The Spiritist Review - Journal of Psychological Studies - 1859

Allan Kardec

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Moral Problem – The Cannibals

One of our correspondents addressed the following question to us, requesting a solution from the spirits who guide us, in case we did not have the solution yet.

“After a more or less lengthy lapse of time the errant spirits wish and ask God for the reincarnation, as a means of their moral progress. They choose the trials and using the free will they naturally choose those incar- nations that seem more appropriate to them, in order to progress in the world where the incarnation is granted. Well, during the spirit’s errant life they get instructed, as the spirits themselves tells us, then they learn which nations are more convenient to them in order to achieve their objectives. They see populations of savage anthropophagus, assuring them that they would become ferocious flesh eaters by reincarnating among them. That environment would certainly not be the means of achieving their spiritual progress. The force of habit can only provide more consistency to their gross instincts. Then their objective would have failed had they chosen that people or another one.”

“The same happens to certain social positions. Among them there are those that show invincible obstacles to the spiritual progress. I will only mention the slaughter people, the executioners, etc. Some people say that such creatures are necessary because we cannot go without animal food, others say that because it is necessary to implement legal sentences, all required by our social organization. It is not less accurate that by re- incarnating in the body of a boy destined to embrace one or another of those professions, the spirit must know that a wrong path has been taken, voluntarily deprived from the means which lead to perfection. Couldn’t it be the case that, with God’s permission, no spirit would want that kind of life and in such circumstance, what would happen to those professions, still necessary given our current social condition?”

The answer to that question is a consequence of the whole teach- ings that have been given to us. We can then answer, without submit- ting it to the spirits again. It is obvious that an already advanced spirit, such as an educated European, could not choose a savage existence as a means of progress, since instead of advancing he would march backwards. We know, however, that even the anthropophagus is not on the bottom of the scale and that there are worlds where the brutalization and feroc- ity have no analogy here on Earth. Those spirits are even inferior to the most inferiors of our planet. Thus, for them, it is a progress to incarnate among our savages. If they don’t aspire to a higher position it is because their moral inferiority does not allow them to understand a more com- plete progress. The spirit can only progress gradually, going successively through all levels so that each step forward may serve as the basis for the construction of a new progress. The spirit cannot leap from barbarism to civilization, as the student cannot pass from English in elementary school to Rhetoric. That is one of the requirements of reincarnation, which is really in agreement with God’s justice. Otherwise, what would happen to those millions of people that die in the last stage of deprivation, had they not had the means of achieving superiority? Why would God have disinherited them from the favors conceded to other people? We repeat it for being an essential point: according to their limited intelligence they can only understand what is better from their narrow point of view. There are those, however, that willing to climb too high deviate, offering us the sad spectacles of ferocity that we see amidst civilization. Those will even profit by returning to the cannibals. These considerations also apply to the professions mentioned by our correspondent. Those professions offer relative superiority to certain spirits and it is in that sense that we must conceive their choices. For the same reason they may be chosen as an atonement or mission, since there is no profession through which one cannot do good and achieve progress through the very means of realiz- ing them. As for the question about what would happen in case no spirit wanted to adopt it, it is responded by the facts. Since the spirits that oc- cupy those positions come from an inferior condition, there is no need to be afraid of unemployment. When the social progress allow for the ex- tinction of positions like the executioner, the function will disappear but not the candidates who will apply for that same job among other peoples or in other less advanced worlds.

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