Spiritism presents three different aspects, namely, spirit manifestations, the philosophic and moral principles deduced from these events, and the application of these principles. Its adherents are divided into three classes or three degrees of advancement. First, there are those who believe in the authenticity of the spirit manifestations, and validate them as an experimental science. Second, there are those who understand its moral bearings. Lastly, there are those who practice, or at least try to practice, its moral code. Regardless of the perspective, whether experimental, scientific, or moral, every one perceives that they support an entirely different order of ideas, which must produce profound modifications in the state of the humankind. Everyone also realizes that these modifications can only be for good.
As for our adversaries, they may also be grouped into three categories. First, there are those who automatically deny whatever is new or whatever they do not initiate, and who speak without knowing what they are talking about. Everyone who refuses to admit anything beyond the scope of their senses belongs to this group. They do not see anything, do not want to see anything, and are even more unwilling to delve into anything. These individuals are in fact, unwilling to see too clearly, for fear of being forced to admit that they are mistaken. For them, Spiritism is highly improbable, insane, utopian, and does not exist, period. They are willfully incredulous. In this group we may also include those who have glanced at the subject, merely to say, “I tried, but I was not able to find any merit here” and who do not seem to be aware that half an hour is not enough time to learn a new field of science. Second, there are those who, although perfectly aware of the legitimacy of the phenomena, oppose it out of self-interested motives. They know that Spiritism is true, but they attack it because they fear its consequences. Third, there are those who find the moral rules of Spiritism to be an extremely severe condemnation of their actions and habits. Seriously acknowledging Spiritism is an inconvenience they neither reject nor accept it, but prefer to close their eyes to it. The first class is swayed by pride and conjecture; the second by ambition; the third by selfishness. This opposition disappears over time. We should then seek a fourth class of antagonists, those who base their antagonism on a careful and thorough examination, providing positive and irrefutable evidence of its falsehood.
It is too much to expect of human nature that it can be changed suddenly by Spiritist ideas. Undoubtedly, the actions are not the same, or equally powerful, in people who support these ideas. Nevertheless, their result, however slight it may be, is always beneficial, if only by proving the existence of an extra-corporeal world, and disproving the opposing materialistic doctrines. Mere observation of Spiritist phenomena can yield the same result. However, it produces other effects in people who understand its philosophy and see something more than curious phenomena. The first and most common is the development of religious notions, even in those who are indifferent to spiritual things, and even if they are not materialists. This sentiment leads to a disregard for death – not a desire for death because a Spiritist defends his or her life like anyone else. It is an indifference that causes the person to accept death, when inevitable, with resignation and without regret, as something to be welcomed rather than feared, due to the belief in life after death. The second effect is acceptance of the vicissitudes of life. Spiritism leads us to consider issues from such an elevated perspective that the significance of physical life lessens proportionally, and we are less painfully affected by its trials and tribulations. The consequence is that we have more courage when we face adversity, more moderation in our desires, and a more strongly rooted disgust for the idea of shortening our lives. Spiritism teaches that suicide always results in the loss of what we hoped to obtain. The certainty that there is a future life, that it correlates directly with our deeds and the possibility of meeting loved ones in the afterlife gives Spiritists solace. Likewise, a continual observance of life beyond the grave and understanding of what has been a mystery up to now amplifies one’s horizons infinitely. The third effect is to encourage indulgence and understanding for the flaws of others. However, it must be admitted that selfishness is one of the most persistent human traits and more difficult to uproot than others. We are willing to make sacrifices if they cost nothing, and provided that they impose no deprivation. Money exercises an irresistible attraction and very few understand the word luxury when it relates to themselves. Thus, the renunciation of the self is the most eminent sign of progress.