Appearances are deceptive


[1 of 3] Swedenborg (1688-1772, Sweden): primary subject "Senses, limitations of" (search under Cosmology/Science)": source "Arcana Coelestia, vol.7": detail "Section 5119"
It appears as if the things of the world flow in through the senses towards the interiors, but this is a fallacy of sense; the influx is of interiors into exteriors, and the result of this influx is perception. On these subjects I have at times conversed with spirits; and it was demonstrated by living experience that the interior man sees and perceives in the exterior what is done outside him, and that from no other source has the sensuous life, or the faculty of sense, or sensation. But this fallacy is of such a nature, and so great, that it can by no means be dispelled by the natural man, and not even by the rational unless he can withdraw his thought from the sensuous.

[2 of 3] Swedenborg (1688-1772, Sweden): primary subject "Senses, limitations of" (search under Cosmology/Science)": source "Arcana Coelestia, vol.8": detail "Section 6322"
It is according to all appearance that the external senses, as the sight and hearing, flow into the thought, and excite ideas there; for it appears that objects, and also speech, move the senses, first the external, and then the internal senses. But this appearance, however strong, is nevertheless a fallacy; for what is external, being gross and material, cannot flow into and move what is internal, which is pure and spiritual: this is contrary to nature. It is the internal sense, that is, the sense of the spirit itself, which sensates through the external sense, and disposes the external sensory to receive objects according to its dictates; and therefore the sensories (as for instance the sensory of sight, or the eye) instantly accommodate themselves to all objects in accordance with the nature of these; which would not take place in the sensories unless there were an influx from within.
 I have often heard among spirits a discourse about this appearance, and it was as often stated by angels that influx by no means takes place from externals into internals, but always from internals into externals; and that this is according to order, contrary to which there can be no influx. Two or three times I have seen spirits separated from an angelic society because they had believed from the appearance that there exists an influx from externals into internals; thus that influx is physical and not spiritual. The reason of their separation was that according to this notion it might have been concluded that the hells, which are in externals, can flow into the heavens, which are in internals; and it might also have been concluded that the influx of life is not from the Lord, although everything of life flows in from Him, because He is in the inmost, and relatively to Him all things are external.

[3 of 3] Swedenborg (1688-1772, Sweden): primary subject "Appearance, of life/action from oneself" (search under Inner Life/Teachings)": source "True Christian Religion": detail "Section 473"
A man can draw no other conclusion from his sensible impressions than that he lives from a life which is his own; for in the connection subsisting between the instrumental and the principal, the latter is perceived by the former as its own, or as something belonging to itself, and cannot therefore distinguish it from itself; for the principal cause and the instrumental act together as one cause, according to a maxim established and allowed in the learned world. The principal cause is life, and the instrumental cause is the mind of man. It appears also as if beasts possessed in themselves created life, but this is a similar fallacy; for all beasts are organs created to receive light and heat from the natural world and from the spiritual at the same time, every species being a form of some particular natural love, and receiving light and heat from the spiritual world mediately through heaven or hell, the gentle kinds through heaven, and the fierce through hell. Man alone receives light and heat, that is, wisdom and love, immediately from the Lord; and herein consists the difference between them.