Allan Kardec

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Magnetism and Spiritism

When the first spiritist phenomena appeared, some people thought that this discovery, if one can use this word, would strike a mortal blow against magnetism, and that the same that happens with the inventions would happen to it: the most perfect determines the oblivion of its predecessor. It did not take long for such an error to dissipate and the close relationship between the two Sciences was readily recognized. As they are both indeed based on the existence and manifestation of the soul, far from fighting each other, they can and should provide mutual support, as they complement and mutually explain one another. However, their respective supporters disagree on some points: certain magnetizes * do not admit yet the existence or at least the manifestation of the spirits. They think they can explain everything only by the action of the magnetic fluid, an opinion that we just observe, reserving to discuss it later. We also shared that in principle but, as many others, we had to surrender to the evidence of the facts.

Contrary to that, the adepts of Spiritism are all in agreement with magnetism. All admit their actions and recognize a manifestation of the soul in the somnambulistic phenomena. That opposition, by the way, weakens daily, and is easy to predict that it is not far the day when there will be no distinction. Such divergence of views is not surprising. At the beginning of a Science it is still so new that it is very easy to anybody, looking at things from their own point of view, to form a different idea about it. Those more positive Sciences have always had, and still have, their schools, which fervently hold opposing theories. Scientists have raised school against school; flag against flag and, many times to their dignity, the controversy became irritating and harmful to the offended self-esteem and exceeded the limits of a wise discussion. Hopefully the sectarians of magnetism and Spiritism, better inspired, do not give the world the scandal of such low level discussions, always fatal to the propagation of the truth, whatever side they take.

We may have our opinion, sustain it and discuss it, but shredding each other is not a means of self- enlightenment, an unworthy process to the serious men, that becomes ignoble when personal interest is at stake.

Magnetism paved the way to Spiritism, and the rapid progress of the latter Doctrine is unquestionably due to the vulgarization of the ideas about the former. From the magnetic phenomena of somnambulism and ecstasy to the spiritist manifestations there is only one step. It is such a connection that, as a matter of fact, it is impossible to speak of one without speaking of the other. If we have to stay out of the Science of magnetism, then our picture will be incomplete and we may be compared to a Physics professor who abstains from talking about light. However, as the magnetism already has, among us, special institutes fairly accredited, it would be superfluous to insist on a subject treated with a superiority of talent and experience. We will thus only marginally refer to it but in such a way to sufficiently show the intimate relationship between the two Sciences which, in the end, are nothing but one.

We owed our readers this profession of faith which we finalize with a tribute to the men of conviction who, facing ridicule, sarcasm and unpleasantness, courageously dedicated themselves to the defense of such a humanitarian cause.

Whatever the opinion of the contemporaries regarding their personal interest, a view which is always more or less a reflection of lively passions, posterity will make them justice: it will place the names of Baron Du Potet, director of the “Journal du Magnetism”; Mr. Millet, director of the “Union Magnétique”, side by side to their illustrious pioneers, the Marquis de Puysegur and Deleuze, the wise man. Thanks to their adamant efforts, popularized magnetism plunged its foot in the official Science, where it is already talked about in whispers. The word “magnetism” has turned into common language: it no longer scares people away, and when someone declares to be a magnetizer, they are no longer ridiculed.

* Magnetizer is the one who practices magnetism. Magnetist is the one who adopts its principles. It is then possible to be a magnetist without being a magnetizer, but not otherwise.

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