The Spirits' Book
Book Two - The Spirit World
Chapter II - Incarnation of Spirits
139. Some spirits, and some philosophers before them, have defned the soul as “an animated spark emanating from the Great Whole.” What is the cause of this contradiction?
“There is no contradiction. It depends on the meaning you attribute to certain words. Why does your language not have a word for each thing?”
The word soul is often used to express very different things. Sometimes it is used to refer to the principle of life and in this sense it is correct to figuratively state that the soul is an animated spark emanating from the Great Whole. These words describe the universal source of the vital principle, of which each being absorbs a portion, and that returns to the general mass after death. This idea does not in any way exclude that of a separate moral being, independent of matter, maintaining its own individuality. This being is also called the soul, and it is in this sense that we speak of the soul as an incarnate spirit. In having different definitions for the word soul, spirits each use their own version according to their personal perspectives and the earthly ideas that they still support.
This is just one example of the inadequacy of the human language, which does not have a unique word for each idea, a shortcoming that causes a vast number of misunderstandings and disputes. It is for this reason that the higher spirits tell us to first come to a mutual understanding in terms of our definitions.