Van Dusen’s descriptions of the voices of the lower order correspond exactly with Swedenborg’s devils. They are like drunken bums at a bar. They make fun of the patient and do their best to torment him. They know what the patient is thinking and use his or her thoughts to their own advantage. They often torment the patient for years on end. They take good memories and make them appear evil. They make death threats and falsely foretell disaster. They give advice, and then mock the patient for following it. They can cause physical deformities and cripple a patient in various ways by working on a body part until they “possess” it. An example of this reported by Van Dusen was a voice that worked on a patient’s eye which eventually went out of alignment. They can even cause pain as a way to enforce their will.
Low order voices can disrupt a patient’s natural thought processes by shouting at random times. They never have, or admit to a personal identity. They do not seem to have stores of knowledge of their own, and must dig the knowledge out of the patient’s memory in order to torment him. In this respect, they seem to possess nothing more than ill-defined urges to do whatever damage they can.
Many of them are ignorant of their own status and believe that the patient’s body is their own, and that the patient’s soul is the invader. They are extremely irreligious, or overtly anti-religious. Some describe themselves as demons from Hell, or even as Satan himself. Some insist that they are Jesus Christ, but their bragging and evil thoughts make it apparent that they are of the lower order. Finally, they lie about virtually everything.
There can be many such malevolent entities, all “living” in a patient’s mind and exerting their will separately or as a group. This is reminiscent of Jesus’ possessed patient. When he queried the demon on its name, the reply was “’Legion”, for many demons had entered into him.” It is also consistent with Dr. Wickland’s experiences (chapter 10). He treated many cases in which he had to remove multiple spirits from individual patients.
Van Dusen’s description of the higher order corresponds exactly with Swedenborg’s description of angels. Higher order hallucinations are much rarer than low order hallucinations. Van Dusen found that fewer than about 20% of reported hallucinations were helpful, or “angelic.” High order personalities seldom speak, preferring instead to communicate in symbols and visions. They do not intrude unbidden on the patient’s consciousness or his freedom, and respect his or her privacy, withdrawing if they frighten the patient.
In direct contrast to the lower order, the higher order tends to be religious. They help and instruct the patient rather than frighten and dominate him or her. They communicate with the patient’s feelings rather than speaking audibly. They are much more powerful than entities of the lower order and appear to have power over them.
Unlike the lower order, they possess vast stores of knowledge of their own; frequently well beyond the knowledge possessed by the patient. They act more like teachers, helping to expand the patient’s knowledge, elevating and enlarging his or her ideals, values and modes of thinking. They are akin to wise and kind teachers who’s only wish is to help their students.
Although the higher order has power over the lower order, they do not generally interfere directly with them except at times when the patient him or herself is “ready” to receive a positive lesson. Why this is so is something of a mystery, although the higher order entities tell Van Dusen that the lower order DO have a function in that they illuminate the patient’s faults, presumably to allow the patient to correct them.
Emanuel Swedenborg would agree:
“There is such conjunction between the spiritual world and the natural world in man that the two are seemingly one… [It is] provided that there should be angels and spirits with each individual.” With every individual there are good spirits and evil spirits… by the two he is kept in equilibrium, and being in equilibrium he is in freedom.”
“Good and evil are two opposites. Unless man were between these two he could have no thought nor any will, still less any freedom or any choice, for all these man has by virtue of the equilibrium between good and evil..”..
“Every man in respect to his Spirit, even while he is living in the body, is in some society with spirits although he does not know it”
Heaven and its Wonders and Hell