The Human Mind
Hugo Lj. Odhner
Swedenborg Scientific Association Bryn Athyn, Pennsylvania 1969
The subject of the Human Mind is treated in these essays without pretense of covering all aspects of man's mental constitution. But it is to be hoped that behind the topics here considered there should emerge the new view of man's place in the cosmic whole, which unfolds in the Writings of the New Church and which it takes human minds to envision. There is need for a further study of the relation of the Will to the Understanding, as presented in The Divine Love and Wisdom. Another set of teachings could be brought out if the Human Mind were considered with more specific reference to the processes of man's regeneration. Some other articles by the present writer may be recommended as supplemental reading. The subject of the Will and its development is treated of in NEW CHURCH LIFE, 1946, pages 465-479, under the title "The Mystery of the Human Will." In the same journal there is an article on the nature of "Spiritual Thought" (1935, pp. 309-319), and another on the relation of spirits to the human mind "Where Two Worlds Meet" (1952, pp. 509-519). The philosophic problem of the relation of mind and body is reviewed in an address "Mind and Body and the Problem of their Interaction" (NEW CHURCH LIFE, 1930, pp. 633-658) -and in several articles in THE NEW PHILOSOPHY "The Spiritual and the Natural" (1962, pp. 1-14), "Swedenborg and the Cartesians" (1959, pp. 33-43), and "Space and Spiritual Extense" (1958, pp. 301-314). The relations of spirits with human minds are more fully discussed in the book SPIRITS AND MEN (Academy Book Room, 1958). The first six chapters of the present study appeared as a series of articles in THE NEW PHILOSOPHY, 1954-1955. Chapters VII-X are here added, leading up to a study of the interior degrees of the mind. Little has been said in these articles about the "New Psychology" which -since Freud has revolutionized the professional study of the nature of man and the "subconscious" realm of his mind. The present writer, forty-one years ago, expressed his reaction to this movement, in comparison with the teachings of the Writings, in an address which is printed in the JOURNAL OF EDUCATION of the Academy of the New Church, under the title "The Subconscious as a Factor in Education." (Vol. XXIII, pp. 185-203) Since the things there said seem valid today, this address is added to our list of references. No effort is made in these essays to relate Swedenborg's psychology to the presently predominant semantics of Existentialism. But underlying Swedenborg's system is the concept that man's essence and chief determinant is the super-sensible Soul through which the Lord endows him with the faculties of liberty and rationality; while this human essence finds its individuation and existential expression in the Mind, which is formed by responsible acts of choice or free will.
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On several topics I have benefitted by consultations with some of my colleagues in the Academy of the New Church. To the Swedenborg Scientific Association I am most grateful for its generous sponsorship of the book. And to my friend Mr. Lennart O. Alfelt I am deeply indebted for his assistance in editing the proofsheets.
Chart 1: General Degrees of the Human Mind
Before undertaking an examination of the human mind as this is presented to us in the inspired teachings of Emanuel Swedenborg, it would be useful to devote some attention to what the world about us says or has said on the subject. Every man talks about his "mind" as if this was without question the chief element of his personality. Yet ask men to define what their mind is, and we encounter a great confusion. Some will identify it with their consciousness or with their thought and knowledge; some will grant that it includes also emotions and will; others will say that it is a process which goes on more or less constantly in the cells of the central nervous system -as some kind of physiological reaction. The learned have even constructed a "science" of Psychology, the object of which is to study, analyze, and catalog the phenomena which men regard as mental, and this in order to separate our knowledge of these phenomena from the superstitions and errors with which human tradition has beclouded it. Many psychologists are therefore averse to the very mention of a "mind." Other writers will admit that the question as to whether we have a mind or not is one which cannot be determined by the methods of Psychology but is to be relegated to the field of Philosophy or even Theology. There is still truth in the remarks of Everett Dean Martin that "the psychologist today . . . must boast his ignorance of philosophy and make a noise like a biologist."1 And since a little, or too specialized, knowledge is often a dangerous thing, it is common today to hear men scoff at the idea that the mind could ever exist as an immortal soul apart from the body. This was something which the ancients seldom seemed to doubt. Thinking from ends rather than from effects, the people of the Ancient Church took the spiritual world for granted, even if they were as yet unable to distinguish it by any clear bounds from the world of nature. And even though the teachings of their primeval revelation -which we know of as the Ancient Word -were gradually misunderstood and contorted, we find in the burial rites and oldest records of antiquity indications that there was from the beginning a clear idea that man possessed a soul which would survive death.
To them, this simple acknowledgment was confirmed by their dreams, in which they saw their own soul or mind conversing and acting with others, living or deceased, apart from their sleeping bodies. This was perhaps one reason that the idea of immortality was preserved among the most primitive peoples long after sound religious traditions had perished, or before any knowledge had been given by further revelations. And as a faint echo of the lost Eden of the celestial infancy of our race there persists among the most undeveloped peoples the idea that not alone man, but all objects of the earth have life, or contain a spirit or conscious soul. This belief has been labeled "animism." What those who belonged to the Ancient Church at its height of wisdom believed about the mind and the soul is unknown from any records of which we know. If the Ancient Word that was lost is ever recovered here on earth, it would doubtless be found written in "correspondences so remote"2 that even New Church students would find difficulty in ascertaining how far it revealed the character of the human mind to its ancient readers. The Writings state, however, that the Christian Church in its beginnings and the Ancient Church "were altogether the same as to internals and differed only in externals," so that if the externals or representatives of the Ancient Church were unfolded, the Christian Church would be disclosed (AC 4772). But this is said of the essentials of love and charity. Presumably, the Ancient Church was mostly a practical church, enjoying spiritual light but not much given to intellectual speculations. In some nations there was indeed a special cultivation of the science of correspondences; as in Egypt, where, by such scientifics, they explained "those things that were written in the books of the church" (AC 5223, cp 4966). In Egyptian records we actually find traces of a developed doctrine of the soul and the mind. Beside the mortal body (khat), man was apparently thought to possess not only a semi-material "double" (ka), but a spirit or spiritual intelligence (khu) and a soul (ba) of ethereal substance which after death could partake of heavenly blessedness among the gods; as well as a "name" (ren) or memory in which his quality was eternally inscribed.3
But the quest for a knowledge of the nature of the human mind must have been present among all thinking men, and is reflected in various mythologies (AC 4966). Oriental religious concepts had a strong influence upon the early Greek thinkers who set about the task as an intellectual adventure. It has been said that the Greeks, in the process of developing the new field of "philosophy," as we now call it, worked out the separation of mind and body, seeking to conceive of the mind as a distinct entity.4 Contrary to the general concepts of their own and Egyptian and Babylonian mythologies, the Greeks brought in, from sources originally Hindoo, the doctrine of the transmigration of souls. Pythagoras, Socrates, Plato all believed that the mind of man, after death, was reborn again and again, as a new individual in later generations; and they confirmed this by the sensation which men sometimes have that they have experienced something before, although knowing that they could not have done so in their lifetime (HH 256, cp HH 298, AC 2478, SD 3285, 3917, TCR 79:6,171:2). The Greeks early began an earnest study of the mind and of its processes and characteristics. Some thought that the mind had come together as an aggregate of many things present in some original chaos. Others regarded it as the result of a splitting up of an original unity as when light is separated into many colors. Some were materialists in tendency, and even identified God with the matter of earth. Some stressed that the only reality was the principle of unity which underlay all multiplicity and change. The world of matter, the body, the objects of earth, were nonreal, insubstantial. Some claimed that there was nothing stable, but everything was in transition or in flux; while others drew the cynical conclusion that all changes were merely illusions of the senses. But there was considerable respect held for man's reason. That, many pointed out, was the organ of truth and unity. Socrates (469-399 B.C.) introduced into this muddle of opinion the element of common sense. And his disciple Plato (427-347 B.C.) developed the Socratic teachings by regarding the things of the mind as reflections of a world of "ideas" the source and fulness of which is God. Plato conceived of the rational soul as an independent substance, a spiritual essence which comes from beyond space and time and is temporarily exiled into a body of matter where its own conscious ideas are obscured by the fallacies of the senses. Matter, such as the world and the body are made of, is a negative something which acts as the womb or mother for the soul. By philosophy or the search for practical wisdom the soul can disentangle itself from the appearances of matter and the lusts of the body, and thus, after death or after many incarnations, can purify itself from all feeling and emotion and enter a state of pure reason akin to divinity. Aristotle (384 -322 B.C.), who followed Plato, made more explicit a distinction which his master had not clearly made: a distinction between the soul and the mind. He conceived of the mind itself as a divine individuality which was never polluted by its presence within the living man and which alone was worthy of immortality. The mind, identified with a pure reason, lived an aloof life of intuitive contemplation. As for the soul, this was an ethereal thing present in all organisms. Plants had a nutritive and reproductive "soul"; animals had, besides, a sentient soul which gave the power of impulse, feeling, and imagination. Man alone possessed a rational soul, which was formed by the Divine Reason and at death dissolved and went back to its source Thus the soul was that which gave form to the body and was the cause of its vital functions, its growth, its appetites, desires, feelings and sensory perception; while the mind was the eternal, persistent individuality which during earth life dwells within the soul and influences it without being itself changed.
We have tarried to describe these concepts of Plato and Aristotle because Christian ideas of the mind and soul were largely founded on the teachings of these and other Greeks. The Church Fathers were much concerned to find a clear idea of the immortal spirit of man the salvation of which was their mission. While hampered by the doctrine of the resurrection of man's body at the Last Judgment, they must somehow show that the spirit could survive death so as to be ready for the great event of rejoining its body. When Greek converts had difficulty on this score, Paul in his Epistles pointed out to them that just as the mortal soul had a mortal body which meets corruption in the grave, so the eternal spirit has its own "spiritual" body which is immortal (I Cor. 15: 44). And this should have satisfied the Corinthians, if they knew their Aristotle; or at least given them a less gross idea of the eternal life than the Jewish Christians tried, with apparent success, to fasten on Christian theology.
No. The spirit that lives after death must be of a different nature than the mortal flesh. "Flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God." In this Paul simply voices the common perception that throughout the ages and despite doctrine lingers in the inner recesses of human minds. And if not flesh and blood, what can the spirit be except something like that mind which abides inwardly within our flesh and often seems to struggle against it? This was no doubt what led St. Augustine (354-430) to study the mind by introspection and conclude that it was immaterial and immortal and consisted of intellect, will, and memory. The mind, being self-conscious, proved itself to be distinct from the body and the world about it.
After the speculations of the Schoolmen had relieved the pall which the Dark Ages had cast over western thought, we find in the doctrines of Thomas Aquinas (1227 -1274) some further arguments which show that the soul or the mind is self-subsistent as far as the body is concerned, since it has an operation apart from the body. Aquinas whose philosophy is still the norm of Catholic thinking pointed to the facts of consciousness and memory respectively as the proofs of the existence and permanence of the soul as a truly individual substance. He said that the soul was "substantial form" or absolute form, while the body was a composite of "form and matter."5 He also associated with the soul, or the mind, various powers or faculties by means of which the soul acts. And he distinguished these faculties as the vegetative, the sensitive, the appetitive, the motor, and the intellectual faculties. The understanding is therefore a "faculty" of the soul, and includes in it "reason" and "memory." But it is to be made clear that the "Angelic Doctor" regarded the soul of man as the lowest of intellectual substances, i.e., lower than the angels who were of a superior breed and created before the world. Therefore the soul was fitly joined to a material body and compelled to seek knowledge by way of the senses, and thus reach rational ideas or abstract concepts by coming to see the "generals" or "universals" which underlie the imagery of sense-experience. He was able indeed to assert that the "angels" would have a superior intelligence capable of knowing all things intuitively for upon their nature are inscribed "universals," or the "ideas" of all forms, abstractions themselves.
In the survey which we have followed so far, we see a gradual approach to the position that the mind or soul of man is a real substance, a spiritual essence which has its own operations like thought, will, appetite, sensation and is that which imposes its form upon the body. Although Christian dogma would not allow that the spirit could live without eventual reunion with a body of some sort, yet there was a drift towards contrasting the body and the mind, the flesh and the spirit. And in the century in which Swedenborg was born this tendency took a bold and decisive turn, when Rene Descartes (1596-1650) formulated a theory in which mind and body are defined as two substances discretely separate and apparently incompatible. These two substances, he showed, had utterly different properties and characteristics. The body was of matter and matter was extended substance. The mind was a thinking substance. And the latent problem which Descartes did not succeed in solving was: How could the mind and the body ever work together if they were so different in type and character? The learned all over Europe began to scratch their heads and publish learned tomes. The trouble with Descartes was that he had put into logical language what everyone had felt as an embarrassment, a mooted question. Every simpleton can see that there was an essential and inescapable truth in the claim that the matter of the body was simply an inert extended substance moved according to mechanical laws, and that the mind with its thoughts and its conscious affections partook of a wholly different nature was devoid of spatial or material attributes. To try to explain life or love or virtue or intelligence in terms of mechanical motions or physical tensions is fruitless. To say that a wave-motion in the air affects nerve-endings in the ear and causes a current through the nerves into the brain that we can grasp. But to say that in the brain it is transformed into a mental sensation is just so many words to which we can attach no real meaning. Similarly, "an intention in our mind" we can understand as something real. Yet we fail to picture how this mental state can possibly affect the molecules of material and extended substance of which our nerves are made so as to cause our muscles to contract. Yet every one also knows as a fact that our minds and bodies can and do work together in the closest harmony. In ancient times this was simply taken for granted, as it generally is today. And yet, modern man is such that he must see things clearly and distinctly, that is, see the causes of things, or else his faith in spiritual things is shaken and gradually dissolves into ineffective generalities. This became apparent when the weak point of Descartes' system was pointed out. The spiritual of the soul could not move the material substance of the body, nor could the body affect the soul with sensations. The world was soon flooded with theories which essayed to get around this dilemma. Some did away with the problem by saying that there was no material world, and no body; the mind itself manufactured its own sensations. Others threw doubt about the soul or mind being anything except another aspect of the body, not a distinct substance. The mind, as Hobbes put it, was a function of the body; or, as Hume presented it, was simply the sum-total of man's experiences. The reason was simply built up from below! But some friends of Descartes came to his rescue by developing the idea that while the soul could not move the body, God could set the body in motion in correspondence with the mind's intentions. This theory was called "occasional influx" and, by Swedenborg, "spiritual influx." Similarly, Malebranche (1638 -1715) contended that God aroused ideas in the mind on the occasions when the bodily senses were affected from the world. (See Interaction of Soul and Body, 120.)
The result of such discussions was to produce a literature about the mind and its various elements and sensations and faculties, and about the relation of the body, the brain, and the senses. No longer was it sufficient to look up what Aristotle or the Church Fathers had said about these things. Descartes had started a movement for studying the human body as you would an intricate machine wherein all reactions are mechanical and calculable. And he also showed that the mind's existence was the primary of all truths. He encouraged men to start with this first acknowledgment and, by reasoning, build up a real psychology a systematic doctrine of the mind, a "rational psychology" which would be "a science of those things which are possible because of the human soul." It was so that Christian Wolff defined it. Wolff (d. 1754) was a prolific and popular philosopher, scholar, and writer to whose opinion Swedenborg, in his Principia period, sometimes politely refers. Wolff published (in 1732) an Empirical Psychology on which Swedenborg made copious critical comments, and (in 1734) a Rational Psychology, in which Wolff, in his dogmatic and minute fashion, treats most systematically of almost all the subjects and problems which Swedenborg (c:a 1742) expounds in his work on The Soul, which is also entitled Rational Psychology. For to Swedenborg also the establishment of a rational confidence that man survives death and that the soul is a real entity, became a most necessary task to which he turned all his learning. But Swedenborg approached the problem from a scientific rather than a philosophical standpoint. He shows a pronounced aversion to the way the philosophers involved their ideas in terms which evaded the real issues and solaced the minds of men with high-sounding phrases. He knew of course from the outset that truly spiritual things like intelligence, instinct, and love were beyond the range of the mechanical order of nature.6 But he believed that the manner of proving the immortality and real existence of the soul was to show that it had a physical basis.7 At first he identified this with the "soul" using this term in the Aristotelian sense, as the formative essence of the body. He sought to prove that in the inmosts of nature there was a mechanism so perfect that it cannot perish. And for the next ten years he labored, studied, and wrote with the view of examining the workings of this soul in the body. He traced its presence in the bloods and in the marvelous economy of the brain and the nerve fibers, and studied the modes of sensation and the manner in which the outside world by means of the atmospheres affects the state of the brain, where he placed the most subtle organic structures whence the soul rules the body as from a throne. He therefore calls the human body Regnum Animale, "the Soul's Kingdom" a title ambiguously translated into English as The Animal Kingdom.
As long as Swedenborg was bent on establishing a physical basis for immortality, he was not directly at grips with the problem which Descartes had brought into clear relief. For by the "soul" Swedenborg then meant an organic essence which served the forces of life and intelligence as a vice-regent in forming and maintaining the body. He meant an inmost vital fluid which Descartes and others had called "animal spirit" and which Aristotle had distinguished as the first "formative essence" (or entelecheia) of the physical body. This did not mean the "rational soul," or the mind, the intellectual, spiritual part of man. But when Swedenborg came to draw up his Rational Psychology, he was faced with the "dualism" of substance of which Descartes had spoken. He had to describe the substance which Descartes had called "thinking" substance. Swedenborg had never pretended that natural substance could "think," still less "feel, perceive, understand, or regard ends" (2 Econ. 231-36). The real soul, or the intelligent spirit of man, must therefore be regarded as a "spiritual substance," "of spiritual essence and spiritual form, immaterial, without extension, motion, or parts," yet having something "analogous" to parts, extension, and motion (R. Psych. 498, 486, 516, 501, 303; Ontol. 56-60).8
But this "spirit" or spiritual essence of man lives and works within man's body. Using the vital fluids as a tool, it forms the body from conception, and forms within the body special organs in which it may receive sensations and originate actions, and thereby form itself into a conscious and free "mind." There were thus, in a sense, two "souls." There was the spiritual soul or spirit within, which could not be described in terms of physical substance or in terms of motion or geometrical dimensions. And there was also the soul of the body, the physical agent of the spirit; and this soul of the body was an inmost natural substance, a finest vital fluid which carried out the behests of the spirit throughout its bodily kingdom and took upon itself an impress of the whole life of man, in general correspondence to his mind and character, so that it could serve the spirit eternally as an individual basis and a plane of contact with the world of space and time. In order to understand what the human mind is, the relation of the spiritual soul to the organics of the body must therefore be investigated. Swedenborg, in the Writings, makes clear that while the spiritual soul, which commences as an offshoot from the father's soul propagated in the seed, contains the endeavor (conatus) to develop into an immortal mind of the general genius of the parental stock; yet this development of a mind has to commence with birth in the natural world, and is thus dependent for its individual immortality on the creation of a material body of its own (Wis. viii). It is also obvious that what we call our "mind" takes on peculiar and distinctive characteristics because of our life in the world, the experiences and circumstances which we encounter, and the special knowledge which we here accumulate. Yet an infant who dies immediately after birth, leaves his body and grows up to adult age in the other life; the potentialities of his soul thus unfold apart from natural sense-experience. After death, he will possess all the human faculties and degrees and full bodily stature. From his brief life on earth he will have appropriated a physical basis from the inmost things of nature that basis which Swedenborg from the first urged as a requisite for the immortality of the soul. He will have a spiritual mind in a spiritual body; yet his natural mind will be undeveloped and he must presumably depend on other angels for all things which depend on this plane of life and thought (HH 345). But for most of us Providence ordains a prolonged life in the natural body, in order that the soul may through the medium of this body form itself into a mind; a natural mind, such as can only be formed on earth and in fact only through the natural organics of the human brain and through the experience of the bodily senses. Swedenborg's Rational Psychology therefore starts out with a description of the senses and their functions. He shows that the five senses most of them seated in the head all send their impulses and reports, in the form of subtle tremulatory wave currents traveling up the sensory nerves into specific regions of the brain, but communicating their general effect also over the whole brain, which he therefore calls a common sensory. The momentarily changing conditions of our earthly environment exert specific changes in the various organics of the brain; changes in the flow and direction of the nerve fluids at their very spring and points of origin, which he defines as the cortical "glands." So far he argues within the bounds of what is now common knowledge.
But he goes further. He reasons from certain philosophical doctrines about Forms and Order and Influx and Correspondences and Degrees that each of the cortical glands serves as a brain on a more exalted level, and contains parallel functions to those of the brain as a whole; and that thus each cortical gland contains a myriad of other organic centers which generate the highest vital fluid by which the soul rules the body. These inmost organic centers continually flash out subtle and invisible fibres like vibrating rays which by their formative action continually build and maintain not only the cortical glands but all the structures of the whole body. This concept of the inmost constitution of the body aided Swedenborg to conceive how the spiritual soul could affect the substance of the body. For if a spiritual substance was to exert a government over the material body it could do so only through the most primitive constituents of natural substance, such as existed in a free state within the supereminent blood and its simple cortices. He therefore explains that the inmost substances of the brain were derived from the highest and first aura of nature, and contained the most intensely active units such as those from which everything else in the natural world is composed. Later, in the Writings, he points out that such "purer things of nature," because they are "nearest to spiritual things," could "agree and harmonize with spiritual and celestial things, and serve them as containants" (DP 220). But it seems that Swedenborg never had any real difficulty with the Cartesian dilemma which had resulted from destroying all bridges between the spiritual and the natural.9 For Swedenborg never thought of matter as mere space cut up into pieces, i.e., as mere extense. Radically differing from all of his contemporaries, his idea of matter was dynamic as a form of energy which bound itself up in larger and larger bundles; or as energy tied up in closed circuits, forming particles which then combined into new and more passive particles. Matter, in his view, was therefore intelligibly defined only in terms of motion in space-time. This is the main purport of his Principia theory. Pure energy, from which this motion was derived, he pictured as the result of a creative conatus to motion for he claimed that in motion the only real thing is conatus (or endeavor), since when the underlying endeavor ceases, the motion ceases. (Action xxvii; Fib.
289, 290; AC 5173.) Thus matter had a spiritual cause and origin. For "endeavor" or "conatus" is a spiritual thing, while motion is the essence of the material. From within, therefore, the spiritual had access to the natural without itself becoming natural. The spiritual and the natural were not divorced from each other. Indeed, it is said in the Writings that the substance of nature is created out of spiritual "primitives" (TCR 79: 7,280:8). "All natural things, even earthy matters, are effects produced by the spiritual as a cause" (AE 1207:3). Without the influx of the things of the spiritual world, nature "could not subsist for a moment" (AC 4939, 5084, 10185; AE 395). This theory of matter, its dynamic constitution and spiritual origin, is of tremendous importance in many widely separate fields. Here we are interested in it only because it aids us to understand how the spiritual soul can operate as a disposing cause in the body and there intelligently direct the release of the energy which is latent in the bodily tissues. For the soul does not govern the body by "brute force"; it does not add an ounce of energy to the body. Nor does the body offer any energy to the mind to be used up in the form of thought or affection; for the mind does not need any energy to think. The brain needs food and uses physical energy. But the mind is fed by spiritual food from spiritual sources. In speaking of the communication of soul and body, Swedenborg seeks therefore to avoid the word "influx." "I would wish," he says in the Rational Psychology, "that this interaction might be said to take place by correspondence" (n. 167). To repeat: the soul or mind directs the body, decides what kind of "conatus" or endeavor should inspire and direct its energy. It does this through the finest or first substances of nature in the brain. But in order that the body may be able to carry out the behests of the soul or mind, the brain with its nerve-fibres must be capable of adapting itself to the outside world. And the brain becomes adapted to the world by sensory impulses which impress the tissues of the brain with changes that in greater or less detail correspond to the objects and situations in the world of nature, so that the brain shall in a sense become a replica of the world a little world under the soul's control. This is the purpose of sensation which will form the subject of our later treatment.
In the first article we traced some of the stages by which mankind was led by Divine Providence to the realization of the differences between the soul and the body, and to recognize that the mind had at least a claim to be regarded as a real substance and a distinct entity. The ensuing dilemma caused by the apparent impossibility of any interaction between two so diverse substances was actually solved by Swedenborg the philosopher through his theory of the dynamic origin of matter; although the learned world has taken slight notice of this accomplishment. But this philosophic solution still leaves the difficulty of seeing what the essence of the soul or mind really is. Without any real idea of the soul or by merely defining it as a "thinking substance," as Descartes put it the world was bound to drift into its present state of skepticism about its reality. And this was the reason why our philosopher had to be introduced into the spiritual world to learn first-hand what the soul was, and to feel the marvelous reality of mental things and teach men of their destiny as immortal spirits. When Rene Descartes laid down his definitions of the body as extended substance and the soul as thinking substance, he called attention to the problem of how to conceive of the interaction between these two parts of man which, as far as our earthly experience testifies, work together. Swedenborg by developing a new concept of matter as consisting in motion and force and originating in conatus, which is spiritual made possible an understanding of how the spiritual, or the soul, can influence the body and direct it without expending any energy. But for a comprehension of this interaction it was essential to clarify what the soul really was, as a spiritual substance considered. The conception that the mind was only "thought," even if in thought were included desire and knowledge, encouraged the notion that it was a "simple substance" without any real form or predicates (Lj post. 263; ISB 17: 2; TCR 90: 2; DLW 229; DP 6; AE 750: 2), and thus a mere abstraction not composed of any real constituents. Swedenborg's studies, brought to final fruition by his experiences in the spiritual world, led him to a realization that the mind was not only the real spiritual man which lives within the body, but was actually a man after death (DP 124). And indeed he realized that the mind or soul belonged to a world of spiritual realities of which contemporary Philosophy had taken slight notice a superphysical world wherein are hidden the sources of all human life. While Descartes and other thinkers often spoke of the mind as if it was identical with consciousness, Swedenborg saw deeper vistas within it. The mind was organized, depth within depth; and consciousness played within the more external strata like a searchlight, revealing only fragments of its living contents and its latent powers. Christians had never come to any clear idea about the origin of the soul. Some held to the "traducianist" belief that the soul as well as the body of the offspring was generated from the parents and was radically infected with "original sin" from Adam; while others, to account for human freedom, held that the soul was created by God at conception, created pure and perfect, and added to the body from without perhaps because it is said in Genesis: "And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and man became a living soul."
The New Church doctrine answers the problems of hereditary evils and of man's freedom by distinguishing several degrees within the inherited soul. In the paternal seed from which man is conceived there is "a graft or offset of the father's soul in its fulness, within a certain covering (involucrum) from the elements of nature... out of which the body is formed in the mother's womb." This "soul" is composed (contexta) of such things as are in the spiritual world. Being spiritual, it "has nothing in common with space." In the seed which is "conceived interiorly in the understanding and formed in the will" the paternal soul dwells in its fulness, including not only the mind but also the animus, the disposition, inclination, and affection of the father and his forebears an inheritance which can be changed in the offspring only "by the spiritual things of the church" (TCR 103, 584; CL 183: 4, 220; Love ii). Maternal heredity does not affect the soul of the immediate offspring, except from without, as a conditioning factor. But it would follow that if the temperament and inclination thus impressed from without by the mother be confirmed by the child, he will, if a son, hand it on as an inherent part of his "soul" to the grandchildren. From what has been cited above, it is clear that the inherited "soul" contains several degrees in which life may be received and made the child's own. The lowest of these degrees is in perverted form, owing to ancestral inclinations to evils of various kinds which have been confirmed and made habitual in past generations. But there are also interior degrees which are still in Divine order and are not influenced by the evils of the race (DLW 432). To designate these degrees, it was necessary for the Writings to adopt, at times, a more specific terminology. Swedenborg was not a "stickler" for terms. And while New Church men, who on the whole are sensible people, naturally are suspicious of any philosophy that is overmuch wrapped up in terms, they are faced with the fact that the angelic wisdom in the Writings becomes utterly unintelligible and paradoxical unless we come to understand the way in which words are used by the revelator. And certainly some teachings would be reduced to utter nonsense if we insisted that Swedenborg always used the same term with precisely the same meaning, irrespective of context and evident purpose. Such a term is the word "soul." In the Rational Psychology, as usually in the Writings, Swedenborg used the word "soul" to include everything spiritual in man, both good and evil; thus everything that man, from his mind, makes a part of his spirit which is to live after death, and a part of the heredity that he bestows on the offspring. But in the Writings there are also teachings about an inmost or highest degree, which receives the influx of life from God directly and is not acted upon except by God. It is what makes every man "human," endowing him with the faculties of rationality and liberty and forming him into the image of God. This degree is above angelic consciousness. It is distinguished as "a superior spiritual substance" which is above the mind even above the angelic heaven. It is sometimes called "the human internal" or "inmost," but also, simply, "the soul" as discriminated from "the mind" (ISB 8; TCR 8; AC 1999; HH 39; LJ 25; SD 5548; WE 919, etc.). We therefore meet up with the teaching that man consists of soul, mind, and body. The mind is also called his "spirit" (Inv. 13, 14; CL 101). But in connection with this, it is pointed out that the soul is the inmost of the whole man, and unless this were the case, the body could not be alive. The soul in the other life is therefore in a spiritual body without which the soul and the mind of the angel would not "subsist." Thus we may see that what is called "the mind" is only a further organization of the soul. And the body is only the soul and mind in their ultimate aspect. In this world the body projected by the soul is indeed infilled with material substances which serve its uses here on earth. But the body, as to all that is vital in it, is still only the ultimate "degree" of the mind (Inv. 14).
The soul, the human "inmost," thus forms the body which is born into the world. All men are therefore born human as to form barring physical accidents; and all have the faculties of freedom and rationality. The soul acts only as the viceregent or tool of the Divine Creator. But the paternal inheritance also contributes a mind with inclinations and a genius specific to the family and modified by the influence of the mother. This mind cannot interfere in the creation of the body, although it gives a certain individual character to it, visibly modifying its features. Yet when an infant is born it cannot properly be said to have a "mind." There is the soul, and there is the body; and there is certainly a communication between them (Can. Redr. iv). But what we generally mean by a "mind" is based on sense-experience; and this the infant lacks (AC 1900, cp HH 345). However, for "communication" there must always be a medium. And the Writings describe this medium as consisting of three mental "degrees," or as three minds the celestial, the spiritual, and the natural. At birth, we are assured, every man has this mind of three degrees (DLW 432). They are at first "potential" rather than actual, but they are substantial and real and are meant to be opened or entered into successively, beginning with the lowest or natural (DLW 237, 239). These three degrees of the mind are said to be, as it were, "transparent" suggesting that they can transmit spiritual light, communicating the discrete powers of wisdom, intelligence, and reasoning even to the newly born babe who can as yet utilize none of these powers (DLW 245). It is stated that these three minds or mental degrees answer to the three discrete heavens. By the use of one of the two higher degrees, man becomes a celestial or a spiritual angel. None the less, the lowest or natural degree, which answers to the first or ultimate heaven, is at least partially opened to man on earth for actual conscious use. This spiritual-natural degree, which is called the ultimate spiritual (DLW 345), is the degree in which is built up what the Writings call "the natural mind." Therefore it may be said that there are two "minds" in man: a natural mind which is for our use in this world, and which is opened and formed through such things as are in the natural world; and a spiritual mind which is to be for our use in the spiritual world and is opened and formed from such things as are in heaven or have been revealed thence (AE 790; F 32; Life 86). Yet no ideas are connate (TCR 335).
It may be difficult to visualize what is meant by the three "degrees" of the mind being already present in every infant at birth. While one degree is called "natural," even it cannot be regarded as anything but spiritual in essence, and, indeed, as the ultimate spiritual. All the mental degrees are present at birth, but unopened or unformed. This means, of course, that the newly born infant is utterly unconscious of anything of his mind until knowledges are formed by the medium of the senses. It is universally recognized that life becomes distinct only so far as conscious ideas are formed, and these can be formed only on the basis of sensations. Before any of these mental degrees are thus opened and furnished, they may be called "degrees" indeed, but not as yet mental "planes." The "degrees" of the mind, before they are furnished, are only the paths of influx for the life which comes from the Lord. They serve for accommodating and directing this inflowing life, and thus for actuating the lower degree. The Arcana illustrates this in connection with the regeneration of man, showing that before the interior degrees are "terminated" by becoming planes of conscience, they cannot receive (or respond to) the good inflowing from the Lord; but the life flows through it as water through a sieve, and goes all the way down into the sensual degree where it is felt as the voluptuous delights of self and the world (AC 5145, 4167, 6207). But if a higher degree has been "terminated" it can hold the influx, which then develops and brings out the potentialities of that degree. So far as the will is concerned, these "terminations" are affections of good and truth. In the understanding the "terminations" consist of truths. The whole object of man's existence is therefore to procure such "terminations" for the various degrees of his mind. For man is a vessel of life and his quality as a receiving vessel depends on the extent to which he develops these degrees into planes organized for reception and reaction.
When man is born he has an inmost soul which is individual but beyond his control; he has a body, which this soul has fashioned for itself; and he has a mind, but only in the sense that there are the three substantial degrees by which the soul communicates with the body. And the object of life, which is hidden in the soul, is to build the mind into such a form that it can receive and express the life which the soul transmits. But let us not think of these interior degrees of soul and mind although they are not opened or terminated as devoid of individual qualities. For the soul is a finite thing, and no two finite things are alike. Indeed, we read that "there is nothing in the soul, in the mind, and in the body, which is not masculine in the male and feminine in the female" (CL 46, cf. 158). Since the Lord must have a purpose with every individual that is born, it is reasonable to suppose that this purpose can be distinguished from the very soul. The same must hold true also of the mental degrees. These cannot be considered as utterly blank things devoid of qualities; and since we inherit the persistent genius of our race, we can hardly suppose that the interior degrees of the celestial church did not differ from those which we inherit. Indeed, we cannot divorce these substantial degrees, spiritual and celestial, from the heavens of the afterlife, with which they must cohere at all times, and by which they are conditioned from the first. As to the natural degree of the mind, its structure is most radically affected, nay, perverted by inheritance; so much so that its spontaneous reaction is utterly contrary to the spiritual mind and cannot be amended except by a radical reformation (DLW 270, 432, 273). And the teaching is quite clear that, while the spiritual and celestial degrees are in the image of heaven where evil cannot find a home, all evils and falsities, both hereditary and acquired, reside in the natural degree of the mind (DLW 270). We are further told that while the spiritual mind derives its substance and form only from the substances of the spiritual world, the natural mind consists not only of spiritual substances but also of substances of the natural world (DLW 260, 270, 273, 257). This might suggest the idea that natural substance as such could be responsible for the existence of evil. This would be a misreading of the teachings. It is indeed stated that natural substance in itself is dead and is acted on from without by spiritual substances, and thus reacts or resists (DLW 260). But this reaction or resistance, which characterizes matter from creation, does not itself constitute "evil." Yet it is true that spiritual substance by itself is not free to pervert itself. New Church doctrine rejects the myth that angels were created before the natural world, and that some rose in rebellion under Lucifer and became devils. Instead, it teaches that evil, although certainly of spiritual origin, arose with man on earth, and was caused by a separation of the "ultimate spiritual," which is called the spiritual-natural, from the higher degrees. This separation and perversion of the lowest spiritual could occur only in the natural minds of men (DLW 345). Such was the origin of evil and of hell, and thence came all "evil uses" in both worlds. Evil is a perversion of order; and the spiritual cannot pervert its order except by approving and preferring the resistance-to-life which is inevitably found in natural substance. This negation to life and its purposes is normal in dead matter which is deprived of purpose or intent. But for the spiritual to come to delight in such spiritual inertia is to separate itself from its source, and oppose the order of its creation. Why, then, is it necessary for man to be born on earth? The answer is given in various forms in the Writings. One treatment shows that the mind or spirit can be formed only in man, and cannot be propagated except through man, because spiritual substances are not constant but need a material basis to become permanently formed (Wis. viii). Other treatments combine to show that the exercise of man's freedom of choice requires the fixed ultimates of earth by which man's spirit is compelled to undergo varying states and be in situations which do not accord with his native inclinations, but resist them. For this cause, man starts his life in a body of flesh, kindred to the dust. The degree of the mind into which he enters by birth is the natural degree. By means of knowledge, this degree is formed into a mind or an organized plane of thoughts and affections.
Knowledge then accumulates, increasing continuously without any apparent discrete stages. Yet, within the general degree of the natural mind we may distinguish three ascending degrees, the last of which is reached when man becomes rational (DLW 67, 239, 256). Thus the natural mind is said to be able to ascend through three degrees, or descend through three degrees (DLW 274). It can ascend by being formed from goods and truths, or it can descend by confirming evils and falsities. The three ascending degrees are in general identified with the sensual, the natural, and the rational (AE 1147, 1056: 2). The natural degree, at birth, is in a perverse state and form, as to all its inherited inclinations. The tender infant, we are once told, is born in a "state of damnation" (DP 83: 2). But this perversity has not become finally identified with the man that is to be. This man, or this mind, is yet to be formed. The natural degree is to be the scene of this formation, or of the observable part of this formation. And Divine mercy nay, Divine justice provides that into the natural degree, despite its perversity, there can be introduced a new clement, knowledge, which in itself is not perverse, but which may lay a new foundation of order within the natural mind as it grows and unfolds. Around these new foundations of knowledge, which reflect the order of creation, new affections can entwine which may in time become subservient to the spiritual ends of life; so that the child, from being merely sensual in its reactions, may be increasingly enriched with knowledge, and then come to sense within the symbolism of sensory life a deeper set of meanings; until at last these may be seen in their reasonable relations and build up a control over the natural impulses, so that man assumes intelligent charge over his natural mind, and thus becomes spiritually a free man, not a slave.
The spiritual degrees of the mind, consisting only of spiritual substance, are beyond the power of the body. In the course of life they may be more and more shut off alienated, closed, disowned. Or they may be opened and appropriated; not indeed opened to our consciousness while here on earth, but opened for a future use, even as a source of mental wealth and power which unknowingly accumulates if man exercises his ordinary freedom rightly in the realm of his natural mind, which is immersed into the interior organics of his body. The natural mind is formed in the body. It "consists" not only of the spiritual substances from which its thought and mental activity take their origin, but simultaneously of natural substances which can carry out its behests in the natural body, and makes, in the interiors of the body, a plane which corresponds to the states of this mind (DLW 257). For the period of nine years immediately preceding his introduction into the spiritual world, Swedenborg devoted himself to an intense study of the organics of the body, and especially of the brain, with a view to seeing how the mind was associated with the body. He was the first scholar to demonstrate that the conscious mind the voluntary mind had its seat and control-centers in the tiny cells which are scattered in profusion within the cortex of the cerebrum or forebrain. The cortex, or "bark," means the layer of gray matter which is spread over the whole brain. From these cortical "glands," as he called them, proceed innumerable nervous fibres, some connecting the cortical cells together in a perfect web of association, some projecting themselves into the middle portions of the brain, some bundling together forming motor nerves or sensory nerves or nerves of mixed functions, and going forth into the body. But Swedenborg was led to confirm a further conclusion: that the cortical cells were the laboratories for the vital fluids which were the carriers of the life which came from the soul. These fluids vitalized the blood exerting a control over all bodily functions by regulating the secretion of subtle organic chemical elements which (like "hormones") were concocted not only in certain organics in the brain but in the internal secretory glands all over the body. These vital fluids, he thought, also traveled through the nerve fibres, distending them so that they should be able to carry the currents of sensations up to the brain, or, in the case of motory nerves, cause the muscle fibres to be stimulated into contraction. This chemical function of the brain was carried out by all its parts by the cerebrum, by the midbrain, by the cerebellum and the medulla. Each cortical gland was a recipient of a flow of pure lymph or "purer blood" from the arteries. This purer blood circulated through the cortical glands, and was there recreated by undergoing a reconstruction, a critical rebuilding, before it was again poured out through the nerve fibres. Two new elements were also added: first, a finest ethereal "chyle" derived from the ether, and second, a "spirituous fluid," distilled in the "simple cortex" of each gland under the auspices of the soul, from the purest aura or essence of nature. This "spirituous fluid" was sensitively obedient to the inner states of the mind. And it projected a "simple fibre" a flashing organic current which by its vortex actions built and maintained not only the cortical cells and the nerve fibres but also the entire bodily organism. In the cerebral cortex, the cortical glands were dedicated to the special use of aiding conscious life. To each of these glands, sensory impulses were forwarded, directly or indirectly, through the nerve fibres, and these impulses, since they corresponded to actual situations and states in the sensory organs and in the natural world around, in changing the external form and state of some group of the glands also impressed them with a record of these states so that they could easily resume each state if required. Here we have what Swedenborg regarded as the organic basis of memory. Not that he confused the mechanical changes of the gland with the living state which we know as sensation. His doctrine, in the Rational Psychology as later in the Writings, was that the soul, i.e., the spirit of man, alone could feel or "sense." The spirit, which was above space and matter, found in the harmony among the physical glands an intelligent meaning or a use which corresponded, however distantly, to something of its own intent. And thus the spiritual could "inflow" and form itself into a percept, a concept, a conscious idea of a form or a use enough to cause a "recognition" of an object and a sense of delight. And with such a "recognition" there is a beginning of the formation of the mind.
It is notable that the living spirit, the "spiritual-natural degree," could never form itself into a mind and thus be transformed into a self-conscious being aware of its own life, without the aid of the natural organisms of the brain, which place the order of outside nature before it. Even before birth the body, as it is being formed by the soul, contains sensory fibres which carry the states of the body into the brain and occasion what might be called a sensation, on the part of the spirit or soul, of the states of the body; but the soul is then acting involuntarily or instinctively. Yet with birth and the opening of the lungs a new condition obtains, not only because the currents of vital fluids are directed differently, but because the brain begins to record states which are caused by the agencies of the senses which now begin to thrill to the harmonies of the outside world. The Writings often stress the principle that there is not any physical influx no influx from the body into the soul, or from the natural into the spiritual (AE 1215 : 4, ISB 1, 19, AC 9110). Sensation through which knowledge is formed in the mind is not an effect of the physical body's action upon the soul. But it is an act of the soul forming itself in recognition of a harmony already contained potentially in itself. This is in line with the principle that between two discrete degrees there can be no communication by continuity, but only a communication by correspondence; or, in other words, that "influx is according to correspondences." What other connection can we imagine as existing between a sensory impress upon a group of cortical cells, and an idea or sensory perception in the mind, than that of a "correspondence"? In Swedenborg's day and for a century afterwards, it came to be generally felt that since the soul must be everywhere in the body as a sort of "simple substance," it would not do to set aside any particular organs or spatial areas in body or brain for the particular faculties of the soul. But Swedenborg from insight and reflection founded on recorded experiments10 showed, not only that various designated areas in the brain's cortex were the control points for definite parts of the muscular system, but that the conscious functions of life were localized in the anterior parts of the cerebrum, as is now acknowledged. Life was sensed distinctly where the sensations of material objects seen, heard, or felt could be reconstructed into ideas or concepts, and this occurred in the anterior lobes of the brain. The lower and accessory functions of life were present in other parts of the nervous system and the body. But the marvelous building of a conscious and intelligent human mind by conceptual interpretations of sensations occurred in the cerebral cortex. And there, too, must be situated the source of voluntary or deliberate action as well as the seat of the judgment and the moral and spiritual functions of the human reason; since these higher faculties are not exercised except on the basis of knowledge.
To sum up. While man at birth was endowed, by the Lord through his parents, with a human soul, and with three spiritual degrees a spiritual equipment which was already given an individual direction and inclination and limitation by various spiritual factors and in its lower levels was colored by hereditary perversions yet a conscious and responsible human life could not commence except in a natural body through which the states and conditions of the space-time world can lie presented before the soul, which can then order its own form in correspondence to the harmonies, or disharmonies, of the sensory.
Moreover, the only degree of the connate spiritual endowment which is thus immersed, as it were, into correspondential contact with the order and variety of nature, is the spiritual-natural degree; and this is what is then formed or what forms itself, by the powers of its soul into the natural mind. This mind-plane is therefore said to consist not only of spiritual substance but also of natural substances, which are, of course, such as the brain and the inmosts of the body provide. The natural mind, therefore, is formed in the purer organics of the body, and, as to its conscious amid voluntary phases in those of the cerebrum. Its first awakening comes as sensations, out of which is organized the plane of man's memory. This is done on the basis of external changes in the cortical glands. Yet the natural mind is a complex structure and contains several interior faculties the imagination and the reason, with their various affections. For an idea of the organic basis of these higher functions, Swedenborg, in his Psychology, directs us to the interior structures of the cortical glands.
In stating that the natural mind of man is being formed in the organics of the natural body, it is well to define what the natural mind is. As generally used in the Writings, it means the mind with which man is furnished for his life in the natural world. This does not imply that it may not also be of use after death; especially since only those who are admitted into heaven have any other degree of the mind opened. Nor does it imply that the whole of the natural mind is used consciously and deliberately by man in this world. The New Church doctrine emphasizes that each degree of the mind consists of two essentials a will and an understanding. Man's consciousness dwells in the understanding belonging to the natural degree, and he becomes aware of the contents of his will only so far as it becomes manifested by gradual stages in his understanding. Thus the will so far as it is not conjoined with his understanding is unconscious. This is a provision of Divine mercy. For man cannot be held responsible for something of which he is not conscious; and the native will is so filled with inherited evils that it is totally corrupt. There is also much in the natural mind which is below our general plane of consciousness, and much that is above it. Just as we would be immersed into the tortures of the damned if we were ever conscious of the horrible passions and untamed ferocity that slumber within our native will, so also our life would become utterly miserable if we were conscious of all the sensations which our environment continually pours in upon us. Therefore the Arcana likens the external sensual the ultimate of man's mind to a "grating" because it "sifts out and separates, as it were, the things which enter with man and are presented to the understanding and the will" (AC 9726). And indeed each level of the mind serves the higher levels in a similar way, acting as a censor or sieve which rules out all sensations which might disturb the higher mental functions. We often find that all manner of things may be going on about us and also within us, as it were on the fringe of our consciousness things which our eyes see and our ears hear while our attention is centered on some utterly different thing. Besides, our memory holds innumerable fields of knowledge of which we are usually never conscious. And attached in intimate fashion to all our memories are affections which also slumber until aroused. Interiorly in our natural mind there stretch other vistas of thought and reasoned philosophy of which we are oblivious whenever our attention is centered upon mundane or corporeal concerns.
It is well, then, to consider the extent of the natural mind the various levels of our mental life here on earth. The lowest of these levels is called the corporeal. The next in order is the exterior sensual, which is connected with the external or corporeal memory and thus with what is called the scientific. Above this is the interior sensual, which is associated with the powers of imagination. This is sometimes called the natural or the middle natural. Above this is placed the interior natural or the "interior natural memory," which serves the rational as a plane. It is our purpose to describe each of these degrees or levels of the natural mind in their order. But the warning must be given that these distinct levels of the mind are not to be thought of as if they were placed partly one above another like layers of bricks; they are functional levels, based on organic forms so intricate and interwoven that they often seem to lose their identity when they act together. Being of such complex and organic nature, the degrees of the natural mind appear in different series according to man's states. In the order of their development, the Writings speak of them as three degrees of ascent (DLW 66, 67, 275, 277; CL 496), which are called the sensual, the natural, and the rational (AE 1147, 739: 2, 1201 : 4). Yet by the fact that all these degrees have a common quality of their own which we call "natural," the growth of the mind is continuous. This common quality is due to the fact that the degrees of the natural mind are all based on sensations of things from the natural world, and are organized in the physical structures of the nervous system.
The Corporeal and the Sensual
"Man is born as corporeal as worms." Later he becomes sensual, and then natural more and more interiorly (CL 133, 447, 59; AC 4038: 2). The corporeal is like the ground in which natural, rational, and spiritual things are inserted in their order (CL 59). In the strictest sense, the corporeal is the lowest and most vile life of the body; which is neither human nor animal, nor even sensitive, but is an almost vegetative life. For as conceived by biologists the body is made up of units, or tissue cells, which are bathed by the body fluids, and which individually absorb nourishment, grow and perpetuate themselves by cell-division. As long as these cells are within the community of the body the life which they manifestly have is governed by the soul which orders and disposes them for the needs of human uses. But it is possible to remove a portion of skin tissue, for example, and place it in test tubes; and as long as food is provided, the cells will indeed continue to grow and multiply but without any direction towards use. The life which then is contained within them is not human life. Indeed this lowest plane of purely bodily life contributes nothing directly to the up-building of the mind. It could not exist apart from the physical tissues, or apart from the chemical compounds of which the cells are constituted. Yet without that vegetative life the body would become a corpse. This life withdraws on death, returning to its source unchanged. When the vessels are resolved, the life we may conceive returns "to the next higher degree" (cf. AC 5114: 4). But in a broader sense the corporeal is defined as "that which sees earthly things, hears people speaking, tastes and relishes food, smells what floats in the air, and feels by the touch through the whole body. . . . It is also all action and gesture, as well as speech; and therefore the muscles and that which is properly called 'the flesh.' (SD 4627: 2). This "corporeal" is said to serve man for use only in the world, and perishes with his death (Ibid., AC 4618). It is therefore "nothing else than a receptacle of sensations and of the life from them"; for "without the senses the body does not live at all," for they "constitute all the vital of the body" (AC 5077).
Yet, considered as inclusive of the sensations, the corporeal degree would embrace certain features of another level of man's life which the Writings call "the external sensual."11 By the external sensual several different things may be meant. Always, the reference is to that in man which is dependent on the five senses or is derived from the sensations. Sometimes it includes the corporeal as to that life of sensation which can never exist apart from the material sense-organs and the sensory nerves, and which therefore is not immortal. This life of the senses man has in common with animals, and it perishes with the flesh. It is "the ultimate plane in which man's life is terminated, and upon which it reposes as upon a base . . . For it stands forth immediately to the world, and through it as an extreme the world enters and heaven goes out" (AC 10236: 2). It is notable that there are many sensory-motor reactions in the human body which are beyond man's control, and we are apt to call them "purely physical." Biologists point to general "reflex-arcs" and automatic nervous responses like the blinking at sudden light, the twitch of pain, the jerking of the hand away from a hot stove. These simple instinctive reactions are due to no exercise of thought, and are not the result of training. They are conceded to be due to nerve fibres which connect the skin and other peripheral sense-organs with the central nervous system and this again by motory nerve fibres to the muscles. These reflex-arcs do not go directly into the seats of conscious thinking and acting in the cerebrum, but are centered mainly in the spine, medulla and pons, and in various places in the lower and central parts of the brain. This type of sensations or of sensory impulses, as well as the answering motor-responses, must be characterized as unconscious and involuntary. And this holds true also of the functions of the cerebellum, which exercises an automatic control that regulates all our muscular actions so as to produce balanced, smooth, and coordinated movements. The cerebellum feels, but is not conscious. It exerts control, but is independent of our deliberate decisions. Swedenborg speaks of this function as the involuntary sense, and also points out that the motions of the heart and other viscera are quite exempt from the will of man (AC 4325, 9683, 8593; SD 3860, SD minor 4714e). Man's involuntary is said to be twofold one element being his hereditary nature, composed of what his parents have made second nature or habitual, and the other being a secret and overruling influx through heaven from the Lord (AC 3603: 5). Whether the cerebellum itself has been perverted in some manner by man's evil heredity is difficult to ascertain from the Writings. For on the one hand the cerebellum acts spontaneously according to the order of nature, even now. In most ancient times the cerebellum was the seat of their celestial will, but we infer that this voluntary was not conscious, but natural and inborn. It was the source of their wisdom to live in the order of creation (cf. HH 251). This spontaneous order, as represented in the cerebellum, was their will; while, with them as with us, the conscious understanding was in the cerebrum (ISB 13). And this, with them, acted as a one with their will.
Through the increase of evil, man departed from the celestial order. The fibres from the cerebellum were in certain cases displaced or overruled by fibres from the cerebrum; which permitted the face to register emotions which were simulated, artificial, and counterfeit, instead of natural (AC 4327). The inmost things of the cerebellum even now remain celestial and unperverted and continue to be the medium for the involuntary sense by which the soul can overrule and amend the action of our conscious voluntary when this continually departs from the order of nature (AC 9683). Unless this were the case, man would perish in a moment (SD min., 4714e). Yet it would appear that when evil has become dominant, man's conscious will, which is seated in the cerebrum, takes advantage of the spontaneous action of the fibres from the cerebellum and reduces them into the means for making evil habitual and thus as it were spontaneous, facile, and natural as if this evil was the intended order of nature and the will of the soul. The consequence is that the cerebellum, at least to that extent, becomes a tool of evil. And therefore it is intimated in the Writings that the lusts of the will dwell in the cerebellum (ISB 13; TCR 160e, 564e). These lusts of the will are those of man's sensual inheritance and also those which by much practice have acquired an instinctive nature. And when evil has become spontaneous and delightful, "it can be amended, reformed, and inverted, solely by the spiritual-rational and moral" (TCR 564e). Indeed, salvation from the lusts which have become of the will is possible only through the understanding, which is built up through the cerebrum. The thought of the understanding must be reformed first, and must come to lead or control the love of the perverted will. If this is not done, "the inmost things of the cerebellum, which in themselves are celestial," will as it were collapse into inactivity (TCR 160e). This, then, must be what is meant in the Arcana when it is said that the involuntary of man is two-fold, one part being his inherited lusts which are of man's sensual degree, while the other inflows from the Lord through heaven. If man does not suffer himself to be regenerated the evil lusts are taken over and made his own; but with regenerating men, "the involuntary which is from the Lord manifests itself in adult age, and in the meantime it has disposed and governed each and all things of their thought and also of their will, although not visibly" (AC 3603e).12
The life of the senses and the sensory-motor reflexes of the body is that part of the external sensual which perishes with the flesh. These reflexes are reactions with the world of space and matter, which we have in common with the beasts of the field and the forest. They are, then, not properly a part of the "human" mind since they cease at death. Yet the mind of man inflows into these reactions and gives them quality, invests them with meaning and intention. This is illustrated in the body by the way in which the cerebrum and the cerebellum send out fibres which connect them with the nerve-centers and reflex-centers of the medulla and the spine. Swedenborg also reports that the more subtle hells inflow "into the external sensual sphere, and this at the back where is man's involuntary"; and that certain genii belong to the province of the "spinal marrow which emits fibres and nerves to the involuntary parts" (AC 6312e, 8593). On this account, while the life of the nerve-reflexes is not properly human, man does derive something immediately from the senses which is separable from the mortal body. This part of the external sensual seems to be above the corporeal sensual, and to be formed in the nerve-centers of the brains, the medulla and the spine formed by a human motivation, a human reaction which conditions his nervous reflexes and builds up not only a memory of things sensed but also a plane of intentional habits, the results of the human act of selection and evaluation. By evaluating and comparing, the human consciousness builds control-channels which cause it to sift and separate sensations from each other, and thus to prefer one type of experience to another and even to exercise restraints upon natural reactions. It is this external sensual which is especially represented by the grating or network of brass which was to reach to the middle of the altar of burnt offerings; and the Arcana makes the significant statement that "this sensual extends with man from the head even to the loins, and there it terminates" (AC 9731). It seems thus to exert a control even upon the intake of sensations and an evaluation of the involuntary spinal reflexes, and the reaction of the autonomic nerves of the viscera, which of course are beyond its control. The remarkable information is added that "from the loins is continued with man the sensual which is next interior" possibly referring to the fact that the extremities of the body are under a higher control, being ruled by the deliberate decisions of man, and requiring a considerable training before they can be effectively used. The external sensual is thus the outmost and ultimate of man's life. But because it stands nearest to the world it is wholly destroyed by hereditary evils. Therefore it is the last thing in man to be regenerated "and scarcely any one at this day can be regenerated so far as that" i.e., so far that there is not some pleasurable reaction from evil and perverse things (AC 9726). Man's hope must be that he may be elevated out of this sensual out of the grip of its inherited cravings and out of the thick mental fog which the fallacies and deceptive persuasions of the senses are continually producing. Man must be withdrawn from the sensual (AE 563). This is not only a condition for regeneration, but is necessary if he is to become a natural-rational man.
While man must be regenerated as to his natural down to the sensual if he is to receive truth and good without perverting them, his sensual degree (being filled continually with material ideas) can be regenerated only "with difficulty" (AC 1742). But it was different with the Lord in His Human. With Him, not only was the external sensual or that which was represented by the grating on the altar glorified and made Divine; but also that which with man perishes with the body; thus the life of the senses and the flesh was also made Divine. And since this life cannot be divorced from the body, or from the corporeal itself, it is reiterated in the Writings that the Lord rose from the sepulchre with His whole body. "The Lord made the very corporeal in Himself Divine, as well its sensuals as their recipients" (AC 5078: 2, 2083: 2, 10252: 7).
The Scientific and the External Memory
When man is born he is at first corporeal-sensual. For "the first internal" that is opened in him consists only of animal reactions to bodily pleasures or discomforts. But as the infant grows, the human plane of self-conscious choice develops the external sensual. And very soon "a more interior sensual" begins to be opened, "from which he thinks naturally and is also affected naturally" (AE 543: 2).
This new sensual which is often classed with the external sensual is dependent upon the formation of a memory and the introduction of knowledges into the mind. The Arcana states that the memory, in itself considered, is "nothing else than an organic something formed from the objects of the senses especially those of the sight and the hearing in the substances which are at the beginning of the fibres; and according to the impressions from these" (i.e., from the sense organs), "variations of form take place which are reproduced; and these forms are varied and changed according to the changes of state of the affections and persuasions" (AC 2487; cf. 4224, Wis. v., DP 279:6, 9; 319). In this connection we are warned that "organic forms are not only those that are apparent to the eye, and that can be detected by microscopes; for there are also organic forms still more pure, which can never be discovered by any eye, whether naked or assisted. The latter forms are interior forms such as those of the internal sight. . . . These are inscrutable (AC 4224, cf. SD 3484e). The memory is an organic something formed in the substances at the beginnings of the fibres. The fibres here meant are the nerve fibres, which originate in the cells or little glands of the cortex of the brain. These glands of the grey matter according to Swedenborg are externally affected by the vibratory currents of the sensory impulse, and thus changes of form are recorded in the cortical glands. But the memory does not consist of these natural organics. For the cortical glands are mortal and suffer death. The memory remains unscathed by death. The memory is indeed organic, but it is a spiritual organic, formed from the "objects" or "material ideas" which the soul produces in correspondence to the order of the sensory streams which reach the brain-tissue.
Such mental imagery is in the appearance of space and time, yet itself is neither spatial nor subject to the attrition of time. It can be reconstructed after death centuries, millennia later long after the brain has returned to dust scattered over the earth (HH 461-464; SD 3230, 2755; SD minor, 4545). Swedenborg had not yet become aware of this when he wrote his Rational Psychology in 1741 or 1742. And therefore he then could think no otherwise than that, because the natural brain was destroyed, man after death would have no memory of earth-life, no imagination, nor even any rational thought, but only an intuitive intelligence, equally shared by good and evil spirits (R. Psych. 494, 506, 525, 528, 530). Later he remarks: "Before my sight was opened the idea I cherished concerning the countless things that appear in the other life differed but little from that of others, for instance, that in the other life there could be no light or such things as come forth from light, together with the things of sense. . . And yet . . . unless spirits were organized, and unless angels were organized substances, they could neither speak, nor see, nor think" (AC 1533; cf. SD 1715-1720).
The memory and we here speak of the "corporeal" or "external" memory is founded upon sensation, and could never be formed except in the brain of a man living on earth. We must not imagine the memory as myriads of little pigeon-holes into which knowledges are stuffed for safekeeping and reference, or even as a modern computer; but rather as the innumerable states of an organism. In the brain, the growth of the memory is accompanied by the maturation of billions of tiny "association-fibres" which connect the cortical cells together in a complex web. Therefore the human brain is unique in the ample space which it provides for such a system of association-fibres connecting all the parts of the cortex. Every sensation may directly stimulate a great number of cortical cells. Swedenborg, allowing that the mental visualization of a sensed object existed in each affected gland separately, also noted that the mental image would be more distinct the more glands were involved (R. Psych. 96). Modern neurologists point out that a "memory" of some simple object or experience is not preserved as structural traces left in individual cells. Professor Herrick13 asserts that the simplest association of ideas in the mind "may involve the participation of thousands of neurons in widely separate parts of the cortex; and the consciousness must be regarded as a function of the entire process, not of any detached center." The memory is made up of "ideas." And since we are now speaking of the "corporeal memory," these ideas must be called "material ideas" which are mental states which represent before our consciousness some object or objects which have affected our corporeal senses from the material world. In the Rational Psychology, Swedenborg states that even words or sounds pass over into images of sight, and such ideas may thus be called "objects" of internal sight. The memory is therefore a plane of objects (or objective states with distinct significance) which consciousness visualizes or feels. These objects connect themselves into complex groups and series, or into compound ideas. Swedenborg shows that the internal sight that is, the sight of the imagination is so powerful that it may blot out the effect of new sensory impressions that the external world offers. The imagination is thus an internally governed state which the cortical glands assume when a nexus of similar ideas or memories is formed by a recognition of things which agree together. This causes what he calls a sense-perception which reveals the quality of an object (R. Psych. 91 105). Memory is thus built up by continual enrichment from the senses. It is nothing but the permanence of the states of "the purely organic substances of the mind" states that consist in changes and variations. These changes can be repeated when they have once occurred; for in spiritual things there is no time, and the more they are repeated or utilized, the more they are confirmed (see DP 279, cf. 319). In appearance, the external memory seems to be derived from the natural world. Yet it is not so. Nothing of the mind is of natural origin. The learned of the world look at the brain and assert that "we think with our bodies," although they confess they know not how we do it!14 Certainly the brain and the mind, the senses and the memory, are closely conjoined. "Man's spiritual is adjoined to his natural or the substantial of the spirit to the material of his body so fitly and unitedly that there is not a filament or fibre or smallest stamen of them in which the human of the spirit is not in union with the human body." "And when the bond between man's body and spirit is loosed, the spirit is in a form like that in which the man was before; there is only a separation of the spiritual substance from the material" (Wis. vii. 4, 2: 4). What, then, is the difference between that which inflows into the sense-organs of the body and that which inflows into the organic substances of the mind or spirit? Swedenborg answers: "Can there be any other difference than that what flows into the organs of the external senses, or those of the body, are such things as are in the natural world, while what flows into the organic substances of the internal senses, or those of the mind, are such things as are in the spiritual world? Consequently, as the organs of the external senses, or those of the body, are receptacles of natural objects, so the organic substances of the internal senses, or of the mind, are receptacles of spiritual objects" (DP 308: 2).
Doctrine and experience alike tell us that man is born sensual and corporeal. But doctrine also reveals that the sensual degree of man is by inheritance so perverted that his only hope of salvation lies in an elevation from the sensual an escape from the dark jungle of the merely animal impulses and corporeal appetites which rule him so long as his life is immersed in the flesh. It is in order that man may be lifted out of the sensual that the Lord provides that the senses of the body shall be instrumental in the building up of a memory, through the accumulation of knowledge. Through the memory, man is introduced into a new world, which is not physical but mental; a world through which man may roam freely without being bound by the chains of natural time and space, and where he may live in something of independence from the pressure of external sensation; a spiritual world in which the Lord can perfect the most marvelous spiritual creations, limited only by man's attitude and consent; a world in which the ends of creation may indeed be fulfilled. The memory is the gateway and the ground of this new world of human life. But since the memory is formed on the basis of actual sensations which are conveyed to man's consciousness from the physical environment through the nervous system, it is necessary to distinguish what these sensations are. (We can do this only suggestively, since the whole sciences of psychology and neurology are involved in analyzing these complex processes.) There are in general three types of sensations. The first two types are unconscious, or involuntary. Thus, various sensory fibres of the "sympathetic" nervous system carry sensations or reports from the viscera sensations of the heart-beat, the functioning of the various organs, and even the pain caused by disorders in the viscera to the spine, whence they are relayed to the brainstem and the thalamus (at the center of the cerebrum). To balance the action of these fibres, the "parasympathetic" nervous system (by sensory fibres of such nerves as the par vagum which originates near the brain) conveys sensations of hunger, nausea, and physical need to the medulla, the pons, and the cerebellum. These reports are integrated by the midbrain and the cerebellum and acted on without man's direct knowledge. They are unconscious sensations, causing involuntary reactions. In the case of pain we may indeed feel the pain as intense discomfort, but cannot localize its source unless other sensory fibres are also affected which can convey "conscious" sensations.
By means of the unconscious sensations, and the consequent state of the thalamus in the cerebrum, an influence is exerted upon our emotional life, or upon what Swedenborg in his Psychology calls the "Animus." Something of training in the adaptability of the body seems also to result by the perfection of an organic and muscular "memory." But what we shall now describe as memory proper is quite different; for the formation of this memory is occasioned through sensory impulses which reach the level of man's consciousness.
Such true "sensations" come from special organs of sense sight, hearing, smell, taste, and touch. They are relayed through the brain-stem and the organs in the central core of the cerebrum regions where numerous interconnected cells of the cortical type are scattered. Here the streams of sensation from different sense organs are correlated, filtered and combined, and then carried up to the cerebral cortex in adapted forms. It is in the cerebral cortex itself in the grey matter or "bark" of the cerebrum that sensations become distinct and, as it were, articulate. The sensations affect each cortical gland from without, inducing upon it a new state or condition.
How is sensation effected? What is meant by a sensory-impulse being carried by a chain (or relay) of nerve-fibres from the eye to the cortical "gland"? Swedenborg in his physiological works simply concludes that the fibres are furnished with a central canal which contains a subtle vital fluid which distends the fibre, and that sensation is a tremulation or vibration of this fluid, a flashing, wavelike movement carried upward from the sense-organ. Modern biologists, unable to find that the nerve fibres contain any fluid for this purpose,15 speak of the transmission of sensations and motor impulses as being "electrochemical" in nature; it is found that every part of "the human cortex gives out rhythmical waves of electric potentials" which can be measured. These waves, it is thought, are larger and more regular during sleep. They vary with the diameter of the fibre and are slower in fibres which are not insulated by a medullary sheath. The rate of conduction in the medullated fibres is a few hundred feet per second. The relatively slow speed, as compared with electricity, is explained by assuming that the energy for transmission is supplied by the nerve fibre itself, by chemical adjustments from point to point. This leaves us with the problem as to what "electricity" is and what forms it may take. Formerly it has been described as an activity of the "ether." Swedenborg also states that the "fluid" which carries the nerve-impulse is of the same "form" or degree as the ether; and he says that the spirituous essence which "flashes" like rays through the simplest fibres composing the tunic of the nerve fibre must not be thought of as a liquid but as a vortical current of force. (Fibre, 264, 251, 254, 265b.)
We must also remind ourselves of Swedenborg's doctrine about the motions of the brain. For he observed that every organ of the living body has a motion of its own unique to itself, yet tied up to the two main sources of vital motion, the heart and the lungs. The brain, he points out, must be free from the domination of the heart's pulse, if it is to be in peace to perform its functions as the basis for the mind. It is therefore encased in bone and tough fibrous membranes, within which it can have its own rhythmic motion, as a whole and in each individual part. Thus each cortical "gland" has a certain freedom of its own freedom to expand, contract, receive nutriment, or secrete its vital fluids; and also to communicate by fibres extending to other parts of the brain.
This last is of great importance in connection with the formation of the memory. For when after birth sensations begin to reach the cortex of the cerebrum, and the infant begins to appreciate differences and similarities among external objects, and to combine his primary sensations into perceptions of a higher order; distinguishing degrees of intensity in light or heat, connecting a sound with its visible source, recognizing spatial relations and forms then new fibre-paths are activated in the cerebral cortex, gradually connecting some of the ten billion little glands either with each other or with the mid-brain. And while the general pattern of the lower parts of the nervous system is laid down by heredity, these new fibre-paths seem to mature in pace with the experience, effort, and training of the individual. Thus the association-paths which connect the cortical cells together seem to begin to function in proportion as man's memory and the higher mental functions start to develop. First the sensory areas of the cortex are connected with each other and with the corresponding "motor" areas, and then the frontal parts of the cortex begin to mature. And these anterior parts of the brain seem to be necessary for higher mental functions, which rest on sensations but are employed in interpreting the meaning of experience.
For in the cortex, sensations become more than mere testimonies to the state of our physical environment: they become occasions for the formation by the mind of symbols full of meaning, whereby we link the past to the present and begin to see our place relative to others. Through the cortex, the mind of man is furnished with a world of symbols which can stand either for physical things as such or for the states of mind experienced in connection with them. These symbols. which constitute the groundwork of the new mental world into which man's consciousness is now introduced, are called "knowledges" or "scientifics" things known. And it is said of them that they are nothing but vessels for the interior things of the mind. By the things of knowledge we gain a new source of individuality for in no two human minds can there be the same knowledges. Through knowledges man comes into a certain freedom an independence of his physical environment; so that he may live, if he pleases, within himself. He may indeed make these symbols take the place of the physical satisfactions he otherwise might crave; he may retire within a realm of imagination and thought, and even build up (by means of his knowledge) certain controls by which he rules or "conditions" the visceral and sensual responses of his body in various ways, so that the cerebrum might come to limit the rule of the heart, and man himself might gradually be "elevated from the sensual." The unconscious wisdom of the human soul labors from the first breath of life to achieve this objective, and to rear upon the ground of knowledge a "Jacob's ladder" which eventually might lead the conscious mind into heaven itself.
The very first symbols which the soul of the new-born infant forms on the basis of physical sensations are not, properly speaking, "knowledges," because they do not even suggest the notion of a physical world. The infant only feels them as states of sensory delights. The celestial angels who attend the babe inflow into his mind, and it is their sphere which is so felt for they delight in all that is of order even on the sensual plane, and see in this order a prophecy of the celestial destiny to which this order is looking. Thus the Lord stores up a memory of "delights" from all those tender states of infancy, which then become associated with an influx of celestial good. This is the garden of "Eden" (literally, "Delight") into which every babe is transported. These celestial things which are at first insinuated into man without knowledges, and later along with knowledges, are called "remains of good" (AC 1450, 1451, 1906), and are said to be stored up not as knowledge, but as a state of delight in the interior rational (AC 1906, 4759, 3654: 3), in the internal man (AC 8), or in the interiors of his natural (AC 5297). They serve, not as a part of his memory, but as a means of holding the mind open somewhat to the influx of heaven, so that man may be able to think reasonably and to exercise spiritual freedom. Even an evil man cannot pervert these remains with himself, although he may close them off (AC 7560).
Man alone among living creatures is born without knowledge (CL 133, 134). By this is not meant that animals have innate or connate ideas; for beasts have no ideas, nor can ideas ever be born with anyone (TCR 335). But animals are born forms of specific affections, as witness their tremendous diversity of bodily shape. Each animal from birth is possessed of a "science" or knowledge corresponding to its peculiar affection (DLW 61, 134, 255; AC 4906e). This so-called "knowledge" is nothing but the organization of its sensual degree so that it may receive an influx from the spiritual world which causes it to act from its native love. This influx gives it instinctive reactions so that it may respond to all situations within the scope of its love. But man is born, not to represent some specific natural or predestined affection, but to add to the perfection of heaven by contributing a mind formed in freedom and used according to reason. The development of this mind not merely the perfection of his senses along some unique line becomes therefore the purpose of his life. The senses of man are only tools for the creation of the character and individuality of the eternal spirit. Human knowledge is a necessary means for this free development. For life without knowledges is indistinct and obscure mere vitality without distinct consciousness (AC 3293). And without consciousness there can be no human freedom, no exercise of choice, no perception of relative values; and thus no thought, or even imagination; and no reflection, no reformation, no reception of the gifts of love and wisdom as coming from God. For these reasons the memory of man must be formed by instruction in knowledges. Knowledges or "scientifics" as the Writings call them mean simply matters of information. We think of the memory as a great storehouse from which we draw at will, or as a vast pool of knowledge gathered by experience and reflection. But here we wish to examine more fully the raw-material out of which the memory is built. The lowest and grossest elements of our consciousness are mental objects, images and symbols which correspond to things sensed in the external world. Certain of the senses like sight, hearing, and touch are special aids for calling such symbols into being; but the resultant symbols are states of the spiritual substances of the mind, corresponding to the states of the natural organics of the cortex of the brain; indeed, they could not be formed anywhere else cannot be formed after death. They are distinguished from ideas of thought (SD 5588; AC 6319: 2), and are often called "material ideas." Material ideas are objects or symbols which suggest the primary form or notion of something in the natural world, thus something having the attributes of space and time. Such material ideas are mental representations of things which, we conclude, exist outside of our minds, either in nature or in our own bodies. They represent combinations of shapes and colors, weights, tones, rhythms, times, temperatures, speeds, etc. They spontaneously produce the sense of space and time. The mind on this level which is the lowest spiritual degree is incapable of feeling any consciousness that is divorced from such space-ideas or time-ideas. Of course we know that there is no actual space or time in our memory, but only a representation of it. The entire world, so far as we have experienced it, lies crowded into our memory, and there seems ever room for more! Our memory is the ground, the "ultimate" on which our conscious spirit dwells, on which our consciousness travels by swift changes from realm to realm. It reminds us of the fact that in the spiritual world there is similarly the appearance of time and space, yet these two limitations do not actually exist in that world "as properties of it" (AE 1210 1212). We learn further that in the spiritual world the idea of changing states, with "the consequent idea of the appearance of space and time, comes solely in and from the ultimates of creation there" which are "the lands on which the angels dwell." In the interiors of the spiritual, as in the superior degrees of the mind, there is no appearance of space or of time (AE 1219: 5). Thus we may conclude that the material ideas of the memory are modifications of the same degree of substance as that of the ultimates of the spiritual world. Material ideas are "seen" in the mind in a sensual "lumen." For what is conceived as being part of the natural world is in the mind "seen" in that light. This "natural lumen" of the mind is from a spiritual origin. For man's mind apprehends the objects of the memory from that sphere in the spiritual world in which the spirits who are with him dwell. Sensual lumen comes from spirits below heaven and also from the hells (WE 940: 2; SD 4627, 4629). Thus a sensual lumen is easily aroused with men, from the love of self and from the pride of self-intelligence which hold their minds down to material things, material values, personal vanities, and corporeal delights. It is indeed possible to enjoy a natural lumen which is not from evil, but to this man attains only through the delight in uses which makes it contain inwardly something of rational and spiritual light (AR 940; LJ post. 16). The memory of material ideas is called, in the Writings, the corporeal memory; i.e., the memory of our bodily experiences. It is also referred to as "the memory of particulars" (SD 1077-1079).
It is not a memory of things thought but of things sensed, and of the symbols, names, and attributes of such things. Thus it includes the speech of words, and all the scientifics about the world as such (AC 1639, 2471). And associated with it as the very substance in which it exists are all the delights, yearnings, and lusts which welcome these knowledges. For no knowledge is ever formed on the basis of a sensory experience which has not a delight associated with it. Everything else that the senses offer is rejected.
It must not be supposed that the scientifics of the memory lie in utter confusion. Knowledges seem to be arranged in innumerable planes which intersect but never interfere with each other. And every point of each such plane is potentially or actually the origin of new planes, with new subject-matter and indefinite extensions in all directions (AC 1276; SD 4037). Swedenborg in his writing between 1746 and 1756 often resorts to such "planes" in respect to his own body to describe the correspondential relations of the spirits with whom he came into objective association (AC 3639, 1276; SD 636f). Indeed, the knowledges in the memory are arranged in an organic connection similar to the manner in which the fibres of the body are bound into fascicles and organs. For the body is in a perpetual correspondence with all the things of the mind (AC 5881; TCR 38, 351). This "bundling" of knowledges is, of course, especially evident as the memory grows and experience begins to be digested and sorted out and applied through the use of the higher faculties. There then arise "sciences" or distinct fields of knowledge. Swedenborg mentions, among the useful sciences, "physics, optics, chemistry, pharmacy, anatomy, mathematics, astronomy, architecture, botany, metallurgy, history, civics," and the like (SD min. 4578, 4657). These are all founded on factual data and sensual scientifics; yet a "science" means an ordered arrangement of many data, which are scattered facts gathered and checked during the centuries. Among the inner laws which bind our knowledges together are the laws of the "association of ideas."16 Psychologists have recognized two kinds of association of ideas : a simultaneous association of several composite perceptions which recall a kindred event or similar object; and a successive association of ideas into a train of thought, one thing having some connection with another. Both are usually described as connections in time having been experienced at the same time or in space having been seen in the same place or possessing a similar shape. And it is true that space and time produce the "generals" of the corporeal memory, and form fields of connection among our sense-experiences. But in the Writings a deeper connection is stressed. For it is love which introduces things into our memory and arranges ideas there into series with a view to its own objectives (AC 4301: 3, 4, 5278). "If there is no affection, there will be no observation. It is this affection, or love, with which the thing that enters connects itself; and being connected it remains, as is evident from the fact that when a similar affection or love returns, the thing itself recurs and is presented to view along with other things that had previously entered by virtue of a similar affection. . . . Similarly, also, when the thing itself returns, whether this be effected by objects of the senses, or by objects of the thought, or by the discourse of someone, the affection with which the thing had entered is also reproduced" (AC 3336).
The workings of the memory are therefore not mechanical. Ideas are "reproduced whenever a similar delight recurs"; and these webs of association become richer and deeper as life proceeds. Similarly and in this lies our salvation when the same truth is reproduced by one's self or suggested by another, the affections once associated with it are again aroused (AC 4205: 2, 4301: 4; SD 4037). It is because of such laws of association that our ideas may become clearly perceptible and rich in meaning. The material idea in the corporeal memory was shown to Swedenborg as in the midst of a kind of "wave" an undulating sphere of associated ideas. And by these associated ideas the thing thought of is elevated as by "spiritual wings" and lifted out of the memory into the full light of apperception. So, for instance, if we think of the name of some person, the spirits who are with us can perceive all the things we ever knew or thought concerning the man, and all his history from childhood, as well as all our feelings about him from time to time. But, strangely enough, we ourselves are then only conscious of the particular notions to which our attention is confined (AC 6200). And if man is in merely sensual thought, the material idea in the memory is closed even to spirits; although spirits of a sensual type are still attracted (AC 6201).
The fact is that unless the sensual ideas of our memory become associated with states of remains and with the truths and goods of later life they become material, empty, dead, hard, and closed to the influx of heaven (AC 1472; SD 4184). They can then be used only for the world and for self. And "dead scientifics" are false scientifics: false, not because they are not accurate, but because the order into which they fall is a perverse order which centers around self and denies the real Divine ends of existence. The "empty scientifics" that a man learns in childhood and youth, together with the pleasures of cupidity which he favors, are what prevent a man from attaining to celestial things (AC 1542). The purpose of education from infancy on should therefore be to keep the scientifics of the child's mind "open" to an influx of good affections, and to associate the things of the world its objects, forms, and forces with the thought of the Lord's purposes and of eternal life.
Sensual scientifics are only vessels into which truths and goods can be insinuated. With infants, they serve as a plane for cognitions of spiritual things. Without a knowledge of worldly things there can be no instruction in spiritual things, since we cannot introduce our children into the spiritual world directly. The languages of human speech are derived from the ultimates of nature, and even Divine revelation uses the words that have come into use among men. Man learns by symbols, acts, and words which receive meaning by being associated by use with certain states and are placed in a certain connection with other symbols to suggest more abstract connotations. The first abstraction is effected by generalization: as when we recognize the similarity, in form or use, of certain things or objects and give them generic names "horse," "man," "woman," "house." But by further association of ideas the sensual image of a "house" may give rise to the moral concept of a "home" and later to the spiritual idea of the "good of mutual love" which should rule in the home.
This apparent raising of a concept from degree to degree not only invokes certain new laws of correspondence but requires the use of higher faculties, such as imagination and reason, of which we have not yet treated. By the processes of imagination and thought the memory is enriched. For the simple elements of experience are combined, and each combination, each new train of ideas, each complex thought, adds itself to the store of remembered events. Physical events and mental events (like thoughts or dreams) are kept separate in the memory, although the same elements or mental objects may enter both. And our doctrine explicitly states that by degrees an interior realm is formed in the natural memory for such things as are abstract in quality and of service to the rational mind. Objects like the abstract terms and ideas found in the Writings enter the mind through a direct rational process, and are not retained as sensual images but find a place in the interior natural memory (AC 5094). This interior natural memory differs from the "corporeal memory" in that it has to do, not with visual objects or symbols, but with "things" with laws, things of faith, abstractions like charity, mercy, goodness, such as provide subject-matter for deep thought and interior speculation (SD 3258; AC 6814). This allows man's thought at times to be elevated out of the sensual without losing contact with the natural memory (AC 6226, 6183). If the mind is in true order, theological things reside in a functional sense above the rest in the memory; moral theories and perceptions, under these; political or civic things occupy the lowest place. And as a substratum common to all, there are the manifold scientifics of sense-experience (TCR 186). Thus different conceptual knowledges are arranged according to man's evaluation of their importance to him. Yet all knowledges, of whatever kind, are "scientifics," and all belong to the memory. It is therefore an absurd tautology to use the term "memory-knowledges" for where are there any knowledges except in the memory? (SD 1078). Still there is a need to distinguish between what the Writings call "cognitions" and other knowledges. Cognitions are "the scientifics of the church" (AC 9755), and are thus "chiefly doctrinals" (HD 51; AE 545). They are called "interior scientifics," because of their abstract subject matter (AC 9945). Associated with the term "cognition" is the idea of recognition or acknowledgment; but cognitions, like scientifics, are "outside of the man himself' so long as the will has not been affected by them (AC 9230). For the memory is only an outer court where stranger and friend may both linger.
The memory of man may be viewed under many aspects. Thus it may be defined as "the permanent state of the changes and variations of the purely organic substances of the mind" (DP 279). It is also the storehouse for all the knowledges which the mind has formed for itself on the basis of bodily sensations and conscious mental experiences. Its successive formation in a world of fixed cycles and seasons is responsible for our being aware of the passing of time. It can be regarded as a reflex of the natural world as a marvelous individual replica of the world in which we live as the scene wherein our spirits play and labor. Sometimes it may appear in darker hue: as the convenient burial ground of things forgotten of dead states which anon will rise as dreaded ghosts to confront us with the sins of our youth and the tragedies of other days, with the pathos of things undone and of hopes unrealized. But always the memory is the organic complex of all that we call our own. It is the proof of our continuous and persistent personality, from which nothing can ever be totally expunged even if it be suppressed from shame, disregarded as insignificant, or renounced as evil. The import of this persistence of memory is made clear in the Writings. For there it is shown that man's sensual is the ultimate of order upon which all interior things rest as on a foundation. "Man's sensual is comparatively fixed" with the kind of fixity which appears in the ultimates of the spiritual world. While man lives in the world, he therefore "acquires to himself a fixed plane" which cannot be changed to eternity; wherefore he remains to eternity such as he was made in the world. "He has this plane with him, but it becomes entirely quiescent" (SD 5552). This "sensual" ultimate of order is identified with the corporeal memory. Man retains this after death as to its every detail. But it can no longer grow or change (AC 4588, SD min. 4645, 4646). In this connection, Swedenborg cites the proverb from Ecclesiastes, "Where the tree falleth, there it shall be" (11: 3). The reference is to the fact that man's interiors are terminated in the external memory and its affections and scientifics, and that such as is the order which we impose on this ultimate plane, such is the character of the interior things which flow into it, because they are modified in it (AC 3539:2, AC 3679: 5; HH 466). Man can be reformed as long as he lives on earth, because interior ideas can then reorder the vessels or ideas of the corporeal memory. These ideas are prepared under the government of the Lord's all-seeing providence, "especially by the connecting of such things as agree with other ideas of the corporeal memory so that, when one is excited, another next to it and akin to it may be produced and thus be bent to good." All knowledges, and thus also the cognitions of faith, are disposed into connected chains by the Lord, so far as man's state allows (SD 4037, AC 5881). This is done continually and secretly, through the mediation of spirits and angels who are usually not aware of this their function (SD 4041-4044).
After death the external memory remains unchanged and can receive no new knowledges. Its form its agreement or correspondence with the internal or spiritual man is fixed according to the ruling love. No new harmonies can be established after death (SD min. 4645, 4646; AC 4588). Hence a "change of organization" is quite impossible in the spiritual body after the material body has been rejected (CL 524:3; BE 110; DP 326: 5). Man's corporeal memory becomes quiescent and passive after death so that it then serves only as an unconscious plane, like our bodies when asleep (AC 4901: 3, 4588; HH 345, 461; cf. SD 5548, 5549, 5552). If the ideas of the corporeal memory should be permitted to remain active, the spirit would be held in the gross imperfections of his earthly state (SD 4716, 3962, 2989, 3129, 4125; AC 2477, 2479); and there would also ensue a conflict with the memories of the men with whom the spirit was associated, so that these men would become obsessed and insane (AC 2477, 6192, 5858; SD 3783, 3962, 4001). Or it might simply cause the peculiar phenomenon called "second memory" (AC 2478; SD 3917; RH 256). This does not mean that the corporeal memory cannot be re-awakened with spirits under exceptional circumstances, as when it is necessary to compel them to confess evils which they deny having committed (HH 461: 3, 464; SD 1932, 4430; AC 2482, 2483). But since spirits cannot normally use their own corporeal memories, and yet need to determine their thoughts into ultimates of mental space and time, it is provided that they use the memories of men still living on earth. Thus Swedenborg wrote in his Diary: "I have spoken with spirits about the corporeal or material things of man, that they are the ultimates of order . . . and that the ultimates are in man's natural mind, which is formed from the senses of the body, whence comes the memory of objects, which are material ideas. . . .From living experiences it was shown me that spirits can speak from (ex) man, or from his outmost or material memory, or his natural memory, although man does not at all know that this happens. . . . Yea, it was told me that the ideas of infants are open and can best serve. . . . Hence it was granted me to conclude that the natural minds of men are the ultimates of order and are, as it were, vessels, wherein the spiritual and celestial ideas of angels cease . . ." (SD 2751-2754). But still the spirits retain their natural memories, and, if the human race became deficient, angels and spirits could be remitted into that state so as to serve as vessels (SD 2755). The general law is that angels and spirits have their actual abodes in the thoughts and affections of men, although they indeed live an apparently independent life in their heavenly mansions (LJ 9, DLW 92). It is therefore said that a spirit "no longer subsists on his own basis, but upon a common basis, which is the human race" (LJ 9). This means that there is no mental state with man no knowledge, no thought which is not instantly available for the use of spirits and angels, should the need arise. Angels would make use of the interior things of man's thought, spirits would make use of his natural memory; and this whether man was awake or asleep. "Many men can at the same time serve as a plane for one angel. The Lord arranges that what is absent in one person may be in another; He also composes one thing from many. . . "Natural truths are in the place of a foundation . . . and man is in these when he reads the Word" (SD 5607-5617). Swedenborg also testifies that spirits terminate their thoughts in the material ideas the ideas of places and objects which fill the memories of the men with whom they are (SD 3605, 3608-3610, 3753, 3022). Without these, they would feel lost (SD 3610, cf. SD 4017). The memory of man is quite open to spirits, who can instantaneously run through his ideas until they come to a state or field of ideas familiar or congenial to them; and each spirit would take on whatever memories were congenial to his nature. Indeed sometimes man feels as if his mind were torn asunder and suffers because opposite states are aroused (SD 4224, 2852). But for man's sake it is provided that all this should occur without spirits being conscious of the man with whom they are. They are conscious only of the ideas among which their thought dwells, somewhat as we are while we are reading a book. And a sensual or corporeal spirit (who is less discriminating) is apt to take on the whole memory of a man so that the spirit thinks himself the man: which is allowed partly for the sake of man's protection. Such mental identifications make it sometimes possible for a consociate spirit in the other world to appear before others almost as a "double" of the man on earth! (Cf. TCR 137: 8, 12.)
What we so naively call "our" memory, and think of as our private archives, is therefore a spiritual creation wrought miraculously by the Lord through myriads of agencies beyond our analysis. And this not only for our use during a brief lifetime; but for the use of the hosts of the heavens and the legions of hell. What the relation of the whole memory-plane of mankind may be to the forthstanding ultimates the hills and valleys, the fauna and flora of the spiritual world, is something which we might some day come to see more clearly.
So far we have been considering the memory in its passive aspects as a record and repository of past experiences. Now we are to consider the memory in its active state which we call Imagination. We must distinguish imagination from thought, for when we "think" only from memory, we are not properly thinking, since our reason is not employed. The first activity of the memory we call recollection. Recollection is the recall of some remembered thing in its unchanged state, and in its original connections, so far as these can be segregated. But we may well doubt whether there can be any recollection so pure and perfect that it is uninfluenced by states and ideas later associated with the original memory. Our mind grows as a whole, and tends to act as a whole. We incline to defend our past, and to revise it and infill it if it should be deficient or vulnerable. It is so that we adopt our past states and weave them into our present personality. Thus recollection merges into imagination, which takes the elements of our memory and weaves it into new patterns. Swedenborg, in his Rational Psychology, specifies that the physiological basis for man's imagination lies in the state of the "cortical gland." The external state of that gland "depends upon its connection with others near it by means of very delicate fibrous threads and arterial ramifications," and in general on the quality of the blood and other fluids (R. Psych. 118). But the internal state of the gland is determined from the "simple cortex" within the gland, which is devoted to purer intellectual functions, such as thought.
Since imagination requires a physical condition in the cortical substances, it is necessary here to examine Swedenborg's idea of these structures. Modern histology pictures the cortical cells as roughly pyramidal or stellar in shape, and as fed by the seepage of nutritive elements through the walls of the blood capillaries. Thus food is thought to be taken in by the absorptive surfaces of the dendrites which are fibrous extensions which ramify from the cell. It is also realized that the cell produces certain products which in part find their way into the ventricles of the brain and thus contribute to the formation of the ventricular and cerebrospinal fluids. This agrees in general with Swedenborg's description. But he although at that time the cortical cells had not yet been seen individually through the microscope drew certain further conclusions which modern observers of these cells in their postmortem state have not been able to confirm. He presumed, on the basis of analogy with other organic structures, that the cortical glands were more spherical in shape and that there was a tiny vessel which carried the finest parts of the blood from the capillaries into the gland. He also held that each gland contained a chamber or interstice into which the finer essence of the blood was brought in order to be further purified and vitalized. He compared the cortical gland to a heart through which the "purer blood" sometimes called the "animal spirit" circulated, and from which it flashed out through the nerve-fibre into the brain and body. (See Diagram 2.)
If our imagination depends on general changes of the state of the cortical glands, it obviously follows that if these little organs become too rigid or too relaxed to respond to stimuli in a normal way, there would result various conditions in which the mind could not wholly accord, and man would succumb to fanatical imagination, self-hypnosis, fear, mania, or loss of memory; or to various functional diseases of nervous type (R. Psych. 117; Fibre 525, 526). On the other hand, he showed that the state of the "purer blood" would also influence the workings of the imagination. If the chamber of the gland is obstructed by heterogeneous or toxic substances, the gland is so stimulated that it cannot resume the states induced by sensation, but is distorted, causing insane imaginations or fantasies. Even the poisoning of the red blood by intoxicants and drugs causes a temporary disturbance of the senses and the imagination (R. Psych. 120; AS 19). But the "purer blood" acts more interiorly and its state is affected by man's own personal temperament. The Writings also state that the "purer blood" actually attracts to itself such food as corresponds to the state or character of the man, being different in a good man and in an evil man, as to its interior composition (DLW 420, 423). It is not to be thought that one can distinguish the wicked from the well disposed by any chemical analysis of the blood. Yet it is true that various organs and glands in the brain and in the body are intimately connected with the temperaments and moods of the mind. These organs which are called the endocrine glands and sometimes even "the glands of personality" secrete certain chemical substances into the bloodstream quite independently from any direct control by the nervous system. A famous medical authority has written: "It is by the agency of the endocrine glands that our emotions express themselves."17 The balancing of the functions of our various organs and vital processes, and of the moods of our minds, is regulated by the secretions of such glands. So indispensable are these secretions for our mental as well as our organic activities, that in a certain sense "thought is the offspring of the endocrine glands as well as of the cerebral cortex."18
Swedenborg similarly points out that the Animus, with its various states and passions, depends on the condition of the "purer blood." Such states as anger, jealousy, impatience, melancholy, fickleness, stupid pride, foolishness, timidity, fear, envy, forgetfulness, may thus have physical causes, or they may be the results of moral and spiritual perversions. In each case they are reflected in the workings of man's imagination. External causes may be removed by drugs or medicines, or by wholesome and congenial social life. But internal causes can be counteracted only by recourse to sound moral philosophy and religion (Fibre 373). When it is shown that the imagination is affected by the state of the vital fluids in the brain, it is well to bear in mind that the soul or spirit of man is not only in the brain but throughout its bodily kingdom. And the affections, or loves, of the mind find their special correspondence in the vital fluids or "bloods." The things of the understanding have their correspondent ultimates in the tissues and fibres: as the imagination in the cortical glands and the memory in the whole web of the association fibres of the cortex. But the things of man's will affect the state of the bloods and fluids which circulate in complex gyres through both brain and body.
The imagination, being seated in the cortical glands through which the "purer blood" courses as through a heart, is especially susceptible to a domination by the various affections of the animus or lower mind. Yet nothing can enter the imagination which is not based on some sensory impress already visited upon the cortical cells and their connecting fibres. The material for our imagination is always limited to the contents of the memory; but this material is selected and shaped by our loves. Essentially, the imagination is an internal sensation, a species of internal sight, which has the images and "material ideas" of the memory as objects (R. Psych. 98, 122). It is therefore said to constitute the interior sensual with man (AC 3020). Brute animals also possess the imaginative faculty, for it belongs to the lower mind which is sometimes called the animus (WE 643 : 3). With man it is especially vigorous in childhood and youth when visual imagery seems to outweigh other forms of symbols (AC 3020). Such imagination from objects of sight and hearing is called "thought from memory" or "thought from knowledge," and tends to be imitative only (AE 355 : 36, TCR 42). Infants emerge from their mental obscurity by means of such objects, and "as they learn successively to lisp out words and sound them, at first without any idea, there arises something obscure of fantasy; and as this becomes clear, something obscure of imagination arises and thence of thought" (TCR 333e). Children live to a large extent in the world of their imagination where all things are possible in the playful fancies of "let's pretend !" It is a kingdom kindred to the spiritual world! They learn, of course, of the actual world about them, but it is in a sense a closed world, since they cannot understand it. From the realm of the fairy story and the play they enter into the heroic regions of exploit and high adventure. And in their imagination it is they who are the heroes or else the gracious beauties who deign to be rescued or fought for. This use of an increasing mass of knowledge to make the imaginative life more rich and pleasant is to the child the very object of learning. But as he approaches puberty he begins to be introspective and commences to marvel at the wonder of self, and to stiffer a disillusionment as he contrasts his romantic picture of himself with the modest and awkward reality, and compares his plastic dream-world with the matter-of-fact and unyielding world about him. He grows self-conscious and discontented, and seeks to hide his sensitive soul behind a front of bravado, imitative of the cruder (but probably most prominent) features of adult behavior. Indeed, the statement in the book of Genesis seems here to be literally true with most children: "For twelve years they served Chedorlaomar, but in the thirteenth year they rebelled" (Gen. 14: 4). The spiritual sense of the passage is that evils and falsities do not appear in childhood, but serve the apparent goods and truths of infancy, which appear good but are yet contaminated with hereditary evils (AC 1667, 1668). Fortunately, the youth's imagination does not stand still at this point. It progresses through the stage of unstable, intense emotions when the imagery of the mind reflects many budding passions not yet tutored, nor really understood; but it emerges into states of relative peace when a new moral idealism points the compass of the mind toward a goal even more promising than the lost dreamland of childhood. For soon the faculty of imagination wins a new dignity. Its use in the adult world begins to be seen. The youth, whose eventual task must be to build the world of the future, must attempt to visualize the aims and ideals of that world before he is flung out into its bewildering complexities. He must stand aloof and contrast the logic of virtue and the folly of vice with the keen sense of reality which imagination can furnish. He must listen to the music of the spheres, contemplate the harmonies of color and form, thrill to the poesy of human words, and vision a master plan of order and beauty a world refined of coarseness and evil, devoid of friction and stupidity, of sordid poverty and ugly passion.
Without the imagination, what power could man have though he knew the inmost laws of the universe to change the face of this sorry world? What progress could be made, what gratitude felt to those who have labored in the past ? But even when youth has passed, imagination functions to lighten every task. It is not enough to retire within ourselves and there build a free world nearer to our heart's desire, beyond fear of criticism or the impact of stern outward conditions. Imagination must be channeled into the direction of actual needs. It must depict the heavens for which we strive here on earth. Its creative faculties must be invoked to find facile modes for doing the world's work, to invent and discover, to give beauty to science and ease the ponderous work of reason, to lend grace and brilliance and meaning to our social routines, and transform our many obligations and burdens into the gentle art of living. But let us not forget that imagination, if left to itself, runs riot with our reason. Uncontrolled, it becomes the sporting-place for our worst lusts. It seeks with delight forbidden channels, where gather the dregs and offal of the mind. The Lord mercifully grants us this faculty in which are mirrored the inner depths of our desires things which otherwise would not be revealed or restrained until they have come into acts. Through our imagination we can study our real selves our "proprium." For in imagination our lusts can fatten on the imagery of hell can indulge in the thrills of revenge, can welter like swine or roar like blood-thirsty lions. There we can accomplish with vicarious satisfaction the fulfilment of our evil love. There we can gloat over our enemies or be masters of the earth! There we can twist fact into fancy, and truth into falsity, murder the reputations of others, and hypnotize ourselves into insane fantasies.
And let us note that these things are not harmless pastimes. For the power of imagination is such that it becomes transformed into intention and purpose. The will of man is formed and confirmed in the things of the understanding. Suggestion eventually compels action. But motives truly human motives cannot be built in the imagination. The human begins in the rational. And indeed the Divine intent was not that the imagination should be an end in itself, or should convey the final truth. The function of the imaginative faculty is to present the visible forms of the natural world as symbols which can represent rational order and spiritual and Divine truth. In the childhood of our race imagination was consecrated to ritual, which became the mother of all the arts. The Word was written in symbols, in correspondences and representatives, as a sacred drama within which men and angels could sense the presence of a spiritual import and a Divine wisdom. And when the Lord taught the multitudes on earth, He spoke a language to challenge the imagination; for "without a parable spake He not unto them." This is the purpose of the imagination: to build the forms of the memory into new vessels which suggest ever more of the inner meanings of life even when we cannot express them as rational ideas; and thus to point our eyes upward toward heaven.
The Pure Intellect
Swedenborg presents in his Rational Psychology a most exhaustive analysis of all that the human mind contains. From an examination of man's five senses he proceeds to treat of sensation and memory and imagination, and the states of the cortical substances of the brain upon which the operations of these mental faculties depend. Except for the application of certain new philosophical doctrines which he calls the doctrines of forms, of order and degrees, of correspondences and representations, and of modification, his method is so far largely analytical and introspective. But his object was not merely to give a descriptive account of the mental processes. He stood in awe and wonder before the miracle of the human mind, within which the still greater miracle is to take place of the birth of the immortal spirit the soul, into the realm of which Swedenborg had not yet been introduced. Yet his wonder did not quench his love of truth. He wanted to know how the mind worked: what it was that reduced the objects or "material ideas" of the memory in a moment into such an order, form and harmony, that a certain rational analysis thence resulted whereby a thing could be known to be true or false. He perceived that sensations could not by their own initiative and power reduce themselves into new forms and in them observe truths, connections, and probabilities. He argued that neither was this accomplished by any process of conscious thinking for thought or reasoning and rational ideas are themselves the results of a prior cause. He pointed out that a child can sometimes speak spontaneously according to more perfect logic than the philosopher can learn to do by artificial rules (R. Psych. 129). Hence Swedenborg was led to conclude that there was in every man a faculty which he called the Pure Intellect, which acts as perfectly in the infant or the idiot as in the wisest sage, and gives man the power to think and reason; and which also secretly governs all the processes of the organic body with an intuitive wisdom directed by the soul and originating from God. The "pure intellect" is never instructed in these functions, which are not acquired nor ever in need of being perfected. While the conscious mind has no connate ideas, but must procure its ideas by sensations, imagination, and the processes of thought, yet in the "pure intellect'' there pre-exist the intuitive patterns of all universal truths, such as axiomatic or prime natural verities, i.e., the intuition of the laws of the natural realm. Its harmonies are "pure natural goodnesses" (165). It never deals with probabilities, but sees things either as true or as false. It does not build up conclusions by successive stages, but comprehends simultaneously that which our natural mind can comprehend only successively. Nor can its wisdom ever be expressed openly in human speech, but only represented by similitudes, parables, and symbols (R. Psych. 131-135). It is to be carefully noted that the Rational Psychology attributes to the "pure intellect" no spiritual intelligence, no metaphysical or theological patterns, but only the intuition of universal natural truths, or the prerequisites of reasoning and of philosophical thought.
The "pure intellect," by itself, only gives the faculty of understanding the significance of a mutation or change of state in the cortical substances for whenever there is a correspondence in the sensories, the "pure intellect" immediately concurs, and thus some new relation is perceived among the things of the memory a relation which partially reflects some universal of the "pure intellect" (R. Psych. 137-139, 165). Because this faculty of presenting to the mind new relationships amongst the things occupying the imagination concerns itself with interpreting natural truths and with causing natural reasonings, Swedenborg concluded that it must have an organic seat in the brain. He therefore claims: "In each cortical gland there is a certain substance analogous to the cortex of the brain, from which the simple fibres arise just as the medullary . . fibres arise from the cortical glands. For the cortical gland . . is a brain in least effigy" (R. Psych. 124'). An interpretation of his conception of the structure of the cortical gland can he gleaned from our diagram of the same. The cortical gland is a brain in miniature and thus it has (Swedenborg conceived) a miniature cortex with countless little invisible organs which he named "pure intellectories," which are the "eminent organs" of the "pure intellect." And just as imagination depends on the general changes of states, both external and internal, of the cortical gland as a whole, so thought involves an internal change of state within these cortical glands (Fibre, 524) and this implies external changes of the simple cortex and the simple fibres which make up the interior structure of the gland. If thoughts are born when the simple fibres and the simple cortex are affected externally, it is evident that the faculty of thinking in the natural mind requires the existence of the "pure intellectories" which send out these simple fibres and constitute the "simple cortex." The simple fibres act as "the intellectual rays of the pure intellect"; and Swedenborg suggests that so far as the body of the cortical gland is permitted to be built up of these simple fibres, and the more the interweaving vascular vessels (called "corporeal fibres") are withdrawn, the mind is capable of clearer rational ideas and more mature judgment, because its organ is freer from the disturbing and obstructing things of the outer world. And this clarification comes to pass so far as we withdraw our minds from external loves and limiting material conceptions (Animal Spirit, 19; R. Psych. 153, 154, 165). The system of the Rational Psychology presents the rational mind as the properly "human" intellect the intellect which mortal man uses while on earth and in which his character is determined. It is also called the "mixed intellect" because it stands between the pure intellect and the imagination, and thus draws its quality both from the pure realm of the intellectual and from the ignorance and the fallacies of the sensual (R. Psych. 32, 431e, 123, 136, 156, 127). In a similar manner, the pure intellect is described as intermediate between the rational mind and the spirit or soul, which also has a mind but a mind which is called "spiritual" because it is such as man will use as a spirit after death. This spirit or soul is purely spiritual both as to substance and form (R. Psych. 49g. 486, 516, 501, 303). All spirits, whether good or evil, are on this account endowed with a "pure intelligence" a faculty to perceive spiritual truths intuitively even though evil souls hate these truths (R. Psych. 137, 138, 525-530).
While the spirit or soul is purely spiritual, the pure intellectories are of the highest natural form, and the active vital essence which they generate and send out through thesimple fibres is derived from the highest aura of nature.19 But involved in the building of the supreme vital essence and of the pure intellectories is the substance of the spirit, which is internally present in this highest natural essence and operates through it, making the body to live (R. Psych. 127, 128, 166, 303).
The Rational Mind
We have reviewed the organic settings which the Rational Psychology gives to the rational mind. But what are the mental processes of the mind, and how are thoughts formed? Swedenborg describes how from hearing and sight especially there are formed composite sense-perceptions, on the basis of which a memory of "material ideas" is established which is made active and enriched by imagination. From imagination as a plane the mind begins the process of intellection, or understanding of new relations, which forms thoughts. Thoughts consist of immaterial ideas or rational ideas, from which a new type of memory is composed which should be called the interior natural memory or the memory of abstract things (R. Psych. 144). When such ideas are revolved in thought they fall at length into the form of an equation into which enter various analyses and analogies, and which is called a judgment; the parts of which are then resolved into a new form. But into this resolution there enters now a new element, which is free will or choice. From choice man concludes what he is to deduce from the judgment and send into the will. And what is accepted by the will is turned into determination, from which effort and action are the results (R. Psych. 24, 151; cf. AC 4247). This cycle of mental operations might be modernly called a "conditioned response." But Swedenborg shows that it is not a mechanical reflex, but one that is completed only after passing through the important gateway of free choice (R. Psych. 360). Indeed, this exercise of a choice in conditions of entire equilibrium of mind is the main purpose and function of the rational mind. It is therefore pointed out that, in order to be free, the rational mind is such that it originates no affections and possesses no connate loves. But it stands instead in the crossways between two main streams of affections. From within it is subject to the influx of the "instincts" which originate in the "superior mind" of the spirit operating by the medium of the "pure intellectories," through which truths can be perceived. From below, there stream the seductive currents of the animus, the cupidities of corporeal delights. Between these two stands the rational mind as an arbiter or umpire. (R. Psych. 308, 309. See diagram). The affections of the rational mind are therefore not native but acquired by man's consent, and become moral virtues or vices (no. 338). That mind thus becomes the man himself, and the embodiment of the soul (no. 344 if, no. 348). For the quality of the eternal soul or spirit is there determined (nos. 528, 475).
The foregoing summary of the teachings of the Rational Psychology has been presented without prejudice to the doctrines of the Writings, which we shall next consider, or to the findings of modern psychologists. It is necessary to observe that at the time when he wrote his Psychology, Swedenborg confessed himself to be ignorant of the spiritual world (R. Psych. 521, 522, 524e). He did not yet know that the soul or spirit of man must be distinguished into three discrete degrees, of which the lowest is pervertible while the two higher are in the order of heaven. Yet his keen mind partly compensated for this lack of knowledge. For he states that while the soul (or spirit) is either in good loves or in evil loves, no spirit is perverted as to the faculty of spiritual intelligence; nor is any man lacking in the faculty of natural rationality which is seated in the "pure intellectories" (R. Psych. 526, 527, 544). Besides, however much sin may stamp its mark upon the internal state of these "pure intellectories" and upon the supreme vital essence which is distilled in them, the perfection of their physiological function of building and maintaining the body in its order is never altered; so that hereditary evil has no power to turn the human race into a breed of monstrosities (2 Econ. 314, 315).
These philosophical concepts are at least suggestive of the revealed doctrine of the Writings that every man is endowed by the Lord with the faculties of rationality and liberty, and this by virtue of the fact that the two superior degrees of the human spirit remain in the order of creation and cannot be perverted or lost even with the devils of hell.
Formation of the Rational Mind
The Writings teach that man "is born into the ultimate degree of the natural world; then, by means of knowledges, is elevated into the second degree" which in general answers to the imagination; "and as he perfects his understanding through the sciences he is elevated into the third degree, and then he becomes rational" (DLW 67). There are also three degrees of ascent in the spiritual world, above the three natural degrees, but these do not appear until he has put off his earthly body (ibid.). How the elevation progresses from the sensual to the rational is described in the Arcana as follows: "From his infancy even to childhood, a man is merely sensual, for he then receives only earthly, corporeal, and worldly things through the senses of his body, and it is from these that his ideas are then formed. The communication with the interior man is not yet open, or at least only to the extent that he can grasp and retain those things. . . Through external innocence the Lord reduces into order whatever enters through sensual things. Without an influx of innocence from the Lord in that first age, there would not be any foundation upon which the intellectual or rational, which is proper to man, could be built. From childhood to adolescence a communication with the interior natural is opened, through his learning what is decorous, civil, and honorable, both from instruction by parents and masters and from studies" (AC 5126).
The "communication with the interior natural" here referred to is accomplished when the child begins to perceive within the symbolic things of his imagination some concept of abstract values, like that of honesty, virtue, moderation, fairness, mercy. He begins to draw out the moral lessons of life, and see that life is governed not only by customs but by laws of universal worth. He cannot as yet see these laws or handle these abstractions; but he senses their presence within the situations of life. He is as it were taught in parables and through examples. The "interior natural" which is thus coming into gradual focus, is the interior natural memory where abstract ideas are to be laid up for his later use. The teaching continues:
"But from adolescence to early manhood communication is opened between the natural and the rational, through this that he then learns truths and goods of civil and moral life, and especially truths and goods of spiritual life, through hearing and reading the Word. So far as he then becomes imbued with goods through truths, so far his rational is opened. . . (AC 5126).
A youth who, "as he matures, cultivates his rational, thus forms reasons from the things which are in the interior natural" (AC 5497). He is not content to think only from memory but begins to reflect from his own thought upon the things he learns (AC 3603). This is done from an influx from the rational faculty an influx which as yet has no "life of affection in it"; it is cold and perhaps brutal and scoffing sophisticated (cf. AC 5141). There is, however, an affection of truth from a love of a worldly kind without which much would be left unlearned (AC 3603). There is much self-conscious pride in the first manifestations of the ability to reason. Long before man really learns how to think he feels himself master of the art, and gains a peculiar self-confidence which belittles experience and relies wholly on native ability and on flashes of imaginative insight which are confirmed by things in the memory. "Some suppose that one is a rational man if he can reason ingeniously about a number of things and so join his reasonings together that what he concludes may appear true. But this faculty pertains even to the worst of men" (AC 6240). Nor is it a sign of rational thinking that a man may be able to confirm some view of his own or some borrowed opinion or principle; for false principles can be confirmed equally with truths. To confirm these is merely an exercise of ingenuity (AC 5432: 2, 6500).
The growth of the mind towards the rational state is possible only by the acquisition of knowledge. Everyone who is rightly educated becomes rational and moral (TCR 564; DP 317). His rational thinking can be delayed and impeded by lack of proper training. But it is impossible to hasten the natural process whereby the rational degree is actually opened. He must attain "adult age" before he can have "full exercise of reason and judgment" (AC 2636). For judgment is like wine which must be given time to ferment and settle and afterwards must be separated and aged. Rational thought cannot be procured except as the body and the mind ripen (AC 6089: 2, 6751: 2, 5470, 7233e, 10225: 9). Even so, adults differ among themselves most widely as to their degrees of rational thought and judgment and as to the manner in which these are used and the fields in which they are exercised. Rational discrimination grows with a man's uses, and increases with the actual exercise of the thinking faculty. But a wrong use of thought can destroy the rational mind.
The question may arise whether the art of thinking can be taught. It might be answered that any education which does not teach us how to think, is not worthy of the name "education," which means a "leading forth" into proper exercise of the faculties hidden within the child. But the Writings make clear that the laws by which thoughts are actually produced or generated in the mind are innate and spontaneous in their operation and cannot all be reduced to artificial rules. A child who has only an analogue of reason "speaks more things philosophically, analytically, and logically in half an hour" than an Aristotle could describe in volumes "because all the things of human thought and speech are analytical, the laws of which are from the spiritual world; and he who wishes to think artificially from terms is not unlike a dancer who wishes to learn to dance from a knowledge of the motor fibres and muscles . . ." (AC 4658). From observation of certain types of philosophers after death, Swedenborg concluded that the study of logic generally tends to destroy the faculty of thinking (SD min. 4578, SD 866, 3460, 3952). He was, however, not referring to the Aristotelian philosophy, but to the use of syllogisms by the scholastics. Certain laws of logic are obviously useful in laying bare common human errors of thought and warning us against drawing conclusions from false appearances. Swedenborg himself in his philosophical works elucidated certain general methods of analysis and synthesis which he employed to construct his system. Logic, rightly interpreted and applied, can, however, only define the most general and more obvious laws which govern the fundamental modes of our thinking while a myriad times as many arcana of the art and science of analysis lie hidden in the more intricate processes of human judgment (AC 1495, 2556, 4570, 2004). How, then, does man enter into the power to think rationally? Perhaps the first thing to consider is the fact that man is not only potentially a rational being, but he is also from the outset an emotional being. His conscious life begins as a vague realization of his inborn desires, his yearnings for food and comfort. His understanding is built up from special sensations which transfer his affections to the higher plane of knowledges and symbols, and thus evoke a realization of deeper loves and delights. But these still center around himself and around things which he adopts as his own, as his "proprium." and which he defends with all his might.
In his imagination he gives wide scope to the representations of these delights of his heart, shaping ever new imagery to express them. His will is the controlling factor in his mental life, The first and foremost problem for the rational thinker is how to free himself from this tyranny of the native will. Rational thought must be able to do more than merely reflect the cupidities or ambitions of the will. The Writings teach two apparently contradictory things. On the one hand they say that man's understanding is produced or formed by the will or that the will prepares a bridal home for its future consort, the understanding (DLW 401, 402); and that the understanding is so adjoined to the will that what the will loves the understanding sees (AE 730: 2). On the other hand they reveal that by a special provision of the Lord, the understanding with men of our present race or of the spiritual genius is separated from the will; that the native will is closed up and that the determination of man's life has been transferred to the realm of the understanding (AC 640, 641, 1023). It follows from this that even with unregenerate men the understanding can be elevated into spiritual light, to draw breath from heaven, awaiting the time when the will might also be purified and lifted up into the heat of heavenly love (DLW 258, 368: 2, 395: 2, 413, 416 if.; DP 223; ISB 14; CL 269: 5, 6, 495; TCR 589, 602).
Man is born with the two faculties of rationality and liberty. These faculties are the results of a continual and immediate Divine influx through man's inmost soul. As faculties considered, they are Divine and are the Divine with man, which makes him a man. These faculties man never loses even though he may abuse his resultant freedom and refuse to accept truth (DLW 30, 116, 240, 264; SD 3094; AE 547, 970). Yet to possess a faculty is one thing, and to enter into its proper use is another. It is the faculty of rationality that enables the sensual will to represent its desires consciously in the imagery of the mind and to build up an "understanding" in its own likeness. For the influx of a faculty is always received according to the form of the vessel. The sensual will would use the understanding to confirm its own desires, not to see truth (AE 243). If a real understanding is to be formed, it must be held separate from the sensual will and be built up from another love. And this new love must come from outside of man, from something that is not his own, but which he still feels as his own. The only source of selfless love is the Lord, and He operates through the heavens, through the Word, and also through men. In infancy, the Lord builds up the states of delight which the babe experiences into "remains" remains of celestial good. But this can be done only when the babe's proprium is not active, and when his self-consciousness is not aroused. It is of Providence that even hardened human hearts are touched by innocence, ignorance, and helplessness; because the deepest "remains" are implanted when the infant is hardly conscious, or when he is yielding to caress or comforting, or when he is relaxing into slumber, secure in the near-by presence of those who love him. For "through external innocence the Lord reduces into order whatever enters through sensual things. Without an influx of innocence in that first age, there would not be any foundation upon which the intellectual or rational . . . could be built" (AC 5126). As has also been mentioned, these first "remains" are insinuated without the help of knowledge. Later remains are stored up by the association of material ideas with truths, that is, with concepts of order and form and religious ideas.
But the "remains" or echoes of infantile delights are stored safely beyond man's ken. They are appropriated to the child by the guardian celestial angels and are made the source of a new motivation a stirring of a new love which modifies and counter-acts the loves of the native will. All ideas in the child's mind which are not "closed" by being associated with moments of self-will, come to have roots which are nourished from the states of heavenly innocence, or celestial good. And by degrees they form for themselves a vast network of associated knowledges in the memory, which make it possible for the understanding to become more and more independent of the dictates of the sensual will. These "remains" are the medium by which man can come to see the things of experience and memory apart from selfish prejudice and blind sensual emotion. They provide a channel whereby the faculties of rationality and liberty can operate to make him perceive truths. Thus they enable him to think, reflect, and reason (AC 560, 977). They make his reformation and regeneration possible (AC 468, 628, 635, 2284, 2468). In short, they are what make him human (AC 530, 565e, 560, 1050).
Every man born is endowed by the Lord with two faculties the faculty of Liberty and the faculty of Rationality (DLW 240 etc., cp 259). These faculties are expressed through man's will and through his understanding. But since the will in man's sensual degree is defiled with hereditary evils, the Lord provides that before he comes into full possession of his native will20 he should unconsciously be gifted with Remains or states of heavenly good which temper his cupidities and enable him to feel certain delights of innocence such as a love of parents, nurses, and companions. These remains of good thus enable him to be gifted as he grows up with new states of spiritual truth, or remains of truth, through which his faculty to think and understand the goods and truths of civil and moral life can be exercised, even so as to enable him to receive spiritual faith (AC 1906: 3, 1707: 3). Through the reception of spiritual remains in childhood, the understanding is thus made active and the faculty of rationality can be exercised. We are therefore informed in the Writings, that "provided a man has, from a right education, become somewhat rational, moral, and spiritual," he can, in matters purely rational, moral, and spiritual, see truths from the light of truth itself; and this whether he is learned or simple, and whether he can confirm himself by proofs or not. For every man as to his spirit (and it is this that thinks) is in the spiritual world, and consequently in a certain spiritual light. "From this it is that man can think analytically; can form conclusions about what is just and right in judicial affairs; can see what is honorable in moral life and good in spiritual life"; and thus see truths which are apt to be obscured when the simple issues are confused by applications and confirmations (DP 317). From a perception of justice, men can from a few things that they know perceive whether a thing is just or not; but the perception of rectitude comes from a knowledge of the laws and from general information. The perception of justice amid rectitude "exists naturally" with men, as "common sense," and from this men are called "rational." But the perception of celestial good does not exist at this day; and the perception of spiritual truth comes only from an acquired conscience (SD min. 4644). It is to be observed that neither the perception of civil and moral truths, nor the ability to discern spiritual truths, can evidence themselves until man has been rightly educated. But in every stage of life the rational faculty engenders some affection by which it seeks to express itself. The first affection to show up is a love of knowing, or curiosity, which leads the child to learn to speak and read and acquire knowledge. From this there comes an affection of truth and of reasoning and forming conclusions on whatever subjects he may like. The affection of truth then leads to a love to understand, which (with those who do not stick in a mere affection of knowing) brings about a perception of truth. But the perception of truth from the endeavor to understand does not produce actual thought until man comes into the affection of seeing truth. There is indeed a species of thinking which is from the memory only and from which we converse in the world. There is also imagination and 'daydreaming.' Yet real thought is the internal sight of the rational man. It is described as meditation. It is the thought of the spirit, and it takes the form of tacit thinking which beholds below it the external thought of the memory, and draws therefrom either conclusions or confirmations. Such reflection or meditation is from an inner sincerity, within which dwells an affection of truth which is perceptible only as an effort of will from a feeling of pleasure (DLW 404). This tacit thought is the realm of man's freedom. And it is therefore revealed that man's new proprium (or sense of identity) is formed in the endeavor of his thought, and that the human begins in the rational (AC 1937: 3, 2l94e, 3570).
The process by which man extracts meanings from his sensory experience and ideas from these meanings, may be likened to the manner in which the human body digests its food, receives it into the blood, and incorporates it into the living tissues. The memory is indeed more like a ruminatory stomach such as certain animals have; but the understanding as a whole represents an alimentary canal into which our knowledge is introduced and whence its essence is distilled for use (TCR 173, SD min. 4789). In this process of mental digestion, our complex experiences are broken up, separated, and recombined; sensual appearances are discarded, truths and falsities are bared and examined, and so far as they are useful they are taken up into the currents of our affections and 'taken to heart' like the chyle enters the bloodstream. The body of our character is thus confirmed, sustained and built up from the knowledge which we select from the memory. What merely enters into the understanding does not affect our character; but only that which is made a part of the love of our life; just as the Lord said, 'Not that which goeth into the mouth defileth a man. . . . But those things which proceed out of the mouth come forth from the heart; and they defile a man' (Matt. 15: 11, 18). What, then, are the processes by which the human understanding prepares food for our spirit ?
It has already been noted that "all things of human thought and speech are analytical," in accordance with laws derived from the spiritual world (AC 4658). This term "analytical' is sometimes used to distinguish human thought from the mental activities with animals. Animals have indeed a 'soul' which is derived from the ultimate spiritual degree, the spiritual-natural; which is also the general degree of man's natural mind (DLW 346, 255, DP 74, 96: 4, AE 1201, 1202). Therefore they enjoy sensation; and the higher forms of animals even possess a certain imagination. (R Ps. 30, 109, 113, 386. Compare this with TCR 335.) But they do hot have the two superior human degrees the Spiritual and the Celestial; and as a consequence they can have no rational thought, such as comes from the elevation of the mind into spiritual light. They cannot view a lower thought from any higher thought; thus cannot analyze their own mind. Their 'thought,' if it can be so called, is not in successive order, but in simultaneous order. It is an instinctive and simultaneous comprehension of the things which their inborn love recognizes (DLW 255, 247). The external of man's natural mind is from the world of sensation and memory. "But the internal of the natural is made up of the conclusions drawn analytically and analogically from these things..." "By things analogical and analytical the natural has communication with the rational, and thus with the things of the spiritual world" (AC 4570, cf. 2657: 2).
Two modes of rational thinking are here mentioned, viz., analysis and analogy. But elsewhere in the Writings, two other characteristics of the rational are described, viz., (1) thinking from causes and ends rather than from effects, and (2) the elimination or abstraction of the notions of space, time, and person. Without embarking upon a long treatise on Logic (which with many remains an unpopular subject), it might be worth while to seek to understand what the Writings might mean by some of these terms. 'Analysis' comes from a Greek word meaning to unloose, to dissolve or solve a problem, and hence to examine, investigate. The rational mind must examine the sensual appearances which abound in the realm of experience, must extricate the truth from the appearance. In doing this it must collect its data, all the data which have a bearing on the question, then separate irrelevant facts and account for confusing factors. It must "evolve universals from the experience of singulars," and rise from phenomena to causes and principles (An. Kingdom, n. 7). This is also called the 'inductive method of reasoning.' If taken alone, it is a reasoning from effects, or from experience. It will never by itself attain to any absolute truth, because the conclusion which we draw from our limited experience can always conceivably be upset by a single fact that we may meet later. Yet with each new fact that is taken into account, our mind becomes more convinced, for the probability of error is thus constantly reduced. The Writings nowhere attribute any infallibility to the rational mind. Its virtue lies in being able to discern truths so far as it can penetrate beyond appearances. And when it has to some extent dispelled sensual appearances, it is still involved in the less dense shadows of its own rational appearances, which none but an infinite and omniscient Being could remove.
Even in the period of this scientific activity, Swedenborg recognized that the rational mind is "never entirely purified from the fallacies of the senses" and that its truths are only appearances of truth (AK 13). Still he believed that the long and toilsome way of analysis or induction by which man's thought mounts from facts and phenomena to causes and simple principles was the only road open to mortal men. For thus the mind, he said, rears her palace not in the air, but on solid ground (AK 12, 11). If we instead venture to argue by synthesis or deduction (that is, if we assume principles or preconceived generalizations and then simply proceed to confirm them by experience), human nature leads us to repress and set aside everything that is adverse. By such a mode which Swedenborg likens to a pleasing game in which you are at the goal even before you start for it nothing new is discovered (AK 7-10). Swedenborg here criticizes the authoritarian attitude of the scholastics who set up long arguments merely to confirm a preconceived dogma. He admits that the synthetic way of reasoning a priori, or from a universal truth, is allowable to angels, and that the Divine reveals truths which man can then confirm. And he also shows that after we have constructed principles or discovered laws by a careful analysis of the facts, we can then use such philosophical doctrines the fruit of analytic labors to open the eyes of the understanding to a better evaluation of the fields of our experience. Such doctrines, Swedenborg states, enabled him to pass over from the study of the material organisms of the body to a knowledge of the "soul" or spirit, which is a spiritual and immaterial essence. And while the Economy and the Animal Kingdom were chiefly inductions, or analytic in form21, the Rational Psychology contained a synthetic presentation (AK 14, 17, 19, 22, R Ps preface, 382).
To exemplify the use of analogical reasoning, Swedenborg in 1744 wrote a little work which he entitled A Hieroglyphic Key to Natural and Spiritual Arcana by way of Representations and Correspondences, in which he showed how a natural law can be transformed into a moral truth and this into a spiritual truth, and vice versa. And it was so that his mind was prepared to receive the doctrine of correspondences in the full form in which this is presented in his theological works. Among the philosophical doctrines which Swedenborg thus elaborated were the doctrine of Degrees and the doctrine of Eminent Analogy or of Correspondences. Without the use of these doctrines, Swedenborg conceived, the method of Analysis would lead only to physical generalizations, and nothing would be acknowledged by man to exist except what the senses perceived. By the use of analogy and correspondence, however, Swedenborg could make inferences beyond sensual experience; could picture the qualities of the interior substances of the body; could even attempt to describe the nature of the Soul or Spirit, which, though devoid of extension, motion, or parts, yet has something analogous thereto R Ps 498, AK 20). Without the use of analogies and comparisons, higher forms could never be grasped.
This use of Analogy by the rational mind is also mentioned in the Writings (AC 4570: 2). The simple actually "see better by means of comparisons than by deductions formed analytically from the Word and at the same time from reason" (TCR 131). The Lord taught by parables. The Writings use many comparisons to illustrate spiritual truths. And when so presented, the spiritual teaching is first nakedly stated in a rational formulation, and then the natural comparisons are added, so that there may be in the memory and the imagination a correspondent ultimate which shall afterwards suggest the abstract teaching. The rational loves to form such ultimates in the imagination and to use deliberate metaphors and representations; implying that the qualities of natural things, natural laws and situations, have their parallels in the spiritual realm; implying also that spiritual things can be described only approximately in human language.
But the use of analogy is far wider. For it is the part of the rational mind to recognize order and series in all things of life and experience. It sees relations, similarities, opposites; it senses harmonies and incongruities. From the recognition of incongruities comes the sense of humor which is one of the earliest symptoms of reason. But Reason delights in seeing things as a whole, in perceiving unity of purpose, universality of law, identity of method. It rejoices when it discerns some common plan within creation. This is indeed from an influx into every man's soul which predisposes his mind to see not only that there is a God but that He is one (TCR 8).
Because of this innate search of the soul for unity, the rational can see in nature and in events a constant recurrence of similar patterns. The life of man is seen to have its four seasons. The story of the race is seen recapitulated in the life of the individual. The analogues of birth and death are seen to be universal. The growth of the mind is seen as analogous with the growth of the body. We speak a language which is steeped in similitudes, and we think in parables and analogies. Yet the method of analogical thinking can head us far astray, unless we have recourse to the concept of discrete degrees, and take account of essential differences. "The natural sees from the effect, but the rational sees from the cause" (AC 3533). We must inquire into causes, lest we remain in the sphere of effects, and attribute all things to nature. We would then indeed see analogies and parallels among natural things see the homology within all the forms of organic life, see the likeness of pattern and law in nature. But we would seek for the causes of such phenomena in nature itself and remain blind to any spiritual forces or any intelligent guidance of a Divine Providence. It is therefore said in the Writings that unless it is acknowledged that there are discrete degrees, the real causes of things are never seen. For the causes of natural things are not the mere occasions from which natural changes seem to flow. The cause of speech e.g. is not the arrangement of the muscles of the tongue nor the tension of certain brain cells! But the cause of speech is the thought which seeks its correspondent form and expression in human words. And so in all things of this world. The causes are spiritual, the effects are natural. "Causes do not produce effects by continuity, but by discreteness." One cannot judge of causes "from an induction continuous with effects" (DLW 119, 185). Here, then, is a marked difference between the inductive or analytical method as generally employed in the service of natural science, and as employed in the interests of one who would become rational in the sense that the New Church uses that term. Induction from the facts of sense-experience must not stop after finding the instrumental cause, but must go on to unfold the efficient cause which is spiritual, and the final cause which is the Divine end within the spiritual. And this induction is aided by the doctrine of "correspondences" or of "eminent analogies" which enable us to recognize not only the functional similarities but also the essential differences between things of discretely different degrees. In this its acknowledgment of discrete degrees, the rational becomes humble. It realizes that while it can conclude the existence of spiritual causes, it cannot perceive the nature of the spiritual except by abstractions.
The Use of Abstractions
Thus one more characteristic of rational thought is stressed in the Writings. Such thought is abstract or abstruse as to its quality. The word "abstract" means 'drawn away' or 'separated.' The question then is, separated from what? The Writings answer: From the ideas of Self, of Person, of Time and Space and Matter. One such abstraction has already been mentioned. The mind must be recalled "from the senses, from the lusts of the body, from the enticements and cares of the world" all of which distract it (AK 12). The understanding, in order to become rational, must be separated from the native will. This is an elevation of the thought above the sensual degree. And it therefore involves all the other "abstractions" which make rational thinking possible. It involves a removal of the limiting notions of space and of time, of matter and of person. We can readily perceive that such earthly notions are what tie our minds down to deceptive appearances. And it is a striking fact that the Heavenly Doctrine describes spiritual thought, such as the angels employ, in almost these terms. "To think spiritually is to think of things as they are in themselves, to see truths from the light of truth and to perceive goods from the love of good; also, to see the qualities of things and to perceive affections for them abstractly from matter. But to think materially is to think of those things together with matter, and in matter, and thus comparatively grossly and obscurely." A man who while on earth is as to his internal in the light of heaven thinks both spiritually and naturally, for his spiritual thought then flows into his natural thought and is there perceived (HD 39).
"With men, in every idea of their lower thought, which is merely natural, there is something from time and space. . . . It is otherwise in the idea of the higher thought in which men are when they revolve natural, civil, moral, and spiritual things in interior rational light; for then spiritual light, which is abstracted from time and space, flows in and enlightens. You can try this, if you wish, and so be confirmed, provided you attend to your thoughts. You will likewise then be confirmed that there is higher and lower thought; since simple thought cannot survey itself, except from some higher thought; and unless man had higher and lower thought, he would not be a man, but a brute" (AR 947).
The spiritual light which enables every man who is not entirely sensual and corporeal to abstract ideas of time and space, is the light which is present in the world of spirits. For the world of spirits, midway between heaven and hell, is the very plane on which our rational mind operates (HH 430). Therefore we are informed that every man after death begins to think spiritually, in that he no longer retains for the subject or starting point of his thinking the things of "matter, space, time, and quantity." He can still think about these, but not from them. His objective imagery is not very different from that which he enjoyed in the world of nature, but he does not interpret the things he now sees except as manifestations of the states of the wisdom and perception of the spirits about him. These states are the subject of his thought (Wis. vii. 5). Man, on the other hand, thinks from space and time and quantity. These notions are inwoven in his corporeal memory and are present in "almost everything" of his thought (AC 3387, cf. CL 328: 2, HH, 169). Spiritual thoughts therefore do not fall into natural ideas but remain abstruse, "with the exception that they do briefly fall into the interior rational sight, and this no otherwise than by the abstraction or removal of quantities from qualities" (Wis. vii. 5: 3).
This is not at all an impossible undertaking, but one which we are urged to persist in attempting. Even if we cannot maintain for long the effort to think with some degree of abstraction, yet all rational thought must have a certain withdrawal from personalities, from the pressure of time and space and material considerations. And a man may be able to handle abstract ideas and think rationally at times without being rational. In fact, only the regenerate man can be called truly rational. Yet it may also be said that no man can become spiritual without first becoming rational (DLW 330).
But in order not to strain our faculty for abstract thinking any further, let us arrive at the truth through examples. Let us reflect on some of the follies of human thought to see whether they could have been avoided by some 'abstraction.' After all, we are not expected to live out of contact with the natural world, with its time and space, nor to ignore personalities. We are expected, however, to act from a modicum of reason. Yet we see around us constant instances of superficial opinions, purposeless wranglings, obvious evasions, flimsy reasonings, impatient judgments, and stubborn inconsistencies; and with a twinge of guilt we presently realize that we ourselves are not immune to similar lapses. Politely we would criticize ourselves for a mental laziness; but the real meaning of this is that we prefer to follow the momentum of our natural affections or cupidities. In other words, our 'proprium,' with all its unanalyzed desires, its preconceived notions and self-conscious embarrassments, makes us reluctant to face all the facts or unwilling to draw the right conclusions. "Not to want to understand the truth is the same as not to be able to do so" (AR 765). Above all the laws of "logic" there stands the love of truth which must be greater than the love of self, of the world, or of fame. Behind all the errors of reasoning which every text book on Logic seeks to systematize and confute, lies the unconscious urge of our proprium to defend its self-interest and self-satisfaction against any truth which threatens to disturb it. We beg the question confuse the issue with trivialities. At last we shift the ground of our position without admitting it, so as not to appear to have been wrong. And when convinced against our will we are of the same opinion still. Especially is this so where our personal advantage is at stake. It takes a special effort to overcome the silent premises which we build up in a logic-proof compartment of the mind that our opinion is right, our needs greater than those of the neighbor. We make assumptions and proceed to confirm them. We are apt to think from fear, from panic. We strike out blindly against the most harmless ideas on the chance that they might injure our cause. Suspicion blinds us. We jump to conclusions. We draw the most unwarranted meanings out of a set of facts or circumstances. We become accusative and unfair in our thoughts. If we are ever to become rational, the first thing that we must 'abstract' from our thought is the pride and prejudice of SELF, or "proprium." Still, our natural affections do not always concern ourselves. We have friends and kinsmen. We have people whom we regard as authorities in their specific fields. We are inclined to think from friendship or social loyalty, or from personal bias, and can be misled by unconscious aversions or by pity or by personal admiration for others. The Writings teach charity, mutual love. They show that the highest form of thought is "the truth from good," or thoughts prompted by a love of the Lord and of the neighbor; and common experience testifies that the deepest understanding comes from sympathy and love for others. But our charity must be rational. It should be charged with the love of truth. It should be a love, not of the PERSON and therefore of his character, but of the character and therefore of the person. It should be a love of the good and the true in the neighbor (Cp AR 611: 7, TCR 417). The personal element binds the thought to particular circumstances and prevents the calm aloofness in which universal principles are seen. It prevents our appreciation of essential uses. It warps our judgment, takes away its freedom and obscures its illustration. Thus, in the reading of the Word, the rational mind must remove the idea of the persons to which the Lord spoke and see His teachings as given for all men. And not only for all men, but for all ages. TIME as well as Person must be abstracted from our minds if we are to see truth rationally. The idea of Time limits a principle. The circumstances of a particular age or period blunt our perception of what is eternally true and good. The sense of urgency tempts us to accept what is expedient instead of what is right. Thought from time dominates men in this world. We are children of our age. Yet only when we are released from its pressure and from the call of other things can we think calmly and deeply and maturely. To think "interiorly in the rational" is impossible if we have one eye on the clock. Impatience is thought from time. It refuses to weigh all sides of a question, refuses to analyze, and it often overthrows reason itself. It is immature thought, born of sudden enthusiasm and untutored emotions; and it rushes carelessly into decisions without waiting for states to ripen, or without considering the consequences. It is a judgment from appearances, or from insufficient knowledge. But along with notions of Time, the rational thinker must become independent of such mental strait jackets as are derived from SPACE. Truly rational ideas must transcend the bounds of space. The ideas of justice, of virtue, of liberty, of law, are applicable beyond the borders of our own country or our own earth! The rational deals not in quantities, nor in sizes, nor in physical dimensions; but in qualities, or relative states, laws, causes, uses, and ends. These ideas are built up as an interior natural memory within the mind, to serve as objects for interior speculation by the rational. And they are called 'immaterial ideas,' because they are not the images of material objects, but abstractions (R Ps. 144. AC 6814, 4408, l0551e, SD 3258).
The notion of MATTER is also to be 'abstracted' from rational thought. Matter is real enough! But we are not to judge by material values alone; for these are transitory, temporal. We are not to confuse the real things of life the spiritual riches of the mind which are eternal with the material things of this passing world. Especially are we to take care not to deny substance to spiritual things. The abstraction of notions of space and time and motion and matter enables the rational mind to entertain a truer idea of the discretely higher quality of that spiritual life for which the human rational is the entrance gate and preparation. But the question arises: Can a man think abstractly apart from space, time, person, etc.? The answer is given in the Writings. It is true that man's conscious thought in this world cannot be totally divorced from natural ideas of time and space, which are "present in almost everything of his thought" (AC 3387, cf. CL 328: 2). These ideas of time and space serve as a foundation for all his thinking and give a basic connective to other ideas. Yet his thoughts are limited and confined in proportion as they derive from such natural concepts (HH 169). We are entreated not to confuse our ideas with time and space when trying to understand spiritual things. And such abstraction is possible when a man thinks "interiorly in the rational" by "the removal of quantities from qualities" (DP 51, DLW 51, 81, 285, Wis. vii. 5: 3). The naive or casual thinker feels deprived of all reality if he withdraws his thought from spaces and times. Yet even the natural man can think abstractly if he pleases, and can thus see that things beyond space and time do exist, even though he cannot see their quality (HH 169, DP 46). Men who immerse their thought into sensual and corporeal delights gradually lose their rational insight. But every man can have his rational raised into a spiritual light so long as his perverse sensual will is held in check; and thus he can, if he will, see and acknowledge spiritual and celestial truths and receive a new love from the Lord a new field of motivations, affections and perceptions which spring from charity and love to the Lord (DLW 258, 266).22
In preceding chapters it was shown that the development of the Rational depends on an ability to elevate one's thought above one's sensual degree, not only freeing it from the impulses of the native will but also to a large extent removing from it the notions of time, space, matter, and person.23 From such rational thought there is gradually built up in man a memory of abstract ideas which is called "the interior natural memory" and is said to contain rational, immaterial, and intellectual ideas, thus "universals."24 It is of special interest to observe that celestial angels presumably those from the most ancient church do not possess any memory for rational ideas. They never talk about rational things, about matters of doctrine or faith, or about principles of morality, justice, or equity. They perceive such things readily when they hear them, and either assent or dissent. Because they are in the order of heaven, the truths which they hear are inscribed in their interiors, or upon their will. Yet they do not talk about what they hear, but only about what they see before their eyes, for this they can remember just like other spirits do (SD 5587, 5586, 5597, cf. RH 214). In this connection it is well to reflect on the fact that those of the celestial genius were in no need of abstractions or of doctrines of rational mold. "If man were imbued with no hereditary evil, the Rational would then be born immediately, from the marriage of the celestial things of the internal man with its spiritual things, and the Scientific (or the faculty of knowing) would be born through the Rational, so that on coming into the world a man would at once have in himself the whole Rational and the whole Scientific; for this would be in accordance with the order of influx . . ." (AC 1902, 2557). Something similar is true of animals who are born with instinct.
It was otherwise with men after the Fall. For with them the evils of the hereditary will interfered with the perception of truth, and the only way for the understanding to be built up was by a separation from the sensual affections and an abstraction of thought from the appearances of the senses. This mode of bridging the chasm between the soul and the senses by abstractions was established only by stages and degrees through millennia of racial development during which spoken and written languages were perfected. It is a part of the miraculous process of reformation which is offered to those of the spiritual genius, with whom the hereditary will is infested by evil. Even the Lord used this mode in the course of glorifying His Human. It may thus be clear that the Rational with men differs widely according to their racial genius. The various races on the innumerable planets of the universe perform different functions in the Grand Man, some being similar to that of the celestial church on our earth. But in another respect, the Rational differs according to sex. Both men and women have rational minds. Yet the man has as his particular function the cultivation of the things of wisdom, the perpetuation of the abstract and rational things of doctrine and philosophy and of the sciences which are basic to these things. Men are fitted for this function because their affections are more readily detachable from their thought and they can therefore be elevated into rational and spiritual light and maintain the elevation. Women, on the other hand, can be elevated into a superior heat and can steadily maintain the elevation. And it is from this feminine sphere of spiritual heat that the masculine intellect can be conjoined with a spiritual love and thus find permanent illustration; even as it is by virtue of the masculine presentation of abstract truths that the woman can come to feel the inner delights of her heat or her rational or spiritual affections (CL 165, 169, 188, 218, 296, 331: 2, 175, 122; AC 8994, 568e, 266). Thus the Rational cannot be built up in either man or woman alone. Nor can the Rational of a woman, who is born to act from affection, emulate that of the man, who is from birth destined to think from understanding and to cultivate judgment; nor vice versa. Such emulations lead to gross self-deceptions which make a travesty of rational thinking; for Reason can flourish in both man and woman, but never in a mind that has lost its sex.
The human rational is distinguished into types, not only by reason of race or sex, but also according to the affections which motivate and head it. Therefore we learn in the Arcana Coelestia how the Rational gradually changes its quality as man's character develops and is regenerated. This is told in the internal sense of the story of Abram's two sons, Ishmael and Isaac. Ishmael represents the Rational as first formed. It is conceived by an influx of life through the internal man and born of an "affection of knowing'' (signified by Hagar, the Egyptian handmaid). The natural affection of knowing which thus sees itself dignified as the mother of the future rational mind, becomes so inflated with self-importance that it will not acknowledge any spiritual truth (AC 1911). So long as this is the case, nothing rational can be born in man. But when there comes a recognition that it is evil and falsity in oneself that is opposed to spiritual truth and good, then the first Rational is born (AC 1944).
It is often pointed out in the Arcana that it is not the ability to argue or reason that makes a man 'rational,' but the ability to see truth in the light of truth (AC 4156: 3, 6240: 2). Reasoning, or what is properly called 'ratiocination,' may be merely the mental process of confirming one's positions by skillfully imitating the modes of rational thinking. The Rational is said to be born when the untrustworthy quality of the Natural is acknowledged, and there is a submission to the superior authority of the spiritual truth of Divine revelation. The Rational is procured through experience, and especially by reflection on the truths of moral and civil life, as well as by reasoning from doctrine or from the Word (AC 2657). But in its first form it partakes of worldly things; it has in it a love of truth which is defiled by self-love and conceit. It indeed fights whatever is not true. It has learned the lesson of self-compulsion, and submits the natural man to a stern discipline. Yet it is cold and hard, glorying in its skill, and its hand is raised against every man, seeing all as if they were in falsity. It acts from truth separated from good, and thus feels no pity and seeks not to bend minds but to denounce them. It is morose and contentious and unyielding and inspires fear (perhaps respect) rather than love and confidence. It is significantly depicted as Ishmael, the 'Wild-ass man,' the proud desert warrior (AC 1949-1951, 1964).
The judgment exercised by this "First Rational" is immature and superficial. It lacks sympathy and therefore fails to understand the complex states of human life. It does not penetrate below appearances. A man who has such a rational is impatient and intolerant even with himself, and grows bitter and discouraged. His judgment is compared to unripe fruit sour, and not sufficiently exposed to the sunshine of charity. Yet it is within the First Rational that spiritual freedom begins to be exercised. In its endeavor toward self-compulsion and submission to the dictates of truth, man begins to receive a new and heavenly proprium a new character from the Lord (AC 1937, 1947). By degrees, affections of good and truth are implanted as seeds of a new beginning. The fruit ripens. The judgment mellows.
The "Second Rational" is formed from spiritual affections "implanted by the Lord in a wonderful manner in the truths of the First Rational." And as this is being done, the things which are in agreement are vivified, but the rest are separated as useless; until at length spiritual goods and truths are collected as it were into fascicles into an organic form. Yet the First Rational, with everything in it all its states remains with the man; it is not removed, but only put aside (AC 2657). To indicate the totally different nature of the "Second Rational," the Word represents it by Isaac, the son of Abraham by his wife Sarah. Isaac, the man of peace, represented an affection of heavenly truth and a new state in which man believes that the good and truth which he receives are not from himself, so that he disclaims pride and merit and begins to feel delight in good and in truth for their own sake (AC 2640, 2657).
Abuses of the Rational
Every normal man who lives to adult age attains to the ability to use the faculties inherent in the Interior Natural degree of the mind the power to think and reason, and to reflect from a higher thought upon the state of his external or natural man; in short, he attains to the power of self-analysis. He comes into the ability to see truths, to differentiate between right and wrong. But he may prefer not to see. If so, he is free to use his knowledge as a means of destroying the Rational instead of perfecting it (AC 4156). It is notable, however, that all men employ their rational faculty to control their bodily appetites to varying extent and to impose upon their external behavior and even their external thought an appearance of order, humanity, and sincerity. If they do not, they suffer in the eyes of others and even lose self-respect and the sense of shame. Every man, whether rational or not, takes care that others should so regard him. In this effort he is usually successful. "Whether a man be rational or sensual, is with difficulty discerned by others; but it is discerned by himself if he explores his interiors" (AC 5128).
It is of importance to note that the key to a man's character lies in his rational mind. A child, or one whose rational is not yet awakened, has not a confirmed character. We do indeed speak of the child as "father of the man," because we can trace back adult characteristics (usually external ones) to their seeds and prophetic symptoms manifested in tender years. But there were untold seeds and potentialities in the childish mind which are also present in the adult, though forgotten or unnoticed, and it is the rational which finally determines which shall prevail. Therefore children who die are not judged on account of the state of their sensual and natural degrees, but according to the rational life which commences with them after they have grown up in heaven. And it is the same with every man. His character is fixed and determined by the use which he makes of his rational faculty. For by its decisions he may ascend or he may descend. Through his exercise of rational choice his natural, conscious mind may become reformed, or it may become degenerate (DLW 274). Actually, as is the case with all things, the rational with a man perishes if it is not properly employed. If man, having attained to a measure of reason, refuses to use it to curb his evils, he will eventually lose it. It is a tragic descent which is pictured here. It begins when a man, from rational sight, sees the insanities of the evils that tempt him, and yet permits himself to be carried away by their enticements as a boat by a current. Such a one is called a "natural man," and may perchance still be salvable. But if his degeneracy is not checked, he spurns the warnings of his reason, begins to judge only from the senses of the body, and rejects as trifles any rational ideas that may oppose his cherished fallacies and false notions. He is then to be classed as a "sensual-natural man." Finally, he may become "corporeal-natural," by being carried away by the desires of his flesh, caring only for luxuries and pleasures, and becoming entirely incapable of judgment (CL 442, 495, 496; cf. DLW 249).
Sensual and corporeal men have lost the use of their reason. It is also revealed that falsities clog the rational mind, and so far as men reject truths once seen and instead turn to falsities from evil, the rational is closed, and eventually also the interior natural in that they lose the capacity for abstract thought (AC 5126: 4, AE 739: 4, 1056: 2). But even these under special provisions and circumstances may, in this world or the next, regain their reason momentarily and see themselves in the disillusioning light of heaven for the vile wretches that they are (LJ post. 230). The cause of this is that there are still "remains'' lodging in the interiors of their mind, from which they can see themselves as others see them in something of rational light; and there are only two evils which deprive man of the possibility of such lucid moments, deceit and profanation. These latter infect even "remains," and cause the rational to perish (AC 5128: 5, 5135: 4). The Writings ascribe the human faculty of reasoning to the fact that all men have, within their Natural degree, two mental degrees which are named the Spiritual and the Celestial. These superior degrees are from birth "transparent" to influx, but are not "opened" or furnished until man regenerates; nor are they "closed" except by the confirmation of evil in the understanding (DLW 236, 240, 245, 247, 249, 253 255). Yet even with wicked men, so long as there are some "remains" left to temper and modify their evils (AC 7556, 7560, 1906, 560, 577), there is maintained a certain communication with heaven, in that light is let in from heaven through the spiritual mind as "through chinks round about"; by which is undoubtedly meant that this light flows in unawares whenever a man is not deliberately excluding it. It has been observed that the most enterprising burglar can be quite reasonable in matters which do not personally affect him or interfere with his avocation; and oppressive dictators have been known to show concern about the freedom of distant nations! From which it can be concluded that all men can to some extent think and reason, just as all can speak (AE 406a, AC 2851 : 3. HH 430). The sole source of the light of reason is Heaven. And there are three angelic heavens. Each enjoys a spiritual light discretely its own, because in heaven all things are presented in the light of one's own love. The hells also have their own peculiar lumens the deceptive lights of phantasy and illusion. Even these are derivations of heavenly light, but refracted through the loves of self and of gain. Spirits in the world of spirits may be enveloped by any of these various lights, for both heaven and hell inflow into that intermediate world. While man's rational mind is in process of being formed, its spiritual position is in the world of spirits (HH 430). But "God created man's rational mind according to the order of the whole spiritual world" and both heaven and hell can therefore inflow into it (TCR 71, CL 436). The judgments of the rational mind maintain for man the equilibrium between good and evil, between truth and falsity. According to man's free selection, human thought can immerse itself in merely sensual light or elevate itself into the light of heaven.
Degrees of the Rational
The Writings give many teachings about the elevation of the human understanding. One of these teachings has already been considered that every man by birth enters into the Natural degree, and that he perfects this degree by knowledges, being at first only corporeal and sensual, later natural, and finally rational. This is an ascent by degrees of height or by discrete degrees (TCR 42, DLW 66, AE 739:2, cf. 1201:4, 1210: 3). For the Natural mind itself in whole and in its parts is distinguished into discrete degrees as well as into continuous degrees (DLW 274). The sensual, the interior sensual (or imaginative), and the interior natural (or rational are quite discrete from each other. And yet these three degrees of the Natural are characterized by a common quality which is not discrete, but continuous; for the natural mind as a whole grows by knowledges which increase not by discrete steps but by an imperceptible accumulation, so that the field of man's thought continually expands during the process of education (DLW 67, 237, 236). It is the same with every part of the Natural mind. Its highest degree, the Rational, is discretely distinct from the Imagination. Yet it verges from shade to light being in dense shadow when it descends into corporeal ideas, and in increasing light as material notions are shaken off by abstraction. Therefore it is said that "the enlightenment of the natural mind does not ascend by discrete degrees," but increases through continuous degrees (DLW 186, 256, 237, LJ post. 308, DP 32). Still, the Rational also contains discrete elements. In one passage it is shown that "the rational faculty is opened to the first degree by civil truths, to the second degree by moral truths, and to the third degree by spiritual truths," and by the respective virtues (HH 468). But in the Divine Love and Wisdom it is explained that man's rational, since it can be elevated to "understand truths even to the inmost degree in which are the angels of the third heaven," thereby may take on "an appearance as if of three degrees a rational from the celestial, a rational from the spiritual, and a rational from the natural" (DLW 258). Let us carefully notice that by the elevation of the understanding into the light of the wisdom of the various heavens there is induced upon the rational only an appearance of three degrees, or "an appearance of being wise" (DLW 368). The understanding of the natural mind, by abstracting grosser sensual ideas, or by continual refinements, can rise around and as it were envelop the spiritual and celestial degrees, so as to grasp or accommodate itself to, and even express, the truths of wisdom which are revealed in the Word and in the Heavenly Doctrine. And this it can do by raising the thought above the native will, from a love of knowing and of understanding which still derives from the unregenerate will something of a desire for honor, glory, or gain; just as the lungs, although they can breathe independently of the heart beat, still derive blood vessels from the heart (DLW 266, 413 416). In this faculty of thinking and speaking about heavenly truths, the wicked are no different from the good. It is related of evil spirits that from pride in their ability they "perceived the arcana of angelic wisdom equally well as good spirits" and could acknowledge such truths and even will them if they so chose (DLW 266). With men on earth, "the natural mind cannot be raised into angelic light itself," or "into angelic wisdom itself"; "but only into a higher light even up to the angels," so as to "perceive naturally, thus not so fully, what the angels perceive spiritually." Human wisdom, so long as man lives in the natural world, is natural and "can by no means be raised into angelic wisdom, but only into some image of it" (DLW 256, 257). This is true of good men and devil alike. The differences are however marked: the man who is in evils and falsities when he raises his thought above the things of the natural mind finds that his delights begin to cool and perish, and so his apparent wisdom, however it may have ascended, falls back again to the level of his own love; for he perceives that he has nothing to gain by any elevation of the rational (DLW 258, 266, 416). And even if he succeeds (by reason of native ability or training) in maintaining his elevation so as to appear rational in a higher degree, it is said of such a man that he is "rational only in the ultimate degree" or merely naturally rational.
For a man does not become rational from thought alone. He becomes rational according as his love is elevated along with his understanding. Love is elevated when the will, instructed by the understanding, begins to be purified, by the shunning of evils as sins against God. If the understanding is elevated into the acknowledgment of spiritual truths and the seeing of spiritual goods. and the love is also elevated and conjoined with the understanding, man becomes rational in a higher degree, or "rational from the spiritual." For a new quality is then imposed upon the rational mind; a quality which is due to a discrete illustration from within by the light of the spiritual degree (DLW 256, 258). With a man whose love ascends along with his thoughts when these are raised to spiritual and celestial things, the rational mind is therefore distinguished into degrees, which are discrete, not merely continuous. It is possible for a man on reflection to discern whether he is thinking sensually or rationally. It is sometimes possible to see that one is thinking from truths or about truths which are typical of the natural heaven or of the spiritual heaven or of the inmost heaven. Hence the Rational actually "appears" distinguished in degrees. But it is not possible, in this world, to ascertain whether one's will or love is elevated into the same degree as the understanding, and thus whether one has become rational to this or that degree. Nor can this be determined of other men. The three degrees of the Rational are indeed basic to the three heavens. But it would be an error to altogether identify these three degrees of the rational with the Natural mind, the Spiritual mind, and the Celestial mind which are the three spiritual degrees in general. The Rational is the means whereby a man may acquire the truths by which a conscience is built up within him, so that there may be in him terminations or planes receptive of the life of the heavens. Truths alone do not make such a responsive plane; but affection is what appropriates the truths of each degree and makes it a receptive vessel. If the affection is lacking, as is the case where truths are perceived but no conscience has been formed from them, the influx of life through heaven merely passes through into the sensual man and is there turned into corporeal enjoyments or selfish cupidities (AC 5145). The planes of conscience are described.25 The first is called the inmost of the rational or the Interior Rational. In this degree may be formed a perception of what is good and true, from a love of the Lord. The celestial heaven may therefore be said to be founded in (or to dwell in) the Interior Rational. The second degree is named the Exterior Rational, or the middle rational. Here is formed the conscience of what is spiritually good and true; and in this spiritual angels can be present. The third degree is sometimes called the Inferior Rational and in other connections the Interior Natural. To it pertains the conscience of what is just and equitable in moral and civil life. In this plane, the angels and good spirits of the lowest heaven are present. There is yet another plane, which appears as a social and imitative conscience, governing our interaction among friends and acquaintances and expressing itself as honorableness and decorum; but this pertains to the Exterior Natural and depends for its quality on the motives which are established in the rational. It must be noted that these terms are used somewhat differently in different contexts.26 But our endeavor has merely been to show that the use to which man employs his Rational Mind will determine what kind of angels can find a lodging place with him. Through the Interior Natural so long as he does not close his mind against spiritual acknowledgments he may acquire a moral conscience and thus prepare himself for a life in the ultimate heaven. Through the Exterior Rational he may come to understand and love spiritual truths and have his Spiritual Mind opened, and after death enter into the marvelous gifts of intelligence which are stored therein, becoming an angel of the second heaven. Through the Interior Rational he may conceive a celestial love of uses by which the Celestial Mind within him will be unlocked and as a celestial angel he may then enter into a wisdom inconceivable. In our next chapter we propose to discuss the mysterious relationship between our Natural Mind and these two interior or superior degrees, called the Spiritual and the Celestial; which we can know from no other source than the Writings.
With every normal adult, the Rational, the highest degree of the Natural Mind, can be elevated to perceive the truths of any of the three heavens and can thus take on an "appearance as of three degrees." If man's will is also elevated to one of these degrees which is effected by the shunning of the evils which are opposed to the truths perceived man would become rational from that degree. According to his elevation, he would acquire a rational from the natural, from the spiritual, Or from the celestial (DLW 258). Or, what is the same, he would acquire either a moral conscience, or a conscience of spiritual good and truth, or a celestial perception of good. The rational mind is thus discreted into degrees, which may be named 'the interior natural,' 'the exterior rational,' and 'the interior rational' (SD mm. 4545, cf. 4644e; AC 4167). "The rational is such as is the affection" (AC 1589: 2).
Conscience is acquired from the truth which has been implanted in the rational since infancy, and is better in proportion as its truths more nearly approach genuine truths of faith (AC 2144, 2053: 2, 8081, 9112, HD 130 if.). It is felt as a general dictate and engenders thoughts affirmative to what is perceived as good and true, thoughts from the rational (AC 1914, 1919). Man perceives these thoughts and also the pain which results when there is something opposed to conscience. At times remorse, which even a wicked man can experience, is confused with conscience. Still, a sincere man can know when he is thinking from conscience. But at no time can he know to what degree of conscience he has attained, or what love has become confirmed in his rational. In his philosophical works as well as in the theological Writings. Swedenborg emphasizes that it is in the rational mind that man's eternal character is shaped by a free selective choice. The Rational is the man himself. It is there that "the human" begins, and by it his whole personality is by degrees integrated and unified. But the Writings reveal that this can he finally accomplished only after death.
So far, in our study of the human mind, we have mostly considered states and faculties which have a certain familiarity and are within the reach of self-analysis and introspection, and teachings which can to a great extent be confirmed by experience. But we must now launch forth upon waters where Doctrine is our only guide and where even Swedenborg the Philosopher did not venture before his spiritual senses began to be opened. For beyond the vanishing point of consciousness there lie within the mind regions unknown and depths unplumbed, whence flow the directing currents which make us function rationally and from an inner freedom. In recent times some naturalistic explanations have been offered for many mysterious mental activities not easily catalogued: religious faith and conscience, mystical and hypnotic states, subconscious intellection, telepathy, dreams and visions, and "automatic writing." Various efforts on the part of "psycho-analysts" have sometimes tended to lump all man's hidden motivations and faculties together into a common pool of primitive animal instincts which somehow with fear as a taskmaster organize for themselves rational or symbolic forms of expression which disguise their crudities with the art and charm that make them acceptable to society. It is of course an observed fact that man's sub-conscious and unexplored will is by heredity corporeal and bestial and that it seeks to draw Reason to its defense. But it is an error to assume that the Rational stems from man's subconscious jungle-instincts and to ignore the soul and the spiritual world and the existence of discrete super-sensible levels in man's mental make-up. The Writings, however, explain clearly how the changing states of these profound regions of the mind are due to the influence of spirits and angels, to which man's mind is constantly exposed in his unperceived spiritual environment. A man on earth is aware of the thinking that takes place in his rational mind and imagination. The mind is indeed perfected gradually being "opened to the first degree by civil truths, to the second degree by moral truths, and to the third degree by spiritual truths," and by living according to these truths from a spiritual affection for them (HH 468). He accepts these truths consciously and makes a deliberate effort to guide his life by them. But just as the contents of his natural memory and his will remain "sub-conscious" and dormant except so far as they enter into the thread of his thought, so there are vast regions of the mind within the rational which are "superconscious" and thus also above his notice (AC 3020, 3108, AE 790: 8, 625: 5). The residuary results of his life of choice and meditation are stored up as a spontaneous "nature" or disposition (indoles) in the interior degrees of the mind, beyond his scrutiny. These interior degrees of which Doctrine alone can testify are "opened" or furnished during man's regenerate life on earth. Potentially they are present at birth; but they are entered into consciously only after death (DLW 236 if, 252).
Degrees within the Memory
The activities of the Corporeal-Sensual are obviously below man's consciousness. Even his Natural Memory is drawn into the current of consciousness or into the focus of mental light, only by fragments at a time. The Writings mention that 'noticing,' or 'reflection,' is necessary to fix some experience or fact into the patterns of this exterior memory, or to arouse its slumbering contents (AC 4301, SD 2593, SD mm. 4621). And this holds true also of that part of the natural memory which is called the Interior Natural Memory, wherein are segregated those immaterial or abstract ideas that are suitable for the use of the rational mind. Yet there is also another memory, the Interior Memory properly so called, which absorbs everything that ever reaches the sight or sense of the body or even the internal sensories, whether a man has noticed it and reflected on it, or not (SD 2594). In this interior memory all things which have unknown to man affected him, are recorded "as to their ideas and ends," and this in the greatest detail, even to things which were abstruse and obscure, including all things of his past thought, speech, or action, to the smallest point. And this memory is therefore called man's 'book of life' (AC 2474, 9386, SD 2154 2156). In a broad sense, the Interior Memory is supersensible to man. In its details and its complete range it is not available for our conscious use in this world. But it is fully at the disposal of spirits and angels, who may see in it much that man cannot see, and may use it as their own (AC 6200). For the "interior memory" is formed from all man's experiences whether noticed or not which are unconsciously digested, evaluated and arranged by the rational mind, according to its inner character. The doctrine is therefore given, that when a truth in the external memory is conjoined with good, it is appropriated to man; and it then "vanishes from his external memory and passes into his internal memory" or into his rational. It is said to be "elevated into the rational" (AC 3108, 3161, cf. 3098). It enters into the texture of man's life, like gestures or thoughts when these have become habitual and spontaneous (AC 9394: 4, 6), or like the language which man had learnt from childhood, or like the facility of thinking, or like conscience itself (AC 3843: 2). These acquired states are not normally recalled or brought back as knowledges. although as such they still exist dormant in the external memory like ashes which must be removed from under the altar of man's life (AC 9723). Enough has been said to make clear that there is much in man's rational mind which becomes instinctive and is so wholly a part of man's being that it no longer comes into the focus of his consciousness. "The cognitions (cognitiva) in the Rational are not patent before man but are imperceptible" while he lives in the body; as are also the things which belong to his faculty of thinking and to his spiritual affections (AC 3020, 3108, cf. AE 790: 8). It is a common idea in the world that "the subconscious part of our personality is not nearly so well organized as the conscious."27 This seems at first glance to be borne out by the facts. Our conscious thought we can analyze, and it is indeed a marvel of complex processes. Yet here we are misled by the appearances and falsely impressed by the artificialities, the fuss and the frictions of this noisy machinery of our consciousness. The test of perfect organization is not its obviousness. A government, if it be perfect, should be invisible. An organ, perfectly organized, should be noticeable only in its effects. The object of the conscious mind is to organize the human spirit within it into a perfect unity wherein all parts act imperceptibly as a whole, in perfect unison and with distinct purpose. We may safely assume that the interior memory which is being organized within the rational mind and beyond and above the limits of conscious scrutiny, is far more complex than its humble instrument, the conscious mind. And in this presumption we are confirmed by Revelation, which states that it is not only 'organic, but purer and more perfect,' and that its order is incomprehensible (AC 2487).
All that is taken up into the interior memory is there arranged according to one's "ideas and ends." It is therefore not a factual memory, but essentially a memory of states of mind. It is not ordered chronologically; time and space-relations are employed only for symbols or appearances to clothe and distinguish states (AC 4901: 3).
For this reason this memory is suitable for use even after man has left the world of nature and become a spirit. But here we meet with ambiguous teachings. For while in some passages the "interior natural memory" is described as that part of the exterior memory which contains abstractions or rational ideas, and the "interior memory" is defined as the memory of spirits, there are also many statements which speak of the "interior memory" as virtually identical with the "interior natural memory." Certainly these two 'interior' memories collaborate so closely that they cannot always be distinguished. As we understand it, the memory of abstract ideas contains the origins or initiaments of 'verbal' ideas such as are used in man's exterior thought, the thought which is actually expressed in human speech on earth.28 But the universal speech of spirits and angels is composed of rational ideas such as man employs in his interior-natural memory.29 While such abstract ideas serve as words for spirits (and are actually so perceived by them), the thoughts of spirits are made up of ideas such as compose the 'interior memory,' since this is the only memory which spirits are permitted to use for thinking, after the corporeal memory which they had used on earth has become quiescent. From this we conclude that while the abstract ideas of the rational level of man's thought fall within man's conscious grasp although never totally divorced from natural or imaginative ideas yet whatever is elevated by man's love into the habitual gyres of his rational mind becomes part of his interior memory or a spontaneous part of his spirit and thus becomes an unconscious and effortless part of his very self. This appears as an "elevation" of truth from the external memory. Yet in reality the external memory is not derived of any of its contents; nor is there any upward movement within the mind. What occurs is simply that a truth is formed in the rational a spiritual form corresponding to the knowledge in the memory (AE 790: 8). This truth is the spiritual essence, the realization, the import and meaning which the Soul receives from spiritual sources and can see reflected in the knowledge of the memory (SD 3672). All truth and good thus in reality inflow from the spiritual world are in the spiritual world and nowhere else. Only their external form or image exists in the natural world and in the physical body. Thought is spiritual sight, the sight of something in the spiritual world a state, a use, or a representation thereof (AC 3219e, 4622: 3). It is therefore said that thought is such as is its "extension" into societies of the heavens or the hells (AC 6600 et seq., AE 1092 et seq.). And man "can therefore think about spiritual things no otherwise than as the angels and spirits with him think" (AE 757). But with man in this world, thought is conscious only when represented in the knowledges of his memory (AE 625: 4, AC 3938).
That which is present in the focus of man's attention, is indeed most manifest and is "in the light of the internal sight" (AC 8885, 5278, cf. 5185e). But "the thought which enlightens" is an interior thought which inflows into the natural thought; but which does not appear although its presence may be deduced (AC 10551: 5). What is transacted in the rational mind is "unknown to the natural, for it is above the sphere of its observation" (AC 3570: 2, 3057: 2). Even an evil man has such imperceptible thought within him (DP 296: 10). With him, this plane of thought is the natural of the rational which thus becomes the plane of influx of the hells, and particularly of the first hell. But with the well-disposed, and especially those who are being regenerated, the Rational has been interiorly opened, and serves as the basis of the Spiritual Mind and also of the Celestial Mind. Such men are truly rational, and therefore the Arcana Coelestia, when referring to the regenerate, uses the Rational as a synonym for the Spiritual Mind, since it is the Spiritual Mind that is acting within it. The general doctrine therefore is, that while in the world man "thinks both spiritually and naturally, but does not apperceive those things which he thinks spiritually" (HH 356: 2). As every man has a spiritual mind, as well as a natural mind, "it cannot be but that both minds think" (AC 5614: 3); but because the spiritual mind lies hid in the natural mind or lives above it, man is wholly unaware of what he thinks in that mind (AE 625: 5, 527: 4, 790: 8). This is the reason why all spiritual purification must be effected in the natural mind while man is on earth : for only there do his states, his thoughts and affections, "come to manifest perception." ''It is not so with those things which are thought in the internal man: these do not come to manifest perception, because the ideas in the internal man are spiritual . . . and cannot be comprehended in the natural; for they are intellectual ideas which are devoid of objects such as are in the material world" (AC 10237, 4104: 2). In states of spiritual enlightenment man can however to some little extent perceive truths such as the angels of the lowest heaven understand, but which can hardly be expressed in human words (AC 8443). Of one whose spiritual mind is "opened" we are further told that when he reads the Word in its literal sense, and thinks from the general doctrine therein, he is as to his spirit thinking from the spiritual sense of the Word although he is unaware of it. He is thus inwardly "in like perception with the angels," and innumerable heavenly arcana are being implanted in his spiritual mind; which he will think spontaneously as if he had always known them when he comes into the other life (AC 10551 : 5, 9430, 10400, 10402e, 4280, 5614:3, AE 625: 5, cf. SD 41, DLW 252).
The "Opening" of the Spiritual Mind
What is meant, then, by the opening of a man's Spiritual Mind? By this "opening," the Writings do not mean a conscious entrance into a superior realm of thought or sensation. For as long as he remains on earth, what he may think in that mind is super-sensible, or imperceptible. But the Spiritual Mind, or Spiritual Degree, within man, is opened when by repentance man abstains from evils as sins and, within his rational mind, receives spiritual truths from a love of them for their own sake, and sees them in their own light, acknowledging that they are from the Lord alone. In so doing, man becomes "rational from the spiritual degree" (DLW 258) begins to make man's spirit such as man prayerfully desires himself to be and yet knows that he is not and could never by his own endeavor become. The sources of his life are wrapped in mystery and darkness. It is indeed impossible for man consciously to regenerate himself. But with the Lord it is possible, just so far as man, as if of himself, shuns evils and eschews falsities. The Spiritual Mind is said to be opened by a spiritual love of uses, or by love towards the neighbor (DLW 237). And when it is opened, it can be furnished. It can be "filled by the Lord with thousands of arcana of wisdom and with thousands of delights of love" (DLW 252). The natural man in whom the spiritual degree is being opened, does not know this fact. He cannot enter with any sense, feeling, or perception into the enjoyment of these treasures of the kingdom of heaven, although his heart is there (DLW 238, 252). Such an entrance must wait upon the death of the body. There are however certain indications which may at times furnish hope that the Spiritual Mind is opened. Truths seem to be seen in light, and when the Word is read there may be a perception of this enlightenment. (The latter, we are informed, was the case with Swedenborg.) And uses will be performed from affection (DLW 252, AE 1183).
Reformation of the Natural Mind
The opening of the Spiritual Mind has a distinct effect upon the Natural Mind. Not until the Spiritual Mind has been opened and its formation has commenced can the Lord begin to "form" or reform the Natural Mind form it "to the idea of such things as are in heaven," or reshape it upon a heavenly pattern (AE 790: 9). And since the unregenerate natural is congenitally in an order opposed to heaven reacting against the Spiritual Mind so that this shrinks back and is closed up and even the natural rational is retorted and closed the reformation of the natural mind is likened to the twisting back of a spiral into a reversed direction which requires considerable labor (DLW 254, 263, 270, 432, DP 319, cf. AU 1168). For the quirks and inhibitions, the self-centered cupidities and subterfuges and passions of the natural man, must be put away and cleaned out, and room made for 'natural' good affections from the Rational, which can serve and obey the purposes of heaven. New delights must be established in the natural and old delights subjugated and reduced to impotence or servitude. The reason why it is possible for the Natural Mind to rise in opposition to the Spiritual, is that the Natural Mind "consists of spiritual substances and at the same time of natural substances" (DLW 257). The spiritual mind, on the other hand, consists only of spiritual substances and is therefore in the order of heaven (DLW 254, 260, 261, 270). This can be understood only if we have clearly in mind that there are three spiritual degrees, the Celestial, the Spiritual, and the Spiritual Natural. The last mentioned is also called the 'ultimate spiritual,' and is that spiritual which is present in nature, in the body, and in the natural mind. This ultimate spiritual is also from creation in heavenly order, and cannot be perverted except in the natural minds of men still living on earths (DLW 345). But in the natural mind of man, the spiritual-natural can act separately from its prior degrees (DLW 261, 345). It can take on the form of the natural world and of its dead and merely passive reaction to heavenly order. It is in the nature of natural substance to resist life. It is privative of life an antithesis of life. Matter cannot be evil nor can it be pervert, or of itself opposite. But the spiritual present in and with matter can, if it follows the reactive conatus within matter, separate itself from the eternal purpose within creation and thus in man close off the higher spiritual degrees from itself. When this separation a rebellion like that of a "Lucifer"30 occurs in the minds of men, the generations following have the spiritual degree "closed off" from birth by what is called hereditary evil. Eventually all that is in the inherited natural mud is turned to self and is opposed to the spiritual mind unless there has been a resistance to evil by the Lord's help (DLW 269, cf. CL 202).
The Liberation of the Natural Mind
The Spiritual mind of man is never captive in the material body. But the Natural Mind develops in and along with the natural organics of the brain. Its consciousness rests upon knowledges formed on the basis of sense-experience from the world. This is implied when it is stated that it consists of natural as well as of spiritual substances (DLW 257). But it is added: "thought comes (fit) from the spiritual substances, not from the natural substances." Natural substance cannot add anything to life, but limit and constrain it. What happens, then, at death, when the body and the brain no longer function and their substances decay? For in the living body, the substantial of the spirit is so intimately adjoined to the material of the body that there is not a fibre or least thread where the human of the spirit is not united with the corporeal human. And death is described as the separation of the spiritual from the natural, or of the spiritual substance of the mind and the soul from the material substances of the body' (Wis. vii. 4, 2: 4). This is the general doctrine. The mind, or spirit, is released from the bonds and trammels of earthly things. But since the Natural Mind itself "consists" of natural as well as of spiritual substances, it might well be asked what its fate might be and how it would be affected by such a separation. The answer is given in the special teachings concerning the Limbus. "Every man, after death puts off the natural . . . and retains the spiritual, together with a kind of border (nimbus) from the Purest things of nature around it" (TCR 103). This "border" is drawn by the spirit out of the purer substances of the natural world to serve as "a fixed containant of spiritual things," so that man's individuality might be preserved (DLW 388). it is necessary because spiritual substances are living and therefore "not constant." For this reason no angel can be created directly into the spiritual world. He must be born on an earth and from "the inmosts of nature take with him a medium between the Spiritual and the Natural, by means of which he is limited (finitur) so as to be subsisting and permanent. By this he has something relative (relativum) to the things in nature and something correspondent to them" (Wis. viii. 3, 4). Thus man retains to eternity "the purer things of nature which are nearest to spiritual things" and which can agree and harmonize with his spirit (DP 220). And where could these inmost things of nature be found, if not in the purest organisms within the brain. where nature directs its choicest treasures and its highest forces? In his physiological works, Swedenborg devotes much labor to the discussion of such a substance, deprived from the inmost sphere of nature, which could not be touched by death or destruction.31 He speaks of it as a supreme vital fluid, highly organized, in which the soul could dwell. In the Divine Love and Wisdom, this physical basis of immortality is identified with the natural substances of the Natural Mind. These, it is stated, go to make "a cutaneous (skinlike) covering of the spiritual body" which angels and spirits have (DLW 257). It is of course not permissible to think that a natural substance could enter the spiritual world or be visible there. And it may be to warn us against such a notion that it is said that these natural substances 'recede when man dies, but not the spiritual substances'; which suggests that the natural substances like the dead cutis of the skin no longer play an active part in the life of the natural mind which now is the immortal spirit, appearing in a spiritual body.
The teaching in this respect is that "spirits and angels are nothing else than human minds and souls in human form, stripped of coverings . . . which being cast off, the forms of their minds, such as they were inwardly in their bodies, become visible" (CL 192). The risen spirit is the natural mind an organization of thoughts, affections, knowledges, and delights, which together constitute his personality and character. The spirit is not at first seen as to his internal states of mind, but as to the external accommodations by which it had on earth adapted itself to the worldly environment and made itself appear amongst personal and professional acquaintances (AC 10593). it is the mind as formed in the body which now picks up its thread of consciousness under entirely new conditions. It is now housed in a new body. Yet it is not new, but is quite familiar. For his spiritual body was formed inwardly in the material body "formed by the truths and goods which flow in from the Lord through the spiritual world and are received by man inwardly in such things as are of the natural world and which are called civil and moral" (TCR 583). The human mind as a whole is immortal. It is the spirit which lives after death. But while it does no longer remain in a natural body, neither can it be said that it is incorporeal or that it is devoid of the human form. By death, the soul or spirit is liberated from the material body which is buried. It appears in the spiritual world in a spiritual body, or as a man in complete human form. What is thus seen is the Natural Mind, which contains within it the higher degrees. "The interiors which do not die succeed one another in the following order. There is the Sensual, there is the Natural, there is the Spiritual-Natural: these are of the external of man." Then there is "a medium between the external and the internal man, called the Spiritual of the Celestial." Above this in the internal man there is "the Celestial of the Spiritual, the Celestial, and an Inmost which lacks a name because it receives immediately the good and the true which proceed from the Lord." These seven distinct degrees survive in every man, and with each individual one of them has the dominion (SD 4627, cp 5547 if).
The lowest of these surviving degrees is called the Sensual; and it is doubtless this which functions and appears as a spiritual body, equipped with sense-organs and viscera, brains and nerves (LJ post. 316). It is an error to suppose that a soul can exist without a body (DLW 14e). Yet the spiritual body is formed for uses in the spiritual world and does not consist of 'flesh and bones' but of such spiritual things as correspond to these (AC 3815 : 5, 4527, 5078, 3726: 4). It serves as a clothing for the spirit and corresponds exactly to the material body (DLW 391, LJ 30, CU 3e, LJ post. 316, 324). It breathes a spiritual atmosphere, its heart pulses, it senses the things of the spiritual world, its eyes and organs are made of the substance of that spiritual world (DLW 91, 391, 176, HH 462, LJ post. 314, Wis. vii. 2). This substantial body contains a mind a rational and a spiritual. And that spirits might think and will, they have highly organized brains, even as their external senses are organized for spiritual sensations (DLW 135, 334, CL 273, TCR 568, LJ post. 316). But the important thing to note is that this body was formed not of matter, or of any natural substance, but of goods and truths (TCR 583). It is a purely spiritual organism, and as such has nothing in common with space, except the appearance. It is the sensual degree of man's natural mind such as it was on earth. But the conditions under which it now operates are radically different! For now it is cut off from the sense-organs of the material body and the sensations of the natural world. The spirit can therefore not form for itself any new ideas of material things or conditions. The spiritual body can grow in stature in the spiritual world. But the 'corporeal memory' cannot grow beyond the extent which it has at death. The consequence, we learn from the Writings, is that this memory of material ideas is closed up and becomes quiescent together with its merely corporeal affections. Its mental use is over. From having been an active agent of consciousness, it sinks back to become a passive unconscious background of the life of the spirit, which it still serves as an embodiment (AE 775 : 4, Wis. iv.e, AC 6872:3, SD 5552). It is told that the memory of man is inscribed not on the brain alone, but on his whole body. This is to some extent true of the earthly body. But so indelible are the marks which man's every state leaves on his spiritual body that examining angels can after death disclose all his acts by searching his members, beginning with the fingers and hands! (HH 463, ill., SD 5493). Thus the entire natural memory is retained as the basis of his character and as a structural foundation of his spiritual body. But it cannot be reawakened except by permission. And even then its contents is reinterpreted in spiritual light as to its symbolic significance (HH 462: 7). Its natural objects cannot normally be reproduced, "but only the spiritual things adjoined to the natural by correspondences" (HH 464). The conclusion may be safely drawn from all this that the sensory life of spirits is not a mere revival of the memories of earth-life, as thought the ancient Greeks of their "shades" in the underworld. The spirit even as to his body enters upon a new existence, with new experiences of a different type and degree. It is indeed true that the spirit enjoyed a spiritual sensation even while on earth: it saw the knowledges of its memory by a species of mental sight (DLW 404: 4). But this sight was then obscured by the fact that the objects of the memory were closely identified with material things, which fixed the attention upon the natural environment. And no spiritual things no mental states of other men, for instance, could be seen except so far as they were represented by bodily acts or speech or in material clothing. But the sensory life of the risen spirit is vastly different. Not only has the gross mortal body been rejected; but even those natural substances the finest things of nature which were associated in the brain with the natural mind and form a permanent 'limbus' or natural basis for the spirits: even these have 'receded' (DLW 257). The natural mind, now a spirit, tastes a new liberty. It can sense spiritual things without any interfering veil of natural stuff. And the spiritual or substantial man sees or touches what is spiritual, altogether as a material man sees or touches what is material (CL 31, HH 461, LJ post. 323). For spiritual things are homogeneous with spiritual beings (AE 926: 2). As to their bodies and bodily sensations, spirits are "in a lower sphere" (AE 926: 2), a sphere in which interior spiritual things are invested in exterior spiritual things which are created by the Lord in forms which appear like those in the world, forms of apparent space (AE 582e). Sensual spirits even mistake what they see for the material world; yet after some experience, the novitiate spirit is taught and soon accepts the truth that the objects he sees around him, and the other men and women whom he meets, are spiritual forms of the reception of love and wisdom; forms of spiritual life, betokening distinct states of perception and affection. Nothing is sensed which is not of a spiritual origin (HH 582). What is seen is the minds of others, their character, their unique quality. A spirit will see such spiritual objects in the light of his own ruling state which comes from the love that sways him. Yet he may at times see in the light of others: if evil he may nevertheless be brought to see things in the light of angels; if good, he may yet be immersed into the fantasies of evil companions. Light in the spiritual world appears like natural light, except for its stupendous contrasts; still "it does not pass through spaces, like the light of the world, but through the affections and perceptions of truth," thus through a living medium (CLJ 14). Without sensation, there can be no mental life for spirits. Their sensation is far more exquisite which is one of the first things which convince a spirit that he is in the other life (AC 4622: 4, 5078).
This perfection of sensory power is common to good and evil spirits. And there is also a certain instinctive perception which is in various degrees common to all, in that all spirits can know unmistakably the quality of another at his first approach his disposition, faith, love, and character (AC 1388, 1389). For what is sensed by the spiritual senses is the states of other spirits, and in particular the sphere of the activity of their interior memory (AC 2489). And it is on this account that spirits and angels are soon separated from those of opposed character and joined with those who love the same uses (AC 1394 if). There are three planes of life which to judge from what the Writings disclose are common to all spirits and angels. These are the spiritual body, which is on the plane of man's corporeal memory or sensual degree; the life of sense, which with spirits is on the plane of man's imaginative faculty, which is his natural degree and which is an interior form of sensation; and finally speech, which with spirits is formed into word-symbols or distinct imagery on the plane which man uses for abstract thought viz., the interior natural memory. Indeed their speech is said to be one of ideas, and these are sonorous, spoken like words, and are understood by all angels and spirits, even though the meaning is only conveyed where there is sufficient wisdom to grasp it. An exception should here be noted. Those angels who are properly called 'celestial' do not store up abstractions in their memory and therefore do not converse so much by words as by bodily gestures and facial expressions (SD 5587, 5597). The universal language which all spirits and angels speak is a speech of ideas. It is the activity of the interior natural memory which each spirit either brings along from the world or develops after death. If man has thought abstractly in the world, such speech does not have to be learnt, although infants after death are taught to talk by their nurses (AR 29, HF 236, 334, AC 243). In the spiritual world such ideas are audible, and conveyed as words by a modification of the spiritual aura which there serves as air (AC 7089: 2, DLW 176, HH 235, cf. 238). This medium is a spiritual analogue of our air; it is distinct from the spiritual ether by which light is conveyed to spirits and angels; it is a created and substantial medium common to all spirits; yet it carries not motion, but perceptions of rational ideas.
The Interior Memory
Sensation and speech are the means of arousing and conveying ideas. The mind cannot grow and develop without the use of the senses. With man the mind is stimulated through the corporeal memory; but since this plane of the memory becomes quiescent after death and cannot change or grow, spirits receive all their sensory experience into the Interior Memory. Whatsoever they learn in the spiritual world is stored in this Interior Memory (AC 2490, 9841:2, 9922:2, SD 3143 3144, HH 469). But even when entering the spiritual world, the spirit of man finds his interior memory amply furnished. In it are lodged all those things which have become of his love and life, every thing that was a part of his rational. These are present in vivid detail yet are felt as his very disposition or instinctive nature (AC 3843: 2, SD 4167, 78, 3666 if). With a good spirit these are among the treasures of the kingdom of heaven which await man after death, his spiritual wealth. The ideas of this memory are marvelously distinct, and from these he thinks and reflects (SD 4716). The reflection of spirits differs widely from that of men. For the interior memory which spirits use for their thinking and by which they cultivate their Rational (HH 469), is not ordered, like ours, in categories of space and time. They live from their affections, and thus live in the present, and do not concern themselves about the past. Yet the purer angels have a most perfect recollection of past things (AC 2493, SD 3234, 3144). But Swedenborg observed about spirits that they do not remember when or whence they have learnt what they know (SD 3783). The time-sequence is lacking, but their memory is rearranged according to rational order and oriented from their ruling love (AC 9723, 9386, 2490, DP 277). Therefore the thoughts of spirits are not concerned with times and spaces, but instead they think of states and their progression (AC 4901: 3). The Interior Memory is formed inwardly in the rational degree of the Natural Mind (AC 2480, 1900: 2, 4038: 3). Its ideas are not called knowledges, but 'truths' or 'rational appearances' (AC 5212, 3404). But since the Rational is developed differently in every man, and to different degrees, it follows that the diversity of character which is observable in spirits and angels is primarily due to the contents of their Interior Memory which is the living record of their rational life, their free choice and judgment. For the Interior Memory is beyond the sphere of fear and compulsion and from it man and spirit act spontaneously (DP 139, 136e). When a man regenerates, it is in the Rational that the new soul commences as rational good from which the body of the new man is then formed (AC 3570). We are also taught that with the good there is secretly stored up angelic intelligence and wisdom in the interiors of the Interior Memory, or in its inmosts (AC 2494, HH 467). While all spirits have an Interior Memory, which is therefore called a 'spiritual' memory (AC 9841, SD 353, 1983), yet there are three degrees within it, or three memories answering as to quality to the three heavens and named the spiritual-natural memory, the spiritual memory, and the celestial memory (SD 1079). We call these planes 'memories,' but they are the living forms of the life of natural, spiritual, and celestial angels, respectively. They are the planes developed through regeneration within the rational mind, discreted by the ruling loves of heaven. In an evil spirit it is the natural mind only that is "opened," and is perverted as to one or more of its three levels the natural-rational, the middle natural or imaginative, and the sensual (Cp TCR 34e, DLW 275).
The Natural Minds of Angels
Here we must face an important question. The general teaching is that man's mind has three degrees, the Natural Mind, the Spiritual Mind, and the Celestial Mind. An unregenerate man remains in the natural degree; but by regeneration his spiritual mind can be opened, and even the celestial; and "when man puts off the natural degree, which he does by death, he comes into that degree which has been opened within him in the world" (DLW 236, 239). While on earth he cannot enter the spiritual degrees, even if they have been opened. But after death he comes into the spiritual mind, consciously enjoying its wisdom and delights (DLW 252). And yet the Interior Memories by which angels think or are conscious are formed within the Rational degree which is a part of the natural mind. It is true that the natural mind after death is very different in its activity and scope, since all natural substance 'recedes' at death (DLW 257). The entire angel is lifted as to all his senses and consciousness into the spiritual world and into the sphere of a thought which, while he was on earth, had been transacted beyond the scope of his observation. Certainly, also, he leaves the natural world, its sensual appearances and cares. But has he left or "put off' the natural degree? Let us make clear that this question is not one to give the angels much concern, except as a theoretical matter. They are not self-conscious or aware of their superior wisdom or anxious about the particular degree of their love. Yet the question must be answered if we are to understand what the Writings teach about regeneration, which might otherwise seem so confused that large groups of teachings may become meaningless. What will now be said must be taken as an effort to interpret the doctrine according to our present light. The leading idea in our explanation is that just as our Natural Mind contains a conscious realm of thought and also an interior realm of supersensible or imperceptible thought from which our inner judgments originate; so does the mind of every angel similarly contain a plane of conscious thought and also a supersensible realm wherein are hidden the sources of his intelligence, wisdom, and love. With the angel, the conscious part of his mind is the Interior Memory, which was indeed formed in the unperceived depths of his natural mind while he lived on earth. Thus the unconscious interiors of man's rational are after death opened for vivid awareness. But within this conscious thought of the Interior Memory, the angel possesses a series of interior degrees which are beyond his ken or control. These, with the angel, are a Rational Internal, an Internal Intellectual, and an Inmost "which lacks a name." The angel thinks in his Interior Memory from his Rational Internal. No angel or man can think from his Internal Intellectual: this the Lord alone could do when He was on earth (AC 1904, 1901, 1914, 1935, 2053, 2545e). The whole mind of the angel is spiritual. But the conscious part of this mind was formed interiorly in the rational mind on earth, and serves him in heaven as a Natural mind. And since this 'spiritual-natural' mind of the angel was formed in the rational mind of the natural man, it cannot be supposed that it is pure or devoid of the perversions which are from birth inherent in man's natural. In his preparatory studies, Swedenborg called the rational mind 'the mixed intellect,' since it is excited by the animus and the sensual affections and often obscured by ignorance, conjecture, and sensory appearances (R. Psych. 32, 136, 306). In the year 1748, after his spiritual eyes had been opened, some interior spirits came to him to dispute his statement 'that the proprium of man, spirit, and angel was in itself nothing but merely evil.' "They insinuated that they had a proprium which was not evil, viz., an inmost mind as well as a more interior (intimam, tum, intimiorem), for the inmost gave to the more interior the faculty to become celestial and spiritual." Swedenborg had never doubted but that man had an inmost mind which animals do not have. But the spirits claimed that these internal minds were their proprium. Swedenborg then explained that the only mind which was theirs was the natural mind, and this was altogether perverted; yet if a spirit or angel were deprived of his proprium which belonged to his natural mind (interior as well as lower), he would be entirely deprived of life. In order that this may not happen, the propriate or natural mind is not effaced or nullified but made obsequious to the truly spiritual and celestial mind, and what is proper to him is disposed into a form comparable to a rainbow in which the colors draw their origin from white and black the black representing the evils of the proprium. Man can therefore not claim as his own the two innermost minds, by which the Lord gives the faculty to the natural mind to become what it is : "for neither Ivan, spirit, or angel knows anything of these minds" (SD 3474). In an earlier note, Swedenborg comments on the fact that the interiors (intimiora) of the angels are not vitiated by hereditary and acquired evils, but only those things which are of the natural mind. This easily gives the impression that the angels are without faults, and thus are pure and holy. But this notion, he tells, soon vanished when it was realized that no angel could be in the interior heaven, or in the more interior, or in the inmost, without at the same time being in the natural mind which belongs to that heaven. The natural mind cannot be put off because then they would lose the background of their individuality and would no longer be angels! but the faults and vices of the natural must be brought into harmony and correspondence with the interior things, and apart from this correspondence there would be no holiness. And such is the natural mind, that not to all eternity could such correspondence occur if the Lord did not continually bring it about. By such correspondence, angels seem to themselves not to be natural spirits when yet they are natural; for in certain states the natural seems to disappear, as if it were rendered transparent or absent; so that interior things from the spiritual and celestial minds then are displayed (SD 2157, 2158, 2292). The natural which is here spoken of includes not only the corporeal memory (HH 345, SD mm. 4645 f, SD 5552), but also the things of the interior memory, and thus the discrete degree of the rational mind in which the conscience of the angel had been based.32 It is therefore said that "not even the least idea of the interior mind can be reduced to full correspondence," still less all of the ideas taken together as to all their indefinite variations of persuasion and affection (SD 2159). The angelic mind is therefore also in need of continual purification. It is said that all spiritual purification is effected in the natural. What is thought of in the external man comes to manifest perception while man is in the world and can therefore be corrected and purified "in the natural which is in the world." But the thought which is transacted in the internal man is spiritual in form and cannot be purged of evil and error except "in heaven" (AC 10237, 10049). This is being done by the Lord during man's regeneration, and with the angels it is continued in their natural to eternity. For each new state will be born in their natural mind, and will partake of the human errors and vices of the proprium. One mode by which this purification of angelic ideas is effected is alluded to in the Writings. For it is revealed that while the "Word is being read by man, the arcana of its internal sense are so luminously presented to the perception of the angels that any ideas they may have formed from other sources or from past scruples or lingering doubts and obscurities, are gradually dissipated, and new ideas are insinuated which are in conformity with the light of truth in which the angels are. This is especially the case with the spiritual angels (AC 2249e). What the angels thus evolve from the man's reading of the Word seems to them as if it came from their own thoughts (De Verbo xviii). It is said that the angels have their wisdom from the Word. They have the Word, written in the spiritual language; but they read it and understand it in its internal meaning. The Word was written in heaven before it came to men (AE 1073, 1074). Yet new truth is aroused in the angelic mind through association with man on earth. "The natural thought of man is a plane in which all things of angelic wisdom close: it is a foundation like that of a house." Such as this plane is, such their wisdom becomes. The angels who are thus with men choose their own ultimates for all the minds of the human race on earth are open to them. Of the men with whom they are, they are ignorant, yet they direct their thought to various quarters and perceive here obscurity, there wisdom.
And where there is thought from the Heavenly Doctrine among men, the angels come into the greatest clearness (SD 5607 5617). Angels thus perceive the interiors of men's thoughts as if they were their own. But spirits turn to man's material ideas and base their own ideas upon the man's notions of places and personalities.33
Degrees of the Angelic Mind
It is for the sake of the heavens that our Word is so written that its spiritual senses speak of the various degrees of the angelic mind. When the Word speaks of Abram and Isaac and Israel, of Joseph and Benjamin and Judah, the angels thereby perceive the relationships between the interiors of their minds, and thus between the heavens. The Arcana Coelestia contains material for a study of these degrees in comparison with each other. Here we can only record that the conscious thought of the natural angels is on the spiritual-natural plane, which with man serves for a Rational Internal that is almost always beyond the reach of his conscious perception. In the same way the conscious thought of the spiritual angels is in the Exterior Rational which is called the Spiritual of the Celestial and is represented by 'Benjamin' who signifies "new truth" which is the source of the growth of the church; but which with man serves only as an Internal Intellectual from which man can never think but only derive the faculty of thinking. The celestial angels, finally, have their conscious mind in the Interior Rational, also called "the Celestial of the Spiritual," represented by 'Joseph.' This plane acts as a Rational Internal for the spiritual angels and as an Internal Intellectual for those of the natural heaven. With these the higher degrees are shut up (Cp SD 5547 if, AC 8443). Although the general doctrine is that "there are three degrees of heaven or of angels in the heavens," one passage in the Spiritual Diary describes seven degrees. The internal angels are of three degrees and the external of three degrees; while the celestial-spiritual, which serve as a medium between these two classes, constitute a seventh degree (SD 5547, 5550).34 The Internal Intellectual mentioned above is not identical with the Inmost of man. Yet it seems to refer to a plane or faculty above human thought (SD 5548) wherein the Lord can operate for His own ends with reference to man's state, and which He continually fills with mutual love and charity, and with wisdom, intelligence, and faith.35 This degree the Lord "opens" and prepares when man, in his rational, receives its gifts. The Lord can prepare this unconscious but determinant plane only so far as man, in the inmost conatus of his thought (AC 1937: 3), invites Him to do so. But with every man, the Lord acts through it from the Inmost to prepare "remains" celestial, spiritual, and moral in the various interior degrees of his Rational, i.e., in his interior memory. On the basis of such remains man can invite the presence of the heavens. The thoughts of the angels of the heavens are discretely different according to the degrees of their ruling loves. The celestial have a thought which consists not of ideas, but of affections most marvelously varied and modified (De Verbo 8). Their thought is generally not abstract but determined to life (SD 5887). The spiritual have spiritual ideas which are devoid of anything personal or limited and are so purely abstract that they are incomprehensible to lower angels. Yet they contain supernal beauty and comprise tender affections which are communicated beyond the bounds of their heaven. The ideas of those in the lowest heaven are still somewhat connected with persons and historical circumstances, and can therefore be perceived to some little extent by man when he is in states of illustration or interior reflection (AC 8443, cp. Wis. vii: 5). The ideas of the higher angels can however be expressed in their general form, as doctrines of truth, or as principles, to the angels of lower spheres; so that a spiritual-natural idea is said to be made up of myriads of higher ideas. These interior ideas may be represented to the minds of others in correspondent visual imagery, or by 'spiritual representations'; and also to the senses, as spiritual creations which the eyes of the spirit may perceive sensually while his mind interprets them spiritually. Yet it should also be observed that angels do not seem to themselves to live among abstractions, but among concrete and permanent realities. Nor do they always remain in the heights. They descend at intervals, as do men, to ordinary things of personal life. They retain powers of natural reason also, and some can reason and calculate with lightning speed (AC 10771).
The minds of angels, spirits, and men differ only in degrees of perfection. All have corresponding faculties and degrees. All have bodies and senses, a memory of what is experienced without them and within them. All have rational thought and also a supersensible Rational from which their perceptions emerge. They have like men an Internal Intellectual which provides the faculties of will and reason and stores the special gifts of wisdom and love which the Lord alone provides as the source of each individual's powers and endowments. Within and beyond these realms of the mind there is with every human being an "Inmost," the habitable of the Divine presence and the spiritual receptacle of life immediately from God.
The Inmost the Human Internal
All that makes man human, and thus all the good and truth which makes man's mind human, proceeds from the Lord as the Divine Human and is given by influx. Man has no life of his own, for life is in itself infinite and Divine, and angels and men are merely receptions. Life is not made finite by being received in finite vessels, but remains infinite while proceeding into its creation. Yet the reception makes the finite to appear alive and it is this appearance which is called "human life" (DLW 53). Life proceeds from the infinite Divine as Divine truth, for truth is the form of good. But in order that this Divine truth may be received by man, it must be accommodated. Accommodation is effected by a transmission of the Divine influx through finite substances created or produced by the Divine (DP 219: 2). This is described in the Arcana Coelestia as follows:
The truth which proceeds immediately from the Lord, being from the infinite Divine Itself, cannot possibly be received by any living substance which is finite, thus not by any angel; and therefore the Lord created successives by which as media the Divine truth that proceeds immediately can be communicated. But the first in succession from this is more full of the Divine than can as yet be received by any living substance which is finite . . . and therefore the Lord created another successive through which the Divine truth which proceeds immediately might be in part received: this successive is the truth Divine which is in heaven. The first two are above the heavens and are as it were radiant girdles of flame which surround the Sun which is the Lord. Such is the successive order down to the heaven nearest the Lord which is the third heaven, where are those who are innocent and wise... (AC 7270). The first two successives are here identified with the radiant belts around the Sun of heaven, and are said to be "above the heavens" and not "received" by any living finite substance, thus not by any angel. These successives are limited or finite substances, and are spiritual and thus living, although not "living a Se"; but the Divine life is not "received'' by the successives, but only transmitted. They exhibit no living human response, and are not organized as receptive vessels. But the third successive accommodates the Divine truth for reception, and is said to be the Divine truth in heaven. This first reception is not a conscious one. It is taught that with every man there is a Human Internal which is "the very first form from which man becomes and is man. The heaven that is nearest the Lord is composed of these human internals; but this is above even the inmost angelic heaven" (AC 1999). These human internals "belong to the Lord Himself" but "have no life in themselves," but are the inmost forms receptive of the Lord's life (ibid., LJ 25, ISB 8).
This human internal is present in all men, presumably in equal perfection. It is referred to as an Inmost, or as a supreme degree in which the Lord "makes His entrance to man and His veriest abode with him," or into which the Divine inflows "first and most proximately" and from which it disposes the lower interiors which belong to the spiritual and the natural man and which follow according to the degrees of order (HH 39, LJ 25). What is arranged and disposed by the Lord in this Inmost "does not inflow manifestly into the perception of any angel whatsoever, because it is above his thought and transcends his wisdom" (HH 39). The interiors of the spiritual man which are below the Inmost are the Internal Intellectual and the Rational Internal referred to in the Spiritual Diary (nos. 5548, 5549). The distinction between the Inmost and these lower internal degrees is not always made. The Divine truth accommodated by the third "successive" (AC 7270) comes to conscious perception only in the Rational of the celestial angels (SD 5548, AC 8443). When contrasted with the conscious mind of the angel, the Inmost is called the Soul36 and is defined as "a superior spiritual substance" which "receives influx immediately from God," whereas the mind is an inferior spiritual substance which receives influx mediately through the spiritual world (ISB 8). In his earlier notations in the Adversaria, Swedenborg made clear that "the Soul, properly so called" is the inmost substance from which man is formed and which is acted upon only by God (WE 649, 1147 f). It is there called a supra-celestial essence, purely spiritual; and thus different from the soul of brutes which "partakes of the spiritual and the natural" (WE 919). Thus the Inmost of each man is in the Lord's own keeping and is held inviolable not only from man himself but from all influences from the spiritual world. Here the Lord concentrates the influxes which His infinite foresight ordains for man's life. And from this Inmost, it would seem, He inflows into the Internal Intellectual and the super-conscious Rational to prepare the gifts of love and wisdom in accommodation to man's progressive needs, so far as man is able to receive the love and perceive the wisdom. The Divine influx itself must however be distinguished from the spiritual receiving organ which is man's soul or spirit (AC 1594: 5). The influx which is pure mutual love is Divine, and is the Lord present and laboring in man. The receiving organ, from the Inmost down to the spiritual body, is the interior man which becomes receptive of mutual love in the degree of his regeneration. So far as it receives this influx, it contains an "internal man," a new and heavenly "proprium"; for man then enters with his consciousness and will into what is of the Lord's own order and provision, and feels this as his own. And he then comes into possession of his spiritual heritage the kingdom which the Lord has prepared for him "from the foundation of the world." By evil, man is as it were separated from his Human Internal; yet this separation is never absolute, but is a dissent and disagreement on the part of his rational and external man. If it could ever be absolute, man could not become immortal (AC 1999). Hence it is that the third "successive" of Divine truth which flows into the highest angelic heaven and which creates the lower degrees of heaven and other successives even down to the last of nature, "also" flows in down to the ultimates of order "without successive formation" (AC 7270). The inmost soul of man thus rules all the planes below it and builds and maintains the body even before the mental planes are developed or "opened"; and this with the evil as well as with the good. The operations of the organs of the body and the spontaneous processes within the mind are mostly outside of man's control (DP 180, 181, 120). Through his soul, even a devil is maintained in the general human form, except so far as his evils have scarred and deformed it. Much might be said on the subject of the Human Mind, for which no place could be found in our brief survey. One of these aspects of the mind is the relation of the Will to the Understanding to which a long treatment is devoted in the Divine Love and Wisdom. Other related aspects, much discussed in the Writings, concern the process of Regeneration. The mind of man is created as the means by which the Lord may conjoin mankind to Himself, and give of His Divine love to others outside of Himself. To acknowledge this is the first thing of human wisdom. For only so can we dedicate this marvelous and complex spiritual organism to the discernment of His Divine ends and to the furtherance of the uses of His kingdom, here and forever.
Appendix I. The Various Usages of The Term "Soul" in The Writings of Emanuel Swedenborg
In the De Infinito and the Psychologica, the "soul" is described as the immortal organization of the first and second finites of the Principia system. This entity, constructed of the finest things of nature, would thus correspond to what the Theological Writings call the "limbus" or "medium" (TCR 103, Wis. viii.4). In the Economy of the Animal Kingdom, this same entity, produced from the first aura of nature, is called a "spirituous fluid." This is often called the "soul" of the body, although it belongs to dead nature and cannot be said to live, feel, or perceive (2 Econ. 245, Fib. 254). The Soul itself is however distinguished from this fluid as the spirit which determines it from within (2 Econ. 271). In the work on The Fibre, the Soul is further distinguished from the spirituous fluid and said to be simple and spiritual, without parts, extension, figure, or motion (Fib. 289, 290, Action xxvii). In the Rational Psychology and the Animal Kingdom the Soul is distinguished from the purest animal essence and is called an immaterial essence, purely spiritual in form and substance, and devoid of extension or parts, yet having something analogous to both. The Soul, thus defined, is shown to mean the entire after death spirit, whether good or evil (R. Psych. 498, 501, 504, 486, 473 476). In the Worship and Love of God and later in the Word Explained (Adversaria), the Soul is distinguished from the Mens and the Animus, and called a supra celestial faculty, purely spiritual in essence (WE 643, 649, 919, 1147 f). The term "souls" is used to distinguish human spirits from "minds which rule human minds mediately," i.e., from spiritual forces in the abstract, which do not possess any "quasi-corporeal texture'' (or 'limbus') such as men have after death. (WE 1148 3. Compare Swedenborg's allegorization of the myth concerning angels created in the beginning, in WLG).
In the Theological Writings we note the following usages of the term "soul" and "souls"
Appendix II. Association of Ideas in the Memory
By simple introspection, we may recognize various laws which govern the association of ideas in the memory. Two general types may be observed. One is simultaneous association, featuring composite sense -perceptions connected by simultaneous experience or the recall of kindred objects or events. The other type is successive association, like trains of thought wherein idea follows idea along the line of least mental resistance, or as when ideas flow together again after a disjunction. Space-time concepts indeed produce the "generals" of the corporeal memory, and form innumerable fields within that memory into which new ideas are fitted on transecting or tangential planes which never interfere with each other (Cp SD 2851). Infants, children and adults also learn to place perceptions into such space-time fields by experiencing distances and recognizing spaces through intervening objects (SD 2333e, 3666e). Contiguity in space and time is widely accepted as the sole "primary" law of association, and this is thought to account for the existence of certain pathways by which nerve energy passes between areas in the brain. The "secondary" laws of association "have to do with the relative strength of associative bonds or with the relative efficiency of such pathways."37 Thus we may observe a law of frequency, a law of recency (last thing observed), a law of intensity (or vividness), and laws of emotional set or emotional congruity (or state of mind). It has also been admitted that there are basic groups of associations, such as rational, imaginative, emotional, and inhibited. Although referring vaguely to "dynamic," "organismic," or "emotional" conditionings of the nerve paths, psychologists often fall back on a purely mechanistic explanation of memory associations, and usually speak of these associations as based in time and space. Indeed, the human mind is often regarded only as a set of "processes" in the nervous system, and associations of ideas would then have merely physical causes.
In recent times much attention has also been given to the theory that more or less subconscious instincts and urges (which we supposedly have inherited from animal ancestors) lurk within us as festering sores until they can emerge disguised in sublimated forms of expression as rational thoughts, social graces and esthetic symbols. The Writings clarify the problem of associated ideas by the doctrine concerning the relation of spirits and men. The mind in its unconscious depths is rooted in the spiritual world. The influx of spirits is felt by man as affections or cupidities. Thus the missing conjunctive factor in our mental life is an affection or delight which forms the vital connection between isolated perceptions, concepts, ideas, and states. This affection is what gives continuity, order and purpose to thought and to recollection, and links the objective sensual idea with the Rational, thus with the spiritual field of affection and thought. The general law of recollection is described as follows:
"The truths with man, no matter what they may be, or of what nature, enter into his memory by means of affection, that is, by means of a certain delight which is of love. Without affection or without a delight which is of love nothing can enter into man, for in these is his life. The things that have entered are reproduced whenever a similar delight recurs, together with many other things which have been associated or have conjoined themselves with them. In the same way, when the same truth is reproduced by oneself or by some one else, then the affection or joy which there was when it entered is in like manner excited, for they cohere conjoined" (AC 4205: 2). "Nothing can possibly enter into man's memory and remain there unless there is a certain affection or love which introduces it. If there is no affection . . . there will be no observation. It is this affection with which the thing that enters connects itself and, being connected, remains; as is evident from the fact that when a similar affection or love returns, the thing itself recurs and is presented to view along with other things that had previously entered by virtue of a similar affection or love, and this in a series. From this comes man's thought, and from this thought his speech. In like manner also, when the thing itself returns, if this be effected by objects of the senses, or by objects of the thought, or by some one else's conversation, the affection with which the thing had entered is also reproduced. This is the teaching of experience, and on reflection every one may be confirmed in it" (AC 3336: 2, 4301: 3,4). Associations of ideas are composed even of opposite and dissimilar things which have to be separated after death (SD 2851 f). The arrangement of ideas is effected by the ruling affections, and unrelated things are removed and set aside, as forgotten (AC 5278, 8885). Swedenborg testified that a man will have a clearer apperception of things the more associated ideas are adjoined:
"While I have been thinking, the material ideas of my thought have appeared as it were in the midst of a kind of wave, and it was observed that this wave was nothing else than such things as were adjoined to that object in the memory, and that thus the full thought is apparent to spirits, while nothing else then comes to man's apprehension than that which is in the midst and appears as material. I have compared that surrounding wave to spiritual wings by which the thing thought of is elevated out of the memory. From this the man has perception of a subject. That in that surrounding wave there were innumerable things harmonizing with the subject thought of, was made evident to me from this, that the spirits who were in a more subtle sphere thereby found out everything that I had ever known on that subject. . . . When I thought of a person whom I know, then the idea of him such as it appears when his name is mentioned, was presented in the midst; but round about, like an undulating volatile something, was everything I had known and thought about him from childhood; whereby the whole of him, such as he was in my thought and affection, appeared among the spirits in an instant. Moreover, when I have been thinking about any city, the spirits, from that surrounding undulating sphere, knew all that I had seen and known about it. The case was the same with matters of science. . . Such the thought appeared among spirits when I was a little withdrawn from the things of sense. But when the thought was in the things of sense, no such undulating sphere appeared; but all was then material and not unlike external sight" (AC 6200 f).