January 22, 2017

Some Summary Ideas about Correspondence

By Rev. Erik Sandstrom
1. Correspondences "come down," rather than "rise up." The lower is derived from the higher, not the other way around.

    E.g., The natural, or literal, sense of the Word is formed from the spiritual, or internal, sense, not the spiritual from the natural. When we explain the natural sense according to correspondences, we are simply unfolding what was already in the living spiritual sense and is constantly there.

2. Correspondence, influx, and discrete degrees are virtually synonymous terms. There can be no influx without corresponding levels, and these levels, or degrees, are discrete. Again: Whenever discrete degrees are in correspondence, there is at once influx. "Influx is effected by correspondences" (DLW 219).

    E.g., Thought and speech correspond (if the person is sincere); thought and speech are on discrete levels; and thought flows into speech, not speech into thought.

3. It follows that true correspondences are dynamic, not static -- not like a graph. There is at once influx, from one discrete degree into another, when these degrees are in correspondence. This law keeps the natural world alive from the spiritual.

    E.g., When the external mind (which speaks and acts) is brought into order by repentance and self-compulsion, then it comes into a state of correspondence with the internal mind (where conscience is); and since there is now correspondence, therefore conscience flows into the external mind and fills it with its essence, so that the external as to quality is like the internal. "Blessed is the man who is in correspondence, that is, whose external man corresponds to his internal man" (AC 2994).

4. There is synonymity between the three terms when there is a state of order, not when there is disorder. When there is disorder, there can be representation, but not correspondence.

    E.g., If an insincere person speaks, then what he says may represent good affections and true concepts, but there is no correspondence with his actual affections and thoughts. Nor is there a straight influx, for the actual affections and thoughts wish to remain in hiding and therefore appoint substitutes to act for them. "These people draw near to Me with their mouth, and honor Me with their lips; but their heart is far from Me" (Matt. 15:8, Is. 29:13).