Saturday, February 25, 2006

Who needs love? The New-Millennial Search For Emanuel Swedenborg – the Last Sage of the World

(The text of the millennial Public Lecture, delivered to the London Swedenborg Society, on 30th January, 1999, in celebration of Emanuel Swedenborg’s Birthday)

Emanuel Swedenborg (1688-1772) was a Swedish scientist turned mystic and sage. Prof. Pilikian calls him the world’s last sage. There is in London a venerable old institution established in 1810 - The Swedenborg Society, housed in its own sumptuous premises in the heart of central London’s renowned Bloomsbury area. At the dawn of the new millennium, Prof. Pilikian was invited by this Society to deliver the millennial public lecture, in celebration of the Sage’s birthday, 29th January (1688). With enthusiastic co-operation from Stephen McNeilly, Editor and Head of Publications at the Swedenborg Society, Prof. Pilikian staged a micro-cultural-festival for the packed house – his brother, Khatchadur Pilikian, Bel-Canto trained opera-singer from Italy, delighted the audience with a classical concert, while Armenia’s contemporary painter, Artur Oshakantsi had unveiled his masterly portrait of Emanuel Swedenborg for the occasion, preceding Prof. Pilikian’s lecture, the text of which is published herein for the very first time.

It shows the Professor as a master of philosophical discourse, rooted in the practical matters of our politics-ridden daily lives. Richard Lines, the distinguished lawyer, past president of the Society and present Secretary had pronounced the words of the Society’s appreciation. The Professor’s predictive words and critical analyses are as fresh and valid today, perhaps even more so! His description of Swedenborg as the world’s Last Sage may even be a tad ambiguous, if we wish to create some elbow room for our own Professor! – Simon Aynedjian, Editor, GIBRAHAYER Internet Magazine.
I love Swedenborg. And I am very grateful to the Swedenborg Society for this opportunity to share some ideas with you.

The reason I love his works so much is because I consider Swedenborg to be a man of… the future. And in our age of disposables, there are very few such great minds left. Swedenborg's time has not come yet.

I am not in the business of predicting the future, but I have learnt (from the British Establishment) to anticipate trends, with the fond hope of being able to influence some. The purpose of my lecture is to humbly suggest that the next millennium may be Swedenborg's time, hoping that the Swedenborg Society in London readies itself for such an eventuality.

May I briefly outline Swedenborg's biography for those of you who have not even heard of him (Swedenborgians predictably forget that the subject of their love is unknown to others, and one must not tire of introducing him every time. Moreover, a speaker's choice of highlights will already reveal much of his own intended message. I am aware of this and I intend it to be so).

Swedenborg was a Swedish Scientist of the 18th century, who in mid-life (feminists would argue for a male menopausal cause) decided to chuck it all in, and dedicate the rest of his life to writing about spiritual matters, primarily the Bible. This of course puzzled and still does all those who dealt with his massive encyclopaedic output. The puzzle resolves itself if one remembers that until Darwin's Origin of Species a hundred years later, Religion and Science were almost one, rather complimentary, at least not in total dialectical opposition as today. However, I am not forgetting at all the horrors the Vatican had perpetrated against the likes of Galileo. In fact, I shall go further and suggest in virulent defence of the scientists, that the formal Church is itself wholly responsible (and no pun intended) for the situation arising in our own times whereby Science had to turn wholly a-moral to liberate itself from the shackles of the murderous Inquisition, the first genociders in post-Renaissance history.

It is a shocking fact that hitherto the Catholic Church has not found the moral courage to denounce its Inquisition, and apologise for the genocidal deaths of millions of innocent European peasantry. Until such time, frankly, the Church does not deserve the respect of Modern Science, although I suggest that the latter desperately needs a truly holy and spiritual Swedenborgian-kind Church for moral guidance, sooner rather than later ..We all know what un-holy acts modern scientists are capable of. And it is a great pity. It does not have to be like this. With Swedenborgian ethical values, Scientists, not fornicating politicians could lead the way to happier times.

Swedenborg loved London. He even died here.

Isaac Newton was young Swedenborg's ideal scientist. Newton too, had spent most of his days deciphering Biblical mysteries, a biographical fact which was heavily camouflaged by later post-Darwinist scholars of science.

As a preamble to some of my future references, which some of you may find provocative, I would like to articulate a few basic post-modernist credentials.

I believe in total and absolute democracy, humility and enlightened social tolerance, for a very good philosophical reason – the basics of Being and Becoming are still such a mystery, that all arrogance whether scientific or religious-fundamentalist, render power-obsessed people totally ridiculous.

To me, the mystery of Life is not in some grand remote conceptual scheme to be cracked by scientists one day, but in the fact (emphasised by Swedenborg) of second-by-second Breath-taking (not to say Breathing), which people usually forget. Life is so delicate, on such a knife-edge, it takes very little, and just a second's choking, to extinguish it instantly (which of course all murderers and political torturers know well).

One needs life every second of one's life, for which reason I think this mystery (of Why Life at all?) shall remain so for-ever, as no amount of scientific cracking of the genetic codes shall ever be able to explain (I am not of course referring to the usual mundane explications of Oxygenation etc.).

Swedenborg's beautiful spiritual theory, as an Influx of Life directly from God into every particle of every living thing, every milli-second, sustaining it at all moments throughout its life span, while a heart-warming concept, I find it to be unsatisfactory to my own perhaps hopelessly spoilt scientific tastes, and which serves as an occasion for me to declare that my love of Swedenborg is not sycophantic or religious, but reasoned, rational, scientific and Spiritual. I consider Religion to be a matter of Spirituality rather than the other way round. I love reading Swedenborg for its scientific rationality even about spiritual matters.

A second good reason for democracy and social tolerance is phenomenological. To appreciate it, one has to go back to the Pre-Socratic Greeks. One of the greatest discoveries they made was the observation that Everything Is and Is not. There are several variations on this very broad theme. Heraclitus put it in the most perceptive and poetically beautiful way – you can never step in the same River twice, as the waters are in a constant flux in a flowing river.

Another variation lies in the concept of the monetary coin. According to Herodotus, it was invented by the Lydians in ancient Armenia. Remarkably, it went out of use for a millennia (plunging Medieval economy into the Barter-system), before it re-surfaced in Renaissance Italy.

Conceptually, the two-sided monetary coin (compared with the flat-surfaced single-dimensional medallion) I think manifests a most stunning philosophical awareness – the Hegelian dialectical opposites. I personally think that it had to do with the invention of the Wheel (acknowledged by historians of Technology to be the first most important discovery of Man, after Fire).

The monetary coin iconographically is a mini-wheel, letting an economic transaction roll on smoothly. In terms of philosophical Logic, it manifests the two equally valid sides of any truth-proposition. Conceptually, it shows the two contradictory sides of an argument. For example, it is quite perturbing for un-trained minds to note that any affirmation stated verbally, immediately produces its counter-factual, even its exact opposite. Suppose I say, the sky is blue. You can immediately state with equal validity that No, it isn't (it never is in Britain anyway! And, most interestingly, the Victorian Pantomime seems to be based on such a relationship with its audience. I am referring to the audience members heckling usually the evil ones on the stage).

One of the greatest laws of the Universe is not found necessarily in the gravitational forces of the Newtonian mechanics, but I think in this, that to every Rule there is an exception (because everything is and is-not). Hence, I suggest philosophical Logicians waste their creative energies trying to locate exceptions. I contend further that one can define a Law valid for the whole universe, thus – No universal law can be valid universally without at least one exception. I name this – the First Law of Universal Being and Becoming.

This is proven by Quantum mechanics, at sub-atomic plane of particle-being and becoming. Being cannot become, without such a singularity. Being becomes, through the exception. It cannot be otherwise. Becoming can only be, via the possibility of its exception. Thus everything is, and is not, subversively referred to by Shakespeare's Hamlet as "To be or not to be" – we are dead while being alive. We carry an immense amount of dead cells in us, upon us (dead skin, for example). Equally, a dead body carries an equivalent amount of live bodies in and out – live bacteria and viruses which act to disintegrate the dead body.

The single most vital and essential fundament of Swedenborg's thinking is from the Biblical metaphor which conceptualises God manifested in Jesus Christ as Life itself. This in turn is the meaning of the Hebrew Tetragrammaton, most sacred, YA(H)WA, which derives from a Hebrew root meaning "To Be", hence Jehovah's declaration to Moses, etymologizing his own name, "I AM THAT I AM".

Swedenborg elaborates philosophically on this linguistic derivation to make it the conceptual framework of his whole philosophy; that God being Life, is alone alive, all else, the whole universe is dead. However, therefore, all, the whole universe and everything in it (including the Angles, no exception made of them) receive their lives as an influx directly from God himself. And God does this out of Love and Wisdom, which is equally in turn the rational proof that God is in fact the very essence of his love and wisdom, consequently, Life itself emanating directly from Him is, can be nothing else but the great universal It – Life and Wisdom.

The second most important intellectual force in esoteric literature belonged to Madame Helena Petrovna Blavatsky. Her monumental masterpiece, the Secret Doctrine, appeared in two massive volumes in 1888. She knew and was influenced by Swedenborg's work, reversed it into its dialectical opposite (the other side of the coin, the is-not), arguing that in fact All is alive, even when commonly thought as dead. For Blavatsky, there is no dead matter. Matter is alive at all times by the dynamic energy and motion of its constituent atomic particles. Most remarkably for a non-scientist, she saw the equivalence of Energy and Matter, one of the greatest discoveries of all time credited to Einstein (it made the production of nuclear energy possible).

Einstein's formula, one of the most famous in the History of Science, E=MC2, where C is the speed of Light (Swedenborg's Divine Light of Wisdom), I would argue is the non-formula of all time, entirely tautological, as the speed of light raised to its second power is so large that anything multiplied with it will simply vanish into it. Einstein’s formula then is no more than E=E (a tautology).

And few people know that Einstein carried Madame Blavatsky's book (“Secret Doctrine”) as a constant desk top companion throughout his life. I therefore suggest that Einstein's equivalence of Energy and Matter is entirely owed to Madame Blavatsky's remarkable insight, inspired from Swedenborg's Nebular Theory of Creation of Matter, which alas, I cannot elaborate here further.

That everything is and is not should make us all weary of inhumanity, racism, political tyranny, and all forms of evil. It is my argument for absolute democracy and social tolerance. No one knows best. No one can know best. Those who think they do, whether arrogant scientists or lunatic American fundamentalists, are merely "whistling in the wind", in the immortal obscene joke by Shakespeare's Goneril, King Lear's Gonorrhoea-infected daughter.

We need more democracy, never less. Incredibly, even our democratic governments constantly and continuously attempt to rape our democracies to which they merely pay lip-service.

I intend no offence to any individual (even though I shall never give up my right of free speech), for the simple existential reason, that so long as all men and women must die unable to take anything with (although the ancient Egyptians, much trumpeted for their esoteric wisdom, foolishly tried to do so), so long as women and men must be born naked from the woman's limbs (not Adam's ribs or Zeus' head), let no man or woman think he or she is better than another.

However, the problem of Evil remains always ultimately the soul-destroying touch-stone testing one's democratic faith in social tolerance. For example – Could I (or Swedenborg for that matter, who despised un-truth in any shape, of lies, hypocrisy, fornication etc.) forgive a murderer like General Pinochet, or his bosom friend Mrs Thatcher who almost succeeded in destroying our own country, or a fornicator like President Clinton? My answer lies in another question – Have you noticed how pathetic and sad figures tyrants cut in their old age ? Of all people Hitler knew this very well, and committed suicide knowingly in his Bunker to die young-ish, not to look pitiable as a captured dog.

I think I personally could forgive even Hitler as a wheelchair bound incontinent old man, and would happily pay from my taxes for a nurse to look after him. But I perfectly understand the victims who may wish old Hitler to be thrown to Rottweilers, first bred by the sado-masochists of his Gestapo.

People may be forgiven as sad human beings, but never their acts of evil consequences. In these days of a flu-epidemic, more than ever the thatcherite destruction of our health service is tragically obvious even to the former ardent Thatcherites. One of the main news-media supports of that destructive regime, the Daily Mail, today eating the words of its past headlines, runs a campaign to recruit nursing staff for the National Health Service (NHS), when for almost two decades they lied babbling of overstaffing, forcing deep cuts onto the service, with the purpose of making it attractive for privatisation; according to a small print in the January 23rd issue ("Blair's £4m bid to recruit nurses", p. 9), Blair's Government needs "to attract 15,000 new nursing recruits into the NHS ... adverts will target the 160,000 nurses who are qualified but are not working in the profession."

How could one ever over-staff Health and Education, when the ideal of both is one-to-one (not something unattainable, as official government propaganda would have you believe, when for example such a perfect ideal is already practised in Education at the elitist Oxbridge level).

It is criminal that our children are taught in classrooms of thirty and more, when any reasonable decent human being (no need for left-wing educationists much reviled by the Daily Mail's and the Telegraph's) would know that even ten in a classroom is too many for overwrought teachers.

I cannot of course discuss all of Swedenborg's interesting theories even though his work is one of a piece, like a Roman mosaic, constructed with a consummate skill. He is Plato and Aristotle harmonised, the whole of the Bible (Old and New Testament) re-invented, with the integration of what was regarded by the official Church as heretical elements, like Gnosticism, the Eastern Orthodox Church, then additionally the Koran of Islam, the Jewish Qabbalah, the Masonic sun-cult etc. And of course, Newtonian Science, which Swedenborg had devoured. Herein lies my first port of call on the way to the next millennium, to declare Swedenborg as the paradigm of the future scientist.

Immoral scientists

For too long now scientists have denied the existence of the Spirit. A groundswell is building up within modern hard-core science for the recognition of the Soul (Einstein's Blavtskean infinite Energy? Definitely, the Subconscious in Freud, or the massive Consciousness of Psychology), which is bound to lead to the eventual acknowledgement of the Spirit, the classical Hindu notion of God's essence permeating all Being, thence the unity of all existence, being and becoming.

A-moral science (a-moral anything) I contend is a form of immorality, hiding cowardly behind neutered safety.

A leading biologist (from the University College, London) whose name I shall not pronounce because it is not his person I wish to aggress but his grotesque ideas which are not beyond ridiculous stereotypes, frequently expressed by other inarticulate scientists regurgitating each other, states "Science has absolutely nothing to do with morality. It is value-free and has no moral or ethical questions" ("In defence of scientists", an interview with "leading Biologist Wolpert", Camden New Journal, 14 January, 1999, p. 15).

That science is value-free is a lie most social scientists would prove easily. The leading biologist then goes on to make a most astonishing statement, which I am glad to acknowledge is nothing if not moral – he says in self-damning self-contradiction; "when scientists uncover dangers, for example the BSC scare [the Mad-cow disease], they must behave as 'accountants who uncover corruption' and blow the whistle. 'Scientists must not become unquestioning tools of government or industry'". Absolutely! But what better moral task for Scientists, with a social conscience.

My only disagreement here is that the leading biologist gets his metaphors morally confused, accountants being notorious for their a-morality and tax-avoidance schemes, and cover-up of corruption rather than its revelation.

The leading biologist then protests that scientists "are always portrayed as mad, bad and soulless", which is precisely what they are by their own admission of disbelief in the soul!

Scientists do become bad and mad when they have "absolutely nothing to do with morality", for which reason they are portrayed as such!

Here is what Swedenborg has to say in a tiny book about such scientists; ".. it is evident into what blindness, darkness, and stupidity those may fall who know nothing of the spiritual world and its sun [God]: into blindness, because the mind, depending solely upon the sight of the eye, becomes in its reasoning like a bat, which flies by night in a wandering course, and sometimes against linen clothes which may be hanging up; into darkness, because the sight of the mind, when the sight of the eye is flowing into it from within, is deprived of all spiritual light [lumen], and becomes like that of an owl; into stupidity, because the man still thinks, but from natural things concerning spiritual, and not contrariwise; consequently, idiotically, foolishly, and insanely." (“The Intercourse of the Soul and The Body, p.ii/4).

In a most ridiculous conclusion, our leading London biologist protests, "The problem is ignorance. We seem to fear chimeras, of mixing organisms." But we must indeed, absolutely, the Species Barrier whereby reproduction across species is prevented, is one of the crucial levers of Darwinian evolutionary mechanism, which mad, immoral, frankly perverted scientists must be prevented from destroying even by Law if need be. Would the leading biologist like to mate with an ass and produce mules as his children?

The Bad news is that there are horrible things going on in the world; institutionalised racism, governmental corruption, scientific immorality, political genocide, etc. etc.

I feel uncomfortable sharing a moment of joy with you in remembrance of a Spiritual giant like Swedenborg, when I remember that a sweet young man Stephen Lawrence was murdered in cold blood by a pack of rabid youths simply for not sharing their skin-colour. The murderers were publicly identified by the Daily Mail a year ago, and five years after the murder they are still at large, the victim's family still unable to get the justice they, and all of us as a civilized society, need.

The European Union bureaucracy is cancerously corrupt to the core, almost like the Ottoman Empire a hundred years ago labelled as “The Sick Man of Europe”, ending with the genocide of one and a half million Armenians (in 1915). The European Parliament which accepted the corruption (as if they didn't know, we have been frequently informed of the MEP's gravy train for at least the last decade), immediately covered it up yet again, with a vote of confidence.

The MEP (Member of the European Union Parliament) who was strangely both instrumental in the revelation and subsequent cover up of it (another case of scientific factual amorality?) confesses cheekily, confirming even more horrors, that "the Common Agricultural Policy, which accounts for nearly half the EU's budget and where fraud is proven". ("Euro Talk, London North MEP Pauline Green gives us her view from the centre of the storm", Times Group Newspapers, 21 January, 1999, p. 10).

And pray, what is she or anyone else in the European Union doing about it? – Obviously nothing, for at least twenty years now.

I feel uncomfortable to remember John Pilger's documentary on East Timor (shown a few days ago on the British ITV channel) where the Indonesian government has been murdering at least quarter of a million East Timorese with arms supplied by the British thatcherite governments and now by New Labour, which had professed otherwise. Foreign policy is made by a Robin Cook, who is so awkward in human relations as to break the news of his decision to divorce his wife, according to his ex-wife's memoirs, at just the moment when she was devastated "because her beloved horse had been put down." In one of the most hilarious moments of human stupidity I have come across, Mr Cook is reported as saying, "I think, though, since you are obviously so upset [about the horse] I may as well tell you some other bad news. As you suspected, I've been having an affair." ("Delicious revenge of Margaret Cook", from extracts published from her book and an accompanying Sunday Times interview, Daily Mail, 11 January, 1999, p. 6).

In Islamic countries (Pakistan, Jordan etc.) thousands of women "are killed annually because of alleged immorality. ("Queen in 'honour killings' campaign" – The Times, 21 January, 1999, p.17). Meanwhile, in our own civilized Britain, "Abusive parents are getting away with murder because of the willingness of pathologists and coroners to settle for a cot death verdict without sufficient investigation when a child dies unexpectedly, according to a leading paediatrician – “.. Nearly all the killers were the mothers, who usually smothered their children.” ("Doubt cast on cot death verdicts" – The Guardian, 7 January, 1999, p.1).

The Good news is (and I cannot say how good you may think the news to be) mankind's history has never been otherwise but full of incredible evil.

There is nothing new under the sun. Mothers smothering their children has a long 'respectable' Victorian tradition in Britain, stretching back to the Middle Ages of all European countries, when children were openly ritually murdered, following the Herodian paradigm in the New Testament, in turn replicating the Pass-over act of God himself murdering the first-born of the Egyptians to punish them for injustice against the Jews. Medieval Christians then reversed this biblical given and accused the European Jewry of regular child-murder and blood-drinking to cover-up their own paedocide.

There is no period of human history which could compare in murderous depravity and criminal perversion with the last days of the Roman Empire, when anything and all was possible literally, a liberal model which seems to be the longing of the post-modernists in our own times.

I hope such a day never returns. Yet even earlier than the Roman times, Herodotus two thousand five hundred years ago reports encountering a tribe "who do everything in public that others do in private and vice versa "… presumably mating sexually in full view of their society. Judging by some of the Channel 4 programming standards, we do not seem to be far off those times.

The Library of the Holy See of the Vatican contains the world's largest collection of Pornography. The official historian of the Byzantine Empire, Procopius, had also written a Secret History (which has survived and can be bought in a Penguin edition) about the rulers of Byzantium in the 6th century, where the great Queen herself, Theodora, would think nothing of displaying her sexual organs in public. Times have changed, or have they? Everything is and is not.

What has evolved is the tragic fragmentation of the human being. The mind responsible for this spiritual nuclear explosion belonged to Plato. Two thousand four hundred years ago, the father of Philosophy split the Body from the Mind, and since then, Western man has failed to join them together as a whole again. We are still suffering from the nuclear fall-out of Plato's massive explosion. Descartes, in the 17th century, regarded as the father of modern philosophy, while wishing to achieve the reverse, in fact caused unwittingly a further minor explosion increasing the gulf between the Mind and the Body.

The advances in Genetic engineering may produce the third major and even more dangerous explosion, this time on perhaps the quantum level. For the first time in human history there is the possibility of eliminating human sexuality altogether, specifically the heterosexual intercourse, which many people may think no bad thing at all, as all evil seems to have begun, at least biblically through the heterosexual knowledge.

The Histories of Herodotus start with a Big gang-Bang, the sailors of a visiting Phoenician ship rape the daughter of the King of Argos, causing all subsequent world wars produced by the pressure of necessary military training and alliances. The easy and free proto-feminist Phoenician princess had gone to the beach with her girl-friends for a bit of fun, guessing little what sex-starved Greek chauvinist dogs could get up to.

The physical elimination of human sexuality may be a god-sent technology for evil governments seeking total population control.

Births in controlled numbers can be ordered like groceries from national incubators. Sex-for-fun (inclusive of homosexuality, sado-masochism, Bestiality, paedophilia, all, unlike the biblical dictum of heterosexuality-for-procreation) can be provided with virtual reality porno-computers. The totalitarian government can then precisely quantify the needs of Economy, Health and Education for the foreseeable future. All unpredictable exceptions will be eliminated.

The World’s Last Sage

If however, on the positive side, the elimination of the human physical sexuality will produce finally the ideal monogamous spiritual erotic relationship, then Swedenborg may yet be greeted as the greatest human mind ever.

One of his major works is titled "The Delights of Wisdom Relating to Conjugial Love followed by the Pleasures of insanity relating to Licentious Love". It is great fun to read, and I recommend it universally.

The greatest single contribution of the New Testament dogma to the world's intellectual history, I consider it to be the concept of the Monogamous marriage for life, which is then raised to the highest possible plane of sacredness, by the implication of Divine involvement. Monogamy is sacred to God himself. And the only great book on the subject is undoubtedly Swedenborg's.

This idea that All – the whole universe – is born of Love (Eros) is very ancient in Greek thought. Greek Scholars are unanimous in accepting it as actually the most ancient concept ever.

It is millennia later that other ‘gods’ develop, and Eros is reduced to becoming Aphrodite's child from her fornicatory union with Aries, the god of War (Aphrodite was formally married to Hephaistos, the god of craftsmanship and artistic creativity). The modern equalisation of Love with Sex was a very gradual process of reductionism from being All, the very cause of the whole universe coming into being, to meaning no more than coital sex lasting minutes.

Saint Paul, the great discoverer and formulator of the sacred Monogamous marriage, undoubtedly knew of the original Greek concept of existential causality, and may have unwittingly used it as his source of inspiration. But his discovery and definition of monogamous love I consider being one of the greatest achievements of the human mind and totally a scientific concept, because it is quantifiable and testable.

Where it occurs in 1Cor13 is some of the most unique words ever written, and here it is in the New International Version; "Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, and it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, and always perseveres. Love never fails. ... these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love. "

Patience, kindness, humility, non-judgmentalism, rejection of evil deeds, delight in truth, are all quantifiable traits in psychological methodology. One could devise psychological tests of modern sophistication to produce measurements for Saint Paul's observations, and arrive at a mathematical formula defining monogamous Love precisely, what has been hitherto regarded and I think mistakenly as the greatest indefinable.

As defined by St Paul and later elaborated and developed into new rational heights by Swedenborg and labelled by him as Love, monogamous love needs absolutely the total context of truth-speaking and absence of pornography to exist, let alone survive.

Lying and fornication completely submerge and eventually kill off the possibility of such love, cause social deterioration producing a life of crime and warmongering, for which reason Swedenborg was convinced that his paradigm of Conjugial Love did not and could not exist in the times he lived, as people were corrupted through Lying and fornication. He therefore hoped that what he was constructing as a model inspired by New Testament monogamy was one for the future. Three hundred years after Swedenborg, it is still the case, alas.

Here are the very first words upon which Swedenborg begins his book, The Divine Love and the Divine Wisdom; “There is but little comprehension in the world as to what Love is, and yet it is man's very life. This is evident from its being frequently asked, What is Love? The reason for this ignorance is that love is not apparent to the sight of the Understanding etc. etc. love is the very soul or life of thought, therefore thought, if deprived of love, grows cold and lifeless, like a flower deprived of heat; for love kindles, enlivens and animates thought is the life of the Understanding, and so of the thought; and being the life of the Understanding and so of the thought, it is also the life of the whole man; for it is the life of all sense and of all motion, thus it is the life of the organs by means of which sense and motion come into existence; that it is also the life of the other viscera will be seen below. Etc."

In sheer Swedenborgian terms of Truth being predicated to God's very being, cognate simultaneously and interchangeably with Goodness itself ("Indeed, they are the Lord, for He is Divine good itself and Divine truth itself." CL, para. 84 / 1), the unforgivable crime of the thatcherite governments was to make Lying socially respectable, even desirable – suffice it to refer to the Scott Report, published by Her Majesty’s Stationary Office, London, on the Iraq-Iran war whereby one million people were killed, with armaments supplied to both sides by Mrs Thatcher's government under the cover of ministerial lies to the House of Commons etc.

Even now as a direct result of the socio-political developments from the thatcherite days of President Reagan, frightening new corruptions are pouring out of academic America advocating Lies as an acceptable socio-evolutionary biological mechanism enhancing the interests of the Selfish Gene – the title of an influential book by a proudly thatcherite Oxford Don, Professor Dawkins. BBC Nature programs frequently show you how Fishes, Birds, Monkeys lie and cheat for food and sex.

John Updike, one of the best known American novelists of fornicating Couples, produced a thick tome of essays at the height of thatcherite Reaganism promoting the idea that all art is no more than the art of lying, and it is better for it. Not only that it is so, for Mr Updike, but that it must also be so!

Updike was of course re-hashing the old Platonic objection in the Republic, with the difference that Plato would not wish it to be so. Aristotle wrote one of the greatest books of all time, his Poetics, to try and correct his old teacher's misunderstandings of the craft of the poet's art. Aristotle, unlike Updike, was actually pointing out that Poetry (hence all Art) is based on Truth, its own internal truth of the imagination, which is very different from the external factual truth Plato mistook for a lie, because of poetic license.

Truth-speaking, not lying, as the Essence of Social life

Like Swedenborg, who believed in the New Testament dictum of Satan being "the Father of Lies", I consider truth-speaking to be monumentally essential for a humanly decent society. Lying, on a personal level would ultimately render all social relations murderous.

How could a spouse sleep in peace with a marital partner at night, if that partner would be a liar, who could then acknowledge no moral boundaries of any sorts, who would then have no hesitation in stabbing that partner in sleep or poisoning his food when it shall serve her purpose, something already it seems commonplace in post-Reaganite America.

Do you remember that notorious British TV shot of Jonathan Aitkin, one-time boy-friend of Mrs Thatcher's daughter, John Major's Minister of Arms-procurement, staring haunted at the cameras splurging dramatically metaphors of being a Knight in shining armour of Truth preparing for battle to fight news-media lies... To-day he stands convicted of Lying and worse, corrupting his spouse and innocent child into doing the same for him.

According to a news report, "He has been seeking salvation among the 'happy clappers' of Holy Trinity Brompton church in Knightsbridge, where he makes newcomers welcome and hands round coffee." (G. Levy, "Slain…by the sword of truth", Daily Mail, 20 January, 1999, p.7). Unlike Swedenborg, most men seek salvation after, not before. If Mr Aitkin had done his coffee rounds while dating Mrs Thatcher's daughter, perhaps he could have taught Mrs T a few truths, and saved Britain’s National Health Service.

As for the famous truth-seekers of The Guardian newspaper who would not let a day pass without branding the liars in huge headlines, it seems they had offered via Lord Saatchi (another professional Thatcher-favourite) "a secret deal ... which would have allowed [Aitkin] to walk away from the case with a sizeable dent in his bank account but his reputation intact." (Daily Mail, 20 January, 1999, "The rejected peace deal", p.6) – So much for the truth seekers of thatcherite Britain!

While the Soviet System fed on public Lies, privately individuals were deeply, suicidally ashamed of possible revelation. Post-Thatcher / Reagan, the Soviet Union nicely eliminated, we are told the polls prove that the American people approve of their President Clinton (accused of Lying) as they consider lying to be an acceptable part of the modern American way of life...which was the hidden way in Soviet life.

President Clinton went one further; he made Pornography respectable, which would be anathema to Swedenborg's very concept of ideal society, based in Swedenborg on monogamous Conjugial Love.

But I wonder if even all that pornography is not a dumbing-down of the American people, covering-up even more horrifying truths – According to a short piece by Trevor Kavanagh of The Sun newspaper ("Did he rape a nurse and run cocaine?", 10 September, 1998, p. 4), " [Clinton's] brother Roger, jailed for drug dealing, is quoted on police tapes saying Bill [Clinton] had a nose for cocaine "like a vacuum cleaner". There are tales of cocaine runs to Colombia and money laundering. ..Some of those who made the claims have been shot dead or disappeared, including eight investigators, nine witnesses and four Clinton associates."

This is the man our own prime minister, Tony Blair loves. What hope then of Tony Blair's anti-drugs policies? To-day's New Labour Britain leads statistically the European league of youth drug-taking, in honour of President Clinton perhaps?

But then is Mr Clinton any worse than any of his predecessors, who could simply get away with it – President Kennedy responsible for Marilyn Monroe's death, President Bush, the partner of the notorious drug baron General Noriega, President Johnson napalming Vietnam etc. God-blessed America seems to be cursed with a string of common criminals as Presidents.

And yet I felt very sad and sorry when Mr Clinton was shown as a bumbling old man trying to preserve some dignity, whatever little of it was left to him.

Swedenborg's concept of Love, nurtured within the context of truth-speaking and Monogamy seems to me to be the only hope for a holistic future.

Love alone as the very life of God flowing into men and women is the divine elixir, the super glue that can cement all aspects of the fragmented and alienated modern individual together. The alternative is virtual reality robotization and madness called ‘Globalization’, which I call ‘Hamburgarization’…

In spite of rampant evil, there seems to be an archetypal universal desire in man of all times and places for, Truth, Justice and the right action, something which no scientific theory shall be able to explain, as it involves none of the necessary and sufficient conditions of the neo-Darwinist evolutionary theory, like Reproductive Success, Parental Investment etc.

Aristotle was convinced that no man does evil knowingly, evil action being entirely the product of the ignorance of the consequences that act may result in.

Most philosophers have constructed theories concerning their solution for the discovery of means whereby one can predict the righteousness of the intended action. The best known of such theories is Kant's Categorical Imperative, not much different from Jesus' dictum of "Do to others as you would have them do to you." (Luke 6:31). Religious people of all denominations would recommend the constant reading of the Bible as a means of finding answers to the puzzles of right action, in readiness for such a need as when and if it would arise.

I call my own theory the Categorical Imperative of the Third Dimension. Dual human heterosexual relationship manifests immense egocentricity and power-obsession. Tying it down to a third dimension may create a possibility of compassion and altruism. The hypothetical child is that dimension. The individual must place that child at the centre of his Life's interest. He must do nothing that could harm the child's well-being whether physically, psychologically or intellectually. One must learn from children, not try to teach them. Compassion would be the first lesson the child would teach adults. But therein is contained a very long Swedenborgian story that needs to be told in detail at some other time.


PS. Unlike instantaneous revolutionary change, evolutionary social change takes many decades to unravel its consequences – Nazi medical practices, for example, begun in Britain under the premiership of Mrs Thatcher, predicted and denounced in my lecture, have indeed infected tragically today Britain’s money-mad body-politic so inhumanly, viciously and cancerously, that, according to a recent Daily Mail first page headlined report (February 24, 2006) “Doctors say heart attack victims should not be revived because money could be better spent elsewhere, Let Old Folk In Care Die, elderly patients [are] starving in care homes, with one in five seriously underfed…”

In the very same issue – a snap-shot of post-modern Britain – the horrendous bloodshed in Iraq caused by Blair-Bush coalition (p.13); the British Gas rip-off “record £1.5 billion profit as [household] bills soar” an indecent 22 per cent (p. 9); a martial arts obsessed son most tragically “slaughtered his parents” (p. 9); “Lover asked me to ‘crack her husband over the head’”(p. 42); and a feminist author “describes her bitter realisation, at nearly 40, that she’ll never be a mother. And reveals her fury over succumbing to the modern mantra that a career and casual sex were her rights as a woman – and that children are for drudges…”(pp. 22-3) etc.

It is Mrs Thatcher’s Britain still evolving into a Nazi monster, and reported by no other than one of her greatest bastions – the very same Daily Mail!


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