THE SPIRITS’ BOOK

Allan Kardec

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CHAPTER IX
VIII. LAW OF EQUALITY
Natural Equality - Inequality of Aptitudes - Social Inequality - Economic Inequality - Trials of Wealth and Poverty - Equal Rights for Men and Women - Equality in Death

Natural Equality

803. Are all human beings equal in God’s eyes?
“Yes, they all have the same goal and God’s laws are for everyone. You often say, ‘The sun shines for everyone’ and this expression reveals a truth that is much broader and general than you realize.”

All human beings are subjected to the same natural laws. They are all born with the same weakness and are subject to the same suffering. The body of a wealthy person dies like that of the poor. God has not given anyone any natural superiority concerning either birth or death; all are equal in God’s eyes.

Inequality of Aptitudes

804. Why has God not given the same abilities and talents to all humankind?
“God has created all spirits equal, but some have lived longer and consequently acquired more or fewer aptitudes. The difference between them lies in their various degrees of experience, and the use of their free will; from there some are perfected more quickly, which gives them a wide range of skills. This mix is necessary, so that all human beings may contribute to God’s plans within the limits of their physical and intellectual strength. Individuals make their own contribution; whatever one cannot do another can. In addition, as all the worlds of the universe are connected by solidarity, beings from higher worlds, most of which were created before yours, must come and serve as an example for you.” (See no. 361)

805. In passing from a higher world to a lower one, do spirits preserve the faculties they had acquired?
“Yes, we have already told you that spirits who have progressed cannot regress. As spirits they may choose a physical envelope that is more insensitive, or a position that is more uncertain, but each variation is intended to teach them a new lesson and help them to progress.” (See no. 180)

The diversity of human abilities is the result of the various degrees of perfection achieved by the spirits, rather than something intrinsic to the creation of humankind. God has not created the inequality of human faculties. God permits spirits of different degrees of development to be in contact with each other, so that the more advanced may help those who lag behind, and so that all human beings may understand the law of charity that is destined to unite them.

Social Inequality

806. Is the inequality of social conditions a law of nature?
“No, it was created by human beings, not God.”

a) Will this inequality eventually vanish?
“Only God’s laws are eternal. Have you not noticed that it is being steadily erased every day? Your present inequalities will vanish with the disappearance of pride and selfishness. The only inequality that will remain is that of merit. A day will come when the members of God’s family will no longer view themselves as more or less pure. They will know that it is only the spirit that is more or less pure, and that this is in no way related to social standing.”

807. What should we think of those who abuse the superiority of their social standing to oppress the weak for profit?
“They deserve to be condemned! Their fate will be miserable, because they will in turn be oppressed, and they will be re-born into an existence where they will suffer all that they have caused others to suffer.” (See no. 684)


Economic Inequality


808. Is economic inequality a result of the inequality of faculties, which gives some individuals more means of acquiring wealth than others?
“Yes and no. What about fraud and robbery? What do you say about them?”

a) Is inherited wealth not the fruit of evil passions?
“How do you know that? Trace their source and you will see whether it is pure or not. How do you know whether they were earned by plundering or the fruit of an injustice? Regardless of their origin, do you think that pining for wealth, even when honestly acquired, is admirable? This is what God judges and Divine judgment is often more severe than that of human beings.”

809. If a fortune has been obtained illegally or fraudulently, are those who subsequently inherit it held accountable?
“They are in no way responsible for the wrong that may have been done by others, and of which they may not even be aware. Often, fortune is granted to specific individuals for the sole purpose of giving them the opportunity of making amends for an injustice. If these individuals understand this, good for them! If these individuals do it in the name of the person who committed the injustice, the reparation will be counted to both of them, because it is often the latter who, now in the spiritual world, has stimulated the incarnate ones to work towards this reparation.”

810. Without breaking the law we can dispose of our assets more or less equitably. Are we accountable for the use we have made of it after we die?
“Every action bears fruit. The fruit of good deeds is sweet, while that of others is always bitter. Never forget that.”

811. Is absolute economic equality possible? Has it ever existed?
“No, it is not possible. The variety of faculties and personalities makes it impossible.”

a) There are those who believe that it is the remedy for all the problems of society. What do you think of that?
“Anyone who believes that is either motivated by both ambition and jealousy or is responsible for the creation of systems. They do not understand that the equality they dream of is quickly decimated by the circumstances of life. Fight selfishness, because that is the plague of your society and do not chase after pipe dreams.”

812. If economic equality is not possible, is equal well-being also impossible?
“No, but well-being is relative, and every one can enjoy it if people can reach a good understanding among themselves. True well-being entails dedicating your time according to you passion, not work that you dislike and for which you have no talent. Everyone has different abilities and talents, so that no worthwhile work is left undone. Equilibrium exists in everything, but the human race disturbs it.”

a) Is it possible for human beings to reach a mutual understanding?
“They will arrive at it when they practice the law of justice.”

813. There are those who fall into poverty and misery through no fault other than their own. Is society responsible in such cases?
“Yes, we have already said that society is often the primary cause of such failures. Besides, society is responsible for providing the moral education of all its members. Society often warps its judgment through poor education, instead of correcting their malicious inclinations.” (See no. 685)


Trials of Wealth and Poverty


814. Why has God given wealth and power to some, and poverty to others?
“To try them in different ways. What is more, as you know, it is the spirits themselves who select those trials, which they often fail.”

815. What trials should human beings dread the most, wealth or poverty?
“They are equally dangerous. Poverty inspires complaints against Providence, while wealth stimulates all kinds of excesses.”

816. While rich people have more temptations to do evil, do they also have more means of doing good?
“That is precisely what they do not always do. They often become selfish, proud, and greedy. Their wants increase with their fortunes, and they never think they have enough, even for themselves."

Elevation in this world and authority over our fellow beings are trials that are just as difficult as those of misfortune are. The richer and more powerful we are, the more obligations we have to fulfill, and the greater our means of doing both good and evil. God tries poor people by submission, and the rich by the use they make of their wealth and power.

Wealth and power breed all the passions that bind us to matter, and keep us from reaching spiritual perfection. This is why Jesus said: “It is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for one who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.”(See no. 266)

Equal Rights for Men and Women

817. Are men and women equals in God’s eyes and do they have the same rights?
“Has God not given them both the knowledge of good and evil, and the ability to advance?”

818. Where does the moral inferiority of women in some countries originate?
“In the cruel and unjust authority that man has seized over them. This is a result of social institutions and the abusive exercise of strength over weakness. Among morally inferior men, might makes right.”

819. Why women are physically weaker than men are?
“So that she may be assigned special functions. Men are built for rough work as they are stronger, while women are built for lighter work. Both may help each other through the trials of a bitter life.”

820. Does a woman’s physical weakness make her naturally dependent on a man?
“God has given strength to some to protect the weak, but not to reduce them to slavery and suppression.”

God has created the physical makeup of each being for the role it has to carry out. God has given less physical strength to women, however, they were made more sensitive, in harmony with their maternal functions and the weakness of the beings confided to her care.

821. Is a woman’s natural role as important as that given to man?
“Yes, even more so because she gives him his first notions of life.”

822. As all human beings are equals according to God’s law, should they also be such according to human made law?
“This is the cornerstone of justice. Do unto others what you want others to do unto you.”

a) In order to be perfectly just, should legislation establish the equality of rights between men and women?
“Equality of rights, yes, but with respect to functions it should be noted that while there are many similarities between the sexes there are also distinct differences. Each sex should be encouraged to develop according to their special abilities and strengths. Human made law, to be just, should establish equal rights for men and women. Any privilege granted to either sex conflicts with justice. Women’s rights and freedom are in line with the progress of civilization as her oppression is a condition of barbarism. In addition, gender only exists through the physical makeup. Since spirits can assume that of either sex, there is no difference between them in this respect, and they should enjoy the same rights.”

Equality in Death

823. Where does the desire of immortalizing one’s memory through funeral monuments originate?
“It is the last act of pride.”

a) Is the extravagance of funeral monuments more commonly due to relatives who want to honor the memory of their deceased loved ones, than to the desire of the deceased themselves?
“It is an act of pride on the part of relatives who want to glorify themselves. These demonstrations are not always for the deceased rather they gratify their own vanity by making an impression on others and displaying wealth. Do you think that the memory of their loved ones is less strong in the hearts of the poor, because they can only place a single flower to lie upon their graves? Do you think that marble can save the name of a person who has led a useless life on Earth from oblivion?”

824. Is funeral pomp and circumstance reprehensible under all circumstances?
“No, it is fair when honoring the life of dignified individuals, and it conveys a good example.”

The grave is the inevitable end of all human distinctions and the destiny of all human beings. Erecting ostentatious monuments is a vain attempt by wealthy individuals to immortalize the memory of their lives. Time will destroy these monuments as surely as it will destroy their bodies. The memories of their deeds, whether good or bad, are more resistant than their tombs. The pomp of their funerals will neither wash away their immoral actions nor raise them a single step on the ladder of the spirit hierarchy. (See no. 320 et seq.)

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