Scientific discovery of Spiritual Laws given in Rational Scientific Revelations

Theistic Psychology: 
The Scientific Knowledge of God
Extracted from the
Correspondential Sense of Sacred Scripture


Dr. Leon James
Professor of Psychology
University of Hawaii

Published on the Web in 2004
Continuously updated and expanded.

Last update:  2007

For Permissions Note and Conditions of Use see Volume 18

Subject Index, Index to All Sections, Selections, and Readings is in Volume 18

This is Volume 5

Research Methods in Theistic Psychology

(version 51k)

5.0  Extractive, Predictive, and Applied Research

5.0.1  The Unique Properties of Sacred Scripture
      Correspondences, Representatives, and Significatives

5.0.2   Analyzing Divine Speech: The Scientific Sense of Genesis 22
5.0.3   The Binding of Isaac on the Altar
5.0.4   The Mental Struggles of the Divine-Human on Earth
5.0.5    The Meaning of Sacrifices in Worship
5.0.6    The Passion of Christ Movie and What It Portrays
5.0.7    Evolutionary Footsteps for the Human Race
5.0.8    The Scientific Meaning of Sin and Sacrifices
5.0.9    Three Types of Spiritual Perception
5.0.10  The Elevation of Consciousness 
5.0.11  Thy Seed Shall Inherit the Gate of Thine Enemies
5.0.12   Invasion of the Hells
5.0.13   Universal Salvation of Everyone     
       Extracting Theistic Psychology From Sacred Scripture --
                                         an Illustration

      The Stages of Doctrinal Acquisition From the Writings Sacred Scripture

5.1  Anatomy of the Mind: illustration of Applied Research

5.1.1  The Mind's Three Discrete Degrees--Burnham's Charts

    The Mind's Two Organs--Will and Understanding 
    Three Degrees of Mind--Celestial, Spiritual, Natural
     Internal and External Within Each Degree of Mind
    Corresponding Degrees--Natural and Spiritual Minds
     Anatomy of the Mind at Birth
                      The Incarnation Event and Regeneration
                      Thinking With Angels: Our Virtual Heavens
     Altruism or the Love of Uses
                   The Method of Self-witnessing
     The Genuine Human Shape and Form
     Life in the Embryo
     The Growth of the Mind
                   The Mind's Growth During Childhood
    The Role of the Unconscious Spiritual Mind
    Regeneration of the Adult Mind
    The Adult Unregenerate Hellish Mind

5.1.2  Structural and Functional Relations in the Mind or Spiritual Body
5.1.3  Relationship Between Mind and Culture
5.1.4  Rational Mind Mediates Natural and Spiritual Information
5.1.5  Rational and Sensuous Consciousness

5.2   Illustration of Predictive Research

5.3  Ethical Issues in Theistic Psychology

            5.3.1  Ethics of Science and Religion
            5.3.2  Theistic Psychologists and Morality 
            5.3.3  Theistic Psychology and Media Content
            5.3.4  Censorship and Theistic Psychologists
            5.3.5  Theistic Psychologists View on War, Death Penalty, Abortion

5.4.0     The Mental Technology of Spiritual Self-Witnessing:  Illustration of
                    Predictive Research in Theistic Psychology
              Cataloguing the Components of the External and Interior
                                    Social Environment

              We Are Never Alone—The Vertical Community
                              The Universal Language in the Afterlife
              Self-Witnessing Of The Threefold Self:
                                        Affective, Cognitive, Sensorimotor

              Self-Witnessing As A Spiritual Discipline
              Without Self-Witnessing Our Own Evils, They Cannot Be Removed
              Metanoid Self-Witnessing Or Being An Audience To Yourself
              Macro-Behaviors Are Regenerated By Means Of Micro-Behaviors
              Examples From The Daily Round Archives
              Teaching Self-Witnessing: Protection of Privacy Issues
            Grading and Assessment Approaches
             The Daily Round Archives Classification Scheme (DRA)
             References on Self-witnessing Articles
            5.4.1  Self-Witnessing Literacy Skills

               Discovering Our Social and Mental Environment
               Mental Literacy Skills            
               We Are Never Alone—The Vertical Community
               Self-Witnessing Of The Threefold Self
                Self-Witnessing As A Spiritual Discipline
                The Motive of Spiritual Charity
                Metanoid Self-Witnessing and Sudden Memory
                Macro-Behaviors Are Regenerated by Means of Micro-Behaviors
               The Daily Round Archives
              Self-witnessing, Temptations and Regeneration

              5.4.2    Cognitive Atlas: Keeping Track of Our Social Life
              5.4.3    Discovery of Sudden Memory
                     Foreword One:  Awakening and Re-awakening
                     Introduction One:  Oscillation of Awareness
                     Experiment 1:  Merely Witnessing Doing Nothing
                     Experiment 2:  Observing the Process of Experiential Contraction
The Evidence: Navigational Performances
                     Reflective Awareness: Distinction Between Consciousness and Experiencing
                     Introduction Two:  Self-Actualizing
                     Thinking as a Scanning Operation
                     Modes of Captivity Through the Daily Schedule
                    Memory and Social Identity
                    The Register of Captivity
                    The Consequences of the Daily Schedule:   Things We Forget
                    Standardized Imaginings and the Reconstruction of Record
                    Sudden Memory:  A New Discovery
                    Epilogue One:  Rex's Wisdom
                    Epilogue Two:  the Mode of Enactment in the Radicalist Register

              5.4.4    Origin and Analysis of Dreams
 5.5     The Substitution Technique:  Illustration of Extractive Research
                            5.5.1    The Parallelism Technique 
                            5.5.2    The Alignment of Trines From Sacred Scripture

5.6     Constructing Dualist Concepts From Swedenborg's Writings: Illustration of
                        Applied Research in Theistic Psychology

                5.6.1  Full Text Searching of the Writings Online
                5.6.2  Indexical Concordance Technique: The Writings vs. the Web 

5.7     The Scientific Meaning of the Ten Commandments:
                     Illustration of Extractive Research

                5.7.1  First Commandment: God is the Source of Everything
                5.7.2  Second Commandment: Do Not Take the Name of God in Vain
                5.7.3  Third Commandment: Keep the Sabbath Day Holy
                5.7.4  Fourth Commandment: Honor Your Father and Mother
                5.7.5..Fifth Commandment: Do Not Murder
                5.7.6  Sixth Commandment: Do not Commit Adultery
                5.7.7  Seventh Commandment: Do Not Steal
                5.7.8  Eighth Commandment: Do Not Lie
                5.7.9  Ninth and Tenth Commandments: Do not Covet
                5.7.10 Summary Table For the Scientific Meaning of the Ten Commandments
                5.7.11 Rise Above It--The Ten Commandments in All Religions

5.8  What the Bible Says: Illustration of Applied Research

5.9  Color Wisdom--A Method for Tracking Spiritual Development:
                    Illustration of Applied Research

5.10    Illustration of Predictive Research in Theistic Psychology

5.11    Spiritual Numerology

5.12    Spiritual Discourse Analysis

5.13    Spiritual Linguistics

Topical Index of All Sections

5.0  Extractive, Predictive, and Applied Research

Theistic psychology is based on three empirical methodologies, which will be illustrated in this chapter.

  1. Extractive research-- systematic and cumulative analysis of Sacred Scripture as Divine Speech containing a universal and scientific meaning that is hidden within its historical and literal sentences and expressions

  2. Predictive research-- constructing theories and principles of theistic psychology that are to be confirmed by extractive research

  3. Applied research--discovering applications of theistic psychology knowledge to character self-improvement in daily life as a preparation for conjugial life in heavenly eternity

These are the three distinct methodologies that exist in theistic psychology. Extractive research is the basis and beginning of all other methodologies. An illustration of this technique is given in the next section immediately below which extracts the universal scientific meaning of Genesis Chapter 22 (for other examples see Section xx). This meaning is also called the correspondential meaning of Sacred Scripture. Human consciousness is to the awareness of meaning. Meaning is therefore the basis and content of our consciousness. What is the origin and source of meaning? Few people know the answer. It is given in theistic psychology as it was extracted from the scientific correspondences of Divine Speech (see Section xx).

The source of meaning, or consciousness, is Divine Truth, which is a spiritual substance that streams forth from the Spiritual Sun, and radiates simultaneously into the mind of every human being (see Section xx). There is no other source of truth of any kind except God's Divine Truth radiating from the Spiritual Sun as spiritual light. This immortal living substance enters the mind of every human being at its highest level called the third Heaven (see Section xx). From there the living spiritual substance descends through the various discrete layers of the human mental organs, giving the cognitive organ the ability and energy to operate our thinking, reasoning, understanding, and imagining (see Section xx).

This transfer of Divine truth into human minds, called "Divine influx," is accomplished through the rational ether or "sphere" that surrounds our mind in the spiritual world (see Section xx). Remember that the mental world is the spiritual world of eternity where people live in the afterlife (see Section xx). We are not directly conscious of our presence in the spiritual world of eternity as long as we are connected by correspondence to a physical body (see Section xx). The influx of spiritual light and heat from the Spiritual Sun is what keeps us alive and immortal (see Section xx).

Swedenborg at age 57 was enabled by God to be conscious in his spiritual mind while he was still conscious of his natural mind. As a result he was able to be sensuously present in the world of eternity, interview people who had passed into the afterlife, both recent arrivals and those who had lived on earth thousands of years ago. For 27 years he lived as a dual citizen, conscious in both time and eternity. Swedenborg was able to see the Spiritual Sun along with all the people who inhabit the heavens of their mind. After you are resuscitated, which is about 30 hours after the physical body is no longer responsive in any way, you awaken in conscious awareness in your spiritual mind and are able to interact with everyone else who is already conscious in their spiritual mind. Then you can see the Spiritual Sun of that world of eternity. You will be able to see the spiritual substance of living light stream into you, and you will experience its effects by what you can see, think, and feel.

Truth is therefore the very basis and substance of consciousness, or spiritual life in immortality. And the origin of all truth is Divine Speech ( = Divine Truth), which comes forth through the Spiritual Sun from the Divine Human whose Head can be seen in the midst of it, as Swedenborg often observed, and as anyone can observe who dwells in the heaven of their mind, which it the mind's highest region of consciousness and is called the celestial state of a human being (see Section xx). Divine Truth or Divine Speech creates and forms meaning in human minds, thus consciousness and immortality. Our consciousness, awareness, understanding, and thinking is nothing but our reaction or accommodation to the spiritual light entering our cognitive organ at the celestial level, then descending. Sacred Scripture is what Divine speech becomes through this descent (see Section xx). Now we can climb back up this Divine descent through extracting the scientific meaning that lies hidden within Sacred Scripture. The extracted knowledge is close in subject matter to Divine Speech and Divine Truth, while the literal sentences have a more distant relationship to what God is actually talking to us about (see Section xx).

You can see then why it is that extractive research is the very foundation for theistic psychology. Through this activity we can extract new meaning from Divine Speech coming down to our conscious awareness through the layers of our mind -- celestial, spiritual, natural (see Section xx). Extractive research is the process of becoming conscious of higher spiritual meaning or truth. The extraction process refers to the systematic and scientific derivation of higher-order correspondences from Sacred Scripture, when it is read as correspondences of Divine Speech. The systematic methods that theistic psychology follows are prescribed in precise detail in the Writings of Swedenborg (see Section xx). This makes sense since many people can invent all sorts of methods for "interpreting" Sacred Scripture, and this inventive self-intelligence has produced a bewildering collection of contradictory interpretations over the centuries of recorded Bible exegesis literature, doctrine, speculation, propaganda, and nonsense. (For illustrations see Volume 1 of my book A Man of the Field available online at: )

Any student, scholar, or researcher can generate, and communicate or share, new findings in extractive research by keeping a record of the process by which they are being enlightened when studying the letter of Sacred Scripture through the prescribed method of correspondences with enlightenment (see Section xx).

 To be "enlightened" means to become consciously or explicitly aware of genuine spiritual and celestial correspondences in Sacred Scripture. This process is produced and managed by God in His particular relationship with every unique human individual. People cannot enlighten themselves. Being able to perceive higher meanings in Sacred Scripture occurs when God activates the person's rational mind through influx of spiritual light into its cognitive organ. This takes place only as part of the process of being regenerated (see Section xx).

The higher your conscious awareness of meaning or spiritual truth contained in Divine Speech, the closer is your conscious awareness to Divine Truth. Divine Speech as Sacred Scripture hides or contains infinite new meanings or truths for the human race to extract and become conscious of. Sacred Scripture is the evolutionary mechanism managed by God by which human beings progressively grow in rational consciousness in their endless immortality.

These are the two fundamental principles for extractive research that are revealed and prescribed in the Writings of Swedenborg:

  1. No other genuine source of consciousness, meaning, rationality, or truth is possible than Divine Speech as Sacred Scripture, which is the sole and infinite source of all truth and reality forever.

  2. No other method of extraction is possible for theistic psychology than what is specified in the Writings Sacred Scripture. This is called the method of correspondences with enlightenment.

These two principles are specified in the Writings Sacred Scripture in many places where it deals with the issue of how to extract the "inner correspondential sense of the Word" [Sacred Scripture].

Approximately half of the text the Writings Sacred Scripture is devoted to this topic. Clearly, how to extract scientific correspondential meaning from Sacred Scripture ("the Word"), is the major topic in the Writings of Swedenborg. It is obvious therefore that these principles must be learned, followed, and applied in all extractive research in theistic psychology. Any research which does not follow the appropriate methods of extraction is therefore not part of theistic psychology.

You can see why this research rule is critical for the validity of theistic psychology. People over the centuries have offered numerous hypotheses, theories, and interpretations of many parts of Sacred Scripture. Why should anyone follow these interpretations, except from persuasion, blind faith, or authority--none of which are rationally and scientifically acceptable. And so theistic psychology would be just like all the other fields of philosophy, science, and social debate. This is the reason that God has created a rational mind in human beings, capable of becoming conscious of Divine Truth through the descending meanings of Divine Speech. Consciousness, or rational understanding of Divine Truth, is the very foundation of our immortality, rationality, and goodness as human beings.

God is the only true Human, and He creates human beings as an image of His own humanness. In fact, every single thing God creates must be an expression of His Human form. This is more difficult to see in inanimate things and in living individuals. But every object has an external part and an internal part, regardless of its size or composition. This reflects the human form as containing an external mind and internal mind. Plant and animal growth exhibit the Divine Human form in many ways, as in the struggle to survive and perpetrate its species through offspring. These abilities and tendencies are in God and they inflow each object, giving that object its unique qualities and properties. God's Humanness is most visible in human beings who have God's external form in the body and His internal form in the mind -- love, rationality, creativity. Our humanness as human beings is from God's Humanness, which is eternal, and was always, even prior to all creation. Hence God is called the Divine Human (see Section xx).

Divine Speech is the endless source of meaning or higher and higher consciousness of human potential. Divine speech is also the source of the methodology we are to follow for extracting meaning from it. We cannot use just any method that our intelligence dictates, and if we try, only chaotic and delusional meanings are obtained--not from Divine Speech, but from self-intelligence. Evidence of this is how religious ideas and harmful and irrational dogmas, have arisen throughout the centuries. In every instance, the extraction process was faulty. It wasn't until the 18th century that the human race on earth was ready for understanding and receiving this new rational methodology. Civilization had to first enter the modern age of rationality and science before the method of correspondences could be revealed to science. Emanuel Swedenborg (1688-1772) was chosen and prepared by God to be the human mind through whom the Divine Speech of the modern age would descend first, and from him, to others through the Writings Sacred Scripture.

Through the Writings of Swedenborg God reveals new scientific facts and how these phenomena are produced by spiritual and natural laws of correspondences. Humankind now knows that God maintains a very close and strict control over what people do in their mind when they approach Sacred Scripture as Divine Speech. If you approach Sacred Scripture as not Divine Speech, but some individual's inspired genius, then God shuts down completely the extraction process. You will then not be able to extract any meaning or truth from it. Everything you come up with will be your own theory, not an extraction from Divine Speech. The reason for this is to protect you from injuring yourself through what is called "profanation" and "the sin against the Holy Spirit that cannot be forgiven." This refers to the psychobiological fibers in the mind where the interpretation or meaning is permanently stored. In other words, if you distort the meaning of Divine Speech and attribute the source of that falsity to Divine Speech, you are creating two permanent forces in yourself that battle each other to death--except that they are immortal. You are then locked into an endless life of mental agony to eternity. To avoid this horrible fate, God will protect all those who approach Sacred Scripture.

Evidence of this is the fact that many people read Sacred Scripture and look at it as a story or as part of great literature--not as Divine Speech. They point to how it's written in an old fashioned way, how it is ignorant of all science, how it contradicts itself in many places, how it presents an inconsistent picture of God, how it is written for one ethnic group, how portions are often written by ignorant people, how many parts are poetic and visionary and don't make rational sense, etc. In other words, it is not possible to prove that what is designated as Sacred Scripture from Divine Speech, is different from other texts and books.

This inability to prove that Sacred Scripture is Divine Speech is the result of the strict rule God follows in preventing anyone from extracting any spiritual truth when the person is going to profane it, that is, reject it. This first line of protection against extractive research is called the "Cherubim," which refers to a Holy Animal described in the Old Testament as protecting the "throne or seat of God." The Cherubim symbolically represent God's action of preventing people from recognizing or perceiving Sacred Scripture as Divine Speech -- when they are later going to reject that truth after they perceived its reality.

The second line of protection against the self-injury of profanation, is that God controls the exact pace and progression of the new meanings we can extract. There are two general rules for genuine extraction in theistic psychology:

First Principle: Correspondences

Learning and using the correspondences solely as defined in the Writings Sacred Scripture. Avoiding any self-defined correspondences from logic or other sources. Confirming one's interpretation of a correspondence by multiple passages.

Second Principle: Enlightenment

Enlightenment by God of new meaning must take place in each instance of an extracted truth. Enlightenment is given only to the extent that the new truth is applied to one's daily willing and thinking. Only in this effort of character reformation or regeneration can God provide enlightenment for new meaning of Divine Speech, and this endlessly to eternity.

You can see why this called the method of correspondences with enlightenment (see Section xx).

This two-part cycle defines the extraction process now and into our eternal heaven, where the process continues on the same basis. Swedenborg reports that the people he interviewed in their highest heaven acknowledged that all their intelligence, wisdom, and knowledge comes from the celestial-rational Sacred Scripture they read every day and have implanted in their memory. Swedenborg reports that when we are conscious in our spiritual mind we have such an amazing knowledge of correspondences that we can answer any complicated question about the human body -- its anatomy, physiology, biochemistry, genetics and other things that are unknown to science on earth (which is the natural mind). The knowledge and meaning comes to them automatically as we think of some topic. This is because we internalize the celestial-rational text of Sacred Scripture, so that Divine Speech can come to our conscious awareness as an infinite database of knowledge instantly accessible. This makes us quasi-omniscient human beings when we are in the celestial mind (see Section xx).

From all this you can now see that theistic psychology is not like non-theistic science in which many people become experts regardless of their character. It is not necessary to be a struggling regenerating person in order to be an expert scientist in today's world. You can be a great mathematician and at the same time have a terrible personality that bullies others and cares only for self -- beside also being overweight with high blood pressure, or other cause related to lack of self-control. You can have a hellish character and yet be a genius for making money or inventing new managerial methods and ideas. You can be a popular philosopher or writer and yet be an alcoholic or sex addict, hurting those that love and trust you. You can be a great doctor and a terrible husband and father. But you cannot extract any truth from Sacred Scripture except in exact proportion to your struggles for regeneration and character reformation. This is the very reason Divine Speech is given to humankind. It is not available for any other use.

The two-step process starts with the study of correspondences as defined in the Writings of Swedenborg. If our motive for studying is in the positive bias (see Section xx), then God gives us enlightenment of spiritual truth so that we can become conscious of higher order correspondences--natural-rational correspondences, spiritual-rational correspondences, celestial-rational correspondences (see Section xx). We must collect these new meanings into a coherent statement or system called "the doctrine of truth from Sacred Scripture." The final step is to apply this new meaning to our choice making in the course of the day, every day. This applied feature involves the experience of temptations at various levels--natural, spiritual, celestial (see Section xx).

This three-step process of extractive research is therefore an individual and independent effort that every person must put out in the course of character reformation or regeneration. This is the normal process that has been provided by God for the salvation of every individual, that is, of the preparation of our heavenly proprium or "new will" (see Section xx).

From all this it is clear that one of the main objectives of theistic psychology is to teach people the spiritual literacy skills of extracting new meanings from Sacred Scripture as Divine Speech.

Predictive Research

Predictive research is represented by the many theories, models, and principles that I present in this book in all four volumes. In theistic psychology all theories and interpretations are called "predictive" because they predict that the principle or theory will be confirmable by Sacred Scripture.

Any theory or principle that has not been confirmed is not part of theistic psychology. It has an ambiguous status since it is not known whether it is a true representation of reality or a false one. But when the proposed interpretation or theory is confirmed by Sacred Scripture, it takes on a new status. It is now known that it is a true representation of reality and has the equivalent status to extractive research. This is the creative feature that we must have as independent researchers of Divine Speech. We can never rely on someone else's authority or understanding, for this would be useless to us spiritually at the second death (see Section xx).

The doctrine of truth from Sacred Scripture that we extract as-of self by means of our mental effort and desire, is a true doctrine created by the Divine Human in our very own proprium. This is the Divine Human's conscious presence in our very own rationality and freedom. This is the optimal condition for our loving the Divine Human because the infinite God is then present in our very own conscious mind. This is the highest potential reachable by human beings. It is a state of mind called "the Third Heaven" in the spiritual world. Swedenborg often visited with those who dwell in that state and has described their characteristics. This is the character of our very own mind at its highest level of operation. Every person can attain to this height in their mind through the spiritual techniques made available by God to every person living in the world today.

Applied research in theistic psychology centers around the "self-witnessing" method. This is a term I created before I started reading Swedenborg and reflects the kind of empirical approach I was interested in for several decades. Imagine my delight in discovering in the Writings of Swedenborg that the self-witnessing method is the key technique for regeneration, character reformation, and spiritual development. Volume 3 discusses applications of theistic psychology in several major areas of daily life.

Examples of predictive research include several concepts, terms, principles, and methodologies that I have introduced into theistic psychology--

  1. being an audience to yourself (see Section xx)

  2. biography recapitulates evolution of consciousness (see Section xx)

  3. biological theology  (see Section xx)

  4. cognitive atlas (see Section 5.4.2)

  5. color wisdom (see Section xx)

  6. community cataloguing practices (see Section xx)

  7. doctrine of the wife (see Section xx)

  8. dual citizenship  (see Section xx)

  9. emotional spin cycle (see Section xx)

  10. ennead matrix (see Section xx)

  11. extractive and predictive research (see Section xx)

  12. implicative meaning (see Section xx)

  13. genes of consciousness  (see Section xx)

  14. genetic culture  (see Section xx)

  15. geography of spiritual world = anatomy of mind  (see Section xx)

  16. graphic differential  (see Section xx)

  17. height and breadth of discourse (see Section xx)

  18. hexagram of development (see Section xx)

  19. macro-behaviors and micro-Behaviors (see Section

  20. no function without structure (see Section xx)

  21. positive and negative bias in science (see Section xx)

  22. professionalizing the self (see Section xx)

  23. rational vs. mystical spirituality (see Section xx)

  24. religious behaviorism (see Section xx)

  25. scientific meaning of Sacred Scripture (see Section xx)

  26. scientific revelations in Sacred Scripture  (see Section xx)

  27. self-regulatory sentences (see Section xx)

  28. self-witnessing method (see Section xx)

  29. spiritual anatomy (see Section xx)

  30. spiritual geography (see Section xx)

  31. spiritual linguistics = mental anatomy

  32. spiritual literacy skills (see Section xx)

  33. spiritual numerology (see Section xx)

  34. spiritual psychobiology (see Section xx)

  35. standardized imaginings (see Section xx)

  36. substantive dualism  (see Section xx)

  37. substitution technique for extractive research (see Section xx)

  38. sudden memory (see Section

  39. synecdoche (see Section xx)

  40. theistic psychology (see Section xx)

  41. threefold self (see Section xx)

  42. trigram of meaning (see Section xx)

  43. vertical community (see Section xx)

  44. and some others (see Section xx)


The diagram above shows applied theistic psychology with a lateral arrow because its focus goes outside research with Sacred Scripture. Extractive research is pictured with a vertical arrow upward because knowledge and information is being extracted from the scientific meaning of Sacred Scripture as Divine Speech. Predictive research is pictured with a vertical arrow downward because it projects ahead what we have not confirmed in Sacred Scripture. Additional comments about the diagram are given in the Preface.

The analysis presented in the next section is an illustration of the extractive methodology. It clearly shows that the scientific sense of the Old and New Testaments is entirely independent of their historical and poetic sense which serves for the Jewish and Christian religions. People from other religions can read these Sacred Books of Divine origin, but they may not see them as universal, of equal relevance to all peoples. They may have their own religious literature which is more relevant to their cultural group. And even if they appreciate the universal significance of the Bible and the Writings of Swedenborg, these remain in their eyes as belonging to a particular historical ethnic tradition to which they may not belong. Their absolute universality cannot be acknowledged when evaluated from the point of view of their literal meaning.

Few people know about the details of the scientific revelations in the Writings of Swedenborg. One of the main revelations is the unveiling of the code of correspondences in which all Sacred Scripture is written in a natural language. The section below shows how this is done by Swedenborg. When we consider the decoded meaning, it turns out that it is about the anatomy of the human mind and how every person can develop spiritually as a way of preparing for immortal life in the spiritual world. This is obviously a universal topic that has nothing to do with the ethnic-historical narrative in the literal meaning of Sacred Scripture.

Swedenborg demonstrated that the literal-historical meaning of all Sacred Scripture has nothing to do with the universal meaning of Divine Speech which lies hidden within the literal text. Thus, while all Sacred Scripture is a cultural document tied to an ethnic group and religion, its internal scientific meaning, when reconstructed through correspondences, is universal for the entire human race. The universal scientific knowledge is the Divine Speech that is contained or hidden within the literal-historical text. The Writings of Swedenborg have revealed the precise method of this reconstruction process from Sacred Scripture to Divine Speech. The central feature of this reconstructive method is called the code or laws of correspondences. Whether you say "reconstructive research" or "predictive research" it is equivalent, but the image of it is contrastive in the two cases. "Reconstructive" implies upward movement from a lower to a higher consciousness of God or Divine Truth. "Extractive" implies a downward movement from higher to a lower correspondences. Both perspectives are valid and simultaneous.

With regard to correspondences, God has rendered it impossible to figure out this hidden universal scientific meaning without the code of correspondences being revealed. All other codes made by human beings are automatically inaccurate and invalid, leading to the wrong conclusions. This is a protection for researchers and believers against committing profanation with Sacred Scripture, as explained above (see also Section xx). The Christian Bible is the most published book in the world and if you check the library shelves you will see that more books have been written about the Bible than any other topic. Despite this amazing intellectual effort, not one author has ever even suspected that the Bible is written in a code, which when decoded, yields a textbook of theistic psychology. All sorts of other ideas have been fabricated, but not the actual reality, as revealed in the Writings of Swedenborg, and as everyone can confirm in theistic psychology.

So the books of Sacred Scripture in the Western tradition turn out to be science books of universal relevance to every person, regardless of religion, culture, century of birth, or planet.

No religion or ethnic group can claim primary ownership or reception of Sacred Scripture, or the "Threefold Word,"  when considered from the perspective of their hidden scientific meaning revealed in the Writings of Swedenborg. They are Divine scientific revelations given to humanity independently of religion, culture, or century. This was not known about the Old and New Testaments until the Writings of Swedenborg made the revelation in the eighteenth century.

So now every religion can claim the Old and New Testaments for its own, since the purpose of religion everywhere is to prepare the individual for immortality. In that basic sense religion has been more scientific than science, given that science has become non-theistic and ridicules the idea of preparation for immortality. Religion is far closer to being scientific since it teaches that there is one God and that our souls or spirits are immortal. But now we have something far more scientific than religion, namely theistic psychology extracted from Sacred Scripture.

It’s important to understand that nothing can take away the connection people feel towards the Old and New Testaments as the source and center of their religion—Jews, Christians, and New Church Christians ("Swedenborgians"). The fact that these books of Sacred Scripture also have a scientific sense hidden within, in no way weakens their holy function as books of religion for Judaism, Christianity, and the New Church. In reality, the scientific sense within the literal only strengthens the importance of the literal. The Writings explain that the literal meaning is the "most holy" because it contains all the levels of meanings that Divine Speech embodies.

The literal religious sense of these sacred writings are not affected in any way by the fact that there is also a universal scientific sense hidden within. This too was intended by God to bring untold benefits to humankind.

This intimate connection between Sacred Scripture and theistic psychology is easy to understand when you consider what is the content of this scientific meaning when it is reconstructed through the method of correspondences.  The laws of correspondences govern not only the style of Divine Speech but also the causal relationship between natural phenomena as effects and the spiritual phenomena as their causes. Obviously, this kind of science supports religion because without religion there is no Sacred Scripture and without Sacred Scripture there is no theistic psychology .

As the extractive research in the next sections demonstrates, the universal scientific content or subject matter of Chapter 22 in the Book of Genesis, is the anatomy of the human mind and the steps of spiritual development every person undergoes, though some individuals are willing to go further than others. The purpose of these Divine scientific revelations in Sacred Scripture is to give human beings everywhere the ability to change their inherited character and to prepare it for life in heaven to eternity. No scientific knowledge can be more important than this when we consider what's at stake.

It is clear therefore that the purposes of religion and theistic psychology overlap with each other, namely, to prepare people for their life in eternity. The approach each uses is however different. Religion tries to universalize the literal of Sacred Scripture. Evangelism is therefore the main objective for both the education of their children and for finding converts outside their community. Theistic science eliminates the literal and extracts the universal from it using the prescribed methods that the literal specifies.

Note that the literal of Sacred Scripture remains all important, even in universal theistic psychology. This is demonstrated in several ways. First, it is the literal that tells us what correspondences are and how they must be applied. Second, all predictive research or new doctrines must be confirmed by the literal meaning of Sacred Scripture. Third, the historical and scientific facts revealed in Sacred Scripture are completely and fully accurate. These three criteria are explicitly specified in the literal text of the Writings.

Obviously then, there are parts in the text of the Writings that are universal in their literal meaning. These portions of the text of Sacred Scripture are called "naked truths." In other words, they are spiritual truths that anyone can recognize, even without the knowledge of correspondences or advanced literacy skills in text analysis. There is therefore an overlap between religion based on the Writings and theistic psychology, at those portions called "naked truths."

Religion and science use different methods and different concepts. Both are needed for improving life on earth and preparing it for life in the spiritual world. Religion is needed because all Sacred Scripture has been given to establish a religion. Without religion on this earth we would not have Sacred Scripture and there would be no way in which Divine Speech could reach our mind. The Writings say that without a rational and systematic system of explanation, religion cannot succeed because the modern minds will not believe what they cannot understand rationally. And so theistic psychology based on the universal sense of Sacred Scripture is needed. The two support one another like a cup supports the liquid inside. People of all religions can study and accept the methods of theistic psychology, while they could not do this with religion without abandoning their own.

The diagram above shows that literacy comes first in mental development. Then religion, which cannot be understood without literacy since genuine spiritual ideas are rational and require rational understanding. Without rational understanding only a mystical or persuasive belief system is possible. The Writings show that only a rational belief system allows the development of a regenerated character capable of living in heaven. Once religion is established in the mind through a connection with Sacred Scripture, we can elevate our understanding of God by studying Sacred Scripture as Divine Speech--which is the scientific knowledge that is hidden within Sacred Scripture. This new knowledge reinforces and solidifies our connection to religion since it explains the detailed mechanisms by which God operates the universe, details that are not available in the literal sense of Sacred Scripture. As the Writings explain, what we can understand rationally about God, we can accept permanently to eternity because we can then love it in freedom.

The more we develop our rational consciousness of God the more God enlightens us and the more we can explain the details of God's activities and how we fit into it.

We are going to review how the Writings extract the scientific sense of the Old and New Testaments using the code of correspondences. This code is like a DNA code because it consists of the scientific laws that describe the exact relationship between natural events as effects and spiritual events as causes. Note that Swedenborg did not invent this code. Nor does it represent his attempt to interpret the Bible figuratively, as some have done. Rather, Swedenborg observed in the spiritual world what happens when he reads Bible verses in the natural world. Since he had dual consciousness he was able to see what spiritual events were happening when particular natural events were occurring on earth, namely, his reading a particular verse or phrase.

Note also that this code is the spiritual DNA of natural events, so that it is not restricted to the Old and New Testaments. This is what makes it scientific. The code is about the scientific laws that interconnect the two worlds. The reason that the Old and New Testaments are written in this code is that these books of Sacred Scripture are Divine Speech. The words and verses spoken by God through the mind of earthly prophets, were heard as well by the inhabitants of the spiritual world. Everything God imparts to the human race follows this sequence of descent from God. It first goes through the three heavens and only then into the minds of people who are still living on earth  (see Section xx).

The books of the Old and New Testaments therefore exist in heaven, as witnessed by Swedenborg, but in their spiritual language. Swedenborg also saw the Writings that he himself had authored. Although he wrote every line himself, from his own thinking and understanding, he wrote only what he was requested to write by the Divine-Human Himself from whom he received this communication while writing. The Writings complete what the Old and New Testaments had begun, so that the entire revelation took these three sets to complete. Hence they are called the “Threefold Word,” because Divine Speech is called "the Word" in Western tradition.

You can see from this that the Sacred Scripture we possess here on earth has a relation to the Sacred Scripture in the spiritual world. This relationship is that of external to internal. Divine Speech starts in its inmost form as received in the celestial language of the highest heaven. This level of meaning is carried by "celestial-rational correspondences" of Divine Speech.  From there it filters down to the spiritual language of the intermediate heaven by means of "spiritual-rational correspondences" of Divine Speech. From there it is filtered down to the spiritual-natural language of the lowest heaven by means of "spiritual-natural correspondences" of Divine Speech. From there it filters down to the world of spirits where are the natural minds of the people still on earth. This now is the level Divine Speech that we are familiar with, namely, the literal text of the Threefold Word in a natural language, and then translated, into different natural languages.

It’s crucial to realize that the celestial meaning (Third Heaven) is contained within the spiritual meaning (Second Heaven), and both are contained in the spiritual-natural meaning (First Heaven), and all three are contained in the natural-historical meaning (the versions known on earth). Once you realize this, you can also see that all four levels of meaning are also in our mind since the anatomy of the mind is the same as the geography of the spiritual world (see Section xx).

Since we are conscious only in the natural mind, while still on earth, the only way we can know what the three inner meanings are is by using the code of correspondences to reconstruct, or extract, each of the three inner meanings. This is what Swedenborg has done. He has applied the code of correspondences to the verse by verse, and word by word analysis, of the entire books of Genesis and Exodus, in the Old Testament, and the Book of Revelation in the New Testament. In addition he adds numerous samples of verses from the other books of the Old and New Testaments to demonstrate that they too use the same code of correspondences as in these three books.

For further exploration, see what is presented here:

Thompson, Ian. (2004). Spiritual Meaning of Words in the Bible Based on Swedenborg's Correspondences, Compiled by Dr. Thompson at

Thompson, Ian. (2004). Spiritual Meaning of Parables in the Bible, Based on Swedenborg's Correspondences, Compiled by Dr. Thompson at

5.0.1  The Unique Properties of Sacred Scripture

I will illustrate in some detail how the Writings achieve this amazing result. You will note two types of proofs that we are dealing with regarding Divine Speech, which is totally unlike the speech authored by human beings. Ordinary books do not have these three sets of inner meanings that one can extract from the literal using the universal code of correspondences.

The first type of proof is that the same code of correspondences applies to all the books of Sacred Scripture, even though they had dozens of different authors over thousands of years, and none of them knew anything about a hidden code in what they were writing.

The second type of proof is that the inner content of major portions of these books refer to events that were to happen hundreds of years later. This is known to some extent from the literal sense in the case of visions and prophecies. It is believed that prophets were given visions and voices that they wrote down and that the content of what they wrote, at the literal level of meaning, refers explicitly to events to come, like famines and plagues, or wars of captivity and liberation, or God’s Incarnation event. But it was unknown, until the Writings, that hidden in the literal meaning of the visions and prophecies, and of the histories and poetry, there were three other rational meanings of a spiritual and celestial content.

For instance, as in the passages to be examined below, it is shown that the Abraham story of the Binding of Isaac to be sacrificed on the altar (Genesis Chapter 22 in the Old Testament), contains in its hidden meaning the mental struggles experienced by Jesus when a Divine Child growing up among the Jewish nation thousands of years after Abraham’s biography. The events of Abraham's life as told in Genesis are written down in exactly the right fashion to represent the mental struggles of the Incarnate God when still a Child. The Writings declare that every detail in the historical narrative of the patriarchs is accurate. So, particular events happened thousands of years before the Incarnation event. Then these events were written down in a historical narrative. Then the code of correspondences was revealed thousands of years later, and lo and behold, we can demonstrate that the sequence of events written down in the narrative matches exactly the sequence of the mental struggles of the Divine Child on earth--when we use the code to get at the inner meaning hidden within the text. These mental struggles by the Incarnate Divine Human are of evolutionary significance for the human race and need to be studied scientifically.

How could this be possible unless the Abraham story is Divine Speech dictated to Moses?

This secret lay hidden in the Old Testament story for all these centuries without a single human being on this earth suspecting its existence. Of course the inhabitants of the three heavens knew some of it because to them the Old Testament appears in its celestial and spiritual meanings. To us on earth, it is only now that our natural mind is allowed to know it. This new revelation to humankind is called "the Second Coming" and ushers in a new age for religion and science.

All this is crucial for theistic psychology given the fact that the struggles undergone by the Divine Child and later Divine Adult, are of evolutionary significance to the human race. These mental struggles of God Incarnate on earth are actually new mental pathways that God-Man created for all human beings. These mental pathways did not exist before; they had not yet been created so that no human being could have those thoughts and feelings. And yet, without those thoughts and feelings it is impossible for human beings born on earth to regenerate, that is, to develop a spiritual character, and without this, no one can enter eternal life in heaven. The entire human race, past, present, and future, was thus in danger of becoming one enormous hell to eternity.

This terrible situation evolved because the people in the hells had evolved to such an extent that they were able to fabricate false ideas that kept everyone prisoner to them and allowed hellish traits to become their normal way of operating and living. This influence of the hells over the human race had to be broken by God but without destroying the human race. God could not destroy human beings that He had created to be immortal. He had to save them, first by delivering them from the grip of the hells, and second, by giving them the mental means of resisting and rejecting the hells. These rational mental pathways or techniques did not exist and could not be created except in one way, long foreseen and provided for by God as part of creation and evolution. This was to be God’s Incarnation as an ordinary human being--in the external mind, but the infinite Divine-Human in the inner spiritual mind. The struggle to unite these two parts marks the purpose of the Incarnation event.

The growth and development of the merely human part of the Divine-Human was different from the way human beings develop. Humans have a human father, and a human soul from him. But the Divine Child had a human mother, but His Own Divine as the soul. Jesus was therefore God Himself appearing as an ordinary human. This is what "Incarnation" refers to. This ordinary human had to be educated and informed from the Divine soul within Himself, who He really was and what He came to accomplish. The passage below gives us details about what Jesus accomplished in his mind in relation to the hells, how he fought and ordered the hells by creating new meanings, or new spiritual truths, by which the hells were subdued and contained within their sphere, no longer able to threaten the spiritual survival of every human being on earth and in the world of spirits.

Remember that "the hells" is just another word for a portion of the human mind in every individual. Hence the universal scientific and evolutionary significance of these details.

Once Jesus went through these struggles or “temptations,” He had created the means by which all human beings could henceforth struggle with the hells in their mind, using the new truths He had created. These new truths were promulgated through Divine Speech, written down as Sacred Scripture by specially prepared individuals.

This is what makes these revelations scientific. The developmental steps Jesus went through are the developmental steps every human being can go through and achieve liberation from hellish traits. Theistic psychology describes and studies these new mental techniques for character reformation or spiritual development. Hence we can call the source of this new knowledge Divine “scientific revelations.”

A crucial aspect of this revelation which makes it scientific, is that it is verifiable by anyone who is willing to use appropriate and effective empirical verification procedures. The developmental steps and anatomy of the mind that is revealed here apply to the sequential events that every individual must go through. Anyone who is willing to step through the full sequence of regeneration can observe and monitor each step along the way through the method of spiritual self-witnessing (see xx).  Correspondences, Representatives, and Significatives


Quoting from the Writings Sacred Scripture:

AC 2763. From all this it is now manifest whence come the representatives and significatives in the Word, namely, from the representatives that exist in the other life. From this source they came to the men of the Most Ancient Church, who were celestial, and were in company with spirits and angels while living on earth. From them the representatives passed to their posterity, and at length to those who merely knew that they had such a signification; but because the representatives came from the most ancient times, and were in their Divine worship, they were venerated and held sacred.

[2] Besides representatives, there are also correspondences which suggest and also signify something altogether different in the spiritual world from what they do in the natural world; as the heart, the affection of good; the eyes, the understanding; the ears, obedience; the hands, power; besides innumerable other correspondences. These are not represented in this way in the world of spirits; but they correspond, as what is natural to what is spiritual.

Hence it is that every word, even to the smallest iota of all, in the Word, involves spiritual and heavenly things; and that the Word is in this manner inspired, so that when it is read by man, spirits and angels immediately perceive it spiritually according to the representations and correspondences. But this knowledge, which was so much cultivated and esteemed by the ancients after the flood, and by means of which they were able to think with spirits and angels, is at this day altogether obliterated, so much so that scarcely anyone is willing to believe that it exists; and they who believe in it merely call it a kind of mystical thing, of no use; and this for the reason that man has become altogether worldly and corporeal; to such a degree that when what is spiritual and heavenly is mentioned, he feels a repugnance, and sometimes a loathing, or even nausea. What then will he do in the other life, which lasts forever, and where there is nothing worldly and corporeal, but only what is spiritual and heavenly, which makes the life in heaven? (AC 2763)

AC 3349. From what has been said thus far it may be seen what correspondences are, and what representatives; but in addition to what has been said and shown at the end of the preceding chapters (n. 2987-3003, and n. 3213-3227), see also what is said of them elsewhere; namely,

That all things in the sense of the letter of the Word are representative and significative of what is in the internal sense (n. 1404, 1408, 1409, 2763):

That the Word through Moses and the prophets was written by means of representatives and significatives, and that in order to possess an internal sense by which there might be communication of heaven and earth it could not be written in any other style (n. 2899):

That the Lord Himself for this reason spoke by representatives, as well as for the reason that He spoke from the Divine Itself (n. 2900): What has been the source of the representatives and significatives in the Word and in rituals (n. 2179):

That representatives originated from the significatives of the Ancient Church, and these from the things perceived by the Most Ancient Church (n. 920, 1409, 2896,2897):

That the most ancient people had their representatives from dreams also (n. 1977):

That Enoch denotes those who collected the perceptive matters of the most ancient people (n. 2896):

That continually in heaven there are representatives of the Lord and His kingdom (n. 1619):

That the heavens are full of representatives (n. 1521, 1532):

That the ideas of the angels are changed in the world of spirits into various representatives (n. 1971, 1980, 1981): Representatives by means of which children are introduced into intelligence (n. 2299):

That the representatives in nature are from the Lord's influx (n. 1632, 1881):

That in universal nature there are representatives of the Lord's kingdom (n. 2758):

That in the external man there are things which correspond to what is internal, and things which do not correspond (n. 1563, 1568). (AC 3349)

AC 4280. That in the internal historical sense, by his "touching the hollow of Jacob's thigh," is signified where conjugial love is conjoined with natural good, is evident from the signification of the "hollow of the thigh," as being where there is the conjunction of conjugial love (see above, n. 4277). That conjunction there with natural good is signified, is because the thigh is there conjoined to the feet. In the internal sense the "feet" signify natural good, as may be seen above (n. 2162, 3147, 3761, 3986).

[2] That the "thigh" denotes conjugial love, and the "feet" natural good, is among the things that are now obsolete and lost. The Ancient Church, which was in representatives and significatives, knew these things very well. The knowledge of such things was their intelligence and wisdom, and this not only of those who were of the church, but also of those who were out of the church, as is evident from the oldest books of the Gentiles, and from the things which at this day are called fables; for significatives and representatives were derived to them from the Ancient Church. With them also the thighs and the loins signified what is conjugial, and the feet what is natural.

The thighs and the feet have this signification from the correspondences of all man's members, organs, and viscera with the Grand Man, which correspondences are now being treated of at the end of the chapters. Of the correspondences with the thigh and the feet more will be said in what follows, where it will be confirmed by living experience that such is their signification.

[3] At the present day these things cannot but appear paradoxical, because, as before said, this knowledge is altogether obsolete and lost. And yet how much this knowledge surpasses other knowledges, may be seen from the fact that without it the Word cannot possibly be known as to its internal sense; and because the angels who are with man perceive the Word according to this sense; and also because by means of this knowledge communication is given to man with heaven.

And (what is incredible) the internal man itself thinks in no other way; for when the external man apprehends the Word according to the letter, the internal man apprehends it at the same time according to the internal sense, although the man while living in the body is not aware of this. Especially may this be seen from the fact that when a man comes into the other life and becomes an angel, he knows the internal sense as of himself without instruction.

[4] What conjugial love is, which is signified by the thighs and also by the loins, may be seen above (n. 995, 1123, 2727-2759); and that conjugial love is the fundamental of all loves (n. 686, 3021); and hence it is that those who are in genuine conjugial love are also in celestial love (that is, in love to the Lord), and in spiritual love (that is, in charity toward the neighbor); and therefore by conjugial love not only is this love itself meant, but also all celestial and spiritual love. These loves are said to be conjoined with natural good when the internal man is conjoined with the external, or the spiritual man with the natural. This conjunction is that which is signified by the "hollow of the thigh." That with Jacob and his posterity in general there was no such conjunction, will appear from what follows; for this is the subject here treated of in the internal historical sense. (AC 4280)

DLW 321. It should be known that in outward appearance the spiritual world is just like the natural world. One sees there lands, mountains, hills, valleys, plains, fields, lakes, rivers, and springs, just as in the natural world, thus all the phenomena belonging to the mineral kingdom. One sees also parks, gardens, groves, and forests, in which are found trees and bushes of every kind, with fruits and seeds, and plants, flowers, herbs, and grasses, thus all the phenomena belonging to the plant kingdom. One sees animals, birds, and fish of every kind, thus all the phenomena belonging to the animal kingdom. A person there is an angel or spirit. This much is premised in order to make it known that the universe of the spiritual world is just like the universe of the natural world, the only difference being that the phenomena which exist there are not fixed and set like phenomena in the natural world, because nothing there is natural, but everything spiritual.” (DLW, 321)

HH 109. How the things in the vegetable kingdom correspond can be seen from many instances, as that little seeds grow into trees, put forth leaves, produce flowers, and then fruit, in which again they deposit seed, these things taking place in succession and existing together in an order so wonderful as to be indescribable in a few words. Volumes might be filled, and yet there would be still deeper arcana, relating more closely to their uses, which science would be unable to exhaust. Since these things, too, are from the spiritual world, that is, from heaven, which is in the human form (as has been shown above in its own chapter), so all the particulars in this kingdom have a certain relation to such things as are in man, as some in the learned world know. That all things in this kingdom also are correspondences has been made clear to me by much experience. Often when I have been in gardens and have been looking at the trees, fruits, flowers, and plants there, I have recognized their correspondences in heaven, and have spoken with those with whom these were, and have been taught whence and what they were.” (HH, 109).

DLW 374. Consequently they have not known what correspondence is, either; for there is a correspondence of spiritual phenomena with natural ones, and through it a conjunction of them” (DLW 374).

DLW 203. Since the interior regions in a person, which are those of his will and intellect, are like the heavens in their degrees-because a person is, in respect to the interior elements which are those of his mind, a heaven in miniature form-therefore the perfections of these are also like those of the heavens” (DLW 203).

AC 4223. But the true position with correspondence is that although the heavens mentioned above do certainly correspond to the organic forms themselves of the human body - on account of which these communities or those angels have been spoken of as belonging to the province of the brain, or to the province of the heart, or to the province of the lungs, or to the province of the eye, and so on - they correspond primarily to the functions belonging to those viscera or organs. The position really is that, like the organs or viscera themselves, their functions make one with their organic forms… It is the functions therefore to which heavenly communities correspond primarily, and then because they correspond to the functions they correspond to the organic forms too; for the one is indivisible from the other and inseparable, so much so that it makes no difference whether you speak about the function or about the organic form through which and from which that function exists. Consequently there is a correspondence with organs, members, and viscera because there is such with the functions. And therefore when the function is brought into action the organ also is stimulated... (AC 4223)


For a useful summary of correspondences in Sacred Scripture consult this source online:

Berridge, Norman J. (2001) The Natural Basis of Spiritual Reality. With Anatomical Drawings by Linda Simonetti Odhner .(Swedenborg Scientific Association Bryn Athyn, Pennsylvania 2001). Available at:

 5.0.2  Analyzing Divine Speech: The Scientific Sense of Genesis 22

The existence of "Divine Speech" and its character are discussed in this passage of the Arcana Coelestia (AC 6996):

Send I pray by the hand of him whom Thou wilt send. That this signifies that the Divine truth proceeding from the Divine-Human will be mediately uttered, is evident from the representation of Moses, who says this, as being the Lord as to the Word, that is, as to Divine truth (see n. 6752); from the signification of "sending," when said of the Lord, as being to proceed (n. 2397, 4710); and from the signification of "sending by the hand," as being by another to whom power will be given, namely, the power of uttering the Divine truth proceeding from the Divine-Human of the Lord; and as it denotes by another to whom power is given, it denotes mediately. It was shown above (n. 6982, 6985), that the Divine truth proceeding immediately from the Lord's Divine-Human cannot be heard and perceived by any man, nor even by an angel. Therefore in order that it may be heard and perceived, there must be mediation, which mediation is effected through heaven, and afterward through the angels and spirits with the man.

[2] This can be plainly known from the fact that man cannot even hear the spirits who are with him speaking with one another; and if he heard he could not perceive, because the speech of spirits is without human words, and is the universal speech of all languages. Moreover spirits cannot hear angels; and if they heard they could not perceive, because the angelic speech is still more universal. Nay, the angels of the inmost heaven can be still less heard and perceived, because their speech is not a speech of ideas, but of affections which are of celestial love. Seeing that since these kinds of speech are so far away from man, that they cannot possibly be heard and perceived by him, what then, so to speak, must be the Divine speech, which is infinitely above all the kinds of speech in the heavens! It is said "the Divine speech," but the Divine truth proceeding from the Divine-Human of the Lord is meant. This being so, it can be seen that the Divine truth proceeding from the Lord, in order to be heard and perceived, must pass to man through mediations. The last mediation is through the spirit who is with the man, who inflows either into his thought, or by means of a living voice.

[3] That the Divine truth proceeding immediately from the Lord cannot be heard or perceived, is also evident from the correspondences and derivative representatives; namely, that the things a man speaks are presented quite differently with spirits; and the things spirits speak, quite differently with the angels. This can be seen from the correspondential sense of the Word and its literal sense, in that the literal sense, which is adapted to man, is significative and representative of the things which are in the correspondential sense; while this latter sense is not perceptible to man except insofar as it can be presented and expressed by such things as are of the world and of nature; and still less the angelic sense. What then must be the case with the Divine truth proceeding immediately from the Divine of the Lord, which is infinitely above the angelic understanding, and which is not perceptible in heaven except insofar as it passes through heaven, and so puts on a form adapted and suited to the perception of those who are there, which is effected by means of a wonderful influx, not at all comprehensible to anyone! These things have been said in order that it may be known that the Divine truth proceeding from the Lord cannot be heard or perceived by anyone, except through mediations. (AC 6996).

In other words, "Divine Speech" refers to Divine Truth issuing from the Divine-Human in the Spiritual Sun. The spiritual light proceeding from the Spiritual Sun is Divine Truth and Divine Speech. It is Divine Truth adapted to the human mind since in itself Divine Truth is infinite and this cannot enter into human understanding. Spiritual light issuing from the Spiritual Sun permeates the spiritual world with the expanse of rational ether. It is in this substantive ether constructed from truth that the human mind is born and develops to eternity. The spiritual light enters into the human mind located in the world of spirits, where it is born, and is encased in a spiritual or mental body also made of the substance of truth conjoined with the substance of love. Love or spiritual heat, and truth, or spiritual light, are thus the construction substances out of which all things that exist have been created. Love and truth are the inmost framework of every created object, whether the mind or a rock on earth.

Love and truth from the Spiritual Sun are combined more and more as they descend into the two worlds. At its purest and simplest, love and truth are infinite substances, but as they begin to be combined more and more, the substance becomes less pure and less and less similar to the original Divine state of purity and infinity. The descent of Divine Truth or Divine Speech into the human mind takes places by stages or degrees that do not overlap with each other. The first entry of Divine Speech into human consciousness is at the uppermost region of the mind called "heaven." People who are willing to be elevated by God all the way to the top of their conscious mind are in heaven and are able to perceive Divine Speech at the level of celestial meaning ("Third Haven"). Next the Divine Meaning descends by correspondence into its next degree in the mind called the "spiritual mind" or "Second Heaven." At this level of rational consciousness we are able to understand spiritual correspondences of Divine Speech.

The rational understanding we have at the spiritual level is far below that we have at the celestial level. The spiritual mind cannot comprehend the celestial mind so far apart they are. Below this is the "natural heaven" or "First Heaven" which is within the natural mind after it has been regenerated. At last, in its final degree of descent, Divine Speech appears in natural correspondences in which Sacred Scripture is written.

The Writings of Swedenborg have revealed the laws of correspondences which govern the relationship between celestial correspondences, spiritual correspondences, and natural correspondences. Without knowing these laws no one is capable of reconstructing Divine Speech up the ladder of correspondences. But now anyone can who is willing to follow the steps indicated in the Writings regarding how to reconstruct Divine Speech or the Word in its various "inner senses" or meanings.

At the level of natural correspondences there are two platforms of understanding or rationality by which we can comprehend them. They are called the natural-rational mind and the spiritual-natural mind. One is within the other in terms of an interior degree. The spiritual-natural organ of the mind is created or implanted by God in the interior degree within the natural-rational mind. The natural-rational mind grows and develops through the rational content of natural order as we detect it through our physical senses. To begin with this natural-rational level of thinking is non-theistic and materialistic. non-theistic science as we know it today is at the level of the natural-rational thinking. At this level we are unable to comprehend rationally anything that is not an abstraction based on the physical universe. We can be religious, but this is called "faith" and this is ordinarily viewed as more mystical than rational.

But as we begin our reformation and regeneration in adult life (see Section xx), God activates this dormant spiritual organ of consciousness within our conscious natural mind. The organ grows and develops to the extent of our cooperation with God in our regeneration through temptations (see Section xx). As the spiritual-natural organ develops it gives us conscious awareness of meaning that are conveyed in spiritual- correspondences and celestial-correspondences. The Writings call this growth process as the "elevation of the mind into heaven." It is also called spiritual "enlightenment."

Thus, as we progress in our regeneration or character rebuilding, we are able to comprehend higher level rational correspondences or meaning of Divine Speech. At first we are only able to comprehend the interior meaning of natural correspondences. This is called the interior-natural consciousness or "First Heaven." When we can become conscious of the interior meaning natural correspondences our consciousness is in effect in the First Heaven with all those who are also there forming a universal community. This can be illustrated by considering the meaning of Divine Speech when Sacred Scripture gives us the Commandments (see Section xx). Let us consider the Third Commandment.

Remember to keep the Sabbath day holy; for six days you are to labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is the Sabbath for Jehovah your God. (Exod. 20:8-10; Deut. 5:12, 13 in the Old Testament of the Bible).

This is an example of Divine Speech as Sacred Scripture in a natural language. It is written in historical and natural style called "natural correspondences" to Divine Speech. At this level of literal thinking God is telling us to reserve the seventh day of the week as a religious holiday. IN other words, we are to shift focus from our week day work and activities to special "holy" day of rest from work and dedicated to God. At this level of rational thinking there appears nothing else in Divine Speech but instructions on the external conduct of our life. But when we apply the verse of Sacred Scripture to our life because it is from God, we are given a deeper rational understanding of what is in the verse. Our rational consciousness is elevated to our First Heaven and in that mental state we are able to comprehend the interior meaning of the verse. Instead of the external natural-rational understanding of the verse, we now are able to see a spiritual-natural meaning within it.

The comprehension of the interior-natural correspondences of the verse gives an entirely new and higher rationality for understanding the verse of Sacred Scripture. Here, the spiritual-natural meaning of "Sabbath" is "instruction in holy things about God and heaven." The Hebrew word "Sabbath" literally means "rest from work." So in the literal natural sense the verse commands us to take a day of rest, but in the spiritual-natural meaning the verse commands us to instruct ourselves in spiritual truths about God and heaven. These two meanings are far apart and one cannot be deduced from the other. People can obey the commandment at the literal level of resting from work, and yet not obey the commandment of instructing themselves in the holy things of God. Fundamentalist practices tend to focus almost exclusively on the literal natural meaning of Sacred Scripture.

However, when we reflect upon our religion rationally we can compare one verse with others and thereby construct new understandings that can coalesce into a cognitive system or philosophy of God called "doctrine." Doctrine is a rational and coherent expression of our understanding of Sacred Scripture. As we form doctrine in our mind we begin to understand verses of Sacred Scripture in a more interior or correspondential sense. In this case, as we practice the literal rest period commanded, we are also motivated to be instructed further in God and heaven, and especially, in realizing all that God commands us to do.

Once we understand the spiritual-rational correspondence of "Sabbath" as instruction in religion, we can go even deeper to reconstruct the spiritual-rational correspondences in the verse. When this is understood our rational mind is elevated to the Second Heaven. Regarding the Sabbath commandment, we now can see what the Writings are discussing about this verse:

Sabbath in the language of the original means rest. Among the Children of Israel the Sabbath was the holiest of observances, because it represented the Lord. The six days represented the Lord's toils and battles against the hells, the seventh His victory over them, and so rest. Since that day represented the completion of the Lord's whole act of redemption, it was for that reason the height of holiness.

When, however, the Lord came into the world, so that representations of Him ceased, that day became a day for instruction in Divine matters, and also a day of rest from work, for meditation about matters conducive to salvation and everlasting life, and a day for love towards the neighbor. (...) (TCR 301)

Note that we are told something new here that is information from the spiritual world and not from the natural world. There is nothing in the commandment to keep the day of rest about spiritual temptations, and yet the expression "rest from labor" in the correspondential sense means the period of peace following the labor of temptation. When this verse is reconstructed at the level of spiritual-rational correspondences (Second Heaven consciousness), we can see that Divine Speech is discussing here the state of mind in regeneration when we undergo temptations, resist them by means of Divine truths, and win freedom from the evil spirits to which we were previously tied (see Section xx). After a victory in temptation we feel the close presence of God, and we bask in a mental state of freedom from slavishness to our emotions and obsessions. This is the spiritual Sabbath.

The Commandment to keep the Sabbath refers therefore to the absolute requirement that we acknowledge God's operational presence in our thoughts and feelings as we struggle to obey God's Commandments in our efforts at character reformation or regeneration. To disobey this Commandment is to reject the idea in our mind that God is operating our mental activity, and to adopt instead the point of view that we alone are operating our mental activity. This rejection is death or eternal hell because the denial of God in our mental operations neutralizes God's efforts to save us. It is like driving a car without wearing seat belts. We thereby neutralize the safety feature that will save us from injury and death in case of a collision. When we are in the state of mind called the Sabbath rest, we are in heavenly peace on earth, that is, we are experiencing a correspondence of our true heaven. In this mental state, there is rational consciousness of the spiritual kind, and this is called eternity.

There is also a deeper peace at the level of our Third Heaven when we advance in our regeneration enough so that we can face celestial temptations. We can then understand the verse in its celestial-rational correspondence. This level of meaning of Sacred Scripture always discusses details about how God creates new and higher mental states for humankind (see Section xx).

An analysis of the higher meanings of the Ten Commandments will be found in Chapter xx.

The next Section examines the character of Divine Speech by analyzing the text of a chapter in Genesis in the Old Testament that contains the Abraham story of the binding of his son Isaac. I will make a running commentary as we go through each selected passage.

5.0.3  The Binding of Isaac on the Altar

Genesis Chapter 22, Verses 1 to 19:

1. And it came to pass after these words, that God did tempt Abraham, and said unto him, Abraham; and he said, Here am I.

     2. And He said, Take I pray thy son, thine only one, whom thou lovest, even Isaac, and get thee to the land of Moriah, and offer him there for a burnt-offering upon one of the mountains which I will tell thee of.

     3. And Abraham rose early in the morning, and saddled his ass, and took two of his boys with him, and Isaac his son; and he clave the wood for the burnt-offering, and rose up, and went unto the place of which God told him.

     4. On the third day, and Abraham lifted up his eyes, and saw the place afar off.

     5. And Abraham said unto his boys, Abide ye here with the ass, and I and the boy will go yonder, and we will bow ourselves down, and will come again to you.

     6. And Abraham took the wood of the burnt-offering, and laid it upon Isaac his son; and he took in his hand the fire and the knife; and they went both of them together.

     7. And Isaac said unto Abraham his father; and he said, My father; and he said, Here am I, my son. And he said, Behold the fire and the wood; and where is the lamb for a burnt-offering?

     8. And Abraham said, God will see for Himself the lamb for a burnt-offering, my son: and they went both of them together.

     9. And they came to the place which God told him of; and Abraham built there the altar, and laid the wood in order, and bound Isaac his son, and laid him on the altar upon the wood.

     10. And Abraham put forth his hand, and took the knife to slay his son.

     11. And the angel of Jehovah called unto him out of heaven, and said, Abraham, Abraham; and he said, Here am I.

     12. And He said, Put not forth thine hand upon the boy, and do not anything unto him; for now I know that thou fearest God, and thou hast not withheld thy son, thine only one, from Me.

     13. And Abraham lifted up his eyes, and saw, and behold a ram behind, caught in a thicket by his horns; and Abraham went, and took the ram, and offered him up for a burnt-offering in the stead of his son.

     14. And Abraham called the name of that place, Jehovah-will-see, as it is said to this day, In the mountain Jehovah will see.

     15. And the angel of Jehovah called unto Abraham a second time out of heaven.

     16. And said, By Myself have I sworn, saith Jehovah, because thou hast done this thing, and hast not withheld thy son, thine only one,

     17. That in blessing I will bless thee, and in multiplying I will multiply thy seed, as the stars of the heavens, and as the sand which is upon the sea shore; and thy seed shall inherit the gate of thine enemies.

     18. And in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed, because thou hast harkened to My voice.

     19. And Abraham returned unto his boys; and they rose up, and went together to Beersheba; and Abraham dwelt in Beersheba. (…) (AC 2763)


In this chapter in the internal sense the Divine-Human's most grievous and inmost temptations are treated of, by which He united His Human Essence to His Divine Essence; and also the salvation by this union of those who constitute the Divine-Human's spiritual church. (AC 2764)


The Divine-Human's most grievous and inmost temptations are treated of (verses 1, 3-6, 9-11). Concerning the unition of His Human Essence with His Divine Essence, or His glorification, by means of them (verses 2, 11, 12, 16). Concerning the salvation by the Divine-Human's Divine-Human of the spiritual, of those who are in charity and faith, within the church (verses 2, 7, 8, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19). And concerning the salvation of those who are in good, outside the church (verses 20, 21, 22, 23, 24).(AC 2765)    (..)

My commentary:

Note the overall summary of the Chapter given here, namely, that Genesis 22 deals with the “most grievous” temptations Jesus had to undergo. Other chapters deal with other temptations. Keep in mind that the purpose of God’s Incarnation was to produce a situation in which the ordinary human mind of Jesus, His natural mind, was to face the false ideas of the hells by which they were keeping the people on earth from developing their heavenly character. Meanwhile, the natural mind of Jesus would be fed information about spiritual truths from His Divine Spiritual Mind, and with these new spiritual truths, Jesus could defeat the arguments and persuasions of the people in hell. The God-Man on earth had to face the same hells we face, the same false belief systems that justified holding on to hellish traits. No human being was able to come up with these new truths that were needed to defeat the arguments, persuasions, and influence of the hells upon the Fallen inherited natural mind.

Jesus allowed His inherited human natural mind to be exposed gradually to the falsities and persuasions of the hells, defeating them one by one by means of the new spiritual truths. In this way, He made steady progress towards His final goal, which was to completely neutralize the hells and contain them within their habitations in the “lower earths” of the spiritual world. Jesus had to enlighten and regenerate His inherited natural mind. This could be accomplished only by means of temptations. Why?

Because this natural mind He inherited could not be compelled from above, without being destroyed. Jesus could have compelled His natural mind to obey, but this would only have driven its attachment to the hells even more, making it impossible for this natural mind to be regenerated and glorified or made one with the Divine, just as our natural mind makes a one with our spiritual mind and celestial mind. Since the natural mind could not be compelled from above, there was only rational or scientific method Jesus could use to remove all the evil attachments that was in this rational mind from heredity through Mary. This method was the same that we must use to regenerate our natural mind, namely, undergoing a series of temptations.

What happens when our natural mind faces temptation? For instance, for years we may have gotten used to driving aggressively. Almost everybody does it at some times. It’s part of our culture. You see your parents doing it, characters on TV, in video games, all your friends. And so you continue to accept your behavior. This acceptance is a tie to certain hells that you’ve inherited and reinforced in yourself by maintaining it as a habit. Say you realize one blessed day that aggressive driving is a hellish trait. You suddenly realize in horror that you’ve been breaking Divine Commandments since aggressive driving puts others in danger and upsets them, adding to their stress.

Clearly a habit that results in endangering and upsetting others cannot be a heavenly trait. You try to tell yourself to stop being aggressive behind the wheel, yet your corporeal and sensuous mind are doing the driving and reacting, not your enlightened natural-rational mind. Yet the natural-rational mind cannot compel the lower natural mind to obey. The lower natural mind is out of your control because some hell society is in control, by an inherited built in connection. The only way you can free yourself is by enlightening the lower rational mind so that it voluntarily from its own self, breaks the connection by rejecting it as something you reject because it is from hell. This takes re-training or self-modification efforts which consist of self-witnessing your feelings, thoughts, and actions, keeping track of them, evaluating them, then rejecting them and acquiring new habits that are opposite, until one gradually ceases to be an aggressive and impatient driver and starts to be a supportive and peaceful driver.

What allows your lower natural to reject the hellish trait it has gotten used to and finds satisfying?

Only the process of temptation. For instance, you may hurt someone badly one day as a result of the way you drove. Suddenly you are face to face with your own evil. If you then take it  to heart you will feel shocked that you are this way, that you engage in this evil. If you don’t try to explain your evil away, and if you believe in God and heaven, then you will feel like rejecting your long term habit and its satisfaction. The temptation is the desire and enjoyment of doing something that you know now is opposed to your beliefs. You injured someone due to your impatience and you now can either justify it and be damned, or recoil from it and be saved. Every temptation provides a fine line balancing point between choosing evil or good. This apparent equality is carefully maintained by God for every individual for it is the only method of salvation available to the human race. No temptation is permitted by our Divine Psychologist to face us unless He can provide this fine line balance for us. A temptation that is overwhelming, preventing free choice, is never permitted, as has been revealed in the Writings.

And so the only way the inherited human natural mind of Jesus could be regenerated and made Divine is by subjugating it with temptations during which He had the choice of accepting or rejecting His old belief system. The Writings reveal that Jesus went through all the temptations human beings go through so that He could conquer all the hells, not just some of them. Each hell had a particular persuasive hold on the unregenerate inherited natural mind of everyone on earth. Jesus had to face them each in turn and conquer them by fabricating new truths they could not oppose. These new truths came down into His natural conscious mind from His unconscious Divine Mind, until at last all the hells were conquered with all the new truths that were needed. Only the Divine Mind could defeat all the hells in their enormous entirety and cleverness. This is the same Divine Mind that maintains the faculty of fabricating persuasive falsities about God, which people in their hells have cumulatively fabricated over the generations.

There is here a most astonishing image that is worthwhile holding up for reflection. God was doing two things simultaneously. One was to maintain the hells in the ability of fabricating falsities about Him. The other was to give Jesus new truths by which the hell falsities about Him could be defeated in the natural human mind.

The result was the salvation of the human mind throughout its levels of operation -- hell, earth or world of spirits, and heaven. All three portions had to be saved if the human mind was to survive. The hells were saved from destruction by having them subdued by the natural portion of the human mind in Jesus. Had Jesus used His Spiritual Divine Mind, the hellish level of the human mind would be destroyed. If any portion of the human mind is destroyed, all of it perishes. So the human mind was saved by saving the hells from destruction.

The heavenly portion of the human mind was saved by transforming the old sensuous celestial region of the human mind into the new rational consciousness of the Divine Human called "the Holy Spirit." This new rational heaven in every human mind is opened to any individual who is willing to undergo spiritual temptations and to fight them with the new spiritual truths of theistic psychology. The new heavenly level of the human mind was created by the Incarnation event and the temptations in the natural mind of Jesus. Hence the Incarnation was the most significant step in the evolution of human consciousness since the Fall of the race (see Section xx).

When the work of temptations of Jesus was accomplished, His ordinary natural mind died in the crucifixion (the last of the temptations), and He then resurrected with a Divine Natural Mind and Divine Natural Body. I present these details here as a context for understanding the passage about the Binding of Isaac that we are analyzing. These details are given in other passages not presented here, but see the many references to other Numbered Paragraphs within the passages below.

The Divine Natural Mind and Body is called the Glorified Human. In the passage above (AC 2765) it is said that “He united His Human Essence to His Divine Essence.” This means that He Glorified His Human. From now on God was to be called the Divine-Human, and anyone on earth or in the spiritual world, can be aware of Him, communicate with Him, be led by Him, and thus be saved for eternal life in heaven. In the passages below we shall see more details about these struggles and how they took place. The reason we must acknowledge and communicate with the Divine-Human is that this is the only way we have access to the new truths He created while on earth.

Our heavenly life is inside these truths. Unless we appropriate these new truths as our own by understanding and love, we have no heaven to go to or to dwell in. Our heaven exists inside these new truths. Heaven is a property of rational consciousness. Our only entry point to our heaven is through the development of our rational consciousness. This must be accomplished through gradual regeneration by temptation.

Those who have no access to these new truths while on earth are exposed to them immediately after resuscitation (see Section xx). Access to these truths on earth comes from Sacred Scripture and theistic psychology. After resuscitation in the world of spirits access to these truths is through instruction of the novitiate spirits by those who are in their heavens and love to share these truths. Swedenborg has seen vast libraries in the world of spirits where one can examine any book published on earth. I imagine that for our generation these libraries would include electronic databases, such as this one you are reading.

5.0.4  The Mental Struggles of the Divine-Human on Earth

Continuing with the presentation:

Verse 2. “And He said, Take I pray thy son, thine only one, whom thou lovest, even Isaac, and get thee to the land of Moriah, and offer him there for a burnt-offering upon one of the mountains which I will tell thee of.” "He said, Take I pray thy son," signifies the Divine rational begotten by Him; "thine only one, whom thou lovest," signifies the sole one in the universe by which He was to save the human race; "even Isaac," signifies its quality; "and get thee to the land of Moriah," signifies a place and state of temptation; "and offer him there for a burnt- offering," signifies that He should sanctify Himself to the Divine; "upon one of the mountains," signifies the Divine Love; "which I will tell thee of," signifies as He should perceive. (AC 2771).

My Commentary:

The paragraph above is awesome to contemplate. Isaac was a real person and Moriah was a real mountain in the Holy Land. And Jehovah did indeed talk to Abraham telling him the things listed above. These events occurred a thousand years before Jesus struggled to form new mental pathways for human beings. These struggles are described in detail in the Abraham biography written a thousand years earlier. This is awesome! Imagine that you find a book one day in some bookstore for old used books, and as you browse through it, it is the story of your life. Feverishly you turn the pages and you see all the details are true, even what you thought and how you felt when you were 6 or 12. You turn to the date when the book was published and you see 1899—decades before you were born. What would you think?

Let’s look at how the passage extracts the details of Jesus’ mental struggles and development, by applying the code of correspondences. Recall that Divine Speech is written in this code because the code is determined by the laws of correspondences that scientifically define the interconnectivity between the natural and spiritual worlds. God creates through scientific laws because all things are created by means of spiritual light and heat from the Spiritual Sun, and spiritual light is the same as truth. Hence truth is a substance by which God creates all things. Things cannot be created out of nothing, as some erroneously believe. Things must be created out of something, namely, the spiritual substance of truth. Rationality is the application and derivation of truth in the mind. This is why heaven is constructed out of our rational consciousness.

Continuing with the passage:

He said, Take I pray thy son. That this signifies the Divine rational begotten by Him, is evident from the signification of a "son," as being the rational (see n. 2623); here the Divine rational, because by the son is meant Isaac; and that he represents the Divine-Human's Divine rational has been shown above (n. 1893, 2066, 2083, 2630). And as the Divine-Human made His rational Divine by His own power, as has been often said, by "thy son" is also signified that it was begotten by Him (see n. 1893, 2093, 2625). (AC 2772) (…)

My Commentary:

Note the many references to other Numbered Paragraphs in the same Work called Arcana Coelestia (=Heavenly Secrets in Latin), which runs for 12 volumes in English translation. Swedenborg painstakingly proves every little detail of every assertion he makes about correspondences in the Old and New Testaments. The paragraph above is from Number (AC 2772). You can see from the progression of the Numbers in the references (numbers in parentheses) that he keeps track of all the single proofs he gives earlier, to make sure the reader can retrace the development of any one sub-topic and proof. You will also note in the subsequent passages below, that the Writings are rooted in the verses of the Old and New Testaments, and also, that the Old Testament, the New Testament, and the Writings make up one unit called the Threefold Word.

The paragraph above reviews these prior proofs of correspondence in Sacred Scripture:

(a) whenever “son” is mentioned, the scientific reference is to our rational mind (not the sensuous mind, not the spiritual mind).

(b) whenever “Isaac” is mentioned, the scientific reference is to the Rational Mind of the Divine-Human.

(c) whenever “thy son” is mentioned, the scientific reference is to the origin or formative state of the rational mind.

At one level of meaning, the scientific reference in “thy son” is to the Divine-Human’s Rational Mind. At another level of meaning, the reference is to our regenerated mind or heavenly traits. “Thy son” is a natural correspondence for what mentally we think of as the “originating idea.” The originating idea of a plan or formula is also referred to as the “father” clause. We also use the term “fathering” a concept or trend in fashions, etc.

These connections exist because our language contains built in correspondences between physical events or qualities and mental or spiritual qualities and references. As pointed out elsewhere, the ancient civilizations had a knowledge of correspondences, which had been passed down the generations from the most ancient celestial race (see Section xx). In modern times the knowledge was forgotten or turned into myths and fables. To some extent the science of aesthetics is aware of correspondences. Emerson took the idea of correspondences from the Writings and turned it into something different, namely, poetic and artistic vision or feeling.

Note:  For a deeper analysis of how the Incarnate God glorified His Human and made it Divine, explained with lucid diagrams, see the excellent study by N. C. Burnham at:

5.0.5  The Meaning of Sacrifices in Worship

Continuing with the Chapter being analyzed:

“And offer him there for a burnt-offering.” That this signifies that He should sanctify Himself to the Divine, is evident from the representation of a burnt-offering among the Hebrew nation and in the Jewish church, as being the most holy thing of their worship. There were burnt-offerings and there were sacrifices, and what these represented may be seen above (n. 922, 923, 1823, 2180). Their sanctifications were made by means of them, and hence it is that by "offering up for a burnt-offering" is here signified to be sanctified to the Divine, for the Divine-Human Himself sanctified Himself to the Divine, that is, united His Human to His Divine by the combats and victories of temptations (see n. 1663, 1690, 1691 at the end, 1692, 1737, 1787, 1812, 1813, 1820). 

[2] It is a common belief at this day that the burnt-offerings and sacrifices signified the Divine-Human's passion, and that by this the Divine-Human made expiation for the iniquities of all; indeed, that He took them upon Himself, and thus bore them; and that those who believe are in this manner justified and saved, provided they think, even though it were in the last hour before death, that the Divine-Human suffered for them, no matter how they may have lived during the whole course of their life. 

But the case is not really so: the passion of the cross was the extremity of the Divine-Human's temptation, by which He fully united His Human to His Divine and His Divine to His Human, and thus glorified Himself. This very union is the means by which those who have the faith in Him which is the faith of charity, can be saved. For the supreme Divine Itself could no longer reach to the human race, which had removed itself so far from the celestial things of love and the spiritual things of faith, that men no longer even acknowledged them, and still less perceived them. In order therefore that the supreme Divine might be able to come down to man in such a state, the Divine-Human came into the world and united His Human to the Divine in Himself; which union could not be effected otherwise than by the most grievous combats of temptations and by victories, and at length by the last, which was that of the cross. (AC 2776)

The above passage discusses the meaning of “sacrifices” in the Old and New Testaments. References are given to earlier Numbered Paragraphs where the details are first proven, one by one. Here, in summary form, it is recalled to the reader that sacrifices in the Old Testament were commanded because they represented, or symbolically stood for, the Incarnation event. Recall that the Incarnation event was the greatest evolutionary step in the creation of the human race. It began a new age for humankind, an elevation of the human consciousness to God. The Incarnation event created a visible Divine-Human in the external world. This became necessary when the human race on earth had falsified and distorted Sacred Scripture available to them. This distancing from Divine Speech destroyed their spiritual rationality.

They were unable to love God except externally, for personal benefit, reward, or power. People born on earth were at the edge of doom, invaded and controlled by evil spirits from hell, who held on to them by these falsities and their evil loves. A God visible on earth was not yet a possibility, not yet part of the evolution of the race’s consciousness of the Divine and of their future in eternity. God had foreseen this from creation, and when the time was ripe, God Incarnated as a Divine Child born of a virgin in the Holy Land where He had been worshipped in Name as Jehovah.

Jehovah, the infinite Human Divine God, came out into the external world to create a visible God out of Himself. For reasons already discussed above, this task of “glorifying His Human begotten in the world” had to involve treacherous and disturbing temptations He had to suffer Himself to undergo with that portion of Himself that was not yet regenerated.

Once the task was accomplished, the Glorified Divine-Human was visible in our rational consciousness. Every person since then has been given the capacity to picture the visible Divine-Human, to read the Divine Speech of the Divine-Human in Sacred Scripture, and to love the Divine-Human with such intensity that we can strive to arrange every detail of our daily life for His sake, for the sake of our love for Him. By acting, thinking, and feeling for His sake in accordance with His Word, we are able to elevate our consciousness to heaven and to abide in heavenly life to eternity.

God’s commandment that we love Him more than anything, is for this reason only, that if we follow that commandment, He is then able to give us what He longs to give us—life in eternity in heaven in the maximum conjugial bliss and happiness possible, endlessly increasing. This is what He commands us to love Him more than anything. The Divine Commandment a scientific built in process for mental development, not something that God desires for being worshipped or glorified by humans. In the passage below, more details are given on how this scientific mechanism works.

Continuing with the analysis of the Chapter:

 [3] Hence it is that the Divine-Human can from His Divine-Human illumine minds, even those far removed from the celestial things of love, provided they are in the faith of charity. For the Divine-Human in the other life appears to the celestial angels as a Sun, and to the spiritual as a Moon (n. 1053, 1521, 1529, 1530, 2441, 2495), whence comes all the light of heaven. This light of heaven is of such a nature that when it illumines the sight of spirits and angels, it also illumines their understanding at the same time.

This is inherent in that light, so that in heaven so much as anyone has of external light, so much has he of internal light, that is, so much of understanding; which shows wherein the light of heaven differs from the light of the world. It is the Divine-Human's Divine-Human which illuminates both the sight and the understanding of the spiritual; which would not take place if the Divine-Human had not united His Human Essence to His Divine Essence; and if He had not united them, man in the world would no longer have had any capacity of understanding and perceiving what is good and true, nor indeed would a spiritual angel in heaven have had any; so that they would have had nothing of blessedness and happiness, consequently nothing of salvation. From this we can see that the human race could not have been saved unless the Divine-Human had assumed the Human and glorified it. .) (AC 2776)

My Commentary:

Here again in this passage it is repeated that the Divine Light or Truth, and the Divine Heat or Love, were inverted into their opposites by the time it reached our conscious level in the natural mind here on earth. There was an inability of the human race on earth to be moved by this process of filtering down, which had worked before, but no longer. Therefore it was necessary for the Visible Divine-Human to be created in the consciousness of the race.

The above passage gives us this amazing scientific revelation: that spiritual light from the Spiritual Sun is actually an event of enlightenment of our consciousness by means of the clear vision of full understanding. Spiritual light is received differently by people in accordance with their ability or willingness to understand scientific truths about God and human development.

The highest angels are the top consciousness people in the universe, being closest in apparent location to the Spiritual Sun. Those of us who get there, or reach that inner state of consciousness, are called “celestial angels” and we live in the Third Heaven to eternity. We are the first human contingent to receive the Divine Light and Heat, that is the Divine Wisdom and the Divine Love from the Spiritual Sun. From the minds of the celestial angels, it filters down to the minds of the angelic spirits in the Second Heaven, and finally to the angelic spirits of the First Heaven. From them the Divine Light and Heat are transmitted to the internal-natural of those who are undergoing regeneration on earth.

This means that they are enlightened in their natural mind and conscious awareness. They are able to receive interior confirmation of truth when they read it. It is not possible to misguide them with a wrong scientific theory or belief system. They are able to see through falsities and to recognize what is from heaven and what from hell, that is, what is good and what is not good, what is true and what is not true. They are liberated from the daily emotional spin cycle (see Section xx). The live in conjugial love and feel blessed in what they possess from the Divine-Human, whom they keep before their focus of attention every day and every hour of the day. They look forward to their conjugial life in heaven. They progress in wisdom and love throughout the days of their life on earth, and thereafter, in heaven to eternity.

The rational mind is regenerated from top down. First, the natural-rational mind, through one’s knowledge and love for Sacred Scripture. Second, the sensuous mind, through self-witnessing one’s threefold self (see Section xx). Finally, the corporeal mind, through physical disciplines performed for the sake of regeneration or character reformation (see Volume 3 of A Man of the Field

When the natural mind is being regenerated at these three levels, there is a new physiological formation within the natural mind that becomes operational. This new portion is more interior than the natural-rational operations of the mind, which means that it is capable of higher consciousness available to our awareness. This superior interior portion of the natural mind is called the “spiritual-natural” and also the “interior-natural.” These refer to the level of our consciousness or ability to understand and see scientific facts about God and human development. This superior understanding requires an enlightened state, which is a mental state resulting from our reception of spiritual light in the interior-natural organ of the natural mind. IN this state of enlightenment we become capable of communicating with the angelic spirits of the First Heaven. We have spiritual perception while still on earth.

With this new organ developing in the interior of our natural mind, we become capable of perceiving ever more interior degrees of meaning within Divine Speech. The deeper we can understand Sacred Scripture the higher our perception of scientific truths about our mental development or regeneration. The higher our conscious awareness of these interior truths, the more we can be regenerated, and the higher the state of life that we enter and develop further in eternity.

There is an orderly and lawful process by which this new spiritual organ develops within our natural mind and conscious awareness. First, we acquire understanding and perception similar to the level of thinking and feeling of the angelic spirits in the First Heaven. Their consciousness is within the spiritual-natural degree of operation, and this is the level we can first become conscious of.

As we progress in regeneration or character reformation, the interior-natural organ develops a more interior level of operation equivalent to the angelic spirits of the Second Heaven. This level of our understanding is far above that of our first phase of enlightenment, called the First Heaven. Now we use in our thinking spiritual-rational correspondences, not merely natural-rational as before.

Finally, we progress to the third degree of spiritual consciousness, equivalent to that of the Third Heaven. The interior-natural organ is now fully developed and we are able to perceive and understand celestial-rational correspondences of Divine Speech. We have the wisdom and power of perception of angels on earth.

It is this kind of developmental facts that this passage refer to, along with their earlier references, the content of which I am filling with my commentaries.

5.0.6  The Passion of Christ Movie and What It Portrays

Continuing with the Chapter analysis:

 [4] Hence then anyone may infer what truth there is in the idea that men are saved if they only think from a kind of interior emotion that the Divine-Human suffered for them, and took away their sins, however they may have lived; whereas the light of heaven from the Divine-Human's Divine-Human cannot reach to any but those who live in the good of faith, that is, in charity; or what is the same, those who have conscience. The very plane into which that light can operate, or the receptacle of that light, is the good of faith, or charity, and thus conscience. (That the spiritual have salvation from the Divine-Human's Divine-Human, may be seen above, n. 1043, 2661, 2716, 2718.) (AC 2776). (…)

This passage illumines the current (2004) controversy and popularity of Mel Gibson’s move The Passion which, according to commentators, is a faithful rendition of the last 12 hours of the life of Jesus according to the Gospels of the New Testament. The movie has broken all attendance records in the history of movies, both in the U.S. and in other countries where it is shown with subscripts. Movements have arisen to encourage people to see it and a lore is beginning to develop that people are experiencing renewal of faith and conversions after seeing the movie, even some who confess they had murdered people.

All of this emotion and religious fervor is based on the belief that it is Jesus’ extreme suffering and sacrifice on the cross to which they owe their salvation and future life in heaven. It is thought that Jesus takes away their sins through His sacrifice for them and the whole human race. And the more they can identify and empathize with the pain Jesus endured, the more they feel that their faith strengthened and renewed. The movie of Jesus’ crucifixion plays up the gory violent details of blood and bone breaking. It’s as if the director wanted to express his strong faith by using his best talents to show up the blood and gore, to make sure the audience can sufficiently identify with it or be moved by it. This emotional response is what people interpret as their faith being strengthened.

The above passage (written around 1745), refers to this belief system as “the idea that men are saved if they only think from a kind of interior emotion that the Divine-Human suffered for them, and took away their sins, however they may have lived.” This belief system was common among the Lutherans in Sweden, but it has become near universal among Christians today. The idea originates with Paul’s Epistles which forms the backbone of the philosophy of sacrifice as salvation. The Writings discusses all the details of this belief system, where and when it originated in the Christian Church, and why it is an outdated perspective, not grounded in Sacred Scripture itself.

The passage above states that we cannot be saved vicariously by Jesus “however they may have lived.” If this were possible, the Divine-Human would instantly save every human being. Why would He not? If there are unsaved people, that is, people who sink into hell in the afterlife, it’s because God could not prevent such a terrible fate for them. The passage explains what constitutes being saved. They are saved “who live in the good of faith, that is, in charity; or what is the same, those who have conscience “ It explains that heaven in eternity is located within that state of conscience.

The merit of Jesus cannot be attributed to anyone—unless the individual lives a life of conscience. This is why Jesus says so often in the New Testament “Follow Me,” by which He means “Do my Commandments,” which He specified globally as “Love Me” and “Love your neighbor,” by which He means, lead a life of conscience and develop your skills so that you can be useful to others and society. This is what saves. And to accomplish this, the individual must be helped by Jesus, the Divine-Human, must appeal to Him, for no one has power on their own, not even to overcome a single temptation.

Left to our power and our own devices we would not regenerate from within but only from without, so that within we remain with our evil tendencies and affections. Upon the second death, these hellish loves and falsities finally come out, and pull us down to the hell in our mind. The only way to be saved is to be change one’s character through conscience and reliance on the truths of Sacred Scripture.

Recently I received a group email message with an anonymous poem that illustrates the mental processes associated with a view of The Passion movie that hinges on identifying with Christ's suffering and His willingness to suffer for us:

He could hear the crowds screaming "crucify, crucify"
He could hear the hatred in their voices,
These were his chosen people.
He loved them,
And they were going to crucify him.

He was beaten, bleeding and weakened.
His heart was broken,
But still He walked.
He could see the crowd
as he came from the palace.

He knew each of the faces so well.
He had created them.
He knew every smile, laugh, and shed tear,
But they were contorted with rage and anger.
His heart broken,
But still He walked.
He looked back at the crowd,
at the people who were spitting at Him,
throwing rocks at Him and mocking Him
And He knew that because of Him,
they would never be alone.
So for them, He walked.

The sounds of the hammer striking the spikes
echoed through the crowd.
The sounds of his cries echoed even louder,
the cheers of the crowd,
as His hands and feet were nailed to the cross,
intensified with each blow.
Jesus could have asked God to end his suffering,
but instead He asked God to forgive.
Not to forgive Him,
but to forgive the ones
who were persecuting Him
as He hung on that cross,
dying an unimaginable death.
When I forget how much My God loves me,
I remember His walk.
When I wonder if I can be forgiven,
I remember His walk.
When I need reminding of how to live like Christ,
I think of His walk.
And to show him how much I love him,
I wake up each morning, turn my eyes to Him,
And I Walk.

Author: Unknown

The thought processes portrayed in this poem are based on a belief that it is the suffering of Christ that saves us from hell. Christ was innocent of all sins and thus qualified for being offered up as a human sacrifice, as in the days of the Old Testament when God ordered animal sacrifices for the forgiveness of sins. The Epistles of Paul present a theology for the Christian religion that is based on this belief system in sacrifices. God is appeased by sacrifices. God forgives our sins when we give the proper sacrifice. The Christ was the proper sacrifice because He was without sin and He was willing to offer Himself up for the forgiveness of sins, not His own, but that of the people.

The poem above, written two thousand years after Paul's Epistles, echoes this theme, and resending the poem to email groups, is an act of agreement with Paul's theology and its affirmation in the mental processes of many Christians today.

Note the sentiment in the poem "When I need reminding of how to live like Christ, I think of His walk." Why think of His walk? Presumably because it once more reawakens with new strength our faith in Him. And this faith in Him is that He saved us by His willingness to sacrifice Himself for us. He was willing to lay down His life for those He loved, which was all of us. These thoughts provide an occasion for strong emotions to invade our affective mind. But as Swedenborg found by observation, these emotions do not go beyond our natural mind. These emotions of faith by empathy with Christ's suffering, look for a sensuous consciousness of the Divine, an identification with Jesus, the human, who was immolating Himself to appease the Divine Father.

Faith based on identification with the human suffering of Jesus is a mystical faith that is blind and persuasive. Perhaps it is an entry point for a more rational development of one's faith, and in that case it is positive to begin with. But if this is the end of the road in one's faith, then it remains in the surface of our personality and character. In order for it to penetrate to the spiritual levels of our character we need to move to a more rational understanding of what "the walk" really was and how it contributes to our salvation today.

First, we need to see the rational contradictions in the sacrifice version. It is a contradiction to think of God as angry and demanding a sacrifice to appease His anger. This doesn't sound like the omnipotent God of pure love and wisdom. It sounds more like a human king or petty tyrant whose anger is appeased by the punishments and sacrifices of his people. The Writings reveal that God agreed to a worship of sacrifices during the Moses religion because the people insisted on it. Had God denied them a worship of Him through animal sacrifices, they would have abandoned God altogether and pursue idol worship and human sacrifices, as was the practice of the nations around them. But later, God reveals in the Old Testament that He does not want sacrifices. Quoting from the Writings of Swedenborg:

That sacrifices were by no means acceptable to Jehovah, thus were merely permitted and tolerated for the reason just stated, is very evident in the Prophets, as we read in Jeremiah:

Thus saith Jehovah Zebaoth the God of Israel, Add your burnt-offerings to your sacrifices, and eat flesh. I spoke not unto your fathers, and I commanded them not in the day that I brought them out of the land of Egypt, concerning burnt-offering and sacrifice; but this word I commanded them, saying, Obey My voice, and I will be your God (Jer. 7:21-23).

In David:

O Jehovah, sacrifice and offering Thou hast not willed, burnt-offering and sin-offering Thou hast not required. I have desired to do Thy will, O my God (Ps. 40:6, 8).

In the same:

Thou delightest not in sacrifice, that I should give it; burnt-offering Thou dost not accept. The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit (Ps. 51:16-17).

[7] From all this it is now evident that sacrifices were not commanded, but permitted; also that nothing else was regarded in the sacrifices than what is internal; and that it was the internal, not the external, that was acceptable. On this account also, the Divine-Human abrogated them, as was likewise foretold by Daniel in these words:

In the midst of the week shall He cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease (Dan. 9:27),

where the Divine-Human's advent is treated of.(...) (AC 2180)

How can God be angry or hate something, and then how can God be "propitiated" or calmed down by an animal sacrifice? The Writings reveal that Divine Speech appears in this mode when filtered into the natural mind where a natural psychology governs our perceptions. In other words, the Divine appears to us in a natural form according to our natural ideas of an earthly king or despot. God keeps this appearance going in our minds when in that lower state of worship. God keeps this appearance to keep open the possibility of our progression to a more interior form of worship, which consists of more rational concepts of God and of His management principles and style. From a rational consciousness of God we can know that anger is from hell and therefore cannot be with God. We must know therefore that when Sacred Scripture say something that is not rationally acceptable about God, we are to look for the underlying spiritual message. In the case of anger, it is this: That God appears angry to us when we are evil. Swedenborg saw evil spirits scamper to hide under rocks and in caverns when a ray of light from heaven entered their domain. This ray of light corresponds to Divine Truth, and so when evil spirits are faced with Divine Truth they experience such terror that they think they are being punished by a vengeful God.

Remember that anger and hate are affective operations in the natural minds of people. Negative emotions originate from the people in the hells of their mind. These emotions are hellish and are produced by the inversion of heavenly affections flowing in from God through the heavens. It is rationally impossible for anger and hate to travel upward from the natural mind into the spiritual mind, and then into the celestial mind and then into the Spiritual Sun and into God's Mind. This upward progression of hellish affections is impossible by the structure of the universe as created. Instead, all affections and truths flow down from God through the layers, and they are inverted in the hells of people's minds. This explains rationally why Sacred Scripture describes God as angry and hating sin. It is how God appears to us when we are lodged in the hells of our mind. Sacred Scripture was given to people everywhere, the majority of whom are born in the hells of their mind and must be willing to climb higher by means of revealed truths from God.

As revealed in the Writings, the Incarnate God used His mere human inherited from Mary to face the hells with new truths He fashioned in His mind as an infirm human. Within this infirm human was His Human Divine, for He was "the Divine-Human from Eternity" come down from heaven. For that purpose God entered the natural world in time and history. Prior to that moment God was omnipresent apart from space and time. God was not present in space and time (see Section xx). When God Incarnated as a mere human He for the very first time became present both apart from time and space and in time and space.

It is obvious that it was God who empowered people to have the idea, the desire, and the act of crucifying His mere human body. He only appeared helpless to those who carried it out and witnessed it. He is the one who gave them the power to do it to Him. He permitted this in His Divine Providence because this is what He had planned all along since creation. God's love burns with the ceaseless desire to bring every human being to the heavens in their minds. God is with every individual in the midst of sin. What is sin? It is to think, feel, and act from the hell in us. Who maintains this hell in every mind? There is no other power in existence than God's power.

Hence we must understand rationally how God actually manages the universe and people. These laws of Divine management or Providence have been revealed in the Writings of Swedenborg. All good events and qualities are provided by God, while all evil events and qualities are allowed by God. He has the power to stop any of it and all of it, but He will not use this power to stop the evil because it would destroy the as-of self independence and freedom of the individual to choose. Without this free choice, we cannot be elevated to heaven. Hence God will not stop people from turning good into evil, but He will moderated people's evils constantly so that more evil than is necessary shall not come into existence.

The suffering of the Divine-Human on the cross was the last temptation or passion He made Himself endure. By this act He was able to face the worst of all the hells in the human race, and defeat them by means of the thought processes and feelings He created for that occasion. Since then every human being can similarly face their own hells by means of the mental operations the Divine-Human created in overcoming every temptation. Everyone can now be regenerated by character reformation through temptations that the Divine-Human arranges at the right time and in the right proportion of intensity and quality--just what is needed for each unique person to gain victory and self-change.

Continuing with the Chapter analysis:

“And went unto the place of which God told him.” That this signifies His state at that time according to perception, is evident from the signification of "place," as being state (see n. 1273-1277, 1376-1381, 2625); and from the signification of "God saying," as being to perceive from the Divine (n. 2769, 2778). As regards the state itself, it is described in this verse, that is, the state which the Divine-Human assumed when He underwent temptations, and here that which He assumed when He underwent the most grievous and inmost temptations. His first preparation for that state was that He entered into a state of peace and innocence, and that He prepared the natural man in Himself, as also the rational, so that they should serve the Divine rational, and that He adjoined the merit of righteousness, and in this manner elevated Himself.

These things cannot be explained at all to the comprehension, or be presented to the idea, of anyone who does not know that many states exist together, and these distinct from one another; and who does not also know what a state of peace and innocence is, what the natural man is, what the rational man, and also what the merit of righteousness is; for he must first have a distinct idea of all these, and must also know that the Divine-Human from His Divine could induce upon Himself whatever states He pleased, and that He prepared Himself for temptations by inducing many states. Although these things are in obscurity as of night with men, they are nevertheless in clearness as of day with the angels, who being in the light of heaven from the Divine-Human, see in these and similar things innumerable things distinctly, and from the affection flowing in at the time perceive ineffable joy. Hence it is evident how far human understanding and perception fall short of angelic understanding and perception. (AC 2786).

My Commentary:

Note the scientific meaning of “place” in Divine Speech, namely mental state. Sacred Scripture frequently mentions a place in the historical narrative and in poetic visions. This shows that God is frequently discussing the topic of mental states, and this is because the purpose of Sacred Scripture is to elevate our understanding from the natural to the spiritual, so that from the spiritual we could reorder the natural mind from its inherited state of disorder to a new arrangement of order as defined for us by our Creator for the sake of our salvation. Salvation refers to the acquisition of a heavenly character that God can keep in maximum happiness to eternity.

The passage above says that “He prepared the natural man in Himself, as also the rational, so that they should serve the Divine rational.” In other words, God Himself was in charge of the mental development of the Divine Child, God’s own Incarnation or appearance in the physical world. God is present everywhere, as is well known, but it is not widely known yet that God is present everywhere in space but apart from space. The infinite God cannot be limited to physical space, which is His creation. Neither can the infinite be divided but is always the same as one. The only rational scientific answer is that God is present equally in all space but apart from space. God is one, and there is no pluralism about His Presence and Identity as the Divine Supreme Person. God does not appear in multiple places to many people, for this would be a division of Himself into many parts, and that is not rationally possible for the infinite Being. Instead, God is present equally with every created object or mind, not in the created structure itself, but apart from it, or underlying its inmost framework.

This underlying inmost framework is not in space because it is spiritual, and the spiritual is not in space. Nor is the mental in space since the mental and the spiritual form a one. For the same reason God cannot in the minds or souls of people in the sense that this is accepted in some Eastern philosophies and belief systems. We cannot rightly say, “the God in me greets the God in you,” since God is not in me and not in you. No part of me is part of God. Instead God is said to “dwell” in me, or to dwell in the soul of every human being. This means that God dwells in me but apart from me. In other words, God and I can be co-present. Or, God and I can be adjoined to each other, but never “conjoined,” meaning an overlap or sharing of parts.

In the entire explication of Genesis Chapter 22 it is being shown how God-Man as a Child on this earth, made Himself go through developmental mental states as He transformed his inherited and evil natural mind by struggling with the falsities of the hells that kept people captive to them. Having created these new mental pathways or truths, the Incarnate God-Man brought salvation to the human race, meaning, that any individuals who wanted to could now transform their inherited evil natural mind into a heavenly mind that can live there to eternity. In this passage we are told that it is God who prepares us for the temptations we must undergo in order to become aware of our falsities and evils, so that seeing them in us, we may reject them as no longer of us.

We need the right kind of thoughts and feelings to accomplish this. God supplies the right kind of temptation at the right time when we are in a state of mind in which we can accept His fighting for us against the hells. We cannot fight on our own for we cannot resist the hells. We must therefore acknowledge that the Divine-Human fights for us just as He fought for Himself when He subdued the hells by the new mental truths He revealed to Himself from His Divine.

Every human being anywhere can now obtain salvation for heaven by mentally stepping through the pathways established by the Incarnate God during His life on this earth. These pathways have been revealed in scientific terms through the revelations in the Writings of Swedenborg. We are analyzing here portions a few Numbers in Arcana Coelestia, one of the works of the Writings, a portion that extracts the scientific sense of Chapter 22 of Genesis in the Old Testament. The passage above that “many states exist together, and these distinct from one another” and that we need to know “what a state of peace and innocence is, what the natural man is, what the rational man, and also … that the Divine-Human from His Divine could induce upon Himself whatever states He pleased, and that He prepared Himself for temptations by inducing many states.”

Continuing with the analysis:

“On the third day.” That this signifies completeness, and the beginning of sanctification, is evident from the signification of the "third day." "Day" in the Word signifies state (n. 23, 487, 488, 493, 893); as also does "year," and in general all periods of time; as an "hour," a "day," a "week," a "month," a "year," an "age;" as also "morning," "noon," "evening," and "night;" and "spring," "summer," "autumn," and "winter;" and when "third" is added to these, they signify the end of that state, and at the same time the beginning of the following state. As the Divine-Human's sanctification is here treated of, which was effected by temptations, the "third day" signifies completeness, and at the same time the beginning of sanctification, as also follows from what has been already said.

The reason of this signification is that when the Divine-Human had fulfilled all things He would rise again on the third day; for the things that were done, or that would be done by the Divine-Human when He lived in the world, were in the representatives of the church as if already done (as also they were in the internal sense of the Word); for in God to be and to become are the same; indeed all eternity is present to Him. (AC 2788)

My Commentary:

Here we find out that when considering their scientific meaning, words in Sacred Scripture relating to time and period, like day, year, age, winter, morning, night, etc., refer to the variety of specific mental states we undergo in regeneration or spiritual development. “On the third day” refers to a mental state that completes a particular phase of development, given that the number 3 in the Word always refers to that which is complete or completed.

The passage reveals that when God-Man suffered Himself to be crucified, He did this on account of its spiritual correspondence, in accord with what was written about Him in various Old Testament passages. And also, because everything God does is for the entire human race for all times. His Speech is therefore by correspondences, as explained above, and also His specific actions, like arranging for His Own Crucifixion and suffering Himself to carry it through. It was after all He Himself who gave the idea and the power to those men to do this to Him. Hence the act of Resurrection on the third day after His burial.

The Glorified Physical Body that He made to arise from the tomb was completely pure and untainted by the former inherited deficiencies and tendencies to evil. IN fact, we are told that the risen Natural Body was made one with the Divine so that it could now be called the Divine Natural Body of the Divine-Human. This Divine Natural Body can be seen in the Spiritual Sun, which is a hot aura of Love and Wisdom around this Body and emanating from it in infinite quantity.

Continuing with the Chapter, here, regarding the scientific meaning of the number 3 throughout samples of Holy Scripture:

[2] Hence the number "three" was representative, not only in the Ancient Church and in the Jewish, but also among various nations. (See what is said concerning this number above, n. 720, 901, 1825.) That this was the origin of the signification of "three," is evident in Hosea:

Let us return unto Jehovah, for He hath wounded, and He will heal us; He hath smitten, and He will bind us up; after two days He will revive us, on the third day He will raise us up, that we may live before Him (Hos. 6:1-2);


Jesus said to the Jews, Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up. He spake of the temple of His body (John 2:19-21; Matt. 26:61; Mark 14:58; 15:29).


 [6] When they came into the land of Canaan the fruit was to be uncircumcised three years, and was not to be eaten (Lev. 19:23).

At the end of three years they were to bring all the tithes of their increase in that year and lay it up in their gates, that the Levite, the sojourner, the orphan, and the widow might eat (Deut. 14:28-29; 24:12).


David was to choose one of three things: seven years of famine in the land; or that he should flee before his enemies three months; or a pestilence in the land three days (2 Sam. 24:12-13).


So in the following passages:

Peter denied Jesus thrice (Matt. 26:34, 69 and following verses).

The Divine-Human said to Peter three times, "Lovest thou Me?" (John 21:17).

Also in the parable, the man who planted the vineyard sent servants three times, and at length his son (Luke 20:12; Mark 12:2, 4-6).

They who labored in the vineyard were hired at the third hour, the sixth hour, the ninth hour, and the eleventh hour (Matt. 20:1-17).

Because the fig tree did not bear fruit for three years, it was to be cut down (Luke 13:6, 7). (…) (AC 2788)

I’m only presenting a small sample here to indicate that Swedenborg was painstakingly careful in proving the scientific sense of some word by showing how it had the same sense in all other passages in Sacred Scripture, even though they were written by different people at vastly different epochs.

5.0.7  Evolutionary Footsteps for the Human Race

Continuing with the Chapter analysis, we are given a lot more details about the progressive development of His mental states, the same mental states we must go through, by “following Him” or stepping through the footsteps and pathways He created.

“And will come again to you.” That this signifies conjunction afterwards, is also evident without explication. As the Divine-Human's most grievous and inmost temptations are treated of in this chapter, all the states that He assumed when He underwent these temptations are described. The first state is described in the third verse, the second state in this verse, the third state in the verse next following, and the rest afterwards.

But these states cannot be expounded to the common apprehension unless many things are first known, not only respecting the Divine-Human's Divine, as here represented by Abraham, but also respecting His Divine-Human as represented by Isaac, and respecting the state of this rational when He engaged in and underwent the combats of temptation (this being the "boy"); and also what and of what quality the former rational was, and also the natural which it had; and likewise what the state was when the one was adjoined to the other, and what the state was when they were more or less separated.

Moreover many things concerning temptations must be known, as what exterior and interior temptations are, and hence what were the inmost and most grievous temptations the Divine-Human had, and which are treated of in this chapter. So long as these things are unknown, the things contained in this verse cannot possibly be described to the comprehension; and if they should be described, even most clearly, they would still appear obscure. To the angels, who are in the light of heaven from the Divine-Human, all these things are manifest and clear, indeed blessed, because they are most heavenly. 

[2] Here we will merely say that the Divine-Human could not be tempted at all when He was in the Divine Itself, for the Divine is infinitely above all temptation; but He could be tempted as to His human. This is the reason why when He was to undergo the most grievous and inmost temptations, He adjoined to Himself the prior human, that is, the rational and the natural of it, as described in verse 3; and why He afterwards separated Himself from these, as is said in this verse; but nevertheless retaining something by means of which He could be tempted; which is the reason why it is not here said, "Isaac my son," but "the boy," by whom is meant the Divine rational in such a state, namely, in a state of truth, prepared for the most grievous and inmost combats of temptations (see n. 2793).

That neither the Divine Itself nor the Divine-Human could be tempted, must be evident to everyone simply from the fact that not even the angels can approach the Divine, much less the spirits who induce temptations, and still less the hells. Hence it is manifest why the Divine-Human came into the world, and put on the human state itself with its infirmity; for thus He could be tempted as to the human, and by means of the temptations subjugate the hells, and reduce each and all things to obedience and into order, and save the human race which had removed itself so far away from the supreme Divine. (AC 2795)

My Commentary:

The passage above explains further what I have already discussed in my commentaries above.

Continuing with the next selection (remember that I’m skipping and sampling):

As regards the putting on of the various states by the Divine-Human which is here treated of, they cannot but be unknown to man, because he never reflects on his changes of state; which are nevertheless going on continually, both as to what is of the understanding or the thoughts, and as to what is of the will or the affections. The reason of his not reflecting upon them is that he believes that all things in him follow in natural order, and that there is nothing higher which directs; whereas the case is that all things are disposed by means of the spirits and angels with him; and all his states and changes of states are therefrom, and are thus to eternity directed by the Divine-Human to ends which the Divine-Human alone foresees.

That the reality is so, has become most fully known to me now by the experience of many years. It has also been given to know and observe what spirits and angels were with me, and what states they induced; and this I can solemnly assert-that all states, even to the least particulars, come from this source and are thereby directed by the Divine-Human. It has also been given to know and observe that in every state there are a great many others, which do not appear, and which together appear as one general state; and that these states are disposed in relation to the states which follow in order in their series. With a man these things are done by the Divine-Human; but with the Divine-Human Himself, when He lived in the world, they were done by Himself; because He was Divine, and the very being of His life was Jehovah. (AC 2796)

My Commentary:

In the above passage are stated in summary form many amazing scientific revelations about the operation and development of the human mind. You can see in this passage several key principles in theistic psychology discussed frequently in this book. Let’s list them in the order they appear in the passage above:

1. As individuals grow their mind goes through a series of phases, just as the physical body goes through visible maturation steps. Each phase consists of a series of developmental mental states and there is never a time when this flow of states ceases.

2. God is in charge of the operation of this series with every individual from the moment of birth to eternity. The series could not proceed without God’s immediate involvement, moderating one step and preparing the next step in advance by adjusting the current step, and so on.

3. The series of developmental steps brought on by God moment by moment can be monitored by the individual through “reflection” or spiritual self-witnessing (see Section xx). People don’t do this ordinarily because they are in the negative bias mode of living their daily lives, even if they have an active religious life in the community. Spiritual self-witnessing is to monitor and evaluate the sequence of mental states in any specific situation or task activity. It is thus a spiritual discipline in the service of our regeneration efforts (see Volume 3 of A Man of the Field

4. The negative bias mode of living is to operate on the assumption that “there is nothing higher which directs.” Theistic psychology is based on the positive bias assumption, which is that “all things are disposed by means of the spirits and angels with him; and all his states and changes of states are therefrom.” This is discussed in theistic psychology under the topic of the “vertical community” (see Section xx).

5. The vertical community refers to the fact that, as stated in points 3 and 4, every developmental step in our mental operations is managed closely by God, not immediately, but immediately, “by means of the spirits and angels with him.” This is the vertical community to which every human mind on earth is connected and without which we would have absolutely no mental activity. God always follows this principle of mediate action, which is His method for maintaining the total networking of the human race, so that whatever happens to one individual anywhere affects in some way every other individual anywhere. What a stupendous concept! And how grand! It has been revealed that to God the entire human race appears as one (see Section xx).

6. But the operation of the vertical community is more specific than this universal networking effect. God connects us and reconnects us, moment by moment, to different “spirits and angels” that make up our vertical community at any one moment. God uses these more direct and specific influences as a Divine Psychologist who lovingly and wisely manages our regeneration needs—what things we need to become aware of when, or, what kind of experience we need to be prepared for the next phase.

7. Swedenborg confirms these revelations about the vertical community by careful scientific observations extended over a period of several years on a daily basis. Through his unique dual consciousness, he was able to see the spirits and angels in his own vertical community, who they were, what their character was, and how often they were exchanged for different spirits and angels. “Spirits” is the name used for people who pass into the afterlife and are resuscitated a few hours later in the world of spirits. “Angels” is the name used for people who enter the afterlife, and shortly thereafter, are elevated to their heavens.

8. The character of the spirits and angels in our vertical community determines our mental state. Our mental states are “induced” by our vertical community. For instance, suppose you are standing in your bathroom flossing your teeth. God has to bring certain spirits and angels into your vertical community to allow you to perform the flossing activity. Our freedom of choice is maintained in every detail by balancing the vertical community to include good spirits and evil spirits. For instance, when I floss, I experience many kinds of celestial temptations that challenge my love for doing a good job at flossing. I have to overcome the impulse to hurry and skip parts. Many issues like this arise during the daily routine that takes about three minutes. How to hold the floss for most effectiveness. How to curl it and uncurl it so the circulation in the finger isn’t cut off. How to be efficient and not use up more floss than is necessary. And other temptations and resolutions (see Section xx). God manages every little detail of my mental states during flossing. And the management method involves the vertical community.

9. The organization of mental states is hierarchical (“in order in their series”), like the top down syntactic construction of a sentence when we talk. During self-witnessing we can confirm this organization or “series.” At first many mental operations appear as one undifferentiated whole, as when we try to describe flossing prior to self-witnessing. We can hardly mention a few things about it. But after some self-witnessing effort we can mention hundreds of things about it. The passage tells us that “in every state there are a great many others, which do not appear, and which together appear as one general state.”

Continuing with the next paragraph of the passage:

 [2] The changes of state with man as to what is of the understanding and as to what is of the will, and the order in which they follow on, as also the series through which they pass, and thus how they are bent by the Divine-Human as far as possible to good, it belongs to the angels to know.

The wisdom of the angels is such that they perceive all these things most minutely. Hence it is that these things which are revealed in the internal sense concerning the changes of state with the Divine-Human, are clearly and distinctly perceivable by the angels, because they are in the light of heaven from the Divine-Human; and they are also in some degree intelligible to a man who lives in simple good; but they are merely obscure and as nothing to those who are in evil, and also to those who are in the deliriums of wisdom; for these have obscured and extinguished their natural and rational light by many things which have induced darkness, however much they may believe that they are preeminently in light. (AC 2796)

The above passage reveals an important and special feature of theistic psychology. It is stated that when our consciousness and character is raised to the celestial level of our mind (“the wisdom of angels”), we gain the capacity to observe our mental operations in great detail. It is like the people who train themselves in linguistic analysis and are able to recognize in their mind the syntactic hierarchy that generates the sentence they are hearing. Or it is like expert chess players who are able to look at a position on the board and recognize in it a pattern of relations with which they are very familiar and can instantly reproduce from memory. In our angelic mind we can recognize the details of where we are in a series of our mental operations.

Even more startling is the revelation here that the clarity with which we can be aware of our mental operations depends on the progress we’ve made in our regeneration. While we are undergoing mental states that are evil in thoughts and feelings, we are unable to accurately observe ourselves. As we move on to heavenly or good traits, we become progressively more conscious of the details of our thoughts and feelings. This serves our spiritual development, since regeneration involves becoming more and more aware of the details of our thoughts and feelings, so that we may modify them appropriately.

5.0.8 The Scientific Meaning of Sin and Sacrifices

Continuing with the next selection:

“To slay his son.” That this signifies until whatever was from the merely human was dead, is evident from the internal sense of these words; for they signify the Divine-Human's most grievous and inmost temptations, the last of which was that of the cross, in which it is evident that what was merely human also died. This could not be represented by Abraham's son or Isaac, because to sacrifice sons was an abomination; but it was represented so far as it could be, namely, even to the attempt, but not to the act. Hence it is evident that by these words, "Abraham took the knife to slay his son," is signified until all that was merely human was dead. ). (AC 2819)

My Commentary:

Note the assertion that human sacrifice is an abomination, and yet Abraham was planning to sacrifice his son because it seemed to him that God was commanding him to do so. The fact is that God abhors all sacrifices, as indicated in several places in the Old Testament as for instance:

Thou delightest not in sacrifice, that I should give it; burnt-offering Thou dost not accept. The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit (Ps. 51:16-17).(see AC 2180)

The Writings reveal that sacrifices were not commanded but permitted by God because the people of the Old Testament insisted on a worship based in animal sacrifices, and had God not permitted this, they would not have accepted the religion from Moses. In consequence, God gave them strict rules on the procedures and rituals for carrying out sacrifices, as we can read in the book of Leviticus in the Old Testament. The dimensions and construction materials of the Temple in Jerusalem where the sacrifices were going to take place were specified in strict detail. Highly specific details and exact measurements for the Temple construction were given, and numerous details were specified regarding animal sacrifices--what species for what sin, and how to dispose of the blood and the carcasses.

Every single detail of size, material, color, or ritual act, was commanded because they were all natural correspondences to spiritual meanings or realities. The inhabitants of the heavens were closely involved with these details since Sacred Scripture or Divine Speech originates from God and then filters down through the three heavens to the natural mind and hence to a written record in a natural language.

All sacrifices were natural events or rituals that represented by correspondence some detail about the Divine-Man’s life and work on earth. These representations were endowed with Divine power. The Divine power within the representative acts and meanings caused a “conjunction” to occur between “heaven and earth.” In other words, the minds of the people who worshiped with these representatives were affected, and so were the physical events around them, like the weather, the crops, the fertility, the national unity, the international peace. Had these representative worship rituals not been permitted to them the connection between heaven and earth would have been disturbed and rendered less effective and beneficial. The worship rituals had to be spiritually representative otherwise they would not have involved the people in the spiritual world and thus the contact between heaven and earth would be broken.

In the scientific sense “to slay his son” (in the passage above) refers to the slaying of the Lamb of God or Jesus on the Cross. By this Divine act—dying on the cross—“ what was merely human also died.” To the disciples and angels who did not want Jesus to die, Jesus said that He must die. Why must He? Is He not the omnipotent God? The answer is that He is the omnipotent and He could have not done this to Himself, but He chose to do it because this is what was foretold in Divine Speech for many centuries. Jesus said that He came to fulfill the Word of the Old Testament, referring thereby to the fact, not known to anyone on earth, that every detail of the sacrifices represented something about the Work He came to earth to accomplish, and this Work was to struggle with the hells and subdue them by means of the new truths His natural mind fashioned, as discussed several times above. “Hence it is evident that by these words, ‘Abraham took the knife to slay his son,’ is signified until all that was merely human was dead.” ). (AC 2819)

Continuing with the next passage:

[2] That it was known from the most ancient time that the Divine-Human was to come into the world, and was to suffer death, is evident from the fact that the custom prevailed among the Gentiles of sacrificing their sons, believing that they were thus purified, and propitiated to God; in which abominable custom they could not have placed their most important religious observance, unless they had learned from the ancients that the Son of God was to come, who would, as they believed, be made a sacrifice. To this abomination even the sons of Israel were inclined, and Abraham also; for no one is tempted except by that to which he is inclined. That the sons of Jacob were so inclined is evident in the Prophets; but lest they should rush into that abomination, it was permitted to institute burnt-offerings and sacrifices (see n. 922, 1128, 1241, 1343, 2180). (AC 2818)

My Commentary:

Once again it is stated in the passage above that sacrifices were not God’s choice but the people’s choice to which God agreed under strict conditions. The idea that we are saved by the sacrifice of the Son of God on the cross is an idea that has remained intense and rooted in for many centuries in the Catholic and Protestant religions. It is not surprising therefore that this topic is treated of so often and in such detail in the Writings, which are the revelations of the Second Coming, and thus revealing all the hidden secrets about the representative nature of the Jewish sacrifices.

As pointed above, the current intense reaction to the movie The Passion (of Christ) demonstrates that this idea is still operational in the psyche of Christians as a whole. If you listen to Sunday sermons in Church or on TV from any Christian denomination you will note once again that the death of Jesus on the cross is made the centerpiece of the religion and worship. Hence it is extremely important for people to discover what the Writings reveal regarding sacrifices and salvation.

Continuing with the next sample, which lists references to prior Numbers where these points were demonstrated in detail:

That the evils and falsities in a man who is being regenerated are subdued by temptations, not abolished (n. 868): That truth has the first place in combat (n. 1685): That man combats from the goods and truths which he has acquired by knowledges, though they be not in themselves goods and truths (n. 1661): That evil spirits and genii excite the falsities and evils in a man, and hence come temptations (n. 741, 751, 761).

That in temptations man thinks that the Divine-Human is absent, whereas He is then more present (n. 840): That man can by no means sustain the combats of temptations of himself, because they are against all the hells (n. 1692 at the end): That the Divine-Human alone combats in man (n. 1661, 1692): That by means of temptations evil genii and spirits are deprived of the power of doing evil and inspiring falsity in man (n. 1695, 1717): That temptations come with those who have conscience, and more acute ones with those who have perception (n. 1668): That temptations rarely exist at this day, but in their place anxieties, which are of another character and from another source (n. 762):  (AC 2819)

My Commentary:

Sacrifices represent atonement of sins, meaning that God forgives us, that we are therefore purified of the sins, and now continue life in peace and safety. When God-Man incarnated, He taught the people that sacrifices represent Him, and that now that He has incarnated, no more sacrifices are to be performed. Instead, a new method for the forgiveness of sins has been initiated for the human race. This new method is internal, not external. In other words, it is mental or spiritual, not natural and physical. The human race now is able to be liberated from the grip of the hells that make us sin. This new method consists in character reformation, which to be successful, requires that we step through the mental paths created by Jesus when alive on earth. This means thinking the new truths and feeling the new feelings that the God-Man created for the human race.

You can see rationally that the new method is the only method, and that the prior method of sacrificing did not work except for the earthly benefits. The people arriving into the afterlife were not able to enter heaven no matter how much they sacrificed and were benefited by it on earth. This is because they merely expected their hellish traits to be forgiven, not to be taken away. People kept sinning after the sacrifices, necessitating the continue practice of sacrifices all one’s life on earth. But thereafter, the sacrificing was of no use because in the afterlife the inner character takes over by necessity of spiritual law. They were then instructed about what they really need to do, but to no avail. They were unwilling, for the most part, to undergo character reformation in the spiritual world. Hence they sunk down into the hells of their minds, regardless of the sacrifices they performed.

In the passage above we are informed once more that the only way one can be saved is by character change, and the only way we can reject our hellish traits is by temptations. As indicated in earlier discussion, temptations are brought on by specific experiences arranged and timed for every person by God. God fights for the person and overcomes, not the person through one’s own power. We cannot glory in the victory of overcoming temptations because it is accomplished By the Divine-Human, not by us. Yet we must agree and cooperate. Temptations are not brought to anyone who will not agree and cooperate with God, which we do either through our knowledge of Sacred Scripture, or through our conscience, or both.

Temptations are mental struggles or “combats from the goods and truths which one has acquired by knowledges.” We cannot undergo temptations until we either know some Divine truth from revelation, or we have a direct intuitive perception from our inborn conscience that something is evil or good. The knowledge or perception of what is good or evil must precede the temptation. For instance, in natural temptations, we must have knowledge of the physical dangers we run if we do not overcome and do the right thing, like flossing regularly or staying honest on the job. In spiritual temptations, we must have knowledge of heaven and hell, of God’s Commandments, and the danger we run if we do not overcome and cling to the truths of our faith or theistic science. In celestial temptations, we must have knowledge of our loves, of how they affect others as well as ourselves, and the dangers we run if we do not overcome and cling to the love of God and the love others.

Continuing with the next passage, which lists more references where temptations were discussed in earlier Numbers:

That men spiritually dead cannot sustain the combats of temptations (n. 270): That all temptations are attended with despair respecting the end (n. 1787, 1820): That after temptations there is fluctuation (n. 848, 857): That the good learn by temptations that they are nothing but evil, and that all things are of mercy (n. 2334): That by temptations goods are conjoined more closely with truths (n. 2272): That men are not saved by temptations if they yield in them, nor if they think that they have merited by them (n. 2273): That in every temptation there is freedom, and stronger than out of temptations (n. 1937). (AC 2819)

My Commentary:

Note that undergoing temptations is an orderly and scientific process that goes through specific steps to which we must adapt appropriately or else the temptation is rendered ineffective for spiritual development or character reformation. One of the consequences of temptations is to discover that we “are nothing but evil.” In other words, by inheritance we acquire such a vast number of evil traits and tendencies, that we are filled with evil impulses all the time, even when on the surface we appear to be good and decent. But this is only a surface put on as the temptation demonstrates to us.

The above passage explains that “by temptations goods are conjoined more closely with truths.” This is why temptations require that we already have some knowledge about physical dangers of risk, spiritual dangers of truth, and celestial dangers of love. We have spiritual truths, but instead of spiritual goods we have spiritual evils. The temptation process contains and restricts the evil and replaces it with good, which is conjoined to the truth we already have. Regeneration is therefore the process by which God attaches goods to the truths we have acquired from moral teachings and Sacred Scripture. Now we can act from love by means of truth, which is what constitutes heaven.

Continuing with the next sample:

“Behind, caught in a thicket.” That this signifies entangled in natural knowledge, is evident from the signification of being "caught," as here being entangled; and from the signification of a "thicket" or "tangle" as being memory-knowledge-explained in what follows. That the spiritual are held entangled in natural knowledge in regard to the truths of faith, is as follows. The spiritual have not perception of good and truth, as the celestial have, but instead of it conscience formed from the goods and truths of faith which they have imbibed from infancy from their parents and masters, and afterwards from the doctrine of faith into which they were born. They who have no perception of good and truth have to be confirmed by knowledges.

Everyone forms for himself some idea respecting the things he has learned, and also respecting the goods and truths of faith; for without an idea, nothing remains in the memory otherwise than as an empty thing. Confirmatory things are added thereto, and fill up the idea of the thing, from other knowledges, even from memory-knowledges. The confirmation of the idea itself by many things causes not only that it sticks in the memory, so that it can be called forth into the thought, but also that faith can be insinuated into it. (AC 2831)

My Commentary:

This passage gives us the scientific meaning of “tangled” and “thicket” which refer to plants, bushes, and vines. Throughout the text of Sacred Scripture references to vegetation signify things about the cognitive organ of the mind, while animals signify things about the affective organ of the mind. The thickets, and tangles of vines and branches are natural correspondences to conceptual hierarchies and taxonomies.

For example, if you’re familiar with the logical classification system known as Roget’s Thesaurus you will recognize how the meaning relations reach across semantic categories, like intertwining branches. The reason branches and vines grow in this fashion is because they correspond to mental properties, in this case cognitive structures that overlap in meaning. Few people knew of this connection between plants and the cognitive mind until it was revealed in the Writings of Swedenborg.

Different types of branches or vines correspond to different features of the cognitive networks we all have in the mind and memory structures. “Thicket” represents “memory-knowledge” which designates whatever we have acquired externally by experience and are stored representatively in the cognitive organ. The reason this is being discussed here is that our Fallen race is materialistic and monist in terms of memory-knowledges we acquire in our daily life on earth. All our memories come from what we experience through the senses in the external physical world.

It is stated in the above passage that “the spiritual have not perception of good and truth, as the celestial have, but instead of it conscience formed from the goods and truths of faith which they have imbibed from infancy from their parents and masters.” We are being referred to as “the spiritual” in contrast to the “celestial” race that existed prior to the Fall. The split-brain race that came into existence after that original race, did not have dual consciousness. The only source for their knowledge of good and evil came from a “conscience” formed by “the goods and truths of faith” we acquire through our socialization process. As a result, we are “held entangled in natural knowledge in regard to the truths of faith.” In other words, our semantic categories about the world and reality, and specifically our ideas about God and the afterlife (“truths of faith”), are “entangled” in natural categories that ignore the spiritual categories from which they originate and to which they are connected by the laws correspondence. We need to know and recognize this prior to opting for the positive bias perspective on science and reality.

5.0.9  Three Types of Spiritual Perception

Continuing with the passage, which will give us further details about the anatomy of our mind and how it functions, specifically regarding the three types of perception through which we raise our consciousness and develop spiritually:

[2] As regards perception in general, since few know what perception is, this must be declared. There is perception of what is good and true in celestial and spiritual things; there is perception of what is just and equitable in civil life; and there is perception of what is honorable in moral life. As regards the perception of what is good and true in celestial and spiritual things, the interior angels have this perception from the Divine-Human, the men of the Most Ancient Church had it, and the celestial, who are in love to the Divine-Human, have it. These know at once, from a kind of internal observation, whether a thing is good and whether it is true; for this is insinuated by the Divine-Human, because they are conjoined with Him by love.

Spiritual men, however, have no such perception of good and truth in celestial and spiritual things, but instead of it have conscience which dictates; but as before said, this conscience is formed from the knowledges of good and truth which they have imbibed from their parents and masters, and afterwards from their own study in doctrine and in the Word; and in these, even though not entirely good and true, they put their faith. Hence it is that men can have conscience from any doctrine whatever; even the Gentiles have something not unlike conscience from their religion. 

My Commentary:

According to this passage, the three types of perceptual operations are as follows:

(a) perception of what is good and true spiritually

(b) perception of what is just and equitable in public behavior

(c) perception of what is honorable and moral in personal behavior

The perception what is good and true spiritually is a capacity of our celestial mind. The most earliest generations on this earth had that kind of perception since they were conscious in both worlds, as Swedenborg was. When we enter our heaven following the second death, we are in our celestial mind, either the highest portion of it called the “Third Heaven” or the lowest called the “First Heaven.” However, note carefully that it says that those of us “who are in love to the Divine-Human, have it.” This is very encouraging indeed. It means that there is a special organ within the natural mind that can give us this celestial perception.

As explained above in one of my comments, the natural mind has the capacity of containing a spiritual organ that can replicate in a representative way the higher order mental operations taking place in the unconscious spiritual and celestial mind. This spiritual-natural organ gives us full conscious awareness of spiritual truths and goods by means of higher order correspondences (see Volume 2 of A Man of the Field:

The development and operationalization of the spiritual-natural organ is dependent on our regeneration or character reformation efforts. These efforts must be motivated by love for the Divine-Human and the knowledge that our heaven is within the Divine-Human’s Rational Mind. To the extent that we can align our rational mind to the Divine Rational Mind, to that extent we gain perception of spiritual truths and celestial goods, right here on earth, in full consciousness and awareness. We are then in a state of spiritual enlightenment.

The passage above also informs us that conscience gives us intuitive perception of what is good and true spiritually, though this is imperfect in comparison to the rational perception of spiritual truths in our new spiritual-rational organ, just discussed. The imperfect nature of conscience comes from the fact that its content is mixed through socialization practices and religious belief systems, many of which are not spiritually true but can lead one to spiritual truths. These are called “mediate truths and goods.”

For example, the worship by sacrifice which was discussed above, was not in itself true and good, not something that actually prepared their character for life in heaven. But when the sacrificial worship, even if pagan, was taken sincerely, it contained the fear and worship of God. This was sufficient to establish for them a life of conscience. When they arrived in the afterlife, this life of conscience now formed the basis for their instruction in actual truths and goods, which they were then willing to accept. Thus they entered their heavens.

Here is what we are further told about conscience and the importance of spiritual self-witnessing:

[3] That the spiritual have no perception of the good and truth of faith, but say and believe that to be true which they have learned and apprehended, is sufficiently evident from the fact that everyone says that his own dogma is true, heretics more than others; and that they are not able to see the truth itself, still less to acknowledge it, although thousands of things should declare it.

Let everyone explore himself and see if he is able to perceive from any other source whether a thing is true; and if when a thing most true is made manifest to him he still does not fail to acknowledge it. As for example, one who makes faith the essential of salvation, and not love: even if all should be read before him which the Divine-Human spoke concerning love and charity (see n. 2373), and if he should know from the Word that all the Law and the Prophets hang upon love to the Divine-Human and charity toward the neighbor, he will nevertheless remain in the idea of faith, and will say that this alone saves. It is otherwise with those who are in celestial and spiritual perception.  (AC 2831)

Evidence is mentioned here showing that our spiritual race living by conscience evolves all sorts of belief systems (“faith”) that are contradictory to each other and fall into “dogma,” which refers to unscientific conclusions based on no evidence yet enforced on others. These contradictory and dogmatic variations of human conscience shows that conscience is not pure, like spiritual perception, but mixed up with socialized and ethnic belief systems. At this level of mental operations “they are not able to see the truth itself, still less to acknowledge it, although thousands of things should declare it.”

An example given elsewhere in the Writings is the dogma of “faith alone saves,” which is erroneously based on some things Paul says in the Epistles and which Luther elaborated on when establishing the intellectual basis of Protestantism. This dogma declares that since no one is capable of fulfilling “the Law” in Sacred Scripture, we cannot be saved by our actions, but must rely on blind faith in the saving power of the Blood of Christ who died for us. As a result, preachers and teachers tell the people that they are saved by this blind faith, even if they do not reform their character. This is because God no longer looks upon their sin, now that they are saved by the sacrifice of the Son of God on the cross.

The Writings show the many places in both the Old and New Testaments where it is declared, even by Paul, that we are not saved by a faith of rituals and declarations, but only by ceasing to sin and living a charitable life according the commandments, both in their letter and in their spirit. Hence it is said above that “they are not able to see the truth itself, still less to acknowledge it, although thousands of things should declare it.” The thousands of things that declare the truth are the many references in Sacred Scripture that warn us that only when we stop our evil thoughts and feelings can we enter heaven.

The passage above refers to those who “who make faith the essential of salvation, and not love,” which is another dogma frequently rejected in Sacred Scripture, including Paul in his Epistles. Even though the relevant passages in Holy Scripture are shown to them, they “nevertheless remain in the idea of faith, and will say that this alone saves,” and that “when a thing most true is made manifest to him they still do not fail to acknowledge it.” Such are the disadvantages of a conscience based on blind faith that ignores the sayings of Sacred Scripture in one place, and pick only those places that support the dogmatic beliefs.

Continuing with the passage, we receive more explanations on the nature of perception and its evolutionary origin:

[4] As regards the perception of what is just and equitable in civil life, however, those in the world who are rational have this, and also the perception of what is honorable in moral life. These two perceptions distinguish one man from another, but by no means do such men for this reason have the perception of the good and truth of faith, because this perception is higher or more internal, and flows in from the Divine-Human through the inmost of the rational. 

[5] The reason also why the spiritual have no perception of the good and truth of faith, is that good and truth are not implanted in their will part, as with celestial men, but in their intellectual part (see n. 863, 875, 927, 1023, 1043, 1044, 2256). Hence it is that the spiritual cannot arrive at the first degree of the light in which the celestial are (n. 2718), but have what is obscure in comparison (n. 1043, 2708 at the beginning, 2715). That the spiritual are entangled in natural memory-knowledge in respect to the truths of faith, follows from this.  (AC 2831)

My Commentary:

The perception of what is good and true in public and personal life comes from the development of the natural-rational mind. One does not have to belong to a religion in order to be a useful law abiding citizen and a moral neighbor. We learn to act rationally on the natural plane of life and society by suppressing our irrational and evil impulses. This suppression is not possible to maintain once the person is regenerating because these evils are brought out by the experiences of temptations. But those who do not suffer themselves to undergo regeneration arrive in the afterlife, as Swedenborg talked to some of them, and demand that be admitted to heaven since they had lived a useful and moral life. But when they are taken to their second death, which means that they are immersed in all their internal loves, the evil that was suppressed now feels liberated like a genie in a bottle, and they trot off to their hells.

This must be taken very seriously if you care about your eternal future. The Writings explain that we are able to be aware of our suppressed evils except by temptations, and these are brought to us only if we are prepared to fight and overcome, that is, are prepared to undergo a series of temptations for the sake of character reformation. As further explained in the following passage:

 [10] The reason why in the Word memory-knowledges are called "thickets," is that they are comparatively of such a character, especially when the cupidities of the love of self and of the world, and the principles of falsity, seek for them. Celestial and spiritual love is that which disposes into order the knowledges which are of the exterior memory; and the love of self and of the world is that which perverts the order, and disturbs all things in it. These things the man does not take notice of, because he places order in perverted order, good in evil, and truth in falsity. On this account these things are in entanglement; and also on this, that the things of the exterior memory, where these knowledges are, compared with those in the interior memory, where rational things are, are as in a thicket, or as in a dark forest.

How shady, opaque, and dark it is there in comparison, a man cannot know so long as he is living in the body; for he then supposes that all wisdom and intelligence are from this source; but he will know in the other life, when he comes into the things of his interior memory. That in the exterior memory, which is proper to man while he is living in the world, nothing is less to be found than the light of intelligence and wisdom; but that all is relatively dark, disorderly, and entangled there, may be seen above (n. 2469-2494). (AC 2831)

My Commentary:

A “thicket” represents the way our thinking gets entangled when we rely on our own self-made ideas about God and regeneration. We start with a love for evil and a resistance to character reformation that forces us to give up our evil delights and pet ideas. This is called the “cupidities of the love of self and of the world, and the principles of falsity” that support these evil loves. When we are in such a lost state, whatever we experience as delightful is called good and true. We completely lose the ability to distinguish between actual good and truth and actual evil and falsity that masquerades in our own eyes as good and truth.

The only way out of this terrible and dangerous life dilemma is to compel ourselves to learn spiritual truths from revelation and to order our natural mind so that it agrees with the revealed spiritual order. As soon as we are committed to doing this, God brings new knowledge by which we can fight our temptations and progress steadily in this regeneration path. The more we acquire rational consciousness from scientific revelations, the more we can disentangle the spider webs of false beliefs that keep our evils in place.

Continuing with the next passage, which gives us more detail about how we get entangled in the exclusively natural perspective, ignoring spiritual revelations:

“By his horns.” That this signifies with all power in regard to the truths of faith, is evident from the signification of "horns." "Horns" are mentioned in many places in the Word; and there signify the power of truth from good; and in the opposite sense the power of falsity from evil; here the meaning is that the spiritual who are signified by the "ram" are entangled in natural memory-knowledge with all their might in regard to truth, and hence that they are deprived of the power of perceiving truths. For the more anyone consults natural memory-knowledges, and sticks fast in them in his animus and mind in regard to the things which are truths of faith, the more does he lose the light of truth, and with the light, the life of truth.

Everyone may know this from experience, if he attends and reflects, from those who say that they can believe nothing unless they comprehend that it is so by means of the things of sense, or of memory-knowledge. If you explore their quality, you will find that they believe nothing; and moreover that nothing seems to them more wise than to ascribe everything to nature. There are many also who say that they believe although they do not comprehend; when nevertheless, in secret with themselves, they reason equally as others do from the things of sense and memory-knowledge concerning the truths of faith, as to whether a thing is so. These either have a kind of persuasion breathed in from the love of self and the world, or they do not believe at all. Their quality is manifest from their life. Both classes are indeed in the Divine-Human's spiritual church, but they are not of the church.

They who are of the church are in a life of good, and have faith in truths; but the spiritual have faith in other truths besides those which have been impressed on them from infancy, and which they have afterwards confirmed to themselves from doctrine or from some other source. Such is the state of the spiritual, which state is here described by the "ram caught in the thicket by his horns" (see just above, n. 2831).  (AC 2832)

My Commentary:

In the passage above we find out that the scientific sense of “horns” refers to “the power of truth that is in faith.” In the Writings “faith” is used in two ways—blind faith and rational faith. Blind faith characterizes religion while rational faith characterizes theistic psychology. Both truths and falsified truths are referred to in Sacred Scripture by the horns of animals because horns represent the animals power to fight and defeat its enemies. Truths have power to defeat evils but falsities also have power to defeat goods. It all depends on how the person uses the truths or the falsities.

A ram’s horns represent the power of false beliefs to entangle us in the thicket of a natural life devoid of spiritual development. As it is said above, “The more anyone consults natural memory-knowledges, and sticks fast in them in his animus and mind in regard to the things which are truths of faith, the more does he lose the light of truth, and with the light, the life of truth.” Here, blind faith is being referred to, not rational faith which is based on an enlightened understanding from Divine scientific revelations.

The negative bias perspective is referred to in the above passage as “those who say that they can believe nothing unless they comprehend that it is so by means of the things of sense.” Materialism denies the spiritual because the spiritual is not perceivable by the physical senses. About those who think this way it is said that “nothing seems to them more wise than to ascribe everything to nature.” Thinking this way keeps them in irreality. But it is not only the materialist who falls into this mental trap. Those who have a religion of blind faith do not examine the logic of their belief system. They say they believe because it is faith and they do not have to understand its mysteries. They may belong to a religion but “they are not of the Church. Their quality is manifest from their life.”

For spiritual development we must go beyond the religious truths “which have been impressed on us from infancy.” We must examine the teachings of our religion and belief systems in the light of rationality and science, not non-theistic science which denies Sacred Scripture, but theistic science which examines and scrutinizes Sacred Scripture for its scientific revelations.

Continuing with the next selection that discusses the role of faith and charity in our spiritual development, that is, the role of truth and love:

“In the mountain Jehovah will see.” That this signifies charity, by means of which it is provided by the Divine-Human that they should be saved, namely, the spiritual, is evident from the signification of a "mountain," as being love and charity (see n. 795, 796, 1430). That "Jehovah will see" denotes the Divine-Human's providence, or what is provided by the Divine-Human, was said just above (n. 2837). Here charity is spoken of, and not love, on account of the difference between charity and love (see n. 2023). That the spiritual are saved by charity, and not by faith separate from charity, is evident from many passages in the Word. With charity and with faith the case is this: charity without faith is not genuine charity, and faith without charity is not faith.

That there may be charity, there must be faith; and that there may be faith, there must be charity; but the essential itself is charity; for in no other ground can the seed which is faith be implanted. From the conjunction of the two mutually and reciprocally is the heavenly marriage, that is, the Divine-Human's kingdom. Unless faith is implanted in charity it is mere memory-knowledge; for it goes no further than the memory; there is no affection of the heart which receives it; but when it is implanted in charity, that is, in the life, it becomes intelligence and wisdom. Charity without faith, such as is with children and with upright Gentiles, is only ground in which faith is implanted-if not in the life of the body, still in the other life (see n. 1802, 2280, 2290-2309, 2419, 2589-2604). (AC 2839).

My Commentary:

In the above passage it is stated that we (‘the spiritual”) are regenerated for heaven “by charity, and not by faith separate from charity.” This is known to everyone who is familiar with the teachings of the Old and New Testaments, namely that “charity without faith is not genuine charity, and faith without charity is not faith.” I hear this issue debated frequently on Christian radio broadcasts. People would call in the talk show presentation and ask about how do they know they are saved since they still feel like living in their old habits, and do. So they want to know if they are saved or not? The standard answer given is that they are saved as long as they were sincere in confessing their faith in Jesus, that He died to save them form their sins. Then they are told that there is a process called “sanctification” by which the Holy Spirit leads them to show their faith in their life. Then they are told that that to live a life of faith means to go to Church, to seek fellowship with other Christians, and to confess their faith in Christ publicly to anyone who will listen. But is this really true?

The Writings show that it is not true. The life of true faith is not fellowship, Church attendance, and confession of religion, but charity, which is defined as changing how we think and act so that we do things for the sake of others, not just for the sake of self. As long as we are mean to people, or care more about our own comfort zone, we do not live a life of charity. For instance, in our work, we need to be honest and sincere, considering the uses we serve and for which we are paid. Doing a good job and being useful to neighbors, family, and society for the sake of God and heaven—this is the life of charity that leads to salvation. Faith without this charity is useless for salvation, as witnessed by Swedenborg when he monitored what happens to people who arrive in the afterlife with a strong faith not based on a life of use and caring for others. They have no faith they can hold on to in the afterlife because it is not based on altruism. They sink down into their hells where many profess faith but don’t mean it. They continue to love themselves more than others, and often, they love themselves alone, and others they love only for the sake of self. It is not possible for the "blood of Christ" or the "Merit of Christ" to turn a person who is a wolf into a sheep. Only a life of character reformation for the sake of God and heaven, can do this.

The New Testament frequently warns us that faith can only be “implanted” in charity since “in no other ground can the seed which is faith be implanted.” Salvation consists of the “heavenly marriage” which refers to the conjunction between our faith and our charity, that is, our understanding of the doctrine of truth from Sacred Scripture, and then the doing of it in daily life. In the Writings the word "faith" refers to rational faith or theistic psychology. "Faith implanted in charity" means that we are motivated to live the truth we know from Sacred Scripture, and when we proceed in this way, our faith “becomes intelligence and wisdom.” To "live the truth" means to apply doctrine from Sacred Scripture to our willing and thinking in daily activities.

Quoting from the Writings Sacred Scripture:

NJHD 140. Concerning Perception.

Perception consists in seeing by influx from the Lord what is true and good, nos. 202, 895, 7680, 9128 [all Numbers here refer to AC]. Perception exists only with those who are in the good of love from the Lord to the Lord, nos. 202, 371, 1442, 5228. Perception exists in heaven with those, by whom, while they lived as men in the world, the doctrinals of the Church which are from the Word, were applied immediately to the life, and were not first committed to the memory; the interiors of their minds were thus formed for the reception of the influx of the Divine; and for this reason their understandings are in a continual state of enlightenment in heaven, nos. 104, 495, 503, 521, 536, 1616, 1791, 5145. They know innumerable things, and their wisdom is unbounded, nos. 2718, 9543.

Those who are in perception, do not reason concerning the truths of faith, and should they reason their perception would perish, nos. 586, 1398, 5897. Those who believe that they know and are wise from themselves, cannot have any perception, no. 1386. The learned are unable to comprehend what this perception is; from experience, no. 1387.

Those who are in the Lord's celestial kingdom, have perception; but those who are in the spiritual kingdom, have no perception, but conscience instead, nos. 805, 2144, 2145, 8081. Those who are in the Lord's celestial kingdom do not think from faith, like those who are in the Lord's spiritual kingdom, because those who are in the celestial kingdom are in the perception from the Lord of all things of faith, nos. 202, 597, 607, 784, 1121, 1387, 1398, 1442, 1919, 7680, 7877, 8780.

Wherefore the celestial angels say concerning the truths of faith, only Yea, yea, or Nay, nay, because they perceive and see them; but the spiritual angels reason concerning the truths of faith, whether they are so, or not, nos. 2715, 3246, 4448, 9166, 10786; where the words of the Lord are explained (Matt. v. 37), "Let your communication be Yea, yea, Nay, nay: what is more than these, cometh from evil." Because the celestial angels know the truths of faith from perception, they are not even willing to mention faith, nos. 202, 337. The distinction between the celestial and the spiritual angels, nos. 2088, 2669, 2708, 2715, 3235, 3240, 4788, 7068, 8521, 9277, 10295.

Concerning the perception of those who belonged to the Most Ancient Church, which was a celestial Church, nos. 125, 597, 607, 784, 895, 1121, 5121.

There is interior and exterior perception, nos. 2145, 2171, 2831, 5920. In the world there is a perception of what is just and fair, but rarely a perception of spiritual truth and good, nos. 2831, 5937, 7977. The light of perception is altogether different from the light of confirmation; and is not like it, although to some it may appear as if it were, nos. 8521, 8780.
(NJHD 140)

5.0.10  The Elevation of Consciousness

Continuing with the next selected portion (skipping in between Numbers):

“As the stars of the heavens.” That this signifies the multitude of the knowledges of good and truth, is evident from the signification of the "stars," as being the knowledges of good and truth (see n. 1808, 2495). The spiritual are they who in the Word are in various places compared to the stars, and this owing to the knowledges of good and truth which they have; but the celestial are not so compared, because they have not knowledges but perceptions; moreover the stars illumine the night, and the spiritual have a light of night (as from the moon and stars) in comparison with the light of day in which the celestial are. (That the spiritual have comparative obscurity may be seen above, 1043, 2708 at the beginning, 2715.) (AC 2849)

My Commentary:

When Sacred Scripture or Divine Speech filters down to the word “stars” in a natural language, earlier scientific meanings can be derived from this word if we know what it is a correspondence to in the spiritual world. In the passage above it is revealed that the spiritual or mental correspondence to stars are the knowledges of good and truth. God refers to the mentality of the split-brain race on earth as stars that are both countless and providing light at night. Our mentality is spiritual, that is, intermediate between natural and celestial. Our celestial mind is as far above our spiritual mind as the light of the noon sun is far more brilliant than the light of the moon and stars at night.

God-Man on earth has prepared the mental pathway we can take to reach our celestial mind. The pathway that leads from the spiritual to the celestial is called love. When we love to do something we notice that we have an insight into it that others do not. We comprehend more at a glance that they can and we can fix it and improve it. This is the case with some physical activity like a hobby or specialty. It is even more true in the spiritual world where love is far more powerful than the entire nature with its cataclysmic energies. If, when we arrive in the afterlife, we are willing to love the Divine-Human, this love instantly illuminates our surround and fills it with heavenly sights, sounds, and odors. Such is the creative power of love in the spiritual world.

If we are willing to love the Divine-Human, our consciousness is immediately elevated to its highest potential in whichever developmental phase we are going through. When we are reading Sacred Scripture with the same love, acknowledging the Sacred Scripture as the Speech of the Divine-Human, we are enlightened to our highest potential of understanding within the phase of regeneration that we are in. We perceive ever more detailed scientific meanings within the Divine Speech, meanings which are infinite in number and fitting together in endless series and spirals expressing ineffable heavenly forms that cannot be expressed in a natural language.

The more we continue progressing in our heavenly character development the more we penetrate into the endless semantic space of God’s Rational Mind. The more we are willing to receive Divine love from the Divine-Human, the more we can love the Divine-Human, and the more we love the Divine-Human, the deeper and deeper we are capable of penetrating into the Divine Rational Mind, along with its celestial delights and blessedness. It is not necessary to postpone this mental state until “we get there.” The celestial state is available to us now through the spiritual-natural organ within the natural mind, discussed above.

We need to understand the what is at stake here and its mechanism. Does it make a difference to you if you end up in the First Heaven rather the Second, or the Third? It is stated in the Writings that once you undergo your second death and enter heaven, your position of entrance remains fixed to eternity. In other words, your basic foundational mental state does not change to eternity. Within this basic mental identity state, you can experience an endless series of progressions of new states to eternity. But you cannot ascend to a higher foundational state or identity. So the people who enter the First Heaven stay there forever, and the same with the Spiritual and Celestial Heavens.

In the mental states of our First Heaven our consciousness is called interior-natural or spiritual-natural. In other words it is similar to the consciousness we have here on earth after we have been regenerating progressively. I say similar because in actual comparison the inhabitants of the First Heaven are more purely enlightened than what our enlightenment is in the spiritual-natural organ discussed above. Our enlightenment is representative but not actual, as long as we are in this world tied to a physical body.

Because of this representativeness of higher states within our interior-natural organ, if operational, we are able to know and understand the difference between the mental states of the three heavens. You will spend your day very differently if you dwell in the First Heaven of your mind vs. the Second or Third. Swedenborg describes the occupations and cities of all three heavens. People in the First Heaven have thoughts and feelings that project a daily life that is similar to what it was like for them on earth, but cleaned up of any evil or degradation and disorder. Swedenborg saw shops, shoppers, carpenters, civil officials, games and sports, Churches, beautiful houses and palaces. These outward appearances, like a beautiful dream, were instantaneous creations of their loves and wisdom, endlessly varied and involving their creativity, so that the people felt fully blessed.

Life in the Second Heaven involved the people there less in sensorimotor activities and more in verbal and intellectual exchanges and studies. They loved to debate and hold conferences on various issues of interest, which varied endlessly to their great delight. Their habitations, clothes, and art were distinctly superior to what Swedenborg was able to see in the First Heaven. Their thoughts and understandings filtered down to the First Heaven where they were transformed in the minds of people there, to the subjects and knowledges they were interested in, all having to do with the trades, commerce, sports, and government.

Life in the Third Heaven is so superior to that in the Second Heaven that the subjects forming the thoughts and perceptions of the people there are incomprehensible to the people of the Second Heaven. When people in the Third Heaven speak to one another or reflect to themselves, the celestial meanings filter through to the minds of the people in the Second Heaven. They then experience an internal enlightenment and excitement at the new thoughts and insights they are able to have. These thoughts and insights are the spiritual correspondences of the celestial subjects that filtered down.

In summary, the differences between the three heavens in our mind are vast. The thoughts, insights, and feelings we have at these three levels are vastly different in excellence and power. When we love sensorimotor activities and involvements the most, we are in our First Heaven. When we love cognitive activities and involvements the most, we are in our Second Heaven. When we love affective activities and involvements the most, we are in our Third Heaven.

Continuing with the next sample:

“And as the sand which is upon the sea shore.” That this signifies the multitude of corresponding memory-knowledges, is evident from the signification of the "sea," as being memory-knowledges in general, or a gathering of them (see n. 28, 2120); and from the signification of "sand," as being memory- knowledges specifically or in particular. Memory-knowledges are compared to "sand," because the little stones of which sand is made, in the internal sense signify memory-knowledges (n. 643, 1298).

It is here said that they shall be multiplied "as the stars of the heavens," and also "as the sand of the sea shore," because the stars or knowledges have relation to the rational, but the sand of the sea shore or memory-knowledges to the natural. When the things of the rational man, namely, the goods and truths of knowledges, agree with those of the natural man, namely, with memory-knowledges, so that they make a one, or mutually confirm each other, they then correspond. To this correspondence the Divine-Human reduces the rational and natural things of man when he regenerates him, or makes him spiritual. From this cause it is that both the stars of the heavens and the sand of the sea shore are here mentioned; otherwise one would have been sufficient. (AC 2850)

My Commentary:

The passage above discusses the all important topic of the difference between our natural-sensuous mind and our natural-rational mind. The natural-sensuous mind is called “sand” and “ocean or sea,” while the natural-rational mind is called “stars.” Rational mental operations are called stars while observational data from sensory input is called “sand.” Our thinking and reasoning process when sticking to the input data is lower in insight or understanding to that of more abstract and rational thinking about the data. We call this higher operation an explanation or a theory of the data. As stars are far above the sand, so are rational explanations far above mere sensory observation of phenomena.

The passage above says that “When the things of the rational man, namely, the goods and truths of knowledges, agree with those of the natural man, namely, with memory-knowledges, so that they make a one, or mutually confirm each other, they then correspond.” This is something God accomplishes in our mind as we are being regenerated by Him, to the extent of our willingness to cooperate. Our natural-rational mind or understanding is reformed first by means of Sacred Scripture, if we study it with love. Then our natural-sensuous and natural-corporeal are brought into agreement with the rational so that we become an enlightened heavenly person here on earth.

5.0.11  Thy Seed Shall Inherit the Gate of Thine Enemies

Continuing with the next Number:

“And thy seed shall inherit the gate of thine enemies.” That this signifies that charity and faith shall succeed in the place where evil and falsity were before, is evident from the signification of "inheriting," as being to receive the Divine-Human's life (see n. 2658); here, to succeed in the place, because when charity and faith are in the place where evil and falsity were before, then the Divine-Human's life succeeds there; from the signification of "seed," as being charity and faith (see n. 1025, 1447, 1610, 1941); from the signification of a "gate" (explained in what follows); and from the signification of "enemies," as being evils and falsities, or what is the same, those who are in evil and falsity: in the internal sense of the Word these are signified by "enemies" and "foes."  (AC 2851)

My Commentary:

The historical event in the Bible of God blessing a person’s descendants used to intrigue me prior to starting to read the Writings. Similarly, when a patriarch or prophet blessed somebody it was often in the form of blessing their offspring, that they should be numerous as the stars or the sand. I tried, but failed, to be impressed by such an event. To me it was not such a big deal whether my descendants were very numerous, or even frankly, extinct. I did not have the same feeling for a continuation of my line. Why did some others care so much, I wondered. I came up with the idea of “blood lust,” which later I found discussed in the Writings.

It turns out that blood lines do not count in the afterlife. When we ascend to the heavens of our mind we find there others in their heaven. It seems that we are sharing the same heaven in the spiritual world. Swedenborg observed that when people first get there, they are welcomed by others. When the newcomers see the people there they have the amazing strong feeling that they are coming back after a long absence. Everyone is so inexplicably familiar and everyone looks like they belong to one family.

This external appearance is instantiated by correspondence to their ruling love. At their second death, people seem to themselves to arrive in a city that feels familiar, where others who feel like old friends, welcome them as neighbors. Everyone ends up in the city or society where others already dwell who share the same category of ruling love. There is an endless variety of ruling loves, and an endless variety of the affections controlled by a ruling love. As a result, there are endless cities and societies that make up the overall Heaven called the Grand Human (see Section xx).

When we dwell in the consciousness of our heaven in the company of “affectional similitudes” of one another, we do not recognize or know the natural origin of any of the people there. Remember that the process of the second death quiets the natural mind so that in our heaven we have no memories of earth, therefore no memories of children and parents on earth. Swedenborg observed the plight of parents who never fully gave up the blood lust attachments. They had been parents who accepted their children’s faults because nothing their children did could be wrong in the parents’ eyes.

As a result, when they passed on and entered heaven, they were fine, but when their children passed on, they had the strong desire to descend to their natural mind so that they could meet the children in the world of spirits. All desires in heaven are automatically instantiated, so that they were suddenly out of their heaven and back into the world of spirits where they greeted the children, now grown up, with great affection and joy.

The children, now adults, progressed toward their second death by displaying the hellish traits they brought with them. The parents were horrified but they could not break the contact of affection they felt for them. They were forced to witness all the horrendous evil of their children coming out in far greater intensity and proportion than what they knew them as on earth where they merely looked upon these as cute quirks or forgivable weaknesses of character. They suffered much and for many sequences of negative mental states, until at last they were so devastated that they were able to desire to be cut off from their children. The instant they felt this desire, it automatically brought them back to their ranking love, and hence, back to their familiar and beloved heaven and friends there.

We find the same warning in the Writings about forming an inner friendship with a friend who is of an opposite genius. Inner friendships are permanent, crossing over into the afterlife, and are difficult to break there, involving much suffering. External friendships with anyone cannot hurt us because nothing that is external remains operational at the second death.

The passage above is about the scientific sense of “And thy seed shall inherit the gate of thine enemies.” Why does God care about such things? Or why does God go along with Abraham’s blood lust? There are two parts to the answer. First, God does not care about such things but God permits them for the sake of the salvation of the people who insist on it from their free choice. God’s mechanism for giving His Divine Speech to humankind was to filter it through all the layers of the human mind, starting with the highest heaven there. By the time it reaches the lowest portion of the mind, known as the natural mind, the words of Divine Speech seem natural, referring to trees, animals, peoples, events in cities and countries that still exist today.

But God’s Speech did not start that way! Instead God said something about how we can cooperate with Him in our regeneration for heaven. But these words automatically get transformed by the universal laws of correspondence as they descend from high consciousness to low consciousness in the human mind. Now, through the Writings of Swedenborg, the code of correspondences has been once again revealed to the people on earth. Swedenborg shows us how to apply this code to get back what was there originally before it filtered down into the natural mind. This Section is an example of how this is done for Genesis Chapter 22.

When we apply the code of correspondences to Sacred Scripture we derive immensely more from it than the prophets who received it in his natural mind as it descended from heaven, and then wrote it down. Often the Old Testament verse begins with God instructing the prophet to write something down, as in this passage:

Jehovah said, Son of man, take a stick and write on it, For Judah and for the children of Israel, his companions. And take another stick and write on it, For Joseph - the stick of Ephraim and of the whole house of Israel, his companions and join them together, one to the other into one stick for you, that both may be one in your hand. Thus said the Divine-Human Jehovih, I, behold, I am taking the stick of Joseph which is in the hand of Ephraim and of the tribes of Israel his companions, and I will add them to the stick of Judah, and make them into one stick, and they will be one in My hand. And I will make them into one nation in the land, on the mountains of Israel; and one king will be king to them all, and they will no longer be two nations, nor will they ever be divided into two nations again. Ezek. 37:16, 17, 19, 22. (AC 3969)

This passage would be quite puzzling about God’s seemingly odd ways. But now we know that the natural meanings can be decoded by spiritual-natural correspondences to obtain the scientific sense contained in Divine Speech when it is in our celestial and spiritual minds. The Numbered Paragraph section in the Writings where this passage from Ezekiel is discussed (AC 3969) is in connection with explaining the meaning of Judah and why he was called by that name. Judah, in its scientific sense, refers to our celestial mind wherever this name is mentioned in the Old and New Testaments.

But as yet scarcely anyone knows that these things are meant in the Word when the name Judah is mentioned, the reason being that the historical descriptions of the Word are thought to be simply historical descriptions, and the prophetical utterances to belong among such things as have fallen into oblivion, except for some of them from which doctrinal inferences may be drawn out. No belief exists that those descriptions and utterances have a correspondential sense within them, because at the present day no knowledge exists of what the correspondential sense is, or indeed of what the spiritual is.

And the chief reason for this is that the life which people lead is the natural life. This is such that when they have that life as their end in view or it is the only life they desire, it blots out both spiritual knowledge and faith - so much so that when spiritual life and a correspondential sense are spoken of, these are like something that does not really exist or else are something unpleasant and depressing which, because it does not accord with natural life, they find distasteful.

Such being the condition of the human race at the present day it neither understands nor wishes to understand by the names mentioned in the Word anything else than the nations, peoples, individual persons, regions, cities, mountains, or rivers, which those names denote. Yet in the correspondential sense names mean real things.

[2] That 'Judah' in the internal sense means the Divine-Human's celestial Church, in the universal sense His celestial kingdom, and in the highest sense the Divine-Human Himself may be seen from many places in the Old Testament where Judah is mentioned, for example, from the following: In Moses…(AC 3969)

There then follows different passages from various parts of the Old Testament and in each case the scientific sense of Judah is the celestial portion of the human mind where heaven is. This is truly amazing and cannot be explained except as Divine Speech. Recall that these Old Testament books were written independently by dozens of prophets over many centuries. How could it be that what they wrote down in visions and voices and historical events contain the same scientific sense hidden within it and transformed into historical events and their details. How could this be? The only rational explanation is that it is Divine Speech which has this characteristic of always containing the same scientific sense hidden, or filtered down and transformed, in the words of historical narratives and poetic expressions.

Continuing with the next selection:

[2] As regards the signification of a "gate," there are in general two gates with every man; the one opens toward hell, and is opened to the evils and falsities therefrom; in this gate are infernal genii and spirits; the other gate opens toward heaven, and is opened to good and the truths therefrom; in this gate are angels. There is thus a gate which leads to hell, and a gate which leads to heaven. The gate of hell is opened to those who are in evil and falsity, and only through chinks round about above does anything of the light from heaven enter, by means of which they are able to think and reason; but the gate of heaven is opened to those who are in good and the truth therefrom. 

[3] For there are two ways which lead into man's rational mind-a higher or internal one, through which good and truth from the Divine-Human enter, and a lower or external one, through which evil and falsity come up from hell. The rational mind itself is in the middle, and to it these ways tend. That mind, from the goods and truths which are in it, is compared in the Word to a city, and is called a "city." And because it is compared to a city, and is called a "city," gates are attributed to it, and it is often described as being besieged and stormed by enemies, that is, by evil genii and spirits; and as being defended by angels from the Divine-Human, that is by the Divine-Human. (AC 2851)

My Commentary:

This passage is packed with anatomical facts about the human mind, facts which are used in theistic psychology to build our rational understanding and spiritual consciousness and to apply it to the daily needs of people in society. The scientific sense of “gate” and related concepts like “city” ,“street”, “pavement” and so on, refer to the structural parts of the rational mind, at all three levels (see Section xx). Here we are given anatomical facts about how information enters our cognitive operations.

There are two paths of information sources to our conscious mind here on earth, one from above, namely the spiritual world, called the “gate of heaven,” and one from below the natural mind, called the “gate of hell.” Our hellish habits develop and mature by using the information from the hells in our mind, coming up from below into our corporeal and sensuous mind (see Section xx). The rational mind is in between. The lower or external portion of the rational mind is called natural-rational. The upper or inner portion of the rational mind is called spiritual-rational and celestial-rational.

The rational function of our mind therefore is the key to our salvation or life in heaven to eternity. Our lower natural knows evil from hell. Our higher natural knows good from heaven. As long as we are still on earth, God keeps a perfect balance between these two rational operations in every individual. In this way, we are always free to choose which we reject. Only such free choices, rejecting the evil information and delight, can permanently separate us from them, leaving behind only the good delights and truths, which are from heaven.

5.0.12  Invasion of the Hells

Continuing with the text we are analyzing:

The infernal genii and spirits, with their evils and falsities, cannot come further than to the lower or outer gate, and in no case into the city. If they could get into the city, or into the rational mind, all would be over with the man. But when they come so far as to seem to themselves to have taken that city by storm, it is then closed, so that good and truth no longer flow into it from heaven except as was said some little through chinks round about. From this it is that such persons no longer have anything of charity or anything of faith, but make good consist in evil, and truth in falsity.

From this also it is that they are no longer truly rational, although they seem to themselves to be so (n. 1914, 1944). And it is from this that they are called dead men, although they believe that they are more alive than others (n. 81, 290 at the end). These things are so because the gate of heaven is closed to them. That it is closed to them manifestly appears and is perceived in the other life; as also on the other hand that the gate of heaven is open to those who are in good and truth.  (AC 2851)

My Commentary:

Note the scary part: “If they could get into the city, or into the rational mind, all would be over with the man.” By “all would be over with the man” means you and me. We are the split-brain spiritual race. Our immortality depends on our rationality. The “infernal genii and spirits” come to the entrance “gate” of our rational mind when they enter the corporeal, climb to the sensuous, and are seeking to have the rational justify their presence. They are then seeking to take the “city” by storm, the scientific sense of which is that that our “doctrine” of life, our principles of living, our morality and rationality, are in danger of concocting and fabricating a justification for what is happening in our sensuous and corporeal minds.

Our natural conscience and moral principles are at stake, and if we have religion, our spiritual conscience and salvation are at stake. This is mental process that people need to self-witness in themselves so that they may be prepared to undergo temptations whereby God delivers them by removing these particular hells at our gates, containing them forever from coming to these particular gates again. There are numerous particular hells at our gates every day and they must be removed one by one through spiritual self-witnessing and temptations. In this way we may go on with our spiritual development and not be stuck before a seemingly insurmountable barrier.

What happens to us when we fail this test and go ahead and develop rationalized justifications for actual evils in our corporeal and sensuous minds?

In other words, what are the consequences in our mental operations when we justify a hellish habit we witness in ourselves?

The passage above gives the answer in these terms: “But when they come so far as to seem to themselves to have taken that city by storm, it is then closed, so that good and truth no longer flow into it from heaven except as was said some little through chinks round about. From this it is that such persons no longer have anything of charity or anything of faith, but make good consist in evil, and truth in falsity.” How devastating to discover this! The consequence of justifying our hellish habits in thoughts and in feelings is to stop the flow of good and truth into our celestial mind!

This is devastating to the individual. I say that it is scary because if there is no good and truth flowing into our mind, there is nothing to stop the hellish habits to multiply in my personality. I have no protection from this or that desire, this or that fanciful attraction, this or that pleasure I can experience. Without protection, I give in to them, all of them, and my fate is sealed. I now am a devil in company of devils. The instant I pass on and become a spirit, I precipitate myself into the hell of my mind and there I find all my friends, all the genii and infernal spirits I had been with in my pleasures and cupidities on earth. We embrace each other like long lost friends. We recognize each other’s faces and emotions.

But after the delirious welcoming exchanges, conditions change. They are much further into the insanity than I am, perhaps than I will ever be. But now I have to live with them. So I become their victim and I suffer endlessly to eternity, except when it’s my turn, and my desperation is so great that I become the torturer and my they become my victims. O what pleasure and infernal glory I then feel, -- for a little while, because soon they take over again, which never fails. So this is the life that awaits me if I let them storm my city, meaning, if I justify my corporeality and sensuality regardless of their being hellish rather than heavenly.

The picture I draw above is not a fantasy created by fear. It is the very thing Swedenborg had observed many times. It is also the very same process of events he observed in heaven, when we are willing to undergo character reformation by means of spiritual self-witnessing and temptations in which we call upon the Divine-Human to fight the hells on our behalf.

Note that when we justify a hellish enjoyment or habit we “make good consist in evil, and truth in falsity.” This is a process of thinking that requires rational operations, though applied to an irrational goal. Some of the sub-elements of the mental reasoning sequence are rational in themselves, but when they are placed together with irrational sub-components, the end-goal of the sequence will be irrational. But to us in that mental state, we ‘”make good consist in evil, and truth in falsity.” This is Divine scientific revelation. It becomes a key principle in theistic psychology.

Using our rational syntax to justify evil is equivalent to introducing a virus into your mental components. It is an actual damaging physiological operation in the spiritual neuronal fibers of the natural mind. Popular wisdom says, Misuse it and you lose it. You can see this spiritual principle operating in the destruction of our rational mind through its misuse. What happens if you use a sharp knife to cut a brass handle? The knife utility is reduced, perhaps destroyed so you need to sharpen it again. Our rational syntax misoperates when used to justify a hellish idea because our heaven is in our rational, the upper portion of the rational called the spiritual-rational mind and the celestial-rational mind. These upper portions of our mind cannot remain operational unless the natural-rational retains its integrity of operation, without a virus.

It is like gangrene or cancer that spreads to all portions of the physical body unless surgically or chemically removed before it starts spreading from the point where it entered the body. In fact, the aggressive and invasive injurious operation of gangrene and cancer possesses this property from the invasive and injurious operations of the hells in our mind. The enter through our lowest and weakest point—our corporeal and sensuous mind. These are the weakest or most susceptible to the hells because the inherited traits and tendencies are very strong in the lower portion of the natural mind.

As the passage above says, when we begin to justify evil interests and goals we “are no longer truly rational, although we seem to ourselves to be so.” We become inured, uninfluenciable by reason and rational discourse. We have become a god to ourselves, recognizing ourselves as the highest executive officer of our choices. “And it is from this that they are called dead men, although they believe that they are more alive than others.” This is the built-in self-destructiveness of using our intelligence to defend the hells in us. We believe we are alive, better off, free, at the very moment that we are chained to awful things to come.

“These things are so because the gate of heaven is closed to them.” This means that the source of our rational syntax, which must remain online to operate, is cut off. We pull out the plug on ourselves when we rationalize one of our evil habits or enjoyments. It is not the evil enjoyment that destroys us, as sometimes believed from a religious perspective. More scientifically, we can see that it is the justification of evil enjoyment that destroys our rational syntax, which eliminates the heaven in our mind. Yet it is this rational heaven, or “rational faith,” that we must have to live in eternity in conjugial bliss.

Continuing with the following portion of the selection:

[4] As regards the "gate of enemies" in particular, which is treated of in this verse, it is with man in his natural mind. When man is wholly natural, or not regenerate, evils and falsities occupy the gate; or what is the same, evil genii and spirits flow into it with cupidities of evil and persuasions of falsity (see n. 687, 697, 1692); but when man becomes spiritual, or is being regenerated, then the evils and falsities, or what is the same, the evil genii and spirits, are driven away from the gate, or from the mind; then goods and truths, or charity and faith, take their place; which things are signified by its being said, "thy seed shall inherit the gate of thine enemies." This takes place in particular with every man when he is being regenerated; and in like manner in the other life with those who come into the Divine-Human's kingdom; and it also takes place in the general body, or in the church, which is composed of many.  (AC 2851)

My Commentary:

You may notice that when we are trying to give an example of evil and hell we think of Hitler, serial killers, and terrorists. Sometimes I think that this serves to hide from ourselves how close and ordinary hell and evil are. For instance, when we think of evil and hell we do not think of our playing the music too loud or tailgating somebody while driving home. We do not think of the “f” word that constantly drips from our lips, nor of leaving our dirty dishes in a sink used by others. Yet these are evil and hellish traits that will provide an entrance for the entire hells. If we justify these ‘little’ hellish things because we don’t do the big ones, we are introducing a virus into our natural-rational operations. As sure as hell, the virus will spread and infect the entire rational mind until we are a dead man. These operations are scientifically described in theistic psychology.

The passage above says that “When man is wholly natural, or not regenerate, evils and falsities occupy the gate; or what is the same, evil genii and spirits flow into it with cupidities of evil and persuasions of falsity.” This is discussing the vertical community (see Section xx). Prior to character reformation, or regeneration, our rational is wholly natural, which is why it is called the natural-rational mind. We receive no input from above, that is from the spiritual mind, because it is not yet operational in our consciousness. We do not as yet have a spiritual organ built up within the natural mind. Character reformation is a built in skill that every individual can perform by means of rational principles, either from moral teachings or directly from Sacred Scripture. When we begin this intentional and conscious process, it becomes our goal. We are motivated to proceed with it. As a result neuronal fibers and networks are being built up in the spiritual organ within the natural mind. This has been discussed above.

The more this spiritual organ grows within the natural mind, the more rational we become spiritually. Our consciousness or ability to understand spiritual-rational ideas, is elevated and enlightened by spiritual light from the Spiritual Sun that is within Sacred Scripture or Divine Speech. When reading Sacred Scripture we are then given perception of its scientific sense by applying the knowledge of correspondences and discourse analysis (see Section xx). This scientific sense is the rational thinking we need to elevate our consciousness into reality and truth. This is what our heaven is made of, and hence, our salvation and eternal life in conjugial bliss.

The passage above indicates what the scientific sense is of the verse of Sacred Scripture we’ve already referred to above, "thy seed shall inherit the gate of thine enemies." The scientific sense applies to every human being. “To inherit” refers to regeneration for heavenly life, not only while we are still on earth, but also in the afterlife, and not just for individuals but for society and civilization.

Continuing with the next selection:

[5] This was represented by the sons of Israel expelling the nations from the land of Canaan. The latter is meant in the literal sense where it is said, "thy seed shall inherit the gate of thine enemies;" but in the internal sense are signified the things which have been told. Hence in ancient times it became customary to speak thus when blessing those who were entering into marriage; as is also manifest from the benediction of Laban to his sister Rebekah, when she was going away betrothed to Isaac:

Our sister, be thou thousands of ten thousands, and let thy seed inherit the gate of those that hate thee (Gen. 24:60).

[6] That such things are signified in the Word by the "gate of enemies" or of "those that hate," may be seen from the following passages. In Isaiah:

I will kill thy root with famine, and I will slay them that remain of thee. Howl, O gate; cry, O city; thou art melted away, O Philistia, all of thee, for there cometh a smoke out of the north (Isa. 14:30-31);

to "kill the root with famine, and to slay them that remain," denotes to take away the goods and truths which had been stored up interiorly by the Divine-Human. (…)

 [12] In David:

They that dwell in the gate plot against me, they that drink strong drink sing songs (Ps. 69:12);

"they that dwell in the gate" denotes evils and falsities, and also the infernals. (…)

[14] It may be seen from these passages what is signified by the "gate of enemies," namely, that it is hell, or infernal spirits, who are continually attacking goods and truths. Their seat with man as before said is in his natural mind. But when a man is of such a character as to admit goods and truths, and thus angels, the infernal spirits are then driven away by the Divine-Human from that seat; and on their being driven away, the gate of heaven or heaven itself is opened. This gate is also mentioned in the Word in various places; as in Isaiah:

A song in the land of Judah. We have a strong city, salvation will He appoint for walls and bulwarks; open ye the gates, and the righteous nation that keepeth fidelities shall enter in (Isa. 26:1-2).


 [15] From these passages it is manifest that the "gate of heaven" is where angels are with man, that is, where there is an influx of good and truth from the Divine-Human; and thus that as before said there are two gates. Concerning these two gates the Divine-Human speaks thus in Matthew:

Enter ye in by the strait gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leadeth to destruction, and many there be that go in thereat; because strait is the gate and narrow is the way that leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it (Matt. 7:12-14; Luke 13:23-24).

Moreover the gates to the New Jerusalem and the gates to the new temple are much treated of in Ezekiel, and also by John in Revelation, by which nothing else is meant than the entrances to heaven (see Ezek. 40:6-49; 43:1-2, 4; 44:1-3; 46:1-9, 12; 48:31-34; Rev. 21:12-13, 21, 25; 22:14; Isa. 54:11-12). Hence Jerusalem is called the "gate of the people" (Micah 1:9; Obad. verse 13). (AC 2851)

My Commentary:

I presented these detailed selections to demonstrate that the vastly spread out books of the Old and New Testament all share this thing in common, namely, that they are written in a natural language that follows the code of correspondences, even though the prophets who wrote them had absolutely no idea of this property of the Divine Speech they were writing down. The Divinity of the Bible is asserted and firmly believed among most Christians today, as indicated by polls and popular commentators. This is a religious blind faith based on sincerity and tradition. They feel this way even though they cannot prove that the Old and New Testaments are Divine Books, and even though they have doubts here and there about some parts that appear bizarre and incomprehensible.

But now we have entered the Age of the Second Coming initiated as a spiritual-rational revolution through the Writings of Swedenborg. The laws of correspondences that govern the interconnectivity between the natural and spiritual worlds have been revealed to the human race at a period or age when science and rationality have entered public schools and all institutions of society. Now we can extract the scientific sense of Divine Speech given to humanity. There is no more need to turn away from bizarre text in the Holy Book. Knowledge of correspondences allows us to reconstruct the spiritual-rational message in Divine Speech. This is the level of meaning and consciousness that we need to develop spiritually as an individual and as a generation. This is the level of meaning we need to be willing to suffer ourselves to undergo character reformation.

5.0.13  Universal Salvation of Everyone

Continuing with the next selection:

“In thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed.” That this signifies the salvation of all who are in good, is evident from the signification of "being blessed," as being to be enriched with celestial and spiritual good (see n. 981, 1096, 1420, 1422); here, to be saved, because spoken of those who are saved (that "to be blessed" has a comprehensive meaning is well known); from the signification of "seed," as being the faith of charity (see n. 1025, 1447, 1610); and from the signification of the "nations of the earth," as being those who are in good (see n. 1159, 1258-1260, 1416, 1849). 

[2] Moreover in these words there is contained the following arcanum: that through the church (which is here the "earth," n. 662, 1066, 1067, 1262) those are saved who are out of the church; for as just stated, "thy seed" denotes the faith of charity; and no others are in the faith of charity than those within the church, for the faith of charity is truth of doctrine adjoined to good of life. The case is this: The Divine-Human's kingdom on earth consists of all those who are in good, who though scattered over the whole earth, are still one, and as members constitute one body.

Such is the Divine-Human's kingdom in the heavens, where the whole heaven represents one man, which is therefore also called the Grand Man (n. 684, 1276); and what is wonderful and hitherto unknown, all parts of the human body correspond to societies in heaven. And therefore it is sometimes said that some societies belong to the province of the head, some to the province of the eye, others to that of the chest, and so on, which correspondence will of the Divine-Human's Divine mercy be spoken of by itself.  (AC 2853)

My Commentary:

The passage above answers the troublesome issue of whether or not only those are saved who are “in the Church.” It is traditional for religions to believe this, which shows that religions are cultural rather than universal and cross-cultural. I saw an exchange on TV the other day that illustrates this ingrained belief and how it creates conflict in society which is always more diverse than one religion. Two people were being interviewed on a news show. The topic was the current smash hit movie The Passion (of Christ). One interviewee was a Jewish rabbi whom I have seen on several other shows over the past couple of years. He displays an aggressive style and frequently interrupts others while they are talking, not letting them go on, talking over them, raising his voice. I found him annoying every time I’ve seen him. The other interviewee was a woman Christian activist who had started a Web site promoting the idea that Christians should go see the movie because it strengthens their faith.

The rabbi was arguing that the movie was anti-Semitic because it presents Jews in a negative light and because it inflames bigots to hate the Jews. The woman was arguing that it is an accurate portrayal of the New Testament’s descriptions of the Crucifixion. The rabbi was incensed that society is forced to be exposed to the New Testament which is prejudicial to him and to Jews and other religions. The woman said she cannot back off the Gospels which declare that Jesus is the way, the truth and eternal life for all humanity. The rabbi screamed that she is forcing her heaven on him and taking away his heaven. He confronted her: Yes or No, are you saying I cannot have my heaven without Jesus? She repeated that she cannot back away from what the Gospels declare. The host then put an end to the debate.

The revelation of the scientific sense within the Old and New Testaments puts an end to this kind of religious warfare. From the perspective of religion, the rabbi can keep his ideas from the Old Testament and the Christian woman can keep her ideas from the New Testament. But both can now investigate and learn that the Old and New Testaments contain the same scientific meaning, which is for both of them, and for all religions. In the passage above, and many others in the Writings, it is revealed that “through the church those are saved who are out of the church.” The scientific sense of the word “church” in Sacred Scripture is the rational mind that is to be regenerated from being merely natural to being spiritual-natural. Hence the church is the method of character reformation in all religions through the commandments that the members are to follow in daily life.

“Those within the church” refers to the state of mind we are in when undergoing character reformation through Sacred Scripture or morality based on it. This is referred to as those who “are in faith and charity” which means when we are rejecting some evil habit for the sake of our spiritual development or the heaven of our eternity. Those who are outside the church refers to our state of rebellion when we are justifying our evil traits so that we can continue to practice them. The passage asserts that our rebellious mental states during regeneration (“out of the church’) are overcome by our states of obedience (“within the church”).

But in addition, the passage applies to the meaning of Church as an institution of religion. When read from a religious perspective, those who are “within the Church” designate practicing Christians while those “out of the Church” designates non-Christians. That everyone is saved means that we can give up religious conflict. The Christian woman on the news show discussed above could free herself from social conflict if she could have answered the rabbi that he too is saved by Jesus, even if he doesn’t wish to acknowledge the New Testament as Divine.

Of course he has to be a man of sincerity and conscience because even Christians are not saved if they are not sincere and do not live like their religion dictates. But anyone anywhere is saved if they arrive into the afterlife and are willing to receive instruction about the scientific sense of the Sacred Scripture they had been worshipping. If they were sincere in their religion and conscience, they gladly receive the new scientific truths that are universal and apply to all. If they are not willing to let go of their sectarian views, and if they reject the scientific sense which they are taught, they remain in the state of mind they came with and cannot become rational, cannot enter the rational heavens of eternity. These universal laws apply equally to Christians and all others. No one enters heaven by declarations of faith of any kind.

Swedenborg witnessed numerous heavens, each adjusted to the peculiar genius of the inhabitants there. Once in heaven there are no Christians vs. non-Christians and there are no religions in the natural sense they exist on earth. Everyone in all the heavens know and study the scientific sense the Sacred Scripture of their recognition. Divine revelations have been given various times to various peoples in the history of earth, a history that is traced and explained in the Writings.   Extracting Theistic Psychology From Sacred Scripture -- an Illustration

In the following passage the literal sense discusses a historical event, a conversational exchange that took place at a well in Palestine between one of the patriarchs called Jacob and a few "droves" who were about to water their sheep. The snippet under analysis is recorded in the Old Testament Sacred Scripture: "And he said unto them, Know ye Laban, the son of Nahor? [Gen. 29:5]

We will do a twofold analysis and examine the layers of hidden content of Divine Speech as it enters our conscious natural mind through the external senses when we read the written sentences of Sacred Scripture. The most external or bottom layer of Divine Speech as laid down in the Old Testament Sacred Scripture, in this instance, consists of a question a man addresses to other men waiting at a well in a desert of Palestine where the sheep are watered: And he said unto them, Know ye Laban, the son of Nahor? Jacob is asking about his father's cousin and uncle who are from that area, and possibly known by the men at the well. All these details are historical facts and there appears to be nothing holy or Divine in them, in and of themselves. But this is only a surface appearance, not the objective reality of what is actually there, hidden in this snippet of Divine Speech laid down in the literal sentences of the Old Testament Sacred Scripture.

Why do we call this snippet "Divine Speech"?

First, because of the principle that every word, sentence, and feature of Sacred Scripture is Divine Speech laid down in a natural language, and is describing or explaining something for the natural mind in which we are aware and think. God wants us to know some principles that will assist us in character reformation. Everything God says to the human race has to do with that general subject, namely, the principles of character reformation. Why? Because that's what we are here for on earth tied by correspondence to a physical body. We cannot change our character after we are resuscitated and begin our life in eternity (see Section xx). So you can see why it is so desperately important that God get through to us with Divine Speech so that we may know how to succeed in our character reformation.

It is therefore a deep puzzle to all of us, why God is talking about ordinary historical events and conversations that happened thousands of years ago. Why is God not talking to us about theistic psychology -- the mind's anatomy and how it develops, and how it works, and what we can do to influence and manage our mental operations every day throughout our childhood, adolescence, adulthood, and old age. Why is God not talking to us like a Divine Psychologist, which He is (see Section xx). The answer is that He is talking to us about theistic psychology subjects! In order to see this, we need to analyze the sentences of Sacred Scripture and access the various layers of meaning that are hidden within it.

These inner layers are clearly discussing theistic psychology and reveal the facts and principles people need to know in order to effect a successful program of character reformation. This will then allow them to abandon the character they inherited and practiced in culture and society, and to start living, feeling, willing, thinking, reasoning, and behaving from a new character, an reformed character, a new self. Whereas the old self is hellish, the new self is heavenly (see Section xx). When we are resuscitated and begin our life of immortality, we choose for our consciousness to dwell in the upper parts of our mind called the heavens, or the lower parts called the hells of our mind. This free choice is dictated by our ruling love or highest ranked affections and delights (see Section xx).

To obtain this vital information from Divine Speech we must enter into the spiritual layers of the literal sentences in Sacred Scripture. The Writings Sacred Scripture reveal and demonstrate the method of analysis that must be used in order for it to yield genuine information as opposed to bogus information. The Writings Sacred Scripture state that  this method must be used exactly as prescribed in the Writings Sacred Scripture, or else the results cannot be genuine.

This method will now be illustrated in two steps. First, we look at the literal explanations given by the Writings Sacred Scripture of this passage in the Old Testament (about Jacob's question), which will illustrate how the Writings follow the method when analyzing Old Testament sentences. Second, we will apply this same method of analysis ourselves to the sentences of the Writings. This is why it's called a double unfolding of Divine speech laid down in Sacred Scripture. The first unfolding is to see what lies underneath the sentence in the Old Testament ("And he said unto them, Know ye Laban, the son of Nahor?"), and the second unfolding is to see what lies underneath the explication sentences in the Writings (see Section xx).

Quoting from the Writings Sacred Scripture:

AC 3778. And he said unto them, Know ye Laban, the son of Nahor? [Gen. 29:5]

That this signifies, Have they the good of this stock? is evident from the representation of Laban, as being the collateral good of a common stock (see n. 3612, 3665); and from the representation of Nahor, as being that common stock from which is the good represented by Laban; that "to know," in the internal sense signifies to be therefrom, is manifest from the series.

How the case is with the representation of collateral good by Nahor, Bethuel, and Laban, shall be briefly stated. Terah, who was the father of three sons-Abram, Nahor, and Haran (Gen. 11:27), represents the common stock from which come churches. Terah himself was indeed an idolater, but representatives do not regard the person but the thing (n. 1361). And because the representative Jewish Church commenced in Abraham, and was renewed among his descendants from Jacob, therefore Terah and his three sons put on the representation of churches-Abram the representation of a genuine church, such as exists with those who have the Word; but Nahor his brother the representation of a church such as exists among the Gentiles who have not the Word.

That the Lord's church is scattered throughout the universal earth, and that it exists among those Gentiles also who live in charity, is manifest from what has been shown here and there concerning the Gentiles.

[2] This therefore is the reason why by Nahor, his son Bethuel, and Bethuel's son Laban, there is represented the collateral good of a common stock, that is, the good in which they are who are of the Lord's church among the Gentiles.

This good differs from the good of a common stock in the direct line of descent, in this respect-that the truths which are conjoined with their good are not genuine, but most of them are external appearances which are called fallacies of the senses; for these Gentiles have not the Word whereby they can be enlightened. In its essence indeed good is only one, but it receives its quality from the truths implanted in it, and thereby becomes various. The truths that to the Gentiles appear as truths are in general that they should worship some God from whom they seek their good and to whom they attribute it, and so long as they live in the world they do not know that this God is the Lord; also that they should adore their God under images, which they account holy; besides many other things.

Nevertheless these things are no hindrance to their being saved equally with Christians, provided they live in love to their God and in love toward the neighbor; for thus in the other life they have a capacity to receive interior truths (see n. 932, 1032, 1059, 2049, 2051, 2284, 2589-2604, 2861, 2863, 3263).

This shows what is here meant by the collateral good of a common stock. That by Nahor are represented those out of the church who are in brotherhood by virtue of good, may be seen above (n. 2863, 2866, 2868); that by Bethuel is represented the good of the Gentiles of the first class (n. 2865, 3665); and by Laban the affection of external or corporeal good, and properly the collateral good of a common stock (n. 3612, 3665).

[3] With this good the case is that first of all it serves man as a means of procuring for himself spiritual good, for it is external corporeal, and is grounded in external appearances which in themselves are fallacies of the senses. In childhood man acknowledges nothing else as truth and good, and although he is taught what internal good and truth are, still he has no other idea concerning them than a corporeal one; and because such is the first idea, therefore such good and truth are the first means by which interior truths and goods are introduced. This is the arcanum which is here represented by Jacob and Laban. (AC 3778)

I will now analyze the elements of the passage (underlined above):

(1) there is a common stock from which come churches signifies there is a shared universal character ("common stock") to every human mind that acknowledges the existence of God  ("churches")

(2) belief in God can be based in either of two sources:

(I) a genuine church, such as exists with those who have the Word signifies belief in God ("church") that operates with the Doctrine of Truth from Sacred Scripture ("genuine church")

(II) a church such as exists among the Gentiles who have not the Word signifies belief in God ("church") that operates from self-intelligence without the Doctrine of Truth from Sacred Scripture ("church of the Gentiles")

(3) the Lord's church is scattered throughout the universal earth, and exists among those Gentiles also who live in charity signifies that the acknowledgement that God exists ("the Lord's church") is implanted in every human being ("is scattered throughout the universal earth"), by which every individual has the motivation to refrain from hurting others and to do them good ("Gentiles who live in charity")

(4) people whose mind operates from self-intelligence ("Gentiles") continue to hurt others whenever they are able to justify it to themselves ("the truths which are conjoined with their good are not genuine") due to false principles of morality and culture ("external appearances which are called fallacies of the senses") which do not come from the Doctrine of Truth from Sacred Scripture ("these Gentiles have not the Word whereby they can be enlightened ").

(5) The belief in God produced by self-intelligence ("truths that to the Gentiles appear as truths ") motivates people to practice a cultural religion ("should worship some God from whom they seek their good and to whom they attribute it") in which they do not realize that God is the Divine Human within their mind ("they do not know that this God is the Lord") but believe God to be outside of them ("adore their God under images").

(6) When people are resuscitated upon death they are given the opportunity to enter their eternal heavens regardless of their religious background ("no hindrance to their being saved equally with Christians") as long as they refrained from hurting others on account of their beliefs ("provided they live in love to their God and in love toward the neighbor"), since then they are able to receive the Doctrine of Truth from Sacred Scripture ("in the other life they have a capacity to receive interior truths").

(7) What gives people the capacity to acquire a heavenly character even without knowledge of Sacred Scripture  ("those out of the church")? It is the motivation not to harm others because it is against God to do so ("who are in brotherhood by virtue of good").

(8) Where do we obtain this motivation? ("it serves man as a means of procuring for himself spiritual good") From our own self-intelligence and character ("external corporeal, grounded in external appearances, which are fallacies of the senses"). We can acknowledge God without knowing Sacred Scripture ("In childhood man acknowledges nothing else as truth and good"), but our level of understanding of God is then only natural and sensuous or materialistic, not rational ("no other idea concerning them than a corporeal one'), even if we are taught the rational and spiritual ideas of theistic psychology ("although he is taught what internal good and truth are").

(9) Although this motivation for character reformation is not yet genuine, rational, and spiritual, it is given by God as a temporary means by which the person can begin to make progress in character reformation ("such good and truth are the first means by which interior truths and goods are introduced"). 

The nine elements of the passage we analyzed above can now be placed together to show the difference in meaning between the literal, and the unfolded layers of meaning in Divine Speech.

First unfolding of the Old Testament Scripture: And he said unto them, Know ye Laban, the son of Nahor? [Gen. 29:5], as taken from the Writings Sacred Scripture's explication of that verse:

There is a common stock from which come churches. A genuine church, such as exists with those who have the Word, and a church such as exists among the Gentiles who have not the Word. The Lord's church is scattered throughout the universal earth, and exists among those Gentiles also who live in charity. The truths which are conjoined with their good are not genuine, but external appearances which are called fallacies of the senses. For these Gentiles have not the Word whereby they can be enlightened, but only truths that appear to them as truths. They do not know that God is the Lord, and adore their God under images.

These things are no hindrance to their being saved equally with Christians, provided they live in love to their God and in love toward the neighbor, and in the other life they have a capacity to receive interior truths. Those out of the church are in brotherhood by virtue of good. This [intermediate state] serves man as a means of procuring for himself spiritual good. [These intermediate states] are external corporeal, grounded in external appearances, which are fallacies of the senses. In childhood, although he is taught what internal good and truth are, man acknowledges nothing else as truth and good, [having] no other idea concerning them than a corporeal one. Such good and truth are the first means by which interior truths and goods are introduced. (From AC 3778)

Second unfolding constructed by analyzing the above paragraph, as explained in the analysis:

There is a shared universal character to every human mind that acknowledges the existence of God. Belief in God can be based in either of two sources: Belief in God that operates with the Doctrine of Truth from Sacred Scripture, and belief in God that operates from self-intelligence without the Doctrine of Truth from Sacred Scripture. The acknowledgement that God exists is implanted in every human being, by which every individual has the motivation to refrain from hurting others and to do them good.

People whose mind operates from self-intelligence, continue to hurt others whenever they are able to justify it to themselves  due to false principles of morality and culture which do not come from the Doctrine of Truth from Sacred Scripture.

The belief in God produced by self-intelligence motivates people to practice a cultural religion in which they do not realize that God is the Divine Psychologist within their mind, but believe God to be outside of them. When people are resuscitated upon death they are given the opportunity to enter their eternal heavens regardless of their religious background, as long as they refrained from hurting others on account of their beliefs, since then they are able to receive the Doctrine of Truth from Sacred Scripture.

What gives people the capacity to acquire a heavenly character even without knowledge of Sacred Scripture? It is the motivation not to harm others because it is against God to do so. Where do we obtain this motivation?  From our own self-intelligence and character. We can acknowledge God without knowing Sacred Scripture, but our level of understanding of God is then only natural and sensuous or materialistic, not rational, even if we are taught the rational and spiritual ideas of theistic psychology. Although this motivation for character reformation is not yet genuine, rational, and spiritual, it is given by God as a temporary means by which the person can begin to make progress in character reformation.

From this parallel layout of the double unfolding it is easy to see how the content of Divine Speech changes as we extract the inner layers of the sentences of Sacred Scripture. You can see that as the unfolding proceeds, the explication gets longer. The Old Testament verse contains 12 words, while the explication of it in the Writings takes 228 words, and its explication in theistic psychology takes 324 words. You can also see that the content of Divine Speech as we move closer to it towards God, is strictly about how our mind works and how we should apply this knowledge to our character reformation, by which we prepare our mind for heavenly life in eternity.   The Stages of Doctrinal Acquisition From the Writings Sacred Scripture

The more one unravels the inner correspondential sense of Sacred Scripture the more the entire account of Divine Speech becomes rationally visible in clear light. A recurrent theme in the inner sense of Sacred Scripture is the step-by-step account of mental development and regeneration of one's character. Everything depends on the success of this regeneration process (see Section xx). The ultimate result for every human being is life in eternity in either the heavenly states of our mind, or the hellish states of our mind (see Section xx). The step-by-step process of mental development and regeneration is therefore the central theme of Divine Speech since the beginning of creation (see Section xx). The more rationally and scientifically that we understand these steps, the more effectively we can cooperate with the Divine Psychologist in our regeneration process (see Section xx).

By understanding these developmental steps, we can manage them appropriately. Our future in eternity depends on it. Perhaps some people can figure out the general details on their own, but many people need a more rational perspective on their mental development. Most educated people already have a non-theistic perspective on mental development from school courses, textbooks, and popular articles and books on psychology. Gaining a theistic psychology perspective on mental development is therefore beneficial as it restores some balance in your thinking about the subject.

The topic of mental development is discussed throughout theistic psychology (see Section xx). Here we will focus on a general account that, after a little study, can help you form a conceptual diagram in your mind. Once this conceptual diagram is in your mind you will be able to use it to extract more spiritual secrets from Sacred Scripture (see Section xx). As a general context, keep pin mind that the series we discover in the inner sense of Sacred Scripture are recursive at all levels. At the macro level, the developmental series applies to historical epochs and civilizations on earth (see the evolution or history of Churches in Section xx). At the micro-level, the developmental series applies to every individual's biography of daily events. At the mini-micro level, the developmental series applies to every unit of event or activity throughout the course of any day (see the genes of consciousness in Section xx).

The following conceptual diagram of mental development will apply at all macro or mini-micro levels. Study the diagram through the explanations given below. Try to memorize it so that you can reproduce it from memory. This is very helpful and beneficial. At first you will hardly understand anything about what your are memorizing. Next, you will understand what each element means. Then you will understand how the elements hold together in a series or dynamic flow of interaction. The diagram is discussed with a slightly different focus in several other places in theistic psychology (see Section). Here the focus is on the topic of the stages of doctrinal acquisition, which means the developmental steps we go through as we extract the correspondential sense from Sacred Scripture (see Section xx).

This diagram is discussed in further detail here:

For now, practice reading the map. First note that there are three stages of descending sequence: Infancy, Childhood, and Adolescence. Then there is an inversion, and the final three stages of ascending sequence: Young Adulthood, Adulthood, Old Age. The descending sequence applies to the development of our sensuous conscious mind. This mental growth is called sensuous consciousness ("external mind"). After the Inversion, the three steps of the ascending sequence applies to the development of our rational consciousness ("internal mind"). All this applies to the individual. The diagram also depicts the influence upon the individual of the three heavens of the human mind (see Section xx). No human being can have a mental life of thinking and feeling without being 'online' with the vertical community (see Section xx). The entire human race is interconnected, every mind influencing every other existing mind (see Section xx). When we lose connection with our physical body, we are resuscitated in our mental or spiritual body and begin our life immorality in eternity (see Section xx).

The quality of our eternal life, whether it is in the heavens of our mind, or whether it is in the hells of our mind, is determined by our loves and thoughts, that is, by our willing and thinking this or that moment by moment. There are three layers of heavens and three layers of hells in every human mind. Whatever mental state of consciousness that we are in, we continue to communicate with or be in unconscious contact with, the others around us, as well as the others whose minds are still connected to the physical body. So when you and I think and feel things, we are able to be conscious of these thoughts and feelings because we are connected to this or that individual in this or that mental state somewhere in the heavens and the hells of the universal human mind. So the diagram above attempts to take into account this influence, though it portrays only the connections we have with the heavens, not the hells (but see Section xx).

The diagram shows that the three heavenly layers of the human mind exert a distinct and special influence on those who are still "on earth" and connected to their physical body (hence unconscious of the spiritual world of eternity in their mind). The highest or third heaven is called celestial, the second heaven is called spiritual, and the lowest or first heaven is called natural. Each heaven inflows into a different part of the mind when we study Sacred Scripture and acquire the Doctrine of Truth for ourselves, with the express motivation of applying it to our daily willing and thinking (see Section xx).

Practicing reading the diagram again, we can say that the highest celestial angels inflow into the sensorimotor organ during the infancy stage of acquiring a particular Doctrine from Sacred Scripture. More will be said further on what this means. But for now, to continue practicing reading the chart, we can say further that spiritual angels inflow into the cognitive organ during the next phase of doctrinal understanding called the childhood phase. This is followed by the last of the descending steps, when the natural angels inflow into our affective organ as we strive to acquire the Doctrine. Now there is an inversion because until now our attempt to acquire the Doctrine proceeded through sensuous consciousness, which is limited in how far it can lead us. It must at some point be superseded by a rational consciousness of the Doctrine. The sensuous consciousness steps of Doctrine acquisition are immediate and obscure, while the rational consciousness steps of acquiring Doctrine are mediate and in clarity.

To continue reading the chart, you can say that the organ into which the heavenly influences inflow is distinct, but that once the inflow takes place, it affects the remaining two organs of the mind. But this effect is indirect, while the inflow effect is direct. This is why in the diagram the organ into which the inflow takes place is enclosed into a box. You can also say, as you read the chart, that the descending and ascending sequence of acquiring Doctrine are in inverse order relative to each other regarding where the organ of reception is. stance, the celestial angels inflow into the sensorimotor organ during infancy (zone marked 3), but in old age they inflow into the affective organ (zone marked 16). Eventually you will be be able to understand more clearly what this means in terms of your own life of regeneration. So you need to continue studying and investigating.

Now that you have memorized the basic developmental diagram above, here is a shorthand version of it, that will be explained. It contains some additional information that is not presented in the diagram above. It's good to have a short hand version of the conceptual diagram. This short hand version, considered as one idea, is actually a spiritual idea. All spiritual ideas can be expressed in a natural language, but it is not possible to understand that account without a context such as the mental development diagram you just studied above. So here is a visual expression of the spiritual idea of the stages we go through when we acquire doctrine from the Writings Sacred Scripture:

Remember what each abbreviation means. These are explained in the main figure above. To recapitulate:

CEL     =  celestial-rational influx from the third heaven in our mind
SPIR    =  spiritual-rational influx from the second heaven in our mind
NAT     =  spiritual-natural influx from the first heaven in our mind

SM       =  the sensorimotor organ in our mind
COG    =  the cognitive organ in our mind
AFF      =  the affective organ in our mind

incrptg. / inf.   =  during infancy, sensorimotor incorporating of the celestial influx
absrbg. / ch.   =  during childhood, cognitive absorbing of the spiritual influx
belong. / adol..   =  during adolescence, affective belonging of the natural influx

acknw. /   =  during young adulthood, sensorimotor incorporating of the natural influx
conj. / ad.   =  during adulthood, cognitive absorbing of the spiritual influx
love / o.age.   =  during old age, affective incorporating of the celestial influx

3 = during infancy, sensuous incorporating of truths from celestial-rational influx into the sensorimotor organ
5 = during childhood, sensuous absorbing of truths from spiritual-rational influx into the cognitive organ
7 = during adolescence, sensuous belonging of truths from spiritual-natural influx into the sensorimotor organ

12 = during young adulthood, rational acknowledgment of truths from spiritual-natural influx into the sensorimotor organ
14 = during adulthood, rational adjunction of truths from spiritual-rational influx into the cognitive organ
16 = during old age, rational conjunction of truths from celestial-rational influx into the affective organ

The in between numbers that are not shown are explained in the article on the genes of consciousness: 

The diagram above portrays the spiritual idea of developmental steps in theistic psychology. You have to put the whole diagram together into one rational unit in order to see that spiritual idea. You cannot see it in the parts alone. You must put the parts together into a rational whole, and that is the spiritual idea. When you have this spiritual idea you will then understand the steps you go through when studying Sacred Scripture in the effort of extracting its correspondential sense (see Section xx).

The six stages of acquiring a spiritual doctrina are therefore marked above as three stages in the external sensuous mind (3, 5, 7) and three stages in the interior rational mind (12, 14, 16). These stages are recurrent with each new Doctrine or spiritual truth that we come to understand spiritually. Once the spiritual truth is understood spiritually, it is then deepened further and further by successive recurrence of the same six stages at a more interior level.

Our acquisition of spiritual Doctrine from Sacred Scripture begins with the infancy phase during which we are given a direct sensuous apperception of the celestial-rational truth involved. This may be called the incorporation of spiritual truth. The celestial angels from the third heaven in our mind, inflow into the sensorimotor organ of our natural mind (zone 3), and this influx gives an immediate perception of what it is, allowing us to incorporate the truth. This is not yet rational, hence it is an obscure perception. And yet it is like the first flash of light of spiritual vision through rational understanding. The Divine Psychologist manages the details of our doctrinal acquisition by extracting it from His Divine Speech that is hidden in the literal sense of Sacred Scripture (see Section xx).

The second phase of sensuous understanding of a particular spiritual truth is the childhood phase of sensuous absorbing of truths from spiritual-rational influx into the cognitive organ (zone 5). The angelic spirits from the second heaven in our mind, inflow into the cognitive organ of our natural mind, and this influx allows the absorbing of a spiritual truth. In the childhood phase, our conscious awareness is more focused or centered on reasoning issues and making sense of things symbolically through language. We learn a tremendous amount of vocabulary, each word representing and mapping the conscious awareness of what these words represent and mean. And we also acquire cognitive reasoning abilities that foreshadow and pertain of the powers that we'll have in the adult phase of Doctrine acquisition. In infancy, our conscious awareness is less cognitive and more sensory and motor. In adolescence there is a shift of conscious focus to our feelings and emotions. This is the result of the furtherance activities of the natural angels inflowing into our affective mind (zone 7).

The third phase of understanding a particular spiritual truth is the adolescent state of sensuous belonging of truths from spiritual-natural influx into the affective organ. The good spirits from the first heaven in our mind, inflow into the affective organ of our natural mind, and this influx allows the belonging of a spiritual truth. The natural angels inflow into the affective mind before the inversion, but into the sensorimotor mind after the inversion. On the other hand, the spiritual angels inflow into the cognitive mind before the inversion, and as well after the inversion. The celestial angels inflow into the sensorimotor mind before the inversion but into the affective mind after. The consequences of these different influx patterns create the conditions for our development of rational [S/C/A] units of Doctrine.

This may be better understood if it is considered that celestial angels have their conscious focus in the affective mind, spiritual angels have theirs in the cognitive, and natural angels have their focus of conscious awareness in the sensorimotor mind. In sensuous consciousness our conscious awareness is lower, while in rational consciousness our conscious awareness is higher. Note that in rational consciousness there is a greater congruence in the influx pattern between what is higher and what is lower. Natural angels, whose conscious awareness is centered on "uses" have the sensorimotor mind most keenly developed, and it is with this mind that they inflow into our sensorimotor mind (zone 12). But spiritual angels have their conscious awareness most keenly developed for "trues" in the cognitive mind, and it is with this mind that they inflow into our cognitive mind (zone 14). But celestial angels have their conscious awareness most keenly developed for "loves" in their affective mind, and it is with this mind that they inflow into our affective mind (zone 16). As a result of this greater harmony in the influx we are able to develop our own higher consciousness by building up the rational [S/C/A] units of Doctrine in our comprehension.

This process of growth in our understanding of the Doctrine is not complete until the old age phase of doctrinal acquisition (zones 16, 16, 18), after which we are prepared for separation from the merely natural understanding of the literal meaning of Sacred Scripture ("death") and resuscitation in our rational consciousness (Inversion). At that point we begin a life of understanding Doctrine in a celestial-rational consciousness, which now serves as the arena of our daily life. The process then repeats itself with the next point of Doctrine we are striving to acquire.

This discussion continues here:

5.1  Anatomy of the Mind: illustration of Applied Research

Quoting from the Writings:

AC 61.

Verse 12. "And I turned to see the voice which spoke with me" signifies the understanding illustrated. This is evident in some degree from what was said above (n. 55), in the explanation of what is signified by John's hearing a voice behind him. It is clear that in these words there is an arcanum that cannot be known unless it is known how the Divine flows in out of heaven with man; for it was from influx that John heard the voice behind him, and that afterwards, having turned to see the voice, he saw the things that follow. Divine influx out of heaven is into man's will, and through that, into his understanding. Influx into the will is into the occipital region, because into the cerebellum, and from this it passes towards the foreparts into the cerebrum, where the understanding is; and when it comes by that way into the understanding, then it comes also into the sight; for man sees from the understanding.

That there is such influx it has been granted me to know by much experience. It is the same whether we say influx into the will, or into the love, since the will is the receptacle of love; and it is also the same whether we say influx into the understanding or into faith, since the understanding is the receptacle of faith (see what is adduced in The Doctrine of the New Jerusalem, n. 28-35). But it is not permitted to adduce more on these subjects at present, because up to this time they have been unknown: only these few things have been said that it may be known what is involved in John's hearing a voice behind him, and his turning to see it; and why it is that this signifies the understanding illustrated; it is because what enters through the will into the understanding, or through love into faith, comes into illustration, since what man wills or loves, that he clearly perceives. It is otherwise if it enters by the way of the understanding alone. It is said "to see the voice," because by "seeing," when predicated of spiritual things, is signified understanding from illustration (as was shown above, n. 11); and unless "seeing" signified understanding it could not have been said "to see the voice."

5.1.1  The Mind's Three Discrete Degrees --- Burnham's Charts

Quoting from the Writings Sacred Scripture:

AC 5145. Man's interiors are distinguished into degrees, and in each degree the interiors are terminated, and by termination are separated from the degree next below; it is thus from the inmost to the outermost. (AC 5145)

SE 856. CONCERNING A CERTAIN PLANE IN MAN IN RESPECT TO HIS AFFECTIONS There is in man a certain plane, as it were, which is thus represented as a soft body which lies beneath that exterior callosity induced by corporeal and worldly things. When this superinduced exterior is removed, that underlying plane or body comes to view. In what way this exterior is removed I am wholly unable to say, but it is so represented that when it is cast off, there is presented, as it were, this soft round body or brain. When, later, man acts from this, he acts according to his interior disposition and from this he rules his exteriors. But the exteriors, being congeries of particulars, cannot be so ruled by the interior soft body, that the latter may shine forth, except by continual reflection upon one's actions and life. It is from this that prudent men are wont to judge a man's character. I cannot doubt, however, but that there is underneath this a similar body which is still softer, because therein are the Remains which are preserved by the Lord, which the Lord alone knows. 1748, Feb. 18. (SE 856)

The first plane is the inmost of the rational, and pertains to perception; thus to love to the Lord; consequently, to good and the truth of good. The second plane is the middle of the rational, and pertains to the conscience of good and truth, thus to piety, and is of the Church and the Lord's kingdom. The third plane pertains to the conscience of justice and right; thus to employment in civil life, consequently to society and the common good: it belongs to the inferior rational. The fourth plane pertains to propriety and decorum; thus to interaction; consequently, [to the relations] amongst friends and acquaintances: it belongs to the corporeal faculty. These planes can be conjoined, and the interior inflow into the exterior; and, then, the last plane, namely, that of propriety and decorum, is good, because it inflows from a good origin. (SE 4545)

In 1887 Rev. N. C. Burnham, a devoted Swedenborg scholar, published a careful study of the anatomy of the mind, summarizing the information given in the Writings of Swedenborg. Included in his study were several schematic diagrams that help us visualize the mind's anatomy. Dr. Ian Thompson did a superb job scanning the diagrams and the text of the 19th century book, making it available on the Web at:

Dr. Ian Thompson has redrawn the Charts for Web use and reformatted the original:


BY THE REV. N.C. BURNHAM   PHILADELPHIA THE ACADEMY OF THE NEW CHURCH 1821 WALLACE STREET 1887 = 118   Internet edition © 2001, I.J. Thompson  

Table of Contents
Colour in the Diagrams.

PART I. The Regeneration of Man.

PART II. Assumption and Glorification of the Human by the Lord.

I will reproduce some of the diagrams to help you with the details of my discussion.

Diagram III portrays the major components of the human mind. These are arranged in successive and simultaneous degrees. If we take a successive order or developmental view, the highest is also the earliest in growth. First comes the "soul proper" (A--green) which is closest to the Divine Order in creation. Next comes the mind, which is also called the "spirit" (B--white). Below this is the "spiritual body" that encases the mind or spirit (C--pink). Finally, the natural or physical body (D--black). You should remember that what is highest is inmost or most interior, and what is lowest is most outward or external.

Now when we take a slice of the mature mind we can see it in simultaneous order of degrees. What is highest or inmost--the soul, is now in the center of the slice. The next ring is the mind or spirit, around that comes the spiritual body, and finally the outside is the physical body.

From this you can see that human beings are born as dual citizens in two different but interconnected worlds. We possess a physical body within which is encased the spiritual body containing the mind and the soul. You should know that the "within" discussed here is a discrete degree within. There are three discrete degrees in the created universe called celestial, spiritual, and natural. The degrees are distinct in the sense that there is no direct connection between them. The physical body is in the natural degree but the mind or spirit is in the spiritual degree. Within each degree there are many sub-layers but there are no layers touching each other between the degrees. There is no way of starting with the natural degree and, climbing its layers, until you touch the spiritual degree. In other words, nothing from the physical body can enter directly into the spiritual mind. And vice versa--nothing from the spiritual mind can enter into the physical body.

This is very different from sub-layers within a degree. For instance, the planet is made of layers arranged in concentric circles. We can start from the outermost layer of earth and rock, and start digging deeper and deeper until we reach the inmost layer of the planet which is believed to be molten rocks and chemicals from the sun that have not yet cooled down. This progression is an instance of continuous degrees. The layers touch each other so you can enter form one into the other in a physical manner.

Similarly for the layers within the mind or spirit. As we shall see below, the mind has three discrete layers, replicating the three discrete layers of the universe--celestial, spiritual, natural. We can progress continuously within each layer, but not across layers. The natural layer or degree of the mind is composes of three sub-layers that are in continuous degree--corporeal, sensuous, rational, so that it is possible for our thinking  to progress from the corporeal to the rational by acquiring literacy skills in education. But no matter how much you progress into the natural-rational, you will not be able to have a single spiritual thought or feeling. You will always remain in the natural degree. Similarly for the other degrees.

Swedenborg confirmed this separation of degrees by speaking with those who dwell in their celestial degree of the mind and those in the spiritual and those in the natural. These are called the three heavens in the spiritual world. Those who operate at the celestial level of mind are called "angels of the celestial heaven," and there wasn't a single idea or word that could be understood by those who dwelt in the next lower degree called "angelic spirits in the spiritual heaven." And their concepts and words could not be translated into the language and thinking of the "good spirits in the natural heaven."

This geography of the spiritual world matches and overlaps with the anatomy of the human mind (see Section xx).

So when it is said that we are "spirits within a physical body" remember that "within" is discontinuous or in a discrete degree within. It is not the same "within" as the organs are "within" the physical body. You can dissect the physical body endlessly and you will never get to the mind or spirit since they are in discrete degrees.

But then how does it all work together in coordination?

The answer is that the three discrete degrees are locked into each other by "the laws of correspondences." There is a one to one relation between an event in the natural world and an event in the spiritual and celestial worlds. No event can occur solely in just one degree. All events that exist must exist simultaneously in all three degrees. An event is really three events called source, cause, and effect. These three are in discrete degrees.

For instance, I scratch an itch on my face. This event is in the natural degree, hence it is called the effect. Simultaneously to this event there must take place a cause which is in the spiritual degree. This event is my plan to relieve the itch by scratching it. A plan is a spiritual cause, while scratching is a natural effect. The third component is in the celestial degree, which is the source--my intention or desire to relieve the itch. The simple act of scratching my face comes into existence in a successive order. First, there is an event in the celestial degree or source--I have a desire to relive the itch. Second, there is an event in the spiritual degree or cause--I know how to relieve that itch. Third, there is an event in the natural world or effect--I use my hand in a certain way to scratch my face.

Whatever God created was done using this order of successive and simultaneous degrees. First, God had a desire or love (celestial source) to share eternal happiness and immortality with created human beings. Divine Love is therefore the source event in the celestial degree. Second, God had the wisdom and intelligence (spiritual cause) to create human beings with whom He could share His qualities of immortality and happiness. Third, God created the natural world to provide events of uses (natural effect) that satisfied or fulfilled the originating desire.

These three degrees enter into all the analyses we do in theistic psychology.  The Mind's Two Organs--Will and Understanding

Diagram IV portrays the two "faculties" called the "will," which is an affective organ (or "the voluntary"), and the "understanding" which is a cognitive organ (or "the intellectual"). The soul (A--green) is still the inmost degree. The mind is now show split (B--red and C--white) to represent the affective and cognitive organs of the mind or spirit. The spiritual body (D) and the natural body (E) remain as before, but now they are shown in a double layer, an external and an internal portion. These two portions of each body reflect the two portions of the mind. The will, or affective organ, is reflected by the circulatory system, while the understanding, or cognitive organ, is reflected by the respiratory system. This twofold structure is reflected throughout all the sub-structures of the body's organs, namely right brain (affective) vs. left brain (cognitive), or right lung vs. left lung, or right hand vs. left hand, etc.

An important principle to keep in mind is that lower things always correspond and reflect higher things. This is the meaning of "successive degrees" like the following:

  • source---->cause---->effect
  • affective---->cognitive---->sensorimotor
  • will---->understanding---->outward act
  • motive---->plan---->execution
  • love---->wisdom,---->uses
  • soul---->mind---->body
  • celestial---->spiritual---->natural
  • feelings---->thoughts---->sensations
  • etc.

You need to see these triadic sequences as discrete degrees. At first the elements of each triad appear to belong to the same degree. People think of feelings and thoughts as related to each other on a continuous basis, rather than discrete. Similarly with "cause" and "effect." They just seem parallel, belonging to the same type of concept. But in reality they are in discrete degrees, not continuous. A cause can never become an effect and vice versa. The affective organ contains only feelings and no thoughts, while the cognitive organ contains no feelings but only thoughts. Feelings and thoughts are in discrete degrees relative to each other.

You can see from the arrows (---->) that the triadic components are in successive order. Each element is from a different discrete degree. The three elements are correspondences of each other.

Here are some triads that are not in discrete degrees. They are in continuous degrees with each other: They are not correspondences.

  • table====chair====carpet
  • husband====man====tall
  • feelings====intentions====desires
  • heart====blood====plasma
  • hell====devil====bad
  • etc.

You need to see why these are in continuous degrees. For instance, table and chair and carpet all three physical objects. They are natural--which is only one degree. Hell and devil and bad belong to the same degree called spiritual. They are in only one degree. Similarly with feelings and intentions and desires--they are all affective, thus the same discrete degree.

Thinking from the concept of discrete degrees, you can see that knowing the code of correspondences between the three discrete degrees creates a new powerful methodology in theistic psychology for the study of the human mind. We can consult anatomical charts of the human body and predict the correspondential chart for the human mind. For instance, structural and functional details about the heart, gives us information about the structural and functional details of the affective organ. The process works the other way as well according to Christen Blom-Dahl intriguing study (see Reading List) of Swedenborg's observations of evil spirits in the world of spirits. The world of spirits overlaps or is equivalent to the mental world. Blom-Dahl took Swedenborg's descriptions of the mental world and showed that they match correspondentially certain diseases of the body that had not yet been identified in Swedenborg's century (1688-1772).

In other words, we can do research in both directions using correspondences--from the body to the mind, and from the mind to the body. I predict that in the future it will be possible to discover new medical cures based on what's known about the mind or the spiritual world.

The next diagram presents a distinction that is fundamental in understanding human consciousness--the internal vs. the external mind.

Diagram VI shows the layers of simultaneous degrees arranged in successive order from highest to lowest, that is, from inmost to outmost relative to the Spiritual Sun (see Section xx). The soul again is the inmost and highest organ of our mind. It is completely inaccessible to human consciousness at any time from birth to eternity. It is called the abode of God with the human race. The soul is the inmost control mechanism God has created for human beings. It is not part of our human potential and remains inaccessible to knowledge or consciousness. From the soul God controls all the lower parts of the mind in a chain called "from firsts to lasts."

The diagram shows that below the soul is the "spiritual mind" (B--white, "mens" in Latin), and below that is the "natural mind" (C--hashed, "animus" in Latin). Again, the spiritual body is the outside of the mind, and the natural body is the outside of the mind. The two minds identified here are in discrete degrees to each other. The natural mind is called external while the spiritual mind is called internal. What is the difference?

The content of the spiritual mind is not conscious while we are on earth, but becomes conscious after resuscitation (see Section xx). The content of the natural mind is conscious. The content of the spiritual mind originates from incoming stimuli from the heavenly layers and the Spiritual Sun. The content of the natural mind originates from incoming stimuli from earth and the natural sun. The content of the natural mind is materialistic and based on self-intelligence. As a result it forms a plane of influx for the hellish layers because these make a one with falsified truths while the heavenly layers make a one with genuine truths.

The external mind contains hellish traits while the interior mind contains heavenly traits. The problem for our race on this earth is to learn how we engineer a switch in content so that the external natural mind is voided of materialistic concepts and principles, and is "infilled" with concepts that correspond to heaven (see Section

This next diagram (VII) shows a sketch of the internal and external mind divided into its affective and cognitive components:

 You can see from the above that the external and internal minds portrayed in the previous diagram, are now shown dissected with the will (affective organ) and the understanding (cognitive organ). The internal spiritual mind has a spiritual will (B--red) and a spiritual understanding (C--white). The external natural mind has a natural will (D--red) and a natural understanding (E--pink). Note that Burnham shows the will and the understanding for both the spiritual body and the physical body. He explains why: "The spiritual body F and the natural body H are only more ultimate forms and instruments of the will and understanding. (D.L.W. 362. See Chap. IV. page 21). In other words, following the principle of successive degrees discussed above, the natural body is correspondence of the spiritual body which is a correspondence of the external and internal minds, and soul. This means that the body is an image or representative form of the mind.

I was amazed when I first read this idea in the Writings of Swedenborg. I was educated to believe that the body has a shape but the mind does not. What is the shape of the soul? I read that scientists debated this issue over the centuries, some saying that the soul is in the brain or parts of the brain, others saying that the soul is like a ghost or an empty "spirit" or puff of ether. Swedenborg himself, prior to the beginning of his dual consciousness (see Section xx), had the best hypothesis of all, I thought, namely, that the soul is in every portion of the body. Later he confirmed that the human spirit seen in the rational ether of the spiritual world, is shaped like a perfect human being.

In other words, the shape of the body is caused by the shape of the mind or spirit, which is caused by the shape of the soul, which is caused by the shape of the Divine Human or God.

It is only here in the physical world that we have to wonder about the shape of the mind or spirit (these two words mean the same thing). When we think about this shape in terms of materialistic concepts, we are thrown into the mental picture of vagueness or shapelessness, like a cloud of gas. People who call themselves "psychics" (see Section xx) say that they can see the shape of the spirit as an "astral aura" around the head. Others produce "phlogiston" threads and branches that come out of their nose or eyes--they claim, and then they say that this is the shape of the spirit. Some people present photographs claiming to be that of this super-physical material. But the reality is that a spirit is in the perfect shape of the body, and that the body is constructed by God through the soul and spirit to reflect the exact shape of the mind. This is the Human shape. Hence God is called the Divine Human (see Section xx).

See also:
Bell, Reuben, Rev. Dr. (1996). Soul-Body Interaction in Human Conception and Development. The Clothing of the Inmost in the Image3 of Heaven. New Church Life. Online at:

You can see from this that the spiritual body we have in our immortality is a human body in perfect shape, possessing the same members and organs--a brain, a liver, genitals, hands, feet, hair, teeth. Swedenborg has spent 27 years living in both worlds on a daily basis, and he confirms that spirits in the world of the afterlife appear as ordinary human beings on earth. When the physical body dies, we are resuscitated in the world of spirits a few hours later, and we begin our life of immortality in our spiritual body in the world of spirits, which is nothing but the mental world of the human race where you and I do our thinking and feeling. We are called "spirits" as soon as we are resuscitated. At first we appear similar to how we were when the body died, but within hours and days, the spiritual body begins to change its appearance in reaction to the contents of the external mind--the external will and the external understanding (see D and E in Diagram VII immediately above).

You can see why this would happen when you consider what the world of spirits is made of, namely, rational ether. This is not a term found in the Writings but it seems necessary to have such a concept in theistic psychology. Its existence is implied in the Writings and can be extracted from various passages where it is explained that the Spiritual Sun originates the universe by means of the spiritual heat and spiritual light that radiate outward from itself. A correspondence to this activity is familiar to us in terms of the natural sun and how it creates a gravitational field around itself and fills it with materials from itself--ether space, air, planets. We can understand that materials from the natural sun make up the foundation or fabric of every object on the planet, its molecules, and atomic space at its core, which is a gravitational field maintained in place by the sun. Remove the sun, or make it go cool, and the planet and its objects lose their inner fabric, disintegrate, and become space debris absorbed by other galaxies and suns.

Similarly, you can see how it works with the Spiritual Sun since what the natural sun does is only a correspondence and reflection of what the Spiritual Sun does. The human mind is created by substances from the Spiritual Sun and is activated by these substances pouring into our mind from the Spiritual Sun instant by instant from birth to eternity. When we are earthlings, we are spirits who are temporarily tied to a physical body. Our soul produces the spiritual mind in its own human shape, and the spiritual mind produces the natural mind in that same shape, which produces the spiritual body. Up to this point, the sequence of successive degrees are operations in the spiritual world involving organs made of spiritual substances. The chain of production is perfect, so that the spiritual body is in the perfect human shape and health or functioning.

But now the chain of production moves out into the physical world where the construction material is inert relative to the rational ether of the spiritual world. A sculptor working with hard rock cannot produce a human face as fine and perfect as a dummy made of plastic fiber that can be softly shaped and painted. This is why the physical body is imperfect while the spiritual body is perfect.

When we become spirits, our mind assumes full control over the appearance of the spiritual body which is made of rational ether substance, like the mind and soul. Hence it is that our appearance as spirits may be similar at first to our appearance on earth, but soon changes to reflect the content of our will and understanding. This content is determined by our character, and whether it was regenerated on earth or not. Some people come with feelings and thoughts in the external mind that are produced by the inherited inclinations and uncensored cultural content. Their character is then a collection of hellish traits--materialistic philosophy, self-centered intentions, dislike for altruism and innocence, denigration of religious worship and of God. This hellish mind now produces a new appearance on the spiritual body. Swedenborg describes the ugly, monstrous, repulsive appearance of those who dwell in the hells of their mind.

In contrast, if your spirit contains a reformed will and understanding, the mind induces upon a the spiritual body an appearance that is angelic, beautiful, and wise.

Hence, everything about our immortality depends on the thoughts and feelings in our mind.

Quiz question for you: What is the shape of the three mental organs of which our mental world is made of?

Answer: The affective organ is in the shape of the circulatory system of the body. The cognitive organ is in the shape of the respiratory system of the body. The sensorimotor organ is in the shape of the nervous system of the body. Together the three mental organs are in the shape of the three systems in the body.

You no doubt have seen medical drawings of the human body showing the internal organs, or transparent models of the body that you can see through. Usually the heart and the entire circulatory system is in red. If you trace the entire circulatory system, with arteries, veins, and capillaries, the red shape has the same shape as the entire body. Why? Because the circulatory system has a network that enters into every inch of the body in order to supply nutrients to the cells. The shape of the circulatory system of the body is nothing but a copy of the original shape, which is the affective organ. So the affective organ is in the shape of the human body. In other words, our feelings and intentions, or the loves of our will, enter into every part of the mental world, just as the capillaries do. There is no part of our mind that is not "nourished" or activated by our feelings and intentions.

Now consider the shape of the cognitive organ in the mental world by looking at the shape of the respiratory system in the physical world of the body. The latter is a copy of the former. Every body organ -- brain, heart, liver, uterus, hair, etc. -- is a physical copy of its corresponding mental organ in the mental world. The original is the mental organ, and the copy is the physical organ. The copy is temporary in time and space, the original is in eternity in the mental world, also called, the spiritual world of the afterlife. But as you can see from the various diagrams in this Section, the spiritual world of heaven and hell are in the mental world, and this world is eternity or non-material. The cognitive organ not only has the shape you see of the respiratory system in the body, but it also has all the corresponding functions.

By studying the properties of the physical organs which we can measure, we can discover the properties of the mental organs which we cannot measure while we are still conscious in the natural mind (see Section xx). In this way we can discover new knowledge about both the physical and the spiritual world of the afterlife (see Section xx).  The respiratory system interacts with the circulatory system in a symbiotic relationship, as is known in biology and medicine. If your lungs are burned or damaged by chemically noxious inhalation, the circulatory system is immediately affected as well. The lungs function to clear blue blood from the heart and to supply it with new oxygen, without which the heart fails and physical death ensues. This shows as how corresponding events can occur in the mental organs.

For instance, suppose we are exposed to false spiritual theories and we imbibe it through our cognitive organ by confirming it in our mind through our own reasoning process, convincing ourselves it is true, when actually it is not. This corresponds to the the inhaling noxious fumes into the lungs. Now our cognitive ability to be rational is being burned and damaged by his false idea living or existing in our conscious belief system. This diminished capacity to think rationally now affects our feelings and motivations. How? It's like the blue blood that cannot be purified by the damaged lungs. Since we have the entire human hells in our sensual mind (see Diagram below), what is it that allows to fight the evil hoards that are after us so that we can become part of them?

This diagram titled Born Into Eternity is discussed in Section Notice where the hells are located: in the sensual mind, which is the main portion of the natural mind, which is formed from the experiences we have through our physical body and sense organs. We can call this portion of our mind sub-conscious, because its traits are inherited and normally remain in the background of our awareness, from where they determine our needs and wants. So our inherited mind contains both the heavens and the hells of the entire humankind. There is only one mental world for the entire human race (see Section xx). This is rationally necessary and understandable since the mental world is outside time and space, in eternity, where there is no spatial expanse or temporal operations. Nevertheless, the laws of correspondences create the appearance of space and time in the mental world, as we experience it in dreams or imagination.

The purpose of our being born into eternity as mental bodies connected to time-space bodies, is to have the opportunity and experience by which we can develop a natural mind, and thus a personality put together by our own loves and choices. In other words the Divine Psychologist works with each human being so we each may free ourselves from spiritual slavery to the race's sensuous mind, and to freely love and adopt the rational spirituality called our heaven. Once we have the new affective organ, or new will, that we acquired through fighting spiritual temptations (see Section xx), we no longer need our natural mind, nor our physical bodies, which die off, leaving us at resuscitation, in the mental body of eternity (see Section xx).

To free ourselves from our inherited hellish enjoyments or loves in the sensuous mind, we must be willing to fight in spiritual temptations (see Section xx). For these all important battles in which we fight for our eternity in heaven, the Divine Psychologist gives us spiritual weapons in our cognitive organ or understanding and rational thinking.  These spiritual weapons are rational truths obtained from Sacred Scripture.

The hellish loves cannot withstand spiritual truth in our understanding or cognitive organ. Their influence is through our inherited sub-conscious sensuous organ of the mind (see diagram above). But the spiritual truths in our rational understanding are higher in our rational mind, and a universal law of dualism is that what is in a higher degree of the mind controls what is in a lower degree, and never the other way (see Section xx). Hence, in order that we may give birth to, or operationalize, the new heavenly will of our spiritual mind (see diagram above), we must extirpate through spiritual temptations, all the loves in our hells, holding sway over our natural mind, over our personality and character.

The sensorimotor organ plays a crucial role as the mental interface between mental body and physical body. What is the shape of the sensorimotor organ? If you kept in mind what was said above, you would answer that the sensorimotor organ has the shape of the physical body! If you look at the details in the visible human model, you will see that the split brain has its right and left hemispherical portions, and that the spinal cord is the brains extension of itself downward, including the network of afferent and efferent nerves that go to every single region of the body and its organs. Hence the nervous system as a whole is the shape of the entire body, and this is so because the sensorimotor mental organ has this form.

As indicated before, the detailed study of the nervous system, as is done in neuroscience, is therefore a method for discovering the details of the sensorimotor organ in the mental body. I expect that this will become a major area of research in theistic psychology.

You can see from this that the spiritual body we have in our immortality is a human body in perfect shape, possessing the same members and organs--a brain, a liver, genitals, hands, feet, hair, teeth. Swedenborg has spent 27 years living in both worlds on a daily basis, and he confirms that spirits appear as ordinary human beings on earth. When the physical body dies and we are resuscitated in the world of spirits and we begin our life of immortality in our spiritual body. We are then called "spirits." At first we appear similar to how we were when the body died, but within hours and days the spiritual body begins to change its appearance in reaction to the contents of the external mind--the external will and the external understanding (see D and E in Diagram VII immediately above).

You can see why this would happen when you consider what the world of spirits is made of, namely, rational ether. This is not a term found in the Writings but it seems necessary to have such a concept in theistic psychology. Its existence is implied in the Writings and can be extracted from various passages where it is explained that the Spiritual Sun originates the universe by means of the spiritual heat and spiritual light that radiate outward from itself. A correspondence to this activity is familiar to us in terms of the natural sun and how it creates a gravitational field around itself and fills it with materials from itself--ether space, air, planets. We can understand that materials from the natural sun make up the foundation or fabric of every object on the planet, its molecules, and atomic space at its core, which is a gravitational field maintained in place by the sun. Remove the sun, or make it go cool, and the planet and its objects lose their inner fabric, disintegrate, and become space debris absorbed by other galaxies and suns.

Similarly, you can see how it works with the Spiritual Sun since what the natural sun does is only a correspondence and reflection of what the Spiritual Sun does. The human mind is created by substances from the Spiritual Sun and is activated by these substances pouring into our mind from the Spiritual Sun instant by instant from birth to eternity. When we are earthlings, we are spirits who are temporarily tied to a physical body. Our soul produces the spiritual mind in its own human shape, and the spiritual mind produces the natural mind in that same shape, which produces the spiritual body. Up to this point, the sequence of successive degrees are operations in the spiritual world involving organs made of spiritual substances. The chain of production is perfect, so that the spiritual body is in the perfect human shape and health or functioning.

But now the chain of production moves out into the physical world where the construction material is inert relative to the rational ether of the spiritual world. A sculptor working with hard rock cannot produce a human face as fine and perfect as a dummy made of plastic fiber that can be softly shaped and painted. This is why the physical body is imperfect while the spiritual body is perfect.

When we become spirits, our mind assumes full control over the appearance of the spiritual body which is made of rational ether substance, like the mind and soul. Hence it is that our appearance as spirits may be similar at first to our appearance on earth, but soon changes to reflect the content of our will and understanding. This content is determined by our character, and whether it was regenerated on earth or not. Some people come with feelings and thoughts in the external mind that are produced by the inherited inclinations and uncensored cultural content. Their character is then a collection of hellish traits--materialistic philosophy, self-centered intentions, dislike for altruism and innocence, denigration of religious worship and of God. This hellish mind now produces a new appearance on the spiritual body. Swedenborg describes the ugly, monstrous, repulsive appearance of those who dwell in the hells of their mind.

In contrast, if your spirit contains a reformed will and understanding, the mind induces upon a the spiritual body an appearance that is angelic, beautiful, and wise.

Hence, everything about our immortality depends on the thoughts and feelings in our mind.  Three Degrees of the Mind--Celestial, Spiritual, Natural

In this diagram (VIII) you can see the successive order of the parts of a human being, from the soul (inmost) to the natural body (outmost). The celestial degree contains the celestial mind. The spiritual degree contains the spiritual mind. The natural degree contains the natural mind. The three minds (B, C, D) are "constituted of spiritual substances" from the Spiritual Sun. The celestial and spiritual minds receive input from the heavens while the natural mind receives input from the hells through the world of spirits.

The spiritual world has three portions--the heavens, the world of spirits, and the hells. When human beings are born, they have a physical body in the natural world and a spiritual body in the world of spirits. Our mind is neither in heaven nor in hell while we are tied to earth through a physical body. But in order that our mind may survive and grow we need input or "influx" from both heaven and hell (see Section xx). The influx from hell is into the inherited natural mind, but the influx from heaven is into the celestial-spiritual minds. Thus, heaven and hell do not inflow into the same parts of the mind for this would destroy it.

For many years Swedenborg visited the spiritual world where the heavens are found. He describes the geography of that region of the spiritual world in the same terms as the mind is described in Sacred Scripture. The Third Heaven is the highest or inmost and the mind of its inhabitants, called celestial angels, functions at the celestial degree of the spiritual mind, as shown in the diagram above (VIII). Swedenborg found a heaven below this one which he called the Second Heaven or Intermediate Heaven, which was inhabited by people whose spiritual mind operated in the spiritual degree. This overlaps with the spiritual mind depicted above. And he also found yet another heaven below that which he called the First Heaven or the Natural Heaven. The minds of its inhabitants, called angelic spirits, function at the spiritual-natural degree. The three heavens in the spiritual world are also the three minds in the mental world. This is why Sacred Scripture says that heaven is within each person. Quoting from the Writings:

It was said above that the loves of self and of the world make hell with man; and now the quality of these loves is to be told, in order that a man may know whether he is in them, and consequently whether hell or heaven is in him; for in man himself is either hell or heaven. That the kingdom of God is within man, the Lord teaches in Luke 17:21; consequently hell also is within him. (AC 7366)

You can see from these anatomical descriptions of the mind that the spiritual world and the mental world overlap completely so that when you speak of the anatomy of the mind it is the same as the geography of the spiritual world (see Section xx). In other words:

geography of spiritual world = anatomy of the human mind

What is amazing is that we seem to ourselves to be alone in the mind--we do not see other people in our mind. Everybody is in their own mind. Yet when Swedenborg became conscious of his spiritual mind, he saw all the other people who are also in their spiritual mind. This is another way in which you can see the overlap between mind and spirit world. But in that case why aren't we seeing others in our mind now?

The reason is that our consciousness is locked into the natural world through the natural mind. We are completely unconscious of our spiritual or celestial mind. But when we become spirits at resuscitation, we awaken in the spiritual mind, and then we can see everybody else there. Swedenborg was given the unique opportunity to be conscious in the spiritual mind while he was still conscious on earth. The purpose of this Divine permission was so that he could write the books of the Writings as a first hand observer. In the eighteenth century time had come in the evolution of human understanding to be able to receive these scientific revelations without turning them into mysticism, magic, or superstition (see Section xx). The eighteenth century was the beginning of the modern age of reason and science. It was possible for God to complete the giving of the Threefold Sacred Scripture which contains all the revelations that human beings need in order to prepare for a life of immortality in the heavens (see Section xx).  Internal and External Within Each Degree of Mind

Diagram XI shows the internal spiritual mind distinguished into three degrees--celestial (red), spiritual (white), and spiritual-natural (green). As explained above, these degrees of the spiritual mind overlap with the three heavens (Third, Second, and First). Below the First Heaven is the world of spirits where our own mind is born and grows while we are earth bound. The spiritual mind that overlaps with the three heavens is not conscious to us while we are tied to the natural body. This is why no one can see or communicate with those who already dwell in any of the three heavens. Swedenborg was able to see and communicate with them because he was conscious in the spiritual mind while still on earth so that he could author the Writings.

The diagram shows the natural mind (C--white and D--brown) below the spiritual-natural heaven (green) because our conscious natural mind is located since birth in the world of spirits while it is tied to the natural body on earth. The external natural mind is distinguished into an internal-natural portion (C--white) and external-natural portion (D--brown). These two components of the natural mind support different affective and cognitive operations. The external-natural mind operates with sensuous correspondences of Sacred Scripture. This is the level at which most people understand the Old and New Testaments, namely, as historical documents of a Divine origin.

But as discussed elsewhere (see Section xx), one can apply the method of correspondences to extract higher order meanings from the historical. There are three degrees of correspondences for reconstructing Divine Speech from Sacred Scripture --spiritual-natural correspondences, spiritual-rational correspondences, and celestial-rational correspondences (see Section xx). These three orders of meanings for understanding Sacred Scripture can all be present within the internal-natural portion of the natural mind (C--white). They cannot operate in the external-natural mind.

In other words, if our conscious understanding is restricted to the external-natural mind, we can only think with material concepts, as in non-theistic science or philosophy. But if our consciousness is elevated to the internal-natural mind, we are able to comprehend Divine Speech in all its degrees--spiritual-natural, spiritual, and celestial. This is most useful for our regeneration and allows us to understand truths from Sacred Scripture that matches in relative terms, the understanding of those who are already in the three heavens. The internal-natural mind is therefore spiritual in content and order while the external-natural mind is natural in content and order.

When we are resuscitated from our first death, we appear in the world of spirits where we undergo rapid changes. In the beginning, the content of our conscious memories is based solely on the external-natural mind. This is why the spiritual body appearance similar to the physical body prior to death, giving us the same looks or appearance. As we undergo these rapid changes, these memories begin to fade until they become unavailable. Instead, the content of the internal-natural mind now becomes the basis for our conscious awareness. This is called the second death and the process prepares us for entering our permanent state of life in immortality, either heaven or hell.

Quoting from the Writings Sacred Scripture:

AC 5935. VASTATION. After a spirit has completed his time in the world of spirits, he at length arrives at the last [period], which is his vastation. He then appears, for the most part, such as he was in the world, and is set at liberty to go whither he pleases; and thus he reaches a place where all conjunction with anything spiritual is taken away. He thus becomes, as it were, silly, and casts himself into hell. (AC 5935)

If we arrive with a new will, the old will having been regenerated, the content of the internal-natural mind is heavenly and we enter heaven. But if we arrive with the old will that has not been regenerated, with the character we inherited, we enter hell. People can be regenerated to three degrees of operation. Those who are regenerated to the first degree, enter the First or Natural Heaven. In other words, the lowest degree of the spiritual mind is "opened" or made operational, and they dwell at this level of life to eternity. Those who are regenerated to the second degree, enter the Second or Spiritual Heaven. In other words, the intermediate degree of the spiritual mind is "opened" or made operational, and they dwell at this level of life to eternity. Those who are regenerated to the third degree, enter the Third or Celestial Heaven. In other words, the highest degree of the spiritual mind is "opened" or made operational, and they dwell at this level of life to eternity

You can see that the internal-natural mind plays a key role in our immortality. Its content determines which of the three heavens will be rendered operational for our eternal life. The process operates by means of the level of correspondences with which we study Sacred Scripture. If we extract the truth of doctrine by means of spiritual-natural correspondences, and live accordingly, then we are regenerated for the first heaven in our mind. If we extract the truth of doctrine by means of spiritual-rational correspondences, and live accordingly, then we are regenerated for the second heaven in our mind. If we extract the truth of doctrine by means of celestial-rational correspondences, and live accordingly, then we are regenerated for the third heaven in our mind. (See Section xx).


Diagram XII shows two functions of the internal and external mind. For the internal spiritual mind there is a higher celestial function that operates with the affective organ (red), which is called "the Celestial Kingdom." This operation is known as "perception" of Divine Speech. When we become conscious of this organ we are able to perceive directly the Divine Speech by means of celestial-rational correspondences of Sacred Scripture, called the "celestial sense" of "the Word". In that state of mind we are called celestial angels, and this represents the highest human potential possible called the Third Heaven.

The lower potion of the internal spiritual mind is called "the Spiritual Kingdom" and those who dwell in that state of mind are called spiritual angels in the Second Heaven. They have an understanding based on spiritual-rational correspondences of Sacred Scripture. This understanding is sometimes called "conscience."

The difference between the celestial and spiritual angels is measured in terms of degrees, so there is no overlap in the understanding between them. The lowest state of the celestial angels is higher than the highest state of the spiritual angels and they are unable to communicate with each other except through correspondences. In terms of their understanding of Sacred Scripture, the celestial angels do not have to study and reflect on the truths they extract from it because they receive a direct perception of truths from the Divine Proprium of the Divine Human whom they can see amidst the Spiritual Sun. The spiritual angels on the other hand have to study and reflect upon the truths of Sacred Scripture in order for them to have a rational understanding of it.

The diagram also shows the external natural mind with its two portions. The higher portion (D--red) corresponds to the mind of the celestial angels (B--red) or Third Heaven, and the lower portion (E--white) corresponds to the mind of the spiritual angels (C--white) or Second Heaven. Our conscious awareness while we are tied to the natural body on earth resides with the operations in the natural mind. The higher conscious operations (D--red) are called spiritual-natural (corresponding to the First Heaven) while the lower conscious operations (E--white) are called natural (either natural-sensuous or natural-rational) (see Diagram XI).  Corresponding Degrees Between Natural and Spiritual Minds

Diagram XIII shows how the external natural mind (d, e, f), in which we are conscious while on earth,  can mirror or represent the three degrees of the internal spiritual mind (a, b, c). Since the geography of the spiritual world = the anatomy of the mind, the threefold layer of the natural mind overlaps with the threefold layer of the world of spirits, which is the area in between heaven and hell. Our natural mind functions in the world of spirits from birth until our second death when we permanently enter either the heaven or hell (see Section xx).

Looking at the external natural mind, you see the three operational layers arranged one on top of the other (f, e, d). The highest layer of the external natural mind is called "rational" (d). Because the internal spiritual mind is also natural, we need to keep track which level of the rational applies to each portion. In terms of the rational operations of the human mind, there are the following layers, arranged from highest to lowest, in relation to the rational understanding of  Divine Speech:

a. celestial-rational correspondences (Third Heaven)
b. spiritual-rational correspondences (Second Heaven)
c. spiritual-natural correspondences (also called "interior-natural" level)--First Heaven
d. natural-rational correspondences (natural mind)
e. natural-scientific correspondences (natural mind)
f. natural-sensual correspondences (natural mind)

There are slight variations in terminology that you can figure out later, once you gain familiarity with the system. The natural-sensual layer (f) is sometimes called "natural-corporeal," and the natural-scientific layer (e) is sometimes called "natural-sensuous." Also, the spiritual-rational layer (b) is sometimes called the "external rational" while the celestial-rational  layer (a) is sometimes called the "internal rational." The spiritual-natural layer (c) is sometimes called the "interior-natural" layer.

Note that the colors represent special relationships between the layers of the internal spiritual mind and the layers of the external natural mind. They are in inverse relationship so that the highest degree of the internal mind (a--red--celestial-rational layer) corresponds with the lowest degree of the external mind (f--dark red--natural-sensual layer). Similarly, b (white--spiritual-rational layer) corresponds with e (grey--natural-scientific layer), and c (green--spiritual-natural layer) corresponds with d (natural-rational layer). I explore the significance of these relationships in another article called the Genes of Consciousness, available at:

The very top of the diagram is the soul, which called the inmost, as in the previous diagrams. The very bottom of the diagram is the natural body in the natural world that falls off at death when we become conscious of ourselves as spirits in the world of spirits. Note that the spiritual body, which encases the external and internal minds, has two layers--spiritual-sensual (g--pink) and spiritual-corporeal (h--black).

This is how the Writings describe the anatomical relationships portrayed in this and the other diagrams:

The human mind from which and according to which man is man, is formed into three regions, according to three degrees; in the first degree it is celestial, in which also are the angels of the highest heaven; in the second degree it is spiritual, in which also are the angels of the middle heaven; and in the third degree it is natural, in which also are the angels of the lowest heaven.

The human mind, organized according to these three degrees, is a receptacle of Divine influx; but still the Divine flows in no farther than man prepares the way, or opens the door; if he does this even to the highest or celestial degree, then man becomes truly an image of God, and after death he becomes an angel of the highest heaven; but if he prepares the way, or opens the door, only to the middle or spiritual degree, then indeed, man becomes an image of God, but not in that perfection, and after death he becomes an angel of the middle heaven ; but if he prepares the way, or opens the door, only to the lowest or natural degree, then man, if he acknowledges God and worships Him with actual piety, becomes an image of God in the lowest degree, and after death he becomes an angel of the lowest heaven.

But if he does not acknowledge God and does not worship Him with actual piety, he puts off the image of God, and becomes like some animal, except that he enjoys the faculty of understanding and thence of speech. If he then closes up the highest natural degree, which corresponds to the highest celestial, he becomes as to love, like a beast of the earth; but if he closes the middle natural degree which corresponds to the middle spiritual, he becomes as to love like a fox, and as to sight of the understanding like a bird of the evening; but if he also closes the lowest natural degree as to its spiritual, he becomes as to love like a wild beast, and as to the understanding of truth like a fish." (TCR 34)

In other words, it is the process of character reformation or regeneration that determines our level of life in immortality. Depending on our effort and willingness, we can regenerate only the lower portions of the inherited mind, in which case we can live our immortality in the state called First Heaven. At this level we think in terms of spiritual-natural correspondences of Sacred Scripture and it is this that forms the basis of our understanding Divine Speech. Thinking from spiritual-natural correspondences or concepts allow us to overcome lower level temptations called "natural temptations." By this means we can acquire the virtues of morality and live immortality in the First Heaven along with others who are also reformed to this degree. 

But if we are willing to go further with our character up-building or spiritual growth, we can be regenerated to the second degree and we can live our immortality in the Second Heaven. In this mental state, we think from spiritual-rational correspondences, whose concepts allow us to overcome spiritual temptations. This allows us to go beyond natural morality into genuine rational spirituality. Our understanding of Sacred Scripture is vastly greater or higher. Finally, we may be willing to be regenerated all the way to the celestial degree, living out our immortality in the Third Heaven. Our thinking is based in celestial-rational correspondences, which gives us concepts that can overcome celestial temptations. For further details on the levels of temptations and their consequences, see Section xx.  Anatomy of the Mind at Birth 

Diagram XVIII portrays the mind's anatomy at birth. The inmost portion is the soul (A--green) as in all the previous diagrams.    Below this is the internal spiritual mind in an undeveloped state, but capable of being developed (B--white). Note that this consists of three layers, as already discussed in Diagram XIII just above. Below this are the three corresponding layers of the external natural mind (C--brown). Below this is the spiritual body (D--black). Below the spiritual body is the natural body, which is portrayed with two major components. The internal layer is the "limbus" with its three sub-degrees (E--black), while the external layer is the physical body called "gross body" (F--black).

The limbus is portrayed in other diagrams by Burnham which I'm not showing, so you might like to check the original book at  along with his explanations. "Limbus" is a Latin word meaning "border" and Swedenborg uses it to refer to a skin or covering for the external natural mind. This border is made of "the finest of natural materials" which refers to matter that has not yet been recognized by contemporary scientists in physics and chemistry, given the kind of measurement tools available so far. The external portions of the limbus fall of the natural mind at death, but the internal portion remains and becomes an integral part of the spiritual body. This means that we take some very small quantity of physical matter with us, but not the elements that are now recognized in science, namely those that follow the principle of conservation of mass and energy in the physical universe. How the "finest" elements of physical matter can be part of both worlds, is not yet explained by science but will be in the future, I have no doubt. I believe that these finer natural materials correspond to the qualities of the rational which can form part of the natural mind and part of the spiritual mind (see discussion of Diagram XIII just above.

Burnham notes that the retention of the limbus in immortality allows us to be connected to the natural world and never lose this connection. I think this may be related to the fact that every human being in the spiritual world had to be born on some natural planet, and in consequence, we arrive into the afterlife with thoughts and feelings that are adapted to an earthly environment. Swedenborg visited many cities in the heavens and hells of the spiritual world. He always found there something he recognized as an appearance from earth. People seemed to be living in houses, tents, or caves. In heaven they lived in beautiful architectural buildings and palaces filled with wonderful gardens, lavish furniture, amazing art, light, and jewelry. In hell he saw caves, deserts, dangerous animals, monsters, dark places, dungeons, prison cells, lakes of sulphur, smoke, dead trees. Clearly these appearances in our life of immortality reflect the natural experiences we all have from life on earth,  and they projected communally by the people who find themselves together on account of their ruling loves. The afterlife is a life in rational ether called the spiritual world (see Section xx). Whatever thoughts and feelings we have automatically project themselves into the surrounding appearances.

Note also in the current Diagram (XVIII) that the internal spiritual mind, the external natural mind, and the spiritual body are organs inherited from the father, while the limbus and the physical body are inherited from the mother. Of course this is not yet known in science today since nothing at all is known about the anatomy, physiology, and inheritance of the human mind. This means that both boys and girls obtain all their spiritual or mental traits from their father. The inheritance of mental traits is cumulative, which means that the entire previous line of males carry and pass on the entire cumulative spiritual package to the offspring, both boys and girls.

Since the Fall of the race there have been many generations to the current spiritual split-brain race. Therefore the inherited spiritual package from each line of the male parent is so filled with numerous hellish traits that every individual grows up with a character that is hellish. Unless this character is rebuilt, reformed, and regenerated into a heavenly one, we condemn ourselves to a life of endless hell in immortality (see Section xx). This is because our life in immortality is such as our character is--hellish or heavenly. At the second death, which occurs a short time after we are resuscitated in the world of spirits, we are compelled physiologically to drop either the hellish or the heavenly traits (see Section xx). We cannot keep a mixture of both traits, as we had while still on earth. If you remember this you will be more motivated to cooperate with God in your regeneration while still on this earth!

Quoting from Swedenborg:

There is a difference between what man receives from his father and what he receives from his mother. Man receives from his father all that is internal, his very soul or life is from the father; but he receives from his mother, all that is external. In a word, the interior man or the spirit is from the father but the exterior man or the body is from the mother. (AC 1815)

That the inmost of life, which is from the father, is continually flowing in and operating upon the external which is from the mother and endeavoring to make this like itself, even in the womb, may be manifest from sons in that they are born with the inclinations of the father, and sometimes grandchildren and great grandchildren with the inclinations of the grandfather, and the great grandfather; this is because the soul which is from the father continually wills to make the external which is from the mother like itself and an image of itself."  (AC 6716)

Man is born into evils of every kind from his parents and these reside in his natural man which of itself is diametrically opposed to the spiritual man." (TCR 574)

Hereditary evil inherited from the male parental line is lodged in the external natural mind. In contrast, the internal spiritual mind contains no evil from heredity. To indicate this, Burnham draws the spiritual mind in white strips for purity from contamination, while he portrays the natural mind in dark strips to indicate the presence of evil tendencies. As a result of this difference there is an innate opposition or resistance between the natural mind and the spiritual mind right from birth. The traits in the natural mind give rise to selfish and anti-social feelings and thoughts. These must be stopped and removed by character rebuilding efforts, as discussed in other places (see Section xx). Even if we build up what appear to be good traits, it is not going to make the final difference at our second death when we are compelled to keep our hellish traits or our heavenly traits. The Writings report that people at their second death are unwilling to give up their hellish traits while they are willing to give up their heavenly traits. Why?

Because the hellish traits are first, and what is first in development is inmost in comparison to what is later in development. This is a necessary consequence of the laws of successive and simultaneous order of discrete degrees, as discussed above. The inmost traits are organized into a collection by our inherited ruling love, which is always hellish since the Fall of the human race (see Section xx). The hellish ruling love is usually the love of self and the world, and simultaneously, the hatred of altruism and heaven. Love of self refers to the innate operation in the mind by which the self is always put ahead of others. You can see this in children. They always want to put themselves ahead of the others. And if they choose someone to share with, or to put ahead of oneself, it is always on the condition that they get what they want out of it. For example, a boy may stand up for a friend and act supportive and loyal. But suppose he later has a disagreement with his friend because his friend won't go along with something. Instantly he feels disdain for the former friend and desires to hurt him.

Consider another example with an adult business man who is always respectful of the rights of his employees. Until one day one of the employees decides to quit and start his own competing business. This gals him and he now begins a campaign of vilification of his former employee's reputation. Both examples show the general principle that we cannot acquire genuine heavenly traits while we are maintaining our hereditary ruling love. Instead, what happens is that the heavenly traits we acquire become manipulated agents in the hands of the ruling love of self. Everything we then do that appears altruistic, loyal, fair, compassionate--are only put-ons by the ruling love of self which is always intent on meeting its own satisfactions, and these are always selfish. They do not take into account the good of others.

In contrast, altruistic traits consist of the desire to benefit others as much as oneself, simultaneously with the desire to never benefit self at the expense of others.

Can you pass this test right now? Make a list of when you are motivated by love of self and when you are being motivated by love of others. Examine your desire. You can do this by letting your imagination go regarding a particular event, decision, or possibility. What outcome would be the best? What would give you the most satisfaction? Try to be critical about the answers that occur to you. Ask yourself if you're being bottom line honest, or just trying to cover up the actual truth with yourself. Put yourself mentally in various situations. Would you be mad at an employee who quits and uses his knowledge to compete with you on the market? In the privacy of your mind, would you be able to sincerely wish him success? Etc.

It takes dedicated self-witnessing on a daily basis to really find out how complete is the reign of the love self in one's mind. And as pointed out before (see Section xx), it cannot be done except through the doctrine of truth from Sacred Scripture. Without this guide and measuring instrument we fall into the inexorable law revealed in the Writings--evil appears good, good appears evil, truth appears false, and falsified truth appears as genuine truth. The Incarnation Event and Regeneration

The scientific meaning of Genesis 24 (see Section xx) gives the details about the process of regenerating our natural mind so that it is set into correspondence with our spiritual mind. This is the central issue in theistic psychology. The quality of life in our immortality is determined by how successful we are in regenerating the natural mind with which we are born. Anatomically, the organic mind has several organs layered into discrete levels of operation. This can be rendered schematically as follows:


Schematic Chart of Levels of Consciousness
in Spiritual Growth and Regeneration

Discrete Levels of
Consciousness or Meaning

Correspondences of Divine Speech in Sacred Scripture

Spiritual Geography,
Mental Anatomy,
and  Sacred Scripture


Infinite Universal God
the Divine Human

Spiritual Sun
(spiritual heat and light as uncreate substances in infinite variety)


Divine Speech as
Divine Good and Truth
(or Divine Love and Wisdom)



Third Heaven



Second Heaven



First Heaven

Death and Resuscitation


Interior-Natural (virtual)

Theistic Psychology



The Writings



New Testament



Old Testament



Falsified Sacred Scripture in hell

In the chart above, the conscious natural mind covers layers 1 to 4. Layers 5 to 7 constitute the unconscious spiritual mind. Layers 8 and 9 are uncreate, infinite, and Divine, referring to the Divine Human's Mind or Spirit. Upon the death of our body and subsequent resuscitation of our "spirit," our natural mind (layers 1, 2, 3, 4) becomes sub-conscious, and our conscious awareness is thenceforth located forever in the spiritual mind (layers 5, 6, 7).

The eight layers of human consciousness (0 to 7 in the chart), are created by the correspondences of Divine Speech in Sacred Scripture (see Section xx). Here, individual development recapitulates history and evolution. Each level that succeeds is a discrete degree higher or more interior and rational. The Old Testament mentality or level of thinking (1) is our first concept of God, heaven, and hell (see Section xx). The New Testament mentality or level of thinking (2) is our next understanding of God, heaven, and hell (see Section xx). The Writings mentality or level of thinking (3) is our third concept of God, heaven, and hell (see Section xx). Our fourth concept of God, heaven, and hell is theistic psychology, which is a level 4 mentality or thinking, and is extracted from the Writings Sacred Scripture according to prescribed methods specified in the Writings (see Section xx).

Level 4 becomes operational when we undergo conscious character reformation in adult life and begin our regeneration by applying the doctrine of truth from Sacred Scripture to our daily willing and thinking (see Section xx). Level 4 thinking is called "enlightenment" because its information base is from the spiritual-natural mind, and its reasoning quality is genuinely rational. This genuinely rational thinking is only the first layer of understanding genuine truth. Layer 3 is natural-rational, which is a rationality whose concepts are bounded by materialism, time and place. On the other hand, layer 4 reasoning is interior-natural, which also means spiritual-natural reasoning. Layer 4 is a new organ created within the natural mind by the Incarnation Event and is called the interior-natural organ (see Section xx).

The scientific analysis by correspondences of Genesis 24, 25, and 26 yields a complete anatomical and developmental description of level 4 thinking (see Section xx). The natural mind cannot be regenerated solely through layers 1, 2, and 3, which constitute the literal meaning of Sacred Scripture (see Section xx). The Writings explain that every person who wants to regenerate must first extract doctrinal principles from the literal meaning of Sacred Scripture (see below). The Divine Psychologist enlightens the person in the effort of extraction. This enlightenment allows us to comprehend the “naked truths” in a spiritual way, not merely natural.

Until young adulthood when reformation and regeneration can begin, we only understand the Writings Sacred Scripture naturally, that is, in their literal meaning. But when we receive enlightenment, we can begin to understand them spiritually. Then the truths we extract as doctrine for ourselves, constitute our spiritual doctrine, or spiritual understanding, of spiritual topics. With this in our conscious understanding, we can face spiritual temptations and engage in the process of regeneration, spiritual growth, mental healing, and the capacity to be in conjugial union, thus, to be prepared for heavenly life and bliss.

The Incarnation Event was the process by which the Divine Human created the interior-natural organ within the natural mind of the human race (layer 4). This took two steps. First, the Divine Child created this new layer of thinking in Himself by extracting theistic psychology from the literal meaning of the Hebrew Old Testament, which He studied in His earliest years of conscious awareness as an infant (see Section xx). This took several rational steps, as described in Genesis 24, 25, and 26 (see Section xx). When the process was completed in Himself, the second step was to create this new mental organ within the mind of every human being who was already in the afterlife, then every human being who was alive in the natural universe, and finally, every human being that is being born since then, and to the endless future of new humanity.

The interior-natural organ that makes possible conscious level 4 meanings, which may be called a virtual heaven with three discrete layers of correspondences. This is because layers 5, 6, and 7 of the unconscious spiritual mind are virtually represented in our conscious interior-natural mind (see Section xx). This is accomplished by virtual higher-order correspondences of Sacred Scripture that can be operational in the interior-natural organ, while they cannot be operational in the external natural organ (layers 1, 2, 3). The thinking level of people in their First Heaven is at layer 5 by means of spiritual-natural correspondences. This meaning level is virtually represented in our conscious natural mind through our understanding of spiritual-natural correspondences of Sacred Scripture. We are similarly conscious of layers 6 and 7 by means of spiritual-rational and celestial-rational correspondences of Sacred Scripture in their virtual form (see Section xx).

Regeneration cannot occur at the natural level of thinking (1, 2, 3) about Sacred Scripture because the literal meaning is always bound up in materialistic thinking that includes historical names of places or people, time and number and, matter and motion. This is true of all Sacred Scripture because it is always expressed in a natural language -- Hebrew, Greek, Latin. Theistic psychology is a level of thinking that goes into the interior of the literal meaning of Sacred Scripture (level 4). At this level we learn to think and reason only from the universal concepts contained in Divine Speech. Sacred Scripture is only a window to Divine Speech, and the window is opened or made transparent when we apply the method of correspondences with enlightenment, as prescribed in the literal meaning of the Writings Sacred Scripture (see Section xx).

Nevertheless, there are different discrete levels at which correspondences can be applied to one's thinking and willing. One's degree of enlightenment or consciousness of higher meanings in theistic psychology is proportional to one's degree of regeneration, a process that goes on throughout life and never ceases to eternity. Theistic psychology would be useful to teach children and young people, even though they cannot begin their own regeneration until adulthood. But it would be useful to them to learn the literacy skills involved in many aspects of theistic psychology – diagrams, charts, and vocabulary lists arranged in rational sets, as illustrated below.

They would understand these spiritual topics naturally, which builds up their external rational thinking abilities. Later when they are ready to start reformation, these natural-rational concepts serve as “vessels” that are enlightened during the extraction of doctrine and application to life.

Genesis 24 describes the process by which the natural mind is set to order by means of the higher correspondences in the interior-natural organ. Setting in order the natural mind means to make it correspond with the spiritual mind. When we are born, everyone inherits an external natural mind that is in disorder, and in fact, in an order that is dead set against the spiritual order. The symptoms of this include a civilization of materialism, the negative bias in science, numerous societal problems, violent conflict between people, and individual inadequacies (depression, addiction, deception, cynicism, intolerance, hatred). The natural correspondences of Sacred Scripture in the human mind are ineffective to overcome this inbred negativity because they are unable to face spiritual temptations – the actual cause of their negativity.

Despite what people can read in Sacred Scripture, and the religious doctrines that are justified through them, people seem incapable of reforming themselves through these ideas and concepts. They endlessly fall back to their inherited enjoyments and inclinations, unwilling to give them up. Their concept of heaven and hell (levels 1, 2, 3), isn't powerful enough in their mind to effect character change until they are more willing to understand spiritual truths in a spiritual way. This requires enlightenment, which requires willingness to change our willing and thinking in daily activities so that they are lined up with spiritual truths.

This is why "salvation" of the human race was necessary in order to rescue the human mind from hellish attachments people are unwilling to give up, consequently condemning themselves to an eternity of hellish life. New and more powerful mental tools had to be created, concepts and truths that could overcome the hellish attachments with which we are born. Only God could do that. But now consider the task of communicating these new mental reasoning tools to the human race. God could not implant the new concepts into the conscious natural mind of every individual. That would have felt like some unknown power taking over our mind. It is not possible to acquire concepts without wanting to, without some motivation or love for them.

The method this required involved these nine steps.

(1) God willing Himself to be born on earth as an ordinary human being.

(2) This Divine Child, though the Divine from within Himself, had to be ordinary and natural from without, thus had to be socialized and schooled.

(3) The Divine Child had to discover His Divinity and mission by extracting the knowledge of theistic psychology from the Old Testament Sacred Scripture.

(4) The Divine Child had to apply this knowledge to His own thinking and willing in daily life where He was a citizen, member of a religious group, and earning a living at a job.

(5) He had to recognize and deal with the hellish attachments His natural mind inherited from natural birth.

(6) He had to invent new concepts and new ways of reasoning in order to vanquish these hellish attachments in Himself.

(7) At last, He brought His inherited disorderly natural mind into order according to His spiritual mind, making all of Himself Divine at all levels, thus, "glorifying" His human acquired from this earth, and uniting it perfectly with His Human Divine from eternity. The result was the new Divine Human, which completes the creation of the human race.

(8) He had to pass on these new ways of thinking to the human race by creating a new capacity in the human mind. He did this by creating a new organic entity within the natural mind called the "interior-natural" organ.

(9) He can now activate this newly created evolutionary mental organ and fill it with the operations of spiritual correspondences. This new higher order knowledge is called theistic psychology and is extracted from the correspondences of Divine Speech embodied in the literal meaning of the Writings Sacred Scripture.

These nine steps collectively constitute the Incarnation Event (see Section xx). It created a way out for "fallen" humanity (see Section xx). A new interior-natural organ was created within the conscious natural mind. Now at last, the human race was complete. Every individual through personal effort, can now acquire the capacity to become rationally conscious of spiritual things. This new rational consciousness gives us the experience of the presence of God and His co-participation in our willing and thinking in daily activities. This is called “heaven on earth” and prepares our spiritual mind for celestial life as conjugial angels in eternity.  Thinking With Angels: Our Virtual Heavens

The descent of Divine Speech – or, Divine Truth -- from the Spiritual Sun takes place throughout the mental world of humanity simultaneously. Every human being is born with the same discrete layers of the organic mind. Spiritual heat and light enters and fills every mind equally, simultaneously, and totally.

In the highest layers of everyone’s mind called “the Third Heaven,” Divine Speech takes the form of Sacred Scripture written in celestial-rational correspondences. Divine Speech then enters the spiritual layer of our mind called “the Second Heaven” where it appears as Sacred Scripture written in spiritual-rational correspondences. Next, Divine Speech enters the interior-natural layer of our mind called “the First Heaven” where it appears as Sacred Scripture written in spiritual-natural correspondences. At last, Divine Speech enters the external natural mind called “earth” where it appears as Sacred Scripture written in natural correspondences – the Writings Sacred Scripture written in natural-rational correspondences; the New Testament Sacred Scripture written in natural-sensuous correspondences; and the Old Testament Sacred Scripture written in natural-corporeal correspondences of Divine Speech.

The meaning of correspondences is the mechanism that the Divine Human uses to form the level of mental operations in every human mind. Each discrete layer of the mind is activated by its own degree of correspondences of Divine Speech. At each of these levels, Divine Speech appears as Sacred Scripture written in correspondences suitable and expressible for each level. Swedenborg has observed that these forms of Sacred Scripture are present in the three heavens.

Theistic psychology extracts the details of this universal process from the literal meaning of the natural-rational correspondences of the Writings Sacred Scripture.

The systematic and cumulative extraction of these scientific details facilitates our ability to cooperate with the Divine Psychologist in our regeneration. The details of regeneration give us charts and diagrams that allow us to commit to memory and understanding the information contained within the Writings Sacred Scripture. It is very useful to have in our conscious mind as much of the Writings as possible. It is not the Writings that effect our regeneration, but the understanding of the Writings in our conscious mind.

Extraction procedures are illustrated in various ways below. For now, an example of extraction can be given through the following passage. In the extraction process, “the Church” can be taken as a reference to the General Church and “the Word” as a reference to the Writings Sacred Scripture.

SS 76


That the church is from the Word does not admit of doubt, for the Word is Divine truth itself (n. 1-4); the doctrine of the church is from the Word (n. 50-61) and through the Word there is conjunction with the Lord (n. 62-69). But doubt may arise as to whether the understanding of the Word is what makes the church, for there are those who believe that they are of the church because they have the Word, read it or hear it from a preacher, and know something of its sense of the letter, yet how this or that in the Word is to be understood they do not know, and some of them little care. It shall therefore be proved that it is not the Word that makes the church, but the understanding of it, and that such as is the understanding of the Word among those who are in the church, such is the church itself. The proof of this is as follows. (SS 76)

“The Church is from the Word” means that the General Church is from the Writings Sacred Scripture. The General Church is “such as its understanding of the Writings Sacred Scripture.” But we know that “church” also refers in a universal sense to the regenerating natural mind (AC 4439). In theistic psychology, which deals with the universal meaning of the Writings, the mind of any regenerating individual regardless of religion and background, is called a “church.” And if this person acknowledges the Writings as the sole source of their spiritual knowledge, then such a person may be called a “General Church.” Also, the knowledge, understanding, and reasoning process in theistic psychology, that is in the person’s mind, is called the “church.” Everything therefore that the Writings Sacred Scripture tell us about the “church,” will also apply in a universal sense, to theistic psychology as well as to the General Church.

The Writings instruct us on how we are to regenerate. In order to cooperate in our regeneration in an effective way, we need to have the Letter of the Writings in our conscious understanding. When we then organize this knowledge into a coherent rational system on some issue, it is called doctrine, or “doctrine of truth.”

The doctrine of truth we make for ourselves from the Writings Sacred Scripture must then be applied to our daily willing and thinking, moment by moment in every activity. This is the work of regeneration, the struggle against temptation, and “picking up the cross” and “walking in the way of truth.” The Divine Psychologist is present in our mind and manages the whole show, even as He managed Isaac’s Binding by Abraham, and as He managed the emotions David had when he wrote them down in the Psalms, so that they may represent and describe His own mental states when, hundreds of years later, He would be a Divine Child on earth struggling to remake the human mind and save it from itself (see Section xx).

An inspiring and accurate summary of the Divine Child’s mental states will be found in Rev. Geoffrey S. Childs’ book The Path: The Inner Life of Jesus Christ. (Fountain Publishing: Rochester, Michigan, 2002). It is one of the astonishing facts of theistic psychology that the historical details we are given in the Old Testament Sacred Scripture are not merely historically true, but describe the mental states of the Divine Child who would be born a thousand years later. This scientific knowledge is extracted from the stories of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and Joseph by using the method of correspondences with enlightenment.

Swedenborg was a great theistic psychologist because he was fully enlightened and he wrote from the spiritual doctrine that had been revealed to him through this enlightenment. Our task as theistic psychologists is to climb Jacob’s ladder by reconstructing the spiritual doctrine from which he wrote the Letter of the Writings Sacred Scripture. It was not possible for him to write out the spiritual doctrine directly. The reasons are discussed in section 9 below titled Why the Writings Sacred Scripture are Written in Correspondences.

The result of applying doctrine in our conscious mind to an episode of our own willing or thinking in some activity, is enlightenment. The moment that we apply the doctrine of truth in our mind to thinking or willing this or that detail, hundreds of times a day, in that instant the Divine Psychologist enlightens us.

That means that our consciousness is elevated in the level of meaning that we are able to perceive or comprehend. Our rational consciousness of the Divine Human is now reformed by correspondences that are higher than those before enlightenment (see charts above). These higher spiritual correspondences are embodied or hidden within the Letter of the Writings Sacred Scripture. Our new spiritual consciousness is actually raised to the operations taking place in our First Heaven – not in the same actual degree but in its virtual image of a discrete degree. We perceive the spiritual-natural correspondences in the Writings, just as the people already dwelling in their First Heaven perceive their Sacred Scripture. Quoting 


This process of progressive continuous illumination or illustration goes on in proportion to the level of temptations that we are willing to face in our character reformation and regeneration. The higher the correspondences of Divine Speech in our conscious understanding, the further we can be regenerated, all the way to the top portion of our organic mind, which operates with celestial-rational correspondences of Divine Speech. The level of correspondences we can consciously understand determines the genes of our consciousness, or the mentality level at which we live life.

During the Incarnation Event the Divine Child created a spiritual heaven within his natural mind grown on earth, by glorifying it or making it one with His internal Human Divine. This created the existence of the Divine Human which initiated an entirely new relationship between God and the human race. What the Divine Child created in His Own Mind He also recreates in the mind of every human being. The human race had entered a new advanced evolutionary state based on the consciousness of the Divine Human in our mind (called “Holy Spirit” in religion).

This new human ability had to be organically created in some anatomical mechanism since, in human beings, there can be no function or ability without an organic basis. In theistic psychology this new organ is called the interior-natural organ or virtual heaven. This new organ is a discrete degree more interior than the conscious natural-rational mind. It is not possible for any information or stimulus to enter this organ by means of the external natural mind that receives information through the physical body. All information or stimulus that enters the interior-natural organ is from the spiritual mind. But the spiritual mind is unconscious while we are still conscious in the natural mind, thus, until resuscitation.

Hence it is that the interior-natural organ is a virtual heaven while we are in the natural mind and still connected to the physical body. Through this new spiritual organ we can become conscious, when enlightened, of higher order correspondences which our external natural-rational mind cannot comprehend. When we read the Writings Sacred Scripture we are thinking with natural-rational correspondences of Divine Speech. This is below the thinking we do in our first heaven where we perceive the Writings Sacred Scripture with spiritual-natural correspondences of Divine Speech.

Our virtual heaven allows us to be enlightened through the higher-order spiritual correspondences by which we comprehend Sacred Scripture in each of our three heavens. Though we are not able to be conscious directly of our spiritual and celestial heaven, we are able to be conscious of a spiritual replica or image of those correspondences, and these are sufficient for obtaining progressive or continuous enlightenment and spiritual growth through regeneration.


DLW 257. 1.  The natural mind can be elevated up to the light of heaven in which angels dwell, and can perceive naturally, thus not so fully, what angels perceive spiritually. But the mind of the natural person still cannot be elevated into angelic light itself.

2.  By elevating his natural mind to the light of heaven a person can think, even speak, with angels (...)

3.  This takes place by a spiritual influx into natural light, and not by any natural influx into spiritual light.

4.  Human wisdom, which is natural so long as a person lives in the natural world, can in no measure be elevated into angelic wisdom, but can be elevated only into a kind of image of it. The reason is that the elevation of the natural mind takes place by a continuous ascent, like the progression from dark to light or from cruder to purer. (DLW 257)

This passage describes the organic process of enlightenment as the “elevation of the natural mind.” The natural mind is elevated by influx from the spiritual mind. This influx cannot take place directly into the external natural mind because nothing spiritual can exist there. However, when the Divine Child was growing up on earth during the Incarnation Event, He created a new organic mind within His external natural mind. This is called the interior-natural organ. This is the entry point or reception point for the influx. Quoting:

With people however who allow themselves to be regenerated the opposite takes place; for gradually, that is, in consecutive stages, their rational is opened up, the interior natural then becoming ranged in order beneath it, and the exterior natural beneath that. This occurs especially in the period from late youth to adulthood; it also continues in progressive stages to the final period of those regenerating people's lives, and after that in heaven for ever. From all this one may know what constitutes a person's interior natural and what his exterior natural. (AC 5126)

The interior-natural organ is built to react to the spiritual correspondences that operate in the spiritual mind. This mind is a discrete degree above the natural mind. The organic operation of the interior-natural organ is the mechanism of elevation, enlightenment, or illustration while reading the Writings Sacred Scripture. We experience it as a new wonderful ability to “think, even speak, with angels.” To think with angels is to perceive spiritual correspondences within the literal meaning of the Writings Sacred Scripture. This perception is the experience of enlightenment.

The passage above (DLW 257) indicates that in this state of enlightenment, we can understand spiritual and celestial correspondences in a ”kind of image of angelic wisdom.” This phrase may be rendered in theistic psychology as a virtual image of higher order correspondences -- celestial-rational correspondences of the Writings Sacred Scripture in our third heaven, spiritual-rational correspondences of the Writings in our second heaven, and spiritual-natural correspondences of the Writings Sacred Scripture in our first heaven.

In other words, the interior-natural organ may be called a virtual heaven in the conscious natural mind.

The accompanying diagram depicts mental anatomy in relation to spiritual geography. If you familiarize yourself with this schema, enough to reproduce it from memory, you will be forming an essential concept in theistic psychology. The elements of the diagram need to make a rational whole in our understanding. Within this integration, enlightenment will reveal its spiritual reality.


The spiritual meanings we are conscious of through this new organ, serve to make our regeneration effective to the extent that we “love it,” that is, use it to guide our willing and thinking. The interior-natural organ gives us the ability to be conscious of spiritual correspondences of Divine speech in Sacred Scripture, even though we still remain conscious in the natural mind. Our conscious rational understanding is called “natural wisdom” and only an “image of angelic wisdom.” Nevertheless, because it is a real image of it, it gives us the new power of thinking with angels, that is, of reasoning about spiritual topics with spiritual understanding. We can now consciously think in spiritual correspondences that are not merely “deeper” than the natural-rational, but a discrete degree above it. This new rational perception gives us access to the three heavens in virtual form.

All heavens in the human mind are created by correspondences of Divine Speech in Sacred Scripture. Correspondences refer to discrete levels of meanings of Divine Truth. The heavens of the human race since the Advent of the Writings Sacred Scripture are in rational meanings of Divine Truth. Rational consciousness of God is the only path available to the new heavens in our mind of eternity. Quoting from the Writings Sacred Scripture:

The interior natural is that which communicates with the rational and into which the rational flows, and the exterior natural is that which communicates with the senses, or through them with the world, thus into which the world flows. As regards influx, it is continuous from the Lord through the rational into the interior natural, and through this into the exterior (AC 5118)

The phrase “through the rational” in this passage refers to the spiritual-rational (second heaven), not the natural-rational (external natural mind). In other words, the content of the interior-natural organ is from spiritual origin while that of the natural-rational mind is from natural origin. Hence when we read the Writings Sacred Scripture and focus on the literal meaning, our reasoning operations are in the natural-rational mind. But when we make the literal meaning “vanish” and focus on the extracted scientific meaning (AC 1405; 3776), our reasoning process is in the interior-natural organ, which has a spiritual origin. It is then that our “natural wisdom” is an image of “angelic wisdom.” It is then that we can understand the doctrine of truth and theistic psychology spiritually. It is then that we are ready to face spiritual temptations and proceed with our regeneration.

Quoting further:

The interior natural is that which receives ideas of truth and good from the rational, and stores them up for use, consequently which communicates immediately with the rational; but the exterior natural is that which receives images and thence ideas of things from the world through the senses.

[2] These ideas, unless enlightened by those which are in the interior natural, present fallacies, which are called the fallacies of the senses. (AC 5133) (See Note 9)

It is important to see that the word “rational” here refers to the rational of the spiritual mind known as spiritual-rational correspondences of Divine Speech (our second heaven). If we read the Writings Sacred Scripture with the “exterior natural” mind the meanings we comprehend (“images, ideas”) “present fallacies of the senses” which distort the literal meaning.

The interior-natural organ develops from “putting truths into practice,” hence in proportion to regeneration and character reformation. It is said that the “rational is opened up” which means that higher order correspondences can be perceived and consciously understood. But if the literal meaning “is enlightened in the interior natural” organ, we are thinking and willing virtually as-if from our first and second heaven, and even third.


It can be seen from this that a person's rationality is in appearance as though of three degrees-a rationality from the celestial degree, a rationality from the spiritual degree, and a rationality from the natural degree. It can be seen, too, that whether a person's rationality is elevated or not, still it remains in the person as a faculty that can be elevated. (DLW 258)

The phrase “is in appearance as though of three degrees” refers to the virtual heaven of the interior-natural organ. Our rationality in this interior-natural organ is spiritual-rational while our rationality in the external-natural mind is natural-rational. Theistic psychology cannot be based on the natural-rational correspondences of the Writings Sacred Scripture, which would mean to focus on its literal meaning. It must be based on the extraction process that yields spiritual meanings and makes the literal meaning “vanish.” This extraction process is described in the Writings as the method of correspondences with enlightenment.

This gives us a virtual spiritual rationality “as though” of the celestial-rational degree, the spiritual-rational degree, and the spiritual-natural degree.


because heavenly matters cannot be joined to natural matters so as to operate in harmony with them, they therefore separate themselves, and heavenly matters in merely natural people place themselves round about in the periphery surrounding the natural matters that lie within. It is owing to this that a merely natural person can speak and preach heavenly things, and also make a pretense of them in his actions, even though he inwardly thinks in opposition to them. He does the latter when he is alone, but the former when he is in the company of others. (DLW 261)

It is said above that “a merely natural person can speak and preach heavenly things.” This refers to our initial phase of understanding spiritual topics naturally. Prior to beginning regeneration in adult life, we read, teach, and preach the spiritual topics of the Writings Sacred Scripture as “a merely natural person,” that is, we understand them naturally with the thinking operations in our external natural-rational mind. After we begin regeneration in adulthood, the Divine Psychologist opens our interior-natural organ and we begin to understand spiritual topics virtually “as though” the angels do.

The relation between the interior-natural mind and regeneration is explained in this passage. Quoting:

When the natural mind is prompted by the delights of its love and the gratifications of its thought, which in themselves are evil and false, then the reaction of the natural mind removes those elements which belong to the spiritual mind and bars the door to them to keep them from entering, causing the action to come from such things as accord with its reaction. The result is an action and reaction of the natural mind which is opposed to the action and reaction of the spiritual mind. This in turn causes a closing of the spiritual mind, like the twisting of a spiral into the opposite direction.

[3] On the other hand, if the spiritual mind is opened, then the action and reaction of the natural mind are reversed. For the spiritual mind acts from above or from within and at the same time through those elements in the natural mind which have been disposed from within or from without to obey it, and it twists into the opposite direction the spiral in which the natural mind acts and reacts. That is because the natural mind is from birth in a state of opposition to matters belonging to the spiritual mind, a state it acquires by heredity from parents, as people know.

[4] Of such a nature is the change of state called reformation and regeneration. The state of the natural mind before reformation may be likened to a spiral twisting or curving downward, while after reformation it may be likened to a spiral twisting or curving upward. Consequently a person before reformation looks downward to hell, but after reformation upward to heaven. (DLW 263)

The passage above describes the organic character of the interior-natural organ in terms of twisting spiritual fibers coiled upwards, while the inherited natural mind has coils twisting downward. Reformation and regeneration involve the reversal of the twisting fibers in the natural mind from downward to upward. Evil enjoyments coil downward, along with their falsities. The fibers in the interior-natural organ twist upward towards the spiritual influx.

Rev. N. C. Burnham in his 1887 book on discrete degrees, has drawn conclusive anatomical charts of the human mind as extracted from the Writings Sacrede Scripture. He shows the recursive and embedded “trinality” in which the human mind is organized so that we can picture the interior-natural organ with its three portions that are images of the three heavens located above it. (see diagrams above).

Quoting from the Writings Sacred Scripture:

AC 5224. And Pharaoh told them his dream. That this signifies about things to come, is evident from the signification of a "dream," as being foresight, prediction, the event (see n. 5091, 5092, 5104), thus things to come. How this stands in the internal sense is evident from the series of things. The subject treated of in this verse is the new state of the natural, when it is in obscurity because of truths having been banished from it, and that there is then disturbance in it in consulting memory-knowledges about things to come; for when such obscurity happens, the thought at once occurs, What will the event be?

[2] As during man's regeneration this is common in every such state, this state is here described in the internal sense; but such states are unknown at this day, both because few are being regenerated, and because those who are being regenerated do not reflect upon such things. At this day man cares not what is taking place within him, because external things possess his whole attention, and internal things have no importance to one who is wholly occupied with external things, that is, in whom they are the ends of life. Regarding this obscurity they would say, What are these matters to me, as there is no money or honor to be gained from them? Why should I think about the state of the soul, or the state of the internal man, whether it is in obscurity when truths have been banished, or in clearness when they have been replaced therein? What would it benefit me to know this? Whether there is any internal man is to me a matter of doubt, and also whether there is any other state of the soul than that which is of the body, nay, whether there is any soul that lives after death. Who has come back from the dead and declared it? So speaks the man of the church with himself at this day, and so he thinks when he hears or reads anything about the state of the internal man. From this it is plain why the things that are going on within man are at this day hidden and wholly unknown.

[3] Such an obscurity of the understanding never existed among the ancients. It was their wisdom to cultivate interior things, and thus to perfect the faculties of both understanding and will, and thereby to provide for the welfare of their soul. That the ancients gave their attention to things like these, is clear from their writings which are even now extant, and also from the desire of all to hear Solomon:
Therefore there came of all peoples to hear the wisdom of Solomon, from all kings of the earth, who had heard of his wisdom (1 Kings 4:34);

and therefore came the queen of Sheba, who, from the bliss into which she came from hearing the wisdom of Solomon said,
Blest are thy men, blest are these thy servants, who stand continually before thee, and hear thy wisdom (1 Kings 10:8).

Who at this day would call himself blest for this reason? (AC 5224)

AC 5225. And no one interpreted these things to Pharaoh. That this signifies that it was not known what would happen, is evident from the signification of "interpreting," as being to know what would happen (see n. 5141). Hence "no one interpreted" denotes not to know; for in the internal sense "no one" is the negative of a thing, and thus what is not; for the idea of a person is turned in the internal sense into the idea of a thing-as for instance the idea of a man, a husband, a woman, a wife, a son or daughter, a boy or maiden, is turned into the idea of truth or of good; and as above (n. 5223) the idea of a magician and wise man is turned into that of interior and exterior memory-knowledges. The reason of this is that in the spiritual world, or in heaven, not persons but things come into view, for persons limit the idea, and concentrate it upon something finite; whereas things do not limit and concentrate it, but extend it to the infinite, thus to the Lord.

For this reason also, no person named in the Word is perceived in heaven, but in his stead the thing that is represented by that person; so also no people or nation is perceived, but only its quality. Nay, not even is any historic statement of the Word about a person, nation, or people, known in heaven; and consequently it is not known who Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, the Israelitish people, and the Jewish nation were, but it is there perceived what Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, the Israelitish people, and the Jewish nation denote; and the same in all other cases. Thus the angelic speech is without limitation, and is also relatively universal. (AC 5225)

AC 607. But the character of this church will be described hereafter. That an idea of it may be presented here, it shall be briefly said that the Most Ancient Church was celestial, as already shown, but this church became spiritual. The Most Ancient Church had a perception of good and truth; this, or the Ancient Church, had not perception, but in its place another kind of dictate, which may be called conscience.

[2] But what is as yet unknown in the world, and is perhaps difficult to believe, is that the men of the Most Ancient Church had internal respiration, and only tacit external respiration. Thus they spoke not so much by words, as afterwards and as at this day, but by ideas, as angels do; and these they could express by innumerable changes of the looks and face, especially of the lips. In the lips there are countless series of muscular fibers which at this day are not set free, but being free with the men of that time, they could so present, signify, and represent ideas by them as to express in a minute's time what at this day it would require an hour to say by articulate sounds and words, and they could do this more fully and clearly to the apprehension and understanding of those present than is possible by words, or series of words in combination. This may perhaps seem incredible, but yet it is true. And there are many others, not of this earth, who have spoken and at this day speak in a similar manner; concerning whom, of the Lord's Divine mercy hereafter.

[3] It has been given me to know the nature of that internal respiration, and how in process of time it was changed. As these most ancient people had a respiration such as the angels have, who breathe in a similar manner, they were in profound ideas of thought, and were able to have such perception as cannot be described; and even if it could be described such as it really was, it would not be believed, because it would not be comprehended. But in their posterity this internal respiration little by little came to an end; and with those who were possessed with dreadful persuasions and phantasies, it became such that they could no longer present any idea of thought except the most debased, the effect of which was that they could not survive, and therefore all became extinct. (AC 607)  Altruism or the Love of Uses

Altruism is the ruling love in heaven. Only those loves and thoughts are possible in heaven that fit with altruism, such as, the desire to benefit others, the desire not to put self ahead of others, the feeling of greater satisfaction when benefiting others than when the self is benefited, the love of innocence, the love of obeying God, the desire to form a conjugial pair in which one loves the other more than self. Along with this collection of heavenly loves, the ruling love of altruism gathers around itself a collection of ideas and truths from Sacred Scripture, and a desire to eliminate from the cognitive mind any thoughts and reasonings that promote self.

No one can pass this test. Daily self-witnessing practice will allow us to develop a heavenly character that will eventually pass this test, as long as we use the methods of regeneration specified in Sacred Scripture. The Divine Psychologist works with every human being to bring about regeneration to the extent that the individual will cooperate. This means self-examination in the light of doctrine from Sacred Scripture, condemning each hellish trait that comes to our attention, refusing to perform the trait, and finally, holding it in aversion. Doing this to every trait we become aware of will put the old will to death so that at our second death we can rise in our heavenly proprium (see Section xx).

Few people know what is altruism. The dictionary defines it as "unselfish regard for or devotion to the welfare of others." Altruism comes from the Latin "alter" meaning other. In the Writings altruism is defined as the love of uses. It's become popular among sociobiologists and many psychologists to deny the possibility of genuine altruism. Indeed, the Writings reveal that the unregenerate human character is not capable of a single unselfish motive. Cynics doubt all acts of self-sacrifice and altruism saying that if you look underneath it you will find a selfish motive. The dictionary lists a second meaning for altruism: "2 : behavior by an animal that is not beneficial to or may be harmful to itself but that benefits others of its species" which is sociobiological view.

In theistic psychology, it is known from Sacred Scripture that altruism is the ruling love of those who dwell eternally in the heavens of their mind. When we are in that state of mind our thoughts and desires moment by moment are instantiated in us by the influx of the Divine Human's Proprium (see Section xx). Swedenborg reports that the instant someone in heaven blocks the inflowing Divine Human Proprium, one's own proprium or self takes over. Our consciousness is then instantly plunged into a state of semi-darkness in comparison. We fall out of our heaven and into our ordinary state of mind. We lose our peace and start being agitated, pulled in many directions by inconsistent or conflicting desires and thoughts. Then, the instant they turn their focus and desire back to the Divine Human, they become willing once more to lay down their own self and to be influxed by the Divine Human Proprium. The then have their heavenly peace and happiness back, which is characterized by the amazing fact that every day is better and grander than the previous, and this endlessly to eternity!

From this you can see that altruism is indeed not possible on one's own. But it becomes possible by shutting down one's own and being willing to be influxed by the Divine Human Proprium which is the source of peace, happiness, conjugial union, community with others, and endless progress and growth in the life of immortality in heaven.

What does it take to be willing to be taken over by the Proprium of the Divine Human?

From a materialistic, non-spiritual, natural-rational point of view, being taken over by God's will, sounds terrible. We then think of how hard it is to follow the Commandments of Sacred Scripture, let alone being forced to do them by the Divine Proprium inside of us. It may sound dreadful, unfree, scary, more like a hell than a heaven. But this is a false point of view. It doesn't represent what actually happens when we are wiling to be activated and operated by the Divine Human directly. The angels told Swedenborg that they can actually perceive the Divine Human inflowing within the goods they feel or intend, and the truths they think.

Now try to imagine how you would feel right now if you the Divine Human's Proprium flowed into you, not from your spiritual mind, but directly into your conscious natural mind.

An analogy to what would happen is represented by the image of man encased in a block of ice in the middle of Antarctica in the ice age!

Swedenborg reports what happens when people in their hells are brought back up into the world of spirits and are brought near an angel from whom emanates light and heat from the Spiritual Sun. They are plunged into darkness because that's how the unregenerate proprium sees spiritual light, which is truth--as total darkness, while they see some glitter of sulfuric light through falsified truths and fantasies. As well, they are plunged into a state of absolute cold because that's how they feel spiritual heat, which is altruistic love, while they feel infernal fire and heat through selfish lusts and subjugation of others to their will.

From these observations you can understand why the Divine Psychologist doesn't suddenly break the appearances that we are alone in our mind, and suddenly starts talking to you, or making you do this or that, taking away your own freedom to do what you please and think what you want. The Divine Human Proprium flows into our conscious mind only when we are willing to assume our heavenly state, which is, being willing to feel and think altruistically for the sake of immersing ourselves in the stream of the Divine Proprium.

Think of the image of immersing ourselves in the stream of the Divine Proprium.

As we are regenerating we are slowly and steadily replacing our hellish feelings and thoughts with heavenly feelings and thoughts. We experience agony and suffering in this process because it appears to us at first, that we are losing all our enjoyments of life by not being able to enjoy what we please and think what we want.

But the Divine Psychologist gives us a foretaste of heavenly life each time he brings to us a spiritual temptation in which we are willing to resist on the basis of the truth of doctrine from Sacred Scripture (see Section xx). This is called the "Sabbath rest" and refers to a period, sometime short sometimes longer, during which we feel the benefits of peace and calm, after the storm of battling our temptation. We feel the new will, the new proprium, the contentment of being right with God and neighbor. This feelings subsides and we are thrown back into the struggling consciousness of the natural mind. But it comes back after the next spiritual temptation until it becomes familiar and we begin to expect it, and then feel the relief when we are back in it.

It is at these times of heavenly peace ("Sabbath") that we realize with love and gratitude that  the Divine Psychologist is actually with us running the show from our spiritual mind. As we begin to remember this idea and love in our daily consciousness, we begin to feel a permanent and unbreakable connection to the Divine Human. We are than "saved" for heavenly life because once in such a mental state, we are unwilling to give it up for any hellish love that are still plaguing us--fear, anxiety, doubt, self-reliance in spiritual matters, insufficient reliance on the doctrine of truth from Sacred Scripture, depression, unrealistic expectations, confusion about life and relationships, etc.

If we want heaven to be reproduced in our natural mind now, while we are still on earth, we can.

The process starts with compelling ourselves to (a) acquire spiritual-rational doctrine of truth from Sacred Scripture, and (b) apply it to your thoughts and feelings in daily self-witnessing practice.

If you catch yourself reacting to someone or some event with cursing, resentment, and the desire for revenge, say to yourself, "I'm in hell and these are the feelings of those who already dwell there in immortality. I don't have to be like them. I have still have a choice here on earth. My Divine Psychologist is present and ready to take over the second I give permission and am willing to reject the hellish reactions to this person or event."

Then you decide. Yes, you want to stop the hellish reaction because you want to avoid being stuck in hell forever and you want to move to your heaven. Now you take out your big guns and get ready for combat with the hells. They don't want to let you go because you are the source for their very life of enjoyment. They have nothing but misery without people on earth allowing them to inflow into your negative emotions and thoughts. This is their infernal love or lust.

But you have the bigger guns against which they have no power whatsoever. You have the Divine Truth in your understanding of the doctrine from Sacred Scripture as Divine Speech. This is the power by which the whole universe was created and by which it is being maintained. The evil spirits are forced to withdraw out of dread and agony for the spiritual light and heat that you are now letting into your conscious natural mind.

Immediately after the victory, you have the peace of Sabbath, for awhile. Then the next battle and the next battle. As you advance in temptation battles and become a spiritual veteran, your character is being reformed, your new will comes into existence and your thoughts are enlightened in rational consciousness. Nothing can hurt you now. Nothing can distract your or persuade you. No movement or philosophy, no dogma or heresy, no fantasy or persuasion. Though you still have many temptation battles left, you do not lose your heavenly peace. You are already in your heavenly proprium, though still on earth.

Others see the change in you. You are a nicer, more reliable, more useful person. You still experience negative emotions and thoughts--anxiety, fear, resentment, doubt, and you are still experiencing harmful loves--enjoyment of illicit sex, desire for popularity and flattery, indifference to wastefulness of resources, not caring about others as much as self, etc. But you are committed in your mind to get rid of them. Before this phase of your regeneration you were not committed to get rid of them. You were still holding on to them because this was your life and your enjoyment of living. And you were under the persuasion that if you give them up, you will be a hapless angel floating in clouds praying all day with nothing else to do to eternity. But now you know from the doctrine of truth you extracted from Sacred Scripture that the opposite is the case of what you feared and imagined. You are truly free and truly happy only when your old will dies and you immerse your consciousness in your new will, through which you are receiving the Divine Human Proprium.

You now feel the Divine Human Proprium as if it is your own

Now you feel a freedom in the desire to benefit others, and an enjoyment in doing that, far surpasses the previous enjoyment of benefiting yourself. The Writings refer to altruism as the love of uses. In other words, being motivated to benefit others in everything we do.

People have various ideas about what it means to love the neighbor and to be charitable. The literal meaning of Sacred Scripture defines these as sharing one's wealth with the poor and the needy, visiting the sick and those in prison, and being upright in one's business, not defrauding anyone. All this is true and serves well for religion and regeneration. When we go to the next phase of spiritual growth, we inquire into the universal meaning of love and charity and how it applies to our willing and thinking in everything we do. This gives us the rational doctrine of truth from Sacred Scripture, which begins the main phase of our spiritual life and reformation.

How does love of neighbor and charity apply to everything we do during a day?

This is what the Writings call the "love of uses." It refers to why you do something. For instance, suppose you are conscientious in cleaning your teeth and mouth every day. Ask yourself why you are doing it, or why you are not skipping it, since it's easier. You answer that you want to have healthy and clean looking teeth, and pleasant breath. These are uses. they are heavenly loves from the Divine Human Proprium. Taking care of your teeth is a form of charity because your motive for doing it is heavenly.

Take another example. You love surfing. You do it whenever you can. You enjoy it. Is it charity? It can be depending on why you are doing it. You can do it for either hellish or heavenly motives. Hellish motives would include surfing to get away from responsibilities, or to be able to brag about to friends, or to show your supremacy over competitors, or to impress girls, etc. Surfing for heavenly motives include getting a healthy form of exercise, appreciating the outdoors, feeling integrated with nature, perfecting oneself more and more, earning a living, etc.

Your behavior as a surfer will vary drastically depending on whether you have hellish or heavenly motives for doing it. With hellish motives for surfing you might have negative thoughts about other surfers with whom you feel competitive. You might ridicule denigrate them in your mind. You might have the desire to discriminate against some people, preventing them from surfing in the same place and displaying "surfing rage." You might also surf in a way that is dangerous or too risky. But when you have heavenly motives for surfing, you will not discriminate against some people and you would feel happy to help them out or give them the same access to the waves that you have. You would feel concern for strangers, not just for your surfing buddies.

Consider another example. You're on your job doing well with the boss or supervisor. You try to impress and appear competent and loyal to the rules and policies of the company. Is this hellish selfishness or heavenly charity? It depends on why you are doing it. It is hellish if your motive is to promote yourself at any cost even if you don't really deserve it. It is heavenly if you are trying to be sincere and to actually do what you claim, even if you're not being observed. Your behavior will be drastically different under these two types of motives. With a hellish motive you're going to act differently or inconsistently depending on who is watching you. For instance, company policy may forbid employees to use office computers to send personal email or to surf the Web for things you're personally interested in. But  if you figure out a way of not getting monitored, you do it anyway, not caring that it is against company policy and that you are claiming that you're a good employee, supportive of its policies. But with a heavenly motive you are consistent in following rules whether or not you are being monitored. This is the love of uses and of charity. This is doing things for the sake of good and truth, that is, for the sake of the Divine Human and heaven.

We all start with hellish motives for most of the things we do in the course of a day. As we are committed to regeneration and cooperation with the Divine Psychologist, we slowly exchange our hellish motives for heavenly.  The Method of Self-witnessing

Self-witnessing our thoughts and emotions every day is the only way we can gather objective and accurate information about them. Without this information we cannot apply the doctrine of truth from Sacred Scripture, and therefore the Divine Psychologist cannot bring the temptations of self-awareness needed to freely reject the hellish traits (see Section xx). To help you with your self-witnessing I'm presenting a few social areas that you might want to gather data on. Note that the questions address the threefold self--feelings, thoughts, and actions (see Section xx). You need to witness yourself in both outward and mental behaviors. The outward behavior is only an effect of the mental behavior in the will (affective) and understanding (cognitive). Outward behavior can serve as an index of the feelings and motives you have (see Section xx).

Eating and Exercising

  • Do you have a rule about the kind of foods you shouldn't eat or drink? If not, why? Do you see it as your responsibility to have such rules? Why or why not?
  • Do you support or do you contradict your conscience when feeling guilty after you eat the wrong kinds of foods?
  • Do you have a goal for getting the right kind of exercise? If not, why? If yes, how do you deal with missing your  goal? If you have insufficient commitment, why? Do you accept the answer? Is it an excuse?


  • Do you have definite rules about not watching things that are harmful to your innocence? Innocence is the trait you must have to enter heaven. It means willingness to obey the doctrine of truth from Sacred Scripture.
  • Do you approve of the enjoyment you get when watching movies that portray evil things like violence and exploitative sex? How will this interest you have affect you in the afterlife?
  • Do you enjoy music that contains evil content like violence, exploitative sex, lawlessness, immorality? Are you bothered about connecting yourself to the hells while enjoying portrayals of evils as entertainment?

Keeping things clean and tidy

  • What is your attitude toward cleanliness in your room and house? Toward tidiness? What improvements do you need in your outlook and approach toward this topic? Since cleanliness and tidiness are heavenly traits, what do you conclude when you see that you don't enjoy cleaning and tidying up? And that you don't mind when things are not clean or tidy? What will this mean for you in the afterlife, if you don't change?
  • Make a check on how clean things are in your house? How tidy? What are you going to do about it? Why?
  • Do you neglect your belongings? Do you make timely repairs? Do you procrastinate? Is your life in order? Do you maintain control? What effect will this have on your afterlife?

How you treat other people

  • Do you make people wait for something from you when you could do it sooner? E.g., answering an email message, responding to a request, paying a debt, leaving a parking spot for which another driver is wafting for, etc.? Why? Is it your convenience against theirs? In heaven you must honor other people's convenience as much as your own, or more so. Do you like that idea of you doing that here now as a way of practicing for heaven?
  • Do you laugh when someone ridicules someone else? Why? Does it bother you that ridiculing someone, or being sarcastic, is an enjoyment for those who dwell in hell? If you laugh at such jokes in order to appear normal to others, are you not practicing being a social hypocrite? Is this dangerous for your life in immortality?
  • Do you care that a neighbor or stranger is bothered by something you're doing? E.g., Being noisy with TV and music? Talking on a cell phone in a room where there are other people? Having bad breath they can smell, or passing gas? In a public stall, do you flush immediately to minimize odor in the room, or do you not think about such things? Why not? Should you be? A heavenly character automatically cares about such things because one thinks of the neighbor's convenience as much as one's own, or more so.

Being wasteful or misusing public property

  • Do you let tap water run unnecessarily? Do you maintain an attitude of protecting the public good?
  • Do you maintain a sense of conservation of public resources? Do you damage or soil public property like phones and telephone directories, restrooms, library books, beaches, parks, buildings, hotel rooms, rented appliances? Think about how you actually have behaved in the past and what it indicates about your ties to the heavens or the hells?
  • Do you resent paying taxes? Can you accept the idea that paying taxes is a form of caring and charity so others can benefit from your contribution? An angelic trait would be to be happy to pay the required taxes. If you are not happy, what's behind your reluctance? Is it rational? Is it good? Is it selfish?

Doing things right

  • Do you try to improve your skills in order to be of greater benefit and use to others? This would be a heavenly motive.
  • Do you read systematically to increase your expertise in some area? Or do you read for entertainment and forgetfulness or distraction? Do you do enough to improve your knowledge and ability to think critically? Do you review your beliefs to see if they are consistent and rational? What happens when you get to the other world with false beliefs or illogical ideas?
  • Do you do your work carefully or sloppily? Do you care if you affect other people negatively by not doing a competent job? This is a trait you will need in heaven.
  • Do you dress appropriately? Do you care if you break expected dress code and expectations of other people who can see you? Do you feel you should care about them as much as your convenience or preference? Is there a compromise you can reach for their sake?

It takes systematic self-witnessing on a daily basis to be able to answer these questions objectively and accurately.

Every item is important. There is a tendency to want to use equity theory in excusing some of our hellish traits. People sometimes say about someone that he or she is not a bad person even though they have some bad traits. But this is a natural way of thinking about being a good person. The spiritual reality is that being good or bad does not depend on someone's judgment or evaluation. It depends on spiritual physiology. Being bad refers to harmful operations going on in the mind, vs. being good, which refers to healthy operations. Harmful operations cannot go on in heaven, while healthy operations cannot go on in hell, as we know from Swedenborg's reports in the Writings.

So you don't have the luxury of balancing your hellish traits as against the heavenly traits. You cannot excuse yourself about this or that "weakness" that you keep around in your character. Remember that at your second death you must abandon every hellish trait if you are entering heaven, and vice versa (see Section xx). You cannot keep even one trait of the opposite kind so that in their immortality, everyone is either all good or all evil.

Using equity theory in evaluating one's spiritual standing or quality is very common in our society today. This morning I heard popular Christian TV evangelist Joyce Meyer tell her audience to go ahead and have fun and do the things they like, but at the same time they should remember that they need to "work for God" as well. She told them that they need to share with the needy in both love and money. And she told the story of a boy outside in the cold, barefoot and shivering, looking longingly at the window of a shoe store, and peering inside. A woman came along, saw what was going on, took the child inside the store, cleaned his feet, and put socks and shoes on him. After this the boy looked up to her and said "Are you God's wife?" The audience applauded at the story. This is when Joyce Meyers instructed them to remember to do God's things every day, not just their own things.

This approach to charity and love of one's neighbor is only the first platform for spiritual growth. We need to go further or deeper if we are going to reach our heaven. Our understanding of what is charity must go beyond the idea of part time things to do for God, to the idea that everything should be done for God.

There are two models here--equity model and unity model. The equity model says that we can do our thing as long as we do God's thing, and the two will counterbalance each other. The unity model says that we must do all things simultaneously for us and for God. There should be no time when we do things for us or others, and not for God. Similarly, there should be no time when we do things for God, and not for us or others. This is what God wants, as revealed in Sacred Scripture. Since all things have a successive and simultaneous order, it makes sense to think of doing things for God or heaven at a higher more interior level, within the things we do for us and others.

For instance, if I do a good job flossing my teeth because it's a rational issue of commitment to good health, then I'm flossing simultaneously for myself and God, as well as others who are involved in what happens to me and my teeth--wife, dentist, and the merchants from whom I buy the food I chew with my healthy teeth. The other day someone came to our door selling raffle tickets to raise money for sports scholarships in a school. I have the rational freedom to refuse, which I do for a number of reasons, one being that I do not approve of this method of raising money for school activities. My principled refusal is therefore doing something for myself, for society, and for God, all simultaneously. This is charity in its correspondential sense.

Sometimes people volunteer to help in kitchen soups or they spontaneously make a significant gift to a charity operation. This is very helpful to the people who benefit. But is it helpful spiritually to the volunteer or to the giver? This depends on why they do it. It is not helpful to them for spiritual growth towards a heavenly character, if their motive is based in equity theory, thinking that they are now doing something good for God. But it will benefit them if their motive is to practice being an angel. In other words, they want to learn to love others as much as themselves, and perhaps more than themselves. This is the person who they want to become so they are practicing, acting it out in their daily life as one among many activities they normally do.

It will not benefit them spiritually if they think they are counterbalancing the bad things they did that day with this good thing of volunteering or sharing. There is no balancing out between good and evil traits or deeds. They cannot become an angel unless they have the angelic motive in all the other things they did that day. This motive is to train yourself to do all things properly, conscientiously, prudently, and competently, all day long. Some people spend their entire time doing something useful and expert all day long, working on their own at home, or in the woods, or at the beach, or in the sports arena. Their motive is to develop discipline and expertise in what they love to do. They do not go to Church, they do not socialize with neighbors and friends, they do not pay charity, they do not volunteer. Their focus is to become good at what they are into. Can they develop a heavenly character in this way?

The answer is, Yes, depending on why they do it.

They can do it for hellish motives like selfishness, hating and avoiding people, denigrating society, being cynical, maintaining a weakness of the will or lack of ambition, obsession with something, etc. Or, they can do it for heavenly motives like love of doing something useful to people, or love of becoming good at something for the sake of being useful to others. What matters in this type of lifestyle is how we treat others who are affected by what we do. For instance, do we care about noise, smoke, or other consequences of what we do that may be disturbing to neighbors? When you go to the supermarket, are you polite with the cashier or the pedestrians in the parking lot? When the phone rings with someone who has the wrong number, do you act insulting and in a bad mood?

It is not the helping of the needy that saves us, nor is it being non-social that condemns us. It's how we treat others in our life, in our daily actions and thoughts, whether family, neighbor, stranger, or society as a whole.

Remember too that all traits form a tight collection or grouping in your character, whether evil or good. Some appear light or small evils, like inconveniencing others by being late for things, while other evils appear heavy or serious, like hating and abusing people. The hells are organized into many layers according to the type of evil loves people hold on to, and how grave or abhorrent it is to others. So you can end up in a light hell which is better than a deeper hell. Nevertheless, you would still be in hell! even If you dwell in the lighter hell. Furthermore, you continue to be tied unconsciously to the deeper hells. Those who dwell in a lighter hell have the deeper hell within their unconscious. Thus you are their victim.

Hence when it comes to character reformation and spiritual growth we need an either--or type of thinking. Heavenly and hellish traits are absolute opposites and there is no spiritual in-between. Often it may appear that there is, and people talk about "grey areas" and "mixed feelings" and "tolerance for diversity.". But these are only appearances. Our hellish traits reside in the natural mind and there is not one of them that can enter the spiritual mind where reside our heavenly traits. It is an anatomical impossibility to have both heaven and hell in one organic structure. So we cannot balance the bad with the good in our character. In the afterlife, heavenly and hellish traits cannot be both present in our spiritual mind. There can be no overlap, not even of a single trait. Suppose for example, that you arrive in the afterlife with 99 percent of your traits being heavenly, and only 1 percent or less, being hellish. Now to enter heaven you must let go of the hellish traits, every one of them.

But suppose you don't want to give up one cherished hellish trait? Then you cannot enter heaven. You must wait until you are willing to give it up. Swedenborg found people in the afterlife who were unwilling to give up a personal attachment to someone who was in hell -- family member, best friend, or a person they venerated or admired, etc. These people brought heavenly traits with them and could enter heaven, but they wouldn't give up their personal attachment to the individual in hell. As a result, they suffered many hardships in that hellish environment to which they were unsuited. This proves that you cannot retain an attachment or the enjoyment of any hellish trait when you enter your heaven. There is no equity evaluation at the entrance gate, counting your hellish vs. your heavenly deeds, and seeing which outweighs the other. No one makes an evaluation of us when we enter our eternity, whether in heaven or in hell. Every individual makes this decision freely, choosing heaven or hell in their mind, depending on what trait they love the most, so they are willing to give up all else for it.

The equity model of spiritual growth is a wrong model. Following it will lead to insurmountable difficulties in acquiring a heavenly character for our immortality life. This is a matter of spiritual physiology and anatomy, not evaluation or judgment. Sacred Scripture in its literal meaning gives the appearance that God will judge us at death, or at the resurrection, "giving to each according to his works." Some will be declared "sheep" and be taken up to heaven, while others will be declared "goats" and will be carted off to hell. But this meaning is at the level of natural correspondences and reflects the mentality of the culture and people who originally received that Sacred Scripture as the basis of their religion. When we now extract the scientific meaning from the sentences of Sacred Scripture it becomes evident that God does not judge anyone because the Divine Human is pure Love, and love cannot judge anyone to punishment. Punishment is a natural idea of hell and of God.

When Swedenborg looked at the copy of Sacred Scripture read by those who were living in their heavens, the idea of punishment for sins or evils did not appear in the literal sentences. Instead, the sentences were transformed into their spiritual correspondences and spiritual ideas. In its spiritual idea, "punishment for sins" refers to the physiological consequences of loving hellish traits.

Every hellish operation, no matter how "light weight," is tied by an unbreakable chain to all the hells. This is a spiritual law of creation. It is equally true of every heavenly trait, from the lowest to the highest. Swedenborg was given the experience of an eagle's view, or a satellite view, of the entire heavens and the entire hells in human minds of our race. He confirms by eyesight what Sacred Scripture describes, namely, that to God the entire human race appears as one, and the entire past and future of the human race is present to God simultaneously (see Section xx).  The Genuine Human Shape and Form

The heavenly states exist in every human mind. There exist no heavens outside the human mind. Now try to imagine collecting the heavens together to take a look at them in one connected and integrated piece. You would then be able to see their shape. What shape do the heavens make when collected all together from each individual's mind? Swedenborg saw it so that he may be a witness, a scientist who recorded his observations and wrote it down as Sacred Scripture under direct conscious supervision of the Divine Human whom he had before himself constantly, as do all people who dwell in the immortality of their heavens. The shape Swedenborg saw was that of a human being which he called the Grand Man or the Grand Human.

Swedenborg was also given to observe the shape of all the hells in every human being. What does that look like, do you think? You may have guessed: It looks like a devil! Swedenborg called it a "deformed man" and so in theistic psychology we can refer to it as the Grand Monster.

These are fascinating reports. What do they mean? Or, How do we think about it in a productive way?

To me it helps to remember that the heaven and hell in everybody's mind are nothing but thoughts and feelings in organic form made of spiritual fibers and substances from the Spiritual Sun. These substances fall into two categories--the spiritual heat consists of "goods" and the spiritual light consists of "truths." Infinite quantities of "goods" and "truths" stream out of the Spiritual Sun creating human minds and bodies, each surrounded respectively by a spiritual world and a natural world. The affective organ contains the "goods" and its consequent feeling operations, and the cognitive organ contains the "truths" and its consequent thinking operations (see Section xx).

What shape does the affective and cognitive organs have? We know the shape of the heart and the brain. All organs have a shape. The fact is that every organ, of the body or of the mind, has the human shape in miniature, or "as an image," because goods and truths are in a human shape. Goods and truths proceed from the Spiritual Sun which is the brilliant aura around the Divine Human, who is there visible to those who are in their heavens (see Section xx). Whatever proceeds from the Divine Human remains a part of the Divine Human since only infinite Divine things proceed from Him. These infinite proceedings of goods and truths are received in the created things such as stones, trees,  and human minds. They are then called "goods" and "truths" in those things -- stones, trees, minds. The goods and truths do not become part of the objects or minds since they are infinite and Divine. What is Divine cannot become part of what is finite, but can be received by it and have it within itself.

You can see from this that all finite things created and and all uncreate infinite things must resemble the human shape because that is the internal shape of the Divine Human. This is why He is called the infinite Divine Human.

All this is therefore a rational consequence of the fact that God is a Divine Human and has the Human shape. Everything that streams out from the Divine Human remains the Divine Human since God is omnipresent and the source of all created matter and substance. From all this you can see in some general and theoretical sense that the universe has the human shape and all things in the universe have the human shape. This is a heavenly secret that was known to the earliest generations who were born on this earth, and remnants of this idea survived in ancient written texts.

Of course to get a more particular point of view of what this all means we need to have a spiritual-rational idea of "shape" rather than merely a natural-rational idea. You can teach yourself to think in spiritual-rational correspondences rather than merely natural-rational, which follow a materialistic time-space bent structure. A spiritual idea of the shape of what is human, is to remember the scientific revelation that the human proper begins with the spiritual-rational (see Section xx). In other words, the natural mind in itself is not human. It is in the shape of a sub-human animal. You cannot see this physically. When we still are in the unregenerate materialistic phase of life, denying or doubting the existence of the spiritual, we still look human. We cry, we sing, we play, we plan, we love.

This is true. But it's the outward appearance only. If we were able to see the shape of the natural mind in which we are conscious, we would see the shape of animals--tigers, bears, wolves, scorpions, vampires, etc. But as soon as your mind is reformed and you have begun your regeneration process, the natural mind changes appearance. It begins to look more and more like a lamb, a horse, a bird of paradise, a pet. Throughout all these changes of our sub-human mind in the world of spirits, our physical body on earth remains the same in terms of human appearance (except for aging and weight gain).

When we are advanced in regeneration in adult life, our natural mind has turned into the human appearance proper, which is the image of the Divine Human.

What gives the natural mind its proper human image?

It is caused by acquiring spiritual-rational correspondences from Sacred Scripture and making them the basis of our new way of thinking and new way of willing and intending everything.

This results from the fact that everything spiritual is in the human shape or form. When we begin operating our natural mind with natural correspondences to spiritual-rational truths from Sacred Scripture, we then for the first time become truly and genuinely human. Until that phase of growth we are still only potentially human but not actually human. People who are stuck in the hells of their mind are stuck in their natural mind for that's the only entry point for hellish influx and traits. The spiritual mind contains only human things from the Spiritual Sun which is the aura around the Divine Human you can see when you enter the phase of your heaven. If you study theistic psychology you are acquiring rational concepts that can later serve as receptors of spiritual-rational correspondences from Sacred Scripture. "Later" means when you begin your regeneration (see Section xx).

So now everything in this discussion on the human shape comes down to the shape of good and truth from the Spiritual Sun. These substances are in the human shape. Good is alive and truth is alive. In other words, life is carried or made possible by good and truth streaming out of God in infinite quantity and variety, creating everything in their own shape or image.

The human shape viewed externally is familiar to us in each other and in a mirror or photograph and painting. But we know from the law of correspondences that all outward things exist in successive and simultaneous order of degrees, as discussed above. This means that the outward shape of something is produced by an inward cause which is produced by a more inward or inmost source. The shape of the inmost imparts itself by correspondence--not physical appearance. Hence it is that the shape of the Divine Human is the inmost of all shapes and is imparted to all created things by correspondences in a chain of correspondences from highest to lowest (see Section xx).

This means that the higher the correspondence level of some thing or quality, the more it has a true human shape. Swedenborg compared the appearance of the spiritual body of those who dwell in the highest and lowest heavens of their mind. He confirms that the celestial angels (Third Heaven) are amazingly handsome and beautiful with faces that reflect ineffable wisdom, understanding, and love. The faces of the spiritual angels (Second Heaven) was less striking in comparison, and the faces of the people in their First Heaven called angelic spirits, were like the faces of people on earth who are considered handsome and beautiful.

The human shape of good and truth imparts itself to all our mental organs and to every operation in them. Every love, feeling, affection, or intention has the human shape of good. Every thought, concept, understanding, or reasoning has the human shape of truth.

There are of course complications that should be understood to complete the picture. The human shape of good and truth can be distorted in our natural mind so that its shape is altered to that of a deformed human or monster. But the physical body does not reflect this because of God's intervention. It would be incredibly more difficult for us to acquire the motive to regenerate if we already looked like devils. Everybody would look like a devil and earth would be a hell, unprotected by truth and good because these human things are automatically turned into deformed versions of themselves in our inherited will and understanding.

God intervenes maximally and absolutely in everything. For instance, God snatches some of the good and truth flowing into the natural mind before it is distorted and corrupted, and turned into their opposites. The technical term for this that we use in theistic psychology is "remains" (see Section xx). These are goods and truths God saves and collects for us in an inaccessible part of our spiritual mind. For instance, when we are infants and children we are often filled with many good feelings for our parents and caretakers. We have many innocent enjoyments. We love other children and pets and moving around with our bodies. We discover basic new concepts and ideas that are genuine, from our own thoughts and from the environment. All these are in the proper human shape. God lays them away in the spiritual mind before they begin to be distorted and corrupted as we grow in our natural mind and begin to have less human thoughts and more monstrous feelings and emotions.

When we undergo the process of our second death (see Section xx), God unwraps these "remains" in our spiritual mind and makes them operational and conscious. Now we recognize these long forgotten celestial goods and truths from our childhood, and from later life, when we had rare moments of genuine human feelings and realizations. It all now comes back to us, and we have huge new resources for our life and happiness in immortality.

 Everything we've been discussing about heavenly traits represents a spiritual idea of the human shape. To love the neighbor, to love being useful to others, to love the truth for its own sake, to love to form an eternal conjugial union, to love God--these are exclusively human loves and they have the human shape. The definition of human is therefore to have a heavenly desire or love, to think of a rational plan for it, and to fulfill the desire by performing appropriate acts. This is how Sacred Scripture describes the Divine Human. From infinite Divine Love married to infinite Divine Truth, the Divine Human creates the Spiritual Sun, which creates the spiritual world of human minds, which creates the physical universe of earths where human beings are born and become truly human by choice of love and truth, living in eternal conjugial happiness. This is God's fulfillment in existence of the Divine Love or Good married to the Divine Wisdom or Truth. This is the essence and entirety of the human shape or quality.  Life in the Embryo

The external natural mind is composed of both natural and spiritual substances, the natural are in the external portion and the spiritual in the internal portion. The external natural portion is called "maternal" and the internal spiritual portion is called "paternal." Upon the second death the maternal portion is laid to rest forever, and the spiritual or paternal portion now lays bare and takes over the mind, which means, its ruling love now prevails and controls all desires, intentions, thoughts, and appearances. The natural mind in itself is unable to support thought because what is natural is inert. But it appears that we think in our natural mind because it is really the spiritual mind that thinks within the natural. This is just like when we hear a sound or taste something. It appears that we are sensing the sound or taste in our sense organs, and materialists explain that it is really in the brain that we feel the sensation. But the Writings have revealed that the brain is inert, composed merely of chemicals and electricity, and these are not sensations or thoughts. Instead, the reality is that it is the mind that senses through the brain and body. Sensations are spiritual substances in the sensorimotor organ of the mind, and thoughts are spiritual substances in the cognitive organ of the mind.

So it is the mind that senses the physical environment through the sensory organs and the brain, which are thus mere instruments for the mind by which it senses, thinks, and feels.

Note however that the mind has nothing to sense or think about if the natural world is taken away from it. Note further, that in order for the natural mind to sensate and think, it must organize the incoming physical stimuli from the senses into a rational order it can understand and work with. The natural mind must therefore be educated by experiences, socialization,  instruction in the sciences, art, and literacy. These constitute cultural content organized on a natural plane. The rational aspects of this content form the basis of correspondences in our understanding. We can then build up the rational mind from a mere natural beginning and make it more spiritually rational. The first step is to acquire ideas of morality and justice. The second step is to acquire ideas of religion and theistic psychology. This opens the spiritual aspect of the mind and makes it operational within the natural mind.

Now, the conscious natural mind is capable of thinking with spiritual-natural correspondences (First Heaven). This is the beginning of spiritual growth.

At first we grow a maternal rational which is external and natural, made of the order of physical things. This is the phase of materialistic thinking in every individual. After this we form the paternal rational which is internal and spiritual. This is the beginning of reformation and dualism in every person. The two rational minds and their developmental steps are described in detail in Sacred Scripture, especially in the scientific meaning of the Old Testament story of Abraham's two sons--Ishmael (first or maternal natural-rational) and Isaac (second or paternal spiritual-rational).

It is important to understand the extent to which God participates in human development from the moment of conception onward. The heavenly faculties that are capable of heavenly traits is formed by God during the growth process. Quoting from the Writings of Swedenborg:

In the human being the most general and all-embracing whole, holding every single thing in place, is the soul. It is also Divine Truth going forth from the Lord, for Divine Truth flows constantly into the soul and makes it what it is.  (...)  Divine Truth going forth from the Lord is what is called the Word, through which all things were created. (AC 6115)

"The Word" or Divine Truth is also called Divine Speech which always comes to human beings consciously by means of Sacred Scripture through the external natural mind. Divine Speech as Divine Truth unconsciously enters the soul from the Spiritual Sun which marks God's presence in the heavens and where He can be seen by angels as the Divine Human. Swedenborg frequently saw this himself when he was in the heavens in company with the inhabitants there.

Quoting from the Writings regarding how God forms the person in the womb:

As in the formation of man in the womb spiritual things conjoin themselves with natural things there are many particulars that cannot be described, namely, such spiritual things as are abstracted from natural things, which consequently have no expressions in natural language except some most general expressions which one man may comprehend more intelligently than another. Nevertheless, by these and by comparisons that are also correspondences the following particulars shall be explained:

1. The Lord conjoins Himself to man in the womb of the mother from his first conception, and forms man.

2. He conjoins Himself to man in these two receptacles, in the one through love, in the other through wisdom.

3. Love and wisdom unitedly and harmoniously form each and all things, and yet in these things they may be distinguished.

4. The receptacles are distinguished into three degrees with man, one within another; and the two higher are the dwelling-place's of the Lord, but not the lowest.

6. One receptacle is for the will of the future man and the other for his understanding; and yet nothing whatever of his will or of his understanding is present in the formation.

6. There is life in the embryo before birth, but the embryo is not conscious of it.

1. The Lord conjoins Himself to man in the womb of the mother from his first conception, and forms man.

By the Lord here and elsewhere is meant the Divine that proceeds from Him as the sun of heaven, where the angels are, and by and through which all things in the whole world have been created. That this is life itself has been shown already. That life itself is present from first conception and is what gives form, follows from this, that in order to be the form of life which man is, and in order to be an image and likeness of God, which man also is, and in order to be a recipient of love and wisdom, which are life from the Lord, thus a recipient of the Lord Himself, man must be formed by life itself. (...)

While man is in the womb he is in a state of innocence; therefore his first state after birth is a state of innocence; and the Lord dwells in man only in his innocence, consequently He especially dwells in him when he is as it were innocence. Likewise, man is then in a state of peace. Man is then in a state of innocence and in a state of peace, because the Divine love and the Divine wisdom are innocence itself and peace itself, as can be seen in the work on Heaven and Hell (n. 276-283, 284-290). I foresee that when you read this, some doubts may occur to your mind; but read to the end, and afterwards recollect, and the doubts will disappear. 

[2] 2. He conjoins Himself to man in these two receptacles, in the one through love, in the other through wisdom.

This follows from the preceding article, where it was shown that all things of the body, both internal and external, from the head even to the heel, are formed and produced from these two receptacles; and as the beginnings and initiaments of all things are from these, it follows that the forming Divine is in them, and through them is in their continuations; but when it is in them and in their continuations, it is in them spiritually, not materially, for it is in their uses; and uses regarded in themselves are immaterial, while the things necessary for uses to become effects are material.

These two receptacles, which are the beginnings of man, are from the father; his formation to the full time of birth is from the mother; for the seed is from the man; his are the spermatic vessels and testicles in which the seed is elaborated and secreted; it is received by the female; hers is the womb wherein is the heat by which it is fostered, and in which are the little mouths by which it is nourished. In nature nothing exists except from seed, and nothing grows except by means of heat. What kind of form these beginnings have, which belong to man only, will be shown in what follows.

As the rudiment of man is seed, and this is a double receptacle of life, it is clear that the human soul is not life from life, that is, life in itself, for there is but one life, and that is God. The source of man's perception of life has been explained elsewhere. And as there is a continuation of these receptacles from the brains through the fibers into all parts of the body, it is also clear that there is a continuation of the reception of life into these parts, and that thus the soul is not here or there, but is in every form derived from these, just as the cause is in the things caused, and the principle in its derivations.

[3] 3. Love and wisdom unitedly and harmoniously form each and all things, and yet in these things they may be distinguished.

Love and wisdom are two distinct things, precisely as heat and light are; heat is felt, and so is love; light is seen, and so is wisdom. Wisdom is seen when man thinks, and love is felt when man is affected. Nevertheless, in the formation of things they do not operate as two but as one. This is true also of the heat and light of the sun of the world; for in the time of spring and summer heat co-operates with light, and light with heat, and things vegetate and germinate.

Likewise love in a state of peace and tranquility co-operates with wisdom, and wisdom with love, and produces and forms, and this both in the embryo and in the man. That the co-operation of love and wisdom is like the co-operation of heat and light is very clear from appearances in the spiritual world. There love is heat, and wisdom is light; and there all things in the angels are living, and all things around them are blooming, in the exact measure of the union of love and wisdom with them. The union of love and wisdom is reciprocal, love unites itself to wisdom, and wisdom reunites itself to love; consequently love acts and wisdom reacts, and through this reciprocation every effect exists.

[[2]] There is such a reciprocal union and consequent reciprocation between the will and understanding and between good and truth, also between charity and faith, with the man in whom the Lord is; and in fact, such is the reciprocal union of the Lord Himself with the church, which is meant by the Lord's words to the disciples in John, that:

They should be in Him and He in them (14:20; and in other places).

The same union is meant by the union of man and wife, in Mark:

The twain shall be one flesh, so that they are no more twain, but one flesh (10:8).

For the man was born to be understanding and consequently wisdom, and the woman to be will and consequently the affection which is of love (see the work on Heaven and Hell, n. 366-386).

[[3]] As there are two things, love and wisdom, that form the embryo in the womb, so there are two receptacles, one for love and the other for wisdom; so again there are two things in the body throughout, and these likewise are distinct and are united. There are two hemispheres of the brain, two eyes, two ears, two nostrils, two chambers of the heart, two hands, two feet, two kidneys, two testicles, and the rest of the viscera are doubled; and in every case what is on their right side has relation to the good of love, and what is on their left to the truth of wisdom.

That these two are so joined together as to act as one mutually and reciprocally, a diligent investigator can see if he will take the trouble. The union itself stands forth to view in the fibers stretched to and fro and interlaced in the midst of their course; and this is the reason of the signification of "right" and "left" in the Word. From all this the truth is clear that love and wisdom, unitedly and harmoniously form each and all things in the embryo, and yet in these things they may be distinguished.

[4] 4. The receptacles are distinguished into three degrees with man, one within the other; and the two higher are dwelling-places of the Lord, but not the lowest.

Some one might possibly form a fallacious idea of the beginnings of the human form, which pertain to the seed of the man, because they are called receptacles. From the term receptacle one may easily fall into the idea of a vessel or a little tube. I desire therefore to define and describe that initial form, as it was seen by me and made clear to me in the heavens, as adequately as the expressions of natural language will permit.

These receptacles are not tubular, or hollowed out like little vessels, but they are like the brain, of which they are an exceedingly minute and invisible type, with a delineation resembling a face in front, with no visible appendage. This primitive brain in the upper convex part was a structure of contiguous globules or little spheres, each little sphere being a conglomeration of like spheres still more minute, and each of these again of the very least. In front, in the flattened region of the nose, a kind of outline appeared for a face; but in the recess between the convex part and this flattened part there was no fiber; the convex part was covered round about with a very thin membrane, which was transparent. Thus was seen by me and shown to me the primitive of man, the first or lowest degree of which was the structure first described, the second or middle degree was the structure secondly described, and the third or highest degree was the structure thirdly described, thus one was within the other.

I was told that in each little sphere there were indescribable interlacings, more and more wonderful according to the degrees, also that in each particular the right part is the couch or receptacle of love, and the left part is the couch or receptacle of wisdom, and that by wonderful connections these are like partners and comrades, the same as the two hemispheres of the brain are.

[[2]] It was further shown in the light that fell brightly on it, that the structure of the two interior degrees was, in its position and flow, in the order and form of heaven, while the structure of the lowest degree in its position and flow, was in the form of hell. This is why it is said that the receptacles are distinguished into three degrees with man, one within another, and the two higher are dwelling-places of the Lord, but not the lowest. The lowest degree is such because man, from a hereditary taint, is born opposed to the order and form of heaven, and thus into evils of every kind; and this taint is in the natural, which is the lowest of man's life, and it is not wiped away unless the interior degree that has been formed for the reception of love and wisdom from the Lord is opened in him.

But how this degree and the inmost degree are opened is taught by the Lord in the Word, and will be taught in what follows. But to gain light on this subject, see what has been said before about degrees, also about the brain. These degrees are called higher, although they are interior, and for the reason that there is successive order of degrees and simultaneous order; things higher and lower are in successive order, but things interior and exterior are in simultaneous order, and the same things that in simultaneous order are interior, in successive order are higher; and the same is true of things exterior and lower.

And as there are three degrees in man so there are three degrees of the heavens, for the heavens consist of men who have become angels. According to degrees in successive order, the heavens are seen one above another, and according to degrees in simultaneous order, one within another. From this it is that "high" signifies in the Word what is internal, and the Lord is called "Most High," because He is in inmost things. Since, then, man in the beginning of his development is such a dwelling place of the Lord as has been described, and these three degrees are then open, and since everything that proceeds from the Lord as a sun is Man in least things and in greatest (as has been shown before in its place), so extension into any other form than the human is not possible; nor is extension possible except through rays of light from wisdom with heat from love in the midst; thus through vivified fibers, which are rays brought out into form. That there is a like determination is apparent to the eye.

[[3]] So many are the degrees of life with man; but with beasts the two higher degrees are lacking and they have only the lowest; consequently the beginnings of their life are not receptacles of the Lord's love and wisdom, but are receptacles of natural affection and knowledge, into which they are born. With clean beasts these receptacles are not reflected or turned contrary to the order of the flux of the universe, but are conformable to it; therefore from birth, as soon as they are brought forth, they are led into their functions and know them. For beasts have had no ability to pervert their affections, since they have not the intellectual faculty to think and reason from spiritual light, and to violate the laws of Divine order.

[5] 5. One receptacle is for the will of the future man and the other for his understanding; and yet nothing whatever of his will or of his understanding is present in the formation.

Will and understanding with man do not begin until the lungs are opened, and this does not take place until after birth; then the will of man becomes the receptacle of love, and the understanding becomes the receptacle of wisdom. They do not become such receptacles until the lungs are opened, because the lungs correspond to the life of the understanding, and the heart corresponds to the life of the will, and without the cooperation of the understanding and will, man has no life of his own, as there is no life apart from the co-operation of love and wisdom by means of which the embryo is formed and vivified, as has been said before.

In the embryo the heart alone beats, and the liver leaps, the heart for the circulation of the blood, and the liver for the reception of nourishment; from these is the motion of the other viscera, and this motion is felt as pulsative after the middle period of gestation. But this motion is not from any life proper to the fetus; one's own life is the life of the will and the life of the understanding; while the life of the infant is the life of commencing will and commencing understanding; from these only do the sensitive and the motor life in the body exist; and this life is not possible from the beating of the heart alone, but is possible from the conjunction of this with the respiration of the lungs.

This is seen to be true in men, who have both will and understanding; when they fall into a swoon or are suffocating, and respiration stops, they become as if dead; they have no sensation, their limbs do not move, they do not think nor will, and yet the heart performs its contractions and the blood circulates. But as soon as the lungs return to their respirations the man comes back into his activities and to his senses, and into his will and understanding. From all this a conclusion may be formed about the quality of the life of the fetus in the womb, in which only the heart performs its motions, and not yet the lungs, namely, that nothing of the life of the will and nothing of the life of the understanding is present in it; but the formation is effected solely by the life from the Lord by which man afterwards is to live. But about this more may be seen in the following article.

[6] 6. There is life in the embryo before birth, but the embryo is not conscious of it.

This follows from what has been said above; also that the life from which the embryo in the womb lives is not its life, but the Lord's alone, who alone is life. (D. Wis. 3)

You can see from these details that the growth of the fetus in the womb is managed by God through influx into the soul, and from there into the organs of the mind called the will (affective) and the understanding (cognitive) in their primitive form. The fetus is not conscious and thus has no will or understanding, and yet these organs become the active organic agents by which the brain and body develop during the nine months of gestation.

See also:

Bell, Reuben, Rev. Dr. (1996). Soul-Body Interaction in Human Conception and Development. The Clothing of the Inmost in the Image3 of Heaven. New Church Life. Online at:  The Growth of the Mind

The growth of the human mind is based on the managed interaction between the unconscious internal spiritual mind and the conscious external natural mind. The external mind is built up consciously by our experiences and socialization, thus "from without," meaning from incoming stimuli through the physical senses in the natural world. But the internal mind is built up unconsciously from incoming stimuli from the spiritual world. God is in charge of the order and pacing of these incoming spiritual stimuli. The external conscious mind is therefore filled with the organized information of the material world, while the unconscious internal mind is filled with the organized information of the spiritual world. The process of build up of the two minds would not work if they were independent. The acquisition of concepts for our conscious thinking depends on the influx or facilitation effect from the unconscious spiritual mind. Quoting from the Writings on this subject:

    AC 1460. Cognitions with man never come in childhood from the interior, but from objects of the senses, especially from hearing. There are with the external man recipient vessels, and these are formed by cognitions, the internal man inflowing and assisting. Cognitions are learned and implanted in the [external] memory according to the influx of the internal man. (AC 1460)

"Cognitions with man" refers to the concepts we acquire by which we are able to think and consciously process information in a systematic and rational order. Concepts must be built up by the "objects of the senses," which includes especially "hearing" or verbal interaction with others. Language plays a key role in allowing the build up of the natural mind. Concepts would not be rational and would not allow thinking unless they were "infilled" from within with spiritual-rational organization, which is called the "internal man inflowing and assisting."  Concepts are called "cognitions" and they are described as "recipient vessels" that contain within them spiritual information and rational syntax.

In order to understand this process more clearly consider how we learn to talk. Infants hear adults speak to them and around them. They can learn what words are spoken when and they can associate words with objects and situations. Linguists have demonstrated that it would be impossible to learn a language merely by such associations. A computer could easily pick up and retain these associations, or you can simply have it access a dictionary file. The computer could not make up sentences with a dictionary file. What is lacking? It's grammar and its rules for forming sentences out of words. Grammar is a rational syntax or system that we use to create new sentences endlessly. The vocabulary we need may be quite small--a few hundred words, yet the number of new sentences we can form with a limited vocabulary is endless. Grammar allows us to combine and recombine words endlessly. If you give access to a computer program access to both a vocabulary file and a grammar file, it will be able to produce meaningful sentences, though there are many complications that need to be solved.

The point is this: children cannot invent or discover grammar from hearing sentences. To solve this puzzle, Noam Chomsky, the brilliant twentieth century linguist who founded modern linguistics, postulated that every child is born with a "LAD" -- language acquisition device at a high generality level. The generic grammar at this level is a rational-linguistic system that encompasses all natural languages humans have invented. With this "universal grammatical system" a child is able to acquire any language on earth. The child is able to figure out the grammar of the particular language spoken by using this generic grammar that is innate to all human beings.

It is clear that these innate higher order thought processes descend from the unconscious spiritual mind into the conscious natural mind. Without this spiritual influx from the spiritual world the child could not learn to talk, could not develop rational human thinking. Linguists are not able to explain where these innate cognitive operations come from. To say that they are "innate" is merely saying that it must be there from somewhere somehow. Now we know from theistic psychology where this innate process comes from and what the physiological mechanisms are that make it work.

Quoting from the Writings:

AC 3570. The rational is in the internal man and what transpires therein is unknown to the natural. (,,,) Man, who lives a merely natural life, can know nothing of what transpires in his internal man. The LORD disposes such things while man is entirely ignorant of it. Hence too it is that man knows not [perceptibly] how he is regenerated. (AC 3570)

It's important to obtain some scientific idea of how closely God is involved in the growth of the human mind, that is, in making the human grow. It is the same with a tree or plant. Materialistic concepts assign the process of cumulative cell growth to "nature" or "natural law" or "just built in process." But when we move on to a more rational explanation we want to have details about the process that controls cell growth. There are of course details we know from genetics,  biochemistry, physiology, and anatomy. But each of these contributions arrive at the bottom of their explanations with atomic structures, where they end. In other words, some unknown force gets the atoms to act in a certain way which gets the cells to grow in a particular way. Without scientific revelations from Sacred Scripture the entire system of explanation for cell growth rests at the bottom on some unknown unspecifiable undiscussable force or principle.

All cell growth is driven by correspondences, just like a music box is driven by mechanical notches and grooves shaped to activate notes in a desired sequence. It is the musical score of organized notes that supplies the music box with its capacity to play a recognizable melody. In a similar way, the human mind grows by spiritual cells that are controlled by a spiritual 'score' carried by or contained in the stream of incoming goods and truths from the Spiritual Sun.  Research in theistic science of the future will discover from Divine Speech (see Section xx), all the spiritual knowledge that we need to rationally understand how the cells of the mind are made to grow by God through the intermediaries of human love (goods) and wisdom (truths). Knowledge of successive and simultaneous degrees (see Section xx), and knowledge of correspondences (see Section xx), will provide the techniques for extracting this new knowledge. Swedenborg reports that when we are in the heavens of our mind this kind of knowledge floods our mind spontaneously when we are wondering about how something works.

We can understand some of it now in a general way. Consider how Burnham specifies the relations between the two minds to account for the pace of their growth.  The Mind's Growth During Childhood 

THIS diagram presents the growth and storage of the mind during childhood, infancy having preceded, youth yet to follow.

Compare this diagram with XVIII, XIX, and XXI.

The principal growth and implantation of remains during childhood have taken place in b the middle degree of the spiritual mind, in c the middle degree of the natural mind, and in e the middle of the limbus. The five senses of the body have increased in quickness and strength. The remaining three degrees not here lettered have somewhat advanced in preparation for future development.

The plane b is the middle degree of the spiritual mind and is the middle heaven. This degree ultimates in the natural mind; its first ultimate is c which is the middle degree of the natural mind; and its lowest ultimate is e the middle degree of the limbus.

This degree b and its ultimates are characterized by spiritual good and truth which are those of love to the neighbor; spiritual good is the good of that love, and spiritual truth is the truth that teaches, contains and defends it. These in their beginnings are stored imperceptibly in the middle degree of the spiritual mind during childhood, the child during this time being under the ministration of spiritual angels. While the LORD imperceptibly stores spiritual principles immediately from Himself and mediately through the angels of the spiritual heaven in the degree b, He by various perceptible and imperceptible means stores the corresponding degrees below with the affection of knowledge and with knowledge itself The perceptible means are external instruction and training.

In the Writings, two distinctions are drawn between the celestial and the spiritual. The view presented in this diagram coincides with only one of these distinctions. The other puts things celestial and things spiritual in each of the three degrees of the internal and of the external mind. These distinctions may be illustrated by the body. In one view the head is celestial, the trunk spiritual, the extremities natural; this is like the celestial, the spiritual and the natural in this diagram. In the other view the right part of the head is celestial, the left spiritual; so of the trunk and extremities.

To exemplify these distinctions take the whole mind consisting of will and understanding. The mind is organized with three distinct degrees from above down, celestial, spiritual and natural. Each degree has a voluntary which is the internal, essential, affectional, and an intellectual which is the external, formal, thinking. In the highest degree this voluntary and intellectual are celestial, in the middle spiritual, in the lowest natural. The voluntary in the highest receives love to the LORD, and the intellectual in the highest, the truth of that love. In the highest degree then exist celestial good and truth, in the middle spiritual good and truth, in the lowest natural good and truth. Thus there is the celestial and the spiritual or what is the same the voluntary and the intellectual in each degree as mentioned in Chapter XIX, page 81. This is one distinction. The other is the distinction between the highest degree which is celestial and the middle which is spiritual. The first distinction is between good and truth in one degree; the second is between good and truth in one degree in relation to good and truth in another.

These distinctions may be illustrated by the examples of a married pair in the celestial heaven, a pair in the spiritual, and a pair in the natural. In the highest, the husband and wife are related to each other as love and its wisdom or as the celestial and its spiritual; yet both are celestial in relation to the pair in the heaven below. The lower pair are related to each other as truth, and good from truth, or as the spiritual and its celestial; yet both are spiritual in relation to the pair above. So the pair in the lowest heaven are natural in relation to the pairs above; but in relation to each other one is celestial and the other spiritual.

To return to the diagram. We have said in substance that the germ of the degree b undergoes development during childhood and receives interior spirituals, while that in c also becomes developed and receives exterior spirituals. The exterior as well as interior spirituals are voluntary and intellectual - the affection of knowledge being voluntary, the knowledge itself intellectual. We call the plane c in the external mind spiritual because it answers to the middle or spiritual degree b in the internal mind. But c is properly the natural spiritual. Observe that the plane c which is paternal in its origin, acts in and by the plane e and the gross body which are from the mother. Hence the affections and acquisitions of the paternal are clothed with qualities which are maternal. Thus, as shown in Chapter XVIII page 71, maternal character and quality adhere for a time to the external of the higher faculties which as to their germinal forms and states were from the father; for which reason this external is called maternal.

During the period of childhood represented in this diagram there is a lingering continuance of the state of infancy that preceded-the celestial love of parents and the celestial-spiritual love of brothers and companions with somewhat of the innocence and peace inherent in those loves together with a continual addition of sensual and corporeal ideas and impressions.

So childhood with the affection of knowing continues into youth, though the predominant desire of the youth is to know causes and reasons. He asks not so much, What? as Why? This state we present in the next diagram. (Burnham, )

Lets review one of the paragraphs above.

This degree b and its ultimates are characterized by spiritual good and truth which are those of love to the neighbor; spiritual good is the good of that love, and spiritual truth is the truth that teaches, contains and defends it. These in their beginnings are stored imperceptibly in the middle degree of the spiritual mind during childhood, the child during this time being under the ministration of spiritual angels. While the LORD imperceptibly stores spiritual principles immediately from Himself and mediately through the angels of the spiritual heaven in the degree b, He by various perceptible and imperceptible means stores the corresponding degrees below with the affection of knowledge and with knowledge itself. The perceptible means are external instruction and training.

"Degree b" refers to the spiritual layer of the internal mind. Into this mind are first deposited spiritual goods and truths called "the love of the neighbor," that is, the desire to act altruistically. This layer is in the internal spiritual mind and therefore it is not accessible to the hells which can only inflow into the natural mind. Therefore altruism is part of the "remains" we will need at our second death in order to enter our heaven forever, as discussed before (see Section xx). This illustrates how the spiritual mind is made to grow by God directly as well as mediately, using the minds of people who already dwell in their eternal heavens. In this case it is the "spiritual angels" who dwell in the Second Heaven whose work it is to insinuate altruism into the spiritual mind of those still living on earth. The spiritual "good" of altruism is deposited into the affective organ, while spiritual "truth" is deposited into the cognitive organ of the spiritual mind (see prior diagrams). All of this is unconscious and independent of the culture or intelligence of the child.

Simultaneously God arranges the right kind of "external instruction and training" for each child so that there may be correspondences in the conscious natural mind of the child  that can react to the goods and truths that are implanted in the unconscious spiritual mind. These spiritual truths cannot later be used as remains unless they have "ultimates" or correspondences in the conscious natural mind. Spiritual goods and truths cannot be made operational or usable unless they are stabilized and tied to natural goods and truths in the conscious mind which have been acquired as-of self in daily experiences. This is the reason why God cannot create people directly into their heavens, but must go through the natural route on earth. To be an angel one must be a self-made angel, that is, as-if self-made while knowing it is by the Divine Human and not from self.

Let's discuss another paragraph from Burnham in the quote above:

To exemplify these distinctions take the whole mind consisting of will and understanding. The mind is organized with three distinct degrees from above down, celestial, spiritual and natural. Each degree has a voluntary which is the internal, essential, affectional, and an intellectual which is the external, formal, thinking. In the highest degree this voluntary and intellectual are celestial, in the middle spiritual, in the lowest natural. The voluntary in the highest receives love to the LORD, and the intellectual in the highest, the truth of that love. In the highest degree then exist celestial good and truth, in the middle spiritual good and truth, in the lowest natural good and truth. Thus there is the celestial and the spiritual or what is the same the voluntary and the intellectual in each degree as mentioned in Chapter XIX, page 81. This is one distinction. The other is the distinction between the highest degree which is celestial and the middle which is spiritual. The first distinction is between good and truth in one degree; the second is between good and truth in one degree in relation to good and truth in another.

One way of making this clearer is to picture each of the three degrees of the mind--celestial, spiritual, natural--distinguished in the affective and cognitive organs. Here is one way of picturing this.

The three degrees of height in the mind correspond to the three heavens in the spiritual world. The celestial mind is in the Third Heaven. The spiritual mind is in the Second Heaven. The spiritual-natural mind is in the First Heaven. there is also an external natural mind below the spiritual-natural mind, but this is not shown on my diagram (bet see previous diagrams by Burnham discussed above).

Each of the three minds is composed of three organs--the affective organ, the cognitive organ, and the sensorimotor organ. I'm only showing the affective and cognitive organs in this diagram.

The affective organ is called "internal," "voluntary," and the "will." The cognitive organ is called "external," "intellectual," and the "understanding." Reception of Divine Speech inflowing from the Spiritual Sun will be first into the celestial mind through the Third Heaven. The spiritual mind then reacts to the celestial by correspondential connection. After this, the spiritual-natural mind reacts, also by correspondence. The reception of influx from the Spiritual sun is twofold. Spiritual heat enters the affective organ while spiritual light enters the cognitive organ. We receive celestial good in the affective organ of the celestial mind, and celestial truth in its cognitive organ. We receive spiritual good in the affective organ of the spiritual mind, and spiritual truth in its cognitive organ. We receive natural good in the affective organ of the spiritual-natural mind, and natural truth in its cognitive organ. 

You can see from this anatomical description that Divine Speech proceeds from the Divine Human surrounded by the Spiritual Sun, and enters the minds of people in an orderly fashion in accordance with the anatomy of the mind and its receptor organs tied to each other by the laws of correspondence. The growth of the human mind is nothing but the reaction of our anatomy to spiritual heat and light streaming in from the Spiritual Sun. Spiritual heat is the substance of "good" and spiritual light is the substance of "truth."

This idea may present some difficulty in understanding unless you have a spiritual idea of the Spiritual Sun and the spiritual world, which is a world that overlaps with the human mind. The Spiritual Sun is a rational substance called Divine Truth within which is Divine Love. Spiritual heat and light streaming out of this Sun are therefore rational substances. Love (or good) is a rational substance called spiritual heat. Truth (or wisdom, intelligence, intellect, rationality) is a rational substance called spiritual light. The mind is constructed from birth onward by rational substances that correspond to our feelings and thoughts. Feelings and thoughts are nothing but the operation of the affective and cognitive organs, as they are bombarded by spiritual heat and light. When we think, our cognitive organ is reacting to the stimulation of incoming spiritual light. When we feel, sense, or intend something, our affective mind is reacting to the stimulation of incoming spiritual heat.

You can see from this that God is the source of our thinking and feeling through the inflowing spiritual heat and light form the Spiritual Sun. What flows from God cannot be separated from God, which means that the inflowing spiritual heat and light constitute God "in us." Sacred Scripture says that the Divine Human is in us and we are in the Divine Human. You can see now what this means. God is "in us" because spiritual heat and light are in our organs, and this originates from God and cannot be separated from God. Any person who experiences a good love and thinks a true thought, is in God and God is in that individual. This has nothing to do with religion or belief system. Atheists can love their family and country, and they can have the motive to be useful to society. These are good loves in which God dwells since all good loves originate from God and therefore remain God. It is the same with true ideas they may have--these are God in them even if they deny God's existence. But when they think about God and deny God's existence, God is not in that denial or irrational thinking. Instead, it is the hells that are in that kind of falsity and delusion.

Quoting from the Writings Sacred Scripture:

NJHD 191. These combats are caused by the truths of faith which are from the Word. From these the man ought to contend against evils and falsities; he cannot conquer if he combats from any other truths than these, because the Lord is not in any other. Since the combat is waged by the truths of faith, therefore, a man is not permitted to enter upon it, until he is in possession of the knowledges of good and truth, and until by means of them he has acquired some spiritual life; wherefore, such combats have no place with a man, before he has reached adult age. (NJHD 191)

The orderly development of the mind proceeds first in the sensual degree during infancy, then in the scientific degree during childhood, then in the natural-rational degree in early adulthood. After that begins reformation and regeneration, which takes the individual into more internal forms of the rational--first, spiritual-natural, then spiritual-rational, and at last, celestial-rational. These developmental steps are paced so that they tie to each other from the unconscious spiritual mind to the conscious natural mind.  The natural mind contains three discrete degrees, as seen in prior diagrams, and they each correspond to the three degrees in the spiritual mind. The celestial-rational of the Third Heaven in the spiritual mind corresponds to the celestial-natural of the natural mind. The spiritual-rational of the Second Heaven in the spiritual mind corresponds to the celestial-natural of the natural mind. The spiritual-natural of the Second Heaven in the spiritual mind corresponds to the spiritual-natural of the natural mind. Below this is the natural-rational, which has a correspondence to the hells before it is regenerated, and afterwards, all levels of the natural mind correspond to the heavens.

Quoting from the Writings Sacred Scripture:

AC 3913. And she said, Behold my maidservant Bilhah. [analyzing a verse in the Old Testament Sacred Scripture Genesis 30:3]

That this signifies the affirming means which there is between natural truth and interior truth, is evident from the signification of a "maidservant" and also of a "handmaid" as being the affection of the knowledges that belong to the exterior man [= our natural mind]; and because this affection is the means for conjoining interior truths with natural or external truths, by "handmaid" is here signified the affirming means between them: and from the representation of Bilhah, as being the quality of this means.

By the handmaids given to Jacob by Rachel and Leah for women to the intent that they might bring forth offspring, nothing else was represented and signified in the internal sense, than such a thing as is of service; here, for a means of the conjunction of interior truth with external truth; for by Rachel is represented interior truth, and by Leah external truth (n. 3793, 3819). For by the twelve sons of Jacob are here described the twelve general or cardinal things by means of which while being regenerated or made a church, man is initiated into what is spiritual and celestial [= when we are being regenerated].

For when a man [=any individual man or woman] is being regenerated, or made a church (that is, when from a dead man he is becoming alive, or from corporeal heavenly), he is led by the Lord [= the Divine Psychologist] through many states [= developmental states]. These general states are what are designated by the "twelve sons," and afterwards by the "twelve tribes;" for which reason the "twelve tribes" signify all things of faith and love, as may be seen above (n. 3858); for generals involve all the particulars and singulars, and these latter bear relation to the former.

[2] When a man is being regenerated, the internal man [= spiritual mind] is to be conjoined with the external [= natural mind], consequently the goods and truths of the internal man with the goods and truths of the external; for from truths and goods man is man [= why we are human rather than animal]. These cannot be conjoined without means [= intermediate mental states]. Means are such things as derive something from the one side [= spiritual mind], and something from the other [= natural mind], and which are attended with the effect that insofar as the man accedes to the one [= to the spiritual mind], the other [= the natural mind] becomes subordinate [= we are then regenerating for heavenly life]. These means are what are signified by the "handmaids," the means on the part of the internal man by the handmaids of Rachel; and the means on the part of the external man by the handmaids of Leah. [= In the Old Testament story, Rachel is Jacob's wife from love; Leah is his wife by arrangement.]

[3] That there must be means of conjunction may be seen from the fact that of itself the natural man does not in the least agree with the spiritual man, but disagrees so far as to be altogether opposite [= prior to regeneration we enjoy mostly hellish traits]. For the natural man regards and loves himself and the world; but the spiritual man does not regard himself and the world, except insofar as is conducive to the promotion of uses in the spiritual world [= our life after resuscitation]; and thus regards its service and loves it from the use and end [= our spiritual mind loves only heavenly traits]. The natural man [= our life prior to regeneration] seems to himself to have life when he is elevated to dignities, and thus to supereminence over others; but the spiritual man [= our life after regeneration starts] seems to himself to have life in humility, and in being the least.

Nor does he disregard dignities, provided that by them as means he can be of service to his neighbor, to the community, and to the church. Yet he does not reflect for the sake of himself upon the dignities to which he is elevated, but for the sake of the uses which he regards as the ends [= when regenerating we are altruistic]. The natural man [= our life prior to regeneration] is in his bliss when he is richer than others, and possesses the world's wealth; but the spiritual man [= once we start regenerating] is in his bliss when he is in the knowledges of truth and good [= theistic psychology], which are his riches; and still more when he is in the practice of good according to truths [= uses truths to regenerate]; and yet he does not despise riches, because by means of them he can be in that practice, and in the world [= when regenerating we can pursue a normal life].

[4] From these few considerations it is evident that the state of the natural man and that of the spiritual man are opposed to each other by their ends; but that nevertheless they can be conjoined, which takes place when the things of the external man are made subordinate and subservient to the ends of the internal man [= we think and act in agreement with truths]. In order therefore that a man may become spiritual [= begin regeneration], it is necessary for the things of the external man to be reduced to compliance; thus that the ends in favor of self and the world be put off; and ends in favor of the neighbor and the Lord's kingdom [= our life after resuscitation] be put on. The former can by no means be put off and the latter put on, and thus the two be conjoined, except through means [= intermediate mental states]. These means are what are signified by the "handmaids," and in particular by the "four sons" born of the handmaids.

[5] The first means is one that affirms or is affirmative of internal truth-that it is so [= adopting the positive bias in science]. When this affirmative comes [= when we are willing], the man is in the beginning of regeneration; good is being worked by the internal, and causes the affirmation. This good cannot inflow into what is negative, nor even into what is full of doubt, until this becomes affirmative. But afterwards it manifests itself by affection [= we love studying theistic psychology], that is, by the man's being affected with truth [= we love finding out God's truth], or beginning to be delighted with it; first in knowing it, and then in acting according to it.

Take, for example, the truth that the Lord [= Incarnated Divine Human, now the Divine Psychologist in everyone] is the salvation for the human race. Unless this is made affirmative by the man, all the things he has learned from the Word or in the church concerning the Lord [= our knowledge of theistic psychology], and that are in his natural memory among the memory- knowledges, cannot be conjoined with his internal man, that is, with what can be there of faith [= rational understanding of truths]. Thus neither can affection flow in, not even into the generals of that truth which are conducive to man's salvation. But when it becomes affirmative, innumerable things are added, and are filled with the good that flows in; for good continually flows in from the Lord, but where there is no affirmative, it is not received. An affirmative is therefore the first means, and is as it were the first abode of the good that flows in from the Lord. The same is the case with all the other truths that are called truths of faith. (AC 3913)

The above passage discusses how regeneration takes place, namely when our every day conscious natural mind is rearranged to fit our spiritual mind which contains truths and goods from the Divine Psychologist. This rearrangement must be accomplished by our own mental efforts, especially engaging in combat of temptations. This means that we monitor our thoughts and feelings all day long and try to talk ourselves out of thinking or doing something that is contrary to the truths we understand. To exert this effort regularly as part of our daily life is the spiritual discipline called regeneration. As we do this more and more, we advance in regeneration more and more. Our character changes from egotistical and irresponsible to altruistic and wise. We live a virtuous life motivated by the desire to be useful to others and society. We love this because it is heaven. Upon resuscitation we come into this heaven and we exist there in conjugial love with our soul mate among other conjugial couples forming a spiritual society in eternity.  The Role of the Unconscious Spiritual Mind

Prior to regeneration there is a dissociation between the spiritual and natural minds. The spiritual mind cannot bring about any changes in the natural mind because the natural mind reacts in opposition to it. After regeneration there is a consociation between them so that the natural mind reacts by correspondence to the spiritual mind and the two are in agreement. We are then called angels, even though we still continue to develop more and more towards that final goal. Quoting from the Writings:

When a man's interior is purified from evils by desisting from them and shunning them because they are sins, then the internal is opened, which is above it, and which is called the spiritual internal. This communicates with heaven; hence it is that a man is then introduced into heaven, and conjoined to the Lord.

There are two internals with man, one beneath and the other above. The internal which is beneath is that in which a man is, and from which he thinks, while he lives in the world, for it is natural. This, by way of distinction, we shall call the interior. But the internal which is above is that into which a man comes after death when he comes into heaven. All the angels of heaven are in this internal, for it is spiritual. It is this internal which is opened to the man who shuns evils as sins, but it is kept closed to the man who does not shun, evils as sins.

[3] The reason why this internal is kept closed to the man who does not shun evils as sins is, that the interior, or natural internal, before man becomes purified from sins, is hell; and so long as hell is there, heaven cannot be opened; but as soon as hell is removed, then it is opened. It must be known, however, that the spiritual internal and heaven are opened to man, so far as the natural internal is purified from the hell which is there; and this is not effected at once, but by degrees successively. From these things it is evident that a man of himself is hell, and becomes heaven by the Lord. Consequently, that he is rescued from hell by the Lord, and raised up to Himself into heaven, not immediately, but mediately, the means being the precepts just mentioned, by which the Lord leads him who is willing to be led. (AE 940)

The first paragraph in the passage above says that the internal spiritual mind "is opened," that is, activated and made operational, when the natural mind is "purified from evils by desisting from them and shunning them because they are sins." This refers to character reformation during which we apply the doctrine of truth from Sacred Scripture to our willing and thinking in daily activities. The Divine Psychologist arranges for us to have a particular temptation experience which gives us the opportunity to (a) witness the evil enjoyment or false idea we have, and (b) shun it as sin, which means to separate yourself from the evil enjoyment or false idea, to turn away from it as from hell itself see Section xx). This act of dissociation and turning away allows the Divine Psychologist to cut the inherited ties to the hells. This liberation from some hell society is called "when a man's interior is purified from evils."

The second paragraph contrasts the external conscious natural mind with the internal unconscious spiritual mind. When we enter the afterlife at death we are resuscitated as a spirit with a spiritual body and without a physical body. Now our external mind is laid to rest and rendered non-operational and we begin our life in eternity in our spiritual mind. Obviously, this mind had to be formed all along while we were on earth, otherwise we would fall into a coma when the natural mind is rendered completely non-operational at the second death (see Section xx). If at that point we became conscious in a spiritual mind that was not actually ours all along, we would not be who we are and we would be a stranger within. This cannot possibly form the basis of a heavenly life because our heaven has always been the state of fulfillment of our desires, our desires and loves, which we cumulatively formed during our growth on earth.

Hence it is that the content of the spiritual mind, though unconscious here on earth, nevertheless is our very own, and is nothing but the internal form of the loves we had on earth in the natural mind. There is a precise correspondence between every detail of content in our natural mind, and every corresponding detail of content in the spiritual mind. For instance, suppose you love playing sports. You love how you feel, you like the aftereffects, you like to rehearse events in your mind, you like to read about, talk about it, do it regularly over and over. This is the conscious love of sports that you have in your natural mind here on earth. You could not enjoy this love or have it unless it was acquired by cooperation from your unconscious spiritual mind. The love of sports you are conscious of is just the external form of the love of people that is in your unconscious mind.

The love of people in your unconscious spiritual mind corresponds to the love of sports in your conscious natural mind. The spiritual love is inside the natural love, and gives it life, which you experience as enjoyment, fun, interest, focus,  involvement,  excitement, satisfaction, etc. These are the things you actually love--enjoyment, fun, interest, etc., and these are the external forms of the love of people, which you are not even conscious of. You think it's something else. You think your love of sports has to do with your love of winning, competing, mastering. Now at your second death, the love of sports itself is laid to rest with the natural mind, and your consciousness becomes alive in your spiritual mind which contains the inside of that love--love of interacting with people. The external form of this love is gone, and you don't miss it. Now you are focused on the internal of the love which you had all along.  So you lost nothing, and gained a lot, because the internal of every love is an entire degree more intense than its external form.

This is the case with all your loves. When you awaken in your spiritual mind you find everything there completely familiar and so intense that you become far more alive than before.

Swedenborg reports that when people then enter the heaven in their mind, everything looks familiar, like a homecoming--the people greet you like old family, you recognize the house on the street that belongs to you because it is the correspondential embodiment of your unconscious ideals of what a house should look like. We all begin our life of immortality in this state of complete familiarity but extraordinary intensity.

And if your dream house was a hellish mansion where evil enjoyments go on, that's what you enter, and you feel ecstatic that at last you have your most secret and unconscious dreams come true. But this mental state of excitement does not last as you discover that the evil enjoyments you have are not your own. They belong to evil societies that are much deeper in the hells, people who want to be devils, and satans, and genii, who then become your masters in hell. Your excitement and fun quickly turn into vile slavery to task masters that hate you and love to make you suffer.  In heaven on the other hand, you discover that your enjoyments come from altruistic societies made of people who have entered the highest heaven in their mind, which is near God. From that place of superlative humanity they beam their ecstatic bliss to those who dwell farther from the Spiritual Sun.

As you study theistic psychology you acquire the skill of anticipating, or knowing in advance, what you will be like in your immortality. You can know this in general terms, even if not in specific detail, if you reflect on the anatomy of your mind, and the content of the loves and truths to which you are holding on to. Examine the hierarchy of your loves. Use your knowledge of the mind's anatomy to follow some love from its external manifestation in your conscious natural mind, to its internal origin in your unconscious spiritual mind. Many loves are characterized in Sacred Scripture so you can map our your connections with the spiritual societies. Daily self-witnessing practice is critical in the task of identifying our loves (see Section xx).  Regeneration of the Adult Mind

 So far we have established the two principal mechanisms by which God grows the human mind while we are still in this life:

(a) by the use of the vertical community by which people who already dwell in their heavens ("angels") or hells ("devils"), become the source or "influx" for the correspondential content of our affective and cognitive organs in our everyday conscious natural mind;
(b) by the anatomical layering of the mind in correspondential degrees, with two main interdependent portions, one unconscious (spiritual mind), the other conscious (natural mind).

The "influx" of spiritual feelings and thoughts is received by the corresponding layers of the unconscious spiritual mind (also called the internal mind). This forms the unconscious content of the spiritual mind called "remains" and consists of spiritual feelings and thoughts that live in the heavenly layers of our spiritual mind. The chief love in the unconscious spiritual mind is the ruling love with which the feelings of angel people inflow--altruism or the love of being useful to others, coupled with the desire of avoiding doing anything that might hurt or inconvenience others. The chief love or striving in the unconscious spiritual mind becomes by correspondence in the conscious natural mind, the truth of doctrine from Sacred Scripture arranged in rational order (i.e., theistic psychology). This truth of doctrine is that God the Divine Human is the source of all good and truth that are with us, and that everything we have that is our own from our self-intelligence, is nothing but evil and delusional. The contrast here is between all that we have that is from God and heaven (which is good), vs. all that we have from others or ourselves (which is from hell). Other truths follow from this one, and they are all insinuated by God into the spiritual mind and arranged in an orderly fashion as the individual grows from infancy, to childhood, to young adulthood, to adulthood and old age. Then, at death and resuscitation, the person becomes an angel person in the full bloom of youth, for conjugial life in eternity.

But things can go wrong in this process due to interference by the individual, that is, lack of cooperation with God, which restricts the growth of the mind into non-heavenly pathways.

Quoting from the Writings Sacred Scripture:

AR 510 [2] What is specifically meant by this expression, shall be explained: Every man who is reformed, is first reformed as to the internal man, and afterwards as to the external. The internal man is not reformed by merely knowing and understanding the truths and goods by which man is saved, but by willing and loving them; but the external man, by speaking and doing the things which the internal man wills and loves, and, in proportion as this takes place, in the same proportion man is regenerated.

The reason why he is not regenerated before, is, because his internal is not before in the effect, but only in the cause, and, unless the cause be in the effect, it is dissipated. It is like a house built upon ice, which sinks to the bottom when the ice is melted by the sun; in a word, it is like a man without feet to stand and walk upon. It is the same with the internal or spiritual man, if it is not founded on the external or natural man. (...)

This is what is meant also by the Lord's words to Peter:

Peter said, Thou shalt not wash my feet only, but also my hands and my head. Jesus said to him, He that is washed needeth not save to wash his feet, and the whole is clean (John 13:9-10).

(AR 510)

AC 7442. [2] How it is that the interiors also of the natural mind shall be taken possession of by the falsities of evil which are in the outermost parts of this mind, must be briefly told. The things that flow in with man through heaven from the Lord, flow into his interiors, and advance down to the ultimates or outermost parts, and there they are presented to man in a sensible form, consequently they flow down into the sensuous, and through this into the things of the body. If the sensuous has been filled with phantasies from fallacies and appearances, and especially if it has been filled with phantasies from falsities, then the truths which flow in are there turned into similar things, for they are received there according to the form that is induced on them (see n. 7343). Insofar also as truths are turned into falsities, so far the interiors through which they pass are closed, and at last there is no opening beyond that which is necessary for a sufficient transflux to confer the faculty of reasoning, and of confirming evils by means of falsities.

[3] Such being the case with man, it must needs be that while he is being regenerated his natural must be regenerated down to the sensuous; for unless this is regenerated, there is no reception of truth and good, because, as before said, the inflowing truth is there perverted, and then the interiors are closed. And therefore when the exteriors have been regenerated, the whole man has been regenerated, as was signified by the Lord's words to Peter when He washed his feet:

Simon Peter said unto Him

Lord, wash Thou not my feet only, but also my hands and my head. Jesus said to him, He that hath been bathed needeth not save to have his feet washed, and is clean every whit (John 13:9-10);

by the "feet" are signified natural things (n. 2162, 3761, 3986, 4280, 4938-4952); by "washing" is signified purifying (n. 3147, 5954); by "hands" are signified the interiors of the natural; and by the "head" spiritual things; hence is plain what is meant by "him that hath been bathed needing only to have his feet washed, and being clean every whit," namely, that a man has already been regenerated when he has been regenerated also in respect to the exteriors that belong to the natural. When therefore man has been regenerated also in respect to the natural, then all things therein have been made subordinate to the more interior things; and when these flow in there, they flow as into their generals, by which they present themselves to man in a sensible form. When this is the case with a man, he sensibly feels the affection of the truth that is of faith, and the affection of the good that is of charity.

[4] But the sensuous itself, which is the ultimate of the natural, can with difficulty be regenerated, because it has been filled with material ideas from things earthly, bodily, and worldly. Therefore the man who is being regenerated, especially at this day, is not regenerated as to the sensuous, but as to the natural which is next above the sensuous, to which he is elevated by the Lord from the sensuous, when he is thinking about the truths and goods of faith. The man who is being regenerated by the Lord is endowed with the capacity of elevation from the sensuous. With respect to the nature of the sensuous, and the elevation of the thought above it, see n. 5084, 5089, 5094, 5125, 5128, 5767, 6183, 6201, 6310, 6311, 6313, 6314, 6316, 6318, 6564, 6598, 6612, 6614, 6622, 6624, 6844, 6845, 6948, 6949.)
(AC 7442.)

The development of the unconscious spiritual is dependent to some extent on the individual's cooperation at the conscious level of the natural mind. The two minds are locked into each other for functioning, so that the spiritual mind cannot progress to its layering and development without the correspondential reaction of the conscious natural mind, thus of the individual's voluntary cooperation. Since we are born with a corrupted natural mind connected to the hells, our feelings and thoughts react in opposition and resistance to the heavenly content of the spiritual mind. The angels' altruistic loves and principles of living may inflow the spiritual layers of the mind, but this content cannot be fixed into the affective and cognitive organs without the correspondential reaction of the lower natural layers to which God gives us control. The "remains" that are placed in our unconscious mind are not ours to use in the afterlife unless we make them ours in this life. This is called "appropriating" the loves to self.

Altruistic loves and the truths of doctrine from Sacred Scripture, cannot be appropriated by the inherited "old will" which must first be reformed and regenerated. We must suffer ourselves to undergo temptations and to battle them with the truth of doctrine from Sacred Scripture. Then we acquire a "new will" which is suitable to react by correspondence to the remains in our unconscious spiritual mind. Then only do these remains become ours, part of the new proprium by which we can enter the heavens in our mind (see Section xx).

The spiritual influx progresses in three discrete layers from celestial-rational (Third Heaven -- red), to spiritual-rational (Second Heaven -- white), to spiritual-natural (First Heaven -- a  light green). These are the three layers of the unconscious spiritual mind (B The Heavens) that will serve us in the afterlife. These three layers of the mind overlap totally with the three layers of the spiritual world, which is the mental world of the afterlife in eternity (see Section xx). Simultaneously, this downward progression or "descent" is matched by a corresponding upward progression of the conscious natural mind, called "ascent." The descending and ascending layers match each other perfectly. This interdependence may be seen once more in the accompanying Burnham diagram.

The celestial influx into the spiritual mind descends through the three layers shown in B (red, white, green) and this descent is matched by the ascent in the natural mind C (dark red, grey, dark green). Layer a (light green) is the spiritual correspondence to layer b (dark green). This is the state reached prior to regeneration, during growth of the mind form infancy to early adulthood. Layer b is the highest development of the natural mind and is called the natural-rational mind. Layer a is the lowest development of the spiritual mind and is called the spiritual-natural heaven.

When reformation and regeneration begin in adult life the process of growth now continues in an inverse order. Regeneration starts with reformation of the natural-rational mind (b--dark green) by means of the doctrine of truth from Sacred Scripture. It is our conscious rational concepts that are first purified and realigned to the internal spiritual truths that have been deposited in layer a (First Heaven). This is now our opportunity to enter our First Heaven while we are still on earth. The content of the First Heaven is composed of spiritual-natural correspondences of Sacred Scripture while the content of the natural-rational mind is composed of the literal meaning of Sacred Scripture. When these two are locked into one another, portion a is actually within b. In other words, b is made alive by a. This is called enlightenment because we now read Sacred Scripture in such a way that we see its meaning by "heavenly light," which is the spiritual light streaming from the Spiritual Sun. Our thinking and willing becomes more and more heavenly as the conscious natural mind (b) is regenerated.

But this growth process in the natural-rational mind cannot become permanent unless our regeneration descends into the middle layer of C (grey), which is the "scientific" layer of knowledges in our mind. To the extent that this scientific layer is regenerated, to that extent the middle layer of the spiritual mind in B (white) is fixed within the natural layer, enlightening us as to our perception and understanding of the natural world around us. We now can consciously see the spiritual within the natural, whereas before we only saw the natural as if that's all there was. Finally, the lowest portion of the natural mind is regenerated in C (dark red). This is called the sensuous-natural mind, and to the extent it is regenerated, to that extent the celestial-rational mind in B (red) descends into the sensuous-natural mind and vivifies it and enlightens it.

Regeneration is therefore an orderly process of the growth of the human mind. Every descending step in the conscious mind is matched by an ascending step in the unconscious mind until the entire mind is regenerated and made heavenly through influx. The entire process is managed by God and requires the conscious voluntary cooperation of the individual. This cooperation requires two steps: (a) acquiring the truth of doctrine from Sacred Scripture; and (b) applying it to our thinking and willing in daily activities. This is how Burnham summarizes the process:

This first step in adult regeneration, may be elucidated. The lowest degree of the spiritual mind a having been previously stored with good and truth is prepared for the man's entrance into it; he then rises into it and plants therein the interior seat of his thought and affection. Thus he begins to be a distinctively spiritual man but has not yet become so, especially not permanently so. To ensure this result the highest degree of his natural mind b and the corresponding plane of the limbus c must be cleansed of evil and falsity and appropriate good and truth adopted in their stead. (A.C. 3539 and 6724.)

Evil and falsity can be removed only by combat in obedience to the Divine command to shun them as sins, for the LORD can work in man to remove his disorders only when man co-operates with Him. (A.E. 790 [b].) This combat is waged by good and truth on the LORD's side against evil and falsity assaulting on the other. The goods and truths immediately brought into use as the hosts of the LORD in this combat are those already stored in these degrees (b and c) during youth, But these goods and truths cannot combat and expel the evils and falsities from these degrees except as infilled and animated by the higher goods and truths in a of the spiritual mind.

Thus the combat is primarily between the spiritual mind and the evils and falsities of the natural mind. The spiritual mind however fights from its own goods and truths by the goods and truths of the natural mind. (A.C. 6724, A.E. 176, 790.) Then the spiritual rests securely on the natural and the man thereafter holds his interior seat in that lowest degree of the spiritual mind. This degree of the natural mind is now conjoined with the spiritual and makes one with it. The man dying in this state goes to the lowest or natural heaven because he is regenerate to the natural degree of his spiritual mind and to the corresponding degree of his natural mind. This first great step of regeneration requires years for its accomplishment, with most persons, many years. Neither does it always actually commence at twenty-one years of age.

You can follow the citations he gives to the Writings to see more details of the process.

We begin the growth of our mind in external consciousness in the natural mind, but as we are regenerated, we enter progressively more and more into interior consciousness in our spiritual mind. This is the basis of our immortality. Quoting from the Writings:

Unless the natural assists no birth of interior truth is possible, since it is the natural that receives interior truths into its bosom once these are born; indeed it is the natural that enables them to push their way out. The same applies to instances of spiritual birth, in that reception must take place wholly within the natural. This is the reason why, when a person is being regenerated, the natural is first of all made ready to receive, and to the extent it is then able to receive, interior truths and goods are able to emerge and multiply.

This also explains why, if the natural man has not been made ready during the life of the body to receive the truths and goods of faith, that person cannot receive them in the next life and so cannot be saved. This is the implication of the common saying 'As the tree falls, so it must lie', meaning, What a person is when he dies, so he comes to be.

For a person has with him in the next life his whole natural memory, that is, the memory belonging to his external man, though he is not allowed to use it in that life, 2469-2494. In the next life therefore that memory serves as the groundwork on which interior truths and goods rest; but if that groundwork is not able to support the goods and truths which flow into it from within, interior goods and truths are either annihilated, or perverted, or cast aside. (AC 4588)

The spiritual mind we need in our immortality cannot develop by itself, or else God could create human beings directly in heaven, by passing life and evil in earthly life. God doesn't do this because it is not rationally possible. In order to have a spiritual mind that we accept as our very own for our life in eternity, it must be established as our own. Prior to regeneration we all have celestial loves and concepts in the spiritual mind by influx from the angels, as explained above. But this is not our own. It is borrowed goods. We cannot keep it or use it after we enter the world of spirits--unless they have been made our own. This process of making them our own is achieved through regeneration (see Section xx). That's when we appropriate to ourselves the celestial loves and truths that have been unconsciously implanted in the spiritual mind during growth on earth.  The Adult Unregenerate Hellish Mind

Diagram XXV depicts "the wicked" which is the phrase used by Sacred Scripture to refer  to the adult mind that has not been regenerated and therefore comes into hell upon the second death. Hell is already in such a mind prior to the death of the body and so those who are resuscitated gravitate inexorably to the company of those who dwell in the hell and in whose company they have been in while on earth. The intentions and feelings we have when we are in this state are those that they have in the hells of their mind, and when we come into conscious contact with them, at our resuscitation, we acclaim them as our companions and long lost friends, so familiar do they seem to us then, having been with them in our feelings and intentions while still on earth.

The spiritual mind pictured in the diagram at B, is pure and white, and communicates with the three heavens. This is the hellish person's unconscious spiritual mind, and it is "closed, shrunken, paralyzed" and rendered non-operational. This is because they become operational only when the natural mind cooperates by not opposing. When we have developed thoughts and intentions that are wicked, that is, antisocial and selfish, the natural mind resists the spiritual mind, but is accepting of the hells, shown in Z in all black.

Note that there are three degrees in the mind where we have our hells, just as there are three degrees in the mind where we have our heavens. The three degrees of the hells communicate and flow into the corresponding three degrees of the unregenerate natural mind in C--sensual, scientific, rational. Those who dwell in the three degrees of hell are called evil spirits, devils, satans, dragons, serpents,  Lucifer, sirens, and genii, depending on which of the three degrees of evil they specialize in and in what combination. The first or less grievous hells have the rational mind especially corrupted (w). The second or intermediary hells have the scientific mind especially corrupted (x). And the third or most grievous hells have the sensual mind especially corrupted (y).

The Writings reveal that those who dwell in the hells of their mind are fond of the odor of excrement and corpses. Quoting:

It is to be known that falsities and evils of every kind correspond to unclean and loathsome things in the natural world, and the more direful falsities and evils to things pertaining to dead bodies and to fetid excrementitious things, and the milder falsities and evils to things pertaining to swamps; consequently the dwelling-places in the hells of those who are in such falsities and evils appear like pits and sepulchers; and if you will believe it, such evil genii and spirits also have their abode in the sepulchers, privies, and swamps that are in our world, although they do not know it; this is so because they correspond, and the things that correspond conjoin.

The same conclusion may be drawn from this, that to those who have been assassins and poisoners, and to those who have perceived delight in violating women, there is nothing more delightful than the odor of a corpse; and to those who have been eaten up with the love of ruling, and to those who have taken delight in adulteries, and no delight in marriages, there is nothing more delightful than the odor of excrement; and to those who have confirmed themselves in falsities, and have extinguished in themselves the affection of truth, there is nothing more delightful than the odor of a swamp and of urinous places. This is why the hells in which they dwell appear according to the corresponding delights, some like pits and some like sepulchers. (AE 659)

It has also been granted me to know the nature of the most crafty sensual men. Their hell is deep down, and behind, and they do not desire to be conspicuous. Therefore, they appear hovering about there like spectres, which are their fantasies; and they are called genii. Some of them were once sent out from that hell that I might know their character. They at once directed their influence to my neck beneath the occiput and from there they entered my affections, not wishing to enter my thoughts, which they dexterously avoided. They then kept changing my affections one after another with the design of bending them imperceptibly into their opposites, which are lusts of evil; and as they did not in the least touch my thoughts they would have bent and inverted my affections without my knowledge had not the Lord prevented this.

[5] Such do those become who in the world do not believe there is a Divine Providence, and who search out in others nothing but their cupidities and desires, and so lead them on till they acquire an ascendency over them. As they do this so secretly and craftily that others do not know it, and as these after death become like themselves, therefore immediately after their arrival in the spiritual world they are sent down into that hell. When seen in the light of heaven they appear without any nose; and what is wonderful, although they are so crafty yet they are more sensual than the rest. (DP 310)

It has been believed hitherto in the world that there is one devil who presides over the hells; that he was created an angel of light; but having become rebellious he was cast down with his crew into hell. This belief has prevailed because the Devil and Satan, and also Lucifer, are mentioned by name in the Word, and the Word in those places has been understood according to the sense of the letter. But by "the devil" and "Satan" there hell is meant, "devil" meaning the hell that is behind, where dwell the worst, who are called evil genii; and "Satan" the hell that is in front, where dwell the less wicked, who are called evil spirits; and "Lucifer" those who belong to Babel, or Babylon, who reach out their powers even into heaven. That there is no one devil to whom the hells are subject is evident also from this, that all who are in the hells, like all who are in the heavens, are from the human race (see n. 311-317); and that those who have gone there from the beginning of creation to this time amount to myriads of myriads, and every one of them is a devil of such a nature as was his opposition to the Divine while he lived in the world (see above, n. 311, 312). (HH 544)

Just as heaven, deriving as it does from the Lord, constitutes through mutual love one human being and one soul so to speak, and consequently has one end in view, which is to preserve and save all men eternally, so conversely does hell, deriving as it does from the proprium, constitute through self-love and love of the world, that is, through hatred, one devil and one frame of mind (animus), and consequently has one end in view, which is to destroy and condemn all men eternally. That this is the nature of their endeavors I have perceived thousands and thousands of times. Unless therefore the Lord were preserving everybody in every fraction of a moment, man would perish. (AC 694)

Some have brought with them from the world the idea that they must not talk to the devil but flee from him. They have been informed however that nothing at all could harm people whom the Lord is protecting, not even if the whole of hell were surrounding them, both from without and from within. This I have been given to know from many amazing experiences. Such were those experiences that in the end I had no fear at all, not even of the worst of the hellish crew, to deter me from talking to them.

I have also been granted such experiences so that I might get to know what the members of that crew are like. To people who have marveled that I have spoken to them I have been allowed to say further that not only would this do me no harm but also that devils in the next life have previously been men who went through life in the world hating, getting revenge, and committing adultery. I have said that some of them at the time were highly respected people, and indeed that some of them are people whom I had known during their lifetime.

I have also been allowed to say that 'devil' means nothing else than such a crew in hell, and in addition that people while living in the world have present with them at least two spirits from hell, as well as two angels from heaven, and that these hellish spirits though ruling among the wicked have among the good been overpowered and made subservient. Thus it is wrong to think of some devil existing since the beginning of creation other than those who have previously been men. When people have heard all this they have been dumbfounded and have confessed that they have held an altogether different opinion concerning the devil and his crew. (AC 968)


5.1.2  Structural and Functional Relations in the Mind or Spiritual Body


(From: )


5.1.3  Relationship Between Mind and Culture

We are born dual citizens of the universe, with a physical body on some planet in the natural world, and a mental body in the world of spirits. Human beings on earth are therefore spirits temporarily tied to a physical body. Both the physical body and the mental body grow and develop together, locked into step by the inexorable laws of correspondences that governs the relation between natural and spiritual events. When the physical body dies, the mental body in the world of spirits is liberated and we continue a life of immortality in either the heavens of our mind, or the hells, depending on what we love more. The immortal mental body houses the affective, cognitive, and sensorimotor organs of our mind which contain our threefold self--our character and memories.

The mental body in the world of spirits is surrounded by an external atmosphere and a social environment just like the physical body on earth. The atmosphere around the mind is made of rational ether created by the Spiritual Sun, just as the atmosphere around the physical body is made of physical ether and gases created by the natural sun. The social environment of the mental body is created by the presence of other spirits. The interaction between spirits depends on their state of mind.

While we are still tied to a physical body on earth our conscious self is immersed in the natural mind and we are not conscious of spirits who are in the presence of our mental body. We are only conscious of what enters the natural mind through our sensorimotor organ that reacts directly to the sensorimotor apparatus of the physical body. Swedenborg reports that our mental body is visible to the spirits in the world of spirits but they are not allowed to approach it. A distinct odor familiar to spirits emanates and surrounds our mental body, and this special odor keeps them from approaching us. We are not aware of them because our awareness is restricted to the sensorimotor input from the physical environment.

There is however another type of communication between our mental body and the spirits in the world of spirits. This is called our vertical community (see Section xx). God connects us and disconnects us from various spirits on a moment by moment precise timing procedure. This process allows God to completely control what operations are going on in an individual's mind. Without controlling every thought and feeling in people, God could not control the events of the world and universe. The overall or general events are made up of the little individual events and so these have to be controlled in order to control the whole.

The process of connecting and disconnecting our mind with other spirits is called "influx." The diagram below shows that influx enters the affective organ, not the cognitive organ. Influx excites particular elements in the affective organ, the result of which is that we experience a particular kind of feeling. There is a correspondence between this feeling or emotion that we experience and the ruling love of the spirits who initiated the influx. Spirit societies in the heavens and the hells are arranged in a hierarchy that reflects their ruling loves. For instance, among the spirits of hell, the love of destroying innocence is a different ruling love from avarice, which is different from cruelty or illicit sex. Among spirits of heaven, the love to protect children is different from the love to acquire knowledges or to the environment clean. Every heavenly and hellish trait in human beings is traced back to a spiritual society where all its members have that one trait as a ruling love. Influx is the method by which they communicate this ruling love to those on earth. Through this exchange, which is automatic and completely controlled by God, they are able to experience fulfillment of their ruling love. Look at the diagram below.

Spiritual influx enters the affective organ where we have the DNA record of all our inherited traits. The organic record of that particular love is now activated by the particular influx. The result is that we have an experience in our consciousness that we call a feeling or a preference, also, a need or impulse, also, a longing, desire, motive, goal, or intention. These are all sub-varieties of what are called affections and loves in the good sense, and in the bad sense, infernal loves, lusts, and cupidities.

The spirits who originate the influx also experience something, which they find highly rewarding, though they do not know that it comes from us to them. The Writings describe how the process works. The affections that are aroused by the influx into our affective organ, now seeks out a cognitive partner it can ally itself with. This built in. Every affection has the property of seeking out a cognition that is compatible with it, like in a marriage, and the two as a couple, then produce offspring. In this case the offspring is the outward behavior, as shown in the diagram above.

Both the spirits and us feel most rewarded when the influx starts a chain of events that culminate in the outward behavior. For instance, God connects us with a spirit society whose ruling love is to hurt others by first befriending them and then treating them cruelly. As a result, we instantly experience a desire or impulse to hurt someone we are at that moment talking to. Our cognitive skills respond to the affective impulse by thinking of how to ridicule this person. Suddenly we say something out loud that is insulting to the person we are talking to. This closes the loop if influx. We experience an immediate enjoyment when we realize our insult has worked and the person is hurt. The spirits who originated the influx now experience a full completion and satisfaction of their own love to be cruel and hurt others.

What's amazing is that neither the spirits nor us have any inkling of the intimate way we are untied to each other during that moment of fulfillment. In fact, the spirits have the illusion that the thoughts we had in the selection of the insult, were their thoughts! They are not aware of us, but they are aware of our thoughts, and so they have no other choice but to experience them as their own thoughts responding to their own loves. Similarly, when we experience their loves of the moment, we are not aware of their presence so that we have no choice but to experience those loves as our very own.

As the diagram shows our loves in the affective organ are inherited, while our thoughts in the affective organ are acquired through cultural experience in the physical world. Spirits are no longer tied to the physical world and so are not capable of having new cultural content enter their thoughts. They are starved for new thoughts that could combine with their old loves so that these may be revitalized, as in anew marriage. They depend on us to supply the new cultural content through the thoughts we have in response to their loves. There is thus a perfect mutual balance and dependence between people still on earth and people who have already passed into their life of immortality.

The natural world and spiritual world are thus perfectly dependent on each other and neither can be removed without destroying the other. For us who are still on earth to develop and grow, we need influx. And once we enter our life of eternity in the mind, we join the existing spirit societies and provide influx for the new people born on some earth. (See also Section xx.)



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5.1.4  Rational Mind Mediates Natural and Spiritual Information


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5.1.5  Rational and Sensuous Consciousness


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5.2  Illustration of Predictive Research -- Developmental Phases in Spiritual Development





5.3  Ethical Issues in Theistic Psychology

The official Ethical Principles of Psychologists and Code of Conduct of the American Psychological Association (2002) may be found online at:

The purpose of the Ethics Statement is to guide psychologists in the standards they should apply as professional psychologists. This includes all job settings where an individual delivers services or activities as a psychologist. For instance, psychotherapists, counselors, health professionals, supervisors, public service settings,  researchers using human subjects, and instructors.

This Ethics Code applies only to psychologists' activities that are part of their scientific, educational, or professional roles as psychologists. Areas covered include but are not limited to the clinical, counseling, and school practice of psychology; research; teaching; supervision of trainees; public service; policy development; social intervention; development of assessment instruments; conducting assessments; educational counseling; organizational consulting; forensic activities; program design and evaluation; and administration. This Ethics Code applies to these activities across a variety of contexts, such as in person, postal, telephone, internet, and other electronic transmissions. These activities shall be distinguished from the purely private conduct of psychologists, which is not within the purview of the Ethics Code. (APA, Ethics Statement, 2002).

non-theistic psychology and theistic psychology share the same behavioral code of ethics but from an entirely different perspective and rationale. This makes sense since non-theistic psychology does not make use of the concept of God while theistic psychology is based on God's Speech or Sacred Scripture. Everything in theistic psychology relates to God from beginning to end for every concept. So the ethics of theistic psychologists will be overtly similar in ideal intent as the ethics of non-theistic psychology. But when non-theistic psychologists justify the ethical standards they naturally use a different rationale that has nothing to do with God or heaven and hell. In contrast, theistic psychologists justify the same ethical standards using the concepts of theistic psychology, namely in terms of heaven and hell.

To see the particulars of this difference, we can examine the opening paragraph of the Preamble which summarizes the overall view of the entire Ethics Statement.

Psychologists are committed to increasing scientific and professional knowledge of behavior and people's understanding of themselves and others and to the use of such knowledge to improve the condition of individuals, organizations, and society. Psychologists respect and protect civil and human rights and the central importance of freedom of inquiry and expression in research, teaching, and publication. They strive to help the public in developing informed judgments and choices concerning human behavior. In doing so, they perform many roles, such as researcher, educator, diagnostician, therapist, supervisor, consultant, administrator, social interventionist, and expert witness. This Ethics Code provides a common set of principles and standards upon which psychologists build their professional and scientific work.

We can ask why are theistic psychologists committed to

i) increasing scientific and professional knowledge of behavior

II) and people's understanding of themselves and others

iii) and to the use of such knowledge to improve the condition of individuals, organizations, and society

Increasing people's knowledge of human behavior is vital for regeneration from two aspects--(a) from the perspective of our efforts at character building, and (b) from the perspective of assisting others in their efforts of character building.

Regeneration is a process of spiritual development whose goal is to prepare the mind for eternal life in conjugial love in heaven. God, our Divine Psychologist, is effecting regeneration in us but our progress is proportional to our cooperation. The fact is that people are born with inherited tendencies that resist and oppose character rebuilding. We have an enormous inertia in giving our consent to the Divine Psychologist to do the work of regeneration in our mind, in our habits of feelings and thinking. For almost anyone, to change is to experience negative feelings and suffering, even anguish. If it were left up to everyone how many could actually compel themselves to cooperate despite our strong inner resistance? It makes good sense therefore to teach people the psychology of cooperation. Theistic psychology has very useful knowledge about techniques people can use to increase their willingness and ability to cooperate with the Divine Psychologist.

 One central technique is called the self-witnessing method. It consists of systematic and cumulative self-monitoring activities in chosen areas of daily living or in recurrent mental operations. Self-witnessing has three areas of focus called the "threefold self"--affective self, cognitive self, and sensorimotor self. This type of self-witnessing collects data on our feelings, thoughts, sensations, and motor movements. For example, people who want to introduce improvements or changes in their food behavior typically experience difficulty making the changes permanent. There is frequently a relapse into the former food behavior, nullifying the gain. The motive to change the diet is spiritual. People in the positive bias (see Chapter 1) understand that there is a connection between choices we make now and spiritual consequences later, when we pass into the afterlife.

An unhealthy diet originates from inherited enjoyments that are evil. This means that our mind is tied to some spiritual society in the hells (see Section xx). These connections are inborn in the affective and cognitive organs of the mind. The connections with the hells is in the form of a non-conscious mental communication or influence from a distance. These interconnections vary with culture, religion, and generation or historical era. They derive from the fact that mental connections between people are physiological structures in the spiritual world (see Section xx). The specific content of the inherited traits determines which spirit society from hell will have the influencing agency. This can be observed in family traits, as well as in the similarity of co-patriots when they meet in a foreign land.

Self-witnessing gives us the details of what we think and how we feel in various situations during our daily activities. The thoughts, reactions, emotions, and feelings--all private behaviors unseen by others, are indices or signs of the hell society that is influencing us. For example, feeling angry to the point of fantasizing torturing someone. Or, feeling so turned on that we fantasize having sex with another man's wife. Every inherited tie to some hellish society puts us under the influence of others who dwell in their hells. God creates and maintains these interconnections which I call the "vertical community" to distinguish it from our horizontal community like the city we live in or the people we know (see Section xx).

We also inherit heavenly traits, hence connections in the vertical community with people who are in the heavens of their mind. Swedenborg discovered that people who are in the heavens o their mind are in company with others who are also in the heavens of their mind. As well, people who are in the hells of their mind are in company with others who are also in the hells of their mind. In theistic psychology this leads to a basic formula:  the objective geography of the spiritual world = the subjective anatomy of the mind. What an astonishing revelation!

5.3.1  Ethics of Science and Religion

There is a clear separation between science and religion that should also be maintained by theistic psychologists. Science is universal and applies to all human beings equally. Religion is localized to history, culture, and ethnic group. There are therefore diverse religions as there are different cultures. Since every cultural group chooses its own religion it would be an ethical interference for science to promote one religion over another. But this doesn't mean that religion is not a legitimate area of research for science. Religious behavior and belief are prominent aspects of all cultures and communities spilling over into social morality and political agenda. Especially for theistic psychologists religious behavior is an important focus. This focus includes non-theistic and secular humanists who define themselves in relation to God, but in opposition or denial.

An issue arises with respect to religion and science because theistic psychology is based on Sacred Scripture that is historically identified with Western Judaeo-Christian religions, namely, the Old Testament (in Hebrew), the New Testament (in Greek), and the Writings (in Latin). As pointed out elsewhere (see Section xx), the literal meaning of this threefold Sacred Scripture is historical and relates to Western culture in the past three thousand years. But theistic psychology is based on the scientific meaning of the Threefold Scripture, not on its literal meaning. The literal meaning of the Old Testament is strongly ethnic and appears to be addressed to one nation. The literal meaning of the New Testament is more general, being able to be applied on a global basis. The literal meaning of the Writings is rational and therefore universal. The scientific meaning of the Writings is evident in the literal sense, less evident in the New Testament, and obscure in the Old Testament.

To derive the scientific meaning of the Old and New Testaments Swedenborg had to painstakingly define the psychological correspondences of historical events, of places and numbers, of allegories and prophecies rendered in poetic language, sometimes incomprehensible without knowledge of their correspondences. Since the Writings are written for the modern mind, its literal meaning is scientific in many parts. But there are parts that discuss particular religions and nations. If the literal meaning of these discussions were also the scientific meaning, then those parts of the Writings would not be suitable for theistic psychology since it is unethical for theistic psychologists to promote one religion over another.

But it is not feasible to divide the Writings up into portions suitable and portions not suitable for theistic psychology. The Writings are expressions of Divine Speech in a natural language, just like the Old and New Testaments. In fact, the three are connected into a solid unit whose coherence would be destroyed where one to omit portions from any of the three sets of Divine Speech. Remember that Divine Speech is universal. It is given by God to humanity and there is only one God. But when Divine Speech filters down from the celestial language, to the spiritual language, then to the natural language, it undergoes transformations governed by the laws of correspondences (see Section xx). By the time Divine Speech reaches the bottom of the line in a natural language, it necessarily contains historical and national references.

But only those references occur in this way that have a scientific meaning that applies to all of humanity. It is not possible for Divine Speech to be addressed to only some of humanity, to one nation or historical era. But when Divine Speech is transformed into a natural language, it becomes Sacred Scripture that appears to be given to one nation or culture. By applying the method of correspondences theistic psychologists can reconstruct Divine Speech through the various layers it has gone through on the way down to the natural world and natural mind. This is especially true of names, places, and numbers. For instance, the city "Jerusalem" which is the nation of Israel in the Middle East, disappears when we apply correspondences, to derive its scientific meaning as "spiritual doctrine" or the mental operations at the spiritual-rational level of the human mind. Similarly with all the cities mentioned in the Old Testament, the New Testament, and the Writings. They disappear from focus when you translate them into their psychological meaning.

Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and Joseph disappear as historical and ethnic individuals when you recover their psychological meaning, which refers to the successive steps of development in our regeneration. Similarly in the Writings, when it says something about "Jews" the historical reference disappears when you recover its psychological meaning as the external state of mind relative to the internal. Similarly, Egypt, Assyria, and Israel actually refer to the anatomy of the human mind in hierarchical sequence--Egypt refers to thinking about God with natural correspondences, Assyria refers to thinking about God with spiritual correspondences, and Israel refers to thinking about God with celestial correspondences (see Section xx).

The Writings mention European nationals--French, Dutch, British, Swedish, etc. It is true that Swedenborg met people from these nations when he was in the world of spirits. Obviously when he interviewed people who had just passed on he sometimes discovered which country they were from, or even, which planet other than ours. But the more important issue is to understand that only those details are recorded in Sacred Scripture which correspond to the psychological meaning of universal Divine Speech. By focusing attention on their scientific correspondences the literal historical reference disappears. They are merely carriers of the universal meaning.

There is therefore no actual favoritism or promotion of one religion over another when we recover the universal meaning of Divine Speech. Theistic psychology is extracted from the literal sense of Sacred Scripture by reconstructing the universal meaning of Divine Speech which is embodied in the literal meaning of Sacred Scripture.

This extraction process for the sake of universal science is not in any way threatening to religions based on Sacred Scripture. The Writings reveal that all Sacred Scripture contain historical parts and they are true and correct in detail. This is obvious when you consider that Divine Speech is given with the intent of it being recovered from Sacred Scripture. But Sacred Scripture does not lie for this would be sacrilegious or blasphemous. Therefore the literal sense upon which religion is based remains accurate and holy, suitable for worship.

5.3.2 Theistic Psychologists and Good vs. Evil

Practitioners of non-theistic psychology take a natural stand regarding moral issues of what's right or wrong, and regarding spiritual issues of what's good and evil. In contrast, theistic psychologists focus in on what's right and what's good and evil as fundamental issues people face in the lifelong struggle of regeneration, whose outcome determines their eternal future. The sharp difference between the two types of psychology is that there is no scientific basis for good and evil in non-theistic psychology, while in theistic psychology we have the good and evil defined by Divine Speech, which is the source of scientific revelations.

Knowledge of theistic psychology gives people an understanding of how mental habits we practice today will be determining influences on our mental habits in the afterlife, and how they determine the quality of our future life in eternity. Teaching theistic psychology involves presenting the facts and explanations that give people an understanding of how our present life determines our future life in the spiritual world. Theistic psychology is the science of immortality, hence the focus is on the built in connection there is between this life and the afterlife.

In public institutions like the one I'm teaching in, students in a classroom have diverse backgrounds in religion, ethnic identification, or secular beliefs like atheism or materialism. High ethical standards must be maintained in teaching to avoid putting persuasive pressure on students own belief systems about the spiritual issue of right vs. wrong or good vs. evil. Theistic psychology clearly proves that persuasive belief systems are injurious to people in the afterlife. This is because the process of persuasion diminishes one's freedom of choice in choosing between truth and falsity, and between good and evil. Swedenborg observed that people in the world of spirits undergo a rapid personality change shortly after the resuscitation process (see Section xx). In this phase, the internal, deep seated, dominant motives and loves come out into the fore of our personality, and they lead us to abandon all pretenses of personality, all belief systems we hold without rational understanding and approval.

When we emerge from this process no beliefs or attitudes are left that we acquired by persuasive belief or mystical faith. The individual is now left defenseless against all sorts of spiritual assault and victimization perpetrated by those who prey upon intellectually defenseless individuals. One is then misled, and led around, and ultimately dropped into the hells of our mind with little rational consciousness left to willingly get ourselves out of there. Those who teach theistic psychology must be fully aware of the damage done when pressure is placed on students to adopt ideas and principles of theistic psychology without understanding them rationally.

Teaching rational understanding is an ethical imperative for theistic psychologists.

Students who have read a significant portion of this book have told me that I am repetitious and talk about the same topic in many places repeating the same information. I've read other people complain that the Writings of Swedenborg are very repetitious and even boring in its meticulous rational style. The reason that repetition is needed in the presentation of theistic psychology is that there is a constant requirement to be fully clear and rational. When a new concept is introduced, readers can sometimes be told to recall or check back on certain earlier segments that connect to the new concept. But how realistic is this with most readers? People don't recall the prior segment, nor do they interrupt the flow of reading by reading some prior sections again. Therefore it is ethically necessary to connect the new concept to earlier ones so as to maintain the path of understanding.

Rational understanding has to do with integrating separate concepts into a higher entity called "doctrine," principle, or explanation. You cannot integrate a new concept unless you repeat what prior concepts are and how they fit together. The new concept must be fully justified and explained as to its parts and functions. For instance, if you teach anatomy and physiology, and you are introducing the new concept of the "heart," you need to use prior concepts like circulatory system and the lungs. If the details are numerous, students will not understand the body's physiology without going back to the earlier concepts.

Repeating facts and principles already discussed elsewhere, is done in such a way that the prior portions are re-integrated into the new portions. Compare the discussion of the "same topic" in several places and you will note differences. The perspective is slightly different, the content range is slightly different, and the application context is different. I would predict that when readers feel that this kind of repetition is boring, it is because they are not noticing the contextual differences and what is new about it when viewed in connection with the new topic. The solution to that is to reread over and over again until crystal clear understanding is reached. And sometimes it is advisable to reread prior sections, which is why I make it into a habit to cite other sections that deal with a topic more extensively.

5.3.3 Theistic Psychology and Media Content

non-theistic psychology does not take an ethical stand on the spiritual harm caused by television and movie content. It does take a stand on the negative effects of violence upon many children. These negative effects are defined in terms of behaving violently as a result of seeing violence portrayed in the media. But theistic psychologists have more knowledge and research about the spiritual effects of media content and therefore it becomes an ethical issue whether they condone it or promote it. The appropriate behavior as a theistic psychologist is to warn people of their harmful effects on themselves. This is similar to a doctor having an ethical obligation to warn someone not to drink contaminated water when the individual is unaware of the potential medical harm.

In theistic psychology is known that a determinative relationship exists between accepting one's evil enjoyments in this life and the life of eternal hell. Anyone may have evil thoughts and evil enjoyments since it is a strong hereditary tendency in the entire human race. It is a fact that children and adults enjoy violence on TV and all sorts of lewd entertainment. People enjoy watching other people being deceptive and nasty, cruel and very gross. This is natural and it may be universal. But now every person has a reaction to observing that we enjoy these bad and gross things. One reaction is to skip over it and not to think about it, and if someone mentions it, not to get too involved in the topic, or to violently disagree in order to end further discussion. This reaction is not helpful to the individual who is going to undergo spiritual regeneration, and theistic psychologists are committed to the universal necessity of undergoing spiritual regeneration. No one can live a life of immortality in heaven without undergoing spiritual regeneration, either in this life or in the world of spirits. But it is far better and safer to do it in this life for reasons known in theistic psychology (see Section xx).

The other reaction is a good one: We are shocked at ourselves.

This is a self-witnessing act of spiritual significance.

Being shocked at ourselves that we enjoy watching other people being abused, victimized, deceived, treated without dignity, is the result of our conscious awareness of conscience within us. This is a critical moment for the individual. Conscience is a sub-conscious receptor of heavenly Divine truths. Divine truths are the sole means by which we can resist the inherited connections we have to the hells. The hells act into our affective organ in the natural mind. We experience this influencing agency by being aware of a strong impulse, urge, or preference. We are propelled and attracted, like being pulled on a chain. This chain ends in hell. The people who insist on remaining in the hells of their mind can be destroyed by God or need to be fed. God feeds them in such a way that only good results are achieved by their participation in our mental life on earth.

There is a strong sub-conscious mental connection we have here on earth with those who are in the hells of their mind in the spiritual world. This connection is maintained by God moment by moment with much dynamic involvement. We are connected and disconnected to different societies or communities of people in the hells, depending on the psychological need we have at each moment of our living. For instance, my cat Minsky is here in the room and for the past few minutes he has been agitating to get me to stop typing and walk with him to the dish. My first reaction of annoyance could not have occurred unless the Divine Psychologist had connected me to the community in hell that needs the emotion of annoyance to feel alive. My feeling of annoyance at Minsky was their hellish manna God feeds them out of Mercy so they can have some life left to their delusional minds.

A similar instance happened with my cat Manna yesterday afternoon. He came into the room where I was typing and started agitating in his special way, one being to step on the keyboard. I walked him to the dish, opened it, gave him a new scoop, and walked back to my keyboard. I was suddenly struck by my heartlessness. Manna had just gotten up and he wants some human contact to bring his consciousness back into the real world. But I just walked away and did not even speak to him, did not even pet him or touch him. I felt overwhelmed with guilt and walked back to his dish, talked to him, petted him, then I walked away. A few minutes later he came back so I stopped typing. I combed him and carried him to his resting chair. This is the how the Divine Psychologist is working to reform my loves from selfish to altruistic.

By connecting me to the hells of annoyances God accomplishes two good things. First, the people who are stuck in an evil mental state are kept alive and active. Second, the annoyance I feel, which is not from myself but from them, is an opportunity for a spiritual temptation (or celestial) that faces me with the fact that I am still connected the hells of annoyances. If I do my normal self-witnessing, to which I'm committed, I cannot avoid making a choice that has incalculable spiritual significance for my entire future. I can see it as my selfishness, or my cruelty, or my rigidity, or my excessive task involvement, or a nudge from the Divine Psychologist--which are all good perceptions because they uncover the deep network of interconnections between the hells in my mind.

Theistic psychologists are committed to teaching self-witnessing skills to every individual. It is as important as other forms of literacy skills such as reading, writings, arithmetic, critical reasoning, art, and physical disciplines. It's not practical to merely advise parents to control what their children are watching or what songs they are listening to. Instead, parents and teachers can instruct children on how to practice self-witnessing techniques while they are watching entertainment or listening to it (see Section xx).

Instructing self-witnessing involves parents in the detail's of the mental world of their growing children.

The instruction of self-witnessing skills is a practical context for discussing how God's truths can give us the inner power tools we need for character building. The main motive for character building is religious. Unless we rebuild our inherited character we become wild people wallowing in the hells of our minds forever. Rebuilding our character by using the spiritual weapons of Divine truths insures that our immortal mind spends its eternity in the heavens our mind where we live with others in peace, in bliss, in the excitement of daily new discovery and adventure that never ends.

This is the constant choice that parents and teachers must bring to their children. This will equip them with the mental or spiritual tools that an immortal individual should have for safety and success.

5.3.4  Censorship and Theistic Psychologists

In general the profession of psychology in my generation has not favored forms of censorship as a social technique for managing information in society. Theistic psychologists are ethically dedicated to the principle that we ought to do everything we can to enhance people's rational consciousness for the sake of their spiritual development. This involves self-witnessing within the context of religious doctrine or understanding. For Divine truths to be actual and have actual power in our mind we must understand them rationally. This is obvious since truths are rational by definition. We can know Divine truths yet not understand them rationally. This dimities their battle effectiveness in fighting the hells in our mind.

Censorship is a form of external compulsion and therefore when we comply with it we do so for an external motive. It has nothing to do with our agreement or understanding. We are given no choice. The spiritual choice we must have to grow is taken away from us. Therefore all forms external authority must be infused with rational understanding, and if not, authority becomes coercive and persuasive. Theistic psychologists know that persuasive obedience to a principle or belief system is useless in the world of spirits where we awaken within a few hours after the death of the physical body. They are useless in terms of fighting the attractions of hell because we are not as attached to the persuasive truths as we are to the falsities that justify our hellish attractions. Hence censorship is harmful.

Instead, theistic psychologists see the need for parents and teachers to teach critical thinking skills which are basic to spiritual growth. Since spiritual growth depends on rational consciousness it is necessary to develop the thinking skills of every individual. The existence of public education in all countries, and its mandate from the United Nations, is a result of people being led by God to see rational thinking as a human good to which every human being is entitled to by birth.

As a practical matter, parents and teachers cannot prevent children from exposure to information about evils they can't even imagine. And so this a clear potential for being spiritually harmed. It's the remains of innocence that are harmed (see Section xx). Innocence is absolutely required to live in one's heaven because our heaven is made of innocence. Innocence is defined as the willingness to obey and abide in God's truths. God's truths make the heaven of our innocence, hence our eternal life in that state of mind.

The critical need in parenting and education is therefore the protection of spiritual innocence by which every individual is willing to accept and obey God's truths. The best way to do this protection is for research to tell us. In the meantime we must teach children where evil enjoyments come from and why they need to give them up. Children need to be encouraged to practice critical thinking while watching television, listening to their favorite lyrics, or surfing the Web. They should be taught not to give themselves over to enjoyment of entertainment and that this is a life thy will have to give up soon anyway for something they would enjoy far more and with no trouble.

5.3.5  Theistic Psychologists View on War, Death Penalty, Abortion

Theistic psychologists view war and the death penalty as necessary techniques for society in controlling people who are going along with their evil tendencies. The vast majority of people in this country are ready to die for it to protect the nation and its people. They are willing to go into battle in defense of their country which they acknowledge as a "fatherland" or "motherland." This is rightly so and rational. One's country is what supports and protects what we have, our life and our possessions and our basic human rights. Too many countries are taken over by dragons who mislead and deceive and torture their hapless people--until by Divine Providence the wicked leaders are removed. Soon in the spiritual world they are going to encounter bigger devils than they are and they shall deserve our pity for great is there eternal suffering.

They suffer not because they are being punished by God since God never punishes anyone. But God has a built in system as to what happens when people found the Divine order and act against it in full premeditated intent and awareness. Such are cruel tyrants and all individuals who abuse others as a way of life for themselves. They love their willful rebellion so much, so deeply, that they are unwilling to give it up even as they are being tortured endlessly to eternity, and still they refuse to give it up. It is this refusal to give it up that keeps them in hell, not God's punishment.

Killing attackers in self-defense is seen as a reasonable behavior by people who think rationally about it. The Commandment not to kill or murder applies to wrongful killing. More research is needed in theistic psychology to determine the precise limits of what is rightful and wrongful killing. People have done much work on this regarding the law of the land and the science of jurisprudence and international law. It is reasonable for theistic psychologists to abide by the results of this body of rational knowledge.

It is similar with the death penalty. Personal philosophies and creeds may vary and disagree but in relation to theistic psychology the treatment of criminally convicted individuals may be left up to the law of the land and the experts who think these matters through and debate them with each other. Theistic psychologists can throw useful light on many aspects of these issues, but in general, they will abide by the reasonable conclusions of the specialists. Obviously, it's different when an injustice is being practiced by a society and encoded in the law. All reasonable people who have a strong sense of charity and decency will want to work for change through all the reasonable means available. Can they resort to terrorism?

The answer is, No.

One cannot rationally justify terrorism because it is an outward expression of an inner evil.

No evil may be justified by rationally thinking people, or else if they do, they become irrational and spiritually insane. They are preparing themselves for an eternal tie to sordid and cruel hells within which they will be imprisoned forever by their own lust for insanity, never wanting to let go no matter how much they have to suffer from the torture of bigger devils than they are.

War, terrorism, killing, and destruction are possible only from intentions and desires that are in the deep hells of the human race. The people who are in that state of mind are so deep that they are unwilling to ever emerge into rational consciousness and good. From that place in the human mind they are conjoined by God into a community of hell. They see each other, they interact, they live together, they suffer harsh conditions and worse of all, each others insane tortures. All those who lust for a particular kind of depravity or injustice or fantasy are gathered together by God into a community of their own. In this way the human hells are organized geographically to correspond with the human heavens but in corrupted or distorted form.

The heavens are also organized in this way by God so that each heavenly community is composed of people who are alike in their ruling loves. For every heavenly community there is a corresponding hellish community because everything good and true from God has been distorted and corrupted in the history of the human race. Each good and truth has its heavenly community in the human mind and likewise each hellish community has its corrupted good and distorted truth.

Killing someone can therefore come from either an evil or a good motive.

Sometimes people take it upon themselves to kill for supposedly a good motive. Just because they think or claim that their motive is good is no reason to accept it as good since people with an evil motive can easily claim that they have a good one. They may believe the motive is good when it is evil. This is typical. When we are not listening to conscience or acting according to moral principles we call good what is evil and evil what is good. Hence it is necessary to maintain full contact with a rational understanding of Sacred Scripture and a deep interest in studying the revelations in Divine Speech. This is God talking to us and teaching us how to get to heaven. Without Divine truths to pave our way and create our journey, we stay immersed in falsities that justify our love for evil from which we then cannot ever be separated.

Abortion is also considered by many as a form of killing and everyone in this country knows that abortion has been one of the most controversial, divisive, and violent of all political disagreements this generation. Such is the passion people feel for both sides. One side sees the inherent right of a woman to choose whether or not she wants to proceed with the pregnancy. Another side sees the inherent right of an unborn child to be protected from being deliberately killed.

Theistic psychologists have some facts not available to others that are relevant to this conflict. It is known that the human soul is immortal once created. It is also known that moment of creation of a human soul by God is at conception, prior to birth. God manages the growth process of the body through the soul. Clearly,  the soul has to be created at conception so that God has the mechanism for making the fetus grow. When a woman decides to submit to an abortion she agrees to putting an end to the particular soul she carries in the fetus. But the soul is immortal. However the fetus doesn't have a mind of its own before it is born and the lungs are opened. It then takes its first breath and a mind is activated or born. From then on, second by second, the child's body is bombarded by incoming sensory stimuli of which it is aware. The mind organizes and feeds upon the order and property of this sensory input from the physical world. This experience is what creates the conscious human mind that can live in heaven to eternity. But without a mind, there is no personality, there is no awareness, motivation or a single thought.

Hence the mother and doctor and legislator who approve of abortions agree to putting an end to an immortal soul's right to a personality and consciousness.

The Writings tell us that the souls of unborn fetuses, once dead, are gathered by God into a place of the human mind that is above individual consciousness, thus above the highest heaven in our mind. In that highest state, souls are not conscious individual human beings so that they can absorb the intense heat and light of the Spiritual Sun where the Divine-Human abides in relation to the human mind. This gathering place near the Spiritual Sun is called the heaven of Human Internals. Just below this heaven is the Third Heaven of celestial angels where we are in our mind when we elevate ourselves to the highest potential of rational consciousness possible for human beings.

Many women, doctors, and legislators agree to abortion because they are unaware of these facts revealed by God to humankind in the Writings of Swedenborg. People who are unaware of appropriate rational information and believe false things and do evils, are not spiritually responsible for what they think or do. It's different in natural law for we cannot claim ignorance of the law as a defense when reasonable people could have known about it. Spiritually only that which we know can hurt us. Of course, if we ignore conscience, or ignore religion, or ignore rational considerations, or Divine truths we know of, then we are responsible for not knowing spiritual truths that reasonable people could know.

To be spiritually responsible means that we will suffer bad consequences from that act or from that irresponsible ignorance of truths. Such an attitude of willfulness is a love from hell to which we are deeply connected. It is this hellish love that will emerge from within once we hit the freedom roads in the world of spirits and begin our eternal life in the loves we've brought with us from our earthly life.

5.4.0  The Mental Technology of Spiritual Self-Witnessing

I first started using the self-witnessing methodology in 1971 while teaching social psychology. Students were able to understand the threefold self in terms of their affective, their cognitive, and their sensorimotor mind or self. Several generations of student reports show that self-witnessing the threefold self is an ordinary skill every normal person has acquired in the course of growing up. Even children are capable of this to some extent. It consists of self-monitoring one's feelings, thoughts, and sensations, i.e., the threefold self. People are able to write down what they are feeling, what they are thinking, and what they are sensing.

There might be a tendency to think that self-witnessing is introspective, subjective, and non-behavioral. Actually self-witnessing is observational, objective, empirical, and behavioral.

The method of self-witnessing is empirical and objective because the individual has the anatomical and functional ability to observe the lower part of the mind with the higher part. Just as we can observe in a mirror how we stand and how we walk, and give an objective report of it, in the same way we can observe from our rational mind what the sensory mind is doing, thinking, sensing. The objective report we give of our self-witnessing is the same objective report that independent observers would give if they had access to our feelings, thoughts, and sensations. But since this is not possible here on earth we must rely on self-witnessing for objective data on the mind. And since we observe ourselves as others would observe us, and as we would observe them, self-witnessing is objective, not subjective. The subject matter or content is subjective, or in the mind of one individual, but the observation method and the data are objective.

Self-witnessing yields objective and valid data by sampling one's feelings, thoughts, and sensations. All other methods available to psychology are indirect and inferential, hence only partially accurate and valid. these include personality tests, self-reports, interviews, and videotaping. Self-witnessing is the only method available for gathering objective data on samples of one's feelings, thoughts, and sensations. Several years ago I have introduced self-witnessing as a method that drivers can use to improve their driving habits (see Reading List).

In theistic psychology this self-monitoring methodology of the threefold self is called "spiritual self-witnessing." It is described in the Writings of Swedenborg as "self-examination for regeneration." Self-witnessing becomes "spiritual" when our purpose for doing it is character reformation that is motivated by heavenly preparation (or "regeneration") (see Section xx).  In other words, we are trying to unlearn selfish traits and learn altruistic traits so that we may develop a character that can live in the heavenly regions of the spiritual world. This is called a spiritual motive because it has to do with a goal in the spiritual world.

Spiritual self-witnessing is the self-monitoring of one's threefold self  in the daily events of life in order to discover objectively when we are feeling selfishly and thinking irrationally. The activity becomes spiritual when it is done for one's life in immortality.

I had been working with the threefold self for several years when I started reading the Writings of Swedenborg in 1971 (see Section xx). I was delighted to discover that the threefold self is also one of the major sub-systems in these Divine scientific revelations! The sequence affective--->cognitive--->sensorimotor is found everywhere in Swedenborg's Writings, as the following table shows. I have lined up the terms in the Writings that are used in parallel fashion to the threefold sequence:

Love Wisdom Use
Good Truth Appearance
Will Understanding Action
Intention Plan Execution
Source Cause Effect
Desire Belief Conduct
Spiritual Intellectual Sensual
Feeling Thinking Sensing

While it's fairly easy to monitor one's feelings and thoughts, it is more difficult to recognize which ones are selfish and irrational. This kind of critical thinking about oneself must be learned and taught.

Psychology as a science has two research foundations. One is physical measurement or description; the other is verbal responses. Personality theory relies heavily on paper-and-pencil inventories, tests, and self-ratings. If you took away these self-reports by subjects there would be very little left of personality theory and research. In theistic psychology there is a heavy reliance on self-witnessing methodology because no other technique is available when we want to know what feelings, thoughts, and sensations are in the mind.

Behavioral psychology does not maintain a focus on people's thoughts and feelings and has not favored methods like self-witnessing. Cognitive science has had an interest in thought processes, especially in their simulation or formal representations as computers and programming. The first computer chess program was written by Herbert Simon by representing the sequence of thoughts of a chess player as he spoke them out loud.  He used a technique called "think aloud protocols" which are transcripts of audio recordings of an individual engaged in an expert task and speaking the thoughts out loud. There is also the technique of "thought sampling" that is used in clinical psychology and in sociolinguistics.

Spiritual self-witnessing is specialized in that its purpose is specifically to examine our thoughts and feelings all day long in order to evaluate them within the context of our efforts at character reformation. Further, the process of evaluating what we self-witness must be that of applying the doctrine of truth from Sacred Scripture (see Section xx). If we use an evaluation process based on self-intelligence--our own or someone else's--the process is not spiritual. Therefore it cannot have a lasting benefit to us in the afterlife of our immortality (see Section xx).

The term "character reformation" is often associated with correctional systems or religious schools. In other words it applies to a situation where someone is maladaptive and irrational, the focus being on correction or reformation. In theistic psychology character reformation is used because of the recognition that the human race today has evolved a character that is socially and spiritually maladaptive. The scientific revelations in the Writings of Swedenborg present both evidence and a rational account of how this negative development has occurred in the human race. When this is recognized, the focus on change necessarily becomes restorative and regenerative. Knowing the eternal consequences of a maladaptive character intensifies the motive for providing people with effective psychological techniques to reform or restore the individual's character to a state of integrity and spiritual adaptiveness.

There is nothing 'preachy,' intolerant, or dogmatic about the idea of character reformation as a central focus for theistic psychology. This is a rational and responsible thing to do, assuming one adopts the positive bias towards the scientific revelations in the Writings of Swedenborg. If one remains in the negative bias one retains the impression that "character reformation" is 'preachy' or prescriptive. But it is strictly objective, given the known consequences of arriving in the spiritual world without having reformed one's character (see Section xx). In that new state of life called being a "spirit," the power of thoughts and feelings is far greater than anything we can do in a physical body. As spirits we live in a world of rational ether, not physical space. In the spiritual world the mind is just as powerful as in dreams, capable of spontaneously creating an desired environment around ourselves--garden, beach, mountains, animals, weather. These created things are real--others can see it, and they can eat the fruit in your garden and pick the flowers. This is a normal event in rational ether or "the spiritual world" where our immortality goes on forever (see Section xx).

Living in rational ether as rational minds, our thoughts and feelings instantaneously produce changes in the immediate environment around us. We can turn a beautiful garden into an inhospitable desert in the flick of a thought. We need character integrity and stability to resist all the influences around us that other spirits create. Character integrity is an affective state but it requires an accompanying cognitive operation in order for the affective state to be stable and to last. In the spiritual world this cognitive content is supplied through instruction received by every "novitiate spirit." The capacity to accept this instruction depends on the rationality our mind possesses. Swedenborg reports that our level of rationality determines our quality of life in our immortality.

Self-witnessing as a daily practice is a new way of living. Through it, conscious awareness develops of all the things that otherwise would remain sub-conscious, unattended. Without self-witnessing as a consistent activity, how would it be possible to know the content of our thoughts and the quality and directionality of our feelings? Self-witnessing is different from self-monitoring and self-observation -- two terms used in psychology today. Self-witnessing is more like "self-examination," which is the term used in the Writings.

Self-examination is focused on evaluation by means of "doctrine of life," which is the doctrine of truth we extract from Sacred Scripture and apply to our thoughts and feelings all day long. The Writings use the expression "doctrine of life" to refer to an individual's principles by which one lives and makes decisions in daily life. The doctrine of life is learned from Sacred Scripture or from instruction based on it. It requires rational understanding of Divine revelation. The purpose of Divine revelation is always to assist people in preparing for life in eternity, which means, undergoing the effort and suffering involved in character reformation.

The suffering and pain during our character reformation comes from the action of giving up something we cherish and enjoy. This is why we resist character reformation. We don't want to face that suffering. We want to hold on to what gives us satisfaction, pleasure, and apparent self-sufficiency. These selfish or self-centered mechanisms are inborn and inherited. Whatever they love to do, people call good, even when it is evil. The alcoholic taking another drink before driving home knows it's illegal and morally wrong, but the contentment and satisfaction involved in being drunk supersedes all other principles of morality and decency that the alcoholic possesses. This mechanisms is similar for all addictions and psychological dependencies (see Section xx).

Self-witnessing methodology of the threefold self involves one's feelings or emotions, one's thoughts or reasonings, and one's sensory reactions or motor actions. It is within these three domains of behavior that the entire human drama takes place, both here and in our immortality. Hindu writers of old had access to Sacred Scripture that was transmitted to them by ancient civilizations prior to "the Fall," that is, character degradation in the human race by means of inherited evil traits. Hindu religious writings take the point of view that the universe is like a dream. We are the dreamers, and if we progress in character up-building, we can awaken from the dream of life into the discovery that we are Divine. Thus everyone is an illusion and there is only one Divine. This perspective is radically different from theistic psychology where there is an absolute duality maintained between God and creation, including human beings. The Writings show that the infinite Divine cannot be part of the created finite. But the Hindu system does recognize the idea that thoughts are spiritual and far more powerful than any physical energy.

The awesome power of thoughts and feelings is not to be taken lightly. Self-witnessing allows us to examine our thoughts and feelings in the evaluative context of our principles of living or doctrine of life. As our doctrine becomes more and more spiritual and rational, we can apply our latest understanding to our willing and thinking in everyday activities. The self-examination goes deeper and deeper as we progress in character reformation or regeneration.

There are specific spiritual laws which govern the developmental steps of character reformation. Knowing these steps from scientific revelations, allows us to cooperate with the built in mechanism and thus to further our character reformation until we are adequately prepared for facing eternity.


The Writings of Emanuel Swedenborg (1688-1772) contain an empirical, objective, and experimental investigation of the spiritual world. They are therefore the beginning of a new science which might be called "theistic science" which is based on the acknowledgement of the Writings as the source of Divinely given scientific revelations. Spiritual psychology would be a branch of theistic science, along with other disciplines such as biological theology and spiritual geography (see End Note 1). Spiritual psychology receives its content solely from the Writings since it is the only revelation of the Second Coming and contains an inexhaustible source of scientific information about the spiritual world.

Spiritual psychology ties in with contemporary psychology where the two overlap, namely in the area of mental development, and consequently, all external behavior that is controlled by mental processes. The mental world overlaps with the spiritual world. They are the same. This is because the mind is in the spiritual world and the same spiritual laws apply to both. The mind is a spiritual collection of organs, made of spiritual substances, and arranged in multiple levels of operation. For instance, the physical organ of the heart corresponds and reflects the spiritual organ of the will which gives us the ability to be motivated and struggle to achieve goals by means of feelings, loves, and affections. Similarly, the physical organ of the lungs corresponds and reflects the spiritual organ of the understanding which gives the ability to process cognitions, solve problems, and think rationally. Mental development is therefore nothing else than the growth of the spiritual organs of the mind. A young child has immature affective states and cognitive operations since the organs of the will and understanding are undeveloped. An adult has a fully developed external mind, but not yet an interior mind. The development of moral understanding and rational loves is the outer manifestation of the interior mind being opened more and more. The interior mind is the highest portion of the natural mind which has three levels: corporeal, sensuous, and rational.

Above the natural mind, is the spiritual mind, which itself has levels that correspond to the three Heavens: natural-spiritual, spiritual, and celestial. The human mind is therefore an organic construction that parallels the spiritual world exactly. Therefore, Swedenborg’s observational access to the spiritual world and his detailed description of it, constitute a rich source of knowledge for spiritual psychology. Now the human race has available new knowledge about the mind and its development and operation.

Conjunction with the Lord is a reciprocal conjunction, that is, that the Lord is in man and man in the Lord. (...) The conjunction of the Lord and man is reciprocal; and because it is reciprocal it necessarily follows, that man ought to conjoin himself to the Lord, in order that the Lord may conjoin himself to man; and that otherwise conjunction is not effected, but withdrawal and a consequent separation, yet not on the Lord's part, but on man's part. (TCR 371)

It is clear from the Writings that regeneration is necessary for salvation and heavenly life. Further, we are taught that regeneration is not automatic or spontaneous, but requires our active cooperation. Without this active cooperation there is no regeneration, consequently no salvation. It is therefore crucial to know how we ought to cooperate with the Lord in our regeneration. Our research on the psychology of self-observation or self-witnessing provides useful behavioral techniques that can help the individual in cooperating in regeneration.  Cataloguing the Components of the External and Interior Social Environment

Self-witnessing skills begin with creating a taxonomy, inventory, or catalog of the components of our social environment. The social environment is defined in terms of the occurrence of "situated behaviors," a phrase which carries the twofold idea of individual behavior and social setting. All human behavior is situated because it is carried out in a social setting. No behavior exists outside or independently of a social setting. For instance, our food behaviors are conditioned by family and societal habits, and even when we eat alone in our kitchen at midnight in the dark, we still engage in social behavior because what is in our refrigerator or food closet, is lifestyle choice, which consists of learned habits and norms of eating. But in addition to this, our mental behavior is also situated behavior. The setting is not physical in the sense that we can think and feel similar things in different physical settings. I can think of my cats while I’m driving or when I am lying in bed in my bedroom. I can feel embarrassed when I think about something I said or did, whether a moment ago, or years ago.

There is therefore an independence of mental behaviors from physical settings, but not from social settings. The individual is physically within society, but society is within the individual, mentally. Our life of feeling and thinking would be impossible without social content. What do we think with? Words defined by the dictionary. How do we think? By means of rules of language and logic that we learn as children from others. How do we reason? By means of rules, values, and justifications we acquire from our interactions with others. Therefore private mental behavior is situated socially in a way similar to external public behavior. The daily round taxonomy of human behavior needs to be mapped out equally for private mental behavior as for public external behavior. The external and internal social environment is quite complex as shown by the list below:

A few components of the
social environment

A few components of the
social environment

my talk with others

my connections

my family tree

my daily routine of activities

my role, duties, and responsibilities

my memberships and institutional connections

my belongings and assets

my interactions and transactions

my declarations

my reputation

who I hang out with and where

things I do together with someone

people who depend on me

people who love me

people with whom I’ve had a fight

people I’d like currently to meet

people whom I know who I see or think about only rarely

people on my invitation list

things I write down, lists I keep

the contents of my drawers and pockets

my nickname

family sayings


my talk with myself

the things I imagine

my interpretations of what’s going on

my sensations and feelings

my daydreams

my prayers and spiritual reflections

how I assess and evaluate things

my self concept

my routine concerns

things I notice or ignore

my ambitions

my fears

my preferences

making plans, rehearsing

things I cannot mention to someone

what I like to eat

my mood and energy level

what I can smell

my judgments

my aversions

my cravings

my secrets

my memories

how I reason with myself


Given the complexity of the human environment, the task of cataloguing and itemizing its numerous components is indeed a daunting one. We did expect that the external social environment would be normative and similar across individuals, distributed across sub-categories that allowed variation within uniform settings. People got up at similar times in the morning, went through similar motions in the bedroom, bathroom, kitchen, garage, and highway, lunch, shopping, dinner, movie, date, television, bedroom, sleep. The daily language everyone used was English, the TV programs were the same, the songs and music, the aggressive driving, the newspaper, the lawnmower, etc. For the most part, the external social environment of the city overlaps the lives of individuals, providing a common, constant, and predictable pattern.

It will be found that this same normative predictability in the internal social environment of the individual. There is an urban legend that our private interior environment is individual rather than social. People have the strong illusion that what they think and imagine in their private world of thinking and feeling, is individual and free, in comparison to the external environment of their body, which is public and social. What we discovered was that the interior environment is as socially organized and catalogued as the external environment. What people think, what they imagine, what they fantasize, what they are afraid of, and so on, are things they do in common with each other, unknowingly, despite it taking place in the private, unobservable world of the individual self. We even had to coin a new phrase, "standardized imaginings," to reflect the uniformity with which people functioned in their mental operations. Thinking and emoting was not something free and individual, but social and standardized within narrow limits of determination. This standardization and uniformity of the mental world is totally unsuspected and we were surprised. It was the first important fruit we obtained from our self-witnessing research.

The names we give to the various groupings and sub-groupings of the daily round environment constitute a social psychological theory of what an individual is, and how an individual behaves through the body and in the mind. Later in this article we discuss and give samples of the main techniques, which include the recording and analysis of one’s external social talk as well as keeping track of one’s private internal dialog. We use the term "self-witnessing" to describe this approach in general. The theory is that self-witnessing is an effective method for self-objectivity. We also use the phrase "being an audience to yourself" which refers to the idea that you see yourself as others would see you. This is the definition of objectivity in social psychology. If we practice self-witnessing on the daily round we gain an objective view on ourselves. We are less vulnerable to illusions and a fantasy reputation of ourselves.

This objective self-knowledge constitutes an empirical baseline of our habits and traits, in the body and in the mind. Now we can use effective self-modification techniques to manage ourselves better, more rationally, more according to rational choice than family and neighborhood habits and scripts we happened to acquire in our socialization process. Thus we acquire a professionalized self. Our purpose was to teach these mental literacy skills to our students, to empower them to gain control over their lives. Polls and surveys indicate that the majority of individuals in our country experience on a daily basis a variety of powerful negative emotions, such as rage, hatred, anger, depression, cynicism, and the opposite of compassion and emotional intelligence.

My past self-witnessing research (see References and Readings) has uncovered an overwhelming burden of negativity that individuals labor under on a daily basis. Now we know from the Writings where this agony comes from, namely the cumulative inheritance of negativity and evil that is passed on from generation to generation. Why do we prefer behavior styles that are harmful? Why do we find it hard to remain balanced and rational? Why do we make others suffer? Why don’t we function at a higher moral level? Why can’t we be happy, contented, productive, peace loving people? The answer has been revealed in the Writings, namely that we are born sub-human natural animals with the apparatus and capacities to become truly human, which is called the angelic form. In order to achieve this higher potential of true humanity, we must change ourselves and acquire a new will and a new understanding.

Concerning how God manages our mental life, the Writings Sacred Scripture say this:

AC 227. It is a great truth that man is governed by the Lord by means of spirits and angels. When evil spirits begin to rule, the angels labor to avert evils and falsities, and hence arises a combat. It is this combat of which the man is rendered sensible by perception, dictate, and conscience. By these, and also by temptations, a man might clearly see that spirits and angels are with him, were he not so deeply immersed in corporeal things as to believe nothing that is said about spirits and angels. Such persons, even if they were to feel these combats hundreds of times, would still say that they are imaginary, and the effect of a disordered mind. I have been permitted to feel such combats, and to have a vivid sense of them, thousands and thousands of times, and this almost constantly for several years, as well as to know who, what, and where they were that caused them, when they came, and when they departed; and I have conversed with them. (AC 227)  We Are Never Alone—The Vertical Community

The phrase vertical community was coined in theistic psychology to designate the fact that God keeps the entire human race integrated as people's mental operations (see Section xx). This is one of the most amazing scientific revelation to be found in the Writings Sacred Scripture (see Section xx). We are connected into a vertical community through our mental body, which is the organ where thinking and feeling operations can take place (see Section xx). When our cognitive organ is activated, we experience thoughts coming into our awareness.

Where do thoughts come from?

No scientist in the negative bias has ever been able to give a rational answer to this question. One irrational theory is that thoughts don't really exist, and that only electro-chemical operations of the brain cells exist. Another irrational answer is that thoughts do exist, but only temporarily, while the electro-chemical operations of the brain cells remain active. Thoughts somehow emerge from these electrical activities. A traditional idea in non-theistic psychology is that thoughts -- cognitive operations -- are memory images created by sensory input. The reason this explanation is irrational is that it equates a natural or material operation in time and space ("sensory input") with a mental or spiritual operation in eternity that is outside time and space (see Section xx).

A rational answer would have to assume the positive bias of dualism and acknowledge that the Swedenborg Reports deserve to be examined for their scientific merit (see Section xx). These reports present empirical proof of the reality of the vertical community from Swedenborg's three decades of daily observations in the world of eternity, being in a mental state of consciousness capable of communicating face to face conversations and interviews (see Section xx).

The idea of the vertical community means that we are never alone in our mind, but are unconsciously connected to the mind of others in a vertical chain. We have the illusion that our mental world is an individual's world, while our physical and social world is interactive. We know that socially we are not alone in the world. We may be alone in a room or in a swimming pool, but we are not alone in the city. We are well aware of our horizontal community that extends from house and neighborhood, to city and country, and the planet. We call it our horizontal community because it is located in space and time. But our vertical community is outside time and space, in the eternity of our mental world (see Section xx).

Every human being is born a dual citizen, with a physical body in time, and a mental body in eternity, outside time. Our thoughts and feelings cannot be located in time and space for they are not made of matter or energy (see Section xx). Hence we are born into eternity, which automatically makes us immortal. A thought or feeling cannot die because "death" applies only to the natural world of time, space, energy, and matter. Hence the mental body grows as the physical body grows, and at death of the physical body, the mental body continues its life in eternity. Swedenborg lived consciously in both worlds for 27 years, and was able to confirm by many observations and experiments, that every individual is resuscitated about 30 hours after the death of the physical body and then continues life forever in that new environment (see Section xx).

In Swedenborg's reports we have the scientific fact, observationally confirmed, that an individual's mental world is actually a social world in which we are surrounded by many others who are in their mental world. While we are not aware of the vertical community, prior to resuscitation, we are fully aware of it after resuscitation when we are no longer conscious in the natural mind (see Section xx).

Quoting from the Writings Sacred Scripture:

TCR 475. Man does not know that in respect to his mind he is in the midst of spirits, for the reason that the spirits with whom he is in company in the spiritual world, think and speak spiritually, while his own spirit thinks and speaks naturally so long as he is in the material body; and the natural man cannot understand or perceive spiritual thought and speech, nor the reverse.

This is why spirits cannot be seen. But when the spirit of man is in company with spirits in their world, he is also in spiritual thought and speech with them, because his mind is interiorly spiritual but exteriorly natural; therefore by means of his interiors he communicates with spirits, while by means of his exteriors he communicates with men. By such communication man has a perception of things, and thinks about them analytically. If it were not for such communication, man would have no more thought or other thought than a beast, and if all connection with spirits were taken away from him, he would instantly die. (TCR 475)

This passage indicates that we have a conscious natural mind and an unconscious spiritual mind while we are connected to the physical body. The conscious natural mind thinks in a natural language while the unconscious spiritual mind thinks in a spiritual language. Hence it is that we are not aware of what's going in our spiritual mind which thinks in a spiritual language. The two portions of our mind are functionally connected and influence each other, though we are not aware of it. Swedenborg's mission required that he be conscious in both his natural mind and his spiritual mind. Normally, we become conscious in our spiritual mind after resuscitation, as we lose our awareness of the natural mind (see Section xx). We can then see others who are conscious in their spiritual mind of eternity, and we can no longer see the physical bodies or natural minds of those still connected to earth.

The passage above also states that thinking in our conscious natural mind is possible only when our unconscious spiritual mind is in communication with other spiritual minds. This is the vertical community. If such communication were cut off, we would cease to think, hence, cease to be human. Our thoughts and feelings are therefore social events, consisting of interactive exchanges with others called "communication with spirits" and "being in company with spirits."

The way each individual mind operates is a consequence of the character of the spirits in the individual's vertical community, moment by moment, in the person's thinking and feeling, from our birth to endless immortality.

Whether we live in heaven or in hell, and the quality of life in each, depends on the thoughts and feelings we have, and this depends on the spiritual company we keep -- the character of our vertical community.

Quoting from the Writings Sacred Scripture:

AC 50. (...) Man is altogether ignorant that he is governed of the Lord through angels and spirits, and that with everyone there are at least two spirits, and two angels. By spirits man has communication with the world of spirits, and by angels with heaven. Without communication by means of spirits with the world of spirits, and by means of angels with heaven, and thus through heaven with the Lord, man could not live at all; his life entirely depends on this conjunction, so that if the spirits and angels were to withdraw, he would instantly perish.

[2] While man is unregenerate he is governed quite otherwise than when regenerated. While unregenerate there are evil spirits with him, who so domineer over him that the angels, though present, are scarcely able to do anything more than merely guide him so that he may not plunge into the lowest evil, and bend him to some good-in fact bend him to good by means of his own cupidities, and to truth by means of the fallacies of the senses. He then has communication with the world of spirits through the spirits who are with him, but not so much with heaven, because evil spirits rule, and the angels only avert their rule. [3] But when the man is regenerate, the angels rule, and inspire him with all goods and truths, and with fear and horror of evils and falsities. The angels indeed lead, but only as ministers, for it is the Lord alone who governs man through angels and spirits. (...) (AC 50)

HH 249. It is rarely granted at the present day, however, to talk with spirits, because it is dangerous.#

For then the spirits know, what otherwise they do not know, that they are with man, and evil spirits are such that they hold man in deadly hatred, and desire nothing more than to destroy him both soul and body, which indeed happens with those who have so indulged themselves in fantasies as to have separated from themselves the enjoyments proper to the natural man. Some also who lead a solitary life sometimes hear spirits talking with them, and without danger; but that the spirits with them may not know that they are with man they are at intervals removed by the Lord; for most spirits are not aware that any other world than that in which they live is possible, and therefore are unaware that there are men anywhere else.

This is why man on his part is not permitted to speak with them, for if he did they would know.

Those who meditate much on religious subjects, and are so intent upon them as to see them as it were inwardly within themselves, begin also to hear spirits speaking with them; for religious subjects, whatever they are, when man dwells upon them by himself and does not modify them with various things that are of use in the world, penetrate to the interiors and dwell there, and occupy the whole spirit of the man, and even enter into the spiritual world and act upon the spirits there. Such persons are visionaries and enthusiasts and whatever spirit they hear they believe to be the Holy Spirit, when, in fact, such spirits are enthusiastic spirits.

Such spirits see falsities as truths, and so, seeing them, they not only persuade themselves but also those with whom they inflow to believe them. Such spirits, however, have been gradually removed, because they began to lure others into evil and to gain control over them. Enthusiastic spirits are distinguished from other spirits by their believing themselves to be the Holy Spirit, and believing what they say to be Divine. As man honours such spirits with Divine worship they do not try to harm him. I have sometimes talked with them, and the wicked things they infused into their worshippers were then disclosed. They dwell together towards the left, in a desert place.

# Man is able to talk with spirits and angels; and the ancient people frequently talked with them (n. 67-69, 784, 1634, 1636, 7802).

In some earths angels and spirits appear in human form and talk with the inhabitants (n. 10751, 10752).
But on this earth at this day it is dangerous to talk with spirits, unless man is its true faith, and is led by the Lord (n. 784, 9438, 10751). (HH 249)

AC 2123. That the last time is at hand may also be seen from this fact in the other life, that all the good which flows in from the Lord through heaven into the world of spirits, is there turned in a moment into what is evil, obscene, and profane, and that all the truth is turned in a moment into falsity; thus mutual love is turned into hatred, sincerity into deceit, and so on; so that those who are there are no longer capable of perceiving anything of what is good and true; and the like redounds upon man, who is governed through spirits with whom those who are in the world of spirits have communication. The certainty of this I have learned by much experience, which, if all advanced, would fill many pages. I have very frequently been permitted to perceive and hear how what is good and true from heaven is turned into what is evil and false, together with the amount and the nature of the change. (AC 2123)

AC 6193. Since spirits take possession in that way of all that forms a person's thought and will, and angels take possession of what is even more interior, so that he is joined very closely to them, the person cannot avoid the perception and sensation that he himself is the one who thinks and wills. For the nature of all communication in the next life is this: In a community in which people are alike, each thinks that what is another's is his own. When therefore people who are good go into a heavenly community they instantly enter into all the intelligence and wisdom of that community, entering into it so fully that they know no other than that such things exist within themselves. This is also how it is with man and a spirit present with him. The things that flow in from spirits from hell are evil and false, but those which flow in from angels from heaven are good and true; and through these opposite kinds of influx a person is held in the middle, thus in freedom.

[2] Because what flows in from angels comes through the more interior parts of a person, it is less easily recognized by outward sensation than that which flows in from evil spirits. Also, the angels are by nature such that they will not hear of goodness and truth flowing in from themselves, only of its coming from the Lord. They are indignant at the thought of anything different; for they have a very clear perception that that is the truth of the matter, and there is nothing they like more than for their desires and thoughts to begin not in themselves but in the Lord. Evil spirits on the other hand are angry ii they are told that their thoughts and desires do not begin in themselves, because that idea is contrary to what their loves lead them to be delighted with. And they are all the more angry when they are told that life does not exist independently in them but flows into them. This is demonstrated to those spirits through actual experience; and such demonstration takes place many times, when they do indeed confess that such is the truth, since they cannot speak contrary to experience. But after a while they deny it and have no wish to have it proved any more from experience. (AC 6193)

AC 3482. Although the language used in the Word appears to mankind to be simple, and in some places crude, it is angelic language itself, though in its lowest form. For when angelic language, which is spiritual, falls into human expressions it cannot fall into any other type of language than this. Individual things are representative, and individual expressions carry a meaning. Since they were in direct communication with spirits and angels the ancients possessed no other kind of language. Their language was full of representatives, and a spiritual sense was present in each expression. Also, the books of the ancients were written in the same fashion, for talking and writing in that fashion was the aim of their wisdom. How far mankind has since then retreated from heaven becomes clear from this as well. At present it does not even know that the Word includes anything apart from that which is seen in the letter, not even that there is a spiritual sense in it. Whatever is said to lie beyond the literal sense is termed mystical, which solely on these grounds is rejected. This also explains why at the present day communication with heaven has been interrupted, so much so that few believe in the existence of any heaven at all. Indeed, amazing to say, far fewer of the learned and scholarly than of the simple believe in it. (AC 3482)

AC 4067. [2] To enable people to understand the way in which goods and truths exist with a person, something scarcely known by anyone must be revealed. It is indeed known and acknowledged that all good and all truth come from the Lord; and some also acknowledge the existence of influx, the nature of which however remains unknown to man. Now because no knowledge exists, at least no acknowledgement in the heart, of the truth that around man spirits and angels are present and that the internal man dwells in the midst of these and is thereby governed by the Lord, there is little belief in that truth even when it is spoken about. Countless communities exist in the next life, and these are arranged and set in order by the Lord according to all the genera of good and truth; also communities that are the complete opposite, according to all the genera of evil and falsity.

They are so arranged and set in order that no genus of good or truth exists, nor any species of that genus, nor even any specific difference, which does not have [a link with] such angelic communities, that is, to which angelic communities do not correspond. Nor on the other hand does any genus of evil or falsity exist, or any species of that genus, or even any specific difference, to which communities of devils do not correspond. Interiorly, that is, as regards his thoughts and affections, everyone is within a community of such angels or devils, although he is not actually aware of it.

Everything that a person thinks and wills originates there, so much so that if the communities of spirits or angels in which he dwells were taken away from him, he would instantly cease to have any thought or will at all; indeed he would instantly fall down completely dead. Such is the nature of man's state of being, though he believes that he himself is the originator of all he thinks and wills, and that neither hell nor heaven exists, or that hell is far removed from him, and heaven too.

[3] What is more, the good present with a person seems to him to be something that is a simple or single whole, but in fact it is something so complex, consisting of so many varying features, that he cannot possibly explore even so much as its general ones. And the same applies to the evil present with a person. But as is the good present with a person, so is the community of angels present with him; and as is the evil present with a person, so is the community of evil spirits present with him. A person chooses certain communities for himself, that is, he places himself within one of these; for like is brought into association with like.

For example, one who is grasping chooses for himself communities of like-minded spirits who are motivated by his kind of desire; one who loves himself pre-eminently and despises others chooses for himself others who are like himself; while one who takes delight in acts of revenge chooses for himself such as delight in these; and so on with everyone else. Those spirits are in communication with hell, with man in the midst of them and utterly under their control, so much so that he is not under his own jurisdiction but under theirs, although he imagines from the delight he experiences, and so from the freedom he has, that he is in control of himself.

But one who is not grasping, or one who does not love himself pre-eminently and does not despise others, or one who does not take delight in acts of revenge, dwells in a community of like-minded angels and through them is led by the Lord, and indeed by means of freedom to everything good and true to which he allows himself to be led. And as he allows himself to be led to good which is more interior and more perfect, so he is conveyed to more interior and more perfect angelic communities. His changes of state are nothing else than changes of communities. The truth of this is evident to me from continuing experience which has lasted for several years now, from which it has become something as ordinary and everyday for me as any ordinary everyday thing experienced by anyone since he was a young child.

[4] These considerations now make clear the situation with the regeneration of man, and with the intermediate delights and forms of good by which a person is conveyed by the Lord from the state of the old man to that of the new, that is to say, it is effected by means of angelic communities and by changes of those communities. Intermediate forms of good and delight are nothing else than such communities, with which the Lord brings man into contact so that by means of them he may be introduced to spiritual and celestial kinds of good and truth. Once he has been conveyed to these, those communities are separated, and more interior and more perfect ones become linked to him. Nothing else than this is understood by the intermediate good meant by 'Laban', and nothing else by the separation of that good, which is the subject of the present chapter. (AC 4067)

SE 152. About the collective [energy] field of spirits

It is certainly difficult to understand what the collective field of spirits is, and what their impact upon human minds is, without being informed how spirits are differentiated most distinctly into kinds and species, and how their energy, which creates that field, responds to, and thus guides, every single thought and mental image in a human being.

[The relation of human minds to] the collective field of spirits is no different from that of the air, which is the grosser atmosphere and related to hearing, compared to the ether or purer atmosphere related to sight; or the dense clouds around the earth compared to the clear and serene region up above.

1) The [energy] field of spirits is now so corrupted, that whatever flows from the more inward heaven into their realm, which constitutes the third heaven,* becomes so distorted that whatever [is communicated] does not become known at all, but all and the least messages stream into human minds with an entirely opposite content.

2) Such is that field at this day, and so it has been growing and is growing toward the last day, when it will be dispersed. But in most ancient times, it was not so. It is also because of this field that revelations cannot come forth today as they did in ancient times, except by an extraordinary way, and that there is no such communication with the heavens as there once was.

3) For a period of some hours I was shown how the collective field operates into human minds, and in fact, when it was allowed, how I was not in the least able to stop them from taking away my thought, and from prevailing - such is the strength of that field today, when spirits are given the power to act.

4) The whole field utterly opposes the angels' endeavors; and the power of the angels, who all belong to God the Messiah, is increased so that they are able to overcome.

5) Astounding things would emerge if I should tell what filthy objects they portray when they are allowed to work by fantasies - which I would rather pass by, because it would be shocking to tell; they are nothing less than filthy.

6) Angels of the third level** can also be in that same realm, and because they are governed by the heaven of angels, they cannot be hurt at all.

7) A fact I have found noteworthy was that at times, I have heard a spirit speaking with me, and he was abruptly removed. Now I have been allowed to learn that he was snatched away by the collective field, that is, compelled to speak in accord with the field's action. I observed still more things that have slipped from my memory: for that field takes away whatever truth and goodness they find to be the most unpleasant. But if God the Messiah sees fit, [I will speak] more fully elsewhere about this collective field, in general and in details. 1747, the 14th day of September (old calendar).

8) The collective field can be compared with the ethereal atmosphere, in that this conveys to the eye the individual objects, like those on streets and in the countryside, in all the details of their forms and shapes - indeed, to a thousand eyes at the same time, or even tens of thousands - and in this way, to each of a person's thoughts, reasonings and fantasies individually. [The comparison is valid,] for [the collective field] lies inside of nature.
* I.e. in descending order.
** I.e. third in a descending order. (SE 152)

SE 206.  For a long time I believed that the innermost and very inward angels knew what I was doing and thinking, since I thought it was their doing that the evil plans and deceptions of lying spirits were constantly being restrained. But when I was allowed on several occasions, by the Divine Mercy of God the Messiah, to speak with others who were bringing down the thinking of those angels to me, it was told by them that those angels did not know at all what I was doing or seeing, as did the spirits closest by, but that they were nevertheless continually reacting against the endeavors and acts of evil spirits, or of their aura, which they sensed most keenly, but did not know from what cause or from what person [it arose].

So it is only God the Messiah, Who acts through His angels, Who sees and knows every least thing, and Who therefore directs human endeavors. Now this is what is meant by the words, "Abraham does not know us." Today by means of a certain abstract thought, something ascended to the angels which moved them. They were surprised, and then spoke with me through others. 1747, the 13th day of October (old calendar).

Nor do the angels want to know what is going on on earth, because they are aware that everything has gone to corruption and ruin; wherefore they desire that the Kingdom of God the Messiah may come, hoping that communication may thus be opened up between them and mankind. (SE 206)

Se 1892. Mankind and spirits are not acquainted with even the most general facts in the heavens

By a spiritual vision I was shown today that we are not acquainted with even the most general of facts in heaven. Take, for example, the fact that only one point of thought that we regard as most subtle and complete, contains within it, so to speak, the whole of heaven. For there is something in heaven residing in every least particle. This seems amazing, to be sure, and yet it is just as in each least part of a human being, there is a communication of every least thing that is going on in the [whole] body. 1748, 23 April. (SE 1892)

SE 3050. The true speech of spirits

The speech of words is not the speaking that is proper to spirits, but to mankind, or to the bodily memory; but the speech of the inward memory is the true speech of spirits, and what it is like was shown to me today. It is thought, and to be sure, communicative thought, by which I spoke with them just now, and in fact about how all that they can understand and can perceive is their knowledge, even if they had not previously known that they knew it. For they understand instantaneously, and because they understand, it cannot but be in them and can be said to be from them as well as anyone else who declares it.
So that speech is an inward speaking, embracing many things, for it is simultaneously observant of the thinking of the other, and perceptive of whether he is of the same thought. It is of such a nature that it is hardly ever wrong. In short, it is a communication of ideas, one of which cannot be expressed by many words, and if it is expressed this still brings out little, for [the communication] has with it its entire mental image, so to speak, that is being manifested.

Such is the speech of spirits among themselves, in short, not words, but the images of words, for each word has a mental image of great extension, as is evident from the fact that (SE 3050)

SE 3051. the idea of one word is usually able to be expressed by many, and so are all the words in a chain of the speech of thought. This is an amazing thing, i.e. that spirits among themselves do not know that there is such speech and that they communicate their thoughts by means of it, because they are without any reflection on the speech of words, of which they are mutually ignorant because they do not reflect on it, for the reason that it is natural.

And now I realize that it is that speech of spirits in earthly humans that governs the speech of words, as I am now aware while writing these words. But that earthly humans do not know this and perhaps realize it, is because it is natural to their spirit, which they do not know they have. And that they do not know, or perhaps realize that these things are so, is because they cling, some to words, some to bodily things, some to worldly ones, whereby the faculty of understanding them perishes. I also realize that in a group, this speech of spirits appears like a faculty of speaking by words. I wrote these things when together with another spirit, who acknowledges it. 1748, 5 Sept.

SE 3052. However, angelic speech on a higher level functions likewise as a faculty, for that faculty [of spirits] cannot exist unless there is a still deeper one embracing many things in the least parts of an idea. I noticed that they were instructing someone else, but whether he understood, I do not know. This I know, that generals come from there, as was plain to be from many things, and also that the feelings of many in common overflow from there. The reason why I could not engage in the angelic speech I realize, namely, that my spirit is in the body, and spirits put on everything belonging to my bodily memory, so that it is not possible for me to engage in it. 1748, 5 Sept. (SE 3052)

Se 3053. What angelic speech is like could be understood also from this, that I was resolved to want to take action for a certain use, but was then dissuaded from it. I was aware of the use within myself, but when I was dissuaded, I realized that many things were involved, so that I ought not to take action for that use. Those many things are distinctly contained in the angelic speech, but with me in such a way that I could understand nothing of them.
But some not upright spirits wanted to shy away [from that speech], as I also realized, for it is just their nature not to let in anything coming from heaven. They can afterwards find out why, but not at the time, because they are acting from their nature. If they were to bring forth their reason, and to say for what use [action should be taken], they can do this in afterthought with many words, but they are only fabrications to support their own things. 1748, 5 Sept. (SE 3053)

AC 784. The reason why heaven has been closed is a very deep arcanum, as also is the reason why it is so closed nowadays that no one knows even of the existence of spirits, let alone that angels are residing with him. He imagines that when he is not with fellow men in the world and when thinking all by himself he is completely alone. In fact however he is constantly in the company of spirits who observe and perceive very accurately what a person is thinking and what he intends and devises, as accurately and clearly as if this manifested itself for all the world to see. Of this man is not at all directly conscious, so closed is heaven to him. Nevertheless it is utterly true. The reason he is not conscious of it is that if heaven were not in this way closed to him at a time when faith is non-existent with him, still less the truth of faith, and charity even less, he would stand in very great danger. (AC 784)

AC 4048. There was a certain spirit close to my head who spoke to me. From the sound I perceived that his state was a state of tranquility, like that of a peaceful sleep. He asked about this and that, but so cautiously that someone wide awake could not have displayed greater caution. I perceived that interior angels spoke through him, and that his state was one in which he perceived and reproduced what they said. I made some inquiries about that state and then I told him that the nature of it was as I had perceived it. He replied that he did not speak anything other than what was good and true, and that he detected whether anything else was present; and if anything other came along he did not entertain it or utter it. In reference to his state he said that it was peaceful, as I was also allowed to perceive through the communication of it to me. I was told that of such a nature were the spirits who correlate with the sinuses or major blood vessels in the brain, and that those who were like that particular spirit correlate with the longitudinal sinus which lies between the two hemispheres of the brain, and in a quiet state there even though the brain on either side of it may be in utter turmoil. (AC 4048)

AC 5990. At the present day there are very many spirits who wish to enter not only a person's thoughts and affections but also his speech and actions, thus the bodily counterparts of his thoughts and affections as well. Those bodily counterparts however are not subject to particular influx from spirits and angels but are controlled by general influx. That is to say, when thoughts pass into and are channeled into speech and when the desires of the will pass into and are channeled into actions, their channeling and passage into the body takes place according to order, and is not controlled by means of any spirits in particular. For to enter a person's bodily aspects is to possess him.

Spirits who have the desire and intention to do this include those who during their lifetime were adulterers, that is, who took delight in acts of adultery and convinced themselves that such acts were permissible. Also included are those who were cruel people. The reason why both the adulterous and the cruel have that desire and intention to possess a person is that they more than all others are governed by the body and the senses. They have cast aside all thought about heaven, by attributing everything to natural forces and nothing to the Divine. Thus they have shut interior things off from themselves and opened up external ones, for which alone they had any love while in the world and to which they therefore desire to return in the next life through a person by taking possession of him.

[2] But the Lord makes provision which prevents such spirits from entering the world of spirits; they are confined to their own hells, shut well away. This explains why there are no cases of external possession at the present day; but there are nevertheless internal cases of it, also brought about by the hellish and devilish crew. For evil persons think the kinds of things that are filthy, also those which involve cruelty to others, as well as those that are contrary and harmful to Divine ones. Unless such thoughts were curbed by fear of the loss of position, material gain, reputation on account of such position and gain, fear of punishment by the law, or loss of life, they would break out into the open and such persons would plunge, more than those who are possessed, into the ruination of others and into blasphemous utterances made against matters of faith. But those external restraints make such people seem not to be possessed; they are however subject inwardly to such possession, even though they may not be outwardly. This is plainly evident from people like them in the next life, where external restraints are removed. There they are devils, constantly delighting in and desiring the ruination of others and the destruction of anything that is a matter of faith. (AC 5990)

AC 5991. I once saw some spirits who must be called bodily or physical ones. They rose up from a deep place on the side of the sole of my right foot. It looked to the eyes of my spirit as though they inhabited thoroughly physical bodies. When I asked who spirits like these might be I was told that they were those who in the world had been clever and very knowledgeable; but they had used their knowledge entirely to reinforce themselves in their opposition to the Divine, and so to the things of the Church. And since they had become fully convinced that everything could be attributed to natural forces, they had shut themselves off more than others from interior things, thus from things of the spirit. This is why they had a thoroughly physical appearance.

Among them was one whom I had known when he lived in the world. At that time he had been one of those quite renowned for their clever abilities and their learning. But that cleverness and learning, which are the means to enable a person to think clearly about Divine matters, were for that man the means to think in opposition to them and to convince himself that they were valueless. For a person well endowed with cleverness and learning has more resources for proving his ideas than others have. Consequently the one I had known was interiorly possessed, though in outward appearance he seemed to be a decent and properly-behaved person. (AC 5991)

AC 5992. The angels through whom the Lord leads and also protects a person are near his head. Their function is to impart charity and faith, to notice the direction in which the person's delights turn, and to modify and bend those delights towards what is good, so far as they can do so in the person's freedom. The angels are forbidden to act in any violent manner and thereby crush a person's evil desires and false assumptions; they must act gently. Their function is also to control evil spirits who come from hell, which is done in countless ways, of which let only the following be mentioned here: When evil spirits infuse evils and falsities the angels instill truths and goods, which - even if they are not accepted - serve to temper what the former infuse. Spirits from hell are constantly on the attack, and angels provide protection; and this is a proper state of order.

[2] In particular the angels moderate affections, since they constitute a person's life and also his freedom. The angels also notice any influence on a person from hells which are now open but were not previously so, which happens when a person goes off into some new evil. To the extent that the person allows, the angels close those hells; they also remove any spirits who may be trying to come out from there. They also dispel any strange and new influences which can produce evil effects.

[3] In particular the angels call forth the forms of good and truth residing with a person and set them opposite the evils and falsities activated by the evil spirits. As a result the person is in the middle and is not conscious of the evil or of the good; and being in the middle he is in freedom to turn towards one or towards the other. Angels from the Lord employ means like these to lead and protect a person, doing so every instant and fraction of an instant. For if the angels were to let up merely for a single moment the person would be plunged into evil from which after that he cannot possibly be brought out. The angels are motivated to do all this by a love they receive from the Lord, for nothing gives them greater delight and happiness than to remove evils from a person and lead him to heaven. This is their joy, see Luke 15:7. Scarcely anyone believes the Lord has that kind of concern for a person, a constant concern lasting from the very beginning of a person's existence to the final moment of his life, and for evermore after that. (AC 5992)

AC 5993. From all that has now been said it may be seen that to be in touch with the spiritual world a person must have two spirits from hell and two angels from heaven linked to him, and that without them he would not have any life at all. For the human being cannot by any means receive his life from general influx, like living creatures devoid of reason, which are dealt with in 5850, because his entire life is contrary to order. That being his state, if he were moved by general influx alone he would be moved inevitably by hell, not by heaven. And if not moved by heaven he would not have any interior life, nor thus any thought or will at all such as a human being possesses, not even any such as an animal possesses. For the human being is born without any use of reason and cannot be led into it except through influx from heaven.

[2] From what has been brought forward here it is also clear that a person cannot live without communication with the hells through spirits from there, for his entire life which he derives by heredity from his parents, and all that he adds of what is his own, consists of self-love and love of the world, not of love of the neighbour, still less of love of God. And because a person's entire life from what is properly his own consists of self-love and love of the world, it accordingly consists of contempt for others in comparison with self and of hatred felt for and revenge taken on all who do not show him favour. It therefore consists too of cruelty, for anyone harbouring hatred of others wishes to kill them, and is supremely delighted by the ruination of them. Unless spirits like this, who cannot come from anywhere but hell, were attached to those evils, and unless a person were led by those spirits in ways that accord with the delights of his life, he could not possibly be diverted towards heaven, for initially those actual delights of his are used to divert him. They are also used to place him in a state of freedom, thus finally to give him the power of choice. (AC 5993)

AC 6200. Because I have been living - constantly, for nine years now* - in company with spirits and angels, I have been able to take careful note of the nature of influx. When I have been thinking, the material ideas in my thought have presented themselves so to speak in the middle of a wave-like motion. I have noticed that the wave was made up of nothing other than such ideas as had become attached to the particular matter in my memory that I was thinking about, and that a person's entire thought is seen by spirits in this way.

But nothing else enters that person's awareness then apart from what is in the middle which has presented itself as a material idea. I have likened that wave round about to spiritual wings which serve to raise the particular matter the person is thinking about up out of his memory. And in this way the person becomes aware of that matter. The surrounding material in which the wave-like motion takes place contained countless things that harmonized with the matter I was thinking about. This was made clear to me by the fact that from those things spirits living in a more perfect sphere knew everything I had ever learned on that particular subject. It accordingly showed me that spirits take in and absorb everything a person knows, while genii, who are interested solely in his desires and affections, do the same to all aspects of his loves.

[2] Let the following example illustrate the point. Whenever I have thought about a person I knew, an image of that person, like that which comes to anyone's mind when his name is mentioned, presented itself in the middle. But round about the image of him - looking like the wings of a bird that are moving up and down - there was everything I had known and thought since childhood regarding that person. Consequently the entire character of that person as it existed in my thought and affection presented itself to spirits in an instant. The like has also happened whenever I have thought about any city. From the sphere round about moving like a wave spirits knew in an instant everything I had ever seen in it or known about it. The same thing has applied to my scientific knowledge.
* These words occur in Volume Five of the Latin, published in 1753. (AC 6200)

AC 6201. This was how my thought was seen by spirits when I had been raised a little way above the level of the senses. But when my thought took place on the latter level no such wave-like motion was seen; instead something entirely material appeared there, not unlike an object seen with the physical eyes. This is called thinking on the sensory level; but when thought takes place on a more internal level it is referred to as being raised above the level of the senses.

The ancients were well acquainted with the idea that a person can be raised above the sensory level, and therefore some of them also wrote about that condition. People whose thought takes place on the lower level are called sensory-minded, and spirits of a similar nature are attached to them. These spirits take hold of little more from a person than what enters his own awareness too; for they are more unrefined than all other spirits. I have also noticed that when a person is on the sensory level and has not been raised above it his thought is confined to what is of a bodily and worldly nature. He has no wish to know about things that belong to eternal life; indeed he refuses to listen to anything about it.

[2] To enable me to know the nature of all this I have been brought down frequently to that sensory level, when the things described have occurred instantly. At the same time spirits in that more unrefined sphere have poured in foul and offensive ideas. But as soon as I was raised above the sensory level such ideas were dispelled. The life of the majority of people who surrender themselves to physical pleasures is on that sensory level, and so is the life of those who have utterly refused to contemplate the existence of anything beyond what they can see and hear, in particular those who have refused to think about eternal life.

For that reason people of this kind revile such higher things and are nauseated when they hear them mentioned. At the present day large numbers of spirits like this exist in the next life, for bands of them enter it from the world. Also when they flow into a person they prompt him to indulge his natural inclination to lead a selfish and worldly life, not a life for others except insofar as they countenance him and his selfish desires. To be raised up above these spirits a person must entertain thoughts of eternal life. (AC 6201)

AC 6202. I have also noticed another kind of influx which does not take place through the spirits present with a person but through others who are sent out from some community in hell to the sphere emanating from that person's life. They talk among themselves about the kinds of things that are unacceptable to the person, which results generally in a flowing into him of what is in many different ways troublesome, unpleasant, dejecting, and worrying. Such spirits have often been present with me, when I have experienced in the province of my stomach those who poured in feelings of anxiety - not that I knew where the feelings came from. Yet on every occasion I found out who they were, and then I heard them talking to one another about the kinds of things that were unacceptable to my affections.

Avaricious spirits in the same region have sometimes been visible, though in a slightly higher position; they have poured in the kind of anxiety that results from concern for the future. I have also been allowed to rebuke those spirits and to tell them that they correlate with undigested food in the stomach which produces bad breath and so is nauseating. I have also seen them being driven away; and once they were driven away, anxiety completely disappeared. I have had this experience a number of times so that I could be quite certain that those spirits were the source of the trouble.

[2] This is the kind of influx that takes place among those who for no good reason are anxious and depressed, and also among those who are undergoing spiritual temptation. During temptation however there is not only a general influx of such spirits but also a particular stirring up by spirits from hell of the evils the person has put into practice. 'Those spirits also pervert and put a wrong interpretation on the forms of good that the angels use to fight with in temptation. A state such as this is what the person who is being regenerated enters by being let down into what is wholly his own. And this happens when he immerses himself too much in worldly and bodily interests and needs to be raised towards spiritual ones. (AC 6202)

AC 6203. The influx of evil from hell arises in the following way: When a person plunges himself into some evil - first because he gives in to it, then because he deliberately intends it, and finally because he loves and delights in it - the hell where that kind of evil reigns is opened; for evils and all their variations give rise to each distinction that marks off one hell from all the others. After it has been opened an influx from that hell also takes place. If a person embarks on evil in that way it clings to him, for the hell whose sphere now surrounds him finds in him the same delight as is their own when immersed in their own kind of evil.

This being so, that hell does not give up but stubbornly persists in causing the person to think about that evil - first of all now and again, then as often as anything related comes along, till at length it becomes what governs him all the time. When this happens he looks around for ideas such as will support the notion that the thing is not an evil, until he becomes thoroughly convinced it is not. At this point he strives so far as he can to get rid of external restraints and to make it allowable and smart, and at length even attractive and honourable, to engage in adulterous practices, theft involving trickery and deceit, various forms of arrogance and boasting, contempt for others, insults, persecution carried on under a cloak of righteousness, and other things like these. They are like blatant thefts which a person cannot refrain from committing once he has deliberately engaged in two or three; for they cling constantly to his thinking. (AC 6203)

AC 6204. In addition to this it should be recognized that evil entering a person's thought does not do him harm; for spirits from hell are constantly pouring in evil, but angels are constantly driving it away. But when it enters the will it does do harm, for it leads on to actions as often as external restraints do not hinder it. Evil enters the will when it is retained in one's thought, is approved of, and especially when it is acted upon and therefore delighted in. (AC 6204).

AC 6205. I have often noticed that evil spirits invest themselves in particular with a person's false notions and evil desires, and that when they do they control him in a despotic way. For one who gets inside a person's evil desires and false notions makes him subject to himself and turns him into his slave. But an influx coming through angels adjusts itself to the person's affections, which they guide gently, turning those affections towards what is good without breaking them. The actual influx of them is silent, barely perceptible, for it is an influx into the person's interiors, always operating through his freedom. (AC 6205)

AC 6206. To take the subject further, it should be recognized that all evil flows in from hell and all good from the Lord by way of heaven. The reason however why evil becomes a person's own is that he believes and convinces himself that he thinks and practices it all by himself. In this way he makes it his own. But if he believed what is really so, it would not be evil but good from the Lord that became his own. For if he believed what is really so he would think, the instant evil flowed in, that it came from the evil spirits present with him; and since that was what he thought the angels could ward that evil off and repel it.

For influx from angels takes place into what a person knows and believes, not what he does not know or believe; there is nowhere else for it to become firmly established than in something the person knows or believes.

[2] When a person in that way makes some evil his own he acquires the sphere that is a product of that evil. This sphere is what the spirits from hell who have a sphere of like evil around them associate themselves with, for like is linked to like. The spiritual sphere existing with man or spirit is an emanation from the life which belongs to his loves, from which his character is recognized from afar. Their spheres are what determine the ways in which all are joined to one another in the next life, and the ways in which communities are joined too. They also determine the separations that take place, for contrary spheres conflict with and repel one another. Consequently the spheres produced by the loves of what is evil are all in hell, while the spheres produced by the loves of what is good are all in heaven, that is, those dwelling in such spheres are there. (AC 6206)

AC 6207. The influx from angels takes place primarily into a person's conscience, in which there is a base laid down for them to operate into. This base exists within the interior parts of the person. Conscience is twofold - interior and exterior. Interior conscience is a conscience concerned with what is spiritually good and true, exterior conscience with what is just and fair. The latter kind of conscience exists with many at the present day, but interior conscience with few.

Even so, those endowed with exterior conscience are saved in the next life, since they are the kind of people who, if they act contrary to what is good and true or contrary to what is just and fair, feel distressed and tormented within. They feel this way not because of any consequent loss of position, gain, or reputation but because they have acted contrary to what is good and true or just and fair.

But where neither kind of conscience exists there is something very inferior to them which on occasions simulates conscience. That is to say, a simulation of conscience exists when people are moved to practice what is true and good, fair and just, not by a love of it but for selfish reasons, for position and personal gain. These people too feel distressed and tormented when things unacceptable to them occur; but this kind of conscience is no conscience at all because it goes with self-love and love of the world and has nothing in it of the love of God and of one's neighbour. Nor is it therefore to be seen in the next life.

[2] People like this are also able to serve in quite high-ranking offices, just as those endowed with genuine conscience do, for to outward appearance they do the same kinds of things; but they do them for the sake of their own position and reputation. Therefore the more they fear the loss of the latter, the better they discharge their public duties in favour of neighbour and country. But people who do not fear their loss are utterly dispensable members of the state. Those with this false conscience do not even know what conscience is, and when they hear from others what it is they laugh at the idea and think it is the product of simplicity or sickness of mind.

These matters have been stated so that people may know the nature of this influx, that is to say, that conscience is the base that has been laid down for the angels to flow into - in particular into the affections there for what is good and true, and for what is just and fair - and thereby bind and hold the person, though without taking away his freedom. (AC 6207)

AC 6208. There are quite a number of people who are endowed by heredity with natural good, as a result of which they delight in doing good to others. But since they have not adopted from the Word, from the teaching of the Church, or from the religion they belong to, any principles about the doing of good on account of those teachings, they have also been unable to have any conscience conferred on them; for conscience is not the product of natural or hereditary good but of teaching regarding what is true and good and of a life based on that teaching. When people like these come into the next life they are amazed that they are not received into heaven. They say they have led a good life, but they are told that a good life which is the outcome of natural or hereditary disposition is not a good life; it comes instead out of teaching regarding what is good and true and out of a life based on that teaching.

Through such teaching and life, they are told, people have principles stamped on their character regarding what is true and good and receive a conscience, which is the base laid down for heaven to flow into. So that those who are told these things may know they are true, they are sent to different communities, where they allow themselves to be misled into all kinds of evil solely through reasonings and consequent false persuasions that things which are evil are good, and those which are good are evil. They are thus swayed by those arguments wherever they go and are borne around like straws in the wind. For they have no principles, no base laid down into which the angels can operate and guide them away from the wicked. (AC 6208)

AC 6210. On some occasions I have happened to be deep in thought about worldly matters and the kinds of things that concern most people - possessions, the acquisition of riches, pleasures, and the like. At these times I noticed that I was slipping back into sensory-mindedness, and that to the extent that my thought was immersed in those worldly interests I was more removed from companionship with the angels.

This also proved to me that people who are deeply engrossed in such concerns cannot have any real contact with them in the next life. For when such thoughts occupy the whole mind they bear its lower part downwards, like weights pulling it down. When such worldly interests are a person's final concern they remove him from heaven, to which he cannot be raised except by means of the good of love and faith. This has been made additionally clear to me by the following experience. I was once taken through the dwelling-places of heaven, at which time my ideas were spiritual ones. Then I suddenly slipped into thinking about worldly matters, and all those spiritual ideas were scattered and became as nothing. (AC 6210)

AC 6211. I have sometimes wondered why speech and action are not governed by means of particular spirits in the way thought and will are governed by means of them. But I have been told that speech follows from thought and action from the will, and that this flows from true order, thus through general influx. Nevertheless spirits are assigned to each part of the body associated with the power of speech, and to each part associated with action, though these spirits are not directly aware of it. General influx is the unceasing endeavour by the Lord, acting through the whole of heaven, to enter every detail of a person's life. (AC 6211)

HH 292. With every individual there are good spirits and evil spirits. [people who are in the afterlife] Through the good spirits, man [people still connected to the physical body or earthlings] has conjunction with heaven, and through the evil spirits with hell. These spirits are in the world of spirits, which lies midway between heaven and hell. This world will be described particularly in the following pages.

When these spirits come to [or: become aware of being in the presence of] a man they enter into [or: become aware of] his entire memory, and thus into his entire thought, evil spirits into the evil things of his memory and thought, and good spirits into the good things of his memory and thought. These spirits have no knowledge at all that they are with a man, but when they are with him they believe that all things of his memory and thought are their own. Neither do they see the man, because nothing that is in our solar world falls within their vision.#

The Lord exercises the greatest care that the spirits should not know that they are with a man; for if they knew it, they would speak with him. In that case evil spirits would destroy him. For evil spirits, being conjoined with hell, desire nothing so much as to destroy man, not alone his soul, that is, his faith and love, but also his body.

It is otherwise when spirits do not speak with man, in which case they are not aware that what they are thinking and also what they are saying among themselves is from man. For they even speak among themselves from man, but believe that what they are thinking and saying is their own, and each esteems and loves what is his own.

In this way, spirits are constrained to love and esteem man, although they do not know it. That such is the conjunction of spirits with man has become so well known to me as a result of many years' continual experience that there is nothing better known to me.

# There are angels and spirits with every man, and by means of them man has communication with the spiritual world (n. 697, 2796, 2886, 2887, 4047, 4048, 5846-5866, 5976-5993).
Man without spirits with him cannot live (n. 5993).
Man is not seen by spirits, even as spirits are not seen by man (n. 5862).
Spirits can see nothing in our solar world with man except the one with whom they are speaking (n. 1880). (HH 292)

HH 293. The reason that spirits who communicate with hell are also adjoined to man is that man is born into evils of every kind, consequently his first life can only be from them. Therefore, unless spirits of a nature like his own were adjoined to man he could not live, nor indeed could he be withdrawn from his evils and reformed. He is therefore held in his own life by means of evil spirits and withheld from it by means of good spirits, and by the two kept in equilibrium.

Being in equilibrium, he is in his freedom, and can be drawn away from evils and turned towards good, and good can also be implanted in him, which would not be possible at all if he were not in freedom. Freedom is not possible to man unless spirits from hell act on one side and spirits from heaven on the other, and man is in between.

Again, it has been shown that so far as a man's life is from what he inherits, and thus from self, if he were not permitted to be in evil he would have no life, and if he were not in freedom he would have no life.

Also he cannot be forced to good, and what is forced does not abide; further that the good that man receives in freedom is implanted in his will and becomes, as it were, his own (ejus proprium).#

These are the reasons that man has communication with hell and communication with heaven.

# All freedom is of love and affection, since what a man loves, that he does freely (n. 2870, 3158, 8987, 8990, 9585, 9591).
As freedom belongs to man's love, so it belongs to man's life (n. 2873).
Nothing appears as man's own except what is from freedom (n. 2880).
Man must have freedom that he maybe reformed (n. 1937, 1947, 2876, 2881, 3541, 3146, 3158, 4031, 8700).
Otherwise no love of good and truth can be implanted in man and be appropriated seemingly as his own (n. 2877, 2879, 2880, 2883, 8700).
Nothing that is done from compulsion is conjoined to man (n. 2875, 8700).
If man could be reformed by compulsion every one would be reformed (n.
Compulsion in reformation is harmful (n. 4031).
What states of compulsion are (n. 8392).

(HH 293)

HH 294. The nature of the communication of heaven with good spirits, and of hell with evil spirits, and of the consequent conjunction with man of heaven and hell, will also be told. All the spirits who are in the world of spirits have communication with heaven or with hell, the evil spirits with hell, and the good spirits with heaven.

Heaven is distinguished into societies, and so is hell. Any one spirit belongs to some society, and continues to exist by influx from it, thus acting as one with it. Consequently, as man is conjoined with spirits so is he conjoined with heaven or with hell, even with the society there in which he is in respect of his affection or his love. For the societies of heaven are all distinguished in accordance with their affections of good and truth, and the societies of hell in accordance with their affections of evil and falsity. (Concerning the societies of heaven see above, n. 41-45; also n. 148-151.) (HH 294)

HH 295. The spirits adjoined to man are such as he himself is, in respect to affection or love; but the good spirits are adjoined to him by the Lord, while the evil spirits are summoned by the man himself. The spirits with man, however, are changed in accordance with the changes of his affections; thus, there are some spirits with him in infancy, others in boyhood, others in youth and manhood, and others in old age.

In infancy, those spirits are present who are in innocence and who thus communicate with the heaven of innocence, which is the inmost or third heaven; in childhood, those spirits are present who are in the affection of knowing, and who thus communicate with the ultimate or first heaven; in youth and manhood, spirits are present who are in the affection of what is true and good, and consequently in intelligence, and who thus communicate with the second or middle heaven; in old age, however, spirits are present who are in wisdom and innocence, and who thus communicate with the inmost or third heaven.

But the Lord effects this adjunction with those who can be reformed and regenerated. It is otherwise with those who cannot be [or: refuse to be] reformed or regenerated. Good spirits also are adjoined to these, that they may thereby be withheld from evil as much as possible, but their immediate conjunction is with evil spirits who communicate with hell, whereby they have such spirits with them as are like themselves. If they are lovers of self or lovers of gain, or lovers of revenge, or lovers of adultery, similar spirits are present, and dwell, as it were, in their evil affections, and man is incited by these, except so far as he can be kept from evil by good spirits, and they cling to him, and do not withdraw, so far as the evil affection prevails. Thus it is that a bad man is conjoined to hell and a good man is conjoined to heaven. (HH 295)

HH 298. The spirits who are with man, both those conjoined with heaven and those conjoined with hell, never inflow with man from their own memory and the thought derived therefrom, for if they should inflow from their own thought, man would not know but that whatever belonged to them would be his own (see above n. 256). Nevertheless, there inflows with man through them out of heaven an affection belonging to the love of good and truth, and out of hell an affection belonging to the love of evil and falsity.

Therefore as far as man's affection agrees with the affection that inflows, so far is that affection received by him in his thought, since man's interior thought is wholly in accord with his affection or love; but so far as man's affection does not agree with that affection it is not received.

Therefore, as thought is not introduced with man through spirits, but only an affection for good and an affection for evil, it is evident that man has choice, because he has freedom, and is thus able with his thought to receive good and reject evil, for he knows from the Word what is good and what is evil. Whatever he receives in thought from affection also is appropriated to him; but whatever he does not receive in thought from affection is not appropriated to him.

From these considerations, the nature of the influx with man of good out of heaven, and of evil out of hell, can be confirmed. (HH 298)

HH 299. I have also been permitted to know the source of human anxiety, grief of mind (animus), and interior sadness, which is called melancholy.

There are spirits not as yet in conjunction with hell, because they are in their first state; these will be described in the following pages where the world of spirits is dealt with. These spirits love things undigested and unprofitable, such as pertain to food becoming foul in the stomach. Consequently, they are present where such things are with man, because they find delight in them; and they talk there with one another from their own evil affection. The affection that is in their speech inflows from this source with man; and when this affection is the opposite of man's affection it becomes in him sadness and melancholy anxiety; but when it is in agreement it becomes in him gladness and cheerfulness.

These spirits appear near to the stomach [of the Grand Human], some to the left and some to the right of it, and some beneath and some above, also nearer and more remote, thus variously in accordance with the affections in which they are. That this is the source of anxiety of mind has been shown and proved to me by much experience. I have seen these spirits, I have heard them, I have felt the anxieties arising from them, I have talked with them; when they have been driven away the anxiety ceased; when they returned the anxiety returned; and I have noted the increase and decrease of it according to their approach and removal.

From this, it has been made clear to me why some who do not know what conscience is, because they have no conscience, ascribe its pain to the stomach.#

# Those who have no conscience do not know what conscience is (n. 7490,
There are some who laugh at conscience when they hear what it is (n. 7217).
Some believe that conscience is nothing; some that it is something natural that is sad and mournful, arising either from causes in the body or from causes in the world; some that it is something pertaining to the common people as a result of their being religious (n. 206, 831, 950; [T.C.R. n. 665]).
There is true conscience, spurious conscience, and false conscience (n. 1033). Pain of conscience is an anxiety of mind on account of what is unjust, insincere, or in any respect evil, which man believes to be against God and against the good of the neighbour (n. 7217).
Those have conscience who are in love to God and in charity towards the neighbour, but those who are not so have no conscience (n. 831, 965, 2380,
7490). (HH 299)

HH 300. The conjunction of heaven with man is not like the conjunction of man with man, but the conjunction is with the interiors of man's mind (mens), that is, with his spiritual or internal man. But there is also a conjunction with his natural or external by means of correspondences, which will be spoken of in the next section where the conjunction of heaven with man by means of the Word is to be dealt with. (HH 300)

HH 438. To this may be added that every man in respect of his spirit, even while he is living in the body, is in some society with spirits, although he does not know it, if a good man he is by means of spirits in some angelic society, if an evil man in some infernal society; and after death he comes into that same society. This has been often told and shown to those who after death have come among spirits. Man, to be sure, does not appear in that society as a spirit while he is living in the world, for the reason that he then thinks naturally; but those who are thinking abstractly from the body, because they are then in the spirit, sometimes appear in their own society; and when seen they are easily distinguished from the spirits there, for they go about meditating and in silence, not looking at others, and apparently not seeing them; and as soon as any spirit speaks to them they vanish. (HH 438)

HH 439. To make clear that man in respect of his interiors is a spirit, I wish to relate from experience what happens when man is withdrawn from the body, and what it is to be carried away by the spirit to another place. (HH 439)

HH 440. As regards the first, namely, withdrawal from the body, it happens thus. Man is brought into a certain state that is mid-way between sleeping and waking, and when in that state he seems to himself to be wide awake; all the senses are as perfectly awake as in the completest bodily wakefulness, not only the sight and the hearing, but what is wonderful, the sense of touch also, which is then more exquisite than is ever possible when the body is awake. In this state, spirits and angels have been seen to the very life, and have been heard, and what is wonderful, have been touched, with almost nothing of the body intervening. This is the state that is called being withdrawn from the body, and not knowing whether one is in the body or out of it. I have been admitted into this state only three or four times, that I might know what it is, and might know that spirits and angels enjoy every sense, and that man does also in respect of his spirit when he is withdrawn from the body. (HH 440)

HH 441. As regards the second, being carried away by the spirit to another place, I have been shown by living experience what it is, and how it is done, but only two or three times. I wish to relate a single instance. Walking through the streets of a city and through fields, talking at the same time with spirits, I did not know otherwise than that I was fully awake, and in possession of my usual sight. Thus I walked on without going astray, and all the while with clear vision, seeing groves, rivers, palaces, houses, men, and other objects. But after walking thus for some hours, suddenly I saw with my bodily eyes, and noted that I was in another place. Being greatly astonished I perceived that I had been in the same state as those who were said to have been led away by the spirit into another place. For in this state there is no reflection upon the distance, even though it be many miles, nor any reflection upon the time, though it be many hours or days, neither is there any feeling of fatigue; and one is led unerringly through ways of which he himself is ignorant, even to the destined place. (HH 441)

HH 442. But these two states of man, which are his states when he is in his interiors, or what is the same, when he is in the spirit, are extraordinary; but as they are states known about in the Church, they were exhibited to me only that I might know what they are. But it has been granted to me now for many years to speak with spirits and to be with them as one of them, even in full wakefulness of the body. (HH 442)

For more selections on the vertical community see this article:    The Universal Language in the Afterlife

Quoting from the Writings Sacred Scripture:

AC 1634.
1634. CHAPTER 14
It is known from the Word of the Lord that many persons formerly spoke with spirits and angels, and that they heard and saw many things that are in the other life; but that afterwards heaven was as it were shut, insomuch that at the present day the existence of spirits and angels is scarcely credited, and still less that anyone can speak with them; for men regard it as impossible to speak with the unseen, and with those whose existence they in their hearts deny. But as of the Lord's Divine mercy I have now for some years been permitted to hold converse with spirits and angels almost continually, and to be in companionship with them as one of themselves, I may now relate what it has been given me to learn concerning their speech with one another.

AC 1635.
1635. The speech of spirits with me has been heard and perceived as distinctly as the speech of man with man; indeed, when I have spoken with them while I have been in company with men, I observed that just in the same way as I heard the men speaking sonorously, so also did I hear the spirits; insomuch that the spirits sometimes wondered that others did not hear what they said to me; for as regards the hearing there was absolutely no difference. But as the influx into the internal organs of hearing is different from that of speech with men, it could be heard only by myself; to whom of the Lord's Divine mercy these organs have been opened. Human speech passes in through the ear, by an external way, by means of the air; but the speech of spirits does not enter through the ear, nor by means of the air; but by an internal way, into the same organs of the head or brain. Consequently the hearing is the same.

AC 1636.
1636. How difficult it is for men to be brought to believe in the existence of spirits and angels, and still more that anyone can speak with them, has been evidenced to me by the following example. There were certain spirits who when they lived in the body had been among the more learned, and had then been known to me (for I have spoken with nearly all with whom I was acquainted during their bodily life, with some for several weeks, with others for a year, exactly as if they had been living in the body). These spirits were once brought into a state of thought similar to that which they had had while they lived in the world: in the other life this is easily done. The inquiry was then suggested, whether they believed that any man can speak with spirits. They then said, in that state, that it was a phantasy to believe any such thing; and this they asserted very persistently. From this it was given to know with how much difficulty a man can be brought to believe that any speaking with spirits is possible to man, for the reason that men do not believe in the existence of spirits, and still less that they are themselves to come among them after death. And at this these same spirits then wondered greatly; and yet they were among the more learned, and had spoken much in public concerning the other life, and concerning heaven and the angels; so that this might have been thought to be most fully known to them as a matter of memory-knowledge, especially from the Word, where it is frequently met with.

AC 1637.
1637. Among the wonderful things in the other life is the fact that the speech of spirits with a man is in his native tongue, which they speak as readily and skillfully as if they had been born in the same land, and had been brought up with the same language; and this whether they are from Europe, from Asia, or from any other part of the globe. The case is the same with those who lived thousands of years ago, before the language in question had come into existence. The spirits indeed know no otherwise than that the language in which they speak with a man is their own, and that of their native land. The case is the same with other languages in which the man is skilled; but beyond these languages, the spirits cannot utter a syllable of any language, unless to do this is given them by the Lord immediately. Even little children who had died before they had been taught any language, speak in the same way.

[2] But the reason is that the language with which spirits are familiar is not a language of words, but is a language of ideas of thought; and this language is the universal of all languages; and when they are with a man, their ideas of thought fall into the words that are in the man, and this in a manner so correspondent and fitting that the spirits know no otherwise than that the words themselves are theirs, and that they are speaking in their own language; when yet they are speaking in that of the man. I have occasionally spoken with spirits concerning these matters. All souls, as soon as they enter into the other life, are endowed with the gift of being able to understand the speech of all who are in the whole world, precisely as if it were their native tongue, for they perceive whatever a man thinks. They are endowed with other faculties also that are still more excellent. Hence it is that souls, after the death of the body, can converse and associate with all, of whatever region or language they may have been.

AC 1638.
1638. The words which they speak, that is, which they call up or bring forth from the man's memory, and suppose to be their own, are well chosen and clear, full of meaning, distinctly pronounced, and applicable to the subject; and, wonderful to say, they know how to choose the words better and more promptly than the man himself; and as has been shown, they are even acquainted with the various significations of the words, and instantly apply them, without any premeditation, for the reason, as before said, that the ideas of their language flow solely into words that are fitting. The case with this is nearly like that of a man who speaks without any thought of the words he is using, being simply in the meaning of the words; then, in accordance with the meaning, his thought falls readily and spontaneously into words; the inner meaning is that which calls forth the words. In such an internal meaning, only one still more subtle and excellent, does the speech of spirits consist; and through this a man communicates with spirits, although he is unaware of it.

AC 1639.
1639. The speech of words, as has been said, is the speech proper to man, and in fact to his corporeal memory; but the speech of ideas of thought is the speech of spirits, and in fact of the interior memory, which is the memory of the spirit. Men are not aware that they have this memory, because the memory of particulars, or of material things, which is corporeal, is everything, and obscures the interior memory; when yet without the interior memory, which is proper to his spirit, man cannot think at all. From this memory I have often spoken with spirits, thus in their own language, that is, by ideas of thought. How universal and copious this language is, may be seen from the fact that every word contains an idea of great extension; for it is well known that the single idea of a word may be set forth by many words; and this is still more true of the idea of one whole subject, and still more so of the idea of a number of such subjects, which can be brought together into one compound idea that still appears as simple; from which may be seen what is the quality of the natural speech of spirits among themselves, and by means of which speech man is conjoined with spirits.

AC 1640.
1640. I have been enabled to perceive distinctly not only what was said to me by spirits, but also where they were when speaking; whether above the head, or below; whether at the right hand, or at the left; at the ear, or at some other point near or within the body; at what distance, whether greater or less. For they spoke with me from the various places or positions in which they were, according to their position in the Grand Man,, that is, according to their state.

[2] I have also been enabled to perceive when they were coming, and when they were going away, and whither, and how far; also whether they were many or few; besides other things; and also from their speech to perceive their quality, for from their speech, in like manner as from their sphere, it is plainly manifest of what genius and of what natural disposition they are; also of what persuasion and what affection; so that if they are deceitful, even if there is no deceit while they are speaking, still the generic and specific character of their deceitfulness is perceived from every word and idea; and so with all other malignities and cupidities; so that there is no need of much exploration, for there is an image of the spirit in every word and idea.

[3] It is also perceived whether the idea of their speech is closed, or is open; also what is from themselves, what from others, and what from the Lord. This is much the same as it is with a man's countenance, from which, without a word, it is often known whether there is present dissembling, or deceit, or gladness, or cheerfulness natural or affected, whether there is friendliness from the heart, whether modesty, and also whether there is insanity; sometimes also the same is apparent from the tone of the man's speech. Why then should not this be the case in the other life, where the perception greatly exceeds such apperception? Indeed, before a spirit speaks, it is known from the thought alone what he intends to say; for thought flows in with greater rapidity than speech.

AC 1641.
1641. Spirits in the other life converse among themselves as men do on earth; and they who are good, with all familiarity of friendship and love, as I have frequently heard; and this in their own speech, by which they express more in a minute than a man can in an hour. For their speech, as before said, is the universal of all languages, being by means of ideas, the primitives of words. They speak upon subjects with such acuteness and perspicuity, by so many series of reasons following one another in order, and exercising persuasion, that if a man knew of it he would be astounded. They join persuasion and affection to their discourse, and thus give it life.

[2] Sometimes also they discourse by means of simultaneous representations before the sight, and thus to the life. As for example: let the discourse be about shame, whether it can exist without reverence: among men this cannot be discussed except by means of many reasonings from evidence and examples, and still it remains in doubt; but with a spirit all would be done within a minute, by means of the states of the affection of shame varied in their order, and by means of those of reverence also; thus by perceiving the agreements and the disagreements, and at the same time beholding them in the representatives adjoined to the speech; from which they forthwith perceive the conclusion, which thus flows of itself from the disagreements thus reduced to agreement. So in all other cases. Souls come into this faculty directly after death; and good spirits then love nothing more than to instruct those who are newly arrived, and the ignorant.

[3] The spirits themselves are not aware that they speak with one another with speech of such surpassing excellence, and that they are furnished with an endowment so preeminent, unless it is given them by the Lord to reflect upon it; for this mode of speaking is natural to them, and is then inherent. The case in this respect is the same as it is with a man when he fixes his mind on the meaning of things, and not on the words and the mode of speaking, in that, without reflection, he sometimes does not know what kind of speech he is making use of.

AC 1642.
1642. This then is the speech of spirits; but the speech of angelic spirits is still more universal and perfect; and the speech of angels is more universal and perfect still. For there are three heavens, as before said; the first is where good spirits are, the second is where angelic spirits are, and the third is where angels are. The perfections thus ascend, as from exterior things to things more interior. To use a comparison for the sake of illustration, it is almost like hearing relatively to sight, and sight relatively to thought; for what the hearing can receive through speech in an hour, can be presented before the sight in a minute, as, for example, a view of plains, palaces, and cities and all that can be seen by the eye in many hours, can be comprehended by the thought in a minute. In such a ratio does the speech of spirits stand to the speech of angelic spirits, and the speech of angelic spirits to the speech of angels; for angelic spirits distinctly comprehend more in one idea of speech or thought, than spirits by several thousand; and so it is with angels in comparison with angelic spirits. How then must it be with the Lord, from whom is all the life of affection, thought, and speech, and who alone is the Speech, and the Word!

AC 1643.
1643. The speech of angelic spirits is beyond comprehension; so that it will be treated of in few words, and only that kind which is called representative. The subject of the discourse is itself presented representatively in a wonderful form, which is withdrawn from the objects of sense, and is varied by means of the most pleasant and beautiful representatives in ways innumerable, with a continual influx of affections from the happy current of mutual love inflowing through the higher heaven from the Lord; from which influx each and all things are as it were alive. Each subject is thus presented, and this through continuous series. Not one single representative in any series can possibly be described to the understanding. These are the things that flow into the ideas of spirits; but to them they are not apparent, except as something general that flows in and affects them, without their having a distinct perception of the things that are distinctly perceived by the angelic spirits.

AC 1644.
1644. There are very many evil spirits of an interior kind, who do not speak as spirits do, but are also in the beginnings of ideas, and are thus more subtle than other spirits. There are many such spirits; but they are completely separated from the angelic spirits, and cannot even approach them. These more subtle evil spirits likewise attach their ideas to objects and things in an abstract way, but to such as are filthy; and in them they represent to themselves various things of a filthy nature; and they involve their ideas in such things. They are as it were silly. Their speech was made known to me, and was also represented by the unclean dregs from a vessel; and the intellectual element of their speech was represented by the hinder parts of a horse, whose forward parts did not appear; for in the world of spirits the intellectual is represented by horses. But the speech of angelic spirits was represented by a maiden of graceful carriage, becomingly attired in a robe of white, that was neatly fitted to a kind of vest.

AC 1645.
1645. But the speech of angels is ineffable, far above the speech of spirits, for it is above that of angelic spirits, and is not intelligible in any way to man so long as he lives in the body. Nor can the spirits in the world of spirits form any idea of it, for it is above the perceptive power of their thought. This speech of angels is not of things represented by any ideas like those of spirits and angelic spirits; but it is a speech of ends and of the derivative uses, which are the primaries and the essentials of things. Into these are angelic thoughts insinuated, and are varied there with indefinite variety; and in each and all things of that speech there is an inward and happy delight from the good of mutual love from the Lord, and a beautiful and delightful one from the truth of faith from that good. Ends, and the uses from them, are as it were most delicate recipients, and are the delightful subjects of unnumbered variations; and this by means of celestial and spiritual forms that are beyond comprehension. In these they are kept by the Lord, for the Lord's kingdom is simply a kingdom of ends and uses; and for this reason also the angels who are with a man attend to nothing else than the ends and uses, and elaborate nothing else from the man's thought. All other things, which are ideal and material, they care nothing for; because these are far below their sphere.

AC 1646.
1646. The speech of angels sometimes appears in the world of spirits, thus before the interior sight, as a vibration of light, or of resplendent flame; and this with variation according to the state of the affections of their speech. It is only the general things of their speech, as regards the states of affection, and which general things originate in numberless distinct things, that are thus represented.

AC 1647.
1647. The speech of the celestial angels is distinct from that of the spiritual angels, and is even more ineffable and inexpressible. The celestial and good things of ends are what their thoughts are insinuated into, and they are therefore in happiness itself; and, wonderful to say, their speech is far more abounding, for they are in the very fountains and origins of the life of thought and of speech.

AC 1648.
1648. There is a speech of good spirits, and also of angelic spirits, which is a simultaneous speech of many, especially in circles or choirs, concerning which of the Lord's Divine mercy hereafter. The speech in choirs has often been heard by me; it has a cadence [labens], as if in rhythm. They have no thought about the words or ideas, for into these their sentiments flow spontaneously. No words or ideas flow in which multiply the sense, or draw it away to something else, or to which anything artificial adheres, or that seems to them elegant from self, or from self-love, for such things would at once cause disturbance. They do not inhere in any word; they think of the sense; the words follow spontaneously from the sense itself. They come to a close in unities, for the most part simple; but when in those which are compound, they turn by an accent to the next. These things are the result of their thinking and speaking in society; hence the form of the speech has a cadence in accordance with the connection and unanimity of the society. Such was once the form of songs; and such is that of the Psalms of David.

AC 1649.
1649. Wonderful to say, this kind of speech, possessing the rhythmical or harmonic cadence of songs, is natural to spirits. They speak so among themselves, although they are not aware of it. Immediately after death souls come into the habit of speaking in this way. I have been initiated into the same, and it has at last become familiar. The reason their speech is of this nature, is that they speak in society, which for the most part they are not aware of: a very clear proof that they are all distinguished into societies, and that consequently all things fall into the forms of the societies.

AC 1757.
The speech of spirits with man, as before said, is effected by words; but the speech of spirits among themselves, by ideas-the origins of words-such as are the ideas of thought; these however are not so obscure as are man's ideas while he lives in the body, but are distinct, like those of speech. Human thought, after the decease of the body, becomes more distinct and clear; and the ideas of thought become discrete, so as to serve for distinct forms of speech; for obscurity has been dissipated together with the body; and so the thought-being liberated from the shackles in which it was as it were entangled, and consequently from the shade in which it was involved-becomes more instantaneous; and hence the mental view, perception, and utterance of each thing is more prompt.

AC 1758.
1758. The speech of spirits is diverse: each society or family of spirits, and even every spirit, can be distinguished from others by their speech (much as is the case with men), not only by the affections which make the life of the speech and which fill or give impulse to the words, and by the accents, but also by the tones, and by other characteristics not so easily described.

AC 1759.
1759. The speech of celestial spirits cannot easily flow into the articulate sounds or words that appertain to man; for it cannot be suited to a word in which there is anything that sounds harshly, or in which there is a rough doubling of consonants, or in which there is an idea that is derived from memory-knowledge; on which account they rarely flow into the speech otherwise than by affections which, like a flowing stream or a gentle breeze, soften the words. The speech of spirits who are intermediate between the celestial and the spiritual is sweet, flowing like the gentlest atmosphere, soothing the recipient organs, and softening the words themselves; it is also rapid and sure. The flow and the pleasantness of the speech come from the fact that the celestial good in their ideas is of this character, and there is nothing in the speech that dissents from the thought. All the sweet harmoniousness in the other life comes from goodness and charity. The speech of the spiritual also is flowing, but is not so soft and gentle. It is chiefly these who speak.

AC 1760.
1760. There is also a flowing speech of evil genii; yet it is so only to the outward hearing; but inwardly it is grating, because from a pretense of good, and no affection of it. There is also a speech of these genii that is devoid of the flowing character, in which the dissent of the thoughts is perceived as something that silently creeps along.

AC 1761.
1761. There are spirits who do not inflow in a stream-like manner, but by vibrations and movements to and fro, as it were in lines, and more or less sharp. The same inflow not only with the speech, but also with the reply. They are those who from many causes reject the interior things of the Word; looking upon man as their tool, and as of little account; and caring for themselves alone.

AC 1762.
1762. There are spirits who do not speak, but who have expressed the sentiments of their mind by changes induced on my face, and have presented their ideas so vividly that their thought was thus made manifest as it were in a form. This was done by changes about the region of the lips, passing thence to the face; also about the eyes, while they were communicating the interior sentiments of their mind; around the left eye when they were communicating truth and affections of truth, and around the right eye when communicating good and affections of good.

AC 1763.
1763. I have also heard a simultaneous speech of many spirits speaking together, that undulated like a roll, and flowed into the brain in varying directions. Also a speech of certain spirits that terminated in a quadruple movement, as if to the tone and sound of men threshing. These spirits are separated from others. They induce a pain in the head, as if from the suction of an air-pump. Some have been heard who spoke with a sonorous voice, but as if within, in themselves but still it came to the hearing as speech.

[2] Others who spake by a belching forth of the words as from the belly; these are such as wish to give no attention to the sense of a thing, but are forced to speak by others. I have heard some who spoke with a rough or cracked sound; these apply themselves to the left side, under the elbow; also to the left external ear. Some I heard who could not speak aloud, but as if they had a cold; these belong to the class of those who by insinuations into the delights of others worm out their secrets for the purpose of doing harm.

[3] There are spirits of low stature, who, although few, speak like a great multitude, with a sound like thunder; they were heard above the head, and I thought that there was a multitude; but one of them came to me at the left side beneath the arm, and spoke in the same way with a thundering voice; he also moved away, and did the same. Whence such spirits come, will of the Lord's Divine mercy be told elsewhere. But these kinds of speech are comparatively rare. It is a remarkable fact that what is said in these various ways is heard as loudly and sonorously by one whose interior organs of hearing are opened, and also by spirits, as are sounds and the speech of men on earth; but they are not heard at all by one in whom these organs are not opened.

AC 1764.
1764. Once also spirits conversed with me simply by representatives shown before the sight, by representing flames of various colors; lights clouds rising and falling;, small houses and platforms for speaking of different kinds; vessels; persons variously dressed, and many other things, which were all significative; and merely from these it could be known what they desired to convey.  Self-Witnessing Of The Threefold Self:  Affective, Cognitive, Sensorimotor

There is a simple but powerful relation between our negative thoughts or emotions and the character of the spirits that communicate with our mind. The spirit societies constitute our vertical community to which we belong and into which we are locked. Change in our feelings and thoughts is possible only with rearranging the spiritual societies with which we are communicating. Every thought or feeling is either from heaven or from hell. Rational thoughts and compassionate feelings can only come from the heavenly regions of our mind, while negative thoughts and emotions can only come from the hell regions in our mental world.

Self-witnessing is a good tool to use if we want to know, in the course of the day,  when we are communicating with heaven and when with hell.

Quoting from the Writings Sacred Scripture:

AC 1040. As is a person's life in general therefore, so is his life in every individual part, indeed in the smallest individual parts of his motives and intentions - that is, of his will - and in the smallest individual parts of his thinking; so that not the least part of an idea can exist in which the same life is not present.

Take someone who is arrogant: arrogance is present in every individual endeavor of his will and in every individual idea of his thought. With someone who is avaricious avarice is in a similar way present, as is hatred with one who hates the neighbour. Or take someone who is stupid: stupidity is present in every individual part of his will and also of his thought, as is insanity with one who is insane. Such being the nature of man, his character is recognized in the next life from one single idea of his thought. (AC 1040)

In other words our general behavior is constructed out of particular details. Another way of saying this is that our macro-behaviors are constructed out of our micro-behaviors. Every act of thinking in the cognitive organ is motivated or driven by the affective organ,  and the two together determine the sensorimotor organ's operation from which follows every physical act of doing. The internal motive in the affective organ enters into every external micro-behavior through the intermediation of the sensorimotor organ, or else the behavior would not occur. A particular thought in the cognitive organ would not occur were it not motivated by some intention in the affective organ such as an affection, intention, or goal.

The expressions in the passage above such as "someone who is arrogant" or "someone who is avaricious" or "someone who is stupid" refer to specific mental states that every individual experiences at some point. In our affective organ we can experience mental states of arrogance and avarice, and in our cognitive organ we can experience mental states of stupidity. Spiritually, "arrogance" signifies the "love of self and cupidities" (AC 623). "Avarice" signifies "to acknowledge and believe nothing" (AC 303). "Stupid" signifies "the corporeal sensual separated from the rational" (AE 923).

The literal sense of the Writings Sacred Scripture in AC 1040

What each signifies
in the spiritual sense

someone who is arrogant

love of self and cupidities

someone who is avaricious

to acknowledge and believe nothing

someone who is stupid

the corporeal sensual separated from the rational

Hence the sentence Take someone who is arrogant: arrogance is present in every individual endeavor of his will and in every individual idea of his thought (AC 1040) signifies that prior to regeneration or character reformation, selfishness will enter into every single decision we make or act we carry out -- no matter what the situation appears to be on the outside. This is a most important revelation. People often believe that the good things they do and the good traits they have can somehow make up for the bad traits and evil decisions they also made. People believe in a sort of equity theory of justice and fairness. But here it is revealed that people think, decide, and intend either from heaven or from hell in their mind. They cannot act from in between those two extremes. They must think and act from either their heavenly motives or will, or from their hellish motives or will.

When they act from the old will, the unregenerate will that is inherited, then every single act and decision is selfish, and hence evil from hell. And when people act from the new will, the regenerating will that is from repentance and reformation, then every single act and decision is unselfish, and hence good from heaven (see Section xx).

The three mental states in the table above act together because all of the hells act as one, and all of the heavens act as one. All our hellish traits are connected together and support one another. All our heavenly traits are connected together and support one another. When we undergo our second death in the world of spirits (see Section xx), we are compelled to either let go of our heavenly traits, in which case we sink into hell, or, we let go of our hellish traits, in which case we ascend to heaven. You can see why we cannot retain even a single hellish trait, no matter how unimportant or trivial it may seem, and vice versa. This is because all the traits are connected and you cannot separate them. Holding on to a single seemingly unimportant hellish traits will prevent us from entering heaven until we are willing to let go of that one bad trait.

Regeneration is to be understood as a psychobiological process of the mind (see Section xx). The mind is a spiritual organ, not natural, because it is constructed out of spiritual substances from the spiritual Sun. The essence of these substances is Divine Truth (spiritual light) within which is Divine Love (spiritual heat) (see Section xx). Clearly, then, the mind is a rational construction because it is constructed out of truth. The environmental expanse of eternity in the mental world is constructed out of what might be called rational ether (see Section xx). Spiritual heat and light stream forth from the spiritual Sun, creating this rational ether in which our mental body and organs exist. These organs are therefore immortal because they are constructed out of immortal or eternal substances, unlike the physical body which constructed out of matter and energy from the natural sun, thus temporary, not eternal.

Spiritual light, called the substance of truth, is immortal and permanent, because it exists in eternity outside time and space. The spiritual fibers or neurons that constitute the organ of the mind are laid down and coiled in particular directions, creating a mental organ capable of cognitive operations. In this mode the mind is able to function as a receptor organ for spiritual truths flowing in from the spiritual Sun (see Section xx).

When we are born we live at first in both the natural world (with our physical body) and in the spiritual world (with our mental body) (see Section xx). The two bodies are functionally connected so that what happens in one is influenced by what happens in the other (see Section xx). Thus, as we have experiences, both bodies grow and mature. The individual and unique characteristics of both bodies are derived from heredity. The physical body contains inherited traits, strengths, and weaknesses. The mental body contains inherited needs, proclivities, preferences, tendencies. We inherit both good and evil mental traits (see Section xx).

Mental growth in rational spirituality consists of two steps in sequence. The first step is to inhibit or suppress the evil loves and tendencies that we have inherited and that govern our daily activities and lifestyle. The second step is to compel ourselves to will or intend what is good from what we know is true. What is true refers to what God reveals to us in Sacred Scripture.

These principles of good and true are called the Doctrine of truth in the mind. In other words, we study Sacred Scripture and formulate spiritual Doctrine in our understanding. This Doctrine teaches how we should will and think in our daily activities. If we then obey this teaching we grow spiritually. We do not grow spiritually when we fail to think and will in accordance with the doctrine of truth from Sacred Scripture. To grow spiritually means that our mental organs are being prepared for the ability to operate eternally in a heavenly state of mind (see Section xx). Failure to prepare our mental organs in this way results in developing a hellish state of mind, in which then we spend our eternity (see Section xx). The preparation of our mental organs for heavenly immortality goes on all our life on earth, and is called the process of regeneration, and also, character reformation (see Section xx).

Since willing (affective organ) and thinking (cognitive organ) are mental operations occurring dozens of times during every hour of the day, you can see that we must be able to monitor our willing and thinking sequences all day long to make sure that they agree with the Doctrine of truth we have in our understanding from Sacred Scripture. There is no general way of being regenerated, by confessing, by repenting of all our sins during prayer, by giving charity or doing good to others. These activities may be helpful and are certainly desirable, but they do not accomplish regeneration. The only thing that will accomplish it is to become aware of the particular items in our willing and thinking all day long, examining them and judging them in the light of our Doctrine of truth, and desisting from doing and thinking those evils because they are contrary to God's reality and because they prevent our spiritual mind from being prepared for our eternal happiness. God makes our unconscious spiritual mind to grow and develop to the extent that we are willing, with our conscious mind, to change our character by daily as-of self effort (see Section xx).

Quoting from the Writings Sacred Scripture:

NJHD 164. A man who examines himself for the purpose of practicing repentance, should explore his thoughts, and the intentions of his will; and there he ought to examine what he would do, if he were at liberty; that is, if he were not afraid of the laws, and the loss of reputation, honor, and gain. A man's evils are in his thoughts and intentions; and the evils which he does with the body are all from thence. Those persons who do not explore the evils of their thoughts and of their will cannot practice repentance; for afterwards they think and will just as they did before; and yet willing evils means doing them. This is meant by self-examination. (NJHD 164)

Self-examination is therefore a process of self-monitoring or self-witnessing, of becoming consciously aware of how we habitually think and intend all day long every day, hour by hour, minute by minute. We need to monitor what we would love to happen in situations all day long. For example, it is very common for drivers to have bad thoughts about other drivers. We forget about these thoughts almost as soon as we think them. We have the "sudden memory" of it, so that we can recognize it as familiar, but the consciousness of it dissipates instantly, as the next sequence of experiencing floods the awareness. If we monitor ourselves while driving, making a specific effort, we can start remembering our habitual thoughts. One effective method consists of the think aloud method, which involves speaking your thoughts out loud so you can hear them. This helps you become aware of them (see Section xx).

 But be prepared: You will be shocked by the thoughts and images your mind produces when you are angry at someone, or when you think that someone has treated you badly. If you do this type of self-witnessing all day long, or several minutes a few times a day, you will begin to know yourself, who you actually are, as opposed to who you subjectively think you are without these objective data on yourself. This involves monitoring and note-keeping of our mental life in daily tasks and interactions with others. Each exercise involves keeping track in the three "domains" or organs of the mind: affective, cognitive, and sensorimotor.

Affective Organ (the faculty of the will):

What feelings or emotions do I experience in this situation?
What do I feel like doing right now?

Cognitive Organ (the faculty of the understanding):

What thoughts or images do I have right now?
What are the words and sentences I’m thinking right now?

Sensorimotor Organ (the faculty of sensing and acting out):

What sensations am I experiencing right now?
What is my body doing and how does it appear to others—my face, my hands, my position, my rhythm, my voice, my breathing, etc.

Keeping cumulative notes in a journal or diary can be helpful. Dictating notes with a voice recorder can be a very useful method for keeping track of thoughts for later review. Part of the self-witnessing discipline is to review or analyze these objective data that one collects over many samples of our daily interactions and behaviors. Reviewing and analyzing the self-observation data allows us to evaluate them as indicators of the quality of our mental life, to what extent it is "polluted" by negative emotions and thoughts. All negative emotions and thoughts are from hell, and all positive emotions and thoughts are from heaven.

Self-witnessing our daily life will reveal the "small" choices we make regarding our lifestyle—to what extent we are:

  • noisy neighbors
  • aggressive drivers
  • angry parents
  • impatient learners
  • neglectful in our obligations
  • rude in our interactions
  • disloyal in our friendships
  • careless with our possessions
  • cynical in our attitude
  • pessimist in our expectations
  • unfair in competition
  • taking advantage of the ignorant, the weak, or the innocent
  • etc.

To the text that we do these things, think them, intend them, enjoy them, justify them -- to that extent we go deeper into our hells. The more frequently we perform non-charitable acts, thoughts, or feelings, the more they fix our character habits, and the more difficulty we have in wanting to change.

One fruitful area of focus is the media entertainment content we enjoy on TV, comics, novels, and music (see Section xx). The individual’s mind becomes filled and absorbed when routinely enjoying and tacitly accepting vulgarities, profanities and the lavish portrayal of lusts and violence. Monitoring our exposure and involvement with these cultural icons and idols allows us to decide whether or not to turn away and to turn back, and so regain an innocence that teaches us to feel shocked at these rehearsals and dramatic portrayals of evil -- cruelty, violence, immorality, deception, destructiveness of the common good. Similarly, we can examine to what extent we allow ourselves to repeat and enjoy songs with lyrics that are profane and glorify disorderly things -- the degradation and abuse of women, the practice of disrespect of legitimate authority and democratic government, the corruption of the innocent, the weakening of altruism, virtue, and chivalry (see Section xx).

You can construct a form to keep track of what you were watching or listening to every day over the course of a week or two, thus, to what you were exposing your mind on a regular basis. Using a data form will allow you to summarize the content of the program, show, or song, and thus to consciously identify and focus on portrayals of bad behaviors such as abuse against women, corruption of children, bending of ethics, leveling of values, bad driving, and other forms of negativity. It is interesting to note that students doing this exercise as an assignment, frequently state their surprise that they take in so much negativity without ordinarily giving it a second thought  (see Section xx). Another assignment involved the analysis of lyrics, especially to isolate the implied meanings and presuppositions, and how these may shape one’s attitudes and habits of thinking (see Section xx).  Self-Witnessing As A Spiritual Discipline

Quoting from the Writings Sacred Scripture:

AC 3283. It is the rational in fact that coordinates everything in the natural, and in accordance with that coordination fittingly regards the things that are there. Indeed the rational is like a higher faculty of seeing which, when it looks at facts belonging to the natural man, is like someone looking down on to a plain below him. (AC 3283)

The rational self can monitor what the sensuous self is thinking or willing. Our mental operations are arranged in levels of operation:

  1. the celestial self (unconscious until the second death after resuscitation)
  2. the spiritual self (unconscious until resuscitation after death)
  3. the rational self (conscious here and now, to the extent it is developed and practiced)
  4. the sensuous self (automatically conscious here and now)

Willing and thinking -- feelings and thoughts -- operate at these four levels all the time. If one of them stops, the whole series collapses, and we are no longer able to think and feel, hence no longer human beings (see Section xx). Self-witnessing is done by the rational self (level 3), which can look down and outward to the sensuous self (level 4), or up and inward to the spiritual self (level 2). Levels 4 and 3 belong to the natural mind, while levels 2 and 1 belong to the spiritual mind (see Section xx).

The various levels of the mind are created by Divine Speech through the correspondences of Sacred Scripture (see Section xx):

  1. celestial-rational correspondences of Divine Speech (our Third Heaven)
  2. spiritual-rational correspondences of Divine Speech (our Second Heaven)
  3. spiritual-natural correspondences of Divine Speech (our First Heaven)
  4. natural-rational correspondences of Divine Speech (our natural mind) (the Writings)
  5. natural-sensuous correspondences of Divine Speech (our natural mind) (New testament)
  6. natural-corporeal correspondences of Divine Speech (our natural mind) (Old Testament)

Anyone can perform self-witnessing or self-monitoring of the thoughts and the intended outcomes we desire or intend. The stream of thinking and willing of the natural mind is automatic and proceeds spontaneously as we cope with the moment by moment demands of living and doing. We can examine this spontaneous stream by directing our focus on it in a metanoid stance, looking down upon the stream of thinking and feeling from a higher level to a lower level, like looking on a plain below from a height, or like looking at a river when standing on a bridge and seeing the water and the flotsam go by below. In this way we inform ourselves of the content and quality of our thinking and willing all day long. Willing is an act, an inner act. Thinking is an inner act. We are responsible for all our acts, but especially our inner acts because we are free in our mind and cannot be coerced as we can be compelled to do this, or say that, these being outward acts.

Because we are free in our inner acts we are responsible for our willing and thinking acts, each one of them, thousands of them by the hour, every day. We are nothing but the cumulative collection of those inner acts. Such as these acts are, such are we, when we arrive in the afterlife (see Section xx).

Our consciousness, or life orientation, is such as the content is of our willing and thinking hour by hour all day long. This content can originate solely from the sensuous and corporeal self, in which case the willing and thinking is purely natural, having no spiritual dimension that we can appropriate. Or, the content of our willing and thinking can be based on the rational self , which is conscience and doctrine.  Quoting from the Writings Sacred Scripture which are written in natural-rational correspondences of Divine Speech (see Section xx):

HH 532. The man who has the interiors of his mind open can see the evils and falsities that are with him, for these are below the spiritual mind. On the other hand, the man with whom the interiors have not been opened is unable to see his evils and falsities, because he is not above them but in them. (HH 532)

It is only when we focus our conscious awareness at the natural-rational level that we are able to monitor and become aware of what we are thinking and feeling in our daily activities.

To the extent that we function in our daily tasks from the interior activity of charity, making others as important in our mind as the self, to that extent our physical and mental acts will have acquired a spiritual dimension or existence. The focus therefore needs to be on how the inside world of charity in the will (or affective organ), can be within the intermediate world of thinking (cognitive organ), and the outward world of sensorimotor action. As we perform our routine acts outwardly, what is happening inwardly to our external or lower mind?

  • What are we enjoying or hating about what’s going on?
  • What are we thinking that we do not show?
  • The Writings reveal that it’s common for people to arrive into the afterlife not knowing who they are, that is, what affections and ideas are in their subconscious mind. For instance, husbands do not at first recognize their wives in the afterlife while wives always recognize their husbands (xx). This is because men are less aware of what fills their subconscious while wives have an inner perception of their husbands subconscious mind (CL 166). But it’s otherwise with men who prepare themselves appropriately for conjugial love since they strive by discipline to uncover their subconscious resistance to the conjugial, and subdue it (see Section xx).

    What is in our subconscious? The Divine Psychologist says: "innumerable things" of evil!

    DP 296. There are innumerable things in every evil. In man's sight every evil appears as one single thing. This is the case with hatred and revenge, theft and fraud, adultery and whoredom, arrogance and high-mindedness, and with every other evil; and it is not known that in every evil there are innumerable things, exceeding in number the fibers and vessels in a man's body. (...)

    Hence it follows that all these in their order must be restored and changed by the Lord in order that the man may be reformed; and this cannot be effected unless by the Divine Providence of the Lord, step by step from the earliest period of man's life to the last. (DP 296)

    Since there are innumerable things in every one of our evil affections it is clear that we must rely on the Divine Psychologist to clear them and remove them from us. The very least we can do is to keep track of the major ones in the major categories as we become conscious of them through self-witnessing. You can see that a general type of confession and self-examination once or twice a year or month, is not going to be effective in knowing and removing our particular evils. Monitoring our willing and thinking hour by hour every day is necessary for us to become aware of our general evils. And when we shun our general evils, the Divine Psychologist is able to remove the innumerable evils that are attached to every general evil.

    For example, there are innumerable evils attached to being overweight from overeating and under-exercising. We must take charge of it in our willing and thinking, day by day, so as to shun the evil delights that cause us to overeat and under-exercise. To the extent that we struggle under this yoke, trying to subdue and control ourselves, to that extent the Divine Psychologist can remove the innumerable evils that are attached to this general one.

    The same goes for all our daily habits and routines that are from evil affections, such as our anger, impatience, swearing and cussing, adulterous thoughts, enjoyments of vulgar entertainment, our bending the rules of honesty and fairness to our favor, our neglect of duties and promises, and many such things. These are the things in which are hidden from our consciousness the innumerable evils that are spiritual fibers tying us to the hells and that are broken by the Divine Psychologist to the extent we do our share and cooperate in the general evils of which we can become conscious through systematic self-witnessing.

    All these forms of lusts must be changed one by one; and the man himself, who with respect to his spirit appears as a human monster or devil, must be changed to become like a beautiful angel (DP 296).

    Regeneration is a gradual and piecemeal process. Detesting one evil doesn’t make us detest another, especially when the other is hidden in our subconscious because we do not monitor and find it.

    A wicked man from himself continually leads himself more and more deeply into his evils. It is said, from himself, because all evil is from man, for man turns good that originates from the Lord into evil, as was said above. The real reason why the wicked man immerses himself more deeply in evil is that as he wills and commits evil he advances into infernal societies more and more interiorly and also more and more deeply. Hence also the delight of evil increases, and so occupies his thoughts that at last he feels nothing more pleasant. He who has advanced more interiorly and deeply into infernal societies becomes as if he were bound with chains. So long as he lives in the world, however, he does not feel his chains, for they are as if made from soft wool or from fine threads of silk, and he loves them as they give him pleasure; but after death, instead of being soft they become hard, and instead of being pleasant they become galling. (DP 296:[3])

    Who is the "wicked man" spoken of here? It is us, every individual, before being reformed and regenerated. In that state we tend to lead ourselves more and more deeply into our evil affections, loving them more and more, feeling them delightful and pleasant like nothing else, by which we are tied more and more to the hells.

    At first we think about our evil affections, turning them over in our mind as we consider whether we should do them or not. If we give in and do them, we advance more deeply into associations with the infernals. Then, if we continue to will them despite our conscience, we "plunge ourselves to a depth from which we can be led out only by actual repentance" (DP 296)

    Evils in the external, man cannot be removed by the lord except through man's instrumentality (DP 114)

    An article in the July 2002 issue of New Church Life by Rev. Erik Sandstrom examines the question of how "we tackle our spiritual life or regeneration" (p. 284). His short answer is, "By finding our hereditary evils!" (p. 284). He cites AC 4317 which makes the following points:

    (1) Every individual is born with hereditary evil which lies in the will. These evils in the will are the source of falsities in our mind, the two always going together.

    (2) The carrier of this hereditary evil is the "very inward form" of the will, which is the source of all our motives, interests, and delights.

    (4) We inherit the love of self in the will so that we love others less than ourselves, and only when they "honor" us or agree with us.

    (5) When we arrive in the afterlife it becomes manifest that we love self alone, and others only to the extent that they honor us or agree with us. Otherwise we hate them and desire to cheat them, to dominate them, to abuse them, or to destroy them. These hatreds are hidden from our conscious awareness while we are still tied to the physical body. And yet everyone is able to become aware of them by self-monitoring their thoughts and feelings.

    Knowing that we are all this way may motivate us to monitor our willing and thinking all day long, so that we may become aware of our actual evils in operation. We must witness ourselves in order to discover when and where we wish for something bad to happen to someone, or when we feel envious of someone’s good fortune, and how we use our imagination to delight ourselves with denigrating others and ignoring their expectations, needs, or requests to us.

    In regeneration we cooperate as-of self with the Divine Psychologist by choosing to reject a particular evil that delights us or fulfills our needs. This is what makes it possible: our choosing to reject it. Whatever we do in freedom is done from love and therefore it is a higher rational love that makes us reject lower evil loves. As a result, in the afterlife, we arrive with a mind filled with rational loves, within which we can live as a heaven, because the Divine Psychologist’s good and truth flows in from within these rational loves.

    We are privately confessing to the Divine Psychologist our sins against Him, by self-monitoring our willing and thinking all day long for the sake of our regeneration. It is the Divine Psychologist who manages the timing and content of our awareness and insight into our sins or evils. If we started telling Him about them, it would be pretending that He doesn’t know them, or that He is not in charge of managing them. This would be a foolish pretense. What the Divine Psychologist wants us to do is to monitor the evil affections and delights, and their false thoughts and attitudes. He brings them to our conscious awareness to the extent that we are willing to desist from them because they are sins against Him. He keeps out of our awareness those evils we are not ready to give up willingly.

    It’s very important to have a scientific or medical perspective on regeneration, for this knowledge helps us to cooperate more with the Divine Psychologist. The slow down is not on the Divine Psychologist’s side. He would go more rapidly. But we are holding Him back like a toddler at a street crossing—you end up picking up the child and carrying it across. But the Divine Psychologist cannot pick us up and carry us to heaven, or else He would, do not doubt that! So He has revealed to us in a scientific way what the process entails and how we are to cooperate for maximum pace. For instance, He has revealed that He cannot remove sins clinging to us by our love, so He wants us to voluntarily desist from them and to detest them. Then He can remove them.  Without Self-Witnessing Our Own Evils, They Cannot Be Removed

    Regeneration involves freely rejecting our evils even though they delight us tremendously. It is not possible to reject our own evils by the group or collectively, as just discussed. It is only possible to reject them one by one. Therefore if we don’t make lists, how are we going to keep track of them so we may reject them? This is a practical issue. If we run a department store without an inventory, can we succeed? We must identify something before we can sell it or reject it. Therefore we should use the method of making lists and inventories of our evils and falsities just as we make lists of things to do on a busy day.

    No one can shun that of which he is ignorant. (...) Evils cannot be removed unless they appear. (DP 278)

    the Divine Psychologist cannot remove our evils in secret or unconsciously. Removal of evils is a conscious and cooperative process, more like lifting a heavy furniture by two men, than surgery performed while being put to sleep by drugs. This is what’s meant by the expression "unless they appear." To continue the quote:

    This does not mean that man is to do evils in order that they may appear, but that he is to examine himself, not his actions only, but also his thoughts, and what he would do if he were not afraid of the laws and disgrace; especially what evils he holds in his spirit to be allowable and does not regard as sins; for these he still commits. (DP 278)

    The cooperative process is between the Divine Psychologist and the individual. First, we ought to "examine ourselves." It is specified that the self-examination focus must be threefold: (a) our feelings or motives in the will; (b) our thoughts and beliefs; and (c) our public acts as regulated by society ("the laws and disgrace"). In other words, we are commanded to examine our minute by minute willing, thinking, and acting out.

    What are these particular types of evils? The evils we "do not regard as sins." For example, we may have long standing habits of thinking about others in a derogatory way. We never bring this out to the surface and would not want others to know about it. We see it as merely an inward habit that we won’t allow to have overt consequences. Just a kind of quirk—we might think. But this is fooling ourselves. We should use the definition of the Word for it, not our own, namely, "evils he holds in his spirit to be allowable and does not regard as sins."

    In order that man may examine himself an understanding has been given him, and this separate from the will, that he may know, understand and acknowledge what is good and what is evil; and also that he may see the quality of his will, or what it is he loves and desires. In order that he may see this his understanding has been furnished with higher and lower thought, or interior and exterior thought, to enable him to see from higher or interior thought what his will is doing in the lower or exterior thought. This he sees as a man sees his face in a mirror; and when he sees it and knows what sin is, he is able, if he implores the help of the Lord, not to will it, but to shun it and afterwards to act against it; if not wholeheartedly, still he can exercise constraint upon it by combat, and at length turn away from it and hate it. (DP 278)

    Here the Divine Psychologist is revealing the method He has provided for the human race to be regenerated for a life in heaven. From being born infernal, every individual can be regenerated into an angel by the time one passes on. The higher thought can see the lower thought "as a man sees his face in a mirror." The lower self, called the external man, is filled with evils from its inherited ties to the hells. It cannot regenerate itself for to the lower self, whatever feels good is good. Pleasure rules and the proof is always in the pudding.

    When he sees it and knows what sin is, he is able, if he implores the help of the Lord, not to will it, but to shun it and afterwards to act against it; if not wholeheartedly, still he can exercise constraint upon it by combat, and at length turn away from it and hate it. (DP 278)

    (a) with self-monitoring from the higher to the lower, "he sees it."

    (b) from knowledge of the Letter of the Writings, he "knows what sin is."

    (c) by imploring the Divine Psychologist for help, he is given the power "not to will it, but to shun it ."

    (d) after being able to shun it, he gains the power "to act against it."

    (e) by acting against it, "he can exercise constraint upon it by combat" from conscience

    (f) by repeating these steps many times, we "at length turn away from it and hate it."

    Now, and not before, he first perceives and also feels that evil is evil and that good is good. This then is what is involved in examining oneself, seeing one's evils and recognizing them, confessing them and afterwards desisting from them. (DP 278)  Metanoid Self-Witnessing Or Being An Audience To Yourself

    To focus on the thousands of acts of willing and thinking every day, means to monitor and keep track of them. Note that normal social life does not require this kind of self-knowing. Society requires that we know things outside of ourselves, like the history of our country, or the multiplication table, or how to read instructions and write messages. But there is no social, legal, or professional requirement that we monitor our feelings, motives, thoughts, and interior dialog with ourselves. Once in awhile, if we get called on the witness stand, we might have to report on some of our willing and thinking. We are asked, Why did you do this? Or, What did you decide then? Or, Were you in love with her at that time? Etc. It is required by law that we answer honestly, but knowing the answer is not a requirement. In that case we reply, "I don’t remember," and the court accepts it. But the court does hold us responsible for knowing things outside of ourselves, such as, Did you see him or not? and, Were you ever contacted by this person, etc.

    And yet, for our eternal fate in the afterlife, this external knowledge is not at all crucial, and will only last us as long as we are connected to the physical body, while the usefulness of the interior knowledge will last us to eternity. Clearly, the interior knowledge is immeasurably more important than the external knowledge, and yet, prior to our reformation, everyone favors the external knowledge, and pursues it, hardly paying attention to the far more crucial interior knowledge, which is knowledge about the character of our willing and the content of our thinking all day long.

    The knowledge of a thing must come first in order that there may be a perception of it. (AC 5649)

    Having practiced the self-witnessing discipline for more than three decades we are able to say various things about it that may be useful to others (see End Note 3 and 4). A most amazing discovery was the existence of "sudden memory" by which refers to the stream of thought that is our actual mental life in the natural mind. This stream of thought is the outward form of our affections. The quality of our affections is the result of the particular spiritual societies with which we are in contact as the sequence of thoughts proceeds. When we perform self-witnessing we are able to "tune in" to the stream of thought while carrying out one’s routine tasks all day long. This is not like meditation or deep reflection which are activities that occur when we stop our tasks and sit doing nothing, thus disengaged from the surrounding pace of events.

    The stream of thinking accompanies every act and is a characteristic of human life. Every person is able to tune in and listen to it or become aware of it. What is amazing is that the instant one tries to reflect on what was snatched from the stream, it is mostly gone. One cannot remember what it was. It’s quite unsettling. How do we get hold of it or some of it, long enough so we can examine it in greater detail? You may be familiar with this experience when, upon awakening, you are still affectively filled by the sphere of your vivid dream, but the instant you try to reflect on what it is so you can put it in words, it remains unavailable to the conscious mind, staying just out of its reach—like the "tip-of-the-tongue" phenomenon when you’re trying to think of a name or word you know but can’t quite think of it.

    Psychology teaches that there are two types of memory: short term and long term. The first lasts for several seconds—like the phone number we look up and then dial. If we wait more than a few seconds to dial it, we have to look it up again. We move things from short term to long term memory by repetition and rehearsal with the motive to recall it later. So you can memorize things in this way and place them permanently in your long term memory where you can recall it when you want to. Sudden memory seems to work for a second or two and then it’s gone. This is why we call it "sudden" memory—suddenly come and suddenly gone. This is the reality of our stream of consciousness under normal conditions. But self-witnessing skills allow you to snatch things from sudden memory and put them into short term, then long term memory where the record of the thoughts can be analyzed and evaluated.

    We discovered that trying to think in words and sentences slows down the stream of consciousness so that it’s easier to become aware of what it is. This is somewhat like giving a "blow by blow" description to an imaginary tape recorder of what one is thinking. It seems to slow the stream down for awhile, enough so that one’s short term memory retains more of it and one is able to get a fix on what the topic is and its direction. In short term memory we can be aware and evaluate, and put anything we want into long term memory by mentally rehearsing or making a physical record of it. In this way the mental discipline of self-witnessing pays off because it gives conscious access to one’s normal everyday affections.

    Daily self-witnessing practice enables us to exert rational and religious control over our interior dialog, daydreams, and emotional reactions to things moment by moment all day long. It reveals attitudes and interests. One can exert control by consciously choosing to stop or interrupt a particular line of thinking and feeling. We use the expression "self-regulatory sentences" for instructions we can give ourselves to control the stream of thinking: e.g., "Stop it. Why are you wasting time thinking these useless things?" Or: "That’s not a nice thing to think." Or: "How low can I get to be so fascinated by that sort of thing?" Etc. This gives people greater conscious control over their mental life allowing them to clean out the mental pollution that reigns in it from heredity and culture. It is not possible for humans to do anything without the accompanying thinking stream. By controlling this, we control a portion of our natural mind. Control of the lower natural mind by the higher natural mind; more particularly, control of the corporeal and sensual mind by the more interior rational mind. The Writings teach that this is the genuine human or celestial mind. This process is inhibited and destroyed when we do not remove the mental pollution by our own daily efforts, as-of-self but looking to the Divine Psychologist for strength. It is the Divine Psychologist who performs the regeneration, but He can do this only to the extent that we cooperate as-of self by means of daily conscious effort.

    The celestial regions have walls and guards that keep out mental pollution from wandering strangers and evil spirits so that these lower things cannot enter that lofty region of human consciousness. Therefore we need to erect such walls and establish guards in our mind to prevent unholy things from entering and lodging there. Our culture of entertainment and social cynicism specializes in manufacturing large quantities of polluted ideas, pictures, and situations. Without vigilance exercised every hour of our waking time our mind gets inundated by mental pollutants, poisons, viruses, and all sorts of unpleasant, sleazy, scortatory, and idiotic suggestions. The mind is weighted down by them, even sinking into the corporeal.

    The Writings warn those who make such mental pollution their abode in this life, for in the afterlife they are captured and tortured by those who have these same polluted things in them. And the omnipotence of a loving God cannot deliver them from this miserable lot for to remove them from it would leave nothing behind for any life by them (AC 5854[3]). Best therefore that we be diligent and sincere in our efforts at self-witnessing while there is still time and opportunity.

    Have you listened in on yourself lately? We cannot trust the reputation or opinion we have of ourselves, for this is subjective, biased, and self-serving. The check mark we place on self-rating scales are inflated or deflated in accordance with our vanities: How good am I? How often do I get mad? Am I ever unkind or gross? What kind of mistakes do I make? How happy are the people around me with my conduct? Etc. To answer such questions objectively and accurately we must witness our life.

    To react to what we observe is to make an evaluation of our willing and thinking. This evaluation is from a rational level, looking down, while the stream of thinking we are observing, is from a sensuous or corporeal level. An analogy might be standing on a bridge and looking down on the flow of a semi-transparent river and inspecting its contents—stones, fish, plants, debris. These things represent the content of our mind—knowledges, truths, and falsifications of truths. The flow of the river is the sequencing of the thoughts, their reasoning and coherence.


    (((((I have spoken) previously of this [fact] that to such spirits, filth and excrements are very pleasant, so that they prefer the pleasantness of beholding such things to all other pleasantnesses, and not only filth and excrements, but also foul, loathsome, and horrid intestines of animals, to that degree, that when they act through man they snatch away all his interior sense, as also [his] sight, to such things, because they, are delighted therewith.

    This also was shown me by manifest experience; when I walked in the street, they carried away my eyes to all such things; wherever there was filth, excrement and intestines, thither they directed my eyes, although I was ignorant where were such things in the street, because not observed by me. Still they saw these, whilst I was wholly unobservant, and thither directed my eyes, either to [my] side, or about [my] feet, or near and farther from thence; and the did not turn my eyes to anything else. (SE 2843)

    Monitor your eyes as you walk on the street or as you read a magazine or watch TV. The eyes respond to our interest, to our affections, to what we find delightful. As your eyes roam they settle on this or that object, body part, detail. The eyes are quick. You have to catch yourself and become conscious of where they settle for how long, and where they keep coming back to. These eye movements will reveal interests and delights that we do not wish to publicize because they are filthy and scortatory, as the passage above describes. As Swedenborg walked in the street, the spirits with him "carried away my eyes to all such things; wherever there was filth, excrement and intestines, thither they directed my eyes, although I was ignorant where were such things in the street, because not observed by me." Monitoring our eyes will reveal to us what filthy things are of interest to us form heredity. These filthy interests are not our own affections, they are the affections of the filthy spirits. But we are tied to those spirits by heredity and the filth remains with us unless consciously removed.

    Since spirits take possession in that way of all that forms a person's thought and will, and angels take possession of what is even more interior, so that he is joined very closely to them, the person cannot avoid the perception and sensation that he himself is the one who thinks and wills. . (AC 6193)

    Our inherited connections with evils spirits cause our minds to be filled with blasphemous thoughts and curiosities.

    Anyone who is governed by bodily and worldly love, and not at the same time by spiritual or by celestial love, does not have any but evil spirits with him, even when external holiness exists with him. Good spirits cannot in any way be present with such a person, for they perceive in an instant the kind of love which governs a person. There is a sphere emanating from the interior parts of him which the spirits perceive as plainly as man by his sense of smell perceives offensive and foul odors floating around him in the air. (AC 4311)   Macro-Behaviors Are Regenerated By Means Of Micro-Behaviors

    All acts we do occur in a sequence and a setting. For example, we awake at dawn, drive to the beach, drive back, fix and eat breakfast, and clean up the kitchen. This is a morning routine that takes up a small portion of every day. Note that in order to describe it we use expressions that refer to macro-behaviors, or behavior units that are fairly general, like "driving to the beach" or "cleaning up the kitchen." You can see that each detail mentioned, has sub-components that are not mention. For instance, we spend about one hour at the beach walk, which is a unit ob behavior composed of multiple sub-routines. One for instance, has to do with saying good morning to the other beach walkers. This has many details to be described since it varies with each stranger we say good morning to. We could write a book on the many details about how we transact this complex event that takes one and a half seconds-- saying "Good morning."

    An hour long beach walk is an event packed with details of sub-events. For example, admiring the sunrise—which varies every morning, listening to waves—which varies with the specific place or the weather, watching the frigate birds high in the sky looking for favorable air currents, and numerous other things, like the dogs, the fisherman who gives the dogs treats, each dog responding to it in its own way, and the things Diane picks up whether it’s a broken piece of glass, or a wounded bird she needs to drive it to the oceanic institute where they take care of them.

    When we get to describing even more specific behavioral detail, we enter the micro-behavior world. Most people do not describe things at this level for it would be too boring and even meaningless, thus interfering with normal communication. For example:

    I could describe what I do with my cell phone, not wanting to leave it in the car, fearing another break in as we had twice before. When I enter the car I place the tiny little phone on the tray, then when I arrive at the beach, I pick it up and put in my right back pocket. I have my wallet in my left back pocket. I have my keys in my left side pocket. I avoid putting the cell phone with the keys for it makes a noise as I walk. Etc. Etc. Who could stand endlessly discussing such details on our daily round of routines? So we don’t. And even each of these sub-details has sub-sub-details, like how I put the phone in my back pocket as I exit the car. My back pocket seals with a Velcro strip so I have to manage to open the flap held tight by the Velcro, as I hold the cell phone in the hand. This takes some practice to do effectively.

    And then there are finer details to each of these little movements, as when I have a cut healing on my finger and try to avoid opening the wound by putting pressure on it at a certain angle. In each of these micro-behavior details there is a threefold stepwise execution. First, I have a motive, like protecting my cut finger from being injured as I open the Velcro flap. Second, I have a thought, like monitoring the angle of pressure on the cut on my finger and judging at which point I should no longer put pressure. Third, I have a sensorimotor execution of the hand rotation, the right amount of force exerted, and precise finger movements.

    The spiritual importance of micro-descriptions of behavior is that every microbehavior, no matter how small in the overall sequence, is an outcome of a specific motive. No microbehavior can occur without a motive. From the Writings we know that all the heavens form a one, and all the hells form a one. Therefore all our motives and affections form a one. This is why the Writings speak of our ruling love. The ruling love rules all the other loves that are under its subordination. If there is selfishness or stupidity in our mind at any particular time, then every sub-routine and microbehavior we perform has this selfishness or stupidity in it. The motive driving our macrobehavior enters into every microbehavior of which it is constituted. And the motive always belongs to the will, supported by the thought. You can see then that willing and thinking is performed in numerous sequence of micro-behaviors built into macro-behaviors.

    Self-modification of macro-behaviors is achieved in two steps. First, there must be a general motive or goal, such as going to the beach at dawn. All the sub-behaviors and their micro-behaviors depend on this one macro-behavior motive. The morning one of us decides to sleep in, all the micro-behaviors at the beach do not occur. In regeneration, the motivation to modify macro-behaviors must therefore come first. For example, I may decide that it is my citizen’s duty to pick up sharp pieces of glasses I see as I walk, so as to prevent injury to those who walk barefoot. In the past I did not do this. Now I’m motivated to be a better beach citizen and to stop acting with indifference towards the danger. This begins my regeneration effort with regard to this one area. It starts with a macro-motivation.

    Now I need to struggle to regenerate all the micro-behaviors. For example, I see something a few feet away that might be a piece of glass. I should go over there and examine it, but I don’t want to break my aerobic pace, so I keep walking. I feel bothered. Now I can continue to walk or I can turn back. I’m in a struggle. And so on. You can see that the micro-behaviors confront the actual issues involved in carrying out the macro-behavior. Motives are set within motives in a complex hierarchy and we cannot regenerate the macro-behavior unless we tackle and modify the lower issues attendant to the micro-behaviors.

    Metanoid self-witnessing is a mental literacy skill that allows us to monitor and evaluate the moment by moment stream of willing and thinking that constitutes an hour or a minute of our daily round of behaviors at the macro and micro levels of operation. The Writings speak of this metanoid or double focus in connection with self-examination, repentance, and regeneration (e.g., DP 114).

    [A person] can from wisdom above view the love that is below, and in this way can view his thoughts, intentions, affections, and therefore the evils and falsities as well as the goods and truths of his life and doctrine; and without a knowledge and acknowledgment of these in himself he cannot be reformed. (DP 16)

    Without self-examination, recognition, acknowledgment, confession and rejection of sins, thus without repentance, there is no forgiveness of them, thus no salvation, but eternal condemnation (DP 114)


    It is only religion which renews and regenerates a person. Religion is allotted the highest place in the human mind, and sees below it the social matters which concern the world. Religion too climbs up through these as the pure sap rises in a tree to its top, and from that lofty position it has a view of natural matters, just as someone on a tower or a mountain has a view of the plains beneath. (TCR 601)

    The will inclines from birth towards evils, even to those which are enormous; hence, unless it were restrained by means of the understanding, a man would rush into acts of wickedness, indeed, from his inherent savage nature, he would destroy and slaughter, for the sake of himself, all who do not favor and indulge him. (ISB 14)

    From these and many other passages in the Writings we acquire the idea that constant self-witnessing is a method that allows us to carry out the cooperation with the Divine Psychologist that He commands us to perform because it is necessary for our regeneration. When you begin self-witnessing one striking aspect of it is to become conscious of the macro and micro-integration of human willing and thinking. For example, I think about taking in the car for servicing. This is a macro-topic in my day’s schedule, to be integrated with many other macro-topics like sending email to someone, grooming the cat, shopping for groceries, reading the Writings, vacuuming the pool, and so on. Every macro-topic is kept in place by priorities of motives or affections in the will. But every macro-topic is constructed of an integrated series of micro-topics, each of these being maintained by a hierarchy of sub-motives, affections, and preferences in the will.

    For example, vacuuming the pool is made of sub-tasks (1) getting the pole from its place behind the plants without injuring the plants; (2) taking off the brush attached to it and affixing the hose nuzzle extension on wheels; (3) curling or snaking the long hose into the water to fill it with water and empty it of air; and at least a dozen other sub-tasks. Each sub-task has a series or hierarchy of affections that determine the style, rate, and effectiveness of my willing, thinking, and acting out the movements of hands, head, and body. Each sub-task offers plenty of opportunity for inherited and acquired evils to break out and take over, producing errors, ineffectiveness, damage, injuries, anger, egocentric affectational styles, neglect, laziness, carelessness, and many others.

    Self-witnessing reveals the astounding complexity of the ordinary behaviors we perform mentally and physically. Every micro-act or detail is managed by the Divine Psychologist through good and evil spirits with which He connects us, moment by moment as we perform our willing prompted by affections, our thinking prompted by knowledge and beliefs, and our sensory and motor activities that are prompted by our mental activities. But self-witnessing in itself is not a spiritual or religious activity. What makes it spiritual is the motive we have in doing it. A spiritual motive for self-witnessing makes it into a spiritual or religious discipline. From the Writings we have the commandment to know our willing and thinking so that we may evaluate each mental act in the light of Doctrine in our mind from the Writings. This is the spiritual motive for self-witnessing in the New Church mind. It is a Divine Commandment. We are given this commandment for our sake. We are taught that regeneration is by the Divine Psychologist but limited by the individual. the Divine Psychologist gives us the spiritual freedom not to regenerate! But to enter heaven, we must regenerate. And the process of our cooperation involves the micro-details of the micro-sub-tasks of the endless stream of ordinary acts in our willing and thinking all day long.  Examples From The Daily Round Archives

    Category 3A Logging Activities (Time, Duration, Place, Participants, Occasion, Nature of Activity)

    (i) 4:12 P.M. "(ii) 3 min. (iii) in our parking stall (iv) me and my daughters; (v) unloading the groceries from the car; (vi) carrying groceries upstairs, checking the mailbox, putting grocery bag on the kitchen floor, telling the kids to hurry up"

    (i) 4:l5 P.M. "(ii) 13 min.; (iii) at home; (iv) me and my daughters; (v) putting away the groceries: (vi) taking groceries out of the bags and telling children to put them away and start doing their home-work, use the bathroom, then Sit down in the parlor"

    (i) 4:28 P.M. "(ii) 2 min; (iii) at home: (iv) me; (v) in my bedroom; (vi) changing my clothes, combing my hair, and putting NY clothes away"

    (i) 4:30 P.M. "(ii) 32 min; (iii) at home1 in the parlor: (iv) me and my daughters; (v) helping children to do their homework; (vi) lying down on the couch, talking to the children, listening to the stereo"

    (i) 5:02 P.M. "(ii) 1 hour, 7 min; (iii) at home, in the parlor; (iv) me and my daughters; (v) lying on the couch; (vi) sleeping"

    (i) 6:09 P.M. "(ii) 2 min,: (iii) at home on the couch; (iv) me and my daughters; (v) lying down on the couch: (vi) children wake me up and tell me to start cooking dinner--they're hungry, TV is on, and I start to sit up"

    (i) 6:11 P.M. "(ii) 3 min,; (iii) at home, on the couch; (iv) me and my daughters; (v) discussing what to eat for dinner; (vi) .sitting down and smoking a cigarette"

    Category 3E1.4 Situated Sensations and Feelings, Microdescriptions of Sensory Observations, Retinal Sensations

    I am leaving the theater after watching a matinee feature: as I walk out of the theater, my eyes suddenly squint at the glare of the sun; the muscles around my eye tighten. My pupils experience and sharp but momentary pain; as I become accustom to the glare of the sun. The muscles around my eye begin to relax, I open my eyes to its normal position; the pain in my pupils gradually diminish towards the back of my head1 there is a slight throbbing in my eyes but it quickly diminishes; my vision is now normal and comfortable.

    Category 3E1.7 Situated Sensations and Feelings, Microdescriptions of Sensory Observations, Smells and Odors

    I preheat the oven before roasting the duck; as I prepare the duck there is a faint odor in the kitchen; I sniff at the duck, then at my hands; the smell doesn1t seem to be the duck or my hands; I start sniffing at the pot of vegetables on the stove; its not the vegetables; I take many short sniffs and several long ones; smells like something burning; I hear some sizzling and smoke coming out of the oven; my entire body is now tense; I rush to open the oven; smoke is coming out of it but there is not-thing in there that would burn; I grab a potholder and quickly open the broiler, beneath the oven; there it is, the drippings from the steak we had two days ago sizzling on the rack; I begin to relax; I remove the rack and place it in the sink; my body begins to relax; the smell of steak slowly leaves the air; I continue to prepare the duck.

    Category 3B4 Situated Interior Dialogue, Reviewing-Making Plans and Lists

    I'm driving home and thinking to myself what should I do first when I get home? First, I'll wash the clothes then clean the house while the clothes are in the washer and dryer; then I'll start to prepare dinner, no I better not, I think I'll take a bath after I'm through cleaning house: then I'll take the clothes out of the dryer fold them before starting dinner, that way I won' t have to interrupt my cooking to pick up the clothes and fold them; after dinner I'll rest for about half an before I start studying; I wonder if I should call Rita and ask her if she would like to go to the library me tonight, no, I better not, otherwise we might end up in the bar having a few drinks and I won't get a chance to study; let's see, first wash clothes, then shower, then cook dinner, relax for a little while, then study--sounds good, I think to myself, yeah, that's what I'll do tonight.

    Category 3B6 Situated Interior Dialogue, Rehearsals and Practicings

    I'm talking to Helen on the phone and she mentions Eddie called her and they talked for half an hour, I'm wondering if I should tell her that he called me the other night. no, I don't think I should, she might take it the wrong way. I'm wondering if I should say 'oh yeah, he called last night to see how every thing was going with me, he didn't say much, we only talked for about ten minutes or perhaps I should tell her that he had forgotten her number and that's why he called. No, maybe I should say, 'oh, that's nice, how is he doing?' and not mention to that he called me. Hmm, Nah, I don't think I should say anything at all about his call. Perhaps if he had wanted her to know that he called he would have told her himself... but he didn't... wonder why? On, well, forget it, it's not important anyway. I know, I'll just say that he called just to say hello and that he was doing fine...yeah, that's it, that's what I'll say.

    Category 5A8.1 Regular Lists And Belongings, Inventories Of Ownership, Documents And Mementos, Official-Legal-Medical

    My official legal documents include: birth certificate of self and children, marriage certificate, divorce decree, social-security card for self and kids, legal ownership paper for my car, car insurance document, check book, HMSA medical card, drivers license, school tuition agreement papers for children's school, BEOC award letter and tuition waiver, medical statements, bank statements, transcript from U.H. and Leeward Community College, school receipts for children, telephone bill receipts, rent receipts, student identification card, rental agreement paper, student fee slip, high school diploma, an associates degree in art and, science from Leeward Community College.

    Personal-Biographical: I am looking in my bedroom for my personal things as I do not leave them lying around the house, here is a list of things that I've found on my book shelf which is 5' x 5':

    1. A Bank of Hawaii statement in a blue envelope ,on my bookshelf, it is there because I forgot to balance my check book for last month.

    2. A karate trophy for most outstanding dated 1968 on the book shelf. It is as a bookend.

    3. There are forty-one albums and two tapes: Sinatra (9), Herb Ellis (2), Al Green (1), Charlie Byrd (3), Don Ho (2), Matt Monroe (1), Dionne Warwick (4), Jerry Vale (1), The Beatles (1), Sergio Mendes (3), Simon and Garfunkel (1), Best of '66 (1). Doris Day (1). Peter and Gordon (1), New Vaudeville Band (1), This is Broadway (1), Follow the Sun Around the World (i), Johnny Rivers (1). Liz Damon and the orient Express (1), Barbra Streisand (1), Gladys Knight & the pips (1), Carol King (1), Olivia Newton-John (1), Nat King Cole (1), and a Vikki Carr and The Strauss Family tapes on the shelf.

    4. There are thirty-three hardback books and one-hundred and twelve paperback books on the shelf ranging in subject matter from politics to sex.

    5. There are fifteen manila folders containing notes, handouts, and exams from previous courses.

    1. There are four folders, all black, which contain old notes from previous courses.

    2. One faded, old Frisbee that my daughter found outside while playing.

    3. There are two bottles of cutex, one is a base coat the other is called frosted pink, a bottle of cutex remover (half empty), a bottle of baby powder, one snoopy bank, white, that my ex-husband gave me-there's no money in it, one old, metal fan that was a wedding gift, one large old yellow candle that a friend gave me, and four blank cassette cartridges all on the shelf.

    4. On my dresser I find one bottle of apricot oil that I bought at a make up party, a ceramic dinosaur, that my daughter gave me last year for Christmas, a wedding pic of my brother and his wife, in a clear plastic cover, in a folding silver frame there's a picture of My mother and out dog, two pictures of my daughters when they were one and two years old, and picture of myself at Christmas time, 1967, a yellow scratch pad that has "fix car on Saturday" written on it, and & pencil holder with two pens in it on my dresser.

    10. In my closet there is a box containing eight albums, two blue ones, three red ones, and three white ones. The white ones contain wedding pictures, high school photos of friends and family; the red and blue albums contain pictures of my children; there's a small white box containing all the negatives from all the photos.

     11. There is one portable sewing machine in a green case, one old Singer sewing machine in a brown wooden cabinet, one green and yellow beach chair, one sewing table for the portable sewing machine, two shoe boxes containing a black pair of shoes and a white one, one pair of sandals next to them, beige in color, on the floor, and two sets of Scrabble, one tape deck, two file boxes, gray in color, and four evening purses-beige, black white, and off-white all on the shelf in the closet.

    12. In a small, old shoe box on the shelf I find a brand new black shoe lace, small gold colored safety pins, a deck of Hanafuda cards, and an old combination lock that I once used for my locker in high school, I probably put them there so that I could find them easily but in fact I had completely forgotten about them.

    Category 5B1.3 Routine Concerns: Selected Inventories, Privacy, From the Ears of Particular Others

    I am standing outside of class and it is raining. My. girlfriend and I are talking about the course. She says that she has a hard time understanding the professor. I agree with her and mention that he is boring and doesn't seem to know how to communicate well with students, considering that that is what he teaches. Just then he walks in front of us and enters the room. I feel uneasy, I ask my friend if she thinks he overheard what I just said. She just shrugs. I think he did, but maybe he thought that she said it and not I. I don't know, I hope not."

    Category 5B1.4.1 Routine Concerns, Selected Inventories, Privacy, From the Knowledge of Particular Others, Involving Your Activities

    I am at home, opening my telephone bill for this month. John is sitting down beside me. I look at the bill and wonder if he is going to pay for his long distance call. He knows I don't have the money to pay for the whole bill by myself. I'm hoping that he asks to see the bill. No, he doesn't ask. I don't want to mention it to him, he might think that I'm assuming he won't pay for it. I'll just leave it on the dresser and hope that he is nosey enough to look at it himself and mention that he's going to pay for his half. I hope.

    Category 5B1.4.2 Routine Concerns, Selected Inventories, Privacy, From the Knowledge of Particular Others, Involving Your Ideas

    I am talking to my sister and she mentions that she doesn't want to have any more children because her husband is presently unemployed. She asks if I know of any sure method of birth control without having sterilization and taking the pill. I tell her that she should consult her physician and discuss the matter with her husband. I did not wish to pursue the matter as I know that it would only add to her confusion and a heated argument and hurt feelings might ensue. If she were not older than I, I would have told her that she should take the pill, which she is strongly against, The subject is then dropped and I ask her how she's doing in her present job.

    Category 5C1.4 Noticing Observations, Visual Sightings, People in Public Places

    Today, at Ala Moana shopping center, I saw Professor Z. He was wearing a printed red and white aloha shirt, white flared trousers, and white buck shoes.

    Category 5C2.1.3 Noticing Observations, Relationship Events, Noticeables About People You Know (physical appearance, mood, etc.), Unmentionables Within the Relationship

    Today I noticed Professor B wearing two different colored, different size rubber slippers. One was green and the other was brown. His pants are too short and his aloha shirt looks wrinkled, as if he didn't iron it. This is the umpteenth time I've seen him dress in such a manner.

    Category 5D5 Description Of Transactions, Exchanging Information

    While sitting outside of the classroom, I see a friend of mine approaching. She sits with me and we start to talk of school. She asks if I was accepted into the dental hygiene program. I say no I wasn't. I ask if she was, she says no. We then start to discuss the requirements for the program and how a person is selected into the program. She tells me that perhaps we should apply to the nursing program instead and proceeds to inform me of there requirements.

    Category 5D6 Description Of Transactions, Making Arrangements

    Faye called me tonight and invites me to have a drink with her at the bar tonight. I agree. She tells me if it would be alright if we meet in about one hour at Latin Villa. I say that that would be fine. I then call my neighbor and ask her if it would be possible for her to watch the kids for me tonight. She agrees.

    Category 5D7 Description Of Transactions, Working Out a Problem

    ...them both to the cashier. Once its paid for, I take the package and leave the store, I go downstairs and buy a drink for myself, feeling proud that for once I bought a gift ahead of time instead of waiting till the last minute. After finishing my soda, I go to my car and leave.

    Category 5K3 Non-Joint Activities, Mentioning a person to Someone

    While talking to Carol on the telephone, we both mention a total of seven people; She mentioned four people, three from the store and her roommate. I mentioned John's name, Tom's and my sister's brother-in-law.

    Category 5K4 Non Joint Activities, Avoiding a Person

    After dropping off the kids at school, I came home to do some studying. Just as I park my car, I see my neighbor arriving home. I hurry out of my car and pretend not to see him. Just as I'm about to walk upstairs, he shouts "Hi Nan, how you doing? I smile at him and say alright but keep on walking...can1t stop now or I'll be stuck for hours talking to him! He looks at me and I feel that he would like me to say something so that he can start rapping. I keep on walking, Making sure that I don't look back again.  Teaching Self-Witnessing: Protection of Privacy Issues

    Since we are teaching in a public State university there are ethical rules and expectations that govern every one of our instructional procedures. Protection of privacy issues in academic settings tend to be strictly enforced by state and federal guidelines and laws. For instance, a new federal guideline issued last year is that instructors are no longer allowed to post test results on wall lists outside the office, unless a coded number is used after assigning it to each student privately. We used to use the last four digits of the student’s social security number, but this is no longer appropriate we are told.

    Our approach in teaching social psychology as a "community classroom" involved a lot of interaction between students, including teams working on a joint report, or students reading and analyzing the reports of other students. The subject matter also raised all sorts of privacy issues since students were writing reports about their self-witnessing—what they did, what they thought, what they felt like doing, what they complained about, what music they listened to and how they interpreted the lyrics, whom they tried to avoid and why, what they day dreamed about, and so on. The heart of the Generational Curriculum approach was that students would process, by reading and analysis, the work of prior generations as well as the work of the current generations. We had to find a way of doing this without running into privacy protection issues.

    Our first strategy turned out to be a mistake. We consulted the oral history project on campus since they collected taped interviews of people speaking about their lives in much detail. Their procedure was to ask each taped person to sign a copyright release form or a permissions form, so that the library could then make the materials available to the public. We decided to follow their procedure and asked each student whether they wanted to sign a release form giving us permission to collect their reports into the Daily Round Archives. This was to be a strictly voluntary decision and no stigma was attached to anyone not signing the form, in which case the reports were turned over to them at the end of the semester. Interestingly, we never had more than five percent of the students opting out by simply not signing the form. Ninety-five percent of the students every generation decided to donate their reports to the Daily Round Archives Generational Curriculum Collection.

    But this procedure was discontinued by request of the university authorities. Our problem was that we failed to realize the real issue. It was not so much violation of privacy due to the content of the student reports. It was the form that we used which was a copyright release of the reports each student authored. We should not have asked them to release their copyright. And there was no need to do this. We stopped using the release form, and returned the reports to the students at the end of the semester. Then we asked who wants to donate their reports to the Generational Curriculum Collection. They could pick which reports to donate, or they could alter the reports before handing them back, by removing their name or any pages. Using this new procedure, about eighty-five percent of the students handed their reports back. Of those who handed the reports back, about ten percent removed their name. So it was important to have a procedure where students took the initiative to dispose of their reports in any way they wanted.

    With the advent of the Internet in 1995 we had a marvelous opportunity to move our Generational Curriculum Collection to the Web. From now on, there was no need to ask students for release forms or for donating their reports to the Generational Curriculum archives. Instead, we hit on a better idea. Let them publish their work! Once it is published, the public has a right to read them, and so do the other students. Further, publishing their reports turned them into real authors and scientists, not just student researchers. They now had a sense that they were serving the whole world wide web with valuable information they collected on themselves. It also made the work of prior generations instantly accessible to the click of a mouse. We were fortunate to be able to use the internet facilities of our college server. This semester we are working with Generation 18 (see End Note 4).

    An important aspect of this procedure is that each student uploads or publishes their own reports. It is not done by the instructor or a lab assistant. The procedures involves the students inspecting their report online once they’ve done the uploading to the Web server of our school. In this way they have full awareness that they are publishing their work to a public world wide medium. Once uploaded students can make corrections at any time since the Web server remains continuously accessible by modem. It is typical for a student to upload the same report several times since they edit and improve it in the light of the instructor’s comments and the comments of other students.

    We have found over the years that students react very favorably to reading the work of prior generations. All reports students write require that students read, analyze, and summarize various portions of the Generational Curriculum. This serves them for orientation to the work they will carry out during the semester, and gives them a sense of integration that is not possible otherwise. For instance, this semester, the fact that students can see that they are Generation 18, provides a continuity that has both cognitive and affective importance to them. Affectively, they express a tremendous sense of relief that they are not alone in this process, especially the aspects that trouble them, such as the advanced computer literacy skills they have to acquire along with doing the extensive work for the assigned research reports.

    The written instructions we give tend to be very detailed, with each section and sub-section specified for content and format. One of the sub-sections of every report is "Advice to Future Generations." In this section, future students can relate affectively to the past by identifying with the problems and solutions past generations offer. It also gives the students writing the report, a sense of belonging to a generational learning culture, tied to the past and to the future. Students discuss their fears and anxieties in the course, especially concerning technical computer problems, and this seems to reassure them tremendously. A common statement you’ll find in their reports is: "I was glad to find out I was not the only one who felt this way."

    Cognitively, the Generational Curriculum reports has allowed us to cumulate progress and quality from generation to generation. There is a distinct facilitation effect for students to be able to read the reports of other students on the same task, and not only once, but for several generations. We kept our reports similar over the years, although we change things slightly from semester to semester, both for the sake of improvement, and also to challenge students to go beyond the prior generations. You can explore the instructions available online for every generation (see End Note 2).

    It has been our practice to allow students choices in which reports they want to work on. Almost all students, about 95 percent, are content in following the currently designated reports for that semester, but there may be one or two students during some semesters who request that they do a different report. We have several alternatives ready, with instructions online, and some of these are more traditional term papers, not directly related to self-witnessing. In this way, anyone who feels uncomfortable with this or that topic, may opt out. Having all the alternatives ready online, along with the designated instructions, helps eliminate any stigma that might be felt by a student for doing something different.  Grading and Assessment Approaches

    Our written instructions make grading criteria explicit. Reports are not graded for content about the self-witnessing data. It’s useful to make this clear to them so they have no anxieties or concerns about the content of the observations they make about their feeling, thinking, and acting. The instructions try it to make it clear that the grading has to do with how thoroughly and creatively they follow the instructions. Since the instructions are quite detailed, it takes academic discipline and creative thinking in order to fulfill the instructions. This is what gets graded. For example, this semester Generation 18 is doing a bibliography report on information literacy. The first section is a review of the prior generations on this topic. The second report deals with their self-witnessing while using Web search engines for finding the materials for their bibliography. So the two reports are integrated. The self-witnessing portion instructs them to use a Form that we supply online. This Form prompts them to monitor their mood, their emotions, and their reasoning during the search tasks, keeping track of reactions to finding something or not finding something. After collecting this data on themselves for several weeks, students are instructed to tabulate and analyze the trends they could find in their reactions and thoughts cumulatively over the weeks of Web searching.

    Students are given to understand that the content of their self-witnessing is not being evaluated or assessed. For example, the task for Generations 16 was called "Instructions for Report 2--Emotional Spin Cycle--Data Collection and Analysis" (available here:  ). Students were given four zones of their daily round to witness:

    Zone 1 (negative red) = Feeling rage-anger coupled with impaired thinking leading to aggressive behavior

    Zone 2 (negative blue) = Feeling depression coupled with pessimistic thinking leading to self-destructive behavior

    Zone 3 (positive blue) = Feeling self-mastery and self-satisfaction coupled with optimistic thinking leading to self-enhancing behavior

    Zone 4 (positive red) = Feeling resolve with compassion coupled with emotionally intelligent thinking leading to supportive and constructive behavior

    The purpose of this data collection exercise is to give you the opportunity to learn how to control your daily emotional spin cycle by going through three steps known as the Threestep Method—AWM:

    Step 1: I ACKNOWLEDGE that I need to gain better control over my negative spin cycle.

    Step 2: I WITNESS my threefold self in the negative spin cycle settings through objective self-monitoring or self-observation methods of data collection.

    Step 3: I MODIFY my spin cycle in one selected area, and then I start again with another area.

    In order to be practical we need to restrict self-witnessing observations to a few samples each day for several days. One good approach might be to decide you're going to sample your emotional spin cycle three times a day--morning, afternoon, and evening. This kind of spread allows you to collect a better or more representative sample of your emotional lifestyle habits. In this way you can benefit more from the exercise and your self-modification attempts could be more successful.

    WEEK 1: Sampling and differentiating

    Select one intense feeling that stands out in your mind that you've experienced this morning [this afternoon, this evening] and describe it, as well as the thinking and doing that went with it:

    what was the actual feeling like, what was the sequence experienced

    what thoughts were in your mind that accompanied the feeling, or occurred right after

    what sensations and actions went with that feeling (and thinking)

    Of course this means writing the observation down as soon as possible after it happens. If it's not practical for you to write it down immediately after, at least you can rehearse in your mind how you're going to describe it a little later, as soon as you can. Be sure to remember the details: the time, the place, the feeling and its intensity, the thinking and its sequence, the doing. The doing also includes your appearance to others since we are responsible for what shows and how we act in front of others. So try to remember what your body was doing and sensing (face, stomach, fingers, breathing, and tone of voice). The doing also includes the saying, if you spoke words out loud and what they were and what they probably sounded like to others present.

    It's best to use a diary book or equivalent so you can page through and see if you haven't forgotten something. Be sure to have times, date, and place clearly marked for each sample you report.

    In addition to the three descriptions mentioned above regarding feeling, thinking, and doing, you need to collect Global Ratings once at the end of each day:

    _____ 1) What was my strongest stress point today: (1=very weak; 10=extreme)

    _____ 2) What was my strongest level of satisfaction with myself today: (1=very weak; 10=extreme)

    _____ 3) What was my best level of effectiveness or productivity today: (1=very weak; 10=extreme)

    _____ 4) What was my best level of coping successfully with my feelings today: (1=very ineffectual; 10=extremely effective)

    _____ 5) What is your current level of hope for the future: (1=little hope or brightness; 10=extremely hopeful and bright)

    _____ 6) What was the worst level of negativity or selfishness of some other people around you (1=almost no negativity or selfishness observed; 10=extremely strong negative or selfish behavior observed)

    By collecting these 6 numbers at the end of each day you will be able to use a global assessment comparison between week 1 and week 2. (Note: one per day is the minimum required, but you get extra points for doing more since this may be more accurate.)

    About the Records Sheets:

    Describe the record keeping you did, how accurate they are, and any problems or concerns that need to be mentioned.

    Give one or two illustrations of the data you collected on the records sheet (insert this in your report 2).

    Put all your record sheets into a separate file called records.html and link to it, inviting the reader to inspect them before continuing to read. Be sure you place a link back to your report 2 so people can get back there after inspecting your records file.

    About the Bridge Technique:

    Describe how you applied the bridge technique as an intervention.

    How does such a technique supposed to work?

    How effective was it?

    Did its effectiveness vary on different days or with different activities?

    What kind of resistance did you yourself put up when trying to apply the bridge technique? Be specific using actual examples from your records.

    What are the origins of these weaknesses, strengths, and resistances?

    How would you teach this technique to a friend or family member?

    Who would be successful at it and who would not?

    What prevents people from using this technique to reach happiness and perfection?

    What limitations does it have?

    An Interpretation and Discussion Section should cover these topics:

    Give a brief summary of the overall pattern of results you obtained. Provide psychological explanations of the forces at play in those situations in so far as you can identify them from your data. You can also bring in explanatory concepts from your other courses or textbooks. Be sure to reference all your sources.

    What have you learned about your threefold self by doing this project? Discuss all three behavioral domains of the threefold self--affective, cognitive, and sensorimotor

    How did the four options diagram and vocabulary lists in the general instructions help you understand yourself better? Is this something you can use forever? Will you continue using this technique after the course is over? Would it make a big difference in your life whether you continued using this technique or not?

    What characteristics such as strengths and weaknesses did you discover about yourself as a result of this project?

    Would this technique be useful to: friends, parents, coworkers, children?

    Should this approach be taught in schools and at the workplace?

    Comment on the emotional spin cycle shown by Generation16 students in their Forum Discussions located at:  

    Here is a paragraph from another student’s report:

    The design I used to collect my data was the journals I’ve been writing in past couple of weeks. I didn’t include Sunday. Sunday is more of a day I spend with God. In my journals, I self-monitored myself on the addiction I had on watching pornography. I’ve said in the beginning that watching pornography was my old habit from my teens. Each day I self-monitored myself by recording the level of sexual urge, stress, depression, and happiness from zero=none to five=extreme. This helped to find out what’s causing me to continue watching pornography. The ratings I then received were useful to track down the influence of watching pornography. They were thus useful to help me to understand myself. My journals were based on my relationship with God.

    The logic behind the baseline-intervention approach was that I was going around a circle. I didn’t choose to stay in the positive but to spin from the positive to the negative. For example, I would tell myself one day that I would never watch pornography anymore. The next day I did it again.

    This is one of my journals I wrote about this just to give a good illustration of the point I’m trying to make:

    Dear Journal, 04-10-2002

    It would’ve been a beautiful day if it weren’t for that mindless incident that I put myself into. You see this is something I’ve been struggling all my life to overcome. But it seems like it is a part of me. I know God can help me, but I have to do my part in that way His way for me will come to pass. Unfortunately, my soul doesn’t stand it if I don’t give in. How many times I’ve promised myself that I’m going to put a stop to this? I love God so much that I just don’t want Him to be upset of me, particularly on this sin I temporarily commit. Other than that, school is becoming a great deal for me. Same principle: I reap what I sow. If I’m faithful in little things, I will certainly be faithful in big things. I cannot move on to the big things if I am not faithful in the small things. This is my lesson. Thank You Father. Bye…


    In this project, I learned that my threefold self (feeling, thinking, and acting out) were compatible with each other. One day I would "feel" sexually aroused that affected my thinking and eventually acting out. Another day would be my "thinking" that affected my feeling and eventually acting out. It seemed when one domain started dwelling on pornography, the rest went with it. Because it was an addiction to me, an emotional roller-coastal ride was likely to occur.

    The four options vocabulary really helped me to explain my emotional spin cycle. Knowing them, I started to realize myself better in a way that I had never thought before. Stress, for example, was always a feeling that I didn't know I had after watching pornography. I noticed it when I started to have pessimistic thinking about myself that my relationships with my friends and family were destroyed by stress.

    The strength of this project was that I was able to cope with the addiction by the use of the Word of God (Bible). Even though I was always not successful at using it, the surrendering of my will to God and His Word made it possible. The weakness I discovered about myself was giving in so easily to the temptation once it hit me. Especially during the time the sexual urge was at the peak. That I could not handle, unknowing that submitting myself to the will of God could bring strength to resist it.

    I will continue to use this technique even when the course is over. The understanding of the Four Options Diagram is the information I will carry on in my life to better understand my emotional spin cycle. It will totally make a different in my life as I continue to use it because it will change my life. The use of the bridge technique is a success to me. Without it, I would not understand the crossing of the negative to the positive and to stay in the positive.

    This is useful to anybody who is in need of coping with whatever problem. "We are our own enemies" is a quote I use because I believe every problem starts from us. So in order for us to cope with a problem, we have to examine ourselves daily. Look into the activities we normally do in regular basis and be attentive to the words we say so we can understand ourselves better so we can have something to apply the bridge technique. Friends, parents, coworkers, children, etc. are the people that can use this technique.

    We happened to pick the first report in the directory, and then noticed it has an unusual topic and focus. About ten percent of the people in our classes tend to have a strong self-consciousness about their religion and show this involvement in their reports. Here are some samples from another student’s report on the same topic (it is posted on the Web at:

    Previous to meeting Dr. Leon James, I had not thought of myself to exist in three domains of behavior. I considered myself composite of the three domains, not separable or changeable. Examining myself through the three domains of behavior makes it possible for observations to be made and changes to occur. At first this seemed impossible, but with self observation and modification I was able to examine and record how my three domains of behavior function. I also was able to recognize stimulants that set my threefold self through the negative spin cycle. By addressing these stimulants I was able to modify my behavioral routines through cognitive appraisal. I found this to be extremely useful, because negative thoughts often plague my mind as a result of hurt feelings. These toxic thoughts would provoke and justify acts of destructive behavior not only against myself but also towards others. Once I figured out how to change my habits of thinking I was able to change my habits of behaving.

    While observing our three fold self in the red options and blue options we were to keep records in a journal or on a tape recorder. The observation took place three days in a row. The next week was the intervention week, we did the same recording of our three fold self but also implemented the bridge technique. After we experimented and recorded we were able to see changes in the spin cycle by using the Baseline Intervention Approach, I was able to compare changes in my three fold self in the emotional spin cycle by comparing the data from the intervention week to that of the base line week. By gathering data and comparing the two weeks I will be able to see any improvements or changes in my options for the emotional spin cycle.

    Examples of Blue Bridge Prompts I applied from the instructions:

    ** question your assumptions that lead to negative conclusions

    ** tell yourself you're catastrophizing in an irrational way

    ** tell yourself "Stop it!" when you witness yourself ruminating compulsively

    ** do a scenario analysis of the situation, writing down all the versions

    ** reject the idea that the worst is going to happen

    ** do a re-appraisal of the situation and find some good things about it

    ** go over in your mind what others have said to you

    Examples of Red Bridge Prompts I applied from the instructions:

    ** order yourself to stop

    ** question your cold logic or negative conclusion by qualifying it, saying to yourself: "Not necessarily" or "Maybe, maybe not" etc. which help weaken the intensity of your negative persuasion

    ** make yourself think of relevant counter-information you've been ignoring so far

    ** restore balance by reminding yourself to think of both sides of the issue

    ** remind yourself that retaliation hurts people including yourself and it's not good

    ** remind yourself that all people have an inherent right to be treated with decency

    ** remind yourself that aggressive behavior won't bring you what you want

    ** consciously reject any fantasies of revenge as uncivilized and beneath you

    ** reject violence as ineffective in bringing about your goal

    ** reaffirm the human responsibility you bear to be fair and forgiving

    This is a sample of my baseline week observations; negative red.

    10:00 a.m. I am fuming right now, my Hawaiian teacher handed back papers and it was not a grand experience. She circled one misspelled word and commented that "by 202 I should know how to spell this". The thing was that it was a typo, a stupid error. I make those in English all the time, it was an accident. How dare her treat me like I am a child. I think she likes to single me out and pick on me. I could feel my face tighten, I knew I had a shitty look on my face. My anger was written all over my face and I wanted her to know I am upset. She reminded me of that dreaded kindergarten teacher you see in cartoons and I examined how bad she looked in the dress she was wearing, and her clothes were so out dated. It is like she thinks it is funny to see me struggle, she gives me no mercy. I was jealous of how she treated some of the other students, she seemed to be more patient and kind. She just laughed at me, I felt like a dog that could only do stupid tricks. Right now I am very tense. As class was over I stood up, glared at her and stamped out. She did not see my stare, I felt very disappointed. I felt like slamming the door so it shattered.

    This is a sample of my baseline week observations; negative blues.

    8:45 a.m. I have just arrived at school, I looked in the rearview mirror to do one last make-up check. "God I look terrible today" this was my expression as I looked in the mirror. I'm feeling so incompetent and foolish right now. I do not want to walk across campus because I am afraid people will be looking at me and think my butt is really huge. Tension is high, walking with a confrontational attitude.

    This is a sample of my intervention week observations; positive blues.

    10:00 a.m. Okay, I am getting up right now and I am looking in the mirror, I see myself and start to focus in on my appearance. Okay Korey STOP it! I will not allow myself to think those horrid thoughts about my body. I thought about how my boyfriend tells me how cute I am and how much he loves me just the way I am. This helped and I relaxed a bit, I did not feel so helpless. Decided today to start exercising and eat better, it can only help.

    These are just a few samples of my observation recordings, if you are interested in seeing the rest of my observation Click Here!


    Although the bridge technique was very useful it was not always possible to do. Because of my socialized habits of thinking, I often returned to my previous negative thinking. In order to change I need to be able to assess if my thinking routines and practice implementing the bridge. Due to my learned nature to be defensive and protect my self in conflict I struggle with in my thinking. Until I can change these habits, I will continue to activate schemas that may be unrealistic and irrational. Once I am able to adapt my thinking response to be emotionally intelligent, optimistic and realistic, I will be able to behave in self enhancing and supportive ways.

    I am currently trying to teach this technique to my boyfriend, who has some serious problems with aggression.

    Incidentally, both of these students have chosen to put their names on the Web reports.

    The behaviors that the students’ self-witnessing data contain are never assessed. Whether the students were successful in their self-modification experiment is not assessed. For the purpose of the report this makes no difference. The area they pick to report on is not assessed or prescribed. Instructions specify the four zones of self-witnessing as a general theory applicable to every individual. Within each zone, the students pick their own topics they want to report on. The first student above chose to report on his involvement with pornography, but he could have picked food behavior, sports, television, roommates, the workplace, etc., as other students have done.

    We make sure that students realize that the grading of their reports has nothing to do with their having this type or that type of reactions or feelings during the self-witnessing. And this becomes pretty obvious to them as they look at prior generation reports and become familiar with the instructions. Further, they remain their own authors, they write what they want, and they keep out whatever they want. There is no sense of coercion in reporting this or that, since the content is not what’s being addressed in the evaluation. Everyone has reactions and thoughts, and these are not graded or assessed in any way. Here is an example of the wording we have for stating our grading criteria:

    (1) How closely and effectively does the overall report follow all instructions? Does the report go beyond the minimum instructions? Does it introduce new features that enhance the report?

    (2) How much depth or substance does the report have? How skillfully and effectively is it conceptualized? How coherent is its presentation? How much effort does the report show in terms of data collection, write-up, formatting, and presentation?

    (3) How effective is the appearance of the report? Is it easy to scroll across the report and know where one is? Is there too much text crowding on the screen? Is the background clear or does it make it more difficult to see the letters? Is the font effective or too weak?

    (4) Are there Tables or Charts in the report? Were the data analyzed appropriately? Are the results explained coherently? Does the interpretation of the result involve psychological theory from other courses?

    5.4.12  A Few Passages in the Writings Concerning Self-witnessing and Regeneration

    Spiritual freedom is from the love of eternal life. Into this love and its delight no one comes but the man who thinks that evils are sins, and consequently does not will them, and at the same time looks to the Lord. As soon as a man does so, he is in this freedom; for no one has the power not to will evils because they are sins and so to refrain from doing them, unless from a more interior or higher freedom which is from a more interior or higher love. At first this freedom does not appear to be freedom, and yet it is; and later it does so appear, when the man acts from freedom itself according to reason itself, in thinking, willing, speaking and doing what is good and true. This freedom increases as natural freedom decreases and becomes subservient; and it conjoins itself with rational freedom which it purifies. [7] Everyone may come into this freedom provided he is willing to think that there is an eternal life, and that the temporary delight and bliss of a life in time are but as a fleeting shadow compared with the never-ending delight and bliss of a life in eternity. This a man can think if he wishes, because he has rationality and liberty, and because the Lord, from whom these two faculties are derived, continually gives him the ability to do so. (DP 73)

    From infancy to childhood, and sometimes on into early youth, a person is absorbing forms of goodness and truth received from parents and teachers, for during those years he learns about those forms of goodness and truth and believes them with simplicity - his state of innocence enabling this to happen. It inserts those forms of goodness and truth into his memory; yet it lodges them only on the edge of it since the innocence of infancy and childhood is not an internal innocence which has an influence on the rational, only an external one which has an influence solely on the exterior natural, 2306, 3183, 3494, 4563, 4797. When however the person grows older, when he starts to think for himself and not, as previously, simply in the way his parents or teachers do, he brings back to mind and so to speak chews over what he has learned and believed before, and then he either endorses it, has doubts about it, or refuses to accept it. If he endorses it, this is an indication that he is governed by good, but if he refuses to accept it, that is an indication that he is governed by evil. If however he has doubts about what he has learned and believed before, it is an indication that he will move subsequently either into an affirmative attitude of mind or else into a negative one. (AC 5135)

    It is the same with all things that belong to man's very life, as with those which relate to his understanding, and those which relate to his will. These also follow in order from interior to exterior things. Exterior things are memory-knowledges with their pleasant feelings; and outermost things are those of the senses, which communicate with the world by the sight, the hearing, the taste, the smell, and the touch. (AC 9216)

    The interior can perceive what takes place in the exterior, or what is the same, that the higher can see what is in the lower; but not the reverse. Moreover they who have conscience can do this and are accustomed to do it, for when anything contrary to the truth of conscience flows into the thought, or into the endeavor of the will, they not only perceive it, but also find fault with it; and it even grieves them to be of such a character. (AC 1914)

    [2] What the interior man is, scarcely anyone knows, and it must therefore be briefly stated. The interior man is intermediate between the internal and the external man. By the interior man the internal man communicates with the external; without this medium, no communication at all is possible. The celestial is distinct from the natural, and still more from the corporeal, and unless there is a medium by which there is communication, the celestial cannot operate at all into the natural, and still less into the corporeal. It is the interior man which is called the rational man; and this man, because it is intermediate, communicates with the internal man, where there is good itself and truth itself; and it also communicates with the exterior man, where there are evil and falsity. By means of the communication with the internal man, a man can think of celestial and spiritual things, or can look upward, which beasts cannot do. By means of the communication with the exterior man, a man can think of worldly and corporeal things, or can look downward; in this differing little from the beasts, which have in like manner an idea of earthly things. In a word, the interior or middle man is the rational man himself, who is spiritual or celestial when he looks upward, but animal when he looks downward.

    [3] It is well known that a man can know that he speaks in one way while thinking in another, and that he does one thing while willing another; and that there exist simulation and deceit; also that there is reason, or the rational; and that this is something interior, because it can dissent; and also that with one who is to be regenerated there is something interior which combats with that which is exterior. This that is interior, and that thinks and wills differently from the exterior, and that combats, is the interior man. In this interior man there is conscience with the spiritual man, and perception with the celestial. This interior man, conjoined with the Divine internal man that was in the Lord, is what is here called "Abram the Hebrew." (AC 1702)

     The Daily Round Archives Classification Scheme (DRA)



    Zone 1: Biographic Record (White)

    Zone 2: Tribe (Yellow)

    Zone 3: Role (Green)

    Zone 4: Psychohistory (Blue)

    Zone 5: Territoriality (Brown)

    Zone 6: Appearance (Black)

    [Note: For explanations about the color code see End Note 4.]


    Zone 1: Biographic Record

    1a My Vita

    Zone 2: Tribe

    2a My Talk

    2b Connections

    2c Family Tree

    Zone 3: Role

    3a Logging Activities

    3b Situated Interior Dialogue

    3c Situated Standardized Imaginings

    3d Situated Psychologizings

    3e Situated Sensations And Feelings

    3f Situated Feeling Arguments

    3g Situated Fantasy-Daydream Episodes

    3h The Elevated Register

    3i Responsibilities and Duties

    3j Social Memberships

    Zone 4: Psychohistory

    4a Situated Attributions

    4b Situated Evaluations And Assessments

    4c Situated Judgments

    4d Interviewing The Self

    Zone 5: Territoriality

    5a Regular Lists And Belongings

    5b Routine Concerns: Selected Inventories

    5c Noticing Observations

    5d Description Of Transactions

    5e Transactional Strategies: Episodes When

    5f Declarations

    5g Slogans

    5h Epithets

    5i Hangouts And Group Activities

    5j Reporting Joint Activities

    5k Non-Joint Activities

    Zone 6: Appearance

    6a Interviewing Others



    Zone 1: Biographic Record

    1A. My Vita

    1A1 Current Status in Community

    1A2 Background

    1A3 Topic focus

    1A4 Personal

    1A4.1 Favorites

    1A4.3 Fears

    1A4.2 Ambitions

    Zone 2: Tribe

    2A My Talk

    2A1 Analysis of Argument Logic

    2A1.1 Schema of Argument Structure

    2A1.2 Description of Operational Talking Procedures

    2A1.3 Schema of Behavioral Strategies in Talk

    2A2 Analysis of Relationship

    2A2.1 Case History

    2A2.2 Relationship Dynamics

    2A2.3 Tabulation of Pair Types

    2A2.4 Tabulation of Role Types

    2A3 Analysis of Sequence

    2A3.1 Schema for Move Embeddings

    2A3.2 Tabulation of Adjacency Relations

    2A4 Analysis of Setting

    2A4. 1 Discourse Analysis

    2A4. 2 Tabulation of Derivative Relations

    2A4. 3 Tabulation of Implicit Meanings

    2A4. 4 Tabulation of the Rhythm of Exchange

    2A4. 5 Transactional Engineering through Talk

    2A5 Analysis of Topic

    2A5. 1 Breakdown of Topics Exchanged

    2A5. 2 Topical Annotations

    2A5. 3 Topical Chart of Transcript

    2A5. 4 Topicalization Dynamics

    2A6 Transcript Annotations

    2A6.1 Explanations

    2A6.2 Stage Directions

    2B Connections

    2B1 People I Live With

    2B2 People Who Are My Immediate Family

    2B3 People Who Are My Extended Family

    2B4 People Who Are Acquaintances of the Family

    2B5 People I Know From Work

    2B6 People I Regularly Socialize With

    2B7 People Who Have Provided Me with Professional Services

    2B8 People Who's change in Financial Status Would Affect My Financial Status

    2B9 People Who Are Non-Intimates and Non- Family whose Ill Health or Death Would Affect Me

    2B10 People Whom I Might Ask for a Recommendation

    2B11 People Who Influenced My Intellectual and Personal Maturity

    2B12 People I Don't Know Personally But Whose Ideas Affect Me

    2B13 People Who Have or Could Ask 'Me for a Reference

    2B14 People I see Regularly for Service or Supplies

    2B15 People I'd Like Currently to Meet

    2B16 People I Know Whose Words I Quote or Stories I Tell

    2B17 People Whom I Believe to be Admired by My Parents

    2B18 People Whom I Know Who I See or Think About Only Rarely

    2C Family Tree

    Zone 3

    3a Logging Activities

    3A1 Time

    3A2 Duration

    3A3 Place

    3A4 Participants

    3A5 Occasion

    3A6 Nature of Activity

    3b Situated Interior Dialogue

    3B1 Overlays of Comments to Self

    3B2 Value Expressions

    3B3 Preparing Schedules

    3B4 Reviewing-Making Plans and Lists

    3B5 Emotionalizing Episodes

    3B6 Rehearsals and Practicings

    3B7 Annotations, Memorizings, Editings

    3B8 Unmentionables Within the Relationship

    3c Situated Standardized Imaginings

    3d Situated Psychologizings

    3e Situated Sensations And Feelings

    3E1 Microdescriptions of Sensory Observations

    3E1 .1 Aches and Pains

    3E1 .2 Stretchings and Exercise

    3E1 .3 Blushing

    3E1.4 Retinal Sensations ~ etc.

    3E1.5 Appetite and Cooking

    3E1.6 Energy Level

    3E1.7 Smells and Odors

    3f Situated Feeling Arguments

    3F1 Figuring Out a Conflict

    3F2 Making Resolutions

    3g Situated Fantasy-Daydream Episodes

    3G1 Elaboration of Dramatized Scenarios

    3G2 Construction of Catharsis Stories

    3G3 Re-contacting Nostalgic Memories

    3G4 Working out Alternative Realities

    3h The Elevated Register

    3H1 Praying-Invocations

    3H2 Altered States of Consciousness

    3H3 Meditations-Reading of Scriptures

    3H4 Poetic Expressions

    3i Responsibilities and Duties

    3j Social Memberships

    Zone 4: Psychohistory

    4a Situated Attributions

    4b Situated Assessments/Evaluations

    4c Situated Judgments

    4d Interviewing Self

    4D1 Who Am I

    4D2 What Am I

    4D3 How Am I

    4D4 What Do I Look to You

    Zone 5: Territoriality

    5a Regular Lists And Belongings

    5Al Invitations

    5A2 Announcements

    5A3 Subscriptions

    5A3.1 Periodicals

    5A3.2 Membership Dues

    5A3.3 Contributions

    5A4 Bills

    5A5 Closets

    5A6 Drawers

    5A7 Objects

    5A8 Documents and Mementos

    5A8.1 Official-Legal-Medical

    5A8.2 Personal/Biographical

    5A8.2. 1 Prizes

    5A8.2.2 Letters

    5A8.2.3 Gifts

    5A8.2.4 Albums

    5A8.2.5 Souvenirs

    5A9 Personal Effects: Selected Inventories

    5A9.l Purse/Wallet

    5A9.2 Car Glove Compartment

    5A9.3 Your Own Drawer for Stuff

    5A9.4 Clothes Closet

    5b Routine Concerns: Selected Inventories

    5B1 Privacy

    5B1.1 From the EYES of Particular Others

    5B1.2 From the NOSE of Particular Others

    5B1.3 From the EARS of Particular Others

    5B1.4 From the Knowledge of Particular Others

    5B1.4.1 Involving Your Activities

    5B1.4.1.1 Places

    5B1.4.1.2 People

    5B1.4.1.3 Purchases

    5B1.4.1.4 Bills

    5B1.4.2 Involving Your Ideas

    5B1.4.2.1 Memories

    5B1.4.2.2 Attitudes

    5B1.4.2.3 Opinions

    5B2 Information: Record Keeping

    5B2.1 Schedules

    5B2.2 Shopping Lists

    5B2.3 Date and Address Books

    5B2.4 Check/Bank Books

    5B2.5 Biographical

    5B2.5.1 Diary

    5B2.5.2 Notes

    5B2.5.3 Resolutions

    5c Noticing Observations

    5C1 Visual Sightings

    5C.1.1 Physical State-Appearance of Things and Places

    5C1.2 Change in Normalcy Signs

    5C1.3 Weather

    5C1.4 People in Public Places

    5C2 Relationship Events

    5C2.l Noticeables About People You Know

    5C2.1.1 Physical Appearance

    5C2.1.2 Mood

    5C2.1.3 Unmentionables Within the Relationship

    5C2.l.4 Disoccasioned Mentionables

    5C3 Auditory Pickings-up

    5C3.1 Overheard Snatches of Talk

    5C3.2 Sounds, Noises

    5d Description Of Transactions

    5D1 Gossiping

    5D2 Catching Up on News

    5D3 Having an Argument

    5D4 Joking

    5D5 Exchanging Information

    5D6 Making Arrangements

    5D7 Working Out a Problem

    5D8 Sharing Secrets/Confess ions

    5D9 Routine Reviews/News of the Day

    5e Transactional Strategies: Episodes When I:

    5El Lied

    5E2 Avoided

    5E3 Persisted

    5E4 Pursued

    5E5 Insisted On

     5f Declarations

    5F1 Problems

    5F2 Concerns

    5F3 Secrets

    5F4 Disoccasioned Topics

    5F5 Superstitions

    5g Slogans

    5Gl About Appearance

    5G2 About Health

    5G3 About Diet

    5G4 Folk Wisdom

    5h Epithets

    5H1 Pet Peeves (self and others)

    5H2 Family Sayings

    5H3 Nicknames (self and others

    5H4 Personal (self and others)

    5H5 Regularized References To:

    5H5.l Time

    5H5.2 Place

    5H5.3 Events

    5i Hangouts And Group Activities

    5I1 Places

    5I2 Circumstances of Crowding With

    5I3 Activities with Others

    5I4 Rights and Privileges

    5I5 Reputations

    5j Reporting Joint Activities

    5J1 Doing Something With Dates, Appointments

    5J2 Telephone Calls

    5J3 Writing/Receiving Notes, Letters, Memos, Ads, etc.

    5J4 Paying Bills

    5k Non-Joint Activities

    5K1 Doing a Task for Another Person

    5K2 Buying a Gift for Another Person

    5K3 Mentioning a Person to Someone

    5K4 Avoiding a Person

    5K5 Going to See/Looking for a Person

    5K6 Having a Mental Exchange with Someone

    Zone 6: Appearance

    6a Interviewing Others

    6A1 Who Am

    6A2 What Am

    6A3 How Am I

    6A4 What Do I Look Like To You  References on Self-witnessing Articles:

    All articles listed are by Leon James except where otherwise noted. Each article on the Web has links to others, in a cumulative pattern. For a linked topical directory giving access to all articles, see the Swedenborg Theistic Science Glossary available on the Web at:  

    Note 1

    Overcoming Objections to Swe