The answer lies within the abnormal psyche of human beings. To explain this abnormality we must trace our lives back to infancy.
Infants, while lacking knowledge, act openly from their hearts. They hide nothing nor do they present a false image of themselves to the world. They simply are who they are.
Later in life, as a child grows and becomes educated as to the ways of the world, he or she learns how to “live in Rome and do as the Romans do.” Unfortunately, this “artificial” consciousness, through habit, gains a life of its own to the extent that we start to accept it as our true mind and individuality.
The process of maturing and learning in the modern world causes the human psyche to actually split. The real person or “inner child” is covered over by the emerging false or artificial worldly consciousness and becomes one’s subconscious mind.
This split allows the human brain to compartmentalize valuable knowledge in a way that it can be manipulated to create (simulate) a certain image of oneself to the world in order to promote one’s reputation—without exposing one’s “inner lord.” Even worse, since one’s artificial mind is the gatekeeper of the five senses and the functioning of the corporeal memory it can shield a person from allowing what a person knows to challenge what a person does. So a split psyche not only lets us fool others but also keeps us in a state of self-delusion.
This split in the human psyche can make a mockery of our highest education and scholarship.
According to scientist/theologian Emanuel Swedenborg, Holy Scripture, when more deeply understood, addresses the problem of the split human psyche. (For those of you familiar with Swedenborg’s theological writings, you will see that the Genesis story of Joseph interpreting the dreams of both an Egyptian butler and baker and finally the Pharaoh himself address this split in the human natural mind.)
Swedenborg called these two minds the exterior and the interior natural minds. The interior (subconscious) natural mind is who we really are—our genuine selves—the good and the bad. It is also where God carefully stores heavenly inclinations within each of us (called “remains”) that will serve as a future matrix for our spiritual rebirth. The problem is that the interior mind remains undeveloped and childlike because the exterior or artificial personality prevents knowledge from penetrating more deeply into the human psyche. In order to allow helpful knowledge (like the Ten Commandments) to penetrate more deeply, an individual must be willing to make unflattering discoveries about him or herself – whereby one’s knowledge and actions make contact leading to a clash of contradictions. This painful clash is nothing less than spiritual combat, which “awakens” the subconscious mind (with its remains) and allows it to come front and center.
The reason why this combat is critical is because the quality of one’s inner natural mind represents the quality of spirit that we each take with us into the spiritual world.