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As you know, every theory that is new is declared to be absurd; then it is recognized to be true but useless and trivial; finally, it is thought to be so relevant that its very opponents claim its discovery. [William James] 

1.0 Introduction


[All bibliographic references are listed at the end of this paper]

1.1 A physical revelation?

In March 1744 a peculiar crisis put an end to what promised to be —and actually was— the brilliant scientific career of the Swedish citizen of the Age of Enlightenment, Emanuel Swedenborg. Ever since then, it has been granted that his contributions to science had come to a stand. He started writing about spirits, angels, the afterlife, the Lord.... Everything seemed to be metaphysical and yet... As I was to discover with the most overwhelming feeling of amazement in the spring of 1973, the seemingly metaphysical subjects ascribed by Swedenborg to 'the wisdom of angels' and recorded in a very specific part of his post-critical production[1], resolve themselves into neat, sharp and spectacular images about physical reality anticipating discoveries made one or two centuries later in the fields of human physiology, pathology, genetics and microanatomy.

I can still sense the shock-waves this claim created when recently launched in certain circles. No wonder that prior to any scrutiny of the methodology applied and the evidence obtained, any stringent reader should feel this is the typical yellow-press kind of stuff. As Stephen Jay Gould puts it:

How do scientists treat factual anomalies? What do we do with evidence that challenges a comfortable view of nature's order?... Prompt submission to items of contrary evidence is not... the usual response of scientists to nature's assaults upon traditional beliefs[2].
In fact, reactions have bifurcated. One has shaped itself into a sort of wait-and-see-what-others-have-to-say attitude. Some have responded with great enthusiasm. Others, in an outrightly skeptical direction. So did also the earliest responses to Swedenborg's own claims. For instance, when addressing his news about preternatural contacts, Swedenborg's contemporary, Johan Christian Cuno, frankly remarked: "to me your angels seem very suspicious, and the wisdom attributed to them verges sometimes to dementia[3]." Yet, what I can prove is that whatever its origin and intended content may be, this 'wisdom' also refers to a scientifically testable anticipative knowledge about tangible matters.

An attempt at a provisional presentation of this extraordinary subject will be made in the following chapters[4], starting with a quick response to a couple of peremptory queries addressing this statement: is it possible?; is it also true?

1.2 Is it possible?

I expect to be addressing both Swedenborgian and non-Swedenborgian readers[5]. Their respective prima facie responses were necessarily to differ substantially.

1.2.1 Swedenborgian responses

In my opinion such a possibility is entirely concordant with Swedenborgian tenets, the Lord being contemplated like the only true, universal and radiant source of all transcendental and scientific wisdom. Yet, most of them seem to have responded with skepticism. To me, this was quite a surprise because it goes against the grain of Swedenborg's own statements

Wrote Swedenborg in the early stages of his crisis, with reference to a lack of inspiration in what he had formerly written about scientific matters when —so he says— he opposed the influx of the Holy Spirit:

A quantity of what I have written must be of the same kind ['madness, devoid of all life and connection']... inasmuch as the faults are all my own, but veritates [truths] are not mine. (JD 13)
Then, when fully settled into the post-critical stage of his life, reconfirmations of this very idea followed one after the other, formulated as can be seen in this paradigmatic example taken from his first post-critical work, Arcana Caelestia (The Heavenly Arcanes):
Speaking generally, the case is that no one ever has good and truth which is his own, but all good and truth flow in from the Lord, both immediately, and also mediately through angelic societies. (AC 4151)
Let's now take a closer look at 'the wisdom of angels.'

Strictly speaking, none of us has been formerly aware of what sort of wisdom this actually embraces. Says Swedenborg interpreting one of his dreams recorded in a central and most unique document, The Journal of Dreams, in which he tells us about the development of the crisis which terminated his scientific career:

... Signifies my work I have now begun; the latter teams, that on the cerebrum , so that I now find that I have God's permission to proceed, and I believe He will help me therein. (JD 229)
It was about a scientific topic he was expecting to receive supernatural help (quite a number of similar examples can be found in The jurnal of Dreams). Of course, to regular science and epistemology such an expectancy is ludicrous. But -what happened really about that help Swedenborg was expecting to receive? Startling facts will be expounded along the next sections and chapters. The reader may then decide of his own accord what the correct answer may be.

Then the fact must also be faced that it was announced to Swedenborg that some men would receive "these things [i.e.: the very material which according to my findings contains a physical revelation] as scientifica[6]" (SD 2955). Moreover, and amongst many other instances that could be mentioned, when listing in CL and TCR matters revealed to him 'from heaven', Swedenborg enumerates a series of clearly metaphysical subjects; but then he adds a completely distinct department:

... concerning the inhabitants of the planets and the earths in the universe; besides many memorable and wonderful things from the spiritual world, which have been the means of revealing from heaven much wisdom. (TCR 846)

This very obviously refers to physical beings in physical worlds; and to a wisdom from heaven not only about heaven. What wisdom is this...? Pay heed!:

In regard to the knowledge of the angels of the interior heaven, a single example may suffice, taken from their knowledge of the structures and forms of the [human] body; for while any one, no matter what, of the viscera of the body is under consideration, they are enabled to know not only its whole structure and operation, but also all the experience which anatomy is able to detect in the smallest particulars, as whether it be true or genuine. Not only so, but they know in an instant whether what is stated respecting each of the viscera be correct, besides many interior things which no one of the human race can know, as I have sometimes found by experience. (SD 1625)

It is plain to see that the existence of a revelation about physics was repeatedly indicated. Also, that it coincides with what I claim to have started obtaining in the course of my research. So from a Swedenborgian point of view my claims are possible.

1.2.2 Non-Swedenborgian responses

What about non-Swedenborgians? I quite foresaw these would think along the lines of the 'ordinary paradigm' about reality, and thus opine that the mere idea of such a possibility is ridiculous (this was originally my own position). There is, however, a small sector of the scientific community which does not share the same paradigm. In fact, I am not the only person that has found that obtaining anticipative information of unknown origin is possible. For instance, a preliminary draft about some aspects of my findings was in the near past despatched to Princeton University, addressed to Drs. Robert G. Jahn and Brenda J. Dunne. This was their reaction:

Although at the superficial level... [your manuscript] appears to deal with phenomena well removed from our own areas of study, there are nonetheless several points of potential overlap that would be worth considering. At the very least, any extended model of reality must be able to accommodate a full range of such consciousness-related anomalies if it has any hope of being complete. We suspect that ultimately Swedenborg's works will prove far more prophetic than most people have recognized[7].

In the eyes of these researchers I had not been making unheard-of statements. But —how can some researchers willingly accept as normal matters what seems nonsensical to the main part of their colleagues? The answer is: it all depends on the type of information to which one has access to, and on the theories about reality such information gives rise to[8].

In fact, the 'ordinary paradigm' about reality we are massively operating with must be wrong, and its degree of inaccuracy must necessarily be proportional to the very extent a case like Swedenborg's bewilders, staggers, generates skepticism and was never anticipated.

1.2.3 Discovery-hampering factors

Yet another question turns up here in the line of skepticism. Namely: if theories and experiments compatible with my discovery have been made and developed previously (e.g., R. G. Jahn and B. J. Dunne) —what has up to now prevented clearsighted, well-schooled Swedenborg-researchers come across any findings like mine? Actually, quite a number of discovery-hampering factors has been at work. For instance:

1) Swedenborg's popularity dropped drastically by the end of the 19th and commencement of the 20th century. This was crucial because it coincided with the developmental stage when scientific information gradually attained and revealed information recorded by Swedenborg levelled off at a point close to equality. Actually, researchers' interest moved on to other fields in the very moment we started to be in a position to grasp that something extraordinary lay hidden in a specific part of Swedenborg's post-critical production.

2) It has been sustained that Swedenborg's crisis was religious. Actually, it was cognitive and connected as much to scientific subjects as to transcendental matters —which makes a very essential addition.

3) Yet another hampering factor has been the attitude of analysts which chose psychiatric or psychoanalytical tools for their lines of approach,  in spite of their fitness for carrying out an examination of Swedenborg's post-critical production here at issue, from a biomedical or microbiological perspective. As will be shown in this paper, such lines of approach are entirely worthless for reading that part of Swedenborg's post-critical production.
For instance in his work, Strindberg und van Gogh: Versuch einer patographischen Analyse unter vergleichender Heranziehung von Swedenborg und Hölderlin (Bern, 1922), Karl Jaspers placed Swedenborg under the common denominator of three alienated men: Strindberg, van Gogh and Hölderlin. In the course of time it has come to light that Jaspers' linkage of Swedenborg to the above mentioned individuals was based on a gross error. He mixed up an 18th century Sundhetsbetyg, a Swedish health certificate declaring that the holder presented no signs of bubonic plague, with a medical report. And what is still worse, he presumed its contents referred to Swedenborg's mental health. But the harm was done. Being a man of great authority, his statement together with similar assessments by other 'experts' exerted a discouraging impact upon the scientific community by creating the impression that Swedenborg's case had been closed and terminated, being of no further interest to any scientific researcher.

4) No systematic comparative analysis of pre- and post-critical homologous texts had ever been performed formerly. Sharp differences existing between the respective texts which I am soon to point out, would have been detected and might have put us long ago on the right track to some discovery similar to the one I so unexpectedly made years ago.
 

Points 2 to 4 will be discussed in the sequel.
 

1.3 Is it also true?

It is a well-known fact amongst Swedenborg-scholars that Swedenborg's investigations finally concentrated on the physiology and anatomy of the human body. Then came the crisis, and after that he introduced a very central concept: the Maximus Homo or Grand Man, together with the doctrine of correspondences[9].
THE CORRESPONDENCE OF ALL MAN'S ORGANS AND MEMBERS, BOTH INTERIOR AND EXTERIOR, WITH THE GRAND MAN (in Latin: Maximus Homo), WHICH IS HEAVEN. It is now allowed to relate and describe wonderful things, which, so far as I know, have never as yet been known to any one, nor even entered into his mind, namely, that the universal heaven is so formed that it corresponds to the Lord, as to His Divine Human; and that, as to all things in general and particular in him, he corresponds to heaven, and by means of heaven to the Lord. This is a great mystery, which is now to be revealed, and which is to be treated of here and at the close of the subsequent chapters. (AC 3.624) It is from this ground that it has been occasionally stated in the preceding pages, where speaking of heaven and angelic societies, that they belonged to some province of the body, as to that of the head, or of the breast, or of the abdomen, or of some particular member or organ; and this by reason of the said correspondence. (AC 3625)
This allows for the introduction of an extremely interesting analytical tool: the systematic contrast analysis of homologous pre- and post-critical texts; i.e., of texts bearing reference to the same anatomical organs or systems dealt with by Swedenborg prior to, and after the, crisis. This operation,  never before performed, gives quite astonishing results, as may be seen from the fragment anticipated below (table 1.3.1), shown later in its full format as table (table 5.1.2).
 
COMMON
ANATOMICAL
REFERENCE
PRE-CRITICAL TEXT * ( A )
POST-CRITICAL TEXT
( B )
SCIENTIFIC ELEMENTS
REVEALED ** 
Pituitary gland Transmission of the genuine fluids of the cerebrum... gives quality to the blood... expels the phlegm of the cerebrum (Cer., 1124). Correspondence (sic.) of the pituitary glands: The [urine] discharge was completely stopped... Others not so active caused a painful contraction or cramp in the lower belly (Index of AC & AC 5387-5388) Functional link between the Pituitary gland/urine discharge/uterine contractions: (Anti-diuretic action of vasopressin; uterine contraction of oxytocin)

* An erroneous doctrine.
** Concordance between (A) and (B) can be checked in any Encyclopedia.

Table 1.3.1 A DAZZLING PIECE OF SCIENTIFIC ANTICIPATION: from ordinary 18th century speculations (A)  to modern scientific knowledge (B). Two of the hormones secreted by the pituitary gland control urine flow. A third one stimulates the contraction of the muscles of the uterus during labour.

From this initial little piece of evidence it follows that something quite unusual is at issue. To start with, the continuity thesis (the thesis that Swedenborg was saying the same things about scientific topics he had already investigated during the first stage of his life) is definitely wrong[10]. But the true amazement arises from the fact that whilst Swedenborg's pre-critical opinions appear formulated in concordance with the wrong or trivial 18th century standards of knowledge, post-critical descriptions are incredibly advanced and technically correct.

In subsequent chapters, methodology will be discussed first, and then the evidence. As far as the latter is concerned, there is one point I would like to stress. I believe it was T.H. Spencer who wrote "I am too much of a skeptic to deny the possibility of anything." Yet apparently, some skeptics are still waiting for others to make some authoritative statement. However, to refer my theory of a physical revelation to 'experts' makes no sense. My theory is not about scientific facts known today: it is about the way these are concordant with Swedenborg's descriptions, as shown by means of very elementary comparative operations that may  be checked by the exacting reader in any Encyclopedia.


[1] This refers to parts of the JD, the indented paragraphs in WE, the totality of the SD and parts of the Memorabilia (Memorable relations) incorporated to his late production (AR, CL and TCR).

[2] S.J. Gould, quoted by R.G. Jahn and B.J. Dunne in Margins of reality: the role of consciousness in the Physical World, Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, Orlando, Fa., US, 1987, p. 51.

[3]Letters and memorials of Emanuel Swedenborg, transl. and edited by A. Acton, The Swedenborg Scientific Association, Bryn Athyn, Pa., US, pp. 656-57.

[4] My claim is otherwise being fully substantiated in a book now in preparation, by means of a selection of 22 complete pieces of evidence.

[5] Swedenborgianism is a Christian minority but world-wide religious and philosophical movement that was born soon after Swedenborg's death in 1772.

[6] I have chosen to keep Swedenborg's original latin term and convey to the reader the peculiar and highly significant meaning he assigned to it. To wit: any kind of empirical or experimental information; i.e.: "[any data] procured from earthly and worldly things by means of sensuous impressions... All things which are learnt and stored up in the memory, and which can be called forth from it for the use of the sight of the mind" (AC 1486 and 9394). Consequently, this expression neatly matches the theoretical requisites of positive science as stipulated by empiricists like David Hume, Auguste Compte, the Logical Positivists of the Circle of Vienna, etc., together with any other sort of memory-knowledges, and broadly speaking, any kind of knowledges obtained obtained through the commonly known and accepted sensory channels.

[7] Letter to the author dated December 4, 1991.

[8] Cf. for instance R.G. Jahn's and Brenda J. Dunne's excellent book mentioned in n. 2 above, or alternatively, John Horgan's Filosofía cuántica, in Investigación y Ciencia (Spanish ed. of Scientific American), September 1992, pp. 70 ff.

[9] Strictly speaking, forerunners of the doctrine of correspondences are found in EAK and in Clavis hieroglyphica arcanorum naturalium et spiritualium, per viam repraesentationum et correspondentiarum (posth. publ. by R. Hindmarsh, London 1784).

[10] Yet this thesis, discussed at length in section 5.1, has been universally sustained even by first rank scholars and reputed specialists.


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Crown of Revelations
Rebirth, Reincarnation
Correspondency
The Holy Center
Salvation in the Gospels
Psychology of Marriage
Precious Stones
The Human Mind
The Moral Life
Saul, David & Solomon
Bible Lost & Found
The Human Soul
Genesis and Exodus
City of God
Swedenborg Cosmology
Ultimate Reality
The Pattern of Time
Means of Salvation
AIM
NC: Sex and Marriage
Book with Seven Seals
My Lord and My God
Philosopher, Metaphysician
Inspiration of Genesis
Words In Swedenborg
Book Expo
Missionary Talks
Tabernacle of Israel
Canaan
A Brief View of the Heavenly Doctrines
Ancient Mythology
Odhner: Creation
Ten Commandments
Christ and The Trinity
Discrete Degrees
Body Correspondences
Language of Parable
The Ten Blessings
Creation in Genesis
The Third Source
Noble's "Appeal"
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Physical Revelation?

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