The Importance of Self-discipline and Civic Participation

St-LouisSpiritism at its core is the recognition of our duty to improve ourselves. This responsibility extends beyond our mind and body, to those around us, society and the resources of the earth. Emmanuel stresses the importance of our efforts;

Teaching the law of compensation on the path of redemption, as well as the trials of the individual and the collectivity, Spiritism implemented the regime of responsibility, wherein each spirit had to enrich the list of its own qualities (Xavier, 2011, p. 201).

The regime of responsibility extends to our role in society. After the defeat of Napoleon the Frenchnapoleon established a constitutional monarchy, borrowing from the American Constitution and retaining the enlightened Napoleonic code, established equal protect protection under the law and the freedom of religion (Wikipedia – Bourbon, 2013). Emmanuel expounds on this event;

These reforms established a regime of individual responsibility in the mechanism of every sector of the state, in addition to all of its political and social advances (Xavier, 2011, p. 192).

This sentence better that any other in the book, On the Way to the Light, summarizes the type of responsibility each of us should have. We are not destined to be slaves or untouchable aristocrats,

On the Way to the Light

On the Way to the Light

but a multilayered society of ranges of contributors, from poor to wealthy, lazy to hardworking, dim to intelligent, all placed in their respective spheres to learn the required lessons we have been assigned in our life. The notion that we should live in a world of the same outcomes without any regard to our individual effort is self-defeating for our quest of enlightenment. Emmanuel states that Spiritism demonstrates the need for personal ownership and careful reflection on how we each use the resources given to us;

With the truths of reincarnation, it explained the absurdity of absolute egalitarian theories and work on restoring the true way for human progress (Xavier, 2011, p. 201).

Therefore we are the stewards of our life and property, not the government, not the church. We need to be self-disciplined people, who expect the same of others. When those who make bad choices fail, they should be allowed to reap the consequences of their actions. How else will they learn the lessons presented to them? Yes, society should help those in need, as Emmanuel described the positive deeds of Athens;

They took care of the poor and disfavored areas of society; they welcomed foreigners,acropolis oversaw labor, and encouraged trade, industry, and agriculture (Xavier, 2011, p. 91).

This doesn’t mean that we should allow dependence to be a way of life. Aiding people during a time of absolute need is one thing, enslaving them in a cocoon where every choice grants them the same benefits are another. Spiritism teaches us the importance of fraternal love and charity, but also the recognition of the law of paying for our actions here on earth. Emmanuel describes our intended state under the acknowledgement of Spiritism;

Teaching the law of compensation on the path to redemption, as well as the trials of the individual and the collectivity, Spiritism implemented the regime of responsibility, wherein each spirit had to enrich the list of its own qualities. Due to its understanding of individual effort and labor, it was not deceived by utopias of absolute equality, and because of its awareness of the imperatives of human solidarity, it did not become an instrument of oppression for the magnates of wealth and power. It was unconcerned with all revolutions, because only evolution was its arena of activity and experience, and kept its distance from all wars due to its understanding of the fraternal ties that unite the universal community; instead, it taught true human and national, familial and group fraternity, enlarging the concepts of economic justice and correcting the fanatical spirit of extremist ideologies (Xavier, 2011, p. 201).

Truly we are responsible for ourselves and accountable for our efforts to promote a society where individuals are able to better themselves through the fruit of their own labors and to reap those benefits to use in a manner of their choosing.

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