Chapter 7: - Page 6 of 8

Simoun

(English version of “El Filibusterismo”)

No, no, sir! replied Basilio modestly, I’m not folding my arms, I’m working like all the rest to raise up from the ruins of the past a people whose units will be bound together—that each one may feel in himself the conscience and the life of the whole.  But however enthusiastic our generation may be, we understand that in this great social fabric there must be a division of labor.  I have chosen my task and will devote myself to science.

Science is not the end of man, declared Simoun.

The most civilized nations are tending toward it.

Yes, but only as a means of seeking their welfare.

Science is more eternal, it’s more human, it’s more universal! exclaimed the youth in a transport of enthusiasm.  Within a few centuries, when humanity has become redeemed and enlightened, when there are no races, when all peoples are free, when there are neither tyrants nor slaves, colonies nor mother countries, when justice rules and man is a citizen of the world, the pursuit of science alone will remain, the word patriotism will be equivalent to fanaticism, and he who prides himself on patriotic ideas will doubtless be isolated as a dangerous disease, as a menace to the social order.

Simoun smiled sadly.  Yes, yes, he said with a shake of his head, yet to reach that condition it is necessary that there be no tyrannical and no enslaved peoples, it is necessary that man go about freely, that he know how to respect the rights of others in their own individuality, and for this there is yet much blood to be shed, the struggle forces itself forward.  To overcome the ancient fanaticism that bound consciences it was necessary that many should perish in the holocausts, so that the social conscience in horror declared the individual conscience free. It is also necessary that all answer the question which with each day the fatherland asks them, with its fettered hands extended! Patriotism can only be a crime in a tyrannical people, because then it is rapine under a beautiful name, but however perfect humanity may become, patriotism will always be a virtue among oppressed peoples, because it will at all times mean love of justice, of liberty, of personal dignity—nothing of chimerical dreams, of effeminate idyls! The greatness of a man is not in living before his time, a thing almost impossible, but in understanding its desires, in responding to its needs, and in guiding it on its forward way.  The geniuses that are commonly believed to have existed before their time, only appear so because those who judge them see from a great distance, or take as representative of the age the line of stragglers!

Simoun fell silent.  Seeing that he could awake no enthusiasm in that unresponsive mind, he turned to another subject and asked with a change of tone: And what are you doing for the memory of your mother and your brother? Is it enough that you come here every year, to weep like a woman over a grave? And he smiled sarcastically.

The shot hit the mark.  Basilio changed color and advanced a step.

Learn this Filipino word:

nagbíbiláng ng poste