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Spiritual Diary, by Emanuel Swedenborg, [1758], tr. by Bush, Smithson and Buss [1883-9] at

Spiritual Diary


Such are wont to regard those who are in employments, and are industrious, upright, and no flatterers, as nothing; they despise, reject, and slander them; wherefore they hold them not as friends, but as servants; in a word, they are burdensome, or only burdens to the commonwealth.))))


There was such a poison in [apud] them as blunted all power of acting in the true and good, so that they took away all zeal. They have been with me for some days, and have caused me such trouble [molestia] to think and do what is serious, true, and good, and to seeing these that I scarce knew what I was doing. Such is the influx of such poison when they are in the society of good spirits. They induce in them a listlessness for doing good and that which belongs to their business [muneris]. So he who inclines [inclinant for inclinat, I think] to labors and uses in the commonwealth when he comes among such, or into their societies, then all his zeal grows torpid; therefore the human race is especially seduced [misled] by these. Wherefore kings exclude such from their courts [aulis], for they greatly injure societies, and withdraw them from the good and true, so that they are at length ensnared by the study of these things as something sweet; for they live sumptuously, clothe magnificently, enjoy only [their] ease, hold in hatred those who are industrious and zealous for what is true and good: they are destroyers of the human race; for it is known that those who begin to indulge in ease derive therefrom the greatest sweetness; like beggars who accustom [habituate] themselves to that ease, and so are restrained from, and deprived of all zeal to be members of civil society, or to be citizens. Such cannot be called citizens, but destroyers of citizens. - 1748, July 3.))))


This kind of cunning may be called the cunning of flatterers, especially carried on at courts [aulis], either for the sake of their own gains, or their own pleasure; that is, for the sake of cupidities flowing from self-love, or love of the world. Thus cunning [doli] is distinguished into genera, and these into species. These things are written in presence of spirits; and to those who are of such a character, who are silent and think what is to befall them, because they think their departure [exit] also represented to them, for such a thing moves them very greatly, because they love [student] their voluptuous [luxurious] life, and especially their gain. - 1748, July 3.


((((Such men cause the greatest annoyance to those who are industrious [laborant] in the commonwealth, whom they despise, and consider to be servants [slaves]; they leave them nothing of a pleasant life, so that when they perform their duties with pleasantness they regard them as far beneath themselves, born as it were to slavery [servitude], and they themselves born to rule; wherefore they snatch from them all pleasantness, bring them into contempt with their master, who therefore at last regards them as vile men, and mere flatterers, like lords [dominos], whom they esteem of greatest consequence, and so take from his servant all satisfaction [salutium], because he becomes like these [flatterers]; inasmuch as he takes them into [his] society on account of their flatteries. In a word, they contrive [creant] every annoyance to the servants of the commonwealth, and take from them all that is pleasant in life, all comfort and hope, and so destroy citizens, consequently the state.


Such were also with me for several days as [desire] to live for themselves, [and] not for the commonwealth, and took from me all the pleasantness of life, claiming all things for themselves. This they did in the other life in this manner, that they only wished from curiosity to hear and perceive what I read and when they have apprehended; these things, they have claimed them for themselves, leaving me afar off [porro] [out of the question], so that I was obliged to do my work with much annoyance, whereby it was manifested to me of what character are those who only work [student] for themselves, and only indulge themselves, and care for nothing besides. These things are written in their presence. - 1748 July 3.)))) These never purpose any use but for themselves; i.e. the use of the commonwealth is nothing to them, but their own [is]; wherefore they are such as are not led by use, or by the love of use.


The like in the life of the body wish to have pleasantness, yea, to take away [their] pleasantness of life from others who perform use, and do not wish [themselves] to perform anything useful. Wherefore it was given to speak with them, and represent to them of what quality they are; that they are like insects of various kinds that are hurtful and loathsome, which also were represented before them to the life. Then it was given to speak concerning pleasantness of life, that pleasantness is the life of man, and that they are so created by the Lord that they might create uses of pleasantness; as may be sufficiently evident from the pleasure of the senses, as from taste, [and] from venery; which because they have a use along with themselves, to wit, that man may be nourished, and that he may be procreated, therefore pleasantnesses are added to their use, which pleasantnesses are increased wholly according to use. So it was appointed. But those who seek for pleasantnesses without their flowing from use, or according to appearance, without intending use then indeed pleasantnesses are felt [by them], although of a gross sort; but because [they are] not from use, or from the Lord through use, they are like those loathsome and hurtful insects, and are such things as destroy; and are such pleasantnesses as destroy them, because no spiritual and celestial life is in their pleasantnesses; therefore [these persons] become unhappy; to wit, are ejected from societies, and so sit solitary and are vastated, till all their crafty and injurious principle is vastated, so that they are no longer theirs. - 1748, July 3.


Such [persons] also care nothing for what is spiritual and divine, which was also given me to know from experience, for they were granted a short remission [nam remittitur iis aliquantisper] when God is mentioned. It was immediately perceived that they care nothing for Him, so that they do not think less of anything than of God - because [they are] only in externals, and in pleasures separated from internals. - 1748, July 3.


I also heard them speaking of pleasures, that they are never denied to men, but only [are allowed] in order to serve uses; and when they serve or follow from uses, they are then much more delightful - as was also granted me to tell many of them.


They also have such a nature in the other life that whenever they observe amongst several, or in any society (because societies communicate one with another), therefore in the next societies, anything pleasant or happy, they strive with the greatest pains to claim it; and if they were able, would never leave anything pleasant to others. This was also granted me to know from experience. Wherefore it was said, that if such should come into the celestial societies they would desire to snatch away from each and all their joy and felicity; wherefore such are not able to come into heaven. - 1748, July 3.


THAT EACH AND ALL THINGS IN THE WORLD ARE FOR USE, AND THAT THE USES OF ALL THINGS IN THE UNIVERSE REVEAL THE CREATOR. I see with spirits concerning uses, to wit, that all organic things in man, all his corporeals, as well as all corporeals in both the animal and vegetable kingdoms, are formed for [to] use and according to use, so that the use is, as it were, what has formed them, and that he who from use survey's organic things may then see the nexus of the parts; but [otherwise] if from parts [he reasons] concerning use.


Besides which there is nothing given in the vegetable kingdom but is formed to [for] use, and indeed a manifold [use] thus [is formed] from use; to wit, for the nourishment of animals and the human race, therefore to the nourishment of all things thereof, and indeed so that nothing may be lacking. And when I held my mind in the consideration of use, to wit, that [things] are created for use to animals and man, as may be apparent from much experience to everyone who has an animal; [and when I considered] what is available for nourishment, for odor, and for medicine, and when the whole series of uses came under my contemplation.


Then it was given me to see in spiritual idea, which is the same as angelic, that in use there can be nothing material: when yet use has formed these things because each and all things [are] according to use; and since there is nothing material in use, which, as it were, forms, it was apparent from the spiritual idea that the divine is that which has formed, and that it is absurd to think that the Natural [could have formed], for the Natural cannot be distinguished from the material; for instance, heat, moisture, dew, [and] rain, which are natural. But no such thing may [can] be conceived concerning use. - 1748, July 3.


THAT ALL IN THE HEAVENS ENJOY IN [ACCORDING TO] THEIR CONDITION THE GREATEST JOY. It was granted me to see very plainly in spiritual idea, whereby I also spoke with the angels, that spirits would enjoy the highest joy, everyone according to his condition, were each one satisfied with his lot, and did not seek after those things which are above, whereto their phantasy leads them; yea, everyone [would enjoy] such joy as is their highest - for everyone enjoys his joy according to his condition: and when he seeks after that which is higher, does so from phantasy; which everyone may know, that if to a husbandman were given a royal palace, with attendants and sumptuous appointments, he would be illy satisfied, and desire to return to his cottage, domestics, field and meadow, wherein he chiefly delights. It is so in other things, as was also given to represent to them; so also when any were elevated to interior joy's, as was also granted to know from experience, that on the other hand they desired to return. Such would be heaven and the world of spirits, to wit, each one in the highest joy were content with their lot, which the Lord gave them, and did not desire higher things, from phantasy. - 1748, July 4.


THAT THERE IS NO RESPECT OF [FOR] PERSONS IN THE OTHER LIFE. Many who have been great during the life of the body, either from the dignity of [their] office, or [their] imaginary learning, take with themselves into the other life a lofty spirit, which they had acquired to themselves in the life of the body, and suppose themselves to be greater and more eminent than the rest; for such [a principle] remains with them, and is much of a hindrance to their coming into societies where no such [principle] prevails, but where they only love each other mutually , and one does not prefer himself to another in dignity or learning, which was granted to be sufficiently evident to me by experience. Wherefore it was given to tell them, and at the same time to perceive plainly, in spiritual idea, that there is no respect of persons in the other life, and that the least boy of rustic or the lowest condition may [can] be in much greater consideration than a prince among his chief men [maximos].


Because everyone is esteemed according to his interiors, like as also man [estimates] princes by [in] their interiors; but, for subordination's sake, honor is paid them, which honor amongst men dies with him when he dies, only the estimation of his interiors remains among many who are intelligent and wise. It was given to add, in their presence, that this kingdom is of such a quality that no one is esteemed in the Lord's kingdom from dignity and learning in the life of the body , otherwise than is the case in the kingdoms of the world. This happens for the sake of subordination and government in the societies. - 1748, July 4 [July for June, I think].


It was given to add that in this kingdom, which is eternal, there is nothing but joy's and felicities, and indeed not [arising] from assumed and prerogative dignity above others, but from mutual love. I said [dicendo] what is sought in the world, by dignities and wealth, but to attain joys and to think they are happy. In the kingdom of the Lord they obtain without such things what in the world they desire [to obtain] through such, because such things destroy felicities [and] take from others their joy's; thus by these things joy's cannot be given to them, which they desire, from the cupidity of dignity and pre-eminence. - 1748, July 4.


THAT NO ONE DESIRES TO ENTER A HIGHER HEAVEN THAN THE LORD THINKS PROPER. See what was before said, that the good, or those who are on faith, all obtain their places, and everyone enjoys in his place the highest joy; and that if by phantasy they are drawn [induced] to come into a higher heaven, they thus destroy all their joy; for those who have been in interiors [and are] not yet formed to receive that joy , have said that they wished to return to their own heaven.


Yea, it may be apparent what the phantasy is to wish [to come] into heaven, or from pride to form to one's self a society, over which he presides as chief, and that others are subordinate to him. Such a phantasy effects nothing else in the other life but to destroy all his felicity; for no such subordination is given; the Lord alone is He who is to be adored: from mutual love of one toward another flows all [their] felicity, which may be sufficiently manifest to everyone; for they place happiness in falsity and a contrary principle; thus [such a one] destroys his joy.


Those who wish [to come] into heaven from such a cupidity cannot come even to the first limit, but recede. How far distant heaven, [and] consequently heavenly joy, is from these may be sufficiently evident from these experiences, to wit: that if an angel only looks into him, without any intention of hurting, only with his glance [view] [intuitione] that he is greatly distressed, and would as it were perish with anguish; and they who are crafty seem like conglomerated serpents, besides which, others are tortured with envy from merely beholding the felicity of the angels. Such becomes their state who in the other life wish to command others, or be chief in any society.


That it is mutual love wherein [is] all felicity, and that heaven consists in mutual love and everyone regarding himself as nothing; besides other things which belong to love may be evident from those things that [are] in nature, from atmospheric parts, from the parts and viscera in the human body, where there is nothing given that does not possess something of health from the general [principle] because it contributes to the general [principle]; thus there is a confluence of the felicity of all into them who do not strive for themselves, but for the general [good] in faith, and the contrary [happens] to those who strive for themselves, and wish that they maybe instead of themselves in the place of others who are much worthier. - 1748, July 4.


CONCERNING CERTAIN COMPANIES [SCHOOLS] OF PROPHETS [MENTIONED] IN THE OLD TESTAMENT. There were companies of prophets both amongst the Jews and Israelites, and amongst the Gentiles, who prided themselves on ridiculous gestures, as is here and there read in the Word, who in Judea and the country of the Israelites predicted true as well as false things. If I might assume the reason [thereof] from a neighboring [spirit] there seems to have been such a prophetic spirit with the people because they [were] in externals and only insane as to worship. Their souls after death sometimes seem to be applied to prophets of this sort, in order that they may continue the life of the body and be similarly insane, so that they may be brought back from their phantasies, for the life of the body continued to be similar at first after death. This appears the proximate reason [cause], and to be referred to those things which spirits have spoken with me. - 1748, July 4.


Certain of that time who are now with me said that they esteemed such prophets as saints [holy], and that nearly all desired to prophesy, wherefore such a spirit ruled them. In like manner these things which were prophetically written they did not understand them, but similarly adored. It is very similar with the mystic things of the ancient poets.


THAT THE SCIENCES ARE NOT TO BE REJECTED, AND IT IS SIMILAR WITH PLEASURES, WHICH ARE NOT REJECTED BUT APPLIED. The sciences are not therefore to be rejected, because they cause a man to be insane, when he wishes from them to be wise in spiritual and celestial things; thus [used] they pervert and blind; but if truths are confirmed by them, they then illuminate, because man is in sciences. Likewise the pleasures which [belong] to the mind [animi] and body are not to be rejected because they destroy and blind man, but he is left to enjoy them for [ad] the use as before; thus they may only be applied to uses, for pleasures are the life of the body, wherefore also they are given to [bestowed on] uses. - 1748, July 4.


CONCERNING THE INTERIOR THOUGHTS OF SPIRITS. There are thoughts within the sphere of vulgar or apparent thoughts which are not distinguished; these rule the vulgar or apparent thoughts. I long supposed that these belonged to the interior man, thus to angels of the interior heaven, but in [that] opinion I was mistaken, for by much experience I have been able to learn that there are also such thoughts, and that there are spirits who are accustomed to, and delight in, such thoughts.


What further concerns these thoughts there are certain spirits and souls who do not enjoy them, nor perceive them, because within the sphere of their thoughts: but there are souls, who as soon as they come into the other life notice that there is also such thought, and can separate it from external, or vulgar and apparent thought; and are those who in the life of the body have been crafty, as I have sufficiently learned from experience, besides [learning] from experience that the dragon also enjoys the same.


Vulgar thought is merely the idea which inflows into speech, but that thought inflows into vulgar thought, and rules it, as well by thoughts as by evil affections. These thoughts are as it were thinking intentions [intentiones cogitantes] in their series. They inspire others with the mind to think and act [and] induce alacrity and torpor. Still it is interior corporeal or material thought with its affections.


Such is the thought of interior spirits, by whom angels communicate with exterior thoughts, and thus with speech.


It was given to observe that spirits who were at a distance from me, and who said that they perceive better when I think or speak tacitly, that these are in such thoughts, to whom each thing better appears, is perceived and manifest, when the thought scarcely appeared to me.


But there are evil as well as good who enjoy such [gifts]. The evil endeavor to pervert good spirits through such [thoughts], because thus they enter into their sphere.


Those who are in the sphere of such thoughts suppose that they are interior angels; the good that they are angels of the interior heaven; but they are mediate, as [already] said, thus good spirits: they may also be called angels, but angels in the world of spirits. The evil also suppose that thus they are in the sphere of the interior heaven, but they are entirely mistaken.


In those who have long been in the other life these interiors come forth, the externals being as it were projected, and thus they become interior spirits (they are so to be denominated): as I have observed from the multitude of these who are such, who are far away from me. - 1748, July 5.


Hence it may be manifest how unhappy do these become after death who are crafty and accustomed to cunning [deceits], for deceits are what occupy this interior sphere, for these are entirely projected from the sphere of interior spirits, therefore from the world of spirits, and are reserved elsewhere. These are much longer tormented with pains and more prolonged torments, and at length much loss [of their deceit] remains: for before deceits are extirpated, which have entered their natural disposition, and composed [it], there is a long time [attended] with torment: for before these things are vastated the interior man is unable to operate: for there are intermediates between the interior and exterior man, and before the intermediates are fitted there can take place no operation through their interiors.


These [spirits] now irritate my left eye, and manifestly infuse therein a certain, more acute pain. Wherefrom may he concluded that these who are now present are among those who rule the vulgar thoughts. When others [act] who [rule] cupidities, and move the right eye, the pain of the eye is interior [and] acute. Thus it is also concluded that they are intermediate, like as sight is intermediate between hearing and thought


CONCERNING INTERIOR SPIRITS. There is the greatest multitude of interior spirits who inflow, and by, [through] whom angels inflow into those who are exterior spirits.


Such is the difference of interior and exterior spirits, that when the exterior are led into the society of the interior, the exterior then come into an obscure state, and, as it were, a state of sleep [somni it should be, I think], for they do not perceive them, except [so far as their] influx. This state is as obscure to them as the state of sleep, but to those who are interior spirits [the thing] is sufficiently luminous or intelligible.


Whether any man can be brought into that state, so that he may be in any clear idea, as it is called, I do not yet know; but in the other life, after some time, he is brought thither.


I was this day with them, and in that state, awake, and observed the multitude, which is such that they surpass many [times] the multitude of exterior spirits, and, as I believe, are in a quite clear idea, although I [am] in an obscure [one], but [one that is] clear as regards the perception of generals [communium].


Spirits after a delay of some time are brought by the Lord into this interior state, as it were, through sleep [somnum] or sort of lethargy [soporis], at last of wakefulness, as it were, [belonging] to spirits; then these things first come to them as to infants, obscure, because there is only a general perception: at length the idea grows clear more and more, or ideas become clearer: thus they are led, as it were, into that state in which they seem to themselves entirely awake, though also that state is in respect to the wakefulness of the interior heaven, as it were, sleep. - 1748, July 5.


CONCERNING INTERIOR SPIRITS. I spoke with angels concerning the life of the Lord's Word, to wit, that in the supreme sense of the Lord's Word is the Lord Himself; in the universal sense below the Lord [is] the universal heaven of angels and good spirits; in a sense still lower [is] the Church of the Lord throughout the universal world, from the first creation to the last times, taken in a most universal manner; in a sense less universal [it treats] of the Church which is instructed, with all its various doctrines; in a sense still less universal concerning the inmost Church in the world; in a sense still inferior, in particular concerning each [singulari] man; in the most singular sense, concerning every article of faith; in an abstract sense, concerning celestials, spirituals, rationals, wisdom, intelligence, and so forth. - 1748, July 5. - According to the subject such is the predicate.


A CONVERSATION WITH SPIRITS CONCERNING THE TRANSLATION OF MAN INTO THE OTHER LIFE. Spirits often wondered that they were in the other life, supposing they were in the life of the body, because to them there is no difference when reflection is not given; thus they often wondered when I told them they were spirits, supposing they are in the life of the body, concerning which thing [I have treated] previously.


I also spoke with spirits [to the effect] that if men were in faith in the Lord that heaven would thus be opened to them, or an interior way to heaven, which is closed, just as [has occurred] from the Lord's mercy in me, and so there would be a commerce of souls, spirits, and angels with men in the world, and of men in the world with souls, spirits, and angels, so that spirits would know what is transacted in the world, and men what in heaven. Thus they would on both sides live together.


So also was it ordained by the Lord from eternity, that there should be such interaction and such communion as also that man should reach his [full] age, be ignorant that he lived in the body, and so his body being thrown off immediately, remove into heaven: for when such a man is carried along to old age, he has no more reflection as to his body when he speaks with those in heaven, like as also had happened to me, that I sometimes forgot that [I was] in the body, because without reflection upon those things which [belong] to the body, inasmuch as [I was] in conversation with spirits. Today I saw in spiritual idea that the body is nothing, and were it cast aside that there would be no difference between life in the body and after the casting aside of the body.


Besides also there was discourse concerning the body, that the body is nothing except [as regards] the use which it performs for its spirit, in the world, is something wholly separate from its spirit; and that the body, for which they have so much care, is nothing; for every beast and wild animal, even the smallest insect, has a still nicer and more perfect body than man, more perfect organs of smell, taste, sight; yea, that the insects in the leaves see more minute things, and smell [scent] much more acutely [purius] those things that are in subtler nature than ever man can see with the subtlest microscope, or feel by art. For they see their food, smell it, and taste things that do not reach the slightest sensation of man. Wherefore [the] bodies of brutes are more perfect than man's, and yet [men] have so much care and so much love for such a body as in itself is so vile. - 1748, July 6.


CONCERNING THE FALLACIES OF THE SENSES, THAT THEY ARE TO BE REMOVED IN THINGS THAT ARE TO BE BELIEVED. (((I have spoken sometimes with spirits, as also now, who were present with me, [to the effect] that they are not near me, although they seem to themselves to be near, yea, sometimes very often [to be] so near as to touch [and] move me, operate to the touch, within me, at the side, at the head, when yet experience is most certain that they cannot be here, but sometimes 10, 100, 1000, 3000 miles distant; yea, that it is similar with spirits of other earths. But because spirits from the appearance, entirely as if it were so, that they were near and next to me, do not wish to believe it, because it was wholly contrary to appearance, it was given to tell them that experience is constant and certain, and it is not to be doubted, and least from that cause that it appears so, and that they cannot perceive it from any cause because they have not perceived the cause.


It was granted to elucidate this before them, [and] to say that when experience is clear and certain, there should be no doubt, because the appearance is other, and because they do not know causes; in like manner very many similar things are given in nature which are evident from experience, and nevertheless because true it is to be believed; for instance, that they can sail around the globe [globo telluris], and from the opposite part from [a point] opposite our feet. This is certain, because experience shows it. Should anyone in the world doubt concerning it, because it appeared otherwise, and because he did not know the cause, then there would be innumerable similar things in the nature of things which he would not believe when yet they are such.)))


((((It is similar with matters in the spiritual world, especially those things that belong to faith, concerning which there should be no doubt, still less rejection, because we do not apprehend the causes, and because they are not according to appearance when yet they are truths, inasmuch as the Lord, the Truth itself, has said it; as that the Lord alone lives, that the remaining lives in earth and in heaven are nothing, and very many things of this sort. These also are contrary to appearance, as it has often been given to tell spirits, but still are true, and therefore not to be denied, because we do not understand, and because we seem to ourselves to live from ourselves. - 1748, July 6.))))


THAT SOULS IN THE OTHER LIFE AT FIRST ARE AS IT WERE WANDERERS, AS TO [THEIR] PLACE [SITUATION] [situm]. ((((Those are called souls who have not yet attained a place in that Grand Man [Maximo Corpore]. They are sometimes wanderers: for some time they are below to the right, for some time below to the left; sometimes above the head, in various regions higher up; sometimes also near the head. Thus they are those who have not obtained a situation in the Grand Man [Maximo Corpore], because they are in a state of change; for there are corporeals which adhere, which are excited; hence they are carried higher up and to different regions; wherefore I called them those who wander still, but afterwards they obtain a situation, where they remain, till at length [comes] a change requiring a longer time, according to the state of their reformation. - 1748, July 6.))))


THE FACULTIES OF SPIRITS [ARE] SUPERIOR TO THE FACULTIES OF MEN. Besides that spirits are endued with all things belonging to man's memory, are skillful in his languages, and perceive his thoughts; there are also those who see even on the spot [his] interior thoughts which are represented to them and comprehend in a moment, but things are to be declared requiring [per] a considerable time, and yet such as never can be so seen and comprehended as those things which are seen in the world. These belong to things abstracted from corporeals and [the things] of the world. These, when represented in spiritual idea with their representative ideas, and only represent what the idea signifies, it may be obscurely or secretly therein, they comprehend fully enough on the spot; thus in a moment things which cannot be expressed by speech of an hour's duration.


Spirits said that they do not know they possess such faculties, although when these things are said and represented to them they acknowledge them; but the reason is, because no one reflects upon his faculties wherewith endowed, but inasmuch as they are familiar to him do not suppose they are more excellent than those which others have; and it was given to tell them that the angels do not know that they possess still more excellent and eminent faculties, unless when allowed to look down into the spirits who are beneath, thence see the differences. - 1748, July 6.


CONCERNING REPRESENTATIONS IN THE WORLD OF SPIRITS; HOW THESE INFLOW FROM HEAVEN. When in sleep there happened [to me] some things which I do not remember (just as they happened) [ita]; then also came before my view birds which were enclosed; [i en bur som war gammal och morckar]; in such [bur] did a bird appear enclosed, which was also an evil one, and it seemed to me I did not wish to have it. There were along with it two beautiful and noble birds: these I rather desired to have enclosed in that [bur]; and immediately while I was in such an idea, spirits fell down and were cast upon me with considerable violence, and stirred me out of my place [me commovebant], and struck a trembling into my bones and nerves, as [I have] sometimes [experienced] previously; so that each and all the things in me began to tremble, with manifest sensations throughout the whole body. When I awoke I felt it, and knew that spirits had fallen with much force upon me, and imagined that now, like as several times before, they attacked and wished to destroy me by striking everything in me with great commotion.

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