Do not take opium, but put salt and vinegar in the soul’s wound

From Miguel de Unamuno’s The Tragic Sense of Life in Men and Nations (somewhere toward the end of the chapter The Practical Problem):

The cure for suffering–which, as we have said, is the collision of consciousness with unconsciousness–is not to be submerged in unconsciousness, but to be raised to consciousness and to suffer more. The evil of suffering is cured by more suffering, by higher suffering. Do not take opium, but put salt and vinegar in the soul’s wound, for when you sleep and no longer feel the suffering, you are not. And to be, that is imperative. Do not then close your eyes to the agonizing Sphinx, but look her in the face and let her seize you in her mouth and crunch you with her hundred thousand poisonous teeth and swallow you. And when she has swallowed you, you will know the sweetness of the taste of suffering.

And the Spanish:

“El remedio al dolor, que es, dijimos, el choque de la conciencia en la inconsciencia no es hundirse en ésta, sino elevarse a aquélla y sufrir más. Lo malo del dolor se cura con más dolor, con más alto dolor. No hay que darse opio, sino poner vinagre y sal en la herida del alma, porque cuando te duermas y no sientas ya el dolor, es que no eres. Y hay que ser. No cerréis, pues, los ojos a la Esfinge acongojadora, sino miradla cara a cara, y dejad que os coja y os masque en su boca de cien mil dientes venenosos y os trague. Veréis qué dulzura cuando os haya tragado, qué dolor más sabroso.”

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