Eugenio Maria de Hostos: 50 Aphorisms - 50 Aforismos

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Eugenio María de Hostos 50 Aphorisms

50 Aforismos

Selection and translation with an introduction by: Selección, traducción y presentación a cargo de:

Orlando José Hernández

Eugenio MarĂ­a de Hostos 50 Aphorisms

50 Aforismos

President’s Letter In his introduction to 50 Aforismos / Aphorisms, Dr. Orlando José Hernández writes of Puerto Rican educator, philosopher, and man of letters Eugenio María de Hostos, referring to him as a humanist concerned with the issues that affected humanity, a fighter for the fate of his country and, to use one of his phrases, “a patriot of the world.” He was deeply committed to social change and to real democracy, a precursor of human rights, a believer in equal rights for everyone, an advocate for justice and dignity, and a promoter of science and progress. Hostos (1839–1903) is a crucial figure in the development of educational theory in the Americas, a radically-progressive thinker whose influence has been immense and long-lasting. Hostos’ ideas were—and remain—so powerful that, 50 years ago, a dedicated group of men and women chose to name a new institution of higher learning in the South Bronx after him. The success of that intrepid band of educators and activists is undeniable: the proof is all around us. The College’s commitment to the South Bronx and its diverse communities is unwavering; it has given us everything, and we do our utmost to give back. 50 years later, the values described above by Dr. Hernández still animate Hostos Community College. If Hostos were, courtesy of some strange magic, to appear to us today, how would he perceive the contemporary scene? I like to think he’d be heartened by many of the changes that have occurred in the 115 years since his death. Great strides have been made, in this country and abroad, toward creating the kind of just and equitable society he envisioned. I can’t help feeling, however, that he would feel nothing but outrage at the hatred, prejudice, and ignorance that seem to dominate today’s political discourse. But I also believe this: he would not—in the words of Fanny Holmes, wife of Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes—“yield to the luxury of despair.” He would survey the situation, make his assessment, take out his pen, and let the chips fall where they may. The story of Hostos—the man and the institution—is one of struggle and triumph. Long before it was popular, Hostos fought for Puerto Rico’s self-determination, women’s rights, and education for the many and not just the few. His ideas have had a global impact. The fecundity and variety of his reflections on life on this planet are admirably conveyed in Dr. Hernández’ admirable translation of the great man’s aphorisms. One of the aphorisms I find especially pertinent in this day and age is:


the earth is the shared homeland of all human beings… la tierra es la patria común del ser humano… Indeed it is—and we ignore it to our detriment. More than ever, it is incumbent on us to help realize Hostos’ vision of a world of freedom and equality for all. On the 50th anniversary of the founding of the College which bears his name, we pause to reflect on the achievements and the legacy of Eugenio María de Hostos.

David Gómez, Ed.D. President


Maestro Hostos’s Aphorisms To Lizette Colón, Thelma Ithier-Sterling, Ana López, Sonia Maldonado, Jorge Matos, Tere Martínez, Félix Ruiz, Lourdes Torres, and Rosa Velázquez, promoters of Hostosian values. To Juan Manuel Rivera, for his audacious critique of Hostos’s Peregrinación de Bayoán. To Wally Edgecombe, simultaneous admirer of Hostos and Martí. To Sarah Brennan, William Casari, Daisy Cocco de Filippis, David Gómez, Ernest Ialongo, Howard Jordan, Christine Mangino, Ángel Morales, Nelson Núñez-Rodríguez, Soldanela Rivera, Esther Rodríguez-Chardavoyne, Ian Scott, Lucinda Zoe, and all other colleagues and friends who have shown an interest in and support for my work. Think so you can get motivated, and get motivated so you can better yourself—I told myself on the timeless day of my infancy—, and since then, I am thinking, and I go on thinking. Eugenio María de Hostos, “Estimulantes,” Hombres e ideas, O.C.-39, 289 Several generations of people from the Hispanic Caribbean have gained access to Hostos’s thinking through the collections of aphorisms that have been published during the last few decades.1 Their publication has contributed to creating a wider readership for his work . Yet in English, the anthologies of texts that collect the thinking of this illustrious educator are almost non-existent. A memory comes to mind of when I started to teach at the College 40 years ago: the legendary Professor Judith Nowinski would distribute among her students and colleagues a sheet with Hostos’s thoughts translated by Dr. Raoul M. Pérez, the first chairperson of the Modern Languages Department. In the past the College has published some of my translations of aphorisms, including one that featured a dozen of them in a semester calendar that was promoted by Prof. Lizette Colón and designed by Maestro Antonio Martorell. But we always entertained the fantasy of doing a more significant bilingual collection, like this one that celebrates the College’s 50th anniversary. An aphorism is a compact form of thinking, a maxim, or brief statement containing a principle, a concept, or a witty expression. It comes from the Greek classical tradition, and was originally used as a means of definition in philosophical, scientific, or medical discourse. Hippocrates used 4

it to describe symptoms of illness; Baltazar Gracián, to express his version of wit with brevity; Friedrich Nietzsche, to critique conventions and cultural beliefs; Wallace Stevens, for poetry; Cioran, to state his despair; José Martí, to share his poignant observations. Whatever its purpose, the concision of an aphorism and its capacity to interrelate ideas, sometimes with a twist of irony, earn the interest and sympathy of readers. Maestro Hostos used aphorisms in two different ways. In the 19th century it was common to insert them in speeches, essays, and articles, as part of the text, to help crystalize ideas, make the reading more interesting, and produce a reaction in the readers. Don Eugenio, who was a journalist, orator, and political activist before and in addition to being an educator, used hundreds of aphorisms in his prose. There are few pages that do not contain some such expression. And there is where a majority of them is found, affirming a principle, making an observation about human behavior, or offering a moral judgment. Hostos also used aphorisms for self-study and to reflect on his experience and character. Throughout his adult life, he wrote a journal that he called “the probe,” which allowed him to pursue the objective of self-exploration. His entries into the journal are strikingly honest. There were moments when Hostos confronted situations that required reflection. While in Madrid, in 1866, in response to the discontentment he felt due to what he considered “an excess of fantasy” and “a lack of attention and energetic activity,” he wrote a series of maxims that he called “Stimuli.” Six years later, in Chile, in response to a spiritual crisis—deciding between the woman he loved, Carmela Lastarria, and continuing his journey around South America—he produced two other series of aphorisms: “Stimulants” and “Words.” The Hostos that emerges from these reflections is a humanist concerned with the issues that affected humanity, a fighter for the fate of his country and, to use one of his phrases, “a patriot of the world.” He was deeply committed to social change and to real democracy, a precursor of human rights, a believer in equal rights for everyone, an advocate for justice and dignity, and a promoter of science and progress. His work is compelling because he is the most inclusive thinker in 19th-century Latin America. His ethical thinking is more than ever relevant. We need to know it, evaluate it, and share it with others. —Orlando José Hernández Ideario de Hostos, edited by Carlos Carrera, Editorial Cordillera, San Juan, P.R., 1966; Para todos los días: Hostos, aforismos, edited by Julio César López, San Juan, P.R., Instituto de Cultura Puertorriqueña, 1987; Estímulos de vida para cada día (pensamientos), selection by Vivian Quiles-Calderín, introduction by Julio César López, Instituto de Cultura Puertorriqueña e Instituto de Estudios Hostosianos-UPR, 1898; Hostos sigue hablándonos (aforismos), edited by Vivian Quiles-Calderín, Instituto de Estudios Hostosianos-UPR, Comisión del Centenario Hostos 2003 de Puerto Rico, and Municipio de Mayagüez, 2003; Ideario de Eugenio María de Hostos, compilation by Élida Jiménez Victorio, Comisión Permanente de la Feria del Libro, Santo Domingo, República Dominicana, 2003.



Eugenio María de Hostos: A Brief Biography1 Patriot, educator, humanist, sociologist, jurist, philosopher, journalist, essayist, and novelist. Hostos was born in the municipality of Mayagüez, Puerto Rico, on January 11, 1839. He did his early studies in Mayagüez and later went to Spain (Bilbao) for his secondary education. Following his father’s desires, he went to Madrid to study law. Instead of his law degree, he pursued political activism, associating with liberal, anti-monarchic, abolitionist political groups and became a journalist. The young Hostos also had literary aspirations and wrote several novels, but only published La peregrinación de Bayoán (Bayoán’s Journey). From Spain he went to New York, where he spent almost a year and fought alongside the Cubans in their struggle for independence. Later, he undertook a journey throughout South America for more than three years to plead for the Cuban cause. Wherever he went, he was regarded as a man of integrity, devoted to the service of humanity. In Perú, he denounced the exploitation of the numerous Chinese laborers who had immigrated to that country, wrote about the need to improve the conditions of workers, and expounded on the key role that mestizos would play in that country’s future progress. In Chile, Hostos advocated for the right of women to obtain a scientific education. To deprive them of such—he argued—was to limit their intellectual faculties and to reduce them to incomplete human beings. He furthermore maintained that rationality made both genders equal. Hostos was a member of the Academy of Letters of Santiago de Chile and during his sojourn there, he published various writings, including a historical report on Cuba and Puerto Rico; an essay on Hamlet, by William Shakespeare, which is considered one of the best critical pieces on this play in Spanish; and a long critical study on Plácido, the martyred Black Cuban poet. In Argentina, he campaigned for the construction of the first railway route across the Andes, and the first train that crossed that mountain range bore his name: Eugenio María de Hostos. In Brazil, he denounced African slave labor and urged its abolition and replacement with free labor. Hostos’s egalitarian views make him the most inclusive writer in 19th-century Latin America. His “Platform for the Independientes,” which he wrote in 1876, in New York City, is a seminal document on human and national rights. In his diary and in various other texts, Hostos expressed revulsion at the massacres of indigenous peoples and his hope that native peoples could be treated with dignity and respect. 6

He was also an early pan-Americanist, who promoted regional integration and Latin American unity, furthering the idea of an Antillean Confederation. His journey throughout Latin America gave him a lucid perspective on both the continent’s problems and its potential, which he shared in his articles “Latin America” and “América en 1873.” From 1876 to 1878, Hostos lived in Venezuela, where he met and married María Belinda de Ayala, the daughter of an exiled Cuban family, with whom he had five children. During his stay in Venezuela, he became a school director and teacher. As a result, he gained insight into the urgent need to modernize education in the young nations and devoted his thinking to conceptualize reform. In conjunction with other intellectuals, he co-founded the Latin American Institute for Social Sciences. But he had to leave the country as he faced harassment for criticizing former dictator and strongman General Antonio Guzmán Blanco. In 1879, he established his residence in Santo Domingo, as the Dominican Republic was then known. General Gregorio Luperón invited him to work on its educational system, which was battered by decades of anarchy and warfare. During the following nine years, Hostos undertook an intense program of educational reforms and the establishment of new schools in that country. He founded the first teachers school in the capital in1880; a second one in Santiago de los Caballeros in 1881; and that same year, collaborated with poet Salomé Ureña in creating the Instituto de Señoritas, a school for young women, which would soon become the first Normal School for Women. He also founded a night school for workers and a kindergarten, and helped to create an educational movement called Normalismo, to spread the impact of these educational initiatives. His differences with dictator Ulysses Heureaux caused him to leave the country with his family in 1889. While he was in Santo Domingo, Hostos wrote La moral social (A Treatise on Social Mores) and delivered several speeches on educational reform. He believed that education should address the complete needs of human beings: emotional, physical, and intellectual. His thinking evolved towards student-centered education and the fundamental principle that teaching should be done through practices that encourage discovery, observation, deduction, and analysis. Learners should not just learn science, but how to construct science. Education would be a means to develop rational thinking, including ethical values. According to Hostos, two important educational goals were the development of individual awareness and the formation of citizens who would be able to participate in their societies to promote everyone’s wellbeing. Hostos returned to Chile in 1889, invited by President José Manuel Balmaceda, to join the educational reform underway. There he made important contributions as director of Liceo Amunátegui, an experimental secondary school in Santiago. In his book Programa de geografía e historia, he supports the integrated study of geography and history. In a different text, Geografía evolutiva (Developmental Geography), he proposes 7

the progressive, contextual study of that discipline, starting with the children’s home and their immediate surroundings, and expanding the study conceptually, as in concentric circles, to the rest of the world. When the third Cuban independence war broke out, Hostos supported it by raising funds, recruiting men, and writing a series of public letters about Cuba. The conservative Chilean government applied pressure to force him out of his position by fabricating a case of mismanagement against him. After the United States invaded and occupied Puerto Rico in 1898, Hostos returned to the island. He wanted to stir the spirit of his compatriots, so that they could demand their rights; he founded the League of Puerto Rican Patriots and headed a commission that went to Washington to seek recognition for the rights of Puerto Rico. Nevertheless, all these efforts failed in the face of the firm decision by the United States government to retain the island as a colony and due to the lack of political support from his compatriots. Hostos accepted the invitation of the Dominican government to work on its public education system and resettled there in 1900. He was appointed Inspector General of Public Education and Director of the Normal School. Soon afterwards, he wrote and promoted a comprehensive law for public education (“Ley de educación general”), which would have modernized it and significantly extended its reach, but the Dominican Congress failed to act on it. In 1901, he published Tratado de sociología (A Treatise on Sociology). Eugenio María de Hostos died in 1903, in Santo Domingo, where he is buried in the National Pantheon. The currency of Hostos’s ideas can be measured by the compelling and lasting character of some of his major concerns. His scientific outlook on education has become an essential pedagogical principle. As a naturalist, he had a keen interest in the environment and can be considered a precursor of contemporary ecological thinking. He believed in progress, but not at the expense of nature. In the essay “Decentralización administrativa” (Administrative Decentralization), he considers how to prevent the concentration of political power by sharing responsibilities, and in his study on penal law, “Sistemas penales,” he argues in favor of a regenerative approach similar to what we now call restorative justice. Hostos’s significant publications, his exemplary life, and transformative vision make him one of Latin America’s most relevant authors and inspirational minds.

This is a revised, updated, and expanded version by Dr. Orlando J. Hernández of “Biographical Data of Eugenio María de Hostos,” prepared by the Institute of Hostosian Studies, University of Puerto Rico. The original can be accessed at Hostos Community College website:



50 Aphorisms

50 Aforismos


The Americas

Las Américas

To be born in the Americas is to receive a blessing at birth. Nacer americano es recibir al nacer un beneficio. “La llegada de inmigrantes,” M.V.S., O.C-39, 241

The future of the Americas depends on racial fusion; civilization’s advancement depends on racial crossings. The mestizo is our hope for progress. América deberá su porvenir a la fusión de razas; la civilización deberá sus adelantos futuros a los cruzamientos. El mestizo es la esperanza del progreso. “El cholo,” La Sociedad, Lima, T.S., O.C.-39, 153




La amistad

Whoever suffers from lack of truth and justice is my friend. Quienquiera que padece por la verdad y la justicia, ese es mi amigo. Carta a Nicolรกs Salmerรณn, 16 de enero de 1868, C., O.C.-39, 12




El amor

… amorous passion: the most human of things human. … la pasión amorosa: la cosa más humana que hay entre los hombres. “Un drama de L. A. Baralt,” Cr., O.C.-Ed.Crit. 327

Love is instinct, passion, and virtue. As instinct, it makes us sick; as passion, it weakens us; as virtue, it strengthens us. El amor es un instinto, una pasión y una virtud. Instinto, enferma; pasión, debilita; virtud, fortalece. “Estimulantes,” H.I., O.C.-39, 294


Art and Beauty

El arte y la belleza

Art, as wild as it may be, and beauty, no matter how disproportionate, always have a good purpose, or at least, some good intention, and in that sense, they have some intrinsic moral value. El arte, aunque sea descabellado, y lo bello, aunque sea desproporcionado, tienen siempre algún buen fin, o cuando menos, alguna buena intención, y en ese sentido algo tienen de intrinsecamente moral. “La moral y la literatura—la novela,” T.M., O.C.-Edic.Crít., 378


Doing the Right Thing

El bien

… nothing is more useful to a human being than to be useful to a fellow human being because, besides the benefit that some day will be obtained for offering a service, there’s also an additional reward: the sweet satisfaction enjoyed for being benevolent. … nada es más útil a un hombre que el ser útil a otro hombre, pues además del beneficio que algún día le traerá el haber servido, se hace a sí mismo el propio bien, el verdadero bien, de darse la dulce satisfacción de ser benéfico. “Cooperación-Unión-Abnegación-Conciliación,” T.M., O.C.-Ed.Crít., 266



Las circunstancias

To fight for bread, a necessary fight; to fight for position, a stimulating fight; to fight for principle, a sublime fight. Combatir por el pan, combate necesario; combatir por el puesto, combate estimulante; combatir por el principio, combate excelso. “La reforma de la enseĂąanza,â€? F.P.A.-I, O.C.-39, 163





La civilización

Ignorance is the worst enemy of civilization, and it tends to be, in its effects and often in its impulses, as wicked as evil itself. La ignorancia es el peor enemigo de la civilización, y la ignorancia suele ser, en sus efectos y frecuentemente en sus impulsos, tan malvada como la misma maldad. “Córdoba,” M.V.S., O.C.-39, 270


Human Behavior

El comportamiento humano

Think of human beings as children, so that a smile will always illuminate your face. Considera a los hombres como niños para que siempre ilumine la sonrisa tu semblante. “Estimulantes,” H.I., O.C.-39, 291

It is of little use to know life’s way, if, as I walk, I don’t follow it. Nada importa que conozca el camino de la vida, si al caminarlo no lo observo. D. 1866-1869, O.C.-Edic.Crít., 160


Violence is almost always a shift from reason to passion, and those who are very strong in their reasoning must not recur to passion in their arguments. This is the tactic and deficiency of the enemies of reason and to imitate them is to approve of them. La violencia es casi siempre un cambio de razón por pasión, y está vedada a los que son demasiado fuertes en su razón para tener que argumentar con la pasión. Además, es la táctica y la necesidad de los enemigos de la razón, y el imitarlos es aprobarlos. “Francisco Bilbao,” H.I., O.C.-39, 99


Nations should devote their holidays, and individuals their birthdays, not so much to rejoice, but to examine themselves; not so much to express their pride, but to motivate themselves; not so much to inflate themselves with vanity, but rather to strengthen their conscience. Los pueblos deben consagrar sus grandes dĂ­as a lo que deben los individuos consagrar sus natalicios: no tanto a regocijarse, cuanto a examinarse; no tanto a enorgullecerse, cuanto a estimularse; no tanto a hincharse de vanidad, cuanto a robustecerse de conciencia. “El 16 de agosto,â€? C. A., O.C.-39, 335




Human Condition

La condición humana

Beware the stillness of the masses because the masses, like tempests, consolidate their power in silence. Temed cuando las multitudes callan, porque las multitudes, como la tempestad, completan sus fuerzas en silencio. “Una corrida de toros,” T.S., O.C.-39,157

Those who triumph over themselves are stronger than those who triumph over others. Más fuerte es el que triunfa de sí mismo que el que triunfa de los otros. Pat.-P., 1871



La conciencia

Rights and duties, which are our conscience’s inseparable sparks, do not glimmer in a conscience that does not strive. El derecho y el deber, inseparables resplandores de la conciencia, no brillan nunca en la conciencia que no lucha. “La moral social, Clasificación de relaciones,” T.M., O.C.-Ed.Crít., 220

Needs should not be debated; they should be met. Las necesidades no se discuten; se satisfacen. “Los desamparados,” T. S., O.C.-39, 169




El deber

The duty of parents is not to leave money, but example, to their children; not capital, but education; not treasures, but virtues; not short-lived distinctions, but the initiative and habit to obtain through their own merits the excellence that no turn of fortune or change of opinion can alter. El deber de los padres no es dejar dinero a sus hijos, sino ejemplo; no capital, sino educación; no tesoros, sino virtudes; no superioridades momentáneas, sino iniciativa y costumbre de tomarla para conquistar con méritos propios la superioridad que ningún trance de fortuna o de opinión puede alterar. “La educación de la mujer,” F.P.A.-I, O.C.-39, 78



La democracia

For democracy to exist, it is necessary that the people not be an accidental aggregate, but a willful, conscientious, and intelligent association, brought together by the cohesion of great interests of human societies that have been educated for work, given a moral discernment through instruction, civilized by the public and private habits that create the ongoing advancement of reason… Para que exista una democracia, es necesario que el pueblo no sea un agregado casual de hombres, sino una asociación voluntaria, consciente, inteligente, adherida por la fuerza de cohesión de los grandes intereses de toda sociedad educada en el trabajo, moralizada por la instrucción, civilizada por las costumbres públicas y privadas que crean el sucesivo progreso de la razón… Pat.-P., 1871



Los derechos

Whatever their color or nationality, human beings are the same rational beings everywhere. Therefore, everywhere they are owed the respect that comes with the morality, dignity, and activity of their nature. Therefore, everywhere they have natural rights, and everywhere they are owed the recognition of such rights. Cualquiera sea su color, cualquiera su nacionalidad, en cualquier parte es el mismo ser racional el ser humano. Por lo tanto, en todas partes se le debe la consideraciĂłn que llevan consigo la moralidad, la dignidad y la actividad de su naturaleza. Por lo tanto, en todas partes es un ser de derecho natural, y en todas se le debe el reconocimiento de sus derechos naturales. “El Programa de los Independientes,â€? D.-II, O.C.-39, 242


Your first right is to enjoy the harmony between your being and all that exists. Tu primer derecho es el de gozar de la armonía de tu ser con todo lo que existe. “Estímulos,” D.-I, O.C.-Edic.Crít.,144

… rights, like weapons, get rusty from lack of use. … por falta de uso, el derecho, como las armas, se enmohece. “En la exposición,” Cr., O.C.-Edic.Crít., 389




La educación

Education should start and end with the physical, moral, and intellectual development of human beings. La educación debe comenzar y concluir por y en el desarrollo físico, moral e intelectual del ser humano. “Carta-contestación al señor Luis Rodríguez Velasco,” F.P.A.-I, O.C.-39, 41

… schools have as a moral imperative the cultivation of conscience. … la escuela tiene por objeto moral la preparación de conciencias. “La moral y la escuela,” T.M., O.C.-39, 339


If anything in this world is in need of radical revolution, it is the educational system. It is elitist, as it is only accessible to part of society; it is incomplete, as it is based on the particular development of certain faculties, or the training of specialists for specific individual goals. In both cases, it is faulty; in both cases, harmful to freedom and civilization; in both cases, contrary to human nature. Si algo necesita una revolución radical en este mundo, es el sistema de educación. Privilegiada, cuando solo es accesible a una parte de la sociedad; incompleta, cuando toma por base el desarrollo peculiar de algunas facultades o la formación de especialistas para determinados fines de la vida individual, en ambos casos es viciosa, en ambos perniciosa para la libertad y la civilización, en ambos contraria a la naturaleza humana. “El problema cubano,” T.C., O.C.-39, 222


It is not enough to impart knowledge; you must teach how to acquire it; it is not enough to teach constructed science; you must teach how to construct it; it is not enough to submit yourself and your teaching to a method; you must teach how to use it. In a word, it is not enough to teach knowledge; you must teach how to reason. No basta enseñar conocimientos, hay que enseñar a adquirirlos; no basta dar ciencia hecha; es necesario enseñar a formarla; no basta sujetarse y sujetar a la enseñanza en un método; es necesario enseñar a manejarlo. En una palabra, no basta enseñar a conocer; hay necesidad de enseñar a razonar. “Crítica a la crítica,” F.P.A.-II, O.C.-39, 52



La guerra

… war—to whose brutality the world is indifferent, seeing only the drama that excites a sickening curiosity—is a collection of inept, impotent, wretched, irrational, harsh, violent, arbitrary, vulgar, infamous, cruel, and monstrous actions that would be abhorred by a more conscientious history than has so far been told of the life of human beings on this planet. … la guerra, a cuyas brutalidades es indiferente el mundo, porque solo ve en ella la acción dramática que excita su enfermiza curiosidad; la guerra es un conjunto de ineptitudes, impotencias, maldades, irracionalidades, durezas, violencias, arbitrariedades, groserías, infamias, crueldades y monstruosidades que enseñaría a abominar una historia más concienzuda que la hecha hasta ahora de la vida de la Humanidad en el planeta. “Lo ideal y lo real,” M.N.-Am.Il., N.Y., 1875




La historia

History is almost always written by those who are eager to please, almost never by those who are impartial… La historia se escribe casi siempre por complacientes, casi nunca por imparciales… “Deber de filantropía: Bartolomé de las Casas,” T.M., O.C.-39, 497

The two most powerful beings from History are Socrates and Jesus: they, more than anyone, turned their words into actions. Los dos seres más poderosos de la Historia han sido Sócrates y Jesús, porque han sido los dos que más han realizado lo que hablaban. “Palabras,” H.I., O.C.-39, 297



La humanidad

True human beings are those individuals that, while progressing in life, in thinking, in will, and feeling, preserve their infancy in old age, their candor despite experience, their purity amidst worldly knowledge, their faith even when confronting the most intense of desperations—a conscience in everything and in spite of everything. El hombre verdadero es aquel que, progresando en vida, en pensamiento, en voluntad, en sentimiento, conserva su infancia en su vejez; su candor, en su experiencia; su pureza, en su conocimiento de los hombres; su fe, en sus desesperaciones mas activas; su conciencia, en todo y a pesar de todo. Pat.-P., 1871


… you cannot be human if you fail to abominate the monsters that dishonor our species. … es imposible ser hombre y no abominar de los monstruos que deshonran la especie humana. “La última hecatombe,” T.C., O.C.-39, 261

The complete human being is a building whose construction never ends. El hombre completo es un edificio que no se acaba nunca. D. 1866-1869, O.C.-Ed.Crít., 202





Las ideas

Punish diligently actions that involve a violation; but good or bad, respect ideas. If they are good, put them into practice; if they are bad, you can still fight them with the power of reason, and the force of logic. Castíguense los hechos en hora buena cuando impliquen una violación; pero respetemos las ideas, buenas o malas. Si son buenas, pongámoslas en práctica; si son malas, nos queda el recurso de combatirlas con el poder de la razón, con la fuerza de la lógica. Pat.-P., 1871



La justicia

Time passes, and with it, human beings, but in the end, justice always prevails. What does it matter that those who may die for justice’s sake will not see it? The goal is not to enjoy that radiant day, but to contribute to its coming. Los momentos pasan; pasan con ellos los hombres; pero siempre llega el día de la victoria para la justicia. Que no lo vea el que por ella ha de sucumbir, ¿eso qué importa? El fin no es gozar de ese día radiante; el fin es contribuir a que llegue el día. “Plácido,” Cr.-O.C.-Ed.Crít.,178

If you want to know what is justice, allow yourself to become a victim of injustice. Si quieres saber lo que es justicia, déjate perseguir por la injusticia. “Estimulantes,” H.I.-O.C.-39, 290





La libertad

Reason is the inseparable companion of freedom, and it does not allow tricks against it. La razón es compañera inseparable de la libertad, y la libertad no consiente que se burle su única inseparable compañera. M.N.-Am.Il., N.Y., 1875



La muerte

There’s no such thing as death: the body is made of matter, and matter does not die, but is transformed; the spirit is what it is, and as such, it evolves, but does not perish. No hay muerte; el cuerpo es materia y la materia no muere, se transforma; el espíritu es lo que es, y lo que es se modifica, pero no perece. “Palabras,” H.I.-O.C.-39, 297





La mujer

Reason has no gender; it is the same faculty, with the same operations and functions in both men and women. Therefore, if men can reach the knowledge of truth by exercising their reason, so can women. Therefore, if men are capable of being educated scientifically, so are women. Therefore, if it matters to men, it matters to women. La razón no tiene sexo y es la misma facultad con sus mismas operaciones y funciones en el hombre y en la mujer. Por tanto, si el hombre puede llegar por el ejercicio de la razón al conocimiento de la verdad, la mujer puede también. Por tanto, si el hombre es capaz de educación científica, lo es también la mujer. Por tanto, si importa para el hombre, importa para la mujer. “La educación científica de la mujer,” F,P.A.-I, O.C.-39, 28 52

Mother, lover, wife: all women are an influence. Equip that influence with scientific knowledge, and imagine the kind of existence, happiness, and indescribable harmony that men would enjoy on this planet, if the giver, the beautifier, the companion of our lives would be: as mother, our scientific guide; as our beloved, the lover who reflects on our ideas and our virtuous undertakings; as wife, the companion of our bodies, our reasoning, our feelings, our will, and our conscience. Men would be complete. At this time, they are not. Madre, amante, esposa, toda mujer es una influencia. Armad de conocimientos científicos esa influencia, y soñad la existencia, la felicidad y la armonía inefable de que gozaría el hombre en el planeta, si la dadora, la embellecedora, la compañera de vida fuera, como madre, nuestro guía científico; como amada, la amante 53

reflexiva de nuestras ideas y nuestros designios virtuosos; como esposa, la compañera de nuestro cuerpo, de nuestra razón, de nuestro sentimiento, de nuestra voluntad y nuestra conciencia. Sería hombre completo. Hoy no lo es. “La educación científica de la mujer,” F.P.A.-I, O.C.-39, 15-16



La música

Music gives voice to feelings; it is the language of inexpressible sensibility, words that speak the ineffable; it can be a shout, a clamor, an exclamation, a complaint, a sigh inspired by all feelings. La música es voz del sentimiento, lenguaje de la sensibilidad inexpresable, palabra de lo inefable, grito, clamor; exclamación, queja, suspiro de todos los afectos. “Teresita Carreño,” Cr., O.C.-39, 33



La naturaleza

… it is not enough to preserve what we know of the natural forces that are in constant activity; we need to contribute expressly to the harmony of those forces, by refraining from imposing any obstacles; it is well known that when we oppose a natural law, we’re the ones that will be hurt… … no basta conservar lo que conocemos de las fuerzas naturales que están en constante actividad; se necesita contribuir expresamente a la armonía de esas fuerzas, no oponiéndoles voluntariamente ningún obstáculo; bien se sabe que cuando nos oponemos a una ley natural, el daño es para nosotros… “Moral natural. Relaciones del hombre con la naturaleza física,” T.M., O.C.-Edic.Crít., 146



El patriotismo

We love our country because it is our starting point. Life is a journey; reason would not know how to find its starting point if it weren’t for our homeland, whose attractive image we see everywhere we go. Amamos la patria porque es un punto de partida. La vida es un viaje. La razón no sabría encontrar el punto de partida si no fuera por el terruño cuya imagen atrayente vemos por todas partes. D. 1866-1869, O.C.-Ed.Crít., 219

… the earth is the shared homeland of all human beings… … la tierra es la patria común del ser humano… “Deber de cosmopolitismo,” T.M., O.C.-Edic.Crít., 535



El progreso

Progress without freedom, a contradiction. Progreso sin libertad, contrasentido. Deber de cooperación. Laureano Vega,” T.M.,-Edic.Crít., 395



La verdad

… for humans, to live is to satisfy their need to discover truths. … el vivir del hombre es satisfacer su necesidad de descubrir verdades. “La verdad,” F.P.A.-I, O.C.-39, 158

Truth is the root of goodness. La raíz del bien es la verdad. “Carta-contestación al Señor Luis Rodríguez Velasco,” F.P.A., O.C.-1939, 63

Never be afraid of truth: if you see it, proclaim it; if others see it for you, respect it. Nunca tengáis miedo a la verdad: si la veis, declaradla; si otro la ve por vosotros, acatadla. “La verdad,” F.P.A.-I, O.C.-39, 157 59


La vida

Better to live fighting than to live dying. Mas vale vivir luchando, que vivir muriendo. D.-I, O.C.-39, 308


The Will

La voluntad

The best way of doing things is doing them. El mejor modo de hacer la cosas es hacerlas. “Lo que es la Liga de Patriotas,” P.R.M.I-Ed.Crít. (Segunda parte), 34

If you want to be a complete human being, put all the energies of your soul into all of your life’s actions. Si quieres ser un hombre completo, pon todas las fuerzas de tu alma en todos los actos de la vida. D.-I, O.C.-39, 226


Abbreviations for References

Siglas de las fuentes usadas

C.A. • La cuna de América, Obras completas, 1939, Vol. X. Cr. • Crítica, Obras completas, Edición Crítica, Vol. I, Literatura, Tomo III. D.-I • Diario I, Obras completas, 1939, Vol. I. D.-II • Diario II, Obras completas, 1939, Vol. II. D. 1866-1869 • Diario 1866-1869, Obras completas, Edición crítica, Vol. II, Tomo I. E. • Epistolario, Obras completas-Edición Crítica, Vol. III, Tomo I. Esp.Am. • España y América. Obras completas, 1954, Vol,. XXI. FPA.-I • Forjando el porvenir americano I, Obras completas, 1939, Vol. XII. FPA.-II • Forjando el porvenir americano II, Obras completas, 1939, Vol. XIII. H.I. • Hombres e ideas, Obras completas, 1939, Vol. XIV. H.S.D. • Hostos en Santo Domingo, Ed. Emilio Rodríguez Demorizi, Vol. I. y II. Sociedad Dominicana de Bibliófilos, 2004. H.V. • Hostos en Venezuela, Ed. José Ramos. La Casa de Bello, Caracas, Venezuela, 1989. M.N.-AmIl. • Mundo Nuevo-América Ilustrada, Nueva York, 1875. M.V.S. • Mi viaje al sur, Obras Completas, 1939, Vol. VI. O.C.-39 • Obras completas, Cultural, S.A., la Habana, Cuba, 1939. O.C-Ed..Crít. • Obras completas, Edición crítica, Instituto de Estudios Hostosianos, Universidad de Puerto Rico. P.B. • La peregrinación de Bayoán, Obras completas, Edición crítica, Vol. 1, Literatura, Tomo I. Pat.P. • La Patria, Lima, Perú, 1871. 62

Pat.Val. • La Patria, Valparaíso, Chile, 1872. P.I. • Páginas íntimas, Obras completas, 1939, Vol. III. P.R.M.I. • Puerto Rico Madre Isla, Obras completas.-Edición Crítica, Vol. V, América, Tomo II (Primera y Segunda parte). T.C. • Temas cubanos, Obras completas., 1939, Vol. IX. T.M. • Tratado de moral, Obras completas, Edición crítica, Vol. IX, Tomo I. T.S. • Temas sudamericanos, Obras completas, 1939, Vol. VII. Trat.Soc. • Tratado de sociología, Obras completas, 1939, Vol. XVII.

Photographs Imágenes de Hostos: a través del tiempo, Museo de la Universidad de Puerto Rico, 1988. Page 9 Eugenio María de Hostos, se atribuye a su adolescencia cuando era estudiante en Madrid, España; p. 11 Periódico fundado por Eugenio María de Hostos y Libreta manuscrita con el contenido de esta obra; p. 13 Los Comisionados de Cuba, Filipinas y Puerto Rico en Washington a raíz de la guerra Hispano-Americana; p. 18 Última residencia de Hostos en República Dominicana; p. 24 [unattributed]; p. 25 Tumba provisional en República Dominicana; p. 28 [unattributed]; p. 33 Navaja de afeitar que pertenició a Hostos; p. 38 “Eugenio María de Hostos” por Lorenzo Homar (ca. 1964); p. 42 Los Comisionados puertorriqueños en Washington, en 1898; p. 43 Traslado de los restos de Hostos a su mausoleo propio en Santo Domingo, República Dominicana; p. 50 “Eugenio María de Hostos” por Raúl Zayas (1987); p. 51 Doña Belinda de Ayala, esposa de Eugenio María de Hostos, y Hostos a los cuarentiséis años; p. 54 Himno Borincano, compuesto por Eugenio María de Hostos, 1875.


Credits A work by Eugenio María de Hostos translated by Orlando José Hernández Concept by Ana Martínez Orizondo, Vice President, Institutional Advancement & Communications, Division of Institutional Advancement Book production coordinated by Soldanela Rivera López, Acting Director of Presidential Strategic Initiatives Copy editing: Dolly Martínez, Deputy to the President and Assistant Vice President of College Affairs; and Joseph Goodrich, Writer Archives: William Casari, Associate Professor and College Archivist Design: Emily Tenzer Santoro, Communications and Publications Designer Printing: Imlay International Dr. Orlando José Hernández is recently retired faculty from the Humanities Department at Hostos Community College, after teaching modern languages and Latin American and Caribbean studies at our College for the last 40 years. Dr. Hernández is a writer, translator, and critic who has written about and translated contemporary English- and Spanish-language authors, including Elizabeth Bishop’s Antología poética; Graciany Miranda Archilla’s Hungry Dust / Polvo hambriento; and Eugenio María de Hostos’s short story En barco de papel / In a Paper Boat (with Elizabeth Macklin). One of his contributions to scholarship has been to promote and study the works of our College’s namesake. He designed two courses about Hostos and co-coordinated the commemorations Hostos and Martí 2003, and Hostos’s 175th Anniversary Celebration, in 2014. He also co-directed a National Endowment for the Humanities summer seminar on Hostos and Martí in 2005. Dr. Hernández is currently working on two books: a critical anthology of Hostos’s writings translated into English, and a book on Hostos’s return to Puerto Rico in 1898.

About the Cover This work of art was originally painted at Hostos Community College in the South Bronx by the great artist and muralist, the late Rafael Rivera García, in commemoration of the 150th Anniversary of the birth of Eugenio María de Hostos. Hostos alumna Alice Curiel Baldonado recreated the mural to celebrate the 50th Anniversary of Hostos Community College, and part of it is reproduced here. 64

About Hostos Community College Hostos Community College is an educational agent for change, transforming and improving the quality of life in the South Bronx and neighboring communities since 1968. Hostos serves as a gateway to intellectual growth and socioeconomic mobility, and provides a point of departure for transfer to advanced higher education programs, success in professional careers, and lifelong learning. The College’s innovative “Student Success Coach” program, which pairs each student with a mentor who guides the path to graduation, is emblematic of Hostos’s dedication to student support and services. Hostos offers 27 associate degree programs and 2 certificate programs that facilitate easy transfer to The City University of New York (CUNY ) four-year colleges or baccalaureate studies at other institutions. The College has an award-winning Division of Continuing Education & Workforce Development that offers professional development courses and certificate-granting workforce training programs. The Hostos Center for the Arts & Culture (HCAC) is one of the pre-eminent Latino arts centers of the Northeast, and has distinguished itself for showcasing traditional art forms as well as emerging and internationally renowned artists. Hostos Community College is part of CUNY, the nations’s leading urban public university, serving more than 480,000 students at 24 colleges.

Eugenio MarĂ­a de Hostos Community College 500 Grand Concourse Bronx, New York 10451

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