Judge Edmonds' Investigations - Part Three

The introduction by Dexter

We know practically nothing about Dr. George T. Dexter, except that he was a New York physician, who was very committed to taking care of his patients, and who – after becoming interested in mediumistic phenomena – became a writing medium himself. Since he acted in close collaboration with Judge Edmonds, with whom he often conversed about the meaning of the mediumistic communications received, and in whose presence the writing movements of his hand were produced, we can rely on Edmonds' assessments of Dexter's character, and thus consider the statements of the latter in the introductory part of the book written by him as sincere (from page 81 to page 99). After explaining that it is his intention to inform the reader on «how I am acted upon when under direction of the spirits, and the manner in which they influence me» (page 81), Dexter recalls how he too had initially reacted with extreme skepticism to the news that began to spread about mediumistic phenomena: «...I was positively opposed, and regarded the whole matter as either a foolish delusion or an absolute, outrageous deception, and that this opposition continued long after such proof had been offered, both to my reason and physical consciousness, as would have removed all doubts in reference to the truth of any other subject under heaven» (ibid). Regarding the reasons that prompted him to participate for the first time in a mediumistic séance, at the invitation of a friend, despite the fact that he was «...ready to denounce the whole subject as one of the grossest humbugs of the day» (pag. 82), Dexter mentions the following: «one, a desire to satisfy my curiosity, and the other an impression that the whole phenomena, if not the result of trickery or collusion, could be explained as taking place under the operation of some natural law, and that I perhaps might detect the illusion, or explain the principle by which these effect were produced» (ibid). This hope that mediumistic phenomena recognized as not fraudulent could be explained on the basis of known physical laws or particular biological processes – without having to resort to the intervention of incorporeal entities belonging to another dimension – was rather widespread at that time, and it still is today, after various unsubstantiated theories have been put forward for over a century and a half: «...my own ideas were precisely similar to those which are publicly announced by many persons every day, who, desiderous to set this perplexing subject at rest, fill the columns of the newspapers with attempted explanations, when in truth they know nothing about the matter, with the difference only, that I was really determined to investigate first, and explain afterward...» (ibid).

The first séance Dexter was able to attend took place at his home, on September 10, 1851, with a raps medium. The usual raps were heard, but the doctor was unimpressed with the results: «...I was not satisfied with the results of this sitting, though many mental questions were propounded and answered correctly... to satisfy myself and others of the medium's powers, as well as to see more of the spirit capacity to communicate, I invited the medium to remain with me all night, and proposed another sitting the next morning» (page 83). We can then read a detailed description of the phenomena that took place that morning, also at Dr. Dexter's home, in the presence of his family and two of his friends. Dexter's fourteen-year-old youngest daughter, who at first had not shown a particular interest in the phenomena, suddendly became visibly agitated and began to tremble: «This effect of the magnetic influence was so sudden, so strange, so entirely unexpected by the child, that she became very much alarmed, and running to her mother... she said, while her voice trembled with fear, "Oh, mother! take me away, take me away;" but her arms were forcibly wrested, as it were, from her mother's neck, and thrown violently up and down...» (page 84). Right after, the girl began to automatically write the answers to the verbal or mental questions posed by the sitters, at a speed and with a style that went far beyond her ordinary abilities. When the entities told her that she had to leave and rest, while she continued to linger in the sitting «...her chair was drawn from under her by some invisible agency, and she fell to the floor. She arose to go into the next room, and as she was passing a sofa she was taken up bodily, by the same unseen force, and deposited upon it, as gently as if laid there by her parents» (ibid). After these events, Dexter – although he did not doubt their reality, and was certain that they could not be attributed to the intervention of any person present – was still uncertain as to whether they were caused by spirits: «I could not bring myself to believe that spirits had any thing to do with the matter. I tried to explain it by tha action of mind over mind, or the power of magnetic motion, and many other reasons, but I was not satisfied. I was as much in the fog of my own solutions of the phenomena, as I was in the singularity of the disclosures» (page 85). The fact that spirits «...have the power, through this new discovery, to explain to us every act of their spirit-life, and receive from us the ordinary ideas which characterize our existence and connection here, was so strange, wonderful, and extraordinary, so incompatible with my education, so much opposed to all my preconceived opinions, conflicted so much with my religious belief... (that it) bewildered me. But I could not understand – I did not believe» (ibid).

Once again we notice how a certain cultural tendency, which claims to represent all investigators of mediumistic phenomena as naive and gullible simpletons, is devoid of any foundation: in many cases they were people endowed with remarkable intelligence, caution and ability for careful observation. Even when a medium reported exactly, at the request of one of the sitters, the words that the latter had said to his dying wife and her reply – words that only the sitter, by his own admission, knew – Dexter was not convinced of a spiritual intervention: «Even this, convincing as it was to all present, did not satisfy me. I attributed it to a sort of psychological effect on the mind of the medium, though she was talking and laughing during the time she was writing this test of the spirit's identity» (page 86). Dexter then mentions an episode of remote transmission of information, and – after reiterating the sincerity and commitment of his efforts to understand the phenomena: «I was sincere in my efforts to get at the truth. I was an unbeliever, and I have often interrupted the circle, and sometimes have completely prevented all manifestation, by my captiousness and quibbling» (ibid) – he claims, likewise Judge Edmonds, that he was very impressed that his innermost thoughts could be read and revealed: «The secret thoughts of my heart were read as if they had been written on my face. Secrets known only to the dead and myself were revealed to me when there was no one present but the medium and myself, and that medium a stranger to all parties... Facts relating to my own action were predicted months before they took place... I have seen the medium represent the walk, the voice, and the peculiarities of a deceased person of whom she never heard...» (pages 86-87). After presenting some examples of communications and events that should have convinced him at least of an intervention by alien entities, the author again explains the reasons for his disbelief: «...it will scarcely be credited that with the abundant, overwhelming evidence I had received, I was still an unbeliever. But so it was... For I would not admit that it was possible for spirit, intangible, unsubstantial, and ethereal, as I had always understood it to be, could be permitted to commune with man; and especially did I disbelieve that a spirit, which was a sort of sublimated nothing, and had really no tangible identity, as I had been taught, was able to move tables, rap on walls, lift heavy men, and manifest itself through matter to this world which it had left forever. No... I knew it could not be, and therefore I did not believe» (page 88).

Although in these considerations Dexter does not take into sufficient account the importance that the human psychophysical energies, made available by the mediums and the sitters themselves, have for mediumistic manifestations, nevertheless the questions he posed were well founded, and to date have not yet been resolved: in fact physical phenomena require the intervention of forces that must be found and activated in our dimension, possibly through the transformation of other energies already available. Otherwise, a transfer and input of energy of an alien nature from their dimension to ours by the spirit entities would be required: an event whose blatantly magical nature indeed leaves us very perplexed. Particularly interesting in this regard are the experiments carried out by William J. Crawford from 1914 to 1920, already examined in this page of the 2020 blog (The alien matter). Anyway we are forced to recognize that these alien entities have knowledge relating to the transformations of energy – or of matter into energy – in our physical dimension, of which we humans are completely ignorant. On page 89 Dexter begins to tell his readers how he himself «...against my will and determined efforts to the contrary...» was somehow forced by the alien entities to develop the faculties as a writing medium: «I were more than a man to refuse still to believe, when I was a living, acting evidence that through me, and against my will, spirits possessed the power and ability to write their thoughts and express sentiments and ideas as much opposed to the ordinary actions of my mind as if I were another person» (page 89). Let us observe how Dexter, also in the light of his experience as a doctor, points up the process of alteration of the ordinary personality that almost all mediums experience – in one form or another – while mediumistic phenomena occur: «Let it also be understood that the spirit-manifestation by my arm is absolutely involuntary. I have no direction in the act. My muscles are the medium of spirit-communication, not my thought; and neither does my mind recognize the thoughts expressed until after they have been read to me when the communication is concluded. Neither my will nor my desire had anything to do with my development, for they were both opposed; and the first time I was conscious that I was impressed with the same influence I had seen manifested through other mediums, I exerted all the power of mind and body I possessed to rid myself of it» (ibid). A rather accurate description follows of what happened to Dexter's hand and arm when, for the first time, the entities showed him their will – and power – to take control of his limbs for their own purposes.

Dexter was certainly bewildered and annoyed – if not downright frightened – by what he was experiencing and was forced to endure against his will, also because those phenomena occurred when he was alone, and therefore could not be attributed to the influence and mental energies of other living people: «The special effects produced on my organization, I confess, troubled me not a little. If there had been before this period a lingering doubt in my mind that the phenomena of so-called spirit-action on the physical system of the mediums might have arisen from some power emanating from the minds or bodies of the circle, I could not deny that my mind had no influence in generating the sensation I had experienced in my own person, and as there was no one present with me in my office, I could not attribute the manifestation to the mental force of another person... I could give no other solution to this singular affair than to ascribe it to some invisible, intelligent source which designed to place me under its control, and which positively succeeded in so doing» (page 90). These words of Dexter are particularly meaningful and effective, as they clearly delimit the sphere of influence and power of the conscious Ego, and highlight the inconsistency of the differences – due to certain naive attempts at explanation elaborated by the human psyche – between the dynamics attributed to the so-called unconscious, and the effects produced on our mind (and on our organism) by the action of invisible and intelligent entities, who – under special circumstances – show that they are able to overcome the resistance and control capacity of the conscious Ego. Since these effects determine indubitable and inevitable facts, their cause always remains something alien and different from the conscious Ego, and wanting to classify it with one or the other label – whether it is the unconscious, or benign or malevolent spirits – does not offer the conscious Ego any advantage in terms of power to control the phenomena. Here's how Dexter describes his efforts to resist what he experienced as an alien control of his body: «...I recall to mind a remarkable attempt, continued for two whole days, to bring me under this influence, which so affected my whole system, and especially my right arm, that I found it impossible to resiste them. It followed me wherever I went, and in whatever business I was engaged, whether waking or sleeping it was the same, and during these two days my mind and will were taxed to their utmost to counteract its effect, but without success, and not until almost prostrated by fatigue did the trembling of the arm cease» (page 91).

Dexter then raises the question of why this alien influence wanted to control precisely him, considering that his mind did not make him inclined to believe in spirits, and least of all was he willing to lend himself to the role of medium: «I leave this problem to be solved by those who attribute so-called spirit-manifestation to material agencies...» (page 91). For some time he refrained from taking part in mediumistic sittings, hoping that in this way the alien influence would at least be weakened, but this was not the case. On two occasions his body was lifted off the bed and suspended in the air: «My mind was unusually active, and I noted every thing that took place with an intenseness of perception I never before experienced. My bodily sensation was likewise increased in power. As I lay there unable to move a limb, my body was lifted from the bed, and moved gently toward the edge, with the bedclothes over it; there it remained a moment, and then it was moved off the bed into the room, suspended in the air, and there held for an istant» (page 92). Since Dexter was alone in the room, this experience may well have been a hallucination, but some observations of the events that immediately followed, suddenly ending that condition, led him to believe that his body had actually been moved and suspended in the air by that alien power which had been haunting him for some time. For the first time Dexter considered the opportunity to submit to that power – whose obvious design was to develop him as a medium – and thus be able to better investigate the intercourse between spirits and humans: «This ability of the spirits to impress me without any previous preparation on my part unfolded to my mind the intimate connection existing between beings of this and the spirit-world, and their power of manifesting that relation under all condition and circumstances» (ibid). Therefore, as a consequence of his own experiences, Dexter was convinced of the existence of spirits, as intelligent entities belonging to a different dimension from ours (the spirit-world), and of their power to interact with us, and with our organism, even independently of our will: this differs, at least in part, from what happens in mediumistic séances, when the connection with spirits is desired and requested by us humans, and in order for the phenomena and communications to occur, the participation of a medium is needed, in whose absence the spirits are unable to operate. Evidently, Dexter too was gifted with psychic faculties, even though he was not fully aware of it.

Being very busy in his medical profession, Dexter did not have much time to devote to developing his activity as a writing medium: his arm and hand at first could hardly write unconnected words or short sentences, sometimes illegible, but over time «...after some practice the writing was rapid, bold, and easily read» (page 93). However Dexter once again reiterates the complete absence of his consciousness and will with respect to what his hand wrote, while he was in a semi-trance state: «I know nothing of what has been written until after it is read to me, and frequently, when asked to read what has been communicated, I have found it utterly impossible to decipher it. Not only is the thought concealed, but after it has been read to me I lose all recollection of the subject, until again my memory is refreshed by the reading. This peculiar effect of my recollection occurred more frequently when the spirits commenced writing; and I have been told by them that it was produced by their efforts to separate the action of my own mind from their thoughts, when teaching on a subject which required several sittings to finish» (ibid). The automatic writing could start at any moment, surprising Dexter, who felt forced to surrender to the impulse to write whether he was in the company of other people or alone, whether engaged in some activity or resting: «It was midnight, and I could assign no cause for this unusual manifestation, and essayed to throw off the influence by all possible means, but in vain. I was compelled to rise and procure pencil and paper, and a long communication was written before they would permit me again to sleep» (page 94). On another occasion, Dexter managed to make a neighbour lady observe a strange phenomenon that was occurring to him: «...(my) hand was pressed firmly on the arm of the chair, so I could not move it. The pencil was then turned round several times, drawn out from the hand, and lifted up toward the palm, without even a movement of the fingers or hand during the whole operation... I asked (the lady) to watch the pencil in my hand and see if it stirred. I also charged her to watch my hand, and to observe if it moved in the least. I then asked the spirits to move the pencil as before, and the same process again took place...» (ibid). The lady's confirmation constituted for Dexter an objective validation of the reality of the phenomenon, which he attributed to the action of spirit entities. 

After referring to the differences between his then beliefs about the conditions of the spirit's existence in the afterlife, and the information about «life in the spheres» obtained by automatic writing from the entities who signed themselves as Bacon and Sweedenborg, Dexter concludes his introduction with some remarks on the importance he believed should be attributed to what had been communicated by spirits. Having reaffirmed the integrity of his awareness, his intelligence and his will (in a nutshell, of his whole personality), he points out his ability to be able to verify and interpret the interventions of alien forces capable of exercising control over the actions of his own organism: «In full possession of my senses, so I did discriminate the effects produced on my organism by the spirits who used my arm as the medium of their communications. I saw that I was independent in every act of life. I could eat when I was hungry, and drink when thirsty; I could go and come at pleasure, and in every thing which concerned the action of mind or body, my will still maintained its independence» (page 96). Even in the light of his education and experience as a doctor, Dexter shows that he was fully aware both of his conscious Ego's ability to control the behaviors and actions of his own body, and of the power of those alien energies that occasionally intervened, taking control of some of his muscles and nerves: «I, who in every situation of the body was free, uncontrolled, was subjugated by this unseen, invisible force against the determined resistance of my own will, and the positive struggles of my own muscles» (page 97). Dexter's final considerations on the importance of the information and teachings obtained from the communicating entities, and in particular on divine love as the foundation both of creation («They have taught us that God is love, that the basis of all his laws, natural and divine, is predicated on this divine principle of his nature...» page 98), and of the evolutionary process by which the conscious Ego continues its progression even after the death of its body, are similar to those of Judge Edmonds. Going now to examine the central part of the book, let us focus our attention on some of the topics covered in these communications, obtained through Dexter's psychic faculties.

A mental dimension still influenced by human psyche

The pages from 101 to 385 of the first volume of Spiritualism contain the reports of 53 sessions of communications – almost all attributed to the entities Sweedenborg and Bacon – received from April 4th to August 28th, 1853. In these sittings, Judge Edmonds often assumes an active function of interlocutor and questioner with respect to what was communicated by the entities through the automatic writing of Dr. Dexter, who plays a more passive role, but not infrequently engages with Edmonds to examine, to try to understand and even to critically evaluate the contents of the communications. Sometimes a few other friends participate in the sessions, however Edmonds and Dexter are often alone: Edmonds is the interlocutor to whom the entities personally turn more frequently. Let us observe first of all that these mediumistic manifestations have an almost exclusively mental character, given that – apart from the automatic movements of Dexter's arm and hand – no other physical phenomena are present. As for the attribution of the communications to the surviving personalities of those who had been in life two illustrious characters, Emanuel Swedenborg and Sir Francis Bacon, we can consider it completely irrelevant and arbitrary: in fact, no supporting evidence or information is provided, and the simple fact that the communicating entity to which Swedenborg's personality is attributed constantly signs himself as Sweedenborg is indicative of the psychic origin of this attribution, given that neither Edmonds nor Dexter ever expressed any doubts about it, since in all probability they were consciously convinced that this was the correct spelling of the Swedish spiritualist philosopher's surname. In mediumistic communications it is not uncommon for the entities to assume a fictitious personality, generally chosen among those to which the psyche's attunements of the sitters attribute particular importance. This constant interpolation between the medium's psyche and the contents of alien communications whose origin remains difficult for us humans to identify is also highlighted by the entity Bacon (page 208): «...I have waited and watched to analyze your minds, and to test how far I might venture to avow opinions which I knew must conflict with all your preconceived notions... I allude to the calm and philosophic manner in which you receive these teachings, as well as the candid yet rigid examination to which every subject is submitted. If I could explain all the means that are used, and the various causes which retard or facilitate the flow of my thoughts, you would comprehend how much these manifestations are changed from their original form by the condition of the minds to whom they are communicated...».

These problems that we could consider of translation, distortion and interpretation of mediumistic communications, are also referred to in other parts of the book, such as for example on page 185: «...when we have often thought we have found the person who would aid us in our efforts properly and wisely, we have learned, after a while, that he was wanting in certain characteristics, which retarded our exertions and rendered our revelations so unsatisfactory, that they really seemed to be entirely different from what they were intended... In communicating to circles or individuals by words or written language, it must be understood that the ideas which are usually adopted as correct, are so only in part... How could a spirit be understood if he had no medium of expressing thought? If he impresses mind, he must shape the thought he creates in a proper form, so that the idea can be communicated properly and be understood... We use the same means you would avail yourselves of, if you were placed in a situation where it became important to learn a language of another country». Evidently the alien entities show that they do not have sufficient control over this process: as far as verbal communications are concerned, they should remember quite well at least the nuances of the language they used when they lived in this world (if indeed they are spirits of the departed), and be well aware of the limits and difficulties that linguistic communication presents. Moreover, on page 187 Bacon entity states the limits of its knowledge regarding what happens in our dimension, and invites the sitters to be cautious and prudent in evaluating mediumistic communications: «...neither do I know any thing of the person of whom you spoke, except from the impression of it I find in your mind. From that, I should judge that she had not yet appreciated the true nature of spirit-revelations... lead her to seek from the beginning the gem which is hidden from her mind under such a mass of contradiction and seeming obscurity... When you converse with spirits, do not take the statements of your friends (the alien entities) as infallibly true. They may not intend to mislead you, but, perhaps, they are not so advanced that they can truly instruct you about subjects which you are anxious to understand». Therefore, since the beginning of spiritualism, the problem of the contradictions, inconsistencies and even absurdities that characterize mediumistic communications as a whole was already very clear: consequently the information received from the various alien entities are kindred to the mental elaborations generated by the human psyche, in front of which our conscious Ego always finds itself in the difficult and uncertain condition of having to establish what it can possibly rely on, in case it does not want to automatically identify with its own psyche's dynamics.

On the base of these uncertain premises, what urged these entities belonging to another dimension to establish contact with us humans and try to communicate with us? On page 128 the entity Sweedenborg draws a rather shareable picture of the human condition in the initial stages of the development of conscious mental activity: «When the earth (that is, humankind) was buried in the obscurity into which prejudice, superstition, and so-called religion had plunged it, there was but little spirit-connection with man... The mind was contracted, devoted to the caprice, the dictation, or the imperious will of another. Men either could not or would not think. They shut up withn their gross covering the key which would have unlocked the mysteries of both worlds to the view». This description of the general condition of humankind – in many respects still valid today – highlights the power of the human psyche, as it manifests itself in cultural dynamics and in the interactions between various individuals in a social context, without however offering us any new interpretative and cognitive information on the causes of this phenomenon. Entities give us no answer to the question: why do humans function just like that, each subject to the dynamics of their own psyche in an almost automatic way, with all the differences that can be found between the psyche's attunements of one person and those of another? Sweedenborg goes on as follows: «...when there has been one step in advance on earth, we spirits have been compelled to try and make ourselves felt. We have often failed, and though an occasional spark has glimmered in the dark surroundings of thousands of years, not until this period was the way fairly opened for us to walk. Every age has had its trial, but we have failed to institute any special connection with this earth. The advance made by man, while it remove prejuduce, gives the spirits a chance of acting in accordance with the law of affinity with man's spirit». Here the entity seems to want to refer to the inhabitants of two different and separate worlds – we humans on one side and the spirits on the other – and to the attempts made by denizens of the spirit dimension to reach out to humans in order to help and influence them. However, again, the entity fails to mention that the dynamics of the human psyche must also have an origin, which can reasonably be traced back to the functioning of the human brain as a tuning instrument of the influences of positive and benevolent, but also negative and wicked inorganic entities, operating through the psyche's bipolar energy.

The entity then mentions the ways in which the mediumistic nexus is established which allows the transmissions between the two dimensions: «When by sitting, the equilibrium is established, then some one is selected whose nervous system is most easily controlled by the exercise of our will. I stand near him, and finding out what part of his nature is most harmonious with my own organization, I place myself in direct connection with that part... When I have found it, by placing myself contiguous, or in direct contact, I establish a concurrent simulation with his nervous system, and thus have control of the faculties of his body as well as the influencing and reading of his mind» (page 128-129). However imprecise and technically unsatisfactory – at least according to our knowledge – this explanation may be, it is nonetheless significant in that it confirms the power of influencing the human mind that inorganic entities may have, at least under certain circumstances. The possibility of establishing a connection between the two dimensions also leads us to carefully consider the influence that inorganic entities can exert on the dynamics of the human psyche, determining – for better or for worse – various events in our history and personal lives. As for the effects and importance of the interferences and direct communications obtained through mediums, an observation contained in Appendix D of the book is of particular interest. On page 456, in the context of an epistolary correspondence on spiritistic phenomena between a person who signs himself J. F. Laning and Judge Edmonds, the latter states that: «I have good reason to believe that there is in the spirit-world much opposition to their intercourse with us, and that a combination has been formed to intercept and, if possible, to overthrow it, and one mode of this operation is by visiting circles and individuals, exciting their suspicion of spirits, and bad thoughts as to their good faith and purity of purpose». I cannot say how much Edmonds was aware of the implications of these suppositions of his, referring above all to what were considered – at least by some persons – false and misleading spirit communications, which then gave rise to those usual dynamics generated by the human psyche, for which each mediumistic circle considered their own spirits as sincere, elevated and reliable, however questioning the communications of the spirits of other circles.

The transfer to the dimension of inorganic entities of the psyche's dynamics experienced by us in the course of human life does not help us much when it comes to face the problems deriving from the psyche's bipolar character and from its fragmentation into a multitude of individual experiences, sometimes in conflict with each other. Still on page 456, we can read a sensible – even if not conclusive – observation by Judge Edmonds, regarding the human commitment to discriminate between what is plausible and reasonable and what is unreliable and misleading: «...it is precisely what men do in this stage of existence... between the hasty, uninformed spirits, and those having positive mischievous objects, we are liable constantly to erroneous communications. It is just so in this life. Go out into the streets and ask of the passers-by an account of the affray, and see how many different accounts of it you get. Not two will agree. Now, what will you do in such a case? Will you reject them all as being untrue?... Or will you set down, like a man of sense, and by the exercise of your reason endeavor to gather the truth from this mass of uncongrous matter?». Here we can see the juridical mentality of Edmonds, who however fails to explain to us what criteria can be adopted – apart from that of possible concordances between the various communications – to evaluate the reliability of information for which it is not possible to carry out an objective validation. Furthermore, a little later Edmonds recalls the interferences between mediumistic communications and the attunements of the medium's psyche, and the interpretative confusion that can result from them: «Our communications are apt to be affected by our own minds, for two reasons – one because every state of mind has its kindred spirit, and the other, because they can not take complete possession of our mind to the entire exclusion of our own reason and imagination, and the communications, therefore, often come strangely mixed and made up of our thoughts and theirs». The statement that every state of mind has its kindred spirit seems to allude to the possibility that the psyche's dynamics involving our conscious Ego depend to some extent on the influence of inorganic entities: once again we are faced with the enigma of the origin of the psyche's dynamics, which to a large extent subdue the conscious Ego, who identifies itself with them even when it fails to control them. It is evident that attributing the psyche's dynamics to the unconscious functioning of our mind or to the influence of inorganic and invisible entities does not shift the terms of the problem one iota, given that the Ego always remains under the control of the psyche's tunings that involve it, regardless of whether it is satisfied and happy or not. However, mediumistic phenomena offer us an objective and experimental validation of the existence of alien entities belonging to another dimension, and of their ability to interact with the mind of us humans. 

The problem of the influence exerted by inorganic entities on the human mind, and of the consequent reactions of the conscious Ego to the psyche's dynamics in which it is involved, is to some extent faced by Sweedenborg entity, who first of all recognizes that: «It is not strange that there should be believers and unbelievers on a matter the evidence of which is mostly appreciatory, and not tangible. But so it is in all the religious doctrines taught to man since the world was formed, and much of the faith exercised by mankind has been as much dependent on the will of the teacher as on the eternal truths of his teaching» (page 203). A little further on, on the same page, we read: «...you do not comprehend why all that God has directed for the government and action of man should be so variously communicated, when the fact of being of God is supposed to be beyond all doubt. You have referred to the change which a belief in any of the doctrines inculcated produces in the mind of man, and you ask why is the comparison of the same effect by Bacon of spirit-faith of any difference with that of any believer in any faith or doctrine...». In these words the psychic origin of the various religious doctrines is broadly interpreted as a mediumistic phenomenon, due to which one or various inorganic entities manage to influence the mind of some human beings, inspiring in them those forms of revelation endowed with a power of sentimental and emotional involvement which is experienced by the Ego as sacred and divine. However, the establishment and propagation of a form of religious teaching depends on the technical modalities with which the cultural programs generated by the human psyche are received and accepted by the people belonging to a certain social context, helping to determine their functioning in an almost automatic way, through the identification of their conscious Ego with the attunements of their own psyche. The critical position taken by Edmonds and Dexter towards the faith in spiritualism («How are its effects different from those of any other faith?») is correct, and shows us a testimony of their commitment to evaluate in the light of human intelligence the communications received from the entities. To some extent the coming out in the open of the discarnate entities and their admissions regarding the processes of indoctrination and influence on the psyche of us humans could be considered as a new and important fact: but in the end even Edmonds and Dexter allowed themselves to be convinced to assume the role of defenders and supporters of spiritualism by what they believed to be the revelations of a new form of faith – undoubtedly more evolved than the various religious doctrines.

It must in fact be recognized that the same entity Sweedenborg, on page 204, expresses some well-founded and convincing critical considerations regarding the human phenomenon of religious faiths: «...if Christians teach you there is one God, and that he meant, in revealing his thoughts and intentions toward man, to differ in different circumstances, then you have not the mental ability to understand how God should be immutable and unchangeable, as he is represented. But, on the other hand, if you believe that the thousand opposite statements and doctrines represented as of God are but the vain or fanciful, the severe or stern emanations of man's brain, you can very well realize that a faith predicated on man's thought or understanding of what God might be, or what he might have intended to say, is of no vital consequence to man in reference to his life here on earth, or his life after death». It seems to me that these words of the communicating entity bring perfectly into focus the fact that all religious beliefs spring from the human psyche, which elaborates the various naive representations – more or less anthropomorphic and personalized – of a supreme and complex regulatory and creative system of the universe, which exerts its effects in space and time, but the essence of which remains unknowable to our mind, which represents only a tiny spark of it. Indeed, a little further on the entity continues as follows: «...while the world was under religious government, the thought, the progressive energy and development of every class of society, were either retrograding or positively stationary. While, on the contrary, not until man's mind, freed from all restraints of priest or church, was permitted, or, rather, did of itself recognize in the God they adored a God of progress and intelligence, and saw the minute connection of this principle of his nature with every part of creation, did the faculties of man's mind fully appreciate their own power... since the world has been called liberal, there have been more inventions, more contrivances, more science, more true knowledge, more positive advance and progression in one brief decade, than in hundreds of years before». We are therefore dealing with a thought which, recognizing the importance and value of freedom for the cognitive, scientific and technological progress of humankind, should be alien to any form of religious proselytism, since every religious doctrine always risks becoming dogmatic and exclusivist, thus preventing human mind from freeing its interpretative and creative potential.

The fundamental question of the psychic origin of the various religious elaborations to which more or less large groups of people have given and still give their faith, in various times and in various places, and of the consequent importance as a fundamental need of humankind which has been attributed to religion (even in its most dogmatic manifestations), as a coercive form of adoration of one or more divinities, to whose will is believed the worshipers cannot escape without consequences, is resumed by entity Bacon on page 334: «When to the world has been given any idea predicated on the notion of God's connection with man, it has always been that it has assumed the form which certain (human) minds have clothed it in. All religion which recognizes God as the author of all things, has also grafted upon it the characteristics of man's own identity. And in view of this fact, it has been that some great mind has given the forms and ceremonies of the new faith, and has directed and contrived all that were said to be necessary, and elicited from the world a belief corresponding to the greatness of the idea avowed». Once having recognized that the different attunements of the human psyche give form and content to the various religious elaborations that involve the conscious Ego of most human beings, the inorganic entities should offer us some explanation about the origin and evolution of the human psyche, whose dynamics influence and control the functioning of humankind as a whole. Instead Bacon poses the problem of how entities can transmit their teachings so that they are considered true by us humans, even knowing that they will inevitably be subjected to a process of evaluation by the psyche of each person: «In giving the world a systematic statement of the truths of spirit-intercourse, it becomes a matter to us of much concern that the means through which our teachings are given shall possess all those qualities which will impress the world with the truth of those teachings, and at the same time in themselves manifest the ability to endure, to persist, to forbear, and also to love, to desire, that all men might come and see, judge for themselves, and examine and believe» (ibid). After more than a century and a half, we can observe that the certainty with which many communicating entities, in that time, predicted and affirmed the rapid worldwide spread of the truths communicated by the spirits, has found no confirmation, at least until today: after a rapid initial diffusion in the first twenty years, especially in the United States and partly also in Great Britain, the spiritualist movement underwent a progressive decline, not only because of the hostility that already well-organized cultural institutions showed towards it, but also because of the contradictions and inconsistencies that were found in the various mediumistic communications, always contaminated and distorted by different tunings of the human psyche.

After all, even Bacon entity expressed himself very clearly regarding the dynamics of the human psyche in matters of religious faith: «While man is ready to believe the most monstruous absurditiy simulating truth, he is also ready to deny, to combat, anathematize any doctrine which conflicts with his own notions of God, and his manifestations. Singular as it is, it is no less true, that while man is ever ready to receive any thing new, he is also just as ready to reject any new idea, especially on religious subjects, that subverts the faith of his fathers, even if he himself doubts the evidence on which that faith is founded... while (this mental attitude) lays him open to all kinds of deception, and subjects him to influences which degrade him spiritually and mentally, it at the same time gives him a fierceness which degenerates into persecution, and renders it a fanatic instead of a reasoner» (page 335). But despite the validity of these considerations, ultimately the communicating entities still manifest their strong desire that Judge Edmonds and Dr. Dexter make public the truths revealed regarding the continuation of our existence in the spirit dimension and the right conduct to adopt during human life, despite the difficulties and even the hostilities that themselves will encounter, which they will have to endure almost with the spirit of martyrs for a faith: «...they will meet you as men who are digging up the very foundations of their early faith, they will not consent to discuss – their first action will be to deny, from denial proceed to censure, from censure to reproach, from reproach to denunciation, and from denunciation to a concerted attempt to destroy both yourselves and the doctrine you teach» (ibid). In essence, however, the exhortations of these disembodied entities contain nothing new with respect to the basic nucleus of the Christian religion, which is founded on love for God and for our fellowmen. On page 345 the entity Sweedenborg refers to a mutual influence between spirits and humans, claiming that: «...to us the thoughts of man, and the acts which are the result, may retard or assist our progress; that you may thrust upon us the influence of error and evil, or you may impart to us an impetus which will aid us to rise? or that we, by the force of that reciprocal action, my darken your hearts and cloud your spirits with mistrust and absolute wickedness? Thus, then, it is not alone that in your strife to overcome evil you shed the bright light of your earthly progress on our pathway too, but in your strong aspiration to cast off evil, to purify your souls, to indeed overcome evil with good, you extend by your spirit-bond the good you have derived to us your spirit-brothers here». This acknowledgment of the reciprocal influences and interferences between the human and spirit worlds results in the admission that, to a certain extent, some of the dynamics that characterize the human psyche also involve the spirit dimension, at least at its lower levels.

In conclusion, we can observe that the information obtained by Edmonds through the automatic writing of Dexter, and attributed to the Bacon and Sweedenborg entities, does not contain anything that helps the intelligence of us humans to deal with the bipolar dynamics of our psyche, to know better its origin and to reveal its purposes. We get the impression that these inorganic entities want to tell us: «We have managed to get in touch with you, and have demonstrated our existence and our reality to you through a number of physical phenomena which you cannot explain except by the intervention of alien energies endowed with their own intelligence and consciousness. Moreover, we have tried to give you a thousand proofs that your conscious Ego will move into one of the levels of our dimension at the end of this organic life of yours, and that those you have known and loved, and who have passed away, now live in our world. So, please, strive to behave well during your human life, do everything possible to show your love for God and for your neighbor, because in this way not only will you be rewarded, when you will move to our dimension, but somehow we too benefit from it, since in our evolutionary path we have been given the assignment to teach you these truths and to guide you on your human journey». It is in itself a flawless exhortation, well packaged and also beautiful and edifying, which however is directed exclusively to the positive polarity of our psyche, leaving us humans the burden of solving (or not solving) all the problems deriving from the existence of a negative polarity which we constantly have to face, and which often proves to be particularly effective. Furthermore, as can be seen, this operation has not achieved – at least up today – the desired and expected success. If indeed the communicating entities kept the memory of their earthly experiences of organic life, they would remember that the natural laws that rule the functioning and interactions of organic systems among themselves and with the environmental conditions, long precede the appearance of the first glimmers of human consciousness: consequently what can be very clear and evident once the conscious Ego has been freed from the conditioning deriving from its bonds with its organism, becomes much less understandable when it has to face the needs that the same organism imposes on it – through the psyche's dynamics – unless we want to devalue and deprive of meaning the life, health and well-being of our organism, as some ascetics have done and as has also been suggested or imposed by some cultural currents of the past.

As we will see better by examining other aspects of the mediumistic communications contained in Edmonds' book, sometimes the same disembodied entities seem to have some perplexity and doubts about the effectiveness of their action – mainly exhortative – in the light of the complexity of our human condition and above all of the bipolar character of the psyche's energy. There is a remarkable naivety in the conception that they propose of a world that is always wonderful, beautiful and harmonious as created by God, that is, by that supreme entity who – in accordance with their descriptions – represents the purpose of the evolution of the spiritual Ego: in fact, according to this conception two aspects are confused, which our mind perceives as distinct, at least in their temporal evolution. Through the path of spiritual evolution, the conscious Ego withdraws from the bipolar dynamics that characterize the human psyche, and the discomforts caused by the resulting conflicts, to approach the Spirit dimension, which is completely free of and alien to these dynamics, as shown, for example, by many experiences reported by those who have found themselves in a critical condition near death. However, as far as we are able to understand, the process of formation of the conscious Ego originates precisely from the human organism, and the subsequent path of transformation and evolution of the Ego is determined by its confrontation with the experiences generated by the human psyche: if one can reasonably hypothesize an influence of the spirit on the conscious Ego already during this organic life, it is also true that this influence can manifest itself only to the extent that the mental instrument – whose functioning is determined by certain characteristics of the organism's central nervous system – allows it. In addition to the genetic factors that determine the characteristics of every human organism, the environmental circumstances and the cultural programs that are transmitted to its mind and are assimilated by it – often without the Ego having the intellectual resources to evaluate their effects – have a substantial importance for the development of the conscious Ego: it, in most cases, remains ensnared in its role as a human automaton in the service of the psyche's dynamics, regardless of whether all these complex factors have favored its orientation towards the positive or negative polarity. In the mediumistic communications we are dealing with there is no trace of the complexity of this formative and evolutionary process of the conscious Ego, and above all there is no information regarding the origin and purpose of the human psyche, whose various and sometimes conflicting manifestations are generically attributed to the same divine will which attracts the spiritual Ego towards itself at the end of its evolution.


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