17. Is the vital principle something distinct, having a separate existence before it enters the systematic unity of the generative element? Or is it only a particular state, one of the modifications of the universal cosmic fluid, which has become the principle of life, as light, fire, heat, electricity? It is in this last sense that the question is solved by the communications connected with this subject (chap. VI, “General Uranography”).
But, whatever the opinion be concerning the nature of the vital principle, we know it exists as we see the effects of it. One can then admit logically that, in forming themselves from it, organic beings have assimilated the vital principle necessary to their existence as immortal beings; or, if one wishes to say that this principle has been developed in each individual through a combination of elements under the rule of certain circumstances, one sees heat, light, and electricity develop themselves.