334. Third Memorable Relation:
After this, one of the angels said, "Follow me to the place where they shout, "O how wise!" and you will see monsters of men; you will see faces and bodies that are human, and yet they are not men."
"Are they beasts, then?" I asked.
He replied, "They are not beasts, but beastmen; for they are those who are utterly unable to see whether truth is truth or not, and yet can make whatever they wish seem true. With us, such are called Confirmers."
We followed the shouting, and came to the place; and behold, an assembly of men, and around about them a throng, and in the throng some of noble birth, and when these heard them prove whatever they themselves were saying and uphold it with so manifest a concurrence, they turned around and shouted, "O how wise!"
 But the angel said to me, "Let us not go among them, but call one of the assembly to us." And we called one out and withdrew with him, and talked over various subjects; and had confirmed them one by one until they seemed to be perfectly true.
We asked him whether he could confirm things contrary to each other; and he said he could just as well as the others. He then said openly and from his heart, "What is truth? Is there anything true in the nature of things, other than what man makes true? Say what you please and I will make it true."
I said, "Make this true that faith is the all of the church." And this he did so dexterously and skillfully that the learned bystanders admired and applauded. I then asked him to make it true that charity is the all of the church; and he did so; and then that charity is no part of the church; and he so clothed and decorated both statements with appearances that the bystanders would look at each other, and say, "Is he not wise?"
I then said, "Do you not know that to live well is charity, and to believe well is faith? Does not he who lives well also believe well? Thus does not faith belong to charity and charity to faith? Do you not see that this is true?"
He answered, "I will make it true, and I shall see." This he did and said, "I see it now." But immediately he made the contrary true, and then he said, "I see that this is true also."
At this we smiled and said, "Are they not contraries? How can two contraries both be true?"
Becoming angry at this, he said, "You are wrong; both are true, inasmuch as there is nothing true but what man makes true."
 There was one standing near who in the world had been an ambassador of the highest grade. He was astonished at this and said, "I acknowledge that something like this goes on in the world, nevertheless you are insane. Make it true, if you can, that light is darkness, and that darkness is light."
He answered, "I can do that easily. What are light and darkness but states of the eye? Is not light turned to shade when the eye turns from sunlight, as also when a man fixes his eye intently upon the sun? Who does not know that the state of the eye is then changed, and that therefore light appears as shade? And again, when the former state of the eye returns, this shade appears as light. Does not the owl see the darkness of night as the light of day, and the light of day as the darkness of night, and even the sun itself as an opaque and dusky globe? If a man had eyes like an owl's what would he call light and what darkness? What then is light but a state of the eye? And if light is only a state of the eye, is not light darkness and darkness light? Therefore both statements are true."
 But as this confirmation confounded some, I said, "I have noticed that this confirmer does not know that there is a true light and a fatuous light, and that both kinds seem to be light; yet the fatuous light in reality is not light, but compared to true light is darkness. An owl is in fatuous light; for within its eyes there is a passion for tearing birds to pieces and devouring them, and this light causes its eyes to see at night, precisely like those of cats, whose eyes in cellars look like lighted candles. It is the fatuous light arising within their eyes from the passion for tearing mice to pieces and devouring them, which produces this effect. Evidently, therefore, the light of the sun is true light, and the light of greed is fatuous light."
 After this, the ambassador asked the confirmer to make it true that a raven is white and not black.
He answered, "That also I can easily do." And he said, "Take a needle or a razor, and open the quills and feathers of a raven; then remove the quills and feathers, and look at the raven's skin; is it not white? What is the blackness that surrounds it, but a shade, from which we must not judge of the color of the raven? For proof that black is only a shade, consult those skilled in the science of optics, and they will tell you that if you grind a black stone or black glass to fine powder, you will see that the powder is white."
But the ambassador said, "Does not the raven appear to the sight to be black?"
The confirmer answered, "Are you, who are a man, willing to consider a subject from appearances? You may indeed say according to the appearance that a raven is black but you cannot think so. As for example you may say according to the appearance, that the sun rises and sets; but as you are a man you cannot think so, because the sun is motionless and the earth moves. It is the same with a raven. The appearance is an appearance. Say what you will, a raven is totally white; it even becomes white when it grows old; this I have seen."
After this the bystanders looked at me; therefore I said, "It is true that the quills and feathers of a raven partake of whiteness inwardly; so does its skin; but this is the case not only with ravens but all the birds in the universe as well; and everyone distinguishes birds by their apparent colors; if this were not done, we might say that every bird is white, which would be absurd and meaningless."
 Then the ambassador asked him whether he could make it true that he was himself insane; and he answered, "I can, but I do not wish to do so. Who is not insane?"
Finally, they asked him to say from his heart whether he was jesting, or really believed that there is nothing true but what man makes true; and he said, "I swear that I believe it."
Afterwards this universal confirmer was sent to the angels, who examined his character; and after the examination they said that he did not possess a single grain of understanding, because in him everything above the rational was closed, and only that below the rational was open; above the rational there is spiritual light, and below the rational natural light; and this light in man is such that by it he can confirm whatever he pleases. When spiritual light does not flow into natural light, man does not see whether any truth is a truth, nor, therefore, whether any falsehood is a falsehood; these must be seen from spiritual light in natural light, and spiritual light is from the God of heaven, who is the Lord. Therefore this universal confirmer is neither man nor beast, but is a beast-man.
 I asked the angels about the lot of such, whether they could be with the living, since man has life from spiritual light, and from this comes his understanding. They said that such, when they are alone, are unable to think at all and therefore to speak, but stand dumb like automatons and as it were in a deep sleep; but that they wake up the moment their ears catch anything. They added that those who are inmostly wicked become such; into these spiritual light from above cannot flow, but only something spiritual from the world from which they derive their faculty of confirming.
 When this had been said I heard a voice from the angels who examined him, saying, "From what you have heard form a universal conclusion."
This was the conclusion: That the ability to confirm whatever one pleases is not an indication of understanding; but the ability to see that truth is truth, and that falsehood is falsehood, and to confirm it is an indication of understanding.
After this, I looked toward the assembly where the confirmers were standing with the crowd about them crying, "O how wise!" And lo! a dusky cloud enveloped them, and in the cloud owls and bats were flying. And it was told me, "The owls and bats that are flying in the cloud were correspondences and therefore appearances of their thoughts; because in this world confirmations of falsities to such an extent that they seem to be truths, are represented under the form of birds of night, whose eyes are illumined within by a fatuous light, whereby they see objects in darkness as in light. Such fatuous spiritual light do those have who confirm falsities until they seem like truths, and who afterward believe them to be truths. All such have a sort of backward sight, but no forward sight."