(ML) - Wisdom's Delight in Marriage Love: Followed by Insanity’s Pleasure in Promiscuous Love

ML 182

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182. To the above shall be added two Memorable Relations. First:
Some weeks after (the meeting on Parnassus (no. 156a)), I heard a voice from heaven saying, "Lo, there is again an assemblage on Parnassus. Come hither, we will show you the way." I went, and when I was close by, I saw upon Helicon a man with a trumpet, with which he proclaimed the assembly and appointed the place where it was to meet. As on the previous occasion, I then saw the inhabitants of the city of Athens and its suburbs going up, and in their midst three new-comers from the world. All three were from Christian societies, one being a priest, another a statesman, and the third a philosopher. On the way the citizens entertained them with varied conversation, especially about wise men of old whom they mentioned by name. The new-comers asked whether they were to see them, and were told that they were, and if they wished they could pay their respects to them, for they were affable men. They asked about Demosthenes, Diogenes, and Epicurus, and were told: "Demosthenes is not here but with Plato. Diogenes sojourns with his scholars at the foot of Helicon, and this because he esteems worldly things as naught, and employs his mind solely with things heavenly. Epicurus lives on the border at the west and does not come among us, because we distinguish between good and evil affections, and say that good affections are one with wisdom while evil affections are contrary to wisdom."
[2] When they had ascended the hill Parnassus, some guards of the place brought water in crystal goblets from a fountain there, and said: "This is water from the fountain of which the ancients fabled that it was broken open by the hoof of the horse Pegasus, and was afterwards consecrated to the nine virgins; but by the winged horse Pegasus they meant the understanding of truth by which comes wisdom; by the hoofs of his feet they meant experience by which comes natural intelligence; and by the nine virgins they meant cognitions and sciences of every kind. At this day, these are called fables, but they were correspondences, it being from correspondences that primeval men spoke."
The companions of the three new-comers said to the latter, "Do not be surprised. The guards have been instructed to speak thus. By drinking water from a fountain, we understand being instructed concerning truths, and, by truths, concerning goods, and thus becoming wise."
[3] After this they entered the Palladium, and with them the three novitiates from the world, the priest, the statesman and the philosopher. The laureates who sat at the table then asked them, "WHAT NEWS FROM EARTH?" They answered: "This is new. A certain man asserts that he speaks with angels and has open sight into the spiritual world, just as he has open sight into the natural world. From there, he brings many new things, among which are these: That after death, man lives as a man just as he lived before in the world; that he sees, hears, speaks, as before in the world; that he is clothed and adorned as before in the world; that he hungers and thirsts, as before in the world, and eats and drinks; that he enjoys conjugial delight as before in the world; that he sleeps and wakes as before in the world; that there are lands and lakes there, mountains and hills, plains and valleys, fountains and rivers, paradises and groves; also that there are palaces and houses there, and cities and villages, just as in the natural world; and furthermore, that there are writings and books; and employments and trades; also precious stones and gold and silver; in a word, that in that world is found everything that is found on earth, and in the heavens things infinitely more perfect, the only difference being that all things in the spiritual world, being from the sun there which is pure love, are from a spiritual origin and are therefore spiritual, while all things in the natural world, being from the sun there which is pure fire, are from a natural origin and are therefore natural and material. In a word, that after death man is perfectly a man, yea, more perfectly a man than he was before in the world; for formerly, in the world, he had been in a material body, but in this world he is in a spiritual body."
[4] When the novitiates had thus spoken, the wise men of old asked them, "What do men on earth think about these things?" The three replied: "We know that they are true because we are here and have examined and explored them all. We will therefore tell you what men on earth have said and how they have reasoned about them."
The priest then said: "Men of our order, when they heard of those things, first called them visions and then inventions. Later they said that he had seen ghosts, and finally they hesitated and said, Believe if you wish; hitherto we have taught that after death man will not be in a body until the day of the Last Judgment."
They then asked him, "Are there not any intelligent men among them who are able to demonstrate the truth and convince them that man lives as a man after death?" [5] The priest replied: "There are men who demonstrate it, but they do not convince. Those who demonstrate it say, "It is against sound reason to believe that man does not live as a man until after the day of the Last Judgment, and that meanwhile he is a soul without a body. What is the soul? and where is it meanwhile? Is it a breath? or a thing of wind flying about in the air? or an entity hidden away in the center of the earth? Where is its Pu?* And now, after six thousand years or sixty centuries, are the souls of Adam and Eve and of all who followed them still flying about in the universe? or still being held shut up in the center of the earth? and are they awaiting the Last Judgment? What could be more distressing and miserable than such a waiting? May not their lot be likened to the lot of men in prison, bound with chains and fetters? If such is to be the lot of man after death, would it not be better to be born an ass than a man? Moreover, is it not contrary to reason to believe that a soul can be again clothed with its body? Is not the body eaten up by worms, mice, and fishes? and is the bony skeleton, burned up by the sun or fallen into dust, to be clothed anew with that body? How shall these cadaverous and putrid elements be gathered together and united to their soul?" But to such arguments, when they listen to them, men do not give any answer based on reason but stick to their faith, saying, "We hold reason captive under obedience to faith." As to the gathering of all bodies from their graves at the day of the Last Judgment, they say, This is the work of Omnipotence, and when they name Omnipotence and Faith, reason is banished; and I can say that sound reason is then as nothing, and to some it is a specter; indeed, they can say to sound reason, You are Insane."
[6] Hearing this, the wise men of Greece said: "Are not such paradoxes dissipated of themselves as contradictions? And yet, in the world at this day they cannot be dissipated by sound reason! What greater paradox could be believed than what is said of the Last Judgment that the universe will then perish and the stars fall from heaven upon the earth, which is smaller than the stars; and that the bodies of men, which will then be corpses, or mummies disembowelled by men, or bits of dust, will coalesce with their souls? When we were in the world, we believed in the immortality of men's souls on the basis of inductions furnished us by reason. Moreover, we assigned places of abode for the blessed, which we called the Elysian fields, and we believed departed souls to be human effigies or semblances, but tenuous because spiritual."
[7] Saying this, they turned to the second new-comer, who in the world had been a statesman. He confessed that he had not believed in a life after death. As to the new things concerning that life, he had heard about them but had thought them to be fictions and inventions. "When meditating on them, I said: How can souls be bodies? Does not every part of the man lie dead in the grave? Is not the eye there? How can he see? Is not the ear there? How can he hear? Whence has he a mouth with which to speak? If anything of the man were to live after death, would it be other than the likeness of a ghost? How can a ghost eat and drink? and how can it enjoy conjugial delight? Whence has it clothes, house, food and so on? Moreover, ghosts, which are airy effigies, appear as if they were beings and yet are not. It was such thoughts and the like that I had in the world respecting the life of man after death; but now, having seen all things and touched all with my hands, I am convinced by my own senses that I am a man as in the world, so that I know no other than that I am living as I have lived, the only difference being that now I have sounder reason. Sometimes I have been ashamed of my former thoughts."
[8] The philosopher told a similar story about himself, but with this difference, that he had classed the new things which he had heard concerning the life after death among opinions and hypotheses which the teller had gathered from ancient and modern authors.
On hearing all this, the Sophi were astonished. Those who were of the Socratic School then said, that from this news from earth they perceived that the interiors of men's minds had been successively closed, and that in the world the faith of falsity now shines as truth, and fatuous ingenuity as wisdom; and that, since their times, the light of wisdom has gone down from the interiors of the brain into the mouth under the nose. There it appears before the eyes as a brightness of the lip, and the speech of the mouth therefrom seems like wisdom.
Hearing this, one of the pupils added, "And how stupid are the minds of the inhabitants of earth at this day! If only the disciples of Heraclitus and Democritus were here, who laugh at all things and weep at all, we would hear great laughter and great weeping."
When the meeting was ended, they gave the three new-comers from the earth the insignia of that domain, being small copperplates on which were engraved hieroglyphics; and with these the new-comers departed.
* Pu and Ubi are respectively the Greek and Latin words meaning "Somewhere". They were formerly used as theological terms to designate the abode of souls while waiting for reunion with their bodies. Such souls were also said to be "in limbo" (in the border land).


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