Atmospheric Contagions

cellular-virusEverything is either evolving or involving.

The food we eat evolves in our digestive systems to maintain our health while the things the body cannot make use of involves and is jettisoned out (if our stools remained in our bodies, we would succumb to all kinds of diseases).

Same with the air that we breathe in each day. “Air” is a higher form of food, without which we would die within minutes. Air also contains more elements and effluvia than we are aware of.

According to scientist/theologian Emanuel Swedenborg, air brings in more nourishment to our bodies than physical foodstuffs. He also stated that our lungs absorb different substances out of the atmosphere—according to our various states of mind and its passions.

George Gurdjieff took this concept of breathing as a form of “eating” even further. He commented that if we exhale important elements out of our lungs because we have ignored our spiritual challenges, these elements are not only jettisoned out of our lungs, but failing to fulfill their intended and providential purpose of feeding a higher, spiritual consciousness in us, involving in the atmosphere to form various contagions (like viruses).

In other words, when we care only for ourselves, we take in less atmospheric elements (Swedenborg called these rarefied elements “atmospheric salts”) than when we sincerely care for others. So when humanity becomes less spiritual, we create the very conditions in the atmosphere that nurture diseases, especially those that infect the lungs (which represent negative influences that adversely affect our understanding and rational minds). Evidence for this sorry state of affairs is that these diseases and contagions are not foreign, but have a built-in affinity for thriving within the organic structure of our lungs (as though they were coming home to roost).

Such profound knowledge will take part in the future of medicine.

Our actions (and passions) determine our health—on many, many levels.

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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2 Responses to Atmospheric Contagions

  1. George Gantz says:

    Wow – thanks for the great post, Ed. I’ve read a few things recently about what science has found about smell and taste. We know so very little about them, but we do know the senses that are stimulated seem to head to our emotional centers first, rather than the rational. As a result our reactions to smells and taste – the craving response, or the disgust response – are powerfully intuitive. I’m reminded of Swedenborg’s descriptions of the “putrid” odors associated with hell – clearly the responses of the human body are in correspondance with the spiritual reality. Then there are the new findings about the beneficial aspects of a healthy human biome within the digestive system – perhaps we have a similar (as yet unknown to science) symbiosis within or breathing system. Although there is increasing awareness of pathogens and irritants in the air we breathe and our need to defend against them, I have not read anything scientific about the positive benefits of breathing other than oxygen-carbon transfer. The yogic concept of “prana” – life force – seems to be a little closer to what you are talking about. Science has a ways to go to catch up.

    • thegodguy says:

      Dear George,

      Thank you!

      Yes, Swedenborg claimed that the atmosphere contained effluvia of all kinds, which individuals draw out and absorb, according to the quality of their “loves.” They act as a higher kind of food. These atmospheric substances go into forming a “body” for a deeper level of our psychic being. Impressions and ideas are a third kind of food, which can be either worldly or spiritual.

      Spiritually yours,

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