The Spiritist Review - Journal of Psychological Studies - 1860

Allan Kardec

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The Journal de la Haute-Saône has recently reported the following fact: “People have seen dethroned kings buried in the ruins of their palaces; unfortunate gamblers renouncing their life after losing fortunes; however, an owner committing suicide in order not to outlive the expropriation of a field, that is perhaps something which we have never been seen before the following case. A landowner of Saint-Loup received a communication indicating that one of his fields would be expropriated on May 14th by the East Railroad Company. The information touched him profoundly. He could not bear the idea of losing his field. This situation caused him to show signs of mental insanity. He left his house on May 2nd at three o’clock in the morning and drowned in the river Combeauté.”

It is a difficult fact to see people committing suicide for such a futile cause. Such an unreasonable act can only be explained by a mental derangement. But what has produced that derangement? Certainly it was not the belief in spirits. Was it the expropriation of the field? In that case why don’t all of those who face dispossession go mad? Some may say that it is because not everyone has such a weak mind. You then admit a natural predisposition for madness. It could not be different since the same cause does not always produce the same effect, and we have already said that often, when responding to those who accuse Spiritism for provoking madness.

They should explain if there were mad people before dealing with spirits and if there are mad people only among those who believe in spirits! A physical cause or a violent moral commotion will only produce instantaneous madness. Beyond that if we examine the antecedents there will always be symptoms that a fortuitous cause may develop. Madness then assumes the character of main concern. The mad person talks about his concerns but the cause of madness is not that concern; it is, somehow, a form of manifestation.

Thus, when there is a predisposition for madness, the one who is concerned with religion will have a religious madness; love will produce a passionate madness; ambition will produce the madness of honors and wealth, etc. In the case mentioned above it would be absurd to see anything other than a simple effect that any other cause would have produced, since there was predisposition. Now, we go further: we say out loud that if that landowner, so sensitive to his field had profoundly incorporated the principles of Spiritism he would not have gone mad or drowned. Two disgraces would have been avoided, as shown by many examples. The reason for that is obvious. A relative moral weakness is the primary cause of madness, yielding the individual incapable of resisting the shock of certain impressions, among which and at least in three quarter of the cases, sorrow, despair, disappointment and all tribulations of life. Providing people with the necessary strength to see these things with indifference is the same as mitigating people’s most frequent cause of madness and suicide. Well, such strength is found in a well-understood Spiritist Doctrine.

Facing the greatness of the future that Spiritism patently demonstrates and unveils before our eyes, life tribulations become so ephemeral that they slide over our souls like the water over the marble, leaving no trace behind. The true spiritist is not more attached to matter than required by life’s needs. However, if he lacks something he shows resignation since he knows that he is there in-passing and that a much better fate waits for him. Thus, he is no more upset by that than if he had found a stone on his path. If the gentleman above was instilled by these ideas what would had become of the field before his eyes? The annoyance would be insignificant or null and an imaginary disgrace would not have dragged him to a real disgrace. In summary, one of the effects, and we can say one of the benefits of Spiritism, is to give the soul the strength that it lacks in many circumstances, and that is how it can reduce the causes of madness and suicide.

From the above, one can see that the simplest fact may be a source of teaching to anyone willing to give thought to that. It is by showing the applications of Spiritism in the most vulgar cases that one shall understand its whole sublimity. Isn’t that the true philosophy?

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