299. I have also been permitted to learn the source of human anxiety, grief of mind, and interior sadness, which is called melancholy. There are spirits not as yet in conjunction with hell, because they are in their first state; these will be described hereafter when treating of the world of spirits. Such spirits love things undigested and pernicious, such as pertain to food becoming foul in the stomach; consequently they are present with man in such things because they find delight in them; and they talk there with one another from their own evil affection. The affection that is in their speech flows in from this source into man; and when this affection is the opposite of man's affection there arises in him sadness and melancholy anxiety; but when it agrees with it it becomes in him gladness and cheerfulness. These spirits appear near to the stomach, some to the left and some to the right of it, and some beneath and some above, also nearer and more remote, thus variously in accordance with their affections. That this is the source of anxiety of mind has been shown and proved to me by much experience. I have seen these spirits, I have heard them, I have felt the anxieties arising from them, and I have talked with them; when they have been driven away the anxiety ceased; when they returned the anxiety returned; and I have noted the increase and decrease of it according to their approach and removal. From this it has been made clear to me why some who do not know what conscience is, because they have no conscience, ascribe its pangs to the stomach.#
# Those who have no conscience do not know what conscience is (n. 7490, 9121).
There are some who laugh at conscience when they hear what it is (n. 7217).
Some believe that conscience is nothing; some that it is something natural that is sad and mournful, arising either from causes in the body or from causes in the world; some that it is something that the common people get from their religion (n. 206, 831, 950; [TCR n. 665]).
There is true conscience, spurious conscience, and false conscience (n. 1033).
Pain of conscience is an anxiety of mind on account of what is unjust, insincere, or in any respect evil, which man believes to be against God and against the good of the neighbor (n. 7217).
Those have conscience who are in love to God and in charity towards the neighbor, but those who are not so have no conscience (n. 831, 965, 2380, 7490).