The Spirits' Book
Book Two - The Spirit World
Chapter VII - Return to Physical Life
Influence of the Body
370. Can we draw a correlation between the development of the cerebral organs and the moral and intellectual faculties from the influence of the physical organs?
“Do not mistake cause and effect. A spirit always possesses faculties that belong to it, but the organs do not provide the faculties. The faculties spur the development of the organs.”
a) According to this view, the diversity of each person’s abilities depends solely on the state of the spirit. Is this correct?
“Solely is not accurate. The qualities of an incarnated spirit determine those abilities. However, an allowance must be made for the influence of matter, which to some degree hampers everyone when they exercise their intrinsic, spiritual faculties.”
When it incarnates, a spirit already has certain characteristic predispositions. If we contend the existence of a special organ in the brain for each of these, the development of the cerebral organs is an effect, and not a cause. If each of these faculties were a result of physical organs, humans would be mere machines, with no free will and no responsibility for their actions. If such were the case, we would be forced to admit that the greatest geniuses, thinkers, poets and artists were merely lucky to be given these certain special organs. Had it not been for chance, they would not have been geniuses, and the most ignorant individuals might have been a Newton, Virgil, or Raphael, as long as they had received certain organs. This theory is even more absurd if we apply it to the explanation of moral qualities.
According to this system, if Saint Vincent de Paul had been gifted by nature with a different specific organ, he could have been a crook, and the greatest crook would only lack a certain brain structure in order to be someone like Saint Vincent de Paul. On the other hand, when we accept that our special organs, assuming their existence, are an effect developed by the exercise of the corresponding faculties rather than a cause, as in the development of muscles by movement, we can formulate a more rationally sound theory. Let us make a trivial comparison, albeit a truthful one. When we say that a person is addicted to alcohol based on facial signs, do the signs make them an alcoholic, or does drunkenness created the signs? We can assert that our organs receive the impression of our faculties.