Who are you—between the ridicule and the compliments?

We all go through life experiencing moments of ridicule and moments of praise. What usually goes unnoticed during this spectrum of life-experiences is the question of who we really are.

Are we subject to the changing winds of an idiosyncratic world?

We feel personally diminished when we receive ridicule or go unappreciated and fully validated when our efforts receive positive attention. But what does that say about who we are? How can our individuality be composed of different people and different identities according to outward situations? Rarely does it ever occur to us that the permanence of our individuality and being has no basis in reality.

This makes us too much of a moving target to benefit from God’s mercy. (This is why Holy Scripture describes a person as “legion.”)

If we allow ourselves to be subjected to such character swings, do we dare expect only good things will happen to us when we leave our physical bodies at death and have the character traits of our inner spirits peeled away to reveal who we really are—when we don’t even know ourselves? Such hope and faith is nothing more than a throw of the dice.

Scientist/theologian, Emanuel Swedenborg made some rare self-observations that seemed to “rattle” him to the core. He discovered from his writing projects that if he removed his desire for worldly honors and the enhancement of reputation from his peers, his passion to write simply evaporated. Later writings clearly show he adopted a more humble attitude and learned to accept bad sales numbers for his unique publications. This humility allowed him to continue to write many volumes to his dying days.

So, the Swedish seer was able to discover that true universal religion involved two types of knowledge—“knowing God” and knowing “thyself.” Both are needed to “snap us out of our earthly trance” and create an angelic personality with permanence.

Swedenborg had become engaged in finding permanence of personality in his own life through the uncomfortable process of uncovering his character flaws and aligning his heart and mind with God. This allowed him to procure a Ruling Love that fused his behavior into a more unified (and heavenly) order. So while continuing to experience both ridicule and praise from the terrestrial world, his character became inwardly consistent.

So watch for inconsistencies in your own behavior. If you don’t, you will not know what needs to be changed and will be forced to live out each day according to the various blowing winds of life.


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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6 Responses to Who are you—between the ridicule and the compliments?

  1. Interesting post- comforting to read that my 50 percent ridicule is probably a common occurence for most people. I often let the ridicule cancel the praise- maybe because the ridicule is so much more important? It is the ridicule that takes away opportunity and the praise that offers it.

    Very interesting paragraph about Emanuel Swedenborg. I’ll definitely read him now, thanks.

    • thegodguy says:

      Yes! By all means read Swedenborg’s theological works. He also wrote volumes on science – with ideas even more advanced than found in contemporary models of reality. My last book “Proving God” shows how his thinking unifies science and theology!

      Spiritually yours,

      • oh- I may be familiar with your book- if it’s the spawn of TV’s “Proving God”. Anyway, regarding Swedenborg, I feel like I’ve hit a nail- in my discussions with people regarding God or spirituality I have always naturally taken the combo posture of God and science. How can anything else be? (me, not being an atheist).

  2. thegodguy says:

    My book is exclusively the spawn of Swedenborg’s ideas (and to a lesser extent, the ideas of George Gurdjieff). The unification of science and theology is going to become the biggest topic of the 21st Century!


  3. swword says:

    Hi GoodGuy,

    Interesting blog! Thank you.
    I have many of Swedenborg’s books and would like to read more on some of the specific points that you make. If you have time to cite a reference or two in some of your blogs it would surely be appreciated. Sending blessings your way. Thank you.

    • thegodguy says:

      Dear swword,

      Thank you for your thoughtful recommendation. In some cases I cite references from Swedenborg and sometimes I don’t. It is simply the way I write. When you have read Swedenborg for as long as I have and come from a creative background you tend to want to move beyond “analysis” and on to “synthesis.” My writing (blogs and books) represents a new synthesis of Swedenborg’s ideas (which include his scientific works and the works of George Gurdjieff). My mission is to communicate Swedenborg’s ideas in a new way that will capture the imagination of the world (more right-brained thinking and less left-brained thinking). Swedenborgians are being challenged to put “new wine into new bottles!” As an award-winning author I feel I am on the right track.

      Spiritually yours,

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