What is Spiritism?

Allan Kardec

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Persons who have only a superficial understanding of Spiritism will, of course, be led to ask certain questions about it, and a thorough study would certainly provide the answers. However, these individuals often lack the time and frequently the willpower to undertake an ongoing study. Before doing so, they will at least want to know what they are dealing with and if it is worthwhile to concern themselves with it. Therefore, it seemed to us that it would be useful to provide in a concise form the answers to some of the fundamental questions that are asked of us every day. For the reader, this will comprise a preliminary initiation, and for us, it will save us from constantly having to repeat the same things.

The first chapter uses dialogue form to answer the most common objections of those who are unaware of the Doctrine's primary fundamentals, as well as to refute the main arguments of its opponents. This format seemed the most suitable because it does not involve the dryness of the dogmatic form.

The second chapter is devoted to a succinct exposition of the sciences practical and experimental aspects, to which, in the absence of a complete study, novice observers should direct their attention with full knowledge of the facts. In a way, this chapter forms a summary of The Mediums' Book. Most often, objections arise from preconceived, wrong ideas concerning something one does not understand. To rectify such ideas means to anticipate the objections: such is the goal of this little section.

The third chapter may be regarded as a summary of The Spirits' Book, which contains the Spiritist Doctrine's solution to a number of problems of great psychological, moral and philosophical interest, problems posed daily and for which no philosophy has yet provided any satisfactory solution. If we try to solve them using some other theory and without the key that Spiritism furnishes, we will realize that Spiritism's answers are still the most logical and those that better satisfy reason.

This summary is useful not only for beginners who will be able to draw the essential notions of Spiritism from it in a short amount of time and without much effort, but also for its adherents because it will furnish them the means to respond to the main objections that will never cease to be raised, and because they will find here at a glance and under a concise form the principles that they must never lose sight of.

In order to respond summarily here and now to the question formulated in the title of this short work, we will state that:

Spiritism is simultaneously a science of observation and a philosophical doctrine. As a practical science, it consists in the relations that can be established with spirits. As a philosophy, it entails all the moral consequences that result from such relations.

Hence, it may be defined as follows:

Spiritism is a science that deals with the nature, origin and destiny of spirits, and their relation with the corporeal world

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