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


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,[1] 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.[2] 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 . . . ."[3] 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

this be?

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's dictum:

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]."[4]

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

Herder wrote,

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

his nature."

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

to myself."

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 . . . ."[5]

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,

Section 2.

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