THE MEDIUMS’ BOOK

Allan Kardec

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112. The cause of dreams has never yet been explained by science, which attributes them to an effect of the imagination, but does not tell us what imagination is, nor how it produces the clear and distinct images which sometimes appear to us. Scientific men are too much given to explaining an unknown thing by another thing as little known, leaving the problems they deal with very much as they were. It is often said that dreams are a recollection of the occupations of our waking state; but, even
admitting this solution, which is no solution at all, there still remains the question, what is the magic mirror which thus preserves the traces of things, and, above all, how are we to explain the visions we sometimes see of real things, never seen by us in our waking state, and about which we never thought? Spiritism alone can give us the key to this strange phenomenon, which is only overlooked because it is so very common, like all the other wonders of nature that we are so apt to trample under foot.

The votaries of science have disdained to trouble them-selves about hallucinations; but whether real or not, they nevertheless constitute an order of phenomena that physiology ought to be able to explain, under pain of avowing its insufficiency. If; some of these days, a scientific man should undertake to give, not a mere definition, but a physiological explanation, of this class 6f phenomena, we shall see how far his theory covers the whole ground; he must not omit the very common facts of the apparition of persons at the moment of their death, and he must show us the source of the coincidence of the apparition with the death of the person. If this coincidence had occurred but once, we might attribute it to chance; but the fact is of frequent recurrence, and chance is not recurrent. If the person who saw the apparition were already possessed with the idea that the party appearing was about to die, we might attribute the apparition to imagination ; but it generally happens that the person seen is not in the thoughts of the seer at the moment of the apparition, so that imagination has nothing to do with it. Still less can the imagination theory explain the presentation of the circumstances of a death, the idea of which never entered our heads. Will the partisans of hallucination assume that the soul (supposing they admit the existence of the soul) has moments of over-excitement, and of abnormal power? If so, we agree with them, for this may be the case ; but, when what is seen is proved by events to have been real, we must drop the theory of illusion. If the soul, in its excitement, sees an object which is not present, it must transport itself
to that object; and if our soul can transport itself to an absent person, why should not the soul of an absent person transport itself to us? Let those who adopt the theory of hallucination explain all this; and let them not forget that a theory which is opposed by facts is necessarily false or incomplete.


While awaiting the explanation demanded, we ask attention to the following considerations on the subject.

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