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DLW 189. As degrees of breadth, that is continuous degrees, are like gradations from light to shade, from heat to cold, from hard to soft, from dense to rare, from thick to thin, and so forth; and as these degrees are known from sensuous and ocular experience, while degrees of height, or discrete degrees, are not, the latter kind shall be treated of especially in this Part; for without a knowledge of these degrees, causes cannot be seen. It is known indeed that end, cause, and effect follow in order, like prior, subsequent, and final; also that the end begets the cause, and, through the cause, the effect, that the end may have form; also about these many other things are known; and yet to know these things, and not to see them in their applications to existing things is simply to know abstractions, which remain in the memory only so long as the mind is in analytical ideas from metaphysical thought. From this it is that although end, cause, and effect advance according to discrete degrees, little if anything is known in the world about these degrees. For a mere knowledge of abstractions is like an airy something which flies away; but when abstractions are applied to such things as are in the world, they become like what is seen with the eyes on earth, and remains in the memory.

DLW 190. All things which have existence in the world, of which threefold dimension is predicated, that is, which are called compounds, consist of degrees of height, that is, discrete degrees; as examples will make clear. It is known from ocular experience, that every muscle in the human body consists of minute fibers, and these put together into little bundles form larger fibers, called motor fibers, and groups of these form the compound called a muscle. It is the same with nerves; in these from minute fibers larger fibers are compacted, which appear as filaments, and these grouped together compose the nerve. The same is true of the rest of the combinations, bundlings and groupings out of which the organs and viscera are made up; for these are compositions of fibers and vessels variously put together according to like degrees. It is the same also with each and every thing of the vegetable and mineral kingdoms. In woods there are combinations of filaments in threefold order. In metals and stones there are groupings of parts, also in threefold order. From all this the nature of discrete degrees can be seen, namely, that one is from the other, and through the second there is a third which is called the composite; and that each degree is discreted from the others.

DLW 191. From these examples a conclusion may be formed respecting those things that are not visible to the eye, for with those it is the same; for example, with the organic substances which are the receptacles and abodes of thoughts and affections in the brains; with atmospheres; with heat and light; and with love and wisdom. For atmospheres are receptacles of heat and light; and heat and light are receptacles of love and wisdom; consequently, as there are degrees of atmospheres, there are also like degrees of heat and light, and of love and wisdom; for the same principle applies to the latter as to the former.

DLW 192. That these degrees are homogeneous, that is, of the same character and nature, appears from what has just been said. The motor fibers of muscles, least, larger, and largest, are homogeneous. Woody filaments, from the least to the composite formed of these, are homogeneous. So likewise are parts of stones and metals of every kind. The organic substances which are receptacles and abodes of thoughts and affections, from the most simple to their general aggregate which is the brain, are homogeneous. The atmospheres, from pure ether to air, are homogeneous. The degrees of heat and light in series, following the degrees of atmospheres, are homogeneous, therefore the degrees of love and wisdom are also homogeneous. Things which are not of the same character and nature are heterogeneous, and do not harmonize with things homogeneous; thus they cannot form discrete degrees with them, but only with their own, which are of the same character and nature and with which they are homogeneous.

DLW 193. That these things in their order are like ends, causes, and effects, is evident; for the first, which is the least, effectuates its cause by means of the middle, and its effect by means of the last.

DLW 194. It should be known that each degree is made distinct from the others by coverings of its own, and that all the degrees together are made distinct by means of a general covering; also, that this general covering communicates with interiors and inmosts in their order. From this there is conjunction of all and unanimous action.

Divine Love and Wisdom previous · next Author:  E. Swedenborg (1688-1772). www.TheisticScience.org