terça-feira, 1 de julho de 2014

Allan Kardec and the Codification


Allan Kardec’s biography can be told in different ways at spiritist education classes. The most
common way is to start by early life, adulthood, spirit interest, his research, the Spiritist and his disincarnation.
Many children who are attending the spiritist education classes have already heard his biography at home or through the other cycles they were studying at. It is important for the spiritist teacher to use creative techniques and/or different types of approach to make it more interesting for the children. Please find here below some examples:





For the older children, you could start the story not by his date of birth, but by the moments before he incarnated. You could avoid mentioning his name, but talk about Kardec’s life in the spiritual plane: you could make up a story by imagining how he would be talking to his protector spirit, receiving instructions from his spiritual friends in regards to the mission he would have whilst incarnate in Earth. Allan Kardec’s mission was the Codification of Spiritism. He needed to organise the information received form the spiritual benefactors. Therefore, it is important to highlight that Kardec had his free will. He could have accomplished his mission or not whilst in Earth. If he decided not to do it, someone else would.

You could split the events from his life into years, periods or decades. You could ask each child to research and illustrate the phase you give them to work on. For example, 1804: reincarnation; 1832: marriage to Amelie Gabrielle Boudet; 1854: table turnings...). The children could present the result of their research to the other colleagues later on or at the following class. You could also organise a panel with all the findings, in chronological order.

For kindergarten and 1st cycle children (Curriculum for Children and Youth Spiritist Education) please give copies of Colouring Pages with Allan Kardec’s life. Perhaps you could get pictures from magazines and created an album with his life story. You could also do some arts and crafts for kids who could be related to Kardec’s life and achievements, such as: Muppet theatre or theatre with costume hand made for the kids, collage, drawing exercises, modelling clay, cutting crafts for kids... You could also bring a world globe to this class in order to show them where France is located. You could then talk about the time when the books were codified: no electricity, TV, buses or planes existed at that time. You could also mention that in the beginning of the 19th century, the main mode of transportation was the horse and carriage. It wasn't until the latter part of the century that railways changed people's lives and habits. But even after the advent of the railway, remote areas still relied on the horse for local transport. You could also take copies of The Five Fundamental Works of Spiritism (1 The Spirits' Book, 2 The Mediums' Book, 3 The Gospel According to Spiritism, 4 Heaven and Hell, 5 The Genesis According to Spiritism).


You could invite one spiritist worker from the spiritist centre to tell Kardec’s story to the children. This person would be seen as someone different from the spiritist teachers which could increase the children’s curiosity, engagement and willingness to do something different in class. This could also be seen by the children as motivational since they are being valued by a ‘guest’ who is coming to see them.


You could invite one spiritist worker from the spiritist centre to tell Kardec’s story to the children. This person would be seen as someone different from the spiritist teachers which could increase the children’s curiosity, engagement and willingness to do something different in class. This could also be seen by the children as motivational since they are being valued by a ‘guest’ who is coming to see them.

For kindergarten and 1st cycle children (Curriculum for Children and Youth Spiritist Education) please give copies of Colouring Pages with Allan Kardec’s life. Perhaps you could get pictures from magazines and created an album with his life story. You could also do some arts and crafts for kids who could be related to Kardec’s life and achievements, such as: Muppet theatre or theatre with costume hand made for the kids, collage, drawing exercises, modelling clay, cutting crafts for kids... You could also bring a world globe to this class in order to show them where France is located. You could then talk about the time when the books were codified: no electricity, TV, buses or planes existed at that time. You could also mention that in the beginning of the 19th century, the main mode of transportation was the horse and carriage. It wasn't until the latter part of the century that railways changed people's lives and habits. But even after the advent of the railway, remote areas still relied on the horse for local transport. You could also take copies of The Five Fundamental Works of Spiritism (1 The Spirits' Book, 2 The Mediums' Book, 3 The Gospel According to Spiritism, 4 Heaven and Hell, 5 The Genesis According to Spiritism).


You could invite one spiritist worker from the spiritist centre to tell Kardec’s story to the children. This person would be seen as someone different from the spiritist teachers which could increase the children’s curiosity, engagement and willingness to do something different in class. This could also be seen by the children as motivational since they are being valued by a ‘guest’ who is coming to see them.

  In order to strengthen the ideas that were studied this time, you could give each child a jigsaw with Kardec’s picture on it, puzzles related to the topics discussed, drawings of The Five Fundamental Works of Spiritism, Colouring Pages with Allan Kardec’s life, memory game with the main events from his life, The Right or Wrong Game (Make two teams. The spiritist teacher will ask one question related to the topic learned. If the child thinks the answer is correct he/she has to go to the left, if he/she thinks it is wrong he/she have to go to the right. Students who gave the wrong answer (wrong position), have to leave the game. The winner is the team that has the most players left after all questions were presented to the group), etc.

For 2nd and 3rd cycle children (Curriculum for Children and Youth Spiritist Education) you could bring copies of the front pages from The Five Fundamental Works of Spiritism (1 The Spirits' Book, 2 The Mediums' Book, 3 The Gospel According to Spiritism, 4 Heaven and Hell, 5 The Genesis According to Spiritism). This could give them the opportunity to colour it and write down a sentence that would summarise the book. It is important for the spiritist teacher to bring copies of The Five Fundamental Works of Spiritism to class so the children use them as a reference guide. If necessary, this activity could be done as a group activity or with the help of the spiritist teacher.



At the end of this task, you can split them into groups of 5. Each group could present one of The Five Fundamental Works of Spiritism: they could say when it was published, what it talks about and choose a sentence that summarises it. This would then be shared to the rest of the group

         There are different ways to tell the same story. If you use your creativity and love, each class could be seen as a trip to the past as it could give the children the opportunity to go back to the 19th century, to learn about Kardec and the Spiritist Doctrine.


Here is a summary of the most important facts about Allan Kardec’s life.


Allan Kardec

         Allan Kardec was an advanced consciousness, a spirit who had a direct intuition and experience of God. His life, as repeatedly narrated in the Spiritist media, was the realization on Earth of such innate awareness. For him, God and Christ were not merely objects of belief, but living facts. However, like Pascal, the great mathematician, philosopher, and mystic, Allan Kardec trained his intuitive power on the examination of the fundamental realities of life through rational inquiry. 

         Hippolyte Léon Denizard Rivail was born in Lyon in 1804 on the 3rd October 1804. He was the son of Jean Baptiste-Antoine Rivail and Jeanne Duhamel. His father was a judge. His family had, for many generations, been lawyers and magistrates. As a child he showed an aptitude for the sciences and philosophy and, at the age of ten, he was sent to the Pestalozzi Institute in Yverdun. This was the school of the influential Swiss educationalist Johann Heinrich Pestalozzi, whose radically new methods of teaching were attracting pupils from well connected families all over Europe.

         Rivail quickly proved himself to be a child genius of rare distinction. The internecine strife at the school caused the resignation of 16 of the masters, and, at the age of fourteen, Rivail was asked to teach his own classmates. He also became one of Pestalozzi’s favourite pupils and most ardent disciples and left Yverdun with a degree in letters and science and a doctorate in medicine. He acquired at an early age the habit of investigation and the freedom of thought of which his later life was destined to furnish so striking an example.

         After leaving the Pestalozzi Institute Rivail settled in Paris and in 1824 he published his first book. This was based on his own system for teaching mathematics and was reprinted until 1876. The following year, at the age of 21, he opened his own 'First Grade School'. Having at length determined upon his career, he purchased, in 1828, a large and flourishing educational establishment for boys, and devoted himself to the work of teaching, for which, by his tastes and acquirements, he was peculiarly fitted. In 1830 he hired, at his own expense, a large hall in the Rue de Sèvres, and opened there in courses of gratuitous lectures on Chemistry, Physics, Comparative Anatomy, and Astronomy. These lectures, continued by him through a period of ten years, were highly successful, being attended by an auditory of over five hundred persons of every rank of society, many of whom have since attained to eminence in the scientific world. In 1826 he opened another, 'The Rivail Technical Institute'. He taught chemistry, physics, mathematics, astronomy, comparative anatomy and rhetoric, and also spoke nine languages fluently. Rivail also submitted proposals for educational reform to the French Legislative Chamber which were highly praised although not adopted.

         Born Catholic but raised as a Protestant, Kardec studied both religions with an enthusiastic zeal and with a dream of unifying them to glorify the spirit of Christ. The rifts were, however, deeper and wider than he could imagine. However, in the tangible evidences of a spiritual realm, he found the point of union to advance a new vision and purpose for the human spirit. Allan Kardec deduced a code of moral and ethical behaviour through methodical analysis of every aspect of the phenomena, as only a man of his training could. Kardec is credited with establishing the points of interaction between the natural laws and the invisible world, which he believed to be the final destination of all residents of the physical realm.

         On the 6th February 1832, he married Amelie Gabrielle Boudet, a fine arts teacher and writer. Disaster struck in 1835 when huge gambling debts accrued by his uncle, who was also his partner, forced the closure of one of his schools.11 However, Rivail began writing a series of textbooks on diverse subjects for the French University and also began to give free lessons in his own home. By 1848, when the mediumship of the Fox sisters was creating such a stir in America, he was a well known and highly respected educator who could have existed quite comfortably for the rest of his life by living on the proceeds of his books. 

         He was a member of several societies, one of which the Royal Academy of Arras that, in the competition of 1831, awarded him notable recognition on the following subject: Which is a system of study more harmonious with the needs of the time?

         Among his numerous works to foster education, we will mention the following: Proposed Plan for the improvement of Public Instruction (1828); A practical and theoretical study of Arithmetic, according to the methods of Pestalozzi, for the use of teachers and mothers (1824); Classic French Grammar (1831); A Manual of the Examination for the titles of capacity; Rational solutions to the subjects and problems in Arithmetic and in Geometry (1846); Grammatical Catechism of the French Language (1848); Program for the regular courses of Chemistry, Physics, Astronomy, Physiology, which he taught in Lyceum Polimatique; Normal dictations of the examinations of the Municipality and of Sorbonne, followed by Special Dictations regarding Orthographic Difficulties (1849), an accomplishment highly regarded at the time of its launching and from which new editions are still been published today. 

         It can be seen that even before Spiritism had become popularized Allan Kardec through his Celtic pseudonym, had already become well known, through the varied nature of his accomplishments in the educational system. His works always had the objective of illuminating the masses and of uniting them better to their respective families and countries.

         In 1854 a friend with a shared interest in the phenomena of mesmerism, a Mr Fortier, told Rivail of the table-turning craze that had, by that time, reached France. He would later recall that Fortier told him how '...not only is a table made to tilt, magnetising it, but it can also be made to speak. Ask it a question, and it replies.' Rivail's response was not untypical of the initial reaction of many other successful nineteenth century academics who would later risk their reputations by publicly endorsing mediumship. He replied 'I will believe it when I see it and when it has been proved to me that a table has a brain to think and nerves to feel and that it can become a sleep-walker. Until then, allow me to see nothing in this but a fable told to provoke sleep. Like many others in America and England, Rivail assumed that table-turning was a 'purely material effect' and it was not until the following year that he allowed himself to be persuaded to attend a table-turning session in the home of one of Fortier's mesmeric subjects, a Mrs Roger. It was here that he first witnessed the phenomenon of tables which 'jumped and ran under conditions that precluded doubt' and some 'very imperfect attempts at mediumistic writing on a slate'.

         Rivail was then introduced to a Mr Baudin who held weekly séances at his home. Baudin's two daughters (who, by all accounts, were rather frivolous and empty-headed) were in the habit of obtaining communications by use of table-tipping. Normally the results of their experiments were ample confirmation of the golden rule 'like attracts like', but whenever Rivail was present, the nature of the communications changed completely. The usual stream of banalities was replaced by philosophy of a 'very grave and serious character' and Rivail adopted the regular practice of arriving at every meeting armed with a list of penetrating questions for the new communicators. Although English accounts of events during this period vary greatly, it is apparent that, at some point, the planchette medium Celina Japhet also became involved in providing answers to his questions. 

         In the brief biography of Rivail (given in the preface of her definitive English translation of his first book) Anna Blackwell mentions that these sessions provided the basis of Spiritist theory by use of table-tipping, raps and planchette writing. However, when a group of other investigators who had collected over 50 notebooks full of communications asked Rivail to arrange them into some sort of order he initially refused.18 Whether or not this was because he was not yet sufficiently enthused about the subject to absorb himself in such an arduous task is any body's guess, but he eventually changed his mind. After two years of scrutinising the communications he remarked to his wife:- 

         'My conversations with the invisible intelligences have completely revolutionised my ideas and convictions. The instructions thus transmitted constitute an entirely new theory of human life, duty, and destiny, that appears to me to be perfectly rational and coherent, admirably lucid and consoling, and intensely interesting. I have a great mind to publish these conversations in a book; for it seems to me that what interests me so deeply might very likely prove interesting to others.’

         Rivail then took on the task of editing the fifty notebooks, classifying the different types of communication according to their character and the inner consistency of their arguments. To these he added further communications from Japhet and then, still not being satisfied that the material was sufficiently verified, submitted his questions to a number of other mediums.21 Throughout, he used what he called the principle of 'concordance' or 'conformity' by which he meant that he accepted as most likely to be true, the answers that could not only 'resolve all the difficulties of the question', but were also consistent with answers from other, independent, sources. 

         When The Spirits' Book eventually appeared on April 18, 1857 it was so successful that a second edition, augmented with yet more material, was printed the following year and the name 'Alan Kardec' became a household word all over the continent. The publication of The Spirits' Book caused something such a sensation in France not least because its 'author' was a sober, respected intellectual, but also because it contained 'spirit communications' that answered his questions in relation to every subject from the internal structure of matter to the nature of God, human ethics, the universe and the place of humankind within it. Indeed, the contents of The Spirits' Book was probably not the sort of stuff that the public had been led to expect from the mediumship craze that had, over the space of only nine years, swept across America and Europe after being initiated by two children!

         He demonstrated that the facts, which previously had erroneously been considered supernatural, were actually subject to the universal laws. He classified them under the phenomena of Nature, thereby eliminating the last refuge of the wonder and one of the elements of superstition. 

         During the first years of the introduction of the spiritist phenomena, they were considered more an object of curiosity than of serious meditation. The Spirit’s Book caused the subject to be considered under a totally different aspect. The turning tables that had merely been a prelude were discarded, and people started to pay greater attention to the doctrine, that embraces all the subjects of interest for Humanity. 

         The date of the launching of The Spirit’s Book, was the foundation of Spiritism, which until then, had only counted on scattered elements, without coordination, and whose reach most people could not understand. Starting from that moment, the doctrine attracted the attention of the serious-minded people and took a rapid development. In few years, those ideas overtook numerous followers in all social circles around the world. That unprecedented success took hold, without a doubt, due to the sympathy that such ideas inspired; but, it is also largely due to the clarity with which they were presented, which is one of the characteristics of Allan Kardec's works. 

         On April 1st, 1858 he founded the first Spiritist Society regularly constituted, under the denomination of “Parisian Society of Spiritist Studies,” whose deliberate objective was the study of whatever could contribute toward the fostering of this new science. His main works written on this subject are: The Spirit’s Book, concerning the philosophical part of the doctrine, and whose first edition appeared on April 18th, 1857; The Mediums’ Book, concerning the experimental and scientific aspect (January of 1861); The Gospel according to Spiritism, concerning moral and ethics (April of 1864); Heaven and Hell, or The Justice of God according to Spiritism (August of 1865); Genesis, the Miracles and Predictions According to Spiritism (January of 1868); Revue Spirite, a monthly newspaper of psychological studies, that had begun on January 1st, 1858. Allan Kardec defended himself with total foundation, for having written something under the influence of preconceived or systematic ideas. As an individual with a cool calm nature, he observed the facts and from his observations deduced the laws that govern them. He was the first one to present the theory regarding such facts and to organize them into a doctrinal body, methodical and regular. 

         In 1867, he travelled to Bordeaux, Tours and Orleans. On the same year, with the publication of Genesis, Rivail completed the series of books that today are regarded by the more evangelically minded Spiritists as comprising 'the third revelation' of God to humankind, the first being the teachings of Moses and the second those of Jesus.53 However, Rivail himself would probably have balked at this as he had merely claimed that Spiritism, or the modern explosion of spirit communication, was the third revelation. But, as with almost every other aspect of the 'Kardec' teachings this idea had come not from himself, but from the Spirit communicators, one of whom expressed it most succinctly in The Gospel According to Spiritism:- 

         'Moses showed humanity the way; Jesus continued this work; Spiritism will finish it.'

         He died as he lived: working. He had suffered a heart ailment for many years that could only have been counteracted by means of intellectual rest and lessened physical activity. However, since he was consecrated to his work, he refused everything that could absorb one single minute of his time and deviate him from his favourite occupations. What happened to him occurs to all the souls that have a strong temper: “the sheet dulled the blade.”

         His body became numb and could no longer perform the services intended by his Spirit, while his spirit remained, more and more active, more energetic, fertile, forever enlarging the circle of its activity. In such an unequal fight, his physical body could not subsist eternally. An aneurism ended his life and Allan Kardec died instantaneously. That left one less individual on Earth; but, a great name took his place among those that had illuminated this century; a Great Spirit had departed for the Infinite, where all of those souls who he had consoled and illuminated, were waiting impatiently for his return! 

         He went, as so many others, to recover in Space, to seek new elements for the recuperation of his worn-out organism due to a life of incessant labours. He departed to be among those who would be the luminaries of the new generation, to return shortly thereafter with them to pursue and to conclude the task that he had left in dedicated hands. The man no longer exists, we said it; however, Allan Kardec is immortal and his memory, his works, and his Spirit will always be with those who stand strong and vigorously wave the flag that he always respected. 

         An extraordinary individuality set up the task. He was the guide and the secure port for everyone. On Earth, the work will outlive the worker. The believers won't congregate around Allan Kardec; but rather, they will congregate around Spiritism, just as he had structured it, and with his advice and his influence, we will move forward, with firm steps, to the blissful phase promised to a regenerated Humanity.
Translation: Carolina von Scharten, London, Sir William Crookes Spiritist Society linked to BUSS - The British Union of Spiritist Societies.
Source: http://www.ssbaltimore.org/kardec.html
http://www.geae.inf.br/en/articles/hume.html 
http://www.searadomestre.com.br/evangelizacao/
Picture : http://lubeheraborde.blogspot.ch/2012/07/allan-kardec.html


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