There is a trinity of being in all that exists: in each person there is the will, the thought of the will, and then putting the thought into action. In a more universal sense, this is a trinity of love, truth and usefulness. There is no love without truth, and there is no truth without its love, and the marriage or union between love and truth is in usefulness. In philosophical terms, this is called end, cause and effect - one's end is one's intent or love, the cause of manifesting one's love is one's thought, and the effect is the action. One can apply this philosophy at work to encourage initiative using the "see, own, do" motto: to see is to see a problem, to own is to take responsibility for the problem, to do is to take action to resolve the problem. Described by yet another teaching called "Steps to Knowledge", this is seeing, thinking, and taking action.
What I just described was pulled in from very different sources of information, yet they are all saying the same thing, for truth is universal. One of the sources is the revelations in the writings of Emanuel Swedenborg. If a teaching is not applicable in life, it is not true. If a theory cannot be put into practice, it must be rejected. In one's spiritual life, there is no such thing as belief alone, and any belief that does not lead to good works must also be rejected.
As an example, this "trinity of being" can be seen in the plant world:
"The case is similar in the vegetable kingdom: in every tree and in every plant there lies inmostly concealed an effort to produce fruits or seeds; but this effort cannot manifest itself until it has first produced all the means, namely, branches, leaves, and flowers, which being produced, then the effort comes forth into act." (Heavenly Arcana, n. 3610.3)The endeavor or effort is the end or intent, the means is the cause, and the effect is the act.
THE TRINITY OF END, CAUSE AND EFFECT
Most people know from science the idea of "cause and effect." This terminology is derived from the "four causes" of the Greek philosopher Aristotle. But modern science has removed itself from one of the causes taught by Aristotle: the final cause, which is defined as "the end towards which is directs." This end is the intent of the effect, and any intent implies motive or "intelligent design," which is anathema to materialistic science seeking pure naturalistic causes. Swedenborg restores this teaching in the trinity of end, cause and effect:
"All things in general and in particular in man, nay, all things in general and in particular in nature, succeed one another as end, cause, and effect; and, when they thus correspond to one another, they act as one; for then the end is the all in all things of the cause, and through the cause is the all in all things of the effect. As for example, when heavenly love is the end, the will the cause, and action the effect, if there is correspondence, then heavenly love flows into the will, and the will into the action, and they so act as one that the action by correspondence is as it were the love; or as when the faith of charity is the end, thought the cause, and speech the effect, if there is correspondence, then faith from charity flows into the thought, and this into the speech, and they so act as one, that the speech by correspondence is as it were the end. In order however that the end, which is love and faith, may produce the cause, which is will and thought, it must take administering means in the rational mind that will correspond; for, without administering means that correspond, the end, which is love or faith, cannot be received, however it may flow in from the Lord through heaven. From this it is plain that the interiors and the exteriors of man, that is, what is rational, natural, and sensual in him, must be brought into correspondence, in order that he may receive the Divine influx, and consequently that he may be born again; and that it is not well with him till then." (Heavenly Arcana, n. 5131.3)Many teachings only speak of enlightenment or knowledge alone: but truth alone does not lead to a balanced spiritual life of activity, or one of truth in action. One must have intent, from the intent or purpose one has thought which is the means of executing the intent, and its action is the effect. Every action or work is judged by the internal intent or purpose from which it was generated:
"Whatever his thoughts and deeds — which vary in ways innumerable — if only the end be made good, all are good. But if the end be evil, all are evil. It is the end that rules in every thing that a man thinks and does. The angels with man, because they are angels of the Lord, do not direct anything in the man but his ends. In directing them they direct also his thoughts and actions, for all these are of the end. The end with man is his very life. All that he thinks and does has life from the end, for, as was said, they are of the end. Therefore as the end is, such is the life of a man. His end is no other than his love; for a man can have for an end nothing but what he loves. One who thinks otherwise than he does, has yet for an end what he loves. In his very dissimulation or deceit is his end, which is the love of self or the love of the world; and from this is the enjoyment of his life. From these considerations any one may conclude that as a man's love is, such is his life." (Heavenly Arcana, n. 1317)
ONE'S PURPOSE OR INTENT DETERMINES ONE'S ETERNAL LIFE
By examining one's own primary intent or purpose in life, one can determine if one's eternal life is leading towards heaven or hell:
"The inflowing life is applied to no other object than the end, because to every one his end is his love, and it is the love alone that lives. Other objects are only derivations from this, which draw their life from the end. Every one may see what kind of life he has, if he will only search out what his end is; not what all his ends are — for he has numberless ones, as many as intentions, and almost as many as judgments and conclusions of thoughts, which are only intermediate ends, variously derived from the principal one, or tending to it — but let him search out the end he prefers to the rest, and in respect to which all others are as nothing. If he has for his end himself and the world, let him know that his life is infernal; but if he has for his end the good of his neighbor, the common good, the Lord's kingdom, and especially the Lord Himself, let him know that his life is heavenly." (Heavenly Arcana, n. 1909.2)One's end, or one's purpose or intent is one's primary love:
"Man by the ends of his life is in the other life, by ends of good in heaven with angels, but by ends of evil in hell with devils. Ends in man are nothing but his loves, for what a man loves, that he has for an end; and inasmuch as ends are his loves, they are his inmost life" (Heavenly Arcana, n. 3570.3)
WHY IS THERE A TRINITY?
End, cause and effect are universal and exist in all things. It is even applicable to a company's organization (see above). Not only that, but the universe is the image of God, and these three exist in God as the Trinity itself:
"These three, namely, end, cause, and effect, are in the created universe, in its greatest things as well as in its least. They are in the greatest and the least things of the created universe, because they are in God the Creator, Who is the Lord from eternity. But because He is Infinite, and in the Infinite infinite things are distinctly one (as was shown above, n. 17-22), therefore also these three in Him, and in the infinite things of Him, are distinctly one. From this it is that the universe — which was created from His Esse, and which, regarded as to uses is His image — acquired these three in each and everything in it." (Divine Love and Wisdom, n. 169)While the older churches have a tritheistic belief in God divided in distinct persons, this is not so in the New Church, which worships God as one Being. Worship here is in being useful, or in usefulness. One can say it is the spiritual and more complete version of the philosophy of Utilitarianism. For the Lord's kingdom is not of one resting on clouds, but rather it is a kingdom of uses, where all seek to be useful according to their love.
THE TRINITY OF LOVE, TRUTH AND USEFULNESS
The principle of end, cause and effect can be expressed in another way: as love, truth and usefulness:
"Every one who thinks in any enlightenment can see that love has for an end and intends use, and that it produces use through wisdom; for love cannot produce any use of itself, but by means of wisdom. What indeed is love, unless there be something that is loved? This something is use; and because use is that which is loved, and is produced by wisdom, it follows that use is the containant of wisdom and love." (Divine Love and Wisdom, n. 297)
WHAT IS SPIRITUAL FREEDOM?
When most people think about freedom, its about doing whatever they want, what they love the most. However this is not true freedom. There is only spiritual freedom, or the slavery of self and desire:
"Few know what freedom is, and what non-freedom is. All that which is of any love and its enjoyment appears to be freedom, and that which is contrary to them, non-freedom. What is of the love of self and the love of the world, and of their lusts, appears to man as freedom, but it is infernal freedom; while what is of love to the Lord and of love toward the neighbor, consequently of love for good and truth, is freedom itself, and is heavenly freedom." (Heavenly Arcana, n. 2870)True spiritual freedom comes when one resists temptation of evil and falsity:
"But they who have compelled themselves against evil and falsity — though at first they thought that this was from themselves or from their own power, but were afterwards enlightened to see that their effort was from the Lord, even to the least of all the particulars of the effort — these in the other life cannot be led by evil spirits but are among the happy. Thus it may be evident that a man ought to compel himself to do good and to speak the truth. The hidden truth within this is, that a man is thus gifted with what is heavenly for his own by the Lord. That which is heavenly of his own is formed in the effort of his thought; and if he does not maintain this effort by compelling himself, as the appearance is, he certainly does not by not compelling himself.All freedom is from one's love:
"That it may be plain how this is, let it be observed that in all self-compulsion to good there is a certain freedom, which is not discerned as such when one is in the work of compelling, but still it is within; as in one who is willing to undergo the risk of death for the sake of a certain end, or in him who is willing to suffer bodily pains for the sake of health, there is a willingness and thus a certain freedom from which each acts; although the dangers and the pains, while he is in them, take away his perception of the willingness or freedom. So it is with those who compel themselves to good. There is a willingness within and thus a freedom, from which and for the sake of which they compel themselves; that is, they do this for the sake of obedience to what the Lord has commanded, and for the sake of the salvation of their soul after death; in which still more interiorly there is, though the man does not know it, a regard for the Lord's kingdom and even for the Lord Himself.
"This is the case most of all in temptations, for in these, when a man compels himself to resist the evil and falsity which are infused and suggested by evil spirits, there is more of freedom than is possible in any state out of temptations, although the man cannot then comprehend this; for there is an interior freedom, from which he wishes to subjugate evil, and this so great as to equal the force and strength of the evil which assaults; otherwise he could not contend with it. This freedom is from the Lord, Who insinuates it into the man's conscience and by means of it causes him to overcome the evil as from what is his own. Through this freedom man acquires a nature of his own into which the Lord can bring good. Without a nature of his own acquired, that is, given, through freedom, no one can ever be reformed; because he cannot receive the new will, which is conscience." (Heavenly Arcana, n. 1937.3-5)
"All that is called Freedom which is of the will, thus which is of the love. Consequently freedom manifests itself by the enjoyment of willing and thinking, and thence of doing and speaking. For all enjoyment is of love, and all love is of the will, and the will is the esse of man's life.
"To do evil from the enjoyment of love appears to be freedom, but it is servitude, because it is from hell. To do good from the enjoyment of love appears to be freedom and is indeed freedom, because it is from the Lord. It is therefore servitude to be led of hell, and it is freedom to be led of the Lord. This the Lord thus teaches in John: Every one that committeth sin is the servant of sin. The servant abideth not in the house for ever: the Son abideth for ever. If the Son shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed (viii. 34-36)." (Heavenly Arcana, n. 9585-9586)
LOVE OR FREEDOM MUST BE GUIDED BY TRUTH
All doctrines and teachings of the New Church are based on love and truth. Love must be guided by truth lest it become adulterated, and truth must lead to love. In spiritual regeneration, one is first guided by truth until one lives a life of love:
"When a man is being regenerated, that is, when he is to be conjoined to the Lord, he proceeds to the conjunction by means of truth, that is, through the truths of faith; for no one can be regenerated except through knowledges of faith, which are truths, by means of which he proceeds to conjunction. The Lord goes to meet these through good, that is, charity, and applies this to the knowledges of faith, that is, to its truths; for all truths are the recipient vessels of good, and so the more genuine the truths are, and the more they are multiplied, the more abundantly can good accept them as vessels, reduce them to order, and at length manifest itself; so that at last the truths do not appear, except so far as good shines through them. In this way truth becomes celestial spiritual. As the Lord is present only in the good which is of charity alone, man is in this way conjoined to the Lord, and through good, that is, through charity, is gifted with conscience, from which he afterwards thinks what is true and does what is right; but this conscience is according to the true and right things to which the good or charity is applied." (Heavenly Arcana, n. 2063.3)Again:
"The primary thing of the rational with man is truth (as said before, n. 2072); consequently it is the affection for truth, to the end that man may be reformed, and so regenerated. This is effected by interior and exterior knowledges, that are of truth; which are continually being implanted in good, that is, in charity, that so he may receive the life of charity. It is on this account that the affection for truth in man is predominant in his rational. For it is the case with the life of charity, which is the heavenly life itself, that with those who are being reformed and regenerated, it is continually born and growing up and receiving increments, and this by means of truths; the more of truth, therefore, there is introduced, the more is the life of charity perfected; wherefore charity exists with a man according to the quality and quantity of truth." (Heavenly Arcana, n. 2189.2)Knowing the truth, and then acting according to what is true, is the process by which one is cleansed from sin and evil and brought to what is good, which brings true spiritual happiness. The entire Word concerns the conjunction of love with truth, and truth with love. What is presented here is all but a very short summary introduction to the doctrines of the New Church.
FREEDOM, JUSTICE AND EFFICIENCY
From the revelations given to Emanuel Swedenborg, we have spoken of the principle of end, cause and effect. The "end" is one's purpose, or one's primary love, and it is one's purpose or intent which forms one's spiritual body in the afterlife. The principle of end, cause and effect can be expressed in another manner: love, truth and usefulness. This principle can again be expressed in another manner, which is very applicable to forming a just society: FREEDOM, JUSTICE, and EFFICIENCY.
One will see that this teaching is similar to what was revealed in the waking visions of Emanuel Swedenborg. So, where does this philosophy come from? It allegedly comes from an extraterrestrial contact back in the 1960s to one Stefan Danaerde, a millionaire who owned his own business in the Netherlands (see Extraterrestrial Contact from Iarga: their Origin and Philosophy for more background on this).
They explained their society through the use of a three dimensional hologram. Their society was at one point threatened to extinction, and these three principles were revealed to a female "prophet" of sorts. I will quote from the work, UFO Contact from Iarga, by W.C. Stevens. So they begin:
"We were faced with the problem of feeding and housing the billions of beings which we needed in order to achieve our creation goal, on the smallest possible area of land. This imposed the greatest demands on our planning and social systems; these demands do not occur on Earth, you have room to spare."What we needed to create a high level of culture were three things: freedom, justice and efficiency. We will explain these concepts one at a time, beginning with the last, efficiency."On their planet, without the application of efficiency their society would collapse, as their planet has limited resources compared to ours. The principle of EFFICIENCY is the application of usefulness. It is seeking to accomplish the same task, or use, in a more efficient manner. Thus technological progress seeks to do the same thing in a more efficient and cost effective manner. One's work is the product of efficiency, companies that do well do things more efficiently.
Efficiency seeks the reduction of waste. Thus concepts of individualism, and houses of individuals, are seen to be highly wasteful and inefficient. Our houses are made of wood, which have a short lifespan requiring more maintenance. Most live far from where they work, cities are spread out requiring loss of time and gas in the daily commute: this is wasteful and inefficient. Individualism, selfish greed of the few over the many, is inefficient and wasteful. Capitalism and profit seeking encourages waste. This concept of efficiency hasn't taken hold on our planet, because up til now we have believed we had unlimited resources. However we have become more aware of it through knowledge of how we have been destroying and polluting the earth and its climate. When one of our primary resources - oil - becomes more scarce, the principle of efficiency will become more important. The same will be true as the ocean levels rise due to global warming. The principle of efficiency is ignored when the focus is on war and competition:
"A race that lives under the constant threat of war and destruction does not logically make any plans for the distant future. For an absolute race, that is different. The continual improvement of our mental capacity directs our thoughts more and more into the future. We have created a planet on which our race can survive for an eternity. We live in a stable world on a clean planet, where the balance of nature can be maintained for unlimited time. We live for the future, because we expect great things from it. We are constantly occupied with making our world a better place to live in. The Earth, on the other hand, lives for the present and the past, and does not worry about the future generations."The next principle that they explained was the concept of JUSTICE. The application of justice is not just being treated equally under the law, but ensuring an egalitarian society, where more is not given to an individual or family beyond what they need. Justice is a prerequisite for efficiency. Justice here means "equal shares for everyone," where selfish greed and jealousy is suppressed. Through efficiency, production capacity is increased to reduce each person's material want. The principle of justice in this system of thought can be compared to doing good from truth, otherwise known as "spiritual good" in the doctrines of the New Church where love of the neighbor is primary. Truth fights against sin, and sin is that which promotes selfish greed and desire over the need of the neighbor. Whereas Swedenborg speaks of truth or justice in a spiritual religious aspect, here the same concept is described in pure applicability to forming a just society. Without justice, there is no efficiency, and to stress this point one must look at the "efficiency of the justice."
"The low quality of our goods, helped by artificial aging, means that we simply throw away a large part of our welfare profit. Perhaps we can't help it because our mentality is wrong, but no matter how you try to excuse it, it remains stupid. They were dearly pleased that I was at last awake and was able to understand that efficiency and justice were not just loose, idealistic words."
After efficiency and justice, the next concept that is described is freedom. Again, freedom is described in a way that is applicable to society:
"Freedom is the absence of compulsion and because compulsion is a form of discrimination, it follows that freedom is the absence of discrimination. A step further: freedom exists, logically, on the basis of justice and efficiency."Freedom is not only the absence of social discrimination, but also the absence of selfish love:
"The selfish behavior of the masses, where everyone takes everything they can, prevents the ability to work for the common good-to create, for example, a clean planet where the balance of nature can be maintained for an unlimited time. It is also impossible to limit the use of natural resources for the sake of future generations, because a selfish person cannot give up anything for someone else. The greatest problem lies in the law of degeneration: a race that does not succeed in restoring the efficiency of natural selection as it existed in the prehistoric times shall become extinct."Freedom is most expressed in creativity - either in material gain or creativity, or in immaterial gain or creativity. Capitalistic societies stress material gain, and the happiness of that is short lived. True freedom is expressed in immaterial gain:
"...there is the immaterial creativity-your Christian love - and this is lasting happiness. It is the continual striving to improve the living standards of others. It expresses itself in helpfulness, understanding, pity, tolerance, friendliness, esteem-in short, the total concept of unselfish love."It is only in immaterial creativity that true happiness is achieved:
"Every unselfish deed, every self-sacrifice, heightens the feeling of personal value, of satisfaction. A man who has reached a high degree of unselfishness manifests a lasting personal value as a noticeable side of his personality - wisdom - which appears to be unaffected by setbacks or aging. He becomes invulnerable in his feeling of personal value, his peace with himself, his happiness. There is no alternative, Stef. Natural selection laws are inexorable. Only a race with a high level of unselfishness, or, as we call it, an immaterial structure, can survive."For them, Christianity is not a religion, but the true means of creating a just society:
"The more we talk, the more we become convinced that you are not a Christian. The whole point of Christ's teaching - love - is completely strange to you. You have apparently never heard of the striving for unselfishness in the Buddhist religion. There is no choice. Only when man is free of material influences can he succeed in bringing up children who, through their unselfish mental attitude, can be really free and happy. You must teach them to love and concern themselves with others. They must learn to be very expressive with their feelings. This makes great demands on their eloquence, to be able to put their feelings into words. This is characterized by their honesty, spontaneity and enthusiasm, their helpfulness and, above all, their ability to raise their love contacts above the physical to great spiritual heights. We seek adventure in the quantity and depth of our human contacts. You have seen this all on the screen in front of you. Iarga is a planet where the people love each other, where people are happy to meet each other and where they find it a pity that they can only take one person at a time in their arms."Freedom here is spiritual freedom, which is based on love. This should not be just a religion, but should be the ultimate goal of a just society.
SUMMARY THOUGHTS AND CONCLUSIONS
The doctrine of the New Church of Love, Truth and Usefulness is a universal truth, and helps one understand the nature of all being and action, including the Supreme Being, the Divine. This trine can be philosophically expressed as end, cause and effect. In humans this is one's purpose, one's thoughts or rational understanding to fulfill one's purpose, and one's actions or way of life. Anyone can examine their own internal purpose to determine the nature of one's eternal life.
Any religion, which is of belief alone, or faith alone, or of enlightenment alone, without application towards one's life is not a religion. It is a false assurance of well being, which hides problems and road blocks to one's spiritual progress from truth towards love. To progress towards what is good, one must first acknowledge the evils and falsehoods in one's self. Otherwise, there is no change or progress.
The principles of the New Church are universal, for everything that exists has relation to the principles of love and truth. That it is universal can be seen in a reported extraterrestrial contact from the 1960s, where the same universal principles are described using slightly different terminology. The language of the terminology indicates that these principles are not part of a religion as we know it, but rather they are principles used to form a just and equitable society. The applications are manifold, but it requires a change in mindset and one it challenges our current assumptions of our own society and culture. For here there is an actual philosophy that is immediately applicable, which challenges our capitalistic society of material greed and competition.
Regardless of what one thinks regarding UFOs and reported extraterrestrial contacts, there is something to learn from the story in UFO Contact from Iarga. There is an inherent truth in the teachings from this contact, and one can see that the teaching that they gave was quite foreign to the author, and at times he was opposed to it and argued with them on certain topics. What amazed me when I first read this was that the teaching is similar to principles that were revealed in the waking visions of Emanuel Swedenborg, but in a different context. Once one gets beyond that initial prejudice of disbelief, actual reported contacts where they give advice that is useful that we can learn from and apply are few and far between. Of all the research I did into UFOs or extraterrestrials, I felt that the reported contact from Iarga was like finding a gem or diamond among stones. It shows what is possible when the principles of the New Church are applied to one's life, and to one's society.
And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea. And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. (Rev. 21:1-2)
I Jesus have sent mine angel to testify unto you these things in the churches. I am the root and the offspring of David, and the bright and morning star. (Rev. 22:16)
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