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8.0 Corollaries and final comments

The discovery that one of the revelations recorded by Swedenborg is 'physical', implying that we would apprehend it in the future as scientifica[77], was a necessary condition in order to gain access for the first time to a truly comprehensive reading of the particular part of Swedenborg's post-critical texts containing that sort of revelation.

The discovery of such a revelation has turned up like a thunderbolt in the midst of a crystal-clear day. The most immediate and paradoxical corollary is that to the same extent our 'reasonable' expectations do not predict that any such discovery should happen, those expectations are not truly reasonable: they are mere presumptions about what we foresee and believe can be found. In other words: what establishes the limits of what we might discover as being true and accept as such is not a logical substratum or a dialectic process, but our theories about the frontiers of reality and the axiomatic principles on which they rest.

Prof. Inge Jonsson, for instance, gave no credence to Swedenborg's prophetical claims. Most of us have followed his steps. Consequently, when reading that angels have a plenary knowledge about the anatomy and physiology of the human body[78], none of us even cared to investigate whether this was true.

Furthermore, it has constantly and universally been granted that physical terms served to illustrate a metaphysical sphere, not that they bore reference to physical reality.

Endeavoring to confirm what we believed we already knew, our attention concentrated on some minimal fragments composed by unessential and uninspired passages[79], thus neglecting the dazzling intertextual differences shown in tables 5.1.1 and 5.1.2 which any contrast analysis would have brought to our attention, making us react in quite a different manner.

Our failure to detect intertextual differences prevented us from arriving directly and systematically at some discovery similar to the one I made fortuitously in the spring of 1973. Since that finding was made, it has come to light that not only were Swedenborg's errors corrected after the crisis he experienced in 1744: all his former material was substituted 'en bloc' by a material that is radically new and prodigiously accurate.

As a consequence, this is the first time in history that claims of a revelation come within the range of scientific testability.

Tests have been carried out by means of elementary comparison operations bringing to light correlations existing between the knowledge recorded by Swedenborg and 'standard' empirical knowledge acquired by means of scientific research.

However, due heed ought to be paid to the fact that science progresses through non-empirical theories: theories falling within the epistemological field of heuristics. And to put it with Einstein's words, "it is the theory that establishes what we can observe". Consequently, observables derive primordially from non-observables, a fact suggesting there might still exist some link between 'heuristic' experiences at large (Kekule, Howe, Gauss...)[80] and Swedenborg's 'mystic' experiences. In other words, theories' non-empirical aspects, the limitations of logic[81] and the similarities of 'heuristic' and 'mystic' experiences jointly considered suggest that regular heuristic processes may not be the trivial and confined-to-the-brain sort of processes reductionistic theories propound.

What's the origin of the knowledge Swedenborg gathered and recorded after the crisis of 1744? It very obviously transcends spatial and temporal limits to an extent that looks like sheer science-fiction. This explains our perplexity and the difficulties we are experiencing in order to assimilate, grasp and accept such proofs and testimonies as have been discussed in the preceding chapters. As for Swedenborg himself, he sustains spirits and angels were secondarily responsible for his hypnogogic dreams and visions, speech heard 'in morning time,' and the motorial and sensorial indications. Consequently, there are good reasons to concentrate on his statements about the allegedly —or why not true?— primordial origin of these experiences:

Whenever there was any representation, vision, and discourse, I was kept interiorly and intimately in reflection upon it, as to what thence was useful and good, thus what I might learn therefrom; which reflection was not thus attended to by those who presented the representations and visions, and who spake; yea, sometimes they were indignant when they perceived that I was reflecting. Thus have I been instructed; consequently by no spirit, nor by any angel, but by the Lord alone, from whom is all truth and good; yea, when they wished to instruct me concerning various things, there was scarcely anything but what was false: wherefore I was prohibited from believing anything that they spake; nor was I permitted to infer any such thing as was proper to them. Besides, when they wished to persuade me, I perceived an interior or intimate persuasion that the thing was so and so, and not as they wished; which also they wondered at. The perception was manifest, but cannot be easily described to the apprehension of men. (SD 1647)

This might seem an inordinate or hardly credible claim. There are nevertheless some very firm elements allowing to address this question about a supreme, deep and central guidance with dialectically rigorous arguments.

The main importance of the notes of the Diarium spirituale scrutinized in chapter 5.0 consists in the fact that they do not bear upon the revelation as such, but on the manner it was conceived, programmed and aimed at a specific purpose whose nature can be inferred.

In the course of time, my research led to the discovery that that series of notes, which had lain in a virtual state of hibernation in the Diarium spirituale, offers the possibility to carry out a fascinating investigation using techniques similar to those developed by H. D. Lasswell in the 30's. Techniques of the so-called content analysis which very fittingly become operational under circumstances such as Swedenborg's angels and his supreme and central Source of guidance give rise to. To wit:

... when the transmitters of messages have disappeared or are unaccessble, when their intentions cannot be scrutinized through direct interview, the content analysis offers the possibility, not of deciphering the message, but rather, of describing its aims and purposes[82].

In this respect, the note SD 4123 is very specifically the one that indicates the essential project of the Source[83]; or —as Lasswell would put it— 'of the transmitters of the message.' In my opinion, this is the note in which the Source has given the clearest intimations about itself and its instrumental means and intentions, because it follows very conspicuously from the contents of that note that the 'things heard and seen' or physical revelation, were intended to stir up our scientific curiosity by shaking our minds because of their dazzling nature (ea in loco miraculorum sunt: they are instead of miracles!). It is subsequently stated that without these means, we wouldn't understand what 'the book' (Arcana Caelestia) represents: a metaphysical revelation whose credibility is being 'recommended' and backed up by a physical revelation that can be put to the test.

From this, as well as from the SD 1139-1145 1/2 series discussed in chapter 5.0, it follows that the physical and metaphysical revelations do not correspond to two different developmental stages of Swedenborg's post-critical life. They form part of an integral revelation aimed at a common goal: 'to believe in the book.'

To what extent has this goal been attained? True enough, the physical revelation has turned out to be empirically verifiable, but —can its credibility be transferred or ascribed to the metaphysical revelation? Prima facie, it would seem that the statements contained in note SD 4123 purely amount to an argument of authority. That is, an argument no better than that we have to believe in the metaphysical revelation because the physical one is very striking and can be verified. But there are nevertheless logically clear-cut and genuine arguments which I am now to discuss, supporting the credibility of the metaphysical revelation.

The 'physical' evidence obtained comprises the series of Diarium spirituale annotations containing a description of the maturation and fertilization of a human ovule[84]. 'Following instructions from heaven'[85] Swedenborg incorporated passages of this material (especially, note SD 5513a) to one of the sections of Arcana Caelestia (the AC 10817-10831 series) dealing with the internal or spiritual sense of the Word, or metaphysical revelation[86]: a section containing items of a most striking contextual homology. So striking, indeed, that the iteration frequency analysis of key words I have made (words with a mean repetition factor of 1,3 per each full stop sentence) shows the following results (table 8.1):
 

Father 38 %
Human 21 %
Life 11 %
Birth 10 %
Son 10 %
Flesh 4,5 %
Conception 3,5 %
Mother 2,0 %

Table 8.1 FREQUENCY COUNTS OF KEY WORDS CONTAINED IN THE AC 10817-10831 SERIES shows that the contents of the metaphysical text clearly points towards the subject of the physical revelation appended to it.

There is not the slightest doubt about the parallelism! The metaphysical material stems in this case from scattered biblical sources: John, Matthew, Luke, Jeremiah and Isaiah. To glean out passages giving a result as indicated implies a selective criterion and the most perfect knowledge of the contents of the text to which it was to be appended. Neither one thing nor the other can be referred to Swedenborg for the simple reason that even 14 years after recording the passages about the human ovule, he was still sustaining erroneous theories about generation and sex; a fact that indicates that he didn't understand what he himself had recorded[87]. In other words: the selection criterion and the knowledge it implies must both be the product of an inspiration. But above all, what they denote is that it was the very same Source that handled indiscriminatingly and parallel scientific information and information (!) about the 'internal sense' of the Sacred Scriptures.

To join the physical and the metaphysical with such a mastery as underlined above, which is obviously intentional and unattributable to Swedenborg for reasons already discussed (Swedenborg's intellection failure), indicates that the metaphysical revelation shares the same attributes of intentionality and rationality as the physical revelation. Differently put, the 'religious edifice' (Ramström's expression) is not founded on a structure derived from Swedenborg's pre-critical ideas (Ramström's opinion)[88], but on an intrinsically rational structure. This is at least somewhat different from what the famous German philosopher Imanuel Kant stated two centuries ago, when concluding that metaphysical matters will for ever remain beyond the range of man's rational powers.

As far as rationality is concerned, yet another argument deserves close attention. To wit: speech heard 'in morning time[89].' It has quite often been granted in scientific circles that Swedenborg's kind of experiences are non-verbal and 'regressive' (especially from a Freudian point of view). The rational, highly technical, highly advanced nature of the information conveyed to him by means of speech represents an unparalleled feature; and it betokens a most lucid and significant rationality.

The use and role of the precursory 'it-was-said-to-me' formula[90] should also be enhanced as a most remarkable and unprecedented token of rational and empirically testable statements.

Indeed, as far as matters discussed from a Lasswellian angle in chapter 5.0 are concerned, it should be remarked Swedenborgians ought to feel themselves better entitled than ever to place their confidence on the statement Swedenborg derived from his vision of the inscription Nunc Licet in golden letters and of the Holy Scriptures' appearance surrounded by a blazing glory once a veil was drawn aside:

Quod nunc liceat intellectualiter intrare in arcana fidei. (TCR 508)
(That one may now enter with the intelligence into the mysteries of faith)

A Divine origin of Swedenborg's experiences as he himself claimed, is logically credible even if it remains being a matter of faith.

Back now to the theory of cognition, it would seem we have been looking at the world from the wrong angle. Swedenborg's case suggests a situation similar to the one that led Copernicus to contemplate the Sun as the center of the system to which our earth belongs. As far as innovative knowledge is concerned, whether religious or scientific, to which we may gain access, man is like a satellite orbiting a Source of Superior Knowledge.

Swedenborg's case introduces a paradigm shift in epistemology that is revolutionary. And also, in man's very life, because the above theoretical issue is not devoid of very pragmatic implications: it directly opposes positivistic empiricism, which is still the prevailing paradigm for conducting human affairs. And this is where consequences arise, because any defective view about the true frontiers of reality might have serious consequences. We ought to take heed of these implications!

Thus, far from estranging him from science and rationally debateable matters, the crisis Swedenborg experienced in 1744 transformed him into one of the objects most worthy of philosophical, religious, political and scientific meditation that has ever existed.



 

[77] Cf. 5.3.

[78] Cf. SD 955, 1140-41, 1145, 1625, 2394 and AC 3626.

[79] Cf. 5.2.

[80] Cf. 2.1. and 4.1.

[81] As stressed by Riedl, "Logic can only transmit truths provided it has got some, but it cannot expand them" (R. Riedl, op. cit., p. 215). Cf. also 4.3.

[82]Nueva Larousse P 45, Plaza & Janés, Barcelona, 1979, t. 3, p. 647.

[83] Cf. 5.3.

[84] A detailed exposition of this subject (comprising 8 figures and 6.500 words of text in a work in preparation) would unduly extend the length of this compendious paper. Cf. however 3.4 and figs. 3.4.1 and 3.4.2.

[85] Cf. 5.3.

[86] Cf. 5.3 and especially the SD 1139-1145 1/2 series.

[87] Cf. 5.2, table 5.2.2.

[88] Cf. 5.1.

[89] Cf. 2.4.

[90] Cf. 4.4.


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Crown of Revelations
Rebirth, Reincarnation
Correspondency
The Holy Center
Salvation in the Gospels
Psychology of Marriage
Precious Stones
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City of God
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Ultimate Reality
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Book with Seven Seals
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Words In Swedenborg
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Odhner: Creation
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Language of Parable
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Creation in Genesis
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