WHAT ARE WE?
WHERE WE CAME FROM?
WHERE ARE WE GOING?
This translation I dedicate to the people of England who are going through a time of so much affliction, of so much sadness.
The bodily life may end, but the soul will always survive.
May this work of Leon Denis bring hope, a light in the dark tunnel.
Our thoughts and our prayers are with you. Theodora
Book: O porque da Vida Year 1883
Author: Leon Denis
TO THOSE WHO SUFFER
It is to you, O my brothers and sisters in humanity, to all of you whom the burden of life has bent, to you to whom the harsh struggles, the cares, the trials have overwhelmed, I dedicate these pages. It is the intention of you, afflicted, disinherited of this world, that I write. Humble pioneer of truth and progress, I place in them the fruit of my vigils, my reflections, my hopes, all that has comforted me, sustained in my walk down here
May you find there some useful teachings, a little light to clarify your ways. May this modest work be for your sorrowful spirits what the shadow represents to the sun-burned worker, what in the arid desert represents the clear and refreshing fountain offering to the eyes of the thirsty traveler!
DUTY AND FREEDOM
Who, in the hours of silence and recollection, never questioned nature and his own heart, asking the secret of things, why life, the raison d’être of the universe? Where is he who has never sought to know his destiny, to raise the veil of death, to know whether God is a fiction or a reality?
He would not be a human being, however careless, if he had not sometimes considered these tremendous problems. The difficulty of solving them, the incoherence and multiplicity of the theories that have been made, the deplorable consequences that flow from most of the systems already disclosed,
All this confused set, fatiguing the human spirit, have relegated them to indifference and skepticism.
Therefore, man needs the knowledge, the light that clarifies, the hope that comforts, the certainty that guides and sustains. But it also has the means to know, the possibility of seeing the truth detach itself from the darkness and the flood of its benfazeja light.
In order to do this, he must detach himself from preconceived systems, descend into the depths of himself, listen to the inner voice that speaks to us all, and which sophistry can not deceive: the voice of reason, the voice of conscience.
I have done so. For a long time I reflected, meditated on the problems of life and death, and with perseverance I probed these deep abysses. I turned to Eternal Wisdom with a fervent appeal and she answered me, as she always answers
With the animated spirit of love for good, evident evidence and facts of direct observation have confirmed the deductions of my thought, offer my convictions a solid and unshakable basis. After doubting, I believed, after denying it, I saw. And peace, trust, and moral strength descended upon me. These are the goods that, in the sincerity of my heart desiring to be useful to my fellow men, I offer to those who suffer and despair.
The need for light has never been felt more imperiously. An immense transformation takes place within societies. After being subjected, for a long sequence of centuries, to the principles of authority, man aspires more and more to free himself from all obstacles and to direct himself.
At the same time as political and social institutions change, religious beliefs and faith in dogmas become weakened. It is still one of the consequences of freedom in its application to the things of thought and consciousness. Freedom, in all fields, tends to replace coercion and authoritarianism and to guide nations to new horizons. The right of some to become the right of all, but for this sovereign right to be in conformity with justice and bring its fruits, it is necessary that the knowledge of moral laws
Regulate its exercise. For freedom to be fruitful, so that it offers human actions a sure and lasting basis, it must be complemented by light, wisdom and truth. Would freedom, for ignorant and vicious men, be like a powerful weapon in the hands of the child? The weapon, in this case, often turns against the door and hurts it.
THE PROBLEMS OF EXISTENCE
What matters to man to know, above all, is: what he is, where he comes from, where he is going, what his destiny is. The ideas that we make of the universe and its laws, of the function that each one must exert on this vast theater, are of capital importance. By them we direct our acts. By consulting them, we set a goal
In our lives and for him we walk. This is the basis, which truly motivates every civilization.
So superficial is his ideal, how superficial is man. For collectivities, as for the individual, it is the conception of the world and life that determines the duties, sets the way forward and the resolutions to be adopted.
But, as we have said, the difficulty in solving these problems very often makes us reject them. The opinion of the vast majority is hesitant and
Undecided, their acts and characters suffer the consequence. It is the evil of the time, the cause of the disturbance to which it is held. Feel the instinct of progress, you can walk but to get where? This is not enough thought. Man, ignorant of his destiny, is like a traveler who mechanically traverses a road without knowing the starting point or the point of arrival, not knowing why he travels and is therefore always ready to stop at the smallest obstacle, wasting time And neglecting the goal to be achieved.
The insufficiency and obscurity of religious doctrines and the abuses they have engendered cast many spirits into materialism. It is believed, voluntarily, that everything ends with death, that man has no other destination but to fade into nothingness.
We will demonstrate below how this way of seeing is in flagrant opposition to experience and reason. Let us say right now that it is devoid of any notion of justice and progress.
If life were confined to the period from the cradle to the grave, if the prospects of immortality did not come to clarify its existence, man would have no other law than that of his instincts, appetites, and joys. It matters little if he loves good and equity. If he only appears and disappears in this world, he brings with him the oblivion of his hopes and affections, he would suffer all the more pure and higher his aspirations; loving justice, a soldier of law, would believe himself condemned to almost Never see its fulfillment, passionate for progress, sensitive to the evils of its
He would have died out before seeing his principles triumph.
From the perspective of nothing, the more he practiced devotion and
Justice, but his life would be fertile in bitterness and disappointment. Selfishness, well understood, would be the supreme wisdom, existence would lose all its grandeur and dignity. The most noble faculties and the most generous tendencies of the spirit
Would completely fold and extinguish.
The denial of the future life also suppresses all moral sanction. With it, whether good or bad, criminal or sublime, all acts would lead to the same results. There would be no compensation for miserable existence, for obscurity, for oppression, for pain: there would be no consolation in trials, hope for the afflicted.
No difference could be expected in the future between the egoist who lived only for himself and often in dependence on his fellow men, and the martyr or apostle who suffered, who succumbed in battle to the emancipation and progress of the human race.
The same darkness would serve as a shroud.
If everything ended with death the being would have no reason to be embarrassed, to contain their instincts and their tastes. Out of earthly laws, no one could stop him. Good and evil, the just and the unjust, would likewise confound and blend into nothingness. And suicide would always be a means of escaping the rigors of human laws.
Belief in nothingness, at the same time as ruining all moral sanction, leaves without
Solution of the problem of the inequality of existences, as regards
Diversity of faculties, skills, situations and merits. Why, to some, all the gifts of spirit and the heart and the favors of fortune, while so many others have shared nothing but intellectual poverty, vices, and misery? Why, in the same family, relatives and brothers, out of the same flesh and blood, differ essentially on so many points? So many questions that are insoluble to materialists and can be answered so well by believers. These questions, we shall briefly examine in the light of reason.
SPIRIT AND MATTER
There is no effect without cause, nothing proceeds from nothing. These are axioms, that is, undeniable truths. Now, since each of us has the existence of forces and powers that can not be considered as material, there is a need, to explain its cause, to arrive at a source other than matter, to this principle which we call Soul or spirit.
When, descending to the depths of ourselves, wanting to learn to know ourselves, to analyze our faculties, when, pushing away from our soul the sludge that accumulates life, the thick envelope of prejudices, errors and sophisms that have covered our intelligence; The most intimate recesses of our being, we meet face-to-face with these august principles without which there would be no greatness for humanity: the love of good, the sense of justice and progress.
These principles, which are found to varying degrees, both among the ignorant and among men of genius, can not come from matter, devoid of being
Such attributes. And if matter does not possess these qualities, how could it form, alone, the beings that are endowed with them? The sense of the beautiful and the true, the admiration we feel for the great and generous works, could not have the same origin as the flesh of our limbs or the blood of our veins. It is there, for the most part, as the reflections of a sublime and pure light that shines in each of us, just as the sun reflects on the waters, whether disturbed or clear.
In vain it is intended that everything be matter. And although we rejoice in powerful impulses of love and goodness, we have already been able to love virtue, devotion, heroism, the feeling of moral beauty is engraved in us, the harmony of things and laws permeates us, Snatch And with all this, would not anything distinguish us from matter? Do we feel, love, possess consciousness, will, and reason, and proceed from a cause that does not contain these qualities to any degree, from a cause that does not feel, does not love or know anything, which is blind and dumb? Superior to the force that produced us, we would be more perfect and better than her!
Such a way of seeing does not support an examination. Man participates in two natures.
By its body, by its organs, it derives from matter, by its intellectual and moral faculties it is spirit.
To put it more exactly, in relation to the human body, organs
That make up this admirable machine are similar to wheels incapable of acting
Without a motor, without a will to put them into action. This engine is the soul. A third element connects the other two, transmitting to the organs the orders of thought.
This element is the perispirit, the ethereal matter that escapes our senses. It involves the soul, accompanies it after death in its infinite pilgrimages, purifying itself, progressing with it, constituting a diaphanous, vaporous body. We will return, later, to comment on the existence of this perispirit, also called double fluidic.
The spirit lies in matter as a prisoner in his cell;
The openings through which it communicates with the outside world. But while matter sooner or later declines, periclite and disintegrates, the spirit increases in power, strengthened by education and experience. Their aspirations are magnified, they extend beyond the grave, their need to know, to know and to live has no limits. Everything shows that the human being belongs only temporarily to matter. The body is nothing but a borrowed garment, a passing form, an instrument with the aid of which the soul proceeds, in this world, its work of purification and progress. The spiritual life is the normal, true, endless life.
After a few years, a certain school endeavored to replace the dualism of matter and spirit with the theory of the unity of substance. For it matter and spirit are different states of one and the same substance that, in its eternal evolution, refines, cleanses itself, becoming intelligent and conscious. Without addressing here the question of substance, which requires long developments, we must recognize that the idea hitherto made of matter was wrong. Thanks to the discoveries of Crookes, Becquerel, Curie, Lebon, matter appears to us today under very subtle states, and in these states, it has infinitely varied properties. Its flexibility is extreme. At a certain degree of rarefaction, it becomes
energy. G. Lebon can say with apparent reason that matter is nothing more than condensed energy and energy, matter dissociated. To deduce from these facts that the intelligent energy, at a given moment of its evolution, becomes conscious, is still a hypothesis. For us there is, between being and non-being, a difference of essence. On the other hand, the Haeckelien monism, refusing the human spirit a life independent of the body and rejecting every notion of survival, logically ends in the same consequences as positivist materialism and incurs the same criticism.
….. To be continued ……