Friday, July 21, 2017

Review: Arcana Coelestia, Vol 7

Arcana Coelestia, Vol 7 Arcana Coelestia, Vol 7 by Emanuel Swedenborg
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Joseph: The celestial of the spiritual (Divine Truth itself; the warm impetus you get when you aren't paying attention to do the right thing; promptings of the Spirit; the burning in the bosom)
Potiphar's Wife: Truth natural, not spiritual (What is true to the everyday mind; the letter of the commandments; "you should do x").

Potiphar's Wife stealing Joseph's shirt and accusing him: Doing something good because you should, which lets it conceal all sorts of selfishness. For example: when you post an uplifting status on Facebook but are more concerned with likes, or when you accept a home teaching assignment ostensibly to keep the commandments, but it doesn't hurt home teachee is a cute girl. In both cases, your natural mind (Potiphar's wife) wants to conjoin itself with goodness, to become a good person (Joseph), but in so doing it only ever gets his shirt (the ultimates of the celestial of the spiritual; how Divine Truth looks like as frozen by the natural mind, rendered in mechanical, 8-bit graphics), which inevitably leads to separation of good intent and ostensibly good deed; Joseph is without his shirt; Potiphar's wife is without Joseph. You're left feeling disappointed. For the Facebook example, "uplifting-ness" is Joseph, Potiphar's wife is your thought "doing uplifting things is good, so I will post something uplifting," and the shirt getting torn off is the thought "After checking my likes for the eighth time, I feel worse than I did before." In the home teaching example, Joseph is the divine reality of charity within a church, Potiphar's wife is the thought "home teaching is good, so I will home teach," and the resulting lack of spiritual fruit because you did it for the wrong reasons is the shirt getting torn off.

Pharaoh: The new natural man ("I really hate x sinful behavior;" "I'm done with it")
Baker: The will part of the exterior natural ("But x sin will feel so *good*!")
Butler: The intellectual part of the exterior natural ("I am not going to do x sin; it's not right.")

Pharaoh putting the butler and the baker in prison: The new natural realizing that the life of its senses (the butler corresponding to sight; the baker corresponding to taste and touch) is completely out of whack; "I can't help looking at porn."

Joseph interpreting the butler's dream favorably: The part of you that holds back the reigns, that sees the situation from above, will get under your control

The butler getting back on his station: That moment when you stop and think "do I really want to do this?" and then don't.

Joseph interpreting the baker's dream unfavorably: That part of you that completely immerses itself in booze and porn won't ever get completely better; it's part of the world; you just have to separate from it.

The baker getting executed: Completely putting yourself away from those situations where you get inebriated by touch and taste.

The seven years of plenty: A multiplication of truths (Moments like those when you read scripture and it resonates with love and goodness on even the lowest level of your being)
The seven years of famine: A seeming dearth of truths (Moments when you can't think any true thoughts and you're at the mercy of your self-doubts and compulsive thoughts); the moment when falsities seem to dominate even though you're doing everything right, but the reason being you're clinging to them for the wrong reasons; God saying "you can't have truth anymore until your thirst for it for its own sake"; the dark night of the soul.

Egyptians hungering for bread during the famine and Pharaoh showing them to Joseph, who gives them bread from the storehouses: That moment when you decide to do good things for good's own sake; what happpens when you're thoroughly sick of checking for likes on Facebook; when you stop doing spirituality for selfish reasons, however disguised; Huckleberry Finn saying "All right, I'll go to hell;" the resulting happiness

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