The Spiritist Review - Journal of Psychological Studies - 1860

Allan Kardec

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(Spontaneous essays by the spirit of Charlet, in several sessions of the Society)

I

There is something among you that always excites your imagination and curiosity. That mystery, since it is a great mystery to you, is the connection or even better, the distance, between your soul and that of the animals, a mystery that despite all their science, Buffon, the most poetic of the naturalists, and Cuvier, the most profound, could never penetrate, in the same way that the scalpel does not reveal the anatomy of the heart to you. Well, know this: the animals live and everything that lives, thinks. Thus, it is impossible to live and not think.

Thus, it is necessary to demonstrate that the more the human being advances, not according to the time but to perfection, the more he shall penetrate the spiritual science, and that applies not only to you but also to those living creatures below you: the animals. Oh! Some people will exclaim, persuaded that the word human signifies the whole perfection, but is there a possible parallel between the human being and the brute? Can you call intelligence something that is no more than instinct? Call feeling something that is only sensation? In a word, can you lower the image of God? We will respond.

There was a time when half of the human race was considered to be at the level of the brute, in which there was no animal; a time, like now, when half of the human race is considered inferior and the animal brute. Well then! From the point of view of the world, that is how things are, no doubt. From the spiritual point of view, things are different. What the superior spirits would say about the Earthly humans, human beings say about the animals. Everything is infinite in nature, material as well as spiritual. Let us then give attention to these unfortunate brutes, speaking in spiritual terms, and you will see that the animal really lives, since it thinks. This serves as a preface of a course that I will give you about it. As a matter of fact, when alive I used to say that a dog is a person’s best friend. Until next time. Charlet.

II

The world is a huge staircase whose elevation is infinite, but whose base rests on a horrible chaos. What I mean is that the world is nothing else but a constant evolution of creatures. You are very low. Despite that, there are many others below you. That is because, listen well, I don’t speak about your planet only but every planet in the Universe. Don’t be afraid though, since we shall limit ourselves to planet Earth.

Before that, however, a couple of words about a planet called Jupiter, from which the ingenious and immortal Palissy has given you some strange and supernatural insights for your imagination. Remember that in one of those remarkable drawings he depicted some animals from Jupiter. Isn’t there an evident progress in them? Could you deny a level of superiority in them over the Earthly animals? Would you still see only an evolution of the form and not of intelligence, considering that the activities that they execute cannot be performed by the animals from Earth? I only mention that example to you in order to indicate already a superiority of creatures that are well below you. How about if I mentioned every globe that I know, which is about, five or six? Even on Earth, observe the existing difference among them. Then! If the variation in form is so wide, so progressive, that there is an even physical evolution, could you deny the spiritual progress to those creatures? Well then, know this, that if matter evolves, even the lowest, even more so the spirit that animates it.
Next time I will continue. Charlet.

Note: In the August 1858 issue we published a plate drawn and engraved by the spirit of Bernard Palissy, representing Mozart’s house in Jupiter, with a description of that planet, which has always been described as one of the most advanced in our planetary system, morally and physically. The same spirit provided a large number of drawings about the same subject. There is one among them which shows a scene with animals, playing in the area reserved for their dwelling, at Zoroaster’s house. It is, no doubt, one of the most interesting of the collection. Among the portrayed animals there are some with a form closely resembling the Earthly human form, at the same time showing something of the ape and of the satyr. Their action indicates intelligence and it is clear that their structure may be adequate to manual labor that they execute to human beings. The animals, as they say, are the servants and the servers, since human beings are only given to intelligent work. That is the reference used by Charlet above, to a drawing made more than three years ago.

III

In the more advanced worlds, the animals are so much advanced that the strictest orders are passed to them by the word, whereas among you it is frequently by beating. In Jupiter, for example, one word is enough whereas among you even the whip does not suffice. There is, however, a sensible progress in your Earth which has never been explained: it is the fact that the animal evolves. Thus, in former times the animals were much more rebellious to human beings. There is also progress on your side for having understood their improvement since you forbid yourself of mistreating them. I was saying that there is moral progress in the animal. There is also a progress in their condition. In that way a poor horse, mistreated, hurt by a carter even more than the animal, will be comparatively in a much better condition, happier than its executioner. Isn’t that in all fairness and should we be surprised by the fact that a suffering, beaten animal, be rewarded for having endured a life of torture? God is just before anything else and all creatures are ruled by his laws which states: “every weak creature which has suffered shall be rewarded”. Always comparatively, I dare say and add that the animal sometimes has more soul, more heart than humans in many circumstances. Charlet

IV

On your planet, the human being’s superiority is manifested by the elevation in intelligence that makes him the King of the Earth. Compared to humans, the animal is very weak, inferior, and a poor slave in this trying land, having sometimes to endure cruel caprices of their tyrant: humans! The former metempsychosis was a confusing reminder of reincarnation; however that doctrine is nothing more than a popular belief. Great spirits conceded to progressive reincarnation; the ignorant masses could not figure out, themselves, the universe, so naturally it was decided: since human beings reincarnate, then it must be on Earth only; then human’s punishment, his trial must be life in an animal body. Exactly like in the Middle Ages when the Christians used to say: the judgment shall take place in the big valley, and after that, the guilty shall be sent underground, to burn in the entrails of Earth.

By believing in metempsychosis the Ancients thus believed in spirits of animals since they admitted the transition of human soul to the bodies of the animals. Pythagoras remembered his previous life and recognized the shield he used during Troy’s siege. Socrates died predicting his new life.

Since, as I said, everything is progress in the universe; and God’s laws can only be those of progress, from your standing position, from your spiritual trends, it would be senseless not to admit the progress of everything below human beings, giving proof of complete ignorance or indifference.

Does the animal not have what in humans you call conscience, and that is nothing else but the feeling of having done good or bad? Watch and see if the animal doesn’t give proof of conscience, always relatively to human beings. Would you believe that the dog does not know that it has done something right or wrong? If it did not feel it would not live. As I have already told you the moral sensation, in a word, the conscience, does exist in the animal as in human beings, without which we would have to deny the fact that they show gratitude, they suffer and grieve, and finally they show every trace of intelligence, traits that any serious person may observe in the animals, on several levels, because even among them there are singular diversities. Charlet

V

King of the land by intelligence, human beings are also a superior being from a material point of view. Their form is harmonious and their spirit equally obeying, an admirable instrument: the body. Human’s head is placed high and sees the sky, according to Genesis; the animal sees the earth and by the structure of its body, it seems to be even more attached to Earth than human beings. Furthermore, the magnificent harmony found in human’s body is not found in the animal. Notice the infinite variety that distinguishes them from each other and that doesn’t correspond to their spirit because the animals – I mean the great majority – have, almost all of them, the same level of intelligence. Hence, in the animal kingdom there is variety in the form; in human beings there is variety of spirit. Take two men who have the same tastes, tendencies, intelligence; now take one dog, a horse, a cat, in a word, a thousand animals, and you will hardly notice difference in their intelligence. Thus, the spirit sleeps in the animal; in human beings it shines in all directions; human’s spirit predicts God and understands the need for perfection. The simple harmony of the form is then the beginning of infinity for the spirit. See now the superiority of human beings that dominates the animal, physically for their remarkable structure and intellectually for their immense faculties. It seems that it was God’s wishes to vary more the form of the animals, containing the spirit; in human beings, on the contrary, to make the body into the material manifestation of the spirit. Equally remarkable in both creations, Providence is infinite in both, the material and the spiritual world. The human being is to the animal as the flower and the vegetal kingdom are to raw matter. I wanted to establish in these few lines, the place occupied by the animal in the scale of perfection. We will see how the animal can elevate in comparison to human beings. Charlet

VI

How does the spirit elevate? It does through submission, humbleness. Arrogance is what loses human beings, leading them to disregard their subordinates, envying every one of their superiors. Envy is the most vivid expression of pride. It is not the pleasure of pride but the sick desire, the relentless wish of satisfaction. The envious are the proudest when they become powerful. Observe the master of all of us, Christ, the man by excellence, but at the highest level of sublimity. Christ, I was saying, instead of showing audacity and insolence on fighting the former beliefs, he comes to Earth incarnating in a poor family, being born among animals. You will find those poor animals everywhere, at all times when man simply lives the natural life, in short, thinking of God. He is born among animals that exalt his power in their much more meaningful language, so natural and so simple. See what a subject for reflection! Their still inferior spirit foresees Christ, that is, the spirit in all its perfection. Balaam, the false prophet, the complete corruption of human pride, cursed against God and hurt his animal. Suddenly the feeble soul of the donkey is inspired by the spirit and speaks. It becomes momentarily like man and, by his word, it is what it is going to be in thousands of centuries. We could mention several other events but this seems really remarkable with respect to what I was saying about man’s pride, capable of denying his own soul for not being able to understand it, moving on to the denial of any feeling among the inferior creatures, among which Christ preferred to be born. Charlet

VII

I have entertained you with something that I had promised. As I said since the beginning, I did not speak from the anatomical or medical standpoint, but only from the spiritual essence of the animals. I still have to talk about several other points which although very different are not less useful to the Doctrine. Allow me a final recommendation for you to mull over everything I said. It is not long or pedant and believe me, and not less useful because of that. One day, when the Good Shepherd separates his sheep, may he count you among the good animals that followed his precepts! Forgive me for such a lively image. Once more, you do need to analyze what I tell you. As a matter of fact, I shall keep speaking to you as you wish. Next time I will have to tell you something else to define my thought about animal intelligence. Yours, Charlet.

VIII

Everything I can tell you now friends is that I am happy to see the guidelines that you follow. May charity, this virtue of truly honest and noble souls, always be your guide, for that is the sign of true superiority! You must persevere in this avenue which will certainly lead everyone to the truth and to unity, despite the efforts whose strength goes unnoticed. Modesty is also a very difficult gift to acquire, isn’t that true ladies and gentlemen? It is a very rare virtue amongst people. If you think that modesty is all you need to advance on the path of good and progress, what would become of you without God and His divine principles? You would be a little bit less than those poor animals that I spoke about and that I still want to discuss further. Put yourself together and be prepared to fight again but don’t yield. Keep in mind that you don’t fight against God, like Jacob, but against evil that pervades everything and yourself all the time. It would take too long for me to tell you what is left to be said tonight. I intend to explain to you the animal’s moral downfall, after the moral downfall of human beings. In order to conclude about what I have told you regarding the animals, I will use the title: The first ferocious man and the first animal made ferocious.

Beware of bad spirits; you have no idea of their strength. As I told you a few moments ago, although this last statement is not related to the preceding one, it is nonetheless true and pertinent. It is now up to you to think. Charlet

Observation: That day the spirit thought convenient to interrupt the main subject of his writing to provide us with this incidental essay, motivated by a particular circumstance that he wanted to use. We published it anyway because it contains useful instructions.

IX

When the first man was created there was complete harmony in nature. The creator’s omnipotence had placed a word of goodness, generosity and love in each living being. Man was radiant. The animals sought his heavenly eyes and he was as lovely to them as to his celestial companion. Vegetation was luxurious. Nature was painted gold by Sun light in the same way that the mysterious star of the soul, like a spark of God, illuminated man’s intelligence. In a word, all kingdoms of nature showed that infinite tranquility, seemingly understanding God. There were signs of sufficient intelligence to praise God’s supremacy everywhere. The cloudless sky was like man’s heart, and the translucent and blue water reflected infinity, like man’s heart reflected God. A long time passed and everything seemed to suddenly change. Oppressed nature issued a long sigh, and God’s voice was heard for the first time. A disgraceful day when man who had not yet heard His great voice had told them all: You are immortal! Man became horrified by those words. “Cain, why have you killed your brother?” Soon everything changed: Abel’s blood spread all over Earth; the trees changed color; the very colorful and rich vegetation withered; the sky became dark. Why has the animal become ferocious? A powerful and invincible magnetism over took all creatures, the thirst for blood, carnage shining in their eyes, so kind in former times, and the animal became as ferocious as man. Had not man, the former king of Earth, given the example? The animal followed his example and since then death slithered over Earth, death that became hateful instead of a natural and spiritual transformation. Man’s body should levitate in the air, like Christ’s body, but it diffused in the ground, in this earth watered by Abel’s blood. And man worked and the animal worked. Charlet

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