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Spiritual Genetics of Gender

Several sub-topics are handled here:

| Are Men are from Mars, and Women from Venus? | Human Mind = Spiritual World | No function or Use Without Substance and Structure | Truths and Goods as Spiritual Substances | Women = truths covered over with goods; Men = goods covered over with truths


A person imbued with materialistic psychology experiences great resistance to the concept of "mental" or "spiritual" difference between men and women. Especially is this the case when thoughts and feelings are discussed by using their politicized equivalents, namely, "intellectual" and "intuitive" respectively. I say that these are "politicized" in order to reflect the gender-based implications of "intellectual" vs. "intuitive."

Women don't want to be told that they are intuitive while men are intellectual, when at the same time "intellectual" is rewarded with power and status, while "intuitive" is rewarded with compliments and promises! When men say that women are "intuitive," they act as if they want to put women in an inferior status in our society where intellect is valued for money and power.

However, those who can get beyond this level of politicized involvement with gender, can come to fully appreciate Swedenborg's proposed solution to understanding the gender gap, and this is that both men and women are spiritually constructed from the same components, but in an inverse order. In other words, men and women are both made up of intellect and intuition, or as I would prefer to say, of the cognitive and the affective domains -- but in different structural relation.

Human Mind = Spiritual World

The human mind, in Swedenborg's system, is composed of two basic elements or functions: thoughts and feelings, or, thinking and feeling. Thinking is known in behavioral psychology as "the cognitive domain" and feeling is known as "the affective domain." (To pursue this issue, you can consult an article on its application in information science, written by my colleague Diane Nahl and based on Swedenborg's system. Thinking rationally is accomplished through the reception of truths streaming into the cognitive organ of the mind. Similarly, feeling positively is accomplished through the reception of goods streaming into the affective organ of the mind. "Truths" and "goods" are spiritual components of the mind like "light" and "heat" are physical components of the body.

Goods are also called loves or affections. They are spiritual substances that enter and make up our will -- motives, affections, intentions, desires, interests, affirmations, and so on. "The will" is the expression used by Swedenborg for what we call today, affective domain. I think we should call it the affective organ rather than the affective domain. This is in line with Swedenborg's objectivity and behaviorism, which I can express in these terms:

NO FUNCTION AND USE
WITHOUT SUBSTANCE AND STRUCTURE

In other words, you can't expect some sort of use, power, or activity to exist without some substance or medium to give it structure. For example, you can't have magnetic forces and electricity without electronic particles and space between them. similarly, you can't have mental functions without mental substances. Of course the classic error is to see the brain as the substance for the mind. Swedenborg, always the objective scientist, sees through this subterfuge and clearly shows that material substance (brain, body) cannot be the medium for the mind since the mind and its functions must have its own medium and substance. Instead, the body (or brain) activities correspond to the mind (or spirit) activities, but each has its own substantive basis. This is rationally obvious since thoughts and feelings do not have extension, space, or mass, and therefore they cannot exist in a physical medium which has extension, space, and mass. Instead they need to exist in a spiritual or mental medium or substance, since this medium has no extension, space, or mass. (If you'd like an elaboration of this rational and scientific argument, see my article on scientific dualism available here.

Truths and Goods as Spiritual Substances

Truths (or their falsifications) are spiritual substances that make up the spiritual organ of understanding -- that is, the cognitive domain which is made up of plans, knowledge, wisdom, intelligence, reasonings, and so on. Goods (or their perversion) are spiritual substances that make up the spiritual organ of the will -- that is, the affective domain which is made up of motives, intentions, goals, loves, affections, interests, and so on. Truths and goods are the spiritual substances that make up the human mind, hence the spiritual world, just as light and heat make up the mass of all suns, hence the physical universe.

Truths and goods are spiritual substances that constitute the Spiritual World, hence the human mind. Whether we say the spiritual world or the human mind, it has a similar meaning because the mind is born and develops and exists in the spiritual world and is made of it. Goods and truths are positive substances that enter the heavenly state of the human mind; but perverted goods and falsified truths are negative substances that enter the hellish state of the human mind. Goods and perverted goods make up our affective organ where we have our feelings. Truths and falsified truths make up our cognitive organ where we have our thoughts.

Women = truths covered over with goods
Men = goods covered over with truths

Materialistic thinking within all of us opposes and minimizes spiritual concepts on the ground that they are immaterial, subtle, subjective, and perhaps therefore also, unimportant, unreal, irrelevant. But when we overcome this affective resistance we empower ourselves to go on to the next step and see for ourselves the beauty and harmony of Swedenborg's spiritual, rational, and universal solutions to the gender issue. Thus, both men and women are mentally (i.e., spiritually) constituted of the same psycho-biological substances -- goods and truths from the spiritual world captured as thoughts and feelings in individual experience. However there is a difference in the organization of these substances within male and female minds. Goods and truths vary in terms of their externality or internality, as discussed under the topic of phases of religious behavior. Women's mental structure is the inner cognitive covered over with the outer affective, while men's mental structure is the inner affective covered over with the outer cognitive. This can be depicted in in diagrams:

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Here it is in a slightly different version:

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There are several ways of expressing this psycho-spiritual reciprocation between men and women. Men are loves covered over with truths, or else, they are hates covered over with foolishnesses. Women are wisdoms covered over with loves, or else, they are foolishnesses covered over with hates. Men are intellectual on the outside, but affective on the inside. Women are intellectual on the inside, but affective on the outside. Note that the outside sometimes corresponds to what is rough and tough (for protection), and the inside what is soft and genteel (for appreciation). We can therefore transpose these into spiritual genetic structure. Men's love, being internal, is more tender and soft than women's love, which is external. Women's intelligence, being internal, is wiser and more discerning than man's intelligence, which is external.

Many other similar correspondences can be extracted for representing and understanding the relationship between men and women. All of them are based on the principle that the mental structure of men and women must be reciprocal (not identical) in order to allow the formation of a spiritually united couple. A husband and wife can grow into a united mind when both are willing to submit to each other's will and understanding in accordance with their respective genetic structure. This is further explored in the Doctrine of the Wife.  See also this article on The Spiritual Psychobiology of Marriage.


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