Everyone can comprehend the reality that if you throw a stone into the air it will fall back to earth. This universal law of nature can be applied to our lives as well. The human mind can also rise up to noble and rarefied ideals but then come crashing down if it allows the physical body to succumb to the vanities and allurements of the world.
However, even a person who sustains his or her spiritual integrity must eventually come back down to earth in order to be truly useful to society. But in this second scenario the body is acting in conjunction with the higher ideals of the mind (so there is no crash).
According to scientist/theologian Emanuel Swedenborg the growth of the human mind is based on God’s strategy of salvation. I have studied his ideas for dozens and dozens of years and noticed that this divine strategy moves in two opposite directions!
In Swedenborg’s book Divine Love And Wisdom he describes an upward trajectory in human mental growth. As children, we first develop our minds from an innate curiosity and affection for knowledge. Later as we get older, we seek to understand more deeply what we know in our memory. Finally, we seek from our understanding the things that most represent truth for us in order to acquire wisdom. It is at this stage when an individual is seeking truth and wisdom that the Lord God wishes to instill spiritual principles.
In Swedeborg’s biblical exegesis, the Arcana Coelestia (heavenly secrets), he describes a downward trajectory. This downward trajectory is symbolically expressed in the Genesis story of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Abraham, who was guided by God to go on a special journey, represents one who has been given spiritual principles. This wisdom is only intellectual and is not yet real spiritual wisdom until it affects the heart. In order to affect the heart, spiritual wisdom must bring forth a new activity in the understanding (rational mind) and a new activity in the body (from the corporeal/natural mind). The birth of Isaac and Jacob represent the downward trajectory and progeny of God’s wisdom bringing forth new activity in the human mind and bodily action (spiritual deeds).
Obviously, one isn’t really wise unless one acts wisely in the body and in the world.
People can acquire great knowledge and still act like fools.