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Previous: 17.2 Spiritual, mental and physical Up: 17. We are Composite, as Spiritual, Mental and Physical Next: 18. We are Sustained by Influx From God, Directly and Indirectly

17.3 Realms

Let us consider what is necessary if love is to be retained in some way and if wisdom is also to be retained in a similar way. The first requirement is that what is retained be embodied in some kind of substance. The second requirement is that that substance be contained in some structure of other substances in order to protect and keep it until it is ready for operation. That other thing is like a cup or vessel for the first substance.

The first requirement is that love (or wisdom) be embodied in a substance. Substances, we remember from Chapter 4, are the persistent loves or dispositions for some action. The substance that can embody love, therefore, must be a substance that is active and preserves some particular tendency to action. Imagine this as similar to the way a hot gas preserves energy, where the high temperature entails a tendency such as pressure. Since the ‘substance that is active’ must (by Chapter 4) be a disposition (in this case, a love A), and since the preserved ‘tendency to action’ is also a disposition (in this case, another love, B say), then we have a love A for a love B.

The substance that can embody wisdom is similarly the love for wisdom. Wisdom, as a set of possible forms, cannot itself exist as an object, even a mental object, because it is not a substance. It can only be the form of a substance. Storage of wisdom requires a substance (which is a love) that is persistent but malleable. The love must be something that can take a form and keep it as long as needed with as little change as possible. This must be, therefore, a love for wisdom. Imagine this processes as similar to the way a white page or a blank slate may be imprinted with letter forms and preserve those forms unchanged until needed. Mentally, memory is like this, but even better would be a love that seeks out and assimilates forms (which are the objects of knowledge).

A substance that can embody effects is also needed. There has to be some kind of matrix or infrastructure of substances that can receive intentions from love and wisdom and generate a process of making permanent the effects of actions. These substances must be relatively inert, and so we will say that they are forms, not of loves but of dispositions. Dispositions in this sense are ‘reduced’ loves, and can be thought of as ‘dead’ rather than ‘living’ (as will be discussed in more detail in Chapter 24).

In order that these loves for love, and also the loves for wisdom and dispositions for effects, be kept available and ready for operation at a time to be chosen later, we asserted that they have to be preserved in some way and also kept separate from each other. We can think of this by analogy with many processes existing in nature. It is like our bodies keeping food until it is needed for living. The love and wisdom we receive from God are like spiritual food that is needed for our spiritual and mental lives.

Preserving and keeping these embodied loves or wisdoms separate is accomplished most easily by having ‘receptacles’ or ‘containers.’ I surmise that they interact with the retained substances in a minimal way, so as to preserve them as long as possible with minimal contamination from the outside. There are many similar processes in nature, such as blood being preserved in blood vessels or energy from the sun being preserved by photosynthesis.

Because we are now talking about possibilities for interactions and because these different possibilities have relations to each other, we have, as explained in Thompson (2010), the minimal ingredients for there being some kind of space. A space is a set of possibilities for interactions, where the different possibilities are related to each other by some predetermined principle, namely by extensive relations. We are not yet making assumptions about the overall topology of these spaces or whether they are continuous or metric spaces like the three-dimensional space we are acquainted with.

Whatever the topology might be, we conclude that each realm is in a space. More precisely: a space may be constructed in each case from the different possibilities for interactions. The result is that there is a spiritual space of loves, a mental space of ideas, and a physical space of effects.

Loves (or ideas) are in some kind of space of their own. We have not yet examined the relations between the loves of different people, the ideas of different people, or the effects of different people. Neither have we examined the relations between the love-space, the idea-space, and the effects-space of a given person. These issues will be discussed in the next chapter.

It appears that the substances making up the containers are more inert than those being contained. The interior substances--the loves for love and for wisdom--are ‘more like’ the source of life. The exterior substances--the receptacles of love and of wisdom--are ‘less like’ that source and ‘more like’ the final effects which are physical. These considerations will be discussed in more detail in later chapters. For now, we just give the more familiar names. The receptacle for love-substances is what is known as our will. Contained in our will we have loves, desires and feelings. The receptacle for wisdom-substances is what is known as our understanding, so contained in our understanding we have wisdom, intelligence and thoughts. The receptacle for effect-substances is what is known as our body, or nature more generally. Therefore contained in nature we have all the physical effects in the universe.


Previous: 17.2 Spiritual, mental and physical Up: 17. We are Composite, as Spiritual, Mental and Physical Next: 18. We are Sustained by Influx From God, Directly and Indirectly

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