Extracts

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Everything is material

swedenborg

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[1 of 1] Swedenborg (1688-1772, Sweden): primary subject "Material, everything is" (search under Cosmology/Science)": source "Divine Providence": detail "Section 279[6] - 279[8]"
Those who believe in instantaneous salvation and unmediated mercy do not know that affections, which are of the will, are nothing other than changes of state in the purely organic substances of the mind; that thoughts, which are of the understanding, are nothing other than changes and variations in the form of those substances; and that memory is the persisting state of the changes and variations. Everyone acknowledges, on its being said, that affections and thoughts exist only in substances and their forms, which are the subjects; existing in the brain which is full of substances and forms, they are called purely organic forms. No one who thinks rationally can help laughing at the fancies of some that affections and thoughts do not have substantive bases, but are exhalations given shape by heat and light, like images apparently in the air or ether. For thought can no more exist apart from a substantial form than sight can apart from its form, the eye, or hearing apart from its form, the ear, or taste apart from its form, the tongue. If you examine the brain, you will see innumerable substances and fibers, also, and see, too, that everything in it is organized. What more is needed than this ocular proof?
 But one may ask, What are affection and thought then? A conclusion can be reached from each and all things in the body. In it are many viscera, each fixed in its place, and all performing their several functions by changes and variations of state and form. It is well known that they are engaged in their own activities — the stomach, the intestines, the kidneys, the liver, the pancreas, the spleen, the heart and the lungs, each in its particular activity. All the activities are maintained from within, and to be actuated from within means that it is by changes and variations of state and form. It may be plain then that the activities of the purely organic substances of the mind are similar, the only difference being that those of the organic substances of the body are natural, but of the mind are spiritual; plainly, also, the two make one by correspondences.
 The nature of the changes and variations of state and form in the organic substances of the mind, which are affections and thoughts, cannot be shown to the eye. It may, however, be seen as in a mirror by the changes of state in the lungs on speaking and singing. There is correspondence, moreover; for the sound of the voice in speaking and singing, and the articulations of the sound which are the words of speech and the modulations of song, are produced by means of the lungs; sound corresponds to affection, and speech to thought. Sound and speech are produced also from affection and thought. This is done by changes and variations in the state and form of the organic substances of the lungs, and from the lungs through the trachea or windpipe in the larynx and glottis, and then in the tongue, and finally in the lips. The first changes and variations in the state and form of the sound occur in the lungs, the second in trachea and larynx, the third in the glottis by the different openings of its orifice, the fourth in the tongue by its various positions against palate and teeth, and the fifth in the lips by the various modifications of form in them.
 It may be evident, then, that these consecutive changes and variations in the state of organic forms produce the sounds and their articulations which are speech and song. Inasmuch, then, as sound and speech are produced from no other source than the affections and thoughts of the mind (for they exist from them and are never apart from them), clearly the affections of the will are changes and variations in the state of the purely organic substances of the mind, and the thoughts of the understanding are changes and variations in the form of those substances, quite like those in the substances of the lungs.