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what is the exact meaning of "doctrine of correspondences" in this context?

That very remarkable woman, Mrs. Hardinge Britten, has recorded in her "Modern American Spiritualism" how she came in close contact with the Shaker community, and was shown by them the records, taken at the time, of their spiritual visitation. In them it was stated that the new era was to be inaugurated by an extraordinary discovery of material as well as of spiritual wealth. This is a most remarkable prophecy, as it is a matter of history that the goldfields of California were discovered within a very short time of the psychic outburst. A Swedenborg with his doctrine of correspondences might perhaps contend that the one was complementary to the other.

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Philosopher Emanuel Swedenborg was much concerned with identifying "correspondences" (parallels) across different areas (religion, science, sociology,...) that might allow principles established in one field of human endeavor / thought to be usefully employed to gain a better understanding of other areas.

The last sentence means Someone like Swedenborg (with his method of drawing parallels across a range of phenomena), would say the two things being discussed are actually just both different sides of the same coin.

Arguably, modern theoretical physics has adopted this approach, with the "doctrine" of "symmetry".

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  • I know a Joe Swedenburg. Funny thing is, he's Norwegian. Jan 16, 2020 at 17:11
  • To be honest, I hadn't heard of Emanuel Swedenborg before I wrote this answer. And I didn't even read the linked Wikipedia article to establish what "school of thought" he might fall in - I just took it for granted from OP's cited context that it would be something along the lines of what I said he was "much concerned with". Which will be embarrassing if you or anyone else checks my "source" and declares That's completely wrong! But WTF - life's too short to check out every assumption! :) Jan 16, 2020 at 17:56
  • My pal Joe really dislikes people spelling his name wrongly. Jan 16, 2020 at 18:05
  • I really dislike the fact that the last syllable of Jeffrey Epstein's and Harvey Weinstein's names are pronounced differently. Why couldn't one of them have opted for their written version to be -stien? Jan 16, 2020 at 18:32
  • You still haven't spotted that you wrote 'Swedenburg' instead of 'Swedenborg'. Didn't you wonder what the hell I was going on about? Jan 16, 2020 at 18:35

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