The Spiritist Review - Journal of Psychological Studies - 1859

Allan Kardec

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Should We Publish Everything the Spirits Say?

This question was addressed to us by one of our corresponding members. We answer that as below:
Would that be good to publish everything that men say and think? Those who may have a notion of Spiritism, however superficial it may be, know that the spiritual world is composed of all those who have left their visible envelope on Earth. By having undressed the carnal person not all of them have, for that reason, dressed the mantle of the angels. Thus, there are spirits of all degrees of knowledge and ignorance, morality and immorality. That is what we cannot lose sight of. Let us not forget that among the spirits, as with human beings, there are frivolous, reckless, joking spirits; pseudo wise, vain and proud of an incomplete knowledge; hypocritical, malevolent and what would seem inexplicable to us, had we not known the physiology of this world, there are sensual, villain and perverse spirits who drag in the mud. Besides, as there is on Earth, there are good creatures, humane, benevolent, enlightened and endowed by supreme virtues. However, since our world is not in first place nor last, although closer to the last than to the first, it then results that the world of the spirits encompasses beings more advanced intellectually and morally than our most enlightened individuals and others in situation inferior to the most inferior people.
Since these beings have a patent mean of communicating with human beings and expressing their thoughts through intelligible signs, their communications must effectively be the reflex of their feelings, qualities and vices. The communications could be, pending on the character and elevation of the spirits, frivolous, trivial, gross, and even obscene or marked by the intellectual elevation, wisdom and sublimity. They reveal themselves by their own language. That is why one should not blindly accept everything that comes from the occult world, submitting everything to a strict control. A not very constructive collection could be built up from the communications of certain spirits, in the same way that it could be built from the speeches of certain people. We have before our eyes a small English book, published in the USA, which demonstrates that fact. One can say that a lady would not recommend it as a reading to her daughter. For the same reason we do not recommend to our readers.
There are people who find it funny and entertaining. May they enjoy it in their intimacy but keep it to themselves. What is even less conceivable is the fact that they brag about receiving such inappropriate communications. This is always a sign of sympathies that should not be a reason for pride, particularly when these communications are spontaneous and persistent, as happens to certain persons. This does not absolutely allow us to pass hasty judgment on their current morality for we know persons afflicted by that kind of obsession that by no means represent their character. However, as all effects, this one may also have a cause and if we cannot find it in the present, we must look for it in a previous existence. If that cause is not in us, it is outside. However, there is always a reason for us to be in that situation, even if that reason is only a weak character. Once the cause is known, it is up to us to stop it.
Besides these frankly bad communications, which harm any delicate ear, there are others that are simply trivial or ridiculous. Would there be any inconvenience in publishing them? If they are published for their worth there would be a lesser evil. If done so for the study of that kind of communication, with the adequate precautions, necessary comments and restrictions, they can even be instructive, as they may contribute to the knowledge of the spiritual world in all its nuances. With prudence and skill, everything can be said. The harm is in presenting as serious things that shock common sense, reason and conveniences. In such case the danger is greater than thought.
To begin with, those publications have the inconvenience of leading to mistakes persons who are not in a position to examine them, discerning between true and false, particularly in such a new subject as Spiritism. Second, these are weapons provided to the adversaries of Spiritism that don’t miss the opportunity of taking advantage of that fact, giving them argument against the high morality of the spirits’ teachings, because, let us repeat once again, the harm is in presenting as serious something that is notoriously absurd. Some may even see a profanation in the ridiculous role that we may attribute to certain venerable characters, attributing to them an unworthy language. Those who have profoundly studied the Spiritist Doctrine know well which position to adopt in similar cases. They know that the mocking spirits have no scrupulous in taking over respectable names, but they also know that these spirits only abuse those who enjoy the abuse and who do not know or do not wish to destroy their traps through the means of already known controls. The public who ignores this can only see one thing: an absurd, offered to their imagination as if a serious thing, and because of that, they tell themselves that if all spiritists are like that, then they all deserve the epithet given to them. There is no doubt that such a judgment is hastily. You justly accuse the authors of levity, telling them: study the subject and do not examine one side of the coin only. There are so many people, however, that judge a priori, not taking the burden of moving one hay straw, particularly when there is no good will, that it is necessary to avoid everything which can give them reason for censorship, having in mind that if malevolence adds up to the lack of good will, which is very common, they will be very happy to find what to criticize.
Later, when Spiritism is vulgarized, more widely known and understood by the masses, such publications will not have more influence than a book of scientific heresies would have today. Up until then, circumspection would never be too much for there are communications which may essentially harm the cause which they intend to promote, in a much greater scale than that of gross attacks and injuries from certain persons. If some were carried out with that objective, they would not be successful. The mistake of certain authors is to write about a subject before having sufficiently studied it in depth, thus giving place to a founded criticism. They complain about the frightening judgment of their antagonists, not aware of the fact that many times they are the ones who give away their weak spot. As a matter of fact, despite all precautions, it would be presumptuous to consider oneself shielded from all kinds of criticism, in principle because it is impossible to please everyone; then, because there are those who laugh at everything, even at the most serious things, some for their condition, others for their character. They laugh a lot at religion. There is no surprise then that they laugh at the spirits, who they ignore. If those jokes were at least witty there would be compensation. Unfortunately in general they neither shine for their finesse nor for their good taste, nor for their urbanity nor for their logic. Let us then do the best we can, bringing reason and convenience to our side, and then bringing the teasers also.
Everybody will easily understand these considerations, but there is another one no less important, as it refers to the own nature of the spiritist communications, and because of that we cannot omit it. The spirits go where they find sympathies and where they know that they will be heard. The gross and inconvenient communications, or simply false, absurd and ridiculous, can only derive from inferior spirits. Simple common sense indicates that. These spirits do what people who are complacently heard do. They bond to those who admire their silliness and take them over, to the point of fascination and subjugation. The importance given to their communications, through publicity, attracts, excites and encourages them. The only true means of keeping them away is to demonstrate to them that we do not allow ourselves to be deceived, pitilessly rejecting as suspect and apocryphal everything that is not rational; everything that betrayals the superiority attributed to the manifesting spirit and whose name he uses. Then, when he notices that it is a waste of time, he leaves.
We believe to have responded satisfactorily to the question of our corresponding member about the convenience and opportunity of certain spiritist communications. Publishing everything that comes from that source without examination or correction, in our opinion is to give proof of a lack of discernment. That is at least our personal opinion that we will submit to the appreciation of those who, uninterestedly by the question, can impartially judge, keeping aside any personal consideration. As everyone else, we have the right of expressing our thoughts about the Science which is object of our studies, treating it our own way, not pretending to impose our ideas, to whoever it may be, nor treating them as bylaws. Those who share our opinion do so because they believe, as we do, that we are with the truth. The future will tell who is right and who is wrong.

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