(ISB) - The Interaction between Soul and Body That Some Attribute to a Flow of Energy from the Body, Some to a Flow of Energy from the Spirit, and Some to a Preestablished Harmony

ISB 15

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15. XIII.

It is altogether otherwise with beasts.

Those who judge from the mere appearance to the senses of the body, conclude that beasts have will and understanding as well as men, and hence that the only distinction is that man can speak, and thus describe what he thinks and desires, while beasts can only express this by sounds. Yet beasts have not will and understanding, but only an image of each, which the learned call an analog. [2] That a man is a man, is because his understanding can be elevated above the desires of his will, and thus can know and see them from above, and also moderate them; but a beast is a beast because its desires impel it to do whatever it does. Wherefore a man is a man in that his will is under obedience to his understanding; but a beast is a beast in that its understanding is under obedience to its will. From these things this conclusion follows, that the understanding of man, because it receives the light that flows in from heaven, and apprehends and perceives this as its own, and from it thinks analytically with all variety, altogether as from itself, is alive, and thence a true understanding; and that the will of man, because it receives the inflowing love of heaven, and from it acts as from itself, is alive, and is thence truly will; but the contrary is the case with beasts. [3] Wherefore those who think from the lusts of the will are likened to beasts, and also in the spiritual world they appear at a distance as beasts; they also act like beasts, with this difference only, that they can act otherwise if they will. But those who restrain the lusts of their will by means of the understanding, and therefore act rationally and wisely, appear in the spiritual world as men, and are angels of heaven. [4] In a word, the will and the understanding in beasts always cohere; and because the will in itself is blind, for it is of heat and not of light, it makes the understanding blind also. Hence a beast does not know and understand its own actions; and yet it acts, for it acts from an influx from the spiritual world; and such action is instinct. [5] It is believed that a beast thinks from the understanding what it does, but this is not so; it is impelled to act only from natural love, which is in it from creation, with the assistance of the senses of its body. That a man thinks and speaks is solely because his understanding can be separated from his will, and can be elevated even into the light of heaven; for the understanding thinks, and thought speaks. [6] That beasts act according to the laws of order inscribed on their nature, and some beasts as it were morally and rationally, differently from many men, is because their understanding is blind obedience to the desires of their will, and therefore they are not able to pervert these by depraved reasonings, as men do. It is to be observed, that by the will and the understanding of beasts in the foregoing statements, is meant an image and analog of them. Analogs are so named from appearance. [7] The life of a beast may be compared with a somnambulist who walks and acts from the will while the understanding is in a deep sleep; and also with a blind man who walks through the streets with a dog leading him; and also with a foolish person, who from custom and the habit thence acquired does his work according to rules; likewise with a person void of memory, and therefore deprived of understanding, who still knows or learns how to clothe himself, to eat dainties, to love the sex, to walk the streets from house to house, and to do such things as soothe the senses and gratify the flesh, by the allurements and pleasures of which he is carried along, though he does not think, and therefore cannot speak. [8] From these things it is plain how much they are deceived who believe that beasts enjoy rationality, and are only distinguished from men by the external figure, and by their not being able to give utterance to the rational things which they hide within. From which fallacies many even conclude that if man lives after death beasts also will live after death, and, on the contrary, that if beasts do not live after death neither will man; besides many dreams arising from ignorance about the will and the understanding, and also about degrees, by means of which, as by a ladder, the mind of man mounts up to heaven.


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