218. Does a spirit preserve any trace of the thoughts and ideas it had or the knowledge it acquired in past lives?
“It retains a vague memory, which gives the spirit what you call ‘innate ideas’.”
a) So the theory of innate ideas is not pure fantasy?
“No, the knowledge acquired in each life is not lost. When a spirit is free from the material body, it always remembers what it has learned. It may forget this knowledge partially or temporarily when it reincarnates. However, the dormant intuition that it maintains helps it advance. If this intuition did not exist, the spirit would always have to begin its education from scratch. In a new life, a spirit picks up from the point at which it had left at the end of its previous life.”
b) If that is the case, there must be a very close connection between two consecutive lives?
“That connection is not always as close as you might think, since the conditions of the two lives are often very different, and the spirit may have made considerable progress in the interval between them.” (216)
219. What is the origin of the extraordinary faculties of individuals who appear to intuitively possess certain felds of knowledge, such as languages, mathematics, and so on, without any formal education?
“The vague recollection of their past, the result of progress previously made by the soul, but of which it has no present consciousness. From where else could that intuition originate? A spirit may change its body or shell, but it remains the same.”
220. Can we lose certain intellectual faculties when we change our bodies, such as an interest in the arts?
“Yes, if you have tarnished that faculty or made bad use of it. An intellectual faculty may also lie dormant for an entire existence because the spirit chooses to exercise another faculty that is completely unrelated to the latent ability. However, it will come into play in a future life.”
221. Are the instinctive knowledge of God’s existence and the intuition of a future life due to retrospective memory, which appears to be natural to human beings even savages?
“Yes, it is a memory that a person maintains of what they knew as a spirit before reincarnation, but pride often stifes this feeling.”
a) Are beliefs that are similar to Spiritism found across all nations due to this memory?
“The principles contained in Spiritism are as old as time itself and are consequently found everywhere. Incarnate spirits maintain the intuition of their time as a spirit and possess an instinctive consciousness of the spirit world. Still, this intuition is often tainted by prejudices, ignorance and superstition.”