Marcus De Mario
Rio de Janeiro – Brazil
To approach Spiritist education, we first need to understand what education is, for there is much confusion about it, teaching sometimes being taken as the same thing as education, when in fact teaching belongs to education, but not to be confused with it. Educating and teaching are different things, although they are part of pedagogy, which is, in short, the science of education, that is, the set of studies and understandings about education and its praxis.
Education is the harmonious, balanced development of all the potentialities of the human being, encompassing the cognitive and emotional areas. Through this definition, which we borrowed from the great educator Pestalozzi (1746-1827), we soon realized that the acquisition of knowledge is not enough, because developing the cognitive area goes beyond accumulating knowledge. And even if this is being provided by the family and the school, through the actions of parents and teachers, still we will not truly have education, because the emotional development will be missing, that is, the development of virtues, feelings, sensibility and spirituality of the human being.
Now that we know what education is, we must, before talking about Spiritist education, understand what Spiritism is, a doctrine that first appeared in 1857, with the publication of The Spirits’ Book by Allan Kardec. Spiritism is a teaching, that is, a set of principles, comprising philosophy, science and religion. Mediumship with the communication of spirits is part of Spiritualism, but it is not Spiritualism, one thing cannot be confused with the other. The basic principles of Spiritism are the existence of God as father and creator; the immortality of the soul with the future life; the communicability between spiritual life and material life, of the discarnate with the incarnate; the law of evolution, with reincarnation and the destination for perfection of all creatures.
All human beings are immortal souls (spirits), finding ourselves sometimes incarnated, sometimes disincarnated, carrying out our evolution through multiple existences (reincarnations). This broad and deep vision of Spiritism, answering the questions: who we are, where we come from, what we are doing here, and where we are going, has profound pedagogical, therefore educational, implications.
We can now approach spiritist education, dealing with education in the spiritist vision, the education that takes into account the immortality of the being, his future life, and his achievements already made in previous existences.
Allan Kardec offers us in The Spirits’ Book, specifically in the commentary to question 685A, a perfect understanding of spiritist education:
- The art of forming characters
- Acquired set of habits
In the first item we understand the development of the moral sense, of the character of the immortal spirit. In the second item we have the practice of theory, that is, the formation of character having as a consequence an ethical and solidarity experience, of foresight and fraternity.
And Kardec endorses: the understanding is about moral education, which in today’s times is given other labels: education in human values, education in virtues, education in ethics, and so on, but always meaning the whole formation of the being that is, in turn, equally complete: intelligence and sentiment.
However, Spiritism, taking into consideration the reincarnated immortal being, transcends the merely materialistic, biological vision, introducing into education the innate ideas and character tendencies that the human being brings with him from the lessons learned in past existences, which is why he believes that education must correct bad tendencies, to enhance the intellectual inclinations of the child and prepare the spirit not only for the earthly life, but also for the future life, for death does not exist.
It is at this point that Spiritism adds another element to its vision of education: the moral teachings of Jesus and their consequences, as indispensable to generate happiness and peace of conscience, showing that humanity can only improve morally according to the moral improvement of individuals.
To apply Spiritist education in the family and school is to accomplish a great transformation in both understanding and educational practice. The child comes to be seen as a reincarnated spirit endowed with intellectual and emotional baggage. Life comes to be understood as the intersection of two dimensions: spiritual and material. Education is to be comprehended in its wholeness and not only in its informative part.
Spiritism is an educational philosophy of the immortal and entire being destined to intellectual and moral perfection, therefore, its view on education is an evolutionist view of being and life, considering the life that continues after death and extends throughout the universe.
At the present evolutionary stage in which we find ourselves, we are in need of, above all, to receive through education generous loads of love, the main pillar of education, to sensitize ourselves and make a leap in the development of the affective area, thus gradually managing to direct intelligence toward the achievement of good. We are in need of spiritualization, to transcend the ephemeral and elapsing human existence here on Earth. With Spiritist education studied and applied we will soon be able to meet these needs.
Let moral education, in the reality of the immortal spirit, do what intellectual education has done, and we will have balance in the development of all human beings, establishing in a shorter time peace and justice, ethics and solidarity, in the effective combat against selfishness, pride and materialism.
For all these reasons we understand that spiritist education is a tool of excellence for the evolution of the spirit and of humanity.
Marcus De Mario comes from Rio de Janeiro/RJ, where coordinates the Spiritist Group Seara de Luz; maintains the channel Spiritist Orientation on YouTube; is the creator and director of ‘Ibem Educa’; lecturer and writer with more than 30 published books, among them: Spiritist Vision of Education; Education with Christ; Jesus, the Greatest Educator of Humanity.