Sunday, August 31, 2014

Sensation and Angelic Presence, part II

I should like to add to this something noteworthy about the memory that we keep after death, something that convinced me that not just the general contents but even the smallest details that have entered our memory do last and are never erased. I saw some books with writing in them like earthly writing, and was told that they had come from the memories of the people who had written them, that not a single word was missing that had been in the book they had written in the world. I was also told that all the least details could be retrieved from the memory of someone else, even things the person had forgotten in the world. 

The reason for this was explained as well; namely, that we have an outer and an inner memory, the outer proper to our natural person and the inner proper to our spiritual person. The details of what we have thought, intended, said, and done, even what we have heard and seen, are inscribed on our inner or spiritual memory. There is no way to erase anything there, since everything is written at once on our spirit itself and on the members of our body, as noted above. This means that our spirit is formed in accord with what we have thought and what we have done intentionally. I know these things seem paradoxical and hard to believe, but they are true nevertheless.

Let no one believe, then, that there is anything we have thought or done in secret that will remain hidden after death. Believe rather that absolutely everything will come out into broad daylight.

Emmanuel SwedenborgHeaven and Hell, pg. 498(new century edition)

In reviewing the question of sensation and the organic sense of Being, I must once again emphasize that this matter relates to the infusion of angelic energies into the body. De Salzmann referred to this as a "higher" energy; but of course it's an angelic energy.

Calling it "higher" simply tends, in my eyes, to obscure the point. One cannot understand what this "higher" energy means without understanding that it comes from a level of real Being, populated with other real Beings. We must, as well, be reminded that this higher level is a level not just of location—we're not dealing in mere geometries here—but of a greater moral, ethical, and spiritual authority. Hence Swedenborg's succinct comment:

I could therefore see that our overall nature depends on the nature of our intention and consequent thought, so that evil people are their own evil and good people are their own good. (ibid)

We do not seek inner development for any other reason than to serve the good; and this is an action of unselfishness. Whatever we love the most, we are; and whatever we are, we own. The essential action of awakening the organic sense of Being is to give ourselves the opportunity to see what we are within this life, so that we can make informed (inwardly formed) choices about ourselves while there is still time to change. Angelic inspection, you see, can be used to effect inner change while we are still alive; but once we die, those changes are no longer possible, because a final then reckoning takes place. Gurdjieff alluded to this on a number of occasions.

When I explained this to my wife, she asked about reincarnation and recurrence. My reply to her was that this doesn't matter; regardless of how we wish to view that question, it represents nothing more than a turning part in the engine. It isn't the whole vehicle; or the destination. Perhaps this is why Gurdjieff showed so little interest in the question.

In receiving the angelic energies that impart a new level of connection to sensation, I agree to participate in this inspection of myself from the inward perspective; and all of the things that make me, both in the past and now, come together within the organic manifestation of this energy which can see. It sees not with the eyes, or the mind, but with subtler parts which connect to heaven; and this sense is a part of the nervous system itself, which has both spiritual and natural elements. The human nervous system is (as both Gurdjieff & Swedenborg recognized) connected to both the spiritual and natural level. Gurdjieff preferred to describe it mostly in terms of chemistry, but Swedenborg understood from the point of view of neuroanatomy and correspondence.

No matter. From either man's point of view, what we are —and everything we ever have been—is indelibly inscribed in the nervous system of the body, and remains available as a comprehensive organic impression of Being. That comprehensive organic impression, however, remains unavailable for as long as we lack an organic sense of Being. And only this process of angelic inspection can help weld the various impressions of "self" and "I" into any kind of unity, since—exactly as in the process of death and its aftermath—only the stripping away of all the artificial, false, and outward parts of one's nature (the revelation of the truth, the exposure to broad daylight, as Swedenborg explains it)—can reveal any meaningful inner truth to a person.

Sensation, in other words, is the essential element in self-remembering: and yet it is understood far more as a mere mechanical process in humans than as any kind of intelligent—let alone angelic—action.

The organic sense of Being is, if properly sensed and understood, immediately sensed as an angelic presence. It is, at that, one of the coarsest and most basic forms of angelic manifestation, yet it is already immeasurably higher than our ordinary level of Being.



  1. Yes! Angelic is much better than the rather weak 'higher'...
    But that what we are and have been is not inscribed in the nervous system...
    This essay can also be found in 'Ontology of Consciousness: percipient agency', ed. Wautischer. Available as a free pdf....interesting reading.

    'From Æschylus and Plato, memories have also been explained in this way , with a lastingness imparted by some shapeable support, or by a durable and inscribable medium. (Perceptions are also in need of the same shape-casting resource, but with scarce exceptions this commonality has only been realized in recent times.) Namely, memories have been explained by engrams (which is the modern name given to the conjectural supports of biographical memories), or impressions acting as durable tokens. What other physical way could exist to make memories last? With the certainty that these engrams in fact exist, psychologists and neuroscientists almost worldwide have assiduously searched for them, using most of the granted funds in psychophysics and brain physiology. Thus it is hardly surprising that, like the little men reported in sperm by early microscopists, and like the many professional observations more than a century ago of the nonexistent planet Vulcan when orbital calculations seemed to require its existence, the finding of engrams has also been erroneously reported many times, always prematurely, if in complete faith: never changing its basic notion, even if if always locating them in ever more inaccessible brain sites. Their existence became a kind of unrevisable cultural myth. Still, pharmaceutical laboratories and academic institutions rightly sense the huge importance of discovering the way in which memories remain available throughout a whole life, and of knowing the true limits and possibilities of its therapeutic handling. Accordingly, over the last fifty years billions of dollars have been awarded worldwide to research directly or indirectly connected with the search for the engram, exceeding even any basic physics search program and probably making “engrammation” the best funded single topic of basic science.' (Mariela Szirko).

  2. The locus classicus for the engrams is, of course, Theætetus 194 c 6 – 195 a 10; see also R. Semon, Die Mneme als erhaltendes Prinzip im Wechsel des organischen Geschehens (Engelmann, Leipzig, 1904) and his two further treatises, Die mnemischen Empfindungen in ihren Beziehungen zu den Originalempfindungen (Engelmann, Leipzig, 1909) and Bewußtseinsvorgang und Gehirnprozeß (Bergmann, Wiesbaden, 1920). Ear wax has been, also, occasionally deemed an overflow of engrammation devices, the dirty matters remarkably found in it coming from inside – in Plato any psychophysical wax probably comes not from the brain as ultimate source but from the heart, yet later scholars put memory in the brain while retaining engrammation – and explaining bad memory. Plato had dictated (194 c 6 – d 8): “Sookrátees: . . . Hótan mèn ho keerós tou en teêi psyjeêi bathýs te kaì polýs kaì leîos kaî metríoos orgasménos eêi, tà iónta dià toôn aistheéseoon, enseemainómena eis toûto tò teês psyjeês kéar . . . , tóte mèn kaì toûtois katharà tà seemeîa eggignómena kaì ikanoôs toû báthous éjonta polyjróniá te gígnetai kaì eisìn hoi toioûtoi proôton mèn eumatheîs, épeita mneémones, eîta ou paralláttousi toôn aistheéseoon tà seemeîa. Safeê gàr kaì en euryjooríai ónta tajý dianémousin epì tà autoôn ékasta ekmageîa, hà deè ónta kaleîtai, kaì sofoì deè hoûtoi kaloûntai.” [Socrates talks: . . . When the wax in the psyche is deeply thick and lavish and smooth and properly kneaded, what comes through the sensations becomes stamped (enseemainómena) upon this heart of the psychism . . . When this happens, and in such /people/, the impressions (tà seemeîa), being clean and possessing sufficient depth, get well-lasting. These /people/ are quick to learn and moreover tenacious in recollection (mneémones), and also do not mess up the impressions /received/ from the senses. Being these impressions clear and having plenty of room (= staying en euryjooríai), each of them is quickly assigned to its own moulding source, which are called the /extramental/ things (ónta). And so these persons are called wise.] (194 e 1 – e 8): “Hótan toínun lásion tou tò kéar eêi . . . , eè hótan koproôdes kaì meè katharoû toû keeroû, eè hygròn sfódra eè skleerón, eumatheîs mén, epileésmones dè gígnontai, hoôn dè skleerón, tanantía. Hoi dè deè lásion kaì trajý lithoôdes ti eè geès eè kóprou symmigeísees émpleooon éjontes asafeê tà ekmageîa ísjousin.” [Now when the heart /of anyone’s psyche/ is shaggy, or when it is mucky or impure wax, or too much mushy or hard, /those whose psyche’s wax became mushy or hirsute by soiled matters/ become quick to learn but also to forget, and those in whom it is hard become the reverse. Yet those in whom it is mushy, rough and gritty due to earth-dust or dung mixed in it, receive blurred impressions from the moulding sources.] (195 a 6 – 10): . . . ékasta aponémein tajý ekástois ou dynámenoi bradeîs té eisi kaì allotrionomoûntes paroroôsí te kaì parakoúousi kaì paranooûsi pleîsta.” [ . . . they are unable to quickly assign moulding sources to the right impressions /mentioned above/, being slow about it, and because so ascribing them wrongly they plenty do see and hear and think amiss.] Cf. in addition H. Spencer, The Principles of Psychology (Williams and Norgate, London, 1870); E. Tanzi, “I fatti e la induzioni nell' odierna istologia del sistema nervoso,” Riv. Sperim. Freniatria Med. Legale Alienazioni Ment., 19 (1893), 419-472.


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