Memory and intelligence


[1 of 1] Swedenborg (1688-1772, Sweden): primary subject "Intelligence" (search under Inner Life/Mind, Psyche, Soul, Spirit)": source "Heaven and Hell": detail "Section 464[3] -464[4]"
Man after death is rational, not in the degree that he was skilled in languages and sciences in the world, but in the degree in which he became rational by means of these. I have talked with many who were believed in the world to be learned because they were acquainted with ancient languages, such as the Hebrew, Greek, and Latin, but had not cultivated their rational faculty by what is written in those languages. Some of them were seen to be just as simple as those who knew nothing of those languages, and some even stupid, and yet they retained the conceit of being wiser than others.
 I have talked with some who had believed in the world that man is wise in the measure of the contents of his memory, and who had stored up many things in their memory, speaking almost solely from the memory, and therefore not from themselves but from others, and their rationality had not been at all perfected by means of the things in their memory. Some of these were stupid and some sottish, not in the least comprehending whether a truth is true or not, and seizing upon all falsities that are passed off for truths by those who called themselves learned; for from themselves they are unable to see anything, whether it be true or not, and consequently are unable to see anything rationally when listening to others.
 And those who were opposed to the truths of the church, and who thought from mere knowledges and confirmed themselves thereby in falsities, also did not cultivate their rational faculty, but cultivated only an ability to reason, which in the world is believed to be rationality. But this ability is wholly different from rationality; it is an ability to prove anything it pleases, and from preconceived principles and from fallacies to see falsities and not truths. Such persons can never be brought to acknowledge truths, since truths cannot be seen from falsities; but falsities may be seen from truths.