In the first article we traced some of the stages by which mankind was led by Divine Providence to the realization of the differences between the soul and the body, and to recognize that the mind had at least a claim to be regarded as a real substance and a distinct entity. The ensuing dilemma—caused by the apparent impossibility of any intercourse between two so diverse substances— was actually solved by Swedenborg the philosopher through his theory of the dynamic origin of matter; although the learned world has taken slight notice of this accomplishment. But this philosophic solution still leaves the difficulty of seeing what the essence of the soul or mind really is. Without a real idea of the soul— with merely the general definition that it is a “thinking substance,” as Descartes put it—the world was bound to drift into its present state of skepticism about its reality. And this was the reason why our philosopher was introduced into the spiritual world, to learn first-hand what the soul was, and to feel the marvelous reality of mental things and teach men of their destiny as immortal spirits.
This small book raises many questions in the mind of a reader of the works of Swedenborg. Like many other recent books written by scientists for laymen, it expresses a deep unrest among the scientists of today. Fifty years ago the scientist was secure in his belief that matter was fundamental: that it behaved according to fixed laws as a result of forces in the surroundings. He was confident that while as yet he did not know all the laws, still they were knowable. Further research would bring him step by step nearer to a complete understanding of the operation of nature.