Allan Kardec

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5. With the aid of the knowledge thus derived, we have ascertained that humans are compound beings, consisting of a body and a spirit; that the spirit is the principal element of this compound existence, its reasoning and intelligent element; that the body is merely a material envelope which is temporarily assumed by the spirit for the accomplishment of its mission upon the Earth and the execution of the labors that are necessary for its advancement. The body, eventually wearing out, is destroyed, and the spirit outlives its destruction. Without the spirit, the body is only a mass of inert matter, like an instrument deprived of the arm that made it act. Without the body, the spirit is still itself; that is to say, the essential element of the compound being called man, viz., life and intelligence. On quitting its material envelope the spirit returns to the spirit-world, which it had quitted in order to incarnate itself in a corporeal body.

There is, then, the corporeal world, composed of spirits incarnated in corporeal bodies, and the spirit-world, composed of spirits who have put off their corporeal body. The beings of the corporeal world, in virtue of their material envelope, are attached to the Earth or to some similar globe; the spirit world is everywhere, around us and in space, and has no boundaries or limits of any kind. In virtue of the fluidic nature of their bodily envelope, the beings that compose that world, instead of creeping laboriously upon the ground, transport themselves through space with the rapidity of thought. The death of the body is the rupture of the bonds that held them captive.

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