How the Pores of the Skin and the Digestive Absorbtion In the Grand Man Provide Insight to How There is a Transfer Between the Natural and Spiritual Worlds

August 28th, 2018

This article is a continuation on the correspondences in the skin of the Grand Man, and showing how the universe is both infinite and contained. Here we will explore how it is that there is a cross-over between the natural and spiritual world by the many qualities of the skin where there is both a taking in and a putting out from the body to the atmosphere. We study this because I purpose that the way the skin exchanges with the atmosphere corresponds to the way the natural universe (which is in the form of a man) transfers in and out information from the natural to the spiritual world (the body corresponding to the universe and the atmosphere to the spiritual world).

The cuticles in the pores of the skin are of primary significance. Swedenborg explicitly states that in the Grand Man these are points of transfer between heaven and the world of world of spirits: “the societies to whom the cuticles (of the skin) correspond are in the entrance to heaven, and there is given to them perception of the quality of the spirits who approach the first threshold, whom they either reject or admit; so that they may be called entrances or doorways to heaven” (AC n. 5553). Lets form a clear picture of what this means. The pores of our body emit sweat, vapors and oils which enter the atmosphere, and they also receive these types of things from the atmosphere.  The skin also acts as the border to the body and protects the inner parts of the body. (There are also layers to the skin and many other things that it does, but these important functions will be considered in essays to come.) In the statement above Swedenborg is referring to the quality of the people in the society that occupy the cuticles of the Grand Man. These societies are the outer edge of heaven and like the skin are much denser and external in character compared to the internals. Heaven is distinct and different than the world of spirits so there is a border and entry which is protected. So now we must examine how this situation corresponds to the natural universe.

Some of the biggest puzzles Science cannot solve are these: the information paradox in a black hole, the infinite density of a singularity in a black hole, the slow evaporation of heat from a black hole, the information paradox at the time of the bing bang, and the cause of dark energy in the universe. I purpose that the answer to these problems and others is that there is an energy transfer between the spiritual and natural world that is constant and never ending. In each of these cases there is much to explain and understand in their particulars. In this essay I am focusing on the skin and some on vastation, but will address each of these in subsequent posts. But it is very significant in itself to see that the transfer back and forth is the factor that helps explain these problems in particular and many things about the nature of the universe. Science is awesome and incredible in the things it discovers; I used to worry that what I could never ‘prove’ these things by scientific standards, but I don’t so much anymore. I hold myself to a high quality of reasoning and to seeking the cause of things, as does science, but I see this as seeking truth in its wholeness wherever it leads. I do not know how to do the math of science, but I can understand the principles. In a sense science has a greater limitation in that they are not ‘allowed’ to consider the spiritual world as a cause in all of this, while the spiritual world is a major cause in all material phenomenon. So, I believe it is of high value to pursue truth by the integration of science and the spiritual, and by correspondences.

In regard to the pores of the skin Swedenborg states specifically in ‘Spiritual Experiences’ 1022: “it also true that the orifices of the minute ducts, as to their function of absorbing ethereal aliment for the body, are like portals to heaven, through which they who die in earliest infancy and before the embryonic state is completed, are caught up by the quickest and shortest ways into their appropriate province in heaven”.

In this quote Swedenborg is describing that baby infants on earth that die, or die in the womb, go almost directly into heaven by the pores in the Grand. This single statement tells us a lot. This process is essentially an extremely fast vastation. (I will discuss the significance of this and the meaning of vastation in a moment below.) This tells us that there is a reception into heaven through the pores from earth and the world of spirits. This situation in heaven, like everything, has a correspondence in the natural universe and  thus gives an idea of  one of the ways that matter transfers from the natural to the spiritual world. How exactly this manifest at the point of transference is the challenge we have to interpret; we can do so by examining how the spiritual function of pores described above and how this relates to the form and function of the universe.

The process Swedenborg described about the pores being portals involves the pure and innocent spirits of infants, so it is logical that this corresponds to the reception of the most fine and nourishing vapors from the atmosphere absorbed by the skin. Swedenborg observes: “The swiftest, who are infants and like children, are represented by those nutrients which enter through the cuticles; these are conveyed to the brain by the shortest way, and are initiated in the cortical substance” (1022.). Nutrients that enter the pores would be vapors, fluids, oils, perhaps vitamin D from the sun.  The most subtle energy of the aura that surrounds the body. It is also possible that the aura, which is the presence or energy that comes off the body is involved in this. The aura is the atmosphere of one’s mind and soul that surrounds the body.

Coming back to more solid ground it is a great insight to see that a huge theme about the points of transference in the body has to do with the process of vastation I mentioned earlier. Vastation is a cleansing or purification process. It is the refining of a substance into a more homogenous state. The primary system in the body associated with vastation is the digestive system, (although purification processes take place in many ways in nature and the spiritual world which will be important to talk about later in relation to the transfer between the spiritual and physical worlds). Vastation involves removing or extracting nutrients or impurities from a given entity. The primary example of this is the digestive system, in which, food is first chewed, treated with saliva, softened through the throat, treated in the stomach with acids and then in the intestines it is further broke down, and nutrients are extracted from it. The end of the process is that waste is excreted. The spiritual correspondent to the digestive process takes place in the ‘world of spirits’, (which is between heaven and hell) and is the place where everyone goes through (that doesn’t die as a child)  after death to prepare for heaven or hell. The whole overall purpose of the world of spirits is a gradual cleansing process where each person is ‘migrating’ toward their place in heaven or hell. Briefly described, to enter heaven the falsities and hellish loves in a person that is primarily good must be gradually removed before they enter; and the opposite is true of for hell. One can see that the digestive and vastation processes are both about refining and extracting, with the end purpose of nourishment and separating waste; the one is completely natural and the other completely spiritual. There are endless possibilities for how this takes place and endless gradations of where the person ends up in heaven or hell. The extraction of nutrients into good uses for the body corresponds to entering heaven. The evacuation as excrement corresponds to entering hell.

In the light of adult vastation one can now see why I described the entering through pores as a very refined vastation.  This is very interesting because it indicates that the pores are a very ‘quick’ process of vastation.  The infants hardly have to go through any process of vastation because they are in innocence, ‘pure’ spirits so to speak. But most adults have to go through a much greater process of vastation which the digestive system is all about.

It is very significant to see that the function of cuticles in the pores of the skin has a very similar function to the cuticles, or villi that line the intestines. Worcestor writes: ” with ‘the cuticles’ he here includes the whole skin in general, and also the linings of the stomach and intestines” (AC 8980). By the function of the cuticles he is indicating all those in the skin and also the linings of the stomach and the intestines. The cuticles of the skin have hair in them that helps absorb and release moisture, oils and vapor. In the lining of the small intestine are microvilli, which are tiny hair-like projections that increase nutrient absorption. These projections increase the surface area of the small intestine allowing more area for nutrients to be absorbed. As Swedenborg said both of these ‘cuticles’ (as he called them) perform a very similar function and in the spiritual sense they both perform the function of being ‘portals to heaven’. They both have to do with vastation, but different states of it; the skin being a very fast vastation, and the microvilli more gradual and involved. Both have to do with the end stage of entrance to heaven in the Grand Man. Now in regard to the universe, which is the most material sense, the above corresponds to do with the point of transfer from the physical universe to the spiritual world and visa versa. The transfer the skin to the atmosphere outside the body corresponds to the transfer from the physical world to the spiritual world. (In light of this it is interesting to note that Stephen Hawking, in seeking an answer to the information paradox in a black hole, proposed that the answer to the  paradox was that there are hair-like follicles and strands on the surface of the black hole that release the information).

Its good to add here for our conception that the transfer from the spiritual to natural world doesn’t happen on at the edge or the skin only but it happens in many places in the body of the Grand Man, and probably everywhere, but we will take up discussing this in another blog.

Now, I hope the reader begins to see the picture of what this means, and how correspondence works. Clearly there is so much more to study and discover, and find evidence for. In the study above we see the transfer works in the skin of the Grand Man, but we don’t yet understand how this works in the natural universe, but I hope one can see how significant this is in the realms of discovering truth about our universe and spirituality. I think the transference between the natural and spiritual is as common as can be; as I mentioned before there are many points where it takes place in the body to the outside, so therefore each of these has a correspondence to study, for instance excretion, breathing, and others. That there is a transference from the natural universe to the spiritual world explains the cause and source of dark matter, dark energy. It also gives a way to explain the information paradox in black holes and at the big bang, and the problem singularities, and the problem between quantum mechanics and Einstein’s theories of relativity. If energy from the spiritual is coming into the natural world, and matter into the spiritual than this would explains the above problems science is perplexed with.

In the next article on this subject I will explore more of the many correspondences base on the way the body takes in from the atmosphere and world around us and in the way the body expels substances.



Correspondences in the Skin of the Grand Man and the Development of the Universe that Show How the Entire Universe is Both Infinite and Contained

July 11th, 2018

We have been studying how it is that the universe is infinite and yet at the same time contained. The universe is contained in the sense that it is in the shape and form of the Grand man, which is God himself. At the same time the universe is a real and utterly particular infinity which includes every minutest detail. The universe is truly infinite in that there is no end to it that can ever be reached and it is expanding and ever increasing continually. I think this paradox is is also resolved by the points where the natural universe crosses over into the spiritual world.

So now studying the correspondences in the skin of the Grand man reveals several interesting insights. We study the skin because it is the outer layer of the Grand man, so it is the boarder point and we need to see what happens here. As I said in my last article on this subject the reason, I believe, that the universe can be both contained and infinite at the same time is that the natural world cycles into the spiritual world where there is no time and space, and the spiritual world cycles into the natural world, and between the exchange there is an equilibrium and continual increase. The skin is a major component where this takes place, (although there other major ones as I mentioned before, particularly the breath and the anus to be studied later). Our main mode of study here is by correspondences. We are looking for the connections between the spiritual and physical uses of the skin, principles of the the big bang and astrophysics, and spiritual principles about the Grand man and heaven and hell.

Science has made great progress understanding the universe as it goes back in time to the big bang. Like a human has a brith the universe has a birth and this brith is from the spiritual sun in the spiritual world. Science calls the birth of the universe the ‘big Bang’. As science well knows everything that comes into being does so by a process; and this is equally true, if not more so, of the spiritual world.

It is a universal principle that everything has its beginning in outermost, meaning material structure is the base and container that first takes form. Swedenborg writes: “the spiritual is actually evolved out of the natural, and when evolved, the natural surrounds it as bark surrounds a tree and a scabbard a sword. It also serves the spiritual for protection against violence”. (Conjugal love 449.) Science shows that the early universe just after the big bang was a ‘boring’ place, that it was basically a big fog of hydrogen clouds. It was monochromatic, just a big gas cloud without any suns yet, but dark and bland.

In an embryo science tells us that the first parts to form in the baby are the endoderm and the ectoderm, which is largely the skin and the tissue linings that are the beginnings of the inner skin, some of the organs, the nervous system and arteries. Without being a doctor it is too complex to try and do a study of the physiology of embryonic development, though its helpful in general to see these are the beginnings. Let us get straight to the point and look at the correspondence Swedenborg makes on the matter. There are layers to the skin and the inner layer has many nerve endings. In Physiological Correspondence, Worcester (The great Swedenborg pastor and author) writes: “Microscopic investigation shows some of the nerve fibres ending in the papillae, in loops or “tactile corpuscles”, and many more divide into little brushes; and what they do there, it is difficult to determine from science, here Swedenborg’s more than microscopic insight takes up the subject: “What the fibres do in those most delicate of fleshy forms (can be known) when you know that the vessels are woven from the fibres, and that the intermediates are formed by the extremes! The nervous fibres are weaving there the beginnings of the blood-vessels, or the fleshy fibres. They coil themselves into minute invisible tubes, called corporeal fibres, and these again into larger tubes which are the finest fleshy fibres of the papillae, and are the last subdivisions of the arteries, too fine in their ordinary state to carry red blood, and these combining extend their delicately woven walls to the lining of the arteries; and thus through the arteries, the heart, and again the carotid arteries, the nervous fibres return to the brain.” He is describing here how the beginning of the vascular system begins in the skin. This is a great example of the universal pattern that life begins in outermost, that is, how external material elements develop and move toward the internal. We can visualize and understand this more easily by looking at the correspondence between the core of trees development in leaves and the vascular/nervous systems of humans in skin and linings. In Physiological Correspondences, Worcestor continues:

“The idea that the beginning of the arterial system is in the skin, not the heart, at first may seem surprising; but it is illustrated by the similar and well-known fact that the beginnings of the woody fibres of trees are in the leaves, not the stem or the roots. Through the pith and the delicate fibres of the bark, nourishment ascends to expand the first tender leaves, and from these descends the first woody fibres between the bark and the pith, as well as new fibres of bark, and extend themselves to the extremities of the roots. Through these woody and cortical fibres sap afterwards ascends to the leaves, and by their means new buds and leaves are formed, which in turn send down other fibres, and thus the trunk of the tree grows in concentric layers of wood, every fibre of which has descended from the leaves”. In a similar way, according to Swedenborg, the materials and strands of the nervous system, beginnings of blood vessels, tissues of the organs are produced in the skin, and then sustained and reproduced from these. In Swedenborg’s view the process of membranes being produced in the ‘ultimates of the body, and especially from the skin’ is manifestation of universal principle that applies to all the universe. Worcestor continues: “Before the heart exists in the embryo, ramifications of blood-vessels are seen, which indeed soon unite in the heart and afterwards act from it; and these undoubtedly assist in the formation of other vessels and tissues, which are everywhere woven from the nervous fibres, the blood-vessels cooperating and afterwards sustaining them”.

That all birthing begins from the outermosts first is consistent with the beginning of the universe as scientists describes it. Now that we have some understanding of the process that takes in the skin we are going to look at the correspondences with the skin on three levels – the universe, the body, the spiritual world. The outer skin, which is part of the the outermosts, is scaly and comparable to the quality of tendons. Spirits (former people) from societies in the spiritual world that correspond to the skin are dim and almost completely external minded; they have little consciousness. They are very fixed in their ideas and only discern whether something should or should not enter. The people of these societies think they know everything but know almost nothing. The quality of the early universe was like this in that it was just a undifferentiated cloud of hydrogen without much distinction or variation, – and it was in the dark. Gradually the gas clouds clumped together, formed into strands, and eventually caused gravity as they formed into spheres. The formation of strands of material in the universe (which are fundamental to its structure) corresponds to the formation of the nervous system and arteries. These strands are fundamental in forming the cosmic web which is the basic form of the universe that has been mapped out. It is these strands no doubt that correspond to the function of transferring material from the external to the internal, as we showed in the pith of trees and in the tissues and nervous system of the body. The spheres of gas clouds perhaps correspond to the beginnings of the hearts and perhaps other organs. The large balls of hydrogen became dense and their gravity increases, and when gravity becomes immense in their core nuclear fusion is ignited and stars were born. The ignition of stars in the early universe, I would suggest, corresponds to the beating of the heart and the beginning of consciousness. Eventually the cosmic web we see now in the universe was formed in all its incredible variety of dark and light. The Cosmic Web is the overall picture of the universe that scientist have accumulated – and it looks exactly like microscopic pictures of the nervous system, synops, and the brain!

In speaking of the period of star formation scientists say that it was a magnificent time in the universe’s history. They describe it as a fireworks show taking place, because of all the stars suddenly igniting. The clouds of hydrogen stayed for a time but were gradually organized and clear space later became dominant. This compares with the statements in the Bible, where it is says: “The earth was without form, and void; and darkness was on the face of the deep”. (Gen. 1:1) “Let there be lights in the firmament of the heavens to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs and seasons, and for days and years”.

With the formation of stars tremendous differentiation took place. Scientist say that the early stars were enormous, far larger than most stars today, and that they did not last nearly as long. It is in the core of stars that all the variation of elements are made; and the higher elements are made only when huge stars explode in a supernova. All the materials and elements of the periodic table are produced in the core of exploding suns. Only the biggest stars produce supernovas, and depending on how big the star is, supernovas produce all the higher elements on the periodic table, like copper, silver, gold and others. A supernova sends new elements, light and gas far and wide throughout the universe when it explodes. These clouds of gas again congeal, and form a second generation of stars and along with planets, asteroids, gases and all. This gives an idea of the incredibly complex differentiation that took place and formed the infinitely complex universe we see today; just as there is an in infinitely complex differentiation in the formation of the body mind of humans.

Now it is important to see how it is that the skin is a large part of the point where there is a cross-over between the spiritual and natural worlds. We will study the correspondences in this in the next article. This point is very important in that it is essential in showing how the universe can be both contained and infinite.