Senses and spirit


[1 of 1] Swedenborg (1688-1772, Sweden): primary subject "Senses, relation to spirit" (search under Outer Life/Body)": source "Arcana Coelestia, vol.6": detail "Section 4622"
It is also an absolute fact that it is not a man's body that sees, hears, smells, and feels, but his spirit; and, therefore, when the spirit is divested of the body, it is in its own sensations, the same as when it was in the body, only now far more exquisite; for the things of the body, being comparatively gross, had rendered the sensations obtuse, and this the more because the man had immersed them in earthly and worldly things. This I can aver—that a spirit has much more exquisite sight than a man in the body, and also much more exquisite hearing; and, astonishing to say, the sense of smell, and especially the sense of touch; for spirits see, hear, and touch one another. Moreover, anyone who believes in the life after death might infer that this is the case from the fact that no life is possible without sensation, and that the quality of the life is according to the quality of the sensation, indeed, that the Intellectual is nothing but an exquisite sense of interior things, and the higher Intellectual of spiritual things; and it is from this that the things of the Intellectual and its perceptions are called internal senses.
 As regards man's power of sensation, immediately after death, the case is this: As soon as a man dies and all things in his body have grown cold, he is raised up into life, and at the same time into a state of all sensations; insomuch that at first he scarcely knows but that he is still in the body; for the sensations he then enjoys lead him so to believe. But when he observes that he has more exquisite sensations, and especially when he begins to speak with other spirits, it dawns upon him that he is in the other life, and that the death of his body has been the continuation of the life of his spirit. I have spoken with two of my acquaintances on the day of their burial, and with one who through my eyes saw his coffin and the bier; and as this man enjoyed all the sensation he had in this world, he spoke to me about the burial rites while I was following in his funeral procession, and also about his body, saying that they should throw that away because he himself was alive.
 Be it known, however, that those who are in the other life can see nothing whatever in this world through the eyes of any man; but that their being able to do so through mine was because I am in the spirit with them and, at the same time, in the body with those who are in the world. And be it further known that I did not see with my bodily eyes those with whom I have spoken in the other life, but with the eyes of my spirit; and yet I saw them as clearly, and sometimes more clearly, than with the eyes of the body; for of the Lord's Divine mercy the senses of my spirit have been opened.