5.0 Nature and Role of Swedenborg's Dual Revelation:Physical and Metaphysical
The crisis experienced by Swedenborg in 1744 split his life into two stages: scientific and religious. Nevertheless, a thesis of an essential continuity has prevailed even amongst the most heterogeneous authors. Said for instance Prof. Martin Ramström in 1910:
Fifty-nine years later and with reference to that very 'edifice,' Dr. Inge Jonsson asserted:
Like Ramström, Jonsson thought the topics Swedenborg addressed during the first stage of his life became a basis for his production during the second stage. Seven years later he reconfirmed this viewpoint:
And yet, at that time I had just recently made an entirely antithetical
discovery: that far from confirming Swedenborg's viewpoints, those angelic
communicators he mentions —whatever these may be— had conveyed information
that is totally different and incredibly correct (tables
5.1.1 and 5.1.2).
* The central post-critical concept of the Maximus
Homo (cf. 1.3) allows to establish the existence of homologous pre-
and post-critical texts. Although stemming from different stages of Swedenborg's
production, both textual categories share common anatomical references
thus offering a basis for comparative analysis.
* See foot-note * in table 5.1.1 above.
It is only too evident that should any person have carried out a comparative analysis of homologous pre- and post-critical texts as shown in tables 5.1.1 and 5.1.2, the conclusion would very decidedly have been that the continuity thesis is wrong. Differently put: it can be firmly asserted that neither Ramström, nor Jonsson, nor any one of us carried out at any one time any rigorous collation of the pre- and post-critical texts. How can so flagrant an omission be explained? There is quite an unexpected answer to this question: to an important extent it was Swedenborg himself who contributed to this state of affairs.
Jonsson's and Ramström's erroneous assertions, their failure to collate the pre- and post-critical texts and the fact that I should come across the discovery made in 1973 by sheer chance and not by means of any systematic scrutiny, sounds like the story of some very slack researchers. There is, however, another explanation which throws quite a different light upon these matters.
An astonishing fact has been the discovery of former doctrines' reappearance
in an inspired context. Namely, after having faithfully penned down and
occasionally illustrated with drawings topics anticipating future discoveries
in various fields of science, Swedenborg continued to intercalate old erroneous
opinions and theories (tables 5.2.1 and 5.2.2).
This coexistence of uninspired passages in an inspired context
constitutes a startling feature indicating that he didn't grasp the
scientific signification of the material he recorded.
* The year of the crisisTable 5.2.1 WRONG ETIOLOGICAL THEORIES. After having recorded under the influx of inspiration clinical, microbiological, cytological, and parasitological information according to 19th and 20th century standards of knowledge, Swedenborg introduced no change into his former doctrines. In other words: there is not the slightest indication that he should have been aware of the scientific nature and implications of the topics he recorded.
Table 5.2.2 WRONG THEORIES ABOUT GENERATION AND SEX. Again an evidence of Swedenborg's intellection failure. Although he carefully recorded accurate details of a human ovule, illustrating it with some dazzling drawings (cf. 3.4, figs. 3.4.1 and 3.4.2) together with various incredibly advanced topics about genetics, he persisted in sustaining till his very death wrong theories and hypothesis totally inconsistent with the matters he, nevertheless, so faithfuly penned down.
This incredible intellection failure has very momentous consequences.
For instance, those uninspired passages were what gave Ramström, Jonsson
and all the rest of us the impression that the 'angels were saying the
same things' the Swedish sage had written formerly instead of things
that were new, different and correct. However, I suspect that there
is yet another explanatory key. To wit: that in spite of being brief and
scattered, the uninspired passages so fully coincided with some of our
own and general prejudices and expectations about what is possible and
feasible, that we felt fully satisfied when we saw our predictions confirmed
by a series of stray and minor text fragments, trivial and accessory, and
virtually neglected the massive texts that really matter, when failing
to read these latter ones properly and grasp their extraordinary contents.
Swedenborg composed Arcana Caelestia (his first and grand post-critical work anonymously published in London in eight volumes) according to a bipartite structure. Its main and considerably more extensive part of the contents constitute an esoteric interpretation of the spiritual sense of the Word. This might be defined as a strictly metaphysical revelation. The second textual ingredient was extracted by Swedenborg from the Diarium spirituale, the journal in which he recorded the main part of his peculiar experiences of dreams, visions, 'conversations with spirits and angels,' and sensorial and motorial influxes; experiences which, in spite of having been termed spiritual by the posthumous publisher of the journal (J.F. Immanuel Tafel), have been found to bear reference to a physical reality. Swedenborg incorporated these texts —so he says— 'following instructions from heaven,' appending them at the beginning and end of each one of the huge chapters dedicated to expounding the 'internal' (spiritual) sense of the Word; and labeled this material as 'things heard and seen in the world of spirits and angelic heaven.' What this material was intended for constitutes the 'fourth discovery' I shall soon be discussing —a most extraordinary find. But prior to this, the metaphysical revelation deserves and requires some further comments.
Swedenborg experienced and recorded the metaphysical revelation in a very different manner from the one with physical implications. For instance, when extracting from the verse Numbers 11:9 a series of significations, he explains:
I honestly thought those interpretative versions 'fixed... by a heavenly force' were a sheer addition by Swedenborg, devoid of inspiration: a sort of endeavor to make his strange post-critical experiences fit into the frame of a religious perspective that was meaningful to himself. I also harbored the definite idea that in contradistinction to the physical revelation, his hermeneutics could not be subjected to any test of objectivity, so that in the best of cases it would remain in the sphere of undebateable, nebulous matters. However, in both cases I was mistaken: it is neither a merely imaginative product, nor does it entirely preclude any objectivity test! Evidently, this latter point is revolutionary because, since Imanuel Kant arrived in 1781 in his Kritik der reinen Vernunft at the final conclusion that metaphysics will remain for ever beyond the range of human cognitive powers, and Rudolf Carnap carried this to the extreme of declaring in 1934 in his Logische Syntax der Sprache that metaphysical matters are sheer verbal fictions devoid of semantic or ontological basis, this is the first time in history that metaphysics fall to a certain extent within the range of mortal man's rational powers.
Swedenborg's intellection failure constitutes an essential piece of information because it shows that Swedenborg recorded things that cannot be attributed to him because his own comprehension would bar him from imagining them. But then —who dictated them? How great a mystery!
I am now to show that, whatever the source may be, it attributed specific functions to each one of the revelations —both physical ('things heard and seen') and metaphysical ('significations fixed by a celestial force')—, and aimed them at very specific goals and 'addressees.' The discussion of this fascinating subject is being based on a series of notes which, due to his intellection failure, Swedenborg never published himself in spite of their awe-inspiring importance and signification. To start with, I shall copy the main passages of the series SD 1139-1145 1/2. A series which must be read under the perspective of all topics previously discussed. Series which, in short, discloses the existence of a very subtle interdependence between the physical and the metaphysical revelations.
These notes' most striking aspect consists in that they contain predictive statements about 'things heard and seen' that nobody —and far less Swedenborg himself— could have dictated, but only some intelligent source endowed with a scientific knowledge of a level at least equal to the one we have attained, and who consequently knew what sort of impression those things were to exert upon some of us in the future.
Indeed, as just discussed in the previous section, Swedenborg didn't realize that one of the revelations he recorded was physical. Consequently, he could conceive these were curious, strange and even dazzling things, but not that they were true in the eyes of other persons. Yet, in the SD 1139-1145 1/2 series it is stated: "But since this matters are such, and they are true, they should not therefore be passed over in silence.... for there are some who perceive and love such things". Neither could he have thought that they were verifiable, because he lacked the required theoretical, empirical and instrumental means and insight; and even if they should have been available to him, his intellection failure would still have prevented him from drawing such a conclusion. Neither is the slightest trace found in his personal comments, indicating that he was aware of the future availability of such means, nor that these would validate his claims about the reception of a 'wisdom from heaven' infused through the 'things heard and seen.' Nevertheless, in the same note it is stated that "[these things] confirm universal truths... whose confirmation is sought from anatomical and philosophical truths" (!).
If Swedenborg was conscious of the confirmatory power and the dazzling manner in which those 'things heard and seen' would impinge upon our conscience —why didn't he point it out? Why did he omit himself to publish the series of notes just discussed, and those I am subsequently to expound? There is only one answer to this question: Swedenborg never grew conscious of those things although he recorded them! His very intellection failure confirms this. Only now, after the amazing discoveries made, are we ourselves commencing to glimpse the signification, premonitory role and sensational nature of such notes as we are discussing.
Again, on August 27th, 1748, Swedenborg recorded statements just as singular, about the foreseen manners of reception of his revelation:
How could Swedenborg presume that certain persons would receive as scientifica what he, because of his intellection failure, systematically presented and understood as metaphysica? This is quite sensational. He cannot have invented it, and this fully coincides with the findings made so far.
On December 9th, 1748, Swedenborg recorded yet another truly spectacular fact related to all these questions we are discussing, and to the recurrent topic of "spirits who are not willing to hear and admit anything about the interior things of the Word". The note in question, quite worthy of being printed in golden letters, reads as follows:
In short, we are told about a book (Arcana Caelestia) dealing with the internal sense of the Word, whose credibility depends on certain 'things' which have to strike our minds. Evidently, this refers to the physical revelation discovered, which is indeed shaking our minds with a power of conviction equivalent to that of the biblical miracles.
Let's ask ourselves again: can the propositions contained in this note have stemmed from Swedenborg? The answer must very roundly be: no, they can't! Perhaps Swedenborg thought it was prodigious and marvellous that 'spirits' should govern his movements, even to the extent of directing his tongue towards a decayed tooth or his eyes towards excrements and intestines as specific foci of septic stuff, and that they should talk about cancers, peritonea, spleens, the cysterna quili (Pecquet's cystern), and similar matters, some of them cursorily mentioned in preceding sections or reviewed in tables 5.1.1 and 5.1.2 above. But we know he never guessed the scientific significance and sweep of these things. Consequently, he could not believe these had any power of conviction; and yet, this is exactly what the expression 'instead of miracles' claims. Of course, it is not fortuitous that that expression appears preceded by the formula of the true and verifiable verbal statements, "it was said to them", precursory to genuine revelations unattributable to, for instance, Swedenborg's imagination or rational powers. And being it so that it refers to both propositions contained the the note SD 4123, it thence follows that the book in which we have to believe is not thus recommended by Swedenborg but by the source which inspired him. And moreover, that that source attributed same rank of authority and credibility to both the physical and the metaphysical revelation.
This is the very essence of 'the fourth discovery, a finding whose implications
are, to the very letter, truly transcendental. Indeed, further arguments
discussed in sections 5.4 and 5.5 below, reconfirm this momentous finding
and prove that beyond Swedenborg's incomprehension, an eminent, intentional
and conscious intelligence took the lead.
Wrote Swedenborg towards the end of the summer of 1749:
The fact that Swedenborg should expect immediate results is yet another proof of his intellection failure; i.e., of his ignorance that part of his revelation was anticipating a knowledge about physical reality that had not yet been attained by means of scientific research and could therefore not yet be substantiated. Indeed, a remark about the physical nature and future detectability of one part of the recorded revelation is found nowhere amongst Swedenborg's own comments —but it is found in the inspired passages. Consequently, the source of his inspiration knew about it and announced it!
The most paradigmatic of all passages about the future detectability of the physical revelation were recorded by Swedenborg when nearing the date of his death. He then returned to the subject of the meager attention paid to his works by prospective readers, but this time in a decidedly inspired context which I have termed The Allegory of the Shooting Star. This allegory pictures some angels being commanded to write down on a piece of paper all truths revealed so far, and let it drop to the earth. Whilst that paper traversed the spiritual sphere, it shone like a star. Then its brilliancy faded whilst gradually approaching our world looking almost like a piece of coal when it finally fell amongst a group of 'learned and erudite men,' which responded with a jumbled mixture of distrust and disconcert. Obviously, a very faithful picture of our own and very blunt reactions!
Next stage is very essential. The angels then questioned themselves for how long this state of affairs was going to last. Not only was a reply given from on high: it appears backed by the variant of the precursory formula of the true and verifiable verbal statements, 'a voice was heard saying;' that is, of the statements Swedenborg cannot have invented himself. Indeed! —it refers to the future detectability and comprehension of the revelation, a feature we positively know Swedenborg was not aware of. It was worded thus:
Obviously, a reference to the time-factor required for science to progress to the point where the advanced contents of the physical revelation conveyed to Swedenborg could be grasped. Swedenborg lost here his last opportunity (he died the next year) to announce to the world this fact, which he obviously was not aware of himself. Subsequently, he states he perceived a rumor ex inferis (rising from hell) requesting:
This is very remarkable. Summing up, we are once again being confronted with the same elements contained SD 4123: 'learned men' (of whom it was stated that these 'will for the most part reject') and the topic of miracles; or to be more precise, of a substitute for miracles (in loco miraculorum), the 'scientifica' devised to make us take an interest in 'the book' (Arcana Caelestia) and 'believe in it'. The reappearance of these items can hardly be casual.
Both in the eyes of followers and of skeptics, Swedenborg strongly contributed to convey the impression that everything was —or pretended to be— metaphysical. It is ironic to see that the only accord ever to exist between those antagonistic parties consisted in sharing the same error by thinking that the physical references contained in the descriptions about 'things heard and seen' only reflected a metaphysical reality —not the reverse.
After the initial findings made, a fascinating world appeared before my eyes when I discovered that the 'infernals' responded marvellously to that very reversal of the optics: from the metaphysical to the physical. More concretely: to microscopic optics, even beyond the range of electronic magnification power! (fig. 5.5.1). By this procedure the 'infernals' (creatures looking delirious if contemplated from the metaphysical angle) suddenly resolve themselves into clear pictures of specifically recognizable germs through a series of morphological details, as well as through the clinical, parasitological, prophylactic, cytological and genetic information profusely contained in Swedenborg's formerly incomprehensible descriptions (fig. 5.5.2).
Fig. 5.5.2 MORPHOLOGY OF SOME OF THE "INFERNALS" DESCRIBED BY SWEDENBORG. It fittingly coincides with the true shape of the germs involved in the specific diseases they are described to cause. This can be no random coincidence.
This topic of the micro-organisms detected and recognized in Swedenborg's post-critical texts is undoubtedly one of the most impressive aspects of the physical revelation. This is probably why it was stated that "by holding the idea on the objects of the microscope," one becomes absolutely obstupefactus: stupefied. Furthermore, that:
Obviously, these passages are foreshadowing the discoveries made as far as the 'infernals' are concerned, as well as the skepticism they tend to generate. ¿Who was expecting that any such things should ever be described in any passages of that sort?
In the following, I am to discuss some startling examples of those 'things
which convince.' However, I shall be starting with an example about the
brain —an example which is quite a surprise because, although written at
the onset of the crisis, we all thought it was just a piece of regular
scientific work. Namely, Swedenborg's theory of localizations and his theory
of the primordial role of the cerebral cortex. There is now every reason
to believe that these two theories formulated at the very end of his scientific
career, yet in the midst of the crisis, when his experiences of 'supernatural
contacts' started, were infused into him through channels that have no
relation with an ordinary research. They probably represent the earliest
intimation of the dazzling series of revelations about physical reality
that was to mark the post-critical stage of his life. I feel
it is important that we should have found a piece of revelation not formerly
recognized as such, but having already attracted the attention of medical
circles, which is in all probability the 'missing-link' connecting scientific
achievements by Swedenborg thought to be regular, to the "irregular" findings
that have cropped up in the course of my research from 1973 and onwards.
 M. Ramström, Emanuel Swedenborg's investigations in Natural Science and the basis for his statements concerning the functions of the brain., University of Upsala, 1910, p. 23.
 I. Jonsson, Swedenborgs korrespondenslära, Almqvist & Wiksell, Lund, 1969, p. 272. My translation.
 I. Jonsson, Vetenskaparen och diktaren, in the collective book, Swedenborg, sökaren i naturens och andens världar, Proprius Vörlag, Stockholm, 1976, p. 24. My translation.
 By 'uninspired passages' is meant the rather exceptional instances when Swedenborg intercalates comments or theories entirely of his own. But this is an extremely rare occurrence, and as far as information about tangible scientific subjects is concerned, such passages can easily be weeded out: the 'it-was-said-to-me' formula (cf. 4.4) never appears in them, neither do they contain any direct account of crepuscular dreams or visions, nor any experiences of sensorial or motorial indications (cf. chapters 2.0 and 3.0). Even the literary style is different.
 Signe Toksvig is of the opinion that Swedenborg recorded the 'spiritual sense' of the Word mainly by means of automatic writing (cf. S. Toksvig, Emanuel Swedenborg, scientist and mystic, Swedenborg Foundation, New York, N.Y., US, 1983, ch. XVI). This does not only contradict Swedenborg's direct testimony just quoted, but also further statements by him, and especially his note WE 7006, in which he explains that the experiences of automatic writing took only place exceptionally, and only for the reason that he should know that revelations may also take place in this manner. In that note, moreover, he adds that in his case he was made to obliterate any texts received by such means. Yet another reason for not sharing Toksvig's opinion.
 Cf. 5.2.
 Pecquet's cystern.
 Cf. supra, n. 6.
 It should be stressed in case some readers should collate it, that C.O. Sigstedt's book, The Swedenborg Epic, marvellous and most accurate as it is in all other respects, contains in this case a seriously mutilated version in which no less than the extremely important term, scientifica, has been omitted. This defective version reads as follows: "Another class are delighted with the new things as curiosities" (The Swedenborg Epic, The Swedenborg Society, London, 1981, p. 234). Yet, in the original text it is clearly stated: Alterum genus, qui recipiunt ea ut scientifica, et ut scientificis, tum ut curiosis delectantur (cf. Emanuelis Swedenborgii Diarium Spirituale, ed. by J.Fr.I. Tafel, Tubingen and London, 1843-46, SD 2955).
 Cf. 4.4.
 It is worth our while stressing what Swedenborg understood by learned and erudite men: "those who trust in their own intelligence, and on that account exalt themselves above others... they who are atheists and naturalists" (AC 8783).
 In fact, in the CL 533 version we find the more 'classical' formula 'it was said that...' Regarding true and verifiable verbal statements, cf. 4.4.