THE LUNGS >> Understanding >> Wisdom



HL883_500_488This is a thing unknown in the world, because it has not been known what correspondence is, and that there is a correspondence of all things in the world with all things in  heaven; also that there is a correspondence of all things of the body with all things of the mind in man, for correspondence is of things natural with things spiritual. But what correspondence is, and the nature of it, also with what things in the human body there is correspondence, has been told above. As there is a correspondence of all things of the body with all things of the mind in man, there is primarily a correspondence with the heart and lungs. This correspondence is universal, because the heart reigns throughout the body and also the lungs. The heart and the lungs are the two fountains of all natural movements in the body, and the will and understanding are the two fountains of all spiritual activities in the same body; and the natural movements of the body must correspond to the activities of its spirit; if they did not correspond the life of the body and also the life of the mind would cease; it is correspondence that makes both of these to exist and subsist.

[[2]] That the heart corresponds to the will, or, what is the same, to the love, is evident from the variation of its pulse according to the affections. Its variations are that its heat is either slow or quick, full or feeble, soft or hard, equal or unequal, and so forth. Thus it differs in gladness and in sorrow, in tranquillity of mind and in anger, in bravery and in fear, when the body is warm and when it is cold, also variously in disease, and so forth. All affections belong to the love and thus to the will.

[[3]] As the heart corresponds to the affections belonging to the love, and thus to the will, the wise men of old ascribed affections to the heart, and some placed there the abode of affections. This is the source of the common expressions, " a magnanimous heart," "a timid heart," "a joyful heart," "a sad heart," a soft heart," "a hard heart," "a great heart," "a little heart," "a whole heart," "a broken heart," "a heart of flesh," "a stony heart," "fat, soft, or vile in heart," "having no heart," " giving the heart to do," "giving a single heart," "giving a new heart," "laying up in the heart," "receiving in the heart," "not reaching the heart," "hardening one's heart," "lifted up in heart," "a friend in heart," also the terms "concord," "discord," "madness" ("vecordia"), and many other like expressions. And in the Word, the "heart" everywhere signifies the will or love, for the reason that the Word was written throughout by means of correspondences.

[[4]] It is similar with the lungs, the breath or spirit (anima seu spiritus) of which signifies the understanding; for as the heart corresponds to the love or will, so the breath or spirit of the lungs, which is the respiration, corresponds to the understanding. This is why it is said in the Word that man must love God "with the whole heart and the whole soul," which signifies that he must love with the whole will and the whole understanding. Also that God will create in man "a new heart and a new spirit," where "heart" signifies the will, and "spirit" the understanding, because when man is regenerated he is created anew. For the same reason it is said of Adam that Jehovah God breathed into his nostrils "the soul of lives," and made him "a living soul," which signifies that God breathed into him wisdom. Moreover, "the nostrils," from the correspondence of respiration through them, signify perception, and for this reason an intelligent man is said to be "keen-scented," and an unintelligent man is said to be "dull-scented." Thence also it is said that:

The Lord breathed on His disciples, and said to them, Receive ye the Holy Spirit (John 20:22).

"Breathing on them" signifies the intelligence they were about to receive, and "the Holy Spirit" means the Divine wisdom which teaches and enlightens man. This was done in order to make evident that the Divine wisdom, which is meant by "the Holy Spirit," proceeds from Him. That soul and spirit are predicated of respiration is also known from common speech, for it is said of man when he dies that he "gives up the ghost (anima seu spiritus)," for he then ceases to breath and respire (animare et spirare). Also, "spirit" in most languages means both the spirit in heaven and the breath of man, and also wind. From this comes the idea that prevails with many that spirits in the heavens, also the souls of men after death, and even God Himself, because He is called a spirit, are like winds; and yet God Himself is Man; and so is the soul of man after death, also every spirit in the heavens; but they are so called because from correspondence "soul" and "spirit" signify wisdom.

[[6]] That the lungs correspond to the understanding as the heart does to the will is further evident from man's thought and speech. All thought is of the understanding, and all speech is of thought. Man cannot think except the breath of the lungs concurs and agrees, consequently when he thinks tacitly he breathes tacitly; if he thinks deeply he breathes deeply; likewise if he think slowly, quickly, intently, gently, eagerly, and so forth; if he holds his breath entirely he is unable to think except in the spirit and by its respiration; and so forth. That the speech of the month that proceeds from the thought of man's understanding makes one with the respiration of the lungs, and so makes one that he cannot produce the least of sound and the least part of a word without the concurrent aid of the lungs through the larynx and the epiglottis, every one can know from living experience in himself, if he wishes to.

[[7]] That the heart corresponds to the will and the lungs to the understanding is clear also from the universal government of each in the body throughout, and in all and each of its parts. It is known that the heart governs in the body by arteries and veins. That the lungs govern there any anatomist can see; for the lungs by their respiration act upon the ribs and the diaphragm, and through these by means of ligaments and by means of the peritoneum, upon all the viscera of the entire body, also upon all its muscles; and they not only enwrap these, they also penetrate deeply within, and so deeply that there is not the least part in a viscus or muscle, from surface to inmost, that does not derive something from the ligaments, consequently from the respiration. This is especially true of the stomach, because its esophagus passes through the diaphragm and is closely related to the trachea which goes forth from the lungs. For this reason the heart itself has besides its own motion a pulmonary motion, for it rests upon the diaphragm, and lies in the bosom of the lungs, and through its auricles is coherent and continuous with them; also from the lungs the respiratory motion passes into the arteries and veins. Thus the heart and lungs are bed-fellows in a common chamber separate from the rest of the body, which chamber is called the chest.

[[8]] From all this the acute observer can see that all living motions which are called actions, and which exist by means of the muscles, are accomplished by the co-operation of the motion of the heart and the motion of the lungs, and this enters into each one of them, both the general which is external and the particular which is internal; and he who is clear-sighted can also see that these two fountains of bodily motions correspond to the will and the understanding, since they are produced from these. This, too, has been shown from heaven. It was granted me to be present with angels who presented this in a living way. By a wonderful fluxion into gyres, such as no words can describe, they formed an image of the heart and of the lungs, with all their interlacings, interior and exterior, and they then followed the flow of heaven, for heaven has a tendency to such forms because of the influx of love and wisdom from the Lord. They thus represented the particulars in the heart and the particulars in the lungs and their union, which they called the marriage of love and wisdom. And they said that it is the same through out the body, and in its particular members, organs, and viscera, with the things pertaining to the heart in them, and the things pertaining to the lungs in them; and that where these do not both act and each take its turn distinctly, no motion of life from any voluntary principle, and no sense of life from any intellectual principle is possible.

[[9]] From what has been said thus far, a man who wishes to gain wisdom even in respect to causes can be taught and can learn how the will conjoins itself to the understanding and the understanding to the will, and how they act in conjunction; from the heart how the will does this, from the lungs how the understanding does this, and from the conjunction of the heart and lungs what the reciprocal conjunction of the will and understanding is. And from all this the truth of the preceding article is established, namely, that in man after birth the receptacle of love becomes the will, and the receptacle of wisdom becomes the understanding; for after birth the lungs are opened, and these with the heart inaugurate the active life which pertains to man's will, and the sensitive life which pertains to his understanding. These lives do not exist from the separate operation of the heart, or from the separate operation of the lungs, but from their co-operation; nor do they exist apart from correspondence, or in a swoon, or in cases of suffocation. [DW6]

Author: EMANUEL SWEDENBORG  (1688-1772)

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