Arcana Coelestia (Elliott) n. 6811

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6811. How eagerly they investigate and absorb items of knowledge - the kinds of things on the level of memory above the perceptions of the physical senses - was made clear to me by the fact that when they looked at what I knew about heavenly things they ran quickly through it all, saying repeatedly, That is so, that is so. For when spirits come to a person they enter into possession of his entire memory and call forth from it the things suited to them; indeed, as I have often observed, they gather those things from it like information from a book. The spirits belonging to Mercury did this very skillfully and quickly, for they did not pay attention to the kinds of things that slow one down and that restrict and consequently hamper one's inner vision, as all earthly and bodily interests do when they have become one's end in view, that is, when one loves them to the exclusion of all else. The spirits fixed their attention on the things of real importance, for things that have nothing earthly attached to them carry the mind upwards and so into a wide field of vision, whereas wholly material things carry it downwards and so into a narrow one. Their eagerness to acquire knowledge was also made plain to me by the following experience. I was once writing about things to come. Being a long way off, those spirits could not inspect the things in my memory; and because I did not wish to read those things aloud in their presence they were extremely annoyed and wished uncharacteristically to rail against me, saying that I was a very wicked man, and other such things. To show their feeling of anger they created in the right side of my head down to my ear a kind of tightening, and pain with it; but such treatment caused me no harm. Yet because they were acting badly they went further and further away from me, though they kept on halting, wishing to know what I had written about things to come. Such is their desire for knowledge.

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