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Miguel de Unamuno (1864 – 1936)


Spanish essayist, novelist, poet, playwright and philosopher.
Miguel de Unamuno
The greatest height of heroism to which an individual, like a people, can attain is to know how to face ridicule; better still, to know how to make oneself ridiculous and not to shrink from the ridicule.
Unamuno quotes
I know that all this is dull reading, tiresome, perhaps tedious, but it is all necessary. And I must repeat once again that we have nothing to do with a transcendental police system or with the conversion of God into a great Judge or Policeman — that is to say, we are not concerned with heaven or hell considered as buttresses to shore up our poor earthly mortality, nor are we concerned with anything egoistic or personal. It is not I myself alone, it is the whole human race that is involved, it is the ultimate finality of all our civilization. I am but one, but all men are I's.
Unamuno
More than a century ago, in 1804, in Letter XC of that series that constitutes the immense monody of his Obermann, Sénancour wrote the words which I have put at the head of this chapter — and of all the spiritual descendants of the patriarchal Rousseau, Sénancour was the most profound and intense; of all the men of heart and feeling that France has produced, not excluding Pascal, he was the most tragic. "Man is perishable. That may be; but let us perish resisting, and if it is nothingness that awaits us, do not let us so act that it shall be a just fate." Change this sentence from it negative to the positive form — "And if it is nothingness that awaits us, let us so act that it shall be an unjust fate" — and you get the firmest basis of action for the man who cannot or will not be a dogmatist.




Unamuno Miguel de quotes
And love, above all when it struggles against destiny, overwhelms us with the feeling of the vanity of this world of appearances and gives us a glimpse of another world, in which destiny is overcome and liberty is law.
Unamuno Miguel de
Love is a contradiction if there is no God.
Miguel de Unamuno quotes
Is there not therefore rational necessity, but vital anguish that impels us to believe in God. And to believe in God — I must reiterate it yet again — is, before all and above all, to feel a hunger for God, a hunger for divinity, to be sensible to his lack and absence, to wish that God may exist. And it is the wish to save the human finality of the Universe. For one might even come to resign oneself to being absorbed by God, if it be that our consciousness is based upon Consciousness, if consciousness is the end of the Universe.
Miguel de Unamuno
We must needs believe with faith, whatever counsels reason may give us, that in the depths of our own bodies, in animals, in plants, in rocks, in everything that lives, in all the Universe, there is a spirit that strives to know itself, to acquire consciousness of itself, to be itself — for to be oneself is to know oneself — to be pure spirit; and since it can only achieve this by means of the body, by means of matter, it creates and makes use of matter at the same time that it remains a prisoner of it.
Unamuno Miguel de quotes
Let us go on committing suicide by working among our people, and let them dream life just as the lake dreams the sky.
Unamuno
And yet this might not necessarily involve the conversion of the Trinity into a Quaternity. If... in Greek, spirit, instead of being neuter had been feminine, who can say that the Virgin Mary might not already have become an incarnation or humanization of the Holy Spirit? ...And thus a dogmatic evolution would have been effected parallel to that of the divinization of Jesus, the Son, and his identification with the Word.
Unamuno Miguel de
And thus the soul pities God and feels itself pitied by him; loves Him and feels loved by Him, sheltering its misery in the bosom of the eternal and infinite misery, which, in eternalizing itself and infinitizing itself, is the supreme happiness itself.
Miguel de Unamuno
La envidia es mil veces más terrible que el hambre, porque es hambre espiritual.




Miguel de Unamuno quotes
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.
Miguel de Unamuno
But Don Quixote was converted. Yes — and died, poor soul. But the other, the real Don Quixote, he who remained on earth and lives among us with his spirit — this Don Quixote was not converted, this Don Quixote continues to incite us to make ourselves ridiculous, this Don Quixote must never die.
Unamuno quotes
Just as eunuchs will never know aesthetics as applied to the selection of beautiful women, so neither will pure rationalists ever know ethics, nor will they ever succeed in defining happiness, for happiness is a thing that is lived and felt, not a thing that is reasoned or defined.
Unamuno Miguel de
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.
Unamuno Miguel de quotes
Over all civilizations there hovers the shadow of Ecclesiastes, with his admonition, "How dieth the wise man? — as the fool" (ii 16)
Miguel de Unamuno
"And the upshot of all this," so I have been told more than once and by more than one person, "will be simply that all you will succeed in doing will be to drive people to the wildest Catholicism." And I have been accused of being a reactionary and even a Jesuit. Be it so! ...I know very well it is madness to seek to turn the waters of the river back to their source, and that it is only the ignorant who seek to find in the past a remedy for their present ills; but I know too that anyone who fights for any ideal whatever, although his ideal may seem to lie in the past, is driving the world on to the future, and that the only reactionaries are those who find themselves at home in the present. Every supposed restoration of the past is a creation of the future, and if the past which it is sought to restore is a dream, something imperfectly known, so much the better.
Miguel de Unamuno quotes
Reason perhaps teaches certain bourgeois virtues, but it does not make either heroes or saints.
Miguel de Unamuno
I have spoken of the forceful sonnets of that tragic Portuguese, Antero de Quental, who died by his own hand. Feeling acutely for the plight of his country on the occasion of the British ultimatum in 1890, he wrote as follows: "An English statesman of the last century, who was also undoubtedly a perspicacious observer and a philosopher, Horace Walpole, said that for those who feel, life is a tragedy, and a comedy for those who think. Very well then, if we are destined to end tragically, we Portuguese, we who feel, we would rather prefer this terrible, but noble destiny to that which is reserved, and perhaps at no very remote future date, for England, the country that thinks and calculates, whose destiny it is to finish miserably and comically." ...we twin-brothers of the Atlantic seaboard have always been distinguished by a certain pedantry of feeling, but there remains a basis of truth underlying this terrible idea — namely that some peoples, those who put thought above feeling, I should say reason above faith, die comically, while those die tragically who put faith above reason.
Unamuno Miguel de
Creo en Dios porque creo a Dios.


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