A Swedenborgian View of the Problem of Philosophy
Mind, Vol. 14, No. 54 (Apr., 1889), 216-229. jstor link
SWEDENBORG's peculiar phraseology, voluminousness and (what Kant called) "dreams of a ghost-seer," have conspired to render his position in the history of the human mind virtually unknown to the world. To the student there is here a loss which ought not to continue, whatever difference of opinion there may be as to Swedenborg's mental condition. A system which interested Kant, Schelling,1 Coleridge and Emerson must be admitted to possess some intrinsic value, and a brief application of its principles to the main problem of philosophy should not be unwelcome. Swedenborg, though a systematic writer, was not in the way of laying down the conditions of a problem and from admissible postulates working logically to legitimate conclusions; each of his works consists simply of a concatenation of affirmations which, when taken altogether, form a symmetrical whole. Brief summaries of his main affirmations in his own terminology, which contains in many cases an unusual meaning, are not uncommon; but the essential element of progress or discovery involved in his principles as postulates for investigation, or in their application to the solution of problems in moral and intellectual philosophy, has, so far, been ignored. The writer here takes as a test of their value their application to the question: — Can we conceive of any possible mode of knowledge concerning a basis outside of consciousness for the facts within it; and, if so, what is that outside of consciousness which appears within it as object?
Of course, the fundamental postulates of any philosophy are incapable of being demonstrated in the same sense as deductions which are logically drawn from postulates already accepted as valid. It is equally an assumption to say that there is no world external to consciousness as to say that there is. In either case we can only perceive the manifestation of it as it exists in consciousness. All that can be justly demanded of any philosophy is, that the fundamental principles laid down shall have their root in universal experience, shall not only be impregnable against all logical assault, but be in every direction capable of extended application and exhibit constant fruitfulness in the realm of explication. The problem then is to show either how the mind can evolve from itself the manifestation of an external world without violating the common sense of mankind, or to show how a world external to consciousness can hold such relationship with the conscious subject that cognition is possible, and if so to understand what that is which is noumenal.
1 The writer has been informed that Schelling, at a late period of his life, upon being shown a volume embodying a portion of Swedenborg's system (Fundamentalphilosophie, by Prof. J. F. J. Tafel, Bd. i., the only volume ever published), was so struck with it that he told its author that he was on the right track to the true philosophy.
Here, however, it is requisite to note the fact that there are discrete degrees of manifestation in the object without involving any breach of continuity from that which underlies all its manifestations, and that consequently there are discrete degrees of perception by the mind without breaking the unity of consciousness. For instance, we may note sense-perception which man has in common with the lower animals. By this he perceives phenomena such as the apparent motions of the heavenly bodies. A platform above mere animal perception, which simply gives truths in their relation to mere sense, leads man to the discovery of the true system of astronomy, and exposes the fallaciousness of mere sensuous appearance. This higher plane of perception makes manifest that which we may style relatively noumenal — or real when considered in its relation to that which outwardly appears to the senses. In a still higher degree a man may perceive what underlies the appearances of absolute motions, spaces and times. But even this latter can in nowise be considered the absolute truth, for this again must transcend the perception of all but an Absolute Intelligence. Perception may stop at either degree, but he whose perception is more interior or higher comes nearer to the cognisance of truth in its absolute sense, i.e., has mentally a truer representation of it.
It is evident, then, that the truth involving subject-object upon any one plane becomes error to man if he takes it to be ultimate, absolute or final. Whilst it is true that the intelligence is so far limited that absolute truth is incomprehensible, it is no less true that it is impossible to define the limits of comprehensibility, or to mark out the boundary line dividing the absolute from the relative. We may indeed provisionally speak of an absolute space and time in noting what we call the real and apparent motions in space, but it will be only correct to look upon the so-called real motions as negatively noumenal to the merely sensuous region of the mind; becoming positive when known in the higher region of the intelligence, but not absolute in the sense of self-subsistence. It would be dogmatic to affirm that our knowledge of these so-called real motions mark out for us the limits of the knowable. All questions, however, which the mind can fairly ask by not involving the infinite and the absolute, can as fairly be expected to have answers to them furnished which will be satisfactory to that plane of the intelligence which questions.
But whilst Absolute Being such as it is in itself cannot be known, the fact remains that there is Self-existent Being, and also that which is relative and finite; the latter having its being in and from the former. We do not go outside of our consciousness in the affirmation that the Absolute exists; for it attests its own existence to everyone in the very idea of it. The fact that the individual consciousness had a beginning is a plain matter of experience; and this fact, with all that it implies, must not be omitted from, our cognisance of the contents of the mind. Nor is philosophy possible where it does not supply the main factor; for then we sever ourselves from the source of all knowledge. As the Absolute is to be considered identical with the Infinite, it follows that it both underlies the finite intelligence and is beyond its range; and indeed it is because the Absolute underlies the relativity of consciousness that the mind becomes aware of the existence of that Absolute Being to which it is related. We therefore do not transcend consciousness in the affirmation of an Absolute which exists independently and above it. But this very affirmation contains within itself the negation in the Absolute of such imperfect appearance as must necessarily be looked for in its representation to a consciousness derived and finite. Still the recognition of this fact corrects all necessary imperfection of our mental conditioning.
In treating of the relationship between the Infinite and the finite, all attempts to reason from the standpoint of the Infinite or Absolute are inadmissible, because where the Infinite is, finite intelligence cannot be. We cannot reasonably maintain absolute Thought and Being to be identical, when the only thought and being apprehended by us are relative and finite. It cannot be said that finite thought and Infinite Being are identical, or that the one ever passes over into the other, without plainly violating all experience. Still, as the relationship exists, intelligible answers to all questions involving only relativity and finitude, or of the relationship to the Infinite as seen from the finite side and on the level of human intelligence ought fairly to be looked for; but no more, as this would involve the absurdity of expecting an explanation upon a plane of intelligence above natural reason. But as infinite or absolute truth, such as it is in itself, cannot be known, it follows that, in order that there should not be utter nescience concerning it, perception transmitted from an Absolute Intelligence in representation, and imaged upon the level of human intelligence, would become the fundamental truth concerning it, to man; provided he recognises the fact that what to him is the absolute as conditioned by his own thought is simply a qualitative reflection of the real Absolute, but still sufficient for his side of the relationship. It is thus fully conceded that, in one sense, "what is called the Absolute is only the Relative under another name". But the Absolute reflected in that relative is the true Absolute, and is the One using this relative idea of Absoluteness as the bond of relationship to be witnessed from the side of human perception. Now, if we take the Absolute in all its fulness as given in our consciousness we humanise it, and it becomes to us an Absolute Humanity; and this, as a postulate, must be universally acknowledged to be as admissible as to postulate it as pure Thought, or as Matter, or even to say that it is altogether unknowable. Thus all ideas concerning the Absolute resolve themselves into this — that it is either as to will and intelligence human, or is different from the mind which contemplates it, and which was and is derived from it. If, however, we are willing to postulate the Absolute as a Personal God in comparison to whom our own personality is the merest shadow, the aspect of our relationship to Him becomes — that He has made the mind which can contemplate Him in his own image, and according to the condition of that image becomes Himself represented in it. There is no low anthropomorphism in this. To attribute will and intelligence to God, as absolutely perfect as we can conceive them to be, and also to acknowledge that they in Him transcend our conception, is not to deny that "His ways are not as our ways, nor His thoughts as our thoughts"; but rather they imply it in a sense in which every rational Theist would have it understood, that is, as transcendently human; the anthropomorphical aspect being to man the truest representation, or covering of his real Being to human perception. That limited personality or consciousness which is necessarily involved in our definitions of them or in our conception of God is therefore the result of defective or imperfect perception, but the defect is remedied as soon as acknowledged. To say that the Absolute is "above personality "is to say that it is above the exercise of love or wisdom; and this is an evident violation of all reason. It is true that a God known fully and absolutely "would be no God at all"; but it is also true that a God who, if He willed, could not be fully known as representatively mirrored in human will and intelligence, would be no God at all.
We see, then, that if we attribute in absoluteness to the Absolute that which we find manifest in what is derived, we of necessity conceive the Absolute as a Personal God exercising both will and intelligence. This implies design, purpose or use, overruling all manifestations in space and time. But as there is with God absolute freedom, so in the animation of a created organic form the derivation of relative freedom in the form animated will follow. This freedom of directing the course of the life which animates or flows into man is in conformity with universal experience; though absolute autonomy, or the power of originating effort, is both inconceivable and inconsistent with the principle of the Conservation of Energy. Still, this freedom implies the granting of power to man to deflect the course of Divine purpose, and consequently to produce much in the world which was never designed by the Creator. The very fact of the exercise of purpose by the finite mind implies the permitted possibility of producing deviations from the direct lines of purpose in the Absolute Mind; yet at the same time an absolute law of order overruling all deviations, which is not so manifest. The possibility of evil is thus a necessary consequence of the exercise of freedom by the individual, even whilst animated by an Absolute Life all good; especially if such perversion of good be looked upon as increasing hereditarily through successive generations. Involuntary evils, or so-called accidents, are also, of course, not of Divine origin in the usual sense of purpose, but this does not imply that they are independent of a designed law of order absolutely good, the operation of which reaches through pernicious influences to the particular no less than the general. It is a matter of universal experience that the results of our endeavours are at times in exact conformity with our intentions; that at times they very imperfectly fulfil our designs; and again, that at times the results are altogether opposite. This follows analogically from our postulates : a human experience which is an image of the Divine-Human experience; the Absolute Will operating as best it can without violating the bestowed freedom of created wills.
There is, then, something which precedes and produces consciousness; and this, therefore, should be our starting-point. The laws of identity and contradiction which are only relative to us, are to be held absolute with the Absolute. Non-being is the absolutely opposite of Absolute Being; even as being and non-being are relatively opposite in finite thought. That which is opposed to our true nature is to us relatively evil; and that which is in harmony with our being is to us relatively good. The deduction cannot, therefore, be logically evaded that that which is in harmony with an unchangeable Absolute Being is unalterable absolute Good, and that all evil is of necessity the absolutely opposite of the true nature of God. Evil as an existing fact is thus good perverted in and to those who abuse their relative freedom. We may here note that there are two kinds of opposites derived from, without existing in, the Absolute, because absolutely opposite to his nature; and this consistently intelligible to human reason. One kind is that which arises from the perversion of that which flows from the Absolute, so that the quality is altogether contrary; as when, by the abuse of human freedom, good or love for others becomes evil or selfishness; or as when truth becomes falsified. The other kind is the result of mere privation, as when darkness and cold results from the deprivation of heat; and light; or as when an organism becomes dead when deprived of vitality. Death has thus two senses as being the opposite of life — the latter-mentioned species of opposites, implying natural life and death; and the former, which is often used by theologians, spiritual life and death. The case is similar with spiritual heat and light, the opposites of which are respectively, in perversion, unholy fire and a false, light in which truths appear false and falsities truths; and in deprivation, spiritual cold or lack of feeling and the darkness of ignorance. Here the becoming, according to which opposites are related, becomes intelligible; for the Unity from whence all opposites are produced can be plainly perceived without making that which is contrary to reason the same thing as that which is not contrary, as the Hegelians do. Individuality, distinction or differentiation descends connectedly from the Absolute One from whom come all phenomena; and thus our perceptions of both unity and difference come in the universal flux of vital force from Him, producing that universal Sense or Reason by which the individual mind becomes capable of cognising the nature of the sensation of another without sinking its own consciousness into that of the other.
The true starting-point of investigation into the nature of subject and object must be a postulate which is consistent with universal experience as to their production in consciousness; for consciousness affirms the existence of something before itself, and which sustains it. Ours may be thus expressed: — Consciousness is the result of organic growth and modification, products of two factors operated by and under the guidance of God: (1) Formative or structural forces operating organically as from within outward; and (2) passive co-operation by external pressures and sustenance. In other words, Absolute Intelligence is the source of all finite knowledge, and it comes with a formative, animating force operating from the most interior root of each individual being. This, by combining with forces of environment pressing upon it, develops an organised form, and creates the world of phenomena in every mind by organic modification. The resultant individual mind becomes aware of the existence of both factors concerned in its production by the inflowing Life in-forming it, during the exercise of both means in the awaking of consciousness, and in the sustentation of those correspondent bases of reaction which externally appear as phenomena.
The law of the equality of action and reaction has been proved by experience to be operative in the production of all effects. The postulate, then, of this two-fold operation by Divine power in the production of phenomena will be in conformity with law as we know it.1 It follows, therefore, that the creation and subsistence of everything, throughout all changes, result from the action of structural forces and of equable pressures upon them reacting in unison; both being equally necessary, as the acting forces would otherwise dissipate.
Creation thus becomes an act in itself distinct from the Creator; and not a mere modification of his substance. For all created objects could not then be considered absolute substance; they would only have Absolute Substance for their support. If we conceive finite intelligence to be an evolved product of such two-fold operation in the creative work of organisation, we should have a manifestation of phenomenal life such as all experience gives; and still it is distinct from that self-existent Life which produced and sustains it. To such a derived intelligence created objects would be relatively substantial. The produced consciousness would be a derivation, but not a severance from, nor yet a modification of, that indivisible Life which had no beginning.
1 "In everything created by God there is reaction. In life alone there is action, and the reaction is excited by the action of life. This reaction appears as if it belonged to the created subject, from the fact that it exists when the subject is acted upon" (Swedenborg's Angelic Wisdom, No. 68). "Causes do not produce effects by continuity, but by discreteness. The distinction between the two is as between the thing that forms and the thing that is formed "(Angelic Wisdom, 185).
Had Berkeley recognised this reactive basis for the production and percipiency of the external world, his purpose would have been achieved. Vulgar realism or an absolute dualism of mind and matter would have been avoided, although an objective ground of independent reality would have remained. "Common Sense "would not have been set aside; for the groundwork of our sensations would still exist independently of us. And our understanding of what it is, apart from the sensations themselves, might have been looked upon as possible; for an actual relation would be seen to exist between subject and object, which is altogether lacking in the philosophy of Kant.
Whilst, therefore, all cognition is referred to the Divine Agency, there is no mystical or hyperphysical evasion of the problem, because it is intelligently involved in the known facts of organisation. Mere unorganised matter gives no manifestation of either will or intelligence; and we cannot, therefore, refer the derived intelligence manifested by organic forms to it as a Source; but we can refer to it as the starting-point of organisation and growth, for this is given in experience.
In self-consciousness the Ego does not lose its subjectivity in making itself object, self being simply the object chosen to the exclusion of any other, for objectivity is the necessary correlative opposite of subjectivity. That which is present in thought with the Ego, is that which is its past in the memory — that which has been modified by former experience being contemplated whilst undergoing further modification during reflection.
Mind and matter are thus not so incompatible as has been supposed; a perfectly intelligible relation existing between them. Phenomena are the passive manifestations of unseen activities which form them, — forms which are but the clothing to sense of underlying potencies and qualities, physical and vital, of which time and space cannot be predicated, but which we know have moulded them. In other words, uses, actual or potential, good or evil, are the noumena of which all apparent substances and forms are the phenomena. Matter may then be defined as the created groundwork to so receive the Divine Life that finite mind can be produced and manifested or clothed by it; and without which the stream of vitality would constantly dissipate for lack of a vessel as its containant. In order, for instance, for mental passions to be seen, they require to be manifested on the face of a body appearing in time and space. The mind can only conceive of uses according to their potencies or qualities as embodied in forms which exist in time and space; and objects must, therefore, appear as existing in time and space, although time and space cannot be predicated of the uses they embody.1
1 "The things which are of space are predicated of the terraqueous globe viewed in itself; and the things which are of time are predicated of rotation and progression; the latter also make times, and the former make spaces; and they are thus presented from the senses in the perception of reflecting minds. But in God there is nothing of space and time; and yet the beginnings of these are from God" (Swedenborg's Universal Theology, No. 31).
A clear idea of that which constitutes substance as distinguished from that which apparently constitutes it, is necessary here. That in which reality becomes enveloped by forces of reaction, and which mirrors or reveals it by embodiment, appears to the senses as substantial; whilst the active cause remains hidden as if unsubstantial. For instance, the mind appears to be unsubstantial, and the body substantial, because the mind is brought forth to view by its means. Matter, with space and time, appear to be absolute realities, and God unsubstantial, without room in the universe for Him. But God is the only Absolute Substance who created matter, time and space, which are simply images of His absoluteness, eternity and infinity — different, indeed, yet giving symbolically positive knowledge of Him. Nor is there any violation of common sense or experience in this. Light and heat only become manifest when their activity is resisted or reacted upon. Yet, undoubtedly, without an envelopment no reality could become manifest. Only we must not invert truth by supposing that which is the effect to be the cause — the envelopment or means by which the reality becomes manifest to be that which it embodies.
Moreover, there are words that are applied to both mind and matter, the manifestations of which are totally different, and yet which are seen to be correspondently applicable; such as mental heat and the heat of molecular motion; intellectual light by which the "mind's eye" sees, and natural light by which the bodily eye sees. We also speak of breadth, and depth of thought as naturally as we apply thesame terms to matter, and similarly in very many cases. In this sense, mind has extensiveness and solidity no less than matter, — it extends and measures what is extended, inert and measurable.1 If in all this there is the fact of a primordial sameness in the qualities of mind and the properties of matter, so that both are simply the active and the passive aspects of the same groundwork from whence finite consciousness is produced, the subject mind knows something not alien to itself in objective cognition.
Nor is all this mere metaphor, as will become evident the moment we put forth a definition of such words as smile or frown. Here are feelings made materially visible. The organs of the body co-respond to the mental functions which actuate them; the former admit of severance because the latter have embodied their particular modes of activity in them, which may operate separately, or not at all; but yet the whole body is the manifestation in place to sense of what the whole mind is to non-spatial perception. Indeed, Swedenborg himself maintains that the mind would dissipate with the dissolution of the body, were there not, as Paul says, a spiritual body not subject to dissolution as well as the natural body which is. Swedenborg knew well enough that no man could think without brains, or live except in a body, but at the same time he held that man could think spiritually, i.e., of God, immortality, &c., and that it took brains composed of spirit-stuff to enable him to do it; because matter is only applicable to the world of present sensation. Herein lies the difference between man and the lower animals. So far as the world of matter is concerned, reason as well as instinct differ only in degree and natural application. But there is a mode of intelligence, open or latent, in all men of average sanity, even the lowest savages, which is eternally above and beyond the highest intelligence of animals. This is the universally human perception of correspondence. The savage who illustrated the conduct of one British official by holding up a straight piece of wood, and the policy of another by holding up a stick that was crooked, knew that he was not misunderstood.2
1 "When anything derived from a spiritual principle as its origin and cause
becomes visible and perceptible before the senses, in this case there is
correspondence between them "(Divine Wisdom). "Correspondence is the
appearance of the internal in the external, and its representation therein"(Arcana,
2 "The spiritual things with which natural things correspond assume another appearance in nature, so that they are not distinguished, but seem incongruous and irrelative " (Arcana, No. 1887).
There is, then, a world of impressing forces outside of us which manifests itself as the world of phenomena in consciousness. It is a dead passive vessel by which that which appertains to mind, more or less vitalised, clothes and reveals itself; even as the arbitrary printed forms upon this paper clothe principles that are not in time or space, rendering them perceivable by men who bodily are, and who have agreed to certain modes of transposing them in correspondence to variations of meaning intended to be conveyed. But this implies that the groundwork of the impressions produced upon us lies altogether outside of ourselves individually. Nor can anyone dispute the fact that we do not require to step outside of consciousness to get at the knowledge of things outside of ourselves, if an Absolute Intelligence who is both within us and without us, in the very act of making us conscious, does so by sending intelligibly a stream of His knowledge of what is without us into us during organic growth and modification.
The flux from within brings to the consciousness fundamental truths in its passage to its meeting there with the stream of reaction. The external element in the excitation of sensation, if looked upon as being all, gives us sensualism or positivism in philosophy. If the flow from within be supposed all, we have mysticism or idealism. Both taken together attest the truths of the common sense and fundamental beliefs of mankind. If, however, it can be demonstrated that it is unreasonable to hold that in organic modification a flux of Self-existent Life operating as from within can originate finite perception or consciousness, or cause the manifestation of a universe by means of correspondent impressions reacting in a manner to produce the sensation of externality; or if it can be shown that, whilst such universal inflowing Intelligence may fairly be assumed to be the cause of sensibility to external impressions in the finite subject, it can never keep carrying into a recipient consciousness the knowledge of what was before, and is outside of it; — then the dilemma in which Hume placed philosophy still remains.
In justice to Swedenborg, but still more to the unbiassed reader, a word ought here to be said in regard to our philosopher's statements concerning the spirit-world, and their claim to notice by the philosophic mind. There is one line of argument in support of his affirmations which Kant did not see, in his bewilderment, whilst virtually forced to give his opinion concerning Swedenborg's claim. Swedenborg's alleged experiences of the spirit-world give in detail the actualisation of that which lies latent in universal experience in this world; and the possibility is shown of how a change of subject plus object can occur without loss of personal consciousness to the individual, or alteration of the nature of that consciousness during subjective change. Here he stands alone in the history of religion and philosophy.
Of presumption and conceit Swedenborg must be acquitted; for his doctrine of passivity, according to which man originates nothing, makes all claim of merit an attempted theft from God. Indeed, were he alive now, the title of this article would have greatly annoyed him, and for 'Swedenborgian' he would have substituted 'Neo-Christian' — the term implying a new unveiling of Christian truth. In fact, according to him, the words 'Christianity' and 'Truth' are synonymous, whatever the aspect of the latter in any portion of space or time. He believed himself to be the commissioned revelator of a true Metaphysics, or science of Mind (including a concrete world of spirit), as connected with the realm of Physics. The highest stage of his revelation might be denominated Theophysics, or the science of Divine purpose in creation. And he looked forward to the time when the inseparable connexion of these three would be seen as "a blessing in the midst of the land ". In deference to human freedom, however, he was to be deemed crazed by those who, had he written otherwise than he did, might have been "convinced against their will". His revelation, therefore, he believed to come upon the time when sensible men would call no finite man master, but would claim the right to have truth made perceptible to their reason before they be asked to admit it: "thinking from others" being his definition of human stupidity; the exercise of "freedom according to reason" being his definition of manhood.
In order that a described spirit-world should merit notice as a possible fact, not only ought it to be the exclusive one suggested in universal experience, but also there should be no valid a priori reason possible why, according to the known constitution of the human mind, the present world of sensation should exist rather than it. No sound reason can be given for maintaining that the existence of the present world negates a possible change from one into the other except upon the condition of violating the internal conditions of our present consciousness.
The world manifest in sensible experience is known in so far as it conforms to the laws of the mind. In this its reality as an objective world is given. Yet still its resistance to the operations of the will and understanding is also experienced universally. As a consequence, we find that the individual mind must conform to an external order in nature; and in so far as it does not do so, the mind itself is disordered. Suppose, however, the potency of the will to be so far increased that its operations took effect upon external objects, including the body itself; or, rather, suppose a world of phenomena similar to the present, but offering no resistance to effluent mental action; so that all objects would become instantaneously plastic to subjective conditions. Here degradation in the subject would imply correspondent degradation in objectivity by the surroundings conforming to the constitution or character of each individual percipient, and be to him the only real world. By the Non-ego's changing correspondently with the desire and condition of the Ego, all the obstructions offered here by a fixed and measurable space and time would be there nonexistent; for the spiritual body would overleap them, as the mind alone can do here. Still, their forms would remain, for appearances in space and time are necessary to thought; but space and time would appear longer or shorter according to changes in the individual mental states. Similar minds would draw together through sympathy, and withdraw from those that are unlike or antipathetic, and so would blend together their surroundings, giving a uniform character to the objective conditions of aggregated bodies of men. Individual reformation would be impossible, for there would be no truer order manifest to the percipient outside of himself than the condition of his own mind. Even hypocrisy would become impossible, for its motive would be taken away; and, indeed., the plastic condition of the very substance of the body or face would of necessity reveal at once the state of the mind which it clothes and organically expresses.
Now, such a world as this is only hindered from coming into actuality here by the obstructing laws and forces governing that inert ground from which is produced the world of natural phenomena; and it is therefore more really conformable to the internal condition of the mind. It is also evident that it would manifest itself according to orderly laws no less than the world of present experience, although the order would be somewhat different; for the laws of mental attractions and repulsions would be made those of the objective world, and of individual consociation. However utterly such a world may be thrown aside as a fancy, the constant effort with everyone to produce it cannot be divorced from his world of present experience.
To accept, then, as a matter of faith the reality of a world of completed effort for man, with a corresponding internal embodiment suitable for his existence upon it; and this in conjunction with our material embodiment in its present world of sensation, is not unphilosophical when none of us can deny our constant endeavour to overcome the barriers of space and time, and to make matter plastic to our will. Indeed, physical science in its onward march is simply endeavouring to realise here, so far as it can by invention, the world which we are describing. Conceive, then, an objective world on which all men who have ever lived and died consciously exist, the surroundings of each being in correspondence with his character or tendencies, and where mental attractions and repulsions operate by consociation and separation, — and we have there the spirit-world as Swedenborg depicts it.