The Tragic Sense of Life

51  bar falls 29.82 4mph SSE dewpoint 28 Spring

               Waxing Gibbous Moon of  Growing

“To fall into a habit is to begin to cease to be.” – Miguel de Unamuno

Unamuno has slipped from awareness, it seems, but this Spanish existentialist, poet and author speaks truth even when it is uneasy and unpleasant.  Here’s some brief information about him:

Spanish philosopher. In Del sentimento trágico de la vida en los hombres y en los pueblos {at} (The Tragic Sense of Life) (1913) {at}, Unamuno described human existence as torn between the irrational hope for immortality and the rational expectation of death. Since faith can never outweigh reason, Unamuno supposed, the best we can achieve is a life of authentic struggle with the human predicament.

Recommended Reading: Miguel De Unamuno, Three Exemplary Novels, tr. by Angel Flores (Grove, 1987) {at}; Victor Ouimette, Reason Aflame: Unamuno and the Heroic Will (Yale, 1986) {at}; and Gemma Roberts, Unamuno: afinidades y coincidencias kierkegaardianas (Colorado, 1986) {at}.

The house party for the Power 2 Change campaign had three attendees:  Frank Broderick, Bill Sutherland, and Ann, a former school teacher.  Jessica, a Sierra Club worker, attended to explain the campaign.  She fell into a trap the young activist often does, asking too little of her audience.  She kept referring to the things that were easy:  talk to a friend, sign the petition, read the literature, volunteer at the Sierra Club for a phone bank.  George Bush made the same disastrous mistake after 9/11.  He reassured us and asked to go shopping.  That’ll show’em.

People want to sacrifice, to do the difficult thing.  Why?  Because when we sacrifice, or do something that stretches us, we become engaged.  We know in our gut; this is important.  If it’s not important or significant, don’t bother me with it.  If it is important, figure out a way I can take action.  Help me find others, then assist us in getting our handles on the levers of power.  That’s the way change happens. 

As often happens to me, as I write this, especially with Unamuno dangling just above these words, the pointed finger takes on an impossible curve and aims straight at my chest.  I know in my gut that climate change and the energy issues are important, perhaps the important issues of my generation and certainly ones in which we are culpable and therefore responsible.  So, in addition to the work I need to do on other writing projects and at the MIA, I need to pick up this challenge, too, as I agreed to do last September in Iowa.  I’ve done too little and I can do more. 

Kate’s snacks and party layout, on the other hand, were delicious and beautiful.