Edward Bernays and Propaganda

Edward Bernays is one of the most influential modern people that the average person has never heard of. He was a nephew of Sigmund Freud and developed the field of public relations. Although he was a Jew, his methods of propaganda were enthusiastically adopted by the Nazi regime. And the methods of marketing that he pioneered dominate modern advertising.

I have added a 28 page analysis of Bernays to the end of the essay on wokeism. This analysis looks at his 1928 book entitled Propaganda, examines his excellent description of mental networks, and attempts to understand the precise relationship between Bernays’ propaganda and Nazi horror.

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I was researching the topic of wokeism in preparation for writing an essay and I stumbled across the new discourses website by James Lindsay, which contains many articles on various aspects of wokeism including an encyclopedia of wokeist terms. Lindsay is clearly anti-wokeist but he is also a careful scholar who has researched the topic of wokeism extensively and writes clearly and carefully on the topic.

Thus, I thought that it would be more effective to use mental symmetry to analyze the new discourses website. I have not listened to the audio, but I have read most of the articles and have gone through most of the encyclopedia. The result is a 100 page essay that analyzes wokeism from a cognitive perspective based primarily upon the material contained on newdiscourses.

Like Lindsay, I think that wokeism is a form of insanity that threatens Western society, but a cognitive analysis makes it possible to understand the nature of this insanity and place it in a larger perspective. In brief, mental symmetry suggests that the mind can function in three primary ways: technical thought, mental networks, and normal thought. Technical thought pursues some goal upon some limited playing field guided by a collection of carefully-defined rules, as illustrated by a game. Mental networks can be thought of as emotionally triggered schema, and the mind uses mental networks to represent people and guide social interaction. Normal thought works with patterns and analogies that are known with partial certainty.

Technical thought has been used to physically transform the world through science and technology. Meanwhile, the emotional realm of mental networks that guides culture, religion, and social interaction has remained largely unchanged. This has led to the juxtaposition of clever technology and dumb consumers. For instance, designing, constructing, and running the Internet requires extensive technical thought. But the average Internet user is driven by mental networks to explore social media and has no concept of the underlying technical complexity.

Wokeism appeals to the mindset of the dumb consumer, and the insanity of wokeism threatens the rational thinking of modern technical thought. But technical thought actually enabled this insanity by transforming the physical world in an objective and specialized manner and then shielding the consumer from technical thought. While wokeism is irrational, it is also an accurate description of how mental networks are functioning within the mind of the wokeist. This essay uses the material taken from the newdiscourses website to analyze various aspects of wokeism (including Marxism) from a cognitive perspective.

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Luke 1-12

In 2020 I wrote a 640 page essay on Matthew 2-24 which shows that the Gospel of Matthew can be interpreted symbolically as a detailed prophecy of Western civilization. I have just finished a 550 page essay on Luke 1-12 which shows that the Gospel of Luke can also be interpreted symbolically as a detailed prophecy of Western civilization. This analysis stops at chapter 12 because that appears to correspond to the current time.

Comparing these two, Matthew contains more details about the medieval era and the enlightenment. Luke contains more details when looking at the last century. These two essays combined provide about fifty times as much prophetic detail as any other book on biblical prophecy. This prophetic detail is not random but rather makes rational sense as a path of cognitive development for human society. In other words, if one drops the scriptural references from these essays, then they still make sense from a cognitive perspective. This type of cognitive prophetic analysis of Scripture is unprecedented.

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Matthew 25-28

In 2020 I wrote a 640 page essay on Matthew 2-24 which shows that the Gospel of Matthew can be interpreted symbolically as a detailed prophecy of Western civilization. As far as I know, showing that the entire original Greek text of a biblical book can be viewed as an extended sequence of prophecy is unprecedented. One might think that those who study biblical prophecy might find such an analysis interesting. But when I have mentioned this research to such individuals I have found that what they really want is a transcendent God who will magically intervene to rescue them from rational thought. They do not want a rational God who uses cognitive mechanisms to lead human society step by step as portrayed in the essay on Matthew.

The previous essay stopped at Matthew 24 because that corresponds to the present time. Since then, I have found that Acts 1-12 appears to start at the present time and continue into the future. That analysis makes it possible to look at the final four chapters of Matthew. I have just posted a 160 page essay on Matthew 25-28. It appears that Acts 1-12 and Matthew 25-28 are both describing a similar period of future history that starts with the present.

My basic premise is that there will soon be what I call a ‘theoretical return of Jesus’. This will not be a ‘rapture’ away from earth to heaven but rather a rational understanding of the nature of Jesus Christ the Incarnation. That will be followed by what I call ‘spiritual technology’, which will add a spiritual dimension to existing technology. This will gradually expand to form a complete spiritual economy. But this spiritual economy will eventually lead to fundamental questions about what it means to be human. Deep fear over where this might lead will cause society to ‘crucify’ the spiritual economy, which will eventually become reborn at a deeper level.

These are the sorts of topics that are normally discussed in science fiction. In contrast, most books on biblical prophecy are like fairy tales that end by saying that ‘Jesus returned and everyone lived happily ever after. The end.’ The essay on Matthew 25-28 talks about angels, spirits, supernatural powers, and even genetic manipulation. But the same cognitive mechanisms still apply, making it possible to discuss the subject rationally as well as compare prophetic incidents with similar episodes in history. In brief, it appears that future society will go through a transition involving the spiritual economy that is similar to the cognitive and religious transition being experienced today. The crucifixion story of Matthew seems to be describing the cycle that will happen in the future, while the crucifixion story of Luke seems to be describing the current cycle that is being experienced today. That hypothesis is briefly explored at the end of the essay on Matthew 25-28.

As far as I can tell, the primary foe to the coming work of incarnation will be a religious system that distinguishes between clergy and laity–between holy and secular. But this continued opposition will force the spiritual economy to continue developing and eventually push it through to a new level of functioning. At the personal level, this opposition will force people to ask themselves whether being a follower of Jesus means submitting to the words and institutions of religious leaders who claim to speak for Jesus, or walking a path that leads to personal salvation. After all, the name Jesus means ‘salvation of God’. This is similar to the way that my cognitive analysis of biblical books has forced me to ask whether believing that the Bible speaks about Jesus means blindly accepting the interpretation of religious leaders who claim to know what the Bible says about Jesus, or studying the original Greek text of the New Testament from the perspective of following a path of personal transformation and salvation.

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The Book of Acts and the Near Future

The book of Acts makes sense as a detailed prophetic description of the near future. (Acts 7 appears to be looking back at our present as the past of the future.) The picture that emerges is consistent with the prophetic description found in other biblical books, with a theoretical return of Jesus followed by spiritual technology. This grows into a spiritual economy that expands into alien disclosure. This is followed by a rethinking of existing religion and the backlash of the kingdom of the beast. That leads to… well, read the essay to find out.

I know that this sounds more like science fiction than theology. However, I have used the same methodology and the same symbolic meanings that I use to analyze ALL books—both religious and secular. And the same cognitive mechanisms that have guided the past and rule the present also continue to function in the future. In addition, this analysis looks so closely at the original Greek text that I stopped using the NASB translation halfway through the essay because it was insufficiently accurate and started using the Berean Literal Bible.

I have uploaded a 380 page two-part essay (book?) on the first twelve chapters of Acts. The analysis stops at the beginning of Paul’s missionary journeys. By the time one reaches the end of chapter 12, one becomes suspicious that these missionary journeys may end up resembling the voyages of Star Trek more than the travels of Paul the Apostle.

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Daniel, Judaism, and Western History

Daniel 11 contains a detailed prophecy about the rise of Alexander the Great and the feuding of two of his successor kingdoms. The first part of the chapter describes history with sufficient accuracy that most modern scholars ‘conclude’ that it must have been written during the time of the Abomination of Desolation of Antiochus IV mentioned in verse 31. However, chapter 11 stops corresponding with Jewish history after about verse 35, and the rest of the book of Daniel is regarded by prophetic scholars as applying to some future time.

I have found that the Bible makes sense when treated as extended sequences and analyzed from a cognitive perspective. One of my hypotheses is that the divine plan was for science to emerge in Alexandria as a result of Greek and Jewish interaction. This almost happened. Applying this hypothesis to Daniel 11 leads to the suggestion that science did not emerge because Jewish history diverged from the divine plan at about verse 35. This suggestion can be explored by comparing the verses around Daniel 11:35 with Jewish history during the period of the Maccabees. And Jewish history indicates that the Maccabees made several unwise decisions that had lasting consequences for the course of Judaism.

Another general hypothesis is that the divine plan can be delayed but not thwarted. This leads to the suggestion that the sequence of Daniel 11 will eventually be carried out. Previous essays have shown that both Matthew 2-24 and Revelation 4-11 describe the course of Western history in symbolic form. Applying the same cognitive analysis to Daniel 11-12 leads to the conclusion that Daniel 11 describes Western history starting with the Enlightenment. This interpretation leads to the conclusion that we are currently (in early 2021) at about verse 40.

I have posted a 130 page essay that describes the historical divergence between Daniel 11 and the behavior of the Maccabees, and then examines the correspondence between Daniel 11 and recent Western history.

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Revelation and Western History

I began my cognitive analysis of the New Testament with an essay on Revelation back in 2016. I know that one does not normally start with the book of Revelation when analyzing the Bible, but this was the right starting point for me. That is because everyone knows that Revelation should be analyzed symbolically. When I applied cognitively natural symbolism to the book of Revelation, I discovered to my surprise that the text made sense. I then realized that this same methodology could be applied to the rest of the New Testament, and I have now posted essays on about half of the New Testament.

My last project was a 640 page essay on the Gospel of Matthew, which shows that chapters 2-24 provide a detailed prophecy of Western Civilization. Having gone through Matthew at that level of detail, it was imperative to go through the corresponding chapters of Revelation again at the same level of detail. The result is a 170 page essay on Revelation 4-11, which is consistent with the cognitive analysis of the gospel of Matthew.

I am not aware of any other analysis of biblical prophecy that makes cognitive sense, treats entire books as single connected sequences, and looks in detail at the original Greek text.

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Matthew and Western History

I have just finished my most difficult project yet, which is a 640 page cognitive analysis of the Gospel of Matthew. The reason that this essay is so long is that I present the hypothesis that the entire book of Matthew is actually a detailed prophecy of Western civilization. In other words, if one analyzes the book of Matthew using the same kind of cognitive analysis that I have been using on other New Testament books, and if one compares this with the events of Western history, then one discovers that there is a detailed correspondence between these two. I am not aware of anyone else who has attempted to do this kind of analysis.

It is said that extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof. Therefore, this essay contains extensive quotes describing Western history, primarily from Wikipedia. I have also included a detailed table of contents which includes a brief summary of the historical era symbolized by each scriptural passage. This essay does not discuss dates or numbers but instead it focuses upon paradigms, paradigm shifts, and steps of cognitive development. This essay is worth reading purely as a cognitive analysis of the book of Matthew, and if one ignores the Scripture then one can view this essay as a reasonably competent cognitive analysis of Western history.

Because this essay is so long, it has been divided into three parts.

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The Unshakable Truth

I recently read through The Unshakable Truth by Josh and Sean McDowell. An accompanying website says that “Josh McDowell, along with his son, Sean, have drawn on a lifetime of work to create The Unshakable Truth, a clear vision of what Christians believe, why we believe it, how it is relevant to life and how we can pass it on to the next generation.” It describes this book as “the crowning work of Josh’s 50 years of ministry”. These comments suggest that it is appropriate to regard this book as representative of the thinking of the McDowells.

Josh McDowell is known for his extensive work in apologetics. Therefore, this book can be regarded as representative of American evangelical Christendom. Analyzing this book from a cognitive perspective makes it possible to understand more clearly the state of American evangelical Christendom.

In brief, my conclusion is this would be a great book for a late 20th century audience. But it is inadequate for the 21st century post-Christian world. More specifically, it describes the concrete experiential side of Christianity, but it lacks the abstract theoretical side of Christianity. It refers to universal truth when looking at moral cause-and-effect, but then approaches the Bible with an attitude of absolute truth. These are strange conclusions, because the McDowells have made a career out of teaching others that Christianity has a rational side and can be based in rational thought.

I have posted a 64 page essay that analyzes this book from a cognitive perspective.

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Cognitive Style Test

I have rewritten a program to determine cognitive styles. This program was originally written in Turbo Pascal 3 in the 1980s to run on an Apple II computer and then ported to the IBM PC. The current version is written in JavaScript and will run on any browser on a computer or smartphone. My brother wrote a version of this program in JAVA for an earlier version of the mentalsymmetry website, but JAVA is no longer supported. He then replaced this with a Flash version which was available for a while on his website, but he has taken it down and Flash is also reaching the end of its lifetime. Thus, it was time to come up with a new version. Please do not expect elegant code. I am not familiar with object-oriented programming and had to use a number of (gasp) global variables and flags to get the program to run.

Writing this program was cognitively revealing. Traditional computer programming feels like one is dealing with Teacher thought at the level of abstract sequences and equations: One writes sequences of logical instructions which are then translated by the computer into sequences of Server actions. Object-oriented programming feels like one is dealing with a Server person at the level of concrete experiences: The typical Server person lives within a physical environment in which every object and tool has its place. The Server person then responds to the needs of the moment by pulling out the appropriate tool and carrying out the needed action. For traditional programming, the Teacher structure of the computer program holds everything together. For object-oriented programming, everything is placed within some Mercy environment and there is no integrated Teacher structure. For instance, clicking one button triggers one fragment of code, while clicking on the answer panel triggers another fragment of code. (I know that the object-oriented framework is itself a kind of integrated Teacher structure, but it is a structure based upon Perceiver objects rather than upon Server sequences.)

Looking at the original program, the Apple II computer had only 64 kbytes of memory (my current computer has 250,000 times as much RAM), which meant that the questions had to be loaded individually and I used a lookup table to compress the text so that it would fit on a floppy disk. The IBM PC had more RAM, making it possible to load all of the questions at once. For those who want a glimpse of the past, the IBM version can be downloaded and will run in a DOS emulator. (It all runs except for the 4th choice on the final menu, which causes the program to crash.) The algorithm and the questions used by the current program are almost identical to that of the Apple II version. The primary difference is that one can now use a mouse to click.

There are many programs and questionnaires for determining personality types. The purpose of such programs is to determine which style of thinking is dominant. But mental symmetry suggests that cognitive style describes which style of thinking is conscious, and the style of thinking that is conscious is not always dominant. That is because culture and upbringing can cause certain styles of thinking to become dominant which are not conscious. This makes it difficult to write a computer program to determine cognitive style, because one has to look beyond the thinking that is dominant to determine which thinking is conscious. Therefore, this program should only be viewed as a starting point for determining cognitive style.

In addition, this program describes the typical version of each cognitive style. Obviously, this does not take cognitive development into account. For instance, some cognitive traits can actually appear as opposites over time: a person will exhibit some trait in immaturity, and then decide consciously not to behave in such a manner when more mature. In this case, the conscious awareness remains the same, but the personal response to this awareness changes dramatically.

Finally, many people do not know accurately how they think and behave. Therefore, it may be advisable to have a friend or family member assist when running the program, because those who are close to me can often describe more accurately how I think and behave than I can myself. Repeating the link, the program is here.

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