Unamuno believes that the driving force for human existence is an idea in some sort of immortality. Of course, as he acknowledges, this is “anti-rational.” There is no real reason for us to believe it, but we do. We live our lives as if we will continue to develop as human beings, as if we will live forever. Assuming all this is true, I wonder if we may be doing ourselves a disservice by believing in something that likely does not exist according to our sense of reason. If we have the ability to change this outlook on life, by acting purely rationally, perhaps we would be better off by doing so.
Unamuno’s description of the human purpose—to make our lives unworthy of annihilation and seek an eternal sense of happiness—seems ideal, but only if it is possible to reach this sense of happiness. I do not think it is enough, as Unamuno seems to say, to believe that it is possible. The old idiom, “ignorance is bliss,” does seem to be enough to justify the human ideal. If there is no supreme happiness or immortality, then it seems wrong that it would be the basis of our lives.
Of course the alternative is not great. It means that we must actively accept the fact that the course of our lives is pointless, that there is not any real glory in acting to make annihilation an “unjust reward.” This is certainly bleak, but at least we render our lives something based in rational truth, rather than anti-rational truth, a contradiction.
All things considered, I’m not sure if it would ever be possible to change what Unamuno calls the “anti-rational truth of our heart, but it still seems disconcerting to think of our lives as based upon it. Maybe there is not much for us to do but accept its problems as the center of our existence. Or maybe we should rethink our driving purpose if possible, however bleak that may be.