Homaranismo

L.L. Zamenhof (1859-1917) had two great ideas in his life. The first, Esperanto, is fairly well-known. The second, mostly unknown, is my topic today.

Homaranismo is the Esperanto name for Zamenhof’s philosphy of life and religion. It’s commonly translated into English as “humanism,” although “humanitarianism” might be a better word. Unfortunately, both English words have connotations which lead to confusion for the modern person. Homaranismo is not humanism in the sense of a human-oriented philosophy with a naturalistic world-view. Zamenhof talked little about the nature of god(s) or the existence of any kind of life beyond this one when discussing homaranismo. This philosophy is not concerned with what one believes about god(s) unless those beliefs lead to actions which are detrimental to other people or humanity as a whole. Its focus is our actions and our relationships with others. Yet neither is it a weak humanitarianism, wishing others well and being “nice” to them. Homaranismo is an active, strong philosophy. It calls on us to focus our abilities on improving the lot of all humankind and gives us clear guidelines on how to judge our interactions with others.

Here are some brief excerpts of Zamenhof’s writings on homaranismo (not my translation):

I am a human being, and I believe that there are only human ideals and ideals linked to the country of origin; every ideal which brings hatred among peoples and entails the power of one ethnicity over another I believe it to be human egoism, which sooner or later must disappear and to which disappearance I must contribute according to my possibilities.

I believe that every peoples are equally part of humankind, and I value every person only according to his personal values and actions, and not according to his/her origin. Every offense or persecutions of people because they belong to a different ethnicity, with a different language or religion, I regard it as a barbarity.

I believe that every country does not belong to a particular group of people, but equally to every people who live in it, regardless of their language or religion; the mixing of the country’s interest with those of one or another group of people, language or religion I regard it as reminiscence of barbarian times, when there was only the right of fist and sword.

I believe that in his/her own family life each person has the natural and indisputable right to speak whatever language or dialect he/she wants and to confess whatever religion he/she wants; nevertheless, when communicating with people from other origins he/she must, when it is possible, aim to use a neutral language and to live according to neutral religious principles. Every attempt of a person to impose his/her language or religion to other people when it is not absolutely necessary, I regard it as a barbarity.

I have not yet found an English translation of Zamenhof’s and other’s writings about homaranismo. Therefore, I’ve started working on my own translation, beginning with Zamenhof’s Deklaracio pri Homaranismo. I’m not trained in Esperanto translation, but will post my work here as it continues. I look forward to comments and suggestions, as well as advancing the cause of homaranismo.

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8 responses on “Homaranismo

  1. Pingback: homaranismo

  2. Robb Kvasnak, Ed.D.

    I do not need an English translation since I know Esperanto. Mi ne bezonas anglan tradukon ĉar mi scipovas Esperanton.
    I am interested contacting others who are interested in homaranismo – mi ŝatus konatiĝi kun aliuj kiuj interesiĝas pri homaranismo.
    Robb

  3. Malachi

    I’m interested too, just learning the language of Esperanto and stumbled across this. Is/are the original document or documents out there?

    Dankon,thanks

    Mal

  4. Pingback: Feliĉan Zamenhofan Tagon! | Canadian Atheist

  5. Sean

    Hi Greg,
    I ran across this post while googling for an English translation of the Declaration of Homaranism. Not finding one, I went ahead and made the translation myself (because I do happen to speak Esperanto). I realize this post is a few years old so you might not be interested in this anymore. But just in case you are, and for anyone else who lands here through a search engine, here’s a link to the translation.

  6. Alex Powers-Witowski

    Hello/Saluton.

    Just like Esperanto, Homaranismo is an excellent concept that can unite all of humanity and benefit us all, but no one really looks at it unless they really poke around.

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