Is There a Life after Death?
The Philosopher Immanuel Kant and the Visionary Emanuel Swedenborg
A presentation given on Radio Bremen by Dieter Schlesak
translated by GF Dole
Friday, March 3, 1998
THREE VOICES: KANT, THE AUTHOR, AND A COMMENTATOR
The Author: If one came to Kant's house as a guest, the predominant impression would
be of a peaceful stillness; and were it not that an open kitchen fragrant from the
last meal, a barking dog or a meowing cat (the cook's favorite) advised otherwise,
one might think the house was deserted, or was a monastery. The guest comes through a
simple, even shabby door into an equally shabby vestibule (? Sans-Souci), knocks on
the door, and is admitted by a cheerful "Come in!" The whole room breathes simplicity
and a quiet seclusion. Here sits the thinker on his half-round wooden chair as though
he were sitting on a stool; and his script flows across the white paper from his
quill pen as he writes with his head slightly bowed.
It was August tenth, 1763. Through reliable witnesses, Kant had learned of the
visions and conversations with the dead of the "spirit-seer," Emanuel Swedenborg of
Stockholm. He was writing to a Fraülein von Knobloch a letter that would later become
Kant: ". . . kindly consider only the two following incidents. Some time after the
death of her husband, Madame Harteville [either Kant's error or an error in
transcribing his letter. The actual name was Marteville, Tr.], the widow of the Dutch
envoy in Stockholm, received from the goldsmith Croon a demand for payment for a
silver service which her husband had had made. The widow was quite sure, though, that
her late husband was far to punctilious and well organized not to have paid this
debt, but she could not find the receipt . . ."
The Author: Madame Harteville asked Swedenborg for help. He agreed, and three days
later claimed "that he had spoken to her husband," Kant stated in his letter. The
debt had been paid seven months before his death, but the receipt would be found in a
cupboard in an upstairs room. The deceased had described it precisely. One opened a
drawer on the left side of the cupboard and slid a board aside. The receipt would
then be found in another, hidden, drawer, under the late envoy's confidential Dutch
[government] correspondence. To the utter amazement of the people present, the
receipt was actually found in the place Swedenborg had described.
Kant also described clairvoyant powers of Swedenborg, who accurately observed and
described the Stockholm fire from some four hundred kilometers distance.
Kant: "Of all the incidents, though, following one seems to me the most convincing
and to be beyond any conceivable doubt . . . About six o'clock one evening Herr von
Swedenborg left the room and then came back in, pale and distressed. He said that at
that very moment a terrible fire was burning in the Södermalm district of Stockholm .
. . and was spreading rapidly. He said that the house of one of his friends, whom he
named, already lay in ashes and that his own house was threatened. At about eight
o'clock, he said, `Thank God, the fire has been extinguished."
The Author: This statement of Swedenborg's was also confirmed in startling detail.
For Kant in 1763, Swedenborg was a credible scholar. Swedenborg's Arcana Coelestia
(in German, Himmlische Geheimnisse) was published in eight volumes between 1749 and
1756. Only four exemplars were purchased, with Kant obtaining one. He read it with
growing uneasiness, indeed, with growing disillusionment. Swedenborg actually claimed
Commentator: ". . . through my eyes they (i.e., spirits and angels) could see things
occurring in our world . . . and also hear the people who were talking with me . . .
They also saw their wives and children. . . . Strolling through the byways of a city
and through its fields, and at the same time in conversation with spirits . . . All
my senses were then just as alert as in a state of full physical wakefulness . . .
sight as well as hearing, and surprisingly, taste, which is more sensitive then that
it can ever be during wakefulness."
The Author: Kant's disillusionment over what he now took to be a confused production
came out in his polemic Dreams of a Spirit-Seer, Illustrated by Dreams of a
Metaphysician, which was published anonymously in 1766. He called Swedenborg's Arcana
Coelestia "eight quarto volumes of nonsense" and indulged in invective.
Kant: When a hypochondriac's gas disturbs his intestines, it all depends on which
direction it takes. If it goes downward, it becomes a f___, but if it goes upward, it
is a theophany or a holy inspiration."
The Author: Abruptly, he called the internationally known scholar "a certain Herr
Schwedenberg, without profession or employment," "arch-hallucinator of all
hallucinators,". "unknown fool," and even impostor. In fact, Swedenborg was a royal
Swedish assessor in the Bureau of Mines, a recognized author of scientific works, and
a member of the [scientific] academies of Stockholm and St. Petersburg. True,
Swedenborg had retired from his professional responsibilities two years after his
call-experience (In London in 1745). He retained only his post as representative of
his family in the House of Nobles and influenced the political course of the country
with a number of proposals. The then Prime Minister, Count Höpken, wrote, "The
soundest and best written memorials presented to the Parliament in 1761 were the ones
that came from him." Could this be said of an "arch-hallucinator"?
In a review of Kant's Dreams of a Spirit-Seer, the dismayed philosopher Moses
Mendelssohn asked about the reason for this invective. Kant responded that it had
become "most prudent . . . to anticipate others in this way," that he had "first
ridiculed myself, and in this way had acted with complete sincerity, since the state
of my own feelings on this subject is self-contradictory . . . ." So if his own
feelings were divided (since he had certainly indulged in ridicule), still "as far as
the story was concerned" he had, in his own inimitable style, "not been able to
escape . . . nurturing some suspicions of their reliability, in spite of the
absurdities . . . ."
Freud would later label whis kind of divided consciousness in regard to uncanny
suprasensory phenomena a "conflict of judgments" [Urteilsstreit]. Of course, the
anxiety of a would-be professor about making himself ridiculous was an important
factor. In the published polemic, Kant went at Swedenborg with a will, while as a
private individual he wrote an enthusiastic letter about the visionary. How could
Kant's heart clung to the "spirit world." However, experience and reason were the
foundations of his profession. This tension is the driving force behind his thought.
In the polemic of 1766, then, he was working on the two opposite poles: 1) the basic
method of his critical philosophy, determining the boundaries of thought, and 2) in
his moral doctrine, expanding the boundaries. He was condemning not only Swedenborg,
but also the unfounded speculations of contemporary metaphysics as "figments of the
Kant: We will never be able to see life and death by means of our reason. That is the
Author: Anyone who relies on "dreams" falls victim to "a sickness of the head" and
hallucination [Spinnerei]: a) the hallucinator Swedenborg through his sensations, b)
the metaphysicians through their reason. Time and again, commentators gleefully cite
Kant: ". . . we can gain a visual perception of the other world only to the extent
that we forfeit some measure of the intellect that we need for the present world."
Author: What is suppressed is the sentence of Kant's that immediately follows, and
that takes it all back:
Kant: ". . . If I really wanted to be an unbeliever, I would think exactly the way
the common people do, changeably and concerned only with appearances, constantly
yielding to the prevalent opinion and style, simply concerned to get ahead."
Author: Enlightenment-and Kant was regarded as its father-means thinking with one's
own head and not with anyone else's, taking a stand against petrified thoughts and
petrified relationships and authorities.
At the time of the Kant-Swedenborg controversy (1765-66), the world view of the
Enlightenment was being worked out and thought was being restricted to the world of
experience as corroborated by practice. Fifteen years later, namely in his 1783
"Lectures on Metaphysics" and especially in his 1790 "Lectures on rational
psychology, Kant would turn back to the suppressed suprasensory realm. In this third
period of his live, the "thing in itself" would stand in the center. This fearful and
famous "thing in itself" is inaccessible to theory and to the senses, but according
to Kant it is the indubitable deeper reality that underlies appearances, that impels
both the senses and the understanding, that furnishes the primal "stuff" which
enables the world to exist at all! In this period, Kant rehabilitates Swedenborg,
even referring to him as "sublime," and adopts his fundamental concepts of the
spiritual, actually the "otherworldly," basis of our world.
For Kant, Philosophy was the disciplined study of the boundaries of reason, but
without denying the suprasensory. Life after death is inaccessible to both sense and
understanding, but not to intuition, feeling, and conscience. In contrast, Swedenborg
proceeds from [apparently at least a line of text is missing] to possess. He
[evidently Kant] laid aside critique as "rational games-playing" [? Vernünfteln]."
As the son of a tradesman, Kant had no use for any form of exaggerated reverence, and
he could be sarcastic and severe. In thought, he sought what was solid, and in life
what was sturdy. Further, he was intrigued by the world and society, he did not soar
above the clouds or live in an ivory tower. His friends were merchants and soldiers
and lawyers-hardly his colleagues. The criminal lawyer Jensch filled his pipe, Frau
Professor Pörschke took care of drying his peas and string beans, the Englishman
Motheby (brother-in-law of Kant's best friend, the merchant Green) handled cheese and
codfish nearby, the merchant Jacoby handled Rhein wine, and the government adviser
Vigilantius took care of his salary receipts. Kant had a agood feel for people and
for reality; at the luncheons that became so well-known, he gathered information from
his guests about all fields of reality.
In his view, practical, down-to-earth, sensory existence was absolutely essential for
the soul as well, in order for it to have experiences. Not just to form a
personality, to give it substance and shape, "but to prepare the soul beyond the body
for its future existence after death."
Here Kant is actually adopting Swedenborg's concept, according to which "the live we
have procured in this world . . . follows" us after death. In fact, the meaning of
this physical life should be taken with full seriousness, since it serves for the
building of our "spiritual life' so that everything we have acquired here must be
take with us-not only the habits we have become fond of, but also all our mistakes
and lapses! Granted that his goal was to gain here experience for eternal growth, in
order to loosen the necessary bond between soul and body after death and at last to
be free to lead ones "true life in immensity, the mature Kant saw it like this:
Kant: Death, therefore, is not the absolute abolition of life but a liberation from
the obstacles to a complete life."
Author: As far as its deepest thinkers are concerned, "the"enlightenment is not
simply the "disenchantment of the world," as Adorno saw it, the overthrow of
imagination by knowledge, the "triumph of facticity," a knowledge whose essence is
technological, which strives "not for the stroke of insight but for method, for the
use of the work of others." This does not fit Kant. Kant himself said that he saw his
thought as a kind of clearing things away, limiting things only to create a space for
the transcendent. He had used Swedenborg as a kind of abrasive in order to construct
his own critical philosophy, the philosophy that made him famous. As early as the
Dreams of a Spirit-seer it says,
Kant: "We must complete the cycle ordained for us here and wait to see how things
will be in regard to the future world. God and the other world, though, are the only
goal of all our philosophical undertakings. And ignorance itself constrains me not to
dare deny so totally the truth of so many accounts of spirits."
The first critique reaches the shocking conclusion that our senses and intelligence
enable us to know only what we ourselves have posited in keeping with the conditions
that imprison us, which means that we can know nothing about things as they are in
themselves. This entails the impossibility of our learning anything about God,
freedom, and immortality with our rational tools. However, we also have reason and a
capacity for evaluation; these offer us the way out of our imprisonment-through
intuition, feeling, and above all conscience. They lead us to higher realities,
realities which are beyond the reach of both theory and scholarship. We first come to
learn of them in our dealings when we move into the area of DECISION. They alone give
us dignity and self-awareness, a self-confidence and accountability that belong
properly to the other world. Social considerations must not limit them! Kant's pupil
Commentator: "No intrigues, no sect, no advantage, no ambition for reputation, ever
had the slightest appeal for him against the broadening and brightening of truth. He
gladly devoted his energy and strength to independent thought: despotism was alien to
Author: Reason (not to be confused with intelligence) alone is the guarantee of
freedom; it precedes all experience. Intelligence, though, is "suprasensory," while
reason has its own cause. According to Kant, "becoming conscious of the suprasensory"
in human beings is essential "for freedom." Reason offers both us and nature the
higher laws that stem from an all inclusive primal cause and a general
appropriateness. It is the highest autonomy. AUTONOMY, that fundamental claim of the
enlightenment, arises not from politics or scholarship or economics but from a
certain conscience and from the knowledge that we are citizens of two worlds! This is
the precise intent of Kant's famous answer to the question, "What is the
Kant: "Our deliverance from a self-imposed adolescence . . . ."
Author: But adolescence is our inability to make use of our own reason. It includes
insight and courage, to recognize dependencies and prejudices as faults, not to offer
resistance to the customary thought that serves the presently dominant societal
system. It means worrying about recognizing our own conscience and living according
to it. To be dependent on nothing and no one, even on one's own body, not on clock
time-that was Kant's motto. He outwitted the tyranny of the clock to some extent by
his own self-imposed punctuality, and the citizens of Königsberg set their watches by
the walk he took always at exactly the same time. This free self-discipline gave Kant
a sense of wellbeing, since he was anything but narrow minded.
Speaker: "His open brow, bent to thought, was the seat of indestructible serenity and
joy; the most thoughtful conversation flowed from his lipshumor and wit and good
cheer were at his disposal . . . ."
Author: This according to his pupil, Herder. Kant ordained this strict regimen of his
daily life cycle down to the last detail in order to be free for his spiritual world,
in spite of the fact that his body and his psyche were outwardly sensitive and
irritable. Fixed habits guaranteed him a kind of defensive shell. Especially in the
era of the bachelor Kant, many things happened unpredictably. When he was young, his
anxiety about himself and about losing the leisure for his work and his job as
professor impelled him to go on the attack against the visionary Swedenborg who
claimed to be able to talk with the dead. But Kant was also afraid of his own weak
body, which constrained and limited him. This is why he used such extreme expressions
when he talked about his physiology:
Kant: "This total lack of a behind . . . and if one has no behind, how can even an
aristocrat sit down? How can he think? Only because my stool has very thick and very
plump cushioning . . . . My hairdo is atrocious, my shoulder is terribly crooked . .
. I have a delicate constitution. And this little body casts a small shadow outside.
And every morning, I wonder in front of the mirror at this unmuscular body. There is
the flat chest, the difficulty it houses-this chest is almost concave and leans
forward. And the right shoulder joint is dislocated backwards a bit."
Author: There was this prison of the body, then, and also the prison of the
inescapable times. Philosophically, "time" stands at the center of his thought. It
was paradoxical for him that objects that in fact are simultaneous become temporized
and appear in a sequence. And the spectral unreality of this apparent world, of this
bodily existence, impelled Kant to the control of the spirit, of a plan, of
self-discipline. Within time itself, he posited something unchangeable over against
the destruction of consciousness, namely a "moral law" outside of time, a given for
the body and for all experience. This was something everyone could experience
directly with, according to Kant. The only person who is free and independent is one
who does not leave his physical existence to the mercies of weakness, impulse, and
selfish interests, but relies on the law of his reason, his conscience, which belongs
to the other world. We first escape slavery to our senses, to narrow-minded reason,
to prejudice, and to social conformism when we heed this call. It involves a sterner
intent, but a "good intent" toward self-transcendence. According to Kant,
Kant: "There is nothing in this world or outside it that can be regarded as good
without further qualification, except a good intent."
Author: But Kant was no ascetic, no hater of this world. Quite the contrary. He liked
company, he was witty and tolerant, he enjoyed nature. The only picture that hung in
his study was a portrait of Rousseau, whom he revered. One of his friends was the
forest ranger Wöbster von Moditten, whom he often visited in his forest cabin. Kant
had a good relationship with women and they enjoyed him. He could chat with them
pleasantly and knowledge ably about cooking and even had plans for writing a
cookbook. How could this be? For Kant as for Swedenborg, the soul was undefined; it
needed a body, a world, in order to develop. Since according to Kant we do continue
to develop after death, wand therefore "take with us" what we have done and acquired
here, we should not limit ourselves to the eighty years we have here on earth and
thereby shorten our lives for the sake of eternity, since as physical beings we are
eventually annihilated, while as rational beings we all freed from death. Freedom
makes sense only if there is this endless "progress" after death. This means that the
enlightenment concepts of freedom and progress have become utterly distorted today.
In Kant's view,
Kant: "This eternal progress, though, is possible only on the premise of an existence
that goes on forever and an individuality of this same rational being-which is what
we call the immortality of the soul. So the highest good is possible, practically
speaking, only on the premise of the immortality of the soul. So this is inseparably
bound up with the moral law."
Author: Kant did start from sense and intelligence. However, he saw these and the
physical body as transitory tools. He was of course obliged to room in this weak body
in order to finish his massive work. He mortified his body to the point of pedantry
and self-discipline. For breakfast he had only two cups of tea and a pipe of tobacco.
He omitted supper, and prescribed no more than two pills a day for himself, even when
he was sick. In the living room of his large house in Schlossgraben, where he lived
like a visitor, treating the things there, even the books, as though they were on
loan (in this fleeting, illusory existence in time, possessions were of no
consequence for him!), everything was apparently meager, but purposefully arranged.
There was only one mirror in the dining room. In his study there was a desk, a
bureau, two tables with books and papers on them. The walls were white, with no
wallpaper. For the rather misshapen body, the room, the time, all suggested the
lowest level of existence. However strict the outward order Kant kept, though, he
worked there like a strange one. The rules and self-imposed daily schedule were his
means of making time and room for himself. So summer and winter, he got up every
morning at five. The worked and thought out his lectures until seven, from seven to
nine he delivered his lectures as professor, from nine to twelve fifteen he devoted
himself to his own creative work in his study, at one he received his luncheon
guests, with lunch lasting until four (or until six if the company was large). At
seven exactly he went for a walk for about an hour. Then he read journals or new
books or the newspaper until he went to bed promptly at ten..
For Kant there was something disquieting, something eerie about time as a phenomenon,
since he saw his own soul as governed from another realm, but as imprisoned. He saw
himself as an alien standing behind the wall of the senses, with the way in which he
and all mortals had of necessity to see imposed upon him. On the one hand, he was the
child of his times, while on the other hand there was something more important for
him: "the determination of his present existence solely in the form of his inner
sense." He was a stranger in his body and a stranger in this world of appearances.
Kant: ". . . so this means that I have no knowledge of myself as I am, only as I seem
Author: A stranger because according to Kant we are to be a kind of image of the
"highest good," of "the One." This "inner mind," though, vastly transcends the
everyday world of the senses, since given the onward pressure of time in our outward
impressions, learning is possible only if "coherence" or "unity"-and therefore
comprehension-accompanies, the unity of our consciousness as "the known" and at the
same time as the knower. "The unity of synthesis in multiplicity" is what Kant called
this core of his philosophy. Unity and this outside every experience [sic?] is best
provided by mathematics, the number, since this is the subject of a time that cannot
be grasped by the senses, a time that for Kant belongs to eternity and therefore to
an unsearchable unity. We are really dealing with our participation in the "One," in
the image of God within us, which can never come into play because we are alien to
ourselves exactly as things remain alien to us. As beings who have descended into
bodies we must of necessity remain unknown to ourselves as lone as we see only
discrete bodies, since we ourselves are imprisoned in our bodies and in our senses.
Carl Friedrich von Weizsäcker has pointed this out very nicely with the example of
quantum physics, which itself owes a debt to Kant:
Commentator: "If there is in fact an ultimate reality, it is unity. Seen from the
standpoint of this unity . . . objects are objects only for finite subjects (that is,
for subjects who lack a certain possible knowledge) . . . (that is, they are
individual souls under the limitations of physicality)."
Author: Kant's situation as a prescient spirit in the eighteenth century is tragic:
he came two hundred years too soon. His insights into the higher realm of reason and
the unity of time are ingenious, but limited in the field of understanding, dependent
on the science of his day with its mechanistic concepts of time and space.
The unity of time in this concept of the inner mind in Kant's late lectures on
rational psychology corresponds to Swedenborg's concept of the "inner light" which is
so "very internal" "that it hides itself," but an opening of the eyes still happens,
according to Swedenborg:
Commentator: "It was ten years ago now that the Lord opened my eyes so that I was
able in a state of full wakefulness to see what is happening in that wholly esoteric
[exzentrischen] world of the dead and talk, fully alert, with angels and spirits."
Author: For Kant, the "inner mind" is the guarantee of our "personal survival of
death." He wrote,
Kant: "Our consciousness of self and our identity as persons rests on this inner
mind. The inner mind endures even without a body . . . and therefore so does our
personality as well."
Author: However, this "inner mind" already reflects, just as Swedenborg's visions
did, the suprasensory world that awaits us after death. In Kant it is the spirit,
operating from this realm, that influences our behavior directly through conscience;
but conscience precedes the "inner mind" which time and circumstance engender. And it
seems to Kant exactly as though our earthly life were only a reflection of the other
world, and that self-realization is not possible until we have arrived at it-that is,
to ourselves-in death. So Kant says
Kant: ". . . death (is) not the absolute annihilation of life, but a freeing from the
obstacles to complete life."
Author: And in Swedenborg this is stated much more explicitly as to content and in a
strikingly personal manner:
Commentator: "So with God's help, I can see them. They are always around us, and they
can see each one of us. Our eyes are too clouded, and that light is so very internal,
that it conceals itself. It was a difficult time, that beginning. I was beset by
pains and dreams of death, by incubi, severe tremors of the soul and a crisis in my
scholarship. I had to declare a change of mind and could no longer fully believe what
reason alone offered me until it came to my call vision in April 1745 in London.
Since that time, I am constantly mindful of the fact that love is everything . . .
and that we are in the middle of it . . . And then there are the stages of growth.
After death, everything continues."
Author: Swedenborg and Kant both made a strange assumption: that the "other side" is
always there and tangible; only a paper-thin wall separates us from it and from the
"dead." In moments of enlightenment and often in dreams the breakthrough occurs, and
it death the wall itself collapses.
Kant: "The separation of the soul from the body is not to be set in any change of
location . . . (it is the) change of our sensory perception of the other world . . .
. Moreover, no matter how clear and perceptive our concepts of the other world may
be, this is not enough to make me as a mortal conscious of it . . . . We are free
when the involvement of the soul in the physical world is finally abolished by death
. . . ."
Author: The mature Kant unequivocally corrected his youthful attack against
Swedenborg, valued him highly, even adopted his point of view:
Kant: "(In death) . . . it comes out even more clearly that if I take away the
thinking subject the whole physical world must cease to be. . . . On this subject,
Swedenborg's thought is sublime . . . . He says: All spiritual natures are intimately
connected with each other . . . (they are) not tied down to the requirements of the
body. Even now we have a kind of observable consciousness through our reason, as
though we were in an intelligible world: after death we will see and recognize it."
Author: In spite of all their differences, Kant and Swedenborg were akin in their
basic stances. In regard to the verification of our abilities and of the difficulties
when it comes to translating our suprasensory experiences, "we are tied specifically
to the appearances and illusions of the senses," according to Swedenborg. We cannot
translate these experiences into our verbal language. According to Swedenborg, even
spirits use our thoughts and world in order to be heard:
Commentator: ". . . in reality, it was not they who were talking but I . . ."
Author: The late Kant wrote in agreement with Swedenborg,
Kant: ". . . it is as good as proven (and I do not know where or when) that it has
been demonstrated that the soul even in this life stands in an indissoluble communion
with all the immaterial natures of the spiritual world, and that it in turn is at
work in that world and receive impressions from it, impressions of which we as
mortals are not conscious as long as everything is going well . . . so what I think
as a spirit is not remembered by me as a mortal, and vice versa . . . ."
Author: But for Kant, death is always an elevation, a hope; there is no horror for
him, no corpse, but light. [It is a] continuation of spiritual development, and earth
is an educational realm for our enrichment which will be taken "across" with us into
the spiritual realm after our death.
Author: And Swedenborg says exactly the same thing:
Commentator: "Since then, countless more visions have been added. And I have become
aware that the realization and manifestation of our effort in this world is itself
our judgment. Death, though, means the uncovering of the form which the inner person
has acquired during this life."
Author: On the basis of the unbearable gulf between our brief life span and our
infinitely rich possibilities, which simply cannot be developed in so short a
lifetime, Kant arrives with "certainty" at our spiritual activity after death:
Kant: "So we may presume that the soul must be in preparation for a future world
where all these powers can be applied and used."
Author: For Kant as for Plato, the soul is by birth imprisoned in a jail that "keeps
it from its spiritual life."
Kant: "So death is an advancement of life, and our future life is for the first time
our true life."
Author: Kant's friction with Swedenborg was for the purpose of founding the
philosophy of the enlightenment! What must today's thought rub against in order to
get down to its foundations? It should be atomic and quantum physics: after all, if
our science holds fast to this solid kernel, with time and space transcended, then
philosophy must apply itself to today's "Swedenborg," to the thousands of "voices"
and messages from the other world which can be well documented by present-day
physical means. There is also an unconscious networking of millions of people that is
contributing to a mutation of humanity.
Kant is more relevant than ever-but the enlightenment in his sense is still pending.
Editor's note: this needs to be verified!
Editor's note: More precisely, on February seventh, 1766, Kant had sent Moses
Mendelssohn (who in spite of his loyalty to his Jewish faith was a highly respected
philosopher) copies of the anonymous "Dreamings." is reaction was not at all
flattering, whereupon Kant defended himself in a letter of April fourth, 1766, saying
among other things, "The surprise you express at the tone of my little work is proof
to me of the good opinion you have formed of my character and my sincerity, and your
reluctance to see it expressed only ambiguously is dear and gratifying to me (cited
from Ernst Banz, Vision und Offenbarung [Zürich: Swedenborg Verlag, 1979], p. 175).
Translator's note: Schlesak inserts here a note to the effect that Kant's word
widersinnlich is the equivalent of the modern widersinning.
Editor's note: More precisely, he did not reject critique as an aid to the discovery
of truth but only to the extent that it was used to tear down or destroy truth.
Editor's note: this dictum of Kant's is found already in the Dreams of 1766, Part 1,