Extracts

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Sex and conjugial love

swedenborg

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[1 of 1] Swedenborg (1688-1772, Sweden): primary subject "Love, conjugial (marriage)" (search under Inner Life/Love, Positive Emotion, Virtue, Will)": source "Conjugial Love": detail "Section 94 - 96"
The love of sex belongs to the external or natural man, and hence it is common to every animal. Every man is born corporeal, and becomes more and more interiorly natural, and in proportion as he loves intelligence he becomes rational, and afterwards, if he loves wisdom, he becomes spiritual. Now as a man advances from knowledge into intelligence, and from intelligence into wisdom, so also his mind changes its form; for it is opened more and more, and conjoins itself more nearly with heaven, and by heaven with the Lord; hence it becomes more enamored of truth, and more desirous of the good of life. If therefore he halts at the threshold in the progression to wisdom, the form of his natural mind remains; and this receives the influx of the universal sphere, which is that of the marriage of good and truth, in the same manner as it is received by the inferior subjects of the animal kingdom—beasts and birds; and as these are merely natural, the man in such case becomes like them, and thereby loves sex just as they do. This is what is meant by the assertion that love of sex belongs to the external or natural man, and hence it is common to every animal.
 But conjugial love belongs to the internal or spiritual man; and hence this love is peculiar to man. The reason why conjugial love belongs to the internal or spiritual man is, because in proportion as a man becomes more intelligent and wise, in the same proportion he becomes more internal and spiritual, and in the same proportion the form of his mind is more perfected; and this form receives conjugial love: for therein it perceives and is sensible of a spiritual delight, which is inwardly blessed, and a natural delight thence arising, which derives its soul, life, and essence from the spiritual delight.
 The reason why conjugial love is peculiar to man, is because he only can become spiritual, he being capable of elevating his intellect above his natural loves, and from that state of elevation of seeing them beneath him, and of judging of their quality, and also of amending, correcting, and removing them. No other animal can do this; for the loves of other animals are altogether united with their inborn knowledge; on which account this knowledge cannot be elevated into intelligence, and still less into wisdom; in consequence of which every other animal is led by the love implanted in his knowledge, as a blind person is led through the streets by a dog. This is the reason why conjugial love is peculiar to man; it may also be called native and near akin to him; because man has the faculty of growing wise, with which faculty this love is united.