Image: Goda Palekaitė, 2019
I have seen palaces in heaven that were so splendid as to be beyond description. Their upper stories shone as though they were made of pure gold, and their lower ones as though they were made of precious gems. It was the same inside. The rooms were graced with such lovely adornments that neither words nor the arts and sciences are adequate to describe them. The architecture of heaven is like this, so that you might call it the very essence of the art — and small wonder, since the art itself does come to us from heaven.
Heaven and Hell, Emanuel Swedenborg*, 1758
Emanuel Swedenborg (1688-1772) was Sweden’s most underestimated futurist. During his lifetime, he was very well known as anatomist, astronomer, botanist, chemist, cosmologist, crystallographer, economist, editor, engineer, geologist, mathematician, medium, metallurgist, mineralogist, philosopher, physicist, poet, and theologian. At the age of 56, he started having intense dreams and visions, which made him turn away from science towards mysticism. After this transformative period, he devoted the rest of his life to theologian writings, mostly regarding the afterlife including descriptions of the architecture of heaven with engineer’s precision. He claimed to be as objective in his mystical practices as in the scientific ones. Due to his involvement in mysticism, Swedenborg’s groundbreaking inventions such as the flying machine (1716) and the prototype of modern submarine (1714), were ignored by the scientific community for nearly two centuries.
Last modified: August 24, 2020