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The Doctrine of Correspondences:
Both Science and Philosophy

by Erik Sandstrom

Introductory Remarks

The above title suggests what is my primary purpose with this address, namely, to try to demonstrate that the doctrine of correspondences is not only a science but also - and I believe essentially - a philosophy. Since, however, we are concerned with a doctrine that is revealed, it follows that it is revealed science and revealed philosophy we are inquiring into. For while we stand in awe of Swedenborg's philosophical insight prior to his call as revelator, and his thoughts at that time concerning correspondences and representations, yet for a full instruction with regard to the laws of correspondence, according to which both the spiritual and the physical universe with all things within them were created and are sustained, we cannot go elsewhere than to those Writings which took the revelator himself beyond the realm of human research and contemplation.

This, however, we do borrow from his philosophical works, namely, that the study of correspondences not only has its part in true philosophy, but indeed should occupy the very center of philosophical thought. Such is my reading of Swedenborg's call for a "universal mathesis" at the end of his work Rational Psychology. There he says: "There is a science of sciences, that is, a universal science, which contains in itself all other sciences, and from which, as being parts thereof, they can be resolved into this science or that." He recognizes that this universal science is not of an ordinary kind, that is, is not a physical science, for he adds that "it is not acquired by learning; it is connate, being especially connate in souls which are pure intelligences." Its truths are "truths a priori, that is to say, propositions which are at once recognized as true, and for the comprehension of which there is no need of demonstrations a posteriori, that is, of confirmation by experiences and the senses. Truth presents itself naked, and dictates as it were that it is such." We note, therefore, that Swedenborg is thinking of a science which is so to speak built into creation, and which is open to the true philosopher, but is not subject to experimental research. This does not make it less accurate. Though an a posteriori approach will not lead to its discovery, it is nevertheless possible "that this science can be submitted to calculation." Swedenborg says he had had in mind to "set forth one or two attempts" in this direction, but in view of the difficulty and the great amount of labor involved he forbears making this attempt, namely, the attempt of producing a universal mathesis by calculation. "In the place thereof," he adds, "I have desired to set forth a `Key to Natural and Spiritual Arcana by Way of Correspondences and Representations' which more quickly and surely leads us into hidden truths." (See Rational Psychology 563, 564, 566, 567.) Perhaps the later little work Hieroglyphic Key may be regarded as the special fulfillment of this desire, though the major work The Kingdom of the Soul also was to contain a good deal concerning correspondences and representations, as indeed had been the case with earlier works as well, notably The Economy of the Kingdom of the Soul.

Through this reference to Swedenborg's philosophical works, particularly the Rational Psychology, I have intended to indicate first that Swedenborg himself thought of correspondences and representations in a philosophical context, and second, as a byproduct of this point, that his thoughts on the subject are profound and far from unworthy of close attention. Indeed, in turning to the Writings themselves, we shall have no occasion to abandon the thought that the laws or truths relating to correspondence, when viewed in the context of what we have called revealed philosophy, are, a priori truths, rather than truths a posteriori. Nevertheless, at this time, our purpose is not to examine the philosophical contemplations by which Swedenborg was prepared for the Divine doctrine itself concerning correspondences. Rather, our purpose is to try to see some of the essential aspects of that Divine doctrine. In pursuing this purpose we shall briefly consider the doctrine of correspondences as a science, or as a knowledge that we may acquire - if I may put it this way - by means of an a posteriori reading of the Writings, not spurning such knowledge, yet at the same time aware that there is more to the doctrine than the teaching that gold stands for love, water for truth, and a horse for understanding, etc. - more even than the knowledge that the two worlds are held together by means of correspondences and are conjoined with the Lord by the same means. Afterwards we must move on to view the doctrine in the a priori perspective, reflecting then on correspondences in their descending order, rather than thinking of them as ascending from words or objects.. At that point we shall try to correlate correspondences with discrete degrees and even more with the doctrine of influx. This will then, as it were in passing, take us into the teachings concerning the heavenly marriage, and this in turn will give us occasion to look at the as-of-self as an aspect of the doctrine of correspondences.

I think it is when we see correspondences as descending from the Lord to man and the world, or when we see them in the order of influx, that we are concerned with the stupendous doctrine as a science of sciences, and not just as a science. The Writings too - and very frequently - call it the "science of sciences." That phrase to my mind means the same as true philosophy, in this case even revealed philosophy. It means the universal mathesis that Swedenborg, and before him Locke and others, were seeking.

The Doctrine of Correspondences as a Science

"Science" in the usual sense means that which is learned by experiment and observation. Our physical senses are engaged in acquiring this science, or knowledge. Afterwards we store our knowledge in our natural memory. It is similar with the revealed science of correspondences, except that the things we observe and afterwards remember in our natural memory are the statements of Divine Revelation. Experiment is scarcely involved in this case, unless by experiment we mean new combinations of ideas based on what is revealed, or new applications to practical life. But a science it is, and observation (with its resulting classifications) and memory are the hallmarks of this as of any science. Accordingly the Divine Love and Wisdom notes that even the things which in themselves are of the highest order may be degraded to the realm of the merely natural mind.

When the things of heaven are made to serve the natural mind as means to its own ends, then those means, though they seem to be heavenly, are made natural, for the end qualifies them, and they become like the knowledges of the natural man in which interiorly there is nothing of life (DLW 261).

In a similar line of thought the Arcana Coelestia observes that "if you withdraw good" (which is the only thing which in itself is living) "from truth, nothing whatever remains but words" (AC 725).

Representation, Signification and Correspondence

Many terms are associated with the science of correspondences. Chief of these are "representation" and "signification," in addition to the term "correspondence" itself. It is helpful to make use of the etymological derivations of these words in trying to keep them distinct. "Correspond" means to co-respond, or to respond together; "represent" simply denotes represent, or to present again, that is, to present on a lower plane; and "signify" carries over the essential meaning of the word "sign' - "signify" therefore is to serve as a sign of.

"Representation" and "signification" are terms less universal in their connotation than "correspondence." Correspondence is the thing itself, that which is intrinsic in creation - that which is alive. Representation may or may not be alive. For instance, a statue may be said to represent a person; but it is not alive. Again, the facial expression, if not feigned, truly represents the man's affection, and so it is a living representation. It is noteworthy that whenever a representation is alive, it is also a correspondent. Using the things of the face as an example the Writings therefore say: "When those things that are of the face act as one with those things which are of the mind, they are said to correspond, and are correspondences, and the features of the face itself represent and are representations" (AC 2988). It is the same with regard to the gestures and actions of the body. "These represent the things which are of the mind, and are representations; and in that [or when] they are concordant, they are correspondences" (ibid.).

As for the words "signify" and "signification," these, in the Writings, are not applied to persons, objects, or actions, as the terms "represent" and "representation" are. Rather, it is words or phrases that are said to signify. That is why, in the expository works of the Writings, we always read that such and such a phrase from the letter of the Word "signifies" such and such a concept in the internal sense. But how the terms "represent" and "signify" are used in the Writings is suggested by the following two quotations. "The historicals [referring to the true historicals that began with Genesis xii] are what represent the Lord; the words themselves are significative of the things that are represented" (AC 1540). - "Whatever the Lord did in the world was representative, and whatever He spoke was significant" (AE 405: 24).

In addition to these three major terms, there are many others that bear relation to the doctrine of correspondences. Such words are "analogy," "parallel," "metaphor," "parable," "symbol," "synonym," and a good many others. For our present purposes, however, it is perhaps not necessary to analyze or define these several terms. But be it noted that all of them are grouped around the concept of correspondences, and derive their origin and their particular connotation from correspondences, which alone are intrinsic and alive in the structure of creation.

In all this I would particularly stress the concept of what is living in relation to correspondences. I think it is true to say that in the strict sense the doctrine of correspondences always refers to what is alive; what inflows, and what is active and dynamic - not to the representation as such, not to what is in itself static or dead. The idea of the reactive too can be brought into the concept of correspondence, but only by virtue of the active and living thing to which it reacts, and it is the active alone which makes it possible for the reaction to take on the appearance of action. As the Divine Love and Wisdom states:

In everything created by God there is reaction. In Life alone there is action. Reaction is caused by the action of Life. . . . But so far as man [believes and lives aright] so far his reaction comes to be of action, and man acts with God as if of himself. (DLW 68)

Along the line of these thoughts I think it is significant that when the Writings speak of the incidents, personalities, or phrases in the Word, they do not call them correspondences. They call them representations and significations. But the Writings say, again and again, that the whole Word is written according to correspondences; for everything that is representative or significative is designed, in the Word, to serve no other purpose than to reflect and express what is correspondential.

The things of nature, however, are frequently called correspondences. But is not that because they are a direct effect of the living corresponding cause in the spiritual world (in heaven or in hell) ? They are called representations too, because, as implied in our quote from AC 2988 (above - and see also, for particular emphasis, 2989: e) all things that correspond also represent; while many things may represent without being true correspondences. (For instance, a simulated smile will represent, say, kindness and understanding, but will not correspond to the true state of the mind.)

Generally speaking I may therefore now suggest when we are speaking of representations and significations, then we are talking of the doctrine of correspondences as a science; for we are looking things so to speak from below, as they stand out to our senses, whether we observe them in nature or read about them in the pages of the Writings. But when we are thinking of true and living correspondences, that is to say, correspondences such as they are in themselves, then we are concerned with the doctrine of correspondences as philosophy - or as the science of all sciences. And is it not this latter aspect that the Writings essentially refer to, when they declare that the doctrine of correspondences, such as it was with the ancients, is now to be restored in the New Church?

The Doctrine of Correspondences as a Philosophy

I hope that the above does not sound like a belittling of the doctrine of correspondences as a science - or a belittling of any science for that matter. I do believe that the deeper and more living aspect of the doctrine is superior; but in terms of importance one can scarcely say that one aspect is more important than the other, seeing that one is not really possible without the other. Is the soul more important than the body? Scarcely. It is superior to the body; but a soul without a body - in this world or the next is unthinkable, for you cannot have a soul that is not a soul of something. And in regard to the doctrine of correspondences as science and as philosophy I think we have a body - soul relationship.

But what do we mean by "philosophy" here? To philosophize is sometimes meant in the same way as to speculate. We must guard against this connotation when speaking of revealed philosophy. The root meaning of "philosophy," "philosopher," etc., as is well known, is the love of wisdom. Thus philosophy is defined as "the pursuit of wisdom." A secondary definition, however, is more directly descriptive of our present usage of the term, namely, "a system of philosophical concepts." And if we are to open up the meaning of "philosophical" too, then this secondary definition could read more fully in this way: "A system of concepts having regard to wisdom." Is not this precisely the essential burden of the doctrine of correspondences as revealed in the Writings? If we therefore attach the adjectival word "revealed" to our already amended definition, we may perhaps say that we have arrived at a phrase which adequately defines the philosophy of correspondences as found in the Writings - "a revealed system of concepts having regard to wisdom."

Correspondence and Use

At the heart of this system is the idea of use. "It is a universal law of correspondences," we read, "that the spiritual fits itself to use, which is its end, and moves and controls the use by means of' heat and light, and clothes it by provided means, until there results a form subservient to the end; and in this form the spiritual acts as the end, use as the cause, and the natural as the effect - ,although in the spiritual world the substantial takes the place of the natural" (D. Wis. II: 3).

I might illustrate this point with the case of a motorcar. The end in view here (not a very spiritual end) is communication; the use which is to serve that end is movement, here movement by self-propulsion; and the form, or effect, by which the use operates, is the motorcar. This example is on the natural plane, but it is capable of illustrating, because there is a parallel between what is spiritual and what is natural. A more spiritual example can be found in the case of soul, body, and operation. The soul, being essentially love, has for its end uses to the neighbor, that is, spiritual and also natural enrichments for him; these uses are achieved by means of actions (operations); and the form through which the actions are done is the body.

Applying the above teaching to our second example we may therefore see that the soul, which is the spiritual and the first in the succession, in desiring use to the neighbor and having action in view, which is second in succession, moves by means of heat and light (from both the spiritual sun and the natural sun) towards the building of a form, the last in the succession, through which it may act.

This also shows that, contrary to the appearance, use is prior to the form by means of which the use comes into action. It is the essence of use, as descending from the Lord, which adapts the form for its own purposes. "Forms are the containants of uses," we read (DLW 46: e). "Uses pass into forms" (DLW 310), and each use relates to its form as a soul to its body (ibid.).

In all this it is obvious that the spiritual which is the end, and the use which is the cause, and the natural which is the effect (or form), are strung together in one series, and make a one, solely by means of correspondences. It is clear too that these correspondences are living, and operate by influx.

But the most universal order of end, cause, and effect is seen as follows: "In the [spiritual] sun, which is the first proceeding of Divine Love and Divine Wisdom, is the end of all things; in the1piritual world are the causes of all things; in the natural world are the effects of all things"(DLW 154). Here in a nucleus is the supreme law of correspondence and influx.

This particular point we shall have occasion to refer to again later on, when we shall speak of influx through discrete degrees, or by contiguity; but for the time being we need to note that there a difference between the spiritual as a cause when the effect is nature, and the spiritual as a cause when the effect is the action of man. In the former case the cause is in the spiritual atmospheres but in the latter case the cause is in the influx by means of spirits and angels. One might say that the influx into the impersonal (nature) is by means of the impersonal (atmospheres) ; while the influx into persons (men in the world) is by means of other persons (spirits and angels).

With reference to the operation of the spiritual in nature we read: "The ends of creation are those things which are produced by the Lord as [the spiritual] Sun, through the atmospheres, out of matters in the earth (e terris) " (DLW 307). But in the case of men the influx is more special, namely by means of affections. Here the teaching is: "There flows in with man through spirits out of heaven an affection belonging to the love of good and truth, and out of hell an affection belonging to the love of evil and falsity" (HH 298).

It should be noted, however, that whether we speak of the operation of the spiritual world in nature, or the operation of the spiritual world with men, the resulting correspondence is essentially with function and use, rather than with the form of use. That does not exclude the form, or the organ, from correspondence, but correspondence with the form is secondary and derived, while correspondence with the use itself is primary and immediate.

A teaching on this point gives us not only the principle of the case but also some helpful examples.

Although the heavens above mentioned do indeed correspond to the very organic forms of the human body, and therefore it is said that these societies or those angels belong to the province of the brain, to the province of the heart, to the province of the lungs, or to the province of the eye, and so on, they nevertheless correspond chiefly to the functions of these viscera or organs. The case herein is as with the organs or viscera themselves, in that their functions constitute a one with their organic forms, for no function can be conceived of except from forms, that is, from substances, for the substances are the subjects from which they exist. Sight, for example, cannot be conceived of apart from the eye, nor breathing apart from the lungs.... It is the functions therefore to which the heavenly societies chiefly correspond; and as they correspond to the functions, they correspond also to the organic forms. . . The same is the case with everything that man does. When he wills to do this or that, in this manner or that, and is thinking of it, the organs then move in concurrence, thus in accordance with the intention of the function or use: for it is the function that commands the forms (AC 4223).

This passage also goes on to stress what we already observed above, namely that use is prior to form; but since the point comes forth more clearly in the context of this teaching, we read on a little further

This shows that the use existed before the organic forms of the body came forth, and that the use produced and adapted them to itself, and not the reverse. But when the forms have been produced, and the organs adapted, then the uses proceed from them; and then it appears as if the forms or organs were prior to the uses, when yet such is not the case. For use flows in from the Lord, and this through heaven, according to order, and according to the form in which heaven has been ordinated by the Lord, thus according to correspondences (AC 4223: 2).

Correspondences by Means of Influx and Discrete Degrees

Now since we have mentioned influx a few times, and some of our quotes have suggested a relationship between influx and correspondence, it is well to establish the nature of this relationship and also its universality. One might think that influx is like one single outreach, without accommodating steps, or that it is like one huge waterfall, flowing down from one level (the spiritual world) to a lower level (the natural world). But the teaching is that "influx takes place by correspondences, and cannot take place by continuity" (DLW 88).

"Not by continuity" raises the thought of discreteness. Is influx by discrete degrees? Is there correspondence only in case of discrete degrees? A teaching in Heaven and Hell at once directs us toward an affirmative answer: "What communication by influx is, cannot be comprehended without a knowledge of the nature of degrees of altitude, and of the difference between those degrees and degrees of longitude and latitude" (HH 211).

Therefore to begin with we must make certain that we have a clear view of these different kinds of degrees. Here we only summarize this difference. Degrees of altitude are also called discrete degrees, and degrees of longitude and latitude are also called continuous degrees. Discreteness exists where there is an end, cause, and effect relationship, but continuity where there is no such relationship, but instead a relationship between much or little of the same kind. To illustrate continuous degrees the Writings frequently prefer the example of light and shade. In the shade there is less light, but not a different kind of light. Discreteness, however (using again light as an example), exists between the light of the spiritual sun and the light of the natural sun. This discreteness is particularly manifest in the mind of man. For by the light of the natural sun he observes phenomena of nature, but by the light of the spiritual sun he interprets them, not scientifically, but philosophically, that is, he sees the presence of the creative and sustaining power of God in nature - or, in the case of a catastrophe, he sees the presence of the influx of hell in nature.

However, in introducing the doctrine of discrete degrees, the Writings give us the three spiritual atmospheres, and observe that there is one atmosphere for each of the heavens, and that each heaven is totally distinct, so that there is no communication between them except by means of correspondence, and so that an angel of a lower heaven cannot see an angel of a higher heaven. And the Writings also note the discreteness between the two worlds, the spiritual and the natural.

And what about discreteness and correspondence? We have already shown that the Writings tell us that there is no influx without discreteness, and some teachings have also suggested that there is no correspondence without discreteness. The following teaching, however, is more directly to the point: "There is no ratio between the spiritual and the natural, thus there is no conjunction through what is continuous, but through what is discrete, that is, by correspondences" (J. Post. 271).

Elsewhere the matter is discussed in terms of conatus, force, and motion, and in looking at it in this context we may bear in mind that conatus is in the sphere of ends, force in the sphere of use (or producing use), and motion in the sphere of effects. We read: "Conatus, force, and motion are no otherwise conjoined than according to degrees of height [= altitude], conjunction of which is not by continuity, for they are discrete, but by correspondences" (DLW 218: 2).

There are many more interesting sidelights on this general topic in the Writings, but we may perhaps consider it as established that the teaching of the Writings is that there is a constant and unbreakable relationship between these three: namely, correspondence, influx, and discrete degrees. I am suggesting that these three terms are essentially synonymous, and that one or other of the terms is preferred only in order that one or other aspect of the general Divine system might be illustrated. But I feel that it is helpful in making the doctrine of correspondences come alive, to realize that there is no correspondence without influx, or without discrete degrees, and that there are no discrete degrees without correspondence and the inherent influx, and that there is no influx from the Divine or from the spiritual world without discrete degrees which are related to each other by correspondence, and by correspondence only.

The Operation of a Higher Degree in and into a Lower Degree

But I have yet to state what I consider the most important point in this study. That is that there is an as-of-self operation on each discrete degree, and this by virtue of influx from a corresponding higher degree in and into the lower, but not through it. There is a key teaching in the True Christian Religion 153 and 154, particularly in 154, bearing on this point. Perhaps at one time or other a whole study should be given to this passage alone. To be sure, this teaching makes mention of only the internal and the external degrees in the mind of man, and certainly it is only in that area that the as-of-self becomes a conscious human experience. Yet in view of the fact that there is no continuity between any discrete degrees, and that they are all distinct from one another, and only touch one another, I think we must conclude that any higher degree operates in and into the next lower degree, but not through it. That leaves only the alternative of that next lower degree operating "out of itself" from the power engendered in it by the touch of the higher degree. But it is in the ultimate - in man his lowest degree - that this relationship has its deepest significance.

The theme is set by the doctrine concerning the Holy Spirit, as given in TCR 153. There we are asked to consider that "the Lord operates of Himself from the Father (ex Se a Patre), and not the reverse" (TCR 153). This becomes intelligible if we realize that by "The Lord" is meant our God as visible, and that "The Father" is the invisible Infinite, which is the Soul of the Lord. What the teaching yields, therefore, is the concept of a Divine operation in man - that operation being called the Holy Spirit - as stemming from God as visible, and not from God as invisible; in other words, the concept that we can see and know the source of the regenerative Divine work in us. That source is the Lord by means of the Word. The order of regeneration being such, man is able to cooperate of his own freedom according to what he himself understands, that is to say, he is able to act as-of-himself in the process of regeneration.

But our immediate concern is not the doctrine of regeneration, but the teachings concerning correspondence, influx, and discrete degrees. It is therefore this aspect we select for our emphasis in considering TCR 154. This passage speaks of the internal man as qualified by the presence and operation of the Lord through the Word there, and of the external man as acting of its own accord from that internal. The teaching reads:

When the Word is in some fullness in man's internal, then man speaks and acts of himself from the Word, and not the Word through him. It is the same with the Lord, because He is the Word, that is, the Divine Truth and the Divine Good there. The Lord from Himself or from the Word (ex Se seu ex Verbo) acts in man and into man, but not through him, because man acts and speaks freely from the Lord when from the Word (TCR 154: 5).

There is discreteness between the two degrees in man - his internal and his external, or his spiritual and his natural; and there is influx; and there is correspondence - all this in so far as the external is reduced to order by the internal. And now it is specially noted that the internal does not operate through the external, thus that there is no influx of the internal through the external. This is the strict sense. Is it not so on all degrees?

The general reason for this is seen in the context of the teaching that an internal contains vastly more than its corresponding external. There is not even any real ratio. Therefore if the internal would "operate through" its external, it would be like ten thousand sheep all trying to get through one gate at the same time.

Of course in one sense the internal does operate through the external, for it is the quality of the internal that shines through in the external. Also the Writings frequently use the word "through," and so do we all, and no doubt will continue to do in certain contexts. But this passage is explicit. It says "in" and "into," but "not through." This passage therefore gives us the principle.

Applying this to a teaching we quoted earlier, namely, that the end of all things is in the spiritual sun, the causes of all things are in the spiritual world, and the effects of all things are in the natural world (DLW 154), we ask: In what sense are the causes of all things in the spiritual world? Must we not say, in the light of TCR 154, that men in the natural world "operate of themselves from the spiritual world," and "not the spiritual world through them"? This I think is a true deduction. We could even say the same (with some modification) with regard to nature and its relation to the spiritual world: thus that nature too operates "of itself from the spiritual world," and "not the spiritual world through it."

These principles, I believe, are important. And they have a bearing on our understanding of the presence of the spiritual world in all human affairs. In what sense, for instance, is a war in the world to be blamed on spirits in the other world? In what sense are spirits responsible for our affections, good or evil? Or, taking the matter to the area of New Church education: in what sense should spiritual principles, or principles of religion, influence other subjects? Is there distinctness, or confusion of discrete things on the same level? Ought not the action, and the responsibility as the case may be, be ascribed to the lower level, so that there is freedom of initiative there, on that level, but by the power, light, and general influence of the higher level?

Let me illustrate the general principle with the simple analogy of electricity, the lamp-bulb, and the electric switch. Electricity is the spiritual world as present in my internal, the lamp-bulb is my external, and the switch is my freedom in the external. The cause of the light in the lamp-bulb is certainly the electricity. But when does the lamp light up? When the electricity chooses to pass through its filaments? No, only when I invite the latent cause (the electricity) to become an efficient cause by bringing about contact - by opening up the correspondence between the electricity and the whole structure of the lamp-bulb.

So it is we who summon guardian angels or evil spirits to our side, and it is we who determine which spiritual forces shall become operative and when. That is where human freedom lies. The power and light, if we do well, are not ours, but the choice is. The Lord's part is to provide all the means: power and light from within, and instruction and one more thing from without. That one more thing is the environmental circumstance in which we find ourselves, and which is constantly under His guiding control. The teaching is that "the Lord foresees how man leads himself, and continually adapts circumstances" (DP 202: 3).

This whole system is also present in what the Writings refer to as "the heavenly marriage." That subject too is vast, and it is mentioned here, not for analysis, but because it is an aspect of the general revealed philosophy which we are considering. I am referring to the teaching that the heavenly marriage takes place in man, not by the conjunction of what is good and what is true on the same degree of the mind, but by the conjunction of the truth of a higher degree with the good of a lower (AC 3952). Is not the reason the same as previously? namely, that the truth of a higher degree, having within it innumerable facets or aspects, when operating into a general good, a general willingness on the degree below itself, is able to activate (fructify) that good through the latter's consent and choice? Does not then that good bring out uses of itself from the truth; just as the mother of herself brings forth the child after fertilization by one sperm that operated in the company of innumerable sperms of its own kind?

So we conclude that correspondences exist on distinct and discrete levels; that a lower level springs into activity when touched by something from a higher level, that is, when that higher level operates in and into it, yet not through it; and that such operation by a lower level from the power poured into it from the higher level, is what is meant by influx. It is as though anything that is higher, in the inmost realm the Lord God Himself, kissed life into things that are lower - by touch, not by merging; by operating in the lower and by flowing into it, not through it.

All of this, I feel, is beautifully summarized in a brief phrase in the Divine Love and Wisdom, which I will translate as an alliteration, because it is easier to remember it that way, yet at the same time literally. The phrase is: "By contiguity and not by continuity conjunctivity comes" (DLW 56). "By contiguity" means by touch.

-The New Philosophy 1970:379-393

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