Unamuno: “Faith vs Reason”
“Faith feels itself secure neither with universal consent, nor with tradition, nor with authority. It seeks support of its enemy, reason” Unamuno
“Faith is to believe what you do not see; the reward of this faith is to see what you believe”. Saint Augustine
“And he arrives at the cogito ergo sum, which St. Augustine had already anticipated… “I think therefore I am,” can only mean “I think, therefore I am a thinker”; this being of “I am,” which is deduced from “I think,” is merely a knowing; this being is a knowledge, but not life. And the primary reality is not that I think, but that I live, for those also live who do not think. Although this living may not be a real living. God! what contradictions when we seek to join in wedlock life and reason!” Unamuno
Miguel de Unamuno (29 September 1864 – 31 December 1936 , nació en el número 16 de la calle Ronda de Bilbao, en el barrio de las Siete Calles.) was a Basque essayist, novelist, poet, playwright and philosopher. His major philosophical essay was The Tragic Sense of Life (1913), and his most famous novel was Abel Sánchez: The History of a Passion (1917), a modern exploration of the Cain and Abel story.
Unamuno’s philosophy was not systematic but rather a negation of all systems and an affirmation of faith “in itself.” He developed intellectually under the influence of rationalism and positivism, but during his youth he wrote articles that clearly show his sympathy for socialism and his great concern for the situation in which he found Spain at the time. An important concept for Unamuno was intrahistoria. He thought that history could best be understood by looking at the small histories of anonymous people, rather than by focusing on major events such as wars and political pacts.
Unamuno’s Del sentimiento trágico de la vida (The Tragic Sense of Life) (1912) as well as two other works — La agonía del cristianismo (The Agony of Christianity) (1931) and his novella “San Manuel Bueno, mártir” — were included on the Index Librorum Prohibitorum.
The Index Librorum Prohibitorum (English: List of Prohibited Books) was a list of publications deemed heretical, anti-clerical or lascivious, and therefore banned by the Catholic Church. A first version (the Pauline Index) was promulgated by Pope Paul IV in 1559, which Paul F. Grendler believed marked “the turning-point for the freedom of enquiry in the Catholic world”, and which lasted less than a year, being then replaced by what was called the Tridentine Index (because authorized at the Council of Trent), which relaxed aspects of the Pauline Index that had been criticized and had prevented its acceptance. The 20th and final edition appeared in 1948, and the Index was formally abolished on 14 June 1966 by Pope Paul VI.
The aim of the list was to protect the faith and morals of the faithful by preventing the reading of heretical and immoral books. The Index included a number of authors and intellectuals whose works are widely read today in most leading universities and are now considered as the foundations of science, e.g. Kepler’s New Astronomy, his Epitome of Copernican Astronomy, and his World Harmony were quickly placed on the Index after their publication. Other noteworthy intellectual figures on the Index include Jean-Paul Sartre, Simone de Beauvoir, Voltaire, Denis Diderot, Victor Hugo, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, André Gide, Emanuel Swedenborg, Baruch Spinoza, Immanuel Kant, David Hume, René Descartes, Francis Bacon, Thomas Browne, John Milton, John Locke, Nicolaus Copernicus, Galileo Galilei, Blaise Pascal and Hugo Grotius. Charles Darwin’s works were notably never included
“It has often been said that every man who has suffered misfortunes prefers to be himself, even with his misfortunes, rather than to be someone else without them”. – The Tragic Sense of Life (1913) – Unamuno
“Among men of flesh and bone there have been typical examples of those who possess this tragic sense of life. I recall now Marcus Aurelius, St. Augustine, Pascal, Rousseau, René, Obermann, Thomson, Leopardi, Vigny, Lenau, Kleist, Amiel, Quental, Kierkegaard—men burdened with wisdom rather than with knowledge.” Unamuno
“In faith there is enough light for those who want to believe and enough shadows to blind those who don’t”. Blaise Pascal
“Faith: not wanting to know what is true“. Friedrich Nietzsche
In its beginnings, Bilbao only had three streets (Somera, Artecalle, and Tendería) surrounded by walls located where Ronda street now stands. Inside this enclosure, there was a small hermitage dedicated to the Apostle Saint James (the current St. James’ Cathedral), which pilgrims visited on their way to Santiago de Compostela. In the fifteenth century, four more streets were built, forming the original Zazpikaleak or “Seven Streets”. In 1571, after several floods and a major fire in 1569, the walls were demolished in order to allow the expansion of the town.
“To one who has faith, no explanation is necessary. To one without faith, no explanation is possible”. Thomas Aquinas
“A casual stroll through the lunatic asylum shows that faith does not prove anything”. Friedrich Nietzsche
“To believe in God is to yearn for His existence and, furthermore, it is to act as if He did exist”. Unamuno
“Now, God be praised, that to believing souls gives light in darkness, comfort in despair”. William Shakespeare
“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”. Unamuno
“My religion is to seek for truth in life and for life in truth, even knowing that I shall not find them while I live.” Unamuno
“If fear is cultivated it will become stronger, if faith is cultivated it will achieve mastery”. John Paul Jones