The Hidden Levels of the Mind: Swedenborg’s Theory of Consciousness

Douglas Taylor, Author, Reuben P Bell, Essay by
Douglas Taylor. Swedenborg Foundation, $12.95 trade paper (128p) ISBN 978-0-87785-340-4
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Those confounded by the writings of 18th-century theologian Emanuel Swedenborg will find an able guide in Taylor (Spirituality That Makes Sense). In this slim volume, the author explains the many facets of what could be called Swedenborg’s philosophy of mind. With remarkable clarity, Taylor presents the Swedish mystic’s conception of body, mind, and soul, which were believed to exist on a spectrum of awareness beginning with sensory information and culminating in unconditional love of the Lord. The goal is regeneration, a process of raising consciousness to “allow the influence of the Lord to enter us and transform our being.” Just as Swedenborg blended Enlightenment rationality with unshakable faith, Taylor fits an esoteric belief system into a concise mapping of spiritual evolution. Readers expecting tales of Swedenborg’s heavenly travels may want to look elsewhere; Taylor sticks to his subject without getting sidetracked, and it is interesting enough without delving into the afterlife or angels. In neatly relating how Swedenborg believed a spiritual life should be lived, Taylor affirms the scientist-mystic’s continued relevance. (Dec.)
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