THE SPIRITS’ BOOK

Allan Kardec

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The communicating beings call themselves spirits or geniuses, as we have already remarked. In many cases, these spirits belonged to human beings who at one time lived on Earth. They make up the spiritual world, as we make up the physical world during our earthly life.

We will now briefy summarize the critical points of Spiritism that the spirits have communicated to us in order that we may easily counter certain objections.

“God is eternal, absolute, immaterial, unique, all-powerful, supremely just and good.”

“God has created the universe, which comprises all beings, animate and inanimate, material and immaterial.”

“Material beings make up the visible or physical world, and immaterial beings make up the invisible or spiritual world, in other words, the spirit world.”

“The spiritual world is the normal, original and eternal world, preexistent to and surviving everything else.”

“The physical world is only secondary. It could cease to exist, or never have existed, and this would have no effect on the essence of the spiritual world.”

“Spirits temporarily don an ephemeral material envelope, which is destroyed upon death and their freedom is restored.”

“Among the different species of corporeal beings, God has chosen humankind to embody spirits that have reached a particular degree of development. This is what gives humankind its moral and intellectual superiority over all others.”

“The soul is an incarnated spirit whose body solely serves as an envelope.”

“A human being is made up of three things:
1) The body, or material being, similar to animals and animated by the same vital principle;
2) The soul, or immaterial being, a spirit incarnated in the body;
3) The link that bonds the soul and the body together, the liaison between matter and spirit.”

“People therefore has two natures: their bodies give them a physical or animal nature, of which they possess the instincts, and their soul gives them a spiritual nature.”

“The perispirit is a semi-material envelope connecting the body and the spirit. Death is the destruction of the body’s material envelope, but the spirit keeps its second envelope, the perispirit. This envelope is an ethereal body that is invisible to us in its normal state, but spirits can occasionally render it visible, and even tangible, such as the case of apparitions.”


“A spirit is not an abstract, undefned being, conjured up by our imaginations. It is a real, distinct being that, in some cases, can be seen, heard, and touched.”

“Spirits belong to different classes, and are not equal in power, intelligence, knowledge or integrity. Those of the highest order are superior spirits, set apart from those beneath them by their perfection, knowledge, proximity to God, and love of goodness. They are angels or pure spirits. The other classes are progressively further removed from this perfection. Lower ranking spirits are inclined to most of our passions: hatred, envy, jealousy, pride, and so on. They take pleasure in immorality and wrongdoing. There are some who are neither good nor bad, but are mischievous and troublesome rather than malicious. These spirits may be classifed as capricious or foolish spirits.”

“Spirits do not permanently belong to the same order. They are all destined to ultimately reach perfection by passing through the different degrees of the spirit hierarchy. This betterment takes place through incarnation, which is imposed on some as an atonement and on others as a mission. Material life is a trial that must be experienced many times until absolute perfection has been attained. It is a type of flter from which spirits emerge more or less purifed.”

“Upon leaving the body, the soul returns to the spirit world from which it originated, and from which it will enter into a new material existence after a given period of time, during which it will be a wandering spirit.”

“Spirits must incarnate many times; consequently we all have had numerous existences and will have others, more or less perfect, either on Earth or in other worlds.”

“The incarnation of spirits always takes place in the human race. It would be wrong to presume that a soul or spirit could be incarnated in the body of an animal.” (1)

“The succession of a spirit’s corporeal lives are always progressive and never regressive, but the speed of our progress depends on the effort that we put forward to reach perfection.”

“The qualities of our soul are those of the spirit incarnated within us. Therefore, a good person is the incarnation of a good spirit, and a bad person is the incarnation of an impure spirit.”

“The soul has its own individuality before incarnation. This individuality is preserved after its separation from the body.”

“On its return to the spirit world, the soul is reunited with all those it has known on Earth, and all its former lives are eventually recalled, along with the recollection of all the good and bad that it has done.”

“An incarnated spirit is under the complete infuence of matter. Individuals who are able to overcome this infuence, through the elevation and purifcation of their soul, are one step closer to the good spirits, among whom they will one day be placed. Those who allow themselves to be controlled by bad passions and fnd satisfaction in physical appetites lower themselves to the level of impure spirits by allowing their animal natures to reign.”

“Incarnated spirits live in the different worlds of the universe.”

“Wandering spirits, or those that are not incarnated, do not dwell in any fxed region. They are found throughout space and all around us, seeing us and interacting with us on a constant basis. They constitute an invisible population that is constantly active around us.”

“Spirits incessantly exert action over the moral and physical worlds. Acting upon both matter and thought, they constitute one of the powers of nature that effectively causes many phenomena which currently remain unexplained or misinterpreted, and for which only Spiritism provides a rational explanation.”

“Spirits are incessantly involved in relations with humanity. Good spirits try to lead us to what is right, support us through the trials of life, and help us bear these trials with courage and submission. The immoral ones tempt us to do wrong. For them it is a pleasure to see us fail and, thus become more like them.”

“Spirit communications with human beings can be either imperceptible or obvious. They make indiscernible communications through the good or bad infuence that they exert on us without our cognizance. It is our duty to distinguish between good and bad inspirations by exercising our judgment. Obvious communications take place by means of writing, speech, or other physical manifestations, usually through mediums who serve as their instruments.”

“Spirits express themselves spontaneously or in response to being contacted. All spirits may be contacted, from those who have animated the most obscure individuals to those who have been the most famous characters, regardless of the time period in which they lived. Even our own relatives, friends and enemies may be contacted. Through written or verbal communication, we obtain guidance, information regarding their situation beyond the grave, their thoughts regarding us, and whatever revelations they are allowed to make.”

“Spirits are attracted through empathy for the moral nature of those who contact them. Superior spirits enjoy serious-minded sessions, driven by the love of goodness and the genuine desire to learn and improve. Their presence deters inferior spirits, who, on the contrary, are attracted to free access and may freely act on frivolous individuals or those guided by mere curiosity, and wherever immoral instincts are found. Instead of obtaining good advice or useful information from these spirits, nothing is to be expected from them but trivial diversions, lies, tricks, or hoaxes, as they often assume the names of the most respected and recognized individuals in order to more effortlessly lead people astray.”

“It is very easy to distinguish between good and wicked spirits. The type of language that superior spirits employ is always proper, honorable, characterized by the highest integrity, and free of any trace of human passions. Their guidance provides the purest wisdom, and their frst priority is always to aid in our improvement for the good of humankind. In contrast, the communications of inferior spirits are full of inconsistencies, and their language is often thoughtless, trivial and even vulgar. While they sometimes say things that are good and true, they more often make false and ridiculous statements prompted by ignorance or malice. They prey upon the gullibility of those who question them, amusing themselves by fattering their vanity, and duping them with false hopes. In short, enlightening communication is only obtained through serious, thoughtful interactions, in which the participants are connected by an intimate association whose purpose is the pursuit of goodness.”

“The moral philosophy of superior spirits may be summed up, as that of Christ, in the gospel proverb, ‘Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.’ In other words, do good to all and wrong to no one. This provides humankind with a universal rule of conduct, applicable even to those matters which seem the most insignifcant.”

“They teach us that selfshness, pride, and sensuality are passions that cause us to regress to our animal nature by attaching us to matter. Those who detach themselves from matter in their human lives by showing disdain for trivialities and by loving their neighbors bring themselves closer to their spiritual nature. We should all strive to be useful, according to the abilities and means that God has given us. The strong and powerful must help and protect the weak, while those who abuse their strength and power to oppress their fellow human beings violate God’s law. They teach us that nothing is hidden in the spirit world, that hypocrites are exposed, and that everyone’s wretched deeds are disclosed. The inevitable and perpetual presence of those whom we have wronged during our human life is one of the punishments that await us in the spirit world. The lower or higher classifcation of a spirit directly correlates to the experience of sufferings and joys unknown to us on Earth.”

“They also teach us that there are no unforgivable mistakes which cannot be erased by atonement. We accomplish this during the different existences that permit us to progressively advance, according to our desire and the effort we put forward to reach our ultimate goal: perfection.”

This is the summary of Spiritism, as contained in the teachings imparted by the superior spirits. We will now explore the objections to it.


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(1) The difference between reincarnation and metempsychosis is signifcant and is explained later in this book. A.K.

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