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

ML 315

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315. To the above I will add two Memorable Relations. First: I once saw not far from me a meteor. I saw a cloud divided into little clouds, some of which were blue and some opaque. These I saw colliding, as it were, with one another. Rays flashed across them in the form of streaks appearing now sharp like the points of swords, now blunt like broken blades. These streaks now darted forwards, now retreated, exactly like pugilists. It seemed as though the varicolored cloudlets were fighting with one another, but they were sporting. Since the meteor appeared to be not far away, I lifted up my eyes, and looking intently, saw boys, men, and old men entering a house which was built of marble with a substructure of porphyry. Above this house was the phenomenon which I had seen. Then, addressing one of those who were entering, I asked, "What is going on there?" He answered, "A gymnasium where young men are initiated into various matters pertaining to wisdom."
[2] Hearing this, I went in with them, being in the spirit, that is, in a state like that in which are men in the spiritual world who are called spirits and angels. And lo, in the gymnasium, in front was seen a stately chair with steps; in the middle, benches; round about at the sides, seats, and over the entrance a balcony. The chair was for the young men who gave answer to the problem then to be proposed; the benches were for the auditors; the seats at the sides for those who had answered wisely on previous occasions; and the balcony for the elders who were to be the arbiters and judges. In the middle of the balcony was a tribune where sat a wise man whom they called Chief Teacher. It was he who proposed the problems which the young men were to answer from the chair.
After they were assembled, this man arose from the tribune and said, "Give answer now, I pray, to this problem, and solve it if you can: What is the soul, and what is its nature?"
[3] On hearing this problem all were amazed, and there was a general murmur. Some of the assembly sitting on the benches then exclaimed, "Who among men, from the Saturnian age to the present time, has been able to see and apprehend with any rational thought what the soul is, and still less what its nature? Is not this above the sphere of the understanding of all men?" But to this those in the balcony replied, "It is not above the understanding but within it and before it; only answer."
The young men chosen for that day to mount the chair and give answer to the problem then rose up. They were five young men who had been examined by the elders and found to excel in sagacity. They were then sitting on couches at the sides of the chair. Later they mounted the chair in the order in which they were sitting. When going up, each put on a silk tunic of an opaline color, over this a robe of soft wool in which flowers were embroidered, and on his head a cap, upon the crown of which was a chaplet of roses encircled with small sapphires.
[4] I saw the first young man go up thus clothed. He said: "What the soul is and what its nature, has not been revealed to any one since the day of creation. It is an arcanum among the treasures of God alone. It has, however, been disclosed that the soul resides in man as a queen, and learned seers have conjectured as to the place of her court. Some conjecture that it is in a small tubercle between the cerebrum and cerebellum, called the pineal gland. They fixed the seat of the soul there because the whole man is ruled from those two brains, and this tubercle regulates them. Therefore, regulating the brains at its will, it also regulates the whole man from head to heel." He then added, "To many in the world this appeared to be true or probable, but a later age has rejected it as a figment."
[5] When he had said this, he put off the robe, tunic, and cap, and the second of the chosen young men put them on and entered the chair. His statement respecting the soul was as follows: "What the soul is and what its nature is unknown in the whole of heaven and in all the world. That there is a soul is known, and also that it is within man, but where, is a matter of conjecture. That it is in the head is certain, since there the understanding thinks and the will intends; moreover, frontwards in the face of the head are man's five sensories. Nothing gives life to the latter as well as to the former save the soul which resides in the head. But where in the head its court is, this I do not venture to say, though in the past I have agreed sometimes with those who place its seat in the three ventricles of the cerebrum, sometimes with those who place its seat in the corpora striata there, sometimes with those who place its seat in the medullary substance of each brain, sometimes with those who place it in the cortical substance, sometimes with those who place it in the dura mater. [6] Votes based on confirmations in favor of each of these seats have not been lacking. The arguments favoring the three ventricles were, that these ventricles are the receptacles of animal spirits and lymphs from all parts of the cerebrum. The arguments favoring the striated bodies* were, that these bodies furnish the medulla through which the nerves have their exit and through which both brains are continued into the spine, and from the latter and the former issue the fiber of which the whole body is contextured. The arguments favoring the medullary substance of the two brains were, that this substance is a collection and congeries of all the fiber which are the initiaments of the whole man. The arguments favoring the cortical substance were, that in this substance are the first ends and the last, and thus the beginnings of all the fiber, and so of all sensations and motions. The arguments favoring the dura mater were that this mater is the common covering of both brains, and from these, by a kind of continuity, extends over the heart and over the viscera of the body. As for myself, I make no decision concerning any one argument more than another. Do you yourselves decide, I pray, and elect which of them is the preferable."
[7] Having thus spoken, he descended from the chair and passed the tunic, robe, and cap to the third young man. Ascending the chair, the latter then said: "What have I, a young man, to do with so sublime a theorem? I appeal to the learned men sitting here at the sides; I appeal to you wise men in the balcony; yea, I appeal to the angels of the highest heaven, whether any one from his own rational light can get any idea of the soul. As to its seat in man, however, I, like others, can make conjecture; and I conjecture that it is in the heart and thence in the blood. This is my conjecture because the heart by its blood rules both the body and the head; for it sends out the great vessel called the aorta into the whole body, and the vessels called the carotids into the whole head. Hence there is general agreement that it is from the heart by means of the blood that the soul sustains, nourishes, vivifies the whole organic system of the body and head. What adds to the credibility of this assertion is the fact that soul and heart are so often mentioned in Sacred Scripture, as that thou shalt love God from the whole heart and the whole soul, and that God creates in man a new soul and a new heart (Deut. 6:5; 10:12; 11:13; 26:16; Jer. 32:41; Matt. 22:37; Mark 12:30, 33; Luke 10:27; and other passages); and in Leviticus 17:11, 14, it is openly said that the blood is the soul of the flesh." On hearing this, some raised their voices and exclaimed, "Learnedly spoken, learnedly spoken." They were of the clergy.
[8] Then the fourth young man put on the vestments of the former speaker, and entering the chair, said: "I also suspect that no one is of a genius so subtle and refined that he can discern what the soul is and what its nature. I opine therefore, that in the man who wishes to investigate it, subtlety is wasted in vain efforts. Yet, from boyhood I have retained a belief in the opinion held by the ancients, that man's soul is in the whole of him and in every part of that whole; thus, that it is both in the head and the several parts thereof, and in the body and in its several parts; and that the assigning it a seat in some special place and not everywhere was a vain notion invented by the moderns. The soul, moreover, is a spiritual substance, and of this, extension cannot be predicated, nor can place, but only habitation and impletion. Besides, when any one mentions soul, does he not mean life? and is not life in the whole and in every part?" Many in the audience showed their approval of these remarks.
[9] The fifth young man then arose and, adorned with the same insignia, spoke from the chair as follows: "I do not dwell on telling where the soul is, whether in some one part or everywhere in the whole; but from my stock and store, I will open my mind on the question, What is the soul and what its nature? No one thinks of the soul as being aught else than a pure something which can be likened to ether or air or wind, wherein, by reason of the rationality which man has above beasts, is something vital. I base this opinion upon the fact that when a man expires, he is said to breathe out or give up his soul or spirit. Moreover, it is from this that the soul, when living after death, is thought to be such a breath wherein is the cogitative life called soul. What else can the soul be? But as I heard you say from the balcony that the problem concerning the soul, what it is and what its nature, is not above the understanding but in it and before it, I beg and pray that you yourselves will open up this eternal arcanum."
[10] The elders in the balcony then looked to the Chief Teacher who had proposed the problem. Understanding from their nods that they wished him to go down and teach, he at once descended from the tribune, passed through the auditorium, and entered the chair. Then, extending his hand, he said: "Listen, I pray. Who does not believe the soul to be the inmost and subtlest essence of man! and what is an essence without a form but an imaginary entity? The soul, therefore, is a form. As to the nature of its form, this shall now be told. It is the form of all things pertaining to love, and of all things pertaining to wisdom. All things pertaining to love are called affections, and all pertaining to wisdom are called perceptions. The latter are from the former, and the two together thus make one form wherein innumerable things are in such order, series, and coherence, that they can be called a one. They can be called a one because, if that one is to remain what it is, nothing can be taken away from it, nor anything be added. What is the human soul but such a form? Are not all things pertaining to love, and all things pertaining to wisdom, the essentials of that form? And with man these are in his soul and, from his soul, in his head and body. [11] You are called spirits and angels; and in the world you thought that spirits and angels and thus minds and animi are as winds or ethers. But now you see clearly that you are truly, really, and actually men--men who in the world had lived and thought in a material body. You knew that it is not the material body that lives and thinks but the spiritual substance in that body. You called this the soul, but did not know its form. Yet, you have now seen it and still see it. All here present are souls, about the immortality of which you have heard, thought, spoken, and written so much; and being forms of love and wisdom from God, you cannot die to all eternity. The soul then is a human form from which not the least thing can be taken away, and to which not the least can be added. It is also the inmost form of all the forms of the entire body. And since the forms which are outside it take their essence and form from this inmost form, therefore you, just as you appear to yourselves and to us, are souls. In a word, the soul, being the inmost man, is the man himself, and therefore its form is the human form in all fullness and perfection. Yet it is not life but the nearest receptacle of life from God, and thus the dwelling-place of God." [12] Many applauded these words, but some said, "We must weigh them." I then went home and lo, in place of the former meteor there was seen above the gymnasium a bright white cloud, devoid of contending streaks or rays. This cloud, penetrating the roof, entered the gymnasium and illumined its walls, and I heard that they saw inscriptions there, and among others the following: Jehovah God breathed into man's nostrils the SOUL OF LIVES and man became a LIVING SOUL. Gen. 2:7.
* i.e., the corpora striata and the optic thalami.


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