Blinded by love. Or going beyond kindness.

We usually associate the phrase “blinded by Love” with making a poor decision about some romantic partner. In other words, true love demands proper judgment or discernment.

According to scientist/theologian Emanuel Swedenborg, the human emotion of love must be educated by the intellect. This is called human reasoning, which can ultimately lead to wisdom. When Jesus was asked, what were the greatest commandments, he answered Loving God and loving the neighbor.  This answer, while straightforward, involves unique knowledge.

Having studied the likes of Swedenborg and also George Gurdjieff, I have become convinced that such Love goes beyond kindness or going to church or donating money to worthy causes. What these two unique men revealed was that spiritual growth involves more than kind acts. Certainly all kind acts are beneficial, but do they make someone spiritual in the way that our Lord hoped for?

Some people believe spiritual growth means to jump in and start being nice and pleasant to others. So they immediately decide to perform acts of goodness—especially when others are looking. However, being nice and doing good can actually blind us from taking a true spiritual path. We have to look beyond kindness and make a real inventory of our inner motives and expectations. True spiritual love emerges, based on the depth of one’s sincerity and innocence.

Being nice in order to increase one’s standing, reputation, honor or wealth can be motives so deeply entrenched in our psyche that they can lie undetected and hidden from our normal daily consciousness. Such “worldly” acts of kindness lack real sincerity and easily corrupt innocence.

That is why Emanuel Swedenborg claimed that the first operation in achieving spiritual goodness was identifying hidden and negative dispositions—then asking for God’s help in resisting them. This is the only way to make our acts of charity truly innocent.

The reason Swedenborg spends so much time writing about and describing the hateful and negative behavior of evil spirits (in all its horrible detail) is so that the reader can indirectly recognize and see these things in him or herself. Today, most people go to church to feel good about themselves and want only to be comforted (and few ministers will dare to challenge them or say things that make them uncomfortable for fear of losing parishioners).

Gurdjieff’s genius was putting people in situations that allowed them to make unflattering self-discoveries. Left to ourselves, we drown out such rude awakenings by various means of illusion. Few people want to have their masks removed.

Love is not one simple concept, either. There are three universal types of love: love of self, love of the world, and spiritual or heavenly love. Only through sincere self-exploration can we determine which love guides and rules our heart.  The future of religion will depend on its ability to provide the proper training for this inner journey of self-exploration. And, that will depend on how many church leaders have actually gone through the grindstone themselves and successfully emerge from this procedure to obtain legitimate spiritual development (something not taught in seminary).

We are born not for our own sakes, but for the sakes of others. Otherwise, society would not last long. God’s heavenly kingdom could not be anything other than a society where there is mutual love from spiritual principles.


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
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4 Responses to Blinded by love. Or going beyond kindness.

  1. Ann Seeker says:

    Thank you for this post. This is a concept that so many people miss because it really is harder to take a sincere look at oneself than to go out and ‘do good’ to others. I think that is what happened with the Catholic priests that we have heard about in the news. They are also an example of Gurdjieff’s law of octaves where something eventually becomes its own opposite.

  2. thegodguy says:

    Dear Ann,

    Thanks for the positive response! I hope you obtain a copy of my new book “Proving God.” My chapter on hypnotism and the last chapter will be of special interest to you.

    Spiritually yours,

  3. trudom22 says:

    How faith influences your daily life: I believe that one should always look for the best in people. By taking the time to say something to someone, ANY one, to brighten their day and to make them smile and feel good about themselves – why would anyone not want to do this?

    • thegodguy says:

      The caveat – as long as we acknowledge that sincere kindness (spiritual goodness) comes from the Lord God acting through us and not from ourselves.

      Spiritually yours,

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