About § I
1. You say: Everything that lives, thinks, thus one cannot live without
thinking. The proposition seems somewhat absolute to us
since the plant lives and doesn’t think. Do you take that as a
principle? – A. No doubt. I speak of the animal life only and not
vegetable. You must understand.
2. Later on you say: You will see that the animal truly lives since it
thinks. Isn’t there an inversion in the statement? It seems that the
proposition is: You will see that the animal thinks, since it lives. – A.
That is obvious.
About § II
3. You brought up the drawings about the animals on Jupiter. It is
noticeable that they keep a remarkable analogy with the satyrs of
the fable. Would the idea of the satyrs be an intuition about the
existence of beings from other worlds, and in that case, wouldn’t
that be a mere fantastic imagination? – A. The newer the planet
was, the more he remembered. Human beings had an intuition of an order of intermediary creatures, sometimes inferior, sometimes
more advanced. That is what they called gods.
4. You then admit that the mythical divinities were nothing else
than what we call spirits? – A. Yes.
5. We were told that on Jupiter one can understand each other by
the simple transmission of thought. Do the inhabitants of that
planet use any particular language when addressing the animals
that are their servers and workers? Would they have an articulated
language to communicate with the animals, and communicate
through their thoughts among themselves? – A. No, there is no
articulated language but a kind of powerful magnetism which
makes the animal bow before their masters, leading them to execute
their smallest wishes and commands. The All-powerful spirit
6. The animals evidently have a language among us since they understand
one another, but that is very limited. Do the animals on
Jupiter have a more accurate and positive language than ours? In
short, an articulated language? – A. Yes.
7. Do the inhabitants of Jupiter understand better than us the language
of the animals? – A. They see through them and understand
them perfectly well.
8. By examining the series of living beings one finds an unbreakable
chain, from the madreporite plant up to the most intelligent animal.
However, between the most intelligent animal and human
beings there is an obvious blank that must be filled out somewhere
because there is no void in nature. Where does that blank
come? – A. That blank is only apparent since it does not exist in
reality. It results from extinct races (St. Louis).
9. Such blank may well exist on Earth but it does not exist in the
whole set of the universe and must be filled somewhere. Wouldn’t
that be by certain animals from superior worlds that, like on
Jupiter for example, seem to approach very much the Earthly
individual by the form, language and other signs? – A. In the superior spheres the germen from Earth evolves and it is never
lost. Becoming spirits you shall meet again all beings that disappeared
in the cataclysms of your planet (St. Louis).
Observation: These interim races have existed on earth and disappeared,
justifies what Charlet said earlier that the more the world was new,
the more he remembered. Had they existed only in the higher worlds, the
human being of the earth being less advanced could not have kept the
memory of them.
About § III
10. You say that everything perfects and as a proof of animal evolution
you say that formerly it was more rebellious to human beings.
It is evident that there is animal evolution but at least on Earth
that takes place under human’s guidance. Once left to themselves
the animal returns to their ferocious nature, even the dog. – A.
And human beings evolve under whose guidance? Isn’t that under
God’s? Everything is scale in nature.
11. You speak about rewards to animals that are mistreated and
say that it is perfectly fair that they get such compensation.
Therefore, it seems that you admit the animal consciousness
of itself after death, with memory of the past. That is in opposition
to what we have been told. If things were as you say, it
would result in the presence of animals in the spiritual world.
There would be no reason not to have the spirit of the oysters
there. Can you tell us if you see spirits of cats, dogs, horses or
elephants around you, as you see human spirits? – A. You are
right, the animal’s soul is not aware of itself after death; it is a
confusing mass of germs which can move to the body of this or
that animal, according to the acquired development. It is not individualized.
However, I shall say that in certain animals, even
in many, it is individualized.
12. As a matter of fact that theory does not justify mistreating animals
in any way. Human beings are always guilty for the suffering
imposed on any living creature and the Doctrine tells us that he
shall be punished for that. But based on that principle there is a
huge distance for positioning the animals in a superior condition.
What do you think about it? – A. Yes, but you must consider that
there is always an animal scale and that there is some distance
between certain races. The more powerful the individual is the
13. How do you explain that in their most savage stage human beings
are still obeyed by the most intelligent animal? – A. It is the action
of nature in that case. The savage person is a natural person.
He knows the animal intimately. The civilized person studies the
animal and the animal bows before him. Human beings are always
human beings to the animal, savage or civilized.
About § V
14. (To Charlet) We have nothing to say about this paragraph that
seems very rational. Do you have anything to add? – A. Only this:
the animals have every faculty that I mentioned but their evolution
occurs from the education given by human beings and not by
themselves. If left in their savage stage the animal would return
to their primitive stage, when created by God. They evolve when
submitted to human beings. That is all.
15. That is absolutely correct for the individuals and species but if we
consider the whole scale of beings there is an evident ascending
march, not limited to the Earthly animals since those on Jupiter
are physically and intellectually superior to them. – A. Each race
is perfect in itself, not emigrating to foreign races. These are the
same kinds on Jupiter, forming distinct races, but they are not the
spirits of dead animals.
16. Then, what becomes of the spirit of dead animals? – A. It returns
to the mass from which each new animal extracts the necessary
portion of intelligence. Well, this is precisely what differentiates
human beings from the animal. In the human being, the spirit is
individualized, evolving on his own, and that is what makes him
superior to the animals. That is why even the savage individual, as
you noticed, is obeyed and even by the most intelligent animals.
About § VI
17. You refer to the story of Balaam as a positive fact. Seriously, what
is your opinion about that? – A. It is a pure allegory, or even better,
a fiction to punish pride. They made Balaam’s donkey speak
as La Fontaine made many other animals.
About § IX *
18. Charlet seems to have been taken by imagination in this passage
since the picture that he draws about the moral degradation
of the animals is more fantastic than scientific. In fact the animal
is ferocious out of necessity and that is why nature has given
them a special physical organization. If some must eat meat that
is due to a providential reason and because it was useful to the
general equilibrium that some organic elements were absorbed.
Hence the animal is ferocious by design and it would be inconceivable
that the moral downfall of human beings had developed
the tiger’s fangs or shrunk its intestines, since there would
then be no reason why the same would had not happened to the
sheep. Before that we say that here on Earth, considering that the human being is little advanced, here we find the inferior beings in
all senses, whose contact is cause of concern and suffering to the
person, and consequently, a source of trial that helps in his future
progress. What does Charlet think about these points? – A. I can
only support them. I was a painter and not a scholar or scientist.
That is why from time to time I am carried away by the pleasure,
new to me, of writing beautiful phrases, even to the detriment of
truth. However, your thoughts are very fair and inspired. I colored
certain received ideas in the picture that I gave you, avoiding
the shock with any conviction. The truth is that the first periods
were in the Iron Age, much far from the intended smoothness.
Civilization led human beings to the conquest of the true
Promised Land by the daily discoveries of God given treasures,
both in space and on Earth, due to the intelligence and work, not
freely delivered into the hands of the child like human beings,
who needed to find them out of their own intelligence. As a matter
of fact, my mistake could not harm the enlightened person
who could easily detect it. It would go unnoticed to the ignorant
ones. However, I acknowledge my mistake. I took it lightheartedly
and that gives you a chance to analyze how much you must
control the received communications.
* The original shows § XI which is inexistent and an obvious typo that escaped revision
An important lesson stands out from these communications,
from the point of view of the Spiritist Science. The first thing that
strikes the reader, is the mix of fair, profound ideas, with a strong
mark of personal observation, together with others evidently false,
founded more on imagination than reality. There is no doubt that
Charlet was a man above the vulgar but as a spirit he is no more
universal than when alive, and may be wrong because since he is
not well advanced yet, he only sees things from his own standpoint.
As a matter of fact, only the spirits who have achieved the highest degree of perfection make no mistakes. The others, however
good they are, don’t know everything and may be wrong; but
when these are truly good they make honest mistakes and frankly
acknowledge that, whereas there are others who make conscious
mistakes, persisting on the most absurd ideas. That is why we
must exercise caution regarding everything that comes from the
invisible world, submitting it to the control of reason. The good
spirits always recommend that and are never offended by criticism
because they are either confident of what they say and are
afraid of nothing or they are not as confident and aware of their
insufficiency as the ones who seek the truth. Well then, if human
beings can learn from the spirits, some spirits can also learn from
human beings. The others, on the contrary, want to dominate;
expecting to impose the acceptance of their utopic ideas just because
their condition as spirits. Then, out of presumption or ill
faith, they cannot bear contradiction. They want to be accepted
in their word since they know well that they cannot afford serious
examination. These are offended by the slightest question about
their infallibility and arrogantly threaten to abandon you, as if
you were unworthy of hearing them. Also, there are some who
only like those that kneel before them. Aren’t there human beings
like that? Would there be any surprise in finding them in
the spiritual world as well? Such a trait is always an indication of
pride, conceit, foolish vanity, and thus petty ideas and poor judgment.
Something that is a clear sign of inferiority in people could
not be a sign of superiority with the spirits.
Charlet, as just seen, willingly gives himself to the controversy;
he listens and admits the objections, responding kindly;
develops what was obscure and openly acknowledges what was
not accurate. In short, he does not want to pretend to be wiser
than he actually is, demonstrating more elevation than if he had
persisted on false ideas, like certain spirits who are stunned by
the simple comment that their communications seem to require analysis. Something that is still proper of those proud spirits is a
kind of fascination exerted upon their mediums who sometimes
are led to share the same feelings. We say “their mediums” on
purpose because they are taken over and the spirits want to use
them as if blindfolded. They would never adapt to an inquisitive
medium or someone with clear vision. Doesn’t this also happen
among human beings? When the person is caught and out of
fear that he might escape, the person is inspired to stay away
from whoever may clarify them. The person is somehow isolated
to be more easily influenced or only allowed to approach
those who are harmless to the foreign influence. They pretend
to be good apostles in order to capture their trust, typically taking
the name of venerable spirits whose language they try to
imitate. Nevertheless, however much they do, ignorance shall
never be capable of imitating true knowledge and a perverse
personality shall never be able to replicate true virtue. Pride will
always hide under a cloak of false humility and because they
are afraid of being caught they avoid arguments, keeping their
mediums away from that.
There is no one, which when judging cold-bloodedly and
without prevention, could not judge such an influence as bad,
once it sticks out form the most basic common sense that a really
good and enlightened spirit would never use such influence.
Therefore, one can say that a medium that is submitted to that
kind of influence is under the empire of an obsession, from which
one must be freed as soon as possible. What we want, before
anything else, is not communications at any price but good and
truthful communications. Well then, in order to receive good
communications we need good spirits and in order to have good
spirits we need good mediums, free from any bad influence.
Thus, the kind of spirits that habitually assist a medium is
one of the first things to be taken into consideration. There is a flawless criterion to identify that and it is not in the material
signs or in the formulas of evocation or conspiracy that it will be
found. The criterion is in the feeling inspired in the medium by
the spirit. One can assess the nature of the spirits that guides a
medium by the way he behaves and consequently, the degree of
trust that his communications deserve.
This is not a personal opinion or a system but a principle
inferred from the strictest logic if we admit the following
premise: a good spirit cannot suggest a bad thought. While it
is not demonstrated that a good spirit may inspire evil things,
we shall say that every action that is far from benevolence,
charity and humility, and where one can detect envy, jealousy,
pride or simply acrimony, it cannot have been inspired but
by a bad spirit, even when the latter would employ the most
beautiful maxims; for a truly good spirit would demonstrate it
by acting according to those words. The practice of Spiritism
is surrounded by many difficulties; the deceiving spirits are
so canny, so smart and at the same time so numerous that
it would never be too much to forearm oneself with maximum
precaution to frustrate them. That is why it is necessary
to scrutinize with great care every indication that may betray
them and those indications are both in their language and in
the actions provoked by them.
Having submitted these reflections to the spirit of Charlet,
here is what he said about it: “I can only support what you have
just said and advise everyone involved with Spiritism to follow
such wise advice, evidently dictated by good spirits, but which are
not absolutely appreciated by the bad spirits, you can believe me
there, because they know very well that this is the most efficient
way of fighting against their influence. Thus, they do whatever
it takes to veer off that course anyone that they want to lure into
Charlet said that he was dragged by the pleasure, new to him, of writing
beautiful phrases, even at the expense of truth. What would happen had
we published his work without comments? Spiritism would have been
criticized for accepting such ideas and for not being capable of distinguishing
between true and false. Many spirits are in the same condition.
They find satisfaction to their self-serving purpose by going through the
mediums, since they cannot do it directly, to create pieces of literary, scientific,
philosophical or dogmatic work of large scope. However, when
these spirits have only pseudo-knowledge they write absurd things, like
some people would do. It is particularly present in those continued pieces
of work that we can assess them because their ignorance fails them, not
allowing them to take that role for long and they reveal their limitations
themselves, hurting logic and reason at every step. There are sometimes
some good ideas amidst several false concepts, and those good ones help
the illusion. Such incoherence can only demonstrate their incapacity.
These are the bricks that human beings can align the stones for the construction
but incapable of building a palace. It is sometimes curious to
see the inextricable mess of combinations and reasoning that they find
themselves getting into, and from which they do not exit but to the cost of
utopias and sophisms. We have seen some that have left their work, after
some effort. Some others, however, never give in and want to act to the
end, still laughing at those who take them seriously.
The considerations above were suggested to us as a general principle,
and it would be a mistake to see any application in them. Among the
several publications about Spiritism there is no doubt that some would
yield a founded criticism but we do not place them in the same basket;
we indicate the way of assessing them and every one can proceed as
they wish. If we have not decided to evaluate them in The Review it is
because we are afraid of any misunderstanding about the true objective
of the criticism that we could make. Hence, we prefer to wait until
Spiritism is better known and particularly better understood. Then, our
opinion sustained by a widely understood foundation cannot be accused
of partiality. This expectation happens daily since we see public opinion preceding ours in many circumstances. We then congratulate ourselves
for the reservation. We shall carry out that examination when the time
is right but we can already foresee the basis of our argumentation. It is
logic that can be applied by each and every person since we do not have
the silly pretension of having the honor of its ownership. In fact, logic
is the great criterion of every spiritist communication, as it is of every
human activity. We know well that someone whose reasoning is faulty
mistakenly, considers oneself logical. That person is logical in their own
right but only to themselves, not to others. When logic is rigorous, like
in two plus two equals four and the consequences are derived from obvious
axioms, sooner or later the general common sense does justice to all
We believe that the following propositions have such a character:
1. The good spirits can only teach and inspire good; thus, anything
that is not rigorously good cannot come from a good spirit;
2. The enlightened and truly superior spirits cannot teach absurdities;
hence, any communication stained by manifested mistakes
or contrary to the most basic scientific data and contrary to observation,
attests the outright inferiority of its origin;
3. The superiority of any text is in the fairness and depth of the ideas
and not in the decorations and redundancies of style; hence, every
spiritist communication where there is more brilliant phrases and
words then solid thoughts, cannot come from a really superior
4. Ignorance cannot counterfeit true knowledge, nor can bad counterfeit
true good, absolutely; thus, every spirit that says anything
incompatible with their borrowed venerable name is responsible
5. Giving more attention to the thought than to the external form
is in the very essence of an elevated spirit, thus resulting that the
elevation of the spirit is directly proportional to the elevation of
the ideas; hence, every spirit that is meticulously concerned with the details of form, that prescribes fatuities, in a word, that gives
importance to signs and to material things, reveals, for that very
reason, petty ideas, and cannot be truly superior;
6. A truly superior spirit cannot contradict oneself; thus, if two contradictory
communications are given under the same respectable
name, one of them is necessarily apocryphal, and if one is true,
then it can only be the one that by no means denies the superiority
of the spirit that signs it off.
The consequence that results from these principles is the moral questions
one must consider with reservations and must never be accepted
without examination. The need for great circumspection in the publication
of their writings derives from that, particularly when those are prone
to ridicule through the proposal of strange doctrines or incoherent ideas.
We must be cautious about the inclination of certain spirits to present
systematic ideas and the passion with which they seek their propagation.
Hence, it is particularly with the scientific theories that extreme prudence
is recommended, avoiding to take by truth some systems that are
sometimes more attractive than real, and that sooner or later may be officially
rejected. Those systems may eventually be presented as probabilities,
as long as they are logical, and as basis for future observation; but
it would be lack of prudence to faithfully accept them prematurely. The
proverb says: “Nothing more dangerous than a reckless friend”. Well, that
is the case of those in Spiritism who are led more by passion than reason.