Lecture Notes by Hugo Lj. Odhner
Part 2, Chapter IX
CORRESPONDENCE OF THE BODY TO THE LARGER FORM OF
A. HISTORY OF THE CONCEPT OF THE GRAND MAN
1. In 1749 and later, Swedenborg announced to the world, in the Arcana Coelestia, that in the spiritual world situations and distances were determined by their relation to the human body(456) and that the heavens there constitute as it were one Man which is therefore called the Maximus Homo, to which all things that are in man correspond.(457)
"It is now permitted to relate and describe wonderful things which, so far as I know, have not yet been known to anyone, namely, that the universal heaven is so formed as to correspond to the Lord, to His Divine Human; and that man is so formed as to correspond to heaven in regard to each and all things in him, and through heaven to the Lord. This is a great mystery which is now to be revealed...."(458)
Note:2. In the Most Ancient Church, nature was felt to be "alive". Hence came Animism, which confused the natural with the spiritual, and later Greek philosophy retained this in the form of "hylozoism".
The "anthropomorphic" idea took many forms, giving a human characteristic to all things, and giving the gods the traits of human personalities and frailties. Among some nations heroes were deified as objects of worship.(459) With primitive tribes we find the worship of an ancestor as a grand original Man. In mythic lore the dispensational churches were sometimes personified and regarded as ruling gods.
In Greek mythology, OURANOS seems to stand for the Most Ancient Church, CHRONOS and the Titans for the later period of that church and for the "antediluvian age", and Jupiter (ZEUS) for the Ancient Church.(460)
3. A persistent feature of many mythologies was the idea that the world was created from the substance of a primeval giant or "Grand Man"; from OMORKA (Chaldea), from TI' AMAT (Assyria), form PURUSHA or PRAJAPATI (India), from YMER (Norse Eddas), or from the creative idea or word of some god. (461) -
4. The Stoics spoke of the world as a living Being - or as a World Soul, an idea carried into German philosophy as the Welt-geist. The Stoic idea was of a Grand Man of which the rational soul was God. They also had the idea of man as a microcosm, and Philo Judaeus so cites them. The Jews, in their Wisdom Literature, carry the same suggestion, and in their later Kabalistic writings Philo's idea of a celestial Adam is developed into the concept of a primeval original Man - "Adam Kadmon". This heavenly man, according to the Zohar,(462)"is the embodiment of all Divine manifestations: the Ten Sefirot, the original image of man. The heavenly Adam, stepping forth out of the highest original darkness, created the earthly Adam. In other words, the activity of the Original Essence manifested itself in the creation of man, who at the same time is the image of the Heavenly Man and of the universe, just as with Plato and Philo the idea of man, as microcosm, embraces the idea of the universe or macrocosm."(463)p. 104
5. The "Hermetic tradition" which
brought the echoes of many ancient doctrines with it, influenced the nature-philosophers
of the early Renaissance. It was often mixed up with astrology, alchemy,
6. Since orthodox Christianity became usually averse towards mystical attitudes that sought to replace ecclesiastical dogmas, and since modern science scoffed at vitalistic interpretations of the cosmos, the study of the concept of the Grand Man was driven into alliance with irresponsible mystical speculations. Swedenborg's doctrine of the Grand Man and of Correspondences are therefore often classed by outside students (such as Dr. Martin Lamm, Signe Toksvig, etc.) with the dreams of the medievals and the neoplatonists, and it is often thought that he borrowed and built upon these ancient traditions.
Dr. George P. Conger,(465)
states that "in studying the microcosmic theories we are dealing with a
philosophical perennial". But no clear knowledge of the doctrine of the
Grand Man and of Correspondences existed before the publication of the
Swedenborg's preparatory works sometimes speak in the current tradition,
in words based on the classical authors and on Paul.(466)
In the Worship and Love of God "Adam" is sometimes used in an allegorical
manner, as a type for mankind.
7. The doctrine of Correspondences as taught
in the Writings is a revealed doctrine which centers about the worship
of the Lord Jesus Christ in His Divine Human, God-Man whose impress is
universal upon created forms.
involve the simple essentials of all religion, and the necessary basis
from which the thought of the regenerate man should proceed.
Reference reading: "Ancient Doctrines in the New Theology", by H.L. Odhner.(471)B. THE HUMAN FORM IN THE COLLECTIVE
1. Society grows by specializations of uses. The uses of the home, which is a micropolis, are by degrees taken over by society, through specialized abilities and functions.(472)
The perfection of larger societies may be illustrated by the perfection existing in the more complex forms of organic life. Compare the protozoa with the mollusks, these with the vertebrates, and these with man. The human form is the most perfect, most balanced in functions, most diversely specialized. And thus his social life is most complex.
2. Perfection increases with numbers. Thus it is intended that the human race should persist on all the planets of the universe, because the perfection of the uses of heaven increases when "there is given a direction and consent of more and more to unity, and therefore a more close and unanimous conjunction...Everything is there inserted as a mediate relation between two or more, and what is inserted confirms and conjoins...."(473) "The correspondence of heaven to the things in man can never be infilled or completed."(474)
Illustrations: Children in a family. Extension of thoughts and affections. New truths, signified by "Benjamin" who also represents certain media of conjunction among the heavens. The evil dissociate themselves from the uses of the community, obstruct mutual exchanges of the products of use, misappropriating the life currents and not "consenting to unity".3. Society is a greater form of man.(475) The uses of society, and the common good: Char. 130-136, 143, 148; Div. Love xii.
C. THE HEAVENS AND THE CHURCH IN A COMPLEX REPRESENT A ONE MAN
1. The correspondence of the human body
is primarily with the Divine Human Form from which it is derived and into
the image and likeness of which it was created.
2. In the supreme sense, the Lord alone is the "Grand Man" (Maximus Homo). In this sense the Grand Man is the Divine proceeding or the universal Heaven in its complex. (479)
Since the Divine proceeding is in the human form, the Word in the letter is also, in its whole complex, as One Man, and its parts thus correspond to man's organs and members.
"The Word, in the letter, can be compared with those things in man which appear outwardly, as for example in some parts to the beard and hair, and in some to the face and to those limbs which are not clothed; and ... the angels are able, when it is allowed by the Lord, to perceive what it is there that corresponds; for the Word, in its whole complex, is as One Man as to all and every one of its constituents within and without; and... that Man is like the Lord's Human was in the world; wherefore the Lord is called the Word (John i.)". (480)Being a spiritual Man, the Grand Man consists not of persons, but of uses.(482)
Note:3. In the Grand Man of Heaven, when this is considered as consisting of angels, the Lord alone represents the interiors and thus the blood and its derivatives. The Lord alone is the active force, the Grand Man the passive force which is in itself dead.(487)
The Lord animates the whole universe as a soul animates its body, or as Life.(488)
The whole heaven is arranged according to the Divine form which is in the Lord. The form of the spiritual kingdom is according to the order of the affections in His Divine Human.(489)
Heaven is a Divine Spiritual Man in greatest form, even in effigy.(490) Nevertheless man is not the image of heaven as to his external form but as to his internal form.(491)
4. The Church on earth is before the Lord as
one Man. Together with the angels it makes not only the interiors but also
the exteriors of that [(p. 110)] Man. The Church
makes the bony and cartilagineous parts because men on earth are provided
with a body in which the ultimate spiritual is clothed with a natural.(492)
The Writings indicate the general functions of the spirits of the following globes:
Our Earth: Skins and membranes(498); exterior parts(499); external sense(500); natural and corporeal senses(501); sciences of material things.(502) Writing, travel, and mechanical arts on our earth.(503)D. GENERAL CORRESPONDENCES OF THE GRAND MAN
1. The correspondence of natural things with spiritual things rests primarily upon functions or uses.(521)
Although the heavens indeed correspond to the very organic forms of the human body, they chiefly correspond to the functions of these viscera or organs.(522) It is these uses which conjoin.(523) Life and coherence is given by correspondences.(524)
2. In general, the exteriors of the body correspond
to the exteriors of heaven, etc., and the invisible interiors of the body
to the interiors of heaven.(525) Each particle
of an organ is the basis of a correspondence.(526)
Correspondences are varied according to series or context. Fibres and vessels correspond to truths in a regenerate mind.(528) The bloods, as to the life in them, can correspond only to the Lord.(529) A spirit in the Grand Man would be represented only by a single particle in the atmosphere.(530) Heart, pulse, flesh, even sinews and bones, would correspond to the celestial angels; while the lungs, respiration, voluntary fibres, and even blood and animal spirit (as to their various chyles) would correspond to the spiritual angels.(531)
3. General correspondences of the body.(532)
and confirmations form Arcana Coelestia:
The heart: The celestial kingdom, the voluntary of heaven, in which the good of love rules. The will, The ruling love.----DIAGRAM ?----
E. WHAT SPIRITS BELONG TO THE GRAND MAN
2. Novitiate spirits, so long as they are in a state like that of the food in the intestinal tract, i.e., before they are introduced into the bloodstream, cannot properly be said to be within the Grand Man. (535)
4. The hells in their complex constitute as it were one Devil or grand monster.(539)
But while in the performance of uses, the devils can be elevated from hell.(540) Evil spirits can thus for a time occupy some province in the Grand Man, such as that of the spleen.(541) The Lord's kingdom of uses extends also over the hells.(542)
F. CORRESPONDENCE OF THE ORGANISM WITH THE COMMONWEALTH
While Swedenborg saw the spiritual correspondences of the body and its parts, thinkers of all ages have seen many isolated analogies between civic society. The more closely we examine the organism, the more such analogies do we find. So, for instance, Dr. Adolph Elwyn (543) has suggested several of the following analogies. The human body is like a close knit Commonwealth in which the citizens are the cells. From the first germ cells as parents or early settlers, the population has increased beyond count, despite varying mortality and birthrates. (Some cells - 12 billion nerve-cells - are permanent.) By specialization of uses, groups of citizens form communities like organs. Indeed, each cell has a nucleus which serves as a business executive, cytoplasm which is a factory or well stocked workshop, and a cell membrane which is a place of exchange and barter.
The various tissues represent guilds of more or less trained workers who never strike. Some are "open shop" laborers, like various connective tissue cells. Many have but little skill and little autonomy like the set tissues of the bone, cartilage, and skin, predestined to monotonous drudgery.
The digestive system represents the food and fuel industries, and the stomach and mesentery serve as factory and field for gathering and refining the products needed and preparing them for the market while the colon freights the rest away. (544)
The blood stream employs transport workers (by land or water) who distribute merchandise, mail and food to their destinations, and the epithelia of the capillaries are the distant freight or passenger stations, the terminal loading docks. The blood represents the current wealth of the body - its main trade routes and markets - the "common food" from which each part derives its use and delight, and to which every individual contributes.
The fat deposits are warehouses and also serve as buffering in times of need - a form of capitalism which is needed yet can be abused. The red bone marrow is a vast maternity hospital for ever new blood cells. The spleen and liver are mining areas for iron and other minerals. The building trades are represented by the connective tissue cells which weave the muscles and ligaments, erect the bone and spread the membranes. The fibroblasts are retired experts, ready to be called on if reconstruction is urgent. The gluttonous macrophages and leucocytes of the blood serve as a watchful police-force, as immigration officials and soldiers who often die in their effort to rid the body of dangerous foreign elements or bacteria. Some also serve as garbage-collectors, disposing of the debris from the disintegrating cells, but also salvage useful minerals, such as the iron of the blood cells. The lymphocytes combine the functions of quarantine officers, doctors, and pall bearers, and superintend the pipelines for food and fuel as well as the sewerage plants of the body. The glands of the lymphatic system serve also the use of detention camps for infectious poisons.
The muscles are comparable to engines for developing heat and power. The heart is a vast pump, a supply of motion to the body. But each muscle fibre also acts as a self-charging engine: ruled by the mind, sparked by the nerve fibre, fuelled by the artery with glycogen from the liver and by oxygen from the lungs, while the vein serves as an exhaust pipe. (545)
The use of the "lungs" in the body politic is recreative in several senses. The breath of society is public information and knowledge, giving freedom and autonomy to its component parts. Press and radio literature provide these elements and make men conscious of their social obligations. Sensation is therefore tied up with respiration.
But the economy of the body is under a benevolent monarchy, a central government which thoroughly understands its people's needs and abilities. The brain and the nervous system represent that government, with its public network of communication by telegraph and telephone and radio, and its legislative, executive, and judicial branches, its institutions, records, etc. The voluntary nerve fibres, directed by the cerebrum, govern the "foreign policy" and deliberate actions of the body. The sensory nerves represent the educational and intellectual uses of the country, the cerebral cortex its thinkers and planners, the cerebellum its more or less unconscious moods and moral feelings. The motor nerves would answer to its skills and graces. The sympathetic system suggests uses of an aesthetic, creative, impulsive, and artistic type, while the para-sympathetic nerves suggest those of a conservative nature, demanding prudence, reticence, and insurance.
The control of industrial growth is not entirely
in the hands of conscious planners, any more than the nerves alone rule
the moods and states of the body. The internal secretion by various glands
and tissues of 'hormones' or messenger substances which regulate many organic
functions, suggest that the law of supply and demand, which the mail services
of an industrial country lays bare, is in the long run more powerful than
deliberate legislation. It is by the internal secretions of the various
tissues that the body parts express their needs and ambitions and thus
enjoy a limited suffrage. Yet the marvelous economy of a healthy body finds
no real parallel except with an ideal society in which all units are moved
by a love of use.
455 For a fuller treatment of this subject, see THE
DOCTRINE OF THE WORD, vol. V., "The Science of
464 Lychnos 1944-45, p. 115. For an illustration of "Typhus Sympathicus Microcosmi cum Megacosmo", see Mundus Subterraneus, by Athan, Kircher ( 1601-1680), XII, iv, p. 406. (ANC Library 500 fk). See also dittoed article by H.L Odhner, of "Paracelsus and the Mystical Tradition of the Renaissance".