“May you live in interesting times” is purported to be a traditional Chinese curse. While seemingly a blessing, the expression is always used ironically, with the clear implication that ‘uninteresting times’, of peace and tranquillity, are more life-enhancing than ‘interesting’ ones, which from historical perspective usually include disorder and conflict. It is more of an … Continue reading Turbulent times around us
We seem to be surrounded by so much tension and conflict in the world today. With all the prejudice, discrimination and violence associated with strongly held beliefs, it would be nice to work out why people disagree so much. So what causes us to each believe certain things and be sniffy about opposing ideas? I … Continue reading Beliefs – Why do people differ so much?
In deciding what to believe sooner or later you come up against something that is greater than yourself. Toddlers make every effort to get their own way but eventually have to submit to parental authority. Young people test their limits climbing mountains or visiting wild places until forced to acknowledge their helplessness in meeting the … Continue reading What to believe – How do I decide?
There is a pluralistic mentality that has infused our social consciousness and a spreading attitude that there is more than one world-view or way of thinking that leads to everlasting happiness. We hear the attitude that it doesn’t matter what you actually believe as long as it suits you and you find it helpful. But does what you believe matter?
Swedenborg’s View of Spiritual History
Extracts from Emanuel Swedenborg with commentary by P L Johnson. Swedenborg Society, 2008; ISBN 978-0-85448-154-5; xv + 243 pp; £11.95 + p&p.
This intriguing book is a selection of quotations from Swedenborg’s writings that relate to his view of different spiritual ages of the world in human history. In bringing together this material, nowhere found in one place in Swedenborg’s voluminous writings, Patrick Johnson has provided a useful service. His added comments are helpful in giving continuity and relevant recent historical knowledge, as well as some of his own suggestions.
Swedenborg can give us little guidance on dating these past ages, for his account is derived from an interpretation of the Bible as to its religious meaning. Despite this, The Five Ages shows how current ways of speaking might relate to both ecclesiastical terminology and biblical figures and events. The claim is that this holistic approach helps us to understand mankind’s psycho-spiritual development across different epochs, despite