THE SPIRITS’ BOOK

Allan Kardec

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237. When it returns to the spirit world, does the soul still possess the perceptions it had in its lifetime?
“Yes, and others that it did not possess because its body obscured them. Intelligence is an attribute of the spirit, but it is manifested more freely when unhindered.”


238. Do spirits have unlimited perceptions and knowledge? Basically, do they know everything?
“The closer they approach perfection, the more they know. Higher order spirits have a wide range of knowledge, while those of the lower orders are more or less unaware with respect to everything.”


239. Do spirits understand the frst principle of things?
“That depends on their degree of elevation and purity. Low order spirits know no more than people.”


240. Do spirits perceive time in the same manner as we do?
“No, and this is why you do not always understand us when you are trying to establish dates and time periods.”


A spirit’s life is outside the realm of time as we perceive it. The idea of time is lost on them and centuries, which seem so long to us, appear to be only a few instants lapsing into eternity for them, just as the variations of the ground would fade and disappear to someone high in space.


241. Do spirits have a more genuine and precise view of the present than us? “Compared to yours, their view is what sight is in comparison to blindness. They see what you do not see and therefore judge differently than you do. However, we must remind you that this depends on their degree of elevation.”


242. How do spirits acquire knowledge of the past, and is this knowledge unlimited? “The past, when we focus on it, is perceived as though it were the present, just like when you recall something over the course of your exile. The main difference is that we remember things that are currently erased from your memory, as the material shroud shielding your intelligence no longer obscures our view. However, spirits do not know everything, for example they know nothing of their creation.”


243. Do spirits see the future?
“That also depends on their degree of perfection. They often can partially see it, but, even when they see it more clearly, they are not always permitted to reveal it. When they see it, it seems like the present to them. A spirit sees the future more clearly as it approaches God. After death, the soul sees and embraces at a glance its past emigrations, but it cannot see what God has in store for it. This foresight is only possessed by a soul who has attained a complete union with God, after a long series of lives.”


a) Do spirits who have arrived at absolute perfection possess full knowledge of the future?
“‘Full’ is not the word because God alone is the Supreme Being, and nothing or no one can be equal to God.”


244. Do spirits see God?
“Only the highest order spirits see and understand God; lower spirits are conscious of and can feel the Creator.”


a) When a lower spirit says that something is permitted or forbidden by God, how does it know that this is really an order from God?
“It does not see God, but it feels Divine power. It feels a sort of intuition, an invisible warning that commands it to refrain from completing certain actions. Don’t you sometimes have a mysterious feeling, commanding you to do or not do something? It is the same thing with us, but at a higher degree. A spirit’s essence is more subtle than yours, they are better equipped to receive Divine warnings.”


b) Are Divine commands directly transmitted to each spirit by God, or through other spirits?
“Those commands do not come directly from God. A spirit must be worthy of direct communication with God. God transmits orders through spirits that are higher in perfection and instruction.”


245. Is spirit sight restricted, like the vision of living beings?
“No, it resides within them.”


246. Do spirits need light to see? “They see on their own and do not need any external source of light. For them, the only darkness that exists is that which they may fnd themselves as a means of atonement.”


247. Do spirits need to travel to see two different points? For example, can they see the two hemispheres of the Earth at the same time?
“Spirits travel from one point to another at the speed of thought, so in a way they can see everywhere at the same time. A spirit’s thought may radiate at the same time to many different points, but this depends on its purity. The more impure the spirit is, the narrower its range of sight. Only higher spirits can take in everything at a single glance.”


For spirits, sight is intrinsic to their nature and is located in their whole being, as light resides in every part of a luminous body. A universal luminosity extends to time, space, and everything in relation to which darkness or physical obstacles have no existence. In human beings, light acting upon a bodily organ produces sight; therefore, people would be plunged into darkness without light. However, as vision is an attribute of the spirit itself, independent from any external agent, spirit sight is independent of light. (See Omnipresence, No. 92)


248. Do spirits see things as distinctly as we do?
“Even more so, because their sight penetrates what yours cannot. Nothing obscures it.”


249. Do spirits hear sounds?
“Yes, they hear sounds that your simple senses cannot perceive.”


a) Do the faculties of hearing and sight reside within a spirit’s whole being?
“All of a spirit’s sensorial faculties are attributes of its nature, and form part of its being. When the spirit is using a material body, its senses are restricted to its bodily organs. When restored to freedom, the perceptions of a spirit are no longer localized.”


250. As the perceptive faculties are attributes of a spirit’s nature, can it withdraw from their action? “A spirit only sees and hears what it chooses to see and hear. Interpret this in general terms, and mainly with respect to higher spirits. Imperfect spirits are compelled to see and hear whatever may be useful for their betterment, often against their will.”


251. Are spirits sensitive to music?
“Are you talking about the music created on Earth? What is it in comparison to celestial music, which is of a harmony that has no comparison on Earth? Comparing the two is like comparing the wail of a savage to the sweetest melody. Lower spirits may enjoy your music because they are not yet able to appreciate anything more sublime. Music is an endless source of pleasure for spirits, due to the impressive development of their sensitive qualities. This of course is in regard to celestial music, of which the spiritual imagination can conceive nothing more divinely sweet.”


252. Are spirits sensitive to natural wonders?
“Natural wonders vary greatly between different planets and the spirits are far from knowing them all. Their sensitivity is in proportion to their aptitude for appreciating and understanding them. Higher spirits see a general level of beauty in which the appreciation of the details is lost.”


253. Do spirits experience our physical needs and suffering?
“They know them, because they have suffered them, but they do not experience them materially like you do because they are spirits.”


254. Do spirits get tired and need rest?
“They have no need for physical rest because they do not feel tired in the same manner. They have no bodily organs requiring the restoration of strength, but one can say that a spirit rests because it is not constantly in a state of activity. They do not act in a material way, its action is intellectual, and its rest is moral. There are times that its thoughts are less active and no longer directed at any special object. When this happens, it is in a state of rest that is unlike anything experienced by the body. The sort of fatigue that may be felt by spirits is proportionate to their inferiority, the higher their degree of elevation, the less rest they need.”


255. When a spirit says that it suffers, what is the nature of this suffering? “Mental anguish that causes torture far more painful than any type of physical suffering.”


256. Why do spirits sometimes complain of the cold or heat? “These sensations are caused by the spirit’s memory of the suffering experienced on Earth, and these memories are sometimes just as painful as if they were actually real. However, this type of complaint is often only figurative, for lack of better means of expression, when they try to describe their situation. When they remember their physical body, they experience the same impressions. This is what makes you feel like you still have a coat or wrap over your shoulders a few moments after removing it.”

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