|www.TheisticScience.org · Books · Divine Love and Wisdom · Sections 260 ff||previous · next|
THE NATURAL MIND, SINCE IT IS THE COVERING AND CONTAINANT OF THE HIGHER DEGREES OF THE HUMAN MIND, IS REACTIVE; AND IF THE HIGHER DEGREES ARE NOT OPENED IT ACTS AGAINST THEM, BUT IF THEY ARE OPENED IT ACTS WITH THEM
DLW 260. It has been shown in the preceding chapter that as the natural mind is in the outmost degree, it envelops and encloses the spiritual mind and the celestial mind, which, in respect to degrees, are above it. It is now to be shown that the natural mind reacts against the higher or interior minds. It reacts because it covers, includes, and contains them, and this cannot be done without reaction; for unless it reacted, the interior or enclosed parts would become loosened and press outward and thus fall apart, just as the viscera, which are the interiors of the body, would push forth and fall asunder if the coverings which are about the body did not react against them; so, too, unless the membrane investing the motor fibers of a muscle reacted against the force of these fibers in their activities, not only would action cease, but all the inner tissues would be let loose. It is the same with every outmost degree of the degrees of height; consequently with the natural mind with respect to higher degrees; for there are three degrees of the human mind, the natural, the spiritual, and the celestial, and the natural mind is in the outmost degree. Another reason why the natural mind reacts against the spiritual mind is, that the natural mind consists not only of substances of the spiritual world but also of substances of the natural world (n. 257), and substances of the natural world of their very nature react against the substances of the spiritual world; for substances of the natural world are in themselves dead, and are acted upon from without by substances of the spiritual world; and substances which are dead, and which are acted upon from without, by their nature resist, and thus by their nature react. From all this it can be seen that the natural man reacts against the spiritual man, and that there is combat. It is the same thing whether the terms "natural and spiritual man" or " natural and spiritual mind" are used.
DLW 261. From this it is obvious that when the spiritual mind is closed the natural mind continually acts against the things of the spiritual mind, fearing lest anything should flow in therefrom to disturb its own states. Everything that flows in through the spiritual mind is from heaven, for the spiritual mind in its form is a heaven; while everything that flows into the natural mind is from the world, for the natural mind in its form is a world. From which it follows that when the spiritual mind is closed, the natural mind reacts against all things of heaven, giving them no admission except so far as they are serviceable to it as means for acquiring and possessing the things of the world. And when the things of heaven are made to serve the natural mind as means to its own ends, then those means, though they seem to be heavenly, are made natural; for the end qualifies them, and they become like the knowledges of the natural man, in which interiorly there is nothing of life. But as things heavenly cannot be so joined to things natural that the two act as one, they separate, and, with men merely natural, things heavenly arrange themselves from without, in a circuit about the natural things which are within. From this it is that a merely natural man can speak and preach about heavenly things, and even simulate them in his actions, though inwardly he thinks against them; the latter he does when alone, the former when in company. But of these things more in what follows.
DLW 262. By virtue of the reaction which is in him from birth the natural mind, or man, when he loves himself and the world above all things, acts against the things that are of the spiritual mind or man. Then also he has a sense of enjoyment in evils of every kind, as adultery, fraud, revenge, blasphemy, and other like things; he then also acknowledges nature as the creator of the universe; and confirms all things by means of his rational faculty; and after confirmation he either perverts or suffocates or repels the goods and truths of heaven and the church, and at length either shuns them or turns his back upon them or hates them. This he does in his spirit, and in the body just so far as he dares to speak with others from his spirit without fear of the loss of reputation as a means to honor and gain. When man is such, he gradually shuts up the spiritual mind closer and closer. Confirmations of evil by means of falsities especially close it up; therefore evil and falsity when confirmed cannot be uprooted after death; they are only uprooted by means of repentance in the world.
DLW 263. But when the spiritual mind is open the state of the natural mind is wholly different. Then the natural mind is arranged in compliance with the spiritual mind, and is subordinated to it. For the spiritual mind acts upon the natural mind from above or within, and removes the things therein that react, and adapts to itself those that act in harmony with itself, whereby the excessive reaction is gradually taken away. It is to be noted, that in things greatest and least of the universe, both living and dead, there is action and reaction, from which comes an equilibrium of all things; this is destroyed when action overcomes reaction, or the reverse. It is the same with the natural and with the spiritual mind. When the natural mind acts from the enjoyments of its love and the pleasures of its thought, which are in themselves evils and falsities, the reaction of the natural mind removes those things which are of the spiritual mind and blocks the doors lest they enter, and it makes action to come from such things as agree with its reaction. The result is an action and reaction of the natural mind opposite to the action and reaction of the spiritual mind, whereby there is a closing of the spiritual mind like the twisting back of a spiral. But when the spiritual mind is opened, the action and reaction of the natural mind are inverted; for the spiritual mind acts from above or within, and at the same time it acts from below or from without, through those things in the natural mind which are arranged in compliance with it; and it twists back the spiral in which the action and reaction of the natural mind lie. For the natural mind is by birth in opposition to the things belonging to the spiritual mind; an opposition derived, as is well known, from parents by heredity. Such is the change of state which is called reformation and regeneration. The state of the natural mind before information may be compared to a spiral twisting or bending itself downward: but after reformation it may be compared to a spiral twisting or bending itself upwards; therefore man before reformation looks downwards to hell, but after reformation looks upwards to heaven.
|Divine Love and Wisdom||previous · next||Author: E. Swedenborg (1688-1772).||www.TheisticScience.org|