While we are living in the world, if we are engaged in a love for the Lord and in thoughtfulness toward our neighbor, we have with and within us an angelic intelligence and wisdom, but it is hidden away in the depths of our inner memory. There is no way this intelligence and wisdom can become visible before we leave our bodies. Then our natural memory is put to sleep and we are awakened into consciousness of our inner memory and eventually of our actual angelic memory.
I do need to explain briefly how our rational ability is developed. A genuine rational ability is made up of true elements and not of false ones. Anything made up of false elements is not rational. There are three kinds of true elements: civic, moral, and spiritual. Civic truths have to do with judicial matters and the governmental affairs of nations—in general, with what is fair and equitable. Moral truths have to do with matters of personal life in its societal and social contexts, in general with what is honest and upright, and in particular with all kinds of virtues. Spiritual truths, however, have to do with matters of heaven and the church, in general with what is good in respect to love and what is true in respect to faith.
There are three levels of life in every individual (see above, Section 267). Our rational ability is opened at the first level by means of civic truths, at the second level by moral truths, and at the third level by spiritual truths.
We need to realize, though, that our rational ability is not formed and opened simply by virtue of our knowing these truths, but by virtue of our living by them. Living by them means loving them out of a spiritual affection; and loving them out of a spiritual affection means loving what is fair and equitable because it is fair and equitable, what is honest and upright because it is honest and upright, what is good and true because it is good and true. On the other hand, living according to them and loving them out of a physical affection is loving them for the sake of oneself, one’s repute, prestige, or profit. Consequently, to the extent that we love these truths out of a carnal affection, we do not become rational because we do not love them; we love ourselves, with the truths serving us the way slaves serve their master. When truths become slaves, they do not become part of us or open any level of our life, not even the first. Rather, they stay in our memory like information in material form and unite with love for ourselves there, which is a physical love.
We may gather from this how we become rational, namely that at the third level it is through a spiritual love of what is good and true in regard to heaven and the church; at the second level it is through a love of what is honest and upright; and on the first level it is through a love of what is fair and equitable. The latter two loves also become spiritual from a spiritual love of what is good and true that flows into them and unites itself to them and forms its own face in them, so to speak.
from Heaven and Hell, Sections 467, 468
Section 267: Published 10/20/2017