I am honored with an extraordinary award —which I consider excessive— I would like to go over the parallelism that exists between the brilliant figures of Hostos and Giner de los Ríos. Thanks to the Puerto Rican Endowment for the Humanities, I aspire and look forward to the spread of ideology, of the vision of man and the concept of life that were bequeathed by those two apostles of Latin American, West Indian, Hispanic, and universal culture.
Hostos and Giner: These are two sculptors of souls, two sculptors of conscience, guided by a single constellation of ideas of truth, good, liberty, and justice. Distinguished figures of civility and culture, teachers in the Socratic tradition, they included with the example of their clear and heroic lives, with warm and live voices, with what Giner called the holy sacrament of words, and with their prose, their written message. When our countries and young people want to reaffirm their rights, when they want to find paradigms, examples of moral integrity, when they seek apostles to take refuge in and in whose shade to grow in the order of civility, dignity, and liberty, they find in the wise Eugenio María de Hostos and in the secular saint, the live gospel of Francisco Giner de los Ríos, twin souls of teachers and patriots.
The same ethical and human values and the same clear wisdom guided their lives. Giner and Hostos, —Hispanic teacher and Latin American thinker born in Puerto Rico— had the same concepts of science and conscience, liberty and law, duties and justice. Life is to both of them, using one of Hostos' phrases, the fulfillment of a duty, and teaching, an almighty mission.
Critics who have piercing looks have seen the affinity between these two noble figures, among others: José Gaos, Carlos Arturo Torres, and Alberto Zum Felde. In addition, Juan José Arrom emphasizes how "in a rigorous chronology of Giner de los Ríos (who) lived from 1839 to 1915 there was in America a parallel in age and profession: philosopher and educator Hostos, who lived 1839-1903".
And my unforgettable professor, Antonio S. Pedreira, says:
Hostos was educated in Spain and was a disciple of Julián Sanz del Río and peer of Salmerón, Azcárate, and Francisco Giner de los Ríos. Whoever knows the educational reform that was implemented in Spain by the latter, teacher of teachers, will better understand the one that with less luck Hostos began in Santo Domingo at the same time when the Free Institute of Education opened its doors. Giner and Hostos have an identical educational ideal and even the moral strength with which they preached it is alike.
Pedro Henríquez Ureña met him in his Caribbean country and describes the wise Puerto Rican as stoic, severe, pure, and ardent and believes that his work is, intellectually and ethically considered like Bello's in Chile, Sarmiento's in Argentina, and Giner's in Spain.
Our humanist and thinker Domingo Marrero Navarro on pages about Ortega y Gasset, presents this problem we find in Spain's history of ideas. Marrero states:
Giner, ... is philosophically mentioned in a third-order German school: Krausism. Why, precisely when the great German idealist systems blossom... do men such as Sanz del Río, Giner, and Hostos joyfully accept the Krausist doctrines?
To be answered by affirming that Hispanic intellect takes in Spanish Krausism because it says: "it is eager for ethical and religious certainty... (and) it gives fervent welcome without going into considerations more or less snobbish over the hierarchy of European philosophical systems... Krausism was assigned in the philosophical criteria of the times". Marrero Navarro praises Hostos and Giner.
José Martí sees in Hostos' thought and style, evident footprints of the Krausist ideal and language. To Martí, our Hostos is imaginative but "calms the ardent fires of his islander fantasy in the study of the deepest principles".
I do not believe that Hostos' thought can be classified with great ease or that his life —a real moral ethopeia— could be categorized as the first philosophical or esthetic ism.
For me, Hostos is a thinker that coming from his Puerto Rican and Latin America roots and circumstances, receives the great incentive from Spanish Krausism —Krause, Sanz del Río, Giner—, and positivism, among other philosophical modalities; remember how he praised Augusto Comte, Herbert Spencer, and Lastarria. Krausism and positivism, and natural rights as expressed by humanist Dr. Aguedo Mojica… but when someone thinks they can imprison Hostos' untamable soul, they should read this confession in the illustrious Puerto Rican's Diario!: "imagination and feeling, the two creative forces of my soul."
That chapter of Hispanic history has been perfectly explained, among others, by: Adolfo Posada, Fernando de los Ríos, Pierre Jobit, Joaquín Xirau, John B. Trend, Juan López-Morillas, Roberto Agromonte, Rodolfo Llopis, Lorenzo Luzuriaga, Vicente Cacho Viú, and Jerónimo Mallo. Among the Puerto Rican critics who have studied the topic of Krausism, I should mention Antonio Cortón, Angel M. Mergal, Domingo Marrero Navarro, and Cesáreo Rosa Nieves.
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