EMANUEL SWEDENBORG (1688-1772), AUGUST STRINDBERG (1849-1912) Страница 9 of 12
the method taps into Swedenborgian images, symbols and associations, which amplify aesthetically the doctrine of correspondences and thus add new forms to the treasury of world literature. Strindberg uses the doctrine not only because of his ambition to prove himself as an occultist and an esoteric thinker with a particular contribution to science, or para-science, but also because as an artist he believes that the acquisition of this knowledge provides one with a peculiar form of intellectual and emotional literacy, which lies at the core of a new aesthetic, giving access to a universal set of values that art can and must make available to modern man. Reality, transformed into a metaphor, becomes its own metamorphosis, which is a dimension peculiar to myth. Such transfiguration, then, provides the culture of art with a ground that it shares with myth in a magical or even hypnotic manner. This is confirmed by Swedenborg’s theosophy, which has preserved both the vitality of cosmogonist myths, and the power of their philosophical and literary emanations. This mythical quality is peculiar to the work of thinkers and writers associated with Neoplatonism, which should be seen as an invariant of esotericism; Neoplatonist ideas have actually been influential in art, literature and philosophy over the centuries. The parallels between Plotinus’ Neoplatonism and the doctrine of correspondences actually delineate the contours of that “organic synthesis between theology, philosophy and empirical science, containing the ultimate truth of knowledge, which free theosophy is” 5, according to Solovyov’s definition. This is a synthesis that both Swedenborg and Strindberg would have been in favor of.
Like Swedenborg, Strindberg takes up the tough yet intellectually stimulating experiment which involves merging natural science and metaphysics into an all-encompassing field of knowledge as well as replacing the well-established old hierarchy of the earthly and the celestial with an integrated nature, which is actually equivalent to a universum. This nature is interpreted by the scientist in the discourse of cause-and-effect relations, whereas the writer recreates it with his emotion, while at the same time analyzing it with his mind. The parallel between the two great Swedes is symbiotically useful for both, since it rests upon a constant and growing interest in their legacy to this day. It wouldn’t be far-fetched to claim that Strindberg adds to his stature thanks to the scientific and philosophical originality of Swedenborg’s work, which has enriched science and literature not only with its seminal insights into the order of the universe, but also with the scope of its unbridled imagination, with its poetic quality and with its scale. Being at the same time a reader, an interpreter and a communicator, Strindberg has transferred the inexhaustible resource of analogy into the space of modern literature and art, among whose innovators he stands out thanks to his idiosyncratic reading and application of Swedenborg’s doctrine.