The Soul or Rational Psychology
Category: Religion
Level 7 13:28 h
Emanuel Swedenborg (/ˈswiːdənbɔːrɡ/) born Emanuel Swedberg; 8 February [O.S. 29 January] 1688 – 29 March 1772) was a Swedish pluralistic-Christian theologian, scientist, philosopher and mystic.

The Soul, or Rational Psychology

Emanuel Swedenborg

Translated by Frank Sewall

Part First.
The Senses.

Chapter I. - The Simple Fibre, that it is Celestial in its Nature.

(1.) The successive formation of the blood vessels from the simple fibre,

The simplest fibre is the form of forms, or that which forms the other fibres succeeding in order.

The simplest fibre by its circumflexion forms a certain perpetually spiral surface or membrane which is itself the second, the medullary or nervous fibre of the body, and is simply a little channel constructed from the simplest fibre, but together with the fluid which permeates it, constituting a fibre.

This fibre, therefore, because it descends from the prior, or is the prior fibre thus convoluted, and therefore nothing else than the simple fibre itself, flows by a spiral or perpetually circular flux.

This fibre, when it falls into the provinces of the body, again forms a kind of little gland not unlike the cortical, from which proceeds the bodily fibre, and this forms the little tunic which infolds the arterial vessels.

The fibre further descends into the greater arteries, and there also forms glands which again send out fibres from themselves, and from these is produced the muscular tunic.

Thus the nervous, glandular, tendonous, and muscular tunics, with the membranous, constitute the arteries and veins, all and each being formed of fibres.

Thus the blood vessel is produced from the simple fibre by continuous derivations.

The arterial vessel can accordingly be called the third fibre, the medullary fibre the second, and the simple fibre the first.

In this respect, also, the first fibre may be called the first vessel, then the second vessel, and finally the vessel properly so-called, or the blood vessel.

So with the fluids themselves that flow through them; the first vital essence is the supereminent blood, or that of the supreme degree; that which is of the second fibres is the middle or the purer blood; and that which is of the arteries is the blood properly so-called, or the red blood.

Therefore is the simple fibre the proper animal essence, the form of forms.

(2.) There is nothing else continuous in the whole body; or its whole form is the simple fibre alone.

All that is continuous in the body or essentially determined, that is, formed, is the simple fibre.

For there is nothing in the medullary fibre but the simple fibre.

There is nothing in the blood vessel but the medullary fibre.

There is nothing in the whole body which is not woven together of vessels and fibres.

Even what does not so appear, — as the tendons, cartilages and bones, — yet this also experience shows to have been woven from the vessels and fibres originally.

Thus there is nothing in the entire body but simple fibre, which is its whole form.

Nor does there enter into it anything continuous or coherent except the simple fibre, the only continuous substantial.

Arguing further, if the simple fibre is an animate product from its first essence, it follows that there is nothing in the entire animal form going to form it but this essence itself.

The fluids of various kinds which are in the medullary fibres and in the blood vessels, as the serous fluids, do not constitute the form, since the forms consist of fibres; but these fluids flow within the fibres and vessels.

(3.) If that essence is the soul, it follows that this alone is what constitutes the form.

(4.) The Simple Fibre is of a celestial nature. What the Body is.

Now, inasmuch as every part or individual of the first substance is of a celestial form and corresponds to the substance of heaven or to the first and most universal aura, it follows that there is nothing in the simple fibre which is not a celestial form, and this alone is ruled by spiritual forms.

This form, because it is above other forms, cannot be touched at all by them, still less can it be hurt; it is most secure from all injury. How can a compound act upon the simples of which it is compounded? It is most remote from them, nor are they dependent upon it.

(5.) This fibre therefore is not terrestrial, as Aristotle teaches, but of a celestial nature, essence and form.

(6.) Hence it is immortal, nor can it perish, because it cannot be touched.

(7.) What is terrestrial and corporeal is not the fibre, but rather that part of the red blood and of the middle blood in the globule which serve there for an instrumental cause, in order that the first essence of the blood may descend in series by successive derivation and be in the midst of the outmost world; in a word, that it may constitute the bloods, in which, nevertheless, that celestial form reigns.

(8.) That from which the bodily blood exists is only corporeal, nor does it contribute anything to form except that it runs through these fibres and adapts them so that they may enter into forms.

(9.) This part or this corporeal is mortal and relapses to earth when the globules of blood are dissolved; but not so the fibre, which of itself passes away, while the body remains under the form of a corpse.

(10.) Paradox concerning the Simple Fibre.

(11.) Concerning the Universal Circulation of the Fluid of the Body, or the Circle of Life. Concerning the Perpetual Solution and Composition of the Blood.

(12.) Concerning Diseases of the Fibres.

(13.) Concerning the Derivation of the Diseases of the Animus into the Diseases of the Body, and vice versa.

(14.) Concerning the Arachnoid Tunic.

Chapter II. - The Senses.

(15.) The external organs of the senses, as the ear and the eye, are instruments of the modifications of the air and of the ether, and these modifications are the principal causes to which as to mediate organs the sensations exactly correspond.

As to the ear, this is the instrument which receives the modulations of the air; for it receives and applies to itself every form and mode of the forces flowing to it. The same is true of the eye in relation to the ether. The ear in this respect differs from a musical or acoustic instrument in that it not only receives but also sends out and further extends the sounds. So does also the eye differ from optical instruments. The eye is, indeed, like a camera obscura, which reproduces most exactly the images transmitted from the object opposed, without changing them into other forms and other colors. But in the eye these modifications do not simply pass over to the retina; the operations of the eye excite the essential determinations to acting likewise even to the least retina, from which through the optic nerve the same sight is propagated to the common sensory. Thus the sensations correspond exactly to the modifications of the organs. Likewise in taste and smell; for the external form of the parts, which is generally either round or prickly, affects the papillae of the tongue or nostrils; the organ is affected by these touches, which are innumerable, and thence a similar sense results.

(16.) The sensory fibres leading to the common sensory are exactly accommodated to the form of the modifications flowing in and affecting them; thus the sensations flow by a natural spontaneity from the circumfluent world through the fibres in the animated world even to the Soul.

In the inquiry as to what is the form of the modifications of the air and of the ether we are led to conclude from experience that there can be no other modification of form than that of the form of the parts. For the volume is composed of the parts, and if the parts are change-able a like condition ought to result in the whole volumen of what is set in motion as in the single parts, which are so many symbols of the common motion. The form of the modifications of the ether is spiral or perpetually circular, and that of the modifications of the air is simply circular; for such are the external forms of the parts, as may be demonstrated by numberless proofs. If it be asked, then, what is the form of the fluxions of the fibres, it has been proved in the treatise on the Fibres that the form of the fluxions of each compound fibre is spiral, and that the form of the fluxions of many fibres taken together is circular; thus the one form exactly corresponds to the modifications of the ether and the other to the modifications of the air. But the form of the higher ether is vortical, and this corresponds to the substantial form of the spiral glandule. Thus when modifications of the auras flow into the miniature world, or the animal system, they continue their flow in a similar nature, nor are their essential determinations changed.

(17.) The sensations are carried from the external organs to the internal organs as if from a heavy to a lighter atmosphere, or from a lower to a higher region.

Light bodies are raised from the centre toward the the surface and emerge, but those which are heavy fall to the centre and seek the bottom. So do sensations strive from the outermost to the innermost or from the lowest to the highest, while actions fall from the innermost to the outermost or from the highest to the lowest. Thus sensations may be compared to the lighter and actions to the heavier bodies.

The cortical brain holds the inmost and the highest, for to climb thither is upward, but thence toward the surface of the body is downward. That the cortex of the brain also occupies the highest region of the body may appear from the fibres themselves and their nature; the most fluid and the softest fibres are near to the cortex or to their first source; those more remote from the cortex are harder and more stationary, and as if being more compressed, when rising to a softer fibre they rise to the purer region and vice versa; which also is the reason why the nerves or the sensory fibres are soft, and the motor fibres are somewhat harder; and that the softness increases according to the ascent.

(18.) The sensations do not arrive at any special glandules or glandular congeries in the brain but at the universal cortex, so that there is not a single cortical glandule in the entire brain which does not become a participant of each sense and of its least movement, degree and difference.

This the anatomy of the brain declares with sufficient distinctness, for each nerve and each fibre when it is immerged in the medullary lake of the brain, so merges itself with all the neighbouring ones that all differences well nigh disappear. For one fold is continually connected with another, a certain subtile membrane intervening between every fibre and every vessel and the one next to it, which membrane joins and binds fibre to fibre and artery to artery. Those intervening threads in their being drawn out from the fibre we call the emulous vessels of the fibre. In these are inserted the most delicate threads drawn from the pia mater. Thus it may clearly be seen that in the brain, in the cerebellum and in either medulla there is nothing whatever that is discontinuous or disjoined; and the sensation, which is a most subtle kind of trembling of a certain atmosphere, is not able to press solely upon a single fibre, or any particular fibres, as far as to their origins, but is compelled also to pursue its journey through all that is continuous from the fibre; and this is true as well of the trembling and vibrations of harder bodies. The same appears from the special investigation of each sensory fibre; for the optic nerve diffusing itself in the beds of the optic nerves cannot help pouring itself upon the entire circuit of the brain, since the fibres drawn forth from this circuit and concentrated on a firmer base unite upon the beds of the optic nerves; and if the sensations follow the flux of these they cannot but terminate in the common surface of the brain. The olfactory nerves from the continued pituitary membrane so immerse themselves in the oval centre or medullar globe of the brain that they have their origins from all, for the mamillary processes being inflated expand the whole medulla of the brain. The acoustic or auditory nerves emerging from the annular protuberance associate themselves with all the fibres which are sent out from the brain and from the cerebellum. And so in other instances; wherefore the ratio of the sensations is the same as that of the modifications: for these having begun in the least centre diffuse themselves about into the entire periphery. From these considerations it follows that there is no part of the cortex which does not become participant and conscious of the inflowing sensation.

(19) The most distinct sensation exists in the cortex of the brain, especially the sensation of sights, perception and understanding.

Where the cortical substances are most delicate and most expanded, there the sensations should be the more perfect and distinct; for that the cerebrum feels, perceives and understands, but not the cerebellum, is because the cortical glandules like so many little sensories are in a state of perceiving modes distinctly. In either protuberence, or vertex of the brain, that is, in its supreme lobe, this cortex is distinctly divided; for an infinite number of fissures and furrows separate the congeries, by which means the cortex may be expanded and drawn in any direction; so that when the distinction is the more perfect, there is also the more perfect sensation. This is the reason, too, why all the convolutions and bendings of the cortex concentrate themselves in this, or tend hither by a continuous flux and union. This is observed as well in outward as in inward intuitions; we even direct our contemplations toward this prow of the brain. Also when this is injured the faculty of clearly seeing and perceiving is changed according to the degree of injury, as appears from various diseases of the head. Thus sensation belongs, indeed, to every cortical glandule, but it is more perfect in one part of the brain than in another; for in one it is more particular and single according to the divisions of the brain, while in another part it is more general, and hence the sensation is more indistinct and obscure, as in the lowest layers of the brain and in the cerebellum.

(20.) No cortical glandule in the whole brain is absolutely like another, hence neither are the little sensories similar to each other, which are so many cortical glandules: but a certain variety intervenes, which nevertheless is so harmonious that not the least difference occurs in the mode of any sensation but what is perceived more perfectly in one glandule than in another.

That there occur infinite mutations of state, both essential and accidental, of the cortical glandules, which are so many internal sensories, has been sufficiently demonstrated in the treatise concerning those glandules. For there are larger and smaller glandules, harder and softer, consisting of more or of less fibres; there are those whose state is more constricted or more expanded, some associate with more some with less; but to enumerate every difference would be too prolix. The cortical glandules in the brain are of one kind, those of the cerebellum are of another, and those of still another in the medulla oblongata and the medulla spinalis; also they are of different species in the brain itself, in its vertex, in its borders, on the outside near to the pia mater, and on the inside around the ventricles. All the cortical glandules, the beginnings of the fibres, the little sensories and motors, are internal. Now in order that the brain may be free to receive all sensations and feel every difference, it is necessary that there should be order among its sensories. This order must be wholly harmonious; even if one glandule receives a purer, another a grosser mode, nevertheless we must communicate the sign of its sensation to the others as a part to the whole. This is called the harmonious variety, which is so proper to nature that it deserves to be called the nature of nature. Such a variety exists in the particular fibres, in the particular muscles, in the single parts of the atmosphere. For similarly are the lowest atmospheres more compressed than the higher, in such a way, nevertheless, that between all there is a certain harmonious variety. Thus the particulars contribute each its own part to the common and public estate.

(21.) The sensation diffused the whole brain are to be conceived of as winding themselves around in a spiral mixer, or according to the form of motion of a circuit and of the vertical substances; and the purer sensation reduce vertically through the vertical glandule; hence according to the most substantial from itself of the sensory organ.

The convolutions of the cortical glandules in the brain flow into the form of the most perfect spiral; and because the sensations touch every point, every fibre, and every cortex of the brain, hence we must conceive of a similar circumvolution and whirling motion of the sensations; for then an easy fluxion and propagation of these proceeds from a part into a whole. In the same manner the modification takes place in each individuad cortical gland, whose form is perpetually spiral or vortical. For every active force impressed upon an organic substance flows and is determined most exactly according to the form of the latter. To flow otherwise would be contrary to the stream and current of its nature, or contrary to the rotation of its axis. Also the sensation circumgyrates by a similar form when it follows along its fibre, therefore also when it emerges from it. So are the forms of a fluxion and that of its atmosphere or of its modifications similar. So do the macrocosm and the microcosm mutually correspond, and impress the same modes upon each other. Such a whirling motion openly appears in the external organs also, when the mind is inebriated or the brain affected with a like disease or delirium. From these statements it may appear with what winding about and circumgyrations the inmost sensation or the understanding is carried on; the form of whose fluxion is celestial; and so on.

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