|Introduction||Mesentery||Peritonaeum||Muscles in General||Feet|
|Lips, Tongue & Teeth||Liver||Heart & Lungs||Bones||Ear|
|Saliva||Spleen & Pancreas||Nose||Cartilages||Eye|
|Oesophagus||Omentum||Organs of Speech||Skin||Generation|
“a most minute image of a brain, with a delicate delineation of a face in front,,without any appendage. This first form was, in the upper protuberant part, a collection of continguous globules or spherule was composed of others still more minute, and each of these in like manner of the most minute of all: thus it was of three degrees.... The angels said that the two inner degrees, which were in the order and form of heaven, were receptacles of love anDWisdom from the Lord; and the exterior degree, which was in opposition to the order and form of heaven, was the receptacles of love anDWisdom from the Lord; and that the exterior degree, which was the receptacle of infernal love and insanity; because man by hereditary degeneracy is born into evils of every kind, and these evils reside in the outmosts there; and this degeneracy is not removed unless the higher degrees are opened, which, as was said, are the receptacles of love and, wisdom from the Lord. And because love anDWisdom are man him- self, for love anDWisdom in their essence are the Lord, and as this first form of man is a receptacle of them, it follows that there is in this first form a continual effort towards the human form, which also it successively assumes.” (DLW 432)The fibres gather to themselves and animate the grosser materials contained in the blood; and in order that these may be conveyed wherever they arc wanted, and so may be always at hand, the little blood-vessels are the first things formed in the body, and from them the heart to superintend their helpful service. (See DLW 370, 400)
We have become familiar with the idea that “the Lord does not operate from first principles through mediates into ultimates; but from first principles through ultimates, and so into mediates.” (AE 1086, also 1087; DWis 7, 5 end) This is true of the creation, in that the heavens were not made first, and through them the earths; but the earths were made by mean of atmospheres from the sun of heaven, and upon the earths the successive creations natural and spiritual were built up. At the same time it is true that when the heavens were formed, they cooperated in producing further developments upon the earths. Similar things are true also of the Word, of which we read: — “The Lord flows in from first principles through ultimates; thus from Himself into the natural sense of the Word, and calls out or evolves from thence its spiritual and celestial sense; and thus illustrating, He teaches and leads the angels.” (SS 18) And yet it is true that when man reads the Word the angels who are associated with him understand far more of its interior meaning than he does, and that their influence tends to enlighten and expand his understanding; and thus the doctrines by which the interiors of the Word are opened, are said to have descended from God out of heaven.
And so it is in the formation of the body by the brains. They do not first form the heart and lungs and other viscera, and then extend the blood-vessels to the skin; but they send their fibres directly to the skin, and there form the beginnings of arteries and veins, which presently come together to form the heart. And then the heart and the arteries and veins cooperate with the fibres in the formation of all the other viscera and members.
We have already spoken about the innumerable cells, or beginnings of the fibres, “which compose the cortex of the cerebrum, and also are scattered in the medullary substance of the cerebrum, especially in the corpora striata, also within in the medullary substance of the cerebellum, and in the spinal medulla, of which they compose the central portion.” There are also small collections of these cells in nervous ganglia in other parts of the body; as in the cardiac plexus, which has immediate control of the movements of the heart and lungs; the solar plexus, which presides over the organs of digestion; the sympathetic nerve with its ganglia, connecting the functions of all the viscera. In the spinal medulla there are enlargements caused by special groups of cells having charge of particular organs and members; the lowest, or sacral ganglia, preside over the organs of generation; the lumbar, over the motions of the legs; the dorsal, over the motions of the arms. Cells are origins of fibres; and wherever there are cells, there are origins of movements or operations by means of the fibres. The acts of these ganglia are not determined by our voluntary effort, nor are they the result of conscious sensations; though the sensations that cause them may also come to consciousness, and the acts of the ganglia may to some extent be controlled by voluntary effort. For example, if our hand accidentally touches a hot iron, it is instantly twitched away; and not till afterwards do we become conscious of the pain. If the hand had to wait for this consciousness and the voluntary movement of the muscles, it would be badly burned. It has comparative safety through the nearness and the promptness of the spinal ganglia which are in immediate charge. Yet, after the sensation is felt, we may, if we will, hold the hand to the burning iron, notwithstanding the effort of the ganglia to withdraw it- the larger brain exercising its authority over its subordinates.
Of these ganglia Swedenborg says:—
“There are many centres and bases in each heaven; by them there is immediate communication among the heavens, and with God the Messiah. They are in a most tranquil state, and cannot be compared more aptly than to the ganglia of the human body, and the nodes in the brain, into which flow innumerable fibres, and are there as it were formed anew, and so the things which are around are disposed according to the ends in the beginnings, and thus all these in most perfect order and form, by God the Messiah alone.” (SE 305)These that have been described are the simplest ganglia, having immediate relation to the extremes of the body. Another set, larger and more comprehensive, combine the sensations of the lower body with those of the head, especially those received through the eyes, and direct the motions of the body accordingly. These are four small bodies at the base of the brain, called the corpora quadragemina; with a fifth, closely associated with them, called the pineal gland, which exercises some control over the secretions of the brain. It is by virtue of these bodies that we can walk over a rough path, even when the mind is so occupied as to pay no attention to the way. Many operations of the hands and of other parts of the body are similarly controlled by them, without any conscious effort of the mind.
Lying near these, and more important than any other subordinate ganglion, is the medulla oblongata; a body which serves as the lieutenant of the cerebellum, in controlling the vital functions of the body — the beating of the heart; the circulation through arteries, capillaries, and veins the operations of all the glands of the body; the respiration, so far as it is involuntary; and even the processes of eating, swallowing, crying, and speaking, so far as these also are involuntary. It also combines the fibres of the cerebrum, which are the instruments of conscious sensation and voluntary action, with those of the cerebellum, which keep the unconscious life informed of the state of every point in its kingdom, and distribute its commands accordingly. Both cerebrum and cerebellum may be wanting; if this medulla, with its group of cells, be sound, these vital functions will be attended to as long as its powers suffice. Its animating power is small; but it holds the reins of all the vital functions of the body, and will guide them safely as long as the life holds out.
The great variety of uses performed by the fibres from a single centre has its correspondence in the arrangement of the heavens, and is thus illustrated by Swedenborg:—
“There came a company of spirits who said that they were dissimilar; and because this seemed to me impossible, namely, that there should be a society of dissimilars in the other life, I therefore spoke with them about it, saying that if a common cause moved them in one direction, they still might be consociated, because all would thus have one end. They said that they are such that all speak differently, and yet think alike... . It was perceived that they have relation to the isthmus in the brain, which is between the cerebrum and the cerebellum, through which the fibres pass, and are thence distributed variously, and wherever they go they act diversely in externals. Also that they have relation to the ganglia in the body, into which a nerve flows, and then is separated into many fibres, some of which go one way and some another, and act dissimilarly in ultimates, but still from one principle; so that in ultimates there is dissimilarity in appearance, although there is similarity as to encl. It is also known that one force acting in the extremities may be greatly varied, according to the form there. Ends are likewise represented by the beginnings from which are the fibres, such as are in the brain. Thoughts thence are represented by the fibres from those beginnings, and actions by the nerves which are from the fibres.” (AC 5189. Nearly the same is in AC 4051)Two other pairs of brain-masses lie under the hemispheres of the cerebrum, and are closely associated with it, called the optic thalami and the corpora striata. The nerves of sense that proceed from the cerebrum pass through the optic thalami; and the nerves of motion pass through the corpora striata. The cerebrum is the organ of the conscious efforts of the mind. It desires to see; and its desire puts forth the nerve fibres that form the eye, and in the eye receive impressions from the light, and return these impressions to the brain where the reflecting, mind resides. But this conscious effort can be directed to only one thing at a time, — to observe, for instance, the difference between black and white, or to distinguish the form of a letter; and, if no impression could be received except by this conscious attention, we never could learn to read; the whole power would be spent upon ever-repeated efforts to make the simplest distinctions. The mind, therefore, forms for itself a depository for the impressions already received, in the optic thalami, which, after a few repetitions, recognize the familiar impressions without the effort or even the consciousness of the cerebrum, and combine them, and communicate the result to the cerebrum. Thus letter after letter, and word after word, are added to their stores of sense-knowledge and the conscious effort is left free to attend to the meaning of the pages.
In like manner the mind desires to do something, and stretches out nerve fibres charged with this desire, and by them weaves the muscles and the bones of the arms and the hands. And then, according to the circumstances and opportunities of doing, it teaches the fingers to move, to grasp a needle, to take a stitch, or to touch the key of a piano. And if every motion must needs proceed from the direct effort and intention of the mind, the very simplest movements are all that would ever be effected; and therefore the mind fortms for itself lieutenants, who shall be associated with it and cooperate in every effort, perhaps even itself doing the work under direction, and which, after a few attempts, shall be able to direct all familiar motions without special charge from the conscious thought. The corpora striata, so called from their alternate layers of cellular and fibrous tissue, are such a lieutenant. They make the familiar stitches, strike the familiar chords and runs, write the letters, and even spell the words; and the convolutions of the cerebrum, after teaching them to look after these things, are free to attend to the use and beauty of the work, the feeling of the music, the sense of the writing.
It may be true that the fibres proceeding directly from the cerebrum do not themselves extend further than to these subordinate bodies, but content themselves with forming there the cells proper to them, from which again proceed the fibres which form the organs of sense and motion; so that the cerebrum may not receive sensations immediately from, nor act directly upon, the body, but may perform both functions immediately through the cells and the fibres of the optic thalami and the corpora striata, respectively. Yet even so the secondary fibres are only modifications and extensions of the primary, and the effect is the same for most purposes as if the fibres were immediately from the cerebrum; the only difference being that, if the hypothesis be true, the cells of these subordinate lobes serve as repeating stations for both sensations and impulses, the operators in which stations are able to do of themselves, under the general control of the cerebrum, whatever it has taught them to do.
All these lower nerve centres, important as they are, are subordinate to the great masses of the brain, called the cerebrum and the cerebellum. These chief organisms of the mind are informed of ever act of their lieutenants, and the cause of the act, and have power to control and revise their action. In these great masses of the brain reside the conscious sense, the powers of attention, of reflection, of comparison or choice, of intention, and the human affection. And there are the first receptacles of life from above.
The cerebrum is much the larger of the two, and occupies the whole of the upper part of the head; the cerebellum lying under the hinder lobes of the cerebrum. The cerebrum is divided into two hemispheres, the right and the left, united by masses of fibres at the base. The cerebellum, though having a right and a left which answer to each other, is not divided. Besides these most general distinctions, the brains, especially the cerebrum, are distinguished into lobes, and the lobes into convolutions of great intricacy and beauty, of which we shall have more to say presently.
It has already been intimated that the cerebellum has charge of the vital functions of the body, of which the reflecting mind is unconscious; and that the cerebrum is the abode of the conscious sense, effort, and thought. The sense of the cerebrum Swedenborg calls voluntary and that of the cerebellum, involuntary and of these he says:—-
“The voluntary sense belongs to the cerebrum, but the involuntary to the cerebellum. These two general senses are conjoined in man, but still distinct. The fibres which go forth from the cerebrum present in general the voluntary sense, and those from the cerebellum present in general the involuntary sense. The fibres of this two-fold origin conjoin themselves in the two appendices which are called the medulla oblongata and the medulla spinalis, and through them pass into the body, and fashion its members, viscera, and organs. The things which encompass the body as the muscles and the skin, and also the organs of sense, for the most part receive fibres from the cerebrum; from these man has sensations and also motions according to his will. But the things which are within that enclosure, and are called the viscera of the body, receive fibres from the cerebellum. Therefore man has no sense of them, nor are they under the control of his will.”The cerebellum shares its control of many functions of the body with the cerebrum, during the hours of wakefulness; but when the cerebrum sleeps, the cerebellum has sole char-e. Dreams, therefore, flow in through the cerebellum, and from angels and spirits who belong to that province. After describing some dreams, pleasant and instructive, Swedenborg says:—
“They are angelic spirits, who are on the confines of the paradisal abodes, who insinuate such dreams; to whom also is assigned the duty of watching over certain men while they sleep, lest they should be infested by evil spirits. This duty they perform with the greatest delight, insomuch that there is an emulation among them who shall attend; and they love to affect man with sweet and delightful things which they see in his affection and disposition, These angelic spirits are of those who in the life of the body have delighted and loved to make the life of others delightful, by every means and endeavor. When the sense of hearing is so far opened, there is heard as from afar a sweet modulation of sounds as of singing. They said that they do not know whence such things come to them and such beautiful and pleasant representatives but it was said that it was from heaven. They belong to the province of the cerebellum; because the cerebellum, as I have been instructed, is awake during sleep, while the cerebrum is asleep. The men of the Most Ancient Church had their dreams from thence, with a perception what they signified; from which in great part came the representatives and significatives of the Ancients, under which things deeply hidden were set forth.” (AC 1977)As has been said, in some parts of the body the voluntary fibres prevail, as in the organs of sense; and in some the involuntary, as in the viscera; but vet both kinds go everywhere; for there is no part of the viscera which, in a state of disease, may not make its condition consciously felt by fibres of the cerebrum; and there is no part of a muscle or a membrane which does not depend for the regulation of its nutrition upon the presence of fibres from the cerebellum.
“The voluntary things,” Swedenborg says, “continually lead away from order, but the involuntary things continually lead back to order. Hence it is that the motion of the heart, which is involuntary, is alto-ether exempt from the will of man; likewise the action of the cerebellum; and that the motion of the heart and the forces of the cerebellum rule the voluntary things, lest these should break down beyond limits, and extinguish the life of the body before the time. Therefore the agents of both, as well the voluntary as the involuntary things, go forth in the whole body united.” (AC 9683. Similar things also in SE 5781)The cerebellum is said to be the abode of the involuntary things, in the sense that its actions proceed without the consciousness and effort of man. But this is because they proceed from the love which is his life, of the affections of which he is unaware. The evil geni, who operate upon the cerebellum, are said to flow into the affections, with the effort to turn them into evil lusts, carefully avoiding the thoughts lest they should be perceived. (DP 310). The cerebellum, therefore, like the heart, is the organ of the love or the will; and the cerebrum, like the lungs is related to the understanding. Therefore the perverse things also of man's love have their seat in the cerebellum; and the cerebellum can be instructed, and freed from perversity, by the cerebrum, as the blood from the heart is purified by the lungs.
A very simple matter illustrates the action of the cerebrum upon the cerebellum. It has been said that the cerebellum rules in the body at night while the cerebrum sleeps. But if, before going to sleep, the cerebrum fixes the hour for waking the cerebellum thus instructed awakes it at the time.
It is possible to see in the character of the dreams a reflection of the natural tendencies of the will; and to most people they reveal evil tendencies which certainly are not of their choice or intention, and yet they are real tendencies of the natural will, having their abode in corresponding forms of the cerebellum. And if, in the preparation for the night's sleep, besides the reading of the Word and prayer, which should brine, prevailing good influences into the dreams, there should be also a distinct condemning of the evil tendencies and a warning of the soul against them, much might be done to make the dreams gentle and pure, and the sleep deeply refreshing.
We read now-a-days of the experiments of French physicians in what is called “hypnotism,” or involuntary sleep, which is nearly or quite the same as mesmeric sleep. Hypnotized patients are not conscious of anything that is said to them, and remember nothing of it; and yet they are deeply impressed by it, and will do in their natural state, as by a natural impulse upon which they do not reflect, whatever they have been told in their sleep to do. Instances are related in which patients of violent temper and coarsest manners have been instructed not to do the things which have been habitual to them, but to do good and gentle things instead, specifying particularly what is not to be done and what is to be done, with the result of transforming apparently the natural disposition of the subjects. Evil things also are taught and executed with equal readiness. Now, without delaying to inquire the possible effect of this in regeneration – remarking only that no one is ever condemned or saved by his hereditary character, nor by that which is impressed upon him without his own choice – we may draw this lesson: If while one's own cerebrum is quiescent, another can so instruct and impress the organ of one's will or natural disposition, through the auditory nerves, one may do the same for himself - may chide himself for evil and warn himself not to do it. Foreseeing times of temptation, he may resolutely instruct himself in what he is to do and when the time of trial comes lie will find his natural disposition changing, and if he does not himself undo his own instructions, he will very likely go by in safety; at least he will find his continued efforts much more effective in securing self-restraint.
In studying the sense of hearing, we have seen that it has relation to obedience; and it is interesting to remember that the nerves of the ears, besides their extension to their special convolutions of the cerebrum, send large branches directly to the cerebellum ' having thus a tendency to produce prompt and involuntary obedience, as well as voluntary. In listening to music, the effect upon the feelings, aside from any thinking, is an effect produced upon the cerebellum; the thought about the words, or about the structure of the music, and even about its beauty of form, is in the cerebrum.
There were some spirits, professedly Christian, but of evil life, who desired to enter heaven. Swedenborg relates that they were brought to the gates of a certain heavenly society, where they were examined by those whose duty it was to receive new comers.
“And they turned them about, and saw that the hinder parts of their heads were very hollow; and then they said, I `Depart from here; for you are in the enjoyment of the love of doing evil, and therefore you are not conjoined to heaven; for in your hearts you have denied God, and despised the things of religion.'... On the way home, we conversed about the cause that the occiputs of those who are the enjoyment of doing evil are hollow. And I said that this is the cause: that man has two brains, one in the occiput, which is called the cerebellum, and the other in the forehead, which is called the cerebrum; and that the love of the will dwells in the cerebellum, and the thou-ht of the understanding in the cerebrum and when the thought of a man's understanding does not lead the love of the will, the inmosts of the cerebellum, which in themselves are celestial, collapse, whence is the hollowness.” (TCR 160)It may be supposed that the perverse exterior forms of the cerebellum remained, and were receptive of evil influx; but the interiors shriveled away. That the same was not true of their cerebrums was because the understanding can be separated from the will; and they could know and understand the things of religion and of heavenly life, though they did not believe and love them. How forcibly does this present the consequences of evil life in the very organism of the spirits of men! They still receive from the Lord the rationality and freedom that reside in the forehead they can still understand the truth, and for some external motive of honor or gain can compel themselves to do it. But their ability really to love it is -one forever: they themselves have destroyed it. [Similar things are said of some spirits of the Dragon. (LJP 52)]
The texture of the cerebrum also is affected by the mode of thinking, whether truly or falsely, spiritually or sensually; and becomes orderly, soft, and pellucid, or disorderly, hairy, callous, or bony, accordingly. Swedenborg relates that in the early period of his spiritual instruction there were felt hard places in the left part of his cerebrum, like rather large, hard nuclei,—
“which,” he says, “were affected with a dull or mute pain; and it was said to me that it was perceived from the hardened spots that there were still things which were not truths of faith. Hence it appears that hardness actually exists in the organic forms when there is not faith, and the greater the hardening the less conscience there is; so that they who have no conscience after death have the brain outmostly hard.” (SE 1623)“The head of those who know and believe,” we are informed, appears as if human, and the brain orderly, white like snow, and lucid, for heavenly light is received by them.” But the brains of some of the wicked, who believed they lived of themselves, and refused to open their minds to the Lord, were found “rough, hairy, and dark.” (AC 4319) Not that the natural brain would so appear, but the spiritual brain when inspected by the angels after death.
The function of the cerebellum according to the common idea of modern physiologists, is chiefly to preserve the equilibrium of the body. And this idea is founded upon the observed fact that, in cases of injury to the cerebellum, an animal tumbles about helplessly. The same is the case with.man in less degree. After a time, however, the power of preserving the equilibrium is recovered in great degree, yet at the cost of close attention and much effort. It probably is true that animals walk, and perform many other actions, naturally, without much teaching, and mostly under the control of the cerebellum. Man does the same to a much less extent. And when the cerebellum is destroyed, all such natural motion, except as it can be continued by the medulla oblongata, ceases; and the actions can be continued only by the effort of the cerebrum. Man loses less of the power than animals, because he always moves less by nature, and depends more upon teaching. This part of the function of the cerebellum is more easily observed than the rest; but a great want of vitality is noticeable in the performance of all the natural functions of the body.
As the brain forms the body by means of its fibres, it also animates it. For the life that flows into the body to form it continues to flow in to keep it in the power to perform the functions for which it is formed.
The life also animates the body in the same order in which it formed it. It flows into the cells of the brain immediately, and from them through the fibres into all the tissues of the body. After the body is formed, and the man assumes control of it, his thought and affection are exercised in the cells of the brain, and according to the quality of this exercise is the quality of the animation of the body through them. Swedenborg states that the animating influence of the brain is exerted by means of a highly vitalized I fluid which he calls “the animal spirits.” And he says that one who does not believe in the existence of such an agency, stops in the beginning, and can know nothing of the operation of the spirit in the body. (SE 3459)
In the cells of the brain the spiritual and the natural substances of the mind meet. (Compare TCR 38) In thinking the truth and willing what is good the very substance of truth and goodness is secreted by the cells of the spiritual body, and in the cells of the natural brain is embodied in the pure fluids secreted from the capillaries, and thence is sent through the fibres, inspiring every part of the body in the performance of its functions. And this vitalization is according to the quality of the thinking and willing noble if these be noble, and vile if they be vile. From the body there is a return of the purer fluids to the brain, for re-secretion and new combinations, through the blood vessels. (DLW 316)
It is Swedenborgs view that not only are the tissues of the body vitalized directly by fibres from the brain, but the blood itself also receives its portion of spirit which is secreted in the ventricles of the brain, together with pure lymph with which it is combined, and impure serosities and adhesive fluids discharged from among the fibres, and from which the brain needs to free itself. These fluids, he says, arc directed from the ventricles through the appropriate foramina to the infundibulum, under the pineal -land, and thence to the pituitary body, which is really a gland for compounding this vitalizing fluid for the blood, and separating from it the impurities.
Of the correspondence of these functions with the heavens, Swedenborg has much to say:—
“There were certain spirits above the head, a little in front, who spoke with me. They discoursed pleasantly, and their influx was tolerably gentle. They were distinguished from others by this, that they had a continual eagerness and desire to come into heaven. It was said that they who have reference to the ventricles or larger cavities of the brain, and belong that province, are of this nature. The reason was also added: that the better kind of lymph which is therein is of such a nature, namely, as to return into the brain; and hence also is in such an effort. The brain is heaven: the effort is eagerness and desire. Such are the correspondences.” (AC 4049)These descriptions seem all to be taken from the Christian heaven before the last Judgment, thus during the process of its formation and purification from evil spirits. 'The Ancient heavens would be described very differently, and likewise the Christian heaven now that it is in order. In the Diary we read of those mentioned above as being in the ventricles of the brain' and desiring to enter heaven:—
“They knew not that they had been in heaven, and had been removed from it that they might be the better perfected, and so return into heaven when hetrogeneous things had been cast out from them; alto-ether as it is with that serosity in the ventricles, a part of which is absorbed by the choroid plexus, as a part also is cast out from it, a part is exhaled from elsewhere, a part passes through the third ventricle under the pineal gland, and so through the infundibulum towards the pituitary body, where it is separated by three ways, and is,carried thence by various passages, canals, and,sinuses towards the jugular vein, that it may meet the chyle coming up through the thoracic duct, and they may there be consociated, and borne towards the heart, and thence into the lungs, and back to the left ventricle, and then onwards, a part towards the head through the carotids a part downwards through all the viscera of the body; and all for the end that a purer blood or animal spirit may be formed, and thus the red blood, in order that material things may be united with spiritual and live one life.” (AC 831. So also in AC 914)Certain spirits are described,— deformed, cruel and beastly,—who correspond to foul and poison and beastly, to deadly tumors. And it is said that “such are they who slew whole armies in the old times, as it is written in the Word; for they rushed into the chambers of the brain in every one, and inspired terror, together with such insanity that they slew one another.” (AC 5717)
Others who are like the gross phlegm of the brain, and produce obstructions, dullness, and many diseases, are described as totally void of conscience, and placing “human prudence anDWis- dom in exciting enmities, hatreds, and intestine combats, for the sake of ruling.” (AC 5718) And still others are described who cause various disorders. (See AC 5386, 5724; SE 1783, 1793)
It seems strange to think of spirits so perverse as having access to so interior a province of the heavens. Probably it would be impossible now; but before the Last judgment there were many evil persons penetrating even to the higher parts of the Christian heaven, and causing much disturbance. In the hi-her heavens, and probably in the Christian heaven now, instead of such evil spirits we mi-ht find angels who have some morbidness or sluggishness to get rid of, and are there subjected to some purifying processes corresponding to those by which evil spirits were separated.
A view of the brain, to one who looks upon it with the reverence which is its due, excites a feeling of awe, arising from the sense of deep mystery, and also of wonderful, if as yet unintelligible, beauty, Swedenborg says:—
“When the skull and the integuments about the brain are removed, there appear wonderful circumvolutions and gyri, in which are disposed the substances 'that are called cortical. From these run forth the fibres which constitute the medulla of the brain. These fibres proceed thence through the nerves into the body, and there perform functions according to the command and will of the brain. All. these things are altogether according to the heavenly form; for such a form is impressed upon the heavens by the Lord, and thence also upon the things which are in man, and especially upon his cerebrum and cerebellum.” (AC 4040)The exact purpose or distribution of functions, of these wonderful convolutions, is not perfectly known; yet it is possible to obtain a general view of them which is to be trusted in the main. We have seen that the cerebellum is the organ of the love which is the life of the mind, the seat of its natural affections, and the means by which the organs performing the vital functions in the body are animated and controlled. And in general we have learned that the cerebrum is the habitation of the conscious mind, to which the sensations that come to consciousness are reported, and by which the voluntary actions are controlled.
The cerebrum is divided into two hemispheres. To the right hemisphere, we are taught, they correspond “who are in the will of good, and thence in the will of truth; but they who correspond to the left part of the brain are those who are in the understanding of good and truth, and thence in affection for them.” (AC 4052)
Besides this division into hemispheres, the whole cerebrum may be thought of in general as divided into regions of conscious sense and regions of action the regions of sense lying in the hinder and lower part of the cerebrum, and the region of action somewhat overlying this towards the front, and occupying the whole of the lobes immediately above the temples. In front of these, both in animals and in men, are the convolutions in which resides the faculty of attention and intelligence; by which animals as well as men can be instructed to some extent, and learn to do things contrary to their natural inclinations, yet, in the case of animals, under the stimulus of other natural motives. And in the extreme front, furthest removed from the ultimates of sense and action looking down upon all the impressions of sense, the natural desires, the acquired knowledge, with power to rule and control them all, with power also to abstract itself from these, and to appreciate not only abstract qualities, such as warmth and color, but also spiritual qualities of affection anDWisdom-reside the human faculties of rationality and freedom.
In the area obliquely upward and backward from the ears, devoted to the perceptions of sensations, we have a simple arrangement of the convolutions, proceeding from below upward in the natural sequence of the senses from voluntary to intellectual. In the large convolutions in the base of the cerebrum, under the great ventricles, resides the sense of touch; and proceeding thence upward behind the line of the ears, and backward, we have successively the convolutions devoted respectively to taste, smell, hearing, and sight, the last much more extensive than the others.
No doubt, besides the direct communication of fibres from these several convolutions to their respective organs of sense, there is indirect communication with other parts of the brain, the great mass of white substance indicating that there is a multitude of fibres forming a means of intercommunication among all parts of the cerebrum, and especially between all other parts and the frontal lobes; yet the conscious perception of sensations seems limited to their special convolutions.
Above and in front of the area of sight, lie the convolutions which control the movements of the legs; then over the ears and somewhat forward, those that move the arms; in the upper part of the frontal convolutions is now the control of the face; and in the lower part, just above the temples, lies the faculty of speech.
This relative position of organs of sense and organs of motion is continued in the lower nervecentres; for the corpora striata, through which pass the nerves of motion, lie below the convolutions of motion, and the optic thalami behind them, under the convolutions of sense. In the spinal medulla also, the columns of sensory fibres lie in the rear, and those of motor fibres in front; and these are attended by columns Of fibres from the cerebellum accompanying them both at the sides, and running everywhere with them.
Through the fibres, as Swcdenborg says,—
“the mind, when it is in its thought from the understanding, and affection from the will, has extension into all things of the whole body, and there spreads itself throughout their forms, as do the thoughts and affections of the angels into the societies of the whole heaven. The case is similar, because all things of the human body correspond to all things of heaven; wherefore the form of the whole heaven before the Lord is the human form.” (AE 775)Many things are said of the correspondence of the brain with the heavens, and of the influx of the heavens into the brain, which will help fill out and make clear the whole subjects.
The angels who correspond to the enclosing membranes of the brain, like those relating to other covering membranes of the body, are in a passive state, speaking not from themselves, but from others, and thus serving as conjoining mediums, and for protection.
They who constitute the dura mater,—
“were such as during their life as men thought nothing of spiritual and heavenly things, nor spake about them, because they believed only in what was natural, and this because they could not penetrate further; nevertheless they did not confess this. They still, like others, worshipped the Divine, had stated times for prayer, and were good citizens.”The sinuses of the brain are large vessels for receiving the venous blood, and are situated in safe and quiet places, where they can relieve the brain of the surplus blood, without themselves partaking in any great degree of its active motions.
“There was a certain spirit near my head,” Swedenborg writes, “who spoke with me. I perceived from the tone of his voice that he was in a state of tranquility, as of a kind of peaceful sleep. He asked this thing and that, but with such prudence that a person awake could not have asked more prudently. It was perceived that interior angels spoke by him, and that he was in such a state as to perceive and bring forth what they spoke. I asked about that state, and told him that it was such. He replied that he spoke nothing but what was good and true; and that he perceived whether anything else flowed in, and if it did he did not admit or utter it. Of his state he said that it was peaceful; and it was given me to perceive it by communication. It was said that they are such who have reference to the sinuses or larger blood-vessels of the brain; and that they who are like him have reference to the longitudinal sinus, which is between the hemispheres of the cerebrum, and are there in a state of peace, however the brain oil both sides be in a state of tumult.” (AC 4048)The cells, or glands, which constitute the cortical substance of the brain, Swedenborg says, are innumerable; and he adds:—
“The multitude of these glands may... be compared to the multitude of angelic societies in the heavens, which also are innumerable, and in the same order (as was told me) as the glands; and the multitude of fibrillae proceeding from these glands may be compared to spiritual truths and goods, that in like manner flow from the societies like rays.” (DLW 366)In regard to the influx from the heavens into the brain, we read in “Heaven and Hell”:—
“The influx of the Lord Himself with man is into his forehead, and thence into the whole face, since the forehead of man corresponds to love and the face corresponds to all the interiors. The influx of the spiritual angels with man is into his head everywhere, from the forehead and temples to every part under which is the cerebrum, because that region of the head corresponds to intelligence. But the influx of the celestial angels is into that part of the head in which is the cerebellum, and which is called the occiput, from the ears all around even to the neck; for that region corresponds to wisdom.” (ii. 251)In AE 61, we read as follows:—
“The Divine Influx from heaven is into man's will, and through the will into his understanding Influx into the will is into the occiput, because into the cerebellum, and from this it passes to the forward parts into the cerebrum, where is the understanding; and when it comes by that way into the understanding, it then comes also into the sight, for man sees from his understanding.”And again:—
“All good is received from behind, and all truth from in front, since the cerebellum is formed to receive good which is of the will, and the cerebrum to receive truth which is of the understanding.” (n. 316)To understand these things we must remember that the relation of the cerebellum to the cerebrum is like that of the heart to the lung; that the cerebellum causes the cerebrum to be formed and nourished, as the heart does the lungs; and then, as the blood of the heart is purified by means of the lungs, so the affections of the cerebellum may be purified by the truth perceived and willed by the cerebrum; and that in this faculty of perceiving and willing the truth that purifies the life's love, consists the true rationality and freedom in which the Lord resides in man; which faculty lies in the forehead, and is that which knows and acknowledges the Lorcl, and causes the whole of the man to submit to His influence: and further, as in the case of the heart and the lungs, if the love in the cerebellum is not purified by the thought of the cerebrum, it compels the cerebrum to think only the evil and false things that agree with its own perversity. (Compare DLW 413-425) In this case, the interiors of the cerebellum are destroyed, but the freedom and rationality still remain, for they are the Lord's in man, and are never destroyed or taken away. (DLW 425) But in case the love is purified by the truth, then the Lord flows into the will's love, and through this continually incites the understanding to learn more of the ennobling truth.
“The angels of the inmost heaven,” we read, “correspond to those things in man which belong to the provinces of the heart and the cerebellum but the angels of the middle heaven correspond to those things in man which belong to the provinces of the lungs and the cerebrum... .But to intermediate angels who are near to both heavens, and conjoin them, correspond the cardiac and pulmonary plexuses, by which the heart is conjoined with the lungs; also the medulla oblongata, where the fibre of the cerebellum is conjoined with the fibre of the cerebrum.” (AC 9670)We are told also that the gentle, interior, and sincere spirits from the planet Mars, who are in thought from affection and in the affection of thought, relate to, that middle province which is between the cerebrum and the cerebellum.”
“And because they have such a relation in the Greatest Man, that middle province which is between the cerebrum and the cerebellum corresponds to them; for in them the cerebrum and cerebellum are conjoined as to spiritual operations; their face makes one with their thought, so that from the face the very affection of thought shines forth, and from the affection, with some indications also from the eyes, the general nature of the thought. Wherefore, when they were near me, I sensibly perceived a drawing, back of the front part of the head towards the occiput, thus of the cerebrum towards the cerebellum.” (AC 7481)A most interesting account is given, in AC 4326, of the operation of the two brains upon the expression of the face, in the Most Ancient times and afterwards:—
“There was heard a gentle thundering, which flowed down from on high above the occiput, and continued about the whole region of it. I wondered who they were. It was told me that they were those who relate to the general involuntary feeling. And it was further said that they can perceive well a man's thoughts, but are not willing to set them forth and utter them; like the cerebellum, which perceives all that which the cerebrum perceives, but does not publish it. When their manifest operation into the whole province of the occiput ceased, it was shown how far their operation had extended. It was first determined to the whole face, then it withdrew itself towards the left part of the face, and lastly towards the ear there; by which was signified of what nature the operation of the general involuntary feeling had been from the earliest times with the men of our earth, and how it had changed. The influx from the cerebellum insinuates itself chiefly into the face, as is manifest from this, that the disposition is inscribed on the face, and that the affections appear in the face, and this for the most part without man's will, —as is the case with fear, awe, shame, various kinds of joy and also of sorrow; besides other things which thus are made known to another; so that lie knows from the face what affections and what changes of the feelings and of the mind there are. These are from the cerebellum by means of its fibres, when there is no simulation within. Thus it was shown that the general feeling in the earliest times, or with the Most Ancient people, occupied the whole face; and that successively after those times it occupied only the left part of it, and finally afterwards it spread itself outside of the face, so that at this day there is scarcely any general involuntary feeling remaining in the face. The right part of the face, with the right eye, corresponds to affection for good; but the left to affection for truth; and the region where the ear is, to obedience only without affection. For with the Most Ancient people—whose age was called the Golden Age, because they lived in a certain state of integrity, and in love to the Lord and mutual love, like the angels—all the involuntary feeling of the cerebellum was manifested in the face; and then they did not know how to present anything, else in the face than according as heaven flowed into the involuntary efforts, and thence into the will. But with the Ancients, whose age was called the Silver Age, because they were in a state of truth, and thence in charity towards the neighbors the involuntary feeling of the cerebellum was manifested, not in the ri-ht part of the face, but only in the left; and with their posterity whose time was called the Iron Age, because they lived not in affection for truth, but in obedience to truth -the involuntary feeling was no longer manifested in the face, but betook itself to the region about the left car. I have been instructed that the fibres of the cerebellum thus changed their distribution in the face, and that in their place fibres of the cerebrum were carried thither, which then rule over those from the cerebellum; and this from an effort to form the expression of the face according to one's own will, which is from the cerebrum. It does not appear to man that these things are so, but it is very manifest to the angels from the influx of heaven, and from correspondence.” (AC 4326)We read also of another remarkable change:—
“The Most Ancient people, who constituted the Lord's Celestial Church, had a will in which was good, and an understanding in which was truth thence, which two made one in them. But the Ancients, who formed the Lord's Spiritual Church, had a will altogether corrupt, but a sound understanding, in which the Lord formed by regeneration a new will, and through this also a new understanding.” (AC 4328)The change that thus took place, suggests a possible explanation of the curious fact that the fibres that pass from the head to the body are crossed in the medullae, so that the fibres from the right side of the head rule in the left side of the body, and those from the left side of the head in the right side of the body. And yet Swedenborg, though he mentions the fact in the Diary (SE 1666, 1667), still in his published works refers the right side of the head and of the body alike to the love of good, and the left side to the love of truth. The body is spiritual relatively to the head; and the position of the Ancient Church, relatively to that of the Most Ancient, is sometimes likened to that of the body to the head. Now, if the right side of the head may be regarded as representing the will of good and truth in the Most Ancient Church, and this will was so corrupt in the Ancient that a new will Must be formed by means of the understanding, the influx of the will of good and truth from the Most Ancient into the Ancient must have been into the understanding and thence into the new will; and when this was done, then there could be influx from the understanding of good and truth into the new will. In the head the will to do good leads, the will to understand follows; but in the body the will to understand leads, and receives influx from the leading faculty of the head, and the will to do follows, and receives influx from the faculty that follows in the head. The will to do, as it descends, must become the will to understand for the sake of doing; and the will to understand, as it descends, must become the will of doing for the sake of the understanding. It may have something to do with this, that the primary principle in the Most Ancient Church was love to the Lord, and the secondary mutual love; and the primary in the Ancient Church was charity to the neighbor, and the secondary was the faith of charity. Also, that in the changes of state of the angels, in the most external state of the celestial angels, their sun passes over to the left, and adds its lustre to that of the moon of the spiritual angels, which then is in its greatest brightness.
Ends of good, we have learned, prevail in the province of the brain of the heavens; that is, the Divine ends for the salvation of the human race. The angels of this heaven “have extension into the whole heaven “ (HH 49); that is, they perceive the states of all in heaven-their states as to love and thought. And by the influx of affection and li-ht-also sometimes by representatives, and through intermediate angels, and sometimes by angels sent down from their own societies they inspire and instruct.
The influx of the angels of the cerebellum, like that of this organ in the body, is a silent influx of the love for the Lord and for doing His will, which is the life of the heavens. They perceive the states of the whole heaven as to the reception of life from the Lord, and the mutual usefulness which is the effect of that life. They control the whole process of receiving, sorting, and training the new spirits from the earths, and preparing them for heaven. They act mediately through others, and not without association with those of the cerebrum; but their sense of the need of the heavens, and of what is in harmony with its life, governs the whole process. The opening of the understandings of the angelic spirits in the province of the lungs, is partly under the influence of angels of the cerebrum; but the final sending forth from the heart of the heavens, with the full inspiration to do all possible good, is from the impulse of the cerebellum.
From their sense of the state of the whole heaven as to its reception of the Lord, they not only train and assimilate new spirits—as it were for the nourishment of every part of the heavens— but they also gather into themselves the sense of need for further uses, and of preparation for new forms of reception of the Divine Wisdom and Goodness; and this they have from their sense of the Lord's love for uses not yet fully performed. And the life which they receive from the Lord, with this sense of what It would do, they impart to the angels of the province of Generation, whose delight it is to assist in preparing receptacles for the Divine life. Thus these angels preside over the reception of the Divine life in the heavens, and the perfecting of the states of reception.
They flow also in man into all the functions of natural life which take place according to correspondence with the heavens, and this they do by influx into his cerebellum. They preside also over his sleep, contribute to the renovation and refreshment of sleep, and are in the effort to give sweet and helpful dreams. (AC 1977) To the Most Ancient Church, whose affections were innocent, such dreams were always given, and by them they were instructed in the general things that they needed for the perfecting of their lives. (AC 1122)
To the province of the cerebrum, which presides over the voluntary sense of the heavens, belongs the duty of attending, not to the states of life, but to the states of thought and intention of all parts of the heavens, and to their actual experiences. It is a part of their duty to attend to and interpret the representatives by which the Lord would instruct the heavens through the angels of the eyes. It is their duty to attend to the states of thought, intelligence, and intention of angels throughout the heavens, and of men on earth— for the Church also is a part of the Greatest Man— and to communicate the truth which the Lord reveals to them for the continual improvement of His kingdom, according, to the states of reception in all. Even the angels of life in the cerebellum are instructed by the cerebrum through intermediates (HH 225; AE 831), and by such instruction their perception of life from the Lord is made more intelligent; they are helped to perceive what they had not perceived, to understand what had been obscure to them, and thus to impart a nobler life to the heavens.
Examples of the presence of angels of the brain in lower provinces, we have in the many Relations which represent angels of the third heaven as presiding over the deliberations of the assembled spirits, and receiving their conclusions. (See TCR 48, 162, 188)
Of the use of their constant presence and influence in other parts of the heavens, we have the following interesting instruction:—
“All the wisdom of angels is given by means of the Word, since in its internal and inmost sense is Divine wisdom which is communicated to the angels through the Word when this is read by men, and when they think upon it. But still it is to be known that wisdom is given to them mediately by angels who were from the Most Ancient and Ancient Churches, who were in a knowledge and perception of representatives and correspondences; these were such in the world that they knew the internal arcana of the Church, and correspondences, and by means of these wisdom is communicated, and when it is communicated it appears to those who receive it as if it were their own. This is the effect of communication; and therefore angels of the Most Ancient heavens are dispersed throughout the heavens, that others may have wisdom.” (SE 5187; see also AC 5188, 5189, 5194)This presence is like the presence of the brain by means of the nerves in every part of the body. Besides the personal presence, there is abundant instruction by representatives and by influx.[See AE 260, 369, 490; AC 1971, 9125, 9139, 9166, 9457, 9577.] The societies of the cerebrum are, of course, arranged in correspondence with the heavenly form of the brain itself. In the hinder part are societies that correspond with the convolutions of sense. It is their duty to observe and perceive and record all things in the state of all parts of the Greatest Man that have relation or correspondence with the senses,—the quality of new spirits, as perceived through the angels of the tongue and the nose; the quality of the lives of men on the earth also, as perceived through smell and sight and touch and hearing; the state of all parts of the heavens also, as manifested to the senses; the representatives given by the Lord to the transparent provinces of the eyes, with the beautiful representatives which are presented to the inmost heaven by the Lord when men upon the earth are reading,— the Word; also, perhaps, the spoken words of the Lord. All these impressions it is their duty and their delight to receive and treasure for the general use.
In the middle and forward part are the societies whose duty it is to direct the voluntary action of the muscles—the motions of the hands and the feet in their cooperation with the Lord's Providence in the care of men and spirits and angels; the motions of the head and the eyes; and all other voluntary motions requisite to the proper performance of the duties of the several provinces.
And in the extreme front are societies which, more than all others, perceive intelligently the relation of the heavens to the Lord—their entire dependence upon Him, yet their absolute freedom; their nothingness in themselves; their possibilities of infinite development into His image and likeness, by learning and doing His will, receiving His wisdom and His love which are Himself. To these societies it is given to interpret the impressions of sense, which the angels of the provinces of sense communicate to them by intermediates; to understand and interpret the representatives by which the Lord instructs them; to reflect upon all things relating to the state of the heavens in the light of the Lord's own teaching; to instruct the angels who control the action of the heavens as to what should be clone, the angels of the provinces of sense as to what they should observe, and the angels of the love which is the life of the heavens as to the ends which the Lord sets before them, and thus as to the quality of the love which is flowing from Him to them.
Through these provinces of the forehead, therefore, therefore, the Lord unites Himself with the whole heaven, and under their guidance the whole heaven unites itself with the Lord.