quinta-feira, 24 de dezembro de 2015



Confidence in Life

The Portuguese word confidence comes from the Latin CONFIDENTIA of CONFIDERE, "to fully and firmly believe," formed by COM that intensifies, plus FIDERE, "believe, trow," which derives from FIDES, "faith". The same etymology is found in English, CONFIDENCE, which also derives from Latin; in French, CONFIANCE; in Italian, FIDUCIA of FIDERE, same translation as above; CONFIANZA in Spanish, and so on. This way we can understand that the word reminds us of the universal posture of certainty, conviction, determination, strength, safety, and more, hope, faith, optimism, and still, liveliness and resilience. There is no doubt that the words have influence on our lives and serve as a stimulus to our behaviour in the face of adversity.      However, words and the stimuli raised by words should not be taken only as pills of optimism, as if they were miracle drugs that give us the solution to our problems. Words are the result of the elaboration of thought and, as such, should express the good feelings that we bring with us. When we say this, we do not claim that self-help would be effective as an immediate therapy because, as such, it only leads to analgesia, not curing the diseases of the soul.  

In the documentary Philosophy: A Guide to Happiness, based on the book The Consolations of Philosophy, by the Swiss philosopher Alain de Botton, he highlights six great thinkers on important topics of our daily lives, and highlights the confidence with Socrates: "Socrates walked through the market addressing people and questioning about the meaning of life in a very interesting way, but also in a very annoying way. If you ask for the explanations of people's beliefs, they often react aggressively. Socrates had no such inhibitions. He would rather be considered forceful than to allow his compatriots to carry on their lives without thinking. His intention was to make everyone reevaluate their beliefs, he believed that everyone had the duty to reflect on their lives, and that we all have the capacity to do it."              Socrates paid a high price for helping people to think, to assess the inconsistency of their existences, and for encouraging the change of their poor goals (when they had them), poor because they focused only on the here and now.     

Confidence comes at the moment when we know, through philosophical deduction, who we are, what we are doing here and where we will go. When we deepen these deductions with the help of the Spiritist Philosophy, this universe expands. We are not only citizens of a country, we are citizens of the Universe. Our lives are not confined to the present moment; we discover that we are heirs of the conquests of past reincarnations on route to a future full of achievable promises; we learn that everything is temporary in the words of the Spirit Emmanuel (even the missed opportunities). So we know that personal dramas have their duration and the achievements, in turn, should expand in the proportion that we conduct ourselves with absolute moral tranquillity.  

We live today in a world full of conflicts that reproduce individual psychopathologies. Of course it is difficult to trust on this construction, however, we have eternity ahead of us and the present moment to build, as best as we can, knowing we can count on the support and encouragement of the Spirits who love us. 

 Sonia Theodoro da Silva - Bachelor in Philosophy
The Journal of  Psychological Studies  -  Year  VII l Issue N° 37 l November and December l 2014 
Maria Novelli - English Translation ; Cricieli Zanesco - English Translation

Self -denial

In our vocabulary self-denial has some meanings, but among all, one stands out and was similarly applied by a French philosopher, Jean Grenier: we must deny the world in order to understand. Born amid the industrial revolution and having experienced two world wars, Grenier was able to distance himself mentally and spiritually from his time in order to analyze and understand it in its tragic issues, cry for justice and the mistakes of its actions.   

In our time there is also the need for emotional detachment so that reason may occupy the space necessary to the understanding and to the analysis without thoughtless impulses, and this reasoning shall be directed not only to the global issues that affect us and interfere directly in the economy of the country in which we live in, but mainly to personal and individual issues.      To deny implies carrying over into a mental sphere different from the majority, leaving behind immediacies grown by the pragmatic view of life and seeking eternal existential values that lie dormant in our consciousness obscured by the frantic search for momentary pleasures - to deny a banal existence in order to exist in full life, although this implies revaluating behaviours, thoughts and choices. 

The Gospel of Jesus revisited by Spiritism assures us of this process - the difference between it and the proposals that life offers us is that we can walk safely and with elevated feelings, towards a more lasting feeling of happiness.      

Sonia Theodoro da Silva -  Bachelor in Philosophy

The Journal of  Psychological Studies  -  Year VII l Issue N° 36 l September and October l 2014

Maria Novelli - English Translation  Cricieli Zanesco - English Translation

The Science of Faith

Sonia Theodoro da Silva - Bachelor in Philosophy
Since the emergence of science, or more precisely the sciences, beginning with Aristotle and later with René Descartes, religiosity was separated from the development of scientific research. Aristotle's philosophy dominated European thought from the twelfth century but the scientific revolution of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries changes this situation, inserting changes in the scientific methods. No doubt that Science is one of the voices of human culture however, in not admitting the strength of faith, especially in the medical field and specifically in treatments for restoring human health, science fails to partake in one of the most beautiful forms of integration of man with life. In the U.S., researchers in Neurobiology say they have located at the brain's limbic system the triggering of religious experiences. This brain region links experiences in our emotional world, and the tests performed on Buddhist monks and Catholic nuns showed intense brain activity when in a state of meditation and prayer.    

In Brazil, the neuroscientist Ricardo Leme, MD, associated to the Spiritist Medical Association of Brazil, calls for the development of feelings of gratitude to life, what he calls the ultimate gift (of God), he calls for love exemplified by Jesus, for the physical, emotional and spiritual well-being, because these states of mind act on neurotransmitters and endorphins facilitating the maintenance of health and even the cure of diseases. According to him, the study of the neurobiology of faith might be the extra tool when searching for something lacking in humanity for its more harmonious functioning as a whole. 

Jesus of Nazareth in his journey of peace on Earth used to say to the sick healed by his love, "your faith has healed you". However he added: "but do not sin again" as a warning to the great responsibility we have towards the gift of Life and the opportunity of reincarnating, granted to us by the immense love of God. Let us work to deserve them - today and forever.

The Journal of  Psychological Studies  -  Year VII l Issue N° 35 l July and August l 2014 

Maria Novelli - English Translation  Cricieli Zanesco - English Translation

The Autonomy of the Awakened Consciousness

Sonia Theodoro da Silva -  Bachelor in Philosophy (São Paulo - SP)
 The word autonomy comes from the Greek autonomous, from autos, "himself", and nomos, "law", "who governs itself by its own laws." The philosopher Immanuel Kant says that autonomy is to be "citizen and legislator" simultaneously.   
Autonomy is the  self determinat ion ability. Any agent can only be considered autonomous when one’s actions are truly one’s and not motivated by external influences or factors. Kant then found that the will also have the ability to put itself in accordance with its own law, which is the law of reason. In this sense, the opposite of autonomy is heteronomy, in which the will is dictated by the objects of desire and no longer by reason.     
According to the Spirit’s Book, the Spirit, created simple and ignorant, the infinite traveller according to Plotinus, experiences evolutionary stages in which it goes assimilating impressions and developing all the elements that make up its nature. The consciousness will bloom over time positioning itself according to the divine laws that lie in the depths of its Being.      The journey of the Spirit, therefore, is in this development with the natural conquest of the responsibilities that belong to the Spirit. Will and free are the drivers of this process.   
Reincarnation and life in realms of physical and extra physical dimensions (physical here means the molecular consistency of dense matter) will provide the necessary experience that is needed for the definitive acquisition of the Spirit’s own development.           
Having yet to consider the freedom inherent to the individual, manifested according to the individual’s integration into the societies in which the being is conducted to live: the sociological freedom, related to the individual’s autonomy before society, with guarantees of civil or political liberty; the psychological freedom, in which the individual feels like "ones own master"; and the moral freedom, as the capacity that the individual has of deciding to act according to reason without being dominated by the impulses and the spontaneous inclinations of sensitivity.   
Spiritism emphasizes the powers of the third freedom, mentioned above, as the driver of the gradual awakening of consciousness, which gives the Spirit the right conditions for the necessary,  essential and eternal ascent to
even higher evolutionary patterns.  
When the Spirit stagnates in the illusions of matter, the mechanisms of this awakening start to appear, and then the pains, the sufferings of greater or lesser intensity will take care of making the Spirit resume its walk.  
If our model is Jesus of Nazareth, as confirmed by the higher spirits to Allan Kardec, let us follow his examples, his teachings, his virtues, his life.   
There is no other way – we live moments of moral transition; we bring within ourselves the atavisms of the ancient past with the predominance of the stored conflicts that require a revision. Therefore there is nothing to complain about as the current dramas have been planted by society in 6,000 years of civilization, with less than 100 years of peace. It is for us today to live the spiritual-Christian life, as hundreds already do, planting new seeds of compassion and brotherhood so that our near or distant future brings us the so desired kingdom of heaven in our consciousness.

Published in The Journal of  Psychological Studies  -  Year  VII l Issue N° 34 l May and June l 2014
Translation: M. Novelli/ C. Zanesco
Revision: Sonia Theodoro da Silva 

sexta-feira, 1 de maio de 2015

Spirit´s Book and Education

 “An education, based on an exact concept of life, would transform the world. Suppose each family initiated in spiritualists beliefs corroborated by facts and having these spiritualists beliefs taught to children (...): a rapid social transformation would happen under the strength of this double influence.”
(Here and Hereafter, Leon Dennis, chapter 54)

The eminent spiritist thinker, educator by excellence, faithful follower of the teachings of the Superior Spirits and participator of a profound social reform, resumes, in few words, the ideal of a whole generation: experience and applicability of Jesus’ teachings with coherence and logic of a doctrine which would make men, not mere followers of yet another religious dissident sect, or adepts of another philosophic system based on existentialist fundaments, but bearers of a real and lived knowledge that has brought them enlightenment and consolation. In another book (Socialism and Spiritism, chapter I), Dennis affirms: “To us socialism is the study, the research and application of the laws and susceptible means to improve the material, intellectual and moral situation of Humanity.”

Yet the purpose of Spiritist Doctrine is not another: its thesis, the philosophy which proposes, clarifies, elucidates, as it is intrinsically united to proven facts by its investigative method in scientific basis; its antithesis, the apparent impossibility of reconciling its ethical and moral contents, without slipping into sentimentalism or into the dogmatism of the religions; its synthesis, Jesus, as He, complete Spirit in basis unimaginable by the human beings, comes to the evolutionary levels of Earth, and brings to men, personally, His message, through metaphors and parables, absolutely comprehensible by all cultures and races of all times. He becomes man, and close to men he suffers with and as them, leaving a legacy of consolation through knowledge of the causes of human sufferings; he elucidates that true religiosity does not take place at the expense of material goods or of sacrifice of human lives, but through donation of oneself, in a constant exercise of fraternity and of peace, representation of the Divine Laws, presence of God in ourselves. And, on leaving, he leaves on testi-mony his inheritance: the coming of a Comforter, which will accompany already matured men through time, in the transition of their moral scale.

Exactly 158 years ago, one of the faithful servants of His Cause retakes the carnal clothing, and, participator of the Phalanx of the Spirit of Truth comes to support the teachings of Jesus, in this phase of human evolution. However this time with the direct attendance of several Spirits, reincarnated or not, but all of them conductors of the completion of an educational project. The very self, Rivail or Allan Kardec, educator, who would elucidate in firm and unquestionable basis, the aspects of human existence relegated to the mystical-religious approach of all times, and absolutely separated from the scientific development executed by man, in his eternal search for knowledge.

Themes as God, nature, immortality of the soul, life after death, the reason for human existence, of sufferings and pains, the inequality of the distribution of material goods, punishment and the existential emptiness, and, in today’s times, the religious fundamentalism that stimulates wars in the name of a vindictive god that thinks in making up the intrinsic need of fair justice in human relations, inducing to suicide as an alternative of solution of these questions, spectacular escapes through means of slow self-destruction through alcohol and drugs which benumbs reasoning and emotion, were always segmented and divided into departments themes by the religions and philosophies, in an attempt to answering or guide human being to conceivable answers. However, religions closed themselves to teaching which they most know how to do: religion. They do no guide the human being to his spirituality, but to the repetitive and exhaustive perpetuity of sects or rituals that, meaningless, silence reasoning, creating obstacles to the fulfilment of the human longings. On the other hand, the philosophies closed themselves into the existentialist nihilism and the sciences into the materialist positivism.

But then arises, according to Arnold Toynbee’s saying, the creative mino-rity, and, the Spiritism which elucidates, proclaiming them prepared for the advent of the New Education with basis in the knowledge of the real identity of the Spirit, immortal and inter-existent in apparently opposite dimensions, but, which complement each other, as both are part of the School of the Spirit. These minorities are spread around the planet, and illuminate Science with the necessary dose of ethics and spirituality, the Philosophy for the elucidation of questions referent to the inter-existent metaphysical being, the Religion which guides the Being to love of oneself and of his neighbour, through the Love of God which is latent in both and in Nature.

The Spirits’ Books is the Philosophy which brings re-meaning for human existence, placing the Spirit in its true importance, as the Being that, in the timeline, educates itself, develops its latent potentialities, learns with Life and with sufferings, which are instruments of awakening for the fulfilment of that desideratum.

The Spirits’ Books is the Science that decodes the phenomena under the light of reasoning, of the intellectual effort which looks for the origin of all things, and discovers, the Intelligent Principle of the Universe, present behind a material veil that cloisters it in the prison of the senses.

The Spirits’ Books is the Religion in spirit and truth, which demystifies and demystifies Jesus as divinity of an unachievable mythological pantheon because it is inexistent, and it reflects him as the greatest example of Life and Love. It introduces him to those who will follow His steps, for our living experience, for our reasoning and for our feelings, granting us the kind of faith that thinks, that reasons, that is indestructible, because it is built on wisdom.

The Spirits’ Books, therefore, is the Education par excellence, because it re-conducts the Being to the self-knowledge, without meta-languages, without systems, remoulding according to the light of discernment, making us aware of the great responsibility It has before Life, of his own existence, of someo-ne else’s existence, of his fellow neighbour, and his brother.

Sonia Theodoro da Silva is executive director of CEFE-Centro de Estudos Filosóficos Espíritas (Center of Spiritist Philosophical Studies) in São Paulo, Brasil  (www.filosofiaespirita.org ), translator and graduated in Philosophy. She lives in São Paulo, Brazil, collaborates in Centro Espírita Noso Lar Casas Andre Luis and writes articles for spiritist magazines and newspapers.