Wise and Simple People in Heaven (Continued)

By pseudo-intelligence and wisdom we mean not seeing and grasping what is true and good (and therefore what is false and evil) from within oneself, but only believing that things are true and good or false and evil because someone else says so, and then ratifying it. Since such people are not seeing what is true on the basis of its truth but only on someone’s authority, they can just as well latch onto something false as something true and believe it, and even rationalize it until it actually seems to be true. Whatever is rationalized takes on the appearance of truth, and there is nothing that cannot be rationalized. Their deeper levels are open only downward, and their outer levels are opened to the extent that they have made up their minds. So the light they see from is not heaven’s light but the world’s light, which is called “natural illumination.” In this light, false things can shine as though they were true. In fact, once they have become matters of complete conviction, they can even glow, though not in heaven’s light.

The less intelligent and wise people of this sort are those who have convinced themselves of a great many opinions, and the more intelligent and wise are the ones who have convinced themselves of fewer.

We can see from all this what pseudo-intelligence and wisdom are.

However, this category does not include people who as children believed as true what they heard from their teachers, if in later youth, when they began to think on their own, they did not hang on to these opinions but had a longing for truth, sought it because of their longing, and were moved inwardly when they found it. Because they are moved by truth for its own sake, they see what is true before they make it a matter of conviction.

An example may serve to illustrate this. Some spirits were engaged in a conversation about the reason why animals are born into all the knowledge that is appropriate to their natures, while humans are not. They were told that this is because animals are wholly engaged in the pattern appropriate to their lives, while we are not; so we have to be led into that pattern by means of insights and information. If we were born into the pattern of our lives, which is loving God above all and our neighbor as ourselves, we would be born into intelligence and wisdom and therefore into a trust in everything true to the extent that our insights built up. The good spirits immediately saw and grasped that this was so, simply from the light of truth. However, some spirits who had convinced themselves of faith alone and had therefore pushed love and thoughtfulness aside could not understand it, because the light of false convictions obscured the light of truth for them.

from Heaven and Hell, Section 352

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