Allan Kardec

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34. The reader, however, would greatly mistake our views if he supposed that we would counsel him to neglect the modern manifestations, for it is through them that we have been led to the theory in question. It is true that we have had to devote ourselves assiduously, during several years, to collating the results of innumerable observations, in working out this theory to its completion; but, inasmuch as these manifestations have served us, and serve us daily, for the elucidation of the views we have arrived at, it would be impossible for us to underrate their importance, especially in writing a book with the object of making them known. What we would say is, that, unless we reason upon them, the phenomena themselves do not suffice to determine conviction; that a preliminary explanation, by disarming prejudices, and by showing that there is nothing in those phenomena contrary to reason, paves the way for the admission of their reality. This is so true, that, of ten persons new to the subject who may assist at an experimental "séance," however satisfactory it may be in the eyes of those who are convinced already, nine of them will leave the room without being convinced, and some of them even more incredulous than they were before, because the experiment has not come up to their expectations. Quite otherwise will it be with those who are able to estimate correctly what they see, thanks to a theoretic knowledge of the subject, previously obtained. For these, the "séance" is a means to an end, and nothing takes them by surprise, not even failure, because they know the conditions under which the phenomena occur, and that it is useless to ask for what cannot be had. Knowledge gained in advance of facts puts us in a position to estimate aright even the anomalies presented by them, and to seize a multitude of details and shades, often of the most delicate nature, which for us are so many sources of conviction, but which would not be appreciated, nor even noted, by the uninstructed observer. For these reasons we admit to our experimental "séances" only those who have sufficient preparatory knowledge to understand what may occur in them; so fully persuaded are we that any others would only lose their time, and make us lose ours.

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