Thoroughly modern Millie gets the shock of her life!

Once upon a time there lived a fully liberated woman named Millie. She was highly self-motivated and took an intellectual interest in all matters concerning God and ultimate reality. This spiritual drive led her to the unique theological writings of Emanuel Swedenborg.

She also made contact with other people studying Swedenborg’s works on the Internet. Then one day she found a student of Swedenborg’s theology who had some very disturbing things to say. This individual claimed that hell was an eternal circumstance and that normal human experience operated under a form of hypnosis.

Millie strongly felt that a God of Infinite Love and Wisdom would always have a means by which those in hell could have a change of heart and be saved. (She had a dear friend named Hank who recently died and could not bear the thought that if he had made a mistake during his life he would be eternally damned.) As far as experiencing everyday life under some hypnotic spell, she felt this was a wacky idea since she went through great lengths to become enlightened and sophisticated.

On this particular day, Millie focused on the Genesis account in the Bible whereby God put Adam into a “deep sleep” and created a female partner out of his rib bone. This is exactly where the individual she was disagreeing with said that God first put humankind under a hypnotic spell.

As Millie came to this part in the Genesis narrative she prayed to God that she could receive further insights into this matter. She was most sincere in her efforts to find the truth.

Suddenly an angel appeared in her room!

Millie was stunned at first but soon realized that her prayers had been answered.

“Hello Millie, said the smiling angel. “It has pleased the Lord to send me to you and offer you further explanations to your readings of Scripture.”

“Did God hypnotize Adam?’ asked Millie with an indignant tone.

“Yes,” said the angel. “I am sure you realize from reading Swedenborg’s theology that God’s Holy Word contains higher levels of meaning.”

Millie nodded her head with an up-and-down motion.

“Then you know that God putting man into a deep sleep means that he allowed humans to gain a false sense of self-importance. ‘Eve’ represented this new passion. That Eve was created from a rib bone symbolizes that this new passion was formed from a part in humankind that was not very vital—from something relatively dead.  Swedenborg stated that early humans had the cognitive ability to see into the spiritual world and communicate with angels. These early humans could directly perceive that all their thoughts and feelings had their origins in God’s living activity and were received first by angels and spirits before reaching the minds of those on earth.” The angel then looked more deeply into Millie’s eyes and said, “Do you grasp what the significance of such a reality is?”

“I am not sure what you are getting at,” said Millie, somewhat confused.

“It means that humans are not life itself, but organic forms created to be recipients of God’s life,” said the angel in a most serious tone.

“I have read where Swedenborg states that, but my own living experience makes such a concept anti-intuitive.” Suddenly Millie passed out and collapsed on the floor. But she soon regained consciousness. “What happened to me?”

“The Lord allowed an experiment whereby His living influx was withheld from you for a few seconds. You went lifeless. If this experiment had been allowed to continue for a longer period of time you would have turned into froth and blown away into nothingness.”

“That is quite humbling!” said Millie.

“Precisely,” responded the angel. “A human could not consider his or her self-importance under such a reality. But humans became dissatisfied and began to long for another kind of reality—where they could entertain ideas of their self-importance and self-guidance. So God allowed humans to perceive non-reality. By necessity, the human race then lost its ability to communicate directly with heaven.”

“Why would God do that?” asked Millie with disbelief in her voice.

“God, in His eternal wisdom, knew that to preserve human free will He had to modify human cognition in a way that would allow men and women to deceive themselves. This would be impossible if humans could see where their thoughts and feelings originate from,” said the angel. “So God disconnected the functioning of their higher spiritual mind from their everyday psyche. Self-infatuation and self-love followed naturally from the intensification of this limited and disconnected mental state. This state is quite similar to hypnotic trance which makes humans vulnerable to suggestibility from the vanities and allurements of the world.”

Millie, feeling her worldview highly threatened by the angel’s words couldn’t restrain from blurting out, “You’re full of it!”

“Hold that thought,” said the angel seizing on an opportune moment to make a point.

Suddenly, Millie found herself able to see into the spiritual world! She found herself surrounded by angry spirits who despised what the angel was saying. And at the head of this yelling mob was her recently deceased friend Hank! He was shouting, “You’re full of it!”

Millie was shocked to see firsthand that her thoughts were coming from a particular society in the spiritual world that had shared similar worldviews. But when Hank began to spew out more venom with his words, she resisted.

She could see that Hank was now serving God’s purpose of offering opposing ideas and feelings, which she now rejected. She could also see that Hank was feeling real discomfort by this rejection and now could only feel delight by separating himself from her inner reality and associating himself with a society of spirits who were more successful at influencing humans. To Millie’s horror, she could see Hank moving deeper into hell.

The angel was pleased by Millie’s choice to resist negative influences. “You correctly believe that in the natural world all things are ecologically connected. Humans are also ecologically connected to the spiritual world as well. When you seek spiritual growth from free will you affect the biosphere of heaven and hell. God uses your conscious spiritual choices to help keep heaven and hell in their true ecological order. When you choose to live by God’s tenets you help the Lord accomplish this. Every time you conquer a compulsion or negative state you help God organize good spirits into heavenly societies and bad spirits into evil societies.”

“Oh no,” exclaimed Millie. “I helped send Hank to hell!”

The angel, sensing Millie’s distress allowed her to return to a self-calming state where she could again find comfort in her previous worldview. But the angel knew that the Lord’s Second Coming would require people to become de-hypnotized.

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About thegodguy

EDWARD F. SYLVIA, M.T.S. Philosopher/Theologian Edward F. Sylvia attended the School of Visual Arts in New York and received his Master of Theological Studies at the Pacific School of Religion in Berkeley, CA and a Certificate of Swedenborgian Studies from the Swedenborgian House of Studies. He is a member of the Center for Theology and the Natural Sciences (C.T.N.S.) and the Swedenborg Scientific Association (S.S.A.). Award-winning author of "Sermon From the Compost Pile: Seven Steps Toward Creating An Inner Garden" and "Proving God," which fulfills a continuing vision that God’s fingerprints of love can be found everywhere in the manifest universe. His most recent book, "Swedenborg & Gurdjieff: The Missing Links" is an edgy collection of anti-intuitive essays for personal transformation that challenges and inspires. He has been a student of the ideas of both Emanuel Swedenborg and George I. Gurdjieff for over thirty years. Read more about TheGodGuy, his books and his ideas at http://www.staircasepress.com
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4 Responses to Thoroughly modern Millie gets the shock of her life!

  1. Not Millie, but close... says:

    This is a pretty wild little story! And a great example of the hypnotism concept you’ve been discussing recently. I can see glimpses of this in myself when I can stop and “catch myself in the act.” Yikes.

    The influx scenario is also fascinating. Freaks me out a little to think about it… it’s probably good that we don’t get to experience this too often. We’re such fragile beings.

    Is there anything we can actually do to “de-hypnotize” ourselves? And if we were to succeed, do you think we could exist on a functional level within a society where no one else has awareness of this hypnotized state?

  2. thegodguy says:

    Dear “almost” Millie,

    My upcoming book “Proving God” covers this topic in more detail. But basically, following God’s tenets will de-hypnotize a person (provided one cleans the inside of his or her dish first).

    This is a big topic. Unfortunately, most people will not believe they go through life in a state of waking-sleep!

    Spiritually yours,
    TheGodGuy

  3. Not Millie, but close... says:

    You’re right. I sure don’t “want” to believe I’m “hypnotized,” but when I think about it, I can see some signs that we all are. (certainly not very good for one’s self-esteem!)

    I’ll be curious to read your book when it comes out and see what else you have to say about this. You’ve got a lot of courage, telling people things they may not want to hear. Even though it makes me a little uncomfortable, I’m grateful that you put it all out there for us to think about.

  4. thegodguy says:

    Dear “almost” Millie,

    According to Emanuel Swedenborg, evil spirits are always trying to get into our minds to do their bidding. They even distract our thoughts so that we are only focused on the various pleasures and therefore fail to properly reflect on these inner compulsions.

    When you know what a person loves you can control them (this is why flattery can be so potent).

    Spiritually yours,
    TheGodGuy

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