Allan Kardec

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There are people who see danger everywhere, and in everything that is new to them. These people have drawn the unfavorable conclusion that some of those who have turned to Spiritism have lost all sense of reason. How can rational people consider this a serious argument? Doesn’t a loss of reason also occur when weak minds are overwhelmed in any intellectual pursuit? Who can say how many have gone mad over mathematics, medicine, music, philosophy, and others? Are those studies to be denounced on that account? What does that prove? Arms and legs, the instruments of physical activity, are often injured by physical labor; the brain, the instrument of thought, is often impaired by intellectual labor. Although the instrument may be injured, the spirit remains intact, and, when freed from matter, regains full possession of its faculties. In this manner, it may be said that human beings often succumb as martyrs to labor.

Intense mental application of any kind may induce mental illness, whether science, art or religion, all having produced their respective share of enlightened minds being driven insane. The predisposing cause of madness is to be found in the brain that renders it more or less susceptible to certain impressions. When the predisposition to insanity exists, its manifestation takes on the character of the pursuit which forms a fxed idea. This fxed idea may be that of the spirits, for those who have been deeply captivated by Spiritism, or by God, angels, the devil, fortune, power, art, science, maternity, or a political or social system. It is likely that a religious fanatic would have gone mad over Spiritism, if it had been his or her predominant mental occupation. Likewise, a person who goes mad over Spiritism, in other circumstances would go mad over something else.

We therefore assert that Spiritism does not prompt insanity and that it actually protects against insanity when correctly understood.

Among the most common causes of cerebral overstimulation, one must consider the disappointments, misfortunes, shattered hope, and other troubles of human life, which are also the most common causes of suicide. However, true Spiritists view the things of this world from such an elevated point of view that they seem petty in comparison with the future they see before them. Life appears so feeting that its misfortunes are, in their eyes, merely unpleasant bumps along the road. What would produce violent emotions in the mind of another only affects them slightly. They know that the sorrows of life are trials that further our advancement if endured with resignation, and that they are rewarded according to the courage with which they have accepted them. Their convictions help shield them from despair, and consequently from a frequent cause of madness and suicide. Through spirit communications, they also know the fate of those who voluntarily shorten their lives, which gives pause for serious refections. The number of those who have been stopped on the downward spiral is significant. This is one of the results of Spiritism. Non-believers may laugh as much as they like. We only wish them the consolation it provides to people who have delved into its mysterious depths.

Among the causes of insanity, one must include fear. Fear of the devil has deranged many minds and who can say how many feeble minds have fallen victim to the devil after having been shown hideous, detailed pictures? It is sometimes said that the devil only frightens little children to make them well-behaved, like the boogeyman and the werewolf. When these mythical creatures have lost their power, those who have been subjected to this sort of training are likely to be worse off than before. People employ these methods and reach mediocre results. They overlook the risk of epilepsy entailed in such disturbing action on the delicate brain of a child. Religion would be weak if its power could only be sustained by fear. Fortunately this is not the case, as there are other means of acting on the soul. Spiritism provides a more effective and serious support than superstitious terror, if it is able to put this theory to use. It shows the reality of things, and neutralizes the disastrous effects of unreasonable fear.

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