THE SPIRITS’ BOOK

Allan Kardec

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CHAPTER II
GENERAL ELEMENTS OF THE UNIVERSE
Knowledge of the First Principle of Things - Spirit and Matter - Properties of Matter - Universal Space


Knowledge of the First Principle of Things

17. Does humankind have the ability to understand the frst principle of things?
“No. There are things that God does not reveal to human beings here in this world.”

18. Will human beings ever be able to penetrate the mystery of things that are concealed from them?
“The veil will be lifted as human beings achieve their purifcation, but to understand certain things they need faculties that they do not yet possess.”

19. Can humankind penetrate some of the secrets of nature through scientifc investigations and research?
“Science is a means of development for human beings, but they cannot surpass the limits set by God.”

The farther humans penetrate the investigation of these mysteries, the greater their veneration of the power and wisdom of the Creator should be. However, due to pride and weakness, human intelligence often leads to misconceptions. Humans pile systems on top of systems and every single day they learn how many errors they have mistaken for truths, and how many truths they have dismissed as errors. This amounts to more disappointment than human pride can bear.

20. Through means other than scientifc investigation, is humankind able to receive communications of a higher order that transcend human senses?
“Yes. When God deems it useful. God reveals to human beings what science is incapable of teaching them.”

Through these communications, humans are able to obtain knowledge of their past and future destiny, to a certain degree.

Spirit and Matter

21. Like God, has matter existed for all eternity, or was it created at some fxed point in time?
“Only God knows. However, one fact that reason should point out is that God, the ultimate paradigm of love and charity, is never inactive, no matter how far back in time you may imagine the beginning of God’s action started. Can you deduce that God is ever idle, even for a single moment?”

22. Matter is generally defned as being “that which makes an impression on our senses,” or “that which is impenetrable.” Are these defnitions accurate?
“From your point of view they are accurate because you can only provide a defnition according to what you know. Matter exists in states that are unfamiliar to you. It may be, for instance, so ethereal and subtle that it makes no impression on your senses. It is still matter, even though it would not be such for you.”
a) What defnition can you give of matter?
“Matter is the link that bonds the spirit. It is the instrument that serves it and at the same time it carries out its action.” From this point of view, one could say that matter is the agent or intermediary through and upon which the spirit acts.

23. What is the spirit?
“The intelligent principle of the universe.”

a) What is the essential nature of the spirit?
“Your language is incapable of properly defning the spirit. It is nothing to you because it is not a tangible thing, but for us it is something. Remember this, nothing is nothingness, and nothingness does not exist.”

24. Is spirit synonymous with intelligence?
“Intelligence is an essential attribute of the spirit. In your world they are used interchangeably as a common principle, so much so that for you they are the same thing.”

25. Is the spirit independent of matter, or is it only a property, as colors are a property of light and sound is a property of air? “They are distinct from one another, but the union of the spirit and matter is vital to give intelligent activity to matter.”

a) Is this union also necessary for the manifestation of the spirit? (Spirit here refers to the principle of intelligence, rather than the spiritual individualities usually designated by that term.)
“For you, yes, because your physical makeup is not designed to perceive the spirit apart from matter. Your senses are not designed for that.”

26. Can a spirit be conceptualized without matter, and vice versa?
“Of course, by thought.”

27. Therefore, are there two general elements of the universe: matter and the spirit?
“Yes, and God, the Creator of all things is above them. These three elements are the principle of all that exists – the universal trinity. However, the universal fuid must be added to the material elements, it acts as the intermediary between spirit and matter, as the body is too crude for the spirit to be able to act directly on it. Although this fuid may be classifed as part of the material element from another perspective, it is distinguished by certain special properties. If it were simply classifed as matter, there would be no reason why the spirit could not also be classifed as matter. It is something placed between the spirit and matter. It is fuid, just as matter is material, and through countless combinations under the action of the spirit, it can produce an infnite variety of things of which you only know a very small portion. Without this universal, primitive or elementary fuid, the agent employed by the spirit, matter would permanently remain divided, and would never acquire the properties given to it by gravity.”

a) Is this fuid what we call electricity?
“We have said that it is open to countless blends or arrangements. What you call electric fuid, magnetic fuid, and so on, are modifcations of the universal fuid, which is only matter of a more perfect and subtle nature. It may be regarded as being independent.”

28. Since the spirit itself is something, would it be more accurate and less confusing to call these two general elements inert matter and intelligent matter? “Words are of little importance to us. You must formulate your expressions so that you may understand one another. Your disputes almost always arise from the lack of a common agreement over the use of words, because your language is incapable of describing that which transcends your senses.”

One obvious fact governs all our hypotheses. Matter in and of itself is not intelligent. Therefore, we see an intelligent principle independent of matter. The origin and connection of these two elements are unknown to us. As to whether they have a common source, or the necessary points of contact, whether intelligence has an independent existence, or is only a property or an effect, or even whether it is an emanation of the Divinity, we have no answers for these questions. They appear to be distinct to us, and we therefore consider them to be two crucial elements of the universe. We see a supreme intelligence above all this that governs all things and is distinguished from them by essential attributes. This supreme intelligence is what we call God.


Properties of Matter

29. Is ponderability an essential attribute of matter?
“Yes, for matter as you understand it, but not matter that is considered the universal fuid. The ethereal and subtle matter forming this fuid cannot be measured by you, and yet it is the source of your matter that can be weighed.” Gravity is a relative property. Beyond the realm of gravitational pull between planets and stars, there is no such thing as weight, just as there is neither up nor down.

30. Is matter composed of one or several elements?
“One single primordial element. The bodies that you see as simple are not truly elements, but transformations of the primordial matter.”

31. From where do the different properties of matter originate?
“They originate from changes undergone by elementary molecules as a result of their union, and under certain conditions.”

32. According to this interpretation, are favors, odors, colors, sounds, and the toxic or benefcial qualities of bodies solely the result of modifcations of the same basic substance?
“Precisely. These senses only exist according to the design of the organs intended to perceive them.” This principle is demonstrated by the fact that everyone does not perceive the qualities of material items in the same manner. While something may appear to taste good to one person, it may be horrible to another; what appears blue to one person appears red to another. That which is poisonous for some, is harmless or even healthy for others.


33. Can the same elementary matter undergo all possible changes and acquire all properties? “Yes, and it is this fact that is implied in the saying ‘everything is in everything.’” (1)

Oxygen, hydrogen, nitrogen, carbon, and all the other masses that we see as elements are merely variations of one primordial substance. As we have found it impossible to arrive at this elemental matter other than as an intellectual deduction, they appear to be elementary. We may therefore continue to regard them as such for now.

a) This theory appears to support the opinion of those who acknowledge only two essential properties in matter, force and movement, and who regard all other properties of matter as purely secondary effects, varying according to the intensity of the force and direction of movement.
“This opinion is exact. We must also add according to molecular arrangement, for instance, in an opaque body that may become transparent and vice versa.”

______________________________________________
(1) This principle explains the phenomenon known by all magnetizers and that consists in giving radically different properties to any substance, such as a specifc taste to water, and even the active qualities of other substances. Since there is only one primordial element, and the properties of different bodies are only variations of this element, the most inoffensive substance has the same foundation as the most noxious. Water, which is one part oxygen and two parts hydrogen, becomes corrosive when someone doubles the proportion of oxygen. A similar transformation may occur by the magnetic action directed by the will. A.K.


34. Do molecules have a defnite form?
“Of course they have a form, but it cannot be assessed by you.”

a) Is this form constant or variable?
“Constant for primordial elementary molecules, but variable for secondary molecules that are only aggregations of the primary ones. What you call a molecule is very far from being an elementary molecule.”

Universal Space


35. Is universal space infnite or limited?
“Infnite. Assume, for a moment, that there are boundaries. What would be beyond them? This perplexes your reason, which tells you that it cannot be otherwise. The same is true with regard to infnity in all things. The idea of infnity cannot be grasped in your narrow world.”

If we imagine a limit to space, no matter how far away this limit may be, reason dictates that there must always be something beyond it until we arrive at the idea of infnity because this something, even if only an absolute void, would still be space.

36. Does an absolute void exist anywhere in the universe?
“No. What appears to be a void to you is occupied by matter that your senses and instruments are incapable of detecting.”



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