When We Discovered Swedenborg
by Leon James (written in 1981)
This is a textbook in spiritual geography. After quitting his job as State Engineer and Scientist Swedenborg's reports having been introduced into heaven by God Himself and shown around like a tourist, on a daily basis, and for the rest of his life on earth (27 years in all), in order that he may describe the conditions that await us after death. Besides Heaven & Hell in which he describes the heavenly societies and its angelic inhabitants, Swedenborg wrote over two dozen volumes of commentary to the Bible and which he calls Heavenly Secrets. It is because of this that the world had to pay attention to Emanuel Swedenborg:
IN HIS HEAVENLY SECRETS (24 V0LS.) EMANUEL SWEDENBORG (1688-1772)
PROVES THAT THE 66 BOOKS OF THE MASORETIC BIBLE (OUR OWN BIBLES
ARE BASED ON IT) ARE WRITTEN IN A CODE LANGUAGE (E.G., "GARDEN"
MEANS INTELLIGENCE; "SWORD" MEANS TRUTH, "SERPENT" MEANS
FALSIFIED TRUTHS; AND SO ON) 1 BY USING THIS CODE DICTIONARY, THE
BIBLE STANDS REVEALED AS PSYCHOLOGY TEXTBOOK ON SPIRITUAL LIFE.
THE AUTHORS OF THE 66 BOOKS IN THE BIBLE WRITTEN OVER A 1500 PERIOD
ALL SHARED KNOWLEDGE OF THIS CODE: EACH PROPHET FOR EXAMPLE
STANDS REVEALED AS A SCIENTIFIC CONTRIBUTOR ON A PARTICULAR PHASE
OF SPIRITUAL DEVELOPMENT. INCONCEIVABLE BUT TRUE: I VERIFIED HIS
CODE AND IT WORKS IN EVERY INSTANCE. SO CAN YOU!
1500 YEARS ARE ALL IN ONE SECRET CODE DISCOVERED BY SWEDENBORG?
SURE IT'S INGENIOUS -- ESPECIALLY SINCE IT APPEARS LIKE OLD
FASHIONED HISTORY AND ALLEGORY AND NO ONE SUSPECTED FOR 3000
YEARS -- YEAH, PRETTY INGENIOUS, BUT INCONCEIVABLE?
My point is this:
Swedenborg did more than what I have said so far. He also showed that this code was not arbitrary, as all codes are that are man made. All natural codes on the other hand are not arbitrary (e.g., gene structures or molecular arrangements or galactic density, etc.). Swedenborg thus showed that there is a cultural gene in the form of the code in which the 66 Books of the Bible are written. He showed that the code is natural and organic and of a spiritual origin. The main point is this:
Swedenborg's organic code represents textbook of psychology! I have studied it for some months now and it amounts to a coherent and systematic description of psycho dynamic life:
the developmental stages of the will as a native ability,
the causal relation between the will and cognitive life (emotions, drives, goals), and the
connection between these with overt action, speech, and thought.
Question: WHY AND HOW COULD THE BIBLE BE A SECRET
and in Divine Love and Divine Wisdom Emanuel Swedenborg reveals
the origin of the code: the heavenly societies are in
functional correspondence with ours on earth. We down here apparently make a
functional (cause-effect relation) with the above! (which is inside -- heaven)
Barely four months ago our family had
never heard of Emanuel Swedenborg. For reasons that I can no longer remember I
had included the name "Swedenborg' in my category of "author to look up
one day." Perhaps it was the Steiner Library Catalogue which listed an
article written by Steiner on Swedenborg. At any rate, it was Providence that
led me and my wife Diane Nahl to look him up in our University of Hawaii library one day
about four months ago. I found the Compendium and took it home.
That same evening I met Emanuel Swedenborg, Praise the Lord. And so did Diane,
Praise the Lord, who took home the Genesis volume (1) of the Arcana.
Diane and I share the joy.
And so do our two beloved children Rex: Mendel and Joy Rochel , who are thirteen and
eleven, respectively, and love the Lord. They embraced Swedenborg's
descriptions instantly. They have been reading the Word since an early age --
one hour every evening, and they received the Word through Swedenborg's explanations with
delight. They smiled and clapped with joy each time Diane and I related one
more new correspondence, one more enlightenment.
It is precisely the way Swedenborg describes it. All of it. There isn't one concept or idea in all of Swedenborg that isn't totally and finally valid. In Emanuel Swedenborg we see the perfect dualist scientist. In his writings lies the simple truth, as observed by an inspired spiritual ethnographer.
From that first evening a few months ago when we met Swedenborg in his writings, there has not gone bye one evening in our home without the warmth of Swedenborg. Diane is a graduate student about to graduate with a degree in Library Sciences. (Insert note: She has, and now in 1999, she is an Associate Professor--see her Web site.) I am a professor in the Psychology Department of the University of Hawaii. See my Web site here. We teach together an undergraduate course in Social Psychology.
We tried an educational experiment by including
Swedenborg as one of the "Nine masters in social psychology". Our
students were introduced to Swedenborg as a scientist who represents what we have to call
"the positive bias" in science. For
example, we study Roger Barker (founder of "Ecological Psychology"), Sigmund
Freud, and George Herbert Mead (of the famed Pragmatism School) as representatives of
"the negative bias" in science. This is because they use the concept
of the Null Hypothesis in statistics to prove theoretical propositions. For
example, a survey research sociologist (evolved from Mead) , when conducting survey
investigations, assumes in advance that there will be no difference between whatever
conditions are being contrasted -- hence the "null" hypothesis ("null"
meaning "no difference") . Now, if the results (or "data")
show that there is such a difference that it's not likely (i.e., less than 5% or 1%
chance) to have occurred by chance. Since the difference obtained is not
likely to have occurred by chance, the null hypothesis is rejected. The scientist then
says that there is a difference, as proven by the evidence of reasonable and practical
probability. Thus, to the scientist today (both survey research and
experimental research) proof and evidence of anything originates from the negative
assumption. Hence Diane and I have come to call this kind of science as
"the negative bias science."
Then we present a group of scientists
who shun the statistical method and use simple graphic displays for data. Such
are Kurt Lewin (the inventor of "Topological and Field Psychology"), B.F.
Skinner, the father of operant conditioning methods in education and management training,
and Ervin Goffman (a famed sociologist using the theatrical model of social
exchanges). Though these scientists use no statistics, yet they are classified
in the negative bias because they shun spiritual scientific concepts and
methods. in effect their attitude is that nothing is real unless it is
material, which is to say that all causes of human behavior must have an earthly
origin. Since they deny the possibility of anything non-earthly, we call
them the negative bias scientists.
Finally we present the positive bias
scientists as represented by Diane Nahl (my wife), Rudolf Steiner, and Emanuel
Swedenborg. They are called positive bias scientists because they teach that
only if you accept the non-material world as real and substantial can you
discover any facts from that world. Before Swedenborg in this group I had
included St. Paul as a social psychologist who though unknown as a
social psychologist yet was one, as anyone can read him and see.
Diane was baptized as an infant, I was born a Jew. I was ignorant of the Lord, having been kept in the faith of Moses. It was strictly forbidden for one like me to read the New Testament or to consociate in any way whatsoever with any who had the Lord's Name ready on their lips. Yet Providence led Diane to me six years ago and through her gentle and good influence I admitted HIM into my heart and into my mind and into my every single conscious act.
And now we are sharing the knowledge with our students, our friends, our family at large, the neighbors, even our colleagues. The latter are all in the negative bias and so it is quite a challenge to introduce them to Swedenborg, the scientist. Yet it is not difficult or unpleasant a task since Swedenborg was such a good scientist that his concepts are objective, factual, accurate, and what's more impressive, they are useful . Very very useful. This has been our presentation strategy. Swedenborg is so useful that he cannot be ignored. Society needs his intellect. Psychology, Education, Management -- the pillars of our civilization, need Emanuel Swedenborg's scientific tools. By the grace of the Lord the dissemination and use of his works will continue to be an inexpressible blessing to individual readers, and will flourish eventually in numerous applications in everyday life giving rise to a new Renaissance in culture, art, and science.
As educators Diane and I often have the
opportunity to reflect and discuss the great conspiracy against the spiritual in science,
education, and the science news reports of the mass media. For example, Rudolf Steiner and
Emanuel Swedenborg are both "positive bias" scientists. This means that
they recognize and work within the official cadre of scientific work and thought, yet they
affirm the spiritual as the real cause of the material. Though these two authors have more
titles to their name than most all other authors yet you do not find them included in the
standard histories of scientific thought taught in colleges, graduate programs, or
professional seminars. Why? That's what we meant when we chose the concept of
a conspiracy going on in the history of ideas.
There are in fact explicitly recognized practices within each official branch of science (called "scientific standards of rigor") that insure the exclusion of Swedenborgian concepts. For example, Swedenborg's concept of correspondences is in our view one which is demonstrably useful and practical, yet it is shunned by the negative bias in science. We would like to describe to you what our current perception is of Swedenborg's most central idea: the idea of synecdoche, which is that the part by itself is equal to the whole. This is precisely contrary to the negative bias scientist's view that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts (the Gestalt School principle).
The idea that the part is equal to the
whole runs at first contrary to the logic of the senses, especially when we consider that
an organ of the body is part of the body, and hence in appearance less than the
body. But this is only an appearance of truth. It is the literal truth, or the truth
in its literal sense, but it also has an inner truth, which is its cause and origin, and
which appears entirely different. This may be illustrated by the history of the discovery
of the macrocosm and microcosm in modern science after Galileo invented the optical
instruments for looking into space, and after the invention of the laser beam recently
allowed us to take pictures of the microcosm.
But it is much harder for the current conceptions of the negative bias scientist to accept this Swedenborgian idea in man himself, and in his own society.
Swedenborg calls this concept of synecdoche "the Doctrine of the Lord." It is a scientific explanation of how it comes about that the microcosm in the atom is a functional image of the macrocosm in the outer spaces of the galaxies. The explanation is as follows.
The originating premise in any scientific branch or field is never to be proven but accepted. We know this today from our experience in school with geometry and Euclid. There we see how Axioms lead to Theorems by logical inference, whence we go to the Proof in which we use anything we can: instruments, measurements, prior proofs, hunches, and so on, all with the intent of producing a "Demonstration" or Proof of the validity (truth) of a Theorem. Theorems are theoretical propositions or statements of facts about the world, hence they are always testable by experience and experiment. But notice that all of this scientific inquiry process is possible only because we start in each and every case with a Premise or Axiom which is not to be proven but accepted and taken as Given.
This paves the way for introducing the Axiom of the Doctrine of the Lord, which is that what proceeds from the First Cause remains indivisible. Another expression for this concept: the Laws of Divine Providence.
Having stated the Axiom (of course other forms of it are possible, but with the same functional results) let us proceed to the Theorems or deductions logically inferred from this Axiom One is that the smallest organic unit observable at any time is a functional replica or image of the largest organic unit observable at any time. This Theorem is but a restatement of the discussion above. Another Theorem is that empirical observations of the largest units we can observe at any time will be functionally applicable or valid descriptions of the smallest units, and all the units in between (the latter is a Corollary). This Theorem has been proven many times by Swedenborg. Take for instance the corresponding functional relations he exposed that exist between the structure of the universe as made up of three degrees of space or state, on the one hand, and on the other, the structure of the body and its functions, which also have a threefold organization, in degrees, one within the other. Let me explain further.
I'd like to make use of diagrams to allow you to grasp more readily the fundamental organization of the world that Swedenborg exposed to the light of scientific inquiry. Though Swedenborg's publications do not seem to make use of diagrams, it is very clear to the careful reader of his text, even as it comes through in the translated English, that his sentences are perfectly patterned syntactically and rhetorically. Patterned sentences are familiar to us from nursery rhymes; patterned syntax comes through there in what we experience as rhythm or syllabic recitation. Patterned syntax is evident in poetry and in some of the great speeches preserved by history, and often imitated by presidents in important (emotional) speeches.
But patterned sentences are graphic: there is an order effect that must be followed or else the pattern is destroyed, the meaning falsified, the mind confused. Patterned sentences are often used in language learning exercises where they are called by the experts "pattern practice." The intent there is to facilitate the acquisition of the new grammar of the second language as it differs and interferes with the grammatical patterns of the first language. Exactly on this principle, Swedenborg's genius was able to write volumes and volumes of patterned sentences, which unless understood, become horrendously monotonous and obscure -- as it appears to have happened to Emerson. What a contrast indeed between the poor vision of an Emerson or a Rudolf Steiner -- both of whom missed the mark in their reading of Swedenborg -- and the magnificent, alive, and wonderfully clear vision Helen Keller gives us of Swedenborg's sentences! What a contrast indeed, like the contrast between earth and heaven. And the explanation of the difference lies in this, that Helen Keller saw the conceptual diagrams of Swedenborg's patterned sentences, while Emerson and Steiner did not. I would like to draw these diagrams for you, gentle angelic neighbor, so that you may be confirmed in your view. For what you are confirmed in now, thus is your life, and thus is your eternity. This is the simple truth, gentle friend.
Look at the series of diagrams, all drawn the same way, namely three concentric circles. Within each is written a concept. The concept belongs to that circle and may not be exchanged without falsifying it. After a little while, gentle reader, you'll be able to place the right concepts in their appropriate circles. The out most circle stands for the material world of the senses and all facts and beliefs based on data from the senses (i.e., the negative bias science we discussed earlier). Thus, visible things such as objects in time/space, events in time/space, and their corresponding concepts such as behavior, action, movement, logical operations such as three-dimensional thinking, three-dimensional cognitive operations such as computer calculations and computer translations of human discourse using word processing programs, and many others. The intermediate circle stands for the causal, spiritual world that is prior to the manifest outer world and gives rise to it as cause eventuates in consequence or effect.
Thus, the behavior of getting dressed in the morning is an effect of a prior cause, namely the ability or skill or habit of getting dressed acquired in the past. Thus, habits are causes to behaviors. Or understandings are causes to statements and opinions. Or gardening is the cause of produce, or legislation is the cause of lower income taxes, and so on. The inmost circle stands for the origin of the causes just discussed. Thus, we must have a striving for getting dressed in order to acquire the habit or skill of getting dressed. Origins of things are prior to the causes of things, which are prior to the effects of things. There is thus an obvious and easily graspable threefold structure to everything whatsoever, a structure which can be represented graphically as three concentric figures, each figure separate and different in substance or degree, yet related in function through correspondence relations.
This correspondence relation is always the same, as shown by the arrows in the diagrams namely, the inmost is always first or prior, and the out most is always last, ultimate, and the three are locked into reciprocal and mutual functional correspondence as from origin to cause to effect. This process of diagramming Swedenborg's scientific concepts and system may be referred to as a graphic trigram, or a graphic concept. We've used these in our classes, both undergraduate and graduate, and in the case of Rex and Joy (our two children) as the elementary school level, and we found that they are easy to grasp and lead to the instant ability to use it as a thinking tool.
We are convinced that Swedenborg's intent in his patterned sentences was to allow us to picture in two-dimensional thinking (diagram) what was being presented in sentences, which are necessarily in three dimensions. Going from three-dimensional thinking to two-dimensional thinking is a magnum jump in intelligence, as we know from the statement that "a picture is worth a thousand words." A picture is in three dimensions while words are in three dimensions. The diagrams represent some of Swedenborg's concepts that are recurrent throughout his works. Are not the diagrams illuminating? Yes indeed!
Consciousness of sinful behaviors: Phase I. External Fundamentalism
THE TEN AREAS OF SINNING
based on the TEN COMMANDMENTS (Exodus 20)
3. DO NOT USE THE NAME IN VAIN...
THE SIX STAGES OF REGENERATION
Keeping Track Form
I would be delighted to know your reactions. Please
A related article, a sort of continuation of this one: Moses, Paul, and Swedenborg