Portrait of Swedenborg by Carl Frederik von Breda.

By  Rony Lolano {Novelist}


A search in Professor Hovhanness I. Pilikian’s vast private archives delivered this gem of a documentary recording (by Mr. K. Arakelyan, London) of a landmark millennial lecture delivered by the Professor upon the invitation of the quaint English Swedenborg Society (founded in 1810, London).

See end of this article imported videos!

It celebrates Emanuel Swedenborg’s birthday in 2000.  Few may have heard of the Swedish sage – Swedenborg’s time seems not to have come yet, but it is definitely drawing nearer, thanks to initiatives like the one represented with this Documentary.   Swedenborg (1688-1772) was controversial and a legend even during his own lifetime.

“He was an intellectual brimful of dialectical contradictions, which confused – actually ‘drove mad’ – one of the greatest philosophers of all time, his younger namesake, the German contemporary Immanuel Kant (1724-1804)”, states Professor Pilikian (in a personal communication), and continues;

“Kant initially was absorbed by the narratives of ‘psychic powers’ circulating about Swedenborg – Kant took them very seriously for a study, especially as he was the great promoter of Plato’s concept of an ‘invisible reality’ (the ‘World of Pure Forms’) hidden behind (and beyond the visible world).  Kant wanted to be able to ‘see’/ grasp and ultimately define that world through human Reason – hence his unmitigated initial interest in Swedenborg’s work claiming to have already seen and visited that world (his book titled Heaven and Hell)… Later, predictably, and understandably, on closer study, the great philosopher became sceptical, and even ‘angry’, feeling cheated, mocking the Sage viciously, declaring him a fraud.  Fair enough, one would say.”

“But what was unforgivable, ethically reprehensible, and remains hitherto unobserved by historians of philosophy, is the fact that Kant (who was great on Ethics – the ‘Categorical Imperative’) shamelessly plagiarized one of Swedenborg’s most original scientific speculations (in 1734, in Principia; in Latin) referred to as the Nebular Hypothesis – a cosmological explanation of Cosmogony – the formation and evolution of the Solar system.  Even Kant’s book-title two decades later than Swedenborg’s own book, sounds … Swedenborgian; Allgemeine Naturgeschichte und Theorie des Himmels = General Natural History and theory of the Heavens, 1755.”

Although I myself am habituated to the Professor’s extraordinary discoveries in several fields of knowledge – he is perhaps the greatest outside-the-box Thinker of our century –

http://www.open.edu/openlearn/ people-politics-law/politics-p olicy-people/society-matters/t hinking-outside-the-box-resolv ing-the-palestinian-problem

I am nevertheless shocked by his unraveling of the great German philosopher’s plagiarism of the Swedish Sage, whose theological innovation seems even greater (in Professor Pilikian’s eyes) than his scientific speculation. Here are some more seismic eruptions of astral intellectual energy from the Professor’s pen;

“One of the great rabid anti-communist conspiracies in the History of the Mind, is the camouflage of the absolute fact that the young Karl Marx was an ardent disciple of … Jesus Christ – at seventeen – while most of today’s American youth is drunk, drugged and urinating in the streets of their big cities – the culture of High Capitalism, copy-catted by the European Union youth! – the young Karl Marx (attending the Trier Gymnasium ‘Grammar’ School) wrote in 1835 a profound interpretative essay (for graduation) on St. John’s Gospel Ch. 15:1-14, titled The Union of the Faithful with Christ (The Karl Marx Library, volume V, tr. by Saul K. Padover, McGraw-Hill Book Co., New York 1974, pp. 3-6).  It leaves the present reader in no doubt that Marx’s communist Utopia was no more than Jesus Christ’s promise of God’s Kingdom on Earth.  Marx’s passion for Social Justice is the longing for God’s absolute Justice against Capitalist corruption, satanic exploitation of the masses, and Nazi enslavement of human labour!

“No one (not even the Pope) is infallible – unfortunately Karl Marx could not appreciate that Martin Luther (1483-1546), like Jesus Christ himself, was one of the greatest revolutionaries of all time – Luther, I think, changed the world fundamentally for-ever – without his movement of Protestant Reformation, the masses of Europe would still be crawling like infective worms in the diseased prison of the Vatican Church … and the cause of Luther’s prime-cut revolution? – The rampant ‘capitalist’ corruption of the Catholic Church, priests shamelessly selling what were called indulgences, Pope-signed documents forgiving sins by the wealthy bought for money, when Jesus himself had chased the usurers out of the Jews’ national Temple a thousand years earlier!!  Alas, alack, the Evangelical Churches of the Bible-belt Texan America even today have become sausage-machines to coin dollars with fraudulent Christianity, like the scam-indulgences of Luther’s time subsidizing some Crusades.  19th c. Western imperialism abused Jesus Christ’s faith as a tool to swallow bits of the world – most of it by the British, some of it by the proto- then truly Nazi Germans, and Fascist Italians… I witnessed recently an ‘Americanized’ African preacher in London disgustingly deceiving his black congregation out of their pittance … incredibly, he persuaded his flock to part with £80.000 in just an hour in the name of Jesus Christ … while simultaneously railing and ranting and cursing parishioners who lacked any money-obsession.  On the other hand, the noble Jehovah Witnesses in comparison can proudly announce that they disapprove of even a milder form of money-collection after their service – shame and damnation on the American bible-belt bashers and their African copy-cats for perverting through monetarization Jesus Christ’s religion.  Martin Luther sent the Archbishop of Mainz his anti-capitalist Disputation (Ninety-Five Theses on the Power of Indulgences) in 1517 (and tradition has it that he also nailed a copy on the door of All Saints’ Church in Wittenberg), similarly the Jehovah’s Witnesses today have inscribed commendably on the signboard of their Kingdom Hall (in New Barnet, for example) No Collection … I was sickened thirty years ago, when at an Anglican church Service (I think no less than in the Westminster Abbey), the Vicar took the Collection money-bags, bowed and kowtowed before them, kissed, blessed and prayed over them for fifteen minutes … I never went back to the church, not to suffer yet again such ugly ‘American’ anti-JesusChrist capitalist pornography.  It soils my Soul.  I felt violated recently by the said African money-mad Born-Again preacher in London”.

The Professor’s scholarly discoveries above shattered my own mind … He has a unique and a remarkable skill of weaving together like tapestry the old, the new and the very recent, I should have predicted more would be forthcoming, and built up intellectual strength to grasp them;

“The socio-economic impact of Luther’s …’Marxist’ revolution was innovatively defined not by the ‘economist’ Karl Marx, alas, but the great Sociologist Max Weber (1864-1920), whose astonishing book Die Protestantische Ethik und der Geist des Kapitalismus (= The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism, 1904-5), a collection of essays with the general hypothesis that the Protestant mindset with its emphasis on individual enterprise – the Calvinist version of monastic ‘ascetic hard work’, thrift and efficiency – I would say the Germanic ‘Nazi’ version of ‘No Sex please, we’re British’ – was the fundamental basis of Capitalism, enabling its socio-economic exploitative relations.  I am of course putting it negatively, what Weber endorsed wholeheartedly.  But the illiteracy of American Capitalist ideologues is such that even to this day, they have not owned up and/or glorified Weber’s anti-Marxist anti-sex theory appropriately”, concluded Professor Pilikian.

“Entirely spiritualist, Swedenborg was of course oblivious to socio-economic problems.  His radical epoch-making religious ‘insight’, still not given due acknowledgment was his re-assembling of the Holy Trinity – forced apart by the Catholic Church Vs. the Eastern Orthodox Churches – into a unitary single deity; however, not of the Hebrew Yahweh/Jehovah of the Old Testament, but in the human person of Jesus Christ, manifesting in the human flesh Jehovah Himself, who thus in total fusion, becomes one with his only begotten son – God made into Man, as Jesus Christ himself claimed to being the son of Man!  Although all the categories of evangelical churches (Methodist, Baptist, Charismatic, Born- Again Christian, Seven-Day Adventist etc. including the progenitor of them all, Luther himself) skirted around this New Testament concept, but none with the clarity, courage, and distinction of Swedenborg.   Today, ironically, the whole lot of the Protestant- qualified churches owe it unwittingly to Emanuel Swedenborg their doctrinal shift of paradigm from the focus on the Judaic Yahweh to a total focus on Jesus Christ as their divine saviour, sustaining unconditional infinite love for all people of all shapes and colours”.

I had to catch my own breath at the Professor’s breathless, seamless, radical re-interpretations of the scholarly facts.   It remains to confirm that at the time of his public lecture for the Swedenborg Society, the Professor had head-hunted a massively multi-talented young man Stephen McNeilly, painter/graphic designer, running the society’s bookshop.  Supported by Stephen’s help, Professor Pilikian had organized single-handedly a mini-festival to glorify Swedenborg, thus creating a paradigm and a blue-print for today’s exciting activities administered by Mr. McNeilly himself, as the most efficient and modernist Executive Director of the Swedenborg Society, without whose ‘discovery’ by Professor Hovhanness I. Pilikian, the Society may never have rejuvenated from its natural historical fatigue and eventual fade-out.

The Professor had invited the Opera-Singer Khatchatur Pilikian (his brother, sometime soloist of RAI – the Italian State Radio and Television) to participate with a mini-concert; last but not least, the Professor had commissioned an oil-painting of Swedenborg’s Portrait for the occasion, from the Republic of Armenia’s great painter, Artour Oshakantsi (resident in London), all of which feature in this excellent documentary.

Although now retired, the Historian of the Society, Mr. Richard Lines, a Council Member and a distinguished solicitor had never wavered in his support of Professor Pilikian’s choice of Mr. McNeilly as today’s Supremo of the Society.  Equally supportive against all odds were Mr. John Cunningham (Vice President), Dr. David Lister (Chairman), and Mr. Patrick Johnson (Trustee).

London, September, 2016.


See YouTube Video Links Below;

https://www.youtube.com/watch? v=Kdpw88fDY54 part 1

https://www.youtube.com/watch? v=BSGtENXu0Pg part 2

https://www.youtube.com/watch? v=HZ1zF13gP64 part 3

https://www.youtube.com/watch? v=8oshjG6UoJY part 4



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