2. Whatever we do from our freedom, whether we have thought it through rationally or not, seems to be ours as long as it is in accord with our reason.

The clearest way to show what the rationality and freedom are that are proper to humans is to compare us with animals. They have no rationality or ability to comprehend and no freedom or ability to intend freely. Instead of discernment they have knowledge, and instead of intention they have desire, both on the physical level.

Since they lack these two abilities, they also lack thinking. Instead of thinking, they have an inner sight that is merged with their outer sight because it answers to it.

Every impulse or desire has its own partner or spouse. A desire of physical love has knowledge, a desire of spiritual love has intelligence, and a desire of heavenly love has wisdom. This is because a desire without its partner—its spouse, so to speak–is nothing. It is like a reality with no manifestation or a substance with no form, neither of which can have any attributes. This is why there is something in everything that has been created that we can trace back to the marriage of what is good and what is true, as I have often explained before [Sections 5–9, 11].

In animals, there is a marriage of desire and knowledge. The desire involved comes from what is good on the physical level, and the knowledge comes from what is true on the physical level.

Now, their desires and their knowledge act in absolute unison, and their desires cannot rise above the level of their knowledge or their knowledge above the level of their desires: if they do rise, they both rise together. Further, they have no spiritual mind into which—or into whose light and warmth—they can rise. Consequently, they do not have an ability to discern, or rationality, and do not have an ability to intend freely, or freedom. Instead they have simply physical desires and the knowledge that goes with them. Their physical desires are desires to find food and shelter, to procreate, and to avoid being hurt, with all the knowledge these impulses need.

Since this is the nature of their life, they cannot think, “I want this,” or “I do not want this,” or “I know this,” or “I do not know this,” let alone “I understand this” or “I love this.” They are simply carried along by their desires according to their knowledge without reasoning or freedom.

This “carrying” comes not from the physical world but from the spiritual world, since there is nothing in the physical world that is not connected to the spiritual world. That is the source of every cause that makes something happen. There will be more on this below (see Section 96).

from Divine Providence, Section 74

Notes:

Sections 5-11: Published 3/3/2022-3/10/2022

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