Wednesday, September 15, 2004

Unamuno on Nietzsche

Miguel de Unamuno and Nikolai Berdyaev were two of my favorite philosophers in undergraduate days. Here is Unamuno on another undergraduate favorite, Nietzsche:

There you have that "thief of energies, as he [Nietzsche] so obtusely called Christ who sought to wed nihilism with the struggle for existence, and he talks to you about courage. His heart craved the eternal All while his head convinced him of nothingness, and, desperate and mad to defend himself from himself, he cursed that which he most loved. Because he could not be Christ, he blasphemed against Christ. Bursting with his own self, he wished himself unending and dreamed his theory of eternal recurrence, a sorry counterfeit of immortality, and full of pity for himself, he abominated all pity. And there are some who say that his is the philosophy of strong men! No, it is not. My health and my strength urge me to perpetuate myself. His is the doctrine of those weaklings who aspire to be strong, but not of the strong who are strong. Only the feeble resign themselves to final death and substitute some other desire for the longing for personal immortality. In the strong the zeal for perpetuity overrides the doubt of realizing it, and their superabundance of life overflows upon the other side of death.

Miguel de Unamuno, Tragic Sense of Life, tr. Flitch (New York: Dover Publications, 1954), pp. 50-51.