spirit rapper


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someone who claims to receive messages from the dead in the form of raps on a table

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Franz Anton Mesmer's doctrine and experiments were thus taken under analytical lenses in The spirit rapper (1854).
In this equation, the American thinker critically (and hesitatingly, via his semi-fictional fantastic hero) analyzed the ultimate purpose of man, which Brownson (1854: 82) through the voice of the spirit rapper calls a "glorious secret" and which namely coincides with one of the fundaments of romantic doctrine: the eternal quest for happiness, eternal progress, eternal evolution / growth, in the paradoxical context of permanent postponement of the total "possession" of the final purpose--this is maybe the best definition of the golden ratio as the spiral number for ever pulsating in the rhythm of perpetually advancing life:
The solution suggested by the spirit rapper, which must be enforced by the world's reformers--whose purpose should be "unbounded liberty"--, is indeed among the most radical: the destruction of the vast system of tyranny by the emancipation of the State from the fetters of the Church (the separation of religion from politics: "divorcing religion from politics"), man's and society's emancipation from their bondage to the State (at this point Brownson draws quite close to H.
Here are the detailed conniving thoughts of the spirit rapper on the total reformation of mankind from its deepest foundations--this reform, which in reality aspires to demolish the Christian Church, politics and civil society altogether, should (in the spirit rapper's plan) be attempted first by keeping the illusion that what is desired is only a separation of "religion from politics" and a democratization of church and society at large:
In this sense, the French Revolution, with its "revolutionary madness," is presented by the spirit rapper as a mesmeric world-reform, in which vast invisible spirit forces and powerful mesmerists had been at work--it was Satan who seemed to have been unbound then, and not Prometheus, since all hell indeed broke loose:
But the spirit rapper believes that the forces of evil were not the only ones active in that revolution; he implies that many virtuous people, seized by the great spiritual / mesmeric / hypnotic contagion, had been possessed by high spirits, being stirred aflame to fight for the right cause of "Liberty, Equality, Fraternity"--this is what happened in 1789, and something rather similar occurred in 1848:
Brownson is thus one of the most radical American thinkers when he suggests, by agency of different voices in The spirit rapper, that mankind should get rid of any governments whatsoever, should destroy the Church and the State, should demolish religion and politics, should exterminate priests and politicians, and so bring back the state of affairs in old Judea (The spirit rapper, chap.
Likewise, Brownson suggested the abolishment of all private hereditary properties and their equal distribution to the members of the community, the establishment of a "universal democracy" and of a "purely democratic religion" (The Spirit Rapper, chap.
The spirit rapper thus starts his spiritistic revolution after a quite interesting event: one spirit tells him that he "was not a good medium" himself, because he "held the spirits in awe.
This situation leads to the spirit rapper diverting the spirits to the Fox family, because he identifies or anticipates in the young Fox sisters potentially excellent mediums they thus soon become famous as the initiators of the new movement known as spiritism / mesmerism:
Thus, just as in the real story of the Fox sisters who, through Leah, complained of "invisible agencies and agents whom [they] could neither resist, control, nor understand," the spirit rapper in Brownson's novel describes how the unsuspecting, naive and innocent Fox sisters, without their knowledge, become the instruments of his will, namely to unwittingly spread "Rappo-Mania" (see Leah's reference to "the Rochester Rappings") throughout the world, by the simple act of first handing over a bunch of flowers to the said sisters (as it were, this insignificant event triggers "butterfly effects" in a cascade), after which the spirits conversing with the spirit rapper are directed towards the Fox sisters, who become the world leaders of the new movement:
Here is how the spirit rapper proudly describes the spreading of the spiritistic movement like some infectious disease, by its swiftness and multi-narrative frame structure reminding us of the "mental" contagion--brilliantly depicted by Laurence Sterne in Tristram Shandy--that is triggered in the town of Strasbourg when a man with an unusually large nose arrives riding a puny mule:
Just as in The spirit rapper spiritism, in Slawkenbergius's Tale the nose exerts a preternatural power of fascination, towards it all of human life gravitating as if towards a cosmic luminous massive body like the sun.
He falls into a deep depression, and as a consequence thereof decides to free Priscilla and so to allow her to turn back to her husband, who, wishing to protect his wife against the mesmeric spells generated by the spirit rapper, was to cause the latter an almost deadly wound.
The latter two were, however, also both wrong in not taking sufficient measures for adapting their religion to "the progressiveness of the race" (The spirit rapper, chap.