THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO SPIRITISM

Allan Kardec

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SUICIDE AND MADNESS

14. The calm and resignation which can be absorbed according to the manner in which terrestrial life is viewed, together with confidence in the future, give the Spirit a serenity which is the best preventive measure against madness and suicide. To be sure, it is certain that the vast majority of cases of madness are due to the commotion produced by vicissitudes which Man has not had the strength to face. But if the things of this world are looked at from the point of view with which Spiritism regards them, all the reverses and deceptions which in other circumstances would cause Man to become desperate, can be received with indifference, even with happiness. It is evident then, that this inner strength puts him above these happenings, so protecting him from shocks to the mind which, if it were not for this, would cause serious disturbances.

15. The same applies to suicide. Leaving aside those which occur due to drunkenness or madness, which can be classified as unconscious, it is incontestable that in every case the cause is discontentment, whatever the private motives may be. But for those who are sure they will only be unhappy for a day, and that the days to come will be much better, it is easy to be patient. Man only becomes desperate when he can see no end to his sufferings. What is a lifetime compared to eternity? Is it not less than a day? But for those who do not believe in eternity, or who judge that everything ends with life, for the unfortunate and the afflicted who become dejected, grief-stricken or heartbroken, death appears to be the only solution for so much sorrow. Expecting to receive nothing, it seems natur~ and even logical to them to shorten their miseries by means of suicide.

16. Total incredulity, simply doubting as to the future or having materialistic ideas, are in fact the greatest of all incitements towards suicide because they cause moral cowardice. When scientists, upheld by the authority of their knowledge, do their best to prove to those who will listen or read what they write, that we have nothing to expect after death, are they not in fact leading us to deduce that if we are wretched then the best thing to do is to kill ourselves? What can they offer as a reason to turn away from this consequence? What compensation do they have to offer? What hope can they give? None at all, except nothingness! From this we should conclude that if nothingness is the only heroic remedy, the only prospective, then it would be better to seek it immediately and not later on, so as to suffer less.

So then, the dissemination of materialistic doctrine is the poison which inoculates the idea of suicide into the majority of those who actually come to commit this act, and those who become disciples of such doctrines assume tremendous responsibilities. With Spiritism, however, this doubt is impossible and the aspect of life changes completely. For the believer, existence prolongs itself after the so-called death, although in many varied conditions. From this belief stems patience and resignation which naturally leads all thought away from the idea of suicide. This then is the process which enables us to acquire moral courage.

17. In the same aspect, Spiritism produces yet another equally positive result, one which is perhaps even more decisive. It presents to us these actual suicides, who inform us of the unhappy situation in which they find themselves, so proving that no one violates God's laws with impunity. God prohibits Man to cut short his own life. Amongst these suicides there are those whose suffering, although temporary and not eternal, is none the less terrible and of such a nature as to make those who might be considering this act reflect, before leaving this world sooner than God ordained. The Spiritist however, has various reasons against the idea of suicide: the certainty of a future life in which he knows that his happiness will be in proportion to his misfortunes and the degree of resignation shown while on Earth; the certainty that if he abbreviates his life he will in fact reap the exact opposite of the desired result.

By liberating himself from a trial in this manner, he will consequently encounter another and far worse one in its place, longer and more terrible. The Spiritist knows that he is mistaken in imagining that by killing himself he will reach Heaven more quickly; he knows that suicide is an obstacle which will prevent him joining those he loves and hopes to meet on the other side. From whence the consequences of suicide, which only bring deceptions, are against his own interests. For these reasons alone the number of people already saved from suicide is quite considerable. From this we may conclude that when all men and women are Spiritists, conscious suicide will cease to exist.

When comparing the results of materialist doctrines with those of the Spiritist Doctrine, on this one point alone we are forced to recognise that whereas the logic of the first leads towards suicide, the second prevents suicide, which is a fact proven on many occasions.


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