Saturday, July 14, 2012

Twin Souls (Marco Milani)

A Jewish wedding by Josef Israels, 1903, Courtesy of Wiki Commons.
The image of ‘twin souls”—the symbol of a supposed ideal union between two beings who complete and fulfill themselves -- is present in the poetic language and in the romantic tradition.

One of the greatest sources of inspiration of this ludic concept is the Hermaphroditus Myth. This Greek narrative tells about beings with two heads four arms and four legs making up a third human gender both female and male. They were punished by Zeus for rebelling against the gods and cut apart on their backs and theses halves got lost and are always looking for their missing part.

To have someone in particular that would satisfy us totally in all our affective wants is an attractive idea. It creates expectations especially in those who consider themselves solitary. What’s really worrying however is the fact that this idea projects our own happiness onto another person.

As the “twin soul” concept is part of the popular imagery, the literary works that use this poetic figure can count with a good receptivity and reinforce the illusion that two individuals could complete one another and find happiness when united. Even admitting that the purpose of reading is not always that of enlightenment and serious studying , it is fundamental that one should be wary with the content of what one reads and transmits, to avoid being spreaders of fantasizing ideas.

This does not mean that novels and poems are not welcome. On the contrary, they possess valuable resources of people’s awareness and awakening, by expressing art and beauty. They can be the “open door” to doctrinaire study. However, Spiritism -- whose strength and authority rely on the universal agreement of its principles-- has clarity and objectivity as its essential qualities. Allan Kardec himself made the following comment on his personal characteristics:
“I am not a poet by nature, what I mostly look for, what pleases me most, what I most admire in others is clearness, neatness and precision, and far from sacrificing these to poetry, I could be accused of sacrificing poetic feeling to the rigidity of positive form. I have always preferred what speaks to the intelligence than what hits the imagination”. (Posthumous Works – 2nd part – The Spiritual Tiara).
Thus, if one sets aside the lyrics and search for real understanding, we realize that “twin souls” in its popular imagery would lead to some conceptual contradictions. If we would depend on the other “half”, when we are separated and we would then be incomplete and as such could not be considered as being individualities with all the relative perfection potential inherent to ourselves. It should be observed here that a particular and inevitable union between two souls does not exist because these souls depend on their level of evolution. The more evolved a Spirit is the more linked -- by similarity -- will it be to those who are in the same level of elevation. (The Spirits' Book question # 298-302).

Kardec’s lucid and rational attitude made him state that the “twin souls” theory should not be interpreted literally and he explains that the Spirits who use it do not belong to a high order of Spirits, but are only expressing their ideas according to the language they spoke in their corporeal life. He is against the hypothesis that two Spirits supposedly created one for the other should inevitably be reunited in eternity after having been separated during a more or less long period. (The Spirits' Book question #303a). 

Once discarded the idea of two souls’ predestinated union from their origin, it is relevant to stress that at our present stage of evolution we live the necessary experiences for our own moral and intellectual progress and in this situation are in contact with Spirits that cooperate with us directly or indirectly. This means that we are individualities that live collectively and try to strengthen the existing links of sympathy. This being so, there are Spirits who can help us more than others and with whom we have closer links of affection, but this does not mean that we are “twin souls linked by destiny”. We are evolving Spirits searching our own personal achievement through our own experiences and responsible for our own actions.

According to Fénelon (The Spirits' Book, Chapter XI, #9), the soul’s natural tendency is to look for affection and sympathy. Although usually crushed by selfishness, true love develops with the moral sense and intelligence and becomes the source of true and lasting affection. To practice the Law of Love as God wants it, it is necessary that little by little we arrive at loving all our brothers indistinctly.

Today we are only making our first steps towards a real understanding and the practice of love in its purest expression. Many are locked in the disrupting and interfering feeling of ownership and control of the other being. Dissensions and deceits spring up as a consequence of ill conducted desires of which we are the greatest victims. Facing this situation we look for a refuge in the world of illusions. We idealize. We delegate to others the responsibility of making us happy.

Gradually through our own self-knowledge we search the real happiness with greater self-assurance and determination assuming the responsibility of our own balance. To look at ourselves does not mean to adopt a selfish and proud attitude; on the contrary, it means to wake up and rush to the “good struggle” against our bad inclinations. Thinking things over make us understand that our neighbor has the same problems and the same opportunities than us and consequently those with whom we live cannot assume the responsibility of being the cause of our own happiness. We try then to stop being dependent on others and are then able to share our inner harmony with others.

The Earth is a precious school that enables us to be in contact with numberless souls with whom we have a greater or a lesser degree of sympathy and to learn from them all. And we are thus certainly in contact with those who are relevant to our advancement! And this is not destiny, it is attraction!

In the future we will continue to be with those that we love, but this circle of affections will increase proportionally with our level of evolution up to the top degree in the condition of Pure Spirits, where we love everybody indistinctly.

Peace for all!

Marco Milani
Liga de Pesquisadores do Espiritismo – LIHPE , São Paulo/Brazil

Special thanks to Ricardo Campos from Centre d’Études Spirites Fraternité (CESF)  for the English translation.