18. Modern science has done justice to the four primitive elements of the ancients, and from observation to observation it has arrived at the conception of one generative element alone in all the transformations of matter; but matter by itself is inert, it has neither life, thought, nor sentiment; its union with the spiritual principle is a necessity. Spiritism has not invented this principle, but was the first to demonstrate it by undeniable proofs. It has studied it, analyzed it, and revealed it in evident action. To the material element it has come to add the spiritual element. The material and spiritual elements are the two living principles or forces of nature. By the indissoluble union of these two elements, we can explain without difficulty a crowd of facts hitherto inexplicable.* In its essence simply, and as having for object the study of one of these two constituent elements of the universe, Spiritism lays forcible hold of the greater part of the sciences, and, above all, after they had exhibited their powerlessness to explain all things by the laws of matter alone.
* The word element is not herewith taken to mean simple elementary body, consisting of primitive molecules, but to mean a constituent part of a whole. Accordingly, it can be said that the spiritual element has an active part in the economy of the universe; as one can say that both, the civil and the military elements are part of the statistics of a population; or that the religious element partakes in the education; or that there exists both the Arab and the European elements in Argelia.