Edição Atual Edições Anteriores Adicione aos Favoritos Defina como página inicial

Indique para um amigo

O Evangelho com
busca aleatória

Capa desta edição
Biblioteca Virtual
Livros Espíritas em Português Libros Espíritas en Español  Spiritist Books in English    
Mensagens na voz
de Chico Xavier
Programação da
TV Espírita on-line
Rádio Espírita
O Imortal
do Espiritismo
sem mestre
Divaldo Franco
Site oficial
Raul Teixeira
Site oficial
do Paraná
Associação de
do Brasil
Associação de
Cruzada dos
Links de sites
suas dúvidas
Quem somos
Fale Conosco

Special Portuguese Spanish    

Year 5 - N° 233 -  October 30, 2011

Belo Horizonte, MG (Brasil)

Renata Rinaldini - renatarinaldini@hotmail.com


Does the soul sleep in the mineral kingdom? 

Part 1

We often hear the phrase: "The soul sleeps in the stone, dreams in the vegetable, stirs in the animal and awakens in man," the authorship of which is attributed to Léon Denis
. Curiously however no one has shown us that in fact he ever said exactly that.   Yet in the pursuit of that which we strive to find, we eventually come across the true phrase. Let us take a look: In the plant, intelligence slumbers; in the animal, intelligence dreams, only in man does it wake up, it gets to know itself, it owes itself and it becomes conscious. From there on progress of some fatal fate in lower forms of Nature can only be carried out by agreement of the human will with the eternal laws. (DENIS, 1989, p. 123.) (emphasis added).

Obviously, even in a figurative sense, "to sleep in the plant" is not the same as "sleeping in the stone," which is a theme that still causes controversy in our midst. Well, the question is whether the successor to the codifier (aka: Allan Kardec) contradicted what was said by him. Particularmente, acreditamos que não.    We particularly do not believe that Léon Denis did so.

We initially call upon what Kardec said in the introduction of the first edition of The Spirits’ Book:

Whatever it may be, it is a fact that cannot be denied because it is a result of observation. The reason being is that organic beings have within themselves an inner strength that produces the phenomenon of life, while this force exists; material life is common to  all organic beings and that this force is independent of intelligence and thought: that intelligence and thought are themselves faculties  of certain organic species, and finally, that between the organic species endowed with intelligence and thought, there is one endowed with a special moral sense which gives this species incontestable superiority over the others; it is mankind.

We call animal intelligence ultimately the intellectual principle common to the varying degrees in men and animals, regardless of the vital principle, and whose source is unknown to us. (Kardec, 2004, page 3) (our emphasis).

The organic beings are born, grow, reproduce and die   

This was necessary only to verify that, ever since the first edition of this book, Kardec bluntly states that "intelligence and thought are faculties peculiar to certain organic species", defining them as follows:

The organic beings are those who have in themselves a source of intimate activity that gives them life. They are born, grow, reproduce and die.  They are provided with special organs for the performance of different acts of life. These organs are appropriate to the needs of these agencies that conservation imposes on them.   Men, animals and plants are included in this class. (KARDEC, 2007a, page 91.) (emphasis added).

And in order that we can separate them from the inorganic, we also bring the definition of inorganic beings. Seres inorgânicos são todos os que carecem de vitalidade, de movimentos próprios e que se formam apenas pela agregação da matéria. Inorganic beings are all those which lack vitality, and their own proper motions and are formed only by the aggregation of matter. These are the minerals, water, air, etc.. (KARDEC, 2007a, p. 91.) (emphasis added).

So according to Kardec we can classify the organic beings as men, animals and plants.

When he studies Instinct and Intelligence (Chapter 3) in the book Genesis, he makes several considerations in which we will find something to dispel possible doubts. 

It says the following:

Instinct is the hidden force that prompts organic beings to spontaneous and involuntary acts, in order to conserve them.

In instinctive acts there is no reflection or combination, or premeditation.  And so it is in this way that the plant seeks air, turns itself towards the light, directs its roots towards water and towards the nutritious soil; the flower alternately opens and closes, as it is necessary for itself; that the vines are coiled around that which will sustain them or they will grasp it with their tendrils. 

It is by instinct that animals are warned of what it is convenient or harmful to them; seek the right climate according to the season; build without prior teaching and with more or less skill, according to the species, soft bedding and shelter for their progeny; make traps to catch the prey upon which they feed; deftly handle the offensive and defensive weapons with which they are provided; the sexes approach each other; the mother suckles her young and they seek her nipples.  

Instinct only dominates exclusively in early life in humans. It is by instinct that the child makes its first movements, takes the food, cries out to express its needs, mimics the sound of voice and tries to talk and walk. Some actions in the adult are instinctive; such as spontaneous movements to avoid a risk, to flee from danger, to balance the body, the blinking of the eyelids to moderate the brightness of light, the mechanical opening of the mouth to breathe, etc. (Kardec, 2007b, page 89) (emphasis added). 

Instinct varies in its manifestations, according to each species and their needs 

In this speech  of Kardec it is clear that he admits instinct in plants, animals and men.  But "what has the instinct to do with intelligence?” someone could ask us.  Well, that question was answered by the Spirits, who affirmed that instinct is a kind of intelligence, a non rational intelligence (response to question 73).

A little further on in the book, upon commenting on the answer to question 75, the codifier explains:

Instinct is a rudimentary intelligence which differs from intelligence itself. Manifestations of instinct are often spontaneous, while those from intelligence are the result of a combination and of a deliberate act.  Instinct varies in its manifestations, according to the species and their needs.  In people who have consciousness and perception of external things, instinct allies with intelligence, that is, to the will and to freedom. (KARDEC, 2007a, page 97) (Emphasis added).

Therefore, in order, plants, animals and men have the intelligent principle, differing only in the degree of its manifestation. However, until now, there has been nothing that also attributes this principle to the minerals, nor that this principle has also lived for some time in inorganic beings.   It is a difficult thing to understand, since these beings have no vitality, and therefore are not subject to "being born, growing and dying," the indispensable cycle for the occurrence of intellectual progress of this principle – so we believe.

The destruction is just a transformation, which is aimed at the renewal of the living beings

Clarification about the instinct of conservation will help us further clarify this issue.  We read in The Spirits’ Book

702. Is the instinct of self-preservation a law of nature?

"Undoubtedly so. It is given to all living creatures, whatever their degree of intelligence; in some it is purely mechanical, in others it is allied to reason.” 

703. To what end has God given the instinct of self-preservation to all living beings?

"They are all necessary to the working out of the providential plans; and therefore God has given them the desire to live. And besides, life is a necessary condition of the improvement of beings; they feel this instinctively, without understanding it." 

728. Is destruction a law of nature?

"It is necessary that all things should be destroyed so that they may be re-born and regenerated; for what you call destruction is only a transformation, the aim of which is the renewing and amelioration of living beings."(KARDEC, 2007a, pages 378 to 389) (emphasis added) 

From that we conclude that all living beings have intelligence to some degree; that life is necessary for their progress and that destruction is necessary for this to happen, however, when it comes to minerals, we believe that none of this applies.

Returning to the book Genesis, we find one of Kardec’s speeches, which in our view, puts an end to how he saw the matter.

Let's see when he speaks of the "Union of the spiritual principle and matter", in item 10 of Chapter 11:

Having matter being the object of work of the Spirit for the development of the Spirit’s faculties, it was necessary that the Spirit could act on it, since the Spirit came to inhabit it, as the woodcutter inhabits the forest.  Having matter to be at the same time, the goal and the instrument of labour, God, instead of joining the Spirit to the hard stone, created for the Spirit’s use, organized bodies which are flexible and capable of receiving all the impulses of their will and lend themselves to all their movements.

The body is therefore both the garb and instrument of the Spirit, and as it acquires new skills it takes another suitable garb (body) for a new kind of work it must perform, just as it is done with a worker who is given an instrument less coarse and as the worker goes on showing he is capable of performing better cared for work. (Kardec, 2007b, pages 241 to 242.) (emphasis added). 

Inert matter, which constitutes the mineral kingdom, only has in itself a mechanical strength  

From what we can deduce from this speech, there is an admission that the intelligent principle has had internship in the mineral kingdom, unless contrary to what has been said by Kardec.

In explanation of the answer to question 71 of The Spirits’ Book, the codifier makes the following account:

Intelligence is a special faculty, peculiar to certain classes of organic beings and gives them, with thought the will to act, the awareness of organic beings that they exist and that each is an individual, as well as the means to establish relationships with the outside world and to cater for their needs.

The organic beings can be distinguished as follows: 1st – Inanimate beings: consisting of matter, without vitality or intelligence. They are the gross bodies; 2nd - Animate beings: those who do not think and are formed of matter and endowed with vitality, however, devoid of intelligence; 3rd - Thinking animate beings, formed of matter and endowed with vitality and having intelligent principle which gives them the ability to think. (KARDEC, 2007a, page 96) (Emphasis added)

The three kingdoms of nature are therefore classified, in three kinds: mineral, vegetable and animal, in the order cited by Kardec. Thus, it is clear from what he wrote that the mineral has no vitality or intelligence, which still confirmed by this excerpt: "Inert matter which constitutes the mineral kingdom has only a mechanical force in itself." (KARDEC, 2007a, page 327) (Emphasis added).

Searching also question 136, we see that the hypothesis of a presence of the intelligent principle in the mineral kingdom is unlikely, because: "Organic life can animate a body without a soul, but the soul cannot inhabit a body devoid of organic life". (KARDEC, 2007a, page 125) (Emphasis added). 

The organic scale follows the progression of intelligence in all beings, from the polyp to man  

In the spiritist magazine Spirite Revue date of 1868, Kardec makes some comments on the belief that the Earth would have a soul, which is of interest to our study.

Let’s see:

 (...) Is Earth a living being? We know that certain philosophers, who are more systematic than practical, consider planet Earth and all other planets as animate beings, based on the principle that everything lives in Nature, from the mineral to man.  

At first, we believe there is one major difference between the molecular motion of attraction and repulsion, of aggregation and of disaggregation of the mineral and vital principle of the plant; there are different effects that point to different causes, or at least cause a profound change in first cause, if it is unique. (Genesis, chapter 10, paragraphs 16 to 19.) 

But let us assume for a moment that the principle of life has its source in the molecular motion, one cannot deny that it is even more rudimentary in the mineral than in the plant. However, from this thence a  soul whose essential attribute is intelligence, the distance is great and we believe no one thought of endowing a pebble or a piece of iron with the faculty  of thinking, wanting and understanding.

Even making every possible concession to this system that is to say that by looking at it with the same point of view as those who confuse the vital principle with the soul itself; the soul of the mineral would not be only in the state of latent germ, since in this state the soul does not become unveiled by any demonstration.

A fact no less evident than that we just talked about is that organic development is always in relation to the development of the intelligent principle; the body is completed as the faculties of the soul multiply. The organic scale follows constantly in all beings the progress of intelligence, from the polyp to man; and this could not be otherwise, since the soul lacks an appropriate instrument for the importance of the functions that the soul must fill. What use would it be to oysters to have the intelligence of a monkey without the necessary organs  for its manifestation? Therefore, if the Earth were an animated being used as a body by a special soul, this soul should be even more rudimentary than that of a polyp, since the Earth does not really have the same vitality of a plant, while the role that is attributed to this soul, especially  by the theory of incrustation, Earth becomes a being endowed with reason and with  the most complete free will, a superior Spirit; which in a word, is neither rational nor consistent with the general law, because never has a Spirit been so trapped  and so divided. 

(This article will be completed in the next issue of this journal.) 



The problem of the Being, of Destiny and of Pain. Rio de Janeiro: FEB, 1989.

KARDEC, A. Genesis, Araras-Sp:IDE, 1993.

KARDEC, A. The Spirits’ Book – 1st Edition of 1857. Itaim Bibi, SP: IPECE, 2004.

KARDEC, A. The Spirits’ Book. Rio de Janeiro: FEB, 2007.

KARDEC, A. La Revue Spirite 1865.Araras,SP:IDE, 2000a

KARDEC, A. La Revue Spirite 1866. Araras, SP:IDE, 1993b.

KARDEC, A. La Revue Spirite 1868. Araras, SP: IDE, 1993a.

XAVIER, F. C. Evolution in Two Worlds. Rio de Janeiro:FEB, 1987.

XAVIER, F. C. In the Higher World. Rio de Janeiro: FEB, 1984.

NETO SOBRINHO, P. S. The Souls of animals: earlier stage of the human soul? Divinópolis-MG: Panorama Espírita, 2006.


Back to previous page

O Consolador
Weekly Magazine of Spiritism