THE SPIRITIST REVIEW - JOURNAL OF PSYCHOLOGICAL STUDIES - 1858

Allan Kardec

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Spirits’ answers to a few questions


Q – How can the spirits act upon matter? This seems contractictory to everything we think about the very nature of the spirits.

A – Based on your assumptions, a spirit does not consist of anything materially based. This assumption is not correct. We have already told you that the spirit is something and therefore can act on its own. Because your world is materially dense to allow him to communicate without an intermediary. It is this intermediary that serves as the link that attaches the spirit to matter.

OBSERVATION: Considering that the link uniting the spirit to matter is immaterial or at least intangible this answer would not have addressed the issue if we did not have the example of other equally intangible forces that act upon matter: take the case of our thoughts, the primary cause of every voluntary movements and electricity that lifts up, knocks down and transports innert matter. Just because the cause is unknown it is illogical to conclude that it does not exist. The spirit may have levers unknown to us. Nature demonstrates every day that its power is not limited to what is witnessed by our senses. The immediate cause, in the spiritist phenomena, is inarguably a physical agent but the primary cause is intelligence acting upon this agent as our thought acts upon our members. When we want to knock something it is our arm that knocks; it is not our thought that hits, but it is the thought that guides the arm.

Q – Among the spirits who produce the material effects, there are those we commonly call the “rapping-spirits”. Are these spirits from a special class or are they the same who produce the movements and noises?
A – Certainly the same spirit may produce multiple effects but there are those associated more particularly with certain things, like among you there are the blacksmiths and the couriers.

Q – Does the the spirit who acts upon a solid object, in order to move or rap, penetrates inside the substance of the body or acts from the outside?

A – One and the other. We have already said that matter is no obstacle to the spirits as they can penetrate everything.

Q – Do the material manifestations, such as noises, movements of objects and all other phenomena, which we provoke, indistinctly produced by superior as well as inferior spirits?

A – It is only the inferior spirits who occupy themselves with such manifestations. The superior spirits, sometimes, employ them, as you would do with a courier, in order to attract attention. Would you believe that spirits of a superior category are at your service to please you with their tricks? This is the same as asking if, in your world, the serious and wise men are the ones who play the role of clowns and jesters.

Observation: The spirits who reveal themselves through material effects are, generally, of inferior order. These spirits amuse or scare away those individuals who are attracted to these visual spectacles as opposed to those who are desire to learn and practice intelligent exercises. Sometimes, however, they act spontaneously, on other occasions, under the orders of superior spirits. If the communications of the superior spirits offer a more serious interest, the physical manifestations also have utility to the observer; they reveal unknown forces of nature and provide us with means of studying the character and, so to speak, the customs of all classes of the spiritual population.

Q – How can one prove that the occult power, acting in the spiritist manifestations, is outside of man? Couldn’t we think that they reside in ourselves, that is, we act under the impulse of our own spirit?

R – When something is done against your will and desire it means that it is not you who is producing it, although many times you are the lever used by the spirit to act and your will would come to help. In this case, you can serve as a convenient tool to the spirit.

Observation: It is, above all, the intelligent communications that marks the intervention of a strange power. When spontaneous and alien to our own thoughts and control and when answering questions to which a solution that is unknown to the audience, we have to search outside ourselves for the cause of such communications. This becomes evident to whoever wants to observe the facts with attention and perseverance. The nuances of details escape the superficial observer.

Q – Are all spirits capable of giving intelligent manifestations?

A – Yes, as all of them are intelligent. However, because there are spirits of all degrees, as among you, some say senseless or stupid things and others shrewd things.

Q – Are all spirits capable of understanding the questions addressed to them?

R – No. The inferior spirits are incapable of understanding certain questions, which does not impede them from answering right or wrong. It is still the same among you.

Observation: Consequently one can see how essential it is to be alert against the belief in the endless knowledge of the spirits. They are like men and it is not enough to question the first that shows up to obtain a wise answer. It is necessary to know to whom we are directing our attention. Someone interested in knowing the customs of a people has to study them from one extreme to the other side of the scale. Investigating only one class is to have a false idea, as judging the whole by the part. The spiritual population is like ours; there is everything; the good, the evil, the sublime, the trivial, the knowledgable and the ignorant. Those who have not observed them seriously, on all levels, cannot boast of knowing them. The physical manifestations reveal to us the spirits of lower levels; these are the street and the shanty. The instructive and wise communications bring us in contact with the superior spirits; they are the social elite: the upper class and the working class.

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