Spanish Essayist, Novelist, Poet, Playwright and Philosopher
Miguel de Unamuno, fully Miguel de Unamuno y Jogo
Spanish Essayist, Novelist, Poet, Playwright and Philosopher
Our longing to save consciousness, to give personal and human finality to the Universe and to existence, is such that even in the midst of a supreme, an agonizing and lacerating sacrifice, we should still hear the voice that assured us that if our consciousness disappears, it is that the infinite and eternal Consciousness may be enriched thereby, that our souls may serve as a nutriment to the Universal soul.
Science teaches us, in effect, to submit our reason to the truth and to know and judge of things as they are?that is to say, as they themselves choose to be and not as we would have them to be.
The march , as ever, is toward the future, and he who marches is getting there, even though he march walking backwards. And who knows if that is not the better way!...
The wretched consciousness shrinks from it own annihilation, and just as an animal spirit newly severed from the womb of the world, finds itself confronted with the world and knows itself distinct from it, so consciousness must needs desire to possess another life than that of the world itself.
To believe in God is to long for His existence and, further, it is to act as if he existed; it is to live by this longing and to make it the inner spring of our action. This longing or hunger for divinity begets hope, hope begets faith, and faith and hope beget charity. Of this divine longing is born our sense of beauty, of finality, of goodness.
We need that others should believe in our superiority to them in order that we may believe in it ourselves, and upon their belief base our faith in our own persistence, or at least in the persistence of our fame. We are more grateful to him who congratulates us on the skill with which we defend a cause than we are to him who recognizes the truth or the goodness of the cause itself.
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.
Over all civilizations there hovers the shadow of Ecclesiastes, with his admonition, "How dieth the wise man? ? as the fool"
Seek, therefore, thyself! But in finding oneself, does not one find one's own nothingness? ... Carlyle answers (Past and Present, book iii, chap. xi.). "The latest Gospel in the world is, Know thy work and do it. Know thyself: long enough has that poor self of thine tormented thee; thou wilt never get to know it, I believe! Think it thy business, this of knowing thyself; thou art an unknowable individual: know what thou canst work at; and work at it, like Hercules. That will be thine better plan." ...and what is my work? ? without thinking about myself, is to love God. ...And on the other hand, in loving God in myself, am I not loving myself more than God, am I not loving myself in God?
The martyrs have created more faith than the faith created martyrs.
There are people who are so full of common sense that they haven't the slightest cranny left for their own sense.
To believe in God is to yearn for His existence, and furthermore, it is to act as if He did exist.
We never know, believe me, when we have succeeded best.
You will win but you will not convince.
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.
Self-interest, of whatever kind, be it disguised as love of glory, the appetite for fortune, position, honors, worldly distinctions, the moment's applause, official commissions and pre-eminences, the search for what others can give us in exchange for real or fancied services or in payment for promises or cajolery, always engenders moral cowardice, and moral cowardice give birth to lies in rabbit fashion.
The most authentic Catholic ethic, monastic asceticism, is an ethic of eschatology, directed to the salvation of the individual soul rather than to the maintenance of society. And in the cult of virginity may there not perhaps be a certain obscure idea that to perpetuate ourselves in others hinders our own personal perpetuation?
There are pretenses which are very sincere, and marriage is their school.
To experience means to understand and comprehend.
We were all born to sing--let not the contrary be said. But it is not a question of being born for the purpose. The fact is that whoever was really born in spirit, and not only in the flesh, sings, and sings because he was born in the spirit; if he does not sing, it is because he was born only in the flesh.
Your lack of faith worries me and your silence insults me.
Perhaps there is nobody who would sacrifice his life for the sake of maintaining that the three angles of a triangle are together equal to two right angles, for such a truth does not demand the sacrifice of our life; but, on the other hand, there are many who have lost their lives for the sake of maintaining their religious faith. Indeed, it is truer to say that martyrs make faith than that faith makes martyrs. For faith is not the mere adherence of the intellect to an abstract principle; it is not the recognition of a theoretical truth, the process in which the will merely sets in motion our faculty of comprehension; faith is an act of the will ? it is a movement of the soul towards a practical truth, towards a person, towards something that makes us not merely comprehend life, but that makes us live.
Shall we not perhaps be told, on the other hand, that if the sinner suffers an eternal punishment, it is because he does not cease to sin? ? for the damned sin without ceasing. This however is no solution to the problem, which derives all its absurdity from the fact that punishment has been conceived as vindictiveness or vengeance, not as correction, and has been conceived after the fashion of barbarous peoples. And in the same way hell has been conceived as a sort of police institution, necessary in order to put fear into the world. And the worst of it is that it no longer intimidates, and therefore will have to be shut up.
The most comprehensive, the most all-encompassing formula for tolerance: if you want me to believe you, you believe me. The society of man is cemented with mutual credit. Your neighbor's vision is as true for him as your own vision is true for you.
There are, in fact, people who appear to think only with the brain, or with whatever may be the specific thinking organ; while others think with all the body and all the soul, with the blood, with the marrow of the bones, with the heart, with the lungs, with the belly, with the life. And the people who think only with the brain develop into definition-mongers; they become the professionals of thought.