There are three degrees of love and wisdom, and consequently three degrees of life, and that the human mind is formed into regions, as it were, in accordance with these degrees;
In the highest region life is in its highest degree, in the second region in a less degree, and in the outmost region in the lowest degree. These regions are opened in men successively
- the outmost region, where there is life in the lowest degree, from infancy to childhood; and this is done by means of knowledges:
- the second region, where there is life in a larger degree, from childhood to youth; and this is done by means of thought from knowledges:
- and the highest region, where there is life in the highest degree, from youth to early manhood and onward; and this is done by means of perceptions of moral and spiritual truths.
It must be further understood that it is not in thought that the perfection of life consists, but in the perception of truth from the light of truth. From this it may be inferred what the differences of life are in men; for there are some who the moment they hear a truth perceive that it is true; and these in the spiritual world are represented by eagles. There are others who have no perception of truth, but reach conclusions by means of confirmations from appearances; and these are represented by singing birds. Others believe a thing to be true because it has been asserted by a man of authority; these are represented by magpies.
Finally, there are some who have no desire and no ability to perceive what is true, but only what is false, for the reason that they are in a delusive light, in which falsity appears to be true, and what is true seems either like something overhead concealed in a dense cloud, or like a meteor, or like something false. The thoughts of these are represented by birds of night, and their speech by screech owls. Of this class those that have confirmed their falsities cannot bear to hear truths, and the moment any truth strikes the ear they repel it with aversion, as a stomach overcharged with bile from nausea vomits its food.