Kardec & Integrity



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“Nothing is more sacred than the integrity of our own spirit.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882)
Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882)

Integrity is the quality of that which is integral; of an absolute probity; honest, incorruptible, impartial.  The integral man is not himself divided, and in him there is no distance between thinking, feeling and acting, because he is one.  The integral man does not dispute, for his most important part, which is the spirit, commands his passions and submits them to logic and common sense; he is not irritated with exterior provocations directed at him, because he is guided by his own conscience, always straight.

The docility which characterizes the life of an integral man, is a powerful attractive force, of conviction.  It was the integrity of Allan Kardec which accredited his works.

To highlight the character of that one who bequeathed to the world the Spiritist Science, and for those who admire his works may also know the character of the man, we have transcribed here a note from someone who frequented his home, who observed him very closely, and that today allows us to get to know a bit more the human being that was Allan Kardec.

Here is what Dr. Grand said, old vice-consul of France, in a note about The Spirits’ Book, in his brochure entitled:  A letter from a Catholic concerning Spiritism: [1]

“In reading this work one feels like the author is speaking, not only as a man of conviction, but as a man of experience who observed everything with a perfect independence of ideals.  Everything that is there is coldly discussed, without exaggeration.  All consequences that are there are deduced from such just arguments that one could say that the philosophy there is treated mathematically.  When I had the occasion of seeing Mr. Allan Kardec later on, and of reading his other writings, I recognized that there was the depth of his character and of his own spirit.  He is a man who is essentially positive, who is not moved by anything, and discusses the most extraordinary phenomena so cold bloodedly as if he was speaking of a common experience.  ‘In order to appreciate things in a correct manner, he said, it is necessary to observe without enthusiasm, for enthusiasm is the source of illusion and of many mistakes.’ He broaches the things concerning the other world as if they were right under his eyes, therefore he does not speak of them as if inspired, but rather as that which exists and is the most natural thing in the world.  He then turns them, in a manner of speaking, palpable, for he possesses, above all, the art of making the most abstract things understandable; it is at least, the impression which I felt upon listening to him speak, and that many other people, like myself, also felt.  The dominant character of his writings is clarity and method; if with this we can gather a style which permits us to read them without fatigue, contrary to most philosophical works, which demand grueling efforts in order to be understood, one would not be surprised by the influence with which his style exercised over the propagation of the Spiritist Doctrine.

To this explanation, which I thought important to say a few words, I will add a simple observation concerning one of the causes that, in my opinion, powerfully contributed to the credit which the works of Mr. Allan Kardec enjoy: it is the absence of all asperity toward its adversaries.  A man does not place himself in evidence, as he did, without giving rise to much jealousy, animosity; therefore, not one trace of malevolence and rancor is found in any part, the minimal recrimination addresses those of whom he could protest.  Since my initiation into Spiritism I have frequently had the occasion to see him privately, and I can say that never have I seen him preoccupy himself with his detractors; it is as if they did not exist.  Well, I confess that the character of the man did not contribute little to corroborate the opinion which I had conceived in favor of the Doctrine, when I read his writings.  It is evident that had I recognized in him an ambitious, intriguing, jealous and vindictive man, I would have said that he lied about the principles which he professed, from then on my confidence in the truth of this Doctrine would have been shaken.

These reflections, in the form of parentheses, seemed useful to motivate one of the causes that most strongly led me to continue, with commitment, my spiritist studies.

Another circumstance, no less preponderant, coupled with the rest explains to me, at the same time, the profound indifference of the author with regard to the diatribes of his antagonists.  I was at his home one day in the moment in which he received his correspondence, which was normally quite numerous.  There, a newspaper was found in which himself and Spiritism were notably widely derided.  There were also many letters which he equally read to me, saying: ‘I will now go see the counterpart, and I will be able to judge what Spiritism is.’ Among the letters, some were requests of advices concerning the most intimate acts and frequently the most delicate ones of private life.  The majority contained the expression of unspeakable happiness, of the most touching recognition of the consolations which had been encountered in the Doctrine; for the calmness which it had proportioned; for the strength which it had provided in the most afflictive circumstances; for the good resolutions to which it led.  ‘What you see here, he told me, is renewed almost daily.  The authors of these letters are to me, in their majority, unknown, but here is one, and I know many who are in the same situation, whom without Spiritism would have committed suicide.’

Allan Kardec
Allan Kardec

‘Do you believe that the satisfaction of having removed men from desperation, bringing peace to a family, making people happy, does not largely compensate me for a few small and silly criticisms parting from people who speak about something which they do not know?  Do you believe that only one of these letters do not more than compensate for a few cruelties of which I was the target?  Incidentally, would I have the time to preoccupy myself with those who mock?  I much prefer to devote my time to those of whom I can be of use.  I do not only have in my possession the conscience of my good intentions; God, in his goodness, reserved for me a much greater enjoyment, which is one of witnessing the good which the Spiritist Doctrine produces; and I judge, by what I see, concerning the influence which it will exercise when it is generalized.  It does not entail a utopia, for it is essentially moralizing; we can see for ourselves the reform which it operates over isolated individuals; what it does for some, it will do for one hundred, for one thousand, for one million, as it is understood, little by little.’

‘Well, suppose a society penetrated by the sentiments of the duty that is seen expressed in these letters; do you believe that it would not draw elements of order and security from this?  The letters which you have come to hear about are all from enlightened people, but look at this one: it is from a simple laborer, formerly imbued with the most subversive social ideals.  He contemplated, in the most lamentable manner, on the struggle of our civil affairs, and had dedicated an implacable hatred to those whom he believed to be favored at his own expense, and dreamt of impossible things.  Now, what different language!  Today he understands that the passage through Earth is a trial, and seeking a very natural wellbeing, he does not ask for anything at the expense of justice.  He does not envy the apparent happiness of the rich, because he knows there is a divine justice, and that this happiness, if he has not deserved it here on Earth, will have terrible setbacks in another life.  And why does he think like this?  Because we told him so?  Because through Spiritism he acquired the certainty of this future life of which he did not believe, and he was then able to convince himself, through the situation of those who found themselves in it, and because his father, who sustained these illusions, himself came to give him advices filled with wisdom.  He blasphemed against God, whom he thought unjust for having favored some of his creatures; today he understands that this same favor is a trial, and that his justice extends itself to the wealthy just as it does the poor.  Here is what turns him submissive towards the will of God, good and indulgent towards his fellows, happy in his modest work.  Do you believe that Spiritism did not render you greater services than those who strain themselves to prove that there is nothing after this life, a principle which has as its consequence the struggle to achieve happiness here no matter the cost?  This, Sir, is Spiritism.  Those that fight against it only do so because they do not know it.  When it is understood, one of the most solid guarantees of happiness and security for society will be seen in it, for it will not be its serious adherents who will disturb it.’

I confess that I have never looked at Spiritism from this point of view.  Now I understand its reach and feel sorry for those that still see in it only a curious phenomena of turning tables.  I used to ask myself if the doctrine of the devils and the demons, of Mr. de Mirville,[2] could provide similar consolations; if it would naturally conduct men towards the good and religious faith, and if it would not have contributed, instead, more to divert them, inspiring in them more fear than love, more curiosity than the good and human sentiments.”

[1] The author made a reference to The Spirit’s Book in a note, translated by the staff of IPEAK, embedded in his Letter from a catholic concerning Spiritism.  Kardec recommends this brochure in the Spiritist Magazine of November 1860, in Bibliography.

 The brochure of Dr. Grand also reports on the relation of works that were burnt on the Act of faith of Barcelona (see Spiritist Magazine of November 1861), and it is available, in French, on the site: www.ipeak.com.br, in the link: http://www.ipeak.com.br/site/upload/midia/pdf/lettre_d_un_catholique_sur_le_spiritisme_pesqisavel-1860.pdf

[2] Dr. Grand referred to the book of Mr. de Mirville, entitled:  Affairs of Spirits, published in 1855, and that Kardec recommends in his Rational Catalogue, in the section:  diverse Works concerning Spiritism. (N.T)

Source: IPEAK.com.br (Instituto de Pesquisas Espíritas Allan Kardec)