Allan Kardec

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371. Are there any grounds to the commonly held belief that individuals with developmental impairments have inferior souls?
“No, they have a human soul that is often more intelligent than you think. This soul suffers from the defciency of its means to communicate, as a mute person suffers from his inability to speak.”

372. What is God’s purpose in creating developmentally impaired beings?
“These individuals are the incarnations of spirits who are undergoing atonement. They suffer from their limitations and inability to express themselves through undeveloped or incapacitated organs.”

a) Would it be incorrect to say that the organs have no infuence on the faculties?
“We never said that the organs have no infuence. They have a very great infuence on the manifestation of the faculties, but they are not their source. There is a huge difference. A skilled musician will not make good music with a bad instrument, but this will not stop the individual from being a good musician.”

One must distinguish between the normal and pathological states. In the normal state, morality trumps material obstacles, but there are cases where matter presents such a strong resistance that it hampers or impairs the manifestations, as in developmental impairments and insanity. These are pathological cases and as the soul does not enjoy full freedom, laws originating from human societies exempt such individuals from the accountability for their actions.

373. What is the point in the existence of developmentally impaired individuals who can do neither good nor bad, and cannot progress? “Such an existence is imposed as atonement for the misuse of certain faculties. It is a time of confnement.”

a) This implies that the body of a mentally disabled person could contain a spirit that once embodied a genius?
“Yes, genius can become a curse when it is abused.”

Intellectual superiority does not always accompany moral superiority, and the greatest geniuses may be burdened by many moral trespasses for which they must atone. They often have to endure an inferior existence which is a cause of suffering for them. The barriers impairing their faculties are like shackles that restrain the movements of a strong person. The developmentally disabled person may be said to be mentally handicapped, as cripples are handicapped by their legs and the blind by their eyes.

374. Is a spirit who is developmentally impaired conscious of his or her mental condition?
“Yes, very often. It understands that the restraints hampering its actions are a trial and an atonement.”

375. When a person is insane, what is the state of that individual’s spirit?
“When a spirit is free it receives impressions directly and directly exerts its action on matter as well. When a spirit incarnates, it is in an entirely different condition and is required to act only through the designated organs. If some or all of those organs are impaired, its actions or impressions concerning those organs are interrupted. Individuals beset by such impairments become blind if they lose their eyes, deaf if they lose their ears, and so on. Imagine now that the organ responsible for manifestations of intelligence and will is partially or entirely impaired, and you will easily understand that the use of such an incomplete or distorted organ will provoke a functional distress that the spirit is fully conscious of but unable to control.”

a) Then it is always the body, and not the spirit, that is dysfunctional?
“Yes, but remember that just as a spirit acts upon matter, matter in turn reacts upon the spirit, at least to a certain extent. Due to the altered state of its receptor organs, the spirit may temporarily receive various impressions. When the insanity continues for long periods of time, the repetition of the same acts may exercise a permanent infuence on a spirit. It only ends with its complete separation from all material impressions.”

376. Why does insanity sometimes lead to suicide?
“The spirit suffers from its restriction and inability to manifest itself freely. It seeks death as a means of breaking these chains.”

377. Is the imbalance that is the underlying cause of an insane person’s suffering carried over from the physical life to the spirit world?
“The spirit may continue to feel it after death until it is completely freed from matter. This is similar to how one feels drowsy when waking from a very deep sleep.”

378. How can the brain alteration act on the spirit after death?
“It is a memory that weighs heavily on a spirit. The spirit is not aware of all that took place due to the insanity, and needs a certain amount of time to recover. This is why its agitation after death is always proportionate to the length of time that it suffered in its physical life. When a spirit is free from the body, it still feels the impression of the bonds that tied it to its physical life for a period of time.”

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