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Chapter 4 The Division of the Mind into two Departments

Man is endowed with two primary faculties, or powers of reception, called the Will and Understanding, or the love and the intellect. These together constitute what we call the mind. All the mental operations and phenomena may be classed under the one or the other of these two general divisions. They contain the whole interior life. Either one of these faculties may predominate in its action, but they cannot be separated, though in thought they may be viewed as distinct. The will, which includes our whole affectional or love-nature, with all the desires and emotions, is our inmost being, and the understanding or intellect is that through which the love manifests itself and acts.

We have seen that the whole divine nature is included in Love and Wisdom. The will of man is the created and finite receptacle of the divine Love, and the understanding, of the divine Wisdom and the ideas of the uncreated Mind. All love, in its origin, is from this supreme fountain, for, as John avers, “Love is of God.’’ In its purity, and unperverted, it is the divinest and most vital thing in the universe.

All the truth that is contained in our intellectual nature, or that our powers can grasp, is a ray from the abyss of light, the infinite circle in which the thoughts of God move. Love and truth have no other origin and paternity, yet it is according to appearance that they are our own, being self-originated. Why is this? That all the movements of our love-nature, and all the knowledge in onr understanding should seem our own and self-derived, is owing to the nature of the divine Love, which gives birth to every good. This love is an infinite and irrepressible inclination to make its own good the possession of others made capable of receiving it. Hence when admitted to the human mind, it carries with it the appearance that it is ours, and that it is eliminated or evolved by the action of our spiritual powers. But its genesis is divine. It is ours, not in its origin, but as a divine gift. But the boundless love of God imparts good to us so freely and fully as to cause its seeming to be ours, — the absolute property of our own minds.

It is a fundamental principle, of which we must never lose sight, that all good and truth in the universe of created mind are from God alone. We cannot become too fully confirmed in this great truth. It is the cornerstone on which the whole temple of angelic wisdom rests. Our will is a faculty or created organism, made to be admissive of the divine life or love, and the intellect to receive the light of the infinite wisdom. These flow from wiithin outward, as the nucleus of every soul is a germ of the divine nature.

In most systcms of mcntal science, we find a three-fold division of the mind, or what is technically called Trichotomy, and all the mental operations are classed under the three general designations of Intellect, Sensibility and Will. But a careful examination and thorough analysis of the phenomena of what they call the will, discloses the fact that they are only some form of the love. What a man loves he interiorly wills, and what he wills he loves. Volition is a movement of the affections. If one does what he loves not, if he pursues a course of action repugnant to some love, it is in obedience to some stronger affection.

Motive, which is supposed to influence and sometimes control our volitions, is always some form of love. And an act without a motive, or an impulse leading to it, and lying behind it, would be like the motion of machinery without any mechanical force. It would be a self-originated movement.

When we wish to influence the mind of another to some action or conduct, or to bring that mind to some desired determination, we always appeal to some love, and there is nothing back of that of which we have or can have the least consciousness, which acts in the decision. We may set from an interior love contrary to an exterior one. The spiritual degree of the mind may and ought to control the mere animal instincts. But it is always the love that decides. It is important to define the distinction between the love and affection. The latter is external to the former, or what amounts to the same, it is the love passed outward into the region of the emotions or feelings.

There may be love that influences and controls the whole outward activity, that is attended, at least sometimes, with no conscious emotion. We may from the love of our family and friends labor all day solely for their good, without once feeling any excitement of the emotions. In this case the love is interior, and beyond the perception of the external consciousness. But to assert that there is some principle behind and beyond that love, and further inward, is an assumption without evidence. If it exist at all, it lies beyond the souls inmost perceptions, and of which we can have no possible proof.

The love is the life of man, as it is of God. If we act from life, we are moved by love. There is no other life in the universe of sentient existence. This is the moving force in soul and body, the hidden spring that moves life’s machinery. This is one of the most important and far-reaching principles in the the spiritual philosophy of Swedenborg. The life of an animal is some form of affection, with the instincts that arise from it, and this controls their whole being and its activities. That love is the only life is a fundamental truth, and ever to be borne in mind.

Among some of the older metaphysicians, as well as in the Scriptures, where we find many correct principles in the philosophy of mind, the will and the Love are used as identical. The term thelo, to will, always implies an action of the love. It is generally used in the sense of to wish, which implies desire, and this is only a mode in which love is manifested. When it is used in the sense of arbitrium or determination, it is only the same love or affectional tendency toward a thing or particular result, heightened into an endeavor (conatus), or an effort of the love to ultimate itself in the outward act.

That the love is the life of man, and that the love and the will are identical, we shall find to be of much practical value, in Mental Hygiene, or the cure of diseased conditions of the body through the mind. It may become the fountain of health, or the hidden spring of deranged pysiological action.


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