You have dedicated the publication of Le Siècle newspaper, of
October 27th last, to the spirits and their partisans. Despite the
ridicule you have cast over a problem much more serious than you
think, I am pleased with the fact that by attacking the principle
you have maintained the courtesy of the form, for it is not possible
to say in a more candid way that we have no common sense.
Thus, I will not confuse your witty article with the gross diatribes
that give a sad idea of the good taste of the authors, worthy of all
educated persons, adepts or not.
I do not have the habit of responding to criticism. Hence, I
would have let your article pass, as done to many others, if I had
not been assigned by the spirits to thank you in the first place for
having given attention to them, and second to give you an advice.
Please understand Sir that if it were for me I would not have done
it. I do my job. That is all.
• How come! You may say – do the spirits give importance to a
paper that I wrote about them? It is very kind of them.
• Certainly, because they were by your side when you wrote it. One
of them who is very sympathetic to you, even tried to preclude
you from using certain reflections, in his opinion not worthy
of your sagacity, afraid of the criticism that you might have to
face, not from the spirits with whom you hardly occupy, but from
those who are aware of your knowledge. Be sure that they are
everywhere; that they know everything that is said and done and
that at the time of reading these words, they will be by your side,
observing you. You can then say:
• I cannot believe in the existence of these beings who inhabit space
and that we cannot see.
• Do you believe in the air that you don’t see, and yet surround us?
• That is very different. I believe in the air because although I cannot
see it I can feel it; I hear its roar in the storm, resonating
through the chimney of the fireplace, and I see the objects that
• Well then! The spirits are also heard; they also displace solid objects,
lift, transport and break them.
• Oh well, Mr. Allan Kardec! Appeal to your reason. How do you
want intangible beings – supposing that they do exist, fact which
I would only admit if I saw them – to have such a power? How
can immaterial creatures act upon matter? That is not reasonable.
• Do you believe in the existence of those myriads of tiny animals
that rest on the palm of your hand, which can be covered to the
thousands just by the tip of a needle?
• Yes, because I don’t see them with my eyes but the microscope
allows me to see them.
• However, before the invention of the microscope, if you were told
that you have thousands of tiny creatures leaping from and onto
your skin, that a clear single drop of water holds a whole population,
that you massively absorb them with the purest air that
you breathe; what would you have responded? You would have
screamed against the absurd, and if you were a newspaper reporter you would have written against the tiny beings, fact which would
not prevent them from existing. You admit it today because the
fact is easily recognizable. Before that, however, you would have
declared that it was something impossible. Then, why is it so irrational
to believe that space is populated by intelligent beings
that, although invisible, are not microscopic? As for myself I must
confess that the idea of little beings, like homeopathic creatures,
having visual, sensorial, circulatory, respiratory, etc. organs seem
even more extraordinary to me.
• I agree but still these are material beings, they are something,
while your spirits, what are they? They are nothing. These are
abstract, immaterial beings.
• To begin with, who told you that they are immaterial? Observation
– and I here ask you to balance well this word observation, which
does not mean system – observation, I was saying, demonstrates
that these occult intelligences have a body, an envelope (wrapping);
invisible, that is correct, but not less real. Well, it is through
that semi material envelope that they act upon matter. Are the
solid bodies the only ones to show a driving force? On the contrary,
aren’t the rarefied bodies those that show such a power in its
highest degree, such as air, vapor, all gases, and electricity? Why
then you deny it to the substance that constitutes the envelope of
• I agree, but those substances are invisible and intangible in certain
cases, and condensation may turn them visible and even solid. We
can hold, keep and analyze them, fact that makes their existence
• Well! That is a good one! You deny the spirit because you cannot
place it inside a retort (distillation flask) to know if it is composed
of Oxygen, Hydrogen and Nitrogen. Please tell me if before the
discoveries of modern Chemistry, the composition of air, water
and the properties of a number of invisible bodies were known,
whose existences were even unsuspected. What would then be said to anyone who announced the wonders that we now admire?
Charlatans and dreamers would have taken them. Suppose you
have in your hands a book written by a scientist of those days,
denying all these things, and even trying to demonstrate their
impossibility. You will say: here we have a very pretentious scientist,
who took the matter lightheartedly, issuing an opinion about
something that he did not know enough. An abstention would
have been better to keep his reputation. In one word, you would
have a not so good opinion about his judgment. Well then! In a
few years we will see what will be thought of those who try to
demonstrate today that Spiritism is just a chimera. It is, no doubt,
regrettable to certain people and to the amateurs that the spirits
cannot be placed inside a flask to be observed at will. Don’t you
think, however, that they absolutely escape our senses! If the substance
that constitutes its envelope is invisible in its natural state,
it can also experience a kind of condensation, like that of the
vapor, but by another cause, or to be more exact, by a molecular
alteration that makes it momentarily visible and even tangible.
We can then see them as we see one another, and touch them.
They can grab us and leave marks in our limbs. But such a state
is temporary. They can leave such state as fast as it was acquired,
not as a consequence of a mechanical rarefaction, but as a result of
their will, since those are intelligent beings rather than inert bodies.
If the existence of the intelligent beings who populate space
is demonstrated; if, as just seen, they exert influence over matter,
why is it strange that they can communicate with us, transmitting
their thoughts through material means?
• If the existence of those beings is proved, yes. That is where the
problem is, though.
• Initially, the important thing is to demonstrate that possibility.
Experience will do the rest. If that existence is not demonstrated
to you, it is to me. I hear you saying, intimately: - “that is a weak
argument.” I agree that my personal opinion has little value, but I am not alone. Many more, before me, thought the same. I did not
invent or discover the spirits. Such a belief count on millions of
adepts, as much as or more intelligent than I am. Who will decide
among the believers and unbelievers?
• Common sense, you will say.
• Be it. I however add that time helps us daily. But how can those
who don’t believe award themselves with the privilege of common
sense, when the believers are mostly recruited not among
the ignorant but the educated ones, whose number increases day
by day? I take it from my own correspondence; by the number of
foreigners who come to see me; by the distribution of our Review,
which is now completing its second year and has subscribers in
the five continents, in the highest echelons of society and even
in the thrones. Honestly tell me if this is the march of an empty
idea, of a utopia.
Attesting this capital point in your article, you say that it
threatens to take the proportions of a scourge and add: “Oh!
God! Didn’t the human kind already have enough frivolities
to impact reason, without this new doctrine which comes to
take over our poor brain?”
It seems that you do not appreciate doctrines. Not everyone
likes the same things. I will only say that I don’t know the
intellectual role to which the human being would have been
reduced if, since his existence on Earth, he did not have his
doctrines that made him think, moving him away from the
passive state of the brute. There are, no doubt, good and bad
doctrines, just and false, but it was to distinguish them that
God gave us reason.
You forgot something: the precise and clear definition of
what you call frivolities. There are people who define in such
a way everything with which they disagree, but you have sufficient
intelligence to believe that it is your exclusivity. There are other people who give such a classification to all religious
ideas, who see the belief in God, in the soul and its immortality,
in the future penalties and rewards as those things of
pious people and to intimidate the children. I don’t know
your opinion about it but taking from your article someone
might infer that you somehow share some of those ideas.
Irrespective if you share those ideas or not, I allow myself to
say, with many others, that the true scourge is in those ideas,
if they spread. With materialism; with the belief that we die
like the animals and that after death is the nothingness, and
good has no reason to be, and the social ties no consistency. It
is the sanction of selfishness. The penal law would be the only
barrier to preclude the human being from exploiting others.
If that is so, how can we punish a person that kills his fellow
human being to take his wealth over? You will then say,
because that is evil. But why is it evil? And he will respond:
There is nothing after me. It is all gone. I fear nothing. I want
to live the best possible here, and for that purpose I will take
from those who have. Who forbids? Your law will? Your law
will be right if I am caught. But if I am smarter, if I escape the
law, then reason will be with me.
Then I will ask you which society could subsist under
That reminds me of the following fact:
A gentleman who, as they say, did not believe in God or
in the devil, and did not hide it, noticed that his servant was
robbing him. One day he caught the man by surprise and
• How dare you, scum, take what is not yours? Don’t you believe
The servant laughed and responded:
• Why should I believe if you don’t believe yourself? Why do you
have more than I do? If I were rich and you poor, who would prevent
you from doing what I am doing? I was unlucky this time,
and that is all. I will try to do better in the future.
That gentleman would feel happier if his servant had not taken
the belief in God so frivolously. It is from that belief and the others
deriving from it that man owes his true social security, much
more than to the severity of the law, since the law cannot reach
everything. If the belief was entrenched in everyone’s hearts, there
would be nothing to fear from each other. Frontally attacking that
belief is the same as loosening the reins of all passions, destroying
all scruples. That is what has recently taken a priest to say these sensible
words, when asked about his opinion with respect to Spiritism:
“Spiritism leads to the belief in something. Well, I prefer those who
do believe in something to those who believe in nothing, for these
don’t even believe in the need for the good.”
Spiritism, in fact, is the destruction of materialism. It is the
patent and irrefutable proof of what certain people call futilities,
as: God, the soul, a happy or unhappy future life. That scourge,
as you call it, has other practical consequences. If you knew, as I
do, how many times it has reestablished the calm to hearts broken
by sorrow; which kind consolation it spreads over the miseries
of life; how much it soothes hatred, preventing suicides and you
wouldn’t scoff as much.
Suppose that one of your friends tells you: “I was desperate;
I was about to blow my brains out but today I know how much
it would cost me and I gave up.” If another tells you: “I used to
envy your merit and superiority. Your success impacted my good
night’s rest. I wanted vengeance, to defeat you, to ruin you. I
even wanted to kill you. I confess that you were in great danger.
Today, however, I am a spiritist, I now understand how wrong
those feelings were and I renounce them. Instead of doing you harm I came to help you.” You would probably say: “There is
thankfully something good in that madness.”
What I am saying Sir is not to convince you or to convert you
to my ideas. You have your own convictions, which are enough
to you, solving all questions with respect to the future. It is then
very natural that you keep them. But you have introduced me to
your readers as the promoter of a scourge. Then I had to show
you that it would be desirable that no scourge produced a greater
evil, starting from the materialism. I count on your impartiality
to transmit my answer to them. You will then say:
• But I am not materialist. One can very well not bear that opinion
and still doesn’t believe in the manifestations of the spirits.
• I agree. Then you are a spiritualist without being a spiritist. If I
was wrong with respect to your convictions, it is because I took
literally your declaration towards the end of your article. You say:
“I believe in two things: in the love of people towards everything
that is wonderful, even when that wonderful is absurd, and in
the editor who sold me the fragment of a Sonata by Mozart for 2
If all your belief is limited to that, it seems to me to be the cousin
of skepticism. But I bet that you believe in something more than in Mr.
Ledoyen, who sold you a fragment of the Sonata for 2 francs. You believe
in the product of your articles that, as I suppose, if I am not mistaken,
you don’t offer by the love of God more than Mr. Ledoyen does with his
books. Every person has one’s own profession. Mr. Ledoyen sells books.
The writer sells prose and verses. Our poor world is not sufficiently advanced
so that we can live, feed and dress for free. Perhaps one day the
property owners, tailors, butchers, and bakers are sufficiently enlightened
to understand that it is dishonorable to ask for money. The booksellers
and writers will then be dragged by the example.
• With all that you did not give me the advice given by the spirits.
• Here it is: It is prudent that we don’t speak frivolously about what
we don’t know. Let us imitate the wise reservation from Arago,
who said with respect to the animal magnetism: “I could not
approve the mystery made by the serious scientists when watching
experiments of somnambulism. Doubt is a demonstration of
modesty and it rarely hinders the progress of Science. We cannot
say the same about incredulity. The one, who, outside the field
of pure mathematics, pronounces the word impossible, indicates
lack of prudence. Reservation is a duty, particularly when referring
to animal organisms.”
(News from Bailly)