FUNDAMENTAL PRINCIPLES OF SPIRITIST PHILOSOPHY
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Spirits constantly exert an influence on both the physical and ethical environment of the Earth. They constitute one of the powers of nature, since they may act equally upon matter and thought. They are the cause of many sorts of previously unexplained or misinterpreted phenomena, which may now find a compelling rationale in the Spiritist Doctrine.
Spirits may communicate spontaneously or in response to human evocations. Generally speaking, all free intelligences may be evoked ̶ from the most obscure to the most illustrious, from loved ones to enemies ̶ regardless of the epoch in which they lived. If permitted, they may share information about their new situation, their thoughts regarding us, and any insights they feel like imparting.
Spirits move by laws of affinity. Advanced spirits take pleasure in assemblies with a serious purpose, wherein members are animated by love and a sincere desire to learn and progress. Their presence repels less advanced spirits. The latter, in turn, find themselves at ease among frivolous and simple minds who come together solely out of curiosity or other harmful motives. In such assemblies, nothing useful is produced. To make matters worse, they often borrow venerated names to impose their ideas more effectively.
It is easy to distinguish between advanced and less advanced spirits. The language of higher spirits is dignified, high-minded, and free from every trace of human passion. Their counsels breathe wisdom. Their aim is always the advancement of humanity. On the other hand, remarks by less advanced spirits make use of commonplace, sometimes coarse, language and often contain substantial inconsistencies. Although they sometimes make true and worthwhile statements, their observations are usually ethically flawed and full of false arguments. They ply upon the naiveté of their audience by feeding false hopes and swelling their listeners' egos. Obviously, enlightening communications can only be obtained in assemblies of a serious character where participants are united in thought and desire by the pursuit of love and truth.
Further, they teach that there are no unpardonable faults and that there is no misdeed that cannot be redressed. Men and women find the means of redemption and progress through reincarnation. Their desire and efforts set the pace of their advancement toward the ultimate aim of all perfection.
The preceding summary, written by Kardec, relates the essence of the Spiritist philosophy, as contained in the teachings of spirits of a higher order. For those interested in reading it, Kardec follows this summary with a discussion of, and responses to, some of the most common objections to these philosophical points.
Kardec, Allan. "Explanatory Notes." The Spirits' Book. Trans. Allan Kardec Educational Society (translated from 2nd edition in French). Philadelphia, PA. Allan Kardec Educational Society. 1996. 376-380.