Miguel de Unamuno quotes

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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

„Yes, I know well that others before me have felt what I feel and express; that many others feel it today, although they keep silence about it.“

—  Miguel de Unamuno

The Tragic Sense of Life (1913), VI : In the Depths of the Abyss
Context: Yes, I know well that others before me have felt what I feel and express; that many others feel it today, although they keep silence about it.... And I do not keep silence about it because it is for many the thing which must not be spoken, the abomination of abominations — infandum — and I believe that it is necessary now and again to speak the thing which must not be spoken.... Even if it should lead only to irritating the devotees of progress, those who believe that truth is consolation, it would lead to not a little. To irritating them and making them say: "Poor fellow! if he would only use his intelligence to better purpose!... Someone perhaps will add that I do not know what I say, to which I shall reply that perhaps he may be right — and being right is such a little thing! — but that I feel what I say and I know what I feel and that suffices me. And that it is better to be lacking in reason than to have too much of it.

„There is no tyranny in the world more hateful than that of ideas.“

—  Miguel de Unamuno

Recalled by Walter Starkie from a conversation he had with Unamuno, as related in the Epilogue of Unamuno http://books.google.com/books?id=u8DG-eCTtM4C&lpg=PR1&dq=Unamuno&pg=PA240#v=onepage&q=%22There%20is%20no%20tyranny%20in%20the%20world%20more%20hateful%20than%20that%20of%20ideas%22&f=false.
Context: There is no tyranny in the world more hateful than that of ideas. Ideas bring ideophobia, and the consequence is that people begin to persecute their neighbors in the name of ideas. I loathe and detest all labels, and the only label that I could now tolerate would be that of ideoclast or idea breaker.

„Knowledge is employed in the service of the necessity of life and primarily in the service of the instinct of personal preservation.“

—  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.

„I neither want to die nor do I want to want to die; I want to live for ever and ever and ever.“

—  Miguel de Unamuno

The Tragic Sense of Life (1913), III : The Hunger of Immortality
Context: Glorious is the risk! — καλος γαρ ο κινδυνος, glorious is the risk that we are able to run of our souls never dying … Faced with this risk, I am presented with arguments designed to eliminate it, arguments demonstrating the absurdity of the belief in the immortality of the soul; but these arguments fail to make any impression on me, for they are reasons and nothing more than reasons, and it is not with reasons that the heart is appeased. I do not want to die — no; I neither want to die nor do I want to want to die; I want to live for ever and ever and ever. I want this "I" to live — this poor "I" that I am and that I feel myself to be here and now, and therefore the problem of the duration of my soul, of my own soul, tortures me.

„Love personalizes all that it loves. Only by personalizing it can we fall in love with an idea.“

—  Miguel de Unamuno

The Tragic Sense of Life (1913), VII : Love, Suffering, Pity
Context: Consciousness (conscientia) is participated knowledge, is co-feeling, and co-feeling is com-passion. Love personalizes all that it loves. Only by personalizing it can we fall in love with an idea. And when love is so great and so vital, so strong and so overflowing, that it loves everything, then it personalizes everything and discovers that the total All, that the Universe, is also a person possessing a Consciousness, a Consciousness which in its turn suffers, pities, and loves, and therefore is consciousness. And this Consciousness of the Universe, which a love, personalizing all that it loves, discovers, is what we call God.

„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)."

„It would be better to say that the true God is He to whom man truly prays and whom man truly desires. And there may even be a truer revelation in superstition itself than in theology.“

—  Miguel de Unamuno

The Tragic Sense of Life (1913), VIII : From God to God
Context: And He is the God of the humble, for in the words of the Apostle, God chose the foolish things of the world to confound the wise and the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty (I Cor. i. 27) And God is in each of us in the measure in which one feels Him and loves Him. "If of two men," says Kierkegaard, "one prays to the true God without sincerity of heart, and the other prays to the an idol with all the passion of an infinite yearning, it is the first who really prays to the idol, while the second really prays to God." It would be better to say that the true God is He to whom man truly prays and whom man truly desires. And there may even be a truer revelation in superstition itself than in theology.

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„Faith makes us live by showing us that life, although it is dependent upon reason, has its well spring and source of power elsewhere, in something supernatural and miraculous.“

—  Miguel de Unamuno

The Tragic Sense of Life (1913), IX : Faith, Hope, and Charity
Context: Faith makes us live by showing us that life, although it is dependent upon reason, has its well spring and source of power elsewhere, in something supernatural and miraculous. Cournot the mathematician, a man of singularly well-balanced and scientifically equipped mind has said that it is this tendency towards the supernatural and miraculous that gives life, and that when it is lacking, all the speculations of reason lead to nothing but affliction of the spirit.... And in truth we wish to live.

„I — the I that thinks, wills and feels — am immediately my living body with the states of consciousness which it sustains. It is my living body that thinks, wills and feels.“

—  Miguel de Unamuno

The Tragic Sense of Life (1913), V : The Rationalist Dissolution
Context: In books of psychology written from the spiritualist point of view, it is customary to begin the discussion of the existence of the soul as a simple substance, separable from the body, after this style: There is in me a principle which thinks, wills and feels... Now this implies a begging of the question. For it is far from being an immediate truth that there is in me such a principle; the immediate truth is that I think, will and feel. And I — the I that thinks, wills and feels — am immediately my living body with the states of consciousness which it sustains. It is my living body that thinks, wills and feels.

„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?

„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.

„God is in each of us in the measure in which one feels Him and loves Him.“

—  Miguel de Unamuno

The Tragic Sense of Life (1913), VIII : From God to God
Context: And He is the God of the humble, for in the words of the Apostle, God chose the foolish things of the world to confound the wise and the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty (I Cor. i. 27) And God is in each of us in the measure in which one feels Him and loves Him. "If of two men," says Kierkegaard, "one prays to the true God without sincerity of heart, and the other prays to the an idol with all the passion of an infinite yearning, it is the first who really prays to the idol, while the second really prays to God." It would be better to say that the true God is He to whom man truly prays and whom man truly desires. And there may even be a truer revelation in superstition itself than in theology.

„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.

„Passion is like suffering, and like suffering it creates its object.“

—  Miguel de Unamuno

The Tragic Sense of Life (1913), XI : The Practical Problem
Context: Passion is like suffering, and like suffering it creates its object. It is easier for the fire to find something to burn than for something combustible to find the fire.

„Religion is better described than defined and better felt than described.“

—  Miguel de Unamuno

The Tragic Sense of Life (1913), X : Religion, the Mythology of the Beyond and the Apocatastasis
Context: Religion is better described than defined and better felt than described. But if there is any one definition that latterly has obtained acceptance, it is that of Schleiermacher, to the effect that religion consists in the simple feeling of a relationship of dependence upon something above us and a desire to establish relations with this mysterious power.

„The world desires illusion (mundus vult decipi) — either the illusion antecedent to reason, which is poetry, or the illusion subsequent to reason, which is religion. And Machiavelli has said that whosoever wishes to delude will always find someone willing to be deluded.“

—  Miguel de Unamuno

The Tragic Sense of Life (1913), Conclusion : Don Quixote in the Contemporary European Tragi-Comedy
Context: The philosophy of Bergson, which is a spiritualist restoration, essentially mystical, medieval, Quixotesque, has been called a demi-mondaine philosophy. Leave out the demi; call it mondaine, mundane. Mundane — yes, a philosophy for the world and not for philosophers, just as chemistry ought to be not for chemists alone. The world desires illusion (mundus vult decipi) — either the illusion antecedent to reason, which is poetry, or the illusion subsequent to reason, which is religion. And Machiavelli has said that whosoever wishes to delude will always find someone willing to be deluded. Blessed are they who are easily befooled!

„Logic tends to reduce everything to identities and genera, to each representation having no more than one self-same content in whatever place, time or relation it may occur to us. And there is nothing that remains for two successive moments of its existence.“

—  Miguel de Unamuno

The Tragic Sense of Life (1913), V : The Rationalist Dissolution
Context: A terrible thing is intelligence. It tends to death as memory tends to stability. The living, the absolutely unstable, the absolutely individual, is strictly unintelligible. Logic tends to reduce everything to identities and genera, to each representation having no more than one self-same content in whatever place, time or relation it may occur to us. And there is nothing that remains for two successive moments of its existence. My idea of God is different each time that I conceive it. Identity, which is death, is the goal of the intellect. The mind seeks what is dead, for what is living escapes it; it seeks to congeal the flowing stream in blocks of ice; it seeks to arrest it. In order to analyze a body it is necessary to extenuate or destroy it. In order to understand anything it is necessary to kill it, to lay it out rigid in the mind.

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

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