Why does it often feel hard to be loving toward ourselves? Are we born good, or evil? Turns out, it might not be such a simple either/or question and knowing the design of our rebirth can help us trust the process. We explore our spiritual development from infancy to old age right now Inside Off The Left Eye.
Featured quotations from Emanuel Swedenborg's Secrets of Heaven:
Goodness but not truth is born into humans, with the result that babies lack any knowledge of truth. Truth has to be learned and then united with goodness.
As a consequence of these facts and others, our earthly self accepts truth much later and with much more difficulty than our rational self does. The result is combat, which lasts quite a long time and does not end until the vessels in our earthly self for receiving goodness have been softened by inward trial, as shown above in §3318. Truth is just a vessel for receiving goodness (§§1496, 1832, 1900, 2063, 2261, 2269), and the vessel becomes harder the more rigid we are about truth. . . . The more rigid we are, the heavier the battle, if we are to be reborn. Accordingly, since this is what happens in the earthly self to unite truth with goodness there, and it is accomplished through the struggles of inward trial, the biblical text repeats I’m worn out.
The reason it is newness or a new stage that old age symbolizes on an inner level is that angels (the intended audience of the Word’s inner meaning) have no idea of time. So they know nothing of time-related concepts such as the different eras of a person’s life—childhood, youth, young adulthood, full adulthood, and old age. Instead they replace them all with the idea of states. For the period of childhood they picture an innocent state; for the period of youth and young adulthood, a state of desire for goodness and truth; for full adulthood, a state of understanding; and for old age, a state of wisdom (§3183). In old age we pass from temporal concerns to the concerns of timeless life and therefore put on a new state. As a result, old age symbolizes newness.