All of this that is happening to me, and happening to others about me, is it reality or is it fiction? May not all of it perhaps be a dream of God, or of whomever it may be, which will vanish as soon as He wakes? And therefore when we pray to Him, and cause canticles and hymns to rise to Him, is it not that we may lull Him to sleep, rocking the cradle of His dreams? Is not the whole liturgy, of all religions, only a way perhaps of soothing God in His dreams, so that He shall not wake and cease to dream us? .
Whenever a man talks he lies, and so far as he talks to himself — that is to say, so far as he thinks, knowing that he thinks — he lies to himself. The only truth in human life is that which is physiological. Speech — this thing that they call a social product — was made for lying. .
There is no tyranny in the world more hateful than that of ideas. Ideas bring ideophobia, and the consequence is that people begin to persecute their neighbors in the name of ideas. I loathe and detest all labels, and the only label that I could now tolerate would be that of ideoclast or idea breaker. .
It appears to me to be indisputable that he who I am to-day derives, by a continuous series of states of consciousness, from him who was in my body twenty years ago. Memory is the basis of individual personality, just as tradition is the basis of the collective personality of a people. We live in memory, and our spiritual life is at bottom simply the effort of our memory to persist, to transform itself into hope, the effort of our past to transform itself into our future. .
It has often been said that every man who has suffered misfortunes prefers to be himself, even with his misfortunes, rather than to be someone else without them. For unfortunate men, when they preserve their normality in their misfortune — that is to say, when they endeavor to persist in their own being — prefer misfortune to non-existence. For myself I can say that when a as a youth, and even as a child, I remained unmoved when shown the most moving pictures of hell, for even then nothing appeared to me quite so horrible as nothingness itself. It was a furious hunger of being that possessed me, an appetite for divinity, as one of our ascetics [San Juan de los Angeles] has put it. .
Everything in me that conspires to break the unity and continuity of my life conspires to destroy me and consequently to destroy itself. Every individual in a people who conspires to break the spiritual unity and continuity of that people tends to destroy it and to destroy himself as a part of that people. .
Yes, yes, I see it all! — an enormous social activity, a mighty civilization, a profuseness of science, of art, of industry, of morality, and afterwords, when we have filled the world with industrial marvels, with great factories, with roads, museums and libraries, we shall fall exhausted at the foot of it all, and it will subsist — for whom? Was man made for science or was science made for man? .
There are, in fact, people who appear to think only with the brain, or with whatever may be the specific thinking organ; while others think with all the body and all the soul, with the blood, with the marrow of the bones, with the heart, with the lungs, with the belly, with the life. And the people who think only with the brain develop into definition-mongers; they become the professionals of thought. .
If a philosopher is not a man, he is anything but a philosopher; he is above all a , and a pedant is a caricature of a man. The cultivation of any branch of science — of chemistry, of physics, of geometry, of— may be a work of differentiated specialization, and even so, only within very narrow limits and restrictions; but philosophy, like poetry, is a work of integration and synthesis, or else it is merely pseudo-philosophical erudition. .
Little can be hoped for from a ruler... who has not at some time or other been preoccupied, even if only confusedly, with the first beginning and ultimate end of all things, and above all of man, with the "why" of his origin and the "wherefore" of his destiny. .
Man is said to be a reasoning animal. I do not know why he has not been defined as an affective or feeling animal. Perhaps that which differentiates him from other animals is feeling rather than reason. More often I have seen a cat reason than laugh or weep. Perhaps it weeps or laughs inwardly — but then perhaps, also inwardly, the crab resolves equations of the second degree. .
made famous his aphorism that all the rational is real and all the real rational; but there are many of us who, unconvinced by Hegel, continue to believe that the real, the really real, is irrational, that reason builds upon irrationalities. Hegel, a great framer of definitions, attempted with definitions to reconstruct the universe, like that artillery sergeant who said that cannon were made by taking a hole and enclosing it with steel. .
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. .
Knowledge is employed in the service of the necessity of life and primarily in the service of the instinct of personal preservation. The necessity and this instinct have created in man the organs of knowledge and given them such capacity as they possess. Man sees, hears, touches, tastes and smells that which it is necessary for him to see, hear, touch, taste and smell in order to preserve his life. The decay or loss of any of these senses increases the risks with which his life is environed, and if it increases them less in the state of society in which we are actually living, the reason is that some see, hear, touch, taste and smell for others. A blind man, by himself and without a guide, could not live long. Society is an additional sense; it is the true common sense. .
Yes perhaps, as the Sage says, "nothing worthy of proving can be proven, nor yet disproven"; but can we restrain that instinct which urges man to wish to know, and above all to wish to know the things which conduce to life, to eternal life? Eternal life, not eternal knowledge as the Alexandriansaid. For living is one thing and knowing is another; and... perhaps there is 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 of the tragic sense of life. .
And he arrives at the cogito ergo sum, whichhad already anticipated... "I think therefore I am," can only mean "I think, therefore I am a thinker"; this being of "I am," which is deduced from "I think," is merely a knowing; this being is a knowledge, but not life. And the primary reality is not that I think, but that I live, for those also live who do not think. Although this living may not be a real living. God! what contradictions when we seek to join in wedlock life and reason! .
The truth is sum, ergo cogito — I am, therefore I think, although not everything that is thinks. Is not consciousness of thinking above all consciousness of being? Is pure thought possible, without consciousness of self, without personality? Can there exist pure knowledge without feeling, without that species of materiality which feelings lends to it? Do we not perhaps feel thought, and do we not feel ourselves in the act of knowing and willing? Could not the man in the stove [Descartes] have said: "I feel, therefore I am"? or "I will, therefore I am"? And to feel oneself, is it not perhaps to feel oneself imperishable? .
What thecalled the essence of a thing, the effort that it makes to persist indefinitely in its own being, self-love, the longing for immortality, is it not perhaps the primal and fundamental condition of all reflective or human knowledge? And is it not therefore the true base, the real starting-point, of all philosophy, although the philosophers, perverted by intellectualism, do not recognize it? .
Underlying even the so-called problem of knowledge there is simply this human feeling, just as underlying the inquiry into the "why," the cause, there is simply the search for the "wherefore," the end. All the rest is either to deceive oneself or to wish to deceive others; and to wish to deceive others in order to deceive oneself. .
The vanity of the passing world and love are the two fundamental and heart-penetrating notes of true poetry. And they are two notes of which neither can be sounded without causing the other to vibrate. The feeling of the vanity of the passing world kindles love in us, the only thing that triumphs over the vain and transitory, the only thing that fills life again and eternalizes it. .
When I contemplate the green serenity of the fields or look into the depths of clear eyes through which shines a fellow-soul, my consciousness dilates, I feel the diastole of the soul and am bathed in the flood of the life that flows about me, and I believe in my future; but instantly the voice of mystery whispers to me, "Thou shalt cease to be!" the angel of Death touches me with his wing, and the systole of the soul floods the depth of my spirit with the blood of divinity. .
It has been said a thousand times and in a thousand books that ancestor-worship is for the most part the source of primitive religions, and it may be strictly said that what most distinguishes man from the other animals is that, in one form or another, he guards his dead and does not give them over to the neglect of teeming mother earth; he is an animal that guards its dead. .
The wretched consciousness shrinks from it own annihilation, and just as an animal spirit newly severed from the womb of the world, finds itself confronted with the world and knows itself distinct from it, so consciousness must needs desire to possess another life than that of the world itself. .
Egoism you say? There is nothing more universal than the individual, for what is the property of each is the property of all. Each man is worth more than the whole of humanity, nor will it do to sacrifice each to all save in so far as all sacrifice themselves to each. That which we call egoism is the principle of psychic gravity, the necessary postulate. "Love thy neighbor as thyself," we are told, the presupposition being that each man loves himself; and it is not said "Love thyself." And nevertheless, we do not know how to love ourselves. .
I am dreaming ...? Let me dream, if this dream is my life. Do not awaken me from it. I believe in the immortal origin of this yearning for immortality, which is the very substance of my soul. But do I really believe in it ...? And 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, the end of the end, the principle of the principle. .
Once the needs of hunger are satisfied — and they are soon satisfied — the vanity, the necessity — for it is a necessity — arises of imposing ourselves upon and surviving in others. Man habitually sacrifices his life to his purse, but he sacrifices his purse to his vanity. He boasts even of his weakness and his misfortunes, for want of anything better to boast of, and is like a child who, in order to attract attention, struts about with a bandaged finger. .
The vain man is in like cause with the avaricious — he takes the mean for the end; forgetting the end he pursues the means for its own sake and goes no further. The seeming to be something, conducive to being it, ends by forming our objective. We need that others should believe in our superiority to them in order that we may believe in it ourselves, and upon their belief base our faith in our own persistence, or at least in the persistence of our fame. We are more grateful to him that congratulates us on the skill with which we defend a cause than we are to him who recognizes the truth or goodness of the cause itself. A rabid mania for originality is rife in the modern intellectual world and characterizes all individual effort. We would rather err with genius than hit the mark with the crowd. .
has said in his Emile (book iv.): "Even though philosophers should be in a position to discover the truth, which of them would take any interest in it? Each one knows well that his system is not better founded than the others, but he supports it because it is his. ...The essential thing is to think differently from others. With believers he is an atheist; with atheists he is a believer." How much substantial truth there is in these gloomy confessions of this man of painful sincerity. .
For what is specific in the Catholic religion is immortalization and not justification, in the Protestant sense. Rather is this latter ethical. It is from , in spite of what orthodox Protestants may think of him, that Protestantism derived its penultimate conclusions — namely, that religion rests upon morality, and not morality upon religion, as in Catholicism. .
And yet Catholicism does not abandon ethics. No! No modern religion can leave ethics on one side. But our religion — although its doctors may protest against this — is fundamentally and for the most part a compromise between eschatology and ethics; it is eschatology pressed into the service of ethics. What else but this is that atrocity of the eternal pains of hell, which agrees so ill with the Pauline ? Let us bear in mind these words which the Theologica Germanica, the manual of mysticism thatread, puts into the mouth of God: "If I must recompense your evil, I must recompense it with good, for I am and have no other." Andsaid: "Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do," and there is no man who perhaps knows what he does. .
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