THE SPIRITS’ BOOK

Allan Kardec

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CHAPTER X
SPIRIT OCCUPATIONS AND MISSIONS


558. Do spirits have anything else to do besides working on their own personal betterment?
“They contribute to the harmony of the universe by carrying out the will of God, whom they serve. Spirit life is a ceaseless occupation, but nothing like the painful labor of the human life because spirits experience neither physical weariness nor the torment of physical needs.”

559. Do lower and imperfect spirits have any useful purpose in the universe?
“They all have duties to fulfll. Doesn’t the lowest mason contribute to the construction of a building as much as the architect?” (See no. 540)

560. Does each spirit have special attributes?
“We must live everywhere and acquire knowledge of all things by successively observing all the details of the universe. Nevertheless, as per the Ecclesiastes, ‘there is an appointed time for everything.’ While one spirit is accomplishing its destiny today in your world, another will or already has accomplished it during another period on Earth in the water, in the air, and so on.”

561. Are the functions fulflled by spirits permanent? Do they constitute the exclusive attributes of certain classes? “Every spirit must climb each step of the ladder to reach perfection. God, who is just, has not given science to some while forcing others to acquire it through painful effort.”

The same stands true for human beings, as no one arrives at the highest degree of skill in any art without having acquired the necessary knowledge by practicing every single concept of that art, no matter how small.

562. As the most elevated spirits have nothing more to acquire, does this mean that they are in a state of absolute rest, or do they also have occupations?
“What would you like them to be for eternity?? Eternal idleness for them would be an eternal anguish.”

a) What is the nature of their occupations?
“They receive orders directly from God, convey them throughout the universe, and oversee their fulfllment.”

563. Are spirits incessantly occupied?
“Yes, if by incessantly you mean that their thought is always active, because they live by thought. A spirit’s occupations differ from a person’s material occupations in that it is a pleasure since the spirit is cognizant of being useful.”

a) This may apply to superior spirits, but what about lower ones?
“The occupations of lower spirits correspond to their nature. Would you assign intellectual responsibilities to an illiterate day laborer?”

564. Do some spirits remain idle, partaking in nothing that is useful?
“Yes, but this is temporary and depends on the development of their intelligence. Some spirits live only for themselves, as some humans do. Still, their idleness is a burden, and the desire to advance, eventually, causes them to feel the need to be active. They are happy to make themselves useful. We are speaking of spirits who have arrived at the necessary point of self-consciousness and free will. At their origin, they are like newborn babies, and act more out of instinct than from any semblance of a resolute will.”

565. Do spirits survey and take an interest in our works of art?
“They scrutinize whatever indicates the elevation of incarnate spirits and their progress.”

566. Does a spirit who has held a special occupation on Earth, such as a painter or an architect for example, take a special interest in the felds they preferred on Earth?
“Everything is merged into one general goal. Good spirits are interested in whatever enables them to assist others in rising closer to God. Furthermore, a spirit may have practiced an art during the existence in which you knew them could have practiced another in another lifetime. Remember, spirits must know everything to be perfect. To achieve maximum advancement, they must have no specialty, which is a point I alluded to in saying that everything merges into one general goal. Take note that what seems sublime to you in your rudimentary world, would be nothing more than child’s play in higher worlds. How can you presume that spirits inhabiting these higher worlds would admire what, in their eyes, is the work of a child, when they have arts and sciences that transcend your senses? As I have already stated: they examine whatever may indicate progress.”

a) We understand that this is the case with very advanced spirits. However, what about more common spirits who have not yet risen above human ideas? “That is a different story. Their perspective is narrower in scope, and they may admire what you admire.”

567. Do spirits ever participate in our occupations and pleasures?
“Ordinary spirits, as you call them, do. They are always around you, and have a role in everything that you do (which may be more or less active). They do this to motivate men and women in the different walks of life, and to rouse or curb their passions.”

Spirits are interested in this world in proportion to their elevation or inferiority. Higher spirits have the power of looking into the smallest details of things, but only do so when they think it is useful to progress. Lower ranking spirits attribute a degree of importance to such things in proportion to what is left of their memory of this world and material notions.

568. When spirits receive a mission, do they accomplish it when errant or when incarnated?
“They may be assigned a mission in either state. For some errant spirits, this mission is a very important occupation.”

569. What missions may be assigned to errant spirits?
“It would be impossible to list them all because they are so diverse, and there are even some that you could not possibly understand. Spirits carry out God’s will, and you are not able to gain access to all of God’s designs.”

The purpose of a mission is always good. Whether as spirits or incarnate beings, they are expected to help advance the progress of humanity, nations and individuals alike, within a more or less extensive range of ideas. They pave the way for specifc events and oversee the success of specifc things. Some spirits may have a mission that is narrower in scope, and are considered personal or even localized. They help the sick, the dying or the suffering, serving as a guide and protector, and helping them fnd their way by their guidance or the honest thoughts they suggest.

There are as many spirit missions as there are interests, whether in the physical world or in the spirit world. Each spirit advances according to how it accomplishes the task with which it has been entrusted.

570. Do spirits always understand the plans they must carry out?
“No, some are blind instruments, but others fully understand their end goal.”

571. Do only elevated spirits receive missions?
“The importance of a mission is always proportionate to the capacity and elevation of the spirit. A courier who delivers a message fulflls a mission, although it is not equivalent to that of a general.”

572. Is a spirit’s mission forced upon it or chosen by it?
“It asks for it, and is happy to get it.”

a) Can several spirits ask for the same mission?
“Yes, there are often several candidates for the same mission, but they are not all chosen.”

573. What is the mission of incarnate spirits?
“Educating other incarnates, helping their advancement, and improving their institutions through direct, material means. Missions vary in scope and importance, and the individual who works as a farmer accomplishes a mission just as a politician or a teacher does. Everything in nature is connected and all spirits, while purifying themselves through incarnation, contribute to the accomplishment of God’s plans. Each of you has a mission because each of you can be useful in one way or another.”

574. What is the mission of those who are deliberately idle on Earth?
“There are human beings who live only for themselves, and do not make themselves useful in any manner whatsoever. They should be pitied, because they will have to make amends for their voluntary uselessness through severe suffering. Their atonement often begins even in their present life, through their weariness and disgust of life.”

a) Why did they choose a life that could not be of any use to them, since they had the freedom of choice?
“Just like human beings, some spirits are lazy and avoid a life of labor. God leaves them to their devices because they eventually learn the consequences of their uselessness, and then eagerly ask to be allowed to make up for lost time. They may even have chosen a more useful life, but abandoned the trial and allowed themselves to be misled by spirits who encouraged them to remain inactive.”

575. Common occupations seem to be duties rather than missions. A mission, as we defne it, is characterized by a less exclusive and personal importance. How can we discover if a person really has a mission on Earth?
“By the great things they accomplish and the progress they bring to their fellow human beings.”

576. Are individuals who have an important mission predestined to this mission before their birth, and are they aware of it?
“In some cases, yes, but they are more often unaware of it. They are only vaguely conscious of arriving on Earth and their mission is revealed to them gradually after birth, depending on the circumstances. God leads them to the road that they should follow in order to be capable of carrying out God’s plans.”

577. When a person does something useful, is it a predestined mission or can it be an unanticipated one?
“Not all productive activities engaged in by human beings are the result of a predestined mission. Individuals are often the instruments of spirits who use them to obtain something they consider useful. For example, a spirit might seek out a writer to publish a book that it considers useful and would write it itself if incarnated. The spirit fnds the writer who could best understand and develop its idea, suggests the plan of the book, and direct its completion. In such a case, the writer did not come into the world with the mission of doing this work. It is the same with regard to various works of art or scientifc discoveries. While asleep, the incarnate spirit directly communicates with the errant spirit, and they collaborate in the endeavor.”

578. Can a spirit fail in its mission based on its own fault?
“Yes, if it is not a superior spirit.”

a) What are the consequences of such a failure?
“It must start its task over again as atonement. It also has to suffer the consequences of the harm caused by its failure.”

579. Since each spirit receives its mission from God, how can God have allocated an important mission to a spirit capable of failure?
“Does God not know whether a general will be victorious or defeated? Rest assured that God foresees all things, and that the carrying out of God’s plans is never confded to those who will leave their work half completed, especially when they are important. You have trouble accepting the concept of God’s knowledge of the future because you cannot understand it.”

580. When a spirit incarnates to complete a mission, does it feel the same anxiety as a spirit about to endure a trial?
“No, because it has experience.”

581. It is obvious that those who enlighten the human race by their genius have a mission, but there are many who make mistakes, and while they may discover important truths, they spread serious errors. How should we view their missions?
“As having been falsifed by themselves. They are not ft for the task they have undertaken. In judging them, however, you must take into account the circumstances in which they were placed. People of genius have had to impart knowledge according to the strictures of their time, and while teachings may later appear to be erroneous or foolish, they may have been suitable for the time when they were discovered.”

582. Can parenthood be considered a mission?
“There is no question that it is a mission. It is a serious duty, the responsibilities of which will exercise a much more signifcant impact on people’s future than a person might think. God has placed children under the guidance of its parents so that they can direct the child to goodness and integrity. God has even facilitated their task by giving the child a weak and gentle physical makeup, completely open to new impressions. However, there are many parents who put more effort into pruning trees in their gardens and making them bear a large crop of fruit, than the time they devote to molding the character of their children. If the child fails and it is the fault of the parents, they will suffer the atonement of their failure, and the suffering of the child in a future life will be assigned to them because they have not done their part in helping the child advance on the road to happiness.”

583. If children go wrong, despite their parents’ care, are the parents responsible?
“No, but the more hateful the disposition of their children and the more diffcult their task, the greater their reward if they succeed in keeping them away from wrongdoing.” a) If children become good adults, despite the negligence or the bad example of their parents, do the parents obtain any beneft therefrom? “God is fair.”

584. What is the mission of the conqueror whose only goal is to satisfy his ambition, and who, in order to reach that end, does not finch at inficting the misfortunes and disasters that he leaves in his wake?
“He is only an instrument used by God for the accomplishment of His designs, and these disasters are sometimes a means of making a country advance more rapidly.”

a) The good that may result from these passing events is extraneous to the person who was used to produce them, since it was nothing but a personal goal for him. Despite this, will he proft from that result?
“All are rewarded according to their works, the good they have wished to do, and the honor of their intentions.”

Incarnate spirits have occupations intrinsic to the nature of their physical existence. When errant or dematerialized, their occupations are proportionate to their degree of advancement. Some of them travel from world to world, acquiring education and preparing for a new incarnation. More advanced ones devote themselves to progress of humanity by directing the course of events, and suggesting promising ideas. They assist incarnates of genius who help humankind as a whole advance.
Others incarnate with a mission of progress.
Others watch over individuals, families, societies, cities, countries, and populations, and become their guardian angels, protective spirits and familiar spirits.
Still others supervise the phenomena of nature, of which they are the immediate agents. The lower ranking spirits busy themselves with our engagements, and take part in our pleasures.
Impure and imperfect spirits suffer while waiting for the moment when God will give them the means of advancing. If they cause harm to others, it is out of spite of the happiness that they are not yet able to enjoy.

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