What is Spiritism?

Allan Kardec

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Visitor - It is actual phenomena that disbelievers would like to see, that they ask for, and. that most of the time they cannot be furnished with. If people could witness these occurrences, there would be no more room for doubt. How is it, then, that so many people haven't been allowed to see anything in spite of their willingness? One might argue that it is due to their lack of faith, but to that they correctly reply that they cannot have faith in advance, and that if belief is desired of them, they must be given the means to believe.

A.K. - The reason is quite simple. They want the phenomena to happen at their command, but spirits do not obey commands; one must wait for their good will. Hence, it isn't enough to say: Show me this or that phenomenon and I will believe; one must have the willingness to persevere, to let the phenomena occur spontaneously, without trying to force or direct them. The ones that are hoped for will perhaps be exactly the ones that are not received. But others will appear, and the one hoped for will come at a time when it is least expected. To the eyes of the attentive and diligent observer, they will appear collectively, corroborating each other. However, those who think that it is enough to turn a crank to start the machine are badly mistaken. What do naturalists do when they want to study the habits of animals? Do they command them, to do such and such a thing so they may have the leisure to observe them as they please? No, because they know very well that the subject will not obey them; they watch for spontaneous expressions of their instinct; they wait and learn about them as they occur. Plain common sense shows that it is even more reasonable that the same would apply to spirits, who are intelligences much more independent than animals.

It is wrong to believe that faith is necessary, but good faith - that is something different. There are skeptics who deny the evidence, and not even miracles could convince them. How many are there who, having seen the phenomena, nonetheless insist on explaining them in their own way, saying that it doesn't prove anything! Such people serve only to disrupt meetings without any benefit to themselves. That is why we should avoid them and not want to waste any time on them. There are those who would become downright angry at being forced to believe, because their pride would suffer at having to admit that they were wrong. What can we say to people who see nothing but illusion and charlatanism everywhere? Nothing; we must leave them alone and say, as is their desire, that they did, in fact, see nothing, and even say that no one was able or willing to enable them to see.

Alongside these hardened skeptics there are those who want to see things their own way; who, having formed an opinion, want everything to relate to it. They do not understand that the phenomena will not obey their will; they do not know how to — or do not want to - situate themselves in the necessary conditions. Those who want to observe in good faith should not believe without question, but rid themselves of all preconceived ideas and not want to compare incompatible things. They should wait, follow and observe with tireless patience. The same applies to adherents, since it shows that they haven't arrived at their convictions lightly. Do you have such patience? No, you will say; I don't have the time. Then don't concern yourself with it; but don't talk about it either - no one is making you.

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