Miguel de Unamuno quotes

Miguel de Unamuno photo
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Miguel de Unamuno

Birthdate: 29. September 1864
Date of death: 31. December 1936

Miguel de Unamuno y Jugo was a Spanish essayist, novelist, poet, playwright, philosopher, professor of Greek and Classics, and later rector at the University of Salamanca.

His major philosophical essay was The Tragic Sense of Life , and his most famous novel was Abel Sánchez: The History of a Passion , a modern exploration of the Cain and Abel story. Wikipedia

Works

The Tragic Sense of Life
Miguel de Unamuno
San Manuel Bueno, Mártir
Miguel de Unamuno

„It is the furious longing to give finality to the Universe, to make it conscious and personal, that has brought us to believe in God, to wish that God may exist, to create God, in a word.“

—  Miguel de Unamuno

The Tragic Sense of Life (1913), VII : Love, Suffering, Pity
Context: It is the furious longing to give finality to the Universe, to make it conscious and personal, that has brought us to believe in God, to wish that God may exist, to create God, in a word. To create Him, yes! This saying ought not to scandalize even the most devout theist. For to believe in God is, in a certain sense, to create Him, although He first creates us. It is He who is continually creating Himself.

„My living I is an I that is really a We; my living personal I lives only in other, of other, and by other I's; I am sprung from a multitude of ancestors.“

—  Miguel de Unamuno

The Tragic Sense of Life (1913), VIII : From God to God
Context: Not only are we unable to conceive of the full and living God as masculine simply, but we are unable to conceive of Him as individual simply, as the projection of a solitary I, an unsocial I, an I that is in reality an abstract I. My living I is an I that is really a We; my living personal I lives only in other, of other, and by other I's; I am sprung from a multitude of ancestors. I carry them within me in extract, and at the same time I carry within me, potentially, a multitude of descendants, and God, the projection of my I to the infinite — or rather I, the projection of God to the finite — must also be a multitude. Hence, in order to save the personality of God — that is to say, in order to save the living God — faith's need — the need of the feeling and the imagination — of conceiving Him and feeling Him as possessed of a certain internal multiplicity.

„And this God, the living God, your God, our God, is in me, is in you, lives in us, and we live and move and have our being in Him.“

—  Miguel de Unamuno

The Tragic Sense of Life (1913), VIII : From God to God
Context: And this God, the living God, your God, our God, is in me, is in you, lives in us, and we live and move and have our being in Him. And he is in us by virtue of the hunger, the longing, which we have for Him, He is Himself creating the longing for Himself.

„Act as if you were to die tomorrow, but to die in order to survive and be eternalized.“

—  Miguel de Unamuno

The Tragic Sense of Life (1913), XI : The Practical Problem
Context: And what is its moral proof? We may formulate it thus: Act so that in your own judgment and in the judgment of others you may merit eternity, act so that you may become irreplaceable, act so that you may not merit death. Or perhaps thus: Act as if you were to die tomorrow, but to die in order to survive and be eternalized. The end of morality is to give personal, human finality to the Universe; to discover the finality that belongs to it — if indeed it has any finality — and to discover it by acting.

„Man sees, hears, touches, tastes and smells that which it is necessary for him to see, hear, touch, taste and smell in order to preserve his life.“

—  Miguel de Unamuno

The Tragic Sense of Life (1913), II : The Starting-Point
Context: Knowledge is employed in the service of the necessity of life and primarily in the service of the instinct of personal preservation. The necessity and this instinct have created in man the organs of knowledge and given them such capacity as they possess. Man sees, hears, touches, tastes and smells that which it is necessary for him to see, hear, touch, taste and smell in order to preserve his life. The decay or loss of any of these senses increases the risks with which his life is environed, and if it increases them less in the state of society in which we are actually living, the reason is that some see, hear, touch, taste and smell for others. A blind man, by himself and without a guide, could not live long. Society is an additional sense; it is the true common sense.

„Over all civilizations there hovers the shadow of Ecclesiastes, with his admonition, "How dieth the wise man?“

—  Miguel de Unamuno

as the fool" (ii 16)
The Tragic Sense of Life (1913), Conclusion : Don Quixote in the Contemporary European Tragi-Comedy

„May not the absolute and perfect eternal happiness be an eternal hope, which would die if it were realized? Is it possible to be happy without hope? And there is no place for hope once possession has been realized, for hope, desire, is killed by possession.“

—  Miguel de Unamuno

The Tragic Sense of Life (1913), X : Religion, the Mythology of the Beyond and the Apocatastasis
Context: May not the absolute and perfect eternal happiness be an eternal hope, which would die if it were realized? Is it possible to be happy without hope? And there is no place for hope once possession has been realized, for hope, desire, is killed by possession. May it not be, I say, that all souls grow without ceasing, some in a greater measure than others, but all having to pass some time through the same degree of growth, whatever that degree may be, and yet without ever arriving at the infinite, at God, to whom they continually approach? Is not eternal happiness an eternal hope, with its eternal nucleus of sorrow in order that happiness shall not be swallowed up in nothingness?

„And through this despair he reaches the heroic fury of which Giordano Bruno spoke — that intellectual Don Quixote who escaped from the cloister — and became an awakener of sleeping souls (dormitantium animorum excubitor), as the ex-Dominican said of himself — he who wrote: "Heroic love is the property of those superior natures who are called insane (insano) not because they do not know, but because they over-know (soprasanno)."“

—  Miguel de Unamuno

The Tragic Sense of Life (1913), Conclusion : Don Quixote in the Contemporary European Tragi-Comedy
Context: Science does not give Don Quixote what he demands of it. "Then let him not make the demand," it will be said, "let him resign himself, let him accept life and truth as they are." But he does not accept them as they are, and he asks for signs, urged thereto by Sancho, who stands by his side. And it is not that Don Quixote does not understand what those understand who talk thus to him, those who succeed in resigning themselves and accepting rational life and rational truth. No, it is that the needs of his heart are greater. Pedantry? Who knows!... And he wishes, unhappy man, to rationalize the irrational and irrationalize the rational. And he sinks into despair of the critical century whose two greatest victims were Nietzsche and Tolstoi. And through this despair he reaches the heroic fury of which Giordano Bruno spoke — that intellectual Don Quixote who escaped from the cloister — and became an awakener of sleeping souls (dormitantium animorum excubitor), as the ex-Dominican said of himself — he who wrote: "Heroic love is the property of those superior natures who are called insane (insano) not because they do not know, but because they over-know (soprasanno)."

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„Whenever a man talks he lies, and so far as he talks to himself — that is to say, so far as he thinks, knowing that he thinks — he lies to himself.“

—  Miguel de Unamuno

Niebla [Mist] (1914)
Context: Whenever a man talks he lies, and so far as he talks to himself — that is to say, so far as he thinks, knowing that he thinks — he lies to himself. The only truth in human life is that which is physiological. Speech — this thing that they call a social product — was made for lying.

„The ascetic morality is a negative morality.“

—  Miguel de Unamuno

The Tragic Sense of Life (1913), IV : The Essence of Catholicism
Context: The ascetic morality is a negative morality. And strictly, what is important for a man is not to die, whether he sins or not.

„What difference does it make whether it be a book that is infallible — the Bible, or a society of men — the Church, or a single man? Does it make any essential change in the rational difficulty?“

—  Miguel de Unamuno

The Tragic Sense of Life (1913), IV : The Essence of Catholicism
Context: And why be scandalized by the infallibility of a man, of the Pope? What difference does it make whether it be a book that is infallible — the Bible, or a society of men — the Church, or a single man? Does it make any essential change in the rational difficulty? And since the infallibility of a book or of a society of men is not more rational than that of a single man, this supreme offense to the eyes of reason has to be postulated.

„All of this that is happening to me, and happening to others about me, is it reality or is it fiction? May not all of it perhaps be a dream of God, or of whomever it may be, which will vanish as soon as He wakes?“

—  Miguel de Unamuno

Niebla [Mist] (1914)
Context: All of this that is happening to me, and happening to others about me, is it reality or is it fiction? May not all of it perhaps be a dream of God, or of whomever it may be, which will vanish as soon as He wakes? And therefore when we pray to Him, and cause canticles and hymns to rise to Him, is it not that we may lull Him to sleep, rocking the cradle of His dreams? Is not the whole liturgy, of all religions, only a way perhaps of soothing God in His dreams, so that He shall not wake and cease to dream us?

„The truth is sum, ergo cogito — I am, therefore I think, although not everything that is thinks. Is not consciousness of thinking above all consciousness of being?“

—  Miguel de Unamuno

The Tragic Sense of Life (1913), II : The Starting-Point
Context: The truth is sum, ergo cogito — I am, therefore I think, although not everything that is thinks. Is not consciousness of thinking above all consciousness of being? Is pure thought possible, without consciousness of self, without personality? Can there exist pure knowledge without feeling, without that species of materiality which feelings lends to it? Do we not perhaps feel thought, and do we not feel ourselves in the act of knowing and willing? Could not the man in the stove [Descartes] have said: "I feel, therefore I am"? or "I will, therefore I am"? And to feel oneself, is it not perhaps to feel oneself imperishable?

„To all this, someone is sure to object that life ought to subject itself to reason, to which we will reply that nobody ought to do what he is unable to do, and life cannot subject itself to reason.“

—  Miguel de Unamuno

The Tragic Sense of Life (1913), VI : In the Depths of the Abyss
Context: To all this, someone is sure to object that life ought to subject itself to reason, to which we will reply that nobody ought to do what he is unable to do, and life cannot subject itself to reason. "Ought, therefore can," some Kantian will retort. To which we shall demur: "Cannot, therefore ought not." And life cannot submit itself to reason, because the end of life is living and not understanding.

„The feeling of the divine makes us wish and believe that everything is animated, that consciousness, in a greater or less degree, extends through everything. We wish not only to save ourselves, but to save the world from nothingness.“

—  Miguel de Unamuno

The Tragic Sense of Life (1913), VIII : From God to God
Context: In the vast all of the Universe, must there be this unique anomaly — a consciousness that knows itself, loves itself and feels itself, joined to an organism which can only live within such and such degrees of heat, a merely transitory phenomenon? No, it is not mere curiosity that inspires the wish to know whether or not the stars are inhabited by living organisms, by consciousness akin to our own, and a profound longing enters into that dream that our souls shall pass from star to star through the vast spaces of the heavens, in an infinite series of transmigrations. The feeling of the divine makes us wish and believe that everything is animated, that consciousness, in a greater or less degree, extends through everything. We wish not only to save ourselves, but to save the world from nothingness. And therefore God. Such is his finality as we feel it.

„Imagination, which is the social sense, animates the inanimate and anthropomorphizes everything“

—  Miguel de Unamuno

The Tragic Sense of Life (1913), VII : Love, Suffering, Pity
Context: Imagination, which is the social sense, animates the inanimate and anthropomorphizes everything; it humanizes everything and even makes everything identical with man. And the work of man is to supernaturalize Nature — that is to say, to make it divine by making it human, to help it to become conscious of itself, in short. The action of reason, on the other hand, is to mechanize or materialize.

„A man who had never known suffering, either in greater or less degree, would scarcely possess consciousness of himself.“

—  Miguel de Unamuno

The Tragic Sense of Life (1913), IX : Faith, Hope, and Charity
Context: Suffering is a spiritual thing. It is the most immediate revelation of consciousness, and it may be that our body was given us simply in order that suffering might be enabled to manifest itself. A man who had never known suffering, either in greater or less degree, would scarcely possess consciousness of himself. The child first cries at birth when the air, entering into his lungs and limiting him, seems to say to him: You have to breathe me in order to live!

„Not without reason did he who had the right to do so speak of the foolishness of the cross.“

—  Miguel de Unamuno

The Tragic Sense of Life (1913), X : Religion, the Mythology of the Beyond and the Apocatastasis
Context: Not without reason did he who had the right to do so speak of the foolishness of the cross. Foolishness, without a doubt, foolishness. And the American humorist, Oliver Wendell Holmes, was not altogether wide of the mark in making one of the characters in his ingenious conversations say that he thought better of those who were confined in a lunatic asylum on account of religious mania than of those who, while professing the same religious principles, kept their wits and appeared to enjoy life very well outside the asylums. But those who are at large, are they not really, thanks to God, mad too? Are there not mild madnesses, which not only permit us to mix with our neighbors without danger to society, but which rather enable us to do so, for by means of them we are able to attribute a meaning and finality to life and society?

„Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetuer adipiscing elit. Etiam egestas wisi a erat. Morbi imperdiet, mauris ac auctor dictum.“

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