7 junio, 2024

28 thoughts of Simón Rodríguez that will inspire you

simon rodriguez (1769-1854) was a Venezuelan philosopher, educator, politician and typographer, teacher of Simón Bolívar when he was a child, and who was present at the Liberator’s oath on Mount Sacro.

He was a complete thinker, who admired authors such as Voltaire, Montesquieu, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Henri de Saint-Simon or John Locke. He was a staunch anti-monarchist, with a republican leaning, who had to go into exile early in 1797 due to an uncovered conspiracy against the Spanish crown. He exerted a great influence on Bolívar and on subsequent thought in Venezuela.

We have made a list of Thoughts of Simón Rodríguez (Simón Narciso de Jesús Carreño Rodríguez) or Samuel Robinson, as he was known in exile, a man of integrity who always rejected colonial impositions.

List of thoughts of Simón Rodríguez

1. It is not a dream or delirium, but philosophy, nor will the place where this is done be imaginary, like the one that Chancellor Thomas More imagined; his utopia will actually be America.

2. Where will we go to look for models? Spanish America is original. Original must be its institutions and its Government and original to found one and the other. Either we invent or we err.

3. Acquiring social insights means rectifying instilled or malformed ideas, by dealing with reality in an inseparable conjugation of Thinking and Acting under the knowledge of the principles of independence and absolute generalization.

4. Acquiring social virtues means moderating with self-love, in an inseparable conjugation of Feeling and Thinking, on the moral ground of the maxim «Think of everyone so that everyone thinks of you», which simultaneously pursues the benefit of the entire society and of each individual.

5. The children’s teacher must be wise, enlightened, philosopher and communicative, because his job is to train men for society.

6. Ignorance is the cause of all the evils that man does to himself and to others; and this is inevitable, because moniciencia does not fit in a man: it can fit, up to a certain point, in a society (by the plus and minus one is distinguished from the other). A man is not guilty because he is ignorant –there is little he can know–, but he will be guilty if he takes charge of doing what he does not know.

7. The Spanish Colonial stage imposed its culture, its religion, its laws, the culture of domination, exploitation, and social exclusion was produced in Spanish-speaking America.

8. In Europe, political-economic transformations are taking place, it is passing from the feudal socioeconomic stage, to the era of capitalism, of the first industries, of the formation of the national bourgeoisies, of the accumulation of capital, of Science as the computer of earthly life and religion as the computer of the spiritual.

9. Accustom the child to be truthful, faithful, helpful, restrained, beneficial, grateful, consistent, generous, kind, diligent, careful, neat; to respect the reputation and fulfill what he promises. And leave the skills to him; he will know how to look for teachers, when young.

10. The title of teacher should only be given to the one who knows how to teach, that is, to the one who teaches to learn; not to the one who commands to learn or indicates what has to be learned, nor to the one who advises that it be learned. The teacher who knows how to give the first instructions continues to teach virtually everything that is learned later, because he taught to learn.

11. Only with the hope of getting people to think about education can one advocate general instruction. And one must advocate for it, because the time has come to teach people to live, so that they do well what they have to do badly.

12. Man is not ignorant because he is poor, but the opposite.

13. Instructing is not educating; nor can instruction be an equivalent to education, even if one is educated by instructing.

14. Teach, and you will have someone who knows; educate, and you will have someone to do.

15. Teach children to be inquisitive, so that, asking why what they are told to do, they get used to obeying reason, not authority like the limited ones, not custom like the stupid ones.

16. To teach is to make understand; it is to use the understanding; Don’t make memory work.

17. Nobody does what they don’t know well; consequently, a Republic will never be made with ignorant people, whatever the plan adopted.

18. The fundamental workforce is that of slaves and Indians, who helped in agricultural work, construction of forts, cities, churches, and towns.

19. It is up to teachers to make children know the value of work, so that they know how to appreciate the value of things.

20. The Enlightenment acquired on the Art of Living suggests that societies can exist without Kings and without Congresses.

21. It is up to teachers to make children know the value of work, so that they know how to appreciate the value of things.

22. There is no interest where the end of the action is not based. What is not felt is not understood, and what is not understood does not matter. Calling, capturing and fixing attention are the three parts of the art of teaching. And not all teachers excel at all three.

23. In the American colonies, Spain establishes an extractive economy of precious stones, spices and food. There is an economy of ports.

24. The philosophers of Europe, convinced of the uselessness of their doctrine in the old world, would like to be able to fly to the new…

25. In South America the republics are established but not founded.

26. Anyone who does not know is deceived. Whoever does not have, anyone buys.

27. In order to enjoy the goods of freedom, the printing press should not have other limits than those imposed by respect for proper society.

28. Overcome the reluctance to associate to undertake and the fear of getting advice to proceed. Form economic societies that establish agricultural schools.


We invent or we err (2004). Simon Rodriguez. Basic library of Venezuelan authors. Monte Avila Publishers. Venezuela.
Puiggros, A. (2005). From Simón Rodríguez to Paulo Freire: education for Ibero-American integration. Publisher: Colihue Editions.

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