Today we are living in a world in which the fundamental axioms of Aristotelian philosophy are being challenged. The question as to the existence of a basic substance behind the properties and phenomena of things is of slight interest to the scientist. Substance—he claims—cannot be demonstrated scientifically and seems to dissolve under his eyes into mere patterns of force or quantities of energy.
One of the last of Swedenborg’s philosophic works is now printed under the title The Rational Psychology. In it we have the scientist and philosopher with his knowledge of the soul’s kingdom so well mastered that he dares to penetrate to the distinctly human planes of life within the body, to write of will and understanding, affections, morality, and all of the many tones and moods of the human mind. The arresting feature of this work is the way Swedenborg pinpoints and describes mental activities in terms of specific motions, fluids and organs in the physical body. If he has not located the soul, he has at least located the human mind and has treated it, not like a series of exhalations or ghost-like forms remotely linked with the body, but as an organism whose changes of state and whose infinitely varying forms are actual affections and thoughts.
It is a great pleasure to see in print this fifth volume of an eight-volume project undertaken by the Swedenborg Society. In appearance and workmanship the project is a fine example of the high standards of care and scholarship which the New Church has come to associate with the Swedenborg Society, and which will make it of lasting value to the scholars and translators of the Church.