Our Second State after Death (Continued)

There is no way to describe briefly what evil people are like in this state because their insanity depends on their urges, and these vary. So I should like to mention just a few particular cases that will enable you to draw conclusions about the rest.

Some people have loved themselves above all else. They have focused on their own prestige in their duties and positions, they have done constructive things not for the sake of doing them or from finding pleasure in them but for the sake of their reputation, to be ranked above other people on that account, therefore finding pleasure in their reputation for eminence. When they arrive in the second state, they are supremely stupid because the more they love themselves the farther they move from heaven, and the farther they move from heaven, the farther they move from wisdom.

There are people caught up in self-love and in guile at the same time, people who have used devious means to raise themselves to positions of esteem. They take up company with the worst people of all and study magical arts that are abuses of the divine design, using them to harass everyone who does not defer to them. They hatch plots, cherish hatred, breathe out vengeance, and long to savage everyone who does not submit to them. They plunge into all these behaviors to the extent that the malevolent horde supports them. Eventually, they start mulling over how they can climb up to heaven and destroy it, or how they can be worshiped there as gods. Their madness carries them all the way to this.

Catholics like this are more insane than others.283 They cherish the thought that heaven and hell are in their power and that they can forgive sins at will. They claim everything divine for themselves and call themselves Christ. Their belief that this is true is so strong that wherever it flows in it disturbs minds and brings on a darkness to the point of pain. They are much the same in both states, though in the second they lack rationality. There will be particular information about their forms of insanity and their lot after this state in the booklet The Last Judgment and Babylon Destroyed.284

There are people who have attributed creation to nature and have therefore denied the Divine Being at heart, though not out loud, thus denying everything about the church and heaven. They gather with people like themselves in this state and call everyone God who is particularly guileful, even honoring such individuals with divine worship. I have seen people like this in a meeting worshiping a magician, discussing nature, and behaving like idiots—as though they were animals in human form. Some of them had been appointed to high office in the world and some had been considered learned and wise. The details may vary.

You may gather from these few cases what people are like whose deeper levels of mind are closed toward heaven. This is what happens for everyone who does not accept any inflow from heaven by acknowledging the Divine Being and by a living life of faith. People may judge for themselves what they would be like if this were their nature, if they were allowed to behave with no fear of the law or fear for their lives, without any outward restraints—threats to their reputation or to their rank, their profit, and the pleasures that attend them.

However, the Lord controls their madness so that it does not transgress the bounds of usefulness, for there is some use for every such individual. Good spirits see in them what evil is and what its nature is, and what people are like if they are not led by the Lord. Openly evil individuals also serve to gather people of similar evil and separate them from good people, to remove from evil people the true and good elements that they presented and feigned outwardly, and to lead them into the evils of their life and the falsities of their malice and thus prepare them for hell.

This is because people do not get into hell until they are immersed in their malice and in the falsities that stem from it, because no one is allowed to have a divided mind, to think and say one thing and intend something else. Every evil person there must think what is false out of malice and talk out of that malicious falsity there, both from intent and therefore from his or her own love and pleasure and gratification. This is how they behaved in the world when they were thinking in their spirit—that is, when they were thinking within themselves, from their deeper affection. This is because intent is the essential person, not thought except as it is derived from intent; and volition is the essential nature or character of the human being. So being remanded to our own intentions is being remanded to our own nature or character and to our own life as well, since it is through life that we acquire our nature. After death, we retain the nature we had gained by our life in the world, which for evil people can no longer be changed for the better by the path of thought or of understanding what is true.

from Heaven and Hell, Section 508

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