The Spiritist Review - JOURNAL OF PSYCHOLOGICAL STUDIES - 1861

Allan Kardec

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Mr. Jourdan asks a question, or even better, makes an objection motivated by his limited knowledge about the subject as below:

“…Thus, it is not absolutely impossible that some of those beings may accidentally get in touch with us but what does seem trivial is the need for a material support of a table, a basket or a medium so that those relationships may be established.” “Those communications are either useful or pointless. If useful then the spirits must not need to be mysteriously evoked and questioned in order to teach people what people need to know. If useless, why resort to using them?” In his book A Philosopher by the fire, he adds: “That is a dilemma that the spiritist school will hardly solve.”

No. There is no difficulty for the spiritist school to solve it since it was proposed and solved long ago and if according to Mr. Jourdan that is not the case it is because his knowledge is limited with that respect. We believe that had Mr. Jourdan read The Mediums’ Book that deals with the practical and experimental part of Spiritism and he would have a different idea about the subject.

Yes, there is no doubt that it would be trivial, and this word used by Mr. Jourdan would be weak; we say that it would be ridiculous, absurd and unacceptable, that in order to establish such serious relationships like those between the visible and the invisible worlds the spirits would need to resource to such common utensils like a table, a basket or a planchette to transmit their teachings to us, because the natural consequence of that, would be that once those utensils were not available we would also be deprived of their lessons. No. That is not the case. The spirits are just the souls of people, without the dense covering, and the spirits exist since there have been people in the universe (we don’t say on Earth). These spirits form the invisible world that populates the space that surrounds us; space in which we live unsuspectingly, as we do amidst the microscopic world. The spirits have exerted influence upon the visible world at all times; those who are good helped the people of genius with their inspiration, while the others provide us with guidance in our day to day lives. But those inspirations that occur by the transmission of thoughts are invisible and leave no material trace.

If the spirit wants to communicate outwardly he needs to act upon matter; if he wants to give his lessons with accuracy and stability rather than with fuzziness and uncertainty then material signs are necessary and for that – allow us the expression – the spirit uses everything at hand as long as under the conditions that are appropriate to his nature. When willing to write the spirit utilizes a pen or a pencil; willing to rap the spirit will use any object like a table or a saucepan and he will not feel humiliated for having used that. Is there anything more common than a goose feather? Isn’t that what the greatest geniuses use to create the masterpieces that remain for posterity? What can they do if they are denied of any means of writing? They think but their thoughts are lost if not collected. Suppose a handicapped writer, how would he write? An assistant may capture the message. Well then, since the spirits cannot hold the pen without an intermediary they do so through someone that is called a medium, inspired and guided by the spirits. That type of medium, sometimes acts as aware of what is going on; in that case it is a medium in the true meaning of the term. Others act without knowledge of what is happening behind the action; that is the case of the inspired mediums that are unknowingly mediums. Thus, the subject of tables and planchettes is totally secondary and not of substance as people who are not well informed may think. Those objects were the prelude of the great and powerful means of communication like the alphabet was the prelude of reading.

The second part of the dilemma is not less easy to resolve. Mr. Jourdan says: “If the communications are useful then there is no need to evoke the spirits mysteriously, etc.”

Let us say for starters that it is not up to us to regulate what happens in the spiritual world. We cannot say: - things should be this or that way since it would be the same as trying to conduct God’s business. It is true that the spirits want to initiate us into their world because that will perhaps be ours tomorrow. We must accept it as is and if it is not convenient to us it will not change here or there because God will not accommodate our caprices.

Having said that let us promptly state that there is never a mysterious or Kabbalistic evocation. It is all done openly and with simplicity and without any compulsory formula. Those who believe that these things are necessary totally ignore the fundamentals of the Spiritist Science.

Next, if the spiritist communications only existed as a consequence of evocations it would then follow that those communications would be a privilege of those who can be evoked, and that the great majority of those who have never even heard about it would be deprived. This is in contradiction with what we have just mentioned above about the occult and spontaneous communications. These communications happen to everyone, from the little to the big one, from the rich to the poor, from the ignorant to the scholar. The spirits that protect us, and our lost relatives, they don’t need to be called. They are around us and although invisible they surround us with their solicitude; we only need a thought to attract them, demonstrating our affection, because if we don’t think of them it is very natural that they don’t think of us. People may then ask: what is the objective of the evocation? Let us see.

Suppose you are out in the street, surrounded by a dense crowd that speaks and hums in your ears; far away in the crowd you see someone that you know and to whom you would like to speak to in private. What do you do if you cannot reach that person? You call and the person comes to you. That is what happens with the spirits. Besides those that we love and they may not always be around, there is the swarm of indifferent ones. If you want to speak to a given spirit and since you cannot go to him for you are tied to the corporeal links, you call him, and that is the whole mystery of the evocation whose only objective is to provide you with the ability of addressing anyone that you like, instead of listening to the first one that shows up. In the occult and spontaneous communications that we mentioned earlier the spirits that assist us are unknown to us; they do so in spite of us. They reveal their presence in an objective way through the material manifestations, written or otherwise, and they may even provide their identity if it is their wish to do so. It is a means of knowing those around us with whom we are synchronized and if we have friends or foes around us. There is no lack of adversaries in the spiritual world as in our world. There as here, the most dangerous ones are the ones that we don’t know. Practical Spiritism provides us with the means of getting to know them. In short, anybody that only knows Spiritism through the phenomenon of the turning tables has such a limited and trivial idea about it as someone else that only knows Physics from children’s toys. Nevertheless, the more one advances, the more the horizon broadens, and it is only then that its true reach is understood because it reveals one of the most powerful forces of nature, a force that acts simultaneously upon the physical as well as the moral world. Nobody denies the influence exerted upon us by the material world, be it visible or invisible. If we are part of a crowd we suffer its moral and physical influence.

With death our souls go somewhere in space. Where to? Since there is no restricted or limited space Spiritism says and demonstrates that such a place is space as a whole, forming around us a countless population. Now, how can we admit that the intelligent space has less action than the unintelligent space? That is the key to a large number of misunderstood facts, that people interpret according to their own prejudices and exploit them to the taste of their passions. When these things are understood by everyone the prejudice will disappear and the progress will steadily follow its march.

Spiritism is a light that illuminates the darkest recesses of society; it is then natural that those who fear light try to extinguish it. However, when that light has penetrated everywhere, it will be necessary that those who seek darkness will have to decide to accept the light of day. We will then see their masks fall. Every person that truly wishes progress cannot remain indifferent to one of its most powerful contributors, a contributor that prepares one of the greatest moral revolutions up until now experienced by humanity. As it can be seen, we are far away from the turning tables. The distance between that modest beginning and its consequences is the same that one day had existed between Newton’s apple and the law of universal gravitation.

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