EXTRACTS FROM ARCANA C¨¡LESTIA CONCERNING KNOWLEDGES (from Heaven and Hell 356e)
Friday, December 12, 1999
I. The Usefulness of Data
We should saturate ourselves with information and insights, because it is through them
that we learn to think, then to sort out what is true and good, and ultimately to be wise
(129, 1450, 1453, 1802). Information constitutes the elemental basis on which our moral,
civil, and spiritual lives are built and grounded; and they are learned with a view to
using them (1489, 3310). Insights open a path to the inner person, and then unite that
person with the outer in proportion to useful action (1563, 1616). Our rational
functioning is born through information and insights (1895, 1900). This does not happen
through the insights themselves, however, but through the affection of putting them to use
II. Open and Empty Data
There are data which are open to divine truths and data which are not (5213). Empty data
should be destroyed (1489, 1492, 1499, 1580). Data are "empty" if they aim at and
strengthen loves of self and the world, and if they lead us away from loves for the Lord
and the neighbor. This is because such influences close off the inner person, even to the
point that the individual cannot accept anything from heaven (1563, 1600). Data may be
means to wisdom or means to insanity. Through them the inner person is either opened or
closed, and rational functioning either nurtured or destroyed (4156, 8628, 9922).
III. The Effect of Constructive Living
The inner person is opened and is step-by-step completed by means of data if we have
worthwhile usefulness as our goal--especially usefulness that focuses on our eternal life
(3086). Then the heavenly and spiritual characteristics of our spiritual person reach out
to them and adopt the ones that are suitable (1495). Then whatever is useful for heavenly
life is drawn forth from the data by the Lord, by way of the inner person, and is
elaborated and exalted (1895, 1896, 1900, 1901, 1902, 5871, 5824, 5901). Data that do not
fit, or that oppose, are banished to the sides and eliminated (5871, 5886, 5889).
IV. The Internal Organizing of Data
The sight of the inner person selects from the data of the outer person only those items
that suit its love (9344). In the view of the inner person, the items that suit its love
are in full light, in the center, while those that do not suit are off to the sides, in
the shadows (6068, 6084). Suitable data are grafted onto their loves step by step, and, so
to speak, dwell in them (6325). We would be born into discernment if we were born into
love toward the neighbor, but since we are born into love of self and the world, we are
born into complete ignorance (6323-6325). Information, discernment, and wisdom are
children of love of the Lord and the neighbor (1226, 2094, 2116).
V. Information, discernment, and wisdom--and faith
It is one thing to be wise, another to be discerning, and another to be informed: still,
to the extent that we are alive spiritually, these follow in a sequence and are all
together at once when we act, or in our deeds (10331). Further, it is one thing to be
informed, another to acknowledge, and another to have faith (896).
VI. How Extremal Data Relate to Spiritual Reality
The data of the outer or natural person are in the world's light, while the truths that
have become matters of faith and love, and have thus come to life, are in heaven's light
(5212). Truths which are suited to spiritual life are grasped through natural images
(5510). Spiritual inflow is from the inner or spiritual person into the data which are in
the outer or natural person (1940, 8005). Data are receptacles and, so to speak, vessels
of the good and the true elements of the inner person (1469, 1496, 3068, 5489, 6004, 6023,
6071, 6077, 7770, 9922). Data are like mirrors in which the good and true elements of the
inner person appear as in an image (5201). They are there all at once in their most
concrete form (5373, 5874, 5886, 5901, 6004, 6023, 6052, 6071).
VII. The Impossibility of Material Proof of Spiritual Principles
Inflow is spiritual and not physical: that is, there is an inflow from the inner person
into the outer and therefore into its data, but not from the outer into the inner and
therefore from data into the truths of faith (3219, 5119, 5259, 5427, 5428, 5478, 6322,
9110, 9111 [? dele]. The first principle should be drawn from the truths of the church's
teaching, and this teaching should first be acknowledged: it is legitimate to consider
data on this basis (6047). This means that for people who are affirmatively disposed
toward the truths of faith, it is legitimate to use data intellectually to confirm them,
but not for people who are negatively disposed (2568, 2588, 4760, 6047). People who will
not believe divine truths unless they are convinced by data will never believe (2094,
2832). To enter into the truths of faith from data is disorderly (10236). People who do
this become insane in matters that concern heaven and the church (128-130). They fall into
the distortions of evil (232, 233, 6047). In the other life, when thay think about
spiritual matters, they seem to become drunk (1072). More on their nature (196). Examples
illustrating that spiritual matters cannot be grasped if they are entered from data (233,
2094, 2196, 2203, 2209). Many learned people are more insane in spiritual matters than
simple folk because they are negatively disposed, confirming [their opinions] by the data
which are constantly and abundantly in their view (4760, 8629).
VIII. The Persuasiveness of Sensory Illusions
People who argue against the truths of faith on the basis of data argue keenly because
they depend on sensory illusions, which captivate and convince because they are hard to
dispel (5700). What sensory illusions are and what they are like (5084, 5094, 6400, 6948).
People who understand nothing of the truth and who are also involved in evil can argue
about things that are true and good without understanding them (4213 [? 4124]). It is not
a matter of intelligence to confirm a dogma, but to see whether it is true or not before
one confirms it.
IX. What Happens to Data after Death
After death, data are powerless--[what work are] the things a person has drawn out for
understanding and life (2480). All the data still endure after death; they merely become
dormant (2476-2470, 2481-2486).
X. Data and Truth: A Question of Goodness
The same data are false for evil people, because they are applied to evil ends, which are
true for good people because they are applied to good ends (6917). True data are not true
for evil people, even though they seem true when they say them, because there is evil
within them (10331).
XI. The Inquiring Spiritual Mind, and the Knowledge of the Ancients
An example of the kind of craving for knowledge spirits have (1993 [? 1973, 1974]).
Angels have a tremendous desire to know and to be wise, because data, intelligence and
wisdom are spiritual food (3114, 4459, 4792, 4976, 5147, 5293, 5340, 5342, 5410, 5426,
5576, 5582, 5588, 5656 [? 5655], 6277, 8562, 9003). The knowledge of the ancients was a
knowledge of symbols and images ["correspondences and representations"], through which
they led themselves into a familiarity with spiritual matters; but at the present time
this knowledge has been totally effaced (4749, 4964, 4965).
XII. Prerequisites to Spiritual Understanding.
Truths on a spiritual level cannot be grasped without a knowledge of the following
1. Everything in the universe goes back to the good and the true and their union in order
to be anything--that is, to love and faith and their union.
2. People have discernment and intentionality: discernment is the receptacle of what is
true, and intentionality the receptacle of what its good. Everything in us goes back to
these two and to their union just as everything [in the universe] goes back to the good
and the true and their union.
3. There is an inner and an outer person, as distinct from each other as heaven and earth;
yet they must make one if the person is to be truly human.
4. Heaven's light is the light the inner person is in, and the world's light is the light
the outer person is in. Heaven's light is the Divine-true itself, the source of all
5. There is a relationship of responsiveness between the things in the inner person and
those in the outer, so that things from either side appear in a different guise on the
other side--so different that they cannot be identified without a knowledge of
Without knowledge of these and many other matters, only incongruous concepts of truths on
the spiritual and heavenly levels can be grasped and formed. This means that wihtout these
universal principles, the data and insights of the natural person can scarcely serve for
the discernment and development of the rational person. This shows how necessary data are.