34. III. THE MORE NEARLY A MAN IS CONJOINED TO THE LORD THE WISER HE BECOMES. While there are three degrees of life in man from creation and thus from birth, which have just been treated of above in n. 32, there are especially three degrees of wisdom in him. These are the degrees which are opened in man according to the measure of conjunction; that is, they are opened according to love, for love is conjunction itself. However, the ascent of love according to degrees is only perceived by man in an obscure way, while the ascent of wisdom is clearly perceived in those who know and see what wisdom is. The degrees of wisdom are so perceived because love enters through the affections into the perceptions and thoughts, and these present themselves to the internal sight of the mind, which corresponds to the external sight of the body. In this way wisdom is manifest, but not the affection of love which produces it. It is the same with all things that are actually done by man. How the body does them is perceived, but not the working of the soul. So also it is perceived how a man meditates, perceives and thinks; but it is not perceived how the soul of these activities, which is an affection for good and truth, produces the meditation, the perception and the thought.
 There are three degrees of wisdom, the natural, the spiritual and the celestial. Man is in the natural degree of wisdom while he lives in this world. This degree may then be perfected in him to its highest point, but yet it cannot enter upon the spiritual degree, because the spiritual degree is not an extension of the natural degree by continuity, but is conjoined to it by correspondences. After death man is in the spiritual degree of wisdom; and this degree is also such that it may be perfected to its highest point, but yet it cannot enter upon the celestial degree of wisdom, because the celestial degree is not an extension of the spiritual degree by continuity, but is conjoined to it by correspondences. From this it may be evident that wisdom can be elevated in a triplicate ratio, and in each degree can be perfected in a simple ratio to its highest point.
 One who comprehends the processes of elevation and the perfecting of these degrees can in some measure understand what is said of angelic wisdom, that it is ineffable; and so ineffable is it that a thousand ideas in the thought of angels from their wisdom can present but a single idea in the thought of men from their wisdom, the other nine hundred and ninety-nine ideas of angelic thought not being able to gain entrance, because they are supernatural. That this is so has often been granted me to know by actual experience. However, as was said before, no one can attain that ineffable wisdom of the angels unless through conjunction with the Lord and in the measure of that conjunction, for the Lord alone opens the spiritual degree and the celestial degree, and only in those who are wise from Him; and those are wise from the Lord who cast out from themselves the devil, that is, evil.