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Department of Psychology
University of Hawaii
The Postmodern Paradigm Shift in
Swedenborg's Status and Significance: A Great Paradox.
Synopsis of Swedenborg's Theology:
Shun evils in yourself and love the Divine Human
First Principle: God is Omnipotent Person
Second Principle: The Operation of Divine Providence
Third Principle: Why Evil Exists Despite God's Omnipotence
Fourth Principle: Life after Death
Fifth Principle: Sin and Salvation
Sixth Principle: The Historical Incarnation of the Divine Human
Synopsis of Swedenborg's rational psychology:
Spiritual Associations or The Vertical Community
Freedom (love of good) vs. Slavishness (love of self)
Obsessions -- External and Interior
Marriage Love--The Unit of Life is the Couple
The Psychology of Regeneration
Postmodern Psychology Allied to Biological Theology.
See also a related article on Scientific
251. (1) What the natural man is, and what the spiritual man. Man is not man from face and body, but from understanding and will; therefore by the natural man and the spiritual man is meant that man's understanding and will are either natural or spiritual. The natural man in respect to his understanding and will is like the natural world, and may be called a world or microcosm; and the spiritual man in respect to his understanding and will is like the spiritual world, and may be called a spiritual world or heaven. From which it is evident that as the natural man is in a kind of image a natural world, so he loves those things which are of the natural world; and that as the spiritual man is in a kind of image a spiritual world, so he loves those things which are of that world, or of heaven. The spiritual man indeed loves the natural world also but not otherwise than as a master loves his servant through whom he performs uses.
Moreover, according to uses the natural man becomes like the spiritual, which is the case when the natural man feels from the spiritual the delight of use; such a natural man may be called spiritual-natural. The spiritual man loves spiritual truths; he not only loves to know and understand them, but also wills them; while the natural man loves to speak of those truths and also do them. Doing truths is performing uses. This subordination is from the conjunction of the spiritual world and the natural world; for whatever appears and is done in the natural world derives its cause from the spiritual world. From all this it can be seen that the spiritual man is altogether distinct from the natural, and that there is no other communication between them than such as there is between cause and effect.
252. (2) The character of the natural man in whom the spiritual degree is opened. This is obvious from what has been said above; to which it may be added, that a natural man is a complete man when the spiritual degree is opened in him, for he is then consociated with angels in heaven and at the same time with men in the world, and in regard to both, lives under the Lord's guidance. For the spiritual man imbibes commands from the Lord through the Word, and executes them through the natural man. The natural man who has the spiritual degree opened does not know that he thinks and acts from his spiritual man, for it seems as if he did this from himself, when yet he does not do it from himself but from the Lord. Nor does the natural man whose spiritual degree has been opened know that by means of his spiritual man he is in heaven, when yet his spiritual man is in the midst of angels of heaven, and sometimes is even visible to them; but because he draws himself back to his natural man, after a brief stay there he disappears.
Nor does the natural man in whom the spiritual degree has been opened know that his spiritual mind is being filled by the Lord with thousands of arcana of wisdom, and with thousands of delights of love, and that he is to come into these after death, when he becomes an angel. The natural man does not know these things because communication between the natural man and the spiritual man is effected by correspondences; and communication by correspondences is perceived in the understanding only by the fact that truths are seen in light, and is perceived in the will only by the fact that uses are performed from affection.
253. (3) The character of the natural man in whom the spiritual degree is not opened, and yet not closed. The spiritual degree is not opened, and yet not closed, in the case of those who have led somewhat of a life of charity and yet have known little of genuine truth. The reason is, that this degree is opened by conjunction of love and wisdom, or of heat with light; love alone or spiritual heat alone not opening it, nor wisdom alone or spiritual light alone, but both in conjunction. Consequently, when genuine truths, out of which wisdom or light arises, are unknown, love is inadequate to open that degree; it only keeps it in the possibility of being opened: this is what is meant by its not being closed.
Something like this is seen in the vegetable kingdom, in that heat alone does not cause seeds and trees to vegetate, but heat in conjunction with light effects this. It is to be known that all truths are of spiritual light and all goods are of spiritual heat, and that good opens the spiritual degree by means of truths; for good, by means of truths, effects use, and uses are goods of love, which derive their essence from a conjunction of good and truth. The lot, after death, of those in whom the spiritual degree is not opened and yet not closed, is that since they are still natural and not spiritual, they are in the lowest parts of heaven, where they sometimes suffer hard times; or they are in the outskirts in some higher heaven, where they are as it were in the light of evening; for (as was said above)in heaven and in every society there the light decreases from the middle to the outskirts, and those who above others are in Divine truths are in the middle, while those who are in few truths are in the outskirts.
Those are in few truths who from religion know only that there is a God, and that the Lord suffered for them, and that charity and faith are essentials of the church, not troubling themselves to know what faith is or what charity is; when yet faith in its essence is truth, and truth is manifold, and charity is all the work of his calling which man does from the Lord; he does this from the Lord when he flees from evils as sins. It is just as was said above, that the end is the all of the cause, and the effect the all of the end by means of the cause; the end is charity or good, the cause is faith or truth, and effects are good works or uses; from which it is plain that from charity no more can be carried into works than the measure in which charity is conjoined with the truths which are called truths of faith. By means of these truths charity enters into works and qualifies them.
254. (4) The character of the natural man in whom the spiritual degree is entirely closed. The spiritual degree is closed in those who are in evils as to life, and still more in those who from evils are in falsities. It is the same as with the fibril of a nerve, which contracts at the slightest touch of any thing heterogeneous; so every motive fiber of a muscle, yea, the muscle itself, and even the whole body shrinks from the touch of whatever is hard or cold. So also the substances or forms of the spiritual degree in man shrink from evils and their falsities, because these are heterogeneous. For the spiritual degree, being in the form of heaven, admits nothing but goods, and truths that are from good; these are homogeneous to it: but evils, and falsities that are from evil, are heterogeneous to it.
This degree is contracted, and by contraction closed, especially in those who in the world are in love of ruling from love of self, because this love is opposed to love to the Lord. It is also closed, but not so much, in those who from love of the world are in the insane greed of possessing the goods of others. These loves shut the spiritual degree, because they are the origins of evils. The contraction or closing of this degree is like the twisting back of a spiral in the opposite direction; for which reason, that degree after it is closed, turns back the light of heaven; consequently there is thick darkness there instead of heavenly light, and truth which is in the light of heaven, becomes nauseous. In such persons, not only does the spiritual degree itself become closed, but also the higher region of the natural degree which is called the rational, until at last the lowest region of the natural degree, which is called the sensual, alone stands open; this being nearest to the world and to the outward senses of the body, from which such a man afterwards thinks, speaks, and reasons.
The natural man who has become sensual through evils and their falsities, in the spiritual world in the light of heaven does not appear as a man but as a monster, even with nose drawn back (the nose is drawn in because the nose corresponds to the perception of truth); moreover, he cannot bear a ray of heavenly light. Such have in their caverns no other light than what resembles the light from live coals or from burning charcoal. From all this it is evident who and of what character are those in whom the spiritual degree is closed.
255. (5) The nature of the difference between the life of a natural man and the life of a beast. This difference will be particularly discussed in what follows, where Life will be treated of. Here it may be said only that the difference is that man has three degrees of mind, that is, three degrees of understanding and will, which degrees can be opened successively; and as these are transparent, man can be raised as to his understanding into the light of heaven and see truths, not only civil and moral, but also spiritual, and from many truths seen can form conclusions about truths in their order, and thus perfect the understanding to eternity. But beasts do not have the two higher degrees, but only the natural degrees, and these apart from the higher degrees have no capacity to think on any subject, civil, moral, or spiritual.
And since the natural degrees of beasts are incapable of being opened, and thereby raised into higher light, they are unable to think in successive order, but only in simultaneous order, which is not thinking, but acting from a knowledge corresponding to their love. And because they are unable to think analytically, and to view a lower thought from any higher thought, they are unable to speak, but are able only to utter sounds in accordance with the knowledge pertaining to their love. Yet the sensual man, who is in the lowest sense natural, differs from the beast only in this, that he can fill his memory with knowledges, and think and speak therefrom; this power he gets from a capacity proper to every man, of being able to understand truth if he chooses; it is this capacity that makes the difference. Nevertheless many, by abuse of this capacity, have made themselves lower than beasts.
The Postmodern Paradigm Shift in Psychology
Swedenborg's theology constitutes a system of axioms and definitions which serves as a basis for deducing a multiplicity of propositions for a non-materialistic psychology. These psychological principles are empirical and scientific because they are capable of being falsified, internally for consistency and externally for empirical evidence on human behavior. Swedenborg's approach provides alternative solutions to familiar problems in human behavior and societal management. His writings open the gate for a 'new age' psychology that is dualistic and spiritual, grounded in a universal theology that encompasses all religions and interplanetary races. With Swedenborg, the postmodern paradigm in science attains a stage of maturity unparalleled for its coherence, scope, and pragmatic utility.
A Swedenborgian scholar (Carlson, 1990) has recently noted the importance of Sheldrake's (1981) concept of "morphogenetic fields" for allowing the integration of spiritual dualism in science:
Sheldrake's hypothesis proposes that the form, development, and behavior of living organisms are shaped and maintained by 'morphogenetic fields' together with genetic inheritance. In theory the hypothesis of formative causation provides a mechanism by means of which the acquired characteristics of previous generations can be passed on to future ones. It avoids completely the whole question of how the genetic material could be altered by acquired characteristics because it posits that the new information is stored not in the genes themselves, but in the morhpogenetic field. [This] is thought to be a field of information which exists apart from space and time. This field of information acts with the same intensity on all similar organisms with no loss of intensity due to separations by space or time. Sheldrake calls this action of the field on similar organisms 'morphic resonance.' (Carlson, 1990, 299).
This type of new dualism in science has been dubbed by some as the "reenchantment of science" (Griffin, 1988) and provides a workable solution to what Sperry (1993, 881-3) has referred to as "our present self-destructive course" involving "traditional reductive physicalism" and "materialist logic, in which science has been locked for more than 200 years." The Swedenborgian approach provides a science-based approach to global, basic, humane issues: morality, wisdom, justice, euthanasia, God, the afterlife. According to Sperry (1993, 884),
A new way of thinking and perceiving that integrates mind and matter, facts and values, and religion and science brings more realistic insights into the kind of forces that made and move the universe and created humankind. A deep moral basis is provided for environmentalism, population balance and other measures that would preserve and enhance our world, instead of destroying it. ... Perspectives ... based in the credibility and universality of science and taken as a common core for human value-belief systems, might prove an acceptable foundation at the United Nations on which to build a system of world law and justice and at the same time help to arouse a deep sense of outrage at what modern humanity is doing to itself and its future generations.
Swedenborg's approach is particularly important in this new postmodern course for science in view of his solution to scientific dualism, an essential issue that is still deeply misunderstood even by those who advocate the new wholistic/mentalistic paradigm, such as Sperry. The dualism they advocate is materialistic dualism which excludes theology as a basis for psychology. For example, Sperry writes recently:
It is worth repeating that the type of mentalism upheld here is not dualistic in the classic philosophic sense of two different independent realms of existence. In our new macromental or holomental synthesis, mental states as dynamic emergent properties of brain states cause behavior but are not dualistic, because they are inextricably interfused with their generating brain processes. Mental states in this form cannot exist apart from the active brain. At the same time mental states are not the same as brain states. The two differ in the way a dynamic emergent property differs from its component infrastructure. It is characteristic of emergent properties that they are notably novel and often amazingly and inexplicably different from the components of which they are built." (Sperry, 1993, 880) (italics mine)
The assumption that the brain generates thoughts is a confusion discussed by William James (19xx/18xx) in his 1893 Ingersoll lectures to transcendentalists in which he was trying to prove that immortality and the afterlife are not necessarily anti-scientific concepts in a scientific psychology:
My thesis now is this: that when we think of the law that thought is a function of the brain, we are not required to think of productive function only; we are entitled also to consider permissive or transmissive function. And this the ordinary psychophysiologist leaves out of his account." (James, 1950/1893, 15) (italics in original)
James explains that the natural world can be viewed as the front or external part of reality while a supernatural world "behind the surface-veil of phenomena" may be the actual origin of what enters through the senses. The brain would then act as receptor, not producer of thoughts (as Sperry assumes above):
According to the state in which the brain finds itself, the barrier of its obstructiveness may also be supposed to rise or fall. ... And when finally a brain stops acting altogether, or decays, that special stream of consciousness which it subserved will vanish entirely from this natural world. But the sphere of being that supplied the consciousness would still be intact; and in that more real world with which, even whilst here, it was continuous, the consciousness might, in ways unknown to us, continue still." (James, 1950/1893, 17-18)
Sperry's and others' reliance on materialistic dualism may be due to the fact that Swedenborg's solution of substantive dualism may still be unknown to them. A primary Swedenborgian methodological principle may be rendered by the slogan, No function without structure! In other words, no digestion without liver and no thoughts without a spiritual organ in the mind for thinking or feeling. True, mental states cannot exist apart from the active brain (James, Sperry, others); but Swedenborg goes further than anyone in developing the model of the spiritual brain in the mind. This spiritual brain has a status in both psychology and theology. How this is true will be argued in this article.
See a related article where I elaborate on the significance of Swedenborg's psychology for the concept of mental health
Swedenborg's status and significance:
A great paradox.
In the history of intellectual influences in American thought, Emanuel Swedenborg (1688-1772) represents a distinct paradox between known and unknown. One the one hand, a search of citations to Swedenborg's work and thought yields no occurrences in the contemporary citation indexes of the social sciences, and in the humanities, though a few citations occur, they are restricted to a handful of Swedenborgian scholars communicating in their own circle of thought. It is safe to say that Swedenborg is a virtual unknown in the general professional literature of theology and psychology. On the other hand, literary and archival records prove that an amazing number of well-known intellectuals whose works are widely read by Americans, have privately acknowledged a profound debt to Swedenborg, with whose writings they have come into contact (Swedenborg Foundation, 1984; Brock et.al., 1988; Larsen, 19xx anthology). Among these we find the following names (partial listing):
John Bigelow, William Blake, Robert and Elisabeth Barrett Browning, Thomas Carlyle, Andrew Carnegie, Samuel Coleridge, Ralph Emerson, Benjamin Franklin, Robert Frost, Henry James, the Elder, Carl Jung, Immanuel Kant, Helen Keller, Czeslaw Milosz, James Moffat, John Oberlin, Ezra Pound, Sundar Singh, Strindberg, Daisetz Suzuki, Henry Thoreau, Alfred R. Wallace, John Wesley, Colin Wilson.
Not all of these contacts with Swedenborgian thinking were entirely positive (Kant, 19xx/18xx; Emerson, 19xx). Although William James edited his father's papers on Swedenborg for posthumous publication, there occur only two or three passing reference to Swedenborgianism in William James' own works (Taylor, 1988, 159). Contemporary study of Swedenborg's thought is carried out by a small active following that, generation after generation, continues to publish his works and produce updated translations and collateral interpretations (New Philosophy, 1992; New Church Life, 1993; De Hemelsche Leer, 19xx; Pitcairn, 19xx; Granger, 19xx; Odhner, 19xx; Worcester, 19xx; Larsen, 19xx; Taylor, 19xx; VanDusen, 19xx; Woofenden, 19xx; De Charms 1940; Stroh, 1911, cited in Taylor, 1983, 13). Contemporary encyclopedias generally carry entries on Swedenborg and universally acknowledge his broad intellectual influence. An authoritative catalogue of Swedenborg's writings lists over 200 titles (Taffel, 19xx) and the current complete set of Swedenborg's works in English contains 57 volumes (Swedenborg Foundation, 19xx). Most public and academic libraries in the U.S. appear to have one or more books by Swedenborg. In a well known biography of Swedenborg and his writings, Trobridge ends his discussion on "spiritual philosophy" philosophy with this conclusion:
The principles that Swedenborg has elucidated have a very wide bearing; they are applicable, indeed, to all the great subjects that have exercised the human mind from time immemorial. A new light is thrown upon all of these problems and a new order is brought into the region of philosophic inquiry. (Trobridge, 1976, 134).
The entry on Swedenborg in The New Encyclopaedia Britannica (1993) describes him as a "Swedish scientist, Christian mystic, philosopher, and theologian who wrote voluminously in interpreting the Scriptures as the immediate word of God." Swedenborg is described as a precursor of key modern concepts involving the structure of the atom, the formation of planets, the nebular theory, and the localization of mental processes in the right and left hemispheres of the brain. The Encyclopedia of Philosophy (1967) describes Swedenborg as a "scientist, Biblical scholar, and mystic" and ties him to rationalists like Descartes, Leibniz, Christian Wolff, Malebranche, and empiricists like Locke. In the classical vein, Swedenborg is dubbed both Aristotelian and Neoplatonic. There is not entry for Swedenborg in the International Encyclopedia of the Social Sciences (1968) and in the Encyclopedia Judaica (1973).
The Encylcpedia of Religion (1987) qualifies Swedenborg as "Swedish scientist and mystic" who "reported on what he had heard and seen in his supernatural experiences." It mentions Swedenborg's doctrine of correspondences which was referred to as "a vision of the truth hidden by the confusion of sense data and everyday language" by "many of the greatest poets of Western literature, particularly in the Romantic and Symbolic traditions." The most extensive entry on Swedenborg was found in The New Schaff-Herzog Encyclopedia of Religious Knowledge (1957). This comprehensive article covers Swedenborg's call to his mission as revelator, his subsequent intromission into the spiritual world while continuing his proffessional duties as a government mining engineer and legislator, Kant's concealment of his indebtedness to Swedenborg's ideas. The article also discusses the sequence and content of Swedenborg's major works. In contrast to this sympathetic coverage, the New Catholic Encyclopedia (1967) ends its brief article on Swedenborg with the suggestion that "his visions were manifestations of a mental disease (paranoia), subconsciously developed to confirm the theories that he had already worked out. Still, there is the recognition that "his influence, however, has been considerable, affecting particularly the philosophy and literature of the Romanticists, and the development of the psychical sciences." An extensive bibliography of Swedenborg's writings will be found in Williams-Hogan, 1988) .
The great paradox of Swedenborg is that his writings have had such an enduring and deep influence on American and Western thought, and yet he is not directly cited in the professional literature of science, theology, philosophy, and psychology (Taylor, 1988), despite the fact that well-known mainstream psychologists like William James, Gordon Allport and Henry Murray, have been deeply involved with Swedenborg (Taylor, 1983). There undoubtedly exists a reluctance on the part of writers to cite Swedenborg openly. Kirven (1988) and Zwink (1988) have examined the reasons why Kant, Goethe, Schelling, and writers in the 19th century German Southwest, have avoided direct citations to Swedenborg in their published works, though they have acknowledged his influence in indirect allusions and in private letters or comments to friends. Famed Zen master Daisetz Suzuki, who translated some of Swedenborg's books into Japanese, attributes Swedenborg's obscurity to the fact that he provides too many details about what he has 'seen and heard' in heaven and hell (cited in Nagashima, 1993). He felt that Swedenborg's theology would be more acceptable to the intelligentsia if he had provided less details about life in the afterlife.
To understand why a citation to Swedenborg can be the proverbial 'kiss of death' in contemporary psychology one need only to quote Swedenborg's claims regarding the origin of his thinking, as laid down in his numerous books. Early in his supernatural career, he wrote:
I sacredly attest that I have been intromitted into the Kingdom of God by Messiah Himself, Jesus of Nazareth, and have there spoke with heavenly Genii, with Spirits, with the dead who have risen again, yea with those who called themselves Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Esau, Rebecca, Moses, Aaron, and the Apostles, especially Paul and James; and this now through a period of eight months... (Adversaria 475, cited by Potts, Vol. VI, p. 114).
Years later, towards the end of his long career, Swedenborg states that his intromission into dual life is the greatest miracle in human history and has not been granted by God to anyone before. The Lord's purpose for this new revelation is to bring on His long promised Second Advent, a process which is to be accomplished through and in the Writings of Swedenborg, the appointed revelator. He writes:
As it has been granted me by the Lord to be in the Spiritual World and in the natural world at the same time, and therefore to speak with Angels as with men...for I have spoke with all my relations and friends, and likewise with kings and dukes, as also with learned men, who have met their fate; and this now continually for twenty-seven years, I am able to describe from living experience the states of men after death..." (True Christian Religion, 281, cited in Potts, Vol. VI, p.156).
Whatever one's belief or judgment may be regarding Swedenborg's claim about the origin of his thinking, it is important to examine the content of the system of thought he presents. I will try to show that his unique integration of theology and psychology constitutes the foundations of a viable, postmodern marriage between theology and psychology in the twenty-first century, a school of thought that might be dubbed, substantive dualism.
Swedenborg's system of thought spreads across dozens of volumes which repeat much of the same information from different points of view. The following account is an attempt to present Swedenborg's system in what seems to me a rational order. The accuracy of my account may be verified with the help of Potts' The Swedenborg Concordance (19xx) which gives brief quotes and multiple references to all of Swedenborg's theological writings. The main entries in Potts that cover the content of my synopsis can be looked up under the following topics:
Church; conjugial love; correspondences; dreams; earths in the universe; faith and charity; freedom; good and truth; Grand Man; heaven and hell; Last Judgment; love and wisdom; obsessions; proprium; reformation and regeneration; remains; spirits and angels; temptations; Trinity; uses; vastation; will and understanding; Word.
Synopsis of Swedenborg's theology:
Shun evils in yourself and love the Divine Human
First Principle: God is Omnipotent Person
God alone is infinite and omnipotent. God alone has life and power. God alone is purely human, hence God is called the Divine Human, and we are created as a finite image and likeness of the Divine Human (Doctrine of the Trinity in One Person). God is love and wisdom in substance, hence the source of all substance and matter, hence also, of all form and function.
Second Principle: The Operation of Divine Providence
All created things are finited conditions imposed upon the two infinite substances of good and truth (which are the same as love and wisdom). Created things are dead in themselves but can function as mineral and biological receptors of divine life (which is love and wisdom or, good and truth). No detail whatsoever, at the molecular or historical levels, can occur or exist except through the direct and immediate governance of the Divine Human (Doctrine of Divine Providence). This governance of divine law and order, is motivated by the Divine Human's love for created human beings and the desire to make everyone happy and wise from Himself, and this, to eternity. The Divine Human's relation to people is most intimate in that He not only governs the course and outcome of events but continuously intervenes at the subconscious level in human minds so as to assist in the arrangement of thoughts and feelings that insure an orderly mental, intellectual and spiritual development. Without the Divine Human's direct and personal governance of planets and minds, the entire physical and spiritual universe would instantly collapse into chaos and vanish into nothingness.
Third Principle: Why Evil Exists Despite God's Omnipotence
The Divine Human creates human beings on innumerable planets in the universe. The divine purpose is to have planets serve as "seminaries" for immortality or eternal life in heaven. This purpose is from pure divine love for the entire human race and all other divine decisions are made to conform to this one overarching purpose. Hence comes the Divine Human's permission for evil, to preserve human freedom. Without this freedom humans feel that they are acting out of coercion, not from themselves. To preserve a feeling of as-of-self is essential for humans since without that they never act from their own love. Without acting from one's own love, nothing spiritual or eternal can be created within the human mind. The immortal or eternal component of the human mind must be rooted in love, or else it is dissipated and does not remain. This is the reason that the existence of heaven, or eternal life, requires the feeling of as-of-self action and decision. The maintenance of as-of-self existence requires that God give permission to evil thoughts and feelings, as well as their culmination in evil acts. Despite this requirement, however, the Divine Human actively monitors as-of-self life, continuously bending (but not forcing) the thoughts and feelings of everyone so as to mitigate the evils entering the mind through self-love and irrationality. Still, only those evil acts are permitted which the Divine Human can turn into a good use or benefit for those who are victimized (Doctrine of Permissions). Both evil doers and victims are thus constantly under divine protection and governance. There is no separate power of darkness or evil, no random acts of violence, no blind natural forces; only human beings acting as-of-self within God's strict law and order.
Fourth Principle: Life after Death
The real person (or self) is the mind (or spirit), which exists not in the natural world, but in the spiritual world, though it is tied to the physical body by the laws of correspondence between the spiritual and natural worlds (Doctrine of Correspondences). At birth, humans are born into dual citizenship: one, temporary and natural within a physical body on some planet; the other, permanent and eternal within a spiritual body. There are specific laws of correspondence whereby the two bodies interact across the two worlds (natural and spiritual). Both worlds are substantial (i.e., made of 'stuff'), and have a relation to time and space: in the natural world, time and space are fixed and rigidly in place; in the spiritual world, time and space are merely appearances (as in dreams or imagination) that help give an external basis to one's mind and to a community of people. In the spiritual world (i.e., in the mind) time is a subjective consequence of cognitive sequences, or thoughts, and space is a subjective consequence of affective states, or feelings.
The individual's mind in the spiritual body grows along with the physical body starting at birth. Physical stimuli entering the brain through the sensorimotor organs are mapped by the laws of correspondences unto the mind's two spiritual organs: the will (voluntary; affectional) and the understanding (intellectual; verbal). Thus, social and moral experiences of everyday life form the character of an individual's affectional and intellectual life. All things the individual freely chooses as-of-self are loved, and all things that are loved remain forever in the spiritual body, as part of the cumulative structure of the mind. Thoughts and feelings are permanent substances constructed out of spiritual good and truth from the divine, into shapes and forms that are unique to each individual. They are visible entities ("filaments") to those who live in the afterlife (spiritual world). Upon the death of the physical body (and approximately 36 hours later), the individual "awakens" in the spiritual world, in the spiritual body, and for some amazing few hours or days, begins to explore the new existence and its very different laws.
Further details are omitted here due to space limitations; they are on such topics as the thought-language that is universal in the spiritual world; the map of the spiritual world and the layout of its cities in correspondence to mental genius and variety of loves; the relationship of these things to the Bible's parables and symbolisms; and many other details. A modern and thorough exposition of these details may be found in Odhner (19xx; 19xx).
Fifth Principle: Sin and Salvation
Guilt or damnation is not directly inherited, but evil impulses and their delights are inherited from generation to generation in a cumulative genetic chain. Still, what condemns is not the evil impulse that has been inherited, but its appropriation to oneself with love and delight. All evil impulses can be removed by the divine effort that is continuously operating in the mind, but success can be achieved only by prolonged as-of-self cooperation by the individual confronting the innumerable hassles and crises of daily life (Doctrine of Charity).
Subjectively, this process of reformation requires suffering and self-sacrifice, and is brought about through victories in spiritual temptations. The Divine Human is ceaselessly at work as 'God Psychotherapist', at any one time presenting only those spiritual temptations which the individual is capable of overcoming as-of-self. The actual power in eradicating the evil impulses is the divine's only, the individual having none. Yet the Divine Human is not capable of saving anyone without as-of-self cooperation, since to coerce change is to remove freedom, and consequently all happiness and eternal life (Doctrine of Regeneration). This is a divine Self-imposed limitation out of love for the individual. This approach allows God to elevate more people to heavenly life and to mitigate the suffering attendant on the law of permissions that forces a reluctant Divine Human to allow victimization from evil to occur among humans.
While the ceaseless 'behind the scenes' work of the Divine Human is entirely subconscious, He gives the individual conscious new perceptions called "illustrations" and "enlightenment." Thus, one's former evils can be perceived after victory in temptations, but not before or during. This conscious sense of undergoing regeneration as well as the conscious as-of-self effort involved in temptations, are essential features that insure the person's reciprocation and cooperation. These two are necessary for love and conjunction between the individual and the Divine Human. Without this love and conjunction, immortality and eternal life are not possible (Doctrine of Reciprocation).
There are two means given everyone from birth by which one retains communication with the Divine Human: conscience and revealed Scriptures. While reading and studying Scriptures there is opened a channel of subconscious communication between the individual and heavenly societies. But this is entirely inhibited and closed off if the individual does not regard the text as Divine. Subconscious communication with heavenly societies empowers the individual to be regenerated and to enact and perform as-of-self acts of love, wisdom, and use to family, neighbor, and society. It is from these acts alone that the individual receives the greatest delights and the deepest joy and fulfillment of life. Thus without revealed Scriptures on earth, heavenly communication would not be possible, hence no salvation or redemption from our inherited connection with hellish life. Even if not everyone, or even a majority, studies Scriptures they acknowledge as Divine, communication with heaven and earth is retained through those minds who do read Divine doctrine. This subconscious positive mental effect can spread to the work of even those who are ignorant or opposed to the Divine or to Divine Scriptures. Thus the new age works its way over the ensuing generations.
Sixth Principle: The Historical Incarnation of the Divine Human
There are three evolutionary states for the human race on all planets. The first involves an immediate and direct inner type of communication and influence between the Divine Human and each individual. In this phase, the Divine Human is infinite and invisible, appearing to people in various borrowed forms such as a star, a burning bush, an angel, beauty, joy, and so on. This may be called the phase of God the Father. It ends when people begin to reject their intimate relation with the invisible God and begin to believe the appearances of an independent, as-of-self life (Doctrine of Vastation). People thus fall into a sub-human phase of life in which God's actual governance of all details is denied, leading to a life of spiritual insanity punctuated by external pietism, agnosticism, atheism, materialism, and their consequent evils: deceit, cruelty, lust, despotism, adultery, and all other forms of hellish life.
This fallen or "vastated" state of humanity is healed by the incarnation, which is an historical event in which the Divine Human creates a visible, physical or natural Body within which He can dwell externally to Himself, but in the same plane as human beings are. This tangible, visible Divine Human, or God-Man, was anticipated and awaited by the ancients who knew of the Incarnation from their revealed doctrines (Doctrine of the Redeemer and Savior). They chose the epithet of Christ to refer to the expected God-Man. Christians use the epithet Son of God, as well as Christ and Lord. God-Man is also known to the inhabitants of other planets in the entire universe to whom He has visually appeared. God-Man now ushers in a new age in the psychobiology of the mind. This second phase in human evolution creates a new channel of communication between the Divine Human and each member of the human race. New mental powers are unveiled and made available to humankind: resisting xenophobia and character weaknesses. A new spirit of altruism creates thoughts and feelings in favor of cooperation, compromise, tolerance, sympathy (Doctrine of the Holy Spirit). Consequences are easy to see: a new civilization, the modern world, human rights, global exchange.
Historically, planet Earth served as the place of the divine Birth (Incarnation) on account of its unique characteristics: a keen interest in trade (spreading of cultural influences), technology (printing and publishing of written doctrine), and coded laws to rule very large societies. People on other planets have not evolved civilizations like ours because they have retained an internal spiritual life based on a natural hierarchical structure of small, pre-literate tribes and families. Nevertheless, God-Man appears to them from time to time in His Natural Body and thus maintains direct external communication on an individual basis (Doctrine of Religion).
The third and final state of human evolution involves the reconstruction of an interior communication with the visible Divine Human (Doctrine of The Second Advent). The Incarnation (or First Advent) restored external communication, but a more interior revelation of Himself was not possible due to premodern ideas and concepts. Rational concepts using symbolic representation abstracted from sensory input were needed in order to understand anything about the spiritual world, that is, the interior region of the mind. The new understanding that was required was brought about through the growth of science and rationality to the point where individual understanding is capable of seeing consciously how one's thoughts and feelings are directly and continuously governed by the Divine Human. In the earlier second phase, this awareness is not possible since the Divine Human is split in the individual's mind between the infinite, invisible God, on the one hand, and on the other, the visible Divine Human. However in this third phase, the individual is capable of seeing the two as one: the infinite invisible God the Father indwelling the visible Divine Human, just as the supernatural invisible soul indwells the visible body and mind. With this third and last phase, the human race is restored to true rationality and freedom (Doctrine of the New Church). Instead of appearing to ourselves as acting from our own impulses, we now see ourselves as acting from the Divine Human's Proprium (or Persona), each of us in our own unique ways. Hence come heavenly states of life to eternity, i.e., love and wisdom, intelligence and creativity, growth and mental health, happiness and all joys. The acquisition of this third and ultimate phase of life is achieved by the following four universal steps which every individual must enact as-of-self (Doctrine of Regeneration):
* (1) Acknowledge the existence and reality of the Divine Human (Doctrine of Faith);
* (2) Use doctrines from your inherited or acquired religion to daily self-examine your thoughts, feelings, and actions so that you may know your evil loves and delights;
* (3) Desist from these evils as-of-self and shun them as personal sins against the Divine Human (Doctrine of Temptations);
* (4) Do goods (be useful to neighbor and society) as-of-self according to your conscience from religion, but attribute all the power to the Divine Human alone (Doctrine of Charity).
It is in step (4) that salvation and heavenly life is attained. In this state, the individual acts only from the Divine, knows it, and yet has the impression of acting from self. This combination of acknowledging divine determination yet acting as-of-self with personal responsibility, brings spiritual freedom, love, wisdom, power to act, and supreme delights and joys that miraculously increase ceaselessly to eternity. It couldn't be better!
Synopsis of Swedenborg's rational
Conjunction between will and understanding.
Spiritual Physiology and Anatomy
We are born a Spirit within a natural (physical) body. The Spirit is the mind and is composed of spiritual substances. The mind and the body act together through the laws of correspondences. The form, structure and function of the body and its parts and sub-parts (organs, fibers, molecules), have a unique, one-to-one correspondence with the organs, fibers and molecules of the mind. The body is made of temporal structures and substances (electrons, proteins, physiological reactions in time, space, and gravity), and disintegrates at death. All the mind structures that have been erected or compiled in correspondence with one's experiences through the body, remain, as they are formed from spiritual substances (non-temporal, non-spatial, hence, not physical).
The body's functions are carried out by three broad systems: circulatory, respiratory, and nervous. These three correspond to the three domains within which the mind functions: affective (will), cognitive (understanding), and sensorimotor (executing acts and perceiving sensations). The will is the spiritual organ which carries out the affective functions: desiring, loving, being motivated, striving, persisting, exerting effort, being compulsed or obsessed, and all affections such as feelings of attraction or repulsion in all their varieties (preferences, biases, aesthetic limits, and so on). The understanding is the spiritual organ which carries out the cognitive functions: symbolic representation, memory, reasoning, problem solving, classification, indexing, generalization, and so on. The sensorimotor functions have both a spiritual and a natural composition.
At death, all mind structures and their contents remain; thus, all personal memories, all one's loves and persuasions and skills. No experience, thought, or delight can ever perish or vanish, but continues forever within the structure of the self or personality, as it develops to eternity. Spiritual physiology, or the structure and function of the mind, is carried out by two basic spiritual substances: good and truth streaming forth from the Divine and filling the entire universe as the natural suns of the physical world beam forth their heat and light, giving origin to and filling the earths and all their objects. The Divine is always integrated in Itself, and so remains intact in the elements of good and truth that constitute the organs of the mind. This immediate connection can never be broken; thus, when we love through the spiritual organ of the will, Divine elements (Loves) accrue to the self; similarly, when we think through the spiritual organ of understanding, Divine elements (Truths) constitute our intellectual building blocks and forms.
Growth takes place through experiences that the Divine Human brings to every individual. The Divine acts into both the will and the understanding, supervising what mental structures are built up through experiences (having feelings, thoughts and sensations). The Divine builds every Spirit (person) into a unique individual and ceaselessly strives to maintain the individual's spiritual freedom in every choice made as-of-self. This Self-imposed limitation prevents the Divine from creating seemingly perfect individuals who are rational, loving, and wise, but exert no will of their own. As a result, each individual can 'force' the Divine to permit the development of an unhealthy mind containing perverted loves and irrational ideas. At death, the same individual who was acting through a physical body on earth now acts through a spiritual body in the spiritual world. This spiritual body is now an external projection of one's mental makeup. The laws of order in the spiritual world continuously arrange for communication and co-presence to take place in accordance with mental constitution. Thus it is that upon death, individuals who share similar affections and persuasions gather themselves together as-of-self, and form communities and societies, which in external appearance, are not unlike those they've lived in on earth (cities, administrative rulers, occupations, recreations, and so on). However, these are merely projected appearances rooted in sensorimotor memories built on earth. In actuality, life is quite different, more like how it is in dream worlds, with space, time, and environment instantly created and changed in accordance with one's feelings, moods, and thought sequences. For a society in the spiritual world to subsist there must be a continuing and unbroken mental harmony between all its members. For instance, if discord breaks out, the society experiences an as-of-self dispersion and scattering asunder. Similarly, individuals can change societies by experiencing a modification in affective or cognitive states of mind.
The spiritual body allows growth in only the directions that have been developed before death. A consequence of this limitation is that personality change cannot occur in the afterlife. Thus, all processes of reformation and regeneration, hence salvation, can occur only before death. The human personality is built up into an external and an internal. For instance, a vengeful, dishonest and irrational person on the inside, can have an external personality that appears civil, moral, and intelligent under most circumstances of observability. The soft and benign exterior is maintained as-of-self by the fear of punishment and the desire for acceptance and honor in society. After death such duplicity is not permitted by the Divine and each individual's external personality then ceases to be active. People then come into their own interior desires and ideas, through which each is brought into a community of like minded spirits. Hence are formed societies that live in hellish states of mind, forming fantasy filled societies that project the appearances of hells -- lawlessness, tortures, filth, deformed bodies, darkness, and all manners of infestations by vermin and wild beasts. In contrast to this, there are formed an endless variety of heavenly societies involving those individuals who suffered themselves to be reformed and regenerated on earth by cooperating with the Divine. These societies project the appearances of Heavens -- law and order, conjugal happiness, beautiful surroundings, loving relations with neighbours, and endless intellectual pursuits and growth. Since hellish and heavenly societies are founded on interior affections and cognitions, it is not possible for individuals to cross from one to the other state of eternal life. Those who attempt it, see nor hear anyone or anything, when they appear to themselves as having traveled 'there'.
Spiritual Associations or The Vertical Community
The Divine operation within the personality or self, is carried out mediately, through a subconscious process of spiritual influence that involves communication, association, and connection. For instance, changes in mood in an individual are effected by the Divine Human by opening and closing channels of communication that link the individual's interior motives and ideas with spiritual societies that are characterized by particular states of affections and persuasions. Societies in the entire spiritual world are linked to each other according to the character of affections and reasonings of its members, and thus there takes place a constant interchange of resources and experiences. No feeling, thought or sensation can occur to an individual except through such communication with various spiritual societies that are so interlinked. The entire human race in all the earths, heavens and hells, are thus integrated by the Divine Human into a vertical community functioning by absolute and total interdependence. This entire Divine operation may be known by revelation and rationally understood, but it may not be directly perceived because that would destroy our as-of-self sense of freedom which is necessary for growth and change, hence for happiness.
At birth, hereditary principles function so that the individual inherits the spiritual associations or channels of influence which are operative with the parents and the rest of the society and neighborhood into which one is born. Thereafter, the Divine ceaselessly brings on individual experiences which are opportunities for as-of-self choices that open and close channels of spiritual communication. Each individual thus evolves a unique personality within cultural and ethnic milieus, themes or stereotypes. Reformation and regeneration are processes of change effected by the Divine through spiritual temptations brought on by the crises and hassles of daily life. The Divine Human brings about states of temptations by opening up simultaneously in our mind channels of communication between two opposing spiritual societies. Experientially the individual feels caught up in an intense conflict: to choose A which feels delightful and attractive, or to choose B which feels painful and unattractive. Intellectually, the individual recognizes and is aware that choice A violates conscience and religion while choice B is in agreement with these. Through an endless series of such temptations, the Divine Human educates every individual and instills traits of prudence, perseverance, rationality, love of being useful, nobility of character and the like, all of which prepare the individual for heavenly life after death. For the process to work, the person must exert as-of-self effort in the choice making, and yet must attribute all to God. Every trait thus instilled by the Divine seeps away and vanishes unless the trait be appropriated by the individual through loving it. This makes it permanent.
On the other hand, individuals who do not cooperate with the Divine in the work of temptations, remain in their inherited spiritual associations and gradually evolve a character that prepares them for life after death in these hellish societies. Upon death, each individual consciously comes into presence with the spiritual societies with whom channels of communication have been permanently established during life on earth. Upon entering these societies, heavenly or hellish, individuals thus feel as if they've at last arrived home and plunge themselves fully and totally into their life such at is in that company.
See related article on Vertical Community
Freedom (love of good) vs. Slavishness (love of self)
Freedom and slavery are states of mind, especially the affective, since it exerts control over the cognitive. When we act from good or noble purposes, motives or desires, we are in a state of freedom; when acting from evil or ignoble desires, we are in an unfree state of slavishness. This is because the affections from which we act have only two origins: the heavenly and hellish spiritual societies with which we communicate at the time. Though in a state of slavery led by evil influences, the individual has the illusion of being free; this is because the act brings delight in satisfying some desire. Pleasure and delight from love or desire always create the feeling of freedom. But it is illusory and self-destructive when the love or desire is from evil origins. But when the love or desire is from heavenly origins, the feeling of freedom in its fulfillment and satisfaction, is real freedom. By creation, the only freedom we have is the freedom to be good.
The love of self, which is called "proprium", opens communication with evil spiritual societies. The affective mind organ of the will is a subconscious receptor for the loves and desires of various spiritual societies. The individual on earth and the societies in the spiritual world are all unaware of this connection, which is strictly governed by the Divine Human. By insisting on the love of self, the individual forces the Divine operation to effect this ill fated connection (Doctrine of Permissions) and through this, the individual is supplied with various specific affections such as the desire to rule and dominate over others, or the effort to defraud and violate, and so on. When executed in act, these desires and loves bring intense delight, pleasure, and satisfaction, which are sensorimotor states greatly appreciated and sought after. The entire process operates without the individual's awareness but the Divine creates the as-of-self in every mind, giving the individual the impression that the loves and consequent delights originate from the self, from one's own proprium or conscious sense of being alive. Without this feeling of as-of-self there would be no way of feeling these delights as one's own, hence one would have no life of one's own, not unlike that of an automaton, robot, or zombie. The sense of as-of-self is a prerequisite to effort and success, hence responsibility and happiness. However, evil loves and their delights inevitably lead to self-destruction, that is, to the loss of freedom and rationality, hence of happiness. Upon death, individuals enter interiorly into the life of their loves and persuasions, and when these are from hellish societies, they become the individual's habitat forever in like minded company.
The life of real freedom is possible when the individual suffers the Divine Human to reform and regenerate the mind while still on earth where directions of development can be modified from those we inherit from parents and family. Painstakingly, through innumerable decisions as-of-self, we come day by day to accept noble influences, good affections, fair minded purposes and motives. When these eventuate in daily acts of living, they bring the delight of being good, and then only, can the Divine Human give us the perception of what true freedom is, and what heavenly happiness. Then we can clearly see with aversion and horror, that the other state of evil delights is not freedom, but hellish slavery. Thus, to act from conscience is to act from God, from good, from heaven, and is true freedom; to act against conscience is to act from devils, from evil, from hellish spiritual societies, and is self-destructive slavery. To act from reception from heaven is the dominion from good and truth, which is true freedom; to act from reception from hell is the dominion from evil and falsity, which is slavery.
Obsessions -- External and Interior
External obsessions ceased after the Divine Human born on earth ascended to the spiritual world (Doctrine of Resurrection) and thereby came into the power to create a new psychobiological form of connection between people on earth and spiritual societies. Prior to that (B.C. on the calendar), individuals who destroyed their conscience by willful disregard, fell under the conscious influence of spiritual societies who thus were able to possess the body as well as the mind. In such states of external possession, the hellish spirits were able to feel as if they've vicariously returned to earth, this being extremely delightful to them. At the same time, the individual thus possessed was no longer able to act from self--the ultimate loss of all freedom. This kind of external possession was permitted by the Divine Human prior to His incarnation, because of the willful destruction of conscience throughout civilization. It was foreseen by the Divine Human from the beginning of creation that such destruction of the conscience will occur at one point in history, and the incarnation as a historical God-Man was the means by which the fallen human mind would be regenerated through a new conscience. The Incarnation is thus a major psychobiological modification in the history of the human race. By means of it, the pattern of links between all individuals on earth and individuals in spiritual societies, were permanently modified, ushering in a new age for humankind (A.D. on the calendar).
Interior possession or obsession is permitted by the Divine Human as a means for the new spiritual law and order to prevail. Individuals can become aware of such obsessions by examining their inner, private affections and thoughts. Daily self-witnessing in the course of living and working will reveal insane impulses which we try to repress from awareness (as well as suppress), and irrational ideas which we stubbornly cling to for no apparent good reason. Insane impulses and irrational persuasions are interior obsessions. They originate from open communication and reception from particular hellish societies. The spiritual societies are not consciously aware of communication with specific individuals on earth, but they nevertheless have the experiences that correspond to these impulses and persuasions, and in this they greatly delight. This is their life.
Heavenly societies do not seek to possess or obsess people on earth, though they know from their sciences that the Divine Human effects such communication. Nevertheless they experience supreme delights and joys when, unknownst to them, the Divine Human opens communication with an individual on earth who as-of-self shuns the delights of self-love and strives to listen to conscience or to act usefully and fairly on account of respect and love for others. The more this communication with heaven is opened in people's affections (or will), the more they become wise and rational and loving (Doctrine of Regeneration). Upon death, such individuals are gathered to the societies with whom they have shared loves and interests. Upon arrival to that state of mind and spiritual society, they feel they've at last come home to friends they've always known.
Marriage Love--The Unit of Life is the Couple
The purpose of creation is to multiply heavenly societies to infinity and eternity. Heavenly life consists of couplehood between husband and wife (Doctrine of Conjugial Love). This is a state of mind called 'one flesh,' by which is meant two souls, one male one female, united reciprocally and experiencing one life in common. The delight of one is felt by the other as if one's own. In this state only harmony can exist and the joy of making the other happy from oneself. This is heavenly love, true love, Divine love in humans. Heavenly societies are based on married partners who are recognized and treated as one individual. It is for this reason that souls are created male and female. The soul forms the subconscious stratum of the mind.
Preparation for eternal couplehood in heavenly states is the purpose of birth and life on earth. Male souls are genetically constructed to have a spirit or mind with the cognitive organ positioned on the exterior of the mind, and the affective organ on the interior. The minds of female souls are in a reciprocal position: the affective is on the exterior while the cognitive is on the interior. The love of uniting between men and women is infused into every individual from birth, though in various ways according to personality and culture. This love can also be modified by the individual's spiritual associations in the course of life, leading to apparent contradictions such as celibacy, adultery, divorce, rape, misogyny, homosexuality. The conjugial love between husband and wife in heaven begets wisdom in the couple's mind, and this wisdom "descends" or exteriorizes in the natural world as the process of reproduction and parenthood.
The Psychology of Regeneration
Swedenborg states in many places in his writings that "nothing can be more important" than to understand the "conjunction of the will and understanding." This union between the affective and the cognitive thus becomes the focal point for an applied psychology in the postmodern era of science. It may be called the psychology of regeneration because when the individual achieves sufficient depth in affective-cognitive integration, the 'old will' or self is no longer the central figure of one's personality. A psychological rebirth has been imposed upon the mind so that now, a new will or self, activates the personality. Swedenborg's oft stated summary of how we are to be saved and regenerated by the Divine Human is this: Shun evils as sins against the Divine Human. This sentence can serve to describe his two-stage model of regeneration: A. Disconnect ("shun evils"); B. Reconnect ("as sins against the Divine Human).
Stage A: Disconnect through Reformation
To shun evils in oneself has two prerequisites: the desire to change (affective domain) and a map of the way (cognitive domain). In the affective domain, there needs to be the determined desire or motive to reject delights to which we are very attached by inheritance, such as the delight in ruling over others (e.g., not listening; being insensitive; insisting on one's own way; favoring only those who agree with us; and so on), or the joy of depriving others of the goods we covet (e.g., trying to win no matter what; conspiring to contribute to someone's downfall; being insincere or dishonest to gain an advantage; and so on). These inherited motives and their delights systematically select out only those sub-motives and plans that agree with them. Thus, gradually over a lifetime, the love of ruling over others shapes the personality into a 'devil' fit for life in the hells of the afterlife. It is a personality dedicated to the self, opposed to equality and democracy, and hateful of the Divine Human who disapproves and works to undermine and weaken the growth of this infernal personality.
The second prerequisite for "shun evils" is in the cognitive domain, namely, those evils that are on the forbidden list of your faith, religion, or conscience. For example, as a Christian, Swedenborg studied the meaning of the Ten Commandments, applied them to his daily life and was seriously striving to enact them by always acting sincerely and diligently at his official duties and in his relationships with every one, from the Swedish king to his gardeners and publishers. He often states that to be successful at this process one must use self-examination. It is necessary to recognize one's evil delights in action, or else these can never be rejected in freedom, with consciousness. Anything in the will (loves, motives) not rejected in total freedom as-of-self, remains forever attached to the personality. This creates a psychobiological link, a permanent open connection for influx from particular infernal societies, bringing with it slavery of the will, irrationality, loss of self-control and choice.
The chief barrier to reformation is the individual's identification with the evil impulses and motives inflowing from inherited spiritual associations. As soon as the individual rejects this identity ("This evil is not me, only in me"), the Divine Human can disconnect or close the infernal influx. The delights of evil successes are felt as one's own, hence there is the illusion that doing evil is of one's own choice, made in freedom. One then continues by appropriating the evil and finally, by justifying it as proper and good. That is spiritual or interior insanity leading to mental disorders, character weaknesses, and social breakdown. Faith and religion provide motivation and direction for an escape back to freedom and sanity.
Stage 2. Reconnect through Regeneration
Shunning evils in the personality and holding them in aversion leads to the stage of regeneration proper. The new motives in the will are invited into the self by looking to the Divine Human's Proprium or Self. New impulses occur in ourselves which we recognize as noble, wise, prudent, altruistic. We know they are the traits of the Divine Human personality in us, yet out of His love, they are miraculously felt as one's very own. Before this, what we felt as our own was the ignoble character of the infernal societies. But now, what we feel as our own is the noble character of the heavenly societies, all of whom receive them from the Divine Human.
In both states of life, the preregenerate and the regenerate, the principle of conjunction between the will (affective) and the understanding (cognitive) remains the same: evil loves attract, marry and conjoin false thoughts or beliefs, while good loves attract, marry and conjoin true thoughts and beliefs. This mental or spiritual process of conjunction of like with like, and disjunction or divorce of unlike with unlike, is a primary rule and reality created by the Divine Human as a tool of salvation, redemption, and regeneration.
This Divinely imposed psychological reality, revealed and understood in biological theology, has many therapeutic applications in a postmodern psychology that is dualistic rather than materialistic and atheistic. Examples are discussed in the section below.
Postmodern Psychology Allied
to Biological Theology.
In the writings of Swedenborg we find a unique integration of theology and psychology. It is broad, consistent, and in line with the moral and philosophical outlook of Judaeo-Christian cultures. I have characterized his theology as biological because in it Swedenborg makes a rational and successful case for the reality of what I might call substantive dualism. Creation is not 'out of nothing,' an idea Swedenborg sees as irrational (Doctrine of Nothingness). Because of this view, Swednborg's book Principia was prohibited by Papal authroity in 1739 as it "was seen as contravening the position that God created all things out of nothing (Taylor 1983, 8) According to Swedenborg, creation is out of the substances within the infinite Divine. He identifies the two building blocks as good and truth. These are Divine substances (visible in the spiritual world) streaming out from Itself as a Spiritual Sun, and externalizing themselves in a gradual series of descent to grosser and denser entities--the Spiritual Sun, good and truth, love and wisdom, will and understanding, affections and thoughts, space and time, gravity and ether, heat and light, solids and liquids (Doctrine of Atmospheres). This externalizing progression is sequential in creation or development, but simultaneous in existence and use. Existence is thus continuous subsistence. This means that the Divine does not operate or govern 'from a distance,' but is in immediate or proximate contact with every single thing in the universe, at every level, thus, as much in history and individual thoughts as in galaxies and neutrinos. In the Divine Human, all things are One, and since all things are from Himself as substances, the entire universe is in reality a human, biological organism.
This biological theology, obtained from revelation, leads Swedenborg to match its constructs to his individual experience and empirical observations, to yield a rational psychology. The will and the understanding are spiritual organic receptors of the twin substances, good and truth, streaming from the Divine (Doctrine of Influx). In the will (affective system), the substance or filament of good is received as love or affections. In the understanding (cognitive system), the substance or filament of truth is received as ideas and reasonings. Since each receptor organ is created unique to every individual (Doctrine of Souls), the same good and truth, which are infinitely variable in themselves, are transformed into unique patterns of ideas, thoughts, and perceptions in each individual. The Divine law of creation guarantees that no two people can ever be the same, which means that they can never have the same thoughts and feelings. Since perfection is the integration of variety, heavenly life in aggregate grows in perfection the more individuals accrue to its societies. Hence the physical world will always remain as the seminary for the perfection of spiritual societies in eternity (Doctrine of Perpetuity of Earths in the Universe).
Swedenborg's unique approach in integrating theology and psychology lies in what I might call the Doctrine of Mediation. According to this, there are two connections that the Divine maintains with human beings: immediate, as explained just above (see also Section 2), and mediate. The latter is through the intermediary of spiritual societies, as explained in Section 3. The Divine laws and procedures that operate reformation and regeneration with every individual are discoverable through two methods that could mark the postmodern era of science: biological theology and rational psychology. The science of biological theology proceeds by building biological explanations and theories about God's immediate interconnections with all things in the universe. The science of rational psychology proceeds by building rational explanations and theories about God's mediate connection with our feelings, thoughts, and perceptions--that is, about our subconscious associations with particular spiritual societies.
Since biological theology and rational psychology are to be viewed as sciences, they must be empirical, and each must have its own methods of investigation recognized by a practicing group of professional scholars who strive to remain integrated within the larger body of science. This can happen only when a postmodern paradigm shift occurs and scientists reject the current materialism and adopt instead substantive dualism. Swedenborg's writings lay the foundations for this new scientific perspective. There are many examples of this new approach that can be found in the work of contemporary Swedenborgian scholars. For biological theology I might cite Worcester's (19xx) compilation of spiritual-physiological correspondences, Simonetti's (1988) observations in embriology, and Sechrest's (19xx) dictionary of Bible imagery. For rational psychology I might cite the work of clinical psychologist VanDusen (19xx) who worked with psychoses and multiple personality disorders, the work of psychiatrist Keiser (19xx) on recurrent nightmares, Acton (19xx) on dreams and on human development, and Goodenough (19xx) on drug addiction.
To add to this trend, I want to propose the taxonomy outlined in Table 1. It uses seven categories to group the major known symptoms of behavior problems in society to be found in the discussions of contemporary clinical and self-development literatures. With each grouping of symptoms there is given a specific method of therapy or education based on principles from biological theology as outlined earlier in this paper. Space does not allow me to discuss in detail the psychodynamic features of the taxonomy. It assumes that mental phenomena are locked into position in between their interior origin in spiritual societies and their external consequences in the brain and body. This pivotal mediating role of the mind allows conscious modification of spiritual influences in the form of therapy, education, and self-development activities. Modifications introduced to the biochemistry of the brain by such agents as alcohol, drugs, food, or disease, or changes in the physiology of the sensory organs caused by music, body position, color and form, are all natural modifications that alter the state of correspondence with the mind and its spiritual links. It may appear that "taking a drink" or "putting on some music" causes a change in one's mood or mental content, but actually, this is only a correlation. The cause of the mood change is the switching of spiritual connections with the mind, and the chemistry or the music or the new self-regulatory sentence are only the occasion in the natural realm for the spiritual change in the mind to occur.
As pointed out by a contemporary Swedenborgian psychiatrist (Keiser, 1977), this new field model of the mind removes the spatial conception. There is only one universal mind forming the Spritual World, instead of many separated minds. The regions, zones, or provinces in this global mind, or spiritual world, correspond to affections and thoughts, so that it is the individual's position or state in the global mind that determines what one is going to feel and think. Likeness, not space, determines communication, co-presence and connection. Understanding spiritual geography allows one to gain control over psychological change.
Cognitive therapy works because thinking bad things opens a channel of subconscious communication with evil societies who delight in such thoughts. While such connection is open, there inflows into the will impulses and motives which one experiences as one's own. We are thus under interior possession, no longer free to ourselves. We are carried away by the motives and loves as we form conscious justifications for them in our intellect. We identify with them as our own. To regain freedom, this identification must be discarded, at which time the connection with the evil society is broken and a new one opened by the Divine Human. This process of change recurs over and over again in daily life and is the purpose for life on earth. Cognitive therapy, and the other methods contained in Table 1, work because they are based on the new psychobiological reality of the Second Advent. Modernity and postmodernity, education and rationality, morality and democracy, have combined to allow scientists and scholars to see the Divine Human in their science and theory. There is no longer a need to separate Church and state, religion and science, God and world, friend and stranger. Of course this is a futuristic portrayal, anticipating the new world order, now being born.
Taylor (1988) lists eight areas in psychology that have started moving away from strict materialism and towards dualism. They are:
I may add to this list two more: homeopathic medecine (Peebles, 1988) and astrophysics. However, Taylor insists, these new conceptions will not amount to a full-fledged paradigm shift towards dualism until there is a new orientation that focuses in a central way on "the whole person" as "individual lives" and posessing "unique life histories." In addition, there must be a focus on inner expeirence such as exists in Western religious texts and nontechnological cultures. Taylor calls for a "science of one's own mind" that self-consciously recognizes the fundamental insufficiency of the external, sensorimotor data of materialistic psychology and medicine.
The new psychology "must address the problem of consciousness--that is, how it is possible for the waking, rational, and analytic state to cmprehend tha nature of states of awareness ot her than itself. It must reconcile the demands of empiricism and rational thought with the reality and consequences of subconscious processes. It must account for the difference between psychopathic and transcendent states; and it must articulate the usefulness of self-knowledge to the moral and aesthetic concerns of daily living" (Taylor, 1988, 170).
I invite others to contribute in future papers to the development of an empirically based biological theology fused with rational and behavioral psychology. The possibility of an empirically based scientific theology is an exciting feature of the postmodern, dualistic era in science. In this new paradigm Religious Studies teaches practical doctrine for life and Spiritual Geography creates empirical taxonomies for cataloguing human functions. It is allied to antrhopology and genetics in that it portrays the varieties of spiritual societies (or mental genius) in terms of the anatomical and physiological functions of the body. Societies who dwell in the Province of the Neck (in the Grand Human), are more diligent than those who dwell in the Province of the Lungs, and so on. An intriguing start in this work may be found in Worcester (19xx). Spiritual Art and Aesthetics teach and explore the universal Laws of Correspondences, which Swedenborg labels the most ancient scholarly activity in history, and which today is still studied as remnants in the fields of symbolism, drama, myth, and aesthetics. An application of this idea may be seen in a widely available movie by the Swedenborg Foundation (19xx).
See also: Scientific Dualism in Swedenborg
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