This item is only available as the following downloads:
UNAMUNO: GOD, IMMORTALITY AND THE TRAGIC SENSE BY WILLIAM SOTO A Thesis Submitted to the Division of Humanities New College of Florida In partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree Bachelor of Arts Under the sponsorship of Dr. Douglas C. Langston Sarasota, Florida February, 2011
ii Acknowledgments There are only a handful of people I would like to acknowledge so this will be brief. First and foremost I would like to thank my parents for giving me the opportunity to attend New College and not forcing me to go to some other school with many, many people most of whom I probably would not have gotten along with. Second, I would like to thank Doug Langston for being my guide throughout this process. I am extremely grateful for all the time and energy he spent reading and commenting o n my thesis when it was a work in progress. Without him, I am sure this thesis would not have been possible.
iii Contents ii i v Chapter 1 6 9 6 3 7 2
iv UNAMUNO: GOD, IMMORTALITY AND THE TRAGIC SENSE William Soto New College of Florida, 2011 ABSTRACT In this thesis, I examine the works of Miguel de Unamuno. I scrutinize both his proper philosophical writings and his literature in order to gain a better understanding of the positions he was putting forth. Specifically, I examine how his views on things such as God and religion were all structured around the notion of immo rtality. I n order to better understand why the belief in immortality was such a major issue for Unamuno, I also examine Don Quixote a work that had a major influence over him and his writings. s appear to be scattered and poorly written at times, but, when organized around the belief in immortality it becomes apparent that his writings are more than just random thoughts strung together. is that irrational beliefs for him the prime example was immortality have a very And although others might attempt to rationalize or downplay these beliefs, the role they play in the lives of many and the must not be u nderestimated. Dr. Douglas C. Langston Division of Humanities
1 Introduction Immortality yearning for it was the primary source of anguish in the life of Miguel de Unamuno The problem consumed him ; it is what he spent most of his life exploring. so interesting? Primarily because he a pproaches this problem from a very unique perspective. His view is summed up by the phrase he coined: the tragic sense of life. Unamuno writes that this tragic sense of life carries with it a whole conception of life itself and of the universe, a whole philosophy more or less formulated, more or less conscious. And this sense may be possessed, and is possessed, not only by individual men but by whole peoples. 1 This of cours e i s what requires examination. Within this thesis, I will attempt to explain what Unamuno is attempting to do when he ascribes this tragic sense to life. I will attempt to show that Un a m u no s views can be organized around the central concept of immortality and as a result his views become much clearer because of this organizing principle. briefly examin e his life in order t o gain an understanding of how his personal background played a role in his approach to the issues of immortality, faith and reason. Another thing that I will be looking at within chapter one will be the major influence that Miguel de Don Quixote had on Unamuno and on his views of Spanish culture and philosophy. I will also begin to discuss the problem of immortality. The chapter will end 1 Tragic Sense of Life, p. 15
2 on a rather vague note : just beginning to skim the surface of what Unamuno calls the In chapter two I will examine immortality in depth. I will sketch out exactly what immortality meant for Unamuno, and the role God plays in that I will examine several plausible forms of immortality, e.g., a continuation of this life as opposed to a cycle of reincarnation. I will also examine an interesting distinction that Unamuno makes between God and the God idea. Then I will discuss the co nflict between faith and reason as Unamuno sees it and how this dichotomy affects his concept of belief. I will conclude views regarding immortality and faith. In chapt implications for his views on immortality. In particular, I will be examining San Manuel Bueno, Mrtir and the commentary this work makes on faith and the role of Catholic Church; Three Exe mplary Novels which address the role of women and child bearing; and Mist which deals with the precariousness of human existence and the psychological effects of this condition on people. n attempt to explain rationally something which is inherently irrational. His work is an attempt to explore the emotions involved with believing in something which is irrational. Through the use of Don Quixote he shows that it is possible to live as if w hat one believes is true and this can have profound implications for the believer.
3 Chapter I Too much sanity may be madness. And maddest of all, to see life as it is and not as it should be! Miguel de Cervantes Life Miguel de Unamuno was born in Bilbao in 1864 2 Bilbao lies within the Basque region of Spain, an area concentrated mainly in northern Spain and southern France. An interesting facet about the Basque region is its somewhat odd place within Spain. Basques have their own language and a s a result feel that they should be allowed to be their own country. As a result, there is always an underlying tension between the Basques and the Spanish, a tension that during the past fifty or so years has often manifested itself in violence. I men tion this purely as background. Not much is said about how much influence become a Basque teacher at the University of Bilbao, a position he lost to another scholar. Desp ite not getting the position, Unamuno still spent most of his life in an academic setting: first studying Philosophy and C lassics at the University of Madrid and 2 Encyclopedia of Philosophy
4 ultimately being appointed rector for life at the University of Salamanca 3 He published nume rous works throughout his life; some were philosophical, others took the form of novels. But all his works dealt with trying to find some consolation amid the conflict between faith and reason and the quest for immortality. In 1924, during the totalitar ian regime of General Primo de Rivera, Unamuno was deported to Fuerteventura, part of the Canary Islands, for his outspokenness against de 4 After spending six years in exile from his native Spain, Unamuno returned to Spain in 1930 and a year later was reinstalled as the rector of the University his life. In 1936, during the Spanish Civil War, he was removed from his rectorship. He died that same year, while under house arrest. center on the tension between faith and reason, life and de ath. His main mission, though, is to prove, in a sense, the immortality of the soul. Unlike others who have confronted this debate, Unamuno brought a particularly unique point of view to it. I say that Unamuno wanted to prove the immortality of the soul in a sense because he really had no illusions about the impossibility of proving the immortality of the soul. What he sought to do was to articulate the feelings that are tied up with life, death and immortality. He wanted to explain how all these feelin gs taken together have the ability to triumph over reason and allow people to believe in something that is utterly contrary to reason. Yet 3 Ibid 4 Ibid
5 even this triumph over reason does not remove a lingering doubt about the existence of immortality, and Unamuno knew that this uncertainty would always remain. Although Miguel de Unamuno was Basque, he felt strong ties to Spain. He was born and died there. Because of this, he approached his philosophical problems from two perspectives: Catholicism and Quixotism. Unamuno writes quite a bit about both of these i nfluences, and his body of work shows that he had a deep affection for Don Quixote in particular. In his masterwork, Tragic Sense of Life Unamuno tackled many issues stemming from the dichotomy between faith and reason. The main issues he addressed inc lude: What does it mean to be human? How does one overcome the irrationality of faith? How can one come to terms with believing in something that defies all reason? Why is the longing for immortality so pervasive? All of these questions relate to Don Quix ote The most prominent theme in the novel is living life as one sees it, rather than how it actually is. Don Quixote famously assaulted windmills, taking them to be giants. He failed miserably, of course, but the notion that one can live in an ideal wo rld Don Quixote chose the world of chivalry and knights is an important one for Unamuno. For Unamuno, belief in something makes it real. Reason tells us that immortality is not possible, that God does not exist and that man is doomed to cease to exi st. For Unamuno, believing in these things the immortality of the soul and of God is enough to make them real.
6 Don Quixote This is where the character Don Quixote becomes particularly important in understanding the work of Unamuno. Don Quixote is a novel written by Miguel de Cervantes that follows Don Quixote de la Mancha and his faithful squire, Sancho Panza, on their adventures throughout almost all of Spain. Don Quixote was about fifty years old when he set out on his journey. 5 How long the journey lasted is unclear. During a conversation between Don Quixote and Sancho, each one has a different recollection of s, give or take a day or two 6 together have hardly occupied two months. 7 One of the main themes running through Don Quixote is belief in an ideal world, and livi ng as though that world were real. Throughout the novel, Don Quixote is constantly getting himself into situations that he might have avoided were he not pretending he was a knight. He is constantly getting himself beat en up; he gets his squire, Sancho, beat en up as well quite a few times. In one instance, Don Quixote decides to assault a group of travelers. It turns out that these travelers were in fact criminals who were being transported. 8 Don Quixote fights the guards off and releases the criminals who proceed to beat him and his squire. 5 Don Quixote pp. 25 6 Ibid, pp. 680 7 Ibid, pp. 680 8 Don Quixote, pp. 176 186
7 There are certain beliefs that people hold, regardless of whether or not they have been proven to be true; and people live as though what they believe is true One of the biggest examples of this is a belief in God or any other supernatural beings for that the existence of some supreme deity. People behave as though God exists: They pray regularly in the hope their prayers may be answered; they try and do no evil in the hope of getting into heaven, etc. Obviously, whether or not God exists has yet to be proven if it ever can be. But to the faithful, this makes no difference. Belief in God is a given, regardless of evidence or proof. As a result, people of faith act as though certain things are true, whether or not they have sufficient evidence, or even if all evidence is to the contrary. as a process of creating oneself th rough denial and imitation. Don Quixote did this throughout his life. He would deny the reality of the situation and put in place his own reality, one that he was imitating. In his case, he was imitating the chivalrous knight errants of the past. One of the most famous, if not the most famous example of this is when Don Quixote assaults windmills, insisting to his squire that they are in fact giants 9 The first part of this process is complete: Don Quixote has denied the reality of the 9 Don Quixote pp. 63 70
8 situation and has opted instead for his own picture of reality. He denies the fact that the windmills are there and that there are no giants to speak of. This kind of denial does not sound healthy at all and, admittedly, Don Quixote is an extreme example of this proces s of self creation. Should everyone act like Don Quixote? How seriously should one deny reality for this process? Well, there are really two answers to this question: the first is that if one denies reality too strongly, one risks insanity, as is the c ase with Don Quixote. The second is that if one denies reality too weakly one does not look devoted enough to the process. Unamuno does not discuss this issue in great length, but an answer can be inferred from examining some of his other views. Unamu no certainly does not condone a denial although that level of commitment is certainly denial. This is more of a reversal of the normal sens e of skepticism. Normally, one is skeptical of claims that lack evidence, or claims that seem completely irrational. One might refer to this as a positive skepticism. Unamuno would argue for a negative skepticism, that is, being skeptical of claims that d eny certain things. In the case of Don Quixote, he was skeptical of the claim that chivalry was dead, that knight errants no longer existed. To prove them wrong, he took up the cause of knight errants and proved their existence to the world. The second part of this process of self creation is imitation. One imitates what one aspires to be, as is the case with Don Quixote. He wants to be a knight errant, and so he imitates their ways. He learns their code of chivalry by reading their stories. He
9 devel ops into what he believes to be an authentic imitation of the knight errant. And he carries out this imitation to extreme ends. This is part of what makes Don Quixote such a compelling character for Unamuno. Don Quixote lives out this process of denial and imitation to the extreme. He lives as though the ideal world were the real world. Another interesting facet that Unamuno draws from Don Quixote is the notion 10 This is a very odd claim, and thus it is worth examining. again becomes a paradigmatic figure in this regard. Quixote aspired to be a knight errant. He took it upon himself to abide by their code of chivalry and he lived his life according to those rules. As a result of this he did many things which others considered absurd and pointless. Unamuno uses the following example from Don Quixote he had destroyed with two strokes to his head piece, made it anew, placing certain iron bars within it, in such a manner that he rested satisfied with its solidity, and without wishing to make a second trial of it, he deputed and held 11 After his visor had failed the first test, Don Quixote decided that fixing it up and not testing it again would be the correct course of action. One can see the ridiculousness of this scenario rather plainly But in this act of ridiculousness one can see a certain devotion to the order of 10 Tragic Sense of Life, pp.270 11 Tragic Sense of Life, pp. 269 270 (Referencing Don Quixote Part I, Chapter I )
10 himself the subject of ridicule. By making himself ridiculous he is bringing what he b elieves to the forefront, making it visible for all to see. Travelling around Spain, telling everyone he is a knight errant, Don Quixote becomes an object of ridicule. Everyone laughs at him; some play along for the sake of comedy. Yet in the process h e makes a name for himself. He becomes a legend in Spain. A biography is written about him even before he dies. By living according to the attain immortality. His feats were spread by word of mouth and he became a legend. The thing that garnered all the attention was not that he ran around Spain saying he was a knight errant, but that he actually lived the life of a knight errant. Don Qui xote assaulted windmills, chased down monks, stayed at inns which he believed were castles. He believed in what he was doing and lived accordingly; he performed all these actions with people watching; he spat in the face of convention. This is how he gain ed his immortality. overrule our reason with our emotion. We must do what feels rights, even if this goes contrary to what our reason says we ought to do. Don Quixote achieved imm ortality through his rejection of reason and his embrace of passion. In his view,, immortality can be taken to be one of these highly ridiculous notions. There is no rational evidence immortality of the soul rationally. There are, on the other hand, ways of proving
11 12 He very much follows in the footsteps of David Hume on this issue, citing a passag On the Immortality of the Soul by the mere light of reason to prove the immortality of the soul. The arguments in favour of it are commonly derived from metaphysical, moral, or physical considerations. But it is reall 13 up a lance and running around Spain attacking windmills. Ultimately, belief in the i mmortality of the soul must be grounded in something other than reason. Holding a belief that opposes all reason falls into the realm of passion and faith. There is a little of both at work when it comes to believing in things that our reason denies. And this is one of the main reasons that Don Quixote is such an important character for Unamuno. Don Quixote really embodies what it means to believe in the immortality of the soul. It involves being laughed at and continuing to believe anyway. Even wh en being faced with the absurdity of such assertions, a true believer will not lose faith. Reason does not help someone come to terms with such a monumental belief. This becomes a major source of anguish for Unamuno, which is also the major theme of his masterwork Tragic Sense of Life. Obviously, believing in something against all reason, in the face of ridicule, is not an easy task. This is what led Unamuno to coin 12 Tragic Sense of Life pp. 70 13 Ibid, pp. 70
12 Tragic Sense of Life In the introduction to The Selected Works of Unamuno, Vol. 7 Martin Nozick has The Tragic Sense of Life He writes that it is rambling tapestry of commentaries on quotations pulled out of original context from numberless sources and bent to his needs. Loosely woven, para professional, so to speak, it is neither an artistic tour de force nor a philosophical treatise, but the inca ndescent confession of a man whose mind is crammed with conflicting information and whose soul is caught in a tug of war between traditional Spanish Catholicism and the impact of European rationalism. 14 y accurately. The issue of conflict between opposites is one of the primary concerns of the work. Nozick is right when he specifically states that it was a conflict between Spanish Catholicism and European Rationalism T his conflict really embodies what Unamuno was trying to resolve when confronting the problem of immortality. although in the end one can get a fairly good pic ture of what he means by it but he does give a rough sketch of what it is: There is something which, for lack of a better name, we will call the tragic sense of life, which carries with it a whole conception of life itself and of the inverse, a whole phi losophy more or less formulated, more or less conscious. And this sense may be possessed, and is possessed, not only by individual men but by whole peoples. And this sense does not so much flow from ideas as determine them, even though afterwards, as is manifest, 14 The Selected Works of Unamuno, Vol 7, pp. xviii
13 these ideas react upon it and confirm it. Sometimes it may originate in a chance illness dyspepsia, for example; but at other times it is constitutional. And it is useless to speak, as we shall see, of men who are healthy and men who are not healthy. Apart from the fact there is no normal standard of health, nobody has proved that man is necessarily cheerful by nature. And further, man, by the very fact of being man, of possessing consciousness, is, in comparison with the ass or the crab, a diseased animal. Consciousness is a disease. 15 does give us a place to start. Unamuno maintains that life is contradiction 16 and it is from this rather vague place that he begins to discuss the tragic sense of life in a much clearer way. The primary source of this tragic sense is the contradiction between rationality and irrationality. another; and, as we shall see, perhaps there is such an opposition between the two that we may say that everything vital is anti rational, not merely irrational, and that everything rational is anti vital. And this is the basis for the tragic sense of li 17 Unamuno would never say that belief in God is easy. Believing in something that seems so completely irrational would appear to be ridiculous. But this is where the negative skepticism comes in: One believes in God anyway, even if reason says beli ef in God is irrational or unfounded. For Unamuno, belief in something makes it real. The kind of skepticism and denial being endorsed by Unamuno is not the kind of insanity inducing denial that Don Quixote embodies; rather it takes a milder form. It is more of a 15 Tragic Sense of Life pp. 15 16 16 Ibid, pp. 12 17 Ibid, pp. 30
14 healthy skepticism; it is a disbelief in claims made that seem to contradict what one might naturally believe. A key characteristic of God, in most if not all conceptions, is immortality. This is certainly true in the Catholic tradition, in whic h Unamuno was well versed. The God of and resurrection, mankind has been guaranteed immortality. Now this is certainly not something that one takes for granted. But this is how the immortality. A certain denial has to take place when faced with the promise of immortality. On its face, the claim is absurd. Jesus may well have died two thou sand years ago, but that does not guarantee immortality for all of mankind. Beyond that, it is a simple fact that humans die; so all sorts of questions and problems crop up: What does it mean to be immortal? Where will I go to enjoy this immortality? This is where the denial comes in: One has to suspend rationality in order to accept such a thing as true. It is really difficult, if not impossible, to accept such a claim on the basis of rationality alone. Faith must be a factor somewhere. And in orde r to have faith, rationality has to be suspended. Certain claims just cannot be rationalized, and immortality is one of them, in which case it is necessary to deny the rational evidence against immortality. Imitation is more difficult. As I said before we imitate what we aspire to be. According to Unamuno, we wish to be immortal; we hope for it. Because God is
15 immortal, we aspire to be God like. But how are finite beings to emulate an infinite being who is essentially unknown? including a distinction that he makes between God and the God idea and what it means to have faith in God versus what it means to have faith in the God idea. I also will explore wha t constitutes immortality for Unamuno, the role God plays in immortality, why humanity longs for immortality and how this desire for immortality manifests itself in people. I will conclude the chapter with a discussion of the Roman Catholic Church and its role as the protector of faith in immortality.
16 Chapter II That God does not exist, I cannot deny, that my whole being crie s out for God I cannot forget. Jean Paul Sartre God and the God Idea A system like the one Unamuno is trying to construct canno t be built without first identifying and articulating the nature of God. As it turns out, Unamuno does speak about this issue at length and he does a fairly good job of giving a coherent image of God. Unamuno begins by distinguishing between two concepti ons of God: the thinking God and the feeling God. But before examining these two conceptions, let us explore the source of this need for God. Unamuno holds that humans naturally display a need for God. This need for God 18 as he also calls it 19 something he borrows from Friedrich Daniel Ernst Schleiermacher, the German man, living in society, feels himself to be dependent upon the mysterious forces invisibly environing him; he feels himself to be in social communion, not only with beings like 18 Tragic Sense of Life p. 139 19 Tragi c Sense of Life p. 139
17 himself, his fellow men, but with the whole of Nature, animate and inanimate, which simply means, in other words, tha 20 This connection to and dependency on the world is, for Unamuno, a manifestation of the divine. We experience the divine through the natural world and thus we form a dependence on it. This puts divinity in an interesting position; because we experience the divine in the world, it becomes subjective. Initially at least, there is not an objective divinity that can be pointed to. It is only through experience of the world that the divine is seen. So how is the transition m ade from a subjective experience of the divine to an objective, but was rather the subjectivity of consciousness projected exteriorly, the personalization of the world 21 Initially, mankind felt the divine in the world and from this feeling mankind started to project the divine onto the world. This projection of the 22 Orig 23 But this God was soon taken and transformed into a different kind of who had ari sen in the human consciousness as a consequence of the sense of divinity in 24 20 Tragic Sense of Life p. 139 21 Tragic Sense of Life p. 139 22 Tragic Sense of Life p. 138 23 Tragic Sense of Life p. 141 24 Tragic Sense of Life p. 141
18 Unamuno argues that all of these rational attempts to reach God will end in failure. They will either produce a be ing that is contradictory or one that is not consistent traditional and much debated proofs of his existence are, at bottom, merely a vain attempt to determine his ess 25 Even if God is proven successfully ontologically, those proofs say nothing regarding His essence. Al l that proofs for the existence of God do is demonstrate that the God idea exists, or at least that its existence is possible. Because the God idea is a purely rational construct, Unamuno argues that it serves no practical purpose. Again, even if the exi stence of God is proven, it does not provide any insight into the essence of God. As 26 Knowing that God exists will not provide a basis for how o ne ought to act. And likewise, rationally showing that God exists will not elucidate any of 27 Just as rational proofs for the existence of God wi ll only yield the God idea, in idea is that it will always be fraught with contradictions and complications. In order to show this, Unamuno raises a fairly rises, on the other hand, whether a 25 Tragic Sense of Life p. 141 26 Contemporary Perspectives on Religious Epistemology p. 242 27 Tragic Sense of Life, p. 142
19 thing the idea of which has been conceived but which has no real existence, does not exist because God wills that it should not exist, or whether God does not will it to exist 28 This problem ties in with the issue of impossible 29 Both of these questions are legitimate, and have been debated by theologians and philosophers for centuries. The point being made by Unamuno is that these questions may never have a resolution because there are legitimate arguments in favor of one or the other. Each solution to t he above problems arrives at a different conception of God. If God is bound by logical laws it would appear as though logical laws are above God, in which case God would cease to be an all powerful being. But if God merely chose one way over another for no particular reason one that we, as humans, are not privy to at least 30 Each solution arrives at a conception that does not agree with our intuitive sense of God, that is, that does not agree with the f eeling God. So if reason cannot help humanity reach the feeling God that we crave, how can we arrive at that feeling God? Is there perhaps another, not strictly rational, way to do so? Unamuno seems to think that there is. He introduces the proof as fo 28 Tragic Sense of Life p. 144 29 Tragic Sense of Life p. 144 30 Tragic Sense of Life p. 144
20 31 This kind of proof actually comes from the ancients, as Unamuno points out. 32 33 as supporting this claim of universal to believe in God, not a proof that God exists. Still, Unamuno finds two redeeming qualities in the proof from unanimous consent. The proof points out something very interesting, and that is the notion that there is a de facto belief in God among people. What kind of God and how He should be worshipped is debatable, but what matters is the idea that people assume the exis tence of some kind of supernatural divinity... dependency. This proof helps to reinforce that claim. Belief in God was found originally in a sense of dependency, but as time went on, it ceased to be derived from that sense. Instead, belief in God began to get passed down from generation to generation and the sense of dependency was lost. But the notion remained: there exists some supernatural being; a being that is g reater than man and, most importantly, a being that assures mankind of its immortality. Immortality and Man of all human souls who have arrived at the consciousness of their hu manity, which 31 Tragic Sense of Life p. 145 32 Tragic Sense of Life p. 146 33 Tragic Sense of Life p. 146
21 essence of the soul which consists in its effort to persist eternally and without a break in the continuity of consciousness, leads us to the human, anthropomorp 34 Believing that God exists translates into a longing for immortality for Unamuno. What is belief, or at least a longing, for immortality? precisely what form this desire takes. Certain forms of immortality seem to be lacking; they do not agree with our intuitive sense of what immortality ought to be. For ex ample, reincarnation the notion that the soul exits the body after death and is reborn as something new looks like a plausible candidate. In this case the soul is immortal, so it certainly satisfies that criteria, but is this the immortality that man craves? Unamuno would say that it is not. There is no sense of continuity; we do not remember our past life, even if our soul is the same. Because there is no sense of continuity, it is not really immortality. True immortality does seem to require so me kind of reflective quality. If time when that belief was not grounded in any proof; namely a time when one was not immortal. In terms of a cycle of reincarnation, o ne cannot point back to a previous life as intuition, immortality really only means something if we are aware of it. 34 Tragic Sense of Life p. 147
22 Another potential form of immortality that Unamuno examines is Friedrich On this topic, Unamuno writes that the eternal comedy or comi tragedy. The number of atoms or irreducible primary elements being finite and the universe eternal, a combination identical with that which at present exists must at some future time be reproduced, and therefore that which now is must be repeated an infinite number of 35 The implication of this is that what exists n ow must be repeated at a future point in time and, likewise, has existed at some point in the past as well. In a certain sense, this can be taken to be a form of immortality. But what kind of immortality is it? Is it one that can be appreciated? Our consciousness certainly does not seem to persist as this eternal recurrence takes place. I do not remember living this life before, and if I have lived this life before, why do I not have a recollection of it? Unamuno points to this question when he says remember none of my previous existences, and perhaps it is impossible that I should 36 This is the same problem as reincarnation. If inde ed my soul is immortal or the molecules and atoms that make me up are immortal why can I not remember any of my previous existences? can see, but one not less comic tha t is to say, not less tragic than that of Nietzsche, that of the laughing lion. And why does the lion laugh? I think he laughs with rage, 35 Tragic Sense of Life, p. 88 89 36 Tragic Sense of Life, p. 89
23 because he can never succeed in finding consolation in the thought that he has been the same lion before and is des 37 If immortality is truly real, then it feels right, intuitively, that it would be a form of immortality where we can remember our previous existence. God, of course, does play an essential role in our immortality. Unam uno, in order to try and solidify this notion that immortality is the continuation of consciousness, turns 38 Unamuno explains: Consciousness 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 d iscovers 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 love, personalizing al l that it loves, discovers, is what we call God. And thus the soul pities God and feels itself pitied by Him; loves Him and feels itself loved by Him, sheltering its misery in the bosom of the eternal and infinite misery, which, in eternalizing itself and 39 It is through the interplay of love, suffering and pity that we recognize others as a consciousness. And this applies to God as well: We recognize God as embodying the universe. We love God, and we feel loved by Him. We pity God and His suffering and we take part in that pity and suffering. Why turn God into the Supreme Consciousness? As a consciousness, God has the ability to have ideas and remember ideas. Thus, could man be merely an idea in the mind 37 Tragic Sense of Life, p. 89 38 Tragic Sense of Life, p. 124 39 Tragic Sense of Life, p. 123 124
24 God? If so, would God remembering us constitute immortality? Unamuno certainly and is it possible for any idea in this Supreme Consciousness to be complet ely blotted out? After I have died, God will go on remembering me, and to be remembered by God, to have my consciousness sustained by the Supreme Consciousness, is not that, perhaps, 40 Unfortunately, Unamuno does not discuss this idea in too much d etail, but it is worth examining. How is being remembered in the divine consciousness different from reincarnation and the eternal recurrence? Being remembered does imply continuity which is precisely what Unamuno is aiming for. When we die, God is the bridge that keeps our consciousness intact. Whether it is a resurrection of the body, or a trip to Heaven, God is the constant that holds everything together, that keeps us immortal. The question about where this desire for immortality comes from h as yet to be answered. Is it part of the nature of the soul? Or does it come from the nature of God? Maybe it is a feeling that arises naturally from mankind? Perhaps it arises from all three? ortality comes from does wherefore do you want to be immortal? You ask me, wherefore? Frankly, I do not understand the question, for it is to ask the reason of the reason of the reason, the end of 41 40 Tragic Sense of Life, p. 132 41 Tragic Sense of Life p. 43
25 Clearly this is a problem. Luckily, Unamuno does hint at some plausible reas ons throughout his work. He seems to maintain that the desire for immortality is derived from a mixture of several things. about the nature of things. In particular, he discu 42 This effort to be a human being implies the effort to never die; to wherewith everything endeavors to persist in its own being is nothing more but the actual the effort, which 43 Because man naturally longs not to die, it becomes part of our essence not dying is incorporated into our endeavours to persist involves no finite time but indefinite time. That is to say that you, I, and Spinoza wish never to die and that this longing of ours never to die is our actual 44 Our effort to persist eternally becomes part of our essence. It is in our effort to persist eternally that we do persist eternally. We exist in so far as we persevere to exist. ought to be. There is no break in continuity of consciousness an d the soul remains immortal. 42 Tragic Sense of Life p. 6 43 Tragic Sense of Life p. 6 44 Tragic Sense of Life p. 6
26 How can a longing for immortality be derived from the nature of God? Within most traditions, God is conceived of as being immortal. This notion holds true especially for the Roman Catholic tradition. If God is immortal, an d man is created in His image and likeness, then it seems to make sense at least intuitively that man is immortal. lity would be impossible and Unamuno even goes so far as to say that if God did not exist, we would not exist. Another possible source for this desire to be immortal is from within man. As Unamuno stated before, man has a natural feeling of dependency. It is from this sense of dependency (among other things) that the feeling of God arises in man. Because of this feeling of dependency, there is some connection with God. And through this connection we feel as though we have some of God in us. Our desir e for immortality could be derived from our aspiration to be like God. In seeking to imitate God, we seek to possess the traits that make Him God. The desire for immortality also manifests itself in certain ways among people. One of the most common ways this desire is made visible is through the will not to die. Humans have a natural inclination not to die. Self preservation can play a powerful mo tivating role in human decision making and can be seen as resulting from this desire for immortality. There are also some non conventional ways that this desire for immortality can manifest itself. One example that Unamuno discusses is child bearing: chi ldren posses the ability to keep the memory of their parents alive either through stories or merely by
27 being alive. Being remembered in this way can constitute a form of immortality. This is an issue that Unamuno discusses in his literature and something that I will examine in more detail in Chapter III. Faith in God With all this discussion about immortality and God as the Supreme Consciousness, it almost seems as tho ugh the existence of God is pre supposed. This could not be further from the truth. As Unamuno has shown, reason cannot lead us to God. Faith is the only way of ren conception of faith as put for th in Fear and Trembling and Concluding Unscientific Postscript The similarities between Unamuno and Kierkegaard are no surprise considering that Unamuno was heavily influenced by Kierkegaard. Examining Three Models of Faith he discusses the similarities between Kierkegaard and Unamuno. The idea that faith must be grounded in some form of uncertainty is a prominent theme in the thought s of both of these thinkers. is uncertain and, like Unamuno, he seems to see the commitment of faith itself as
28 deriving from a passionate acceptance of what is uncer 45 Passionate faith in God is grounded in uncertainty. the noti on that faith requires a risk is probably something as an intellectual leap, Unamuno takes the leap a step further by incorporating the feelings associated with taking su ch a leap. Faith is required when one believes something that is uncertain. The belief in God is paradigmatic in this sense. Many attempts have been made to prove the existence of God and yet none have been successful. A belief in God will be grounde d in uncertainty and faith is what allows one to believe in God without any sort of proof. This does not imply that we can just have faith in anything; faith must have 46 According to Unamuno, there is no such thing as pure faith. 47 The reason that pure faith is an illusion is because faith is inevitably tied to both the intellectual and the is what makes it so difficult to have pure faith faith free from reason. 45 Contemporary Perspectives on Religious Epistemology p. 321 46 Tragic Sense of Life, p. 165 47 Tragic Sense of Life, p. 165
29 Faith really constitutes a belief in something. If we have faith in God we believe that He exists, or we believe certain things that relate to the existence of God. On the topi c of belief, Unamuno has much to say: Believing is a form of knowing, even if it be no more than a knowing and even a formulating of our vital longing. In a double and even a contradictory sense. It may express, conviction of the truth of a thing, and, on the other hand, it may imply merely a weak and hesitating persuasion of its truth. 48 In terms of the first kind of belief, some examples that c ome to mind are scientific truths and logical truths. Certain scientific truths are believed almost blindly. Even without scientific training, people have a tendency to believe scientific claims about the state of the world. Scientific claims are taken to be truths because we trust the scientific establishment; we believe that they are not misleading us. Another example of this kind of belief is logical truths. Logical truths such as the law of non contradiction are taken to be self evident. Log ical truths differ from scientific truths in that a source is not required to verify their validity. Logical truths are viewed as a basis for other truths; we believe logical truths to be true even without a source. In terms of the latter, one can con ceive of many instances where belief in something is founded in something much less convincing than the scientific establishment. For instance, if someone I trust tells me that there is a Lamborghini parked outside my house, I may well be skeptical. I ta ke into consideration certain things 48 Tragic Sense of Life, p. 165
30 like the area I live in, and whether or not I know anyone who owns a Lamborghini. Even if the probability of a Lamborghini being outside is low after taking into consideration these other factors, I might still believe my friend when he tells me that there is a Lamborghini outside; although not without some doubts. This second kind of belief is what Unamuno is claiming to be the basis of faith. It as believe 49 It now becomes somewhat clear where Unamuno wants to take his conception of faith. It cannot simply ce, of surrender 50 We have faith in people, in someone. We have faith that what they claim is true; we believe them because we trust them. But faith cannot be reduced to a belief in something that is questionable. Faith is more than just believing in an idea or some theory; faith is an act of the will. 51 But again, faith is a thing of the will, it would perhaps be better to say t hat it is will itself the will not to die, or, rather that it is some other psychic force distinct from intelligence, will, and 52 Faith becomes a creative force; by believing something we create it through the force of our belief. The ability of faith to create works out in an interesting way for God. When we have faith in God we create God, but it is God who gives us faith in Him and so God 49 Tragic Sense of Life p.165 50 Tragic Sense of Life p.166 51 Tragic Sense of Life p.169 52 Tragic Sense of Life p.169
31 continually creates Himself in us. 53 It is through this act of creation that we come to know God. We begin to see God in everything around us. We experience His love for us and we in turn love Him. Although this formulation of faith and God seems to be a rather positive one it is important to remember that this faith is grounded in uncertainty. In w hat is probably one of the most concise and clearly written passages in Tragic Sense of Life believe that they believe in God, but without any passion in their heart, without anguish of mind, without uncertainty, without doubt, without an element of despair even in their consolation, believe only in the God 54 This is a notion that seems to be taken right out of S Fear and Trembling With t his passage Unamuno has brought the conversation full circle back to the tragic sense of life. The undeniable feeling that there will always be a lingering doubt about the existence of God, about the immortality of the soul, is what gives credence to this tragic sense. Even the most faithful person will still be haunted by the fact that everything he/she believes could turn out to be false. Nothing not the rational discussion about faith creating the object of belief, or about the creative power of the will, or about God existing merely because we have faith does anything to assuage that persistent uncertainty.. faith, God or immortality will inevitably end in failure These ideas are inherently 53 Tragic Sense of Life p.170 54 Tragic Sense of Life p.170
32 irrational. They defy reason, but nevertheless, faith persists in believing. It is from this conflict that we can see the tragic sense most clearly. The Roman Catholic Church Being a Spaniard, Unamuno felt deep ties to the Catholic Church in Spain. Although he was critical of the Church in certain respects, these ties deeply influenced his views about the nature of faith and especially the issue of immortality. How has the Cat holic Church over its very long history dealt with the numerous issues and problems surrounding immortality? In particular what did the early church, with its historical proximity to Christ, say about the immortality of the soul? And how did this view change over the two centuries since the death and resurrection of Christ? The early church saw the immortality of the soul in terms of a bodily death and resurrection. After the death and resurrection of Christ, the apostles believed that Christ would c ome back soon. And with this second coming, they would die and be resurrected in the same way Christ was resurrected. Because of its belief in the imminent second coming, early Christianity was labeled as eschatological or chiliastic. Unamuno points out that primitive Christianity was an eschatological [sic], that faith in another life after death
33 is not clearly manifested in it, but rather a belief in the proximate en d of the world and 55 Unamuno equates eschatology and chiliasm saying that they are fundamentally branch of theology concerned with 56 Chiliasm is defined 57 Chiliasm is essentially the belief that Christ will come again and rule over the earth for a thousand years. In ter ms of early Christianity it does make sense to equate the two. The second coming of Christ as far as the early apostles were concerned would take place during their lifetimes. This second coming would simultaneously bring about the end of history and the thousand year reign of Christ. belief in the immortality of the soul through Jesus. And although all the apostles had a personal relationship with Christ, there were st ill questions as to what immortality would look like. This notion is present most vividly when Jesus went to the Mount of Transfiguration 58 59 The Apostles th ere were genuinely bewildered by this 60 The question of the immortality of the soul and 55 Tragic Sense of Life p. 52 56 http://www.merriam webster.com/dictionary/eschatology 57 http://www.merriam webster.com/dictionary/millenarianism 58 Also known as Mount Tabor 59 Tragic Sense of Life p. 53 60 Tragic Sense of Life p. 53
34 what that would mean would be taken up by succeeding generations: those who did not know Christ personally. The primary figure in early Christianity who did not know Christ personally was Paul of Tarsus. The fact that Paul had no personal relationship with Christ becomes an extremely important point when examining his writings. The essential idea throughout that the had risen again, and not what he did in his life not his ethical work as a teacher, but his 61 Unamuno quotes scripture to emphasize this that there is no resurrection from the dead? But if there be no resurrection of the dead, then is Christ not risen; and if Christ be not risen, then is our preaching vain, and your 62 is rather predictable. Paul was primarily concerned with converting Jews, Greeks, and Romans. In order to make Christianity appealin g, he had to distinguish Christ from the prophets that had preceded him. The major point of distinction was the divine nature of Christ. Christ was different from the other prophets in that he was God And this was proven through his death and resurrect ion. religion of immortality. It was the death and resurrection of Christ that guaranteed 61 Tragic Sense of Life p. 56 62 Tragic Sense of Life p. 56 (1 Cor. Xv 12 19)
35 immortality for man. But in the course of the history of Christianity, questions aros e as to what Christ was and why Christ as the central doctrine for Christianity started to be questioned by subsequent generations of Christians. Two of these early heresies about the nature o f Christ were Arianism and foremost a teacher a teacher of morality, the wholly perfect man, and therefore the 63 T his position undermines the notion that Christ was first and foremost divine. It reduces Christ to a teacher instead of use the Arian conception of Christ to be labeled as heres y he was not divine. According to Sociniansts, Christ was a prophet with a special connection to God, but due t o his lack of a divine nature, he could not be the guarantor of not have been was merely a prophet was labeled a heresy, because it undermined his unique nature as a div ine being who guaranteed immortality. 63 Tragic Sense of Life p. 57
36 In this way, early Christianity Catholicism teachings regarding the divine nature of Christ, the immortality of Christ, and the Trinitarian nature of Christ. Catholicism maintained that the primary distinguishing feature of Christ was his resurrection, due to his immortal nature. Thus, in the Nicene 64 Roman Catholicism is an insti tution that sees its role as defending the doctrine of immortality. immortality of the soul. By giving in and accepting alternative explanations of Christ, it would implicitly be giving in to rationality. The belief that Christ died and was resurrected and, through this, guaranteed our immortality, is absurd and irrational Unamuno would even say anti rational. But the Church maintains that position even in the face of criti conception of faith: one continues to believe even in the face of overwhelming evidence to the contrary. Unamuno with the help of its enemy, the rational, a complete dogmatic structure, and this the Church defends against rationalism, against Protestantism, and against Modernism 65 The reason the Church defends against all of these things is because they undermine the divine nature of Christ and the promise of immortality. In undermining the divinity of 64 Tragic Sense of Life, p. 58 65 Tragic Sense of Life p. 64
37 Christ, rationalism, Protestantism and Modernism also challenge the belief t hat man is immortal. Unamuno draws a parallel between undermining this belief in immortality and the undercutting of some practical beliefs. Unamuno points to a few particular examples to support his claim that the Church has a duty to protect against Galileo, and it did right; for his discovery, in its inception and until it became assimilated to the general body of human knowledge, tended to shatter the anthropomorphic belief that the univer 66 and it did right, for Darwinism tends to shatter our belief that man is an exceptional 67 suppression of these scientific discoveries, but the notion that sometimes a discovery is chi ld from potentially harmful or detrimental things. For example, parents often will prevent their children from watching violent movies or playing violent video games so that they develop some kind of belief system that does not involve excessive violence, or murder, etc. It is only when the child is able to successfully incorporate violence into his/her world view that watching things that contain violence is allowed. The child is prepared by the parents to understand that the world is not the nice, fun, kind place he/she thought it was. While the world does contain these kinder aspects, it also has a violent 66 Tragic Sense of Life p. 64 67 Tragic Sense of Life p. 64
38 side. The child incorporates violence into his or her worldview in such a way that it does not destroy the previous worldview. e is much the same in terms of these scientific discoveries. important center of the creature status. This does not imply that the belief in immortality is false and that the Church is merely waiting to show this to everyone. Quite the contrary in fact: the belief in immortality resides in a special place where it cannot be wholly proven or disproven. Thus, t he belief must be protected by the Church against those who would deny it. In one of his literary pieces San Manuel Bueno, Mrtir Unamuno explores the role of the Church as an institution whose purpose is to protect faith in the immortality of the s oul. In the third and final chapter, I will explore this and other works insight into issues such as immortality and faith by exploring them within the context of act ual people and situation, and thus provides a clearer depiction of what Unamuno is attempting to do.
39 Chapter III A character is never the author who created him. It is quite likely, however, that an author may be all his characters simultaneously. Albert Camus Unamuno was not content to just write philosophical essays about his views on faith and immortality. He also wrote literary works to make his views more accessible to people and to explore the issues in terms of actual people and situations. Unamuno begi ns Tragic Sense of Life by distinguishing between the man of flesh and bone and the idea of man. His literature is an attempt to further enhance that distinction. Literature allows the author to explore ideas and views in a way that might not be possible him to explore just how his views on faith, femininity, marriage and immortality affect people in the world. Fiction, in some cases, allows for finer and more poignant articulat ions of problems and their possible solutions or even their non solutions. The in The Brothers Karamazov d
40 evil. San Manuel Bueno, Mrtir In San Manuel Bueno, Mrtir works, he confronts the problem of the loss of fa ith and its implications for others. This work is the story of a Catholic priest who loses his faith in God and immortality. He refrains from disclosing this to any of his parishioners so that their faith in immortality might be preserved. San Manuel Bue no is a paradigmatic figure for Unamuno; he hides his loss of faith in order to protect the faith of others. Don Manuel is introduced as a beloved spiritual leader in the small Spanish town of Valverde de Lucerna. 68 Eventually he joins the seminary in or 69 Don Manuel is characterized as someone who feels it is his duty to take care of others. He cares for the villagers out of love for them. One d oes not have to be a priest in order to help people, though. So why did Don Manuel become a priest? The answer to this question lies in the fact that the villagers are all devout Catholics. By becoming a priest he helps the villagers keep a coherent wor ldview. As devout Catholics, they had certain expectations about how a priest ought 68 Ficciones, Four Stories and a Play p. 135 69 Ficciones, Four Stories and a Play p. 137
41 to act. Priests should be kind and caring and they also should be concerned with the general welfare of those whom they serve. Don Manuel fit this role perfectly. This is how he came to be known as San Manuel Bueno to his followers. As it turns out, Don Manuel had been coping with the loss of faith in immortality even while performing all the various good deeds he was known for. Several profound instances of this are depicted early in the novel. The first is during mass, while the the popula 70 This is a very obvious hint at the fact that Don Manuel has lost his faith. His silence during this portion of the creed the profession of faith gives credence to his difficult position. In order to hide his loss of faith, he keeps himself busy by constantly working and those early da ys I had already begun to realize that Don Manuel fled from being left to 71 Don Manuel felt he had a duty to his people. His loss frightened him and he felt as if merely thinking about it wo uld cause him to betray the trust of the villagers. This is not to say that he did not constantly struggle with his loss of faith; on the contrary it was because he was constantly struggling that he focused on being active in the village rather than passive. 70 Ficciones, Four Stories and a Play p. 141 142 71 Ficciones, Four Stories and a Play p. 143
42 For the most part, the source of this loss of faith is left shrouded in mystery. Don Manuel does seem to be afflicted by the same ailment that afflicted I van Karamazov in The Brothers Karamazov : the suffering of children. Don Manuel, while following the 72 73 Don Manuel did not react in the same way that Ivan Karamazov did, primarily because he felt he had an obligation to the people of Valverde de Lucerna. The suffering of children should not be understood to be the only source of Don thinking ab out immortality constitutes a form of irrationality. Eventually, the narrator reveals why Don Manuel suffers in silence. She recounts Don Manuel had begged him, particula rly during the walks to the ruins of the old Cistercian abbey, to set a good example, to avoid scandalizing the townspeople, to take part in the religious life of the community, to feign belief even if he did not feel any, to 74 It s intellectual; he had studied abroad and had become friends with Don Manuel after his return. 72 Ficciones, Four Stories and a Play p. 144 73 Ficciones, Four Stories and a Play p. 144 74 Ficciones, Four Stories and a Play p. 157
43 The reason Don Manuel begs this of Lzaro is because Lzaro is the voice of reason. Lzaro embodies rationali ty, and thus he is that which speaks out against immortality. Lzaro has the ability to undermine all the work that Don Manuel has done in the village. Lzaro could have easily destroyed the faith of the villagers, thereby shattering their lives. When h understood his motives and his saintliness; for a saint he is, Sister, a true saint. In trying to convert me to his holy cause for it is a holy cause, a most holy cause he was not attempting to score a triumph, but rather was doing it to protect the peace, the happiness, 75 In explaining his motives to Lzaro, Don Manuel also managed to convert him to believing not in the immortality of the soul but in k eeping up the illusion of faith for the sake of the people. As a priest in the Catholic Church, Don Manuel signifies the presence of the Church. What Don Manuel was doing is exactly what Unamuno felt the Church ought to be doing. The purpose of the Ch urch as an institution is to protect those who believe in to drive them to despair. Since the purpose of the Catholic Church is to defend the belief in immortal ity, Don Manuel fits the role perfectly. Maintaining the guise of belief in immortality, even in the face of overwhelming doubt and skepticism, is precisely what the Church must do. It keeps up the appearance for the sake of its followers. 75 Ficciones, Four Stories and a Play p. 158
44 Don Manuel also embodies, as mentioned briefly above, the tragic sense of life that Unamuno explored in his proper philosophical works: the notion that doubt forms the basis for faith and belief is something quite troublesome. For Unamuno, being overwhelmed by doub t and never being able to find solace constitutes true faith. Seeking answers to the questions only causes more problems to a believer, as the answers will inevitably lead to more questions and doubt. The tragic sense is derived from knowing that belie f in God and immortality may well be false. Yet despite this, one believes anyway, while also helping others to persist in their belief by not revealing the doubts one might have about those beliefs. Three Exemplary Novels These three short novels by Unamuno explore three main issues in several different contexts. The three primary concerns in these novels are marriage, the role of women, and child bearing. Before entering a discussion about the Three Exemplary Novels it is important to note that Unamuno did have some interesting ideas about women. Unamuno
45 hembra 76 Hembra is translated as female, but it is a female in terms of sp ecies, not in terms of personhood. Unamuno was not particularly kind in his depiction of the latter. Unamuno felt very strongly about the role of women in the world, but he should not be misunderstood as trying to demean women into a particular role. On the contrary, Unamuno held women in particular these mothers or potential mothers in high regard. There are two main reasons that Unamuno held women in such high esteem: the 77 and the second was sympathy or self 78 According to Unamuno, women 79 their partner or lover. The abili 80 Unamuno is attempting to depict the mother figure in the Three Exemplary Novels and he is exploring the emotional and spiritual aspects of his mother as well as other pote ntial mother figures. Although Unamuno wrote about women and discussed their role in the world, he did perceive himself to be an inadequate portrayer of feminine roles. 81 The reason for this was primarily because he knew only one woman intimately his entir 76 Unamuno and Womanhood: His Theater p. 309 77 Ibid, p. 309 78 Ibid, p. 309 79 Ibid, p. 309 80 Ibid, p. 309 81 Ibid, p. 312
46 82 [The author does not know how to make women, he has never known how]. In the first of these novels, entitled The Marquis of Lumbri a the central issue is that of child bearing and the importance of having male heirs. The story begins by introducing the Marquis of Lumbria: Don Rodrigo Suarez de Tejada. 83 The problem that plagues him is his lack of a male heir, which means that once he dies the name of his family dies with him. After many years of no success, the task of giving birth to a male heir fell onto his daughters. Although the Marquis was nearing the end of his life, he persisted in order to ensure that he had a male heir bef ore he died. One of his daughters, Luisa, did give birth to a son prior to his death. After the birth of the new Marquis, Luisa and her husband Tristan grow far apart. All that concerned Luisa was the welfare of her son and her husband suffered the co nsequences. Luisa dies a few years after giving birth. The cause of her death is e 84 Before her death, Luisa tells her husband that he must do everything for the new Marquis, including sacrif icing himself. 85 because she was not worried at all about his well being. Tristan remarries soon after 82 Ibid, p. 312 re: Amor y pedagog a p. 11 83 Three Exemplary Novels p. 37 84 Three Exemplary Novels p. 50 51 85 Three Exemplary Novels p. 51
47 ter, Carolina. marquis immediately perceived an enemy in his new mother. He would not consent to 86 Carolina and Tristan attempt to have a child of their own, but when Carolina 87 The newborn dies shortly thereafter. This spu r s Carolina to adopt a child of her own: a male child. There is some mystery surrounding this adoption and the source of this new child is left somewhat having children of her own, she had brought the adopted son, this int ruder, to annoy and 88 As the story progresses, it becomes clear that there is much more to the new child than meets the eye. Carolina begins claiming that he is in fact the true heir to Don Rodrigo Suarez de T ejada. This is because, according to Carolina, Tristan had conceived a child with her prior to conceiving a child with Luisa. Whether or not this is true is left ambiguous for two reasons: first because Tristan is portrayed as a weak character and tends to go along with whatever his wife at the time wants; secondly, because Carolina is ir are unimportant. 86 Three Exemplary Novels p. 53 87 Three Exemplary Novels p. 55 88 Three Exemplary Novels p. 56
48 conception of womanhood. One of the most obvious things is the depiction of both l instinct is what [women] become stereotyped in their obsessive aspiration to motherhood, or if that state is unattainable, to a simulation of motherhood or a substitu 89 The Marquis of Lumbria helps to portray this obsessive aspect of womanhood. It portrays Carolina and Luisa as being firmly devoted to the well being of their children. child. She sees him as a threat to her own child. The children are, to a certain extent, an extension of the women themselves. They see themselves in the child and thus they want only what is best for the child. The second story in the series also ex plores this effort on the part of women to achieve motherhood, while also exploring the nature of marriage. In Two Mothers Raquel is the love interest of Don Juan. While their relationship is rather complicated, for the purpose of brevity, I will say on ly that Raquel is an extremely manipulative woman, and Don Juan is once again a very timid, easily manipulated male. Raquel is unable to have a child of her own and, as a result, she forces Don Juan to find another woman to conceive a child with him. Do n Juan initially wants to marry Raquel, but Raquel has no interest in marrying Don Juan; she only wants a child. She manages to convince Don Juan to abandon his thoughts about marrying her when she at for? Why should we marry 89 Unamuno and Womanhood: His Theater p. 309
49 according to the Church and the Civil Law? Marriage, according to what we were taught in the Catechism married people and to have them bring up children for 90 Her argument against marrying Don Juan is essentially that because she is unable to have children, there is no reason to get married. According to the Catechism of Trent the A second reason children in the true faith and in the service of God. 91 Don Juan who no doubt understood marriage in this way as well. riage. Raquel utilizes the strict definition of marriage, i.e. the Catechism against Don Juan in order to coerce him into marrying another woman and conceiving a child with her. Although the Catechism is c oncerned, there does seem to be something fundamentally wrong with that marriage. Don Juan and Raquel are using Berta as a means to an end. Even if the marriage satisfies the conditions set in the Catechism is it truly a marr iage if there is no love between the two partners? Intuitively and I think this is the problem Unamuno is pointing at the answer seems to be no. Berta is being used to give glory to God; she has a child because Don Juan is doing as Raquel wishes mother. In this case, she uses others as a means to attain this end. She manipulates and 90 Three Exemplary Novels p. 72 73 91 http://www.catholicprimer.org/trent/catechism_of_trent.pdf p.212
50 de ceives her way to attaining a child. And the reason for all this, according to Unamuno, is her natural drive to be a mother and to partake in motherhood, a theme also explored in The Marquis of Lumbria The third and final story in the series, Nothing Less Than a Man actually explores masculinity and the nature of love. Nothing Less Than a Man centers on Julia, a beautiful woman who constantly has to fight against her father. The problem for Julia is that her father is rather poor, and subsequently he se 92 Against the wishes of her father Julia sees men who are not capable of providing the economic security her father desires. Julia does not see these men purely out of spite she is curious about the nature of love: what it means to love and to be loved. Initially, Julia seems to think that actions constitute being loved In one example, her first suitor, Enrique, claims that he does love her and that he would do anything for her. 93 She begs him to take he r away from her father so that they might be able to live in peace together. Although Enrique agrees to do this for Julia, he never fulfills his promise. Another suitor by the name of Pedro is also tested by Julia. At first Julia asks Pedro if he is wil somewhat similar in that he thinks it would be great if they could run off together. But Pedro does bring up some practical considerations: where would they go and how they would survi ve? Julia answers these considerations by raising the stakes she 92 Three Exemplary Novels p. 136 93 Three Exemplary Novels p. 142
51 recommends they commit suicide. 94 At this request, Pedro decides not to continue the relationship. This leads Julia to the conclusion that neither of these men really loved her; that they were interested only in her beauty. This connection between actions and love (at least in the sense of doing things for the other person) is a rather immature conception of love. At least intuitively, it appears to be very juvenile to believe that someon e can only love another if he/she performs certain actions or partakes in certain activities at the behest of the other. Soon after, a rich foreigner, Alejandro, arrives at their village, buys a large estate, and begins to settle down in the village. A lejandro hears about Julia and her beauty and insists on making her is wife. At first Julia rejects his advances, but Alejandro is Alejandro Gomez knows how to get what 95 of losing everything. A marriage between Alejandro and his daughter would save him. It is through the we 96 94 Three Exempla ry Novels p. 145 95 Three Exemplary Novels p. 153 96 Three Exemplary Novels p. 154
52 Partly because of this, their marriage gets off to a rather tumultuous start. But the question of love is still very much at play within Julia. On more than one occasion she asks Alejandro whether or not he loves her and his answers are usually cryptic and or 97 did not have a child. Subsequently she does give birth to a male child, a child who receives no love or compassion from Alejandro, primaril 98 love elsewhere. A family friend, known only as the Count, begins to court her. The Count tries to exploit her compassion in order to begin an illegitimate affair with her. 99 doubt 100 pressure and has an affair with him. Some time passes and eventually Julia becomes fed up with her husband and decides to div ulge her secret. Alejandro seems unfazed by this revelation; he responds by calling Julia insane and locking her up for several days. Once Alejandro lets Julia out, 97 Three Exemplary Novels p. 167 98 Three Exemplary Novels p. 170 99 Three Exemplary Novels p. 176 100 Three Exemplary Novels p. 178
53 she is greeted by the Count and two doctors. Alejandro has managed to scare the Count in to denying there ever was an affair and because Julia continues to insist that there was an affair, she is declared insane. Within the walls of the sanatorium, Julia is still tortured by the question of whether or not Alejandro truly loves her. Oddly e nough, she never doubted her love for him 101 Ju lia eventually recants her claims about the affair with the Count and is released to Alejandro. Even though Alejandro takes her back with open arms, the question of his love for her still remains. athly th has taken you 102 They are both found the following 103 co nception of love was inadequate. Although Alejandro showed very little or no love in the traditional sense, he was clearly very devoted to his wife in her greatest time of need. While the other two suitors were unwilling to die with her, Alejandro was wi lling to do so. He showed his devotion to her by dying for her. The overarching issue in all three 101 Three Exemplary Novels p. 206 102 Three Exemplary Novels p. 227 103 Three Exemplary Novels p. 228
54 stories is child birth. Why is it so important for the male characters to have an heir? Why do the female characters became almost fanatical about their i nability to have a child? Why are children so important? The desire to have children represents a manifestation of the desire for immortality. Children have the power to keep a family name or legacy in existence. They grant their parents immortality in the sense that, through them, their parents are their parents alive as well. The children can tell stories about their parents and they will always be living proof o attain immortality. This would also explain why the females are almost driven to insanity when they come to the realization that they cannot have children. In this same vein of thought, the inability to have children constitutes a loss of immortality. They are doomed to non existence once they die. They are remembered by no one. The will to live forever can manifest itself in a variety of different ways. In t he Three Exemplary Nove ls, Unamuno explores how the will to live can be manifested in terms of actual situations and people.
55 Mist Mist or as it is known in Spanish, Niebla is a novel by Unamuno that explores issues about existence, particularly whether or not it is possib le for a creation to became in Don Quixote He felt very strongly about the characters in Don Quixote not Cervantes himself. Unamuno at one point said that he consid myself on occasion to go so far as to disagree with the manner in which Cervantes 104 He maintained that Don Quixote and Sancho Panza were far too real to be regarded as pure creatures of fiction. 105 As such, they acquired a sort of true existence; they became men of flesh and blood. Unamuno did set a high standard for what it means to be an authentic human being, and so it seems curious that he would confer true existence on fictional characters. 106 Unamuno utilizes a pragmatist criterion of authentic existence, namely, operari sequitur esse 107 This is the notion tha somebody, can be said to exist inasmuch as it produces visible and enduring effects on the surrounding world and/or on the minds of his neighbours, whether in the present or in 108 In this sense, it is easy to see why Don Quixote and Sancho are more real than Cervantes for Unamuno. It is at this point that a very interesting reversal takes place between creator and creation. Unamuno, in one of his essays about Quixote, states: 104 Imitatio Dei in Miguel de Unamuno p. 453 105 Ibid, p. 454 106 Ibid, p. 454 107 Ibid, p. 454 108 Ibid, p. 455
56 Though we oftentimes consider a writer to be a real, true, and historic person because we see him in flesh, and regard the characters he invents in his fictions as purely imaginary, the truth is exactly the reverse. The characters are real, it is they who are the authentic beings, and they make use of the person who seems to be of flesh and blood in order to assume form and being in the eyes of men. 109 The reason this reversal takes place is because the creations have to, in a certain sense, be more human in order to be believed as actual characters. Charac ters in fiction have to act a certain way and respond to situations in certain ways. In other words: A well constructed literary character cannot act arbitrarily (precisely because he is well constructed): on the contrary, he will have to act coherently, and because of that all his moves, all his doings within the narrative in some unmistakable way will be indicative of the ultimate limits of the concept of humanity In order to be convicting, the literary characters must be already exemplary ; th ey cannot humans at their very best. 110 The implications of this are that the author is bound by a certain set of rules in terms of to or dependent 111 because he is no longer able to do what he wishes with his characters. He is bound by the role of the characters and in order to create a good work of fiction, he 109 Selected Works of Miguel de Unamuno, volume 3. Our Lord Don Quixote. The Life of Don Quixote and Sancho with Related Essays p. 323 110 Imitatio Dei in Miguel de Unamuno p. 457 111 Ibid, p. 457
57 must be able to abide by this internal logic. The more believa ble the characters are, the 112 Unamuno is attempting to draw a parallel between an author and his characters and God and human beings. The notion that he is putting forth is similar to George all things in the world are being perceived by God, who chooses to keep them in existence. 113 Unamuno takes this thought from Berkeley and pushes it us and woe to that d ay when He awakes. God is dreaming. It is better not to think of 114 Mist can be seen as dealing with these issues. In the most profound chapter of the novel, Unamuno comes face to face with his creation A conversation ensues about what kind of existence and freedom a fictional character might possess. The conversation between Unamuno and his creation helps to illuminate certain issues about actual human existence. hat a creature of fiction is we derive the acute awareness of what it is the case [sic] as far as the ultimate nature of our selves is concerned: that is, we grasp the fact that we are ontologically precarious and uncertain, lacking in destiny and any deep 115 The story revolves around Augusto, a wealthy man and an intellectual who falls in love with a woman named Eugenia. Augusto is completely awestruck by her beauty and decides to court her. Eugenia rejects his advances primarily because she is already in a 112 Ibid, p. 457 113 Ibid, p. 461 114 Ibid, p. 463 115 Ibid, p. 463
58 between her and Augusto, she refuses to partake in it. There is a strong financial aspect pays off her mortgage and other debts. finally does come out and propose to her outright, and, although she never displayed an interest in him before, she accepts his proposal. This is a delightful surprise for Augusto, as he never thought she would agree. Not long before the marriage, Augusto gets a letter from Eugenia, telling him that world and he is driven to despair. He contemplates committing suicide, but prior to doing that, he decides to go and talk with Unamuno about it. The reason Augusto decides pass ing reference to suicide and this, together with some other things of mine that he had read, had evidently made such an impression upon him that he did not wish to leave this 116 It is during this creator. 117 Unamuno explains to Augusto that he is merely his creation, that he has no free will and subsequently that he has no power over whether or not to kill himself. Unamuno asserts that A 118 116 Mist p. 291 117 Mist p. 292 118 Mist p. 293
59 except as a fictitious entity, a character of fiction. My poor Augusto, you are only a 119 At this point, the conversation takes an interesting turn: try to arrive at what constitutes existence. Augusto claims that Unamuno is nothing but an imagined character in the mind of God, much as Augusto is an imagined character in the mind of Unamuno. Augusto reasons that if he does not exist then neither does Unamuno. This in turn raises questions p in his bed dreams of something, which is it that more truly exists, he as the consciousness that 120 121 Unfortunately, no answer is given to e ither of these questions, as is usual with Unamuno. The conversation continues with Augusto trying to show that he exists independently of Unamuno, that he has free will, and that this free will constitutes his existence as a being independent of Unamuno. Unamuno very strongly disagrees with Augusto, pointing out that Augusto cannot commit suicide unless Unamuno allows him to do so. This angers Augusto and as a tongue! I do 119 Mist p. 294 120 Mist p. 296 121 Mist p. 296
60 you, I have now decided, not that you may not now kill yourself, but that I shall kill 122 Th is drives Augusto into a fit of madness. Even though he wanted to commit suicide, he pleads with Unamuno and tries to make him change his mind. Unamuno refuses and insists that his edict cannot be undone. Augusto will go home, only to die. e effort of the passion for life out with his eyes fixed upon the ground, passing his hands wonderingly over himself as if he were 123 Augusto dies shortly thereafter for unknown reasons. It may have been that the realization of his peculiar situation was too much to bear, but it is ultimately a mystery. The story does not end with the death of Augusto though; Unamuno adds an equally or possibly more o confronted in Tragic Sense of Life Orfeo is musing over man and the problems he perceives in man, which is very similar to what Unamuno is doing in his work. One of hip immortal. Because his master was for him a god. And when he saw now that he was 122 Mist p. 299 123 Mist p. 305
61 dead he felt that within his own soul all the foundations of belief in life and the world 124 This is another instance where Unamuno is exploring the relationship between God and man. Orf eo views Augusto as someone who had existed prior to his own existence and he presumed relationship with God. o conceding that there is no God, or that God has ceased to exist He is merely pointing to the notion that one can never be absolutely certain and Unamuno does not rule out the notion that it is quite pos sible that God does not exist. seem to enjoy any measure of health, and not always th en; for there are times when he 125 The sickness that Orfeo is referencing is the tragic sense of life that Unamuno wrote so passionately about. The doubts about God and immortality will always exist; one can never be certain, but o ne believes anyway. It is curious that Unamuno chooses a dog to give the final word in his novel. He represents these primal emotions in man. Orfeo even notes tha t he understands man best when he howls 126 and that man is what has forced him to learn to bark. It is fitting that 124 Mist p. 325 125 Ibid, p. 327 126 Ibid, p. 327 328
62 Orfeo gives the last word as he represents the instinctive nature of man that Unamuno is trying explore. to explore some of his major issues in context He wrote literature in order to be better understood by others and to better understand his he person, allowing it to develop before us, in full light, its intimate movement, in order to reveal thus its inner nucleus. The novel pretends, simply, makings of, f 127 In writing his literature, Unamuno attempted to put the issues that he was confronting in his philosophical essays into context. In writing literatur e, he was able to do certain things and experiment with certain ideas that would not be possible in standard philosophical writing. A purely intellectual discussion about emotions is difficult and iterature is to discuss emotions in their natural setting, namely, in people. 127 : Existence and the Game of Fiction p. 202
63 Conclusion After completing the last chapter of my thesis, I sat back and wondered what Tragic Sense of Life What does it actually do for anyone? Is there a value to what Unamuno has to say about issues of faith, God and immortality? Certainly, Unamuno does make some interesting distinctions, such as: God versus the God idea and the man of flesh and bone vers us the purely rational man. Being as being relevant to human beings, as opposed to the abstract universal that Plato emphasized. And while Unamuno does make an effort t o keep his discussion in terms of particulars, it unfortunately does slip into the abstract rather often. Another problem with his writing is that he often -*knock, knock* -well that is odd. I wonder who could be knocking on the door this late at n ight. Excuse me a minute As implausible as it may seem, the person knocking on my door is none other than Miguel de Unamuno himself. With his arrival, I am presented with the unique opportunity to ask him some questions about his work. He was more than happy to oblige.
64 jokingly. uld not feel too bad about benefits; for instance, my works are not scrutinized on a daily basis for inconsistencies am sometimes disappointed that I am not more widely read. But at the same time, one does not write philosophical works in order to gain fame. I
65 on: Why should your works be read at Tragic Sense of Life and indeed all my other works, as an attempt to describe the condition of the person of faith. In a sense I was doing what Kierkegaard had done not too long before me. I was examining all these issues that are wrapped up in religiosity and trying to articulate what distinguished a true religious believer from a false one. Of course, that is quite a task and, for what it truly religious ? This is a problem that Kierkegaard faced as well and it is also something that an external point of view really tends to undermine our ideas about what true faith actually consists of in that we can never really know for certain what is taking place Pausing for a moment to gather his thoughts, he continue d after a brief belief in immortality could certainly be placed at the top, or at least very cl ose to the top, of this list. God and the afterlife can be seen as human attempt s to justify our belief in immortality. This is a scary thought as well: What if God is merely a creation of man and does not actually exist? It is at this juncture where my work, I think, really deserves some credit. There seems to be some kind of circ ularity within this line of reasoning These closely held beliefs begin to crumble when questioned and yet one cannot help but continue to believe anyway.
66 them. This is o ne of the things that I was attempting to explore in San Manuel Bueno Martir The notion that people hold irrational beliefs that guide them throughout their life is an interesting one. My goal at the outset was to try and explain, understand and justif y these feelings. Whether or not that actually happened successfull y, I leave for job of articulating the concerns you raise and address in Tragic Sense of Life Tragic Sense of Life I found that a lot of the problems you were addressing were very huma n concrete when I was writing my proper philosophy. I did not want to be so abstract that no one would get anything of value from it and yet I did not want to be so concrete as to alienate others. I think this is why I enjoyed writing the literature so much; it allowed me ought that same way
67 when trying to express their ideas, similar to Dostoyevsky, although probably not as eloquent ly q your masterwork crudely, but rather accurately, I felt. He described rambling tapestry of commentaries on quotations pulled out of original context from incandescent confession of a man whose mind is crammed with conflicting info many quotations from other authors and philosophers, but I would not describe my using them to explain what I am attempting to do as a bad thing. I think on a certain level when we take any quotation it is for the sole purpose of bending it to our needs. In terms of the latter criticism, if it can be called that, I think that is absolutely right. My ultimate point I suppose is that we all have these conflicting beliefs; the problem is what do we do with an it be said to be correct? No, not at all. Whether you are a philosophy student or a professional philosopher, you come to realize rather quickly that there are holes and inconsistencies within any philosophical system that one is trying to construct.
68 Objections are raised here and there, counter examples are provided and soon other modified theories begin to develop. In a sense, this is philosophy. It is what Aristotle did to Plato and what Kierkegaard did to Hegel and so on. istotle, Kierkegaard, Nietzsche or any of the others, no value that can be taken from it. For Aristotle, it was virtue ethics; for Kierkegaard, it was his insights abo ut faith and religious belief. My system, if it can be called that, is subject to the same problems that face all these other systems. Life cannot be so neatly defined and systematized. As long as you are trying to answer questions about life, such as, what is the purpose of life? w hy is there something rather than nothing? etc., you will always thousand years ago and it was one of his main criticisms of Plato, namely, that life is constituted by particulars. For forms did not really help anyone much in day to day life. This criticism does not render is still seen as a profound thinker to this day whose do not have something valuable to offer. In Tragic Sense o f Life my goal was to explore and articulate the human condition; to understand it without attempting to solve it. And that, I believe, is what is valuable about my writings: I let people make their own choices about how to interpret what I say. Whether they reject it outright or accept a tiny sliver
69 of it does not matter all that much. What matters to me is that they took it seriously enough to judge it in the first place. you for taking the time to listen to After Unamuno left, I started to think more deeply about what he was trying to articulate and it seemed to me that he certainly had a valid point. Irrational beliefs do ictions tend to guide example, is deemed irrational because it is not grounded in empirical evidence, or because the concept of God is internally inconsistent. For U namuno, immortality is one
70 of these kinds of beliefs. It is an unfounded belief that nevertheless becomes a guiding principle in the lives of many. One of the interesting things about Unamuno is his relative obscurity. His insights about faith and the nature of God are not that far removed from the insights Kierkegaard had almost a half century before. That might be part of the reason why Unamuno never reached the fame of Kierkegaard; he can be seen as merely tweaking what Kierkegaard had done previous ly and not originating anything. Dostoyevsky is another writer who is considerably more famous than Unamuno. They were not writing about the same things but they both used the philosophical novel s, though, were quite different novels were. Mist was really the only memorable novel and that is only because it had But just because Unamuno was not as good philosophically as Kierkegaard or as good of a writer as Dostoyevsky does not mean he should be marginalized. Unamuno had several interesting ideas that deserve recognition: the distinctions between God and the God idea, between the man of flesh and bone and the abstract man and, most im portantly, how the immortality of the soul is wholly un provable, yet almost
71 exploration of these topics was not very rigorous philosophically, I do think he did an exc ellent job capturing the spirit of these ideas and their effects for man. When confronting some of the questions that really have no answers such as the ones Unamuno was exploring there is a virtue in the exploration. In fact, that is the essence of philosophy and in attempting to find answers for some of the most complex qu estions facing mankind, then certainly there should be some room for error.
72 Works Cited Bradatan, Costica. ""God is dreaming you": Narrative as Imitatio Dei in Miguel de Unamuno." Janus Head (2004): 453 467. Cervantes, Miguel de. Don Quixote. New York: Penguin Classics, 2000. Ferrater Mora, Jos, and Dr Priscilla Cohn. "The Language of Religious Experience." International Journal for Philosophy of Religion (1970): 11. Kellenberger, James. Contemporary Perspectives on Religious Epistemology. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1992. Levi, Albery William. "The Quixotic Quest for Being." Ethics (1956): 132 136. Mora, Jose Ferrater. "On Miguel de Unamuno's Idea of Reality." Philosophy and Phenomenological Research (1961): 514 520. Muyskens, James L. "Religious Belief as Hope." International Journal for Philosophy of Religion (19 74): 246 253. Sedwick, Frank. "Unamuno and Womanhood: His Theater." Hispania (1960): 309 313. Shanley, Mary Lyndon. "Miguel de Unamuno: Death & Politics in the Work of a Twentieth Century Philosopher." Polity (1977): 257 278. Sinclair, Alison. Uncovering t he Mind: Unamuno, the Unknow and the Vicissitdes of Self. Oxford: Manchester University Press, 2001. Sobosan, Jeffrey G. "Passion and Faith: A Study of Unamuno." Religious Studies (1974): 141 152.
73 Unamuno, Miguel de. Ficciones, Four Stories and a Play. Pri nceton: Princeton University Press, 1976. Mist. Illinois: University of Illinois Press, 2000. Our Lord Don Quixote: The Life of Don Quixote and Sancho with Related Essays New York : Princeton University Press, 1967. Three Exemplary Novels New York : Grove Press, 1930. Tragic Sense of Life. New York: Barnes and Noble, 2006.