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Miguel de Unamuno - The Tragic Sense of Life

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  • Zithromax
    I am in the midst of Miguel de Unamuno s _Tragic Sense of Life_. I picked it up after reading Solomon s _Joy of Philosophy_ and _Spirituality for the Skeptic_
    Message 1 of 7 , Jun 1, 2003
      I am in the midst of Miguel de Unamuno's _Tragic Sense of Life_. I picked
      it up after reading Solomon's _Joy of Philosophy_ and _Spirituality for the
      Skeptic_ both of which underscore Unamuno as a tragically under-read
      existentialist.

      So far it is really quite good and I find he has a lot of very thought
      provoking ideas with respect to the existentialist dilema between
      rationality and irrationality, rationality and passion, living life to the
      fullest, and the limitations of science. The science thing has always been
      of interest to me as a scientist, and I've always had trouble articulating
      my view of the limitations of science. Unamuno has articulated the ideas
      quite well. I'm considering writing an essay on the book when I'm through
      with it to entertain and thrill you all.

      A lot of his thesis centers around the human longing for immortality of the
      soul. That has been a discussion on this board lately and I think a lot of
      people might find his work of interest.

      Cheers,

      Zith
    • Mary Jo Malo
      Zith, I m looking forward to it and will try to find some reviews & info on-line in the meantime. Thanks. Mary Jo Zithromax wrote: I
      Message 2 of 7 , Jun 1, 2003
        Zith,

        I'm looking forward to it and will try to find some reviews & info on-line in the meantime. Thanks.

        Mary Jo

        Zithromax <zithromax@...> wrote:
        I am in the midst of Miguel de Unamuno's _Tragic Sense of Life_. I picked
        it up after reading Solomon's _Joy of Philosophy_ and _Spirituality for the
        Skeptic_ both of which underscore Unamuno as a tragically under-read
        existentialist.

        So far it is really quite good and I find he has a lot of very thought
        provoking ideas with respect to the existentialist dilema between
        rationality and irrationality, rationality and passion, living life to the
        fullest, and the limitations of science. The science thing has always been
        of interest to me as a scientist, and I've always had trouble articulating
        my view of the limitations of science. Unamuno has articulated the ideas
        quite well. I'm considering writing an essay on the book when I'm through
        with it to entertain and thrill you all.

        A lot of his thesis centers around the human longing for immortality of the
        soul. That has been a discussion on this board lately and I think a lot of
        people might find his work of interest.

        Cheers,

        Zith



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      • yeoman
        Zith, Thanks for the tip on Unamuno. I will see I can find the book on Amazon. As to the limitations of science, I think that this is often brought up in
        Message 3 of 7 , Jun 1, 2003
          Zith,

          Thanks for the tip on Unamuno. I will see I can find the
          book on Amazon.

          As to the limitations of science, I think that this is often
          brought up in context of trying prove that science is
          somehow faulty in relation to philosophy or whatever. That
          is ... if one could find a limitation then somehow this is
          indicative of the inability of science to provide the
          answers that would like to have. But what seems to be
          forgotten is that Science only a tool. It's simply a method
          of study.

          The issue is whether there is a limitation in humanity. And
          on that, there may well be a limitation. But is it
          something that we have to worry about from an Existentialist
          point of view?? Perhaps we will never know what is beyond
          the observable universe. Yet the edge of the universe will
          be there for a while, so we need not be in a hurry.

          eduard



          ----- Original Message -----
          From: "Zithromax" <zithromax@...>
          To: <existlist@yahoogroups.com>
          Sent: Sunday, June 01, 2003 6:55 AM
          Subject: [existlist] Miguel de Unamuno - The Tragic Sense of
          Life


          > I am in the midst of Miguel de Unamuno's _Tragic Sense of
          Life_. I picked
          > it up after reading Solomon's _Joy of Philosophy_ and
          _Spirituality for the
          > Skeptic_ both of which underscore Unamuno as a tragically
          under-read
          > existentialist.
          >
          > So far it is really quite good and I find he has a lot of
          very thought
          > provoking ideas with respect to the existentialist dilema
          between
          > rationality and irrationality, rationality and passion,
          living life to the
          > fullest, and the limitations of science. The science
          thing has always been
          > of interest to me as a scientist, and I've always had
          trouble articulating
          > my view of the limitations of science. Unamuno has
          articulated the ideas
          > quite well. I'm considering writing an essay on the book
          when I'm through
          > with it to entertain and thrill you all.
          >
          > A lot of his thesis centers around the human longing for
          immortality of the
          > soul. That has been a discussion on this board lately and
          I think a lot of
          > people might find his work of interest.
          >
          > Cheers,
          >
          > Zith
          >
          >
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        • yeoman
          I found a site [amongst many] on Miguel de Unamuno: http://goinside.com/98/10/martyr.html I like the reference to Unamuno as being an Existentialist
          Message 4 of 7 , Jun 1, 2003
            I found a site [amongst many] on Miguel de Unamuno:

            http://goinside.com/98/10/martyr.html

            I like the reference to Unamuno as being an "Existentialist
            Christian", rather than to use the phrase "Christian
            Existentialist".

            Anyway, the emphasis in the article seems to be Unamuno's
            concern to find an accommodation with religion. But this is
            a philosophical trap. Even if something is found to negate
            religion, the negation itself supplies a certain validity.
            For example, if I say that I am not driving a car, this
            validates the idea that I might drive a car, except for this
            decision. The negation of religion, gives it a certain
            reality, whereas it is merely a fantasy.

            eduard
          • Zithromax
            Thanks for the cool link Ed. I haven t read the fiction book yet. The essay doesn t completely jive with my take on Unamuno s thoughts from Tragic Sese of
            Message 5 of 7 , Jun 1, 2003
              Thanks for the cool link Ed. I haven't read the fiction book yet. The essay doesn't completely jive with my take on Unamuno's thoughts from Tragic Sese of Life. Firstly, my recollection is that Unamuno says that words are "dead as I write them" and seeking immortality through recognition is a sort of vanity and vexation of spirit in the Ecclesiastical sense (though I can't find a quote at the moment). So I am not sure I can see him struggling to find recognition in Spain, rather I see him struggling to share his ideas. Beyond the biographical section I wasn't sure that the essay's author understood Unamuno's take on the immortal soul in the same way he presents it in Tragic Sense of Life. There, he presents the afterlife as a reunification with God, but he does seem to reject the idea of heaven and hell. I'll have to read back over those sections.

              I'll throw out this quote from Tragic Sense of LIfe, that I think is representative of Unamuno's passionate and poetic writing ; even in other languages (English):

              "Conciousness (conscientia) is a participated knowledge, is co-feeling, and co-feeling is com-passion. Love personifies 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 overflowing, that it loves everything than it personalizes everything and discovers that the total All, that the Universe, is also a Person possessing a Consciousness, a Consciousness that which in its turn suffers, pities, and loves, and therefore is a consiousness. And this Conciousness of the Universe, which love, personalizing all that it loves, discovers, is what we call God. And thus the soul pities God and feels itself pitied 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.
              God then, is the personalization of the All ; He is the eternal and infinite Consciousness of the Universe - Consciousness taken captive by matter and struggling to free himself of it. We personalize the All in order to save ourselves from Nothingness ; and the only mystery really mysterious is the mystery of suffering.
              Suffering is the path of consciousness, and by it living beings arrive at the possession of self concsiousness. For to posess concsiousness of oneself, to posess personality, is to know oneself and to feel onself distinct from other beings, and this feeling of distinction is only reached through an act of collision, through suffering more or less severe, through the sense of one's own limits. Concsciousness of oneself is simply concsiousness of one's own limitation. I feel myself when I feel that I am not others ; to know and feel the extent of my being is to know at what point I cease to be, the point at which I no longer am."

              Cheers,

              Zith
              ----- Original Message -----
              From: yeoman
              To: existlist@yahoogroups.com
              Sent: Sunday, June 01, 2003 11:33 AM
              Subject: Re: [existlist] Miguel de Unamuno - The Tragic Sense of Life


              I found a site [amongst many] on Miguel de Unamuno:

              http://goinside.com/98/10/martyr.html

              I like the reference to Unamuno as being an "Existentialist
              Christian", rather than to use the phrase "Christian
              Existentialist".

              Anyway, the emphasis in the article seems to be Unamuno's
              concern to find an accommodation with religion. But this is
              a philosophical trap. Even if something is found to negate
              religion, the negation itself supplies a certain validity.
              For example, if I say that I am not driving a car, this
              validates the idea that I might drive a car, except for this
              decision. The negation of religion, gives it a certain
              reality, whereas it is merely a fantasy.

              eduard


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              existlist-unsubscribe@yahoogroups.com

              Your use of Yahoo! Groups is subject to the Yahoo! Terms of Service.


              [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
            • yeoman
              Zith, I can see what Unamuno is getting at. Love is not something by itself, like a commodity that might be passed between persons. Rather, it is the way
              Message 6 of 7 , Jun 1, 2003
                Zith,

                I can see what Unamuno is getting at. "Love" is not
                something by itself, like a commodity that might be passed
                between persons. Rather, it is the way in which we react
                within ourselves to the object of our love. If feeling warm
                inside could be taken as the characteristic of love [it is
                more complicated than that], then when two people love each
                other, then each produces this warmth as a reaction. That
                is why falling out of love creates such a turmoil, since it
                results in a loss of something within ourselves. We were
                happy and felt that happiness ... now it is gone. But to
                have this feeling of warmth, depends upon the assumption
                that the other person is feeling the same. We look into her
                eyes to get a confirmation that she too is feeling this
                warmth. This is something that has developed within the
                human species through evolution.

                That is why we have gods. When we look out onto a beautiful
                sunset, we may appreciate its beauty. But appreciation is
                only one sided, if we believe that the sunset is due simply
                to the refraction of light at longer wavelengths. If we are
                to "love" the sunset, then something inside of us tries to
                formulate a person in the sunset [a god] in order to really
                love it. Love is two sided.

                Similarly hate is two sided. If we have pain then in order
                to hate our condition, we personify the cause. It is not
                some virus producing an inflammation, but due to a god, or
                perhaps a Satan. Or even ourselves, in which case the
                reaction is against ourselves [our stupidity for causing the
                pain] and this internal response to something which is
                internal can easily spiral into the abyss of depression.

                eduard

                ----- Original Message -----
                From: "Zithromax" <zithromax@...>
                To: <existlist@yahoogroups.com>
                Sent: Sunday, June 01, 2003 4:20 PM
                Subject: Re: [existlist] Miguel de Unamuno - The Tragic
                Sense of Life


                > Thanks for the cool link Ed. I haven't read the fiction
                book yet. The essay doesn't completely jive with my take on
                Unamuno's thoughts from Tragic Sese of Life. Firstly, my
                recollection is that Unamuno says that words are "dead as I
                write them" and seeking immortality through recognition is a
                sort of vanity and vexation of spirit in the Ecclesiastical
                sense (though I can't find a quote at the moment). So I am
                not sure I can see him struggling to find recognition in
                Spain, rather I see him struggling to share his ideas.
                Beyond the biographical section I wasn't sure that the
                essay's author understood Unamuno's take on the immortal
                soul in the same way he presents it in Tragic Sense of Life.
                There, he presents the afterlife as a reunification with
                God, but he does seem to reject the idea of heaven and hell.
                I'll have to read back over those sections.
                >
                > I'll throw out this quote from Tragic Sense of LIfe, that
                I think is representative of Unamuno's passionate and poetic
                writing ; even in other languages (English):
                >
                > "Conciousness (conscientia) is a participated
                knowledge, is co-feeling, and co-feeling is com-passion.
                Love personifies 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 overflowing, that it
                loves everything than it personalizes everything and
                discovers that the total All, that the Universe, is also a
                Person possessing a Consciousness, a Consciousness that
                which in its turn suffers, pities, and loves, and therefore
                is a consiousness. And this Conciousness of the Universe,
                which love, personalizing all that it loves, discovers, is
                what we call God. And thus the soul pities God and feels
                itself pitied 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.
                > God then, is the personalization of the All ; He is
                the eternal and infinite Consciousness of the Universe -
                Consciousness taken captive by matter and struggling to free
                himself of it. We personalize the All in order to save
                ourselves from Nothingness ; and the only mystery really
                mysterious is the mystery of suffering.
                > Suffering is the path of consciousness, and by it
                living beings arrive at the possession of self
                concsiousness. For to posess concsiousness of oneself, to
                posess personality, is to know oneself and to feel onself
                distinct from other beings, and this feeling of distinction
                is only reached through an act of collision, through
                suffering more or less severe, through the sense of one's
                own limits. Concsciousness of oneself is simply
                concsiousness of one's own limitation. I feel myself when I
                feel that I am not others ; to know and feel the extent of
                my being is to know at what point I cease to be, the point
                at which I no longer am."
                >
                > Cheers,
                >
                > Zith
              • thebohemian7
                Certainly, Unamuno is one of my favourite writers... ... picked ... for the ... thought ... to the ... always been ... articulating ... ideas ... through ...
                Message 7 of 7 , Jun 2, 2003
                  Certainly, Unamuno is one of my favourite writers...


                  --- In existlist@yahoogroups.com, "Zithromax" <zithromax@s...> wrote:
                  > I am in the midst of Miguel de Unamuno's _Tragic Sense of Life_. I
                  picked
                  > it up after reading Solomon's _Joy of Philosophy_ and _Spirituality
                  for the
                  > Skeptic_ both of which underscore Unamuno as a tragically under-read
                  > existentialist.
                  >
                  > So far it is really quite good and I find he has a lot of very
                  thought
                  > provoking ideas with respect to the existentialist dilema between
                  > rationality and irrationality, rationality and passion, living life
                  to the
                  > fullest, and the limitations of science. The science thing has
                  always been
                  > of interest to me as a scientist, and I've always had trouble
                  articulating
                  > my view of the limitations of science. Unamuno has articulated the
                  ideas
                  > quite well. I'm considering writing an essay on the book when I'm
                  through
                  > with it to entertain and thrill you all.
                  >
                  > A lot of his thesis centers around the human longing for
                  immortality of the
                  > soul. That has been a discussion on this board lately and I think
                  a lot of
                  > people might find his work of interest.
                  >
                  > Cheers,
                  >
                  > Zith
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