Allan Kardec

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Theory of Physical Manifestations
Second article


We request the reader to refer to the first article that was published about the subject. Since this is a continuation of the first article, this one is likely not to be well understood if the reader had not read the first one.

As we said before, the explanations we gave about the physical manifestations are founded on the observation of the fact and its logical deduction: we concluded in accordance with what was seen. However, how do the changes in the ethereal matter occur in order to turn it tangible and perceptible?

For starters, let the spirits whom we have questioned about the subject respond, adding our own remarks later. The answers below were given by St. Louis and are in agreement with what we were told before by other spirit.
1. How can a spirit appear with the solidity of a living body?
- The spirit combines part of the universal fluid with part of the fluid that detaches from a medium with this capability. This fluid then takes the form desired by the spirit.

2. What is the nature of such fluid?
  1. - Fluid. That says all.
3. Is that fluid material?
- Semi material.

4. Is that fluid what makes the perispirit?
- Yes, it is the bond between the spirit and matter.

5. Is this fluid the one that gives life, the vital principle?
- It is always that fluid. I said bond.

6. Is that fluid an emanation from the Divinity?
- No.

7. Is it a creation of Divinity?
- Yes. Everything is created except God himself.

8. Has the universal fluid a relationship with the electric fluid whose effects we know?
- Yes, it is its element.

9. Is the ethereal substance between the planets the universal fluid in question?

- It surrounds the globes. Nothing would live without the vital principle. If a man went up beyond the fluidic covering of the globes, he would perish as his fluidic covering would withdraw to join the mass. It is this fluid that animates you. It is what you breathe.

10. Is this fluid the same in all globes?

- It is the same principle, more or less ethereal, according to the nature of the globes. Yours is one of the most materialized.

11. Since it is this fluid that makes the perispirit, there must be a kind of condensation that, up to a certain point, approximates it to matter.

- Yes, up to a certain degree since it does not have their properties. It is more or less condensed, according to the worlds.

12. Is it the solidified spirit who raises the table?

- This question will not take you to the point you desire yet. When a table moves under your hands, the spirit, evoked by your spirit, takes from the universal fluid what is needed to animate the table with a factitious life. The spirits who produce such type of effects are always inferior and are not entirely separated from their fluid or perispirit. The table thus prepared by their will (of the rapping spirits) can be attracted and moved by the spirit, under the influence of their own fluid, detached by their will. When the mass that they are willing to lift is too heavy they call for help from other spirits, who are in their identical conditions. I believe I have explained myself with enough clarity to be understood.

13. Are the spirits that are called to help you, your inferiors?
- They are almost always equals. They frequently come by themselves.

14. We understand that the superior spirits do not bother with things that are their inferior. But we ask if, considering that they are dematerialized, they would have the power to do it, in case they wished so.

- They have the moral strength, as the others have the physical strength. When such strength is needed, they are served by those who have it. Haven’t we told you that they are served by the inferior spirits as you are by workers and servants?

15. Where does Mr. Home’s special power come from? - From his own organization.

16. What is special about that?
- The question is not accurate.

17. We asked if it is related to his physical or moral organization. - I said organization.

18. Among those present, is there someone who could have the same faculty as Mr. Home? - They have it in a certain degree. Wasn’t it one of you who made the table move?

19. When someone makes an object move, is it always with the help of a strange spirit or such an action can be exclusively done by the medium?

- Sometimes the spirit of the medium can act alone; however, in the majority of the occasions, it is helped by the evoked spirits. This is easy to recognize.

20. How come the spirits show up wearing the outfits that they wore on Earth?
- They frequently have only that appearance. In fact, for how many phenomena among you there is still no solution? How come the wind, which is impalpable, pulls trees off and breaks them, trees that are made of solid matter?

21. What do you mean by saying that their garment is “only an appearance”? - Once you touch it, there is nothing there.

22. If we understood well what you have said, the vital principle resides in the universal fluid and from that the spirit extracts the semi-material covering that makes their perispirit. It is through this fluid that the spirit acts upon the inert matter. Is that correct?

- Yes, that is correct, the fluid animates matter by a kind of factitious life; matter is animated by the animal life. The table that moves under your hands lives and suffers like the animal; once it is intelligent, it obeys by itself. It is not the spirit who drives it like man does with a load. When the table lifts up it is not the spirit who does that; it is the animated table that obeys the intelligent spirit.

23. Since the universal fluid is the source of life, will it be, at the same time, the source of intelligence?

- No. The fluid only animates matter.

This theory of the physical manifestations offers several points in common with the one we gave, although it differs in certain aspects. From one as from the other a capital point sticks out: the universal fluid, in which the principle of life resides, is the main agent of those manifestations and that agent receives the impulse from the spirit, incarnated or errant. That fluid, when condensed, forms the perispirit or the semi material covering of the spirit. When incarnated, the perispirit is united to matter; it is free when the spirit is errant (see note 6).

Thus, two issues are presented here: the apparition of the spirits and the motion imposed on the solid bodies.

As for the first we shall say that the etherealized matter of the perispirit escapes the perception of our organs; only the soul can see it, be it in dreams or in somnambulistic state or even being half asleep, in one word, whenever there is partial or total suspension of the senses’ activities. When incarnated, the perispirit’s substance is more or less intimately attached to the body’s matter; more or less adherent, if we can say so. In some people there is a kind of emanation of that fluid, as a consequence of their organization, and it is this fact that properly constitutes the mediums of physical effects. This fluid, emanated from the body, combines with that which forms the semi material covering of the spirit, according to laws that are still unknown to us. A certain reaction results form that, a kind of molecular reaction that momentarily alters its properties, to the point of making it visible and, in certain cases, tangible. This effect may be produced with or without the support of the medium’s own will and this is what differentiates the natural mediums from the facultative ones. The emission of the fluid may be more or less abundant: hence, the more or less potent mediums. The occurrence is not permanent, what explains the off and on behavior of that power. Finally, if we consider the degree of affinity between the medium’s fluid and this or that spirit, it is understandable that their influence may be exerted on some but not on others.

What we have just said evidently applies also to the medianimic power, with respect to the motion of solid bodies. We now need to know how such a motion may take place.

As from the questions above, the issue is presented under an entirely different aspect. When an object is placed in motion, either taken from someone’ hands or thrown in the air, it is not the spirit who grabs, pushes or lifts it, as we would do with one hand. The spirit, so to speak, saturates the object with its fluid by the combination with the medium’s and, momentarily vivified, the object acts as if it were a living being, with the difference that, not having its own will, it follows the will of the spirit. This willpower can be as much the willpower of the medium as the willpower of a strange spirit or both, acting in concert, as they can be or not be sympathetic. The sympathy or lack of it that may exist between the medium and the spirits who occupy the medium with these material effects explain why not everyone is equiped to provoke them.

Considering the vital fluid, somehow driven by the spirit, gives a factious and momentary life to the inert bodies, it stands to reason that the perispirit itself is nothing less than vital fluid. It also follows that, when incarnated, it is the spirit that gives life to the body by its perispirit. The perispirit remains attached to the body while the organism is alive. When the body is no longer alive, the perispirit leaves.

Now if instead of a table, one has a piece of wood carved and shaped as a statue, and, if we act upon it, we shall have a statue that moves from its original place and will respond by movements and by raps. In this situation, a statue is momentarily animated by an artificial life. How much light such a theory sheds on a large number of inexplicable phenomena! How many allegories and wonderful phenomena it explains! It is a whole philosophy.

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