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   Songs About Driving Cars  
on Roads and Highways

 

America's Passion for Cars and The American Philosophy of Cars --
Expressed in Songs About Driving Cars on Roads and Highways --
Spiritually Understood

 

by Dr. Leon James
2007

To Introduction: Part 2 || To Introduction: Part 3 || To Introduction: Part 4 ||  To Introduction: Part 5 

Introduction: Part 1

The following song lyrics are selections from a library of Road Songs collected by Richard F. Weingroff at the Federal Highway Administration Web site. These selections reflect my interest in driving psychology and theistic psychology.

Songs are both descriptive of outer life and symbolic of spiritual feelings and insights. The lyrics reflect this dual aspect of the poetry and wisdom in songs. The outer life gives physical content to spiritual longings and perceptions. Cars driven on roads connecting departure point and destination are physical objects that serve our mental intentions and desires.

There is a two-fold message or dual meaning in all the song lyrics about cars and roads. Our mental stream is our life and we use cars to search for relief from mental streams that are disturbing. We use cars to escape feeling imprisoned. The prison is not physical; it is our own mental prison. Thoughts and passions drive our mental life, in correspondence to cars and roads that we drive to satisfy our mental condition. The song lyrics about driving cars on roads express the writer's meaning at two levels, literal and spiritual.

The literal meaning of each verse expresses the writer's philosophy of life and its physical expression through cars or trucks ("vehicles") driven by people who are in various mental states that are often gripping, but sometimes just ordinary in its recurrence in everyone's experience. For instance, someone is running away from something using a car or hitchhiking; or, someone is hitting the open road finally relieved and feeling free; or someone is watching the lights of 18-wheelers in the night; or, someone is speeding down the road to meet a sweetheart; and so on. Through these physical and social events with cars the song writers express a philosophy of life that is either depressing or exhilarating, but always worth reflecting on. But at a deeper level of meaning of each verse the song writers express a universal truth about the human mind, thus about each of us. The philosophical and social meaning expressed in the literal verses do not apply universally, but only to restricted socio-cultural experiences, like being a truck driver, or stopping at a truck stop when you're not, or, running away from your parents. On the other hand, the deeper spiritual meaning applies unconditionally to every human being.

What are deeper level meanings?

The human mind has natural mind and a spiritual mind. The natural mind contains incoming information from the senses of the physical body, like the places around us, the objects, and people. Our conscious thinking in daily life and activities is carried out by mental operations in the natural mind. Everything we know in this world resides in the natural mind. The spiritual mind contains incoming information from the senses of the spiritual body of which we are unconscious until after death. The content of the natural mind and the content of the spiritual mind are connected to each other by cause-effect laws called the laws of correspondences, to be discussed below.

Song writers are often inspired from a deeper level of perception or knowing, and they express this higher or inner perception in literal terms of physical and social events that correspond to the spiritual meaning and insight. It is valuable therefore for us to try to analyze the lyrics to see if its spiritual meaning can be extracted from it in order to accurately represent the deeper insight of the song writers and other inspired writers. Once we get hold of their spiritual insights or perceptions and convert them into our words, these insights become serviceable and useful to all of us since they are about the human mind, thus, every human being's mind. By extracting the spiritual meaning we are simply mining the spiritual depths of the song writer's enlightenment or vision of the human mind.

Remember: the literal content of the song (driving cars on roads) voices a certain philosophy of community life, a social and psychological outlook, but the spiritual content hidden within this expresses a universal truth or reality that applies to every mind, to us. The spiritual content being "deeper" is also "higher," which means it comes first, like the head comes before other parts of the body when it comes to identity and reputation. The higher or deeper is also primary. The spiritual is primary, the natural is secondary. This means that the spiritual content comes first and is the cause of what comes next, which is the effect or natural content (literal meaning of the verse).

The spiritual content involves the principles that govern the mental world of the human race. There is only one universal mental world for the human race, just as there is only universal physical space for all the stars, planets, objects, and atoms. Every individual's mind is therefore located in the same mental world. There is no individual anywhere whose thoughts and feelings are not located in the mental world of the human race, just as there is no planet or atom that is not located in the universal space of the physical universe. This means that the same laws of the mental world, sometimes called spiritual laws, apply to every human mind or individual. Your thoughts and feelings, and my thoughts and feelings, are located in the same mental world and are subject to the same mental laws.

To summarize: the literal meaning of verses contain words about the physical and social world as these reflect our thoughts in the conscious natural mind. These words and ideas are effects. They are produced by deeper level words and ideas called spiritual meanings. These spiritual meanings are rational insights about the mental world of humanity in which we all are and whose laws govern our thoughts and feelings. Our happiness and intelligence are consequences of how we apply these higher mental principles (causes of things) to the lower or more external and restricted experiences we have at the physical level.

Viewed spiritually driving cars on roads represents what people do in the mental world of human minds.

To travel or to transport something correspond to the thinking process in which a thought or idea ( = car) is processed or examined by various reasoning procedures ( = transportation) that are connected together in a logical or semi-logical sequence ( = roads, streets, paths). "To floor the gas pedal" ( = natural meaning) corresponds to a harsh and selfish intention that can harm others ( = spiritual meaning). The vehicle maneuvers of aggressive drivers ( = natural meaning) corresponds to selfish and hostile intentions against people ( = spiritual meaning).

Note that when we analyze the lyrics we go in reverse cause-effect order from how the lyrics were written. The physical event and its details about cars and roads ( = natural meaning), are the result of prior mental thoughts about mental events and their details about selfishness and harming others (= spiritual meaning). When we analyze the song we go in reverse order. First we have the natural content of cars on roads, then we extract the spiritual content of character and intention.

A car represents our knowledge and beliefs by which we can reason and have common sense in daily life here on earth in the physical world. The networks of roads and highways represent the mental semantic networks of concepts and ideas that make up our knowledge and beliefs. What we do with cars on roads are physical events described in the literal meaning of the verses. But the song writer was also motivated by a spiritual significance of these events with cars on roads. The song writers may not be conscious of the correspondences between driving events and mental events. But when they are writing under artistic inspiration from a love of truth, they spontaneously express events with cars (vehicles) that correspond to the mental feelings that they accessed and which they desire to share with others.

 

From: http://music.ign.com/articles/732/732341p1.html     

"Little Red Corvette" - Prince

Move over baby (move over baby)
Gimme the keys (gimme the keys)
Im gonna try 2 tame your little red love machine
(Im gonna try 2 tame your little red love machine)


Of course the Purple One goes straight for the jugular with innuendo up the wazoo, never being quite clear as to whether he's talking about an actual car or a red hot mamma. It's up to you to decide, but we're pretty sure what the end result is (tachometer in the red, in case you're clueless).

The above points to two ways of interpreting "little red corvette." The literal meaning is about a certain car. The representational meaning is about his girlfriend or date. There is also a third meaning which I call the correspondential meaning that involves his spiritual mind. "Baby move over" corresponds to giving in to a fantasy. "Gimme the keys" corresponds to his desire to explore his fantasies. "Im gonna try 2 tame your little red love machine" corresponds to being happy living in a fantasy world.

In general we have the following natural-spiritual correspondences in relation to vehicles:

 

Natural Content

Correspondential or Spiritual Content

cars, automobiles, trucks

principles of life that teach us how to live and what to do

traveling on roads, streets, highways, autobahns, alleys

searching for truths of life, for the right way to think

wheels, hubcap, wheels turning

to reason about truths and goods, either correctly or falsely

driving somewhere, driver, motorist

reasoning about what's right and wrong, trying to figure it out

honking, yelling, gesturing

to be confused or uncertain about what's right to do

car windows, windshield, turning windshield wipers on or off

the things we know and understand

driving at night, in a storm, in the winter

unable to figure out whether something is true or not

driving during the day, driving at dawn, driving in sunny weather

gathering knowledge to help us reason better

turning headlights on and off

knowing that there is a higher power

car doors, door handles, locking and opening car doors, remote key

ideas that help us be better persons

driving fast for thrill

false self-confidence due to wrong ideas

passengers

examining our own ideas and feelings

engine, motor, motor parts, motor oil

our motives, intentions, passions

gas pedal, brakes, hand brake

focusing on one's needs or goals

gasoline, fuel

giving in to temptation, choosing to act against one's principles

seat belt, air bag, safety features, child restraint

protection against false beliefs and ideas by relying on rationality or God's order and truth

roof of the car

escapist attitude about self, not focusing on facts and  realities

road side, road crossing, highway overpass, bridge

rebellious attitude against order, doing and saying what is unreasonable

bumper to bumper traffic

lazy attitude toward self-improvement, insufficient commitment to being good

police car, law enforcement, photo radar, traffic stop, getting ticketed

feeling compelled, weak, unable to resist the enjoyment of what's bad

aggressive vs. peaceful driving style

 

road signs, road regulations, driver's license  
on ramp entrances and exits  
getting lost  
driving nowhere  
racing with another car  
revving the engine  
tailgating, cutting off  
going through red lights  
running out of gas  
in car instruments, radio, CD, GPS, online service, cell phone  
rear view mirror, side mirror, back up camera  
floor of the car, carpets, seat covers  
eating while driving  
drinking and driving  
talking to passengers while driving  
sexual activity in a car  
(to be continued)  

You can notice this very interesting fact: When we are saying something about our mental operations or states we use physical content to describe them. For instance, we say the "I was their target" (physical meaning) when we mean that we felt it was unfair to make us responsible for what happened (mental meaning). We say that we were "singled out" (physical meaning), when we mean that they treated us unfairly (mental meaning). We say that "they are trying to take me down" (physical meaning), when we mean that they are trying to hurt your reputation (mental meaning).

In other words, in everyday life we like to talk and think in terms of correspondences.

Mental meaning corresponds to physical meaning in ways that make sense to us. We say "higher" for noble human feelings and thoughts, and we say "lower" when discussing ignoble or barbaric feelings and thoughts. Clearly this is not coincidence, nor is it arbitrary. We "raise our eyes" to God and heaven, and we lower them to our feet and hell. We talk about "deep seated fears" ( = affects us in many situations) and about "surface involvement" ( = lack of interest or motivation). The expression "having a rough time" (physical meaning) corresponds to "being disturbed emotionally" (mental meaning). A person who acts untrustworthy and is "dishonest in character" (mental meaning) is referred to as a "snake" (physical meaning). A man who is referred to as "wolf" (physical meaning) is a predator who feigns thoughts and emotions (mental meaning) to catch a victim. When we experience concern and anxiety (mental meaning) about an issue we say that "This thing is weighing me down" (mental meaning). When we understand something being said to us (mental meaning) we say "I see." (physical meaning).

The physical meaning is also called natural meaning and content in the natural mind. The mental meaning is also called spiritual meaning and content in the spiritual mind. The two are linked by correspondence so that one (spiritual) is the cause of the other (natural).

The content in the spiritual mind (e.g., realizing that someone intends to victimize the innocent) causes the natural mind to react with natural content (e.g., "He is a dangerous wolf, a snake, a scorpion."). Swedenborg's dual consciousness allowed him to confirm these correspondences empirically. When he was conscious in the spiritual mind, thus in the mental world of the afterlife in eternity, he was conversing with some people there about predators who enjoy victimizing innocent people. He saw packs of wolves and other dangerous and noxious animal species that showed up in the surrounding area. The light around him darkened as if there was an ongoing storm. When he stopped discussing these subjects, the environment was back to normal.

While he was talking about how some people are depraved and evil, there appeared in the environment bats, vultures, scorpions, and overpowering stenches. These sensuous appearances in the mental world were evoked by correspondence that exists between evil things in the mind (spiritual content) and poisonous or noxious animals in a desert (seemingly physical content).

Correspondences are built into the fabric of reality that ties the dual universe together, the one in time and space (physical), the other in mental eternity (spiritual).

There is a relationship between correspondences and metaphors, similes, synecdoche, or other type of figures of speech, including allegories, parables, riddles. You can look up an encyclopedia online to examine what these things are. Examples of some metaphors that are listed are:

  • All the world's a stage.
  • This is a crisis. A large crisis. In fact, if you've got a moment, it's a twelve-storey crisis with a magnificent entrance hall...
  • He stepped up to the plate and grabbed the bull by the horns.
  • to grasp a concept
  • You are my sun.
  • The couch is the autobahn of the living room.
  • That throws some light on the question.
  • He has the wild stag's foot.
  • Shut your trap!
  • my winged thought
  • Cool it!
  • some religions see life as a single arrow pointing toward a future endpoint. Others see it as part of an endlessly repeating cycle.
  • A Lifetime Is a Day.
  • Golden baked skin
  • green blades of nausea
  • leafy golden sunset
  • etc.

Many metaphors and figurative speech derive their root from correspondences between the natural and spiritual mind, or between the physical world and the mental world. For instance the expression listed above "That throws some light on the question." uses the correspondence between "light" (physical meaning) and "clarity of understanding" (spiritual meaning). This correspondence was confirmed by Swedenborg when he observed that the surrounding light became dimmer or more bright depending on the intelligence and understanding of the people he was talking to in his spiritual mind. Similarly, the spiritual correspondence of the expression "Cool it!" (physical meaning) was confirmed by Swedenborg's observations that when someone gets angry in the spiritual mind of eternity, flames and heat issue from his mental body into the surrounding area or sphere.

Metaphors are semantic innovations based on noticing comparable elements in two objects or events. It's only when you relate the natural to the spiritual that you obtain correspondences. Correspondences are produced spontaneously by all speakers and thinkers and no special linguistic or poetic talent is required. Metaphors are sometimes merely subjective, saying something about the person's semantic inventiveness. Correspondences are objective and universal, saying something about cause-effect reality.

The study of correspondences is therefore the study of cause-effect reality in a dual universe.

 


This essay continues below: Introduction: Part 2  ||  Introduction: Part 3 || Introduction: Part 4


 

  Song Lyrics (1)

Spiritual Meaning
(correspondences)

B-52's
"Love Shack"

If you see a faded sign by the side of the road that says
15 miles to the... love shack! love shack yeah
I'm headin' down the Atlanta highway, lookin' for the love getaway
Heading for the love getaway, love getaway,
I got me a car, it's as bigas a whale and we're headin' on down
To the love shack.

 

I'm headin' down the Atlanta highway
lookin' for the love getaway

=================================

I'm running away from my commitments
I'm giving in to my baser motives.

Marcia Ball
"Down the Road"

Good times down the road
Mama won't let me go
Sneaking off in my daddy's car
Park behind the B&B bar
Thinking I'll go crazy if I don't get out
I'm on a dead end street in a ten block town
Every day I say I'm gone and then
Every night I'm in a joints again
Down the road.
 

Good times down the road
Sneaking off in my daddy's car
Thinking I'll go crazy if I don't get out
 

=================================

Feeling trapped by conscience and longing to be free of conventional rules.


 

Bastard Sons of Johnny Cash
 "440 Horses"

440 horses drive the wheels of this chrome and steel
Like a freight train through the night,
My foot is lead and my eyes blood red,
And my knuckles showing white,
My hair is slicked with oil,
and my breathe flows gasoline.
Well I'm a smoking' flamin' death machine
And the lonely lights of another lonely town
Lonely highway I keep rushing down
And there's a 100 miles till I sleep tonight
Well I've got to put the hammer down.
 

Lonely highway I keep rushing down
And there's a 100 miles till I sleep tonight

=================================

I'm obsessing over the same thoughts over and over again.
I long for relief, but I know it won't happen for awhile.

 

Bastard Sons of Johnny Cash
 "Interstate Cannonball"

And 18 wheels running
Well, I'm never moving slow
I'm the interstate cannonballing
down the highway I roll.
 

And 18 wheels running
Well, I'm never moving slow

=================================

My imagination is running wild with me.
I picture all the things that can happen.
 

Bastard Sons of Johnny Cash
 "Truckstop in LaGrange"

Driving along 71
My eyelids waving down
I've been up all night
And I had to be up all day
I began to think I wouldn't make it
But I did.
Thank God for that little truckstop in LaGrange.

Driving along 71
My eyelids waving down
I've been up all night
Thank God for that little truckstop in LaGrange.

=================================

I kept thinking that nothing is going to work. I almost lost hope.
But God came to my rescue.
 

The Beach Boys
"Honkin' Down The Highway"

Honkin', Honkin' down the goshdarn highway
Trying, trying to get past them cars.
Gotta, gotta little date with an angel.
She's the one that said she'd go with me
To see a little movie tonight.
 

Honkin', Honkin' down the goshdarn highway
Trying, trying to get past them cars.

=================================

I lead a selfish and disorderly life.
And I don't care.

 

AC/DC
"Highway to Hell"

I'm on the highway to hell.
No stop signs, speed limit,
Nobody's gonna slow me down.
Like a wheel, gonna spin it.
Nobody's gonna mess me round.
 

I'm on the highway to hell.
No stop signs, speed limit,
Nobody's gonna slow me down.

=================================

I'm doing what I want. I don't care what others think. I don't care if it's bad.
 

The Allman Brothers Band
"Brothers of the Road"

So there's no one left out there all alone
We're just brothers of the road
Casting shadows in the night
Big wheels rolling on and on
But everything's gonna be all right.
 

We're just brothers of the road
Casting shadows in the night
Big wheels rolling on and on

=================================

When we are peaceful and considerate we can each enjoy our independence and the pursuit of happiness. 
 

The Allman Brothers Band
"Ramblin' Man"

Well my father was a gambler down in Georgia,
He wound up on the wrong end of a gun.
And I was born in the back seat of a Greyhound bus
Rollin' down Highway 41.

And I was born in the back seat of a Greyhound bus
Rollin' down Highway 41.

=================================

My life became disorderly and harmful when I started following my own rules.

 
 

 

Google
 
 

  

Song Lyrics (2)

Spiritual Meaning
(correspondences)

The Beach Boys
"Still Cruisin'"

When I'm behind the wheel
Horses of gas and steel
The highway is my home
In fiberglass and chrome
Fantasy car shiny corvette
Let's take a ride you can't forget
Come on pretty lady ride with me.
 

The highway is my home
In fiberglass and chrome
Fantasy car shiny corvette
Come on pretty lady ride with me.

=================================

I like to be reflective, thinking about all sorts of things.
I can imagine anything I want.
I can be anything I want.

 

The Beat Farmers
"Make It Last"

Out on the road where the semi's howl
Baby hitch a ride on somethin' movin' fast
Where the rain and wind don't blow so cold
Yo! Butterbuns, we could build a life and make it last.
 

Out on the road where the semi's howl
Baby hitch a ride on somethin' movin' fast
Yo! Butterbuns, we could build a life and make it last.

=================================


 

Frank Black
"Modern Age"

Well, I found a road and off I sped
I met a man with no little toe and a real big head.
Though I did not speak somehow I said
Where are you from?
He said the modern age.
 

Well, I found a road and off I sped

=================================

We hear of a trendy idea and we immediately take it on as our own, even if it is foolish or out of proportion. It's how we can be trendy.
 

Brooks and Dunn
"She Was Born to Run"

Through red taillights and a cloud of dust,
We went flyin' through the night, it was all about us.
Sittin' on the seat right next to me,
we drove with a tank full of destiny.
 

Through red taillights and a cloud of dust,
We went flyin' through the night, it was all about us.

=================================


 

Paul Butterfield
"Rule the Road"

Some coming fast, some coming slow
some coming high, some coming low
but remember, buddy,
whether high class or so low
remember, buddy,
don't try to rule the road.
 

whether high class or so low
remember, buddy,
don't try to rule the road.

=================================


 

Paul Butterfield
"Highway 28"

Heading down Highway 28
don't slow me down
don't make me late
I got a gig in Woodstock
playing off of my shoes and socks now
people come from miles around
gather up in this little old town
come on down, don't be late
gonna have some fun today.
 

gather up in this little old town
come on down, don't be late
gonna have some fun today.

=================================


 

Depeche Mode
"Behind the Wheel"

Sweet little girl
I prefer you behind the wheel
And me the passenger.
Drive, I'm yours to keep.
Do what you want,
I'm going cheap
Tonight
You're behind the wheel, tonight.
 

Drive, I'm yours to keep.
Do what you want,

=================================

We search for truth, trying to figure out what it is.
When we find an idea that we like,
we love it and make it our own truth.

Doobie Brothers
"Divided Highway"

Why must we always ride a divided highway
Torn in two directions; speedin' outa sight
Divided highway stranded at the crossroads
Of what's wrong and who's right
Divided highway cuttin' through the darkness.
 

Why must we always ride a divided highway
Torn in two directions; speedin' outa sight

=================================

Life is all about having dilemmas that leave us in emotional turmoil,
and yet they lead us to a clearer vision.

 

Robert Cray
"The Price I pay"

Out on the road
Late at night
The highway is so inviting
Since you said that we were through.
 

Out on the road
Late at night
The highway is so inviting

=================================

When there is trouble in our mind
it's so tempting to escape by manufacturing rationalizations.

 

Deep Purple
"Drifter"

Drivin' on a highway going nowhere
Desolation destination
Guess I'll find it somewhere.
I know if there's trouble,
I ain't takin' the blame.
That's why I keep movin'
So nobody knows my name.

 

Drivin' on a highway going nowhere
Desolation destination

=================================

Life remains without purpose
when we avoid responsibilities.

 

Google
 
 

 


 

 

Song Lyrics (3)

Spiritual Meaning
(correspondences)

Deep Purple
"Highway Star"

I love it and I need it
I seed it
Eight cylinders all mine
Alright hold on tight
I'm a highway star
 

Eight cylinders all mine
Alright hold on tight
I'm a highway star
=================================

I am good at what I love to do.

 

Doobie Brothers
"Rockin' Down the Highway"

Got those highway blues, can't you hear my motor runnin'
Flyin' down the road with my foot on the floor
All the way in town they can hear me comin'.
 

Got those highway blues, can't you hear my motor runnin'
Flyin' down the road with my foot on the floor

=================================

When I'm in the mood for fun I don't want to be bound by restrictions and principles.
 

Doobie Brothers
"Take Me to The Highway"

I need another point of view
Someplace I've never seen
Keepin' my eyes wide open
Goin' where I've never been
So take me to the highway
Take me far from here.
 

Goin' where I've never been
So take me to the highway
Take me far from here.
=================================

I'm tired of being who I am.
I want to be somebody else.

Doobie Brothers
"Travelin' Man"

I'm a travelin' man
Nothin' left behind me but the road
I'm a travelin' man
Won't you share the load.
 

I'm a travelin' man
Won't you share the load.

=================================

The good life comes from cooperation and teamwork, not competition and hostility.

 

The Doors
"Cars Hiss By My Window"

The cars hiss by my window
Like the waves down on the beach.
 

The cars hiss by my window
Like the waves down on the beach.

=================================

To understand reality our thinking must be based on truths.

 

The Doors
"The Hitchhiker"

Thoughts in time and out of season
The Hitchhiker
Stood by the side of the road
And leveled his thumb
In the calm calculus of reason.
 

The Hitchhiker
Stood by the side of the road
And leveled his thumb

=================================

It has become fashionable nowadays
to shop around for a philosophy of life.

 

The Doors
"L.A. Woman"

Drivin' down your freeways
Midnite alleys roam
Cops in cars, the topless bars
Never saw a woman...
So alone, so alone.
 

Drivin' down your freeways
Midnite alleys roam
Never saw a woman...
So alone, so alone.

=================================

We can enjoy being foolish and taking risks,
but they will not bring us happiness.
 

The Doors
"Roadhouse Blues"

Keep your eyes on the road
Your hands upon the wheel.
Yeah, we're going to the roadhouse,
Gonna have a real good-time.
 

Keep your eyes on the road
Your hands upon the wheel.
Yeah, we're going to the roadhouse,
Gonna have a real good-time.

=================================

It's OK to look for happiness in life,
but it can only be attained by honoring our principles.

 

The Doors
"The End"

Ride the King's highway, baby
Weird scenes inside the gold mine
Ride the highway west, baby.
 

Ride the King's highway, baby

=================================

Focus on truth and you'll understand everything you want to know.
 

Drive-By Truckers
"Days of Graduation"

But this night he banked the curve just a little too hard
and that 442 went airborne,
Hit a telephone pole and split in two.

But this night he banked the curve just a little too hard
and that 442 went airborne,
Hit a telephone pole and split in two.

=================================

 

 

 

Song Lyrics (4)

Spiritual Meaning
(correspondences)

Drive-By Truckers
"Plastic Flowers on the Highway"

My community service had me working for the county
Cutting grass on the off-ramps and medians and such.
Every quarter-mile or so, stands a brand new reminder
Another traffic death in town.
Something new to cut around.
 

Cutting grass on the off-ramps and medians and such.
Every quarter-mile or so, stands a brand new reminder
Another traffic death in town.
Something new to cut around.

=================================

When we become callous and uncaring towards others,
we are hurting what is good in ourselves


 

Bob Dylan
"Highway 51"

Highway 51 runs right by my baby's door.
If I don't get the gal I'm loving,
Won't go down Highway 51 no more.
 

If I don't get the gal I'm loving,
Won't go down Highway 51 no more.

=================================


 

Steve Earle
"Nowhere Road"

I been down this road just searchin' for the end
It don't go nowhere, it just brings you back again.
 

I been down this road just searchin' for the end
It don't go nowhere, it just brings you back again.

=================================

 

Steve Earle
"N.Y.C."

He was standing on the highway
Somewhere way out in the sticks,
Guitar across his shoulder like a 30 ought six.
He was staring in my head lights
When I came around the bend
Climbed up on my shotgun side
And told me with a grin I'm goin to New York City.
 

He was standing on the highway
He was staring in my head lights
When I came around the bend

=================================


 

Fastball
"Nowhere Ride"

So take it to the highway
Head back and open wide
Step right up and take a nowhere ride.
 

So take it to the highway
Head back and open wide
Step right up and take a nowhere ride.

=================================

 

John Fogerty
"Hot Rod Heart"

Ooh, let's go ridin'
Cruisin' down the open road.
We can put the top down
Listen to the radio.
Big ol' Buick and a big ol' sky,
Wheels on fire
And I'll tell you why
I got a hot rod heart.
 

Ooh, let's go ridin'
Cruisin' down the open road.
Wheels on fire
I got a hot rod heart.

=================================


 

Dan Fogelberg
"Mountain Pass"

Well, I'm runnin' down this mountain pass at midnight;
Those truckers, they all flash their lights at me.
This highway ain't the very best companion,
'cause I know there's somewhere else I'd rather be.
 

Well, I'm runnin' down this mountain pass at midnight;
Those truckers, they all flash their lights at me.
This highway ain't the very best companion,

=================================

When we're cynical, uncaring, without hope
We deny our faith,
knowing we shouldn't.

 

Sue Foley
"Highwayside"

By the highwayside
There's no one left to take your place
As your engine burns
You stand alone and fan the flames.
You won't find no satisfaction,
Your heart's a roadside attraction,
You're gonna break down by the highwayside again.
 

There's no one left to take your place
As your engine burns
Your heart's a roadside attraction,
You're gonna break down by the highwayside again.

=================================

Rebelling against our principles will make us unhappy.
 

Fountains of Wayne
"Sink to the Bottom"

Cars on the highway, planes in the air
Everyone else is going somewhere
But I'm going nowhere, getting there too
I might as well just sink down with you.
 

Cars on the highway, planes in the air
Everyone else is going somewhere
But I'm going nowhere, getting there too

=================================

I've got everything figured out, but this one thing.
It's keeping me in agony.


 

Fountains of Wayne
"The Valley of Malls"

It's bumper touching bumper on the motorway
The sun is in the sky just now
But the road is grey.

 

It's bumper touching bumper on the motorway
The sun is in the sky just now
But the road is grey.

=================================

The conflicts we crerate in our mind make us unproductive and unsuccessful.
We know what we need to do,
but we don't have the will to do it.

 

Nanci Griffith
"Brave Companion of the Road"

The cafes and bars are closed
the Christmas lights are veiled in snow.
Tell me, where are you going?
My brave companion of the road.

The cafes and bars are closed.
Tell me, where are you going?
My brave companion of the road.

=================================

People have good traits and bad.
When the good traits hide,
the bad ones take control
.

 

 

 

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Song Lyrics (5)

Spiritual Meaning
(correspondences)

Dan Hicks: "Reelin' Down"

Feeling the blues in the bottom of my shoes.
Didn't I know this old rambling's good news.
An' I go reelin' down that old highway,
Reelin' down cause reelin's my way.
 

An' I go reelin' down that old highway,
Reelin' down cause reelin's my way.

=================================

We love our own ideas
because we are our ideas.


 

Dan Hicks: "Traffic Jam"

Why we're going slow I'll never know, never know.
And as a rule I would not worry, but I got someplace to go now.
 

Why we're going slow I'll never know, never know.
And as a rule I would not worry, but I got someplace to go now.

=================================

I'm longing for freedom,
but things stand in the way,
and I'm in pain.

 

Bruce Hornsby: "Cruise Control"

North, south, east and west
Spin the wheel and hope for the best
Many miles oh I may roam
Put it in drive and set the cruise control.
 

 

Bruce Hornsby: "Down the Road Tonight"

Every day, every night
Something's going on, something's going on
Down the road over yonder
Any place, any time when I'm fading
My love lies waiting
Down the road tonight.
 

 

Pete Kennedy: "She Rolled Through the Night"

Somewhere out on Highway 10
Is a sign that will lead her home.
She's trying to find the courage inside
To go out there all alone.
She flicks another ash
And rolls through the rain.
 

 

The Kinks: "Aggravation"

Bumper to bumper in the traffic jam.
Clench your jaw, getting all up tight
Breathing fumes, stuck in a tin can,
Trapped, trapped.
Hate, frustration, no escape.
 

 

The Kinks: "Drivin'"

Drop all your work
Leave it behind
Forget all your problems
And get in my car
And take a drive with me.
 

 

The Kinks: "Motorway"

Oh, that motorway livin',
Ain't it a thrill to be so free, yeh.
Riding down the motorway,
Got to charge up my batteries,
Rest my seat, rest my eyes,
So tired, tired of livin',
Tired of livin' this motorway livin'.
 

 

The Kinks: "One of the Survivors"

See johnny thunder sitting on his motorbike
Riding along the highway,
Rock and roll songs from the nineteen-fifties
Buzzing around in his brain.
 

 

The Kinks: "The Road"

Well, the road's been rocky along the way
It's been a long, hard haul on the motorway
But if it gets too smooth it's time to call it a day.

 

 

Song Lyrics (6)

Spiritual Meaning
(correspondences)

The Kinks: "Rush Hour Blues"

A quick cup of coffee and a slice of
Toast and the star (or should we say,
Norman?) is off to do battle with the
Rush hour queues and traffic jams.
 

 

Chris Knight: "Devil Behind the Wheel"

There's a road to heaven for every soul on earth.
Lord, I believe that for what it's worth.
So, Lord, if you're listening,
I'm east of Mobile rolling down Highway 10
But the Devil's behind the wheel.
 

 

Chris Knight: "Me and This Road"

Me and this road we ain't been nowhere.
As far as I know this whole world's just a country fair.
But somewhere there's a bridge that'll take us out of here
Free as a river flows
Me and this road.
 

 

Chris Knight: "The Jealous Kind"

I've never drove two days through the pouring rain
Just stopping for coffee and gas.
Never out run the law on the Interstate.
Didn't know this thing would go that fast.
 

 

Sonny Landreth: "Gone Pecan"

Stretch the road
beneath my treads
I got a tap in my toes
from a song in my head.
 

 

Sonny Landreth: "The Promise Land"

Now many a country mile
I'm poundin' under my van
yeah many a country mile
I'm poundin' under my van
so I don't break my word
I'm bound for the promise land.
 

 

Sonny Landreth: "The Road We're On"

Drive into the sun
sinkin' down the road
feel our wheels in motion
that's when I know
that the road to freedom
is the road we're on.
 

 

Little Feat: "Boom Box Car"

Yes you drivin' me crazy with your boom box automobile.
I'd love to see you lose the keys to that menace on four wheels.
It's so amplified . . . ain't no wonder why your paint's begun to peel.
 

 

Little Feat: "Drivin' Blind"

Roll down the window
The freeway is clear
Suddenly all my passions re-appear.

 

Little Feat: "Let It Roll"

Rolling down Highway 95
sailin' thru her hometown country side.
Move on over stand aside
My cruise control's in overdrive
need to take my baby for a ride.

 

(to be continued)


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More Song Lyrics below


From: Road Rage and Aggressive Driving by Leon James and Diane Nahl

CHAPTER 12: DREAM CARS AND DRIVING REALITIES

In the Driver's Image

What do we look for in a car? One 1986 report describes an experiment to discover hidden or unconscious motives for buying certain kinds of cars.1 The researchers compared responses to what people liked about cars, first in a normal state, and then in a hypnotized state. Their answers were revealingly different. In the normal state people mentioned pragmatic things that are ordinarily important to car owners--price, reliability, comfort, and appearance. In the hypnotized state they spoke of the liberating sense of freedom that motoring brings and the sense of exhilaration that comes from driving fast. Precautions like wearing seat-belts were dismissed as timid and unnecessary. They imagined that driving in busy traffic is a pleasant and interesting experience. All drivers were perceived as friendly "beings of power" controlling wonderful machines in beautiful highway settings. The cars they were driving in their imagination were dream cars--ultrafast, amphibious, and powerful, with luxury features. Of course, none of these people actually drove cars like this and they didn't see many drivers that behave like those in their idealized imagination. Could it be that people drive in their imagination more than on the real road? Some psychiatrists believe that our fantasies are driven by unfulfilled desires. According to Freud, every fantasy contains the fulfillment of a wish. An idealized image of ourselves in cars "improves" the unsatisfactory reality.

Car commercials appeal to unfulfilled fantasies of distinction, uniqueness, independence, and superiority. The implied message is: Own this particular car and you'll have these desired qualities. Buyers are influenced by such commercials because cars confer a special social identity on their owners. Self-witnessing reports of drivers frequently reveal that they correlate the car's appearance with its driver. When they see a luxurious or unusual car, in their mind its owner also takes on these characteristics--rich, educated, competent, good looking, and well dressed. Old and unattractive cars had unkempt, lazy, unreliable owners who made driving blunders. Though their expectations were not necessarily met, drivers continued to perceive car and owner in this way.

A cover story in Psychology Today recognizes that people have revered cars for a century, and there's no "slowing down our ongoing love affair with the car."2 The automobile has radically altered the way we live and build our homes, and is certainly one of the most significant objects of our age. Ego and self-image are intertwined with a sense of control and power expressed in the names manufacturers give to their models: Jaguar, Cougar, Eagle, Mustang, Blazer, Wrangler, Taurus, Viper, Cobra, Range Rover, Explorer. Car ads use words that describe cars in terms that evoke human drama and emotion: impulse, wild, spirit, dream, passion. Marketing appeals to our sense of ultimate attainment when the car in the ad is described as "beyond unique" or "supra distinctive" or "ultra knockout." This is not simply a male preoccupation with power and dominance. Kate Culkin writes in Ladies, Start Your Engines: Women Writers on Cars and the Road3

Speeding down I-80 in my El Camino, I am the most powerful woman in the world. Look out plastic import, I think, take that, puny sports car; if push comes to shove, I'll crush you without a second thought. Eating with one hand, steering with the other, I realize women with big American cars don't need self-assertiveness training--a V-8 engine would empower anyone, male or female.

Back in the 1930s there was a popular stage song that went4

I'm wild about horns on automobiles that go 'Ta ta ta ta ' 'Ta ta ta ta'

Thirty-five bucks I'm glad I saved my dough to buy one

To be in style you ought to try one

For Sirens or Klaxons, the girls never fall

But I get attention when they hear that call

I'm wild about horns on automobiles that go 'Ta ta ta ta ta ta ta'

Many songs featuring the romance of cars and driving have made it to the top of the music charts. Songs like Hey Little Cobra, Hitchin' A Ride, Car Wash, Mercedes Boy, and Pink Cadillac celebrate taking pride in your vehicle, feelings of superiority in speed and horsepower, independence, partying, and a freewheeling lifestyle.

Automobile poetry and nicknames for cars reflect the enthusiasm people feel for their cars, but there may be a down side when these mental images are internalized and used as symbols of how we should be driving and how we should perceive other cars and their drivers in relation to ourselves. According to the world portrayed by automobile ads the car we drive must be super-charged with power and a competitive spirit. Commercials portray the new car that's "just for you" zipping around corners, climbing rugged country hills, flying through water, and zooming up palace staircases. A new car is sold as a status symbol, an extension of the self, competitive, exclusive. The car is portrayed as a home, fort, or castle; tank or missile; dream machine; great for getaway and escape.

A computer game called Road Rage is described using metaphors of power and excitement as "a hair-raising drive at fantastic speed." The exaggerated way we normally talk and think about cars, fueled by super-charged automobile ads, could contribute to the current negative culture on highways by encouraging and romanticizing status competition, aggressiveness, hostility, envy, intolerance and disrespect for other drivers. A heightened sense of emotional territoriality which some ads promote, draws drivers into a me-against-them attitude that could lower the threshold for aggressive driving. While helping drivers with road rage containment and recovery, we have noticed a strong resistance to adopting a more supportive or prosocial driving style. Many of us who have grown up in the car culture have developed a subconscious fear of looking like wimps on the road. We owners are supposed to think and feel in superlative terms. The extreme has become the norm. This has become a deep-seated cultural value. This dramatic inner outlook unknowingly influences how people feel behind the wheel, what thoughts they have when driving, and how they treat each other on the road.

In and of itself, the passion for beautiful, high-performance cars doesn't require a high-handed attitude of disrespect toward other drivers. A love of cars can be compatible with supportive driving. Motorists who take car ownership and driving seriously stay knowledgeable about technical details, performance, and safety. They feel deeply about the importance of doing the right thing, whether it's buying, maintenance, or handling on the road. If they see a dirty, shabby looking car, they feel the owner is neglecting or mistreating the vehicle. In an important sense they're on the right side because many accidents are caused by drivers who are insufficiently caring or alert to problems with their cars. The problem starts when "being right" turns into "being righteous." The self-image game has then gone too far. We predict that as more people become involved in lifelong driver self-improvement the symbols of excellence in the marketing world will turn to supportive driving portrayals.

Driving Music

Music has become an integral part of the driving experience. Sound systems are the most popular accessory, and drivers often spend hundreds of dollars on good ones. Drivers are affected by music, carefully selecting types that have the desired effect for them, and avoiding others. For some, music is used to create a loud interior environment

Personally I like Fear Factory. Gets you in a wickedly hyped up mood (not road rage) and lets you concentrate on driving like never before, also keeps you awake on those long drives. (Young man)

I don't know about going on a drive and listening to Dark Side of the Moon, too many quiet bits. (Middle aged woman)

For me it's the Delicate Sound of Thunder (Comfortably Numb version) turned up to about 20 going through a good ten-speaker system. Of course it sucks when you've only got a six minute drive to get somewhere, and are forced to sit outside your mates' house for the last minute with the stereo that loud because it's sacrilege to turn it down or off before it finishes. (Young man)

You can't go past a bit of ZZ Top to get you in the driving mood. (Young man)

However, not everyone wants music to influence them while driving

For a few months I didn't have the money to replace my broken car radio. I was saving for a Blaupunkt. So for awhile, I drove a cappela, so to speak. Strangely, I grew to like not having a car radio. When I finally saved enough money to buy a radio, I didn't. I enjoyed the sounds of silence. My daily commute became intellectually interesting. I started thinking about all sorts of things about my personal philosophy. I realized that the lack of a car radio had liberated me. All along I believed the music coming from the little speakers in the door set me free. Now I realize that it was limiting me. (Young man)

I got caught speeding twice in my life and both of the times it was because I was listening to the music in my car and did not realize how fast I was going. When my favorite music comes out, I just lose myself! On a different day, I was driving and realized that the music was off. It was a bit of surprise because I was so calm and relaxed that it was almost like I was meditating. So I recommend that you sometimes stop listening to the music in your car. It's really different! (Young man)

One of our correspondents sent us a school report in which she showed that her teenaged friends took longer to apply the brake when a sign came up while driving to loud music. They responded to signs faster when there was no loud music playing.4

Contrary to common belief, music may not immunize drivers from feeling enraged during routine traffic events

There was no traffic. Everyone was signaling. I was happy. On the way, I even noticed that I was singing. It was weird because I came to a realization that when I drove, I usually only sing during slow songs and not the fast songs. There happened to be a stalled car on the far right shoulder lane. When the cars began to break to "rubberneck", I became enraged, and I started swearing and cussing to the cars in front of me for slowing down. I even remember pretending that my handbrake was a machine gun and I "shot" all the cars in front of me. (Young man)

Music has the power to calm or excite, to sooth or to inflame. If listening to music works to ease aggressive thoughts and feelings while driving, for some it can be an effective preventive agent. If drivers choose provocative music that encourages aggressive thinking, it may exaggerate emotional reactions in routine incidents.

(...)

Managing in the New World of Driving

We haven't achieved the jet cars portrayed in science fiction movies and television, but there are experimental flying car models available today. Robert Fulton designed a flying car in 1946, but Moulton (Molt) Taylor is known in the U.S. as the father of the flying automobile. He developed the modern Aerocar in the 1950's and since then other inventors have developed the Cafly, the Jetcar, and the Air Car among others. Enthusiasts predict that flying automobiles will enter the market by the year 2005. Driving has taken on new meaning as an interactive, multi-tasking operation that involves piloting a heavy, moving communication platform or mobile office, complete with dashboard dining and backseat multi-media. The new technologies in cars may contribute to motorists' bubble-environment mentality. Inevitably, cars will continue to evolve technologically, integrating functions that permit drivers to communicate and work on the road at a distance. The wise course to take is to acknowledge that drivers require training in these new technologies, in fact, each gadget requires a training process.

It has not yet entered the consciousness of the automotive world that specific training is needed for using devices such as cell phones, email, GPS communications, and map reading, etc.while driving and dasboard dining. But because people need to learn the new and ever more complex skills of "driving informatics," in the near future training will take a prominent role because of its impact on safety.16 This new driving information literacy encompasses the ever-widening definition of what we do in and have to understand about cars: transportation, automotive repair, insurance, travel, communication, eating, grooming, reading, entertainment, work, education, and social relations among motorists and with police, truckers, passengers, pedestrians, and cyclists. Driving informatics represents the integration of the complexity of our intellectual, financial, and moral investments in the grand driving enterprise.

In this new world of driving, motorists face increasing "commuting stress"17 The stressful consequences of daily commutes include

        increased production of gastric acid

        increased risk for gastrointestinal disorders

        increased production of "fight or flight" hormones

        reduced blood supply to the brain

        lowered immune response for several hours

        increased blood pressure

        higher heart rate

A recent poll reports that 49 percent feel some or a lot of anxiety sitting in traffic, 35 percent somewhat or very overwhelmed, and 51percent feel some or a lot of stress in traffic.18 People think it's just the congestion and delays, but most stress is due to aggressive and incompetent driving, exacerbated by the increasing pressure to multitask in vehicles. Since our driving environment will continue to increase in complexity, the real solution to combating commuting stress lies chiefly with the individual. Aggressive driving is a cultural habit learned from parents and reinforced by TV. It is ingrained in our personality and character through the culture of disrespect, the argument culture, and the culture of entitlement. It is exposed in traffic congestion. Traffic congestion does not cause disrespect, it merely presents plenty of opportunities for expressing displeasure. Congestion and construction would not lead to driver stress in a supportive and community oriented highway atmosphere. The cultural inheritance of aggressive driving and road rage is spreading with each new generation. This generational inheritance can be checked if an entire generation of drivers declares itself against highway cynicism, and collectively adopts and supports new norms of civility on roads.

Notes for Chapter 12

1.      Marsh, P., & Colleft, P., Driving Passion: The Psychology of the Car (London: Jolmathan Cape, 1986).

2.      Psychology Today, 1987, p.16-24.

3.      Elinor Nauen, Editor, Ladies, Start Your Engines : Women Writers on Cars and the Road.

4.      Words and music by Clarence Gaskill, "I'm Wild About Horns on Automobiles" www.lib.duke.edu/music/asl/Gaskill__Im_wild_about_horns.html 

5.      Susan Strick, Music Effects on Drivers' Reaction Times, 2000, http://aloha.net/~dyc/misc/music_strick_report.html

6.      Bob Muessig, Dashboard dining, 1999, www.rvsafety.com/dashboar.htm

7.      NPD Group, http://www.npd.com/

8.      James McKnight and A. Scott McKnight, "The Effect of Cellular Phone Use Upon Driver Attention" (National Public Services Research Institute, 1991) http://www.aaafts.org/Text/research/cell/cell0toc.htm

9.      Leonard P. Stavisky, New York State Senate News Brief, 1999, http://www.sendem.com/carphone.html

10.  Zdnet.com, 1999, www.zdnet.com/zdnn/stories/news/0,4586,2226314,00.html

11.  TechWeb.com, 1999, www.techweb.com/wire/story/TWB19990115S0003

12.  Washington Post, August 1999, www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/business/daily/aug99/gm10.htm

13. Traffic Engineering and Control, No. 21, Issue 11, pp. 545-550.

14. The Mobility Study at Texas A&M University, 1998, mobility.tamu.edu

15.  National Motorists Association, http://www.motorists.org/

16.  Diane Nahl and Leon James, What is Driving Informatics, 1998.

17.  Aggressive driving. Encyclopedia of Stress (Allyn and Bacon, 1999).

18.  Kensington Stress and Technology in the Workplace Survey, PC Computing, December 1999. p. 38.

The above is from:  Road Rage and Aggressive Driving by Leon James and Diane Nahl

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Go back to Song Lyrics Part A above   ||   Back to Introduction: Part 1 above 

Introduction: Part 2

From:  http://songs.dance-lyrics.com/T-songs-lyrics/the_cars/drive.html

Artist/Band: The Cars

you can't go on thinking nothing's wrong
who's gonna drive you home tonight
who's gonna hold you down when you shake
who's gonna come around when you break

What does it mean for the artist to say "who's gonna drive you home tonight" when it is in the context of "who's gonna come around when you break"? The expression "to drive home tonight" (physical meaning) corresponds to "escape from emotional agony" (spiritual meaning). The expression "when you break" (physical meaning) corresponds to "losing emotional balance," while the expression "coming around" (physical meaning) corresponds to "support and encouragement" (spiritual meaning). "Driving" corresponds to mental activity and "home" corresponds to peace and emotional balance or stability.

What is the spiritual meaning of something? What is spiritual?

This was discussed in Part 1, but to recapitulate: spiritual meanings refer to our mental life in the higher levels of the human mind called the spiritual mind. The spiritual content in the spiritual mind contrasts with the natural content which is located in the natural mind. For instance, a "car" physical object and meaning) is the natural content in our natural mind of some spiritual content in the spiritual mind. If you could be conscious in your spiritual mind, as Swedenborg was, you could be sitting somewhere with your mental body, thinking about what's the right thing to do about some issue in which you are involved. You would then notice that there are cars and trucks in the surrounding area, coming and going, reflecting by correspondence the natural equivalent of your spiritual ruminations.

But even though we cannot be conscious of our spiritual thoughts we can know in our natural mind what kind of thoughts occur in the spiritual mind and what are the contents. In the analysis of song lyrics about driving cars on roads we notice first the literal meaning, whose content is physical or natural. The artists are talking about certain types of cars, about going fast or being stuck in traffic, about chrome. and engine power, and going places or going nowhere. The words describing these images and events just pop into our head as we write or talk about cars in our lives, in movies, in history. These spontaneous expressions of our thoughts and feelings about cars must be produced by something!

What is that?

Our human mental anatomy is located in our mental body which is in eternity. That is where "we" really and actually live, in our feelings, thoughts, and sensations. That is our life because that is our experiencing. We are born into that life of eternity because we are created to be mental beings of eternity. But the first portion of our existence is dual. A physical body in time and space is attached to our mental body in eternity. The two bodies cannot be together directly since one is physical in time while the other is mental in eternity. There must therefore be laws of correspondence between the world of time and the world of eternity. These are the laws of creation, existence and reality, of God's truth and rational order. These are the scientific laws of cause-effect that binds the two worlds together.

These scientific laws of correspondence between the spiritual world of eternity and the natural world of time are familiar to each human being.  All human beings are born on an earth and appear to themselves to live in the physical world. We are conscious of the operations going on in our natural mind -- to some extent, but we are not conscious of the operations going on in our spiritual mind. And yet, whatever we feel, think, or sensate in our natural mind through the physical body, is tied by correspondence to whatever we are feeling, thinking, and sensating in our spiritual mind thr5ough the mental body (also called the spirit body).

By studying and discovering genuine correspondences we are entering the content of our spiritual mind.

The spiritual meaning that we extract from the song lyrics about cars and drivers, hitchhikers and passengers, gives us a doorway into the world of eternity, what our life will be like after we are resuscitated in our spiritual mind in eternity, just a few hours following the loss of connection with the physical body, a process known as dying. Since Swedenborg was a dual citizen he was able to be present with his dying friends or relatives in his natural mind (through the physical body), but also in his spiritual mind in eternity.

He was therefore able to be present to someone as they lose consciousness in dying, and be present when that person awakens or gains conscious awareness in the spiritual mind. He could talk to the person in the dying process on earth and he could talk to the person in the afterlife. In one situation he was talking to a neighbor who had died while he was attending his funeral. The man was astounded when he heard from Swedenborg that his wife and relatives were bereaved and thinking of him as lifeless in the grave.

The most illuminating and detailed information we have about the afterlife of eternity is given in the spiritual sense of Sacred Scripture. Almost nothing is revealed about the details of life in eternity when we read Sacred Scripture in its literal sense and don't allow ourselves to explore its spiritual meaning. But when we discover correspondences we are able to read Sacred Scripture through the veil of natural meaning in which it is written down and shrouded. This is a necessary consequence of the laws of correspondences by which spiritual and natural content in the mind, and in the world, must correspond to each other. God constantly communicates with humanity, with each individual human mind. We only see the natural correspondence (physical meaning) to this spiritual message or information (spiritual meaning).

But God wants us to be interested in the spiritual meaning because it is needed for our well being and development. By being interested in the spiritual content corresponding to all that we think and feel, we are mapping our our eternity, thus, preparing for our heaven or hell. For 27 years Swedenborg interviewed thousands of people who have just been resuscitated from many cultures and countries. He followed their choices and lives as their natural mind and memories were slowly becoming inactive, and as they explored for the first time what was the content of their spiritual mind.

Some expressed surprise at what they discovered about themselves. When their conscious awareness was living in the natural mind attached to the physical body on earth (thus, before they passed on), they thought of themselves as fairly decent people, cooperative citizens, and friendly neighbor. But now they felt that this was a lie, a feigned appearance to be able to get by, to be socially successful. They hated the idea of being nice and decent, which they now saw as weak and stupid. Once this self-discovery is made, there are rapid changes in the person's character, personality, and environment in which the see themselves live. They seek out like minded companions and together they constitute a society of hell. Many details are provided in Swedenborg's carefully recorded daily diary.

But the reverse would also happen. Some people who thought of themselves as unworthy and selfish when thinking in the natural mind with physical content, discovered in their spiritual mind something totally different. They realized that they had been of a good will and attitude towards others, desirous within themselves of being fair, tolerant, compassionate, and helpful. They had hated cruelty and deception. As soon as they discovered this about their spiritual mind they saw themselves elevated or raised to the highest level of their mind called the celestial consciousness or heaven. There they form eternal societies with one another, each society specializing or focusing especially on one particular virtue or trait. The numberless societies of heaven in eternity are interconnected beautifully in the shape of the human body, each society being located in a region of the body that corresponds to their special virtue or trait. The societies in the "heart" have a different character than the societies in the lungs, etc. Please read the Writings of Swedenborg for  all the details.

So from all these considerations we can see that it is important for us to map out what is in eternity, and we do this by the method of correspondences.

As explained briefly before, the human mind has a lower level called the "natural mind" and a higher level called the "spiritual mind." Both levels of the mind involve three mental organs. Our feelings are operations in the affective organ. Our thoughts are operations in our cognitive organ. Our sensations and motor expressions are operations of our sensorimotor organ. These three mental organs function in the natural mind and in the spiritual mind, but not in the same way.

Our feelings or motives ( = affective operations) have the power to manage our thoughts ( = cognitive operations).

In other words our feelings or motives dictate and select the sequence of our thoughts, not the other way round. 

Both the natural and the spiritual minds work in a similar way but we are not equally conscious of them. We are well aware of the thoughts in our natural mind, and less aware of our feelings there. But we are only slightly aware of the thoughts in our spiritual mind (cognitive organ), and even less aware of the feelings there (affective organ).

The content of our thoughts in the natural mind consist of all the things we know from the physical world around us. But the content of our spiritual mind has to do with the mental world of eternity where our spiritual mind is functioning.

During the dying process we lose connection with the physical body and the world of time.

The natural mind then becomes quiescent or unconscious, along with its ideas and memories based on physical content. Instead we become fully conscious in our spiritual mind.

This changeover process takes about 30 hours and is sometimes called "resuscitation of the spirit." When we awaken in our spiritual mind we proceed with our mental life in endless eternity. Our spiritual mind has its own immortal and indestructible mental body in which we can move around and enjoy the sensations and pleasures far more intensely and purely than was possible while experiencing these sensations in our natural mind.

When we are born we begin life as dual citizens. In our natural mind and consciousness it seems to us that we are as if in the physical world. This idea is strengthened by being educated in the negative bias mode of science that denies the afterlife of eternity and the independent existence of the mind. But after resuscitation we are conscious in our spiritual mind and we realize that we exist in the mental world of eternity, not in time and space. This is also known to many people as the "afterlife of the spiritual world."

Everything we do in our natural mind through the physical body has a counterpart or correspondence to something we do in our spiritual mind through our mental body (or "spirit body"). What we do in our mental body we express in our physical body. This relationship between the natural mind and the spiritual mind is called correspondence. The natural world is in correspondence to the spiritual world. Time is correspondence with eternity.

When writers and artists are under inspiration they become conscious of operations going on in their spiritual mind. These can be feelings, thoughts, visions, understandings, perceptions. They attempt to write this down in words and to translate it into music. What they write down is called the literal meaning of events in the natural world of cars, roads, highways, stop signs, truck stops, bars, passengers, hotels. These physical events described by the meaning of the natural mind form the content by the literal meaning of the verses. But these natural meanings occurred to the writer or speaker only because of the operations in their spiritual mind. The content of these spiritual operations in the spiritual mind corresponds to the content of the operations in the natural mind that is based on physical content.

By reconstructing or extracting the spiritual sense of the literal verses we can share the spiritual insights the artists had when under inspiration and moved by the desire to know truth and understand reality.

One may ask: Why do the song writers write about cars on roads instead of about thoughts and feelings?

One reason is that they may not be fully aware of the spiritual thoughts and significance of what they are thinking and feeling in the spiritual mind, and so they try to describe it by corresponding thoughts and feelings having to do with the experiencing of cars in their lives in the physical and social world of community and relationships. Another reason might be that people don't want to hear about spiritual meanings, thoughts, and feelings. If the lyrics were written in a spiritual content people would not relate to them with emotion and passion and the seemingly endless desire of fans for repetition. It's better for the communication process to talk about driving cars on highways in many different ways and in diverse episodes and moods, so that listeners and fans can experience the spiritual reaction in themselves, even though they cannot describe its content in words. The benefit is in the experiencing.

Spiritual meanings always involve something about good and truth, about intending something good or bad, or about thinking something true or false.

Good is a general idea that has many sub-components. Under the general idea of good there are sub-components that everyone is already familiar with:

  • good (vs. bad or evil), spiritual heat
  • love and altruism (vs. love of self)
  • ability (vs. inability)
  • character (good and bad traits)
  • virtue (loyalty, fidelity, sincerity, prudence vs. their corruption and opposites)
  • intention, motive, goal
  • affection, perception
  • enjoyment, happiness
  • etc.

These spiritual or mental events in our mind have to do with operations in the affective organ. Good and love include good feelings and all sorts of desires and enjoyments. Goods in our mental world also include our intentions and motives -- why we are doing something, what we are getting out of it for the sake of which we are doing it.

Under the general idea of truth there are also sub-components everyone is familiar with:

  • truth, reality, spiritual light
  • wisdom, intelligence, rationality
  • knowledge, understanding, imagination
  • etc.

These spiritual or mental events in our mind have to do with operations in the cognitive organ.

Every good is unique in its characteristics and seeks out its own appropriate truth, and the two are conjoined into one, out of two things becoming one organic thing. Then they have powerful effects or consequences upon our natural mind and personality.

Our spiritual insights are always about how good and truth in our mind conjoin and act as one. The higher regions of the human mind called "heaven in eternity" is attained in the spiritual mind after the natural mind is laid to rest at death. We then awaken in our spiritual mind and continue life in the afterlife of eternity. The quality of this mental life can be a heaven, or it can be a hell.

Heavenly experiences, joy, and wisdom can be found by every person through the quality of good and truth that is loved. Similarly, hellish experiences, suffering, and irrationality can be found by every person through transforming their good and truth into corrupted good and falsified truth. The corruption of good is called evil and falsified truth unites itself with that evil forming an infernal union. For instance, we can justify to ourselves the idea that we are allowed to exploit and manipulate others who are too weak and unintelligent to defend themselves. This is the "may the strongest come out winner" ideology and is used by people to justify cruel and selfish intentions.

If we acquire a love for coming out the winner no matter what, the attitude becomes a permanent feature of our character. When we pass on and begin our life of immortality in the spiritual mind, we continue developing the character traits that we most love. We are then thrown together with others of a like character, and together we form an eternal society of hell in which all who are co-present take turns being cruel and insane to one another.

The spiritual meaning of inspired lyrics always has to do with this conflict between good traits battling in our mind against the corruption of these good traits and their transformation into evil traits. We are born with the enjoyment of evil traits. We enjoy evil traits more than any good traits we may have, either from inheritance or acquired ones. The struggle of the artist and writer always hangs in balance between the desire to enjoy doing things for the sake of oneself only, on the one hand, and on the other, to feel elevated by altruism and compassion and the love of being useful to others, of benefiting them with what we have or know.

Whichever we love more, that we will hold on to, and whichever we enjoy less, that we will let go because these two oppose each other and battle each other until one dies and the other gains supremacy in our character and personality. We thus become either angels with only good traits, or devils with only evil traits, and thus either living in the enjoyments of good and truth, or suffering in the pleasures of insanity and delusion.

This is the battle each human being must engage during life here on earth. We need to know the consequences of going either way in our mind. If we do wrong, do we have the desire to repent and improve? Or do we go further and deeper into the illusions and delusions of depravity, of selfism, of lack of feeling for others and community.

Songs help us face this life dilemma.

Forward to Introduction: Part 3

 

 

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Song Lyrics Part B

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Song Lyrics (7)

Spiritual Meaning
(correspondences)

Little Feat: "Rock & Roll Every Night"

Every night, every night,
You can ride shotgun
And count the red tail lights.
Every night, every night,
You can roll the dice, take your chances,
Hit the highway, and roll your troubles away.
 

 

Little Feat: "Those Feat'll Steer Ya Wrong Sometime"

When the Feat are on the box, the speed just slips my mind
I start to sing along,
Tap my toe, slap the dash in time.
But the Ranger said to me
As he handed me the fine,
Son those Feat done steered you wrong this time.
 

 

Lynyrd Skynyrd: "Truck Drivin' Man"

He's got roadmaps in his hand
Lord, drivin' just as hard as he can
Trying to dodge them scales and the man
Well I'm talkin' about
Truck drivin' man
Yea he'll always give ya, the best that he can.
 

 

McBride and the Ride: "Burnin' Up the Road"

It's 500 miles from Dallas to New Orleans.
I'm gonna let her roll as fast as she'll go
Got a sweet thing waiting for me.
This time I'll be highway flying
No way I'm gonna take it slow.
 

 

Joni Mitchell: "All I Want"

I am on a lonely road and I'm traveling, traveling, traveling, traveling.
Looking for something, what can it be.
 

 

Joni Mitchell: "Blue Motel Room"

I've got road maps
From two dozen states.
I've got coast to coast just to contemplate
Will you still love me.
 

 

Teddy Morgan and the Pistolas: "59 Cadillac"

There ain't nothing like rain on a two-lane
Drivin' fast with the radio on
Passing small towns in the middle of nowhere
Feeling alive without a care
Oh ho, 59 Cadillac
Oh ho, I ain't never going back.
 

 

Bill Perry: "Heaven in a Pontiac"

A gang of angels in a red Corvette
Moving faster than a saber jet...
Caught 'em in a radar trap
Pulled 'em over to the shoulder
Passed 'em in my Pontiac.
Let's ride.
 

 

Tom Petty: "Runnin' Down a Dream"

I rolled on as the sky grew dark,
I put the pedal down to make some time.
There's something good waitin' down this road,
I'm pickin' up whatever's mine.
 

 

Bonnie Raitt: "Slow Ride"

I think it's time we cleared the air
Take a long drive far away somewhere
Tell me everything you feel inside
We got nothin' but time.

 

      

 Back to Introduction: Part 1   | Part 2 || Forward to Introduction Part 4 and Part 5

Introduction: Part 3 

In Part 2 the definition of "spiritual" was given as that which has to do with what is good and what is truth.

Is there a rational and scientific answer to what is good and what is truth?

The answer is yes, if you are willing to assume an impartial role in the debate. Judge for yourself, laying aside things others have said about what is "scientific," or what is "rigorous" theory in science -- just for the sake of allowing you to be an impartial judge in this situation.

One side of the presentation rests on the negative: The answer is, No, there is no scientific definition or explanation of what is good and what is truth. This is what we can call the negative bias in materialistic science. "Materialistic" refers to the premise or assumption that there is no dualism of the world, one which is in time-space, the other in the mental world of the afterlife in eternity (not in time and place). The negative bias approach to science began in the 18th and 19th century in Europe, and then was adopted in the U.S.A. and Canada.

The other side of the presentation rests on the positive: The answer is, Yes, there is a rational and scientific definition and explanation of what is good and what is truth. This is what we can call the positive bias of theistic science. "Theistic" refers to the incorporation of God and Sacred Scripture as scientific concepts to be used in explanations and theories. For instance, various descriptions of the afterlife in eternity are given in various Sacred Scriptures that exist wherever there are human communities. These explanations may be called scientific revelations -- as long as we are still on the positive bias side of science where we are assuming that God is real and Sacred Scripture is God's Speech. As long as we stay within this positive bias approach to science, we can make use of the information we find in Sacred Scripture about the afterlife of eternity.

After studying this issue for many years I came to this amazing realization regarding the scientific revelations in Sacred Scripture:

all our mental life = the afterlife of eternity

It's so amazing because every human being is born into eternity and no one seems to know it, or only a few know it. When they tell others, people shrug and walk away from the idea. At first I did not understand how they can not be interested in their own eternity. But now I think I understand thanks to the wisdom of my wife. So consider the above formula that came to me a few years ago when studying Sacred Scripture and the scientific revelations in it.

For the sake of this exercise we must rationally leave behind the negative bias in science called materialism, and substitute in its place in our mind, the positive bias in science called theistic dualism or theistic science and theistic psychology.

God is real and in Divine Speech we are instructed by God about dualism, that is, of our dual citizenship. We have a physical body with a brain and a spiritual body with a mind. The two bodies are connected by correspondence in every possible detail of organic operation. As we grow our mental body in eternity contains our thoughts and feelings which keep increasing in number and developing in complexity and quality. The thoughts we have as adults are very different from the thoughts we have as children. Similarly with our feelings and emotions. Therefore when others who are already conscious in the afterlife of eternity ("the departed"), are looking at our mental body in eternity where they are in their mental body, (they do not see our physical body), they can see the visual appearance of our mental body change from that of a child, to an adolescent, to an adult, etc.

The negative bias in science denies the existence of the mind as separate from the physical brain. Hence it defines mental events as operations of the neurons in the physical brain. In the positive bias of science, these physical operations of the neurons are correspondential reactions of prior mental operations in the mental body. When the physical body is totally incapable of reacting to these mental operations, it becomes a corpse and disintegrates. Almost immediately that the physical body is medically dead, we "awaken" in our spiritual mind in the afterlife of eternity. From that point on we can see and interact with anyone who has also been "resuscitated" after their physical body has undergone disintegration.

If you are still in the positive bias approach in science you can now understand in a rational way what the formula above is:

all our mental life = the afterlife of eternity

The second our physical body is born, at our birth cry, our mental body is born in eternity. Sometimes the mental body is called "spirit body" or "spiritual body." Our mental body is constructed out of mental organs called the affective organ (for experiencing feelings and intentions), the cognitive organ (for experiencing thinking and imagination), and the sensorimotor organ (for experiencing sensations caused by things outside of our mental body). Our mental body, or the mind, is constructed with two major levels called the natural mind and the spiritual mind. While we are still attached to a reactive physical body we are conscious of the operations in our natural mind, but unconscious of our operations in the spiritual mind. But the reverse is the case when we are detached from the connection to the physical world. When we are resuscitated we are conscious in both the natural and the spiritual mind, for a little while as we go through various mental changes. But gradually our natural mind and its knowledge and memories, is put to sleep or deactivated. We then begin our true eternal life as immortal mental beings -- some people prefer to say "spiritual beings" or "spirits." Again there are scientific revelations in Sacred Scripture that give many details about what our life is like in eternity.

Thinking rationally and scientifically (in the positive bias approach) we can understand that materialism is reductionistic, that is, reduces two worlds into one, collapsing everything into time-space-matter concepts and methods. But in the positive bias approach we can see the obvious fact that thoughts and feelings cannot be physical objects, hence cannot be reduced to physical neurons and their action. Thoughts have no weight, while neurons do. In thought we can span distances in an instant while this is not possible in the brain or outside of it. Thoughts can be multiplied endlessly while the brain shows no gain in weight or size. Etc. The same argument can be applied to feelings and to sensations. This proves that feelings and thoughts are not constructed out of physical matter, which has weight and mass, like neurons in the brain and their electro-chemical operations. It is not logically and scientifically possible to locate what is non-physical into what is physical, and vice versa. If thoughts and feelings are real (positive bias), then the mind or mental body cannot be physical. And what is not physical is necessarily mental or spiritual (these two words mean the same thing).

So from birth onward our mental life is the afterlife of eternity.

We (our mind and self) are born into eternity and can never depart from there.

We are never really here on earth in the world of time and space since "we" normally means our thoughts and feelings, not our hand or our liver. So the "me", the "self," the character that I am -- is born into eternity, grows in eternity, and remains in eternity. These are the scientific revelations contained in Sacred Scripture. God is communicating these facts to all human societies because they help us prepare for our conscious life in eternity.

It is the same with all inspired writings, lyrics, or poems, when the writer is seeking truth for its own sake, and not for the sake of gain or reputation. Hence it makes sense to ask about the spiritual meaning hidden within the unconscious spiritual mind of the artist and writer. What the artist does, we all do. We all have a spiritual mind that corresponds to our natural mind, but with entirely different content, meaning, or consciousness.

The operations of the natural mind corresponds to the operations of the spiritual mind at every level of detail. The content of our natural mind is populated with experiences and knowledge of the physical and social world around us. The song lyrics that discuss driving cars on roads are produced by the natural mind of the artist. This contains things like roads, highways, wheels, truck stops, speed radar, police and other cars and drivers. This is the literal meaning of the lyrics. In the positive bias of science we can know that the content of the natural mind is a natural representation that corresponds to the content of the spiritual mind.

What is the difference in these two contents -- the natural and spiritual?

The artist's inspired spiritual insights and perceptions cannot be expressed directly in the content of the natural language and the natural mind. The spiritual understanding must be translated into the natural language and content. When we, in the role of inspired writers and speakers, are reflecting about spiritual good and truth, we can become conscious of it and experience a sense of amazement and awe at the way the new insight came to us. We also have the strong desire to share our higher mental perceptions with others. Song writers want to share their spiritual insights with others through the lyrics and the music. The natural content of the lyrics will reflect the spiritual content of the insights -- as long as we have a knowledge of correspondences.

It's common to interpret poems and songs, giving one's reflections on the meaning that is involved and the message that the writer had, either consciously or subconsciously. But this is not the same activity as translating their correspondences. In the positive bias of science we are still remaining scientific, empirical, and rational. It's one thing to make up a map of a region by memory, and another by cartographic measurement techniques. So to remain scientific we need to use an objective methodology for extracting the spiritual meaning hidden in the literal verses. This method excludes subjective interpretations since your interpretation may be different from some one else's, and these differing individual proposals cannot be reconciled, and we then still don't know what is the true spiritual meaning of it.

God wants us to have access to the actual correspondences between the natural content and the spiritual content. Since we are totally unconscious of the spiritual content in our spiritual mind (until resuscitation), there is no other scientific source for such information except God through Sacred Scripture containing scientific revelations about eternity. But here is the rub: the spiritual content of God's Speech in eternity has to be translated into natural content through correspondences.

Once we are resuscitated (which is a few hours after the dying process starts), we are conscious in our spiritual mind. Now all that we think has a spiritual content (the natural mind becoming inactive). When we hear or read God's Speech in Sacred Scripture we can reconstruct or recover the spiritual content that was translated into natural content when the designated prophet or revelator wrote down the Divinely dictated verses of Sacred Scripture. But prior to our resuscitation we still function consciously in our natural mind, and we are unconscious in our spiritual mind. So we have to take the literal meaning of Sacred Scripture and extract from it the spiritual content that is in God's Speech before it was translated by the prophet or revelator into natural ideas and words.

It is the same process with all inspired writings and thoughts. What we are conscious of in the literal meaning is the natural translation of the spiritual truth that is in our unconscious spiritual mind. If any individual would be able, by some Divine miracle, to be conscious in the spiritual mind while still functioning in the natural mind with the physical body, such an individual would be able to empirically discover what spiritual content corresponds to specific natural content. Such an individual might be called a Dual Citizen, conscious in both minds simultaneously.

In point of history there was one such scientist born in the 17th century in Sweden in 1688. He became a mining engineer and publisher of high end scientific articles, many his own, as he was very inventive. His scientific approach was in the positive bias of science, so that he always related explanations of natural events to spiritual causes in eternity. At age 57, he had a vision of God as a Divine Human appearing to his eyes and talking to him. Shortly thereafter he became conscious in his spiritual mind. In his journal he describes how disorienting he felt throughout this period, not distinguishing clearly whether he was talking to someone in eternity through his spiritual mind, or talking to someone present in his natural mind through his physical body. But later he wrote that he had it all worked out and in fact, spent the next 27 years living as a dual citizen, writing two dozen volumes about it, until his passing on in 1772 at age 84. The man's name was Emanuel Swedenborg.

We thus have Swedenborg's direct empirical observations of the correspondences between spiritual content and natural content. This solves the problem of what God meant in this or that verse of Sacred Scripture, or in this or that verse written by an inspired artist who is seeking truth for its own sake. I have studied spiritual correspondences for three decades basing my understanding solely on Swedenborg's own observations. In this Web Page I am sharing with visitors how I apply spiritual correspondences to a collection of song lyrics whose content is about driving cars on roads and highways.

Take for example passages in the Bible that discuss chariots and wheels. What is the spiritual content of chariot and horses? Swedenborg observed in his spiritual mind that when he was talking to people about their principles of life, chariots and horses appeared here and there in the mental environment where he was speaking with others about principles of life. Having observed this co-occurrence repeatedly he understood the spiritual content of chariot and horses in the numerous places where they are mentioned in the literal meaning of Sacred Scripture.

I have myself examined this evidence methodically and empirically. You can do so as well. Take a particular correspondence that appears in many places in the Sacred Scripture you know.  For instance,

| chariot |  = moral and spiritual principles of life (or their corruption)
| horses | = rational understanding of the intellect (or its falsification)
| water | = varieties of truths (natural and spiritual) (or their falsifications)
| giant | = self-intelligence opposed to truth
| wars, killings | = defeating our animal nature
| death, dying | = resuscitation in the spiritual mind of eternity
| flower, fruit | = behavioral intentions (acting on our principles)
| virgin | = love of truth
| husband and wife, marriage | = good and truth conjoined
| flood | = being tempted so that we may affirm our principles

Using a search engine or an index you can find all or several passages in your Sacred Scripture that contain these words. Now in each case see if you can visualize a spiritual meaning for that passage that is in agreement with your rational understanding. If the word is "chariot" you can think about moral truths that guide your life, or people's lives. When we see something being said about chariots in Sacred Scripture (literal content), God is actually talking about moral imperatives in our lives (spiritual content).

Now apply that spiritual content to all the passages that have "chariot." Does it fit all the passages?

I have found no one who is able to give consistent interpretations of Bible content and imagery, with the single exception of Swedenborg. And clearly, this is due to his unique situation of being conscious in his spiritual mind, hence having direct access to spiritual content.

What about religion?

According to polls ninety percent of Americans believe in the existence of God. Among scientists the percent is much lower, but still it is a fact today that millions of scientists and their immediate families believe in God, and many of them belong to an organized religion. I see this as an intellectual schizophrenia, namely, being involved with God on the week end and the rest of the week acting intellectually like an atheist or materialist, who denies that there is an eternal spirit as distinct from the physical or material body. In my case I participated in this intellectual schizophrenia for the first half of my long career as a scientist in the field of psychology.

But in the second half of my career as scientist I found a way of bringing the concept of God into science and separating it from religion.

This would be a good solution for all of science not just those scientists who believe in God as a real omnipotent and rational Being.

God, eternity, heaven, hell -- separated from religion?

Yes. This requires the positive bias approach to science, as explained above. The process that would be very beneficial is this:

Step 1. Adopt the positive bias while examining the evidence for God in science.

This is similar to adopting the negative bias while examining the evidence of materialistic science and methodology. For instance, scientists who believe in God's real participation in natural phenomena are being required, if they want a Ph.D. in the sciences, to assume in their work the negative bias that denies God's existence or the reality of spirit and eternity.

Step 2. Examine the evidence presented in the multi-volume Writings of Swedenborg.

This step may not be realistic for most scientists since their careers require the reading and study of materials defined by their specialty. As scientists normally do therefore, they rely on secondary commentaries or articles. Most scientists know the history of science through secondary sources, such as courses and readings offered or written by others. In the case of Swedenborg's Writings in relation to the negative and positive bias in science, I recommend my own introductory textbook in theistic psychology that I use in my courses. This text also introduces you to other scientists like myself who have written about Swedenborg.

Step 3. Study the material rationally.

  • Does every detail of it make sense rationally and logically?
  • Is it possible that it all could be true?
  • Does it help you to understand everything else you know in a better way and more rationally?

If the answer is Yes for all three questions, you have obviously benefited. Now you are in possession of a new and better way of understanding reality and science.

There is therefore no opposition between theistic science and religion.

This is possible because all religions are based on the literal meaning of the Sacred Scripture each worships. In contrast theistic science is based on the correspondential meaning extracted from Sacred Scripture. There is no relationship between the literal meaning and the spiritual meaning except that of correspondences. Hence they do not contradict each other but merely address each their own content. Since religious beliefs and thinking are based on the literal meaning of Sacred Scripture, there is going to be religious disagreement as long as God provides different versions of Sacred Scripture.

Swedenborg explains that the literal meaning of Sacred Scripture that God gives to a particular people at a particular time must necessarily be a historical and ethnic document. The people who receive that document as Sacred Scripture must be able to accept it, and they can only accept it if it is cast within their own culture, or the culture they first take on and identify with as a community in a particular country. Because communities vary in culture God gives a different version of Divine Speech to each people. But in the modern era and to the modern mind, the spiritual meaning of Sacred Scripture has been revealed in the Writings of Swedenborg through his ability to be conscious in his spiritual mind.

I have studied various Sacred Scripture and have confirmed that the spiritual meaning is the same for all of them, regardless of the literal meaning as embedded in culture and history.

In other words, all genuine and inspired Sacred Scripture from all religions gives the same universal meaning or message when we consider them in their correspondential meaning.

And what is the theme of this message? What does God want us to know?

I have sketched out the Divine theme in this essay. God wants us to know about our immortality and wants us to let God lead us in this life. God reveals that we need this knowledge in order to cooperate with our character reformation. God keeps us on this earth only as long as we continue to face our character for the sake of changing it. God explains that we are born with both heaven and hell in our mind, and that our culture and inherited tendencies are such that we enjoy the things of a hellish character more than the things of a heavenly character.

For instance, people enjoy overeating more than eating in a way that maintains an appropriate weight for them. The greater enjoyment of eating foods that harm our health causes our experiencing to enter a world of mental hell. At first enjoyable, then it becomes less and less so, then painful recovery must follow, or long illness and suffering. It is similar with many things people do as a habit every day:  cheating, lying, abusing others, denigrating virtues, stealing, discriminating against, hating, annoying, bullying, ridiculing, teasing, harming, etc. You can lengthen this list, as everyone can. Why so much crime, hatred, breakdown in our society and between countries? Because people are pulled by their inherited tendencies to enjoy and acquire an awful character that is harmful to community. And this is magnified by the fact that when we are in false beliefs and assumptions (without knowing it), what we think and what we do seems good to us.

All these issues are discussed by God in the correspondential sense of Sacred Scripture. Details are given regarding the specific developmental steps that our mind must go through in order to modify this evil character -- evil because it harms others and self. In the correspondential sense God gives us details about life in eternity and how our specific character determines the quality of our mental life to eternity -- whether rational or irrational, good or evil, happy or depressing, social or alone, etc.

Why doesn't God give Sacred Scripture that has the correspondential meaning out there in the open, in the literal. Wouldn't that be clearer than trying to extract it ourselves? zzz

The answer is similar to the question why song artists don't write down the spiritual message, which is:

Feeling trapped by conscience and longing to be free of conventional rules.
I'm obsessing over the same thoughts over and over again. I long for relief, but I know it won't happen for awhile.
My imagination is running wild with me. I picture all the things that can happen.

instead of writing down the natural content correspondences of it:

I'm headin' down the Atlanta highway lookin' for the love getaway
Lonely highway I keep rushing down And there's a 100 miles till I sleep tonight
And 18 wheels running Well, I'm never moving slow

People would not be as excited and accepting of the artist's performance if the lyrics contained the spiritual content. What do you think? The spiritual meaning sounds like something anybody could say on any day. People would not benefit much by hearing the artist say those sentences. But the literal meaning is something many people can relate to, though the principle of different strokes for different folks applies here as well. We seem to resonate and react to certain music and lyrics, and not to others.

If you understand this then you can also understand rationally that people respond to certain literal content of Sacred Scripture and not to others. Neither would they respond if Sacred Scripture was written out in the correspondential meaning directly, which is universal and scientific, and cannot be received without education, literacy, and science.

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Song Lyrics Part C  
 

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(to be continued)

 

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Introduction: Part 4 

Every human mind contains layers or levels of operation. The two principal layers are the natural layer of the mind and the spiritual layer of the mind. Both layers are made of the mental organs called affective (for feelings), cognitive (for thoughts), and sensorimotor (for sensations and movements). These organs are constructed out of mental genes and mental substances that are emitted by the Spiritual Sun, to which our sun (or any planetary star) corresponds. The physical sun is the source of materials (substances) that make up the planets and the physical body. The Spiritual Sun is the source of substances that make up the mental organs and the mental body (or spirit body). These spiritual (or mental) substances are eternal, because in eternity, that is, outside time and physical space. Because our mental organs (feelings, thoughts, sensations) are in eternity, our self or character as an individual human being is also in eternity, that is, immortal. Once alive, always alive -- for human beings. Once you are born, there is no way out of living, for it is immortal. We have proof of this when we awaken a few hours after death, in the spiritual mind and continue life fully self-consciously in the mental world of eternity in company with every other human being that has ever been born somewhere.

Swedenborg confirmed this empirically by talking to many of the people he had read about in history, literature, and the Bible.  He did this through his unique ability to be conscious in the spiritual mind, as explained above. Swedenborg explains that this is not possible for anyone else today or in the future because it would be spiritually damaging to that person and to all who are forced to accept it as a physical proof of spiritual realities. In other words, you and I would be harmed in our development if we suddenly became conscious in our spiritual mind while we are still functioning in our natural mind. 

Being alive means to have experiences. What are experiences? To experience is to become conscious of the operations in the three mental organs. These mental or spiritual operations correspond to each other across the layers of the mind. The top layer of our spiritual mind, corresponding to the crown of the head enclosing the frontal brain or cortex, is called the celestial layer of the mind, also known as "heaven." And when this layer of the mind is filtered and transformed into its opposite, our experiences are then called "hell." When we are "in heaven" we are experiencing the celestial correspondences that operate in our affective, cognitive, and sensorimotor organs. The operations of these organs are made functional by the inflow of spiritual light and heat form the Spiritual Sun.

The Spiritual Sun emits these substances on a continuous basis, so that the mental world of eternity is filled with them, corresponding to how the physical world around a star is filled with its light and gravitational field. Every object or plant on the surface of the earth is filled with the rays and gravitation of the sun, causing all sorts of physical operations to occur there. This corresponds to how the rays of the Spiritual Sun permeate the mental world of all humanity and causes operations in the mental organs of every human being. Swedenborg reports that when he looked at the Spiritual Sun through his spiritual mind and body, many thousands of times over 27 years, he was able to see that it is an aura surrounding the head of the Divine Human. This Divine Human is God who appears to individuals as the Divine Human.

 If you are still in the mode of thinking of the positive bias in science, as explained above, then you can understand rationally that there has to be a mechanism that God uses to operate the universe in every possible detail, including the operation of our mental organs. In scientific thinking everything that exists forms an integrated entity and nothing disconnected from other things can exist. This is the cause-effect reality that God has created and is maintaining. God creates by rationality, hence the created universe must be in the order of the Creators' rationality. God is a perfect scientist. Now in the modern age God has revealed to the modern mind (through the dual mind of Swedenborg), what these cause-effect mechanisms are that govern the universe and the human mind. Both the physical world of time and space, and the mental world of eternity outside time and space, are governed by rational laws of correspondences across all the layers of operation.

It is understandable therefore that when we use language and think in words in the natural mind, and try to describe to ourselves what we are experiencing, we are going to use physical events and objects to talk about mental events and meanings (or truths). For instance:

Head =  what is inmost or highest in the mental world, life itself ("It's my head that is at stake")

Eyes = wisdom, perceptions, cognitive organ of thinking and understanding ("I see what you mean")

Light = understanding, comprehension ("He is enlightened")

Hand = proceeding power ("He's ruling with a strong head")

Finger = active participation ("She has a finger in every project")

Fist = insisting ("Put his fist down")

Scattered = lack of focus or coherence ("scattered thoughts")

Ears = to know, to obey, to understand, to agree to ("I hear you")

Deaf = not understanding or obeying ("Are you deaf?")

Smell = to investigate ("I smell something fishy going on here")

Teeth = power ("that amendment has no teeth in it")

Lip = doctrine of truth, faith, quality of one's speech, attitude ("Don't give me lip")

Sharp = thinking or saying something critical ("a sharp comment")

Sharp = nice looking ("sharp clothes")

Nose = perception, intelligence, expertise ("she's got a good nose for it")

Digest = to appropriate, to make one's own ("This story is too much for me to digest")

Taste = choices ("He has good taste in clothes")

Bitter, sour = unpleasant, not good, bad ("The relationship soured, and they became bitter enemies")

Sweet = pleasant, angelic ("She has a sweet voice")

Sour = dissatisfied, unhappy ("He had a sour expression on his face")

Right hand = having all the power ("He's the boss's right hand man")

Left hand = mentally incapable ("He's got two left hands")

Pointing the finger = blaming somebody ("Don't point the finger at me")

(This list is from Theistic Psychology by Leon James)

In other words, the thinking operations of the mental body and the physical operations of the physical body are tied to each other by cause-effect correspondences, some of which is clearly shown when we examine the language of our thinking in the natural mind. This is an evolutionary development. The human race, that is, the mental world of eternity, continues to develop and evolve endlessly.

The layers of the mind operate by successive correspondences from the highest to the lowest. This succession is in a rational and scientific order. In other words, the layers of operation in the mental world of eternity can be scientifically discovered and mapped out using the laws and principles of correspondences. Swedenborg reports that in his spiritual mind he was able to talk to the most ancient people, or earliest societies on the planet. They told him that when they were in the physical body they knew and practiced the "science of correspondences" which had been revealed to them by those who were already in eternity (spiritual mind) and with whom they were able to communicate consciously, or often in their dreams.

However, later generations began to misuse the knowledge of correspondences  by applying them to personal gain and power over others. This was the source of magical powers that were actually applications or exploitations of correspondences (since correspondences have cause-effect functions). In contemporary times, "healing power" or "cure by a miracle" is believed to be possible through the power of correspondences, but this has not yet been fully proven scientifically. Therefore such power can be claimed by some people, and may be convincing to some others, but this is not a scientific proof.

Swedenborg explains that applying the power of correspondences in such a way, as was done in pre-modern minds, would not be allowed as in former times. This is because the modern mind is based on scientific rational thinking that is convinced by evidence and proof, not by persuasion or conviction. The pre-modern mind required sensuous evidence of the existence of the mental world of eternity and of God. Hence God appeared to various people in all generations and worked miracles people could witness; also, magic powers were given to some people and they could work miracles. This was sensuous rock bottom evidence to them that God exists, that the mental world of eternity exists.

But today the modern mind would not be convinced by sensuous or physical evidence coming into the sensory organs of the body. Swedenborg interviewed many people (the "departed") after their resuscitation, or their awakening consciously in the spiritual mind of the afterlife in eternity.  He was able therefore to form an empirical understanding of what happens to those who acquired a "persuasive faith" in God, heaven and hell, Sacred Scripture, miracles. They were unwilling to keep that intellectual persuasion, rejecting it as not real and contrary to their character. They shrugged off all prior compulsions from their beliefs and acquired new beliefs or persuasions that were more congruent with their current desires, wants, and intentions. But in contrast those who had acquired an intellectual outlook based on rational thinking, were eager to hold on to their ideas and loyalty to God, to love, to good and truth. Based on this evidence by Swedenborg we can understand why God does not allow miraculous powers and events in the modern era of the human mind.

Though we cannot use the power of correspondences as they did in pre-modern minds, we can use the knowledge of correspondences to advance in our rational and scientific thinking. The more we can understand things rationally the higher our consciousness rises across the layers of the mental world. It corresponds to mountain climbing and to driving cars and trucks on roads and highways. The more we understand how correspondences regulate our mental life of feeling and thinking, the more we gain in rationality and the more our consciousness is elevated across the layers of the mind. Swedenborg says that any individual has the capacity to climb the layers of truth that constitute the human mind.

All individuals who seek truths for the sake of good, are given by God the ability to understand and perceive correspondences, and thereby, to elevate their consciousness to celestial rationality and perception. Consider again the spiritual meaning of what the song lyrics above are discussing:

Song Lyrics (1)

Feeling trapped by conscience and longing to be free of conventional rules.

I'm obsessing over the same thoughts over and over again. I long for relief, but I know it won't happen for awhile.

My imagination is running wild with me. I picture all the things that can happen.

I kept thinking that nothing is going to work. I almost lost hope. But God came to my rescue.

I lead a selfish and disorderly life. And I don't care.

I'm doing what I want. I don't care what others think. I don't care if it's bad.

When we are peaceful and considerate we can each enjoy our independence and the pursuit of happiness.

My life became disorderly and harmful when I started following my own rules.

In other words, the spiritual meaning of what the song writers are discussing has to do with quite ordinary mental dilemmas and observations that we all have on a daily basis when we are reflecting on ourselves, our life, our fate. If we merely think about the literal meaning of the lyrics we are not in any way enlightened by it:

I'm headin' down the Atlanta highway lookin' for the love getaway

Lonely highway I keep rushing down And there's a 100 miles till I sleep tonight

And 18 wheels running Well, I'm never moving slow

Driving along 71 My eyelids waving down I've been up all night Thank God for that little truckstop in LaGrange.

Honkin', Honkin' down the goshdarn highway Trying, trying to get past them cars.

I'm on the highway to hell. No stop signs, speed limit, Nobody's gonna slow me down.

We're just brothers of the road Casting shadows in the night Big wheels rolling on and on

And I was born in the back seat of a Greyhound bus Rollin' down Highway 41.

These literal meanings are perhaps interesting autobiographical snippets and historical locations, but not spiritual meaning and insight about life and the human condition. Hence it is the spiritual meaning that we want to extract from the literal meaning in order to benefit spiritually or rationally. Perhaps while we are listening and singing, being emotionally involved in the music of a song, it might be worthwhile to try to become conscious of the spiritual meaning of what the artist perceived and wants to communicate to us. Music itself is a spiritual correspondence for affections or emotions. By experiencing the music sensuously through our senses of hearing and movement, we are reacting emotionally by correspondence. The feelings we have are correspondences to the sensuousness of the music. The artist thus communicates to us something spiritual both through the music and through the lyrics.

The music is experienced in instruments and in the artist's voice. The instruments and the voice correspond to the operations in the affective organ, and also the by reaction to the sensorimotor organ, while the lyrics and their meaning correspond to the operations of the cognitive organ. The literal meaning corresponds to the content in the various layers of the natural mind, while the spiritual meaning corresponds to the content in the layers of the spiritual mind.

 


Song Lyrics Part D  

or Back to   Song Lyrics Part A || Song Lyrics Part B  ||   Song Lyrics Part C

(to be continued)


       Back to Introduction: Part 1  ||  Back to Introduction: Part 2 ||  Back to Introduction: Part 3  ||  Back to Introduction: Part 4 

Introduction: Part 5 

The principal benefit of knowing the correspondential sense of Sacred Scripture and of inspired songs is to provide us with a map of the mental world. The content of the spiritual meaning is always about a map of the mental world.

God wants us to have such a map for our life. Consider the experiences people go through when they do not have this map. People have no way of interpreting correctly  what is happening to them mentally. They are left to themselves, to their imagination and speculation, and to materialistic science. The result is a lack of comprehension and an inability to cope with feelings and thoughts, emotions and compulsions. Spiritually viewed people go out of control and lose the ability to tell the difference between spiritual truth and falsified truth; hence also, they lose the ability to know what is good and what is evil.

Without a map of the mind and its growth process we are mentally lost. We therefore are unable to predict the mental states we must go through. They just come upon us, assail us with negative emotions, compulsions, obsessions, foolishness, addictions. We get depressed. We stop enjoying life. We acquire neuroses and personality defense mechanism. We are not as inventive as we could be, not as mentally alive and healthy as we could be. Society is depressed. Crime rate is high. Child abuse. Wife abuse. Divorce. Lawlessness. Poor development. Conflict and war. This is the psychological cost of living one's life without a mental map of the way to heaven and hell.

Human beings have the capacity to avoid all this misery and suffering.

To do so we need a map and this is what we get from the correspondential meaning of Sacred Scripture and inspired writings (though not in the same way -- to be discussed). I created a formula to help us understand this type of map, and I coined three new expressions to express the idea:

spiritual geography = mental anatomy = the afterlife of eternity

Individual minds exist, grow, and travel through the mental world of eternity. They start at birth and never stop to endless eternity. Minds are always traveling through mental space which may be called rational ether produced by the Spiritual Sun (see  discussions in earlier Parts). Each of us as individual unique minds travel through the mental world. This is then what I mean by spiritual geography, namely, a mapping out of the mental world of humanity.

Mental anatomy refers to the anatomy of each mind, as discussed in prior Parts, namely, the spiritual mind and the natural mind, each having three organs.

The first equal sign in the equation indicates that these two are one and the same. The second indicates that these two are one and the same with the afterlife in eternity. To me this was the most startling discovery that I made through the study of Swedenborg's Writings. Just think: you are already in eternity now and you have been since birth!


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