The Spiritist Review - Journal of Psychological Studies - 1859

Allan Kardec

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Speech given at the closing of the social year 1858-59

Ladies and Gentlemen, At the time of expiration of your social year, allow me to present a short summary of the status and works of the Society.

You know its origin. It was formed without a pre-established design, without a preconceived project. A few friends gathered at my house in a small group; step-by-step those friends asked me for permission to introduce their friends. There was no president then. Those were intimate gatherings, of eight to ten people, as there are to the hundreds in Paris and elsewhere. It was natural that I had the direction of what happened at my house, as a consequence of being the owner and of the studies that I had carried out, which gave me certain experience in the matter.

The interest produced by those meetings increased, although we did not get involved but with serious things. The number of attendees grew gradually, one by one, and my modest living room was no longer adequate to an assembly, becoming insufficient. It was then that some among you proposed that we should look for another place, a more adequate, and that we should pool resources in order to cover for the expenses, since they did not think that it was fair that I would take care of everything as of up until that moment.
However, in order to gather regularly, beyond a certain number of persons and in a different place, it was necessary to comply with the legal requirements, have regulations, and consequently, a formal president. Finally, it was necessary to constitute a society. It was what happened, with the agreement of the authorities whose benevolence has not failed us. It was also necessary to give a methodic and uniform direction to the works, so that you thought appropriate to assign to me the work I was already doing in my house, in our private sessions. I dedicated to my functions, that I can call laborious, all the accuracy and devotement that I was capable of doing. From the administrative point of view I endeavored to maintain the sessions in a rigorous order, ensuring a serious character, without which the prestige of the serious assembly would have soon disappeared. Now that my task is over and that the kickoff has been given, I must communicate to you the resolution I have made to resign, for the future, to any function in the Society, even the one of director of studies. I don’t ambition any title but that of a simple regular member, with which I will always feel happy and honored. The reason for my decision resides in the multiplicity of my duties which increase daily, given the size of my network of contacts and also because, besides the work you know, I prepare other more considerable publications that require laborious studies, which will take no less than ten years.

Well, the Society’s activities take a lot of my time in the preparation, coordination and final editing of the material. Furthermore, they also require an assiduity that sometimes interferes with my personal activities, making it indispensable an almost exclusive dedication to what you have assigned me. That is the reason, ladies and gentlemen, that made me take the word so often, in several of those occasions regretting the fact we were deprived from the lights of distinguished and enlightened members. It has been since some time now that I wanted to resign from my functions. On several occasions I have explicitly indicated such desire here, as well as in private, to several colleagues, notably to Mr. Ledoyen. I would have done it earlier, not afraid of causing inconvenience to the Society by leaving in the middle of the year, but that could give the impression of defection. We needed not to give that pleasure to our critics. I then had to carry my task to the end. However, now that such motives no longer exist, I promptly communicate my resolution to you, so as not to preclude you from making the choice you must. It is only fair that each one may share the honors and duties.

The Society has seen its importance grow rapidly in one year. The number of regular members tripled in a few months. You have multiple corresponding members in the two continents and the number of inperson observers is beyond the possible limit, had we not established the strict observation of the regulations as a threshold. You have noticed the presence of the highest social dignitaries and many distinguished figures among the latter ones. The hurry in requesting admission to your sessions demonstrates the interest there is on attending them, despite the absence of any experimentation aiming at satisfying curiosity, and even perhaps due to its simplicity. If not all of them leave here convinced, what would actually be wishing for the impossible, the serious persons, those who do not come with a preconceived demeaning idea, those take home such an impression about the seriousness of your works that predisposes them to study these questions even further. As a matter of fact, we should not but applaud the restriction in the admission of strangers. Thus, we avoid a crowd of inconvenient curiosity. The steps you have taken to limit the admission of strangers to certain meetings, saving the others exclusively to the members of the Society, resulted in more freedom to your studies, which could have been impaired by the presence of non-initiated persons of uncertain sympathy.

Such restrictions will seem very natural to those who know the objective of our institution and who know that we are, before anything, a Society of studies and research and not a vehicle of propaganda. That is why we do not admit in our ranks those who would make us waste our time in endlessly repeated elemental demonstrations, for not having the first notions of the science.

No doubt we all wish the propagation of the ideas that we profess since we all consider them useful and each one of us contributes towards that. We know, however, that conviction can only be acquired through continuous observation and never by some isolated facts, without continuity and reasoning, against which incredulity may always raise objections. One will say that a fact is always a fact. It is an unbreakable argument, no doubt, as long as it is not disputed or disputable. When the fact is beyond the limits of our own ideas and knowledge, at first sight it seems impossible. The more extraordinary the fact is, the more objections it raises. That is why they are contested. The person who probes the causes and finds them also finds the basis and the very reason for the existence of the fact; understands its possibility and since then no longer rejects it. Many times a fact is only intelligible through its connection to other facts. Taken in isolation it may seem strange, incredible and even absurd. But if it is one link of the chain, if it has a rational basis, if it can be explained, all anomalies will disappear.

Well, in order to understand such connection, to comprehend the whole to which we are led from consequence to consequence, it is necessary with all things – and perhaps even more with Spiritism – a series of rational observations. Reason is thus a powerful element of conviction, today more than ever, since the positive ideas lead us to know the why and the how of each and everything.

We are impressed by the persistence of the incredulity in matters of Spiritism, from people who have witnessed facts, whereas others who have not seen are firm believers. Should we say that these are superficial, who accept everything they are told without examination? It is much to the contrary. The former have seen but do not understand; the latter have not seen but understand, and understand because they reason.

The suite of reasons on which the facts are supported constitutes the science, a still imperfect science, that is true, whose apex nobody pretends to have been reached, but nevertheless it is a science in its beginning and your studies support the research on everything which can broaden and establish that science.

This is what is important to be well known outside this room, making no mistake with respect to our objectives so that when people come here they do not expect to see a spectacle given by the spirits. Curiosity has a limit. When it is satisfied it looks for another distraction. The one who does not stop at the surface, who sees beyond the material effect, always finds something to learn. Reason is an endless, boundless source to them. Our line of conduct could not be better delineated than by the remarkable words addressed to us by the spirit of St. Louis, words which we should never forget:

“They mocked the turning tables but will never mock the philosophy, the wisdom and the charity that shine from the serious communications. May it be seen somewhere else, may it be heard somewhere else, but may there be understanding and love among you.

” The expression “may there be understanding among you” contains a whole teaching. We need to understand and we endeavor to understand since we don’t want to believe like the blind. Reasoning is the light that guides us. But reason of an individual only may divert. That is why we wanted to gather in a Society so that we can mutually clarify one another through the reciprocal support of our ideas and observations. From that point of view we are similar to all other scientific institutions and our works will produce more serious proselytes than if we spent our time making the tables turn and rap. We would soon be fed up with that. Our thought requires a more solid food. That is why we try to penetrate the mysteries of the invisible world, whose first signs are those elemental phenomena. Do people who can read have fun by endlessly repeating the alphabet? It is possible that we might have more influx of curious people, succeeding in our sessions like images from a dynamic scenery. But those curious people who could not acquire an improvised conviction by seeing phenomena inexplicable to them, who would judge without investigating further, would rather be an obstacle to our works. That is why, not wishing to deviate from our scientific character, we keep away anyone who come to us without a serious objective.

Spiritism has so grave consequences; it touches questions of such a reach; gives the key to so many problems; it finally offers such a profound philosophical teaching that compared to it all, a turning table is a purely childish thing.

The observation of facts, without thought, we were saying, is insufficient to lead to a complete conviction. We could call lighthearted anybody who would declare to be convinced by a fact that was not understood. Such a system, however, has another inconvenience which must be pointed out and that each one of us may testify: it is the experimentation mania, as a natural consequence of the above.

Whoever observes a spiritist fact without having studied all its implications generally does not see more than the material fact. Then assess it from the standpoint of their own ideas, not considering that outside of the common laws there might be unknown laws. Judge to be able to maneuver with the fact at will; imposes conditions and will not be convinced, as they say, if the fact does not repeat in a given fashion, rather than in another one. Imagine that one can carry out experiences with the spirits as one does with the electrical battery. By not knowing their nature and how they react, since those were not studied, thinks that one can impose their will on those phenomena, imagining that they must act responding to a simple signal, for the simple pleasure of having them convinced. Because one is prepared to listen to them for fifteen minutes, one supposes that they should remain at their services.

These are mistakes not incurred by those who take the time to investigate further. They know the obstacles and do not ask for the impossible. Instead of trying to convince the spirits from their own point of view, something to which the spirits do not voluntarily submit to, they position themselves on the standpoint of the spirits, with which the phenomena change their aspects. In order to get there, one needs patience, perseverance and strong will power, without which nothing is achieved.

The one who really wants to know does need to submit oneself to the thing itself, not otherwise wanting it to submit to his conditions.

That is why the Society is not given to experimentations that would not yield result, since it is aware from experience that Spiritism, as any other Science, cannot be understood in a flash and in a few hours. As a serious Society, it does not wish to deal but with serious persons, who understand the duties imposed by such study, as long as one consciously wishes to do that. The Society does not recognize as serious those who say: Let me see a fact and I will be convinced.
Does it mean that we neglect the facts?
It is much to the contrary, since our whole science is based on facts. We investigate with interest every fact that offers matter for study or confirms the admitted principles. The only thing I want to say is that we waste no time in reproducing the facts that we already know, in the same way that a physicist does not enjoy repeating endlessly the experiments which teach him nothing new. We focus our investigations on everything that may illuminate our paths, preferring the intelligent communications, source of the Spiritist Philosophy and whose boundless field is much ampler than the purely material manifestations, which are of momentary interest only.

Two equally publically announced and practiced systems are presented regarding the mode by which the spiritist communications are received: some prefer to wait for the spontaneous communications; others provoke them through a direct appeal to this or that spirit. The former pretend that in the absence of control to establish the identity of the spirits, then waiting for their good will, we are less exposed to be led to err. Since the spirit speaks it is because he is present and wants to talk, whereas we would not be certain that the one we evoke could come and respond. The latter object, allowing the first one who shows up to speak, would be the same as opening the door to the good as well as to the bad spirits.

The uncertainty in the identity is not a serious objection, since we frequently dispose of means of ensuring that, and such a confirmation, besides, is object of a study related to the principles of the science. The spirit who communicates spontaneously is almost always limited to generalities whereas the framed questions establish a more positive and constructive picture.

As for ourselves, we only condemn the exclusivity of systems. We know that excellent things are obtained in a way or another. If we prefer the second it is due to the fact that experience teaches us that the mystifying spirits do not refrain from painting themselves with respectable names, as much as in the evocations. They even have more room for maneuvering whilst with the questions we easily dominate them, not counting on the fact that the questions have an invaluable utility in the studies. It is to this mode of investigation that we owe the amount of observations collected daily, allowing us to penetrate more deeply into these extraordinary mysteries. The more we advance, the more the horizons open up, thus showing how vast is the field that we must harvest.

The numerous evocations that we made allowed an investigative eye over the invisible world, from one end to the other, from what there is of most insignificant to the most sublime. The uncountable variety of facts and characters that sprouted from those studies, carried out in profound calmness, with continuous attention and prudent circumspection of serious observers, opened up the arcane of this new world to us.

The order and the method applied into all of your researches were indispensable elements to the success.

In fact, you know from experience that it is not enough to call the spirit of this or that person, at random. The spirits do not come like that, at our will or caprice, and do not answer to everything that we are led to ask them by our own fantasies. In order to deal with the beings from beyond the grave, one needs skills and language adequate to their nature; to their moral qualities; to their degree of intelligence; to the position they occupy. We must be dominant or be submissive with them, according to the circumstances; show compassion to those who suffer; be humble and respectable with the superior ones; firm with the bad and stubborn ones that only dominate those who complacently listen to them. Finally, it is necessary to know how to methodically formulate and structure the questions, so as to obtain more explicit answers; capture from the answers the nuances that sometimes are characteristic traces, important revelations, escaping the superficial, inexperienced or occasional observer.

The mode of conversation with the spirits is thus a true art that requires tact, knowledge about the terrain where we step onto, somehow constituting the practical Spiritism. Conveniently guided, the evocations may teach a lot. They offer a powerful element of interest, morality and conviction. Element of interest since they allow us to know the state of the world which awaits for us all, from which sometimes we have an extravagant idea; morality since we can see, by analogy, our future condition; conviction since we have in these private conversations the manifesting proof of the existence and individuality of the spirits, which are nothing else but our own souls, detached from the dense matter.

As long as your general opinion about Spiritism is formed, you have no need to found your convictions on the material proof of the physical manifestations. On another hand, advised by the spirits, you wanted to limit yourselves to the study of the principles and moral issues, without neglecting, however, the examination of the phenomena that may support the search for the truth.

The systematic criticism condemned upon us for accepting too easily the doctrines of certain spirits, particularly those related to scientific questions. Those persons show, for that very reason, that they do not know the true scope of the Spiritist science, nor the one to which we proposed, thus giving us the right of returning their criticism for the lightheartedness in their judgment.

One cannot certainly teach you the reservation with which we must receive everything that comes from the spirits. We are far from accepting all that they say as articles of faith. We know that there are all nuances of knowledge and moral among them. For us they form a whole population which presents varieties a hundred times greater than the one we notice among men. What we want is to study that population; to get to know and understand it. For that we study the individualities; we observe the subtle differences; we try to identify the distinct traces of their customs, culture, habits and characters. Finally, we want to identify ourselves, as much as possible, with the state of that world.

Before we move into a dwelling we like to know how it is; if we will be comfortable there. We want to know the habits of the neighbors; the kind of society that we will participate. Well then! It is our future dwelling. The spirits allow us to know the habits of the people in whose environment we are going to live.

However, as among us there are ignorant and shortsighted people that have an incomplete idea about our material world and its environment, all strange to them, so are the spirits of limited moral horizon, who cannot comprehend the broad picture and are still under the domain of prejudices and systems. Those cannot, as a consequence, instruct us about everything that is related to the spiritual world, in the same way that a peasant could not do it with respect to the high society of Paris or to the scientific world. It would then be a sad assessment of our reason if thought that we listen to every spirit as if they were oracles.

The spirits are what they are and we cannot alter the order of things. As not all of them are perfect we do not accept their words but with reservation and never with a childish. We assess, compare and derive conclusions from what we observe. Even the mistakes of the spirits are teachings to us, since we do not resign to our own discernment.

These observations equally apply to all scientific theories that the spirits may give. It would be too easy if all we needed were to interrogate them to find the complete science and discover all technological secrets. We do conquer science but after hard work and research. The mission of the spirits is not to free us from that obligation. We do know, besides, that not all spirits know everything and that among them there are also pseudo-wise spirits, as there are among us, who think to know what they don’t, talking about what they ignore with the most unperturbed audacity.

A spirit could then say that it is the Sun and not the Earth that turns. His theory would not be more exact just because it came from a spirit. Thus, may those who attribute to us such a puerile credulity know that we take the opinion issued by a spirit as a personal opinion; that we do not accept it but after having submitted it to the control of logic and the means of investigation offered by the Spiritist science itself, means known by all of you!

Such is, ladies and gentlemen, the aim proposed by the Society. It is not up to me, for sure, to tell you, although it pleases me to recall it here, so that if my words have a repercussion out there, may anybody make no mistake with respect to its true meaning. As for myself, I feel happy having only had to follow you in this serious path that elevates Spiritism to the heights of the philosophical sciences. Your works have already produced fruits, however, those which will still be produced later are incalculable, as long as – and I have no doubts about that – you keep the adequate conditions in order to attract the good spirits to your environment.

The support of the good spirits, this is in effect the condition without which one cannot expect the truth. Well, that support depends on us. The first of all conditions to deserve their sympathy is privacy and purity of intentions. The serious spirits go wherever they are seriously called, with faith, fervor and trust. They do not like to be used in experiments, or to provide spectacles. On the contrary, they like to instruct those who interrogate them without preconceived ideas. The frivolous spirits, who make fun of everything, go everywhere and preferably to places where they have the opportunity to mystify. The bad ones are attracted by evil thoughts, and by evil thoughts we must understand all those that do not comply with the principles of the evangelical charity. Thus, whoever may bring to a meeting feelings which are contrary to those precepts, carry along spirits who wish to spread perturbation, disagreement and hostility.

The communion of thoughts and feelings towards the good is thus a crucial condition and it is not possible to find that communion in a heterogeneous environment, where inferior passions have access, like pride, envy and jealousy, passions always revealed by the malevolence and acrimony of the language, however thick the hiding veil may be, with which one attempts to disguise them.

This is the Spiritist Science 101. If we want to close the door of this room to the evil spirits, than we need to start by closing the door of our hearts and let us avoid anything that may empower them against us. Had the Society one day become a toy in the hands of the deceiving spirits it would be for the fact that they were attracted to it! Attracted by whom? By those in whom they find echo, since they only go where they know they are going to be heard. We all know the proverb: “Show me your company and I will tell you who you are.” We can parody it with respect to our sympathetic spirits, by saying: “Tell me what you think and I will tell who your spiritual companies are.”

Well, thoughts are translated into actions. If we admit that discord, pride, envy and jealousy cannot be inspired but by bad spirits, those who would bring elements of disharmony here would attract obstacles, with which they would indicate the nature of their hidden satellites. Then we could only regret their presence in the heart of the Society. God willing – so I hope – this will never happen, and also supported by the good spirits, if we make ourselves favorable to them, the Society will consolidate by both the deserved consideration and by the utility of its works.

If we were only aiming at experiences for the satisfaction of our curiosity, the nature of the communications would be more or less indifferent, considering that we would only see in them what they are. However, since we are not looking for entertainment to us or to the public, but true communications is what we really want, we do need the sympathy of the good spirits for that, a sympathy that can only be conquered by those who keep the bad spirits away by the sincerity of their hearts.

Saying that the frivolous spirits have never meddled among us, in order to cover for any vulnerability from our side, it would be too much presumption of perfection. The superior spirits can even allow that to happen in order to test our perspicacity and our zeal in the search for the truth. Our reasoning, however, must keep us on guard against the traps that can be set against us, providing the means of avoiding them in all cases.

The objective of the Society is not only the research on the principles of the Spiritist science. It goes further. It also studies their moral consequences since it is particularly on those consequences that its true utility resides.

Our studies teach us that the invisible world that surrounds us interacts constantly with the visible world, being one of the forces of nature. Wouldn’t that be the key to many problems to get to know the effects of such an occult force, which dominates and subjugates us, irrespective of our will; the explanation of a number of facts that go unnoticed? If those effects can be dismal, knowing the cause of the problem wouldn’t be a means of avoiding them, as the knowledge about the properties of electricity has given us the means of mitigating the disastrous effects of lightning? If we then succumb we cannot complain but about ourselves, once ignorance will not serve us as an excuse. The danger lies with the empire that the bad spirits exert onto people, which is not only a bleak thing from the point of view of the mistaken principles that they can propagate, but also from the point of view of the interests of the material life. Experience tells that we are never left unpunished under the domination of the bad spirits, for their intentions can never be good. One of their tactics to achieve their aim is discord since they know well that they can easily dominate whoever has no support. Thus, their first action when they want to control someone is to inspire mistrust and isolation, so that nobody can unmask them by clarifying the person giving sound advices. Once in control, they can fascinate the person with seducing promises; subjugate by flattering their inclinations, taking advantage of any weak spot which they may find, making that person feel the bitterness of deception later; hurt in their relationships; humiliated in their pride and, many times, elevate that person for a split second, only to be left alone on a free fall from a higher position.

Those are, ladies and gentlemen, the things that we learned from the examples that unfolds every time before our eyes, both in the world of the spirits and in the corporeal world, circumstance that we can use to ourselves, at the same time trying to make it useful to others.

Nevertheless, some will ask if we are not going to attract the bad spirits by the evocation of people who were the scum of society.

No, because we never suffer their influence. There will only be danger when it is the spirit that imposes itself; never when we impose to the spirit, though. Know this that such spirits do not attend your call unless they are constrained and forced; that generally feel so much awkward in your environment that are always in a hurry to leave. Their presence is a study to us, for it is necessary to see everything in order to know. The doctor cannot reach the summit of knowledge without probing the most difficult situations.

The doctor comparison is so appropriate when you consider what we have done to cure the suffering and alleviated pain from a spiritual perspective Our duty is to present ourselves charitable and benevolent towards the beings from beyond the grave as we do our fellow human beings.

Ladies and gentlemen, I would personally feel extraordinarily privileged had I been exempted from criticism. We cannot be in this situation without being exposed to the darts of those who do not think as we do. There are, however, two kinds of criticism: one that is malevolent, acerbic, poisoned, in which jealousy betrays itself in every word; the other that aims at the sincere search for the truth, has absolutely diverse characteristics. The first one only deserves disdain. I have never bothered with that. It is only the other one that is arguable.

Some people said that I was too precipitated with the spiritist theories; that time was not right to establish them, since the observations were not complete.

Allow me a few words about the subject.

There are two things to consider with respect to Spiritism: the experimental part and the philosophical or theoretical part.

Abstraction made of the teachings of the spirits; I ask if I don’t have the right to imagine, as many others do, a philosophical system. Isn’t the field of opinions open to everyone? Why then I cannot bring about my own ideas? It is up to the public to judge if it makes sense or does not.

But that theory, instead of conferring me any merit, if any, I declare that it comes entirely from the spirits.
Q - Be it, some will say, but that is too much.
A - Those who pretend to give the key to the mysteries of creation; unveil the principles of all things and the infinite nature of God do not go further than I do, I who declare, in the name of the spirits, that it is not given to man the investigation of such things about which we can only make more or less likely conjectures.

Q - You are moving too fast.
A - But would it be a mistake to be ahead of certain persons? As a matter of fact, who is holding them back, preventing them from walking?

Q - The facts are not sufficiently observed yet.
A - How come? Right or wrong I believe having observed them sufficiently. Must I wait for the good will of those who are behind? My publications block the way to nobody.

Q - Since the spirits may be wrong how can you be certain that the spirits who gave you the instructions are not mistaken?
A - In fact, the whole question resides in that point, once the objection of precipitation is too puerile. Well! I must say that my confidence is founded on the truthfulness and superiority of the spirits that instructed me. To begin with I will say that according to their advice I accept nothing without control and examination. I only adopt an idea when it seems logical, rational and in agreement with the facts and observations, and as long as nothing may seriously contradict it. My judgment, however, could not be an infallible criterion. The approval I got from people that are more enlightened than I am give me the first guarantee. But I find another one not less preponderant in the character of the communications, since I have been involved with Spiritism. It has never – I can say – escaped a single of those words, of those signs through which the inferior spirits always betray themselves, even the smartest ones. They never intend domination; never wrong advices or advices contrary to charity and benevolence; never ridiculous prescriptions. Far from that, I have only found great, noble, sublime thoughts, exempt from greed and petty feelings. In one word, their relationship with me, both in small as well as in great things, have always been such that had it been a man who was talking to me I would consider him the best, the wisest, the most prudent, the most moralized and enlightened person.

Ladies and gentlemen, these are the reasons for my confidence, reinforced by the identity of the teachings given to a large number of other people, before and after the publication of my books. The future will tell if I am right or wrong. Meanwhile I believe to have helped the progress of Spiritism, by carrying some bricks to the building. By showing that the facts may be based on reason I would have contributed to make it leave the path of frivolous curiosity, making it enter the serious road of demonstration, the only one capable of satisfying people who think and who do not stay on the surface of things.

I finish, ladies and gentlemen, by the quick scrutiny of a current issue.

It is about other societies that would supposedly wish to rival with ours.

Some say that one of them already counts on 300 members and that it has considerable financial resources. I want to believe it is not swaggering, so much not commendable to the spirits who may have given rise to that as to those who echoed it. If it is a reality we sincerely congratulate them, as long as it obtains the required unity of feelings to frustrate the influence of the bad spirits and consolidate its existence.

I completely ignore the elements of the society or societies that they say are forming. I will only make a general observation.

There are in Paris, as elsewhere, a number of private meetings, as ours once was, where the spiritist manifestations are treated more or less seriously, not to mention the United States where they happen in the thousands. I know some in which the evocations occur under the best conditions and where remarkable things are obtained. It is the natural consequence of the increase in the number of mediums that develop everywhere, despite the sarcasm. The more we advance, the more such centers multiply.

Spontaneously formed by a small number of elements and variables, these centers have nothing of fixed or regular and do not constitute proper societies. A regularly organized society requires conditions of vitality that are completely diverse, as a consequence of the number of people which form it, their stability and permanence. The first of those conditions is the homogeneity of principles and the way of seeing things. Every society that is formed by heterogeneous elements has the germen of dissolution. We can consider it born-dead, whatever its objective: political, religious, scientific or economical.

A spiritist society requires another condition – the assistance of the good spirits – if we want to obtain serious communications, since from the bad spirits, if we allow them to stand, we will not obtain but lies, deceptions and mystification. That is the price of its own existence, because the bad spirits will be the first agents of its destruction. They will gradually undermine it, in case they do not destroy it up front.

Without homogeneity there will not be communion of thoughts thus calmness and seclusion will not be possible. Well, the good spirits only present themselves under those conditions. How can we find them in a meeting where the beliefs are divergent, in which some do not even believe and, as a consequence, the spirit of opposition and controversy incessantly dominates? They only assist the ones who ardently wish to be instructed toward the good, without second intentions, and not to satisfy a vain curiosity.

Wishing to form a spiritist society outside of those conditions would be the same as giving proof of the most absolute ignorance regarding the elemental principles of Spiritism.

Would we then be the only ones capable of forming them? It would be very impertinent and even ridiculous for us to think so. Others can certainly do what we have done. May other societies then deal with works similar to ours, may they prosper and multiply. The more the better since it will be a sign of progress of the moral ideas. This is even better if they are supported and receiving good communications, a condition that we cannot pretend to have the sole privilege. As we aim at our personal instruction and at the interest of the Spiritist science, may our society hide no idea, no direct or indirect speculation, no ambition and may its existence do not rest on questions of money. May other societies be considered our sisters and not competitors! If we are envious then we will give indication that bad spirits support us. If one of them is formed to rival against us, with the preconceived idea of overcoming us, from its objective it would be revealing the very nature of the spirits presiding over its formation, since such a thought would not be good, nor charitable, and the good spirits do not sympathize with the feelings of hatred, envy and ambition.

As a matter of fact, we have an infallible means of not been afraid of any rivalry. It has been given to us by St. Louis: May there be understanding and love among you, he said. Let us then work in order to understand one another. Let us fight the others but with charity and abnegation. May the love to the neighbor be written in our flag and may it be our slogan. With that we will dare the mockery and the influence of the bad spirits. They may equal us with that respect and that will be better since they are brothers that come close to us. It is up to us, however, to never be overtaken.

But some may say: you have a way of seeing things that is not ours. We cannot sympathize with principles that we do not admit because nothing demonstrates that you are with the truth. I will then respond: nothing demonstrates that you are more right than we are once you still doubt and the doubt is not a doctrine. We can diverge in opinion about certain points of the science without biting or stoning one another, which would be unworthy and not much scientific. Do your research then, from your side, as we have done from ours. The future will tell who is right. If we are wrong we will not have the silly self-love of persisting on false ideas. There are, however, principles about which we have the certainty of not been mistaken: the love of righteousness, the abnegation, and the abjuration of every feeling of envy and jealousy.

These are our principles with which is always possible to sympathize without compromising. It is the bond that must unite all good individuals, whatever their divergence of opinion. Only selfishness creates an unsurpassable barrier between them. These are, ladies and gentlemen, the observations that I believed I had to present when leaving the functions that you have assigned to me. From the bottom of my heart I thank all of those who have given me their testimonies of sympathy. Whatever happens, my life is dedicated to the work that we have undertaken and I will feel happy if my efforts may help it enter the serious path that is its essence, the only one that may safeguard its future.

The objective of Spiritism is to improve those who understand it. Let us try to set the example and show that the Doctrine is not a dead letter to us. In one word, let us be worthy of the good spirits if we want their assistance. The good is an armor against which all weapons of malevolence will always break.

ALLAN KARDEC

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