Divine Wisdom (Mongredien) n. 5

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5. [85.] V


It is known that there are two faculties of life with man, Will and Understanding; for a man can will and he can understand, and what is more, he can understand what he does not will, which shows that Will and Understanding are two distinct things with man, the Will being the receptacle for love, and the Understanding being the receptacle for wisdom. From this it is clear that love is of the Will, for what a man loves, this he also wills; also that wisdom is of the Understanding, for what a man discerns or has a knowledge of, this he sees with his Understanding: the Understanding's seeing is thought. Man does not possess those two faculties as long as he is in the womb; it was shown above that the foetus, while being formed, has absolutely nothing either of Will or of Understanding. It follows from this that it is the Lord Who has prepared the two receptacles, one to be the Will of the future man, the other to be his Understanding, the receptacle called Will for receiving love, and the receptacle called Understanding for receiving wisdom, and that He prepared them by means of His own Love and Wisdom; those two receptacles, however, did not pass over into the man until he was fully formed for birth. The Lord, moreover, provided means for love and wisdom from Himself to be received in them more and more fully as the man advances to maturity and into old age.

[[2]] [86.] The reason Will and Understanding are called receptacles is that the Will is not some abstract spiritual thing, but a "subject," substanced and formed for the reception of love from the Lord: nor is the Understanding some abstract spiritual thing, but a "subject," substanced and formed for the reception of wisdom from the Lord; they have in truth a concrete existence: although hidden from sight, they nevertheless exist inwardly in the substances that constitute the cerebral cortex, also here and there in its medullary substance, particularly in the corpora striate; they are also inwardly in the medullary substance of the cerebellum, and in the spinal marrow, of which they form the nucleus. Accordingly, there are not just two receptacles but an innumerable number, each one of them being, as said above, of two parts, and also in three degrees. [[3]] That these are the receptacles, and that they are in those places, is very evident from their being the beginnings and heads of all the nerve-fibres, out of which the whole body is woven, and also from the fact that all the organs of sense and of motion are formed from nerve-fibres that run out from those receptacles, for the nerve-fibres begin in them and end in them. It is solely because the sensory and motor organs issue forth from these dwelling-places of the Will and Understanding, and are in continuous connection with them, that the sensory organs sensate and the motor organs move. In infants those receptacles are small and delicate: later on, they gather fullness and become complete in proportion to the knowledges acquired and to the affection for them; they are perfected in proportion to the intelligence and love of uses; they become flexible with innocence and with love to the Lord, whereas with the opposites of these they become solidified and hardened; changes of their state are affections; variations of their form are thoughts; the coming into existence and permanence of these changes and variations is memory; and the reproduction of them is recollection. The two, taken together, are the human mind. * A marginal note in the MS. reads, "Or perhaps this way: With man the receptacle for love becomes after birth the Will, and the receptacle for wisdom becomes the Understanding." This form was actually used in the heading to the deleted first script of V in the MS. It is used also in No. 82, and again in No. 93.

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