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Monday, December 26, 2011

The Moral Crisis

The present hour is a time of crisis and renewal. The world is in fermentation, corruption is in the ascendant: the mighty shadow spreads and the peril is great, but behind the shadow we perceive the light, and behind the peril, salvation. Society cannot perish: if it bears within it the germs of decomposition, there are likewise those of transformation and redemption. Decomposition confirms death, but it also heralds the new birth; it is the prelude to another life.

And whence will proceed this light, this salvation, this redemption? Surely not from the Church, which is incapable of regenerating the human mind. Not from science, which cares neither from conscience nor for character but only for that which concerns the senses: devotion, virtue, justice, love, all that enters into the making of noble characters and wholesome societies - none of these appertain to the domain of the senses.

That the moral level should be raised, that the two streams of superstition and scepticism, which terminate in a sea of sterility, may be checked, a fresh conception of life and of the Universe is indispensable; one which, based upon the study of nature and conscience, upon the observation of facts and the principles of reason, may at last determine the aim of our life and regulate our onward progression. What we require is a belief which affords an incentive for improvement, a moral sanction and a strong conviction as to our ultimate fate.

But this conception and this teaching we already have: and daily are they becoming better known. Above the din of the disputes, above the divergences of philosophical schools, a voice has made itself heard - the voice of the Dead. The Dead have revealed themselves from beyond the grave, more alive than when they stood amongst us in the flesh; in the light of their revelations the veil has fallen, which hid from us the future life. Their precepts will conciliate all conflicting creeds, and will cause a new flame to arise from the ashes of the past. In the Philosophy of the Spirits, we find again that secret doctrine which ran like a golden vein through the quartz of the ages, but renovated and now cleansed of its dross. Its shattered remnants have been gathered and bound together by a powerful cement, and even now frame an edifice vast enough to accommodate all nations and all civilizations. That the strength of its foundations might be beyond suspicion, the new edifice has been erected upon the rock of direct experience and of constantly renewed faith. Thanks to it, the certainty of immortality is being made manifest to all men, together with the innumerable existences and the unceasing progress that await us in the successive cycles of eternity.

Such a doctrine is bound to transform all the nations and classes of the world: conveying light where all is dark: melting, with its heat, the icy selfishness that lies at the heart of man: revealing to all men the laws that unite them with the bounds of a close solidarity. Its unification will be compounded of peace and harmony. Through it we shall learn to act with one heart and with one mind. Conscious of his strength, man will be able to advance with an assured tread towards his splendid destiny. 

(by Leon Denis In: Here and Hereafter, Chapter 8, 'The Moral Crisis', translated into English by George G. Fleurot, London 1910)

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Deathbed Visions

E. Munch. By the Deathbed (1895)
By Stephen Wagner, About.com Guide

Close to the moment of death, apparitions of deceased friends and loved ones appear to escort the dying to the other side. It is a phenomenon that is more common than you might imagine.

Father lies dying. The hospital is quiet. Visiting hours are over and the sun has long since set. Father has been sleeping off and on all day. His doctor says the end could come at any time. His wrinkled, sunken eyes open slowly. His breathing has been labored, but now it seems to ease and soften. His eyes track to a corner of the room where there is only a faded green vinyl chair. Father smiles.


"You're here," he whispers.

His daughter, determined to be with him in his final moments, takes his hand. "Yes, I'm here, dad," she says. But she knows he's not looking at her.

"No," father says, never taking his eyes off the corner of the room. "There. It's your uncle Jerome. I never thought I'd see him again."

The daughter glances to the corner, but of course sees nothing. Father seems coherent. In fact, she hasn't seen him so alert in days.

"Oh my!" Father's smile broadens. "And Lucille! And mother is with them! They- they say they have come to help me. They have come to take me with them. Can't you see them? They look so wonderful!"

The daughter wraps her father's hand in both of hers. She doesn't know what to think. Father closes his eyes again and the smile slowly fades from his lips. He releases one long, last breath... and is gone.


Such deathbed visions are not just the stuff of stories and movies. They are, in fact, more common than you might think and are surprisingly similar across nationalities, religions and cultures. Instances of these unexplained visions have been recorded throughout history and stand as one of the most compelling proofs of life after death.

Anecdotes of deathbed visions have appeared in literature and biographies throughout the ages, but it wasn't until the 20th century that the subject received scientific study. One of the first to examine the subject seriously was Sir William Barrett, a Professor of Physics at the Royal College of Science in Dublin. In 1926 he published a summation of his findings in a book titled Death Bed Visions. In the many cases he studied, he discovered some interesting aspects of the experience that are not easily explained:
  • It was not uncommon for the dying people who saw these visions to identify friends and relatives who they thought were still living. But in each case, according to Barrett, it was later discovered that these people actually were dead. (Remember, communications then wasn't what it is today, and it might take weeks or even months to learn that a friend or loved one had died.)
  • Barrett found it curious that children quite often expressed surprise that the "angels" they saw in their dying moments did not have wings. If the deathbed vision is just a hallucination, wouldn't a child see an angel as it is most often depicted in art and literature - with large, white wings?
  • More extensive research into these mysterious visions was carried out in the 1960s and 1970s by Dr. Karlis Osis of the American Society for Psychical Research. In this research, and for a book he published in 1977 titled At the Hour of Death, Osis considered thousands of case studies and interviewed more than 1,000 doctors, nurses and others who attended the dying. The work found a number of fascinating consistencies:
  • Although some dying people report seeing angels and other religious figures (and sometimes even mythical figures), the vast majority claim to see familiar people who had previously passed away.
  • Very often, the friends and relatives seen in these visions express directly that they have come to help take them away.
  • The dying person is reassured by the experience and expresses great happiness with the vision. Contrast this with the confusion or fear that a non-dying person would experience at seeing a "ghost." The dying also seem quite willing to go with these apparitions.
  • The dying person's mood - even state of health - seems to change. During these visions, a once depressed or pain-riddled person is overcome with elation and momentarily relieved of pain... until death strikes.
  • These experiencers do not seem to be hallucinating or to be in an altered state of consciousness; rather, they appear to be quite aware of their real surroundings and conditions.
  • Whether or not the dying person believes in an afterlife is irrelevant; the experience and reactions are the same.

Fact or fantasy?

How many people have deathbed visions? This is unknown since only about 10 percent of dying people are conscious shortly before their deaths. But of this 10 percent, it is estimated, between 50 and 60 percent of them experience these visions. The visions only seem to last about five minutes and are seen mostly by people who approach death gradually, such as those suffering from life-threatening injuries or terminal illnesses.

So what are deathbed visions? How can they be explained? Are they hallucinations produced by dying brains? Delusions produced by drugs in the systems of the patients? Or could the visions of spirits be exactly what they appear to be: a welcome committee of deceased loved ones who have come to ease the transition to life on another plane of existence?

Carla Wills-Brandon attempts to answer these questions in her book, One Last Hug Before I Go: The Mystery and Meaning of Death Bed Visions, which includes many modern-day accounts.

Could they be creations of the dying brain - a kind of self-induced sedative to ease the dying process? Although this is a theory offered by many in the scientific community, Wills-Brandon doesn't agree. "The visitors in the visions were often times deceased relatives who came to offer support to the dying person," she writes. "In some situations, the dying did not know these visitors were already dead." In other words, why would the dying brain only produce visions of people who are dead, whether the dying person knew they were dead or not?

And what about the effects of medication? "Many of the individuals who have these visions are not on medications and are very coherent," writes Wills-Brandon. "Those who are on medications also report these visions, but the visions are similar to those who are not on medications."

Best Evidence

We may never know whether these experiences are truly paranormal - that is, until we too pass from this life. But there is one aspect of some deathbed visions that is most difficult to explain and lends most credence to the idea that they are actual visitations of spirits from "the other side." On rare occasions, the spirit entities are seen not only by the dying patient, but also by the friends, relatives and others in attendance!

According to one case documented in the February, 1904 edition of Journal of the Society for Psychic Research, a deathbed apparition was seen by a dying woman, Harriet Pearson, and by three relatives who were in the room.

Two witnesses in attendance of a dying young boy independently claimed to see the spirit of his mother at his bedside.

How the dying and their relatives benefit

Whether the deathbed visions phenomenon is real or not, the experience is very often beneficial for the people involved. In his book Parting Visions, Melvin Morse writes that visions of a spiritual nature can empower dying patients, making them realize that they have something to share with others. Also, these visions dramatically lessen or completely remove the fear of dying in the patients and are enormously healing to the relatives.

Carla Wills-Brandon believes that deathbed visions can help change our overall attitude about death. "Many people today fear their own death and have difficulty handling the passing of loved ones," she says. "If we can recognize that death is nothing to fear, perhaps we will be able to live life with more fully. Knowing that death is not the end just might resolve some of our fear-based societal difficulties."

Originally published in About.com

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

A statistical approach for the determination of the time interval between succesive reincarnations.


During the 7th ENLIHPE (last August 20 2011), we have the opportunity to present the work: "A statistical approach for the determination of the time interval between succesive reincarnations." 

As it is well known, Spiritism as introduced by A. Kardec, was the first spiritualist movement in the West to fully understand the importance of reincarnation. Reincarnation is the only mechanism that can simultaneously explains many anomalies in the human personality but also show a world view more in accordance to principles of a natural justice and equity. Therefore, it is important to undestand the consequences of reincarnation not only for all of us (as individuals) but as a social and demographic phenomenon.  Assuming reincarnation as universal law of Nature, it is valid for all human beings and, therefore, it surely has collective consequencies.

The aim of this work was to build a numerical model to calculate the time interval between sucessive reincarnations of a human individuality. The work is based on the following principles:

  1. There is a single base of time that can be used to determine the time interval between two lives (what we call 'erraticity time');
  2. There is conservation of 'individuality', that is, the human personality survives physical death and conserves consciousness (which is, in fact, the source of personality). Consciousness is conserved in a nonmaterial unit called 'Spirit' (note the capital letter "S");
  3. Spirits can not be 'destroyed' (there is no 'second death');
  4. To each Spirit a single body is associated during a reincarnation;
  5. To reincarnate, there is competition among distinct disembodied populations of the spirit world (we distinguish between the imediate vicinity of the physical world - that we called 'spirit plane' -  and 'other planes' or spirit world zones far from earth).  
  6. On the physical plane (our physical world) each individual is born from two other individuals. However, as far as the birth of Spirits is concerned, there is no known mechanism for the Spirit´s birth. In fact, the origin of the Spirits is a mystery. For all practical purposes, we can assume the existence of a infinite reservoir of disembodied individualities in the spirit world (since the Universe is infinite);
  7. Human exisistence on the physical plane is limited by the life of the physical body. There is no upper limit for the existence of the Spirit (assuming principle #3)

Principles stated above are based on many answers provided by Spirits in 'The Book of Spirit' (SB). For example: principle #1 is stated in SQ-Q#224; principle #2 in SB-Q#92 and 150; principle #3 in SB-Q#83; principle #4 in SB-Q#137; principle #5 in SB-Q#172 and 173, principle #6 in SB-Q# 81 and, finally, principle #7 in SB-Q#68. 

In the work, we made several predictions concerning the way populations on both physical and spirit planes interact. Such prediction are based on the principles described above and some other hypothesis. We finally made some numerical calculations showing that the 'erraticity time' (the time between sucessive reincarnations) is hidden in the birth rate of the physical population.

Graph below shows the time evolution of life expectancy on the physical plane (left) and the erraticity time (right) in years for the Brazilian population as calculated by our model. Both intervals are given as a function of time from 1970 and 2000.


How could such predictions be validaded ? If it were possible to track the previous life of a group of individuals (for a restricted population, say 100 people) by finding the date of the previous death - to a certain degree, this was shown to be possible in some cases (Stevenson, 1966) - erraticity time could be statistically calculated since the birth date of the present life is already known. 

Such results show the heuristic fertility of spiritist principles that not only admit that we all survive physical death but that our personality evolves through many lives on the physical plane. 

References

Kardec A. (1857). 'The Spirit´s Book. There are several editions in English of this work;
Stevenson I. (1966) Twenty Cases Suggestive of Reincarnation. (1966). (Second revised and enlarged edition 1974), University of Virginia Press, ISBN 0813908728.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Book review by M. E. Tymn: Chico Xavier, Medium of the Century


By Michael E. Tymn

Although little is known of him outside of Brazil and other parts of the Portuguese-speaking world, Francisco Candido "Chico" Xavier is considered by those who knew him and witnessed him to be one of the greatest mediums ever. His biographer, Guy Lyon Playfair of the United Kingdom, a long-time investigator of psychic phenomena, subtitles his book, "Medium of the Century."

Xavier, who dropped out of school at age 13, produced, by means of automatic writing, 458 books with sales in excess of 50 million. All of the royalties were donated to charity as Xavier lived on a very modest income from his government job and pension. In 2000, a newspaper in the Brazilian state of Minas Gerias asked its readers to vote for "person of the century." With more than 700,000 readers responding, Xavier won the vote over an aviation pioneer, a former president of the country, and the legendary soccer player, Pelé. More than 120,000 people lined up in a queue over two miles long to file past Xavier's coffin and 30,000 joined in the funeral procession. The state governor declared three days of mourning. A stamp honoring Xavier on the 100th anniversary of his birthday on April 2, 2010 was issued by the Brazilian post office. 

Playfair informs us that young Chico began demonstrating psychic abilites at the age of four but it was not until 1927, at age 17, that he became a practicing medium. His 421-page 1932 book entitled "Parnassus From Beyond the Tomb," became a best seller in the Portuguese-speaking world. It contains 259 poems signed by 56 different deceased Brazilian poets, all of them judged by experts to be in the style and character of the individual poets when they were alive. 

Xavier's books include literature, history, science, and Spiritist doctrine, the content going far beyond Xavier's education and knowledge. In discussing one of the science books, Playfair states that "it reveals an immense knowledge of several sciences that no ordinary writer, even a qualified scientist, could have assembled without copious research and note-taking." A book on first century Rome runs to 553 pages. 

Playfair extracts some very interesting passages from Xavier's books. For example, he quotes spirit communicator Andre Luiz, who had been a Brazilian doctor when incarnate, as complaining of the difficulty of finding words to explain the spirit world. "Death merely dilates our concepts and clarifies our introspection, illuminating our moral sense. But in no way does it solve the problems which the Universe poses at every step with its display of grandeur." 

André further communicates that "all matter is essentially energy made visible" emanating from a divine source that even he, in his new environment, was incapable of comprehending. "André Luiz strips the next world of all its metaphysical aspects and presents it as something just as real as this one," Playfair offers. 

Xavier's credibility and reputation were such, Playfair further informs the reader,that messages received through his hand were accepted as evidence in a court of law. 

Xavier did not take credit for the books and in each case stated the name of the spirit person who dictated it to him. Playfair points out that had Xavier taken credit for the writing himself, he would have received much greater acclaim than he did, and he would have been a very rich man. One is left with the impression that Xavier was a very humble and sincere person. 

While the book runs to only 98 pages, it is filled with interesting and intriguing facts about Chico Xavier and about the "other world," as communicated through his hand. It has prompted me to search for books by Xavier which have been translated into English.

Book details

Title: Chico Xavier, Medium of the Century,
Publisher: Roundtable Publishing; 1st edition (October 1, 2010)
ISBN-10: 095644931X
ISBN-13: 978-0956449313

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Paranthropology Vol. 2 No. 3 - Now Available to Download


Visit the journal's new website at www.paranthropology.co.uk to download the July 2011 issue for free. Download current issue at
http://www.box.net/shared/namkaf0chc08vnzuqglj
Welcome to the July 2011 issue of Paranthropology. This issue marks the first anniversary of the journal’s existence. By now the journal has attracted well over 200 subscribers and is continuing to grow and develop in new directions. At this point I think it would be useful to try to outline some of the directions I would like to see the journal move towards. The first is to put together a board of reviewers to peer-review articles submitted to the journal and to thus increase the academic respectability of the publication. This, I feel, is a necessary step as it will, to a degree, improve the way in which this sort of eclectic research is perceived by the academic establishment. This will also ensure that the quality of the articles published in the journal maintains a high standard both in terms of their content and style of presentation. To find out more about the review board, and information about submissions and subscriptions, visit the journal’s new website at www.paranthropology.co.uk.

This issue is also the first to be made available as a physical print-on-demand magazine. The hope here is to expand the availability of the journal, and to make it easier for libraries and other institutions to keep hard copies. Although it is necessary to pay for physical copies, the journal will continue to be made available online for free. It is important that Paranthropology remains freely available. All too often high quality research into paranormal topics is difficult to access, and it is about time that this changed. As you can see from the contents list this issue is packed with fascinating articles which I sincerely hope you will find inspiring and thought provoking. 

Jack Hunter

Thursday, June 16, 2011

New book: "O fotógrafo dos Espíritos" (The Spirits' photographer) II - Ectoplasm in color.

Ectoplasm (from the Greek ektos, meaning "outside", and plasma, meaning "something formed or molded") is a term coined by Charles Richet to denote a substance or spiritual energy "exteriorized" by physical mediums.(Wiki quote)

There is a lot of confusion and misunderstanding concerning the purpose and raison d'etre of such material that today stands as a mythical substance so many times discredited and ridiculed by skeptics, but that is the basis of some psychic manifestations produced by physical mediums.

The production of this substance requires a unique set of special conditions besides a capable physical medium. Such conditions were reproduced in several séances that took place in Campinas/SP, Brazil, between 1955 and 1965 under the mediumship of Mrs. Otília Diogo and Mr. Antônio Feitosa and that were investigated by Mr. Nedyr M. da Rocha (1932-2010) and dozens of other people. In our previous post, we have already discussed and presented some excerpts from Mr. da Rocha book 'O fotógrafo dos Espíritos' (1) (The Spirits' photographer) edited by EME. Here we translate a passage by Mr. da Rocha describing the circumstances of the phenomenon and providing further details.
On a certain occasion in Uberaba/MG (1960), the black curtain that was hanging on a clothesline wire limiting the medium´s cabinet was removed by the spirits, allowing us to clearly see the mediums.

Nineteen physicians were present and also observed the phenomenon. The mediums could be seen expelling ectoplams through several natural apertures of their bodies, what was registered by a camera (2) attached to the ceiling. The same image shows Mrs. Otília Diogo at distance lying on a lounge chair and also producing ectoplasm. 
The same scene was registered by another camera in my hands (3).
In other words, the photo below is the same scene showed before (our previous post) as captured by another (much closed) camera.

A color photo by Mr. Nedyr M. da Rocha showing ectoplasm: Medium Otília Diogo (handcuffed) in deep trance and an ectoplasmic 'beard' coming out of her nose and ears (1960). A harmonica is seen close to the ectoplasmic mass (on the medium´s neck). According to Mr. da Rocha, this object was the result of an apport phenomenon.

Most of the photographs showing ectoplasmic prominences and other bodies around materialization mediums are old B&W photographs, taken at a time when color techniques were still in their infancy. Although color photography dates back to J. Clerk Maxwell (1831-1879), color photographs of good quality were only available after the second half of the XX century. On the other hand, materialization phenomena are almost always produced in total darkness. In this case, a flash light was used after permission to take the shot was given by the controlling spirits.

Notes and references

(1) da Rocha, N. M. (2011), O fotógrafo dos Espíritos, Ed. EME, Capivari/SP.
(2) Roleiflex camera, Tessar lens 1:3.5, f75 mm, Ilford 120 B&W film, 100 ASA. Reference (1), Footnote on p. 72.
(3) Roleiflex camera, Planar lens 1:3.5, f75 mm, Kodacolor 120 film. Footnote on p. 72.

For more about materializations see: Felix Circle page.




Sunday, May 29, 2011

New book: "O fotógrafo dos Espíritos" (The Spirits' photographer)


A new book (in Portuguese) was recently released: "O fotógrafo dos Espíritos" by Nedyr Mendes da Rocha (1932-2010) (Edited by EME). This is a long waited account by Mr. da Rocha who had the opportunity to make hundred photographs of spirit materializations in 1960´s and before with the mediums Mrs. Otília Diogo and Mr. Antônio Feitosa. Translations of some book excerpts will be presented here in many posts.   

The book has 4 Chapters; Chapter I and II, the author presents his life story, how he became interested in Spiritism and psychic phenomena; he gives a short historic introduction to Spiritualism and the appearance of the "Spirit's book" by A. Kardec; how the first seances at Casa do Caminho (or 'House of the Way', at his father´s house) in Campinas/SP had began. He also give us a description of a seance in Andradas/MG around 1950 where he first witnessed many physical effects. Chapter III gives further details of the regular sittings at Casa do Caminho and Chapter IV describes the famous Uberaba seances in 1963 attended by many doctors and experts besides dozen journalists and the medium Chico Xavier. The book has many photos, some already seen on many websites, while others never published before.

Most of the seances performed at Casa do Caminho had only one aim: healing. Mr. da Rocha describes how people were healed by materialized spirits. This is often a neglected aspect in many meetings of this type in Brazil. Another often overlooked detail is that all meetings (without exception) had no charges, anybody looking for an end of his/her ailments could freely participate. It is then considerably difficult to sustain that all accounts given by Mr. da Rocha are the product of trickery or hoax. Moreover, Mr. da Rocha was very skeptical in the begining; the immense majority of the meetings were hold privately with no charges or any publicity. Only after years of spirit works witnessed by Mr. da Rocha under strictly private circunstances, the so called 'Uberaba materializations' occured at last.

In the sittings that took place at Uberaba under the scrutinity of a medical committee, mediums Mrs. Diogo e Mr. Feitosa were both handcuffed and tied to chairs using leather belts. During other sittings, under the same controlled conditions (use of police handcuffs and leather moorings), both mediums were also jailed. Handcuff keys were secured by one the committee members. 

What makes Mr. da Rocha account so interesting is that he was the first person to use advanced photographic facilities to register the phenomena. He probably obtained the first color photographs of ectoplasm and materialized forms in the world, although most of his photos are back and white. He was also a very detail oriented investigator.   In one of his descriptions of a photograph showing medium Mr. Feitosa disgorging ectoplasm from nose, mouth and ears, he adds:
A Roleiflex camera, Tessar objective 1:3.5, f75 mm was used with a B&W Ilford 120 film, 100 ASA.
 Such technical references are scattered thoughout the text and often in footnotes.

Fig. 1 (Corresponding to Fig. 7 of Mrs. da Rocha book). Mrs. Diogo and Mr. Feitosa scorging ectoplasm during a sitting at Uberaba (~1962). Both mediums are handcuffed and tied to the chairs.

Ectoplasm

Page 71 brings a photo (figure 7 of the book) of both mediums at work taken by a fixed camera (intalled near to the room ceiling). According to Mr. da Rocha, this photo was taken using flash light after proper authorization by the controlling agents who also opened the black curtains seen in the image (all sittings were conducted in total dark). On pages 70 and 71, Mrs. da Rocha describes the famous substance, how ectoplasm look like:
In many circunstances, I saw ectoplasm being put out from both mediums - coming out of the nasal fossa, mouth and ears. I could see it under red light and flash light which made the substance to become luminescent in the dark, though the flash lasted 1/1000 of a second. Such phenomena allowed a more detailed observation. 
I state that ectoplasm resembles in a certain sense dense cotton that was previously kneaded, you can see lints coming off the whole that was smelless with a whitish aspect. It was always moving around, ready to assume a certain shape.
Pag. 73 has another photo of medium Mr. Feitosa, this time taken with a camera that Mr. da Rocha held in his hands. The image is the same as shown in Fig. 1 above, but from another angle. Mrs. da Rocha comments:
One can see the medium and a large amount of ectoplasm expelled to form two hands (ectoplasmic 'gloves'), one coming out of his mouth and another hanging at the end of an ectoplasmic mass on the medium lap. This photo also shows two ectoplasm types: one, smooth and dense forming the hand and reflecting the flash light, and another resembling a tuft of compacted cotton, falling on the mediums legs and torso, showing that it was a solid and weighty substance and not a fluidic or ethereal one.
In the next posts I will bring translations of many passages of this book and comment them. So far we can say that Mr. da Rocha book is an interesting historical description of a well documented but unfortunately misundersood materializaton occurence in Brazil that should definitely take part of Spiritualist history. 



Sunday, May 22, 2011

A New Era for Humanity

Unshakable faith is only that which can meet reason face to face in every Human epoch.” - Allan Kardec.

What it is

• “Spiritism is a science which deals with the nature, origin and destiny of Spirits, as well as their relationship with the corporeal world.”

• It is the set of principles, as revealed by the Superior Spirits, contained in Allan Kardec’s works, which constitute the Spiritist Fundamentals: The Spirits’ Book, The Mediums’ Book, The Gospel Explained by Spiritism, Heaven and Hell, and The Genesis. Allan Kardec (Taken from Qu’est-ce que le Spiritisme? - Préambule) Translated from the original French

What it reveals

• It reveals more profound concepts with respect to God, the Universe, the Human Being, the Spirits and the Laws which govern life itself.

• Furthermore, it reveals who we are; where we have come from; where we are going to; what is the objective of our existence; and what are the present and past causes of pain and suffering.

What it encompasses

• Spiritism contributes to all areas of knowledge, human activities and behavior, offering new perspectives for humankind.

• Spiritism is studied, analyzed, and practiced in all the fundamental aspects of life, such as scientific, philosophycal, religious, ethical, moral, educational, and social.

Its main principles are:

• God is the Supreme Intelligence, first cause of all things. God is eternal, immutable, immaterial, unique, omnipotent, supremely just and good.

• The Universe is God’s creation. It encompasses all rational and non-rational beings, both animate and inanimate, material and immaterial.

• In addition to the corporeal world inhabited by incarnate Spirits, which are human beings, there exists the spiritual world, inhabited by discarnate Spirits.

• There are other inhabited worlds in the Universe, with beings at different degrees of evolution: some less, some egual, and others more evolved than men on Earth (us).

• All the Laws of Nature are Divine Laws because God is their author. They cover both the physical and moral laws.

• A Human Being is a Spirit incarnated in a material body.

• What connects the physical body to the Spirit is a semi-material body named perispirit.

• Spirits are the intelligent beings of creation. They constitute the world of the Spirits, which pre-exists and outlives everything.

• Spirits are created simple and ignorant. They evolve intellectually and morally, passing from a lower order to a higher one, until they attain perfection, when they will enjoy unalterable bliss.

• Spirits preserve their individuality before, during, and after each incarnation.

• Spirits reincarnate as many times as is necessary for their spiritual advancement.

• Spirits are always progressing. In their multiple physical existences, they may sometimes become stationary but they never regress. The speed of their intellectual and moral progress depends on the efforts they make to attain perfection.

• Spirits belong to different orders according to the degree of perfection they have attained: Pure Spirits, who have attained maximum perfection; Good Spirits, whose predominant desire is towards goodness; and Imperfect Spirits, characterized by their ignorance, their tendency towards evil, and by their inferior passions.

• The Spirits’ relations with Human Beings are constant and have always existed. The Good Spirits attract us towards goodness, sustain us in life’s trials, and help us bear them with courage and resignation. The Imperfect Spirits induce us towards error.

• Jesus is the Guide and Model for all Humankind. The Doctrine He taught and exemplified is the purest expression of God’s Law.

• The morality of Christ, as contained in the Gospels, is the guide for the secure progress of all Human Beings. Its practice is the solution for all human problems and the objective to be attained by Humankind.

• Human Beings are given free-will to act, but they must answer for the consequences of their actions.

• Future life reserves for Human Beings penalties and pleasures according to the respect they do or do not show for God’s laws.

• Prayer is an act of adoration for God. It is found in the natural law and is the result of an innate sentiment in every Human Being, just as the idea of the existence of the Creator is innate.

• Prayer makes Human Beings better. Whoever prays with confidence grows stronger against evil temptations, and God sends the Good Spirits to assist them. This assistance will never be denied when requested with sincerity.

The Spiritist practice

• All Spiritist practice is gratuitous, following the orientation of the moral principle found in the Gospel: “Give for free what you receive for free.”

• Spiritism is practiced with simplicity, without any external forms of worship, within the principle that God should be worshipped in spirit and in truth.

• Spiritism has no clergy, nor does it adopt or use at any of its meetings or during its practices the following: altars, images, candles, processions, sacraments, concession of indulgences, religious vestiments, alcoholic or hallucinogenic beverages, incense, tobacco, talismans, amulets, horoscopes, cartomancy, pyramids, crystals, or any other objects, rituals or external forms of worship.

• Spiritism does not impose its principles. It invites those interested in knowing it to submit its teachings to the test of reason before accepting them.

• Mediumship, which allows the Spirits to communicate with Human Beings, is a faculty which many individuals bring with them at birth, independently of the religion or belief that they may come to adopt.

• Spiritist mediumship practice is solely that which is practiced based on the principles of the Spiritist Thought and within Jesus’ examples.

• Spiritism respects all religions and doctrines; values all efforts towards the practice of goodness; works towards peace and fellowship between all nations and all peoples, regardless of race, colour, nationality, creed, cultural or social standing. It also recognizes that “the truly good person is one who complies with the laws of justice, love, and charity in their highest degree of purity.” (The Gospel According to Spiritism – chapter 17 – item 3)

To be born, to die, to be reborn yet again, and constantly progress…”- Allan Kardec
The study of the works of Allan Kardec is fundamental to achieve a true understanding of the Spiritism.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Parapsychological Association to Host Convention in Brazil

The principal international scientific organization studying parapsychology and the nature of consciousness, the Parapsychological Association (PA) will be hosting its 54th annual convention on August 18-21, 2011 in Curitiba, Brazil. Leading scientists and other academics from around the world will gather to present the latest parapsychological research into psi and other phenomena, such as extra-sensory perception, psychokinesis, psychic healing, altered states of consciousness, mediumship and survival of bodily death. Open to the public and academics alike, with most events in English but simultaneous translation available in English and Portuguese, the PA convention coincides with UNIBEM's 7th Psi Meeting and the 6th Journey into Altered States, adding local academic and experiential dimensions to the combined events.

In addition to hosting the largest contingent of PA members and affiliates outside of the US and Europe, Brazil contains a rich diversity of groups and individuals that engage in a range of apparently paranormal approaches to healing. Curitiba, Brazil is a modern city that has attracted attention around the world for its innovations in sustainability.

The convention will open with a reception featuring the release of the Portuguese edition of the book Varieties of Anomalous Experience: Examining the Scientific Evidence, first published in 2000 by the American Psychological Association, and edited by psychologists Etzel Cardeña, Steven Jay Lynn, and Stanley Krippner. Ihnvited speakers include Dr. Wellington Zangari, Professor of Psychology at the University of São Paulo and coordinator of INTER PSI, a laboratory conducting studies and interdisciplinary research at the crossroads between anomalistic psychology and social psychology. Dr. Zangari will be speaking about the new horizons in psi research in Brazil. Dr. John Alexander, a leading advocate for the development of non-lethal weapons and a Senior Fellow at the Joint Special Operations University will provide a cross-cultural review of applications of psi phenomena. Dr Michael Winkelman, author of several books on shamanism, psychedelic medicine, and consciousness will deliver the PA’s annual J.B. Rhine banquet address titled, "Evolved Psychology and the Deep Structure of Psi: The Shamanic Paradigm." Dozens of presentations on a variety of parapsychological topics, as well as a panel session on ayahuasca and exceptional human experiences will round off the event.

The PA convention will offer an opportunity for attendees interested in that wide range of human functioning popularly known as the ‘psychic’ or ‘paranormal’ to hear the latest and most advanced scientific thinking about parapsychological topics. Additional convention information and online registration is available at www.parapsych.org.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

7th Meeting of the League of Researchers on Spiritism

Dear Colleague,

We are glad to invite you to the 7th MEETING OF THE LEAGUE OF RESEARCHERS ON SPIRITISM (7th LRS Meeting or ENLIHPE in Portuguese), São Paulo, Brazil, August 20-21, 2011. The event will be hosted by the CCDPECentro de Cultura, Documentação e Pesquisa do Espiritismo, an emerging center for studies in Spiritism in Brazil.

The goal of the seminar is to bring together Brazilian and international scholars working on current issues in Spiritism. Thereby we will learn about different worldwide spiritist research and create a setting where work in progress can be improved and discussed in-depth. Especially the attendance and moderating function of members of League of Researchers on Spiritism offers an excellent possibility to receive meaningful feedback for submitted work. Therefore, we encourage submission of analytical, empirical and experimental research.

Proposal submission deadline: 15th June 2011.

Goals

To promote the exchange of ideas on Spiritist theories and practices and to motivate the publication and debate of academic works that interface with Spiritism themes.

Submission of works

Works can encompass a wide range of topics in the interface between Spiritist themes and the following knowledge areas:

Exact Sciences (e. g. , astronomy, physics, chemistry etc)
Biology (e. g., phisiology, botany etc)
Health areas (medicine, veterinary etc)
Applied Social Sciences (economy, management etc)
Human Sciences (philosophy, sociology, psychology, education etc)
Linguistics and arts (music etc)
Multidisciplinary Studies.


Instruction for the authors
Submission period: March 15th 2011 to June 15th 2001

Works should be submitted either as poster presentation or papers/manuscripts.

Instructions for paper submission
  1. Papers should be intelligible to as wide an audience as possible. 
  2. Only unpublished papers in Portuguese or English are accepted. 
  3. Manuscripts will be peer reviewed by members of the meeting scientific comitte. 
  4. All manuscripts should be sent to the following address:  7enlihpe-trabalhos@ccdpe.org.br
  5. Each author should submit no more than three (3) manuscripts.
  6. Each manuscript should not have more than four (4) authors.
  7. Each manuscript should be sent to 7enlihpe-trabalhos@ccdpe.org.br in the form of two (2) separated files: FILE 1 containing author's NAMES, manuscript TITLE and ABSTRACT; FILE 2 containing manuscript TITLE and FULL TEXT with no authorship identification. 
  8. Manuscripts should not have more than twelve (12) pages;
  9. Abstract: minimum of 1150 characters (~10 lines) and maximum of 1750 characters (~ 15 lines).
Manuscript general formatting instructions
  • Text editor: MSWord 6.0 or later.
  • Page format: upper margin: 3cm; lower margin: 2cm; left: 3cm; right: 2 cm.
  • Fonts: Times New Roman 12;
  • Paper size: A4 (width: 21cm, height: 29.7cm);
  • Paragraph spacing: simple; 0pt before; 6pt after;
  • Figures, tables and plot fonts: Times New Roman 8 or 12;

General instructions for manuscript editing and formatting (sections, references etc) follow closely ABNT rules (Brazilian association of technical norms).

Instructions for poster submission

  • Each poster should have no more than four (4) authors;
  • Each author should submit no more than three (3) posters;
  • Each poster should be sent to 7enlihpe-trabalhos@ccdpe.org.br in the form of two separated files: FILE 1 - containing author's NAMES, poster TITLE and ABSTRACT; FILE 2 containing the TITLE and the poster FULL TEXT with no authorship identification. 
  • Poster should be formatted according to the following sections (FILE 2): Title, abstract, introduction, objectives, methods, data analysis, conclusion and references.
Poster general formatting instructions

Senders will receive by email a confirmation of manuscript/poster submission. Editors of the 7th LRS Meeting reserve the right to return manuscripts or posters that are not in accordance with the above instructions. The approaval and publication of final works will be submitted to author´s copyright transfer agreement.

For more information, please, feel free to email us at 7enlihpe-trabalhos@ccdpe.org.br

Monday, April 4, 2011

2/2 - Pragmatics and Intention in mediumship works.

To find each of the language levels discussed before in many automatic writtings by C. Xavier is an interesting exercise. Mophology, sintax, semantics, pragmatics and intention all show up vividly in the many psychographic letters, but not with the same intensity and uniformity. Such observation reveals hidden aspects of the mediumship process that are totally in accordance with the notion of interference of the mediumship vehicle. The presence of medium's interference is a strong evidence of a communication process in action, since every communication occurence is affected by interference to some degree. The influence of interference in automatic writtings depends, however, on the linguistic level that is taken into account, but it increases at lower levels. the higher the cognitive functions that are required to manifest certain linguistic features (at higher levels) so the weaker will the interference be.

Pragmatics and intention in F. C Xavier automatic writtings is directly related to the strong impression they have caused on relatives and parents. These people were called to 'decodify' their content, due to the presence of intentional and pragmatic elements that are not publicly available. It is necessary to recognize that in every communication process, the emitter strategy is only effective if a set of beliefs and knowledge is shared among all players in the process. The medium however is far from being able, by any normal means, to access such vast repertoire of memories and past facts that become so deeply intertwined in the pragmatic content revealed a posteriori by the relatives. The emitter (the Spirit or discanate entity) is the agent that has the pragmatic competence and intention, while the medium is the intermediary, that sometimes interferes as an irreducible noise source most clearly apparent at the lower levels of the process. 
As private aspects are involved in automatic writtings, higher linguistic levels are involved that are less prone to the medium's influence. Interference acts on lower levels such as syntax and morphology (for exemple, presence of misprints and other morphological mistakes).
Therefore, if communication is not simply 'to transport information', F. C. Xavier automatic writtings can only be explained if he, the medium, was assisted by the discarnate Spirit who is the true author or message emitter. Although pragmatics and intention are less prone to medium's interference, there are equally notable 'xenographic' communications, or automattic writtings in languages that are not known by the medium. These phenomena also shows that the discanate entities can also have control of the lower levels. In a few words, this is a 'draft' of a linguistic model that best explains the phenomenon of mediumship messages produced by F. C. Xavier and we belief that it can also be applied to other mediums as well. 

Our little effort here is part of an initiative that resulted in an article published in Paranthropology. 

Sunday, March 20, 2011

I/2 - Pragmatics and Intention in mediumship works.

"Of mediumship there are many grades, one of the simplest forms being the capacity to receive an impression or automatic writing, under peaceful conditions, in an ordinary state; but the whole subject is too large to be treated here." Sir Oliver Lodge.
Read more about this case here (access to SKL repository). 
In simple terms, a communication process is a set of stages that transfers a message from emitter to receiver. This is a very popular image of communication and we can call it ‘information transfer’ model. It is, however, severely limited in spite of its success in a variety of cases, mainly electronic devices. Recently, research about communication has been carried out by modern linquistic theories although other research fields – such as semiotics – study communication of ‘non human’ content (e. g. plants, animals etc). Modern linguistic approaches attempt to explain communication not in terms of information transfer only. An efficient communication process is far from being a process in which information is transferred in chuncks or bits to a receiver which then acquires an image or idea of the message proportional to the amount of information received. There are several ‘hierearchical’ levels in a human messages and, in order to have an idea of such levels, it is sufficient to regard written language.

A handwritten text by someone (emitter) to one of his/her friends (receiver/recipient) is a rich example of the serveral linguistic levels interacting harmonically in order to compose a message that can only be interpreted by the recipient. The first level is morphology, after all, if the emitter is the true sender, it contains graphical elements that identify him univocally (his signature, for example). Once the message is ‘transcripted’ to a morphology independent medium, other signal types appear revealing other levels: syntax (concerning the fulfillment of idiomatic dependent rules) and semantics (concerning the meaning of words and phrases). If the relationship between sender and receiver always uses English, it is then natural to expect that English grammar will be obeyed in the letter. Regarding semantics, the meaning of words or whole phrases may obey the ordinary rules (the so called ‘lexic’) or not. In the latter case, any external analysis attempting to interpret the message without the knowledge of that particular lexic will be severely limited. In this sense, certain dogmatic Christian groups, by literally interpreting the Bible, are in fact building a 'modern' interpretation that is truly ‘meaningless’ since the original semantic and pragmatic content was lost long ago. 

There is however an important level that is many times hidden in a message: pragmatics. Beyond the apparent meaning of semantics, the sender builds his message in such a way that only his target can correctly interpret its content. For example, my friend, living in Autralia, writes me a letter describing the beautiful landscapes of that contry, his aims may be only to change my bad felling about visiting that continent. After all, only he knows that I don´t have any intention of visiting him. Upon reading the letter, any other person will have a very limited impression of the same lines, that is, that my friend is really excited about the natural Autralian beauties. Although morphology, sintax, semantics are apparent to everyone (that is, they are pubicly available levels of linguistic knowledge), pragmatics is hardly visible. In all efficient communication process, pragmatic competence must exist on the part of the emitter. This is only possible if emitter and recipient share common beliefs.

Besides the existence of pragmatic content in many messages, there are other questions related to the aim or objective of a text, that is often sumarized by the word ‘intention’. Among the many aims of a given message, the least important one may be to communicate anything. Messages may be uttered with the aim of causing certain impressions on the recipient. An interesting example is the individual who shows his flat tire in a gas station. His intention is not to communicate the real state of the tire, but to request the service of fixing it. One can then talk about the problem of ‘underdetermination of communicative intention’, in the presence of ‘semantically ill-defined’ expressions and the famous ‘non communicative acts’ (Bach, 1976). They are all private aspect of the communication process.

Francisco Cândido Xavier (1910-2002), most renowned Brazilian medium. 

A fundamental feature that almost all well developed psychic phenomena share is to present themselves as communication phenomena par excellence. Most of the skeptic explanations disregard such important feature or try to fit them as imitations that are born on the medium´s mind. In the later case, skepticism tries to explain the content of a (high quality) psychic message – e. g. as in automatic writing – as a purely private phenomena, born on the medium mind as said above without any external influence. In the case of communication of recently disceased, that can be called ‘private messages’ or ‘psychographic letters’, Francisco Cândico Xavier (1910-2002) works deserve attention and offer a good example of some types of mistakes commited by skeptic groups in easily disregarding subtle details in mediumship works. Using modern theories of communication, one can better describe the many intentional and pragmatic features that are found in them, and that can hardly be explained by the simple ‘information transfer’ models.

In the next post: the 2nd and last part of the present text discussing the several linguistic features in C. Xavier automatic writtings of recently deceased. 




Sunday, February 20, 2011

Fundamentals III - The Unseen Universe (some philosophical considerations)



"The most perfect philosophy of the natural kind only staves off our ignorance a little longer, as perhaps the most perfect philosophy of the moral or metaphysical kind serves only to discover larger portions of it. Thus the observation of human blindness and weakness is the result of all philosophy, and meets us at every turn, in spite of our endeavours to elude or avoid it." David Hume (An Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding, 1772)


Even though the scope of this page is not philosophical, it is interesting to realize that deep philosophical questions are behind the fact that most of our universe is invisible and that we are confined to a very limited sensorial realm.

Such questions arise when one considers the existence of objects external to us, the objects of 'human enquiry' and how one can be certain about their existence. We know that science has developed its own procedures in order to explain natural phenomena. Today we known that there are many invisible things in our Universe, things that do not interact with our sensory organs. How do we know that they exist ? 

Non-observed and invisible phenomena are understood in terms of theories that first explain how the intermediary devices or methods, used to make such facts visible, can work. In order to build or develop such equipments or methods, we need to understand the theory and strongly believe the existence of the things they are design to show.

In this sense, we must broaden our view, considering not only what is 'observable' and 'visible' as part of the Universe. We must be guided by procedures and tacit considerations in order not to neglect what is not directly observable, for these things might possess a rich ontological content (they may exist independent of us and represent a new reality) and they may be identified as the cause of many phenomena yet unexplained. 

Science has unveil the existence of unobservable things along its history, and this is hardly a finished process.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Fundamentals II - The Unseen Universe (Examples)


Some examples of the 'empirical' classification presented in our past post are given below. Not all phenomena are observable as we see. Many of them are non-observable and cannot be sensed in any way.

Observable and cyclic: 
  • Conspicuous astronomical events: apparent movement of celestial bodies, eclipses of the sun, moon, tides - rise and fall of sea level; 
  • Seasonal ocurrrences: change of color of leaves in the beginning of autumn, the menstrual cycle;


Observable and noncyclic:

A large category of natural ocurrences such as:
  • Weather and climate: storms, lightning, hurricanes; 
  • Life (biology): an interesting example are bat´s sounds at the threshold of what can be heard by humans (below 20KHz). Most of bat´s interaction with the environment is ultrasonic and, therefore (according to our nomenclature) 'invisible' (non-audible), almost all life occurrences are noncyclic and shows a strong cause and effect link; 
  • Geology: vulcanic eruptions (including geysers) and earthquakes. Other geological occurrences are too slow to be witnessed during the human life interval; 
  • Astronomy: the sudden appearance of a bright supernova (ex. SN1987A); 
  • Medicine: many symptons are observables and are related to (nonobservable) causes. 
Nonobservale, Visible and Cyclic
  • Astronomy: the observation through a telescope of Jupiter´s moons transits or eclipses; 
  • Biology: observation  of the cyclic cell division through microscopes; 
Nonobservable, Visible and noncyclic
  • Astronomy: observation of solar prominences. Interesting enough, solar prominences are observable only during total solar eclipses.In normal conditions, the sun bright photosphere outshines their appearance that can only be observed with the use of special equipments. In general, all nonperiodic astronomical events (such as supernavas in distant galaxies) share the same features; 
  • Biology: observation though microscope of all types of nonperiodic biological phenomena; 
  • General: low amplitude sound effects: throught the use of amplifiers, unhearble sounds can become hearable; 
  • Medical techniques: Positron emission tomography. A remarkable example of something hidden (observable body structures) that can become visible through a PET scan device. 
Nonobservable, invisible and cyclic

Radioastronomy:radio waves of periodic pulsars can become audible using radio telescopes.

Nonobservable, invisible and noncyclic
  • Thermophysics, optics: Schlieren imaging reveals very small changes in the refraction index of transparent media.  Thermal plumes rising from human bodies can not be seen in any way, but are visible throught Schlieren imaging tecniques  (intervening medium). The technique also allows the visualization of sound waves; 
  • Radio: all sorts of electromagnetic phenomena can become audible using a radio. The range of frequencies is very wide; 
  • Astronomy: X-ray, infrared, Ultraviolet astronomy revealing an universe we are totally blind to; 
  • Astrophysics and Cosmology: ~74% of what exists in the universe is invisible (and nonobservable), the so called dark energy. Dark matter is the term used to describe another special matter state that respond for 22% of what exist.The remaining 4% is made up of atoms and, therefore, matter of our ordinary knowledge. 
How do we know about the existence of non-observable, invisible and sporadic events ? The secret lies in the theories or rational structures that provide ways to experimentally access them.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Fundamentals I - The Unseen Universe


For centuries, people were unaware of the invisible, that in Nature there are hidden things out of reach of our common senses. The progress of science has unveil a new Universe formed by phenomena that will never be disclosed by these senses alone. 

However, they become tangible through a transducer or special media. The role of these media is to be  intermediaries between the phenomena and our senses.

Classification of natural phenomena

The universe contains many strata of different phenomena. Some of them are cyclic occurrences while others are sporadic. Many phenomena were discovered with the progress of science, but quite a few of them are accessible to ordinary observation (the so called human senses). 

Instead of categorizing natural occurences in broad areas (physics, biology etc), one can divide them  according to their accessibility to our senses. We suggest to classify nature´s event by the following definitions:

  • Observable phenomena: occurrences that are directly acessible. This is the group that shape our immediate neighborhood from which we extract our life experiences. An 'observable' is a group of events that are acessible to the human senses withoutthe use of any intervening medium. According to such definition, the eclipses of Jupiter´s moons are not observable because we need telescopes to observe them;
  • Non-observable phenomena: the immense majority of natural ocurrences belong to this class. These are phenomena that can not be sensed and, therefore, are unable to influence our experiences of life in a direct way. They can be divided into 2 categories: 
                      i) visible phenomena.
                      ii) invisible phenomena.

Visible occurrences are events that can be sensed with the help of magnifying or amplifying instruments. A good example is the use of telescopes to look at distant and faint objects, or the use of microscopes to observe microbes and cells. Invisible phenomena are unobservable events that can´t be made visible through an amplifying equipment, but that can be sensed by a human using a special type of intervening medium. (an example is a radio which transforms electromagnetic radiation in sound waves).

Cyclic and noncyclic phenomena

Another dimension of our phenomenological description is the frequency of occurrence. One can also divide natural phenomena in cyclic and noncyclic occurrences. Cyclic phenomena are events that repeat themselves periodically. Noncyclic natural phenomena are sporadic events.

The frequecy of occurrence is an important aspect for the correct evaluation from the point of view of Science because scientist will have difficulty in providing theories for noncyclic and extremely rare events. Science prefers cyclic phenomena because, for them, it is considerably easier to find a cause (frequent effects are well correlated with repeatable causes), which is the first step toward buiding a satisfactory theory.

In summary, events in Nature can be classified according to their frequency of ocurrence:
  • Cyclic: periodic ocurrences
  • Non-cyclic: non periodic phenenoma. There is no well determined rate or frequency.
Extremely rare phenomena may be cyclic or noncyclic as it is reasonable to expect. It is also expected that cyclic occurrence will be linked to cyclic causes. 

Particularly intriguing are non-observable, invisible and non-periodic phenomena. Event periodicity is an important feature in the study of whatever phenomena, since nobody will be willing to accept as real an occurrence that only happens once or even a couple of times. Extremelly rare events are therefore the hardest ones to study and are at the threshold of scientific inquiry just as the non-observable and and invisible ones.

An image of the night sky at 4.85 GHz revealing structures that are both non-observable and invisible according to our definition. Image Credits: National Radio Astronomy Observatory.

In the next post, we will discuss some examples.

Monday, January 31, 2011

The Great Book of Nature


[The universe] cannot be read until we have learnt the language and become familiar with the characters in which it is written. It is written in mathematical language, and the letters are triangles, circles and other geometrical figures, without which it is humanly impossible to comprehend a single word." (Galileo Galilei, Opere Il Saggiatore p. 171.)

The 'Book of Nature' is the last great book that we are still browsing. It was written since the beginning of time by a single Author. It is written in a peculiar language, grasped by no men but admitting a single interpretation. It is also a code of laws applicable to all objects of the world, governing the relation between causes and effects. It can not be copied, but it can be imitated, and men frequently gaze at hidden passages that reveal a remarkable structure, an enchanting if not scary regularity. The content of this Book is infinitely larger than anything that we had ever known, showing the existence of intricate details,  laws and truths never imagined before.

If we admit the world is composed not only by material elements, but also by spiritual elements, just as there are laws in the great book applicable to matter, unknown laws might exist to regulate and govern the spiritual elements. Thus, the content of the Book remains almost completely ignored. It is important not to take scientific theories as the very content of this book. Scientific theories are drafts written in human language (that is, in a human understandable code) about the Nature structures that have an independent existence. It is often said that scientists continually revise their theories. But the Book of Nature can not change, it is our understanding that always changes after a first and unsuccessful  reading of the Great Book. Surely, no human description or forecast will survive in disagreement with it. Conflict between Science and Religion arises because religious groups fail to realize the existence and supremacy of this Book, just as scientist think that the drafts they compose are the final expression of it. The conflict solely originates from human ignorance and presumption.    

In this conflict, dogmatic Religions will not escape being compared and judged in accordance to the all Truths contained in the Book. Human knowledge will embrace the reality of the Spiritual and a new Science will be born.