The relationship of the 'literal sense' to 'meaningful coincidence'.
The Literal Sense as Emanuel Swedenborg wrote about it is concerned with stories in the Bible. The way I became aware of it had nothing to do with the Bible, but I believe it is the same mechanism of mind at work. It seems almost certain to be what C. G. Jung defined as a 'transcendent function', and Jung was obviously very much influenced by Emanuel Swedenborg's Writings. Because I knew nothing about either Swedenborg or Jung when I began to experience a change in my hearing, as well as what I saw and what I understood when I listened to someone, read words in a book or heard words irregardless of their original context, it was necessary to try to find my own words to describe this changed 'world' that emerged. My own 'ignorance' caused me to become aware of several attributes of the 'literal sense' to which Swedenborg makes vague reference before I read anything he'd written about it. His term 'double thought' was actually in the first paragraph I read in a booklet titled, God, Man and Communication by George Dole and Wilson Van Dusen! It was an unusual term, I remember pausing to try to think what it could mean.
It was an incident of 'incredible coincidence' but I did not know enough at that point to understand that 'double thought' actually described what I was trying to understand myself. The title of the booklet, God, Man and communication is more than a co-incidence, it also 'referred to' a detail about what was happening at the time I read the booklet. It was in about 1988 that I read the booklet, and it was more than 10 years later that I really understood what I'm writing now.
I became aware of the 'literal sense' and many of it's attributes before I read anything by Swedenborg when certain very ordinary seeming interactions in square-dancers came to my attention. Trying to learn challenge level squaredancing had become a fascination to me, but I wasn't alone in that passion. The same people met several times a week for a period of about 7 years prior to 1984 and they were a kind of family by then. There were moments when I noticed someone do something that was habitual, but I wondered why I noticed it NOW. I noticed that men responded to the callers 'jokes' in a certain way one evening, then I noticed the same thing happened all the time! The caller prefaced a call directed towards the men as active dancers: "Geniuses......" and they smiled at each other appreciatively, nodding with agreement to the term 'geniuses' applied to them. When the women became the active dancers, the caller paused as though he knew what he was doing, then he said: "Teachers of the geniuses...." to the women. There was a brief startled look on the men's face, and then another look: "Aw, he's only joking...he's not serious...". This particular caller had a habit that made him unpopular with most dancers although he remained my favorite caller because he was so inventive and creative in his calling. Someone had to tell me they didn't like him because he repeated the same effusively flattering 'jargon' to his dancers year after year. "You are the BEST DANCERS I HAVE EVER SEEN!"; NOBODY DOES THAT MOVEMENT AS WELL AS YOU DO IT!". It did not occur to me that anyone would think he meant what he said, in his exaggerated way and it puzzled me that I had not noticed this response from other people. It was 'joking', nothing literal at all.
The term 'literal sense' as he wrote about it did not come into my life until sometime in 1988. By that point in time I was so remote from 'now', the moment things happened, that I was in a real way nearly comatose. I know that I tried to keep everything going 'normally' but it was nearly impossible because so many things that I looked at seemed different, my hearing had changed, my body was a wretched shell around me and I was constantly having to 'work' very hard to do the simplest tasks.
One evening I read a box advertisement in the newspaper about a lecture that would compare the writings of Emanuel Swedenborg with a book, Life After Life by an author I didn't know anything about. I don't know why I decided to attend the lecture but I did go. After the lecture I bought Heaven and Hell by Swedenborg but I didn't read it right away.
After I got home I wondered if two books I'd recently read, Men Who Have Walked With God by Sheldon Cheney and Cosmic Consciousness by M. Richard Bucke had any mention of Swedenborg in them. I had read the two books under an almost impossible to describe pressure to read them, they were not books that I would ordinarily choose. My head felt as though it would burst at times and I wanted to stop reading but could not. This was a very odd circumstance, feeling forced to read when it was so uncomfortable and certainly not interesting material to me. I knew nothing about 'illuminated lives' or moments of sudden 'illumination' that changed the life forever afterwards which was the topic in both books.
After the lecture it seemed that Swedenborg's name might have been mentioned in one or both books and when I checked them, it was in both books. Both authors mentioned Emanuel Swedenborg's name but his experience was not of the sort they were considering. There was a short mention of why his name was omitted. Sheldon Cheney remarked that Swedenborg wrote as though he were an on the scene reporter.
It was some months before I realized that I had read a book based on Swedenborgian ideas before reading Men Who Have Walked With God and Cosmic Consciousness when I had read Presence of Other Worlds by Wilson Van Dusen. How it came about that I made this discovery was that I'd paused for some time over a paragraph in the book that contained 'double thought'. The two words came into my thought one day, but I couldn't remember exactly what the paragraph was about other than that it had been in that book. When I retrieved the book to try to locate that paragraph, I read enough of the book to wonder how it could be that Swedenborg's name had not registered at all! I had the compulsion to read books that somehow came to my attention in a variety of places, and at that point I was beginning to have a sense that words, real words were emerging from the compulsion but they were more like a fragrance that identified them, just wafting gently towards being real words. "Read the words anyway, pay no attention to whether you understand them or not." After some time they were real words of thought, a detail that certainly puzzled me because I remembered how they had been 'sensed' as though from a distance. There was a difference when they were 'real words'; they had authority however as a compulsion and did not change.
Before I did read Heaven and Hell I read two books by another author that had been unknown to me: The Fourth Way by P. D. Ouspensky and In Search of The Miraculous