Other questions he asks are:
Is there a problem that causes all the other problems?
Are we basically just greedy, aggressive, and violent creatures wreaking havoc on the planet and each other? What about love, compassion, kindness, empathy? It seems to me the most important question, so I asked it – What is human kind’s basic nature?
Is it possible that we have been looking at the world, each other, reality incorrectly? That things are really connected and not separate. If that is the case how do we change things? Can we change things?
In response to these questions the following is helpful and adds to the discussion.
Nothing unconnected ever occurs, for anything unconnected would instantly perish. Emanuel Swedenborg, Heavenly Secrets 2556.
Swedenborg’s view of the individual
Swedenborg regards the individual as a degenerate being who can easily make the mistake of hoping for salvation by faith alone. Even the highest knowledge of Divine things cannot save a man: until he wills into action the truths he has acquired through knowledge, his essential being does not change. And when he learns to use his will correctly, the change takes place in stages and not all at once. It is because considerable patience and long-suffering is required, that the Lord declared:
“In patience possess you your souls” (Luke 21:19)
A literal translation of the Greek text reads:
“In your endurance you will gain your soul.”
Transformation or rebirth is a very big process. In essence it is the birth of a new life, spiritual life, in the individual. Unregenerate men and women of all types have before them a tremendous and pleasing destiny if they will but apply themselves to
· self-correction, and
· regeneration with the help of God.
Every individual has a vital part to play in the building and expansion of heavenly life. The individual must wisely and lovingly devote himself to this supreme end of the creative process for it to become real for him. Without the constant caring action of the Lord God inside a person, not a single thing of regeneration could possibly take place. But the Divine activity must be acknowledged, received, and also reinforced by the individual’s will to reject all that is false and evil. The individual is the locus where the astonishing process of rebirth takes place. It is an exquisitely personal process that requires the joint activity of God and man, and the man always has the complete freedom to choose this as his way of life.
Dr Philip Groves, Swedenborg’s Mighty Contribution: Swedenborg’s view of the individual.
oooOOOoooWhat would a Swedenborgian response be to these 2 questions?
« What’s wrong with the world?
« What can we do about it?
These are the responses from people who are very familiar with Swedenborg’s Writings.
What’s wrong with the world?
The pervasive atmosphere is a spirit of living life for oneself, which arises out of the appearance that one is an autonomous independent being. There is something deep within that seeks to preserve this at all costs (which is from the Lord) however when the Lord is not acknowledged this is misinterpreted and leads to behaviours and a willingness to sacrifice the happiness and well-being of others – if that’s what it takes (fully justified of course). Without a sense of connection to the source of all life we create an illusionary world in with we can exercise a false sense of control and effectively make our self a god of our own little world. David Millar
What can we do about it?
Acknowledge the illusion we live in, look to the source, and attend to the quality of our own belief structures and patterns of being in view of our understanding of truths. We cannot change the world or others, what we can do is be willing to have the Lord change us. The Lord provides for this – work on ourselves (examine ourselves in an attitude open to seeing and responding to what’s revealed) - which is the most effective way to bring a change into the world. David Millar
When we go through regeneration we become completely different and altogether new because we have been born again. Even though our face and speech hasn't changed, our mind certainly has; it is now open towards heaven, and love to the Lord, love for others and faith all live together in it. Such a changed mind makes us completely different from before and in fact makes us new. Swedenborg ‘Heavenly Secrets’ 3212 (selected by Julian Duckworth)
Dedicate - or re-dedicate - ourselves to a life of service.
Teach it to and nurture it in our children.
Refuse to accede to the appearance that the ‘What's in it for me’, ‘Must look after number one’ philosophies are all that there is. The appearance, however, is not the reality. Countless people are dedicated to service and usefulness. Ian Arnold