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Human Organic
Lecture Notes by Hugo Lj. Odhner  

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Part 2, Chapter III


1. The father gives not life but only a first covering or receptacle of life, a first or purest form "to which, as to a stamen or initiament, are successively added in the womb substances and matters in forms adapted for the reception of life in their order and in their degree"(209), "even to the ultimate (form) which is adequate to the modes of the world of nature".(210)

    "Call no man your father upon earth; for One is your Father, which is in heaven." Matt. 23:9.

2. This first receptacle of life is within the paternal seed from which every human being is conceived.

    This can be affected by the condition of the sire. See Roger William arrival experiments. - Dr. Marlin W. Heilman
    This seed contains "a graft (tradux) or offset (propago) of the father's soul in its fullness, within a certain envelope from the elements of nature, out of which (per haec) its body is formed in the womb...."(211)
    "In the seed of man is his soul in perfect human form, veiled over with substances from the finest things of nature, out of which (ex quibus) a body is formed in the womb of the mother." (212) The seed from the father, which carries an endeavor (conatus) to the human form, is thus called the first receptacle of life (213) and is said to be that which is clothed with a body from the mother. (214)

    "The primitive which is from the soul of the parent, endeavors to the formation of the whole man in the ovum and the womb, although this primitive is not in the form of the body but in another most perfect form known to the Lord alone...."(215) Therefore there can be no extension into any other form than the human in the development of the embryo, nor any extension into any other form than the human in the development of the embryo, nor any extension except by radiating fibres. (216) "The interior man, or spirit itself, is from the father; but the outer man, or body itself, is from the mother.... The soul itself is implanted by the father, and this begins to clothe itself in a little bodily form in the ovule. Whatever is afterwards added, whether in the ovule or in the womb, is of the mother, for it has no increase from anywhere else."(217)

    "Man begins from the soul which is the very essence of the seed: this not only initiates, but also produces in their order those things which are of the body...."(218)

3. How the paternal seed is formed:

    a) Natural semination is from a spiritual origin, and arises from spiritual semination, viz., from the truths of wisdom or truths from good, thus the truths of which the understanding consists. (219) The prolific is from truth from good in the male understanding.(220)

    Sex Determination. The masculine soul is truth, while the feminine soul is intellectual good which also in its essence is truth. Hence both sons and daughters can be conceived out of the male understanding.(221) The sex of the offspring is thus determined by the seed, which contains either a masculine soul or a feminine soul.

    Biologists at the present day distinguish 48 chromosomes (222) in every somatic cell in both sexes. Two particular types of chromosomes which seem to indicate sex are observed in these body cells; and these two types are called X and Y. The female has two X chromosomes in each of her body cells, the male has one X and one Y. When ova are formed by reduction division in the organs of reproduction, each will contain 24 chromosomes of which one is an X. When the male germ-cells are formed by similar division, each would contain 24 chromosomes, but half of the spermatozoa would contain and X and half would possess a Y. When the conjugation of spermatozoon with ovum finally occurs, the result would either be a combination of two X chromosomes or one of one X and a Y. XX would be productive of a female while XY would produce a male.

    Every body cell in the human male contains a Y chromosome as well as an X, while every cell in the female body contains two X chromosomes. Compare this with the statement in Conjugial Love: "...In the male, the masculine is masculine in every part of his body even the most minute, and also in every idea of his thought and in every grain of his affection; and so likewise the feminine in the female." "In a word, nothing whatever in them is alike; and yet in their single parts there is what is conjunctive...."(223)
    Biologists accredit sex-determination only to chance, and the probabilities should then result in the ration of fifty to fifty. But it is thought that over five percent more Y-bearing sperm are developed to compensate for the greater rate of stillborn males.
    Possibly the time may come when humans feed for sex determination. Nutrition, Bees feed for sex determination.- Dr. Marlin W. Heilman
    The Writings indicate however, that heredity variation is dependent on the state of the parents at the time when the offspring is conceived.(224) This may perhaps be confirmed by the fact that sex distribution is frequently very one sided within families.(225)




    b) The seed is conceived interiorly in the father's understanding, is formed in the will, is transferred to the testes where it clothes itself with a natural veiling.(226) Thus truth (or the soul) in its progress into the body is formed into seed.(227)

(This influx of the spiritual into the body is spoken of according to the appearance, since the spiritual is not in place.(228))

    Being spiritual in its essence, the soul can procreate itself indefinitely without any loss. For a spiritual substance has not extension but impletion, and from it there can be no taking away of a part, since it is similar to itself in its least receptacles as in its greatest which is the body itself.(229)

    c) In the descent to become seed, the soul is veiled over with such things as are of the father's natural love. From this springs hereditary evil.(230) The seed is the form of the father's ruling love with the nearest affections from that love.(231) It consists of discrete degrees in simultaneous order. (232) It contains a conatus to procreate. (233)p. 66

    d) The seed is-further covered or clothed in the seminal vesicles and later is resolved in neck of the uterus.

    The first form which is the inmost of the seed must be successively opened(234), natural heat serving as a means.(235)
    Being simple, the inmost of the seed is exempt from injuries.(236)
    The seed contains the husband's soul and also his mind as to its

4. The natural substances of the seed are a covering from the finest things of nature and serve mainly as a vehicle for the
spiritual soul.(238)

    The discovery of the nature of the natural substances of the seed had been gradual.

    Aristotle noted that the mother, through the menses, supplied the corporeal element of the future child while the
psychical element (soul) came from the father.(239)

    Leeuwenhoek (1632-1723) observed whiplike organisms moving in the seminal fluid and concluded that they were animal parasites infesting the testes. Hence-he called them "spermatozoa". But Herman Boerhaave (16681738) regarded them as refined blood, and its living "amimalcula" as containing the rudiments of the future embryo. (Preformation theory) Conception occurred, he believed, when the "living elements" of the sperm penetrated the egg.(240)          (67)

Abbe' Spallanzani (1729-1799) filtered off the spermatozoa and found that without them the seminal fluid had no power to fertilize the egg. But he believed that it was the accompanying fluid which stimulated the development of the egg.(241) He held to the Preformation theory as to the egg.

    In the last half of the 19th century Koelliker and others proved the origin of the spermatozoa in the testes and that they were really cells which had lost their round shape and acquired tails for moving about. Herman Fol in 1879 actually observed a spermatozoon enter an eggcell and the conclusion was reached that one single male cell performs the act of fertilization.

    Swedenborg's concept of the nature of the seed in essentials anticipated modern views, as may be gathered from various statements in his physiological treatises.

    In his treatise on "The Origin and Propagation of the Soul" (dated 1739 or 1740) he states: " In the organs of the male are conceived the first rudiments of the brain, that is, the purer cortex which otherwise (alias) is contained in the cortical glands; and thus from this, as from an inchoament of the body, organic forms are projected which afterwards, in the ovum and womb of the mother - always however under the auspices of this little brain - successively...produce a body."(242)  (OPS ii., cf iii.  See R. Psych. 424, where the purer cortex is called a "pure intellectory".)  Cf Gener. 175.

[Unknown text in this block.  ORO]

Note: Every body cell (somatic) in the male contains a Y chromosome as well as an X, while every cell of the female
body contains two X chromosomes.

"In the male the masculine is masculine in every part of the body, even the most minute, . ..and so is the female in the female"
(CL 33).

SEXES IN PLANTS In plants, "the flowers form in their bosom a new little stem (caudicillum) by which the strained juice may inflow and thus initiate and by successive steps form the fruit which may be compared to the testicle in which the seeds are perfected" (T. 585). (see s v. Feminine and s.v. Marriage in 2nd Index Lost Work on Marriage) in plants E 1205, 1208:5) (a) recognizable stamen, pistil, etc.;

(b) seed = masc earth = fem. "Man's seed is cultivated interiorly in the understanding and is formed in the will and is thence transferred into the testicle where it clothes itself with a natural covering and is thus conducted into the womb and enters the world. Moreover, there is a correspondence of man's regeneration with all things of the vegetable kingdom." (T. 584). PLANT Stamen corresponds to Understanding (in Cerebrum).

Pistil " Will (in Cerebellum)

Fruit " " Use (in Testicle)

Seed " " Semen perfected (truth)

Earth " " Womb or oviform

substance (good, church)


" body (character)

lungs then opened (understanding)


Sprout "

Stem or trunk "


Flower " " marriage of good & truth

Cp TCR 585:2, AE 1203:2

See further discussion (from the viewpoint of the Beekman correlation theory) of Spermatogenesis in NC Life 1906, pp 129-139

    In the work on "Generation", he notes that the life of the seed is derived from the cerebellum, whence the nerve fibres which lead to the genital organs originate.(243) But since the character of a man is determined by the cerebrum in which the conscious mind resides, the initial impulse of generation must be considered to come from the understanding, as is taught in the Writings.(244)

     It is doubtful whether there are any connections between the cerebellum and genital organs - though this does not appear to be finally verified. - Dr. Robert Alden

    The function of the testicles is to extract the "first essence" (or spirituous fluid) from the simple fibres.(245) The most pure "globules" of this essence are the carriers of the soul and formative force. (They should not be designated as globules except by 'analogy'.(246)) The animal spirit (or purer blood) is extracted from the blood and nervous tunics in the epididymes and forms a surface over the purest globules.(247) The globules thus clothed are determined into fibrous extensions or eel-like forms; but it is wrong to suppose that the fetus begins from these.(248)

    These forms are compounded in the vesiculae seminales into "seminal globules" which at Swedenborg's day were visible under the microscope. The globules adhere like a humor which is further enveloped by the secretions of the prostate gland (249), so that it can be conveyed into the matrix and be resolved. When this is accomplished, the seminal globules fly off through the fallopian tubes into the ovules.(250) The globules are then opened and unlocked. The seed is not in eel-like shape when it penetrates the ovum, however, but it is in the form of a kind of vital aura.(251).  A number of the "primitive globules" are thus heaped up in the ovum and find their first nourishment there.(252) (Modern biologists have claimed that the head of the spermatozoon penetrates the ovum while the tail-like portion drops away, but some doubt seems to exist.)

    After entering the ovum, the supreme animal essence then commences its formative work by conceiving a brain in purest effigy, such as it is in the depths of the cortical substance, and from many such 'brains' it extends itself into a "carina" by means of simple fibres and by stages and degrees weaves the texture of the body.(253)

5.     The spiritual substance within the seed is called "an offset of the father's soul."(254) But by the 'soul' is here meant not only the inmost but all the degrees of his mind.

    It includes all the spiritual(255), all that is internal(256), thus the father's mind as to its interiors.(257)
    It includes "the mind, the animus, disposition (indoles), inclination and affection of the father."(258)
    It is described as the very essence from which the offspring is(259), including both good and evil(260); as the esse of a man's life(261); as the inmost, soul, or very life(262); and as the interior man or spirit.(263)
    "The body is the proceeding from the father's esse which is called his soul (264)

6.     Conception occurs when the spiritual contents of the seed is insinuated into the little ovum.(265)

7.     A spiritual representation of man's primitive in the womb after conception was shown to Swedenborg. (266)

    This primitive (267), is identified with the paternal seed from which conception takes place, but is said to be of spiritual substance, not visible in natural light. Thus the description is not that of the spermatozoon, but of the spiritual degrees within the seed.

    "The primitive of man which is from the soul of the parent, endeavors towards the formation of the whole man...although this primitive is not in the form of the body, but in another most perfect form known to the Lord alone...."(268)

    "As in the formation of man in the womb, spiritual things conjoin themselves with natural things, there are many particulars that cannot be described; namely, such spiritual things as are abstracted from natural things and thence have not expressions in natural language except certain universals which one man understands more intelligently than another...." (269)

    Swedenborg describes this primitive, as he saw it in spiritual representation, "as adequately as the expressions of natural language permitted." It is a double receptacle of life, to receive love and wisdom.(270) The receptacles, which are the initiaments of man, are of three degrees, one degree within the other. The two interior degrees are the dwelling places of the Lord, and are in heavenly order and form, but not the lowest, for in that reside evils and hereditary corruptions.

    The receptacles were represented as a tiny image of the brain with no appendages but with the delineation as of a face in front.  The upper convex part was constructed of contiguous spherules containing indescribable interlacings, each spherule being divided into hemispheres, right and left, and joined by wonderful connections.

    The form as a whole represented the lowest degree and was composed of tiny spherules; these again had component spherules which make the second degree; and each of these were composed of spherules of the highest degree. The three degrees answer to the three heavens or to the three degrees of the mind, the lowest of which is pervertible.(271) The lowest degree could be reformed only if the higher degrees were opened. With brutes, the two higher degrees are lacking; with clean beasts the lowest degree is not turned contrary to the order of universal flux.(272)

8.     It is an error to think that man is in his fullness from his first or rudiment in the seed and afterwards simply increases in

    Aristotle had taught the beginnings of what is called the theory of` "epigenesis". Harvey (1578-1657) followed him in the thought that the embryo was formed out of the previously unformed material of the egg or ovum. But Malpighi (in 1672) believed he saw the rudiments of the future chicken preformed in the unfertilized egg. This was the basis of the fallacious theory of "preformation". Swammerdam and Boerhaave (d. 1738) followed this theory. At Swedenborg's time, Albrecht von Haller (1708-1777), and all other notables had accepted Preformation, despite Swedenborg's objections.

    "Preformation" led to the absurd idea that if the animal exists preformed - whether in the egg or in the seed - like boxes one within the other, the germs of all generations must have existed within Eve's ovum or in Adam's seed, and would eventually be exhausted.

    It was not until 1759 that Kaspar Friedrich Wolff (1733-1794) took issue with the Preformation theory and proved by his able drawings that development consists in a gradual formation of parts. His discoveries were scorned, since he seemed to make development miraculous.(274)

    Modern embryology shows that the seed and the ovum are both highly organized, but that none of the future body members are represented in them.

Swedenborg stresses this in his repeated objection to the theory of Preformation:  "The several members are produced successively, or one after another; so that there is no real effigy of the greatest in the least, nor is there in the germ (primo) any type of the future body which is simply expanded." (275)  It was, he shows, an error of his age "that man was in his fullness from his first which is the inchoament and that he is afterwards perfected (only) by growth in size."(276) Yet in the eyes of God all the structures of the body are foreseen. (277) And in potency
they are present in the formative substance or soul which is in the seed.

9. The paternal heredity should not be thought to be seated exclusively in the so-called "chromosomes" of the seed, as is
generally supposed. The centrosome and other parts of the cytoplasm or the nucleus may be found to contain the more
important parts of the genetic pattern.

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209 DLW 6, cf DP 330.

210 D. Love ii, e.

211 TCR 103.

212 CL 183.

213 DLW 269.

214 DP 277a, cf TCR 92.

215 AC 3633.

216 D. Wis. iii. 4.

217 AC 1815.

218 TCR 166; AC 6468e.

219 CL 115:5, 355e; Can.Tr. iv. 5.

220 CL 90e.

221 CL

222 Recently it is claimed that only 46 are present.

223 CL 33

224 See AC 3469:3, cf WE 1053, 1056.

225 Cf WE 1049with context, and 1060.

226 TCR 584.

227 CL 220; SD 875, 884

228 See second Index of the "missing work" on Marriage, s.v. Influx.

229 See CL 220; TCR 103; ISB 11:3, cf CL 315:11, 315:8; re animals, CL 220.

230 CL 245.

231 DP 277a; TCR 92.

232 DLW 207; AC 10181:3.

233 AC 3648.

234 234AC 8603:2.

235 Cf HH 567:3; DLW 315, cp AC 5056:2.

236 DLW 204e, cp AC 9666:2.

237 CL l , 2. Reception of the seed by the wife is discussed in De Conj. 3,; AE 1005; CL 172; SD 6110:63. Inheaven,CL
51, 52, 115:5, 355e; cfD. Wis. viii. See`'Marriage and Modern Learning", by H.L. Odhner, 1955.

238 TCR 1 03; CL 1 33 , et al.

239 Hist. of Animals. Parva Naturalia

240 Gener. 160; Erik Nordenskjold, Hist. of Biology p.l86.

241 Nordenskjold, p. 248.

242 OPS ii., cf iii. See R. Psych. 424, where the purer cortex is called a "pure intellectory." Cf Gener.

243 Gener 47.

244 TCR 584.

245 Gener. 169, 170.

246 Gener 168.

247 Gener 169.

248 Gener. 171, 172.

249 Gener. 173.

250 Gener. 174. See nos. 253ff for an alternative theory as to the path of seed into ovum.

251 Gener. 174. Compare this with the "asters" which radiate from the two centrioles derived from the sperm as it cause
cell-division in the zygote.

252 Gener 175, cf 254.

253 Gener. 175.

254 TCR 103.

255 TCR 92, 103.

256 AC 1815

257 CL 172.

258 TCR 103.

259 AC 5689:3.

260 WE 1057.

261 AC 3299.

262 AC 6716:2; Ath. Cr.30:3,215,216.

263 AC 1815.

264 AC 10269:2

265 Cf SD 884.

266 DLW 432. Cf D. Wis. iii.4.

267 DLW 432.

268 AC 3633, cf DLW 432e; WE 1457.

269 Div. Wis. ii i.

270 D.Wis. iii. 2.

271 Cf DLW 345.

272 D.Wis. iii. 4; DLW 432

273 DLW 432.

274  J. Mayer, Seven Seals of Science ( 192 7), and E. Nordenskold, Hist. of Biology (1928).

275 Ec. 249.

276 DLW 432.

277 Psalm 139:13-16.

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