Design: Stephanie Rivero

The history of Cuba has a great myth: José Martí.

It is because it synthesizes in an exemplary way a long legion of heroes, heroes and thinkers from a century of facts and ideas that reveals the unique character of the Cuban process and situates it as the historical continuity, at the end of the 19th century, of the independence epic of our America started at the beginning of the same century.

It is precisely assuming this Martí tradition and also the most advanced social and philosophical thought of the modern age, which allows us today to highlight the importance of economic and social factors, and in turn recognize the value of individual and collective psychology.

Hence the emphasis on the moral transformation of man through education and his ability to associate in work and study.

Association is the unique secret of men and peoples and the guarantee of their freedom,

the Apostle stressed.

Today's Cuban intellectuals assume the ethical and cultural legacy of Várela and, in addition, the most advanced social and philosophical thought of the modern age: we have the honorable commitment to study, starting with Martí, the

scientific foundations of spirituality that are They are verified in the performance of men in history in a way that is as real and concrete as in the economic field.

Without the spirituality that men possess as a unique attribute, the greatest creations in universal history would not have been conceivable.

She reaches higher scales in Martí's worldview and can guide us in the effort to know and practically unravel her role in social life.

What was expressed by the National Hero when he spoke to us about the “science of the spirit” takes on special significance for this purpose.

This constitutes an essential point for the Cuban philosophical reflection towards the 21st century.

In this way, we can find a possible synthesis that allows us to arrive at important conclusions of practical interest for education and educated politics.

If we relate the elective methods in the search for knowledge and the paths of action that he taught us to the Lucian principles —“all schools and no school, behold the school”, and that “justice is the sun of the moral world”— and with the purpose of Martí to throw in the lot with the poor of the earth and his ideas in relation to “balance”, we will have a central nucleus of Cuban philosophical thought of incalculable consequences to base the pedagogical and political work cultured.

None of this enters into antagonism with the essence of the most advanced philosophical thought of the modern age that we Cubans have assumed.

Of course, it is necessary to update it with the progress of the natural and social sciences and the teachings of the historical events of the 20th century.

The fervent search for balance, indissolubly related to Martí and to the liberating action, concretizes it on its universal scale when he points out that Cuba's duty is to work, together with the free Antilles, to serve as a brake and avoid the war that he described as "unnecessary" between the two adverse sections of the hemisphere.

The project is usually accused of being utopian but, in any case, the honest thing to do is to consider it as a feasible utopia towards the future, because it constitutes a need for peoples from Alaska to Patagonia and, ultimately, for the world.

But let us not forget it, but instead take it as a lesson: the balance to which the Apostle aspired required the "necessary, humanitarian and brief war" that would guarantee the independence of Cuba with respect to Spain and the United States and the full sovereignty of the peoples of the Antilles.

This is why our ties and relationships, increasingly strengthened, with the Caribbean world are so important.

This same purpose of balance in the world is specified by the Apostle in his most profoundly human and individual scale when he postulates that men must aspire to achieve, each one of them individually, the balance between emotional and intellectual faculties, and to develop from it the creative will.

This has deep psychological roots that should serve our pedagogy and our political work.

Emotion and reason, understanding and imagining, constitute the poles of a contradiction that occurs in the human soul and that Martí, with the teachings of Várela and De la Luz, exalts in his ideas on the science of the spirit


The great challenge is when the problem arises on a broad social scale.

No matter how many analyzes and intellectual elaborations are made around the consequences of economic, scientific and technological processes, and of that immense labyrinth that economic data and information show, if a genuinely humanist conscience is not assumed, and with talent and love one set individual and social will in motion, no solution paths will be found for the drama of our time, which is visualized in a very concrete way in the contradictions

between the identity of human communities, their right to achieve a superior civilization, and the demands that imposes the universalization of wealth.

This can only be addressed effectively on the principle of a full, radical and genuinely universal humanism, based on an ethic consistent with man and his history, and whose superior intellectual value lies in supporting it in reality and science.

This way of thinking comes from the teacher Félix Várela, from his followers and from the Cuban school.

Evil has its roots in the conscience and in the human subconscious.

It is men who generate and maintain it from their selfish instincts.

It is important to accept this lesson from history so as not to continue believing that social, political and philosophical conceptions, and the programs derived from them, are going to establish by themselves morality and justice among men.

Only the formation of a new man can make morality prevail in social relations.

"When man feels associated with others and works for the common good, he becomes happier."

For Martí, we have to free ourselves from the exploitation of man by another man, but to achieve it in a radical way, we must also free ourselves from the beast that we all have inside —Marti's expression— and assume the proper reins that the Apostle advised.

The hero of Dos Ríos himself warned that this is feasible based on the human capacity to associate.

When man feels associated with others and works for the common good, he becomes happier.

Without the moral ascent of man, the full victory of justice is practically impossible.

For the Apostle, character is achieved with individual harmony between intelligence and the way that guides and encourages the will


He pointed out that "man is the educated beast";

He also assured that he was an excellent being who could rein the beast in such a way that it acquired the highest human category.

Character "is the courage to act according to virtue."

The most important thing from the philosophical point of view and the most revolutionary in the political and educational order is that this aspiration of our hero does not divorce it from nature, but rather bases it on it and exalts it to a higher plane of the universal scale that "When it fails, it starts again", as he says in his poem "Yugo y estrella".

Man in this radically Varelian sense is, in essence, the one who considers himself a mission, a job in society, that is, in relation to other men, which can be modest, simple or of enormous complexity and historical significance.

But the one who with humility and simplicity proposes a useful job to help others, is already a man or a woman in the full Varelian and Martian sense.

Dedicating oneself to creative work is support for this school of thought in the simplest or most elaborate way of doing things.

But there is more.

The happiness that man achieves when he puts intelligence and love in tension in favor of creation and practice is the essential foundation of Cuban ethics.

This value contains the idea that happiness can be found in the fight for human redemption.

If every man responds to an individual interest, it must be directed in such a way that it is expressed through the virtue of creation with the purpose of helping and cooperating with others.

Thus he will be a complete man and he will be able to aspire to genuine happiness.

This course leads us, then, through the theme of ethics and the importance of subjective factors in history and, consequently, to the role of education and educated politics, which is where we must address the challenges that were proposed. since the sixties.

As antecedent of these principles is the pedagogical and educational tradition of our America, which comes from the time of Simón Rodríguez, the teacher of Bolívar, and even before.

In Cuba, especially with Várela and Martí, very high degrees of the spiritual culture of our America were reached.

For this reason, the Apostle could aspire to make our country a university of the continent.

Such currents of thought, sentiments and philosophical ideas are the background and background of Cuban revolutionary ideas and explain their Latin American and universal value, which are an integral part of the national culture from its origins until today, which should always be the case in the future.

The roots of this thinking and feeling are found in having related science, love and poetry in a knowledge and action on the foundation of a social composition where a bourgeois class possessing the national ideal did not crystallize.

Economic, social, cultural and even geographical reasons led to the emergence of this nation on the “cruise ship of the world”, in the prelude to the two Americas, which has been capable of making the last great social Revolution that has taken place in the 20th century.

The noble aspirations of the Enlightenment and the humanism of the 17th and 19th centuries reached our country, but in the conditions of Cuban society they evolved towards the defense of the dispossessed sectors and layers of the population.

They were brought up and grew up in Cuba without the mystifications imposed by the class inequalities of American and European societies.

It lacks practical sense to elaborate alternatives about what could have been and what was not.

We only have the right to carry out utopias towards tomorrow.

Only the latter is valid to better understand the past and draw useful lessons for the future.

And what is the current value of Marti's utopia for the coming century?

For some it may be unrealizable.

Those of us who feel Cuba in the Martian way are not going to give up the dream.

We do not find another way of being Cuban, we do not appreciate another way of being men.

In any case, we are talking about the utopia of man that humanity today needs to save itself from the hell of a civilization that, after the dramatic events that we symbolize in the fall of the Berlin Wall, ended up imposing itself with the most vulgar and ferocious materialism, twin brother of a spirituality that on many occasions the history of the West had placed in antagonism with science.

In Cuban culture there is no such antagonism.

The collapse of civilizations has occurred throughout history and one of the symptoms of such catastrophes has been precisely the loss of ethical values ​​without which they cannot survive.

The ethical schemes in the different historical stages may be insufficient or even lead to serious human tragedies.

But there is no civilization without ethical culture and without moral and cultural paradigms.

Either men find new paradigms or humanity will be lost.

Faced with these crossroads, Cubans embrace more strongly than ever the ethical and political legacy of José Martí, who has been throughout the 20th century, and with greater consequence and depth since the heroic events of Moncada in 1953, the essential source that nourishes and explains the existence of the nation.

Cuba has to face this world and it does so by strengthening and enriching the spiritual and moral tradition that I have described, perfecting its legal culture and the institutions that serve as its foundation, headed by the Socialist Constitution of the Revolution and the methods and ways of doing politics that Martí taught us and that Fidel Castro has taken to its highest level in this century.

These forms and ways of doing politics radically go beyond the old slogan of "divide and conquer" to exalt the revolutionary principle of "uniting to win."

It is the message that the history of Martí's homeland transmits to the world.

*Fragment of the text José Martí and the balance of the world, by the Cuban intellectual Armando Hart Dávalos

(Taken from La Jiribilla)