Monday, August 8, 2016

(6) EMANUEL SWEDENBORG, DREAM DIARY



I am currently reading Emanuel Swedenborg’s book on his dreams, the Dream Diary, or Drömboken as it is called in Swedish.

This pre new age thinker and maybe the last grand renaissance man of Western history, who lived in the 18th century, was a talented and super active writer and scientist, who seemed to know most important people in Europe.

In his native Sweden he dealt with nearly everything important and was a part of the elite ruling forces of the country. He was a late Swedish Leonardo, spiced up by his religious creativity, which can sometimes be seen as proto surrealist.

In one of his books Swedenborg explains that he visited heaven and that punch is served at 6 PM. (It seems that life in Heaven was at that time pretty much like the life of the Swedish aristocracy.) He also left pastries outside of his house for the Angels.

I read Swedenborg of course in Swedish, my cripple second language, and it is a real jouissance to work oneself through old idioms and the traditional way of writing. If anything, this is dreamlike. Was this language really written in this way in the 18th century? All those historical echoes, all that depth of a history of a language!

The dreams? Well, I was surprised to see how simple and contemporary they were, but I suppose that dreams are mostly about everyday incidents and plain symbols, not about historical paradigms. Dreams in 1743-1744 were as much about dogs, snakes and friends as they are today, even if they had been experienced and written down by one of the freakiest men of the century.

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