The design of this book is to explain the nature and laws of the inner life of man, and to contribute some light on the subject of Mental Hygiene, which is beginning to assume importance in the treatment of disease, and to attract the attention of physiologists. It shows the influence of the mind on the body, both in health and disease, and the psychological method of treatment.
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The Mental Cure
Illustrating The Influence Of The Mind On The Body, Both In Health And Disease, And The Psychological Method Of Treatment
Warren Felt Evans
Chapter 1 - The Relation Of The Human Mind To God
Chapter 2 - The Mind Immaterial, But Substantial
Chapter 3- On The Form Of The Mind
Chapter 4- The Division Of The Mind Into Two Departments
Chapter 5- The Relation Of The Intellect To The Love
Chapter 6- The Doctrine Of Degrees
Chapter 7- The Spiritual Body -- Its Nature And Use
Chapter 8 - On The Emanations Of Mind, Or Spiritual Spheres
Chapter 9 - Of The Doctrine Of Influx, And The Relation Of Man To The Spiritual World
Chapter 10 - The Relation Of Soul And Body, And Of The Material To The Spiritual Realm
Chapter 11 - Correspondence Of The Brain And The Mind
Chapter 12 - The Heart And Lungs, And Their Relation To The Love And Intellect
Chapter 13 - Correspondece Of The Stomach And The Mind
Chapter 14 - The Reflex Influence Of The Stomach Upon The Mind
Chapter 15 - Excretions Of The Body And The Mind, And Their Relation
Chapter 16 - The Skin: Its Connection With The Internal Organs, And Correspondence With The Mind
Chapter 17 - The Senses: Their Correspondence, And Independent Or Spiritual Action
Chapter 18 - The Mystery Of Life Explained
Chapter 19 - Mental Metamorphosis; Or How To Induce Upon Ourselves Any Desirable Mental State
Chapter 20 - The Communication Of Life And Of Sanative Mental Influence
Chapter 21 - The Mind Not Limited By Space In The Transmission Of Psychological And Sanative Influences
Chapter 22 - Appetites, Intuitions And Impressions, And Their Use
Chapter 23 - The Sanative Power Of Words
Chapter 24 - The Relation Of Mental Force To Physical Strength, And How To Cure General Debility
Chapter 25 - Sleep As A Mental State, Its Hygienic Value, And How To Induce It
Chapter 26 - The Will-Cure, Active And Passive
Chapter 27 - The Influence Of The Spiritual World Upon Mental Health And Disease
The Mental Cure, H. T. Hamblin
Jazzybee Verlag Jürgen Beck
86450 Altenmünster, Loschberg 9
Cover Design: © James Steidl - Fotolia.com
The design of the following treatise is to explain the nature and laws of the inner life of man, and to contribute some light on the subject of Mental Hygiene, which is beginning to assume importance in the treatment of disease, and to attract the attention of physiologists.
We have aimed to illustrate the correspondence of the soul and body, their mutual action and reaction, and to demonstrate the causal relation of disordered mental states to diseased physiological action, and the importance and mode of regulating the intellectual and affectional nature of the invalid under any system of medical treatment.
We have also endeavored to demonstrate the value, as remedial agencies, of those subtle forces, both material and spiritual, which the improved science of the age is beginning to recognize, and to explain the laws of our interior being which render the so-called magnetic treatment so efficient in the cure of diseased conditions of the organism, and which bids fair to supplant the current and longer established therapeutic systems.
We have pointed out the laws that govern the action of mind upon mind, and the transmission of vital force from one person to another, and the potent influence of our inward states in the generation of pathological conditions of the body, and in its restoration to health.
While it does not profess to be a work on mental philosophy, some discussion of the nature and laws of the mind seemed to be necessary to a proper understanding of the general subject of the volume. We have endeavored to prove the essential spirituality of human nature, to elucidate its hidden, undeveloped powers, and its vital and sympathetic relations to an ever-present world of spirits interfused within this outside circumference of being.
This latter idea is beginning to be looked upon as something more then a traditionary theory, or item in a creed, by a large and rapidly increasing number of intelligent persons in all countries of the world, and is a demonstrated fact that is taking its proper place in the positive science of the day. It is to be hoped the volume may prove acceptable and useful to all who feel an interest in the imperfectly explored region of human knowledge into which it attempts to penetrate with the light of philosophy.
It was far from our design to present to the public an exhaustive treatise on the subjects discussed, but to give, with as much brevity as was consistent with perspicuity, fruitful hints and suggestions, to stimulate thought and lead to further inquiries.
The author had but little in works on mental and physiological science to guide him in his investigations, but was under the necessity of following the light of his own researches, experiments, and intuitions. He claims no infallibility for his opinions and conclusions, but submits them to the candid judgment of all men who love truth for its own sake.
(W.F.E. Claremont N.H. Feb 22nd, 1869.)
All true philosophy begins and ends in God, the fountain of all life, and love and truth. A correct knowledge of the soul involves of necessity a true conception of the Divine Being. To sunder the human mind from Him, and then study its phenomena, is to discern only effects without rising to the higher and more satisfying knowledge of things in their prime causes. The latter alone constitutes true science and real philosophy.
God is the First and the Last, the Alpha and Omega, the Beginning and Ending of all finite things. In Him is life. He alone has life in Himself unoriginated and self-derived. All else lives from Him and in Him. Everything, from the insect to the angel exists by virtue of a life proceeding from Him. We live because He lives, our life being the stream of which He is the fountain, or it is a ray of which He is the central sun. This central life is everywhere and in all. It is diffused through all space and all worlds. It is the inmost essence of all created things. But God's life is love. All that we can think of Him is included in the words Love and Wisdom. This bounds and terminates our conception of Deity. All other attributes, properties, qualities and powers of the Divine Mind must be referred to one or the other of these, and are only modifications or manifestations of these universal principles.
His love is the esse of His being, as schoolmen would have called it; or that which lives in and by itself. His Wisdom is the existere thence derived, the term being used in philosophy to denote manifested or derived being. The divine intellect goes forth from the divine love as light from fire.
This conception of God is a first principle in philosophy, of which we must never lose sight. It is a fundamental verity, without which we can neither know ourselves nor Him. It is a self-evident truth, that nothing finite can exist from itself, but from something prior to itself, and this from something primal, which brings us as far as our limited powers of thought can carry us -- to the causa causarum, the great first cause, whom we call God.
But this divine being is One. This grand truth was long ago announced in the deserts of Arabia, by the Jewish legislator, and proclaimed anew by Jesus of Nazareth. "Hear, O Israel: the Lord our God is one Lord." (Deut. vi.4; Mark xii.29.) Three self-existent individualities cannot be conceived. Such a proposition, as Herbert Spencer would say, is unthinkable. Two of them must derive their existence from the first, and that which has not being in itself is not God. It does not answer our conception of Deity.
Man is a finite image of God, or in other words, he is a created form recipient of the one only life. He is manifestation and in a mitigated sense, an incarnation of the Divinity. This constitutes the true dignity of humanity. The inmost essence of every human soul is divine, using the word to express that which goes forth from God. Deeply hidden beneath all our external and sensuous coverings, and all our moral and intellectual disorders, is the inextinguishable divine spark, sometimes concealed, like a gem in the ocean abyss.
God was in Christ. In him God was manifested in the flesh, as never before in the history of the race. The Father was in him and he was in the Father. This vivid consciousness of the indwelling divine principle, was the marked characteristic of the man Jesus. In him God became man, and the humanity divine, He seemed to himself and has so seemed to others, as the God-Man and the Man-God.
In his personality there was a humanization of the Divine, and deification of the human. But the Deity was thus manifested in Jesus, in order that through him he might be incarnated in all humanity, so that every man might walk forth consciously to himself as a son of God and say, "I and my Father are one." Then every human nature will be viewed as affiliated with Divinity. Then will be realized the full import of the words of Jesus: "He came unto his own, and his own received him not. But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God." ( John i. 11, 12.) Then will be fulfilled the dream of the Oriental philosophy, which has haunted the Eastern mind from the remotest ages.
"The idea of God's becoming man," says Dr. Turnbull, and man becoming God, is the mystic circle in which all their thoughts revolve. Nothing is more familiar to their minds than the possibility of divine incarnations, and the consequent possibility of human transformations. Somehow, God and man, the infinite and finite, must become one."
To evolve and to bring forth to freedom this hidden divine element in human nature is the true aim of all philosophy, and should be of theology. This will add no new property to the soul, but only bring out to our consciousness what lies concealed within. The antagonism between the inmost divine essence in man, and the selfhood, or the blinded and disorderly activity of the mind, either acquired or hereditary, is the secret spring of all our mental and physical unhappiness.
When the inner divine life pervades, appropriates, and controls, the more external degrees of our nature, man then returns to God, as did the humanity of Jesus. This is the hour of our glorification. This is the end of our creation, the appointed destiny of every created soul.
After the lapse of ages of darkness, the son of Mary appeared in Palestine as the type and model of a new and higher development of humanity. What human nature was in him? It is the design of the infinite Love that should be in all, if not fully, at least in a degree.
God is all and in all, but all things are not God. All things, singular and together, are finite or limited, and the finite cannot be the infinite, for this, to our intuitive and rational thought, is contradictory and impossible. But is God personal, or an indefinitely diffused principle? In a certain sense, He is both, one and the other. He is love and wisdom. These are the essential properties of personality. They are essentially human.
An impersonal affection or intelligence is an impossible conception. He is an infinite Man, and we are men by virtue of our derivation and conception from Him. But his divine life goes forth everywhere. The sphere of His love and wisdom extends beyond the bounds of creation. The universe of mind and matter is but its ultimation or visible manifestation. The Divine being is in all things, the least and the greatest, but in the human soul in the highest degree.
Here we may seek and find him, as Madam Guyon and the mystics of all ages have averred. She declares the source of the disquietude, the unrest of religious people to be, that they seek Him where He is not to be found. "Accustom yourself to seek God in your heart, and you will find him," was her advice to the Franciscan monk, who complained that he could not attain a satisfactory consciousness of God. This pregnant utterance was only a ray of the inner light and life. May it come to every man who reads it, with the force of a new revelation.
We can study human nature under two aspects or points of view: 1) As it was designed to be, and such as it is when it exists and acts according to the divine order of its creation. And stands forth an image and likeness of the Divinity. Such a study, alas, could only create an ideal model, like Plato's perfect man. Or we should be obliged to confine our investigations to the character and state of Jesus of Nazareth, of whom men, in all ages, have said in adoring wonder, "Behold the man."
2) We may view it as we unfortunately find it generally, in a state of moral, intellectual, and physical disorder. This is one of the most prominent facts of consciousness. The geologist, as he surveys the wreck of former generations of animals, studies them as they are, in order to find what they were. By the science of Comparative Anatomy, and under the light of his intuitions, he is able to restore the imperfect and decayed animal frame-work, and show us what it was when it moved, a thing of life, in an age on the globe long since passed, and which presents only broken relics of its living inhabitants.
It belongs to a true mental philosophy to discover the source of our unhappiness, and to point out the way in which we may rise from our disharmony of mind and body to that divine and celestial order, into which the Divine Love longs to introduce us.
All medical science that does not penetrate with its light to the root of our physical maladies and sufferings, but applies its remedies only to visible effects, and to the removal of temporary symptoms, is superficial and un-philosophical, and "heals the hurt of the daughter of my people but slightly."
True science is a knowledge of things in their causes, and an intelligent system of medication aims to remove the source of our suffering. This done, the effect ceases of its own accord. This will be the honest aim of this necessarily imperfect treatise on Mental Hygiene. "Philosophy is a futile, frivolous pursuit, unworthy of greater respect than a game of chess, unless it subserve some grand practical aim -- unless its issue be in some enlarged conception of man's life and destiny."
As our prescriptions will be more of a spiritual character than is common in medical science, it will be needful to enter into some discussion of the general nature of our inner being, whose varying states are the body's health or malady.
There are two distinct substances in the universe. One we call mind or spirit, the other matter. It is difficult for some to conceive of a substance without attaching to it some material properties, for, to most persons, in consequence of the senses having a controlling influence over their conceptions, that which is not material is as nothing. Their thoughts seldom rise above the range of the external or sensuous degree of the mind's action. All spiritual realities are in their thoughts materialized.
The common idea of spirit is that of refined, etherialized matter, -- a matter so subtle as to be imponderable, and almost without reality. But we must learn to think of spirit and matter as discrete or distinct substances, that is, as real being, but having no properties in common.
When we assert that mind is immaterial, we do not weaken the conception of the reality of its being, but we simply mean that its essence is invested with properties entirely unlike those by which matter is manifested to our senses. Yet it is the most vitally real thing in the universe. Matter is known to us by a certain combination of properties, cognizable to our senses; mind by other distinct properties or powers, known only to our consciousness or inner perceptions. Yet our knowledge of the latter is as certain as that of the other.
Persons are apt to think of matter as something solid and tangible to the senses, but of spiritual substance as an etherialized, volatile essence, destitute of these qualities and consequently of reality. But what we call solidity is only force. It is simply resistance, and is more a sensation in us than a property of matter. Taking this view of it, spirit may be as solid a reality as anything in nature.
Anything that causes in us the proper sensation of resistance is as solid to us as gold, or platinum. For all that we know, or can know of hardness, firmness, compactness, impenetrability, or gravity, is a force occasioning in us a particular sensation. The world of spirit is as real in itself, and to the sensations of its inhabitants, as this outside range of created things.
All that we know of matter is force, as all its properties are only modifications of force. Its inmost essence may be spiritual, and what we call matter may be only the outward clothing, or ultimation, or external manifestation of some spiritual reality. The properties of matter are reduced to the single idea of force. Mind is a higher and diviner force, approaching many degrees nearer the Central Life. All force, in its origin, as well as all causation, is spiritual. Mind is a manifestation of force entirely distinct from that we call matter. Between color and thought, there is a broad distinction. They are not identical. One belongs to matter, the other to mind. One is a material, the other a spiritual property or force.
We have seen that God is the Central Life, the first and only life. All life in the universe is a derivation from Him, and a manifestation or modification of this primal vital force. But His life is love. Hence His love is the first and only substance, whence all other substances emanate. Everything, from the atom to the world, from the animalcule to the angel, has the root of its being in Him. He is Love and Wisdom, two divine forces, like positive and negative. But love and wisdom, or affection and intellect, are the essential properties of personality. The divine love is not a mere idea, or an emotion, but a substance from which, by creative influx, has gone forth all other being.
If we can accustom ourselves to think of Love and Wisdom in God, and will and understanding in man, as substance, an important point will be gained. But we must carefully subtract from our conception of that substance all the properties or forces of matter, such as divisibility, impenetrability; and weight. The essential conditions of all material existence are time and space. All matter exists in time and fills space. Mind or spirit is not in time, and is not limited by space. To raise the thoughts above time and space is to think spiritually. Until we can do this, all our ideas of God, of the human soul, and of spiritual and heavenly things, will be material, earthly, and sensual.
Whether the soul of man be destined to endless existence, is a question that is not affected by its materiality or immateriality. The ancient philosophers, as Plato, and after him, Cicero, endeavored to maintain the doctrine, that mind in its own nature was indissoluble and indestructible. But this is not true of any finite thing in the universe. Nothing has life in itself, but all live from God. He alone has immortality or life in Himself eternally springing from the depth of His own being.
Immortality depends upon the will of God. The immutability of that will is the ground of its certainty. It is true now and always will be so, that because He lives, we live also. We live by virtue of our being finite receptacles of the one and only Life.
But why is not animal life, which must be referred to the same primal source, also immortal? We do not hesitate to affirm, that no life will ever be annihilated. It is the conclusion of the improved science of the day, that all force is perpetual and indestructible. What we call life is a force, a vital force. The quantum of life in the universe will never be diminished, but the forms receptive of it may change.
Man is the recipient of the divine life in the highest degree. The human soul exists in three degrees, whereas animals possess only the lower or external degree. The life of animals is indestructible, but their individuality is not equally stable. The latter may cease, while the former goes forth to animate other forms. The vital force is persistent, but the external shell that contains it, is evanescent. There is no real death anywhere. The boundless universe is life. But man retains his individual and personal existence. His inner life is not only a persistent and imperishable force, springing perpetually from out the depths of the divine existence, but his affectional and intellectual nature ultimate themselves in an outward form that constitutes his everlasting identity or individuality.
If it be true, that all men live from the one and only Life, and that the father does not create new life in his offspring (for he has no life in himself), but that life is imparted to the receptive germ in the womb from the Lord alone, then, as Des Guys has truly shown, all men are brethren, children of a common Father. It matters not whether there was only one created pair, from whom the race has sprung, or a thousand, the brotherhood of men, and the fatherhood of God are established on an unshaken basis.
And moreover, all men, of every clime and color, are sons of God and incarnations of the Divinity. All conception is an operation of the central living Force, whether in the womb of Mary or any of the millions of the daughters of Eve. In all men the Divinity becomes finitely human. The consciousness of this grand verity would be a living moral force to elevate the debased populations of the globe. Self-respect is one of the safeguards of virtue. To think meanly of human nature has a depressing moral influence. To entertain noble thoughts of the real dignity of man, ourselves and others, becomes an interior conatus or endeavor to act worthily of our divine origin, and "to do the works of God."
It has been one of the vagaries and fantasies of the philosophy of Mind, that it has sometimes taught that our interior being which we call the soul or spirit, was without form. The mind has been taken to be a formless, unsubstantial something of which no definite idea could be conceived. It has been reduced in the conceptions of certain metaphysicians to something like a mathematical point, which is defined to be position without magnitude. Such a thing, if it be not absolutely nothing, is next to non-entity. It is at least on the dividing line between entity and nihility.
We have seen that mind is a real and positive substance. That which is not substance is nothing. For in order to be a something or a somewhat, it must be a substance or essence. And it is self-evident that a substance cannot exist without a form, nor can a form be conceived without substance. By the constitution of our minds, and the necessary laws of thought, we are compelled to connect the ideas of substance and form. By form we mean the external manifestation of a substance, or it is the boundary of an essence. It does not belong merely to matter. Material things have shape, but perfect form does not exist in the realm of matter.
The geometrical figure we call a circle is not found except in the world of mind. There is not a straight line, nor a perfect square, nor a cone, nor a cube, in the material universe. These exist only in the world of spirit. We may find in nature rude approaches to these mathematical forms, but under a powerful combination of lenses they are found not to answer the definition of those geometrical figures. They are purely mental creations, and can never be realized in the outer world.
The shape of the body is a resemblance, or an external manifestation of the spiritual form, the inner man. Matter has no definite form or shape of its own. The shape it assumes is always an effect, the result of the action of some spiritual cause. In the case of the body, its form is an effect of which the soul is the cause.
That the soul or mind of man is in the human form, we might prove from several considerations. The divine Being is an infinite Man. This is an intuitive truth, for it is the idea that all men instinctively form of Him. Love and Wisdom are the necessary elements of personality. But a formless personality is impossible to thought. As our bodies receive their shape from the indwelling soul, so this receives its form from the Divinity within. Because God is the Divine Man, and all things have gone forth from him, they exhibit a conatus to assume the human shape. The higher they rise in the scale of life the more manifest this tendency becomes.
We might show that angels are in the human form, and that they are only the spirits of men, who have graduated to the inner world, and passed into the heavens. This is the unmistakable teaching of the Scriptures, and also commends itself to our intuitive reason. But we will not insist upon this.
That the spirit, which may be properly called the interior man, as has been done by Plato and Paul (Rom. vii. 22; 2 Cor. iv. 16; Eph. iii. 16), is in the human form, is an intuitive truth, and a necessity of thought. Our minds are so constructed by the Creator, that we cannot think otherwise of our departed friends than as existing still in the human form on the plains of immortality. This enters necessarily into our conception of them.
That such is the truth, is a perpetual revelation from God, as it is not supposable that He would so constitute our minds that they must of necessity conceive a falsity. We always view our friends after death, or their emancipation from the material body, as persons, and the human form enters into our idea of personality. Subtract from the conception of them this element of form, and it is equivalent to their annihilation. If the soul is not in the human form, after the dissolution of its mortal covering, if it exist at all, it is dissipated into an indefinable and formless principle, which cannot be an object of thought. For of that which has no form, it is not possible for the mind to gain any idea.
That the spirit is the inward man, as Paul and Swedenborg denominate it, is a truth constituting their foundation on which alone rests an intelligent belief of its immortality. Remove this, and faith in our personal existence hereafter falls to the ground.
The mind being the interior man, is not confined to the brain, nor, as Descarte supposed, included in the Pineal gland. But it pervades and is interfused through the whole body. This is a truth of vital importance in the system of Mental Hygiene The body is not merely an external robe, the outward shell of the living soul, but the mind interpenetrates every atom of it. This was a Platonic form of speech, and many, following in the wake of the Grecian philosopher, have represented the body as the vestment of the soul. But it does not express the true analogy, for the spirit is coextensive with the physical organism. It thrills in every nerve, and pervades every fiber.
The same objection lies against the Pythagorean form of speaking of the body as the tent or habitation of the soul. A man does not fill the house he lives in, but the spiritual principle pervades the whole outward organism. The latter is but the echo of the former. It corresponds or answers to it in every part. This idea we shall unfold more fully hereafter.
Man is endowed with two primary faculties, or powers of reception, called the Will and Understanding, or the love and the intellect. These together constitute what we call the mind. All the mental operations and phenomena may be classed under the one or the other of these two general divisions. They contain the whole interior life. Either one of these faculties may predominate in its action, but they cannot be separated, though in thought they may be viewed as distinct. The will, which includes our whole affectional or love-nature, with all the desires and emotions, is our inmost being, and the understanding or intellect is that through which the love manifests itself and acts.
We have seen that the whole divine nature is included in Love and Wisdom. The will of man is the created and finite receptacle of the divine Love, and the understanding, of the divine Wisdom and the ideas of the uncreated Mind. All love, in its origin, is from this supreme fountain, for, as John avers, "Love is of God.'' In its purity, and unperverted, it is the divinest and most vital thing in the universe.
All the truth that is contained in our intellectual nature, or that our powers can grasp, is a ray from the abyss of light, the infinite circle in which the thoughts of God move. Love and truth have no other origin and paternity, yet it is according to appearance that they are our own, being self-originated. Why is this? That all the movements of our love-nature, and all the knowledge in our understanding should seem our own and self-derived, is owing to the nature of the divine Love, which gives birth to every good. This love is an infinite and irrepressible inclination to make its own good the possession of others made capable of receiving it. Hence when admitted to the human mind, it carries with it the appearance that it is ours, and that it is eliminated or evolved by the action of our spiritual powers. But its genesis is divine. It is ours, not in its origin, but as a divine gift. But the boundless love of God imparts good to us so freely and fully as to cause its seeming to be ours, -- the absolute property of our own minds.
It is a fundamental principle, of which we must never lose sight, that all good and truth in the universe of created mind are from God alone. We cannot become too fully confirmed in this great truth. It is the cornerstone on which the whole temple of angelic wisdom rests. Our will is a faculty or created organism, made to be admissive of the divine life or love, and the intellect to receive the light of the infinite wisdom. These flow from within outward, as the nucleus of every soul is a germ of the divine nature.
In most systems of mental science, we find a three-fold division of the mind, or what is technically called Trichotomy, and all the mental operations are classed under the three general designations of Intellect, Sensibility and Will. But a careful examination and thorough analysis of the phenomena of what they call the will, discloses the fact that they are only some form of the love. What a man loves he interiorly wills, and what he wills he loves. Volition is a movement of the affections. If one does what he loves not, if he pursues a course of action repugnant to some love, it is in obedience to some stronger affection.
Motive, which is supposed to influence and sometimes control our volitions, is always some form of love. And an act without a motive, or an impulse leading to it, and lying behind it, would be like the motion of machinery without any mechanical force. It would be a self-originated movement.
When we wish to influence the mind of another to some action or conduct, or to bring that mind to some desired determination, we always appeal to some love, and there is nothing back of that of which we have or can have the least consciousness, which acts in the decision. We may set from an interior love contrary to an exterior one. The spiritual degree of the mind may and ought to control the mere animal instincts. But it is always the love that decides. It is important to define the distinction between the love and affection. The latter is external to the former, or what amounts to the same, it is the love passed outward into the region of the emotions or feelings.
There may be love that influences and controls the whole outward activity, that is attended, at least sometimes, with no conscious emotion. We may from the love of our family and friends labor all day solely for their good, without once feeling any excitement of the emotions. In this case the love is interior, and beyond the perception of the external consciousness. But to assert that there is some principle behind and beyond that love, and further inward, is an assumption without evidence. If it exist at all, it lies beyond the soul’s inmost perceptions, and of which we can have no possible proof.
The love is the life of man, as it is of God. If we act from life, we are moved by love. There is no other life in the universe of sentient existence. This is the moving force in soul and body, the hidden spring that moves life's machinery. This is one of the most important and far-reaching principles in the spiritual philosophy of Swedenborg. The life of an animal is some form of affection, with the instincts that arise from it, and this controls their whole being and its activities. That love is the only life is a fundamental truth, and ever to be borne in mind.
Among some of the older metaphysicians, as well as in the Scriptures, where we find many correct principles in the philosophy of mind, the will and the Love are used as identical. The term thelo, to will, always implies an action of the love. It is generally used in the sense of to wish, which implies desire, and this is only a mode in which love is manifested. When it is used in the sense of arbitrium or determination, it is only the same love or affectional tendency toward a thing or particular result, heightened into an endeavor (conatus), or an effort of the love to ultimate itself in the outward act.
That the love is the life of man, and that the love and the will are identical, we shall find to be of much practical value, in Mental Hygiene, or the cure of diseased conditions of the body through the mind. It may become the fountain of health, or the hidden spring of deranged physiological action.
We know of no principle in the philosophy of mind, attended with more far-reaching consequences that the intellect is derived from the will of love, as taught originally by Swedenborg, but now adopted by some of the leading thinkers of the age. One has remarked: "That the intellectual aspect is not the noblest aspect of man, is a heresy which I have long iterated with a constancy due to a conviction. There never will be a philosophy capable of satisfying the demands of humanity, until the truth be recognized that man is moved by his emotions, not by his ideas: using his intellect only as an eye to see the way. In other words, the intellect is the servant, not the lord of the heart." (Comte's Philosophy of the Sciences, by G. H. Lewes, p. 5.)
As in the divine Being, Wisdom is evolved from love, as light from heat, so in man, made after a divine type, the understanding is derived from the will, truth from goodness, thought from affection, faith from charity. It must be acknowledged that this is contrary to the first appearance arising from a casual glance at the subject. The reason why it appears that thought is not generated by affection is, that the former comes more distinctly under the observation of consciousness than the latter. The love is nearer the center of our being, and is hence more concealed from our perception. Yet it is easy to conceive, that if our lovc-nature were annihilated or suppressed, all life, all thought, all consciousness would perish with it.
The will and the understanding sustain the relation of substance and form. Our thoughts are the boundary of our affection, and give them coloring or quality. It is also a matter of consciousness, that our thoughts are always busy with the objects of our affections. That which we love is spontaneously and perpetually recurring to our thoughts. What we love the most, fills the largest place in our thoughts. If love is not the ruling element of our life, why is this so? Our system of truth or faith will always exhibit a tendency to adjust itself in harmony with the nature of our ruling love. If we are confirmed in the love of what is evil or what is morally disorderly, the truth we receive is thereby changed to falsity.
We do not deny that the intellect may have a certain reflex influence upon the love. They may be the correlative forces of our spiritual organism, like action and reaction, or heat and light, or like the positive and negative principles in magnetism. One cannot exist without the other. They should mutually balance each other. This is a state of spiritual harmony and freedom. For freedom and harmony are the same, being the perfect equilibrium of the two forces of will and understanding, or sensibility and intellect.
This is also a state of spiritual health. The fundamental idea of mental disease, is a loss of balance between the intellectual and affectional departments of the mind. Such is its origin and nature. Some false idea is pushed to undue prominence, or some feeling becomes inordinate and predominant. To restore the balance, the lost harmonious equilibrium, is to effect the cure of the soul. To restore the lost harmony, should be the steady aim of him who ministers to a mind diseased. To maintain it in ourselves, should be our constant study.
Such is the mysterious relation of the soul and body, that every mental condition records itself in the bodily organism, -- first in the brain, and then in the organs that have sympathetic connection with those parts of the cerebral system. The healthy and happy equipoise in the mental powers, can be effected by magnetizing away the false notion, or the disorderly feeling, by a judicious and intelligent treatment of the part of the brain where it is recorded.
If love is the inmost essence of our being, and the fountain in us of all vitality and activity, if it be "a well of water in us, springing up into everlasting life," then to regulate our loves is the great object, the grand result, we should study to achieve. It also follows from this doctrine that every man's interior character is shaped by his prevailing affectional states, for the ruling love is the impelling force in the mental economy. It makes the laws for the intellectual powers to execute.
A genuine faith, instead of producing love or charity, is generated by it. This view of the mind and its invisible subtle forces, overturns from its foundations the great error of the religious world in all ages, that salvation is by faith alone. A man is saved, not by the belief of a tenet, but by a predominant holy love. His restoration from a state of moral, intellectual, and bodily disorder, commences not so much in the credence given to a dogma, as in the first dawning of a proper state of the affections. And when this condition becomes confirmed by the law of habit, a soul is saved either in the church or out of it.
No faith can save us if it has not its vital root in love. The doctrine of this chapter is not an idle speculation, without practical value, but there is enclosed in it the principle that shall issue in the highest well-being of the race here and hereafter. In this world even, our ruling love is our life, and a knowledge of it is the key that may open to our perception, our whole interior character, and to a great extent, our physical condition.
In this chapter we approach an important and interesting subject. The doctrine of the three distinct degrees or planes of mental being is characteristic of the philosophy of Swedenborg, who has thrown more light upon the subject of our inner self, than any other writer. The doctrine of degrees, in the form in which he presents it, is entirely new, not being found, nor anything but a distant approach to it, in any of the older philosophers.
It is true, we often meet with a three-fold arrangement or classification of the mental powers, as into intellect, sensibility, and will. But this is a widely different conception from the doctrine of degrees, as unfolded in the writings of the Swedish seer, and northern Apocalyptist.
In the prevailing systems of mental science, the intellect is not viewed as a complete mind, having all the powers and faculties of mind, but is simply intellect, no more nor less. The same may be said of the sensibility. It is not conceived to be a complete mental organism. It is only one branch or department of the inner nature. And so of the will. But in the spiritual science of Swedenborg, each degree of the mind is complete in itself, rounded out to the full proportions of an interior manhood, with nothing wanting to complete the fullness of a distinct mental existence. It has will and understanding, affection and thought, memory, reason, and imagination. Each lies within the other, like concentric circles, and the more external is evolved from the internal.
The lowest or outermost degree is called the external or natural man, or what amounts to the same, the external or natural mind, as we make no reference to the material body. This is the degree of mind we have in common with animals, and might with propriety be denominated the animal mind, though it is found in man more complete than in the lower orders.
So far as any one lives only on this plane of mental life, he is only a higher animal, having the same desires, affections, and appetites, as control the lower orders. To this degree belong the senses. This external mind is well defined to consciousness. Its phenomena come distinctly under the cognizance of the higher or interior range of the soul's action. Each interior degree is endowed with a power of perceiving what transpires in the next outer circle of existence.
The animal desires and appetites, and the external thoughts stand out with prominence, and are as distinctly seen by some power lying further inward, as the material objects around us are by the senses. What we call consciousness is but the observation the inward degrees of mind take of what transpires in the plane external to them.
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