Appearance that action is from oneself


[1 of 3] Swedenborg (1688-1772, Sweden): primary subject "Appearance, of life/action from oneself" (search under Inner Life/Teachings)": source "Arcana Coelestia, vol.8": detail "Section 5846 - 5847"
The influx from the spiritual world into man is in general of such a nature that man cannot think or will anything of himself, but everything flows in; good and truth from the Lord through heaven, thus through the angels who are with the man; evil and falsity from hell, thus through the evil spirits who are with the man; and this into the man's thought and will. This I know will seem to be a very great paradox, because it is contrary to the appearance; but experience itself shall declare how the matter stands.
 No man, spirit, or angel ever has any life from himself, thus neither can he think and will from himself; because in thinking and willing is man's life, and speaking and acting is the life thence derived. For there is one only Life, that of the Lord, which flows into all, but is variously received, and indeed according to the quality that a man has induced on his soul by his life. Hence with the evil, goods and truths are turned into evils and falsities, but with the good they are received — goods as goods, and truths as truths. This may be compared to the light of the sun flowing into objects, which is modified and varied in them diversely according to the form of the parts, and thus is turned into colours, some sad and some cheerful. While a man lives in the world he induces a form on the purest substances of his interiors, so that it may be said that he forms his soul, that is, its quality.

[2 of 3] Swedenborg (1688-1772, Sweden): primary subject "Appearance, of life/action from oneself" (search under Inner Life/Teachings)": source "Apocalypse Explained, vol.2": detail "Section 349"
Since it is at this day believed in the world, that the life which every one has, is given and implanted, and is thus his own, and that it does not flow in continually, I wish to say something respecting it. That it is believed that life is in man so as to be man’s, is only an appearance arising from the perpetual presence of the Lord, and from His Divine love, willing to be conjoined with man, to be in him, and impart to him its own life, for such is the nature of the Divine love; and because this is perpetual and continuous, man supposes that the life thus in him is his own; notwithstanding it is known that there is no good and truth in man that does not come from above, and thus flow in. Similarly love and faith; for the whole of man’s love is from good, and the whole of his faith is from truth; for what a man loves is to him good, and what he believes is to him truth. Hence it is in the first place evident, that no good and no truth, so neither love nor faith, is in man, but that they flow in from the Lord, life itself being in good and truth, and not elsewhere. The receptacle of the good of love with man is the will, and the receptacle of the truth of faith with him is the understanding; and to will good is not of man, neither to believe truth. These two faculties are those in which all the life of man is, outside of them there is none; hence also it is evident that the life of those faculties, consequently, the life of the whole man, is not in man, but flows in. That evil and falsity, or the will and the love of evil, and the understanding and the faith of falsity, are with man, is also from influx; but that influx is from hell. For man is kept in the freedom of choosing, that is, of receiving good and truth from the Lord, or of receiving evil and falsity from hell, and man is kept in this for the sake of reformation, for he is kept between heaven and hell, and hence in spiritual equilibrium, which is freedom. This freedom itself is not in the man, but it is together with the life which flows in. …
 Moreover, all man’s senses, namely, sight, hearing, smell, taste, and touch, are not in the man, but are excited and produced from influx; in the man there are only organic receptive forms; these possess no sense until something adequate from without flows in. It is the same with the internal organs of sensation of the thought and affection, which receive influx from the spiritual world, as with the external organs of sensation that receive influx from the natural world. That there is one only fountain of life, and that all life is thence, and continually flows in, is well known in heaven, and is never called in question by any angel of the higher heavens, for they perceive the influx itself. That all lives are like streams from one only and perpetual fountain of life, has been also rendered evident to me from much experience, and has been seen in the spiritual world with those who believed that they lived from themselves, and would not believe that they lived from the Lord. These, when the influx into the thought was withheld from them as to some part, lay deprived of life, as it were, and presently on the influx approaching, they revived, as it were, from death; and they afterwards confessed that the life in them was not their own, but flowed continuously into them, and that men, spirits, and angels were only forms receptive of life.
 The wise, there, conclude that it is so from this fact, that nothing can exist and subsist from itself, but from what is prior to itself, and thence that neither can that which is prior exist from itself, save in successive order from a First; and thus life itself, viewed in itself, is only from Him, who alone is Life in Himself. Hence also they know, and likewise from a spiritual idea perceive, that everything must be in connection with a First in order that it may be something, and that it is something only as it is in such connection. From these considerations it is evident how foolishly they think who derive the origin of life from nature, and suppose that man learns to think through the influx of interior nature and its order, and not from God, who is the very Being (Esse) of life, and from whom is all the order of both worlds, — the natural and the spiritual, — according to which the life flows in, — life eternal into those who can be disposed to receive life according to Divine order, but an opposite life, which is called spiritual death, into those who cannot be so disposed, thus who live contrary to Divine order. The Divine good which proceeds from the Lord, is that from which order exists, and Divine truths are the laws of order.
 Let every one take heed lest he believe that the Divine Life with any one, even indeed with the evil and in hell, is changed; for, as said above, the life itself is not changed or varied, but by it an appearance of the receptive form is presented, through which and from which it passes; nearly in the same manner as every one appears in a mirror according to his own quality, by light, which still remains in its own state, and only produces the form to the sight.

[3 of 3] Swedenborg (1688-1772, Sweden): primary subject "Appearance, of life/action from oneself" (search under Inner Life/Teachings)": source "Apocalypse Explained, vol.6": detail "Section 1122"
The reason why it appears as if life were in man, is that it flows in from the Lord into his inmost things that are removed from the sight of his thought, and thus from perception; and that the principal cause which is life, and the instrumental cause which is a recipient of life, act together as one cause, this being felt in the instrumental cause, which is the recipient, thus in man as in himself. The case in this respect is precisely similar to the sensation that light is in the eye and gives birth to sight; that sound is in the ear and gives birth to hearing; that the volatile particles in the air are in the nostrils and give birth to smell; and that the particles of food turning over upon the tongue, give birth to taste, when yet the eyes, the ears, the nostrils, and tongue are recipient organized substances, thus instrumental causes, while light, sound, the volatile particles in the air, and the particles rolling upon the tongue, are the principal causes; and these causes — the instrumental and the principal — act together as one cause. That is called principal which acts, and that is called instrumental which suffers itself to be acted upon. He who examines the subject more deeply, is enabled to see that man, in regard to everything pertaining to him, is an organ of life, and that that which causes sensation and perception enters from the outside, and that it is life itself which causes a man to feel and to perceive as if from himself.