Taking into account the specific cultural environments of the Spiritist Movement in the USA and Brazil, we present below 20 questions that were asked Dr. William James, the eminent American physician, psychologist and philosopher whom departed the material plane in 1910. The interview was held in the night of his visit to our prayer and assistance group.
Question 1 Dear friend, since we are here in New York to visit some Brazilian friends, we would like to take advantage of this opportunity to inquire about whether or not you are still collaborating with those who are currently working in the search for truth.
Answer. Yes, indeed. Even after death, we generally maintain the same line of interests that we once had on our Earthly journey. If these interests were of some benefit to us, and if such interests presented a way of helping us in ridding ourselves of vices and imperfections, we ought to take advantage of opportunities that will eventually come to us.
Question 2. Do you retain the same enthusiasm regarding Spiritualism studies as you have before?
Answer. Absolutely. The principles of the New Revelation constitute a field of infinite possibilities.
Question 3. Is there anything you would like to tell us about the application of scientific research regarding Spiritualist matters?
Answer. I now understand how important and urgent the scientific approval is for widespread acknowledgement of the afterlife. Nevertheless, we must understand that the researchers (with a few exceptions), waste much time repeating exhaustive experiments, trying to escape from the moral consequences that the matter implies.
Question 4. Do you believe that it would be fair to restrain scientific cooperation from the subject of Doctrinal study of Spiritism?
Answer. It would be unwise to imply that scientific research is not needed. Rather, we would like to affirm that the researchers are not exonerated from the duties of listening to their own conscience. A wise man is not merely a machine that creates technical terminology, but rather a spirit who acquired a vast amount of knowledge. Due to this position he is called forth by a Superior Order to work towards the improvement of human life.
Question 5. What do you think about parapsychology?
Answer. This subject is actually as old as mankind. We will find numerous examples in the Bible. In the II Book of Kings, chapter 12, verse 6, it is written that the prophet and medium Elisha absorbed telepathic transmissions originating from the King of Syria, much like the best “sujets” of experiments undertaken by Rhine and others.
Question 6. What do you think about Spiritist collaboration in Para psychological research?
Answer. We understand that Spiritists should cooperate with the development of parapsychology in order to avoid the possibility that the research should fall into the hands of those less compromised with truth, be they religious or scientific personnel. However, in our opinion, this will occur only if the worker does not forget about his own obligations towards progress.
Question 7. How would you define the level of knowledge regarding Spiritism on the planet Earth?
Answer. The knowledge of Spiritism in a plain and simple way is required in order to balance the moral aspect of the personality, as it is important to get rid of the euphoric exacerbation that affects the physical part of the being and supplies it with healthy hygiene.
Question 8. Would you care to expand on your definition of Spiritist knowledge?
Answer. The Spiritist knowledge is an orientation of the profound and essential life of the being. Obviously, the law of evolution applies to all living beings, but Spiritism intervenes in the conscious plane, providing us with behavioral guidelines, which are capable of carving a path towards the ascension of the soul, free from obstructions which can lead to suffering.
Question 9. Do you believe that Spiritism plays a decisive role in guiding human will?
Answer. Certainly. If the spirit does not abide by the evolutionary principles, and refuses to attend to his earthly obligations, his reincarnation is nothing but a repetitive cycle that yields no benefits throughout the span of the millenniums.
Question 10. What can you tell us about mediumship?
Answer. As a resource for incarnated spirits to gain access to Superior Spheres, Mediumship has yet to receive the earthly recognition that it deserves.
Question 11. Do you believe that it is required for mediums to receive extensive and adequate instructions?
Answer. In order to allow the seed to produce, we must guarantee its protection. How is possible to strengthen and conserve the foundations of mediumship without educational resources?
Question 12. Is it possible for more advanced spirits to overcome the difficulties of mediumship?
Answer. The Spirit benefactors are able to fulfill great achievements in our world. Nevertheless, in order to do so, they require our aid as interpreters. How would it be possible for a symphony to function without the use of instruments?
Question 13. Does a spirit, even one belonging to the highest hierarchy, require the aid of the medium in order to interact in the physical plane?
Answer. Until science is capable of establishing an unbarred channel between incarnate and discarnate entities, the latter depend on the mediums to communicate with the former, much like the soul requires a mother’s womb in order to enter the physical plane.
Question 14. Would it be reasonable to assemble a special group of well-developed mediums for the purpose of promoting more persuasive demonstrations of the phenomena of the afterlife?
Answer. We must not forget that the mediumistic resources are at the disposal of all human beings, who will manage them according to their own level of spiritual advancement. By improving himself, the medium will attract other well-improved spirits. However, we must not isolate these mediumistic resources to a select handful of individuals, for we risk creating partitions and stimulating a quagmire among them for the possession of mediumship.
Question 15. We know that the medium has the duty of improving himself. Besides this, what is in your opinion the fundamental requirement in order to develop his faculties?
Answer. The development of a medium’s psychic energies is not necessarily excruciatingly difficult. However, since this development extends the frontier of his relationship with the spiritual world, the biggest problem still lies in the mediums’ ability to remain loyal to his companions from the beyond.
Question 16. How do you analyze the physical mediumship and the intellectual mediumship?
Answer. Every mediumnistic faculty is important, but I believe that without proper discretion, physical mediumship will do little to fulfill the requirements for improving our inner world. Therefore, we believe that intellectual mediumship will provide better access to superior learning, thus it should be utilized more often than physical mediumship, in order for the medium to avoid escaping from his moral duties to which he is responsible for in his corporeal life.
Question 17. In your opinion, what is the main task of mediumship in the work of Spiritism?
Answer. We believe that mediumship is an important tool in the service for the enlightenment of men in the planet earth, especially in helping those who suffer from the torments of obsession, whose number presently reaches thousands in every corner of the planet.
Question 18. Is articulated language a basic factor in the communication between discarnate spirits from the same country through mediums located in different countries?
Answer. We know that thought is a universal idiom. However, this is only an immediate reality in the domain of telepathy. It is possible to ease a sick person with the idea of peace, optimism, healing and hope; however, we are unable to immediately give him signs of healing without using the proper language to communicate with him. On the other hand, the phenomena of xenoglossy (&) could be obtained in the same manner that we would organize a show. Therefore it is necessary to understand that in the current stage of humanity, the barrier of articulated language is inevitable, for the wide majority of discarnate spirits usually maintain themselves tightly bound to their home environment. Henceforth, the spiritual friends connected to the United States who aspire to be heard without delay in Brazil must generally study Portuguese and vice versa. This is clear according to the common system of linguistics, because progress does not accept miracles.
Question 19. When do you believe Spiritism will be better known on the Earth?
Answer. That depends on the time and goodwill of people. Any human being may delay his access to the gate of truth, but no one may avoid it.
Question 20. Would you care to provide the Brazilian companions (both incarnate and discarnate) with any particularly wise words regarding the work of Spiritism?
Answer. We have learned that stability does not result from improvisation. The Spiritist cause requires well-seeded Spiritist principles. Furthermore, there will be no efficient results without the dedication of those who are working for the cause. We must seek to broaden our individual participation and elevate the level of understanding toward our responsibilities to Spiritism. We will count solely on whatever we are able to achieve. The laws of the universe are fair. In this sense, every companion, every group and every country will be responsible for how they choose to utilize Spiritism for the good of their own future. We understand that we may summarize the main guidelines for all of us as follows: to maintain self-control, to think in an elevated manner, to communicate constructively, to constantly study and to serve more.