The Jacobins, the Guillotine, and the Forgotten Fraternity

Source: A Reflection of Goodwill taken from the interview given by Paiva Netto to Portuguese journalist Ana Serra about his book Reflexões da Alma [Reflections of the Soul], which was published in Portugal by Editora Pergaminho in 2008.

Book Reflexões da Alma (Reflections of the Soul)

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Ana Serra

When answering Portuguese journalist Ana Serra, on September 19, 2008, about what my purpose was in writing Reflexões da Alma [Reflections of the Soul] and having it launched in Portugal, I said that at first it was for my friends who asked me to publish some of my experiences in Brazil, Portugal, and other parts of the world throughout these years. They have been recounted during work meetings, speeches, talks, in my writings, and in the electronic media. I have modestly tried to share these experiences by printing in letters some of the lessons that are placed before all who want to learn something that the spiritual and earthly existence always has to offer us.

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Victor Hugo

We need to understand that a decisive change must first take place within our Soul. The main key to success in the third millennium is to take care of the Spirit and to reform human beings. Consequently, everything will be perfected, having as its beacon of light the so-often neglected Universal Fraternity, which is mentioned in last place in the ideological triad of the French Revolution―1st Liberty, 2nd Equality, and 3rd Fraternity. Therefore, seemly forgotten, resulting in what we know: after beheading those whom they considered to be opponents, the Jacobins began to guillotine each other. Not even the uncontained Robespierre (1758-1794) escaped. Terror attracts terror, when not super-terror. The famous French poet Victor Hugo (1802-1885), perhaps writing on the subject, said that instead of blood, what should be shed for fertilizing the field where people’s future germinates are ideas.


José de Paiva Netto is a writer, journalist, radio broadcaster, composer, and poet. He is the President of the Legion of Good Will (LGW), effective member of the Brazilian Press Association (ABI) and of the Brazilian International Press Association (ABI-Inter). Affiliated to the National Federation of Journalists (FENAJ), the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ), the Union of Professional Journalists of the State of Rio de Janeiro, the Union of Writers of Rio de Janeiro, the Union of Radio Broadcasters of Rio de Janeiro, and the Brazilian Union of Composers (UBC). He is also a member of the Academy of Letters of Central Brazil. He is an author of international reference in the concept and defense of the cause of Ecumenical Citizenship and Spirituality which, according to him, constitute “the cradle of the most generous values that are born of the Soul, the dwelling of the emotions and of the reasoning enlightened by intuition, the atmosphere that embraces everything that transcends the ordinary field of matter and comes from the elevated human sensitivity, such as Truth, Justice, Mercy, Ethics, Honesty, Generosity, and Fraternal Love.”