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

Spiritual Diary


CONCERNING THE INHABITANTS OF THE STARRY HEAVEN. While I was engaged in writing the things (related) concerning the spirits of an earth in the starry universe, who advance to the ninth use, 3901-1 they were present with me as also their god above my head, as had been the case before. They spoke indeed, but very little, being inclined to silence. They said that they could speak and yet wondered at their ability to do so, observing that when they spoke with me, as on this occasion, the speech was very obscure to them, so that they scarcely knew what they said, forasmuch as their life was not in our speech; wherefore they have a speech in which their life is, which they derive from the ninth use, where unto they advance. They are thus endowed with such a speech as can scarcely be expressed by ideas similar to ours, and their speech would be as obscure to us as ours is to them; for where the life is, there is the speech, and there also is the light and the intellectual of speech.


I observed, as I had sometimes done before, that these spirits, as well as others, when I walked through the streets, and they had been with me during nearly the whole day, yet, from their not reflecting, they had observed nothing, not even the objects that were before my eyes, as books, papers, and the like, although they could see through my eyes. Hence it appears what is the quality of the spirits with men, through whom they do not see, to wit, that they have no concern about anything [they see], neither do they reflect upon it, thus that they neither see nor hear anything with others. - 1748, November 7.


HOW DIFFICULT IT IS FOR THOSE WHO ARE NOT IN FAITH TO LIVE THE LIFE OF FAITH. Certain spirits, not of the evil, but of those who wished to be in faith were high above the head, and in such a sphere that they neither thought nor spoke from themselves, which is manifestly perceived among spirits, and when they were in this perception they said they could not live thus, for their life was then, as it were, burdensome to them. It was given to ask why, since this was true, that they did not think nor speak from themselves, they loved not to live in the truth? But this availed nothing; it was still difficult for them so to live. It was moreover given to say, that the angels are then in bliss when they perceive that they do not live from themselves. But neither did this comfort them. It thence appeared how burdensome is the life even of those who are good, [when required] to live a life of faith.


A certain spirit known to me during his life, among those of his own time, who knew above others what faith is, and what the knowledge of faith, came to me and said that he now knew nothing, and that he was in so much obscurity, that he knew as it were nothing as to what was true. I was aware that he had been of those who had not only understood the knowledges of true faith above others, but had zealously defended them; and yet now he declared that he was in such obscurity that he knew nothing. It was given to say in reply, that he was now reduced to a state of obscurity or ignorance, not from his merely not knowing what was true - for he knew it better than [many] others - but because that, in the other life, knowledges are confirmed that they may become the truths of faith, with which, since his life was repugnant, it was a consequence that he knew nothing, and was in obscurity; for although one is in the light of knowledges, yet if his life is repugnant, he does not love the things confirmatory of the knowledges of faith contrary to life, but he loves rather the things confirmatory of life against knowledges; and when there is such a conflict, it follows that he will be in obscurity and ignorance, into which state I was myself reduced, before it was given to speak with spirits and angels. It was thus granted to comfort him [by the consideration] that that is a state into which those are at first reduced, who are in the knowledges of the truth of faith, and yet their life is not concordant, which is a species of vastation, wherein the Lord first inseminates truths, and the light of truths begins gradually to shine forth from this obscure or darkened [condition].


He still remained above the head in a dense obscurity, with which he was so oppressed that his weight was thence perceived, as it were, manifestly moving my head forwards, so that unless I had been in bed my head would have inclined in that direction and then to one side and the other. His gravitation, thus sensibly felt by me, was like that of a superincumbent weight pressing first in a front direction and then round about towards the sides; from which the inference was plain to me what kind of an influx is produced by that confused obscureness.


He afterwards receded, and I spoke with him and with another who was in his company concerning love, [saying] that love is that which determines all and singular things, and that without love there is nothing but what would be confused, because wholly indeterminate, and that the genera and species of loves and their differences, which distinguish societies, are countless and indefinite; and that the life of heaven, and thence of the societies of heaven, is a life of love, namely, that everyone should love his neighbor better than himself. That life was represented to him [accompanied] with perception, and upon its being thus represented, he perceived that he was so remote from that life, that he thought he would never be able to come into heaven, for he perceived the repugnancy of his self-love. His perception was communicated to me, and thus how far distant he was from heaven. It was given to say to him that [such a love] was possible - as he began to doubt of its possibility - [and it was instanced] from conjugial love, in which he had also been, in that men love their wives better than themselves, as also their children; he thus acknowledged that it was possible, since it was possible in conjugial love and in other loves thence derived, for it is given likewise to wish better to one's friends than to one's self; wherefore being remitted into that life he acknowledged the possibility.


In short, the Lord's mercy, which is of His love, towards the whole human race, is that which determines all things, the heavens immediately, and [thence] their societies. Without the Lord's love and His mercy thence, not only would all and singular thing be indeterminate, but absolutely nothing; wherefore the Lord is all in all. - 1748, November 8.


It was observed and said that those who have enjoyed bodily felicity from wedlock, and have lived in conjugial love, that they have felicity also in the other life, so that the felicity of their life in the world is felicity in the other life; but that those who have lived in conjugial infelicity, from holding their partners in contempt, aversion, and hatred, that they are unhappy in the other life also. - 1748, November 8.


THAT EVIL SPIRITS ACQUIRE TO THEMSELVES [ADDITIONAL] POWERS FROM NUMBERS. I observed a certain [female] who was a subject of evil spirits, that inspired abominable things with [a powerful] persuasion. Other spirits, partly from curiosity and partly from a desire to abstract their thoughts from what I was writing, observed with a fixed attention how such a subject [would be affected], and what would happen; the intuitions and ideas of several were then fixed upon her who was the subject, from whence her powers of thinking were increased; for in proportion as the intuitions of a number concenter in one, she acts more strongly, as I had also observed before, [in the case of one] who had thus magically attracted the intuitions of others by receiving the things that flowed in, and so going to those from whom the influx came. It was said to spirits that the power of that subject would be thus augmented; wherefore they were withdrawn, and she being left alone with evil spirits, her power was entirely gone, which could be perceived, and at which the spirits wondered. - 1748, November 8.


THOSE WHO HAVE CONSCIENCE MAY BE AMENDED IN THE OTHER LIFE. It was said to me, and perceived likewise, that those who are in phantasies and in falsities, provided they have held conjugial love sacred and have had conscience, especially if they have been in it and who have thus had conscience that such in the other life are capable of amendment, even though they might have been obstinate, or might obstinately have inhered in their opinions and falsities; but that those who had not conscience, especially if they accounted adulteries as nothing, and in other things were during their life without conscience, they appear in the other life, as it were, without [any] restraining bond, and thus without connection with heaven. Those who have had no conscience in regard to adulteries, and thus have been as it were without bond, they are those who cannot be amended so as to be able to come among the celestials, except as those that are scarcely self-conscious, that is, as bones in which there may yet be life, for a bone without vitality can serve to no use in the human body. - 1748, November 9.


CONCERNING THE LASCIVIOUS. There appeared a cerulean starry heaven, and underneath a dark cloudy something like a cragged rock from which arose a spirit who soared upwards from thence above the head, and thence spoke with me; but he spoke as one who had little of the rational, which was known from his speech, it being that of those who are in a natural and not in a spiritual state. There then came spirits above my head, who affected the brain as a soft and almost watery mass or volume, of whose quality I was ignorant. The [other] spirits said that they supposed that they spoke among themselves, but they did not understand their speech. They one and all spoke, but whatever the [other] spirits knew as to their speech, I could not thus know it, because I did not reflect upon it. This undulating mass adhered variously to the head, and more tenaciously than others, even so as to occupy the bones of the cranium, whence they wished [to pass] more interiorly, but they were not able, except by phantasies, so that they seemed to themselves [to have entered in], when yet [they merely clung] to the cranial bones.


They still adhered there during the whole night, some supposing, and they also, that they were so infixed that they could never be detached. I perceived that they were such that others operated through them, -the lascivious of both sexes, particularly females who were prompted by no other impulse than that of the delight of lewdness, not [however] as harlots prostituting themselves for gain as an end, but [on the contrary] those who flowed through them had lasciviousness only for an end. It was afterwards said that those spirits who thus inhered in the bones of the cranium, were the subjects of these lechers, and that they could only serve them as subjects, having little of life, and thus but little of understanding; and that they were antediluvians, who, being vastated, could serve as subjects, retaining no more of their own life than there is of life in the osseous parts of the human body. These were in the head; for those who were of the antediluvians are vastated and become as skeletons, as before remarked, or as lifeless appendages, and life is afterwards breathed into them, as they are scarcely self-conscious or in an degree sensible, and thus they serve as bones, into whom other spirits can flow.


But because these also were such and of such a genius [indoles], they were capable of receiving the persuasions of the antediluvians and [yet] of extinguishing their persuasions when poured forth upon them, or of moderating them so that they should not enter into the cerebrum and affect it with cold and thus injure it; for such [spirits] are recipient of direful persuasions, as they are the bones of the cranium, which are of the same substance with the tunics of the brain, yet growing into bones and defending [the other parts] from injuries; just as bruised scorpions, because of that nature, imbibe poison, and thus protect others from the danger of dying by the bites of other scorpions. As to what remains among them, it is to be said, that they are lascivious, and that they have lasciviousness for an end. - 1748, November 9.


It was said that their vastations recur quite often, so that they become skeletons, as is the case with others, to whom vastations occur by turns, that they may be initiated into their services, which become their functions in the other life, for everyone in the other life is initiated into his functions, because they are reserved for uses, which also vastations regard, or which they have for an end. - 1748, November 9.


CONCERNING LOVE. It was perceived that there are variations of form pertaining to thought, thus to the false and the true, but that love is without forms, as it produces variations of forms, though it seems to be produced by them. From love, whatever it may be as to its subjects, is produced delight, which is peculiar to love. - 1748, November 9.


CONCERNING PARABLES. I recollect of having perceived, on a former occasion, that the speech of angels and angelic spirits fell into parables - a fact, however, which I did not then observe; as also that they fell into representations of gardens, fig-trees, and other things [usually seen] in dreams; so likewise, into feasts, as I saw them eating together, and this on several occasions, which it is here proper to mention, in order to its being known that the ideas of angels and angelic spirits are thus represented, and fall thus into parables, representations of gardens, and feasts, concerning which the Lord so often speaks in his discourses, and to which he so significantly likens [the things of] heaven. - 1748, November 9.


CONCERNING MEMORY. It was shown by experience that when spirits act upon man from their own memory of particulars, man does not know otherwise than that he was previously cognizant of the very thing, as was evinced [by what happened] today; thence is the kind of recollection of which Cicero speaks, as if he had known [certain things] previously. Hence it appears what confusion would arise if spirits were to act upon man from their memory of particulars, and not from the memory of the man. On a former occasion also a spirit acted from his memory of particulars upon me when I was not aware but that I had known the thing, though I had in fact known nothing at all of it. Hence it is to be known what confusion [would ensue] if spirits should retain the memory of particulars. - 1748, November 9.


THAT IN MAN THERE IS NOTHING TRUE. Scientifics were represented to me by variations of form, and [a representation] of the false [was effected] by a twisting backwards of the same forms. When I was in this kind of representation, certain spirits would fain have it that an aptitude for truth was given with man, and that thus variations of form appropriate to man could be given by progression forward, whereby the true was represented. While the spirits were in the persuasion that the true could also be given as the proprium of man, others held that variations of form could thus be [derived] from the Lord, and evolved forwards, into which His life should flow, and thus the true be plainly set forth.


But the good, and also the angelic spirits, indignantly said, that I would be cast out of heaven, if I retained such an opinion. I was then instructed that the true can never exist with man as his proprium, for all truth is from love, while with man there is nothing but evil, the love of self and of the world; whence everything pertaining to man is false.


I was moreover instructed that in proportion as the variations of form are more [retorted] backwards, the more false is the evil signified thereby; and that to whatever point it is retroverted in the life of the body, there it remains after death, and he is not led forth to less evil, and consequently more forwards, where there is also evil, but that a reformation takes place to such a degree that [the man] can subsist in the least of his evil, and be there held by the Lord, and thus affected with truth and good. Wherefore it was previously represented to me that a spirit might be held suspended, as it were, from his evil, and thus be affected with truth and good, though as far as there is any relaxation, so far he precipitates himself into evil. It is therefore solely a detention from evil [that keeps him back], and this is effected by vastations, with a view to his being withheld from evil, and thus brought into a state in which truth and good from the Lord can flow in. This I have today, and often before, experienced.


Hence it may also in some measure appear how the case is with the rainbow and its innumerable varieties.


CONCERNING THE LASCIVIOUS. There are lascivious ones, who have lasciviousness solely for an end. Though having wives, they care nothing for the married state except in reference to the passion which is their end. For the same reason they desire not children in wedlock, because the situation of a wife, with such a prospect, forbids the gratification which, as an end, rules everything. They are therefore prone to sexual indulgences beyond those which are lawful with a wife, which they practice in base modes, and thus pervert those who would otherwise make good wives, and bear them away into lascivious habits. And when such lascivious ones cannot cohabit with a wife, they loathe her, and give themselves up to wantonness with harlots, thereby causing their wives to become harlots, utterly regardless of the conjugial debt and of the procreation of offspring. Being thus prone to licentiousness, they dread to be with other men's' wives, both because they have contracted a disgust for a wife, and loathe all wives, and because they persuade themselves that these are also of the same quality. As they, moreover, make no account of lawless lust in the marriage state, provided only they can indulge their vile passions, they care nothing if their wives become as depraved as themselves. These abide somewhat high above the head a little in the rear; they operate upon a part of the sexual organs, which they inflame and act with pain. With these I spoke.


Wives of this quality, who make licentiousness an end, were also seen, particularly one who appeared in a kind of kitchen apartment. I saw no fire-place, but I perceived an obscure-looking chimney; I saw also the back of a person with a hand extended posteriorly towards the left. She was clothed with a simple garment of dark gray color. Lascivious males, who bear deceits and malice in their minds, invite such to their companionship, and by their means devise their deceitful and malicious plots; and because they plotted deceits and malignities, they contrived how they might produce infants by phantasies, and place them in the bed of another who was delighted with infants, and thus might infuse the phantasy of his being a husband, and that he too might thus incite [some female] to illicit cohabitation; from which it appeared that they were not only malignities, but basely deceitful, as thus wishing by means of the innocent to execute their wily machinations.


The lascivious wife above mentioned, who was seen in the kitchen apartment, had a knife in her hand, and in her phantasy was an infant. Her phantasies were represented by different circumgyrations of her body, which were quick, like those of a wheel, she still holding knives in her hand. While in this phantasy of an infant lying below [her], the idea assumed a character of cruelty, as if prompting her to kill the infant, because such is their quality that having lasciviousness for an end, they are prone to murder infants, as they do not desire them, but would fain put them to death under the promptings of their lustful passions. Afterwards she twisted and inverted herself into various flexures, that she might allure to such consortings, being instigated thereto by vile and deceitful wretches of whom [we have spoken before]. Awaking after sleep there appeared round about me a multitude of these detestable women, who, being inspected by the angels, were represented as filthy conglomerate intestines in two balls, one of which was foully and disgustingly bloody, and the other of a yellow hue. These conglobated intestines were so filthy that I shuddered at the sight. It thence appeared that they were [female] magicians, and at the same time malignities, and [exceedingly] deceitful. In this manner their designs were veiled, for [it was only that] they were compelled to confess their iniquity [that they did so]. - 1748, November 9.


CONCERNING THE NOBLE OFFSPRING OF THE MOST ANCIENT CHURCH. Very high above the head are those, of a noble quality, who were the offspring of the Most Ancient Church, concerning whom it was perceived that the Lord through them rules the intensely deceitful [spirits] who are [also] at a great height above the head, -concerning whom presently. They spoke with me thence, their speech gliding, as it were, into pearls. There was seen [issuing] from them a beautiful aura, as if of pearls of various colors, and their habitations were shown, though but obscurely. [It was seen however that] they were magnificent buildings, extended to a great length, as is usual with edifices that correspond to each other from opposite sides [of a street]. They are of a purple color, variegated from a cerulean to an auroral hue, but as I saw them only obscurely, I can give no farther description, than merely to say, that they were most spacious and magnificent, and variegated in this manner with beautiful colors. It was said that those dwell there, who were the noble offspring of the Most Ancient Church, by which the Lord rules the most deceitful above the head.


CONCERNING THE MOST DECEITFUL ABOVE THE HEAD. Spirits above the head of most deceitful character plotted nefarious wiles, by inducing [the conceit] of a certain [quality] of innocence, pertaining to some one who was with me in the rear quarter, so that as often as I thought of him, something of innocence was suggested, but it was detected as being an abominable deceit. When it was detected, they sent those deceitful ones whom they lead, and who are in a middle distance, above my head, who were perceived as a kind of undulation pure and watery. I asked who they were: it was said they were those [just mentioned], and that those who were in the highest position and promised them that they would be ready at hand [to assist them] in case any harm should accrue from the detection of their deceit. I spoke with them [saying] that by such conduct they would be in danger of precipitating themselves into sore punishments, but the subtle among them imagined that they could not be punished, thinking that their doings were beyond the reach of punishments.


After a sleep, in which I dreamed concerning [certain] golden coins lost in a purse, which I sought for but was unable to find, though I found other golden articles but not the coins, a boy came who showed that he had similar coins of gold, of whom I could not suspect that he had taken them away. Being then awakened I heard how they are punished by severe punishments of contortion, which are of such a nature that those subjected to them are reduced from the state of subtlety in which they were to a state of the utmost grossness or dullness. And thus they are tormented with inflictions of grossness, being reduced thereto even in their speech, and also by the infusing of a reaction, so that they were compelled under a kind of torture to comply with it, even against their own deceits. They were then also contorted, or broken and lacerated by contortions as to all their members from the breast successively to the feet. It was said that they did not treat their heads in this manner, and the reason was perceived to be, that their heads were hard and bony, and if thus treated would be broken; wherefore they that deem themselves pre-eminently subtle, are reduced to such [mental] grossness that they cannot speak except in the grossest manner, and those who are almost without bodies, like spirits, yet become corporeal, and are able to feel pains and such things in the body, a fact of which they were fully convinced. The punishment proceeded from the highest degree of grossness to a less, and so on to one still more subtle, so that it was shown that they could be punished even in their own fallacious subtlety.


Those who were punished were those who were very high above the head and called themselves princes, popes, and the Holy Spirit, and who were extremely indignant when I said to them that they were deceits and malignities, and that whoever they might have been in the life of the body, [yet] since they were deceits and malignities, they are among their like, and even the vilest of them, and such as they themselves would reject as base wretches. Wherefore those that perpetrate such things are of such a quality [as above described], because in the other life there is no respect of persons, [but] the quality of everyone is regarded or determined from those things which are with [or in] him.


A certain spirit, after punishment, came to me, to whom it was given to speak at length [and to say], that such malignities and deceits are thus punished, and that they think themselves the Holy Spirit, and princes and popes; and that their being such, whether the one or the other, made the matter so much the worse. It was also given to speak in derogation of their dignity, the angels above the head [meantime] moderating the speech, which as it was in opposition to dignity, and they spoke grossly at the left ear, as their ideas were gross, and then not subtle, occasioned them chastisement and thence dissuasion from persisting in such things, thus with a view to [their] amendment; for I did not perceive with myself a disposition to punish or chastise, but to speak with them; yet I had, as it were, an external perception 3929-1 that even this was grievous to them.


Their operation was perceived as falling upon the ossa pubis to the left, upon which they inflicted pain by their actings.


Their habitations were shown, which were vaulted galleries without bed, and constructed of a common gray stone, so called, similar to those rocks which usually compose the ruins of temples. In such [buildings] they confessed that they dwelt.


It was perceived that when their malevolence rises to its height, they then plunge themselves into punishments, for it is permitted to reach this point, and then the equilibrium perishes, and they thus precipitate themselves. They are [afterwards] restored to the equilibrium, and if they do not suffer themselves to be thus restored by punishments, they are cast into hell that they may there be vastated. - 1748, November 9.


The deceitful and the most deceitful are in general such, that they take scarcely anything else from the ideas of man than what is innocent and celestial, and by means of that lay their plots against man, by turning it in various modes to his destruction, and by enticing [him] to adulteries and [other] enormities, so that to ensnare by means of innocent and celestial things is the very acme of deceit. There are those in the other life, who make a pretence of holy, celestial, and innocent things, with a view to obtain dominion over all on earth and in heaven, caring nothing for right or wrong provided they can but attain dominion. - 1748, November 9.


I spoke with these [saying], that they had contracted their nature from this, that they had always in their writings made a pretence of holy, celestial, and innocent things, concerning which they [really] thought nothing, as is the custom of popes and papists at this day; [this they do] in the same manner, as kings and their chief ministers openly write and publish falsehoods, which all know to be falsehoods, and are therefore of an entirely contrary belief, yet these lofty kings and caesars do not scruple to write such things, provided it be done elegantly and certain confirmations [appear]. Such is the Christian orb at this day, but not so the Gentiles. - 1748, November 9.


It was observed that when I privily took away the things which they had deceitfully employed for my destruction, and with a view to inspire adulteries, namely the numbers by which I had designated [various] extracts, they infused innocence upon a certain one, -as much upon any other subject as upon myself and then complained that thus they would not have anything to think of. I supposed that they required something of this kind as a foot to stand upon, as did certain others of whom I have formerly spoken. Wherefore when I determined [my] intuition upon them, and even upon the feet, they [the feet] were not drawn in, but only their genital members, by which was signified that they were adulterers of the highest grade. - 1748, November 9.


It was detected that not only was this continually in their phantasies, but, what is worse, that they said that they took counsel to destroy by such means, and that too even in their ruin-like habitations. - 1748, November 9.


CONCERNING CONSCIENCE. Those who neither have nor care for any bond of conscience do not even know what conscience is; wherefore they endeavor to induce a bond of conscience in regard to everything, even matters of indifference, not knowing how the case really is as to the bonds of conscience, which are the same as debts, as the conjugial debt, [for instance], which is such a bond. It was insinuated [accordingly], that the [true] bonds of conscience or debts, are the things of goodness and truth, and exist according to loves, their degrees, consanguinities, and affinities, all which regard the Lord Who is the only Bond, and [who alone] gives to perceive. - 1748, November 9.


It appears that there are many spurious consciences, as all heresies, phantasies, and falsities, in which conscience is placed, or concerning which the deceitful induce a conscience, which they also call bonds and debts. - 1748, November 9.


WHAT IT IS TO BE NOTHING. It was perceived that to be nothing signifies to be nothing but evil, for evil is in itself death; wherefore compared to life it is nothing. That the good and the true is everything, is plain, wherefore the evil and the false is nothing. Hence humiliation goes, as it were, to the point of self-annihilation, [coupled] with an internal acknowledgment of the total want of the good and the true in one's self, and that all goodness and truth possessed is of the Lord. It signifies also that in respect to the Grand Man [everyone] is merely a most diminutive particle, - nothing, as it were - for his all and singular things flow in through the Grand Man, so that he is but as a particle of air in comparison with the whole atmosphere, or as a particle of water in respect to the ocean. Since then he is, in comparison to the Grand Man, almost nothing, he is in the truth of faith when be accounts himself as nothing in respect to the [grand] common or general [commune], whatever it be, which is good and true.


It signifies also that one has nothing of life from himself, but that [his nature] is truly dead, because organic, and that all life is of the Lord, wherefore, as far as he lives, he is nothing. It thence follows that he can do nothing from himself, or that he has no power of himself, which to acknowledge is to acknowledge that he is nothing. Consequently being nothing but evil he can have nothing of truth and good but from the Lord, and since he has nothing of truth and good from himself, and the good and the true is because it is eternal, it follows, that he is nothing. - 1748, November 11.


THAT CERTAIN REPRESENTATIONS AND MANY THINGS [BESIDES] ARE VARIATIONS OF SOCIETIES. Progressions from one place to another, which do not exist from phantasy, signify changes of societies, for all societies have their own situation, wherefore every change of situation proceeds from a change of society. It was observed that this is true, both in general and in particular; wherefore the like holds of changes of places, so that there is not the least step which does not exist from a change of society.


And because changes of place arise from changes of societies and phantasies, and ideas cause them to be changed as to locality, it follows that every single idea is also a chance of societies, so that it flows in through societies [thus] changed.


Wherefore the changes of societies are indefinite, and thus also every single idea flows from indefinite societies, according to an order established by the Lord, and known to the Lord alone. - 1748, November 11.


CONCERNING THOSE WHO ARE BONY. It was shown how other spirits speak through those that represent the bones, [viz.] that in accordance with the quality of bones, they know very little what they say, but yet they speak; wherefore through them mainly ideas may be terminated in material things, for they, as it were, present no impediment, because there is nothing of resistance. But yet such [spirits], because they lose nothing of their former life, after they are reduced by vastation into such a bony state may be restored: accordingly they are vastated by turns until they are able to subserve such uses. - 1748, November 11.


CONCERNING THE NOTION OF LOVE AND OF HEAVEN. As often as love and heaven were named and thought of, an extremely gross idea or notion thereof occurred, which ideas and notions can scarcely be described, though very perceptible in the world of spirits. This grossness arose in the idea, as often as love and heaven were thought of and continued for some time; but when the persuasive life of spirits was operative, then the idea or notion was subtle, or like light, that of love however as of a kind of lump, and [that of] heaven as a dense commune.


Concerning which and the causes when I spoke with spirits [I learned that] the causes were three of love's existing in such a gross and lumpish form; namely, [first] that conjugial love is nauseated by them, which being represented excited loathing, since the idea of adulterers concerning marriage or conjugial love is such, that they detest wives and women, [whence] it follows that when love is thought of such a result takes place. As mutual love also is wholly wanting, and hatred [on the other hand] reigns with all evil spirits, it follows that hatred is a [second] cause of the gross idea concerning love as lump-like. The third is, that everyone persuades himself that life is his own; since [he regards] his thought, the most subtle of all things, [as his own], thus also his life; whence it flows that as often as that is thought of there occurs, as it were, a subtle light, and the life of the angels that are seen, and [their] love, which is [really] their life, are as gross ideas with them, when yet the fact is quite the contrary, love being the most pure, most holy, and most distinct life of all, and contrary loves being not of life, but a something most dense, most gross, and confused, so as to be almost nothing.


CONCERNING ARISTOTLE. There was perceived a sonorous something moving my skin, thus a moving sound, proceeding from the posterior region through the left side even to the left ear, which something would fain struggle forth and labored so to do. I perceived that they were spirits, but of what quality they were I could not know; but when they ascended with an effort to the ear, they spoke with me saying that they were logicians and metaphysicians and such as had immersed their thoughts in such things, and lamenting that they now lived a miserable obscure life, without perception. Their speech was dull, slow, and rough-sounding.


There were moreover two who discoursed with me above the head, and it was said and perceived that it was Aristotle and another, whom it was not given to know. He spoke with sufficient clearness, as a spirit who had been some time in the spiritual world. I spoke now with him, and now with those who were at the left ear and concerning such subjects [as are mentioned above]. It thence first appeared that Aristotle was not of such a quality as his followers, who reasoned philosophically from his books, but that he was [altogether] of a different genius.


Aristotle was then remitted into the state which he had when he first came into the world of spirits, but, what I wondered at, he applied himself to the right ear, and not to the left, and there spoke hoarsely [indeed], but soundly. I clearly perceived that he was altogether different from his followers, viz. in that he had developed from his own thought the things he had written, so that his philosophy had originated from [a ground of] thought which he clearly set forth, in such a way that his terms were only words by which he represented his scrutinized thoughts, and thus proceeded from thoughts to terms, which were thence called scholastic and by which his philosophy [is distinguished]. I then perceived also that he was prompted by a delight of affection which was predominant, and excited him to thought, so that it was his [genius] that he thought from affection, and thence under the impulse of delight and thus he described his [very] thoughts; wherefore he [applied himself] to the right ear. But his followers [proceeded] not from thought to terms, but from terms scientifically made, thus from mere [learned] dust [as it were] to thought, which is an inverted way, and thus from darkness and deadness to the light of thought, in which case they do not find light but darkness, nor [do they find] thought but a certain something lumpish and confused. Hence [they would proceed] to delight which cannot be given unless from a certain affection, which is not [with them] an affection and thence a delight of thinking, but an external cupidity, as of personal honor, and, more grossly still, [it is engaged in] from a regard to superior dignities, [to be attained] by different methods; and also with a view to gain; all which weigh not at all with those who are excited to think from affection and thence delight, and [accordingly] they form and put forth such [fruits of their study]. This was the reason why Aristotle was at the right, [while] the rest were at the left.


I spoke with Aristotle when above the head, [observing] that a child could, in the space of half an hour, speak so philosophically, analytically, and logically, that Aristotle [himself] would be unable, in many volumes, to describe all the recondite philosophy, analysis, and logic [embodied in it], and yet the child knows nothing of it. In like manner the dancer may ply his arts, moving at the same time each of his limbs artificially, yet as if naturally, and applying [the necessary] respirations to each [movement], which, if they should all be explored to their source, and their mode of operation be discovered, by investigating the action of the concurrent fibers flowing from the two brains, of the motive fibers, of the muscles, of the diaphragm, of the pulmonary respiration, and of the various application of these and the other viscera, whole volumes would be required for the description, yet he knows how to dance without knowing anything of these matters. So it is with the philosophy of these things, which is of no use, except for the sake of delight. Aristotle greatly approved of this, and said that it was so, and said that it was [otherwise] as useless and futile as the dust of the earth, which was to be wholly cast away, because such [a mode of philosophizing] merely throws a heap of rubbish before the eyes, and blinds them, in case that men proceed in such an inverted order, and would fain think from an artificial method, when [yet] thought extends itself to such artificials, which seem [to proceed] from thought, instead of thoughts [proceeding] from them. These are the sentiments of Aristotle; he added, if anyone wishes to be infatuated, let him proceed in this manner.


3901-1 For an explanation of what is here meant by the "ninth use" the reader referred to the AC 10,709.

3929-1 The original phrase here is "extra me percepi," but the Editor intimates in a note that the manuscript leaves it doubtful whether the author wrote "extra" or "intra." I have on the whole concluded to abide by the reading of the text. -Tr.

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