260. THE NATURAL MIND, SINCE IT IS THE COVERING AND CONTAINANT OF THE HIGHER DEGREES OF THE HUMAN MIND, IS REACTIVE; AND IF THE HIGHER DEGREES ARE NOT OPENED IT ACTS AGAINST THEM, BUT IF THEY ARE OPENED IT ACTS WITH THEM.
It has been shown in the preceding chapter that as the natural mind is in the outmost degree, it envelops and encloses the spiritual mind and the celestial mind, which, in respect to degrees, are above it. It is now to be shown that the natural mind reacts against the higher or interior minds. It reacts because it covers, includes, and contains them, and this cannot be done without reaction; for unless it reacted, the interior or enclosed parts would become loosened and press outward and thus fall apart, just as the viscera, which are the interiors of the body, would push forth and fall asunder if the coverings which are about the body did not react against them; so, too, unless the membrane investing the motor fibers of a muscle reacted against the force of these fibers in their activities, not only would action cease, but all the inner tissues would be let loose. It is the same with every outmost degree of the degrees of height; consequently with the natural mind with respect to higher degrees; for, as was said above, there are three degrees of the human mind, the natural, the spiritual, and the celestial, and the natural mind is in the outmost degree. Another reason why the natural mind reacts against the spiritual mind is, that the natural mind consists not only of substances of the spiritual world but also of substances of the natural world (as was said above, n. 257), and substances of the natural world of their very nature react against the substances of the spiritual world; for substances of the natural world are in themselves dead, and are acted upon from without by substances of the spiritual world; and substances which are dead, and which are acted upon from without, by their nature resist, and thus by their nature react. From all this it can be seen that the natural man reacts against the spiritual man, and that there is combat. It is the same thing whether the terms "natural and spiritual man" or "natural and spiritual mind" are used.