Arcana Coelestia (Elliott) n. 5145

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5145. 'With holes in them were on my head' means without a termination anywhere at all in the middle. This is clear from the meaning of 'with holes in' as that which is open from top to bottom, thus that which is not closed and therefore has no termination anywhere at all in the middle; and from the meaning of 'the head' as interior degrees, in particular those that constitute the will. For the head is the primary location where all substances and forms exist, and is therefore the place to which all sensations travel and register themselves, and the place from which all actions spring and are derived. The powers of the mind too - the power of understanding and that of the will - are plainly located there, which is why interior degrees are meant by 'the head'. 'The baskets' [in the baker's dream] represented those powers within 'the head'.

[2] The subject at present is the sensory impressions subject to the will part of the mind, 'baskets on the head with holes in them' meaning that interior degrees existed without a termination anywhere at all in the middle. Therefore those sensory impressions, as follows from this, were cast aside and condemned. But some explanation must be given of what is meant by 'without a termination anywhere at all in the middle'. Interiorly the human being is divided into separate degrees, and each degree has its own termination that serves to separate it from the degree beneath it. This is so with every degree from the inmost one to the outermost. The interior rational constitutes the first degree, the degree in which celestial angels are, that is, where the inmost or third heaven is. The exterior rational makes up the second degree, the one in which spiritual angels are, that is, where the middle or second heaven is. The interior natural makes up the third degree, the one in which good spirits are, that is, where the last and lowest or first heaven is. And the exterior natural, the level of the senses, makes up the fourth degree, in which man is.

[3] These degrees also exist within man, each degree completely distinct and separate. Consequently, if he leads a good life, he is interiorly a miniature heaven; that is, his interiors correspond to the three heavens. Also, if he has led a life of charity and love he can be taken after death all the way up to the third heaven. But if he is to be someone like this, each degree within him must be furnished with its own specific termination that makes it separate from the next one. When those degrees do have those terminations, making them distinct and separate from one another, each degree has a floor on which good flowing in from the Lord can rest and where it is received. Without such terminations acting as floors that good is not received but passes straight through, as if through a sieve or through 'a basket with holes in it', down to the sensory level. There, because it has not received any direction on the way, this good is turned into something foul, though it is seen as good by the recipients of it at that lowest level. That is to say, the good is turned into the kind of delight that belongs to a selfish and worldly love, and consequently into the kind of delight that belongs to hatred, revenge, cruelty, adultery, and avarice, or into sheer self-gratification and personal extravagance. This is what happens if the degrees of a person's will exist without a termination anywhere at all in the middle, that is, if 'they have holes in them'.

[4] One can also actually know whether these terminations and therefore floors exist; people's abilities to perceive what is good and true point to the existence of them, as do their consciences. In the case of those who, like celestial angels, have the ability to perceive what is good and true, terminations exist in every degree, from the first to the last. Unless each degree has its own termination, no perceptive abilities such as these can exist. Regarding these abilities, see 125, 202, 495, 503, 511, 536, 597, 607, 784, 865, 895, 1121, 1383, 1384, 1387, 1919, 1144, 2145, 2171, 2515, 2831. In the case of those who, like spiritual angels, have conscience, terminations likewise exist, but only in the second degree or else in the third down to the last. For them the first degree is closed. One must say in the second degree or else in the third because conscience is twofold - interior and exterior. Interior conscience is one that concerns itself with what is spiritually good and true, exterior conscience one that concerns itself with what is just and fair. Conscience itself is an interior floor which provides inflowing Divine Good with a termination; but those who have no conscience do not have any interior floor to receive that influx. In their case good passes straight through to the exterior natural, or the natural level of the senses, where it is turned, as has been stated, into foul delights. These people sometimes feel pain like that of conscience, but this is not conscience. The pain is caused by the loss of what they delight in, such as the loss of position, gain, reputation, life, pleasures, or the friendship of others who are like themselves. They suffer pain because the terminations which they possess consist in those kinds of delights. From all this one may see what is meant in the spiritual sense by 'baskets with holes in them'.

[5] Particularly so in the next life one can discern whether or not the degrees of a person's will have been furnished with terminations. In the case of one who has been furnished with them, a zeal exists for what is spiritually good and true or for what is just and fair. For such persons had done what was good for the sake of what was good or for the sake of what was true, and had practised what was just for the sake of what was just or for the sake of what was fair, not for the sake of gain, position, and the like. All whose interior degrees of the will have been furnished with terminations are raised up to heaven, for the inflowing Divine is able to lead them there. But all whose interior degrees of the will have not been furnished with terminations make their way to hell, for what is Divine passes straight through and is turned into that which is hell-like, as when the heat of the sun falls on foul excrement and a disgusting stench is given off by it. Consequently all who have had conscience are saved, but those who have had none are incapable of being saved.

[6] Degrees of the will are said to have holes in them, or to have no terminations, when there is no affection for goodness and truth, or for justice and equity, and when these virtues are considered to be of little or no value at all compared with anything else, or are esteemed solely for the sake of acquiring gain or position. The affections are what supply terminations and serve to close off, which is also why they are called bonds or restraints - affections for what is good and true being internal bonds, and affections for what is evil and false external ones, 3835. Unless the affections for what is evil and false acted as bonds or restraints the person would be insane, 4217; for insanity is nothing else than the removal of such restraints, so that no terminations are present in such persons. Even so, though these people do not possess any internal restraints and are therefore inwardly insane, so far as their thoughts and affections are concerned, an eruption of these is held back by external restraints, which consist in affections for gain, position, or reputation for their own sake, and consequently in a fear of the law or of loss of life. This was represented in the Jewish Church by the law that in the house of one who had died every open vessel which had no covering [or] cord [to fasten it] was unclean, Num 19:15.

[7] Much the same is also meant by 'works full of holes' in Isaiah,

Those that make linen out of silk [thread], and those that weave works full of holes, will blush. And its foundations will be broken to pieces - all those making pools of the soula their wages. Isa 19:9, 10.

And by 'holes' in Ezekiel,

The Spirit brought the prophet to the door of the court, where he looked, and behold, a hole in the wall. And He said to him, Son of man, bore a hole through the wall. He therefore bore a hole through the wall, and behold, a door. Then He said to him, Go in and see the abominations that they do here. When he went in and saw, behold, every likeness of creeping thing and of beast, an abomination; and all the idols of the house of Israel, portrayed on the wall round about, etc. Ezek 8:7-10.


a What Sw. understands by this literal rendering of the Hebrew is not clear.

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