Allan Kardec

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14. "What will they say about me," you frequently ask, "if I refuse to make the reparation that is being demanded of me or if I do not complain about those who offend me?" Those like you who are foolish, those who are backward, will censure you. But those who have been enlightened by the beacon of intellectual and moral progress will say that you have proceeded with true wisdom. Let us reflect then for a moment. Due to a word, sometimes said without thinking or the wish to offend, coming from one of your fellow beings, your pride is hurt, so you then reply scathingly and there stems a provocation. Before the decisive moment arrives ask yourself if you are behaving like a Christian. What will you have to answer to society for if you rob it of one of its members? Think of the remorse of having deprived a woman of her husband, a mother of her child, the children of their father and with this their means of sustenance! For sure, the one who offended owes a recompense. But is it not more honourable to give this spontaneously, recognising one's errors, than to endanger the life of the one who has the right to complain? As to the offended, it so happens that sometimes, because they feel gravely injured themselves or that someone dear to them has been insulted, it is not only self-respect that is at stake, but that their heart has been hurt and is suffering. So apart from it being stupid to risk one's life by throwing oneself against a wretch who is capable of infamy, we would ask if when the person dies, does the insult or whatever it was, cease to exist? Is it not true that when blood is spilt it leaves an even deeper impression of a fact which, if false, will fall of its own accord and if true, would be better buried in silence? Then nothing more is left than the quenching of the thirst for vengeance! Ah! Unhappy satisfaction which almost always gives way, even in this life, to pungent remorse! When it is the one that was offended who succumbs, where is the retribution?

When charity finally becomes the general rule of conduct for humanity, all acts and words will be confined to this maxim: Do not do to others that which you would not wish them to do to you. When this happens all causes for dissensions will disappear and with this the duels and wars, which are only duels between nations - FRANÇOIS-XAVIER (Bordeaux, 1861).

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