The Web address of this document is:
(selection from Chapter 6)
Sexuality is a key issue in most people's lives and is an important topic in any society. For example, in the number one word in frequency that millions of people are looking up every day on the Web is "sex." If you type in sex in the top ranked Web search engine, www.google.com , you get an astonishing 250 million registered Web pages. The word "God" receives 61 million hits, which is pretty impressive to me, compared to "food" which receives 100 million hits. Just to get a real contrast the word "psychology" receives 14 million hits, the word "mother" receives 38 million, and "money is listed on 106 million Web site. "Patriotism" has less then one million, and "morality" has over 2 million. "Rationality" has about half of one million and "Swedenborg" receives a little over 100,000 hits.
Why does the topic of sex arouse so much passionate interest everywhere? The topical frequency of occurrence measure reflects the mental frequency of occurrence. A hot issue in society is a hot issue in the minds of the majority of people in a community or nation. The hot issue in our mind about sex is caused by the love of the sex that is built into the affective organ of every mind, a different way for males than for females. Scientific revelations in the Writings about human sexuality are both fascinating and tremendously useful to society and to individuals.
Theistic psychology distinguishes two forms of sexuality, one heavenly the other hellish. This may sound intolerant and bigoted from the perspective of today's diversified attitudes toward sexual behavior, but when you examine it within the positive bias perspective, it will be seen that this account is both rational and objective, not judgmental. At the level of religion, the basis for prohibited sex is dogma or doctrine based on the literal meaning of Sacred Scripture. But when you reconstruct the scientific sense of Sacred Scripture there emerges the universal principle that everything in the human mind, without exception, originates either from heaven or hell. Within this context, saying that every sexual behavior and quality originates either from hell or heaven, is not dogmatic or prudish, but objective and rational. Sexuality follows the same universal principles as do all human behavior characteristics.
Now we need to discover what features of sexuality are from hell and what from heaven. Again, it will be seen that only objective criteria are used, not judgmental or dogmatic. Since hell and heaven are both in every person's mind, our sexuality originates in our own mind. But we would not be able to have any sexuality without "influx" from the vertical community (see Chapter xx). Every hellish trait and every heavenly trait in our mind is similarly dependent on influx. Since the spiritual world = the mental world (see Chapter xx), all human traits, both hellish and heavenly, are shared in common by the human race. The sexuality of one individual is nevertheless unique because every person adapts the pool of pan-human traits to oneself in a unique way.
During character reformation, or spiritual development, we must investigate our traits and decide with each if it is hellish or heavenly, then reject the one and accept the other. In this manner we take progressive steps toward our regeneration, which refers to the preparation of a conscious character that can live in heaven to eternity. The trait of sexuality also needs to be examined in ourselves, a task that lasts a lifetime on earth. The following diagram can be helpful in distinguishing between heavenly traits of sexuality and hellish. Sexual behavior and attitude are closely linked to selfishness and altruism.
The Writings tell us that the hellish aspects of sexuality are activated by a ranking built-in and inherited motive called the "love of the sex," while the heavenly aspects of sexuality are activated by a ranking built-in and inherited motive called the "love of one of the sex." Be sure to carefully contrast these two expressions. I had to look at them many times before they stopped looking similar:
To understand the precise difference we need to focus on "sex" vs. "one." To love sex is to love the activity, while to love one of the sex, is to love a person. Quite a difference!
The love of the sex is a mental operation in the affective organ of the corporeal mind, the lowest part of the natural mind which we also share with animals. The love of the sex by humans is very similar to the love of the sex by animals. Atheistic biology and medicine view all sex in these terms. But theistic psychology cannot view all of sexuality at those limited levels of the mind, since the operations of the affective organ are ranked in a hierarchy of distinct degrees--natural, spiritual, and celestial. In the lowest portion of the natural mind sexuality is indiscriminate, non-exclusive, and temporary because it is determined by the love of the sex, which is the love of sex regardless of situation or condition. The attitude behind the love of the sex is exploitative because it is tied to the love of self and the world for the sake of self and the world. There is no love of others for the sake of others--which may be called altruistic sex.
The selfish sex of a husband is a sensorimotor coupling with his wife but it is not conjunctive. It is a natural-sensuous experience for him and does not go deeper than his physical pleasure. This kind of sexual activity by a husband is indiscriminate, promiscuous, pornographic, and unchaste. It is not personal with his wife. Sex therapists in atheistic psychology prescribe or approve of fantasizing being with someone else while making love to one's spouse. Some even recommend pornographic videos to stimulate and "revitalize" the passion of the married couple for each other. This kind of therapy or advice ignores the internal-spiritual consequences of approving non-exclusive sex thoughts.
The unity model of marriage leads the partners into a spiritual-sensual sexuality which is modeled after the celestial marriage they are going to enjoy together in heaven in eternity. The delights and pleasures of conjugial love are immeasurably greater and more passionate than the pleasures of natural-sensuous sexuality. Swedenborg conversed about this with both husbands and wives in the heavens and it is they themselves who reported this wonderful intensity of their sexuality. This is not something Swedenborg invented or theorized about. It is noteworthy that Swedenborg was never married in this life, yet he was commissioned by Divine Human to write the scientific revelations of sexuality in the book of the Writings called Conjugial Love (1768). I speculate that the reason Swedenborg didn't get to get married on earth was brought about Providentially so that he could report on the subject of marriage without personal subjective experience of it in this world. He was led in this way to rely exclusively on his objective observations of married couples in the spiritual world and on their own self-witnessing reports of their feelings and thoughts.
In the spiritual-sensuous portion of our mind, sexuality is entirely different from that in our natural-sensuous mind.. At the spiritual level of rational consciousness sexuality consists of the love of one of the sex and is closely tied to the love of others for the sake of others. The love of one of the sex in the affective organs of the spiritual and celestial mind is exclusive, monogamous, and eternal. It builds and solidifies unity between husband and wife so that externally they appear as one individual. The love of one of the sex cannot operate below the spiritual and celestial levels. This spiritual sexuality can be acquired by elevating one's rational consciousness by means of Sacred Scripture. But there is an important difference between the religious and the scientific levels of thinking about it. Religion specifies what sexual behaviors are permissible and which ones are prohibited. For instance, virginity, monogamy and fidelity in marriage are presented as Commandments of God that must be obeyed at the risk of displeasing God or going to hell. This is strongly motivating though it becomes less powerful if we reject heaven and hell, as so many people do when they are not offered scientific proof of their existence.
In theistic psychology heaven and hell are given a scientific status and rational description. Therefore it becomes more difficult to merely reject or dismiss the religious prohibitions against the love of the sex. As we elevate our mind above the literal meaning of Sacred Scripture to theistic science, we discover the scientific details with which we can assess our own sexuality. This gives the opportunity to choose objectively in freedom by means of rational understanding. This is the spiritual level of understanding sexuality. We can understand rationally that there are two intense and passionate forms of sex we can have. One is natural-sensuous, the other is spiritual sensuous. The natural-sensuous sex we have is non-exclusive and feels good with many, not just with one person. The spiritual-sensuous sex we have is exclusive and feels good with only one chosen person. All thoughts, fantasies, and desires for other partners in sex are seen as threats to our monogamous and exclusive sexual relation.
In movies and novels this theme is often reflected contrastively with men and women, men being shown as promiscuous and unchaste, while their girlfriends or wives are chaste and exclusive. Often the women are portrayed as feeling jealous and threatened when the man shows a sexual interest in others. It is known therefore that women love monogamy and exclusivity in sex while men do not love that, and have to force themselves to be faithful in act or thought. Eventually the men also love exclusivity in sex when they begin to bond internally with their wife. Even then the husbands may feel attraction and excitement of the non-exclusive type of the love of the sex. The Writings advise and warn that husbands should be very careful to reject these natural-sensuous thoughts and desires when they occur. It's not their occurrence that should be addressed (over which we may have no control), but the rejection of them when they occur in our mind. If we do not actively and explicitly reject them in our mind, we are allowing them in, and since they are pleasurable and delightful, we love them, and the loves we accept we can never give up.
Quoting from the Writings:
Note that the love of one of the sex is called "conjugial love." Non-exclusive sexual relationships are referred to here as "love towards many and with many," and is called a "natural love." Animals have this love and so do we--in our natural mind. But higher up we have a spiritual love which animals do not have. Everything spiritual is based on rational consciousness which animals cannot possess, not having the mental physiology for it. We become spiritual to the extent that we think rationally and abandon non-exclusive sexual relationships in favor of conjugial love. This makes sense since love of the sex keeps our consciousness in the natural mind where that affection operates. To raise our consciousness to the spiritual-rational level we must commit ourselves to conjugial love which is a love operating in our spiritual-natural mind, hence above the natural as heavenly things are above earthly things.
Note also that at the beginning of marriage we have the love of sex, but as we progress in spiritual-rational development, the natural love of sex in our mind is transformed into the spiritual love of one of the sex, or conjugial love. External marriages that do not have a spiritual dimension remain natural, but if a spiritual dimension develops, the natural love of sex is extinguished and conjugial love takes its place. This elevates our mind to the spiritual and celestial levels of operation. The love of sex is also called "roaming" because it is non-exclusive. For instance, husbands who are into pornographic entertainment remain in a natural love towards their wife because they are maintaining their sexuality as promiscuous or non-exclusive. It doesn't matter if they do not have physical sex with other women. If they desire it and enjoy the idea of it, accepting it as permissible, they are immersing their consciousness in a natural-sensuous and corporeal animal love. It is the same with husbands who fantasize having sex with another woman while they are having sex with their wife. And it is the same when they are having "phone sex" or "email sex" with others.
It is important to understand rationally what are the consequences of remaining in a natural state of sexuality and not progressing to a spiritual love of one's spouse.
Quoting from Conjugial Love 48:
Swedenborg was able to observe that when married partners have both passed on they meet in the world of spirits and live again together in their external state, which means in the natural state in which they lived on earth. During this initial encounter neither of the two partners are aware of how they feel toward one another in their "interior" mind. They seem to get along and like each other on the surface, but deep down they may feel the opposite. The deeper feelings were hidden from their conscious awareness on earth, yet they were there, as shown by the fact that at times they did not get along, had fights, and expressed dislike and even hatred of one another. After awhile, the two partners are separated from their external feelings and they become conscious of their deeper or interior feelings. Now if these deeper feelings for one another are positive, they continue to live together forever, but if the deeper feelings are negative, they now separate and go their own way.
What happens now to those who have harbored desires for other partners that they kept from coming to the surface? They now come out in their most intense form and one feels irresistibly drawn to others and away from the spouse. The married partners now find themselves separated from each other. It is the end of their marriage. But it is different with those who rejected their non-exclusive desires when they occurred throughout the marriage on earth. The unchaste desires were not suppressed and hidden from view or expression. They were judged as inappropriate and dangerous, even if delightful, like a hungry person who rejects a tasty meal knowing that the dish is poisoned. When this mental rejection is performed consistently and honestly throughout marriage on earth, we are liberated from the love of non-exclusive sex and enjoy the far greater pleasures and delights of conjugial sex. When we meet our conjugial partner in the other life we are able to enter heaven together and abide there forever.
When married partners who first meet in the world of spirits discover that they are internally unsuitable for each other, they separate and then each meets another person with whom they can develop a conjugial love relationship, at which point, they enter heaven. Or, one may enter heaven while the other enters hell, or both can enter hell. In hell there are no conjugial love relationships because this requires a rational consciousness that is spiritual or celestial. In the hells of our mind we are corporeal-sensuous and irrational, hence we cannot experience a rational love. Those in hell are compelled to live in a state of "concubinage" or "infernal marriage" with someone there whom they hate and despise. Definitely something that we would want to avoid, especially since, as Swedenborg observed, those in hell have absolutely no more any love of sex. The men loathe marriage and the idea of sex with the wife makes them violently nauseous. Some women in hell called "sirens" acquire the ability to make themselves look beautiful, virginal, and chaste. They set traps for men in hell who try to satisfy their never-ending lust for various types of sexual perversions or "degrees of degeneracy"--fantasies having to do with "deflowering virgins" and then abandoning them; or, seducing another man's wife; and many other weird things.
Here is a brief passage showing the controlled and experimental character of Swedenborg's reports on the spiritual world. On this occasion he wanted to find out if there are men who are only interested in sex when they can seduce someone else's wife. A sample of men were brought to Swedenborg by his angel guides who were people from the highest portion of their mind called the third heaven and thus possessed super-powers relative to those who were lower in their mind. This is an amazing characteristic of the spiritual-mental world of rational ether (see Chapter xx). I underlined the phrase that shows the experimental condition used on this occasion.
The above experiment is a case of forced self-witnessing out loud. Here on earth today, the lie-detector is used by some companies and institutions when investigating personnel issues. The instrument makes physiological measurements of an individual's skin conductance (perspiration) and blood pressure, both being viewed as indicators of emotional reactions. The questions are phrased slowly and in different ways, relating the person to some act (e.g., "Did you know it was broken?" "Did he speak to you?"). GSR readings and blood pressure changes are recorded and later analyzed. A conclusion is then reached as to whether the individual was lying, not lying, or that one cannot tell from the results. The angelic guides who were assisting Swedenborg had a more effective technique available to them--they compelled them to answer as they think, making it impossible for them to say the opposite of the truth.
In the above passage Swedenborg portrays himself as indignant at their callous attitude. Swedenborg reminds them graphically that sexual intercourse with another man's wife mixes their semen with her husband's semen. But they obviously fail to be shocked at this image: "What harm does it do there?" Swedenborg was confronting them with the fact that they were flouting "God's law" because "a man's soul is in his semen." This is explained in other places, namely that the semen carries not only the father's DNA but also a complete copy of his soul, which is a spiritual organ that receives the impulse of life and therefrom animates the body's physiology. In this soul are contained all the loves of the father, those that he himself inherited and those that he himself contributed. These inherited loves are both evil and good. They will all strive to come out into the mind and behavior of the offspring. They are visible or measurable in terms of innate capacities, impulsive tendencies, various weaknesses, and strong preferences.
The physical act of sexual intercourse is itself only a representative or an effect of a mental-spiritual act. This mental act is defined as contrary to "God's laws." The men in the passage above can only focus on the physical semen and see no consequences in having the semen of several men in a woman's vagina, like a prostitute who doesn't wash herself every time. Apart from the fact that sexually transmitted physical diseases come in this way, one must also consider the disorderly intentions and motives that cause the act, because these are spiritual events that have their consequences. Even if no immediate physical harm comes from seducing another's man's wife, there is spiritual harm to the mental organs of the man and woman. This spiritual harm is the result of intending against God's laws of spiritual order. There are built in and inevitable spiritual consequences to every disorderly mental act. Any mental act that is contrary to God's laws is a disorderly act. One of the items I hear on the news today is a new survey that shows that 40 percent of Americans say they have tried a "sex toy." This would be funny were it not so pathetic. It shows the impossibility of satisfying "roaming" love of sex. The biggest money maker ever for U.S. pharmaceutical companies is Viagra, a drug prescribed for men who can't have an erection at the appropriate time and women who lack "libido."
The limited clinical use of sex drugs is understandable but the use of it for the majority of physically normal men is an indication that the love of non-exclusive sex and pornography leads to mental impotence. The "roving" love of sex with many partners is a four-stage process. The first stage is that of being sexually active with multiple partners, physically, mentally, or both. The second stage is temporary loss of sexual interest. The third stage is resumption of roving and looking for other partners. This process recycles for some years, then it ends with the final stage: loss of interest in all sex, at first, and later, hatred of all sex.
These built in consequences and mechanisms must be understood rationally, or else one begins to question what is disorderly. If it's just some moral or religious dogma, I can skip it, but if it's a scientific physiological consequence, I better pay attention. At the end of the passage above we get an image of what these consequences are: "Afterwards I saw them divided into groups, some of which were thrown into hell." To be thrown into hell means, as explained elsewhere in the Writings, that they appear to throw themselves into hell out of anticipation and lust for the disorderly things they can do there. But they are certainly not counting on the fact that after a little time of wanton abandon and delights, their mental state changes to an endless cycle of emotions they hate--being deprived of their lusts, being persecuted and haunted by others there whom they cannot escape, and taking turns torturing each other endlessly.
Let's get back to the earlier passage discussed above regarding married partners who meet in the world of spirits. Continuing with that passage:
It's revealing to discover that husbands "rarely know their wives" when they meet up in the world of spirits, while wives recognize their husbands. This comes about because of a fundamental physiological difference in love between men and women. Men have an "exterior perception" of love while women have an "interior perception." Wives monitor the feelings of their husbands at a more interior level than husbands themselves are aware of their own loves. A man might say that he loves this or that, but his wife knows what he really loves or hates.
Continuing with the Number:
Here you can see that whether a man and a woman stay together to eternity is a matter of spiritual physiology and compatibility, just like antibodies act on other cells of the body to reject or accept. It's not a matter of subjective or arbitrary preference but is the inevitable consequence of the structure of the mind that each has formed for themselves while living on earth. What's remarkable is that there are two levels of structure, external and internal, and many people are not aware of their own inner structure. For instance, they are aware that they like this or that activity or experience, and desire to repeat it over and over, yet they are not aware of the interior feelings and delights that actually control the external likes and choices.
Think of the iceberg analogy here: We can see the external structure of the mountain of ice floating on the ocean, but we do not know how large the structure is below the surface, or what is its shape. Yet what is below the surface is far more important in determining the consequences. For instance, if a ship collides with the iceberg, whether it survives or not depends on the size of the iceberg below the surface. And other consequences that one can describe. In the same way the consequences of our inner feelings and motives, which we cannot see, are far more important for our future--whether we go to heaven or hell, whether we stay together or not, and other consequences that follow from these.
From the passage above (and others relating to it in the Writings), you can also see that there are two phases we go through after the process of resuscitation from the death of the physical body, normally a matter of a few hours. The first phase is the awakening to our conscious awareness in the world of spirits. We are then in the external portion of our natural mind, or personality and memory. We recall our life on earth just like when we are awakened from surgery and after a few moments of confusion, we are back in the saddle of our life. Our memories and knowledge of this life is what our consciousness is immersed in during this first phase of the afterlife. We know our identity and relationships, often meeting up with friends and family that preceded us in the afterlife. If our spouse or significant other has preceded us, we meet up and even live together intimately for awhile. In our spiritual body we can perform the same activities as we are used to, and the sensations and delights are far stronger and purer than what we had in the physical body. These observations were made by Swedenborg with large samples of people he was able to observe from the moment they were resuscitated to their final dwelling place in heaven or hell.
Then we become aware of a change that is taking place with us. Inner feelings we were only dimly aware of, now begin irresistibly to come out of us. We are surprised but also delighted. The deeper the feeling that comes out into conscious awareness, the more intense the delight we experience and the freer we feel. The freedom we felt in our external loves and motives now appear to us as partial and very limited. We would never want to go back into such restricted mental spaces, like a genii out of the bottle. Along with these powerful new feelings and enjoyments comes a change in our appearance and environment. Our former friends no longer recognize us and we seem to be encountering all sorts of new people that are exciting and lead us further and deeper into the unfolding of our inner character. These experiences are carefully timed, arranged, and presented individual by the Divine Human, regardless of whether the individual recognizes God's existence or not.
This is the process of the "second death" which refers to the quieting down and laying aside the external personality we had on earth. The process varies in extensiveness depending on how aware the or unaware the individual is of their inner character and what loves and motives are entrenched there. Love is what produces freedom, according to the Writings. Freedom is the feeling we have when we act out our love, both in thinking and in sensing and doing. If anything inhibits the acting out of our love, we feel unfree and unhappy. Our delight and enjoyment of life is gone when we are prevented from acting out our love. While we were on earth there were external reasons and forces restricting us from acting out many of our loves. We didn't like that, and it often made us depressed or resentful, even rebellious and destructive.
Forces that prevent us from acting our loves here on earth include fear, disapproval, punishment, guilt, embarrassment, shyness, lack of suitable partners, etc. These are external natural conditions that have no power in the world of spirits. In that state of mind we do what we please. We go where we want because it is our desires and motives that bring us to the places and people we are interested in. Those who would disapprove or punish cannot be around us because we choose to exclude them and there is nothing they can do about it. There is no government, police, or prison since the walls would crumble immediately you have the desire to exit. Your environment is produced by the feelings and thoughts you have, not by the physical constraints around your body.
The coming out of your inner loves is therefore an inevitable process for every individual who has been resuscitated. Whether it seems to us like a few hours, days, or months, the process comes to an end when all of our external motives and loves have been shut down, and we are fully immersed in our inner loves and character. Now at last you can know for sure who you are and what you are. If you discover yourself to be a devil, you are led to where devils are in their mind, and together you form a spiritual or mental community. The thoughts and feelings each individual has in such a community now determines the appearance or environment of the dwelling place. Swedenborg saw the dwelling places or mental environments of those who are in the hells of their minds together. They are awful, much worse than you can imagine, much worse that I could imagine when I read the Writings and all its details about heaven and hell.
If you discover yourself to be an angel, you are led to where others are in their heavenly rationality. Swedenborg noted that roads or pathways suddenly appear to you, which you are moved to take, and quickly you seem to yourself to arrive to a most beautiful city full of gardens, at the gates of which people greet you and welcome you. Amazingly, they seem totally familiar to you, like siblings and childhood friends you haven't seen for awhile. Their appearance is even similar to yours, like you are all from the same family. No one else can see the road or path that the individual for whom it is a sign that the second death has happened and eternal life has begun. And if you have a conjugial spouse that preceded you, he or she now appears to you, being reunited with heavenly joy and blessedness. The two of you then walk a little further on the streets until you come to a house that you both recognize as yours. No one else has been able to see the house or enter into it. You enter, and you begin your life in eternity as an angel couple, living in bliss with other angel couples, protected from every single possible negative feeling, thought, or emotion.
You can see form this summary description that heaven and hell are not places of reward for being good and places of punishment for sins. The Writings reveal that no one is ever punished for past sins or misdeeds no matter how good or evil. I was amazed when I read this. It seemed contrary to what I had believed from religion, and it seemed counter-intuitive. But then I got the full rational explanation. It is the inner character or ruling love that creates the heaven and hell in our mind. This is the inevitable. It is the actual mental state of our loves that determine whether we fall into hell or ascend to heaven. Suppose you see yourself sink into hell after your resuscitation phase is over. You are not being punished for passed misdeeds. You are sinking into hell because your loves, delights, lusts, and enjoyments are hellish in character. It is an inexorable law of the spiritual world that your environment is determined by your inner character. If you see yourself rise to heaven, it is happening not as a reward for what you did in the past on earth, but a consequence of the spiritual law that inner loves create the environment for everyone. Your entering heaven is an event produced by your inner loves, when they are heavenly loves you acquired on earth by a life of conscience and usefulness to others.
Continuing with the passage:
There is then a mighty struggle that occurs in our mind between the first death and the second death. The passage above says that we are "let into our external and our internal alternately." This alternating experience must be like a Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde type experience. At some point we look like an angel person, gentle, handsome, and rational, and at the next moment we look like a devil person, insane, ugly, and dangerous. Our fate in eternity is now determined by this life and death struggle. Heaven is called life while hell is called death because it is the death of our human part so that what is left is a kind of human-beast. The purpose of this alternation serves to make us aware of the inner loves we actually have within us, entrenched, inextricable, there forever.
No one can be forced or compelled to enter either hell or heaven. It is by definition a choice we make according to our ruling loves. Note the somber warning in the passage above: "if he had not repented in the world, he cannot do so afterwards, for he loves his insanities and wishes to remain in them." We cannot repent means that our ruling loves cannot be displaced by other loves. Imagine your best friend is with you at that state of mind and is pursuing his evil loves. You try to change his mind, pointing out how awful hell is and how wonderful heaven is. But your friend just laughs at you and continues to sink into hell by going deeper and with more abandon into the evil loves and irrational thoughts. Soon you have to remove yourself form his presence since you cannot stand to see those evils.
From these descriptions of the resuscitation process and the second death you can see what happens to married partners. Everything is determined by the ruling loves you acquire in your marriage with your spouse. If you have had an external marriage only, your ruling loves were not actually involved. They remained buried within your character, and only once in a while did you and your spouse have an inkling of what they are. Every marriage begins with the conjunction or union of the two external personalities. This type of relationship is often based on the "male dominance" model of marriage, as discussed above. Then, some couples move on to the equity model in which engages more inward forms of their personality. And after that, they have the opportunity to engage their inmost loves and to be conjoined in an internal marriage. Now their external marriage is complete because it has the internal marriage within it. It is this internal conjunction or marriage between the partners that takes over at the second death and determines their fate.
The "model" in marriage refers to the philosophical belief system of each partners. I have identified three models that are aligned progressively from the early phase of male dominance to the later phase of equity to the final phase of unity. With few exceptions, every marriage starts with the male dominance model which both partners come with based on their cultural background and upbringing. There are couples who appear intellectually opposed to the male dominance model, and see themselves as following the equity or equality model. Dr. Laura Schlessinger's ideal model of marriage is the male dominance model. The popularity of the book indicates that this is the model that many American men are most attracted. Dr. Laura Schlessinger's advice to wives is to allow the husband to remain in the illusion of the male dominance model, and to take actual charge of the relationship. Dr. Laura Schlessinger says that it is the woman who has the real power, because she understands relationships and what's going on with the husband, while the husband is clueless because he is "simple" in mentality. This point of view is the male dominance model.
We will examine what she writes and how she expresses the male dominance model as the ideal for couples to follow. I will point out the assumptions that show her belief in the male dominance model. To be able to bring this out, I will contrast the male dominance model with the equity and unity models. I will try to show that the dominance model is an external phase of the marriage relationship, and that the partners need to progress to further phases in order to make the marriage more internal, involving spiritual loves that are permanent. The equity model is a belief system that couples use to leave behind the male dominance model, on their way to the unity model, which is the true internal marriage of conjugial love. If the marriage partners both enter this unity model phase before passing on, they will be in heaven together to eternity, growing endlessly more interior into the human potential.
The wife can enter into conjugial love more easily than the husband, and if her husband is unwilling to follow her into that phase, she will be in heaven with another mind, her true soul mate who is willing to follow her to her heaven or perfect happiness. The husband who is unwilling to enter the unity phase with any woman, even after arriving in the world of spirits, cannot enter the heaven of his mind, but slips down into his own hell, created by his rejection of rational consciousness and true spirituality. The unity model of marriage is a spiritual and celestial model that represents the relationship of marriage in the heavens. It is described in the book of the Writings known as Conjugial Love (1768).
A wife's heaven is the state of mind she is in where her husband is present with her and united mentally as one. In other words the functioning of her mental organs is dependent on the reciprocal functioning of his mental organs in such a way that they can form a one or unity. And yet absolutely nothing in the wife is like anything in the husband for there is a perfect and total differentiation of all units in mental organics and hence in physical. This reciprocal relationship of differentiation and unity, is like the relationship between the heart and the lungs.
The body's blood circulation and heart correspond to the affective organ in the mind and the lungs and pulmonary system correspond to the cognitive organ. The affective and cognitive organs in the mind work together in synergy, like the heart and lungs in the body. They are two systems that are completely differentiated from each other, each having a structure that is different in all aspects from the other. The differential structure of each organ allows them to serve their own unique function. Neither alone can support the operation of the muscles and sensory nervous system, but together the structural parts interconnect and act appropriately according to the function they each must meet. Together, or in unity of function, they allow the muscles and senses to be alive in their operation.
Marriage is similarly a synergy of the husband and wife operating together through their differentiated structures, to create a unity of minds that allows the two independent people to form a conjugial couple, conjoined internally to eternity and developing together their progressive perfection.
The problems in marriage today are appear many. Why are there problems with marriage? It is a creation by God to bring about the perfect happiness of two human beings to eternity in heaven. This creation is perfect and there are no problems with it. The perfection of marriage cannot be created by God apart from a man and a woman born on some earth in the natural world within some culture and society. The perfection of marriage is this: That it a process of growing into a conjugial couple. Two independent individuals, a man and a woman, regardless of culture or personality, regardless of physical size or mental ability, can start the process of growing progressively more and more into a unity, and this to eternity. This independent self-motivated progressive growth is necessary for our happiness and joy to be as much as we can take every day to eternity. Marriage is a perfect creation because it leads to this perfect state of human life. No other mechanism than marriage is given in Divine revelation for achieving the perfection of eternity.
It has also been revealed that the perfection of marriage is a spiritual phenomenon, not natural. Natural marriages which are external without the spiritual within it, are not perfect, and in fact external marriages have many sad and self-destructive characteristics. The power and perfection of marriage is achieved only when the spiritual marriage is also operative within the minds of the husband and wife. The spiritual marriage is called "the marriage of good and truth." This spiritual marriage is the very basis and foundation of regeneration and salvation, that is, of spiritual development towards the perfection of eternity in heaven. The marriage of good and truth is called most holy in the Writings because Divine Good is the same as Divine Love, and Divine Truth is the same as Divine Wisdom, and these are most holy because God Himself in Essence and Form.
It has been revealed that in the Divine Human there is a most holy marriage of Divine Love and Divine Truth. Infinite love and infinite truth in God make a one, a unity. Nothing about love is like anything about truth, just as nothing about the affective organ is like anything in the cognitive organ. Or again: nothing about a feeling is like anything about a thought. And again: nothing about a woman is like anything in a man. There must be this absolute duality between the elements of the two parts that unite into a perfect oneness. There cannot be a oneness between God and a human being because they are of different substances, God infinite and uncreate, a human being finite and created. The creator cannot become one with the created--this would be a rational impossibility. If it were to happen, the duality between Creator and created would disappear, and neither created nor Creator could then continue to exist
The total differentiation between man and woman is a representative correspondence of the total differentiation between love and truth in God. The marriage of good and truth in the Divine Human is the source of perfection of the marriage of a man and a woman, and the source of perfection of the regeneration of an individual's affective and cognitive life. Spiritual development of the individual is the progressive perfection of the marriage in his mind between the will and the understanding, that is, between the operations of the affective organ and those of the cognitive organ. When the affective and cognitive organs are joined by synergy into a unity, the individual is being regenerated, the individual grows spiritually and is made ready for conjugial love. The regenerating husband and the regenerating wife then grow together in the internal spiritual portion of the marriage process.
The earliest generations on this earth are called in the Writings "the Most Ancient Church" or the "Adamic Church." Swedenborg visited them in their heavens where they have lived in conjugial love for many thousands of years, though they themselves have no sense of time or history. They were born on this earth with a celestial mind and they had the ability to communicate directly with those who preceded them in the spiritual world. They entered into the perfect marriage process without resistance or opposition. They were incapable of thinking about non-exclusive relationship or sexuality. When Swedenborg started telling them about the commonness of adultery, infidelity, and promiscuity on this earth in modern times, they were so horrified they could not bear to think about it, and refused to hear any details.
But the celestial mind which was first created on this planet was not complete in its ultimate evolution and perfection. The very fact that they could not contemplate or imagine infidelity or promiscuity created a certain weakness, a certain lack of perfection. They had the wisdom based on the innocence of childhood, but they lacked the wisdom based on the innocence of old age. One symptom of this was the fact that they typically passed on in their early thirties, which was wonderful because their physical bodies did not deteriorate and they were spared the sickness of older ages. But because they lacked the wisdom that develops in old age, their happiness in heaven could not be as great as it would become later, as the generations on earth evolved and become more and more scientific and rational.
The split-brain race that succeeded the celestial mind is called the spiritual race. We are part of this race. Although we are born with inherited evil in our natural mind, we have been given the mechanism by which we can cleanse ourselves from this inheritance. This cleansing process is called regeneration and it takes a life time to achieve. The lifespan of people gradually increased from ancient to modern times and today, we have hundreds of millions of people in every generation that reach old age, giving the human mind on earth the opportunity to develop still further. The wisdom we acquire in old age, when based on Divine revelation, is higher than the wisdom we acquire when younger. By living to a ripe old age our generation has infused new higher wisdom into the conglomerate of the human mind called the Grand Human (see Chapter xx), which includes the most ancient civilizations that are now alive in their heavens.
There is thus a mutual and interdependent connectivity between all the generations that have ever been born on this and other planets, who are all in the spiritual world in eternity, either in heaven or in hell. The process that creates this Grand Perfection of the human race is unity at all levels, of couples, societies, generations, and worlds. And the unity at all the levels rests on the unity of its constituent level, which is that of the couple. Hence the marriage of a man and a woman is the foundation for the universe and its endless future. These details indicate to you that the sanctity of marriage and sexuality is not merely a moral and religious issue. People have rebelled against morality and religion, claiming freedom from persuasion, dogma, or norm. But people cannot rebel in freedom when they understand rationally why sexual behavior is the foundation of their future and that of the universe.
When you engage in a sexual act, either physically overt or mentally covert, you are on the stage of history and evolution. Sex is not a private act, except in its external physical dimensions. The sex act, physical or mental, is the foundation of the universe. You contribute to this foundation, or you attack it. You attack it by doing or thinking as you please even if it's against the order of reality as revealed by God to the human race. You thereby influence the evolution of the entire human race. A single promiscuous thought that you enjoy and accept as legitimate for you to enjoy, initiates counter-evolutionary forces that add themselves to similar acts by others, and join with them to create a river of counter-evolution or devolvement that eventually creates a human hell in the mind where many are entrapped forever.
Similarly, every time you resist a promiscuous thought or act because you understand its universal consequences, you are evolving the human mind to its progressive perfection--your own mind and the mind of all others who are progressing similarly. Resisting a promiscuous thought and refusing to accept it as legitimate, is called a chaste act. Your chaste act adds itself to all your chaste acts to set you on the road to conjugial love. Furthermore, your chaste acts add themselves to the chaste acts of others who are regenerating, and together they form a river of evolution that creates an ever deeper and more perfect heaven in our mind and in the Grand Human.
When you take this scientific perspective on chastity, sexuality, and marriage, you free yourself from the rebelliousness we feel when told dogmatically or moralistically, that fornication and masturbation will be punished by hell. The rational understanding of it frees you from having to rebel against something obscure and religiously mystical or arbitrary.
The progression of marriage from the male dominance model, to the equity model, and finally to the unity model needs to be examined scientifically and understood rationally. The forces of resistance and opposition we feel in our spiritual progression of marriage are to be analyzed, identified, and neutralized by means of rational arguments and proofs.