1Ner10 When it comes to the particulars of the form of heaven and how it proceeds and flows, this not even the angels can comprehend. Some conception of it can be gained from the  form of all things in the human body, when this is scanned and investigated by an acute and wise man; for it has been shown above, in their respective chapters, that the entire heaven reflects a single man (see n. 59-72) and that all things in man correspond to the heavens (n. 87-102). How incomprehensible and inexplicable that form is is evident only in a general way from the nervous fibers, by which each part and all parts of the body are woven together. What these fibers are, and how they proceed and flow in the brain, the eye cannot at all perceive; for innumerable fibers are there so interwoven that taken together they appear like a soft continuous mass; and yet it is in accord with these that each thing and all things of the will and understanding flow with the utmost distinctness into acts. How again they interweave themselves in the body is clear from the various plexuses, such as those of the heart, the mesentery, and others; and also from the knots called ganglions, into which many fibers enter from every region and there intermingle, and when variously joined together go forth to their functions, and this again and again; besides like things in every viscus, member, organ, and muscle. Whoever examines these fibers and their many wonders with the eye of wisdom will be utterly bewildered. And yet the things seen with the eye are few, and those not seen are still more wonderful because they belong to an inner realm of nature. It is clearly evident that this form corresponds to the form of heaven, because all the workings of the understanding and the will are within it and are in accordance with it; for it is in accordance with this form that whatever a man wills passes spontaneously into act, and whatever he thinks spreads through the fibers from their beginnings even to their terminations, which is the source of sensations; and inasmuch as it is the form of thought and will, it is the form of intelligence and wisdom. Such is the form that corresponds to the form of heaven. And from this it can be known that such is the form in accordance with which every affection and thought of angels extends itself, and that so far as the angels are in that form they are in intelligence and wisdom. That this form of heaven is from the Divine Human of the Lord can be seen above (n. 78-86). All this has been said to make clear also that the heavenly form is such that even as to its generals it can never be completely known, thus that it is incomprehensible even to the angels, as has been said above. [HH212]

Such as life is in its first principles, such it is in the whole and in every part. That this may be perceived, it shall now be told where in the brains these first principles are, and how they become derivative. Anatomy shows where in the brains these first principles are; it teaches that there are two brains; that these are continued from the head into the spinal column; that they consist of two substances, called cortical substance and medullary substance; that cortical substance consists of innumerable gland-like forms, and medullary substance of innumerable fiber-like forms. Now as these little glands are heads of fibrils, they are also their first principles. For from these, fibers begin and thereupon go forth, gradually bundling themselves into nerves. These bundles or nerves, when formed, descend to the organs of sense in the face, and to the organs of motion in the body, and form them. Consult any one skilled in the science of anatomy, and you will be convinced. This cortical or glandular substance constitutes the surface of the cerebrum, and also the surface of the corpora striata, from which proceeds the medulla oblongata; it also constitutes the middle of the cerebellum, and the middle of the spinal marrow. But medullary or fibrillary substance everywhere begins in and proceeds from the cortical; out of it nerves arise, and from them all things of the body. That this is true is proved by dissection. They who know these things, either from the study of anatomical science or from the testimony of those who are skilled in the science, can see that the first principles of life are in the same place as the beginnings of the fibers, and that fibers cannot go forth from themselves, but must go forth from first principles. These first principles, that is, beginnings, which appear as little glands, are almost countless; their multitude may be compared to the multitude of stars in the universe; and the multitude of fibrils coming out of them may be compared to the multitude of rays going forth from the stars and bearing their heat and light to the earth. The multitude of these little glands may also be compared to the multitude of angelic societies in the heavens, which also are countless, and, I have been told, are in like order as the glands. Also the multitude of fibrils going out from these little glands may be compared to the spiritual truths and goods which in like manner flow down from the angelic societies like rays. From this it is that man is like a universe, and like a heaven in least form (as has been frequently said and shown above). From all which it can now be seen that such as life is in first principles, such it is in derivatives; or such as it is in its firsts in the brains, such it is in the things arising therefrom in the body. [DLW366]


As the two things, Love and Wisdom, are in the Lord and proceed forth from Him, and as man has been created to be a likeness and image of Him - a likeness through love, and an image through wisdom - therefore two receptacles have been created with man, one for love, the other for wisdom. The receptacle for love is what is called "the Will," and the receptacle for wisdom is what is called "the Understanding". A man knows that these two are in him, but he does not know that they are conjoined in the same way as they are conjoined in the Lord, with this difference that in the Lord they are Life, whereas in man they are receptacles of life. What the forms of those receptacles are like cannot be unfolded, those forms being spiritual and spiritual things transcending the things of this world. They are forms within forms up to a third degree,* an innumerable quantity of them, distinct from one another, yet in harmony with one another, each one being a receptacle for love and wisdom. The originator forms are in the brains and are the starting-points and heads there of the nerve-fibres, along which their efforts and forces flow down to all the organs in the body, both the more excellent and the less excellent, giving rise to sensation in the sensory organs, to motion in the motor organs, and, in the other organs, to the functions of nutrition, chyle-formation, blood formation, separation, purification and reproduction, thus giving rise in each one to its own use.

These things having been premised, it is now to be seen that

(1) these forms, the receptacles for love and wisdom, first come into existence with man when conceived and being developed in the womb,
(2) from these forms are drawn out and produced in a connected series every part of the body from the head to the soles of the feet,
(3) the production of these is effected in accordance with the laws of Correspondence, and consequently every part of the body, internal and external, is a correspondent.

[[2]] [71.] (1) That these forms, the receptacles for love and wisdom, first come into existence with man when conceived and being developed in the womb, can be established from practical knowledge and confirmed by reason.
From practical knowledge: From the first stages of the embryo's development in the womb after conception, and also from the first stages of the chick's development in the egg after sitting commences. The first forms themselves are not visible to the eye, but only the parts they first produce, constituting the head. It is well known that the head at first is relatively larger and that from it is put forth the web for every part of the body. It can be seen from this that those forms are the starting points.

By reason: Because all creating is from the Lord as a Sun, He being Divine Love and Divine Wisdom, and it is by the operation of these that the creating of man is effected. The forming of the embryo, and so of a human infant, in the womb is like a creating. It is termed "generation," because it is effected by a bringing across (traductio). Hence it follows that with man specially the first forms are receptacles of love and wisdom, and that the creating of everything else constituting a human being is effected by means of them. Besides, no effect comes forth from itself but from a prior cause, called the effecting cause, and neither does this come forth from itself but from the cause called "end," within which there is, both in effort and in idea, everything that follows-in effort in the Divine Love, in idea in the Divine Wisdom, these being the End of ends. This truth will be more fully established from things that follow.

[2] [[3]] [72.] (2) That from these forms are drawn out and produced in a connected series every part of the body from the head to the soles of the feet, can also be established from practical knowledge and confirmed by reason.

From practical knowledge: Because from those primitive forms nerve-fibres are drawn out to the sensory organs of the face, the eyes, ears, nose and tongue: also to the motor organs, namely, the muscles, throughout the body: likewise to all parts of the visceral system fulfilling various functions in the body. All these organs are nothing else than structures woven out of the fibres and nerves issuing forth from the two brains and from the spinal marrow. The very blood-vessels, out of which also the structures are formed, are likewise woven out of fibres from the same source. Any one skilled in anatomy can see that there are, round about the cerebrum as well as inside it, and in the cerebellum and in the spinal marrow, small spheres like little particles, termed cortical and cineritious substances and glands; and that every one of the nerve-fibres in the brains, and all the nerves composed of them throughout the body, issue and go forth from those small spheres or substances; these latter are the initial forms from which every part of the body from head to foot is drawn out and produced.

By reason: Because there could be no nerve-fibres without originating sources; and because the organic structures of the body, composed of the fibres variously woven together, are effects, unable to live, feel and move of themselves, but doing so from the sources originating them, through the continuum they together form. This may be illustrated by examples. The eye does not see of itself, but does so from the Understanding, through this continuum: it is the Understanding that sees, by means of the eye: it is the Understanding, too, that moves the eye, directs it to different objects and sharpens the sight. Neither does the ear hear of itself, but does so from the Understanding, through this continuum: it is the Understanding that hears, by means of the ear: it directs it, too, makes it attentive and adjusts it to different sounds. The tongue, again, does not speak of itself, but does so from the Understanding's thought. It is the thought that speaks, by means of the tongue, changing the sounds and heightening their inflexions at will. The same with the muscles: they do not move of themselves: it is the Will together with the Understanding that moves them and sets them in action as it wishes. It is clear from these examples that nothing in the body feels or moves of itself, but does so from the sources originating it, where the Will and Understanding reside, which consequently in man are the receptacles for love and wisdom; it is clear, too, that these are the first forms, the sensory and motor organs being forms derived from them; for influx follows the same course that formation has taken, there being no influx from the organs into the first forms, but from the first forms into the organs. This latter influx is spiritual influx, whereas the other is natural, or, as it is also termed, physical influx.

[3] [[4]] [73.] (3) The production of these is effected in accordance with the lazes of Correspondence, and consequently every part of the body, internal and external, is a correspondent. Hitherto no one in the world has known what "Correspondence" is, because no one has known what the "spiritual" is, and Correspondence exists between what is natural and what is spiritual. Whenever anything derived from what is spiritual as its origin and cause, is made visible and perceptible before the senses, then there is Correspondence between them. Such correspondence exists between the spiritual and natural things in man: the spiritual things are all things of his love and wisdom, consequently all things of his Will and Understanding, and the natural things are all things of his body. These latter, because they have come into existence from the former and continue to draw their existence from them, that is, to subsist therefrom, are correspondents, and in consequence, the two act as one, just as end, cause and effect do. Thus, the face acts as one with the affections of the lower mind (animus),** the speech acts as one with the thought, and the actions of every member act as one with the Will; similarly with the rest of the body. The universal law in regard to correspondences is that the spiritual thing conditions itself for the use that is its end in view, and then, by means of heat and light, actuates the use and regulates it, and clothes it with intermediary things provided for that purpose, so that finally a form is created serving the end in view. In that form, what is spiritual occupies the position of "end," the use the position of "cause," and what is natural the position of "effect"; in the spiritual world, however, what is substantial is in place of what is natural. All things in man are forms of this description.
[[5]] More about Correspondence can be seen in the work HEAVEN AND HELL, Nos. 87-102, 103-115: and about various correspondences in ARCANA CAELESTIA, namely, the correspondence of the face and its expressions with the affections of the mind, Nos. 1568, 2988-9, 3631, 4796-7, 4800, 5165, 5168, 5695, 9306: the correspondence of the body in posture and action with intellectual and voluntary things, Nos. 2988, 3632, 4215: the correspondence of the

Senses in general, Nos. 4318-30;
Eyes and sight, Nos. 4403-20;
Nose and smell, Nos. 4624-34;
Ears and hearing, Nos. 4652-60;
Tongue and taste, Nos. 4791-805;
Hands, arms, shoulders and feet, Nos. 4931-53; Loins and organs of generation, Nos. 5050-62;
Viscera inside the body, in particular the stomach, the thymus gland, and the receptacle and ducts of the chyle, Nos. 5171-89;
Spleen, No. 9698;
Peritonaeum, kidneys and bladder, Nos. 5377-96; Skin and bones, Nos. 5552-73;
Xiphoid (or ensiform) cartilage, No. 9236;
Memory of abstract things, No. 6808;
Memory of material things, No. 7253:

the correspondence of heaven with man, Nos. 911, 1900, 1928, 2996, 2998, 3634, 3636-43, 3741-5, 3884, 4041, 4279, 4523-4, 4625, 6013, 6057, 9279, 9632: the knowledge of correspondences with the ancients was the chief of knowledges, specially with the orientals, though it has at the present day become completely lost, Nos. 3021, 3419, 3472-85, 4280, 4749, 4844, 4964, 4966, 5702, 6004, 6692, 7097, 7729, 7779, 9391, 10252, 10407: without a knowledge of correspondences the Word is not understood, NOS. 2890-3, 2987-3003, 3213-27, 3472-85, 8615, 10687: all things seen in the heavens are correspondents, NOS. 1521, 1532, 1619-25, 1807-8, 1971, 1974, 1977, 1980-1, 2299, 2601, 3213-26, 3348, 3350, 3475, 3485, 3745, 9481, 9575-7: all things in the natural world and its three kingdoms correspond to all things in the spiritual world, NOS. 1632, 1881, 2758, 2890-3, 2987-3003, 3213-27, 3483, 3624-49, 4044, 4053, 4116, 4366, 4939, 5116, 5377, 5428, 5477, 8211, 9280.

In addition to the above, the ARCANA CAELESTIA treats of the correspondence of the natural sense of the Word, which is its literal sense, with spiritual things which are the things of love and wisdom in the heavens from the Lord, these things constituting its internal sense: this correspondence, moreover, you may see confirmed in THE DOCTRINE OF THE NEW JERUSALEM CONCERNING THE SACRED SCRIPTURE, NOS. 5-26, and further on in NOS. 27-69. To form an idea of the correspondence of the Will and Understanding, what has been said above may be consulted, NOS. 366 and 367.*** * Translator understands: three degrees, one within the other. ** Swedenborg uses two Latin terms for "mind," mens and animus. The former is the higher level of the mind in which the Will and Understanding are rationally active; the latter is the lower level in which desires and ideas connected with the body and the world are active. *** Probably Heaven and Hell. [DW2. [70.] II]

There are societies which relate to that region in the brain which is called the isthmus, and there are also spirits who relate to the little knots of fibers in the brain, of a glandular appearance, from which there flow forth fibers for various functions; which fibers act as a one in those beginnings or glandules, but diversely in their extremities. One society of spirits to whom such things correspond was brought before me, concerning which I may state that the spirits came in front, and addressed me, saying that they were men. But I was permitted to reply that they were not men endowed with bodies, but were spirits, and thus also men; because everything of the spirit conspires to that which is of man, even to a form like a man endowed with a body, for the spirit is the internal man; and also because men are men from intelligence and wisdom, and not from form; and therefore good spirits, and still more angels, are men more than those who are in the body, because they are more in the light of wisdom. After this reply they said that there were many in their society, and yet not one in it like another. But as it seemed to me impossible that in the other life there could be a society of those who were unlike, I conversed with them about it, and was at last instructed that, though they were unlike, they were nevertheless consociated in respect to their end, which to them was one. They said further that their nature was such that each one acted and spoke in a manner unlike that of any other, and yet they were alike in will and thought. This they also illustrated by an example: when anyone in the society says of an angel that he is the least in heaven, and another says that he is greatest, and a third that he is neither least nor greatest, and this with great variety, their thoughts nevertheless act as a one, because the one who desires to be least is the greatest, and is relatively the greatest for this reason; and yet there is neither least nor greatest, because they do not think of pre-eminence; and it is the same with everything else. Thus are they consociated in first principles, but act diversely in the extreme or outermost things. They applied themselves to my ear and said that they were good spirits, and that such was their manner of speaking. It was said of them that it is not known whence they come, and that they are of the wandering societies. [DLW388]

 Sense in general, or general sense, is distinguished into voluntary and involuntary. Voluntary sense is proper to the cerebrum, but involuntary sense is proper to the  cerebellum. In men these two kinds of general sense are conjoined, but yet are distinct. The fibers which flow forth from the cerebrum present the voluntary sense in general, and the fibers which flow from the cerebellum present the involuntary sense in general. The fibers of this double origin conjoin themselves together in the two appendices which are called the medulla oblongata and the medulla spinalis, and through these pass into the body, and shape its members, viscera, and organs. The parts which encompass the body, as the muscles and skin, and also the organs of the senses, for the most part receive fibers from the cerebrum; and hence man has sense and motion in accordance with his will. But the parts within this compass or enclosure, which are called the viscera of the body, receive fibers from the cerebellum; and consequently man has no sense of these parts, nor are they under the control of his will. From this it may in some measure appear what sense is in general, or the general voluntary sense, and the general involuntary sense. Be it known further that there must be a general in order that there may be any particular, and that the particular can in no wise come into existence and subsist without the general, and in fact that it subsists in the general; and that every particular is circumstanced according to the quality and according to the state of the general; and this is the case with sense in man, and also with motion. [AC4325]

Therefore the sons of Israel eat not the nerve of that which was displaced, which is upon the hollow of the thigh. That this signifies that those truths were not appropriated in which were falsities, is evident from the signification of "eating," as being to be conjoined and appropriated (see n. 2187, 2343, 3168, 3513, 3596, 3832); and from the signification of a "nerve" as being truth; for truths in good are circumstanced as are nerves in the flesh, and moreover in the spiritual sense truths are nerves, and good is flesh (n. 3813). Similar things are also signified by sinews* and flesh in Ezekiel:

Thus said the Lord Jehovih unto these bones, I will put sinews upon you, and will bring up flesh upon you, and I will put breath in you; and I beheld, and lo, there were sinews upon them, and flesh came up (Ezek. 37:5-6, 8).

Here the subject treated of is the new creation of man, that is, his regeneration. But when truths have been distorted, they then no longer become truths, but in proportion as they are distorted to what is opposite, they accede to falsities; and hence it is that by the "nerve of that which was displaced" is signified falsity. (That the hollow of the thigh is where there is the conjunction of conjugial love with natural good, consequently where there is influx of spiritual truth into natural good, may be seen above, n. 4277, 4280.) Hence it is evident that by "therefore the sons of Israel eat not the nerve of that which was displaced which is upon the hollow of the thigh," is signified that those truths were not appropriated in which were falsities. That these things are said of the sons of Israel because by "Israel" is signified the Divine celestial spiritual, may be seen above (n. 4286), and by "sons" truths (n. 489, 491, 2623); and thus the meaning is that the truths of the Divine celestial spiritual did not appropriate to themselves any falsities. [AC4051]

* The Latin word nervus means both a nerve and a sinew. That in Gen. 32 the great nervus ischiadicus or sciatic nerve is meant, see n. 5051. [Reviser]

From what has now been said it can also be seen that man's mind is the man himself. For the primary texture of the human form, that is, the human form itself with each and every thing thereof, is from first principles continued from the brain through the nerves, in the manner described above. It is this form into which man comes after death, who is then called a spirit or an angel, and who is in all completeness a man, but a spiritual man. The material form that is added and superinduced in the world, is not a human form by itself, but only by virtue of the spiritual form, to which it is added and superinduced that man may be enabled to perform uses in the natural world, and also to draw to himself out of the purer substances of the world a fixed containant of spiritual things, and thus continue and perpetuate life. It is a truth of angelic wisdom that man's mind, not alone in general, but in every particular, is in a perpetual conatus toward the human form, for the reason that God is a Man. [AC4303]

Author: EMANUEL SWEDENBORG  (1688-1772)

site search by freefind advanced


Copyright © 2007-2013 A. J. Coriat All rights reserved.