? Suffit-il que le mouvement soit dans le mobile pour qu’il y ait passion (car ce mouvement ne constituait pas une passion dans le moteur) ? Mais si d’un côté la raison [séminale]du cygne rend blanc, et que d’ un autre côté le cygne qui naît soit rendu blanc, dirons-nous que le cygne est passif en devenant ce qu’il est dans son essence d’être? S’il devient blanc même après sa naissance, est-il encore passif? — Si une chose augmente et qu’une autre soit augmentée, admettrons-nous que ce qui est augmenté pâtisse? — Attribuerons-nous plutôt la passion à la chose qualifiée? Si une chose est embellie et qu’une autre l’embellisse, affirmerons-nous que la chose qui est embellie pâtit? Si la chose qui l’embellit s’amoindrit, se ternit comme l’étain, ou si elle gagne au contraire comme le cuivre, dirons-nous que l’étain agit et que le cuivre pâtit? — Comment admettre enfin que celui qui apprend soit passif? Est-ce parce que l’acte de celui qui agit passe en lui? Mais comment y aurait-il passion puisqu’il n’y a là qu’un acte ? Cet acte, sans doute, n’est pas une passion; mais celui qui le reçoit est passif, parce qu’il participe à la passivité. En effet, de ce que celui qui apprend n’agit pas lui-même il n’en résulte pas qu’il soit passif : apprendre, ce n’est pas être frappé, mais saisir et discerner, comme cela a lieu pour la vision (89).

Guthrie

REACTIONS NEED NOT BE PASSIVE. BUT MAY BE ACTIVE.

20. Let it be granted, then, that reaction is not the contrary of action. Nevertheless, as it differs therefrom, it could not share the same genus. If both reaction and action be movements, they share the same genus, that of alteration, which is a movement, as respects quality. When alteration proceeds from the being endowed with quality, is there any action, though this being remain impassible? Yes, for though impassible, it is active. It may be asked, is this being no longer active when it acts on some other object, as, for instance, by striking it, and then reacts? The answer is, that it would be active and passive simultaneously. If it be active, when it reacts—when, for instance, it rubs—why is it considered active rather than passive? Because it reacts in being rubbed while it rubs. Could we say that, because it is moved while moving, there were in it two movements? But how could there be two movements in it? Shall we assert that there is but one? In this case, how could the same movement be action and reaction simultaneously? Doubtless, it will be considered action, in so far as it proceeds from the mover; and reaction, inasmuch as it passes from the mover into the moved; and this, without ceasing to be one and the same thing. Would you say that reaction was a movement of a kind different from action? How then would the altering movement in a certain manner modify what reacts without an equal reaction in what is acting? But how (can we conceive) of reaction in that which acts on another object? Is the mere presence of the movement in the moved sufficient to constitute reaction? But if, on one hand, the ("seminal) reason" of the swan whitens, and on the other hand the swan that is being born becomes white, shall we say that the swan is passive in becoming what it is his nature to be? If he becomes white even after his birth, is he still passive? If one thing increase, and another thing be increased, will we admit that the thing that increases reacts? Will we rather attribute reaction to the thing qualified? If one thing be embellished, and another thing embellishes it, could we say that the embellished thing reacts? If however, the embellishing thing decreases, and, like tin, tarnishes, or on the contrary, like copper, takes on polish; shall we say that the tin acts, and the copper reacts (that is, "suffers") ? Besides, it would be impossible to say that that which learns is passive (suffering) ? Would this be because the action of him who acts passes into him? But how could there be any reaction ("suffering") since there is nothing there but an act? This action, no doubt, is not a reaction ("suffering"); but he who receives it is passive, because he participates in passivity. Indeed, from the fact that the learner does not himself act, it does not necessarily result that he is passive; for learning is not being struck, but grasping and discerning, as takes place with the process of vision.

MacKenna

20. But though not opposed, it is still different from Action and cannot belong to the same genus as activity; though if they are both Motion, it will so belong, on the principle that alteration must be regarded as qualitative motion.

Does it follow that whenever alteration proceeds from Quality, it will be activity and Action, the quale remaining impassive? It may be that if the quale remains impassive, the alteration will be in the category of Action; whereas if, while its energy is directed outwards, it also suffers - as in beating - it will cease to belong to that category: or perhaps there is nothing to prevent its being in both categories at one and the same moment.

If then an alteration be conditioned by Passivity alone, as is the case with rubbing, on what ground is it assigned to Action rather than to Passivity? Perhaps the Passivity arises from the fact that a counter-rubbing is involved. But are we, in view of this counter-motion, to recognize the presence of two distinct motions? No: one only.

How then can this one motion be both Action and Passion? We must suppose it to be Action in proceeding from an object, and Passion in being directly upon another - though it remains the same motion throughout.

Suppose however Passion to be a different motion from Action: how then does its modification of the patient object change that patient’s character without the agent being affected by the patient? For obviously an agent cannot be passive to the operation it performs upon another. Can it be that the fact of motion existing elsewhere creates the Passion, which was not Passion in the agent?

If the whiteness of the swan, produced by its Reason-Principle, is given at its birth, are we to affirm Passion of the swan on its passing into being? If, on the contrary, the swan grows white after birth, and if there is a cause of that growth and the corresponding result, are we to say that the growth is a Passion? Or must we confine Passion to purely qualitative change?

One thing confers beauty and another takes it: is that which takes beauty to be regarded as patient? If then the source of beauty - tin, suppose - should deteriorate or actually disappear, while the recipient - copper - improves, are we to think of the copper as passive and the tin active?

Take the learner: how can he be regarded as passive, seeing that the Act of the agent passes into him [and becomes his Act]? How can the Act, necessarily a simple entity, be both Act and Passion? No doubt the Act is not in itself a Passion; nonetheless, the learner coming to possess it will be a patient by the fact of his appropriation of an experience from outside: he will not, of course, be a patient in the sense of having himself performed no Act; learning - like seeing - is not analogous to being struck, since it involves the acts of apprehension and recognition.