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Plotino - Tratado 23,9 (VI, 5, 9) — A esfera sensível não possui senão uma única coisa, uma única vida e uma única alma

Enéada VI, 5, 9

terça-feira 29 de março de 2022, por Cardoso de Castro

    

Cap 9: A esfera   sensível não possui senão uma única coisa, uma única vida e uma única alma  ; sobre a natureza da unidade   verdadeira.

    

Míguez

9. Si pensamos por añadidura que todas las cosas engendradas -y naturalmente los elementos  - originan una figura esférica, no por ello hemos de decir que una pluralidad de causas concurre parcialmente, a su producción, esto es, parte por parte y atribuyéndose cada una la parte que le corresponde, sino que hemos de considerar una causa   única que actúa en totalidad y no la actuación de cada parte para la producción de otra diferente. Porque así, de nuevo multiplicaríamos las causas, si es que referimos la producción a una causa indivisible  , o mejor, si esa causa productora no es un ser indivisible que no se difunda por la esfera   sino una causa productora de la que depende la esfera toda. Una única y misma vida mantiene a la esfera, y la esfera está colocada en esta vida única. Todas las cosas que se dan en la esfera se reúnen en esta vida única, todas las almas constituyen una sola, pero esa unidad es compatible con la infinitud. Por ello dicen algunos que el alma   es un número  , y otros que este número aumenta en virtud de su naturaleza. Al formarse esta imagen quiere indicarse quizás que el alma no falta a nada, que, al contrario, se da en todo y permanece así lo que es, de tal modo que si el mundo se hiciese mayor, la potencia del alma no dejaría de extenderse a todas las cosas o mejor, de recibir las cosas en toda ella.

Mas, posiblemente no convenga tomar al pie de la letra lo del número que aumenta, porque lo que se afirma es que el alma, aun siendo una, no falta a nada. Esta unidad suya no es una unidad que pueda medirse, ya que se mide tan sólo esa otra unidad engañosa, que participa de la imagen de la unidad. La unidad verdadera no está compuesta de muchas partes, porque si así fuese, una vez se la privase de alguna parte la unidad total desaparecería. Tampoco se ve constreñida a determinados límites, pues relacionada entonces con las demás cosas, podría disminuir en tanto ellas aumentaban, o dividirse violentamente al querer extenderse a todo. No estaría presente   por entero en todas las cosas sino que se daría de manera particular en cada parte de ellas; y, como se dice, desconocería en qué lugar de la tierra se encuentra, ya que no sería capaz de reunirse sino que, al contrario, se inclinaría a una clara división. Si, pues, esta unidad se nos muestra como verdadera -esta unidad que no es un predicado sino un sujeto-, conviene que haga manifiesta en su potencia una naturaleza contraria a la suya, esto es, la propia multiplicidad de que hablamos. Pero esta multiplicidad no aparecería fuera de ella, si no es como dependiente y proveniente de ella, ya que ella al fin posee la unidad real y, en sí misma, el ser   infinito   y la multiplicidad.

Una unidad de esta clase se encuentra toda ella y por entero en todo lugar, puesto que posee una razón que se abarca a sí misma y que, al identificarse con ella, hace que de ningún modo se aleje de sí sino que se dé en todas partes en sí misma. La unidad, por tanto, no se halla separada de las otras cosas en cuanto al lugar; porque, anterior   a todas las cosas que están en el lugar, en nada necesita de él. Son las cosas las que tienen necesidad de ella para encontrar un sitio en el universo  . Ahora bien; una vez situadas las cosas, la unidad no abandona el lugar que posee en sí misma, porque es claro que si este lugar cambiase, todas las cosas quedarían destruidas al quedar privadas de su punto de apoyo. Ciertamente, esa unidad no es ilógica hasta el punto de que se separe de sí misma y se divida, y, si se conserva en sí misma, no parece verosímil que se entregue a este lugar increíble que, precisamente, necesita de ella para su conservación.

Bouillet

IX. Que l’on conçoive réunis en une sphère tous les éléments lorsqu’ils ont été engendrés, on ne dira certainement pas que cette sphère a plusieurs auteurs, dont l’un aurait fait telle partie et l’autre telle autre partie; mais on reconnaîtra que la production de cette sphère a un auteur unique qui l’a faite en agissant tout entier, sans produire telle ou telle portion par telle ou telle de ses parties (25) : car, dans ce dernier cas, la sphère aurait encore plusieurs auteurs, si l’on ne rapportait pas la production de l’ensemble à un principe unique et indivisible; or, bien qu’un principe unique et indivisible soit l’auteur de la sphère entière, il ne se répand cependant pas en elle; c’est la sphère entière qui est suspendue à son auteur. Une seule et même vie contient la sphère entière, parce que celle-ci est placée dans une seule vie. Toutes les choses qui sont dans la sphère se ramènent donc à une vie unique, et toutes les âmes forment une Ame qui est une, mais qui est en même temps infinie. C’est pourquoi quelques philosophes ont dit que l’âme est un nombre (26) ; d’autres que le nombre 353 donne de l’accroissement à l’âme, entendant par là sans doute que l’Ame ne manque à aucune chose, qu’elle est partout sans cesser d’être elle-même. Si le monde était encore plus grand, la puissance de l’Ame ne s’en étendrait pas moins à toutes choses, ou plutôt le monde serait encore dans l’Ame universelle. Quant à l’expression donner de l’accroissement à l’âme, il ne faut pas la prendre au propre, mais entendre par là que l’Ame, malgré son unité, n’est nulle part absente : car l’unité de l’Ame n’est pas une unité qu’on puisse mesurer ; c’est là le propre d’une au tre essence qui revendique à tort pour elle l’unité, et qui n’arrive à paraître unique par sa participation à l’unité. L’Être qui est véritablement un n’est pas une unité composée de plusieurs choses : car le retranchement de l’une d’elles ferait périr l’unité totale; il n’est pas non plus séparé des autres choses par des limites: car si les autres choses étaient rapprochées de lui, il deviendrait plus petit dans le cas où celles-ci seraient plus grandes; ou bien il se fragmenterait en voulant se répandre dans toutes, et, au lieu d’être présent tout entier à toutes, il serait réduit à toucher leurs parties par ses propres parties. Ainsi, il ignorerait complètement où il serait placé, se trouvant incapable de constituer un tout continu, puisqu’il serait fragmenté. Si donc cet Être peut à juste titre être appelé un, si l’unité peut être affirmée de son essence, il faut qu’il paraisse contenir d’une certaine manière par sa puissance la nature opposée à la sienne, c’est-à-dire la multitude, qu’il ne tire pas cette multitude du dehors, mais qu’il la possède de lui-même et par lui-même, qu’il soit véritablement un, et que par son unité il soit infini et multiple. Étant tel, il paraît être partout une raison [une essence] qui est unique et qui se contient elle-même ; il est lui-même celui qui contient (27), et 354 se contenant ainsi il n’est nulle part éloigné de lui-même, il est partout en lui-même. Il n’est séparé d’aucun autre .être par une distance locale : car il existait avant toutes les choses qui sont dans un lieu ; il n’avait aucun besoin d’elles ; ce sont elles, au contraire, qui ont besoin d’être édifiées sur lui (28). Quand elles sont édifiées sur lui, il ne cesse pas pour cela d’avoir son fondement en lui-même. Si ce fondement venait à être ébranlé, aussitôt toutes les autres choses périraient, puisqu’elles auraient perdu la base sur laquelle elles reposaient (29). Or, cet Être ne saurait perdre la raison au point de se dissoudre en s’éloignant de lui-même, et d’aller, quand il se conserve en demeurant en lui-même, se confier à la nature trompeuse du lieu (30) qui a besoin de lui pour être conservé.

Guthrie

THE UNITY OF THE SOUL PROVES THAT OF THE SUPREME.

9. If all the elements, when begotten, were to be gathered into one sphere, (there would be an opportunity of observing and comparing them. The result would be a conclusion that) this sphere does not have a plurality or a diversity of authors, one of whom would have created one part, and another author, another. The production of this sphere will imply a single Author, who created it by acting, as a whole; not producing one part of creation by one part of Himself, and another part of creation, by another part of Himself. In the latter case, the sphere might still have several authors, if the production of the totality were not traced to a single, indivisible Principle. Though this single and indivisible Principle be the author of the entire sphere, it does not interpenetrate the sphere; for it is the entire Sphere which depends on its author. One only and single Life contains the entire Sphere, because this is located in a single Life. All the things that are in the sphere may, therefore, be reduced to a single Life, and all the souls form a Soul which is single, but which is simultaneously infinite. That is why certain philosophers have said that the soul is a number; others, that the number produces increase in the soul, no doubt meaning by that, that nothing is deficient in soul, that she is everywhere without ceasing to be herself. As to the expression, “to produce increase to the soul,” this must not be taken literally, but so as to mean that the soul, in spite of her unity, is absent nowhere; for the unity of the soul is not a unity that can be measured; that is the peculiarity of another being which falsely claims unity for itself, and which succeeds in gaining the appearance of unity only by participating therein. The Essence which really is one is not a unity composed of several things; for the withdrawal of one of them would destroy the total unity. Nor is it separated from the other things by limits; for if the other things were assimilated thereto, it would become smaller in the case where these would be greater; either it would split itself up into fragments by seeking to penetrate all, and instead of being present to all, as an entirety, it would be reduced to touching their parts by its own parts. If then this Essence may justly be called one, if unity may be predicated of its being, it must, in a certain manner, seem to contain the nature opposed to its own; that is, the manifold; it must not attract this manifoldness from without, but it must, from and by itself, possess this manifold; it must veritably be one, and by its own unity be infinite and manifold. Being such, it seems as if it were everywhere a Reason (a being), which is single, and which contains itself. It is itself that which contains; and thus containing itself, it is no where distant from itself; it is everywhere in itself. It is not separated from any other being by a local distance; for it existed before all the things which are in a locality; it had no need of them; it is they, on the contrary, which need to be founded on it. Even though they should come to be founded on it, it would not, on that account, cease resting on itself as a foundation. If this foundation were to be shaken, immediately all other things would perish, since they would have lost the base on which they rested. Now this Essence could not lose reason to the point of dissolving itself by withdrawing from itself; and to be about to trust itself to the deceptive nature of space which needs it for preservation.

MacKenna

9. The elements in their totality, as they stand produced, may be thought of as one spheric figure; this cannot be the piecemeal product of many makers each working from some one point on some one portion. There must be one cause; and this must operate as an entire, not by part executing part; otherwise we are brought back to a plurality of makers. The making must be referred to a partless unity, or, more precisely, the making principle must be a partless unity not permeating the sphere but holding it as one dependent thing. In this way the sphere is enveloped by one identical life in which it is inset; its entire content looks to the one life: thus all the souls are one, a one, however, which yet is infinite.

It is in this understanding that the soul has been taken to be a numerical principle, while others think of it as in its nature a self-increasing number; this latter notion is probably designed to meet the consideration that the soul at no point fails but, retaining its distinctive character, is ample for all, so much so that were the kosmos   vaster yet the virtue of soul would still compass it - or rather the kosmos still be sunk in soul entire.

Of course, we must understand this adding of extension not as a literal increase but in the sense   that the soul, essentially a unity, becomes adequate to omnipresence; its unity sets it outside of quantitative measurement, the characteristic of that other order which has but a counterfeit unity, an appearance by participation.

The essential unity is no aggregate to be annulled upon the loss of some one of the constituents; nor is it held within any allotted limits, for so it would be the less for a set of things, more extensive than itself, outside its scope; or it must wrench itself asunder in the effort to reach to all; besides, its presence to things would be no longer as whole to all but by part to part; in vulgar   phrase, it does not know where it stands; dismembered, it no longer performs any one single function.

Now if this principle is to be a true unity - where the unity is of the essence - it must in some way be able to manifest itself as including the contrary nature, that of potential multiplicity, while by the fact that this multiplicity belongs to it not as from without but as from and by itself, it remains authentically one, possessing boundlessness and multiplicity within that unity; its nature must be such that it can appear as a whole at every point; this, as encircled by a single self-embracing Reason-Principle, which holds fast about that unity, never breaking with itself but over all the universe remaining what it must be.

The unity is in this way saved from the local division of the things in which it appears; and, of course, existing before all that is in place, it could never be founded upon anything belonging to that order of which, on the contrary, it is the foundation; yet, for all that they are based upon it, it does not cease to be wholly self-gathered; if its fixed seat were shaken, all the rest would fall with the fall   of their foundation and stay; nor could it be so unintelligent as to tear itself apart by such a movement and, secure within its own being, trust itself to the insecurity of place which, precisely, looks to it for safety.