EYES >> Understanding >> Wisdom
RIGHT EYE >> Goods of Faith, LEFT EYE >> Truths of Faith
SIGHT >> Affection of Understanding >> Intellectual Sight
“The light of the body is the eye.” Through the eye the light affects the body, informs the brain, and through the brain all other organs of the body. And in the brain it meets the mind, which there delights in the forms of life which the eye presents to it, and flashes forth through the eye a responsive, spiritual light, expressive of intelligence and love of knowing.
With a peculiar tenderness, the body guards and protects its delicate organ of light, enclosing it in a strong, bony socket, just beneath the brain, which socket it softly wads, and then lines with smooth and carefully lubricated membranes. It shades it and protects it from blows by projecting the roof over it like eaves, and turns away the descending moisture of the forehead by the capillary eaves-trough of the eye-brows.
It closes and rests the eyes with smoothly-fitting, elastic shutters, which are provided each with a reservoir of tears, and are ever on the watch to remove with moistened touch every particle of dust, and to keep the surface of the eye bright, clear, and moist.
As to these protecting parts, there is slight analogy between the eye and the ear; for the ear deals with the undulations of the air and needs protection only from the insects and coarser particles which fly in the air; its protective organs are therefore limited to a few hairs and the adhesive cerumen which guard and moisten the auditory passage. But the eye is concerned with the undulations of the ether, and needs protection from the drying, chilling, and chafing of the air itself as well as from all the foreign particles contained in it.
Internally the structure of the eye is more closely analogous to that of the ear, and we may obtain valuable aid from the grosser organ in tracing the sequence of uses in the more delicate. First, in the ear, we observe the visible auricle fitting, with its convolutions turned every way to catch and concentrate the vibrations of the air. In the eye the correlative function is performed by the cornea,— a totally different organ in appearance, but perfectly qualified to receive and concentrate upon the inner parts of the eye the undulatory rays in the ether.
In the ear next we find the tympanum, which receives in a confused mass all the sounds gathered by the outer ear, and begins the work of assorting them; first by neutralizing the most violent shocks, with the help of the inner air-chamber, the mastoid process, and the Eustachian tube, and then by transmitting its central undulations in a successive stream to the little chain of bones.
The multitude of rays of light gathered by the cornea from various directions are received similarly upon the iris, which immediately absorbs and neutralizes by its own pigment cells and dark lining membrane the rays that are too divergent and scattering for service, also cutting off by the closing of its pupil those that arc too intense, and transmits through its centre — the pupil of the eye — the rays that are most fit to form distinct images.
Over the bones of the ear are communicated successively, one by one, the vibrations of the air, to the window of the inner ear, where the first branches of the auditory nerve are expanded, and the sense of hearing properly begins. And through the pupil and the lenses of the eye — aqueous, crystalline, and vitreous — are brought together upon the surface of the retina, or the first general expansion of the optic nerve, the rays that proceed successively from the same objects, and are capable of leaving a distinct impression of their form and colors. The ear has the power of selecting the series of sounds to which it will attend, as the notes of a single instrument in an orchestra, by attuning in agreement with them the tympanum and the window of the inner car, by means of the little muscles attached to the chain of bones; and those sounds to which it is attuned are transmitted distinctly, but others obscurely.
And so the eye has the power of adjusting its sequence of lenses to receive and concentrate distinctly the rays that come from a particular object, at the same time that they transient obscurely those that come from other objects. This power it has partly from the muscles which turn the head, and the smaller muscles which direct the eye-ball in a particular direction; but especially from the ciliary muscle which encircles the crystalline lens, and by increasing or diminishing the convexity of its face, attuning it, as it were to the rays that come from different distances, according to the desire of observing.
Within the inner car we traced in order the apparatus for distinguishing quantity or intensity of sound, articulation, pitch (including harmony and melody), and pathos. And the greater part of this apparatus is on a comparatively large scale, because the undulatory forms which it measures are those of the lowest atmosphere, which is the air.
The correlative qualities of light, which the eye measures, are those of light and shade, or intensity—which seem to correspond to the qualities perceived in the vestibule of the ear, and which first strike a child's eye, or our own half-closed—then the particulars of form, corresponding to those of articulation; and then the varieties of color, to which we apply the term harmony.
The instruments by which these qualities are appropriately received, and their properties of varied motion are conveyed to the brain, must be as delicate as the vibratory forms of the ether. It is no wonder that, except as to their most general structure, they have so long escaped observation. The closely-woven, nervous net-work, from which the retina has its name, has, until recently, been the only sensitive part of the apparatus described ; but now, behind the retina, and extending from its fibres outward to the layer of pigment cells of the choroid coat of the eye, is described a minute and highly complicated nervous structure of granules and fibres and interlacing, terminating in a closely set apparatus of minutest rods alternating with cones. It is like an exquisitely organized velvet nap standing upon the expanded tissue of the optic nerve. The precise functions of the several parts of this structure are not known; but it is plain that we have here presented forms sufficiently varied and delicate for the wonderful work required of them.
The nerves of sight seem to be connected especially with the convolution of the brain which is called the “angular gyrus,” and also to have connection with the whole of the occipital lobes. If any part of these is in good order, and the connection undisturbed, the sense of sight is possible. No doubt there is indirect communication with other parts of the brain; but not such as to give the sense of sight. The auditory nerve, as has been said, as to one important branch, communicates directly with the cerebellum, and is the means of affecting the feelings directly as well as the intelligence. The nerve of sight affects the intelligence, and the feelings only through the intelligence.
There is a further difference between the animations of sound and those of light, as between generals and particulars. For the ether by its compositions produces the air, as materials of the air again are consolidated into water. The activities of the ether, therefore, affect the minute forms of the brain of which the generals are composed, or the single glands by the combination of which are formed composite glands.
As, therefore, through the air and by the ears, general animations are communicated, through the either and by the eye are given particulars which fill those generals, and which never can be described to the hearing. We know this to true, practically, in regards to scenery and to every work of nature; and Swedenborg says that in heaven the angels express to the eye by the curves and points of their writing, ideas which cannot be communicated by sound.
The hearing corresponds to the love of being instructed, guided, and affected obediently; and the correspondence of the sight is with the love of obtaining clear, distinct ideas, of being intelligent in spiritual things anDWise in heavenly things. Swedenborg says,—
“That the sense of sight corresponds to the affection of understandings and being wise, is because the sight of the body altogether corresponds to the sight of its spirit, thus to the understanding. For there are two lights, one which is of the world from the sun, and another which is of heaven from the Lord; in the light of the world there is no intelligence, but in the light of heaven there is intelligence. Hence as far as the things in man which are of the light of the world are illuminated by those which are of the light of heaven, so far man is intelligent anDWise; that is, as far as they correspond.” (AC 4405)
“The eye is the most noble organ of the face, and communicates with the understanding more immediately than the other sensory organs of man. It is also modified by a more subtile atmosphere than the ear.” (AC 4407)
“It has been made plain to me by much experience that the sight of the left eye corresponds to truths which are of the understanding, and the right eye to affections of truth which also are of the understanding; hence that the left eye corresponds to truths 'of faith, and the right eye to good things of faith.” (AC 4410)
Perhaps we might interpret these words as meaning that the left eye corresponds to the understanding of things that we clearly perceive to be so; and the right eye to the understanding of things that we love; or that the left eye corresponds to the understanding of what is true, and the right eye to the understanding of what is good.
“All things in the eye have their correspondences in the heavens; as the three humors, aqueous, vitreous, and crystalline; and not only the humors but the coats also,— yea, every part. The more interior things of the eye have the more beautiful and pleasant correspondences, but differently in each heaven. The light which proceeds from the Lord, when it flows into the inmost or third heaven, is received there as good which is called charity; and when it flows into the middle or second heaven, mediately and immediately, it is received as truth which is from charity; but when this truth flows into the lowest or first heaven mediately and immediately, it is received substantially, and appears there as a paradise, and elsewhere as a city in which are palaces. Thus the correspondences succeed one another even to the external sight of the angels. Likewise in man, in the ultimate of sight, which is the eye, it is presented materially through the sight, whose objects are the things of the visible world. Man who is in love and charity, and thence in faith, has his interiors such; for they correspond to the three heavens, and lie is in form a very little heaven.” (AC 4411)
“There was a certain person who was known to me in the life of the body, but not as to his disposition and interior affections; he has occasionally conversed with me in the other life, but a little -it a distance. He usually manifested himself by pleasant representatives; for he could present such things as were delightful, as colors of every kind, and beautiful colored forms; he could introduce infants beautifully decorated, and very many like things which are pleasant and enjoyable. He acted by a gentle and soft influx, and this into the coat of the left eye. By such, means he insinuated himself into the affections of others, with the end of making their life pleasant and delightful. It was said to me by the angels that such are they who belong, to the coats of the eye, and that they communicate with the paradisal heavens where truths and goods are represented in substantial form.” (AC 4412)
These paradisal heavens, or societies, I infer are in the eyes of the lowest heaven, and communicate by correspondence with the same provinces of the interior heavens.
The eyes of the inner heavens are delighted with the perception of interior goodness and truth, presented in simplest forms; but the eyes of the lower heavens love to see and to cause others to see the same things in full representatives. Of these Swedenborg further teaches,
“The eye, or rather its sight, corresponds especially with those societies in the other life, which are in paradisal things, which appear above, a little to the right, where are presented to the life gardens with so many genera and species of trees and flowers that those in the whole world are respectively few. In every object there, there is something of intelligence and Wisdom which shines forth, so that you may say that they are at the same time in paradises of intelligence and Wisdom.
These are the things which affect those who are there from the inmosts, and thus gladden not only their sight, but also at the same time their understanding. Those paraclisal things are in the first heaven, and in the very entrance to the interiors of that heaven, and are representatives which descend from the hi-her heaven when the angels of the higher heaven converse together intellectually concerning the truths of faith. The speech of the angels there is by spiritual and celestial ideas, which to them are forms of expression, and continually by series of representations of such beauty and pleasantness as cannot at all be described. These beauties and pleasantnesses of their discourse are what arc represented as paradisal things in the lower heaven. This heaven is distinguished into several heavens, to which correspond the particulars which are in the chambers of the eye. There is the heaven where are the paradisal gardens which have been spoken of; there is a heaven where are variously colored atmospheres, where the whole air glitters as if from old, silver, pearls, precious stories, flowers, in minute forms, and innumerable other things there is a rainbow heaven, where are most beautiful rainbows, great and small, variegated with most splendid colors. Every one of these things exists by the light which is from the Lord, in which are intelligence anDWisdom; hence there is in every object there, something of intelligence of truth and of wisdom of good, which is thus presented representatively. ” (AC 4528)
Swedenborg also describes “beautiful shrubberies and most pleasant flower-gardens of immense extent,” in which everything shines with the changeful light of intelligence anDWisdom. And be adds,—
“They who are in the intelligence itself and the wisdom, from which those things originate, are in such a state of happiness that the things which have been mentioned are esteemed by them of but little importance. Some also who had said when in the paradisal things that the exceeded every decree of happiness, were therefore taken more toward the right into a heaven which shone with still greater splendor, where was likewise the blessedness of the intelligence anDWisdom which was in such things; and then when they were there, speaking with me again, they said that the things which they had seen before were respectively nothing. And at length they were taken to that heaven where from the satisfaction of interior affection they could scarcely subsist; for the satisfaction penetrated to the marrows, which being as it were dissolved by the satisfaction, they began to fall into a holy swoon.” (AC 4529)
Here are described, apparently, those who constitute the successively interior parts of the eye. Possibly they who are in the first sensitive coat and the ad adjacent humor love the paradisal representatives those in a more interior province delight in the intelligence anDWisdom represented; and those in an inmost department are satisfied with the interior affection from which that wisdom exists.
These provinces, as here described, appear to have been near together and closely related — not in widely separated heavens. Probably they were all in the inmost Christian heaven, the situation of which agrees with what is said of these paradisal heavens.
Here, also, in the eyes of the Christian heaven, are tire homes of those who now die as infants. (AR 876) They are in the province of the eyes (HH 333); those of a celestial disposition in the right eye, and those of a spiritual nature in the left, “directly in the line or radius ii-i which angels look to the Lorcl.” (HH 332) “They are surrounded by atmospheres according to the state of their perfection;... especially there are presented to them atmospheres as of playing infants in least inconspicuous forms, but perceptible only by an inmost idea; from these they receive the heavenly idea that all the things about them are alive, and that they are in the life of the Lord, which affects them with inmost happiness.” (AC 2297) “They are instructed by representatives;... and these are so beautiful, and at the same time so full of wisdom from within as to surpass belief.” (HH 335) Indeed, by simplest representatives they are instructed in the holiest things of the Lord's mercy and providence, which they perceive very clearly, though in a simple and infantile manner. And in their delightful gardens, the flowers of which flash gladness through their glowing colors (AC 337), they enjoy delightful perceptions of innocence and charity.
It is impossible not to see the likeness of infants in the transparent humors of the eye, full of the forming images of light. And among these humors that most delicate fluid immediately under the cornea, receiving all light, but without distinctions, is unmistakably like the first state of infancy, open to all impressions, yet seizing none but the most general—even in regard to sight, being content with the light, and scarcely discriminating even the brightest colors. The next medium is the crystalline lens, which is strongly characterized by the effort to receive distinctly the light from particular things, and seems plainly to correspond to infants in their effort to fix their attention, to discriminate, and to recognize particular objects. The vitreous humor continues the effort to concentrate the light in distinct images, and lies all around in contact with the retina, upon which such images are formed. Is not this the heaven in which children are taught by elaborate representatives, carefully and fully presented? Here also must be the paradises in which are so many perfect forms of human intelligence and affection.
It is in the different heavens corresponding, to the chambers of the eye, that the beautiful atmospheres appear. It is in one of these, possibly the outer chamber, that “the universal aura glitters as if from gold, silver, pearls, precious stones, flowers in their least forms, and innumerable things.” (AC 1621) In an inner heaven, which seems beautifully like the crystalline chamber surrounded by the iris, “the whole atmosphere appears to consist of very small, continued rainbows.... Around is the form of a very large rainbow, encompassing the whole heaven, most beautiful, being composed of similar smaller rainbows, which are images of the larger. Every single color thus consists of innumerable rays constituting one general, perceptible ray, which is as it were a modification of the origins of light from the celestial and spiritual things which produce it, and which at the same time present to the sight a representative idea.” (AC 1623 see also AC 4528)
With the children in these beautiful heavens are the mothers and maidens who care for them, themselves in sympathy with the open innocence of the children, but wise to guide them in their heavenly sports. And penetrating everywhere through the humors are said to be, and no doubt there are, delicate tubes and fibres, as transparent as the humors, keeping them constantly changing according to their needs and the requirements of the eye.
The objects of delight to the eyes, and sight and enlightenment to the heavens, are revelations of truth and goodness from the Lord Himself, with the representatives of them. These revelations have a general ultimate in our Scriptures, just as all possible human uses and relations have a general representative in the human body. Divine wisdom concerning the development of human life is contained in the Word, and shines from it as light to the eyes of angels, or can be presented as beautiful representatives of human affection and thought. There are no beautiful things in heaven or on earth that are not representatives of these.
“The Word of the Lord, when it is read by a man who loves it and who lives in charity, and even by a man who from a simple heart believes what is written, having formed no principles contrary to the truth of faith contained in the internal sense, is displayed by the Lord to the angels with such beauty and with such pleasantness, accompanied also by representatives, —and this with an inexpressible variety according to the whole state of the angels at the time—that every particular is perceived as if it had life.” (AC 1767)
” The angels have a clearer and fuller understanding of the internal sense of the Word when it is read by little boys and girls than when by adults who are not in the faith of charity. The reason is, as was told me, that little children are in a state of mutual love and innocence, consequently their vessels are most tender and almost heavenly, so as to be pure faculties of receiving, which therefore are capable of being disposed by the Lord, although this does not come to their perception except by a certain delight suitable to their genius. (AC 1776)
“In the literal sense, scarce anything appears but a something without order; still, when it is read by man, particularly by a little boy or girl, it becomes by degrees, as it ascends, more beautiful and delightful, and at length is presented before the Lord as the image of a man, in and by which heaven is represented in its complex, not as it is, but as the Lord wills it to be, namely, as a likeness of Himself.” (AC 1871)
From this that is said of children in this world we can have an idea of the use of the province of children in heaven; for children here are associated with children in the other world, and their uses are one.
To children in heaven comes the light which is the Word, representing before them good ways of life and lovely varieties of human affection and thou-ht from Himself, such as the Lord desires the heavens to receive from Him. These the children perceive in their childlike way; but from their very perfect childlike ideas, angels corresponding to the optic nerves, of quickest and most interior perception, whose special delight it is to receive new desires from the Lord, perceive the Lord's desires and plans for the formation and perfection of the heavens.
This pure and beautiful wisdom they communicate to the societies of the whole inmost heaven (or brain), by whom it is adapted and sent forth to all other parts of the heavens, according to their functions.
Swedenborg's description of children in heaven is so full and sympathetic as to show a remarkably minute acquaintance with them. And there are other things which show his familiarity with the province of the eyes. His account of the visit of the ten strangers to the heavenly society, where they were instructed in the nature of heavenly joy, seems like the account of an eye-witness. And in that society were seen children with their nurses. Its emblem, also, was an eagle brooding her young at the top of a tree; which seems perfect as representing those who are in clear sight, and engaged in the education of children. The nearness of Swedenborg's own state to this is evident from the remark that “a man who draws wisdom from God is like a bird flying on high, which looks about upon all things that are in the gardens, woods, and villages, and flies to those things that will be of use to it.” (TCR 69) It will be remembered that the angels of the nose perceived that the angelic societies with Swedenborg were from the province of the eye. (AC 4627)
A few words only remain to be said with regard to the correspondence of weeping,—
“That weeping (or lamentation — fletus) is grief of heart, may appear from this consideration, that it bursts forth from the heart, and breaks out into lamentations through the mouth; and that shedding of tears (lacrymatio) is grief of mind, may appear from this consideration, that it issues forth from the thought through the eyes. In both, as well weeping as shedding tears, water goes forth, but bitter and astringent, which goes forth by influx from the spiritual world into the grief of man, where bitter water corresponds to defect of truth on account of falsities, and hence to grief.” (AE 484)
The proper function of the tears is to keep the eye moist and clear, and they correspond to thoughts from the love of clear sight. Tears of joy correspond to thoughts from delight in perceiving good things; tears of sorrow, to bitter thoughts in not perceiving what is loved; “bitter tears of disappointment” is a common expression.
Author: JOHN WORCESTER 1889
The reason why the sense of sight corresponds to the affection of understanding and being wise, is that the sight of the body corresponds precisely to the sight of its spirit, thus to the understanding. For there are two lights, one which is of the world from the sun, the other which is of heaven from the Lord. In the light of the world there is no intelligence, but there is intelligence in the light of heaven. Hence insofar as those things with man which are of the light of the world are illumined by those which are of the light of heaven, thus insofar as these two classes of things correspond to each other, so far the man understands and is wise. [AC4405]
As the sight of the eye corresponds to the understanding, for this reason sight is attributed to the understanding also, and is called intellectual sight. Moreover the things which a man observes are called the objects of this sight; and also in ordinary discourse we say that things are "seen" when they are understood; and light and enlightenment, and the consequent clearness, are also predicated of the understanding; and on the other hand, so are shades and darkness, and the consequent obscurity. It is on account of the correspondence that these and the like things have come into common speech among men; for man's spirit is in the light of heaven, and his body is in the light of the world, and the spirit is that which lives in the body, and also is that which thinks. Hence many things that are interior have fallen in this way into words. [AC4406]
The eye is the noblest organ of the face, and communicates more immediately with the understanding than do the rest of man's organs of sense. It is also modified by a more subtle atmosphere than the ear, and therefore the sight penetrates to the internal sensory, which is in the brain, by a shorter and more interior way than does the speech which is perceived by the ear. Hence also it is that certain animals, being devoid of understanding, have as it were two subsidiary brains within the orbits of their eyes, for their intellectual depends on their sight. But with man this is not the case, for he enjoys the use of an ample brain, in order that his intellectual may not depend on the sight, but the sight on the intellectual. That the sight of man depends on the intellectual is very evident from the fact that his natural affections portray themselves representatively in the face, but his more interior affections, which pertain to the thought, appear in the eyes, from a certain flame of life and a consequent vibration of light, which flashes out in accordance with the affection in which is the thought; and this a man knows and observes, without being taught by any science, for the reason that his spirit is in society with spirits and angels in the other life, who know this from a plain and clear perception. (That every man as to his spirit is in society with spirits and angels, may be seen above, n. 1277, 2379, 3644, 3645.) [AC4407]
That there is a correspondence of the sight of the eye with intellectual sight, plainly appears to those who reflect; for the objects of the world, all of which derive something from the light of the sun, enter through the eye, and bestow themselves in the memory, and this evidently under a like visual figure, for whatever is produced therefrom is seen inwardly. This is the source of man's imagination, the ideas of which are called by philosophers material ideas. When these objects appear still more interiorly they present thought, and this also under some visual figure, but more pure, the ideas of which are called immaterial, and also intellectual. That there is an interior light, in which there is life, and consequently intelligence and wisdom, and that this light illumines the interior sight, and meets the things which have entered in through the external sight, is very evident; and also that the interior light operates according to the disposition of the things present there from the light of the world. The things that enter through the hearing are also inwardly turned into forms like those of the visual images that come from the light of the world. [AC4408]
As the sight of the eye corresponds to intellectual sight, it also corresponds to truths, for all things that are of the understanding bear relation to truth, and likewise to good, in this way-that a man may not only know what is good, but also be affected by it. Moreover all things of the external sight also bear relation to truth and to good, because they bear relation to the symmetries of objects, consequently to their beauties and the derivative charms. A clearsighted observer can see that each and all things in nature bear relation to truth and to good, and thereby he can also know that universal nature is a theater representative of the Lord's kingdom. [AC4409]
It has become evident to me from much experience that the sight of the left eye corresponds to truths which are of the understanding, and the right eye to affections of truth, which are also of the understanding; and consequently that the left eye corresponds to the truths of faith, and the right eye to the goods of faith. The reason why there is such a correspondence is that in the light which is from the Lord there is not only light, but also heat, the light itself being the truth which proceeds from the Lord, and the heat being the good. It is from this, and also from the influx into the two hemispheres of the brain, that there exists such a correspondence; for those who are in good are on the Lord's right hand, and those who are in truth are on His left hand. [AC4410]
Each and all things that are in the eye have their correspondences in the heavens, such as the three humors, the aqueous, the vitreous, and the crystalline; and not the humors only, but also the coats, and indeed every part. The more interior things of the eye have correspondences more beautiful and more pleasant, but in a different manner in each heaven. When the light which proceeds from the Lord flows into the inmost or third heaven, it is there received as the good which is called charity; and when it flows into the middle or second heaven, both mediately and immediately, it is received as the truth which is from charity; but when this truth flows into the lowest or first heaven, mediately and immediately, it is received substantially, and appears there as a paradise, and in some places as a city in which are palaces. Thus do the correspondences succeed one another even to the external sight of the angels. It is similar with man, in his ultimate which is the eye this truth is presented materially by the sight, the objects of which are those of the visible world. The man who is in love and charity, and consequently in faith, has his interiors of this quality, for he corresponds to the three heavens, and is a little heaven in effigy. [AC4411]
There was a certain person whom I had known in the bodily life, but whom I had not known in respect to his animus and interior affections. He spoke with me several times in the other life, but for a while at a distance. He usually showed himself by means of pleasant representatives, for he could present things which excited delight, such as colors of every kind and beautiful colored forms, could exhibit infants beautifully decorated like angels, and very many similar things that were pleasant and delightful. He operated by a gentle and soft influx into the coat of the left eye. By such means he instilled himself into the affections of others, with the end to please and delight their life. I was told by the angels that they who belong to the coats of the eye are of such a character, and that they communicate with the paradisal heavens, where truths and goods are represented in a substantial form, as stated above (n. 4411). [AC4412]
That the light of heaven has within it intelligence and wisdom, and that it is the intelligence of truth and the wisdom of good from the Lord that appear as light before the eyes of the angels, it has been given me to know by a living experience. I was taken up into a light that sparkled like the light radiating from diamonds; and while I was kept in it, I seemed to myself to be withdrawn from bodily ideas and to be brought into spiritual ideas, thus into those things which belong to the intelligence of truth and of good. The ideas of thought which originated from the light of the world then appeared to be remote from me, and as it were not belonging to me, although they were present obscurely; and by this it was given me to know that insofar as anyone comes into the light of heaven, so far he comes into intelligence. It is for this reason that the more intelligent the angels are, the greater and the brighter is the light in which they are. [AC4413]
The differences of light in the heavens are as many as are the angelic societies which constitute heaven, nay, they are as many as are the angels in each society. The reason is that heaven is ordered in accordance with all the differences of good and truth, thus in accordance with all states of intelligence and wisdom, and consequently in accordance with the various receptions of the light which is from the Lord. The result is that nowhere in the universal heaven is the light exactly the same as it is anywhere else in heaven, but on the contrary it differs according to the various ways in which it is tempered with a flaming or with a bright white quality, and also according to the various degrees of its intensity; for intelligence and wisdom are nothing but an eminent modification of the heavenly light which is from the Lord. [AC4414]
Souls newly arrived, or novitiate spirits-that is, those who have been in the other life but a few days since the death of the body-are very much surprised to find that there is light in the other life, for they carry with them the ignorance that supposes light to be exclusively from the sun and material flame. Still less do they know that there is any light which illumines the understanding, for in the bodily life they have not observed this, and even still less that this light confers the capacity to think, and by its influx into forms which are from the light of the world presents all things that are of the understanding. If these spirits have been good they are taken up into heavenly societies to be instructed, and are passed from one society to another, in order that they may perceive by living experience that there is light in the other life, and this more intense than is ever found in the world; and that they may at the same time take notice that insofar as they are in the light there, so far they are in intelligence. Some who were taken up into the spheres of heavenly light spoke with me from thence, and confessed that they had never believed in any such thing, and that the light of the world is relatively darkness. From that light they also looked through my eyes into the light of the world, and perceived it as nothing but a dark cloud, and in pity said that such is the light in which are men. From what has been said it may also be seen why the angels of heaven are called in the Word "angels of light;" and also that the Lord is the Light, and consequently is the life for men (John 1:1, 9; 8:12). [AC4415]
The quality of spirits in the other life is evident from the light in which they are, for as before said the light in which they see corresponds to the light by which they perceive. They who have known truths and have also confirmed them with themselves, and yet have lived a life of evil, appear in a snowy light, but cold, like the light of winter; and when they approach those who are in the light of heaven, their light is then completely darkened, and becomes pitch-dark; and when they remove themselves from the light of heaven, there succeeds a yellow light as from sulphur, in which they appear like specters, and their truths like phantasms. For their truths had been those of persuasive faith, which is of such a nature that they had believed because believing led to honor, gain, and reputation, and it was all the same to them what the truth was, provided it was received.
 But they who are in evil and thence in falsities, appear in a light like that of a charcoal fire. This light becomes quite dusky in the light of heaven; but the very lights from which they see are varied in accordance with the falsity and evil in which they are. This showed very plainly why those who lead a life of evil can never have faith in Divine truths from a sincere heart; for they are in that smoky light which, when heavenly light falls upon it, becomes dark to them, so that they see neither with their eyes nor with their mind; and besides they then fall into agonies, and some into a kind of swoon. Hence it is that the evil cannot possibly receive truth, but only the good.
 The man who leads a life of evil cannot believe that he is in such a light, because he cannot see the light in which his spirit is, but only that in which is the sight of his eyes and from this his natural mind. But if he could see the light of his spirit, and could make proof of what it would become if the light of truth and good from heaven were to flow into it, he would then very well know how far he is from receiving the things which are of this light, that is, those which are of faith, and how much further he is from becoming imbued with those which are of charity, thus how far distant he is from heaven. [AC4416]
I was once conversing with spirits concerning life - that no one has any life from himself, but from the Lord, although he may seem to live from himself (compare n. 4320). First of all we spoke of what life is, namely, that it is to understand and to will; and as all understanding bears relation to truth, and all willing to good (n. 4409), that the intelligence of truth and the will of good are life. But some reasoning spirits made reply (for there are spirits who are to be called reasoners, because they reason about everything as to whether it is so, and such are for the most part in obscurity in regard to all truth), and said that those who are in no intelligence of truth and will of good nevertheless live, and in fact they preeminently believe that they live. But it was given to answer them that the life of the evil does indeed appear to them like life, but nevertheless it is the life which is called spiritual death, as they might know from the consideration that as to understand truth and to will good are life from the Divine, it follows that to understand falsity and to will evil cannot be life, because evils and falsities are contrary to life itself.
 To convince them they were shown the quality of their life, which when seen appeared like the light from a coal fire mingled with smoke. When they are in this light, they cannot but suppose that the life of their thought and of their will is the only life there is, and this the more from the fact that the light of the intelligence of truth, which is that of life itself, cannot appear to them at all, for the moment they come into this light their own light becomes dark, so that they can see nothing at all, thus neither can they perceive anything. They were further shown what was then the state of their life, by the withdrawal of the delight they had from what is false, which in the other life is effected by separating the associate spirits. On this being done they appeared with ghastly faces, like those of the dead, so that they might have been called images of death. But as regards the life of animals, of the Lord's Divine mercy this subject shall receive particular treatment. [AC4417]
They who are in the hells are said to be in darkness, but this is because they are in falsities; for as light corresponds to truth, so darkness corresponds to falsities. As already said, they are in a light like that from a charcoal fire and of a sulphurous yellow, and this light is what is meant by "darkness;" for according to their light, and consequently according to their sight from it, is their understanding, because the two things correspond to each other. It is called darkness also because these lights become darkness in the presence of heavenly light. [AC4418]
There was a spirit present with me whose extensive knowledge during his earthly life had occasioned him to believe that he was wiser than anyone else, which had resulted in his contracting the evil that wherever he was he wanted to direct everything. He was sent to me by a certain society to serve them as a subject, that is, for communication (n. 4403); and also that they might get rid of him, because he was troublesome through his wanting to direct them from his own intelligence. While he was with me it was given me to speak to him about intelligence from self, which I said so greatly prevails in the Christian world that it is believed that all intelligence is from this source, and therefore none is from God; although when people are speaking from their doctrinal beliefs they say that everything true and good is from heaven, thus from the Divine, consequently all intelligence, for this is of truth and good. But as the spirit would not attend to these things, I said that he would do well to withdraw, because the sphere of his intelligence infested me; but being in the persuasion that he was preeminently intelligent, he would not do so.
 He was then shown by angels what is the nature of intelligence from self, and what the nature of intelligence from the Divine, and this by means of lights, for in the other life such things are presented to view in a wonderful manner by means of variegations of light. Intelligence from self was shown by a light which appeared as a fatuous light, surrounded by a dark border, and extending but a little distance from its focus; and it was further shown that this light is at once extinguished when it is looked at by an angelic society, exactly as is a fatuous light in the light or daytime of the sun. He was then shown what is the quality of intelligence from the Divine, and this also by means of a light which was brighter and more full of light than the noonday light of the sun, and which also extended itself to every distance and terminated as does the light of the sun in the universe; and it was said that intelligence and wisdom enter from all sides into the sphere of this light, and cause truth and good to be perceived by an almost unlimited mental view; but this in accordance with the quality of the truth from good. [AC4419]
The eye, or rather its sight, corresponds especially to those societies in the other life which are in the paradisal regions, which appear above in front a little to the right, where gardens are vividly presented to view, with trees and flowers of so many genera and species that those on the whole earth are comparatively few; and within every object there is something of intelligence and wisdom that shines forth from it, so that you may say that the people in the gardens are at the same time in paradises of intelligence and wisdom, and it is these which inwardly affect them, and thus gladden not only their sight, but also at the same time their understanding.
 These paradisal regions are in the first heaven, in the very threshold to the interiors of that heaven, and are representatives which come down from a higher heaven, when the angels of that heaven are conversing with one another intellectually about the truths of faith; and this speech of the angels there is effected by means of spiritual and celestial ideas, which with them are verbal forms, and by a continuous series of representations of inexpressible beauty and pleasantness; and it is these beauties and pleasantnesses of their discourse which are represented as paradisal scenes in the lower heaven.
 This heaven is distinguished into many heavens, to which correspond the various things in the chambers of the eye. There is the heaven of paradisal gardens just described. There is a heaven where there are atmospheres of various colors, and where the whole air flashes as it were with gold, silver, pearls, precious stones, flowers in least forms, and innumerable other things. There is a rainbow heaven, where are the most beautiful rainbows, great and small, variegated with the most splendid colors. All these come forth by means of the light which is from the Lord, and which contains within it intelligence and wisdom, so that in every object there is something of the intelligence of truth and of the wisdom of good, which is thus shown representatively.
 They who have had no idea of heaven, nor of the light there, can with difficulty be brought to believe that such things are there, and therefore those who take this incredulity with them into the other life, and who have been in the truth and good of faith, are conveyed by the angels into these scenes, and when they see them they are astounded. (As regards the paradisal and rainbow scenes, and the atmospheres, see what has been already said from experience, n. 1619-1626, 2296, 3220; and that there are continual representations in the heavens, n. 1807, 1808, 1971, 1980 ,1981, 2299, 2763, 3213, 3216-3218, 3222, 3350, 3475, 3485.) [AC4528]
A certain person who had been much talked of and celebrated in the learned world for his skill in the science of botany, after death heard in the other life, to his great surprise, that there also flowers and trees are presented to view; and as botany had been the delight of his life he was fired with a desire to see whether such was the case, and was therefore carried up into the paradisal regions, where he saw most beautiful plantations of trees and most charming flower gardens of immense extent. And as he then came into the ardor of his delight from affection, he was allowed to wander over the field, and not only to see the plants in detail, but also to gather them and bring them close to his eye, and to examine whether the case was really so.
 Speaking with me from thence he said that he could never have believed it, and that if such things had been heard of In the world, they would have been regarded as marvels. He said further that he saw an immense abundance of flowers there which are never seen in the world, and of which it would be almost impossible there to form any idea; and that they all glow with an inconceivable brightness, because they are from the light of heaven. That the glow was from a spiritual origin, he was not yet able to perceive, that is, that they glowed because there was in each one of them something of the intelligence and wisdom which are of truth and good. He went on to say that men on earth would never believe this, because few believe there is any heaven and hell, and they who believe only know that in heaven there is joy, and few among them believe that there are such things as eye has not seen, and ear has not heard, and the mind has never conceived; and this although they know from the Word that amazing things were seen by the prophets, such as many things seen by John, as recorded in the Revelation, and yet these were nothing else than the representatives which are continually coming forth in heaven, and which appeared to John when his internal sight was opened.
 But these things are comparatively of little moment. They who are in the very intelligence and wisdom which are the source of these things, are in such a state of happiness that the things which have been related are to them of slight importance. Some spirits also who when in the paradisal regions said that these surpass every degree of happiness, were therefore carried up into a heaven more to the right, which sparkled with a still greater resplendence, and finally they were carried up into the heaven where there is also a perception of the blessedness of the intelligence and wisdom that exist in such things. And when they were there, they told me that what they had seen before was comparatively worthless. At last they were carried up into a heaven where on account of the bliss of interior affection, they could scarcely subsist, for the bliss penetrated to the very marrows, and these being as it were dissolved away with bliss, they began to fall into a holy swoon. [AC4529]
Author: EMANUEL SWEDENBORG (1688-1772)