Extracts

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Afterlife, societies in

swedenborg

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[1 of 2] Swedenborg (1688-1772, Sweden): primary subject "Afterlife, societies in" (search under Afterlife/Afterlife, Heaven, Hell)": source "Divine Providence": detail "Section 338[4]"
Everyone is his own love, and no one can live with others than those who are in a like love, and that if he comes among others he cannot breathe his own life. For this reason everyone comes after death into a society of his own people, that is, who are in a like love, and recognizes them as relatives and friends, and what is remarkable, on meeting and seeing them it is as if he had known them from infancy. Spiritual relationship and friendship bring this about.

[2 of 2] Swedenborg (1688-1772, Sweden): primary subject "Thought" (search under Inner Life/Mind, Psyche, Soul, Spirit)": source "Apocalypse Explained, vol.6": detail "Section 1092"
The unknown fact is this, that all the thoughts of man extend into the spiritual world, in every direction, almost like rays of light from flame. Since the spiritual world consists of heaven and hell, and both heaven and hell are formed of countless societies, therefore man’s thoughts must necessarily have extension into societies, spiritual thoughts — which are those relating to the Lord, to love and faith in Him, and to the truths and goods of heaven and the church — into heavenly societies; but thoughts merely natural, concerned with self, the world, and the love of these, and not at the same time with God, into infernal societies.
 That all the thoughts of man have such an extension and direction has up to this time been unknown, because nothing is known of the nature of heaven and of hell, that is, that they are formed of societies, and that consequently there is an extension of man’s thoughts into a world other than the natural world; into the latter also there is an extension of the sight of his eyes. But it is the spiritual world into which thought extends itself, and the natural world into which vision extends itself, since the thought of the mind is spiritual, and the vision of the eye natural.
 It has been made so evident to me from an experience of many years that there is an extension of all the thoughts of man into the societies of the spiritual world, and that there can be no thought apart from such extension, that I can declare the fact with perfect confidence. In a word, man is in the spiritual world with his head, as he is in the natural world with his body. By head we here mean his mind, consisting of understanding, thought, will, and love, while by body we mean his senses, sight, hearing, smell, taste, and touch. And because man as to his head, that is, as to his mind, is in the spiritual world, therefore he is either in heaven or hell; and where the mind is, there is the entire man with head and body, when he becomes a spirit. And a man’s quality is exactly in agreement with the nature of his conjunction with the societies of the spiritual world, he being an angel whose quality is like that of his conjunction with the societies of heaven, or a devil whose quality is like that of his conjunction with the societies of hell. …
 In a word, the very least thought that can exist is received in some society, not by the individuals or angels of the society, but by the affection of love from which and in which that society is; for this reason the angels are not conscious of the influx, neither does that influx disturb the society in any way.
 From these considerations the truth is evident that man is in conjunction with heaven while he lives in the world, and also in consociation with angels, although both men and angels are ignorant of it. They know nothing of this is because a man’s thought is natural, and an angel’s thought spiritual, and these make one only by correspondence. Since man by means of the thoughts of his love, is inaugurated into societies either of heaven or hell, therefore, on his entrance into the spiritual world, which takes place immediately after death, his character is known merely from the extension of his thoughts into societies, and in this way every one is explored. Man is also reformed by the admission of his thoughts into the societies of heaven, and he is condemned by the immersion of his thoughts in the societies of hell.