THE SPIRITS’ BOOK

Allan Kardec

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Beings Organic beings are those that have an intrinsic source that produces life. They are born, grow, reproduce, and die. Their organs are specifcally adapted to carrying out the different activities of life, in order to satisfy their needs and maintain their existence. Humans, animals, and plants are all organic beings. Inorganic beings possess neither vitality nor the power of spontaneous movement, and are merely the aggregation of matter, such as minerals, water, air, and so on.


60. Does the same force unite the elements of matter in organic and inorganic bodies?
“Yes, the same law of attraction exists for all.”


61. Is there any difference between the matter of organic and inorganic bodies?
“It is the same. The only difference is that in organic bodies it is animalized.”


62. What is the cause of the animalization of matter?
“The union of matter with the vital principle.”


63. Is the vital principle present in a specifc agent, or is it a property of organized matter? Simply put, is it an effect or a cause?
“It is both. Life is an effect produced by an agent acting on matter. Without matter, this agent is not life, just as matter cannot be alive without this agent. It gives life to every being that absorbs it.”


64. Spirit and matter are two essential elements of the universe. Is the vital principle a third?
“There is no question that it is necessary for the makeup of the universe, but its source is a special variation of universal matter. For you, it is an element like oxygen or hydrogen, which are not primordial elements because everything derives from the same foundation.”

a) This statement seems to imply that vitality does not lie in a distinct primordial agent, but is a special property of the universal matter resulting from certain variations.
“That is the correct conclusion of what we have stated.”


65. Does the vital principle reside in any bodies that we know?
“Its source is the universal fuid, which is what you call the magnetic or electric fuid, only animalized. It is an intermediary, the link between the spirit and matter.”


66. Is the vital principle the same for all organic beings?
“Yes, but adapted according to each species. This principle gives organic beings the power of initiating movement and activity. They are distinguished from inert matter by their ability to produce spontaneous movement. Inert matter can be moved, but it does not initiate movement.”


67. Is vitality a permanent attribute of the vital agent, or is it only developed by the functioning of the organs?
“It is only developed with a body. Have we not established that this agent does not constitute life without matter? The union of the two is necessary for life to exist.”

a) Is it correct to say that vitality is dormant when the vital agent is not united with a body?
“Yes, exactly.”


The organs of the body together form a mechanism that is impelled by their intrinsic action or vital principle residing within them. The vital principle is the driving force of organic bodies. While the vital principle compels the organs in which it resides, the functioning of those organs further develops and sustains the activity of the vital principle, in the same manner that friction develops heat.

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