THE SPIRITIST REVIEW - JOURNAL OF PSYCHOLOGICAL STUDIES - 1858

Allan Kardec

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The plurality of worlds


Who has not yet wondered, on considering the moon and other celestial bodies, if those globes are inhabited? Doubt was possible before science had initiated us into the nature of those globes; with the current state of our knowledge, at least there is the likelihood, but some objections to this really seductive idea are drawn from science itself. It is said that the moon, as it seems, has no atmosphere, and possibly no water. In Mercury the average temperature should be that of the melting lead, in view of its proximity to the Sun, so that if there is any lead there it should run like the water in our rivers. In Saturn the opposite happens; we lack a term of comparison for the cold that must exist there; sunlight must be very weak, despite the reflection of its seven moons and its rings; as for that distance, the Sun may only appear as a star of first magnitude. Under such circumstances, the question is whether life is then possible.

It is incomprehensible that serious men can make such an objection. If the atmosphere of the Moon was not perceived, is it reasonable to infer that it does not exist? Couldn’t it be that it is comprised of unknown elements or of such a low density that do not produce appreciable refraction? We say the same about the water and liquid that may exist there.

As with respect to living beings, wouldn’t that be a denial of the Divine power to judge impossible an organization different from what we know, when before our eyes the Providence of nature extends with such an admirable solicitude up to the smallest insect and provides all beings with the appropriate organs for the ambient where they live, be it in water, air or land, or submerged in darkness or exposed to sunlight? Had we never seen a fish, we could not have conceived beings living in water; we would have no idea of their structure. Until recently, who would have believed that an animal could live indefinitely inside a stone? But, not mentioning these extremes, could the beings that live under the fire of our torrid zone exist in the polar caps? Yet, in the ice zones there are beings organized to live in such a condition that could not withstand the scorching heat of a vertical sun.

Why then can one not admit that certain beings can be built in order to live in other globes and in a medium completely different from ours? Certainly, without a deep knowledge of the physical constitution of the Moon, we know enough to ensure that we could not live there, given the way we are made, as we cannot live in the company of the fish, in the middle of the ocean. For the same reason, the inhabitants of the Moon, if they could one day come to Earth, once they have been organized to live without air or with a very singular air, perhaps completely different from ours, they would be asphyxiated in our thick atmosphere, like us in the water.

Again, if we have no visual and material proof of the presence of beings that live in other worlds, nothing demonstrates that life forms appropriate to any other medium or atmosphere may not exist. On the contrary, the simple common sense tells us that this is how it should be, since the belief that these immeasurable globes that circulate in space are simple unproductive and inert masses is just unacceptable to reason. The observation shows irregular surfaces, like on Earth, as there are mountains, valleys, and cliffs, extinct and active volcanoes. Why then there would not be organic beings? Be it, they will say; there may be plants and even animals; humans, however, civilized men like us, knowing God, cultivating the arts, sciences, is that possible?

It is certain that nothing mathematically proves that the beings that inhabit other worlds are men like us, or which are more or less advanced than us, from a moral point of view. But when the savages of America saw the arriving Spaniards, they had no doubt that there was another world overseas, cultivating arts unknown to them. Earth is spotted by a countless quantity of islands, large and small, and everything that is inhabitable is inhabited. Whenever a rock surfaces from the sea, there we have men, sticking their flags. What would we say if the inhabitants of one of the smallest of these islands, perfectly knowing the existence of other islands and continents, but never having had relationship with those who inhabit them, considered themselves the only living beings on the planet? We would tell them: How can you believe that God made the world only for you? By which strange singularity your little island, lost in the solitude of the ocean, would have the privilege of being the only inhabited one? The same can be said about the other spheres. Why Earth, small globe, imperceptible in the vastness of the universe, which is indistinguishable from other planets by its position, by its volume, by its structure, which is neither the largest nor the smallest, which is not in the center nor in the extreme, why, I was saying, among many others, Earth would be the only residence of rational and thinking beings? Which man of wisdom would think that these millions of stars that shine over our heads were made to entertain our eyes? What would then be the usefulness of those other millions of globes, invisible to the naked eye and which do not even serve to illuminate us? Would it not be pride and wickedness to think so? We say that it is not logical to those to whom impiety does not matter at all. We have then arrived to the conclusion of the plurality of the worlds, by a simple reasoning, the same employed by many others before us. Such reasoning is confirmed by the revelation of the spirits. Indeed they teach us that all these worlds are inhabited by corporeal beings, appropriate to the physical constitution of each globe; that among the inhabitants of those globes, some are more, others less advanced than us, from an intellectual, moral and even physical point of view. Even more: we now know that it is possible to enter into communication with them and obtain information regarding their current state; we also know that not only all the globes are inhabited by corporeal beings, but that the space is populated by intelligent beings, invisible to us because of the material veil cast over our soul, and that they reveal their existence by hidden or patent means.

So everything in the universe is populated. Life and intelligence are everywhere: in solid globes, in the air, in the depths of Earth, and even in the ethereal. Is there anything in such a doctrine that is repulsive to reason? Isn’t that, at the same time, great and sublime? It lifts us from our own inferiority, much to the contrary of this selfish and greedy thinking which places us as the only beings worthy of occupying God’s mind.

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