The Spiritist Method of Study & How to Advance Spiritism Today

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Introduction

In this text, we will study what is the Spiritist Science, its Method of research and how it applies to your belief systems and your possible contributions to the emergence of spirituality free from dogmas and mysticism on Earth. In this process, we hope it will become clear that the antagonism between science and spirituality is only apparent. In our view, such antagonism stems from two factors: 1. The formal sciences reluctance to consider the existence of non-physical dimensions of nature and life, albeit sizable sum of evidence supports this idea. 2. Spiritualist and religious people’s reluctance to question and test their paradigms, entering the real of rational faith instead of blind faith. Both are trapped in their own dogmas and egoistic beliefs. Both are not prepared for the new millennia. So, if you also seek a solution for this dilemma, this text is also for you!

We live at a time when scientific research in fields such as quantum physics indicates the observer’s mind affects the result of the experiment (influence of mind over matter) and theoretical physicists work with models that predict the existence of perhaps even eleven dimensions. We live at a time when psychosomatic illnesses, physical imbalances caused by unhealthy states of mind, are seriously studied and acknowledged by at least part of the medical community. In this context, it becomes illogical, if not irrational, to continue to advocate the reduction of nature to only three dimensions of space and one dimension of time. Likewise, it is inappropriate for this modern humanity, equipped with research methods sufficiently advanced to demystify many of the mystical beliefs of the past, to continue to practice faith without reason. In fact, both science and spirituality reside together in the minds and hearts of the human beings ready for the new millennium. It is primarily for them that we write this text as only they would be able to live and appreciate Spiritism to its full potential. So, let’s start with what is Spiritism!

Spiritism is defined by its founder, Allan Kardec, as “the science that studies the origin, the nature and the destination of the spirits, as well as its relation with the corporeal world. It is at the same time a science of observation and a philosophy of moral consequences.” Compare it with a modern definition of science, such as “the intellectual and practical activity encompassing the systematic study of the structure and behavior of an object through observation and experiment” and it becomes obvious that two elements are essential for anything that aims to be designated as science: The object and the method of study of such object, which obviously must be adequate to the nature of such object. So, if pipettes are appropriate for the study of chemistry and scalpels to the study of medical anatomy, what are the instruments appropriate for the study of the spirit? Is it impossible to scientifically study realities not observed by our five basic senses? Allan Kardec did not see this impossibility and designed the Spiritist Science applying reasoning and adapted scientific methodologies to study spiritual phenomena and the ideas proposed by multiple spirits. However, before we delve into his Method, let’s clarify a few points about Spiritism itself as to avoid possible misconceptions about it.

“Spiritism is the new Science that comes to reveal to men, through indisputable proofs, the existence and nature of the spiritual world and its relationship with the corporeal world. It shows to us no longer as a super natural thing but, on the contrary, as one of the living and restlessly acting forces of nature, like the source of an immense number of phenomena hitherto misunderstood and thus thrown to the domain of fantastic and marvelous.” (Allan Kardec, The Gospel According to Spiritism, Chap. I, item 5.)

“Spiritism is, no doubt, a Science of observation, but it is perhaps even more a Science of reasoning and reason is the only means that can make it progress and triumph over certain resistances. Such fact is only contested if it is not understood. The explanation removes all of its marvelous character, referring it to the general laws of nature.” (Allan Kardec, The Spiritist Magazine, 1859)

“Spiritism is not a new religion as some people pretend it to be because they don’t know it, or a new sect that is formed by taking advantage of older ones. It is a purely moral doctrine with no dogmas and that allows each person the entire freedom of religion since it imposes none.” (Allan Kardec, The Spiritist Magazine – October 1861)

The Spiritist Method

Kardec was not a typical man of science. Like many of the great personalities who have revolutionized the world throughout history, he allied a rational and curious personality completed by a seemingly incorruptible character. He was not adept to any particular spiritualist line of thought, but a scientist seeking to gain scientific understanding of allegedly spiritual phenomena occurring with certain frequency in multiple parts of the globe (and only for this reason attracting his attention, or curiosity). As an ethical scientist, he remained neutral, observing the phenomena itself as the object of study and drawing conclusions only after careful consideration of relevant facts. Anyone who impartially read his books – especially The Mediums’ Book – would come to this same conclusion. This is important to note because he didn’t resort of science as a way to prove his own points, a practice unfortunately common to scientists and spiritualists. In fact, Kardec’s studies changed to a large degree his own ideas.

“I applied the experimental method to this science [Spiritism], not accepting preconceived theories. I observed carefully, compared and deduced consequences. By the deduction and chaining of the facts, I sought to raise from effects to causes, not admitting an explanation as valuable unless it could solve all the difficulties of the matter. That is how I always proceeded in my previous works since the age of 15.

I soon understood the seriousness of the task I was about to undertake, and saw on those phenomena the key to the so obscure and controversial problem of the past and the future of humankind, to which a solution I lived searching to find. It was therefore a complete revolution in the ideas and beliefs of the world. Hence, it was necessary to proceed with circumspection and not careless, to be positive and not idealistic, as not to let myself be led by illusions.” (Allan Kardec, Posthumous Works)

In developing his Spiritist studies, Kardec proceeded in the same way our “conventional” scientific studies are carried out, adopting a Method that allowed for a rigorous analysis of the reproduction of the phenomena, the logic of the theories proposed and their coherence with what can be objectively observed and with other concepts already proposed and verified. Kardec’s Method, in its thoroughness and simplicity, we venture to say, is probably the most revolutionary aspect of the doctrine itself, since most spiritual ideas proposed by Spiritism were already raised by other fields of human knowledge. Kardec, however, understood well the nature of spirit communications as an object of study and the pitfalls that the lack of a method of study could bring to Spiritist studies.

“One of the first results that I gathered from my observations was that the spirits, being nothing more than the souls of men, possessed neither the full wisdom nor the integral science; That their knowledge was confined to the degree of advance they had obtained, and that their opinion had only the value of a personal opinion. Recognized from the beginning, this truth preserved me from the grave choice to believe in the infallibility of the spirits and prevented me from formulating premature theories, based on what had been said by one or some of them.” (Allan Kardec, Posthumous Works)

If no spirit is infallible and a method of science to study Spiritism should be considered, it is of utmost importance that we explore the Spiritist Method in more detail – and that we ask whether we are preserving its considerations to date. According to J. Herculano Pires, the Spiritist Method can be summarized by:

  1. Selection of unsuspecting medium collaborators, both from a moral standpoint, and from the purity of faculties and spiritual assistance.

  2. Control of communicating Spirits, through the coherence of their communications and the content of their language.
  3. A rigorous analysis of the communications, from the logical point of view, as well as their confrontation with demonstrated scientific truths, putting aside all that cannot be logically justified.
  4. Universal consensus, that is, concordance of the various communications, given by different mediums, at the same time and in several places, on the same subject.

 

Now, let’s see if we can identify the various elements of this Method in action through Kardec’s own description of his Method applied to the analysis of the concept of reincarnation, offered by the spirits themselves:

“We repeat what we have already said about it, that when we were taught the doctrine of the reincarnation by the spirits it was so far off from our thoughts that we had envisioned a completely different system about the antecedents of the soul, system that is in fact shared by several people. Regarding this subject the doctrine of the spirits has surprised us. We go further: it contradicted us, since it knocked our own ideas down. Hence, it is far from being a reflection of those ideas. That is not all. We did not give in at the first clash. We fought back; defended our opinion; raised objections and only surrendered before the evidence and when we noticed the insufficiency of our system to solve all questions related to this issue”. (Allan Kardec, The Spiritist Magazine, 1858)

Kardec himself was initially contrary to the idea of reincarnation. The concept proposed by the spirits forced him to consider two mutually exclusive paradigms, which he analyzed in light of reason:

“If we do not accept the plurality of corporeal existences, it would be necessary to accept that the soul is created at the same time the physical body is being formed since from two, one is correct: either the soul that animates the body at time of birth has already lived before, or it has not. Between those two hypotheses there is no middle ground; Now, from the second hypothesis, that which defends the soul did not live before, a multitude of unsolvable problems arise”. (Allan Kardec, The Spiritist Magazine, 1862)

Among the “problems” faced when rejecting Reincarnation, Kardec pointed out:

  1. Why does the soul show so diverse aptitudes and independent from the ideas acquired by education?
  2. Where does the super-normal aptitudes towards Science and Art, in children of early age come from, while others remain mediocre or inferior their whole life?
  3. Where do the innate ideas that some present and others don’t, come from?
  4. Where do premature instincts of vices or virtues; innate feelings of dignity or inferiority, in certain children come from, contrasting with the environment where they were born?
  5. Abstraction made of education, why certain men are so more advanced than others?
  6. Why are there savages and civilized men? If you take a tribal man in his diapers and educate him in the best colleges, will you turn him into a Laplace or Newton?

 

So, let’s now summarize how Kardec dealt with information provided by the spirits that differed from his own point of view:

  • At first, he did not accept Reincarnation as a reality.
  • The spirits presented the idea of Reincarnation as a reality.
  • Kardec initially objected and argued, defending his own paradigm and collecting arguments, evidence, facts.
  • Then, Kardec considered both hypotheses in light of all evidence collected and exhaustively dialoguing with the greatest diversity of spirits possible.
  • Finally, between the two systems, the most logical and compatible with the observable objective reality prevailed.

 

This example demonstrates well how Spiritism can be understood as a “science for spiritual studies”, based on critical reasoning and logical assessments of information obtained from multiple and independent mediums, in multiple places at different times. At this point, let us be very clear that we do not advocate Spiritism as the only possible venue to study spirituality or non-physical realities.  This text simply advocates that due to its well-developed scientific methodology, Spiritism can offer a path for those who seek peace between their scientific and rational side and their spiritualized nature. Spiritism allows for a “sorting” of concepts that can withstand critical reasoning and those that do not – allowing people to continue to live and practice their spirituality at least relatively free from fantasies, vague concepts of reality, mystical ideas and dogmatism.

To support this claim, consider that the formal sciences only made important progress after their studies were based on controlled experimental methods. Why then should not spiritualist ideas be put to the test through a similar approach, so that advances can also be made in this area of ​​human knowledge? It is clear that the methods must be adapted to suit the nature of the object of study, but, after Kardec’s legacy, how will such studies be carried forward and by whom? This is the question we must address later in this text (after proper understanding of the Spiritist Method).

In the introduction to his first book, The Spirits’ Book, Kardec also notes the comments below, which are relevant to a clear understanding of the Spiritist science and some of the criticism it receives for intending to study non-physical realities under a scientific perspective. Read it considering that some scientific truths of the recent past are often seen as delusions nowadays and some of the present fiction/dreams will be explained truths in the future. Our history involves a constant evolution, with science and spirituality, both, experiencing hits and misses.

“When science goes beyond the tangible observation of facts and attempts to evaluate and explain those facts, the field is opened up to conjecture. Each individual develops a system of his or her own and they must do their utmost to relentlessly defend it. Contradictory systems are suggested and rejected every day, one right after the other, disparaged as absurd errors, and then later proclaimed as incontestable truths. Facts are the sole criterion of our judgment, the sole argument for which there is no retort. In the absence of facts, those who are wise remain skeptical.

For subjects that have been fully explored and studied, the opinions of the educated are fairly authoritative, because their knowledge is more extensive and enlightened than that of an ordinary person. However, with respect to new facts or principles or even the unknown, their opinions should only be considered hypothetical, because they are no freer from prejudice than anyone else. One can even argue that scientists are more likely to be narrow-minded than someone else, because each of them is naturally prone to look at everything from their particular point of view. A mathematician accepts no other proof than that demonstrated by algebra, while a chemist refers everything to the action of the elements, and so on. When individuals select a specialization, they usually dedicate their entire mind and efforts to it. Beyond the scope of this field, such an individual often makes false inferences because of an insistence on treating every subject in the same manner. This is the consequence of human weakness. Therefore, while we should confidently consult a chemist in matters pertaining to analysis, a physicist with regard to electricity, or a mechanical engineer about driving forces, we must grant no more authority to their unfavorable opinion of Spiritism than we should to the opinion of an architect on a matter pertaining to music. This we must do without detracting from the respect due to their special knowledge.

Physical sciences are based on the properties of matter, which may be experimented upon and manipulated as desired. In contrast, phenomena created by spirits are an effect of the action of intelligent beings who have wills of their own, and who continuously show us that they are not subjected to our whims. Therefore, observations cannot be carried out in the same manner because they require special conditions and a different point of departure. Insisting on submitting them to the same methods of investigation is to insist on assuming the existence of analogies that do not in fact exist. As a result, science is incapable of determining the truth of Spiritism. It has nothing to do with it and its conclusion, whether favorable or otherwise, is of no bearing whatsoever.

Spiritism is the result of a personal conviction that scholars may hold as individuals, and is completely independent of their scientific notions. To submit the question to the decision of physical science would be the same as appointing a group of physicists and astronomers to settle the existence of the soul. Spiritism deals exclusively with the existence of the soul and its state after death. It is completely irrational to assume that someone must be a great psychologist simply because they may be a great mathematician or anatomist. When anatomists dissect a human body, they look for the soul, and, because they do not find it through the use of their scalpels, in the same way that they find a nerve, or do not see it evaporate like gas, they conclude that it does not exist. They reach this conclusion because their reasoning stems from an exclusively material point of view.

This by no means signifies that they are right and that the rest of the world is wrong. Following this line of reason, we conclude that the task of determining the truth or fallacy of Spiritism does not fall within the realm of science. When Spiritist beliefs have become widespread and accepted by the masses, which, if estimated by the speed at which they are currently being spread, is a time not very far off, the same will apply as with all new ideas that have encountered opposition. Scholars ultimately yield to the force of evidence. They will individually admit ideas that they now reject and, until that time, it would be premature to distract them from their special studies with something that is foreign to both their school of thought and field of research.

Meanwhile, those who denounce Spiritism without having a thorough understanding of the subject, and expose to ridicule those who do not submit to their way of thinking, forget that such has been done in regard to nearly every great discovery unearthed by humankind. They run the risk of being grouped among the members of the academic assembly who, in 1752, laughed at Benjamin Franklin’s paper on lightning rods and branded it worthless rubbish; or among those who caused France to miss out on the opportunity of pioneering the use of steam in shipping by labeling Robert Fulton’s plans an impracticable dream. And yet, both of these concepts not only proved to be true, but also went on to make great contributions to humanity. If those two assemblies, which included the leading minds of the world among their members, had nothing but disdain and sarcasm for ideas that they did not understand, but which were destined to revolutionize science, industry, and daily life a few years later, how may we expect that another unfamiliar subject should be met with any greater degree of respect?

The errors of some, though unfortunate for the honor of their memory, do not invalidate our esteem in regard to other matters. Common sense is not dictated by an official diploma, and there are fools both inside and outside the walls of academic institutions. We ask our adversaries to simply glance over the supporters of Spiritism and determine whether they see only uneducated and irrational individuals, or whether, despite the immense number of respectable individuals who have accepted it, Spiritism can be regarded as an old wives’ tale. In fact, their character and scientific knowledge should inspire people to think, ‘If these persons believe in this, there must be something to it.'” (Allan Kardec. The Spirits’ Book)

Before concluding this section, it is important we consider one more excerpt, this time from the article “General Control of the Spirits’ Teachings”, published by Kardec in 1864. Here it should be highlighted the importance Kardec attributed to the spontaneity of the communication in different parts of the globe and to different, independent mediums.

“The concordance in the teaching of the spirits is, therefore, the best control; but we still need that it occurs under certain conditions. The least certain of all is when a medium himself/herself interrogates several spirits on a dubious point; it is very evident that if he/she is under the dominion of an obsession, and if he/she has business with a deceiving spirit, this spirit can tell him/her the same thing under different names. There is, no more, a sufficient guarantee of the conformity which can be obtained by the mediums of a single center, because they may suffer the same influence. The only serious guarantee is in agreement that exists among spontaneous revelations, by means of a large number of strange mediums to each other, and in various countries. It is then conceived that such communications are not concerning to secondary interests, but rather to the very principles of the doctrine. Experience proves that when a new principle should receive its solution, it is taught spontaneously on different places at the same time, and in an identical way, if not in form, at least in principle. If, then, a spirit formulate an eccentric system, based solely on its ideas and out of the truth, one can be sure that this system will be circumscribed, and will fail the test of unanimity of the instructions given by all other parties, as has already occurred many times. (Allan Kardec, The Spiritist Magazine, 1864).

For Allan Kardec, the moral character, universality and concordance of spirit revelations confers to the Spiritist Science strength and authority. It is in the universal concord of rational and moral ideas spontaneously offered by the spirits that lies the best proof of safety of new spiritual teachings. Therefore, if adopting the same rationale, for a new concept to be admitted into the Spiritist body of Knowledge, it must be originated from teachings of multiple evolved spirits to various mediums across the world. As to identify this condition, the following criteria is proposed – offering a similar although individually conceived perspective to the criteria noted earlier on in this text and proposed by J. Herculano Pires.

  • Internal Coherence: The concept should not conflict with fundamental elements already incorporated to the Spiritist Science unless it clearly indicates a conceptual flaw admitted previously by mistake.
  • Grounded Rationality: The concept should be analyzed critically and logically in light of all observable evidence (not necessarily of material nature!).
  • Spontaneity & Universality: The concept should be obtained spontaneously by multiple and reliable mediums independent from each other and in multiple places (ideally multiple countries).
  • Verification: The concept should be verified through dialog with the greatest possible number of spirits of all degrees of advancement.

 

A Proposal for the Advancement of the Spiritist Science

The initial sections of this text were devoted to explaining the Spiritist Method and clarifying the necessary conditions that must be observed for new concepts to be assimilated into the Spiritist body of knowledge. We covered a lot of theory, and now should develop practical plans seeking to answer how Spiritism can be safely developed nowadays. Moreover, how can we, me and you – regardless of whether we are ostensible mediums, contribute to the progress of the Spiritist Science (and your spiritual development in the process)? The ideas here presented are not intended to constitute a final work proposal, but a step forward towards a further widespread practice of Spiritist studies, similar to what was maintained by Kardec at his time – and that constituted the Spiritist Science. We argue that recovering this scientific side of Spiritism protects it from natural dissolution by individual misunderstandings, misinterpretations, wrongful associations of ideas, etc. We also consider that recovering this scientific side of Spiritism allows it to continue to make safer steps forward in the human understanding of the physical and non-physical realities of the cosmos (now happening at a global scale), while ignoring it could naturally lead Spiritism to the status of a human religion and the natural consequences that it entails.

“No science exists that has come forth from a single man’s brain. All, without exception, are the result of successive observations, supported by previous observations, as in a known point, to reach the unknown. This is how the spirits proceeded, in relation to Spiritism.” (Allan Kardec, Genesis)

There was a time when religion and spirituality could be practiced through blind faith in a single book or a single person. This practice is destined to fall into shortcomings and excesses of all sorts and in our view, is not suitable for rational minds, ready to reason the causes and consequences of ideas. So, what is the spiritual practice of the awakened minds? We see it as being that of collaboration, of plurality of ideas, of humble and honest search for knowledge and inner development. This practice, however, cannot suit the flaws of character of those locked in their own pride, wishing to impose their beliefs on all and make the world cater to their needs. This practice is inadequate to those who are still constrained by sects of knowledge, closed to new paradigms and our urgent need to recycle ideas and make change. This practice is not adequate to those who do not question their own certainties. It is not adequate to those still attached to syntax rather than meaning. It is also not adequate to those who seek meaning without labor and study. This practice is for those who consciously celebrate freedom and diversity, knowing how to coexist among individuals who express opposing ideas. If alone we are tremendously limited, united we more thoroughly are able to reach the truth.

It is with this spirit of cooperation that we invite all of those inspired by this article, all of those touched by the Spiritist Science, all free thinkers and rational spiritualists to collaborate with this work. It is with the honest intention to promote progress in our understanding of the multiple dimensions of the cosmos and their intrinsic inter-dependency that we convene the rationale here exposed and it is clear to us that with the sum of additional minds this original proposal could be perfected.

Proposal

The spiritual world has offered us vast material for research in the form of thousands of books, let alone uncountable letters and messages, written through independent mediums in different places and different times. Spiritism itself has now spread through multiple countries and the internet can be used to suitably and safely (considering the proper precautions) connect us across multiple geographies. All of this material, allow us to carry out extensive studies of new concepts proposed by the spirits. This work cannot be performed by anybody or any specific group alone; it belongs to all of us and should be carried out according to the principles of collaboration and charity, thought by Jesus and incorporated to the Spiritist Science from its beginnings. No one is better than everyone! Our proposal, therefore, is that individuals and groups of individuals interested in studying the Spiritist Science (particularly those interested in writing about it or teach it) identify topics of interest and conduct studies according to the Method here proposed. It is critical that we look for the harmony of the teaching and use only primary reference sources. It is only though the universal concord of rational and moral ideas spontaneously offered by the spirits that we can safety contribute to the progress of Spiritism.

Considering this, the reader will note with a simple visit to the Oregon Spiritist Society’s website (www.oregonspiritistsociety.com) that such endeavor has been started through the development of articles published in this website. Everyone is encouraged to challenge or support the ideas and concepts there proposed, indicating new reference sources and/or any new relevant facts. Everyone is invited to develop new studies and share them with this group, so we can also contribute to such studies. As this collaborative effort progresses, new interesting ideas might be uncovered and evaluated according to the Spiritist Method, so as to be either demystified or confirmed. Individual errors of judgment can hopefully be compensated by our collective voice and the Spiritist Science can be practiced and studied on a safer landscape, especially when venturing beyond the topics brilliantly covered by Allan Kardec. The goal then is to form a network of scientists of the spirit devoted to studying the spirit communications and non-physical realities utilizing the Spiritist Method as a mean to advance this Science and prevent its loss through the irresponsible sharing of seemingly good ideas that do not pass through all the scientific boundaries established by Kardec himself for the advancement of Spiritism.

Therefore, those interested in conducting Spiritist research following the general parameters noted by this text are encouraged to contact the Oregon Spiritist Society and/or submit research material for this group’s publishing consideration on its website. Articles submitted for consideration will pass through a preliminary review by the group and if needed, other external collaborators, before being published in the group’s website for further collaboration of others. In any case, collaborators can also publish research material in their own websites, blog or any other online platform and invite us to collaborate with their content material on their platform.

We would like to conclude this article asking the reader (especially those working in Spiritist centers or often representing Spiritism in some fashion): how can you be sure you are educating others correctly regarding the Spiritist Science? Are you observing the Spiritist Method when incorporating new knowledge into your own viewpoints of the Doctrine, your texts, speeches and public communications? You are responsible for what you divulge and good intention (especially after reading this article – sorry!) alone might not be good enough. What are the standards you apply to the quality of your work? It is never enough to note that in the Spiritist Magazine of 1867, the following communication was provided as a warning that the strategy of spirits devoted to slowing down the progress of Spiritism (as a way to hamper the progress of humanity) was to dissolve Spiritism from within:

“You will see the consolidation of Spiritist meetings where the confessed aim will be the support of the Doctrine and the secret purpose will be its undoing; Supposed mediums will have the command communications appropriate to their objectives; Publications that, under the cloak of Spiritism, will strive to demolish it; Doctrines that will lend some of their ideas to Spiritism, but with the goal to supplant it. This is the struggle, the real struggle to be overcome, and that will be pursued with obstinacy [by the invisible opposition of Spiritism], but out of which the strongest will be victorious.” (Allan Kardec, Spiritist Magazine, 1867)

Therefore, if not for the development of the Spiritist Science, then for its preservation – be concerned with the quality and trustworthiness of what you share. It was considering all the elements shared in this article that we developed the proposal here presented (and it is for the same reasons that the Oregon Spiritist Society have adjusted the form of the lectures and publications it issues) – however, real progress can only be achieved through collaboration. As a simple example, Chico Xavier, one of the most trusted and celebrated mediums of recent times, has reached the count of 500 books published. Who can read all of them, compare the information with what has been shared with other mediums in other geographies and languages, make a rational analysis of the material in light of reason alone as well as in light of the Spiritist Science and write about the findings? Again, Spiritism can only progress through charity and collaboration! So, let’s talk? How can we contribute to each other?

 References

  • Pires, J Herculano. Ciência Espírita, FEESP.
  • Kardec, Allan. The Spirits’ Book.
  • Kardec, Allan. The Gospel According to Spiritism.
  • Kardec, Allan.
  • Kardec, Allan. Posthumous Works.
  • Kardec, Allan. Spiritist Magazine – multiple articles from multiple years.

 

The Link Between Men and Animals

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Basic Initial Clarifications

The objective of this article is to discuss the title’s subject matter from the standpoint of the research conducted by the author and in light of his own understanding of the Spiritist science. Therefore, all ideas here presented are not intended to reflect the Spiritist consensus on the topic, but instead, and noting again to ensure transparency on this matter, the current perspective of the author(s) of the article based on research conducted and considering the following research model:

  1. Multiple messages obtained through mediumistic means are presented and compared.
  2. The philosophy and theories developed are evaluated in light of the body of knowledge already accepted by the Spiritist science.
  3. The philosophy and theories developed are critiqued from a rational perspective and considering any objective evidence that can be used to reason their validity.

                Anyone who would like to present evidence or logical arguments that either confirm or refute the ideas here presented is highly encouraged to do so (this is how we do Spiritist science!), as to collaborate to elevating the quality of this work. Dire to question, dire to reason your own beliefs – since unshakable truths are only those which can confront reason face to face in all epochs of humanity.

Early Spiritist Studies

To appropriately cover the topic of elementals (or spirits of nature as noted in the Spiritist codification produced by Allan Kardec) and the progress of animals towards human beings, one of the most controversial within Spiritism at Kardec’s time, it is convenient to start with a brief summary of early Spiritist studies on this topic.

Kardec first covered this topic in the first edition of the Spirit’s book, in 1857. After revisions to the Spirit’s Book were implemented t arrive at its final version, in 1858, the topic remained in suspension as no conclusion could be formulated at that time – which is natural as not even the theory of Evolution of Species of Charles Darwin was published at the time. It is thus that we have the following within the Spirit’s Book of 1858:

“(…) all spirits do not think alike with regard to the relations that exist between humans and animals. According to some, the spirit can only incarnate as a human after passing through the different degrees of the lower beings of creation. According to others, people have always belonged to the human race, without passing through the various degrees of the animal world.”[1]

The topic continued to be explored and studied within Spiritist circles. In parallel, Darwin brought about a revolution when introducing the idea of evolutionary biology. In the Spiritist Magazine of 1860, an important message has been received which is strikingly related to a contemporary message to be provided later  in this text. Here I mention this simply as to highlight the progression of ideas that you will be able to observe throughout this text. This progression of ideas will then explain why the spirits talked about animals in Happy worlds, such as Jupiter – which to some extent seem excessively mystical and dubious.

“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. (Message from the spirit 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.” [2]

In a later message, the same spirit, Charlet, notes:

“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.” [2]

In 1860, though, Kardec had not drawn any conclusions regarding the evolution of animal souls into human. The topic is only considered resolved in 1865, when he writes:

“This explanation, as we see, concerns the grave question of the future of animals. We will deal with it soon enough, because it seems to us sufficiently elaborated, and we believe that we can, from today, consider it as settled in principle, by the agreement of the teaching“[3]

The explanation, can be summarized by the following excerpt:

“In the lower beings of creation, in those in which the moral sense does not exist and in which the intelligence is not yet but in the state of instinct, the fight could have no other objective but the satisfaction of a material necessity. Now, one of the most imperative material needs is that of nutrition; they struggle only to live, that is to say, to take or defend a prey, because they could not be stimulated by a higher objective. It is in this first period that the soul is elaborated and rehearsed for life. When it reaches the degree of maturity necessary for its transformation, it receives from God new faculties: free will and moral sense, divine spark in a word, which give a new course to its ideas, endow it with new aptitudes and new insights. But the new moral faculties of which it is endowed are only developed gradually, because nothing is abrupt in Nature. there is a transitional period where man is difficult to distinguish from the animal. In these early ages, the animal instinct dominates, and the struggle still has for furniture the satisfaction of material needs; later, animal instinct and moral sentiment counterbalance each other. Man then fight, not to nourish themselves, but to satisfy their ambition, their pride, the need to dominate: for all of those things it is still necessary for man to destroy. But, as the moral sense prevails, sensitivity develops, the need for destruction is reduced to the point it ends up being completely extinguished and turned into a hateful thing: man has horror of blood. However, the fight is always necessary for the development of the spirit, because even this point, which seems to us to be culminating, is far from perfect; it is still through activity that the spirit acquires knowledge, experience, and divest itself of the last vestiges of animality. But then the fight, which was bloody and brutal, becomes purely intellectual; man then fights against its difficulties and not against its peers.” [3]

This is a beautiful summary that shows a logical progression of the spirit in the animal reign towards humans. Consciousness, as we should naturally expect, develops slowly and continually. This is also in full agreement with the perspective that in our initial human existences we are simple and ignorant. It also gives us a good perspective to infer the place of Earth human inhabitants in the larger perspective of the universe’s humankind.

In 1865, then, the controversy observed in the Spirit’s book (back in 1858) is settle and the Spiritist understanding becomes that indeed the spirit can only incarnate as a human after passing through the different degrees of the lower beings of creation.

Here I’d also like to open a parenthesis to make a related point addressed to all of those engaged in understanding the Spiritist science. As you can see by what has been exposed thus far, Spiritism does not have sacred books. The “religious” approach of referring to a sacred book (or a collection thereof) where all philosophical answers can be found does not work for Spiritism because the Spirits’ teachings are progressive, dependent on our ability to understand what is being taught and a myriad of other factors. In any case, Spiritism is to be studied,  carefully and  Constantly. The Spirits’ teachings require comparisons, questions, reasoning and careful consideration against the body of knowledge already incorporated to the doctrine. This means also that the Spirits’ Book, being the first book published by Kardec, is far from being the final or even major reference to Spiritist science as codified by Kardec. Have you studied (not read, but studied, compared, scratching notes, questions, etc.) all books published by Kardec in their order of publishing? How many editions of the Spiritist Magazine have you read? Think about it!

Recent Studies

Now, back to our topic of study, I’d now like to cover how the transition from animal to human takes place according to two different spirit communications and I hope it will make sense why the spirits often mentioned the more evolved state of animals in Happy Worlds when approaching this topic at Kardec’s time – as observed in the message from 1860 we reproduced here.

“We will approach the progress of animals which are in their final phase of transition between the animal and the [human] spirit. (…)

If we make a comparison between the animals of the world Starlight [a world that, according to the spiritual author, was about eighteen thousand and two hundred years ahead of Earth, in evolutionary terms, at the time Jesus was incarnated on Earth] and those of Earth, the evolutionary distance between them is at the same distance as that of the men of today in relation to primates who inhabited caves. (…) The animals nowadays are now domesticated by man and learn so many things that really surprise us. Imagine in a few thousand years! (…) If we did a thorough analysis, these spirits found in those worlds [more evolved, particularly Happy Worlds as per the Spiritist classification of worlds], would not be considered animals in comparison to terrestrial animals, they would be considered hominal spirits.

Explaining better the issue of the missing link [between animals and men], which is a great puzzle to most scholars seeking clarification on Earth, we find no other way to speak about these animal spirits of the blessed worlds. When these intelligent principles inhabit animal bodies in a more perfect form and reach a certain degree of intellectual evolution, they begin to inhabit these worlds where a process of transitioning them to Happy Worlds is carried out. (…)

The animals that inhabit the superior worlds are those that have reached a greater degree of evolution. Those who are in the spiritual plane are more evolved than those of the planet Earth, except for those who have disincarnated there [on Earth] and are waiting for their next reincarnation [on Earth] to continue their evolution. These animals are still attached to the physical world, but you may consider that the animals that are working on the spiritual plane are far more evolved than the others. (…)

In the world Starlight, their sorting is done as follows: The agents of farms that have laboratories conduct intellectual experiments to test the animals’ I.Q.. They place them [the animals] to conduct certain activities and observe those that do well. Those who can do the job better and more quickly are separated from the others. The agents continue t perform this sorting, alternating the animals’ job duties. When they master themselves, they are given the task of guiding those inferiors to them. In this condition, they cease to be commanded and become commanders. Among the Bedouins on planet Earth, the leader takes the lead using brute physical force. In the higher worlds one becomes a leader who is more intelligent. At the moment they begin to command, they also begin to reason because they have the ability to have a continuous thought, to plan what to do to as to effectively carry out the task. Then, animals that are in the condition of command, begin to reason and in that way they are perfecting their work and using attributes that make them faster, more constructive and perfect. (…)

The higher spirits who work in this organization constantly devote to them fraternal feeling and love, so the animals feel as if they were their real children. With the affection that these spirits pass on to them and the great support they receive, they are motivated to continue, more and more, seeking a greater degree of intellectual progress. It’s like a wheel that cannot stop to keep up with the rhythm of the speed. After many millions of years of experience in various sectors of the work of intellectual awakening, the animals also create, by their own efforts, a spiritual atmosphere around them. In this way they give rise to their perispiritual form through the effort of their own labor and their own mind, fed by thoughts and the repetitive moments of elaborating and planning what they have been doing for a long time in the spiritual realm.

When acquiring continuous thought, their perispirit does not disintegrate anymore. The animal has conquered the individuality by his own effort, its work and the help of the spiritual benefactors who intuit them and encourage them to work. Between them and the spiritual friends, there is also a bond of friendship and gratitude. They discarnate. Start to have a spiritual life and change their bodies. In spirituality, they adopt a more sublime and delicate perispirit, being even more opened to receiving help from their spiritual benefactors.

This is the transition point. Animals, with all affection and love, are then taken to primitive worlds. They go through a process of “incarnation”, not in physical body, but in the spiritual dimension of these worlds, so that they may have a new body, a new life; living as elementals [Kardec refer to Elementals as Spirits of nature] who have the role of working in nature, carrying out heavier duties in the preparation of these worlds, so that, one day, they may be able to receive them. Remembering that in the elemental realm these spirits who act in the nature have great intuitive capacity to receive inspirations and orientations of the superior spirits and thus, their works can be executed in perfect harmony. However, the instinct of conservation remains very strong throughout their life trajectory, since they need to develop, more and more, the capacity for reasoning.

These spirits are led by higher spirits. (…) In this trajectory within the elemental kingdom, they will still live for billions and billions of years until it is time to have their first experience reincarnating as a man. In the first few times they will still have severe difficulties, since the spirit, when reincarnated, loses immense potential. So that we can estimate the loss, when the spirit is disincarnated it has its reasoning capacity at one hundred percent. (…) But when it reincarnates, it can only absorb, after much effort and dedication, twenty percent of what it brings in its evolutionary baggage.”[4]

Another reference indicates a similar perspective. Besides the reference to Christ, note the similarities between the animals evolution passing through continuously more evolved worlds until they reach their most evolved state as an animal of a Happy World. Then, they are sent to Primitive worlds where they first work as elementals until they are able to experience their first human incarnations.

“To this date, the scientists on Earth look for the so called “lost link”. They are after concrete evidence, material proof of the union between the animal and the human being and seek to identify the exact moment when this would have occurred. In vain. The spirits of nature, beings that completed their evolutionary process in the previous kingdoms to  the human species, live in the transition phase, which we call elemental. However, the process of humanization, or, more precisely, the sidereal instant in which they acquire the light of reason and become human spirits, only Christ knows. Jesus, as the ultimate representative of the Father on the planet Earth, is the only one who has the science and power to grant these beings the light of reason. And this does not take place on Earth, but in special worlds, prepared for this kind of transition. Kardec himself, whom I was able to study while still incarnated, addresses the existence of these worlds in The Spirits’ Book.

When the right timing comes, these beings are led to transition words in a sleeping state and, under the direct interference of Christ, they will awaken in his presence, possessors of the eternal flame of reason. From then on, they are sent to primitive worlds, where they will experience their first incarnations in the humanities of these orbs. This is the reason for the failure of the scientists search: they seek, on Earth, the connecting link, the missing link between the animal world and the human world. They will never find it. The evidence is not on planet Earth, but belongs exclusively to the cosmic plane, administered by Christ.” [5]

Two messages are still not enough to form definitive conclusions, but it’s interesting to note the logical content of the paradigm presented, indicating that indeed there are many dwellings in the father’s mansion and as human beings we have already lived in many of them. The ideas here presented also show the first human incarnation as a point when the now human spirit is “simple and ignorant”, in harmony with a basic Spiritist understanding. There is a clear harmony with the logical expectation of progressive intellectual development and a beautiful solidarity among beings of different levels of evolution.

Bonus: But what really are Elementals?

Let’s start with two questions from the Spirit’s Book.

Question 537: The mythology of ancient civilizations is entirely based on Spiritist ideas with the difference that they viewed spirits as deities. They represented those gods with special attributes; some controlled the wind, others lightning, while others ruled over plants and vegetation, and so on. Is this belief groundless?

“It is so groundless that it is far from having any semblance of truth.”

a) By the same reason could spirits somehow inhabit the core of the Earth and rule over the development of geological phenomena?

“Those spirits definitely do not live within the Earth, but they direct its developments according to their various terms. One day you will receive an explanation of all these phenomena, and you will then understand them better.Do the spirits who exert power over natural phenomena act intelligently and with conscious intent, or from an instinctive and irrational impulse?

Question 540: Do the spirits who exert power over natural phenomena act intelligently and with conscious intent, or from an instinctive and irrational impulse?

“Some act in one way, and others in another. Let us make a comparison: think of the hosts of animals that gradually formed islands and archipelagos in the ocean. Do you think that the transformation of the Earth’s surface has no Divine purpose and is not necessary to general harmony?”

“All this is accomplished by animals of the lowest degree that are simply providing for their physical needs without being aware that they are God’s instruments. In the same way, spirits of the most rudimentary degrees are useful to the general whole. While preparing for life, and before having full awareness of their acts and of their free will, they act upon certain phenomena in which they are the unwitting agents. They begin by executing the orders of their superiors and when their intelligence is more developed, they direct the processes of the material world. Further along, they are able to direct the effects of the moral world. This is how everything is useful, everything in nature is linked together, from the original atom to the archangel, who began as an atom. This is an admirable law of harmony that your mind is still too narrow to fully comprehend.”

We see that the spirit’s clearly didn’t want to approach the topic in great detail at that time. Now, let’s see some additional information, more contemporary, provided by Robson Pinheiro’s book Aruanda.

“Elementals are beings that have not yet passed through the stage of humanity. Originating from the lower realms of nature and more specifically from the animal kingdom, they have not yet entered the human species. For this reason they bring a very intense instinctive and primary content. For them, man is a god. It is customary, even natural, to obey the human being and, in this process, they bind to man intensely. Therefore, my son, every medium is responsible not only for the communications given through him/her, but also for his/her good or bad use of these powers and beings of nature. (…)

Goblins and gnomes are elementals linked to forests and, many of them, to deserted places. They have a dwarf form, reminiscent of the human aspect. They like to walk through the woods and forests, giving signs of their presence through snakes and birds. (…)

The ondines are linked more specifically to streams, springs, as well as the dew near these places. We cannot fail to also mention their relation to the rain. (…) The nymphs, elementals that resemble the ondines, present themselves with the spiritual form involved in a blue aura and radiate intense luminosity. (…)

We also have elementals that relate to the earth, which we call avissais. They are usually associated with rocks, underground caves, and sometimes come to the surface. They act as transformers, converting material elements into energy. They are also precious helpers in the work of good spirits, especially when there is a need to create clothing and clothing for materialized spirits. As they are connected to the earth, they bring a quota of primary energy essential for the reconstitution of the perispiritual appearance of materialized entities, including at times when they have lost the human form or feel as having their limbs and organs torn apart.” [5]

Reference

[1] Kardec, Allan. The Spirits’ Book.

[2] Kardec, Allan. Spiritist Magazine of 1860.

[3] Kardec, Allan. Spiritist Magazine of 1865.

[4] Resende, Izoldino. Planeta Terra em Transição (Planet Earth in Transition). 2012. Dictaded by the spirit Ismael through psychofony.

[5] Pinheiro, Robson. Aruanda. 204. Dictated by the spirit ângelo Inácio through psycography.

Is Karma the Same as Cause and Effect as Presented in the Spiritist Codification?

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Basic Initial Clarifications

The objective of this article is to discuss the title’s subject matter from the standpoint of the research conducted by the author and in light of his own understanding of the Spiritist science. Therefore, all ideas here presented are not intended to reflect the Spiritist consensus on the topic, but instead, and noting again to ensure transparency on this matter, the current perspective of the author(s) of the article based on research conducted and considering the following research model:

  1. Multiple messages obtained through mediumistic means are presented and compared.
  2. The philosophy and theories developed are evaluated in light of the body of knowledge already accepted by the Spiritist science.
  3. The philosophy and theories developed are critiqued from a rational perspective and considering any objective evidence that can be used to reason their validity.

We should also indicate our intention to demonstrate that the paradigm that the Law of Karma as typically presented by common Eastern religions is not quite the same as the Law of Cause and Effect as presented by the Spiritist codification. This is often a source of confusion among Spiritists themselves, hence justifying the comparisons and explanations made here.

Anyone who would like to present evidence or logical arguments that either confirm or refute the ideas here presented is highly encouraged to do so (this is how we do Spiritist science!), as to collaborate to elevating the quality of this work. Dire to question, dire to reason your own beliefs – since unshakable truths are only those which can confront reason face to face in all epochs of humanity.

The Law of Karma

Karma is a key concept in Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism, Sikhism, and Taoism. According to Wikipedia (We value the use of primary sources, but have opted to resort of a wikipedia reference this time as no better primary source has been found that summarizes the concepts we aim to convey as well as the reference below):

“karma means action, work or deed. It also refers to the spiritual principle of cause and effect where intent and actions of an individual (cause) influence the future of that individual (effect). Good intent and good deed contribute to good karma and future happiness, while bad intent and bad deed contribute to bad karma and future suffering. Karma is closely associated with the idea of rebirth in many schools of Asian religions. In these schools, karma in the present affects one’s future in the current life, as well as the nature and quality of future lives – one’s Samsara.” [1]

We should make it clear that the author of this article has limited knowledge of Eastern religions based mostly on common sense knowledge. It is possible that the common sense idea of karma is actually not in accordance to its original teaching and someone truly knowledgeable on this topic would be easily able to clarify any misconception. It is also not the intention of this text to make a reading or interpretation of any scripture or religious knowledge, but simply to compare the popular idea of karma with the law of Action and Reaction as presented in the Spiritist codification.

In this sense, we can define karma as the sum of a person’s actions in this and previous states of existence, viewed as deciding their fate in future existences. This supposes that future conditions are determined by past actions – a concept we intend to demonstrate not to be the Spiritist understanding.

The Law of Cause and Effect

Now we will present the Law of Cause and Effect from a Spiritist perspective. This matter has been extensively covered by Allan Kardec in the section “Penal Code of Life to Come” of his book “Heaven and Hell”. There, Kardec indicates that:

“Notwithstanding the diversity of the kinds and degrees of suffering which imperfect spirits undergoes, the penal code of the future life may be summed up in the three following propositions:

  1. Suffering is a condition of imperfection.
  2.  All our imperfections and all our misdeeds (which are the practical outcome of those imperfections) find their appropriate and necessary adjustment in their own natural and inevitable consequences – just as every excess is corrected by the malady which is caused by it, and as idleness is corrected by the disgust of life to which it leads – without the need of any special sentence being passed on each particular fault of each individual.
  3. All human beings have the power of freeing themselves from their imperfections through the exertion of their individual wills; all human beings, therefore, are able to avoid the sufferings that are the consequence of those imperfections and to ensure their future happiness.” [2]

We see then a subtle but strikingly different perspective than that offered by the popular view of the Law of Karma. Karma can be understood as the belief that past actions (facts) determine future conditions (states or circumstances). The Law of Cause and Effect as proposed by Allan Kardec based on the teaching of virtuous spirits do not assume this same logical relationship. Instead it proposes that our actions are a reflection of our imperfections and it is the imperfections (not the facts themselves) not corrected in the past that are the cause of future unfortunate conditions (states or circumstances). In other words, a person’s flaws of character caused him/her to make poor choices, actions that simply reflect moral elements of his/her consciousness. As this person dies and reviews his/her life (here understood as a series of choices and actions) from the broader point of view of the non-physical realm, this spirit will understand that certain imperfections of character led it to make certain poor and unfortunate choices. The actions simply evidence the imperfections. Well then, in designing a future existence, this spirit may include physical conditions, certain life circumstances, among other factors that will require it to confront the same moral imperfections which it knows to need betterment. This logic is strikingly different than that of the Law of Karma as it eliminates the element of punishment (for past deeds) and shifts the focus from actions (facts) to states of consciousness. From a rational perspective it also makes more sense as now we have moral conditions (consciousness) determining physical/emotional conditions (circumstances).

The question of number 975 of “The Spirits’ Book” confirms the rationale provided above.

“975. Do inferior spirits understand the happiness of the virtuous?

‘Yes and that happiness is a source of torment for them. They understand that their own deeds deprive them of it. It also leads them to seek a new physical existence to shorten the duration of that torment when death frees them from matter, if good use is made of this existence. It is on this basis that they choose the appropriate trials to atone for their faults. It must be remembered that spirits suffer for all the wrongdoing they have done or which they have been the voluntary cause, all the good that they might have done and did not do, and all the evil that has resulted from failing to do the good they might have done.’ When errant, it is as though a spirit emerges from a fog and sees the obstacles that stand between it and ultimate happiness. Therefore, it suffers more because it understands the full extent of its culpability. There are no more illusions for it. It sees things as they really are.’ ” [3]

 And in the same question, Kardec provides the following comments:

“When errant, a spirit sees all its past lives at a glance and foresees the future promised to it. It understands what it still needs to do to reach that future. It is like a traveler who having reached the top of a hill sees both the road it traveled, and what it still has to travel to reach the end of the journey.” [3]

But these are not the only references that demonstrate the Spiritist understanding of the Law of Cause and Effect, the Spiritist codification contains several references from which a few have been selected  from Kardec’s “Heaven and Hell” to further support the explanations provided to this point:

Every imperfection of the soul produces its own inevitable share of suffering; and every good quality produces, in virtue of the same law, its own natural, certain, share of happiness. The amount of a spirit’s suffering is thus exactly proportioned to the degree of its imperfection; and the amount of a spirit’s happiness is exactly proportioned to the degree of its intellectual and moral advancement.” [2]

“The good, or the evil, that we do is the result of the good or evil qualities possessed by our spirit. Not to do all the good which we have the power to do is evidently the result of imperfection on our part; and, consequently, as every imperfection is a source of suffering, a spirit suffers, not only for all the evil it has done, but also for the good which it might have done, but did not do, during its earthly life.” [2]

“A spirit suffers through the evil that it has done, in order that, its attention being concentrated on the consequences of that evil, the spirit may better understand its imperfections, and be led to amend itself.” [2]

“The duration of a spirit’s correction depending solely on its own delay in working out its own inner reform.” [2]

Now, when things start getting clear and comfortable, it is time to learn some more, right? That’s why  the spirits offer us the following information as further teaching on the “Penal Code of Life to Come”:

“Repentance is the first step towards improvement; but repentance, alone, is not sufficient to deliver the wrongdoer from the consequences of his or her wrongdoing; to effect this result, atonement and reparation are also necessary.  Repentance, atonement, and  reparation are the three conditions necessary for the effacing of a fault and the suppression of its consequences.” [2]

This passage demands additional explanations in light of what has been presented earlier in this article, so let’s cover these new terms in light of what has been described thus far.

What is Repentance

“1002. What happens when individuals acknowledge their faults on their deathbed, however, they do not have time to make amends? Is repentance alone enough in such a case?

‘Repentance accelerates rehabilitation, but it does not absolve it. Don’t they have the whole future ahead, and new opportunities to make amends will always be open to them?’ ” [3]

Repentance is simply a sincere regret. This step then is simply a spirit’s realization of a moral flaw it still needs to rid of. It is an important step towards moral progress, but not the only one. We can understand repentance as the phase when the spirit finally opens its eyes to something neglected until then. We can infer that it starts at the point when a spirit first gain awareness of a moral flaw (leaving the state of  simple and immature regarding the imperfection in question) and is likely to evolve through multiple “iterations” (lives) by which the spirit slowly improves itself. The following passages further clarify this matter:

“Repentance mitigates the sufferings of atonement, because it opens the door to hope and paves the way to rehabilitation; but it is only reparation that, by destroying the cause of our suffering, can annul the suffering which is its effect; the granting of a free pardon to the wrong-doer would be merely the granting of a favor and not an annulling of the cause and consequences of the person’s wrong-doing.

Repentance may begin in the spirit-life or in the life of the flesh, and at any period; if a spirit’s repentance is tardy, it suffers for a longer time.” [2]

“991. What is the consequence of repentance in the spiritual state?

‘The desire for a new incarnation in order to become purified. The spirit perceives the imperfections that deprive it of happiness, and seeks a new existence to be able to make amends for its faults.’ ” (See nos. 332, 975) [3]

“The individual is not simply subordinate to the criterion adopted by the world’s magistrates, who may be seen as skilled surgeons in the treatment or extirpation of social gangrene. Both on and off the earth, the more enlightened the individual, the more responsible he or she becomes through the shackles of his or her own conscience for falling into the thorn bushes of guilt.” [4]

Before we move on, it is worth sharing a passage of Chico Xavier’s book “Thought and Life” which indicates an important complicating factor of the atonement process – we are interconnected and constantly exercising our creative powers.

“The fault committed operates in our mind a state of perturbation which do not simply gather the mad forces of our repentance, but also the waves of grief and accusation of the victim and all of those who associate with the feeling, instituting disharmonies of vast proportions in the centers of the soul, to reverberate on our own instrumentation.” [5]

What is Atonement

“Atonement consists in the sufferings, both physical and moral, that are the results of a spirit’s wrong-doing – whether in the course of the same earthly life in which it has done wrong, or in the phase of spirit-life succeeding it, or in a new earthly life – until all traces of the spirit’s wrong-doing have been effaced.” [2]

Although the term atonement might suggest the idea of punishment, in reality, no punishment understood as the infliction of a penalty as retribution for an offense is involved. Repentance alone doesn’t free up the spirit from a moral flaw; it simply “opens its eyes”. The spirit is still pray of its own imperfections and will naturally suffer its consequences. At this state, the spirit will demonstrate ill tendencies relative to the imperfection(s) in question. It may still make mistakes (wrong-doing, sin, miss the mark, etc.), although sensitive to them – it now knows better, even if intuitively. A classic passage of the bible illustrates what we are talking about here.

“For I do not do the good I want to do, but the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing.” [6]

 No wonder the spirit suffers for its present state. It feels regret, perhaps remorse even.  It may wish to go back in time and make different choices. It longs to make amends. We all have been there! And here we must say that no one gets everything right the first time. We first crawl, then we walk, then we run… Nature do not evolve in big loops and this is how we progress as well. So forgive yourself and forgive others. Remorse is never necessary.

“Though nobody can go back and make a new beginning, anyone can start over and make a new ending.” [7]

If in the repentance phase the spirit learned about a flaw of character, it is in the atonement phase that it effects changes to its own moral values by confronting situations in new reincarnations that puts it in direct contact with the moral elements it aims to revise. As it still have imperfections, confusion, suffering and perhaps errors may still certainly come true. However, through its own will and effort, its moral dispositions are slowly perfected; a process Spiritists call inner-reform. The understanding of this broader reality allows us to appreciate the vicissitudes of life, instead of complain about them. No one should consent to suffer, hoping to “resolve” past debts and acting as if it deserves to suffer. The value of atonement is not on itself, but on the direction it provides the spirit to implement inner transformation. The appreciation of vicissitudes we mentioned should be understood as the possibility to face life’s “problems” simply as opportunities to demonstrate solid learning in the realms of justice and charity. In fact, a life without such opportunities might be desirable by some individuals when in the physical realm. However, from the perspective of the spirit, such life would be unproductive and meaningless. “The Spirits’ Book question 988 indicates what we are talking about:

“988. There are individuals whose lives are perfectly calm, who have nothing to do for themselves and are exempt from all worries. Is their good fortune proof that they have nothing to repent from any former existence?

‘Do you know many such people? If you think you do, you are mistaken. Such lives are often only calm on the surface. A spirit may have chosen such a life, but after leaving it, it realizes that it has not helped it move forward, and it regrets the time it has wasted in idleness.’

‘Bear in mind that a spirit can only acquire knowledge and elevation through activity, so if it sleeps without a care in the world, it does not advance. It is as though it (according to your world) needs to work, but goes off for a stroll or goes to bed with the intention of doing nothing. Bear in mind that each of you must answer for voluntary uselessness, and that such uselessness is always lethal to your future happiness. The sum of that happiness is exactly proportionate to the sum of the good that you have done, while the sum of your unhappiness is always proportionate to the sum of the wrongs you have done, and how many you have made unhappy.’ ” [3]

What is Reparation

Reparation consists in doing good to those whom we have wronged. Those who, through lack of power or of will, do not make reparation, in a given life, for the wrongs they have done in that life, will be brought again, in a new earthly life, into contact with the parties they have wronged in that former life, and under conditions which they will themselves have chosen beforehand, and which will have been contrived in such a way as to give them the opportunity of proving their devotion to them, and of enabling them to do them as much good as they formerly did them harm.” [2]

Inserted in a historical religious context that for centuries has overemphasized values of meekness, patience and charity, we might not be used to seeing justice as a regulating factor of cosmic balance. Well, it is through reparation that a spirit finds its enduring freedom and glory. Reparation does not entail suffering, but redemption. A former thief or corrupt man may be a generous medical doctor who brings health to many. This is what we see through the following final excerpt from “Heaven and Hell”:

There are faults of which individuals may be guilty, but which do not cause any direct and personal injury to other people; in such cases, the reparation of a fault is accomplished in one or other of the following ways: – by doing, in a subsequent incarnation, what they ought to have done, but did not do, in a former one, whether by discharging duties which they neglected or did not see to be incumbent on them, or by fulfilling missions which they failed to fulfill in that former life, or by practicing the virtues which are the opposites of the vice in which they then indulged; that is to say, by being humble if they have been haughty; gentle, if they have been harsh; kindly, if they have been unkind; hardworking, if they have been idle; helpful, if they have been useless; temperate, if they have been dissolute; setting a good example, if they have set a bad one; and so on. It is thus that a spirit progresses by turning to profitable account the experiences and the lessons of his past existences.” [2]

References

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Karma

[2] Kardec, Allan. Heaven and Hell.

[3] Kardec, Allan. The Spirits’ Book.

[4] Xavier, Francisco Candido. Action and Reaction.

[5] Xavier, Francisco Candido. Thought and Life.

[6]Holly Bible, Romans 7:19, New international Version.

[7] Quote from Xavier, Francisco Candido.

 

Awakening for a Future Society

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While philosophers such as Karl Marx imagined to reform the world through bloody class fights as to arrive at a new social structure, both Rousseau and Kant recognized that a renewed and better world could only come from a different and morally superior humankind, able to revert the state of submission of a vast majority of unprivileged men and women to a small elite. This exploration has been maintained since the beginning of civilization, thousands of years ago, and is to this date sustained by rigid social structures, political systems and religious doctrines. But how could (and can) this powerful and privileged minority keep the largest portion of the world’s population suffering in poverty and disgrace for so long?

The major religious traditions of the past were all founded on the concept of heteronomy (research this word!), as if god acted through punishments and rewards, and the principle of the degradation of souls – with obvious differences from religion to religion. For instance, Adam and Eve were reprehended for eating the forbidden fruit and punished with expulsion from heaven, conception with pain, mortality, etc.; transferring the original sin to all of their offspring. According to this tradition, to escape eternal condemnation, it is required to blindly surrender to god’s will. Those laws called divine are all external to the individual. In this conception, the greatest human virtue are obedience, loyalty and meekness; values that are conditionally maintained for fear of sin and condemnation. In many Eastern reincarnationist doctrines, the mythology is different, but the intrinsic values are mostly the same. In their narratives of traditional religious texts, the soul is originally good when conceived by god, but contaminates itself through multiple failures and errors made over a physical life. Such failures render the soul deserving of punishment through successive reincarnations as a plant, an animal, an insect, etc. depending on the severity of the crime.

But it wasn’t only the religious traditions that propagated the heteronomous moral. The materialist theories emerging on the 19th century abandoned mysticism and superstitions to some degree, but maintained the concept of heteronomy by keeping men submissive to the external laws of society – more precisely, the law of the survival of the fittest (also known as the might is right) determined by biologic and circumstantial differences. According to Auguste Comte, for example, the great masses of workers and all women didn’t have adequate brain development and were therefore organically prevented, by nature, to make adequate use of their intellectual faculties. They should therefore surrender to the command and dominance of the minority of men privileged with a better nervous system able to make them scientists, leaders, commanders, etc. Those sickly fantasies of the positivism of Comte were well accepted on his time and still persist in our present society even if disguised in other more modern and politically correct formats.

But what are the ideas that could revolutionize the world and build a better society? The Swiss philosopher and psychologist Jean Piaget can give us a clue. Piaget, studying the moral judgment of children, established an association between  – heteronomous morality, coercion and submission – and – autonomous morality, cooperation and mutual respect. According to Piaget, it is possible to apply to society this natural psychological process observed in children, fostering, generation after generation, a natural (although complex) change from coercion to solidarity; from a heteronomous morality to an autonomous morality. As he indicated, in conformist societies, where the population is vastly explored, coercion determine submission and passivity. Where freedom is embraced and promoted, fraternal attitude arises and the individual assume responsibility for the well-being of the collectivity (and vice-versa).

Now, if well understood, isn’t the autonomous morality the cornerstone of the original teachings of Jesus (before being manipulated and misrepresented over the centuries)? If you pay attention, words such as “you are gods”, “you can do all I can do and much more”, “I didn’t come to bring peace, but a sword” and “my kingdom is not of this world” doesn’t quite fit the merciful Jesus the churches sell you today. Indeed, if studying his words, as well as those of other morally distinguished men, it is possible to observe their moral autonomy, the presence of compassion but also a sense of unbreakable justice. Perhaps this is the last teaching the master of the Galilee left us before dying – do not surrender your will, your reason and your morals  to others. Socrates was arrested and murdered for being loyal to his moral values. Giordano Bruno was burned for not surrendering to the church’s authority. Countless examples of those luminaries that changed our world for better indicate the clear presence of an autonomous morality and freedom of thought. To bring a contemporary example (and I hope you agree with me), wasn’t Edward Snowden acting from a moral autonomous perspective when getting involved in the NSA spying scandal?

                Freedom of thought, acting morally according to the values of one’s own consciousness (even in detriment of self interests and independent of conventional rules and religions); this is the sign of the awakened man ready to build the society of the future. When we have enough of them, we will have a new world as the external projection of their moral and spiritual values. A sustainable future society invariably require individuals capable of mutual collaboration, founded from the autonomous fraternity they feel for each other. So, it is not through scientific development, economic growth, politics or wars that we will build a new society. It is through our own inner reform, arriving at a true and innate understanding of the law of love, preached by way too many and practiced by way too few, that we will be able to find peace and happiness. As noted Allan Kardec on his Posthumous Works, “The social matter doesn’t have, therefore, as a starting point the form of this or that institution; it is completely related to the moral betterment of individuals and their collectivities. There is where one can find the beginnings, the true key to the happiness of humankind. Because then, men will no longer conceive mutually harming each other. It is not enough to cover corruption with varnish, it is indispensable for it to be extinguished” (free translation).

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Boundary-less Spiritism and the Spiritual Practice of the New Millennia

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God is not adept of any religion. Nature, both physical and non-physical, is independent of our beliefs and opinions about it. Science and religion are only human interpretations of the laws that govern the universe and our relationship with it as individual consciousnesses. Every law of physics reflect an attempt to interpret the mechanisms of the four-dimensional (3 of space and 1 of time) physical universe, but doesn’t change those mechanisms themselves, neither explore their relation with other neglected dimensions. Similarly, every religion reflect an attempt to interpret the moral and intellectual laws that govern our connection with the creator and (perhaps) with the universe, but such mechanisms are also independent of our interpretations. This has very important consequences that are often ignored or even denied by our society; that is, we must be very careful not to fall into dogmatism.

Now, allow me a parenthesis before I continue discoursing about religion. This parenthesis is about the dogmatism of our sciences. I am not picking on sciences. The point is that when we talk about dogmatism, it is common for people to think it is only something applicable to religion. However, simply put, dogmatism is the imposition (moral or even physically) of a specific belief system as an unquestionable truth. So, when we think about science, we often think about the application of methods or research, checks and balances that guarantee trustworthy results, right? That’s why questioning science is typically a sign of ignorance, lack of education or both. Science can’t be questioned because it works with verifiable results. Well, it happens that as we go down this path we walk a fine line between exploration and dogmatism. For instance, does it follow that verifiable results must always be physical and positivist? In this case, should we even consider psychology and philosophy fields of science? What about all para-psychological phenomena (ESP, materialization,  telekinesis, etc.) which have already been demonstrated multiple (repeated) times under controlled conditions, by multiple people and everywhere in the globe.  Should we simply deny the veracity of observable phenomena as rulers of what is possible and what is not possible in the universe? Shouldn’t we question whether significant scientific advancements cannot be made through research in areas that, for their own non-material nature, cannot be researched through traditional positivist means? Does science really cannot accommodate any flexibility, any adaptability that proves to be adequate for the study of a given subject matter, or natural events happening in dimensions beyond the three-dimensional space and one-dimensional time? With so many signs that indicate the survival of consciousness after physical death, the reality of reincarnation, among others; should we really reject all studies in those areas? With science coming to the conclusion, through its own means, that the observer consciousness can affect the results of an experiment, that there is a non-local space-time reality (entanglement), that matter is just a condensed energy state, etc.; should we really marginalize those research fields likely to drive potential groundbreaking revolutions and place the burden of proving them right (to a large audience already convinced they are wrong) on anyone who with no funding or support decides to study them? Could this be one of the most disguised forms of dogmatism of our present society?

There is a difference between rejection and denial, the latter being the state of our sciences when opting not to honestly and unbiasedly research certain topics. Then, isn’t this denial evidencing a plain and simple dogmatism? Isn’t it what dogmatic people do, to deny anything different than their own viewpoints? Isn’t it a state of mind where anything opposed to a particular paradigm is ruled out? Dogmatism is a state where out of pride and selfishness we want the universe to function according to our own interpretations of it. Therefore, there is a particular way to connect with God, my way! There are particular natural phenomena that can be accepted; those which can currently be “naturally” explained. Anything else should be classified as paranormal, supernatural or simply charlatanism or delusion. Yet, as Allan Kardec, the codifier of Spiritism, pointed out over 150 years ago, if there is an effect, there must be a cause. The talk below from Rupert Sheldrake brilliantly and clearly demonstrates dogmatism in our sciences.

But, going back to religion, it is of utmost importance that we start freeing ourselves up from the boundaries of any particular paradigm for our connection with God and the universe. Every strict religious belief is dogmatic and restrictive by nature. All religions are a step in our spiritual journey towards perfection and communion with God, but at some point we must free our minds of any particular interpretation. A new consciousness level is achieved when we become genuine explorers of the truth, aware of our current inability to grasp all of the laws of the cosmos and operate at a level of perfection that is in full harmony with the divine love. In other words, Earth humanity will raise to a whole new consciousness level when it free itself up from the walls of religions; when it absorb the universal truths contained in every religion and rid them from everything else. Then, all of us will truly be one. We will not be connected by belief-systems or laws that promote mutual respect and good behavior; we will be connected by divine love. We will be immersed in a love that transcends this planet and connects us with God and all of its creation. We will be awake to what we truly are. Then, as Chico Xavier, one of the most remarkable mediums of recent times noted brilliantly in 1971, at the live Brazilian TV audience program Pinga Fogo, “(…) we will understand that we are part of a universal family”. Indeed, we will then understand the true meaning of the bible passage which notes that God’s kingdom has many dwellings (see John 14:2).

In our development process to this new consciousness level, the Spiritist science codified by Allan Kardec, offers a remarkable new paradigm for the study and practice of spirituality in this new millennia. As Kardec himself noted, “Spiritism is not a new religion as some people pretend it to be because they don’t know it, or a new sect that is formed by taking advantage of older ones. It is a purely moral Doctrine with no dogmas and that allows each person the entire freedom of religion since it imposes none. A demonstration of that is the fact that its most enthusiastic followers are among the most devoted Catholics as among Protestant, Jews and Muslims. Spiritism has never advised anyone to change religion or sacrifice their beliefs. It does not really belong to any religion or better still, it is present in all of them.” (Kardec, October of 1861)

The passage above indicates the framework for a conscious spiritual practice which I consider to be in high demand in our world nowadays. It is a framework of curious, unbiased and unpretentious exploration of our relationship with the divine and the universe.  It is critical that we forge adequate perspectives for the advancement of spiritualist sciences; one that do not create boundaries, but eliminate them; one that free our consciousness from the many incarnations in contact with dogmatic belief systems. As a free-thinker and admirer of the Spiritist sciences, among other spiritualist bodies of knowledge, I believe that it is time for us to understand the smallness of all of our religions. In a universe of trillions of stars, all of them with dozens of planets, it is fair for us to ask: how many religions are out there? Do they have a leader, a pope? Then how many popes are out there? Is there a single religion that actually got everything right? Where is it and how can we know? Our communion with ourselves and, in consequence, with our divine nature requires us to free ourselves from the boundaries of paradigms that cannot be confirmed by reason and felt within our hearts. I see a future where religions will be faced as a step in our history towards true spirituality. I see a future where the boundaries between our four-dimensional reality and other unknown time-space dimensions are finally overcome by many. It is with this vision in mind that I write this text inviting my reader to tap into all of the spiritual knowledge at our disposal. The knowledge contained by all religions of all times as well as that which we can access through further exploration. It is in such way that Spiritism becomes a special step for humanity. Rather than think about it as just another religion, we must deeply understand its purpose, from design to its current state, as an anchor for the birth of a renovated humanity in a renovated Earth. In the words of its founder, “Spiritism proclaims freedom of thought as a natural law; calls it to his followers, in the same way for everyone. It respects all sincere faiths and requests reciprocity. From freedom of thought derives the right to self-examination in matters of faith. Spiritism rejects any form of blind faith, because they require men to surrender their own reason; it considers rootless all faiths imposed: Unshakable faith is only one which can confront reason face to face in all epochs of humanity.” (Kardec, Posthumous Works)

We must then, allow it to grow as we grow with it. At the risk of chocking many, I see a future when all religions will be obsolete as we practice not religion, but a true spiritual communion and connection with all there is. I see a future when the word Spiritism will also be obsolete as we no longer need to protect its ideas from foreign ones (which was the initial intention of the neologism). This is because living true spiritual communion and connection with all there is, the truths brought by Spiritism will be known and practiced by all, beyond its boundaries. Could this be a framework for spiritual practice in the New Millennia? It is certain that time will show.

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