Many of us are acquainted with the meaning of harmony in music. But it is important to understand what “harmony” really means because it affects all aspects of our life, our relationship with others, with the whole universe, with Heaven and with God. In music, we know that harmony corresponds to a combination of musical tones (frequencies), blended into chords (three or more notes) that sounds pleasing to the human ear.
Hence, in music, a symphony is a combination of notes or elements that are harmonically combined as a whole. But what makes a symphony harmonious? Its parts must be sufficiently different from the whole to produce contrast, while they must be sufficiently similar to the whole to maintain the order of the whole. In fact, during some segments of the symphony, consonance seems to degenerate into dissonance. And it is these dark moments of the symphony that make it dramatic, interesting and meaningful. But this dissonance or disorder is eventually resolved in consonance.
It is the same process that makes a work of art graceful and meaningful. For example, a painting consists of many different forms and colors. But these forms and colors must be sufficiently similar to the whole painting to produce beauty. In fact, harmony and beauty are synonymous. A painting that consists either of complete disorder or complete order cannot be considered interesting, meaningful or beautiful. A story or play that consists of random and disjointed acts or events would be annoying to experience. A novel that is completely ordered and predictable is equally monotonous and boring. But a work that is able to “artfully” combine order (similarity) and disorder (difference) into one whole harmony is a beautiful work of art.
Now, how does all this relate to us, the universe and God? We have already established that God’s substance or Divine Love is an infinite complexity organized “HARMONICALLY.” And this harmonious organization is Wisdom or Truth. Therefore, Divine Love is an e-motion that consists of an infinity of emotions organized harmonically. And Divine Wisdom is an Idea that consists of an infinity of ideas organized harmonically. In the Bible, this Divine Idea is called “The Word of God.” This Idea or “Word” is what gives purpose and meaning to every thing in creation. Every being is purposeful because it is a free expression of Love and it is meaningful because it is harmonically interconnected with everything else. And, since the universe was generated from Divine Love, all the harmony, beauty, intelligence and love that we may experience in the universe is an image of God.
The universe is also a work of art because it consists of self-similar images of God that are sufficiently different and free to produce contrast. But they are sufficiently interconnected to produce an organization or order. in fact, when we contemplate nature, we discover that all things are growing, involving, evolving and transforming like fractals. The earthly landscape of mountains, hills, valleys, oceans, rivers, lakes, beaches and coastlines is a beautiful work of art produced over long periods of involution and evolution in time. Plants, trees and flowers grow like fractals. The form and branches of a tree are a picture of its growth or evolution as it has adapted to its uncertain environment. Reptiles, birds and animals have also evolved different forms by adapting to the climate and characteristics of their particular environments. This is why some species are less graceful than others.
Like in a work of art, there are also dramatic or chaotic events in the history of the universe. For example, the history of humanity consists of periods of conflict and war as well ages of relative order, peace and harmony. During this long history, many civilizations and religions have arisen, thrived and degenerated. But, if the universe is a work of art and God (Divine Love) is continually restoring the universe, we know that any disorder will eventually be resolved in a universal state of harmony. In the Bible, this state is called the Kingdom of Harmony or Heaven. In Heaven, every angel is a self-similar image of Heaven. And all angels are interconnected in the harmony of Love, Wisdom and Use. In this harmony, every angel is a unique and separate affection and yet all these affections are in harmonic accord with Divine Love. The form of every angel is also a unique expression of Truth but all these different forms are in harmonic accord with Divine Wisdom or the Divine Human form of Heaven.
It is further true that all true harmony in universal realms derives its beauty from the fact that it is not beautiful by itself, but from others, and thus from the beauty of all, this being the case with all harmonies and the individual one. If, therefore, a single harmony did not regard the other, but itself, nothing harmonious would ever result. Emanuel Swedenborg [SE 1837]
Hence it can be known that every man is allotted his own province, and that there is indefinite variety and harmony of all, as there is with each and all things in man. Thus it is that the whole is composed of the harmony of the varieties, and that it has been foreseen and provided that all who inherit heaven may be parts of this Grand Man, thus be in the Lord. Also, that heaven can never be closed even to eternity, for the more there are in a society, and the more societies there are, so much the better, the more blessed, and the stronger they are. Emanuel Swedenborg [SE 1364]
Such being the nature of heaven, no angel or spirit can have any life unless he is in some society, and thereby in a harmony of many. A society is nothing but a harmony of many, for no one has any life separate from the life of others. Indeed no angel, or spirit, or society can have any life (that is, be affected by good, exercise will, be affected by truth, or think), unless there is a conjunction thereof through many of his society with heaven and with the world of spirits. And it is the same with the human race: no man, no matter who and what he may be, can live (that is, be affected by good, exercise will, be affected by truth, or think), unless in like manner he is conjoined with heaven through the angels who are with him, and with the world of spirits, nay, with hell, through the spirits that are with him. For every man while living in the body is in some society of spirits and of angels, though entirely unaware of it. And if he were not conjoined with heaven and with the world of spirits through the society in which he is, he could not live a moment. The case in this respect is the same as it is with the human body, any portion of which that is not conjoined with the rest by means of fibers and vessels, and thus by means of functions, is not a part of the body, but is instantly separated and rejected, as having no vitality. The very societies in and with which men have been during the life of the body, are shown them when they come into the other life. And when, after the life of the body, they come into their society, they come into their veriest life which they had in the body, and from this life begin a new life; and so according to their life which they have lived in the body they either go down into hell, or are raised up into heaven. Emanuel Swedenborg [AC 687]