Allan Kardec

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Moral problems: suicide for love

Seven or eight months ago Mr. Louis G..., the shoemaker, was dating the young Victorine R..., a boot stitcher with whom he was soon to marry, hence the marriage license was about to be issued. The couple considered themselves almost definitely united and to save money the shoemaker used to come to the bride’s house for his meals.

As usual, he came last Wednesday to have supper at the boot stitcher’s house, when a silly discussion took place over something of minor importance. Both sides were very adamant so that things heated up to a point that made Louis leave, swearing not to come back.

Nevertheless, on the very next day the very confused shoemaker came to apologize. They say that sleep is a good counselor, but the lady worker after the previous scene and maybe foreseeing what could happen when there would be no way back, refused reconciliation thus neither his protests nor his cries and desperation could win her back. Nevertheless, as several days had gone by since that regrettable incident, and expecting that his beloved one would be more manageable, in the evening before last Louis wished to try a final explanation: he knocked on the door so as to be recognized but she refused to answer. He renovated his protests and supplication through the door but his elected one remained unaltered.

“You are mean, then good bye!” said the poor man. “Good bye forever! Look for a husband that loves you as much as I do!”
Simultaneously the lady heard a muffled groan, then the noise of a falling body, as if just supported by the door, and then silence. She thought that Louis had just seated at her door step, waiting for her first coming out of the house but she promised herself that she would not step her foot outside while he was there.

A quarter of an hour had gone by when one of the residents, walking through the yard with a lamp, yelled for help. Soon other neighbors joined in and Ms. Victorine, opening the door, screamed in horror when she saw her fiancé on the ground, pale and motionless. Everybody tried to help and seek medical support but soon all noticed that it was useless since the man had gone. The unfortunate man had stabbed his own chest with a shoemaker’s knife..

This fact found on the Le Siècle on April 7th last gave us the idea of enquiring a superior spirit about the moral consequences of such an event. Here the answers given by the spirit of St. Louis in the session of the Society, on August 10th, 1858.

1. Has the young lady, who was the involuntary cause of her boyfriend’s death, any responsibility?
- Yes, because she did not love him.

2. Should she have married him to avoid such a tragedy, even if not loving him?
- She was looking for an occasion to separate from him; she did in the beginning of the relationship what she would have done later.

3. Thus the culpability is in the fact that she gave him hope by responding to feelings that she did not share and that was the cause of the man’s death?
- Yes. That is correct.

4. In that case her responsibility should be proportional to the fault that should not be as important as if she had premeditatedly provoked the death.
- That is obvious.

5. Does Louis’ suicide find justification in the madness that he found himself due to his obstinacy for Victorine?
- Yes because his suicide is less unlawful to the eyes of God than that of a man that wants to get away from life by cowardliness.

OBSERVATION: By saying that the suicide is less unlawful to the eyes of God it evidently means that it is still criminal, to a lesser degree. The fault is in his weakness that he could not overcome and, no doubt, a failed trial. Well, the spirits teach us that the merit is in victoriously fighting over the trials of all kinds that are the essence of life on Earth.
The spirit of Mr. Louis C... was evoked on another day and answered the following questions:

1. What do you think about your action?
- Victorine is ungrateful. I was wrong by killing myself for her, as she did not deserve it.

2. She did not love you then?
- No. In the beginning she thought so but she was mistaken. The scene I created opened her eyes. Then she felt happy with that excuse to let me go.

3. And you, did you sincerely love her?
- I was in love with her. I believe it was only that. Had I loved her with pure love I would not have wanted to hurt her.

4. Had she known that you would really kill yourself, would she have persisted on her refusal?
- I don’t know. I don’t believe so since she was not mean. However, she would have been unhappy. For her it was better that way.

5. When you got to her door did you have the intention of killing yourself in case you were denied?
- No. I never thought of that. I did not think that she was so decided. It was only when I saw her stubbornness that I was overtaken by an unsteadiness.

6. It seems that you do not regret the suicide but only because Victorine did not deserve it. Is that your only feeling?
- As of now, yes. I am still perturbed. It still seems that I am at her doorstep. However, I feel something that I cannot define.

7. Will you understand later?
- Yes, when I am detached... what I did was bad. I should have left her in peace... I was weak and do suffer the consequences... As you see, passion leads man to blindness and to act absurdly. He only understands when it is too late.

8. You said that you suffer the consequences. What is your punishment?
- I was wrong abbreviating my life. I should not have done that. I should have resisted instead of prematurely ending everything. That is why I am unhappy. I suffer. It is always her that makes me suffer. I feel like I am at her doorstep. How ungrateful! Don’t mention this any longer. I don’t want to think any more. Good-bye.

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