Short manuscript on the evolution of the intelligent principle
Abstract —This manuscript addresses the main concepts of spiritual evolution, that is, spiritual evolution per se, natural selection, and the evolution of the intelligent principle. It shows that Darwin’s work is in direct agreement with spiritual evolution, as mentioned by the spirit Emmanuel. Further, is proves, with base on the Spiritism doctrine’s main books, that all beings of creation, whether intelligent principle or spirit, evolve following the same law of progress, in the same direction.
Index Terms—Intelligent principle, natural selection, spiritual evolution.
The topic of the evolution of the spirit has always been of great interest for philosophers and theologians. And since the subject presents correlations with the origin of species, it is also of great interest to scientists, with the difference that the latter focus only on the impacts of evolution imprinted in the material body.
Spiritism is based on rational faith, where natural laws discovered by science are questioned, reflected upon and used to complement the teachings provided by the spirits, compiled in the five books written by Allan Kardec that compose the basis for Spiritist Doctrine: The Spirit’s Book, The Medium’s Book, The Gospel According to Spiritism, Heaven and Hell, and Genesis. Besides the basic books by Kardec, the books psycographed by the medium Francisco Candido Xavier (or just Chico Xavier) are also accepted by most as being of extreme importance in the understanding of the spiritual world and its correlation with the material world, more specifically, the books dictated by the spirits Andre Luis and Emmanuel.
This manuscript, based on Kardec’s books and the psycographed books by Chico Xavier, aims to bring forth the basic concepts of the evolution of the intelligent principle and the confirmation that it evolves into a spirit. In other words, the confirmation found in Kardec’s spiritist codification, and the work of the spirits Andre Luis and Emmanuel, that the intelligent principle inhabiting all species on the planet evolve to be, one day, a human spirit.
II. SPIRITUAL EVOLUTION
The first, and most important, concept to be addressed is the spiritual evolution. For that, the most important reference to be studied is the “Spirit’s Book” (Kardec, The Spirit’s Book, 1857). The evolution of the spirit is first mentioned in the Section VI of the introduction of the Spirit’s Book, where Kardec, summarizing the information gathered by the Spirit of Truth (or just the spirits), tells us that spirits, referring to all humanity, go through several degrees of spiritual development, from the lower levels, or primitive spirits, to angels. The process is based on successive incarnations, where the spirit, through many lives on earth, may experience a trial, expiation, or mission. In each incarnation, there is a lesson to be learned. This process is understood, in Spiritism, as spiritual evolution, as the more the spirit approaches the angelical level, the closer to God they find themselves. This implies that the spirits that reach that level are more adapted to execute and live under God’s will, hence, they are happier. Therefore, this process is understood as a betterment. The spiritual evolution is discussed later on in the Spirit’s Book under the topic The Law of Progress.
In the same section, Kardec adds: “The incarnation of spirits always occurs in the human species. It would be an error to believe that the soul or spirit could incarnate in the body of an animal”. In this statement, Kardec points out that humans are different than animals spiritually, therefore, a spirit cannot incarnate in the body of an animal. However, that raises a question: if spirits are different than animals, what are animals? Are they subject to the same law of progress? To answer that, and other questions, is the main purpose of this work. Thus, the study must proceed further into the Spirit’s Book.
III. NATURAL SELECTION
In Question #44, when Kardec asks where do the living beings who live on earth came from, the spirits respond that all organic elements that form the prototypes of the living beings were already present in the planet, in a latent state. When the force that kept the organic elements apart ceased, each species appeared in their appropriate time. The first part that refer to the organic elements existing in a latent state in the planet is far from being understood by human science, however, it has been shown by Miler and Urey experiment in 1953 that the atmospheric condition of primordial earth, composed of water, ammonia, hydrogen and methane, combined with electric sparks, can originate complex molecules called amino acids. This molecules are essential for cellular metabolism and life itself. Therefore, science presents a parallel with the spirit’s answer regarding the combination of the organic elements to form the prototypes of life. This seems to agree with creationism, where it is believed that all creatures were created by God the way we see them today. However, the extensive research done by Charles Darwin in “On the origin of species” (Darwin, 1859), which science continues to confirm through the study of fossils, affirms that the species are formed by Natural Selection. In “On the origin of species”, Darwin states that any “random” variation (mutation) in a species that creates advantages, e.g., camouflage, strength, speed, over the other members of the same species is favored by nature, in the sense that the mutated being will dominate over others and pass on its new features to its offsprings. Over time, the variation becomes a new species. On the other hand, variations that create disadvantages, are completely destroyed by nature. In Darwin’s words:
“This preservation of favorable variations and the rejection of injurious variations, I call Natural Selection. Variations neither useful nor injurious would not be affected by natural selection...”
“Natural selection can act only by the preservation and accumulation of infinitesimally small inherited modifications, each profitable to the preserved being”.
The “inherited infinitesimally small modifications” are further confirmed today by DNA studies. Moreover, in Chapter 4 of “On the origin of species”, Darwin draws a diagram of the divergence of taxa, which today is known as Phylogenetic tree, and it has been improved and detailed by science.
Since Spiritism teaches the rational faith and uses scientific discoveries to strengthen its concepts, how to correlate natural selection with the prototypes referred to by the spirits? The first thing to understand is that the spirits use the Divine Law written in our conscience and human science to show us the Divine Truth, little by little. Therefore, they do not go too far into concepts that we have no base for understanding. The spirits wait patiently for human knowledge to catch up. In Chapter 2 of the “Gospel According to Spiritism” (Kardec, The Gospel According to Spiritism, 1864), Kardec, in explaining why Jesus sent the promised consoler eighteen hundred years after his passage through earth states:
“In order to understand the hidden meaning of certain words it would be necessary for new ideas and knowledge to come to provide humans the key, and such ideas could not come before the human mind had acquired a certain degree of maturity. Science would have to contribute strongly toward the emergence and development of these ideas; therefore, it would be necessary to give science time to progress.”
At the time when Kardec compiled the “Spirit’s Book”, i.e., 1857, “On the origin of species” had not been published yet, so the theory of evolution hadn’t been fully developed at that time, and, therefore, the spirits could not use it in their explanations. Kardec addresses it briefly eleven years later in “Genesis” (Kardec, Genesis, 1868) and the spirit Andre Luis expands the concept of evolution to include the spiritual evolution in “Evolution in Two Worlds” (Andre Luis, 1958), one hundred years later. Also, in the book “On The Way to the Light” (Emmanuel, 1939), the spirit Emmanuel tells us in Chapter 2:
“The animal kingdom experienced the strangest transitions during the tertiary period under the influences of the environment and the imperatives of the law of natural selection.”
Thus, Darwin’s natural selection law is well accepted by Spiritism. How, then, to correlate it with the answer to Question #44? Looking closely, the spirits say that earth contained the prototypes for each species. The word prototype means that the mechanism was there, but the species itself were not completely developed yet. Combining this understanding with natural selection, one can conclude that the spirits responsible for the development of life on earth or “spirit workers”, as referred by Emmanuel, were behind each variation that occurred, following a detailed plan, or prototype, giving rise to several species. Still in Chapter 2, Emmanuel says:
“After a long period of time, the primitive amoebas came together for cellular life in common, forming colonies of infusoria and polyps in accordance with the definitive building plans for the future sent from the spirit world, where all earth’s progress has its genesis.”
“Thousands of years were needed for Jesus’ workers in the effort of the patient development of forms.”
Also in “On The Way to the Light”, Emmanuel tells us that the spirit workers performed experiments that did not work out:
“Nature became a huge workshop of gigantic experiments.” “Rough edges were eliminated; problems were solved and new gains were accomplished. The cellular machine was perfected as far as possible, in keeping with the physical laws of the globe.”
The afore sentences clearly show that the development of the species was an arduous endeavour. Moreover, the natural selection mechanism discovered by Darwin, in which random advantageous variations are favored by nature and injurious variations are not, is a human scientific view of the work carried on by Jesus’ workers in developing the species of living beings from the prototypes sent by higher planes. Further, Emmanuel states, in “On The Way to the Light”, that there are gaps found by science in the evolution of the species is due to the fact that the intelligent principle evolves in the material and spiritual world. Therefore, it may occur that some species never incarnate on earth. This is the case with the ape-like creatures described in by Emannuel in Chapter 2, that suffer the transition to primitive humans in the “sidereal regions and at certain intervals of their incarnations”. At this point, it seems correct to augment the term Natural Selection, created by Darwin, to Spiritual Selection, representing a similar mechanism. On the other hand, Spiritual Selection takes into account the evolution in both planes of existence and the fact that the “selection” is not random, but coordinated by the governor of the planet and his/her team.
IV. INTELLIGENT PRINCIPLE AND SPIRIT
The parallel between Spiritism and Natural Selection mentioned by Emmanuel has been studied in Section III. However, the initial question from Section II regarding the nature of animals and their evolution hasn’t been answered yet. Thus, we shall dive further into “Spirit’s Book”.
In Chapter 9 of Part 2, Question #591, Kardec asks if plants are more evolved in other worlds, and the spirits answer that everything is more perfect, but plants are always plants, animals are always animals, and human beings are always human beings. It is clear that every kingdom is completely separated from the others. To make it even more clear, in the beginning of the chapter, the spirits divide nature into four kingdoms, which Kardec explains as being Mineral, Vegetal, Animal, and Hominal. The last kingdom is a distinction create by the spirits, as humans posses an unlimited intelligence, in comparison to other kingdoms of nature, and dominate the other three kingdoms. Human science do not make such distinction, and consider humans as being animals whose only surviving species is the Homo Sapiens. Further, in Question #593, it is explained that animals cannot progress by themselves, as they do not create or posses unlimited intelligence. In Question #597 Kardec asks if animals have a principle independent of matter. The spirits answer that yes they do, however, they warn that it “depends on the meaning you attach to the word”. Once more we are reminded that our human communication through sound and words is flawed and we must be careful on the meaning we attach to each word. The spirits continue by explaining that the difference between animals’ souls and humans’ souls is the same as that between humans’ souls and God. Then, in Question #601 Kardec directly asks the spirits if animals follow the Law of Progress. To that, the spirits explain that everything progresses, and in more advanced worlds, humans and animals are more advanced, but animals are always lower than humans and subject to them. One could conclude, from this last statement, that animals will never achieve human status and will always be servant to humans. However, that would be an erroneous conclusion, as it implicates that God would create animals souls to remain forever in an evolutionary state below that of the humans, which would negate the answer to question #601. When studying the codification work, i.e., Kardec’s compilation of the teaching of the spirits, one realize the importance of the meaning attached to the words they use to answer Kardec’s queries. The word “animal” means a state where the intelligent principle hasn’t yet developed its intelligence enough to be self aware, to be called “human”, and not the intelligent principle as a creature. That is, the state referred to as animal state is always below that referred to as human state, in the same sense that a child is always less physically developed than an adult. It doesn’t mean that the intelligent principle does not evolve from one state to the other, as a child develops to be an adult. In fact, in question #607, when Kardec asks where does the soul accomplish the first steps in unfolding its intelligence, the spirits answer that it is in the series of existences preceding the period called humanity. Kardec then, follows up saying that would imply that the soul is the former intelligent principle of the lower beings of creation, and to that the spirits say that the intelligent principle, after developing in the lower kingdoms of nature, it undergoes a transformation and becomes a spirit, and the period of humanity begins for it, in the same way that the incarnated being goes through childhood, adolescence, youth, and then adulthood. The spirits finalize by saying:
“To believe that God could have made anything without a purpose, and have created intelligent beings without a future, would be to blaspheme God’s goodness, which extends to all creatures.”
With that, it becomes clear that before becoming a spirit and be part of the hominal kingdom, the intelligent principle develops all necessary faculties in the lower kingdoms of nature. As consequence, animals become our younger brothers in the evolutionary path, and not tools to be used and disposed off. The animal that today is placed under our care is the human of the future, and it is our responsibility, as spirits, to take care of them. The interaction between animals and humans allows for the former to evolve faster as it gets in contact with the superior intelligence of the latter. Such is the case of dogs that, in a few thousand years, have learned to do tasks that their ancestors, the wolves, are not capable to.
At the time of the writing of “Spirit’s Book”, there were two main hypotheses regarding the connection between humans and animals, says Kardec in the end of Chapter XI. In one, a spirit only arrives at the human period after having been prepared and individualized in the different degrees of the lower order beings of creation. In the second, the human spirit would have always belonged to the human race, without having passed through the animal experience. The first is in accordance with the spirits answers mentioned and commented previously in this section, whereas the second is more related to creationism, which was the dominant accepted hypotheses of the time, as explained in Section III, and is has been, later on, discarded by society with the development of science, with the heavy contribution of Darwin’s work in “On the origin of species”.
Eleven years after the publication of “Spirit’s Book”, and nine years after the publication of “On the origin of species”, Kardec publishes “Genesis”. In Chapter 10, Section “Human Beings”, Kardec further emphasizes the aforementioned first hypotheses when he writes in item 28 that “from the lichen to the tree, and then from the zoophyte to the human being, there is an unbroken chain in which all links have a point of contact with the preceding one; in following the series of beings step by step, it may be said that each species is an improvement, a transformation of the one immediately beneath it”. The statement is in direct concordance with natural selection and leaves no doubt regarding the evolutionary path followed by the intelligent principle until it becomes a spirit.
In “Evolution in Two Worlds”, Andre Luis adds that the intelligent principle, with celestial supervision, spent, approximately, 15 million centuries to evolve from the viruses and bacteria to a fully thinking being.
In November 1859 Kardec published in Spiritist Review (Kardec, Journal of Psychological Studies Spiritist Review, 1859) fragments of a poem written by Mr. de Porry, in the Section titled “Unintentionally Medium”. Mr. de Porry hadn’t read “Spirit’s Book”, even though, according to Kardec, its spiritist ideas are in direct accordance to it. The following piece clearly addresses the evolution of the intelligent principle, and it serves as an independent source to the topic at hand, as the author had no knowledge about “Spirit’s Book”.
He becomes, turn by turn, rock, plant, and animal; His nature bonds and melts good and evil; He goes through the whole scale, from brute to archangel, ... The creating Verb sleeps in the plant, In the animal it dreams, in man it stands; It steps up and down and up again, Shining in creation, glittering the whole plan, On the wavy ether it forms the immense chain, Starting from the rock, the archangel attains. ...
In this manuscript the concepts of spiritual evolution, natural selection, and evolution of the intelligent principle into a spirit were addressed. All concepts developed here were based on the main Spiritist books, i.e., kardec’s compilation and the books psycographed by Chico Xavier. It was shown that natural selection is in direct accordance with the Spiritist Doctrine and that the intelligent principle of today is the spirit of tomorrow, in the same way that the spirit of today is the angel of tomorrow. This way, the law of progress acts in all beings of creation, driving them all to eternal evolution and the certain achievement of perfect happiness and peace, where to true work on God’s name begins.
This text is not intended to address all details of the evolution of the intelligent principle and the human spirit, only the main concepts necessary for the understanding of the statement written in the first paragraph of this section. The details regarding the evolution of the intelligent principle and the human spirit are laid out in “Evolution in Two Worlds” and in the works published by human science.
Andre Luis, p. b. (1958). Evolution in Two Worlds.
Darwin, C. (1859). On The Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection.
Emmanuel, p. b. (1939). On The Way to the Light.
Kardec, A. (1857). The Spirit’s Book.
Kardec, A. (1859). Journal of Psychological Studies Spiritist Review.
Kardec, A. (1864). The Gospel According to Spiritism.
Kardec, A. (1868). Genesis.
 the term species is being extrapolated here to represent modifications that occur in both material and spiritual planes.