THE SPIRITIST REVIEW - JOURNAL OF PSYCHOLOGICAL STUDIES - 1858

Allan Kardec

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Henri Martin
His opinion about extra-corporeal communications


We see here certain distinguished writers shrugging their shoulders to the simple enunciation that a story was written by the spirits. They say:

- How come the beings of the other world may control our knowledge, control us, Earth’s scholars? Come on! Is it possible?

Gentlemen, we do not force you to believe; not even shall we make the least effort to subtract you from such an illusion. In the interest of your future glory, we invite you to write your names with indestructible characters as footnote of this modest sentence: All adepts of Spiritism are senseless, as only we are assigned the judgment of the extension of God’s power. This said so as posterity do not forget them. Posterity itself will see if they shall have a place side by side with those who, not long ago, were repelled by men and to whom Science and public acknowledgement now build statues.

Here you have, however, a writer whose high capacity everyone recognizes, risking himself to be taken by an empty head; He also holds the flag of the new ideas about the relationships between the physical and the extra-corporeal world. In Henri Martin’s Histoire de France, volume 6, page 143, we read the following, regarding Joan of Arc:

“... there is in humanity an exceptional order of moral and physical facts that apparently do not comply with the ordinary laws of nature: these are the states of ecstasy and somnambulism, artificial or spontaneous, with all the admirable phenomena of perturbation of the senses, of partial or total insensitivity of the body, exaltation of the soul, of perceptions beyond all conditions of normal life. The facts that this class were judged under points of view completely in opposition. Once the common relationships of organs are disturbed, the physiologists classify the ecstatic and somnambulist states as diseases. They admit the phenomena which they can describe in the pathology but deny everything else, that is, all that seems to be outside of the laws of Physics. Disease becomes madness to their eyes when hallucinations of the senses and visions of objects only seen by the visionary are added to the alteration of the organ’s actions.

“A renowned physiologist sustained with austerity that Socrates was a lunatic because he thought he could talk to his demon.”

“The mystics respond by not only stating that the extraordinary phenomena of magnetic perception are real, subject about which they find numerous auxiliaries and numerous witnesses outside mysticism, but by also sustaining that the vision of the ecstatic have real objects, certainly not seen by the eyes of the body, but by those of the spirit. Ecstasy is the bridge between the visible and invisible worlds to them; the memory and the promise of a better existence, from where we fell and have to re-conquer.”

“Which side should History and Philosophy take in such a debate?”

“History could not precisely determine the limits neither the extension of the phenomena, nor of the ecstatic and somnambulist faculties, but attest that they happen everywhere; that men have always given credit to them; that they have exerted a considerable action over humanity’s destinies; that they have manifested not only among the contemplative but also among the most powerful geniuses and the majority of the great initiated men; however unreasonable the ecstatic may be, there is nothing in common between the digressions of madness and the visions of so many others; that the visions may be connected to certain laws; that the ecstatic of all times and all places have something that maybe called a common language, the language of the symbols, from which poetry is not more than a derivative, language which expresses, more or less constantly, the same idea and the same feelings through the same images.”

“It might be reckless to conclude something in the name of Philosophy. Nevertheless, after acknowledging the moral importance of those phenomena, however obscure, its law and objective may be; after distinguishing them in two degrees, one inferior, which is nothing beyond a strange extension or inexplicable dislocation of the actions of the organs, and the other superior, which is a prodigious exaltation of the moral and intellectual powers, the philosopher could, as it seems to us, sustain that the illusion of the inspired one consists in considering as revelation done by exterior beings, angels, saints or genies, the interior revelations of this infinite personality, which is inside us, and that, sometimes, among the best and the greatest, manifest through latent forces which almost incommensurably go beyond the faculties of our current condition. In one word, in academic language, they are to us facts of subjectivity; in the language of the old mystic philosophies and of the most advanced religions, these are revelations of the Mazdean ferouer *, of the good demon (of Socrates), of the guardian angel, of this other self which is nothing more than the eternal self, in full possession of itself, gliding above the self, immersed in the shades of life. It is the figure of the magnificent Zoroastrian symbol, represented everywhere in Persepolis and Ninive: the winged ferouer or the celestial self, gliding above the earthly person.”

“Denying the action of the exterior beings over the inspired ones; not seeing in their pretense manifestations more than a form given to the ecstatic intuitions by the beliefs and environment of their time; looking for the solution of the problem in the depths of the human personality, it is not absolutely to doubt the Divine intervention in the great phenomena and in the great existences. The author and support of the whole life, however much essentially independent may it be from each creature and from the whole creation; the more distinct may its absolute personality be from our contingent being, it is not an exterior being, that is, strange to us, and it is not from the exterior that it speaks to us. When the soul dives into itself, it is there that it finds Him and, in all salutary inspiration, our freedom associates to his Providence. Here, as in everything, it is necessary to predict the double danger of incredulity and badly clarified piety: one sees nothing but illusions and purely human impulses; the other refuses to admit any portion of illusion, of ignorance or of imperfection, where it only sees the finger of God, as if God’s envoys were no longer men, men of a certain time and a certain place, and as if the sublime lightning which trespasses their soul deposits in them the universal Science and the absolute perfection. In the more evidently providential inspirations, men’s mistakes combine with God’s truth. The infallible being communicates its infallibility to nobody.”

“We hope that this digression will not be considered superfluous. We should position ourselves about the character and about the work of that inspired one who, to the highest degree of testimony of the extraordinary faculties that we mentioned above, applied them to the most brilliant mission of the modern times. It was necessary to attempt to produce an opinion adequate to the level of the category of exceptional beings to which Joan of Arc belongs.”


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* In the avestica religion the supernatural being corresponds to the genies of the Romans or the guardian angels of the Catholic Church.

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