Allan Kardec

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15. Because of an offensive word, possibly something slight, a man of the world throws away his life, which came from God, or throws away the life of a fellow creature, which also belongs to God. This man is a hundred times more guilty than the scoundrel, driven by covetousness and sometimes by necessity, who enters into a residence with intent to rob and kills all those who oppose his intentions. In this case, we are usually dealing with a person of little education having an imperfect notion of good and bad; whereas the duellist, as a rule, belongs to the more cultured class. The one kills with brutality, while the other kills with method and refinement, in view of which society forgives him. I would even add that the duellist is infinitely more guilty than the scoundrel who, on giving way to a desire for vengeance, kills in a moment of exasperation. The duellist however does not have the excuse of a frenzy of passion, because between the moment of insult and retribution there has been time for reflection. He acts coldly, with premeditation, studying and calculating everything so that he may be more sure of killing his opponent It is true he also exposes his own life, which is what rehabilitates him in the eyes of the public, as they see only an act of courage and disregard for life. But is there any courage on the part of someone who is sure of himself? The duel, reminiscent of barbarous times in which the right of the strongest was law, will disappear as a result of a better appreciation of what a point of honour really means, and according to the extent that mankind deposits living faith in a future life. -AUGUSTIN (Bordeaux, 1861).

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