Allan Kardec

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Fluidic Elements

1. Science has furnished the key to those miracles which proceed particularly from the material element, either by explaining them, or in demonstrating the impossibility of them by the laws which rule matter. But the phenomena where the spiritual element is the preponderating force, not being explainable solely by the laws of matter, escape the investigations of scientists. That is why they have more than other facts the apparent character of marvels. It is then only in the laws which rule spiritual life one can find the key for the miracles of this category.

2. The universal cosmic fluid is, as has been demonstrated, elementary primitive matter, of which the modifications and transformations constitute the innumerable varieties of the bodies of nature (Chap. X). So far as the elementary universal principle is concerned, it offers two distinct states; that of etherealization, or imponderability, that one can consider as the primitive and normal state, and that of materialization, or ponderability, which is in some sort only consecutive. The intermediary point is that of the transformation of the fluid into tangible matter; but there still is no sudden transition, for one can consider our imponderable fluids as a boundary between the two states (chap. IV, from n° 10 on).

Each one of these two states gives place necessarily to special phenomena. To the second belong those of the visible world, and to the first those of the invisible one. Those called material phenomena are, properly speaking, in the domain of science. The solution of the others, designated spiritual or psychical phenomena, because they are allied more especially to the existence of spirits, is among the prerogatives of Spiritism. But, as spiritual and material life are in incessant contact, the phenomena of these two orders are presented often simultaneously. Man, in a state of incarnation, can have only the perception of the physical phenomena which are connected with the material life. Those which belong to the exclusive domain of spiritual life escape the eye of the material senses, and can be perceived only in the spiritual state. *

*The name psychical phenomena expresses the idea better than spiritual does, as these phenomena rest upon the properties and attributes of the soul, or rather on the perispiritual fluids, which are inseparable from the soul. This qualification attaches them more intimately to the order of natural facts, regulated by laws. One can then admit them as psychical effects without allowing them the title of miracles.

3. In an etherealized state the cosmic fluid is not uniform. Without ceasing to be ethereal, it is submitted to modifications as varied in their kind and more numerous than in a state of tangible matter. These modifications constitute distinct fluids, which, although proceeding from the same principle, are endowed with special properties, and give rise to particular phenomena of the invisible world.

All being relative, these fluids have for the spirits, who are themselves fluidic, an appearance as material as that of the objects for the incarnates, and are for them that which the substances of the terrestrial world are for us. They elaborate and combine them, in order to produce determined effects, as men do with their materials, yet by different processes.

But there, as here, it is only given to the most enlightened spirits to comprehend the role of the constitutive elements of their world. The ignorant people of the invisible world are as incapable of explaining the phenomena of which they are witnesses, and in which they cooperate often mechanically, as the ignorant of Earth are of explaining the effects of light or of electricity, or of explaining the process of seeing and hearing.

4. The fluidic elements of the spiritual world elude our instruments of analysis, and the perception of our senses. They are things suited to tangible and not to ethereal matter. Spiritual substances belong to a midst so different from ours that we can judge of them only by comparisons as imperfect as those by which a man born blind seeks to form an idea of the theory of color.

But among these fluids a few are intimately joined to corporeal life, and belong in a measure to the terrestrial universe. In default of direct perception of cause, it is possible to observe the effects of them as one can observe the fluids of a magnet, which no one has ever seen, and acquire some knowledge of their nature with precision. This study is essential; for it is the key to a multitude of phenomena, which are inexplicable by the laws of matter alone.

5. The starting-point of the universal fluid is the degree of absolute ethereality, of which nothing can give us an idea. Its opposite point is its transformation into material substance. Between these two extremes there exist innumerable transformations, which are allied more or less to one another. The fluids which are the nearest materiality – consequently the least pure – are composed of that which might be called the spiritual terrestrial atmosphere. In this midst are found the widely different degrees of ethereality whence the incarnated and discarnated inhabitants of the Earth draw the necessary elements for the economy of their existence. These fluids, however subtle and impalpable they may be to us, are nevertheless of comparatively gross nature to the ethereal fluids of the superior regions.

It is the same on the surface of all worlds, saving the differences of constitution and vitality proper to each. The less material life there is there, the less the spiritual fluids have of affinity with matter.

The name “spiritual fluid” is not rigidly accurate as it is really always matter more or less refined. There is nothing really spiritual, but the soul or intelligent principle. We designate fluids thus by comparison, and chiefly by reason of their affinity with spirits. They constitute the substance of the spiritual world. That is why they are called spiritual fluids.

6. Who understands the intricate constitution of tangible matter? It is, perhaps, compact only in relation to our senses; and that which seems to prove this is the facility with which it is traversed by spiritual fluids, and the spirits to whom it is no more of an obstacle than are transparent bodies to light.

Tangible matter, having for a primitive element the ethereal cosmic fluid, must be able, by becoming disintegrated, to return to a state of etherealization, as the diamond, the hardest of bodies, can be volatized into impalpable gas. The solidification of matter is in reality only a transitory state of the universal fluid, which can return to its primitive state when the conditions of cohesion cease to exist.

Who knows even if, in a tangible state, matter is not susceptible of acquiring a sort of etherealization which would give to it peculiar properties? Certain phenomena which appear authentic tend towards such a supposition as this. We do not yet posses all the beacon-lights of the invisible world; and the future has in reserve for us, without doubt, the knowledge of new laws, which will allow us to comprehend that which is still to us a mystery.

Formation and Properties of the Perispirit

7. The perispirit, or fluidic body of the spirits, is one of the most important products of the cosmic fluid: it is a condensation of this fluid around a focus of intelligence or soul. It is also seen that the fleshly body has also its origin in this same fluid transformed and condensed into tangible matter. In the perispirit the molecular transformation operates differently, for the fluid preserves its imponderability and its ethereal qualities. The perispiritual and carnal body have, then, their source in the same primitive element; both are of matter, although under two different states of it.

8. Spirits draw their perispirit from the place where they find themselves; that is to say, that this envelop is formed from the ambient fluids. The result is, that the constitutive elements of the perispirit must vary according to worlds. Jupiter, being a very advanced world, in comparison to the Earth, where corporeal life has not the materiality of ours, its perispiritual envelopes must be of a nature infinitely more ethereal than upon our Earth. Now, although we would not be able to exist in that world in our carnal bodies, our spirits would not be able to penetrate there with their terrestrial perispirit. In quitting the Earth the spirit leaves there its fluidic envelop, and is supplied with another appropriate to the world where he must go.

9. The nature of the fluidic envelope is always in accord with the degree of moral advancement of the spirit. Inferior spirits cannot change their inclination, and consequently cannot by desire transport themselves from one world to another. It is they whose fluidic envelope, although ethereal and imponderable as regards tangible matter, is still too heavy, if one can express it thus, in relation to the spiritual world to allow them to leave their place. It is necessary to include in this category those whose perispirit is gross enough to be confounded with their carnal body, which for this reason they believe is still alive. These spirits (and their number is great) remain on the surface of the Earth like the incarnated ones, believing themselves always to be attending to their occupations. Others, a little more dematerialized, are not sufficiently so to elevate themselves above the terrestrial regions. *

Superior spirits, on the contrary, can enter into inferior worlds, and even incarnate themselves there. They draw, from the constitutive elements of the world they enter, the materials for the fluidic and carnal envelopes appropriate to the midst where they find themselves. They, like the great lord who temporarily leaves his gilded garments to assume the peasant’s garb, without being other than the titled character he is on account of the change, will not change thereby their high estate.

It is thus that spirits of the most elevated order can manifest themselves to the inhabitants of Earth, or incarnate themselves for a mission among them. These spirits carry with them, not the envelope, but the remembrance by intuition of the regions whence they came, and which they see in thought. These are people who see among the blind people.

* Examples of spirits believing themselves still in this world: “Revue Spirite,” Dec., 1859, p. 310; Nov., 1864, p. 339; April, 1865, p. 117.

10. The bed of spiritual fluids which surrounds the Earth can be compared to the inferior beds of the atmosphere, heavier, more compact, less pure than the superior beds. These fluids are not homogeneous, they are a mixture of molecules of diverse qualities, amongst which are necessarily found the elementary molecules which form the base, but more or less changed in different states. The effect produced by these fluids will be according to the number of pure parts which they enclose. Such is, by comparison, rectified or mixed alcohol in different proportions of water or of other substances. Its specific weight is augmented by this mixture; while, at the same time, its force and inflammability are diminished, although there may be pure alcohol in all.

The spirits called to live in this midst draw from there their perispirit; but, according as the spirit becomes more or less purified, its perispirit is formed from the purest or grossest fluid of the world in which it is going to incarnate. The spirit produces there, always by comparison and not by assimilation, the effect of a chemical re-agent which attracts to it the molecules assimilable to its nature.

This capital fact results from it: that the inmost constitution of the perispirit is not identical with all incarnated or discarnated spirits which people the Earth or surrounding space. It is not the same with carnal bodies, which, as has been demonstrated, have been formed of the same elements whatever the superiority or inferiority of their spirits may have been. Also with us the effects produced by bodies are the same, they have the same necessities, while they differ by all that which is inherent in the perispirit.

Another result is, that the perispiritual envelope of the same spirit is modified with the moral progress of the latter at each incarnation, although incarnating himself in the same surroundings; that the superior spirits, incarnating themselves exceptionally by a mission into an inferior world, have a perispirit less gross than that of the natives of this world.

11. A place is always in harmony with the nature of the beings who must live there. Fish are in water; winged beings are in the air; spiritual beings are in the spiritual or ethereal fluid, even upon the Earth. The ethereal fluid is for the needs of the spirit, as the atmosphere is for the necessities of the body. Now, as fishes cannot live in the air, and terrestrial animals cannot live in an atmosphere too rarefied for their lungs, inferior spirits cannot support the splendor and impression of the most ethereal fluids. They would not die, because spirit cannot die; but an instinctive force keeps them at a distance, as one keeps away from a fire which is too hot, or from a light which is too strong. This is the reason why they cannot go away from the midst appropriate to their nature. In order to change it, it is necessary first to change their nature, that they be despoiled of the material instincts which retain them in material midst. As they become purified and morally transformed, they gradually become identified with purer surroundings, which become a necessity to them, like the eyes of him who has remained a long time in darkness are habituated imperceptibly to the light of day and the splendor of the sun.

12. Thus all is united, all harmonize in the universe. All is submitted to the great and harmonious law of unity, from the most compact materiality to the purest spirituality. The Earth is like a vase whence escapes a thick smoke, which clears away as it ascends, the rarefied particles of which are lost in infinite space.

Divine power shines in all parts of this great whole. Who would desire that, in order better to attest his power, God, discontented with that which he has made, should disturb this harmony? That he should lower himself to the level of a magician by performing acts worthy of a prestidigitator? And in addition to this they dare to give him as a rival in skill Satan himself! Never, in truth, was divine Majesty more undervalued, and men are astonished at the progress of incredulity!

You are right in saying “Faith is departing!” But it is faith in all that chokes reason and

good sense that is departing, – a faith similar to that which formerly induced persons to exclaim, “the Gods are departing.” But faith in serious things, in God, and in immortality, is always alive in the hearts of men; and, if it has been stifled with the puerile histories with which it has been overloaded, it raises itself stronger as soon as it has been extricated, as the restrained plant rises again in the light of the sun of which it has been deprived.

All is wonderful in nature because all is admirable, and testifies of divine wisdom. These wonders are for all the world, for all those who have eyes to see and ears to hear, and not for the profit of a few. No, there are no miracles in the sense attached to this word, because all is amenable to the eternal laws of creation.

Action of the Spirits upon the Fluids – Fluidic Creations – Photograph of the Thought

13. The spiritual fluids, which constitute one of the states of the universal cosmic fluid, are then the atmosphere of spiritual beings. It is the element whence they draw the materials with which they operate, – the place where special phenomena take place, perceptible to the sight and hearing of the spirit, but which escapes the carnal senses which are impressed alone by tangible matter; the ambient wherein the light peculiar to the spiritual world is formed, this being different from the ordinary light because of its causes and effects. In short, they are the vehicle for thought, as the air is for sound.

14. Spirits act upon spiritual fluids, not by manipulating them as men manipulate gas, but by the aid of thought and will. Thought and will are to the spirit that which the hand is to man. By thought they impress these fluids into such and such directions; they agglomerate them, combine or disperse them; they form harmonious wholes of them, which have a definitive appearance, form, and color; they change the properties of them, as a chemist changes those of gas or other bodies by combining them by following certain laws.

Sometimes these transformations are the result of an intention; often they are the product of an unconscious thought. It is sufficient for the spirit only to think of a thing in order that this thing produces itself; it suffices for one to form a melody in one’s mind for it to reverberate through the atmosphere.

Thus, for example, a spirit presents himself to the view of an incarnated being endowed with spiritual sight with the same appearance he had when living at the epoch of their acquaintance, although he may have had many incarnations since that time. He presents himself with the costume, the exterior signs, infirmities, wounds, amputated members, etc., that he had then. A person who has been beheaded will present himself with no head. We do not desire to convey the impression that he has preserved these appearances; no, certainly not; for as a spirit he is neither lame, maimed, blind, nor headless: but, his thought conveying the impression when he was thus, his perispirit takes instantaneously the appearance of it, but it can at the same time leave it instantaneously. If, then, he has been both a black and a white man, he will present himself according to which of these two incarnations may be evoked whence his thought will report itself.

By a similar effect, a spirit’s thought creates fluidicly the objects which he often makes use of. A miser will manage his gold; a military man will have his guns and his uniform; a smoker, his pipe; a workman his plow and his cattle; and an elderly woman, her knitting utensils. These fluidic objects are as real for the spirit, who is also fluidic, as they were in the material state of the living man. However, because they are created by the thought, their existences are also as fleeting as the thought. *

* “Revue Spirite,” July, 1859, p. 184, “The Mediums’ Book,” chap. 8.

15. Fluids being the vehicle of the thought, the latter acts upon them, as the sound does upon the air. They bring us the thought, just as the air brings us the sound. We can, then, say with all truth that in such fluids there are waves and rays of thoughts that cross each other without ever becoming entangled, as do the waves and sonorous rays in the air.

Moreover, the thought creates fluidic images and reflects itself back on its perispiritual body, as on a mirror; the thought takes on body and somehow photographs itself on it. Let us say, for example, that a man has the idea of murdering someone; although his material body is inactive, his fluidic body is - through the thought - put into action, reproducing from this all vibrations. The act he tried to practice is executed fluidicaly. The thought creates the image of the victim and, similarly to a picture, the entire scene is drawn, precisely as it is in his spirit.

This is how the innermost secret movements of the soul are reverberated onto the fluidic body; and how one soul can read another, as one reads a book; and how it sees what is not perceptible by the eyes of the body. Yet, although the intention is seen and it can foresee the subsequent execution of the act, it cannot determine the moment it will take place; neither can it be exact with details, or even affirm whether it will indeed take place, as later circumstances can modify the plans and change the dispositions. The soul cannot see that which is not yet in another person’s thought. What it does see is the habitual preoccupation of the person, his desires, his projects, and his good or bad intentions.

Quality of the Fluids

16. The action of spirits upon spiritual fluids has consequences of a direct and capital importance for incarnated beings. From the instant that these fluids are the vehicle of thought, that thought can modify the properties of them. It is evident that they must be impregnated by the good or bad qualities of the thoughts which put them in vibration, modified by the purity or impurity of the sentiments. Bad thoughts corrupt the spiritual fluids, as deleterious miasmas corrupt the air we breathe. The fluids which surround or that project bad spirits are then vitiated, whilst those which receive the influence of good spirits are as pure as the degree of moral perfection to which they have attained.

17. It would be impossible to itemize or classify the good or bad fluids. Neither could we specify their respective qualities, considering that their diversity is as great as that of the thought.

Fluids do not have “sui generis” qualities, except those they acquire whereat they are elaborated; they are modified by the effluviums of the ambient, just as the air is modified by exhalations, and the water by the layers of salt it crosses. Depending on the circumstances, their qualities are, like those of the air and the water, either temporary or permanent, which makes them more suitable for the production of certain specific effects.

Neither do the fluids have special denominations. As with odors, they are designated by their properties, their effects and their original type. On a moral point of view, they bring the impressions of the sentiments of hatred, envy, jealousy, pride, selfishness, violence, hypocrisy, kindness, benevolence, love, charity, sweetness, etc. On a physical point of view, they are excitants, sedating, piercing, coercing, irritant, soothing, soporific, narcotics, toxics, replenishing, and expellants. They also become a means of transmission, propulsion, etc. The overall picture of the fluids would then be that of all passions, virtues and vices of humanity; and that of the properties of matter, corresponding to the effects they produce.

18. Men, being incarnate beings, have in part the attributes of the spiritual life; for they live in this life as well as in a corporeal one, always during sleep, and often in a conscious state. The spirit, incarnating itself, preserves its perispirit with the qualities which are proper to it, and which, as is known, is not circumscribed by the body, but envelops and radiates around it like a fluidic atmosphere.

By its intimate union with the body the perispirit plays a preponderating role with the organism. By its expansion it places the incarnated being more directly in contact with free spirits.

The thought of the incarnated mind acts upon the spiritual fluids as that of the discarnated spirit’s thought acts. It is transmitted from spirit to spirit in the same way, and, according as it is good or bad, it holds a vicious or healthy relation to the surrounding fluids.

Since the fluids of an ambient are modified by the projection of the spirit’s thoughts, his perispiritual body - which is a constituent part of his being, and which receives directly and in a permanent way the impressions of his thoughts - should receive even more so the impressions of his good or bad qualities. The fluids vitiated by the effluviums of the bad spirits can be purified by their removal. The perispirit however will always be that which it is, as long as the spirit does not modify itself.

The perispirit of incarnates, being of a nature identical to that of the spiritual fluids, assimilates itself with them readily, as a sponge absorbs water. These fluids have over the perispirit an action which is the more direct because of its expansion and radiation; it confounds itself with them.

These fluids acting upon the perispirit, the latter, in its turn, reacts upon the material organism with which it is in molecular contact. If the effluvia are of a good nature, the bodies receive a salutary impression; if bad, a painful one. If the bad are permanent and energetic, they can cause physical disorders; certain maladies have no other cause.

The midst where bad spirits abound are then impregnated with bad fluids, which are absorbed through all the perispiritual pores, as by the pores of the body pestilential miasmas are absorbed.

19. It is the same in assemblies of incarnated beings. An assembly of people is a focus whence radiate diverse thoughts. An assembly of persons is, like an orchestra, a choir of thoughts, where each one produces his note. The result is a multitude of fluidic-flowing effluvia, of which each one receives the impression of the sounds by the spiritual sense, like in a music choir each one receives the impression of the sound through the sense of hearing.

But, as there are harmonious or discordant sounds, there are also harmonious or discordant thoughts. If all is harmonious, the impression is agreeable; if otherwise, painful. There is no need for the thought to be formed into words. The fluidic-radiation exists all the same, whether it is expressed or not.

Such is the cause of the sentiment of satisfaction that is experienced in a sympathetic reunion, animated by good and benevolent thoughts. It reigns there like a salubrious moral atmosphere, which one breathes with ease. One is strengthened there, because it is impregnated with salutary fluidic effluvia; but, if some evil thoughts are mingled with it, they produce the effect of a current of icy air in a warm atmosphere or of a wrong key note played in a concert. Thus is explained also the anxiety, the indefinable uneasiness, that one feels in antipathetically surroundings, where malevolent thoughts are called forth like currents of nauseous air.

20. Thought produces, then, a substantial effect, which reacts upon our moral being. Spiritism alone can explain it. Man instinctively feels it, since he seeks homogeneous and sympathetic reunions, where he knows that he can draw new moral forces. One could say that he retrieves there the fluid losses that he makes each day by the radiation of thought, as he makes up the losses of the material body by food. Thought, indeed, is an emission which causes a real loss in the spiritual fluids, and consequently in the material fluids, also in such a way that man has need of strengthening himself by the effluvia which he receives from outside.

When a doctor is said to cure his patient by pleasant words, it is an absolute truth; for the benevolent thought carries with it healing fluids, which act physically as well as morally.

21. It is possible, without doubt, to evade men of well-known malicious intentions; but how can we be preserved from the influence of undeveloped spirits which multiply around us, and glide everywhere without being seen?

The means are very simple; for it depends upon the will of the man himself, who carries within him the necessary instrument of protecting himself. Fluids unite by reason of the similitude of their nature, dissimilar ones repel each other. There is an incompatibility between good and bad fluids, as between oil and water.

What is done when the air becomes vitiated? They purify it by destroying the center of the miasma by chasing out the unhealthy effluvium by currents of salubrious air stronger than it. We need the good fluids in order to counteract the invasion of bad fluids; and, as each one has in his own perispirit a permanent fluidic-source, the remedy is within one’s self. It acts only to purify this source or spring, and to give to it such qualities as are necessary to repel bad influences, in place of being an attractive force. The perispirit is, then, a breastplate to which it is necessary to give the best possible character. Now, as the qualities of the perispirit correspond with the qualities of the soul, it is necessary to work for its own improvement; for it is the imperfections of the soul which attract bad spirits.

Flies go where centers of corruption attract them. Destroy these centers, and the flies will disappear. In the same way bad spirits go where evil attracts them. Destroy the evil, and they will flee. Spirits really good, whether incarnated or discarnated, have nothing to fear from the influence of bad spirits.

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