Selection from:
Theistic Psychology (2004) by Leon James. On the Web at:
www.soc.hawaii.edu/leonj/theistic-psychology.htm 

6.1  The Awesome Power of the Affective Organ

The spiritual world (or the mind) is divided into heaven on top, hell at the bottom, and the world of spirits in between. These mental states or levels of mind are the same in every individual. Every person has a mind in which these three organic levels have been formed at birth. Since the mind operates in rational ether, all three geographic levels of the spiritual world are in the mind of every individual. We can ascend to heaven or descend to hell at will. For instance when we give in to selfishness and insincerity, we begin behaving in cruel and destructive ways and create a hell around us. On the other hand, we can create a heaven around us when we put up the effort to modify our character to become good, sincere, and wise.

While we are earth bound there are limitations to the heaven and hell we can create, but these restrictions are no longer there when, at the death of the physical body, we start operating in rational ether with our spiritual body. While as earthlings we have many limitations, when we become spirits at "death," we are liberated into the world of spirits, rational ether in rational ether, as a unique immortal individual.

There are no limits at that point. The will of the mind is powerful beyond expectation when it can act in rational ether and is not tied by physical restrictions of matter and space. The power we have to create a world in our dreams is now a real power creating a reality, not a dream. We can instantaneously create real palaces and real mountains and real diamonds, all within the rational ether of the spiritual world. You can see from this that if other spirits can catch you in their own web of creation, they could create a hell for you in which you are tortured beyond belief.

It may be puzzling as to how we cross from our own mental world into theirs where we suffer their hell, and also why we can't escape from their clutches if we are free spirits? The answer is as surprising as it is catastrophically devastating: You are keeping yourself in their hell!

This is the reason why you cannot be rescued from hell once you get into it. No one is forcing you in there and no one is keeping you there. Remember that hell is the bottom of your mind, hardly human, completely savage and uncivilized and stupid. The only way your consciousness can enter there is by willfully destroying the two operations that keep you from falling into hell: your conscience and your rationality.

Once these two spiritual operations have been willfully neutralized or rendered ineffective, and you have descended into the hell in your mind, what can bring your consciousness back up again?

Swedenborg reports various experiments he was allowed to conduct with people who live in hell, that is, willfully keep themselves in that state of mind. They were medically and momentarily raised back into the world of spirits, which is midway in the mind between heaven and hell. Once they are brought back into their "external mind" they appear normal, not like hideous devils, and they talk like normal people, and do not behave like dangerous delusional maniacs. This proves that they have the capacity to return to their sanity at any time. Amazingly, they only tolerate this normalcy for a little while, after which the craziness returns and they "cast themselves" back down into the hell of their mind.

At birth we come into possession of two bodies, one temporary, the other permanent and eternal. The temporary body is the physical body made of matter that is tied to time and space. The eternal body is the mind or spirit made of spiritual ether which contains substances from the Spiritual Sun. The physical body is made of matter originating in the natural sun or star, while the spiritual body or spirits is made of substance originating in the Sun of the spiritual world. This perspective is called substantive dualism (see Chapter xx).

Upon the death of the physical body our spirit is resuscitated within a few hours and we awaken in the world of spirits. At the point we can see that our spiritual body is a complete copy of the physical body but much more alive, sensitive and dynamic. From then on we continue life in immortality in the spiritual body.

The spiritual body contains our mental organs since birth. There are no mental organs in the physical body or brain. All sensation is located in the spiritual body. No sensation or feeling can be located in a physical body.

 The spiritual body contains an integrated and coordinated action of three separate but interacting systems called the affective organ, the cognitive organ, and the sensorimotor organ. This integration of the three mental systems corresponds to the integration of the three physical systems known as circulatory, respiratory, and nervous systems of the physical body. The three systems in the spiritual body are known to atheistic psychology by tradition going back to Aristotle. Modern psychology recognizes that the affective, cognitive, and sensorimotor functions of the mind are distinct and form an integrated whole.

The affective organ in the spiritual body has spiritual fibers that are adapted to receive spiritual heat from the Spiritual Sun. This heat radiates from the Spiritual Sun everywhere in the entire spiritual world, which is also the human mind. The Spiritual Sun creates a rational ether or sphere in which the spiritual body can be born and develop to eternity. The spiritual heat radiating outward from the Spiritual Sun enters every human mind from the chest of the spiritual body where the heart is located. The heart in the physical body corresponds to the heart of the spiritual body, and this is the affective organ. So the affective organ in the spiritual body is in the region of the heart and has a pulsation like the heart. The entire heaven of the human race pulsates with this beat.

The lungs of the physical body correspond to the lungs of the spiritual body which are its cognitive organ by which the spirit can think and reason. This organ of thinking is constructed of spiritual fibers that have the capacity to receive spiritual light from the Spiritual Sun. Spiritual heat and spiritual light streaming out of the Spiritual Sun together are separated when received by the two distinct mental organs. Once received, the spiritual heat in the affective organ create the experience of sensations and feelings, while the spiritual light in the cognitive organ create the consciousness of rational thought or meaning. When the feelings and the thoughts are now reunited in the mind, they give the power of overt behavior through muscles. This overt or external behavior is the outward correspondence of the two affective and cognitive organ acting together.

While we are on earth the affective--cognitive integration in the spiritual body has the power to produce movement in the physical body. The two bodies are linked by the laws of correspondences. Whatever action occurs in the mind has a correspondential action in the physical body. If you remove this mind-body connection the body cannot function and quickly disintegrates.

The Affective--Cognitive Integration

The relation between the affective and cognitive organs is determined by the relation between spiritual heat and spiritual light form the Spiritual Sun. These two substances make up the two organs and keep it operational by the constant influx of these two substances. This gives us the ability to think thoughts from rational meanings and to feel feelings and satisfactions from affections. All affections are forms of love and all thoughts are forms of truth. Spiritual heat is love and spiritual light is truth.

It takes a level of abstract thinking to be able to understand that love and truth are rational substances streaming from a Sun and entering our mind.

God is infinite Divine Love and Truth. That's the best way to describe and understand what God is. Love is God's Divine quality and truth is God's Divine Human qualities. Rationality is from truth. In other words, rational operations in the cognitive organ are initiated and built by the truth it receives as spiritual light. Freedom and choice is from love. In otter words, affective operations in the affective organ are initiated and built by love it receives as spiritual heat.

To love is the power of the affective organ, while to think rationally is the power of the cognitive organ. In order for behavior and experience to occur we must perform loving and thinking together. They must act conjointly like husband wife, or like heart and lungs. For instance, to think a single thought or to visualize a single image, we must have a love for it, or a motive to do it. Without a motive or love to think something, we cease thinking. If you take away all the wants we have, we can no longer think anything. Thinking is a response to a want or desire or effort to reach a specific goal state.

You can see this when you consider how humans act. We have a motive, desire, need, or impulse. This mental experience is the result of the operations of the affective organ. This state of wanting something persists as long as it is maintained by some love that inflows or is received from the spiritual world. The motive or goal-effort acts upon the cognitive organ in such a way as to elicit thoughts that support and agree with the motive or goal effort. We begin to reason by means of cognitive skills of understanding and formulate a plan that promotes the fulfillment of the goal or want. The motive and the plan thus make a one. This then leads to the overt action which is therefore the integration of the affective and cognitive operations.

Everything about our life and future is therefore determined by our loves operating in the affective organ.

While we are on earth God maintains two types of influx or inflow into the spiritual body and mind--a heavenly and a hellish influx. The heavenly influx is heavenly love from the spiritual heat of the Spiritual Sun. The hellish influx is infernal heat issuing from the hells. This heat is also called lust and cupidity. All inflowing love from the Spiritual Sun enters the highest level of the affective organ and descends by successive degrees to the lowest level of affective operations. In the process of being handed down by successive degrees, the love is transformed in accordance with the individual unique characteristics of the recipient affective organ. At this stage the original love may still be functionally present, or else its opposite love is present. Heavenly love thus turns into infernal love by how the individual reacts to it or receives it.

For instance, while riding the bus, we can receive the impulse to give up our seat to someone who seems to need it. This impulse inflows from heaven and gives rise to the thought of giving up the seat and the desire to do so. But then we have a reaction to it. We don't feel like leaving the comfort of the seat. We are reluctant. This feeling is an infernal love flowing from hell. It is the opposite love from the heavenly.

There are two ruling loves flowing in from heaven--the love of God and the love of heaven for the sake of loving others. These two loves can be turned into their opposites--the love of self and the world for the sake of self. So altruistic loves flow in from the heavens and selfish loves flow in from the hells.

When we are resuscitated in the world of spirits we quickly adjust to the new way of life in eternity. We learn that the surrounding environment or quality of our life is determined completely by what loves are operating in the affective organ. Heavenly loves create a heaven around us where we dwell in community with others who are also in similar heavenly loves. Hellish loves create a hell around us where we dwell in societies with others who are also similar in hellish loves.

Shortly after resuscitation we undergo various experiences designed to bring out our deepest ruling loves. If they are heavenly loves we enter the state of mind called heaven and abide there in conjugial love to eternity. If they are hellish loves we enter the state of mind called hell and abide there in infernal lusts to eternity. Therefore it is obvious that nothing can be more important to us while still on earth than to make sure that we acquire heavenly loves. And these loves cannot stay with us unless we rid ourselves of hellish loves. This is the process of regeneration (see Chapter xx).