Spanish Essayist, Novelist, Poet, Playwright and Philosopher
Miguel de Unamuno, fully Miguel de Unamuno y Jogo
Spanish Essayist, Novelist, Poet, Playwright and Philosopher
Philosophy and religion are enemies, and because they are enemies they have need of one another. There is no religion without some philosophical basis, no philosophy without roots in religion... the attacks which are directed against religion from a presumed scientific or philosophical point of view are merely attacks from another but opposing religious point of view.
Sometimes to be silent is to lie.
The only way to give finality to the world is to give it consciousness. For where there is no consciousness there is no finality, finality presupposing a purpose. And... faith in God is based simply upon the vital need of giving finality to existence, of making it answer to a purpose. We need God, not in order to understand the why, but in order to feel and sustain the ultimate wherefore, to give a meaning to the Universe.
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.
To say everything is idea or that everything is spirit, is the same as saying everything is that everything is matter or energy, for if everything is idea or spirit, just as my consciousness is, it is not plain why the diamond Should not endure forever, if my consciousness, because it is idea or spirit, endures forever.
What objection is there in reason to there being no other purpose in the sum of things save only to exist and happen as it does exist and happen? For him who places himself outside of himself, none; but for him who lives and suffers and desires within himself ? for him it is a question of life or death.
Philosophy fulfils the need to create for ourselves a single and complete concept of the world and of life.
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!
The pedant who beheld Solon weeping for the death of the son said to him, 'Why do you weep thus, if weeping avails nothing?' And the sage answered him, 'Precisely For That reason-because it does not avail.
There is nothing truly real, save that which feels, suffers, pities, loves and desires, save consciousness. And we need God in order to save consciousness; not in order to think existence, but in order to live it; not in order to know the why and how of it, but in order to feel the wherefore of it.
To say that everything is idea or that everything is spirit, is the same as saying that everything is matter or that everything is energy, for if everything is idea or spirit, just as my consciousness is, it is not plain why the diamond should not endure for ever, if my consciousness, because it is idea or spirit, endures forever.
What the sorrowful Jew of Amsterdam called the essence of a thing, the effort that it makes to persist indefinitely in its own being, self-love, the longing for immortality, is it not perhaps the primal and fundamental condition of all reflective or human knowledge? And is it not therefore the true base, the real starting-point, of all philosophy, although the philosophers, perverted by intellectualism, do not recognize it?
Physiology does not teach us how to digest, nor logic how to discourse, nor esthetics how to feel beauty or express it, nor ethics how to be good. And indeed it is well if they do not teach us how to be hypocrites; for pedantry, whether it be pedantry of logic, or of esthetics, or of ethics, is at bottom nothing but hypocrisy.
The ascetic morality is a negative morality. And strictly, what is important for a man is not to die, whether he sins or not.
The pessimism that protests and defends itself cannot be truly said to be pessimism.
There may be a rationalist who has never wavered in his conviction of the mortality of the soul, and there may be a vitalist who has never wavered in his faith in immortality; but at the most this would prove that just as there are natural monstrosities, so there are those who are stupid as regards heart and feeling, however great their intelligence, and those who are stupid intellectually, however great their virtue. But, in normal cases, I cannot believe those who assure me that never, not in a fleeting moment, not in the hours of direst loneliness and grief, has this murmur of uncertainty breathed upon their consciousness.
To strike a nail once, you must strike the horseshoe a hundred times.
What we really long for after death is to go on living this life, this same mortal life, but without its ills without its tedium, and without death. Seneca, the Spaniard, gave expression to this in his Consolatio ad Marciam... And what but that is the meaning of that comic conception of the eternal recurrence which issued from the tragic soul of poor Nietzsche, hungering for concrete and temporal immortality?
Proceeding from ourselves, from our own human consciousness, the only consciousness which we feel from within and in which feeling is identical with being, we attribute some sort of consciousness, more or less dim, to all living things, and even to the stones themselves, for they also live. And the evolution of organic beings is simply the struggle to realize fullness of consciousness through suffering, a continual aspiration to be others without ceasing to be themselves, to break and yet to preserve their proper limits.
The best book on universal history, the most lasting and extensive and comprehensive and true, would be the one which succeeded in recounting, in all their liveliness and depth, the quarrels, intrigues, parochial plots, and gossip that occur in Carbajosa de la Sierra (a village of 300 souls) between the mayor and his wife, the school teacher and his mate, the town clerk and his girlfriend on the one hand, and the priest and his housekeeper, Uncle Roque and Aunty Mezuca on the other, each side assisted by a chorus of both sexes. What else was the Trojan War, to which we owe the Iliad?
The philosophical thought of Kant, the supreme flower of the Germanic people, has its roots in the religious feeling of Luther, and it is not possible for Kantism, especially the practical part of it, to take root and bring forth flower and fruit in peoples who have not undergone the experience of the Reformation and who perhaps were incapable of experiencing it. Kantism is Protestant, and we Spaniards are fundamentally Catholic. And if Krause struck some roots here ? more numerous and more permanent than is commonly supposed ? it is because Krause has roots in pietism, and pietism, as Ritschl has demonstrated in his Geschichte des Pietismus, has specifically Catholic roots and may be described as the irruption, or rather the persistence of Catholic mysticism in the heart of Protestant rationalism. And this explains why not a few Catholic thinkers in Spain became followers of Krause.
These terrible sociologists, who are the astrologers and alchemists of our twentieth century.
Uncertainty, doubt, perpetual wrestling with the mystery of our final destiny, mental despair, and the lack of any solid and stable foundation, may be the basis of an ethic.
When an inert in bed asleep and dreaming something man, what else is there, as he dreaming consciousness, or your dream?
Progress usually comes from the barbarian, and there is nothing more stagnant than the philosophy of the philosophers and the theology of the theologians.