Extracts

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Science

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[1 of 3] Swedenborg (1688-1772, Sweden): primary subject "Use, or goal, end, purpose" (search under Inner Life/Teachings)": source "Spiritual Experiences, vol.2": detail "Section 2523"
Sciences are not to be rejected for the reason that they cause people to become insane when they seek wisdom from them in spiritual and heavenly matters, in which case they corrupt and blind. But if by means of them truths are supported, then they enlighten, because sciences are proper to mankind.
 Neither are pleasures of mind and body to be rejected for the reason that they destroy and blind people, but they are allowed to enjoy them provided they are joined to the uses. For pleasures are the life of the body, so they have also been given for uses.

[2 of 3] Swedenborg (1688-1772, Sweden): primary subject "Science, criticisms of" (search under Cosmology/Science)": source "Spiritual Experiences, vol.3": detail "Section 3460"
The sciences in themselves should not be rejected as such, for by their means spiritual matters can be corroborated—for which reason the angels understand countlessly more in all of the sciences than could ever be believed, and in fact the most hidden things. But those who are learned in whatever science it may be, can hardly refrain, each on the basis of their own science, from reasoning, either in the open or within themselves, about spiritual matters, thereby blinding themselves. For many in order to appear learned reason from their own sciences—philosophers from theirs, logicians from theirs, metaphysicists from theirs, anatomists from theirs, geometrists from theirs, historians from theirs, politicians from theirs—and thus heap up fantasies. Therefore, in the learned, ideas are closed, thus spiritual and heavenly things, consequently heaven, but in the uneducated it is open. Who worship nature more as God than those who are knowledgeable in one or another science?

[3 of 3] Swedenborg (1688-1772, Sweden): primary subject "Science, criticisms of" (search under Cosmology/Science)": source "Spiritual Experiences, vol.3": detail "Section 4578a - 4579a"
I spoke with spirits about the modern sciences, by virtue of which they are seen as wise. Generally speaking, the sciences are nothing else but means for becoming wise, or for forming one's rational mind, just as languages are means for developing thoughts. Those who have truths are able by means of the sciences to acquire for themselves many confirmations, and thus enrich their mental imagery. Those who have falsities are also able by means of the same sciences to have confirmations, and thus fill their mental imagery with falsities.
 Useful sciences are physics, optics, chemistry, pharmaceuticals, anatomy, mathematics, astronomy, architecture, botany, metallurgy, history, the governments of kingdoms, and the like, by all of which as means anyone can become rational.
 But there are certain ones that utterly destroy the faculty of thinking and break down the rational faculty, such as scholastics, namely when they try by means of numerous scholastic terms to describe a single lucid matter that is intelligible to almost everyone, even until no one understands it. Another such science is Philosophy, when a judgment is reached by a series of conclusions from definitions of terms, and resulting conclusions—which series when linked together display such things as can be understood by no one, neither themselves nor their relevance—for then that science takes away all reason, when yet it involves nothing else than something that can be explained so simply that anyone can understand it. Another such is Logic, which focuses on truths and subjects them to doubts—even more so when by a number of people a single matter is analyzed as to what it involves. The conclusion drawn is clearly such as to be intelligible without any syllogism. Geometry and Algebra are also in this category, when simple truths are being demonstrated by means of them, and yet a matter is expressed in such a complicated manner by means of angular, circular, and curved figures, and explained according to them, that it is not understandable to anyone. Such sciences, and such applications of sciences, cause people to lose their common sense, and to become insane.
 At this day, such people pass for wise, when yet they are more stupid than the most simple, such being modern wisdom. Ancient wisdom was never like this. It taught naked truths, and mankind was able to know and to think innumerable truths, while at this day, people know and think scarcely any.