Saturday, August 17, 2013

Unamuno on Love

from 'Tragic Sense of Life', by Miguel de Unamuno....Chapter 7, Love, Suffering, Pity and Personality.




The most tragic thing in the world and in life, readers and brothers of mine,  is love. Love is the child of illusion and the parent of disillusion; love is consolation in desolation; it is the sole medicine against death, for it is death's brother...

Love seeks with fury, through the medium of the beloved, something beyond, and since it finds it not, it despairs....

For, in its essence, love is neither idea nor volition; rather it is desire, feeling; it is something carnal in spirit itself. Thanks to love, we feel all that spirit has of flesh in it....

Lovers never attain to a love of self-abandonment, of true fusion of soul and not merely of body, until the heavy pestle of sorrow has bruised their hearts and crushed them in the same mortar of suffering....

It is then that they know one another and feel one another, and feel with one another in their common anguish, they pity one another and love one another. For to love is to pity; and if bodies are united by pleasure, souls are united by pain....

The more barriers Destiny and the world and its law interpose between the lovers, the stronger is the impulse urging them towards one another, an dtheir happiness in loving one another turns to bitterness, an dtheir unhappiness in not being able to love freely and openly grows heavier, and they pity one another from the bottom of their hearts; and this common pity, which is their common misery an dtheir common happiness, gives fire and fuel to their love.

Man yearns to be loved, or, what is the same thing, to be pitied...

Woman's love, above all, as I have remarked, is always compassionate in its essence - maternal. Woman yields herself to the lover because she feels that his desire makes him suffer...

Pity then is the essence of human spiritual love, of love that is conscious of being love, of the love that is not purely animal, of the love, in a word, of a rational person. Love pities, and pities most when it loves most...


Spiritual self-love, the pity that one feels for oneself may be perhaps be called egotism; but nothing could be more oposed to ordinary egotism. For this love or pity for yourself, this intense despair, bred of the consciousness that just as before you were born you were not, so after your death you will cease to be, will lead you to pity - that is, to love - all your fellows and brothers in this world of appearance, these unhappy shadows who pass from nothingness to nothingness, these sparks of consciousness which shine for a moment in the infinite and eternal darkness...

And if it is grievous to be doomed one day to cease to be, perhaps it would be more grievous still to go on being always oneself, and no more than oneself, without being able to be at the same time other, without being able at the same time to be everything else, without being able to be all....

For everything that it loves, everything that it pities, love personalises. we only pity - that is to say, we only love - that which is like ourselves, and the more like it is, the more we love; and thus our pity for things, and with it our love, grows in proportion as we discover in them the likeness which they have with ourselves....

For all consciousness is consciousness of death and suffering....

And when love is so great and so vital. so strong and overflowing, that it loves everything, then it personalises everything and discovers that the total All, that the Universe, is also a Person possessing a Consciousness, a Consciousness which in its turn suffers, pities and loves, and therefore is consciousness. And this Consciousness of the Universe, which love, personalising all 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 loved by Him, sheltering its misery in the bosom of the eternal and infinite misery, which, in eternalising itself, is the supreme happiness itself.

God is, then the personalisation of the All; He is the eternal and infinite Consciousness of the Universe - Consciousness taken captive by matter and struggling to free himself from it. We personalise All in order to save ourselves from Nothingness; and the only mystery really mysterious is the mystery of suffering.








to be continued

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