What is Spiritism?

Allan Kardec

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108. Where is the seat of the soul?
The soul is not, as is generally believed, located in any one part of the body. Along with the perispirit, it forms a fluidic, penetrable whole assimilating the entire body, with which it comprises a complex being and from which death is no more than a sort of split. One may visualize two like bodies interpenetrating each other, joined during life and separated after death. In death, one is destroyed while the other remains.

During life, the soul acts more specially upon the organs of thought and sentiment. It is simultaneously internal and external; that is, it radiates outward. It can even leave the body, travel far and manifest its presence somewhere else, as observation and somnambulistic phenomena have shown.

109. Is the soul created at the same time as the body or before? Apart from the existence of the soul, this question is one of the most crucial, because its solution leads to the most important consequences. It is the only key to a multitude of problems unsolvable until now for lack of being considered.

There are two possibilities: either the soul exists or does not exist before the body's formation — there can be no middle ground. With the preexistence of the soul, everything is explained logically and naturally; without it, it is even impossible to justify certain dogmas of the Church. It is this very impossibility of justification that has led so many thinking people to disbelief.

The Spirits have resolved the question in the affirmative, and neither the phenomena nor logic can leave any doubt about it. However, once we accept the soul's preexistence as a simple hypothesis at least, we will see that most difficulties disappear.

110. If the soul exists prior to the body, then before its union with the body did it possess its individuality and self-awareness?

Without individuality and self-awareness, the results would be the same, as if it had not existed in the first place.

111. Prior to its union with the body, had the soul achieved any progress or had it been stationary?

The fact of the soul's prior progress is both the consequence of observation of the phenomena and the Spirits' teachings.

112. Did God create all souls morally and intellectually equal or did God create some more perfect and intelligent than others?

If God had created some souls more perfect than others, such favoritism would not be compatible with God's justice. Since all are God's creatures, why would God exempt some from labor while imposing it on others in order to achieve eternal happiness? The inequality of souls at their origin would be a negation of God's justice.

113. If all souls are created equal, how can the diversity of aptitudes and natural predisposition amongst earths humankind be explained?

This diversity is the consequence of the progress the soul accomplished before its union with the body. Souls more advanced in intelligence and morality are those who lived longer and progressed more prior to their incarnation.

114. What is the state of the soul at its origin?
Souls are created simple and ignorant, that is, without knowledge or an understanding of good and evil, but with an equal aptitude for all things. At their beginning, they are in a sort of infancy with neither their own will nor perfect awareness of their existence. Little by little, their free will develops along with their ideas.

115. Did the soul accomplish its previous progress in the soul state per se, or in a previous corporeal existence?

Besides the Spirits' teachings regarding this point, the study of the differing degrees of humans' advancement on the earth demonstrates that the soul's previous progress must have been accomplished over a series of corporeal existences that varied in number according to the degree they have reached. Such deduction is the result of having observed the phenomena occurring before our eyes every day.

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