Allan Kardec

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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.

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