One of Swedenborg’s most iconic concepts is that there are levels in our minds. These levels allow us to interact with both the material and spiritual worlds at the same time. Today, we set our focus on the middle level and explore the special powers of the rational mind right now Inside Off The Left Eye.
Featured quotations from Emanuel Swedenborg's Secrets of Heaven:
Let me explain the secret behind the command not to go down into Egypt but to stay as an immigrant in the land of Gerar—that is, not to focus on facts but on rational thinking: All appearances of truth containing something divine belong to the rational level—so much so that rational ideas are the same as appearances of truth. Facts, though, belong to the earthly level—so much so that earthly ideas are the same as factual truth. Rational truth, or appearances of truth, can exist and emerge only from an inflow from the Divine into the rational dimension and through rational ideas into the facts occupying the earthly dimension. The resulting activity on the rational level shows up on the earthly level like the image of a busy scene reflected in a mirror. That is how it presents itself to us and also to angels. The earthly image is not as conspicuous to an angel as it is to those in the world of spirits and those on a spiritual-earthly level.#3368:3.a+ So the latter two groups have truth represented to them.
This is how the case stands: We are never born into any truth, not even into any earthly truth, such as the idea that we should not steal, not kill, not commit adultery, and so on. Still less are we born into any spiritual truth, such as the idea that there is a God, or that we have a deeper part that will live on after death. So on our own we know nothing about eternal life. Earthly and spiritual truth are things we learn. If we did not learn them, we would be much worse than brute animals. By heredity, we love ourselves above all others and long to own everything in the world. That is why we need to be restrained by civil laws and the fear of losing our position, wealth, reputation, and life. Otherwise we would steal, kill, and commit adultery without the least twinge of conscience. This is obviously the case, because even the educated do such things without remorse and in fact defend the practice, offering many justifications for acting that way, so far as they can get away with it. What would they refrain from if they had not been educated?
There are two paths that lead to a person’s rational mind: a higher or more inward path that gives access to goodness and truth from the Lord, and a lower or more outward path through which evil and falsity sneak in from hell. The rational mind itself lies at the meeting-point of the two paths. In the Word, this level of the mind is compared to and called a city, on account of the goodness and truth present in it. Since it is compared to and called a city, gates are marked out for it, and enemies—evil demons and spirits—are described in many passages as besieging or attacking it. Angels from the Lord, which is to say, the Lord himself, are described as defending it. Hellish demons and spirits, with their evils and falsities, cannot go beyond the lower or shallower gate; they never enter the city. If they could enter the city (our rational mind), that would be the end of us. When they advance far enough that it looks to them as though they have captured the city, it is closed, so that goodness and truth can no longer flow into it from heaven. Just a small bit seeps in through cracks all around, as just mentioned.