38. Only he who knows how degrees are related to Divine order can comprehend how the heavens are distinct, or even what is meant by the internal and the external man. Most men in the world have no other idea of what is interior and what is exterior, or of what is higher and what is lower, than as something continuous, or coherent by continuity, from purer to grosser. But the relation of what is interior to what is exterior is discrete, not continuous. Degrees are of two kinds, those that are continuous and those that are not. Continuous degrees are related like the degrees of the waning of a light from its bright blaze to darkness, or like the degrees of the decrease of vision from objects in the light to those in the shade, or like degrees of purity in the atmosphere from bottom to top. These degrees are determined by distance.  On the other hand, degrees that are not continuous, but discrete, are distinguished like prior and posterior, like cause and effect, and like what produces and what is produced. Whoever looks into the matter will see that in each thing and all things in the whole world, whatever they are, there are such degrees of producing and compounding, that is, from one a second, and from that a third, and so on.  Until one has acquired for himself a perception of these degrees he cannot possibly understand the differences between the heavens, nor between the interior and exterior faculties of man, nor the differences between the spiritual world and the natural world, nor between the spirit of man and his body. So neither can he understand the nature and source of correspondences and representations, or the nature of influx. Sensual men do not apprehend these differences, for they make increase and decrease, even according to these degrees, to be continuous, and are therefore unable to conceive of what is spiritual otherwise than as a purer natural. And in consequence they remain outside of and a great way off from intelligence.#
# Things interior and things exterior are not continuous but distinct and discrete according to degrees, and each degree has its bounds (n. 3691, 5114, 5145, 8603, 10099).
One thing is formed from another, and the things so formed are not continuously purer and grosser (n. 6326, 6465).
Until the difference between what is interior and what is exterior according to such degrees is perceived, neither the internal and external man nor the interior and exterior heavens can be clearly understood (n. 5146, 6465, 10099, 10181).