the unlikely story of how America slipped the surly bonds of earth & came to believe in signs & portents that would make the middle ages blush

via PayPal...

via Amazon...

this site is a labor of love. i.e., if you love me enough, I'll be able to complete it. send proof of love via buttons above. please. if you can. thanks.

SUBSCRIBE

ABOUT

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

BUSINESS CARD

PROLEGOMENA
(prequel)

TABLE OF CONTENTS
(obsolete)

BIBLIOGRAPHY
(not obsolete yet)

Google Book Search

ARCHIVES
July 2005
August 2005
September 2005
October 2005
November 2005
December 2005
January 2006
February 2006
March 2006
April 2006
May 2006
June 2006
July 2006
August 2006
September 2006
October 2006
November 2006
December 2006
January 2007
February 2007
March 2007
April 2007
May 2007
June 2007
August 2007
September 2007
October 2007
November 2007
January 2008
February 2008
March 2008
April 2008
May 2008
June 2008
July 2008
August 2008
September 2008
October 2008
November 2008
December 2008
January 2009
February 2009
March 2009
April 2009
May 2009
November 2009
May 2010
March 2014
April 2016

FRIENDS
AKMA
Francesco Armando
Tim Boucher
Marc Canter
Michael "OC" Clarke
Hernani Dimantas
Dream's End
Cory Doctorow
Esther Dyson
John Gehl
Dan Gillmor
Mike Golby
Annie Gottlieb
Howard Greenstein
Denise Howell
Joi Ito
Norm Jensen
Hylton Jolliffe
Kombinat!
Dean Landsman
Steve Larsen
Madame Levy
wood s lot
Kevin Marks
Massimo Moruzzi
Tom Matrullo
Brian Millar
Eric Norlin
Rev Sam Norton
Frank Paynter
Chris Pirillo
Shelley Powers
JP Rangaswami
Paul Scheele
Connie Schmidt
Doc Searls
Euan Semple
George Sessum
Jeneane Sessum
Halley Suitt
Gaspar Torriero
Gary Turner
The Happy Tutor
Beat Waydown
David Weinberger
Donna Wentworth
Don Williams
Evan Williams
Wonderchicken
Xanadu Xero

another (maybe easier) way to read the back issues

SWIKI SEARCH

Google
 


mystic bourgeoisie 
web 

Powered by Blogger


YET ANOTHER BIO


YOUR MILEAGE MAY VARY



Enter Book Title or ISBN

New & Used Books - Find the Lowest Price - Compare more than a hundred book stores, 60,000 sellers, in a click.


Locations of visitors to this page

SPECIAL THANKS TO
Blind Boy Apollo
and the All-White Astronauts



New Age "Asiatic" thought ... is establishing itself as the
hegemonic ideology of global capitalism. (Zizek)

Wednesday, October 26

was emanuel swedenborg smoking crack?

Despite my sensational headline, the controversy is really over whether Swedenborg was schizophrenic or perhaps had temporal lobe epilepsy. The alternative view -- that he was actually talking to angels, demons and the dearly departed -- seems delusional in itself. But hey, maybe that's just me.

The following is from the British Journal of Psychiatry (1994: 165: 690­691), as reproduced on the Swedenborg Digital Library:

Henry Maudsley (1869) wrote a controversial pathography of Swedenborg, proposing that his religious mystical experiences were psychotic in origin. This provoked violent criticism of himself and an angry response from Swedenborg's disciples. When a new edition of his Pathology of Mind appeared in 1895, all reference to Swedenborg's psychosis, present in the previous edition of 1879, had been omitted; Maudsley had presumably submitted to the pressures of Swedenborg's followers.

. . .

Swedenborg never proselytized his beliefs, although his writings about his unique experiences in the spirit world were, after his death, responsible for the foundation of the Church of the New Jerusalem, which was established in London in 1780. His teachings have appealed to a distinguished group of followers, such as Blake, Balzac, Baudelaire, Emerson, Strindberg and Yeats.

There is much more debate at that site on the question of Swedenborg's madness. If you're interested, go to Swedenborg and His Revelation: An Anthology, then page down to "Part II. The Insanity Question (from a special issue of The New Philosophy 1998;101: (whole number))."

Despite much pushback among that crowd, I'm going with my gut DSM-IV diagnosis: Mad as a Hatter, with Barking-at-the-Moon Psychotic Episodes.

But Swedenborg was not atypical of his era -- or of ours, come to think of it. In Holy Madness: Romantics, Patriots, and Revolutionaries, 1776-1871, author Adam Zamoyski writes (pp. 52-53):

One thing that could not be banned, or even stemmed, was the ovine rush to find a new belief-system. People sought either a purer or a more essential form of Christianity, or some cosmic system of absolute truth from which all religions purportedly descended. They followed a variety of teachers such as the mysterious Martines de Pasquallys, who started up the fellowship of the 'Elect Cohens' and wrote a treatise on 'reintegration.' He preached a perverted form of Christian dogma, with frequent recourse to the symbolism of numbers, and asserted, amongst other things, that the Earth is triangular in shape. Another whose teachings drew in seekers after truth was the mystic philosopher Emanuel Swedenborg. Swedenborgian societies sprang up in many countries in the 1780s, including one in Moscow whose members called themselves 'children of the New Jerusalem ', and one in Berlin some of whose members claimed to witness people rising from the dead in large numbers. Some flocked to rosicrucianism or theosophy. or to one of the many other sects that sprang up, almost in proportion as the Catholic monastic orders were dissolved in the name of Enlightenment.

Those seeking the elixir of life, the secret of the alchemists, the kabbalistic key or some such panacea were drawn into alchemy, hermeticism, necromancy, cosmosophy, chiromancy and a whole gamut of sorcery. There was much juggling with magic numbers, deciphering of the Bible with the use of equations, substituting of values and numbers for musical notes or colours, developing theories from the alleged 'moral planes' in the structure of the Pyramids and like nonsense. Occultism rubbed shoulders with pseudo-science, dressed up in the fashion of the day -- be it Gothic, Hellenic or Oriental. This was a rich hunting-ground for charlatans such as the Sicilian Giuseppe Balsamo, alias Count Cagliostro, who ranged across Europe making and losing fortunes, bedding the most desirable and befuddling the most respected, flogging love-philtres and elixirs of eternal youth. Barely more reputable was the Austrian doctor Friedrich Anton Mesmer, whose theory of 'animal magnetism' and claims of healing powers thralled fashionable Paris. People as self-regarding as Lafayette sat for hours in bubbling vats filled with dubious chemicals, holding hands in a dimmed interior with plenty of mirrors and soft music, while Mesmer drifted about dressed as a children's-party magician, waving a wand over his victims.

We'll have much more to say about Mesmer, who is looking increasingly core to our slowly unfolding story. Stay tuned...


on one occasion when the interior heaven was opened to me and i was talking to the angels there i was allowed to observe the following activities...

emanuel swedenborg
arcana coelestia



heaven & hell
















ARCHIVES