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Harold Gardiner-SWEDENBORG's-SEARCH-FOR-THE-SOUL-The-Swedenborg-Society-London-1936

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Harold Gardiner-SWEDENBORG's-SEARCH-FOR-THE-SOUL-The-Swedenborg-Society-London-1936

  1. 1. SWEDENBORG TRANSACTIONS·SOCIETY (Inc.) NumberTwoSwedenborgs Searchfor theSoulAddress given byHAROLD GARDINER, M.S., F.R.C.S.,at Swedenborg Birthday Celebradon,London, January 29th, 1936
  2. 2. SWEDENBORGS SEARCHfor theSOULAddress given byHAROLD GARDINER, M.S., F.R.CS.,at Swedenborg Birthday Celebration,London, January 29th, 1936SWEDENBORG SOCIETY (INcoRPORATED)SWEDENBORG HOUSEHART STREET, LONDON, W.C. 1193 6
  3. 3. Swedenborgs Searchfor theSoul.WE are here this evening to commemorate thebirth of Emanuel Swedenborg, one of thegreat geniuses of aU ages. The record ofhis genius is contained not only in his writings, but inthe devotion to Truth and Duty which he upheldthrough a long and blameless life. The old definitionof genius as the infinite capacity for taking pains isparticularly applicable to him, and nowhere is it moreapparent than in the works which form the subject ofmy paper this evening. These were written before russpiritual illumination and with the avowed intent todiscover the soul, its habitation and its relation to thehuman body. With this end in view he devotedhimself to an exhaustive study of anatomy, physiologyand psychology, and the works on The Animal King-dom, The Economy of the Animal Kingdom, Organs ofGeneration, The Brain, and Rational Psychologywerethe result.5
  4. 4. To appreciate the significance of these it is neces­sary to bear in mind their relation to the works thatpreceded and followed them.The early part of Swedenborgs life was devotedlargely to purely scientific pursuits, and during thisperiod he wrote extensively on a very wide range ofscientific subjects. 1 need not enumerate them, butthey included most, if not aB, of the subjects of scienceknown in his clay. These cuiminated in the Principia,which was an attempt to explore the ultimate Realityand mode of origin of the universe. 1 must saysomething about this work, as it has a very importantbearing on the subject of my paper.In the Principia, Swedenborg, by a process ofinteBectual induction, develops a system of cosmologywhich traces the origin of matter back to a primaImost pure force which is the first determinant of theInfinite, and from this he evoives a series of stages thelast of which is the formation of solid matter. Each ofthese stages is quite definite, is formed by a modi­fication of the preceding one, and corresponds to andis maintained by it. As these stages are successivelyformed they become relativeIy less and less active until6
  5. 5. final1y the last stage, beyond which no further activitycan be withdrawn, is reached and dead matter iscreated. So that we have a number of stages of decreas­ing powers of activity between the primaI force-thefirst determinant of the Infinite-and the dead materialuniverse. These stages are the various auras of theuniverse. They form the medium for the transmissionof light-higher auras for the transmission ofgravitation and magnetism and even higher ones whoseactivities are not clearly understood, but about which1 will make further reference at a later stage.It was, then, after this monumental work that heembarked on his search for the soul. The writingswhich 1 have enumerated and which have given us theresult of his investigations are general1y described aspart of his scientific works, but 1 would suggest thatthey he not so regarded, but rather as belonging essen­tial1y to the philosophical. 1 want to stress this pointvery strongly because the soul lies far above andinterior to the truths of natural science, and Sweden­borg realized this even before his period of spiritualinspiration. That being so, his mind had to rise abovethe purely scientific plane in order to have any hope of7
  6. 6. success in the quest. And so it must be with theminds of those who read these books. For this reasonyou will find that not only do they culminate in aprofound philosophical thesis on the nature of thesoul and its relation to the body, but the atmosphereof a high philosophical inspiration pervades the wholeof their writing. 1 feel therefore constrained to suggestthat these works be not regarded as scientific in theordinary sense of the word. They are essentiallyphilosophical. It is true that they are based on themost extensive scientific knowledge available at thetime they were written, but there is a superaddedphilosophical argument which is their very essence.This argument is one paraIlel with that contained inhis Principia. The one is a philosophical systemapplicable to the dead material universe, and the otherits correlated system applicable to the living universein man, his soul, and his body.It is quite clear that Swedenborgs mind at thistime was working entirely with this philosophical endin view, and aIl the scientific facts he investigated heregarded only as a means to confirm that end.He was already seeing, perhaps dimly compared8
  7. 7. with its later development, that the ultimate explana­tion of the infinite forms of nature, both living anddead, is to be found in the correspondence betweenthese forms and the use they serve. This philosophicalconception was after his illumination shown to bebased on the Universal Doctrine of Uses, but even atthe earlier period his mind had formed this conceptionand it shows itself throughout these philosophical works.It was for this reason that he set himself to learnaIl that the science of anatomy had to teach, hopingthat by studying the minute forms and relations of theparts of the body he would be able to penetrate intothe uses that underlay them, and so by degrees to thesoul, which he regarded as the very life and originatorof those uses. These books are, however, full ofwarnings that mere dissection, however assiduous anddetailed, cannot reveal the underlying truth and thatit is necessary, after learning aIl that the scalpel canteach, to employ the more deeply penetrating methodsof intellectual reasoning and philosophical reflection.1t was only when he had thus exerted all his powersthat he wrote the works we are considering. Theyare therefore built in a mould fashioned out of scientific9
  8. 8. truths in a form determined by his philosophical con­ceptions. So we have a method firstly of deductionfrom the facts of science, followed by an analysis andinterpretation by philosophical induction.We find as a result of this that ifthe ordinary scientificinterpretation of the observed facts were not consistentwith his philosophical conceptions he provided a newinterpretation. These are, in many cases, very revolu­tionary and stated with a boldness that only a geniusconfident of his intellectual acumen could compass.He did not attempt to confirm these interpretationsby experiment. They appeared dear to him in thefacts viewed from the standpoint of his philosophy andthough since his time a great deal of experimentalwork has proved the truth of a large number of theseideas, there is a still larger number which to-day arenot proved and sorne which remain in direct contra­diction to accepted scientific thought. So much, how­ever, has been proved to be correct that he would bea bold man who would maintain that in years to comethe remainder will not also be shown to be true.This, then, is the reason why these works shouldnot be regarded as scientific but rather as philosophicalro
  9. 9. -the results he obtained were subject to no scientificproof, but were the ofispring of profound philosophiethought, and to him the clear light of philosophy wasmore illuminating than the conflicting arguments ofScience. If these works are so regarded there is aclear progress of mental development shown in aIl hiswritings, from the early and purely scientific, throughthe philosophical or rational phase introduced by thePrincipia, to the spiritual which followed the openingof his spiritual mind-a progress corresponding exactlywith that expounded by him in his later inspiredwritings on spiritual development and regeneration.Now let us examine more closely the way in whichSwedenborg set out to search for the soul, what hefound on bis journey, and the goal he reached. Thephilosophy of the nature of the soul and its relationto the body involves a study of the highest work ofthe Creator, and a lifetime spent on it would not besufficient to compass it; aIl 1 can hope to do isto put before you sorne of the fundamental principlesunderlying it.Swedenborg, then, starts with the premise that thesoul is the purest essence of man, made of so pure aII
  10. 10. substance as to be capable of receiving life direct fromthe Creator, analogous in the living creation to thatprimaI force mentioned in the Principia as being thefirst determinant of the Infinite. Now just as Sweden­borg conceived of matter being formed in descendingstages as described in the Principia, and as each ofthese stages is, as it were, a covering for the precedingone and is activated by it, so did Swedenborg regardthe soul as lying above or interior to the material bodyand as using the body as a covering and an instrument.The soul lies above the conscious mind andtherefore cannot be examined directly, as the mindcannot rise above itself. It is, of course~ for this reasonthat the human mind cannot form any complete con­ception of the Infinite. Swedenborg therefore sets outto explore the soul by a process of removing itscoverings-the outermost being the material body. Hethen discovers that aH parts of the body are fashionedespeciaHy for the use they have to perform-the eyefor the reception of light, the ear for that of sound, thearteries and blood aH adaptedin the most minutedetail for their respective uses.He then argues that, as it is inconceivable that suchIZ
  11. 11. a perfect thing, perfect in its parts and in their har­mony with themselves, could be produced by merechance, it is the use or end itself that is the cause bywhich each organ is formed, so that it shaH be mostperfectly adapted not only in its general form but inits most minute structure to the use it has to perform.The truth of this philosophy of· use he tests by aminute exploration of the whole body and,when thisis completed, of the whole mind of man. As you willunderstand, this is a task requiring aH the knowledgeand wisdom of which the human mind is capable, andit would be the height of presumption to daim tograsp such a subject in its entirety, for although manis a finite human being and his body is material insubstance, the study of its structure and its relation toman himself, i.e., his mind and soul, is unending. AsSwedenborg says, the human body has relations withthe whole universe. 1t contains within it substancesand forms and forces which are related to the mineraI,vegetable and animal kingdoms, to the living and thenon-living, to aH the auras of the universe. In factit is the macrocosm in microcosm. How then can theattempt be made to understand such a subject? It13
  12. 12. cannot be done by ordinary chemical and physicalinvestigations. They can carry us no further than theboundaries of the physical world. Such investigationshave been going on for centuries and the result is notto simplify the understanding of the body, far less ofthe mind, but rather to reveal more and more theirinfinitely complex structure and activities. The micro­scope instead .of simplifying the problem merely hadthe effect of extending the field of research a hundred­fold. Modern physical and chemical science has donethe same. This leads in passing to the suggestivethought that though each of us is a unit and, regardedas such, is as far removed from the Infinite as possible,this unit when examined is found to expand, to consistin the first place of a multitude of organs, these of astill larger multitude of cells and each of these to beinfluenced by its surrounding atmospheres of theworld; and the whole body contains within it powersof reaction so subtle that even a passing tremor offear in the mind sets up immediate changes in thematerial body; every emotion and indeed thought ofthe mind has its definite effect. Is there any limit tothese of which the mind is capable? and does not this14
  13. 13. unit-each individual human being-thus approachto contact with the Infinite, expanding to apparentlyunlimited actions and reactions as it is more interiorlyexamined, in fact possessing the potentiality of per-fecting itself to eternity by expanding its consciousnessinto doser and doser rapport with the Infinite? Theonly hope of arriving at even an approximate under-standing of such a subject is to adopt the method thatSwedenborg did, namely, that of determining thegeneral principles governing it. He propounded threephilosophical principles for this end, namely, theprinciples of Degrees, Influx and Correspondences.It is by these that he correlates the working of themind with that of the body.The conceptions prevalent in his day, and whichhave persisted to a large extent since, involved theattribution of thoughts and desires as inherent pro-perties of the material partides of which the body iscomposed. Swedenborg attributed none of this powerto matter but regarded the material parts of the bodyas completely dead and becoming alive only when theywere subject to the influx of life. Life and matter areon distinct planes and the one cannot be converted15
  14. 14. into the other though they both react on each other.So with the soul which is the inmost recipient of lifein man. He regarded it as being of the most primaIelementary and pure substance for the direct receptionof life from the Creator, but in order that it couldbecome fixed and stabilized it had to clothe itself anddescend into its material covering. It is, he holds, ofsuch a pure form that direct contact with dead matter .was impossible, and it had to interpose between itselfand matter coverings of a more refined nature whichwould modify not only the effect of the soul on itsfinal material covering, but also modify the influenceof matter upon it. These intermediate coverings arethe different planes of the mind.And so, just as the first substance of the materialuniverse, as explained in his Principia, passes throughstages of modification until solid matter is reached, sodoes the primaI living substance of the soul passthrough a descending series of mental planes until itreaches the material plane which it then vivifies.Swedenborg describes three steps by which thisdescent is made. First of all that from the soul tothe highest conscious part of the mind, which he16
  15. 15. caUs the intelleetory or purely rational part of themind; then from this to the animus or lower partmore nearly akin to the animal mind, and thence topurely physical sensations.AU these are distinct degrees, i.e., the soul cannotbecome the rational mind nor can this become thelower more animal mind or animus-nor can thisbecome bodily sensation, but each reacts on the otherand depends on the others for its existence.Thus there are the pure1y physical sensations bywhich the body transmits to the lowest part of themind the stimuli it receives from the outer world. Thislower mind or animus has no power of discriminationor judgment, and mere1y converts these sensations intomental images. This spate of sensations by which it isflooded is therefore controlled by the higher rationalmind and reduced by it to order, sorne sensationsbeing rejected and others used to assist in the formationof intellectual ideas and affections, the whole beingsubject to and animated by the sou!. There is there­fore, a constant descent of spiritual and living forcefrom the soul through the mind to the body and aconstant reverse process of ascent from the impulses17
  16. 16. of the material world through the mind to the soul.In order that this ebb and flow can be carried out ina complete and orderly manner it is necessary thatthe communications between the different degreesshould be kept free and untrammeHed and, in fact,that aH parts of each degree must correspond in everydetail with those of the others. Now the form ofany part is affected by its use-and Swedenborg main­tained that if any part were used in a base or pervertedway its inmost form would be gradually distorted sothat it might ultimately become well nigh impossiblefor it to revert to its orderly use. That the form of theeye is adapted to its visual use needs no emphasis­nor indeed does the adaptation of the gross form of anypart of the body to its use-but Swedenborg made thebold assumption that the minute structure of everypart of the body, and not only its gross form, alsocorresponds exactly with its own particular use andconfirmed this as far as was possible by the descrip­tions of the minute structure of the body which wereknown in his day. But he did not stop there. Hisconception carried him still further into realms whichcannot be penetrated by any microscope, being, as18
  17. 17. they are, above the kingdom surveyed by the eye.He predicates of the cell a constant motion of itsparts-presumably molecular and atomic-and evenbeyond this a subatomic motion or flux. This con-ception again corresponds very closely with those inthe Principia-eonceptions which are strongly sup-ported by modern investigations in the realm ofmathematics.It is probable that Swedenborg had tbis generalconception of the relationship of the soul to the mindand the body when he started his investigations. Inany event, the profound study of the minute structureof the body contained in these works is inspired bythe determination to raise it above the plane of deadmaterialism and fill it with a truly living philosophy.1t was in fact an effort to interpret the nature of thehuman mind and body in terms of ultimate Reality.1 can find no record of any actual dissection orexperimental work done by himself. It is, however,clear that he did sorne experimental work but gaveit up on account of the danger of his results biassinghis mind, for he says in his prologue to The Economyof the Animal Kingdom:19
  18. 18. 1 have found when intently occupied inexploring the secrets of the human body that assoon as 1 discovered anything that had not beenobserved before, 1 began (seduced probably byself..;,love) to grow blind to the most acute lucu­brations and researches of others, and to originatea whole series of inductive arguments from myparticular discovery alone; and consequentIy tobe incapacitated to view and comprehend, asaccurately as the subject required, the idea ofuniversals in individuals and of individuaIs inuniversals. 1 therefore laid aside my instrumentsand, restraining my desire for making observations,determined rather to re1y on the researches ofothers than to trust to my own.He therefore studied aIl the works on the subjectavailable at his time and then used his powers ofinduction to interpret them. That his assiduity inacquiring this knowledge of facts was of the veryhighest order is shown by the number of referenceshe makes to writers old and contemporary. Thebibliography contains the names of over one hundred20
  19. 19. writers, some philosophical, some religious, and some(at least half) anatomical.1 should mention here a very great difficulty thataccompanies the effort to read and understand fullythese works of Swedenborg, namely, the nomencla­ture. It is, of course, that of the eighteenth centuryand is very difficult to translate into modern scientificterms so that it is almost impossible for a reader withlittle anatomical knowledge to appreciate the signi­ficance of the arguments; and the advantage of amodern knowledge of anatomy is not so great as itmight be owing to this difficulty with the nomen­clature. Many of Swedenborgs statements for thisreason appear at first to be contradicted by provedmodern experiment, but a number of these discrep­ancies disappear after closer study. This search forthe soul in the realm of the body appears strange tous to-day, but in Swedenborgs time and before itphilosophers had devoted their greatest efforts todiscover this mystery, and there were very few organsof the body to which the old philosophers had notat one time or another attributed the residence of thesou!. Swedenborg was not satisfied with any of these21
  20. 20. and reviewed in series aIl the systems of the body,deducing the functions of each in turn. This Ied himto the conclusion that in the first place aIl parts of thebody are interdependent and serve, each in its ownway, uses that are of benefit to aIl the others. He cameto the conclusion that no part of the body was useless.Sorne of these uses were relatively lowly and others ofthe highest and most vital importance. In the lattercategory he placed the circulatory, nervous, andrespiratory systems.He regarded the blood as what he calls the corporealsoul, from which aU the body immediately derives itslife and nourishment. This conception, familiar to us,was not new in his day: but he went further anddeduced that not only did the quality of the bloodaffect all parts of the body but that it was in its turnaffected by them. He recognized that organs such asthe spleen and other glands without obvious secretionsprofoundIy affected the composition of the blood andthis is, as far as we know, the first suggestion of themodern science of Endocrinology i.e., of internaIsecretions. He also deduced selective action of thecelIs of an the organs of the body so that they extracted22
  21. 21. from the blood only those special contents necessaryto them individually-e.g., to the mucous membranesof the intestines, to the kidneys and in fact to aIltissues he ascribed this power. In spite of the phaseof purely mechanistic hypotheses of the last centurymodern physiology has developed a theory of cellularand chemical attraction of which Swedenborgs de­ductions are c1early the germ. 1 could enumeratea large number of similar results confirmed bymodern experiment, e.g., that the pituitary glandhas a function of the very highest importance, thatthe brain has a respiratory motion and that aIl thetissues of the body are affected by the movementsof the lungs.These, and a great many others, are aIl recognizednow and they are an astonishing proof of the greatnessof Swedenborgs powers of reason and induction. 1want to make it quite c1ear, however, that in many ofthese cases Swedenborg did not expIain in detail whatthe functions of these parts of the body were. Hesaw that they had a function and described it in generalterms but he could go no further owing to the back­wardness of scientific experiment in his day. It is23
  22. 22. therefore only right to point out that we are notjustified in claiming for him that he discovered, forexample, the functions of the spleen or of the pituitarygland; we are, however, justified in claiming that heperceived that they had functions of a very higharder and that they performed them by alterations inthe composition of the blood. In view of the state ofknowledge at his time so much is proof, if any wereneeded, of the power of his intellect. Such then aresorne of the results he obtained on his way through themaze in search of the soul. The nearest he got ta theseat of the soul was the cortex of the brain where hediscovered that the intellectual and highest faculties ofthe mind resided. It would take tao long to describehis journey to this point, but he came to the finalconclusion that the soul could not be regarded asresiding in any particular part of the body but per­meated the whole. He describes the way it does this,by presupposing a perfectly pure spirituous fluid,primarilyassociated with the cortex of the brain butpermeating aH the tissues of the body. This fluid isnot to be regarded as a material liquid but rather as aforce. He says of it :24
  23. 23. A certain most pure fluid glances through thesubtlest fibres, remote even from the acutestsense; it reigns universally in the whole and inevery part of its own limited universe or bodyand continues, irrigates, nourishes, actuates,modifies, forms and renovates everything therein.This fluid is in the third degree above the blood,which it enters as the first, supreme and mostperfect substance and force of its body, and asthe sole and proper animal force and as thedetermining principle of an things. Whereforeif the soul of the body is to be the subject ofinquiry we must first examine this fluid. But asthe fluid lies so deeply in nature no thought canenter it .except by the doctrine of series anddegrees joined to experience.Such a fluid cannot of course be discovered byany chemical or other purely scientific means.Swedenborg, however, deduces that it arises fromthe simplest substance of the created universe, which,being .the simplest and purest, is most activelyreceptive of life. This spirituous fluid is the primaI25
  24. 24. substance 1 mentioned earlier in my paper. 1t is deadin itself but is receptive of life and by modificationsenters into the formation of aU the degrees of themind and the substances of the body by a process ofcondensation or hardening, as it were, becoming lessand less actively alive as it descends through thesedegrees until it has fashioned the material body.It is the medium by which life is concentrated anddetermined in the human form in the womb where itutilizes the material substances provided by the motherand performs the miracle of a baby. This fluid orforce fiUed with life from the Creator contains withinit aU the powers necessary for this crowning marvelof creation, and so it is that within each baby born liesthe soul, mind and body with aIl the potentialities ofdevelopment into the highest form which the mindcan concelve.This conception of the formation of a human beingby descent from the hig1?-est to the lowest by degreesin correspondence with each other is exactly paraUel,as 1 stated before, with that of the formation of deadmatter through the auras of the world as described inthe Principia and the stages in each correspond to each26
  25. 25. other. This is a conception that is nowhere met withto my knowledge other than in Swedenborgs philo­sophy. That the theories of the Principia have provedto be entirely consistent with modernscientific thoughtencourages us to expect that there is a similar truthunderlying his theory of the soul and its relation tothe body, especially when, finding as we do the beautyof its conception and analogies, we can hardly fail tobe impressed by its appeal to the highest ideas ofwhich our minds are capable; and 1 would add thatthe depth of wisdom to which the mind can reach inthese works is limited only by the power of the mindthat seeks to plumb them. Swedenborg himself saysjust before he embarks on his final discussion on thesoul :It now remains for us to exalt the mind orthe rational hearing and sight. But the onlyway to accomplish this is by the philosophy wehave pointed out. This philosophy, however,must be deduced from a perpetuaI intuition ofcauses in causes and effects; a work truly re­quiring an immense exercise of the rationalfaculty and a profound abstraction from those27
  26. 26. things that affect the lower faculties. Indeed 1do not recommend when it is commenced thatanything should be finally committed to it untilit is in fact matured.But though our rational faculties be not raised tothis height of perfection we can understand theessentials of his philosophy.The soul which is inscrutable to the natural mindform~ the body, first c10thing itself in the spirituousfluid derived from the purest forces of the createduniverse. From this are derived in succession thehighest rational faculty, or " intellectory," as Sweden­borg calls it; next the lower mind or animus c10selyconnected with the physical desires and sensations ofthe body, and finally the body itself. Each of thesestages corresponds to the different auras of the universeas described in the Principia and to them they react.Direct influx takes place from the higher degree to .the lower, giving it its form and maintaining its lifeso that the body depends for its form and life ultimatelyon the soul passing down through the degrees of themind, though Swedenborg is at pains to make it c1ear28
  27. 27. that, in his own words, " the soul does not live fromitself but from Him who is self-living, that is from theGod of the universe without whom nothing whateverin nature could live, much less be wise." But as thereis a direct influx of life from the soul through themind into the body, so is there a reverse reaction fromthe material universe through the brain to the loweranimus or mind by means of sensations of an kinds.The animus itself has no power of selection or judgmentof these, this being the function of the higher rationalmind which has to discriminate between them and selectthose it needs for its own ends. Those that are notharmonious with it are rejected. The others it adaptsinto ideas and thoughts which in turn reach the soul.In order, therefore, that life from the soul shananimate an parts of the mind and body in its fullnessand that these shan reach as near perfection as maybe, the flow must be unimpeded, i.e., perfect harmonymust exist between the parts of the body and theparts of the mind, and between these and the soul, andso with the Creator. Now according to SwedenborgsDoctrine of Forms, the form of the channel by whichthis influx is maintained is dependent entirely on two29
  28. 28. things, namely, the type of influence that is allowedta enter and remain in the body and mind from outside,and the use ta which such influence is put.In childhood the soul is living but has not yetentered fully into the mind and body; these lowerparts are gradually opened ta allow the soul ta enterin its fullness. The animus of the child has first tabe opened from without by education, sa that it maylearn ta receive and distinguish physical sensations,and later the rational faculty has ta be opened, butthis, as is weIl known, can only be done after theanimus is fully active. It is then that the soul is ableta reach down from above and establish completeharmony and union with the body. In arder thatthis, which is another way of describing regeneration,can take place it is c1early necessary that the influxfrom below be kept in correspondence with that fromabove. It is the part of the rational mind sa ta controland mould the animus that those impulses only areallowed ta remain in it which are in accord with eternalverities. It is only these which the soul can use. Thatthis has the highest practical bearing on education andconduct in all stages of life is c1ear.30
  29. 29. You will remember that the soul, rational mindand animus are c10thed in substances derived from thefirst determinant of the Creator in the universe andthat those of the animus are more c1ose1y re1ated tomatter than those of the soul or rational mind. Accord­ing to Swedenborgs Doctrine ofForms these substancesare moulded according to the nature of the impulsesallowed to affect them and, as time goes on, this mould­ing becomes more and more rigid. This accounts forthe recognized plasticity of the childs mind and thedeve10pment of good and bad habits as life goes on ;it aIso accounts for the increasing difficulty, as ageadvances, of changing habits and with this are inc1udedhabits or attitudes of mind.It is only by raising the plane of consciousness tothe leve1 of the rational mind and allowing this to beinfluenced by and to act from impulses from the souland not from below, that complete harmony betweensoul, mind and body can result. Swedenborg says :The mind is placed in the veriest centre andconcourse between the superior acting and theinferior reacting forces; the soul acting upon itfrom above and the spirit of life acting upon the31
  30. 30. soul; and the animus upon it from below andthe body upon the animus; showing that themind holds the fulcrum of the balance and weighsthings on both sides with even scales. Below arethe cupidities of the animus, the blandishmentsof the senses, the pleasures of the body and theinfinitely various amusements of human societies ;forming so many allurements and impediments toprevent the mind from employing itself rightly inthe intuition of ends and the election of the greatergood, and from acting free1y from a ground ofchoice. Besides these things there is a vast varietyof loves emanating from every mans se1fhood;also cares, domestic, economic and public, whichcome to us with the force of necessities andwhich are real impediments to the mind; for toseek our bread with anxious solicitude and to with­draw the mind from the body are in a manner twoopposites; the one is to will to live within theworld, while the other is to will to live without it.Even this brief account of these works which l haveput before you will, l hope, have given you sorne idea32
  31. 31. of the philosophy contained in them. It was an unpre­cedented feat that Swedenborg achieved, namely, tostart at the very lowest rung of the material plane ofthe body and to analyse this with such acumen thatnot only did he uncover many secrets of the workingof the body that have since been confirmed, but hefilled the whole subject with a living philosophy ofsuch a profound nature that it enabled him to rise toa conception of the mind and soul and their relationsto the body which has not been approached in itscompleteness by any other writer. 1 would like toconc1ude with a few remarks on the practical value ofthis philosophy.ln the first place it affords a reasonable account ofthe relation between mind and body both in healthand disease and is free from the illogicalities of othersystems of thought on this subject. Giving as it doesan explanation of the relations of the mind to the aurasof the world it affords a very possible explanation of theaccepted mysteries of telepathy. But to the individualit emphasizes the necessity of keeping the body c1eanand healthy, and free from the effects of gross appetiteand indulgence, so that it may not only send undisturbed33
  32. 32. impulses to the mind but may be its active and ableservant. It emphasizes that the mind from infancyupwards should be encouraged to use these impulsesfor the highest ends and not for the sake of them­selves, and that children should be taught to exercisetheir rational minds so that the truth and beauty con­veyed by these impulses may be distinguished fromthe ugly and false. This involves the search by therational mind for beauty in aH things and truthespecially. Things of the mind and body must, ifman is to rise above the lowest, be in correspondencewith things of the soul, i.e., with the love and wisdomof the Creator. Falsity and ugliness, pessimism andfear, have no counterpart in Him, and Swedenborg hasgiven us a means of understanding how it is possibleand why it is necessary for a man so to order the actionsof his body and the thoughts of his mind that he mayattain this by developing the proper mental habits.The whole question of habit and training is crys­tallized in this conception of Swedenborgs. If, as hesays, the form of the channels along which impulsesto and from the mind pass is changed by the natureof the impulses they convey, it is c1ear that unless they34
  33. 33. are kept in such a form as to correspond to the highestand purest, by exclusion of the baser impulses,obstruction to the influx from the soul must result.A mans character is shown by this to depend onhis habit of mind. His true character is shown inemergency and when he is off his guard, and hisreaction which shows his character depends then onwhether or no he has so moulded his mind and body asto allow the pure influence of the soul to dominate him.It also enables us to understand what conditionsare necessary for true happiness. Happiness can existonly where there is absence of discord or strain, andsuch a condition can only obtain when there is com­plete correspondence between the soul, the mind andthe body, for complete correspondence means com­plete harmony and so happiness. Swedenborgsexplanation of the relationship between the rationalmind and the animus affords a full explanationof the difference between happiness and pleasure.Pleasure is essentially of the animus whereas happinessis only possible when the highest parts of the mindare conscious of comp]ete harmony and peace. It alsoenables us to understand the meaning of true beauty.35
  34. 34. Beauty is clearly only realized when its subject strikesa responding chord in the highest parts of our mindsand it can only do this when the body, the lowersensory part of the mind and the higher are en rapport.Beauty in art is largely one of balance and proportion.l t appeals to us because our rational mind can see init a just and perfect relationship between the formwhich is the result of the artists work and the subjecttruth which is its inspiration. If the effect penetratesno deeper than the animus, it is mere prettiness or apassing fancy.We see how happiness and beauty gotogether. In those moments, aH too rare, when we areconscious of the deepest happiness we realize that ourwhole being is at peace, with no discordant note. Atthose times beauty is everywhere for us. We find itin the most unlike1y places. We see things clearlywith what we know to he a true understanding. Arewe not right in believing that at such times love andwisdom from the Creator are passing through oursoulsand minds with exceptional power, because we havebeen enabled to open our minds for its reception andhave for the time freed our minds from thoughts ofself and material things. It is, we aH know, true that36
  35. 35. at those times no thought of self is present nor anyof the world-in fact things of the world seemstrangely trivial and unimportant. AlI parts of the mindmust at these times be in harmony with spiritual lifeand in correspondence with it, nor must there beany concentration of the mind on material things assuch, for cares about these dose the paths of influx.Such happiness cannot therefore be obtained by seekingfor it. It eludes alI who seek it because in the verythought of seeking it something of self enters into themind and defeats its own end.This philosophy of influx through degrees by cor­respondence explains this experience and puts a newand fulIer meaning into the phrase " Mens sana incorpore sano." It lies in our power so to form ourminds and bodies that they shalI correspond and reacteither to things of spiritual value or to those of theworld. If we choose the latter, influx from abovebecomes more and more shut out, while our consciousminds no longer perceive either its truth or value.If we choose the former then not only do we· acquirea true inward cause of peace and happiness but wesee also the true beauty of both worlds.37
  36. 36. It shows us why peace in our own minds can onlybe obtained by tuning them to respond always, as itwere by habit, to things of spiritual value, and so, asby the power of spiritual influx we become more andmore in tune with the Infinite, sa may we ultimatelyhope to attain to the peace that passeth aIl under­standing.•
  37. 37. THE TRANSACTIONS OFTHE SWEDENBORG SOCIETYNo. J. Swedenbor~ and Modern Ideas of theUniverseby HAROLD GARDINER, M.S., F.R.e.S.No. 2. Swedenborgs Search for the Soulby HAROLD GARDINER, M.S., F.R.C.S.No. 3. UltimateRealityby the REV. L. F. HInPriee 1 s. each, post freeFull catalogue of Swedenborgs works unt free on nluest toSWEDENBORG SOCIETY20, HART STREETLONDON, W.C.IPrinkd in Gr.at Bri/ain by The Campfield Press, St. Albans

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